The Project Gutenberg eBook of Daily stories of Pennsylvania

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Title: Daily stories of Pennsylvania

prepared for publication in the leading daily newspapers of the state...

Author: Frederic Antes Godcharles

Release date: February 4, 2023 [eBook #69956]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: W. B. Conkey Company, 1924

Credits: Charlene Taylor, KD Weeks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DAILY STORIES OF PENNSYLVANIA ***
Transcriber’s Note:

The many sections of this volume are presented in order of the month and day, regardless of the year, beginning with January 1.

The Contents lists the topics alphabetically, and refers to a date (month and day) rather than a page number. These descriptions do not necessarily exactly match the title of the sections verbatim, and the same section occasionally appears twice, with different descriptions. There is a more detailed index at the end of the volume, with page references.

To facilitate navigation, the dates in the Contents are linked to the correct topics.

The few footnotes have been collected at the end of each section, and are linked for ease of reference.

Basic information from the titlepage has been added to the blank green cover and, so enhanced, is added to the public domain.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding the handling of any issues encountered during its preparation.

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PA State Capitol Building

THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE CAPITOL BUILDING

I

DAILY STORIES
OF
PENNSYLVANIA

Prepared for publication in the leading daily
newspapers of the State by
FREDERIC A. GODCHARLES
Milton, Pennsylvania
FORMER REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, STATE
SENATOR, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH,
MEMBER HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA,
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF UNION COUNTY,
HISTORICAL SOCIETY LYCOMING COUNTY,
AND OTHERS
Author of Freemasonry in Northumberland
and Snyder Counties, Pennsylvania
logo
MILTON, PA.
1924
Copyrighted 1924
BY
FREDERIC A. GODCHARLES

Printed in the United States of America
publisher logo

These Daily Stories of Pennsylvania
are dedicated to
MY MOTHER
THROUGH WHOM I AM DESCENDED FROM
SOME OF ITS EARLIEST PIONEERS AND
PATRIOTS AND FROM WHOM I INHERITED
MUCH LOVE FOR THE STORY OF MY NATIVE
STATE.
signature

Frederic A. Godcharles.

iv

PRINCIPAL SOURCES UTILIZED

v

INTRODUCTION

The Daily Stories of Pennsylvania were published in the newspapers under the title “Today’s Story in Pennsylvania History,” and there has been a genuine demand for their publication in book form.

During all his active life the author has been impressed with the unparalleled influence of Pennsylvania in the development of affairs which have resulted in the United States of America.

Since youth he has carefully preserved dates and facts of historical importance and has so arranged this data that it made possible these stories, each of which appeared on the actual anniversary of the event or person presented.

This idea seems to have been a new venture in journalism and the enterprising editors of our great Commonwealth, contracted for and published “Today’s Story in Pennsylvania History,” and their readers have manifested a deep interest to these editors and to the author.

Soon as there developed a demand for the collection of stories in book form, the author determined to add a story for the fifty-three Sunday dates, which have not before been published, and to arrange the entire collection according to the calendar, and not chronologically. In this arrangement they can be more readily found when desired for quick reference or study.

These stories have been prepared from many different sources, not a few from original manuscripts, or from writings which have not been heretofore used; many are rewritten from familiar publications, but too frequent reference to such sources has been omitted as these would encumber the foot of so many pages that the stories would require a much larger book or a second volume, either of which would be objectionable and unnecessary.

It is a hopeless task to acknowledge the many courtesies received, but in some slight manner the author must recognize the friendship of Prof. Hiram H. Shenk, custodian of records in the State Library, who so generously placed him in touch with many valuable papers, books and manuscripts, and in many ways assisted in much of the historical data. The names of Dr. Thomas L. Montgomery, Librarian Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Dr. George P. Donehoo, former State Librarian; the late Julius Sachse; the late Dr. Hugh Hamilton; former Governor Hon. Edwin S. Stuart and Colonel Henry W. Shoemaker, each of whom contributed such assistance as was requested. The valuable help extended by officers and assistants in the State Library, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, The Historical Society of Dauphin County, The Lycoming County Historical Society and other similar organizations deserves particular mention and gratitude.

It is also a matter of intense satisfaction that the author acknowledges the following progressive newspapers which carried the stories, viand the editors of which so materially assisted by their personal attention in making his work such an unusual success: Allentown Chronicle and News, Altoona Mirror, Berwick Enterprise, Bethlehem Globe, Bloomsburg Morning Press, Carlisle Sentinel, Chester Times, Coatesville Record, Danville Morning News, Doylestown Democrat, Du Bois Courier, Easton Free Press, Ellwood City Ledger, Erie Dispatch-Herald, Farrell News, Greensburg Record, Greenville Advance Argus, Harrisburg Evening News, Hazleton Standard-Sentinel, Indiana Gazette, Johnstown Tribune, Lancaster Intelligencer, Lansford Evening Record, Mauch Chunk Daily News, Meadville Tribune-Republican, Milton Evening Standard, Mount Carmel Item, Norristown Times-Herald, Philadelphia Public Ledger, Pittsburgh Chronicle-Telegraph, Pittston Gazette, Pottsville Republican, Reading Herald-Telegram, Ridgway Record, Scranton Republican, Shamokin Dispatch, Sharon Herald, Shenandoah Herald, Stroudsburg Times-Democrat, Sunbury Daily Item, Tamaqua Courier, Titusville Herald, Uniontown Herald, Waynesboro Record-Herald, Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, Williamsport Sun, and York Gazette.

Frederic A. Godcharles.

Milton, Penna., September 4, 1924.

vii

CONTENTS

Adoption of Federal Constitution Sept. 17
Allummapees, King of Delaware Indians Aug. 12
American, John Penn, the Jan. 29
Antes, Lt. Col. John Henry May 13
Antes, Pious Henry Jan. 12
Anti-Masonic Investigation Dec. 4
Anti-Masonic Outbreak in Pennsylvania Aug. 18
Anti-Masonic Period Terminates Dec. 4
Armed Force to Forks of Ohio Feb. 17
Armstrong, Captain John, Murdered April 9
Armstrong Destroys Kittanning Sept. 8
Arnold Arrested, General Benedict Feb. 3
Asylum, the French Settlement Dec. 20
Attempted Slaughter of Indians at Wichetunk Oct. 12
Attempt to Navigate Susquehanna Fails April 27
Baldwin, Matthias Jan. 8
Bank, First in America Dec. 31
Bank of North America Jan. 7
Bard Family Captured by Indians April 13
Bartram, John March 23
Battle of Brandywine Sept. 11
Battle of Bushy Run Aug. 6
Battle of Fallen Timbers Aug. 20
Battle of Germantown Oct. 4
Battle of Gettysburg July 1 and 2
Battle of the Kegs Jan. 5
Battle of Lake Erie Sept. 10
Battle of Minisinks July 22
Battle of Monongahela July 9
Battle of Muncy Hills Aug. 26
Battle of Trenton Dec. 26
Beatty, Rev. Charles, and Old Log College Jan. 22
Bedford County Erected March 9
Beissel, John Conrad July 6
Bell for State House June 2
Berks County Outrages Nov. 14
Bethlehem as Base Hospital in Revolution March 27
Bi-centennial Oct. 21
Bills of Credit Put State on Paper Money Basis March 2
Binns, John Nov. 16
Binns, John June 24
Binns, John, Fights Duel with Samuel Stewart Dec. 14
Black Boys Nov. 26
Bloody Saturday Aug. 14
Bloody Election Oct. 1
Boone, Daniel Oct. 22
Border Troubles Reach Provincial Authorities May 14
Border Troubles with Maryland May 25
Border Troubles with Thomas Cresap Nov. 23
Boundary Disputes Settled Nov. 5
Boundary Dispute with Maryland May 10
Boundary Dispute with Virginia Sept. 23
Bounty for Indian Scalps April 14
Bouquet Defeats Indians at Bushy Run Aug. 6
Bouquet Relieves Fort Pitt Aug. 10
Boyd, Captain John Feb. 22
Boyd, Lieutenant Thomas Murdered Sept. 13
Braddock’s Defeat July 9
Braddock’s Road Begun May 6
Braddock’s Troops Arrive Feb. 20
Brady, Captain James, Killed Aug. 8
Brady, Captain John April 11
British and Indians Attack and Destroy Fort Freeland July 28
British Destroy Indian Towns Aug. 25
British Evacuate Philadelphia June 17
British Invest Philadelphia Sept. 26
Brodhead Arrives at Fort Pitt to Fight Indians Mar. 5
Broadhead Destroys Coshocton April 20
Brodhead Makes Indian Raid Aug. 11
Brown, General Jacob Feb. 24
Brulé, Etienne Oct. 24
Buchanan, President James April 23
Buck Shot War Dec. 5
Bucks County Homes Headquarters for Washington and Staff Dec. 8
Bull, Ole Feb. 5
Bull, Gen John June 1; Aug. 9
Cameron, Colonel James July 21
Cameron Defeats Forney for Senate Jan. 13
Cammerhoff, Bishop John Christopher Jan. 6
Camp Curtin April 18
Canal Lottery, Union April 17
Canals Projected in Great Meeting Oct. 20
Canal System Started Feb. 19
Capitol, Burning of Feb. 2
Capitol, New State Jan. 2
viiiCapital, Removed to Harrisburg Feb. 21
Capture of Timothy Pickering June 26
Carlisle Indian School July 31
Carlisle Raided by Rebels June 27
Carey, Matthew Sept. 16
Chambers-Rieger Duel May 11
Chambersburg Sacked and Burned by Rebels July 30
Charter for City of Pittsburgh Mar. 18
Charter for Pennsylvania Received by William Penn Mar. 4
Chester County, Deed for June 25
Church West of Alleghenies, First June 20
Civil Government Established in Pennsylvania Aug. 3
Clapham Builds Fort Halifax June 7
Clapham Family Murdered by Indians May 28
Clark Drafts Troops for Detroit Expedition Mar. 3
Coal First Burned in a Grate Feb. 11
Cochran, Dr. John Sept. 1
Cooke & Co. Fail, Jay Sept. 18
Cooper Shop and Union Saloon Restaurants May 27
Commissioners Appointed to Purchase Indian Lands Feb. 29
Conestoga Indians Killed by Paxtang Boys Dec. 27
Confederate Raids into Pennsylvania Oct. 10
Congress Threatened by Mob of Soldiers June 21
Constitutional Convention of 1790 Nov. 21
Constitution of 1790 March 24; Sept. 2
Constitution of United States Adopted Sept. 17
Continental Congress First Meets in Philadelphia Sept. 5
Conway Cabal Nov. 28
Cornerstones Laid for Germantown Academy April 21
Council of Censors Nov. 13
Cornwallis Defeats Americans at Brandywine Sept. 11
Counties, First Division into Feb. 1
Counties of Pennsylvania Organized Mar. 10
Courts, Early Records Jan. 11
Court Moved from Upland to Kingsesse June 8
Cruel Murder of Colonel William Crawford June 11 and 12
Crawford Burned at Stake by Indians June 12
Crawford Captured by Indians, Colonel William June 11
Cresap’s Invasion Nov. 23
Croghan, George, King of Traders May 7
Crooked Billet Massacre May 1
Curtin Inaugurated Governor Jan. 15
     
Darrah, Lydia Dec. 11
Davy, the Lame Indian May 30
Declaration of Independence July 4
Deed for Chester County June 25
Deed for Province Obtained by Penn Aug. 31
Denny Succeeded by Governor Hamilton Oct. 9
De Vries Arrives on Delaware Dec. 6
Dickinson, John Nov. 10
Disberry, Joseph, Thief Nov. 22
Doan Brothers, Famous Outlaws Sept. 24
Donation Lands Mar. 12
Drake Brings in First Oil Well Aug. 28
Duel, Binns-Stewart Dec. 14
Duel in Which Capt. Stephen Chambers is Killed May 11
Dutch Gain Control of Delaware Sept. 25
     
Easton, Indian Conference at Jan. 27; Aug. 7; Oct. 8
Education Established, Public School Mar. 11
End of Indian War Oct. 23
Ephrata Society July 6
Era of Indian Traders Aug. 12
Erie County Settled Feb. 28
Erie Riots Dec. 9
Erie Triangle April 3
Etymology of Counties Aug. 30
Europeans Explore Waters of Pennsylvania Aug. 27
Ewell Leads Raid on Carlisle June 27
Excise Laws, First Mar. 17
Expedition Against Indians Nov. 4; Nov. 8
Exploits of David Lewis, the Robber March 25 and 26
     
Farmer’s Letters, Dickinson’s Nov. 10
Federal Constitution Ratified by Pennsylvania Dec. 12
Federal Party Broken Up Nov. 29
Fell Successfully Burns Anthracite Coal Feb. 11
Fires, Early, in Province Dec. 7
First Bank in America Dec. 31
First Bank in United States Jan. 7
First Church in Province Sept. 4
First Church West of Allegheny Mountains June 20
First Continental Congress Sept. 5
First Excise Laws Mar. 17
First Fire Company in Province Dec. 7
ixFirst Forty Settlers Arrive at Wyoming Feb. 8
First Governor of Commonwealth Dec. 21
First Jury Drawn in Province Nov. 12
First Law to Educate Poor Children Mar. 1
First Magazine in America Feb. 13
First Massacre at Wyoming Oct. 15
First Mint in United States April 2
First Oil Well in America Aug. 28
First Newspaper in Province Dec. 22
First Newspaper West of Allegheny Mountains July 29
First Northern Camp in Civil War April 18
First Paper Mill in America Feb. 18
First Permanent Settlement Sept. 4
First Post Office Nov. 27
First Protest Against Slavery Feb. 12
First Settlement of Germantown Oct. 6
First Theatrical Performances April 15
First Troops to Reach Washington at Cambridge July 25
First Union Officer Killed in Civil War July 21
Flag, Story of June 14
Flight of Tories from Fort Pitt Mar. 28
Forbes Invests Fort Duquesne Nov. 25
Forney Defeated for U. S. Senate by General Simon Cameron Jan. 13
Forrest, Edwin April 7
Forrest Home for Actors April 7
Fort Augusta Mar. 29
Fort Freeland Destroyed by British and Indians July 28
Fort Granville Destroyed Aug. 1
Fort Halifax June 7
Fort Henry Jan. 25
Fort Hunter Jan. 9
Fort Laurens Attacked by Simon Girty Feb. 23
Fort Mifflin Siege Begins Sept. 27
Fort Montgomery Sept. 6
Fort Patterson Oct. 2
Fort Pitt First So Called Nov. 25
Forts Built by Colonel Benjamin Franklin Dec. 29
Fort Swatara Oct. 30
Fort Wilson Attacked by Mob Oct. 5
Frame of Government April 25
Francis, Colonel Turbutt, Leads Troops to Wyoming June 22
Franklin, Benjamin Jan. 17
Franklin at Carlisle Conference Sept. 22
Franklin at French Court Dec. 28
Franklin Builds Chain of Forts Dec. 29
Franklin County Erected Sept. 9
Franklin Sails for England Nov. 8
Free Society of Traders May 29
French and Indians Destroy Fort Granville Aug. 1
French and Indian War May 5
French and Indian War Started Feb. 20
French Defeat Major Grant at Fort Duquesne Sept. 14
French Plant Leaden Plates June 15
Frenchtown, or Asylum Founded by Refugees Dec. 20
FrietchieFrietchie, Barbara #Dec. 18:c1218⑲
Fries Rebellion Mar. 14
Fulton, Robert Aug. 17
     
Gallatin, Albert Jan. 20
Galloway, Joseph Aug. 29
Garrison at Fort Pitt Relieved by Colonel Henry Bouquet Aug. 10
German Pietists Organize Harmony Society Feb. 15
Germantown Academy April 21
Gettysburg Address, Lincoln’s Nov. 19
Gnadenhutten Destroyed Nov. 24
Gnadenhutten (Ohio) Destroyed Mar. 8
Gibson’s Lambs July 16
Gilbert Family in Indian Captivity Aug. 22
Girard, Captain Stephen May 21
Girty Attacks Fort Laurens Feb. 23
Girty, Simon, Outlaw and Renegade Jan. 16
Gordon, Governor Patrick Aug. 5
Grant Leaves Philadelphia on World Tour Dec. 16
Grant Suffers Defeat at Fort Duquesne Sept. 14
Great Runaway July 5
Groshong’s, Massacre at Jacob May 16
     
Hambright’s Expedition Against Great Island Nov. 4
     
Hamilton, James, Becomes Governor Oct. 9
Hand, General Edward Sept. 3
Hand’s Expedition Moves from Fort Pitt Oct. 19
Hannastown Burned July 13
Hannastown Jail Stormed by Mob Feb. 7
Harmony Society Feb. 15
Harris, John Oct. 25
Hartley’s Expedition Against Indians Sept. 7
Hiester, Governor Joseph Nov. 18
Hiokatoo, Chief Nov. 20
Hospital at Bethlehem, Base Mar. 27
Hot Water War Mar. 14
Howe Moves Against Philadelphia July 23
x     
Impeachment, Supreme Court Judges Yeates, Smith and Shippen Dec. 13
Inland Waterways Meeting Oct. 20
Inquisition on Free Masonry a Fiasco Dec. 19
Inauguration of Governor Curtin Jan. 15
Inauguration, Governor Thomas Mifflin Dec. 21
Inauguration of Governor Packer Jan. 19
Indian Conference at Easton Jan. 27; Aug. 7; Oct. 8
Indian Conference at Harris Ferry April 1
Indian Conference at Philadelphia June 30; Aug. 16
Indian Conference at Lancaster Apr. 1
Indian School at Carlisle July 31
Indian Shoots at Washington Nov. 15
Indian Traders, Era of Aug. 12
Indian War Ends Oct. 23
Indians Capture Assemblyman James McKnight April 26
Indians Commit Outrages in Berks County Nov. 14
Indians Defeated at Fallen Timbers Aug. 20
Indians Destroy Widow Smith’s Mill July 8
Indians Kill Major John Lee and Family Aug. 13
Indians Murder Colonel William Clapham and Family May 28
Indians Ravage McDowell Mill
Settlement Oct. 31
Indians Slaughtered at Gnadenhutten, Ohio Mar. 8
     
Jail at Hannastown Stormed Feb. 7
Jennison, Mary, Capture of April 5
Johnstown Flood May 31
Journey of Bishop Cammerhoff Jan. 6
Judges Yeates, Shippin and Smith Impeached Dec. 13
     
Kegs, Battle of the Jan. 5
Keith, Sir William Nov. 17
Kelly, Colonel John April 8
Kittanning Destroyed by Colonel John Armstrong Sept. 8
Know Nothing Party and Pollock June 5
     
Labor Riots After Civil War Sept. 18
Lacock, General Abner April 12
Lafayette Retreats at Matson’s Ford May 20
Leaning Tower, John Mason’s April 22
Lee Family, Massacre of Aug. 13
Lewis, David, The Robber March 25 and 26
Lewistown Riot Sept. 12
Liberty Bell Hung in State House June 2
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Nov. 19
Littlehales Murdered by Mollie Maguires March 15
Lochry Musters Troops in Westmoreland County Aug. 2
Locomotive, First Successful Jan. 8
Logan, Hon. James Oct. 28
Logan’s Family Slain, Chief May 24
Log College, Old Jan. 22
Lost Sister of Wyoming Nov. 2
Lottery for Union Canal April 17
Lower Counties in Turmoil Nov. 1
Lumbermen’s War at Williamsport July 10
Lycans, Andrew Mar. 7
     
Maclay, Samuel Jan. 4
Maclay, Hon. William July 20
Magazine, First in America Feb. 13
Major Murdered by Mollie Maguires Nov. 3
Maguires, Mollie Jan. 18; Feb. 1#; March 15; May 4; Aug. 14; Nov. 3; Dec. 2
Mason & Dixon Boundary Line Dec. 30
Mason, John, and His Leaning Tower April 22
Massacre Along Juniata River Jan. 28
Massacre at Conococheague Valley July 26
Massacre at Crooked Billet May 1
Massacre at French Jacob Groshong’s May 16
Massacre at Mahanoy Creek Oct. 18
Massacre at Patterson’s Fort Oct. 2
Massacre at Penn’s Creek Oct. 16
Massacre at Standing Stone June 19
Massacre at Williamsport June 10
Massacre at Wyoming July 3
Massacre of Americans at Paoli Sept. 20
McAllister, Colonel Richard Oct. 7
McDowell’s Mills, Outrages at Oct. 31
McFarlane, Andrew Feb. 25
McKee, Captain Thomas Jan. 24
McKnight, James, Captured by Indians April 26
Meschianza May 18
Mexican War Dec. 15
Mifflin, General Thomas Jan. 21
Mifflin, General Thomas, Inaugurated Governor Dec. 21
Military Laws Repealed Mar. 20
Militia Organization Jan. 23
Minisink Battle July 22
Mint, First in United States April 2
Minuit, Peter, Arrives Mar. 30
Mob Attacks Court House at Lewistown Sept. 12
xiMob Attacks Home of James Wilson Oct. 5
Mob Threatens Congress June 21
Monmouth, Battle of June 28
Montour, Madame Sept. 15
Moravian Church Established when Mob Assails Pastor July 27
Moravian Indian Mission at Wyalusing May 23
Moravians Massacred at Gnadenhutten Nov. 24
Moravians Visit Great Island July 11
More, Dr. Nicholas May 15
Morris, Robert Jan. 31
Mother Northumberland, Old Mar. 21
Mott, Lucretia Jan. 3
Murder of Sanger and Uren by Mollie Maguires Feb. 10
Mutiny in Pennsylvania Line Jan. 1
     
Navy of Pennsylvania May 8
Negro Boy Starts Race Riot in Philadelphia July 12
Negro School at Nazareth Started by Whitefield May 3
Neville, Captain John, Sent to Fort Pitt July 17
News of Revolution Reaches Philadelphia April 24
New Sweden, Governor Printz Arrives Feb. 16
Northumberland County Erected Mar. 21
     
Oil Discovered at Titusville Aug. 28
     
Pack Trains Attacked at Fort Loudoun Mar. 6
Paoli Massacre Sept. 20
Paper Mill, First in America Feb. 18
Paper Money Basis Mar. 2
 
Pastorius and Germans Settle at Germantown Oct. 6
Patent for Province Given Duke of York June 29
Patriotic Women Feed Soldiers in Civil War May 27
Pattison to Burning of Capitol Feb. 2
Paxtang Boys Kill Conestoga Indians Dec. 27
Pence, Peter Mar. 22
Penn, John Feb. 9
Penn (John) Succeeds Richard Penn as Governor Feb. 4
Penn, John, “The American” Jan. 29
Penn Lands in His Province Oct. 29
Penn Obtains Deed for Province Aug. 31
Penn Receives Charter for Pennsylvania Mar. 4
Penn Sails for England Nov. 1
Penn, William Oct. 14
Penn’s Creek Massacre Oct. 16
Penn’s First Wife, John June 6
Penn’s Frame of Government April 25
Penn’s Second Visit to Province Dec. 1
Penn’s Trip Through Pennsylvania April 6
Pennamites Driven from Wyoming Aug. 15
Pennsylvania in Battle of Monmouth June 28
Pennsylvania Line, Mutiny in Jan. 1
Pennsylvania Navy in Revolution May 8
Pennsylvanian Proposes Railway to Pacific June 23
Pennsylvania Railroad Organized Mar. 31
Pennsylvania Ratifies Federal Constitution Dec. 12
Pennsylvania Reserve Corps April 19
Perry Wins Victory on Lake Erie Sept. 10
Philadelphia Evacuated by British June 17
Philadelphia Invested by British Sept. 26
Philadelphia Riots July 7
Pickering, Colonel Timothy June 26
Pitcher, Molly Oct. 13
Pittsburgh Gazette July 29
Pittsburgh Receives City Charter Mar. 18
Pittsburgh Railroads Fight for Entrance Jan. 14
Plot to Kidnap Governor Snyder Nov. 9
Pluck, Colonel John, Parades May 19
Plunket Defeated by Yankees Dec. 25
Plunket Defeats Yankees Sept. 28
Plunket’s Expedition Against Yankees Dec. 24
Pollock and Know Nothing Party June 5
Pontiac’s Conspiracy May 17
Post, Christian Frederic April 29
Post Office, Pioneer Nov. 27
Powder Exploit, Gibson’s July 16
Powell, Morgan, Murdered by Mollie Maguires Dec. 2
Presqu’ Isle Destroyed by Indians June 4
Preston, Margaret Junkin Mar. 19
Priestley, Dr. Joseph Feb. 6
Printz, Johan Feb. 16
Provincial Conference June 18
Provincial Convention July 15
Provincial Troops March Against Wyoming Settlements June 22
Public Education Established Mar. 11
Purchase Caused Boundary Dispute June 9
     
Quakers Protest vs. Slavery Feb. 12
Quick, Tom July 19
     
Race Riot in Philadelphia July 12
xiiRailroads Fight to Enter Pittsburgh Jan. 14
Reading Railroad Organized April 4
Rebels Raid on Carlisle June 27
Rebels Sack and Burn Chambersburg July 30
Records of Early Courts Jan. 11
Reign of Mollie Maguire Terror Ended Jan. 18
Riots at Philadelphia July 7
Rittenhouse, William Feb. 18
Ross, Betsy Jan. 30
Ross, George July 14
Ruffians Mob Pastor July 27
Runaway, Great July 5
     
Sailors Cause Bloody Election Oct. 1
Saturday Evening Post Aug. 4
Sawdust War July 10
School Law, First Mar. 1
Schoolmaster and Pupils Murdered by Indians July 26
Second Constitution for State Mar. 24
Settlers Massacred at Lycoming Creek June 10
Settlers Slay Chief Logan’s Family May 24
Shawnee Indians Murder Conestoga Indians April 28
Shikellamy, Chief Dec. 17
Sholes, Christopher L., Inventor of typewriter Feb. 14
Siege at Fort Mifflin Opens Sept. 27
Slate Roof House Jan. 29
Slavery, Quakers Protest Against Feb. 12
Slocum, Francis, Indian Captive Nov. 2
Smith, Captain James Nov. 26
Smith, Captain John Sept. 29; July 24
Smith, Colonel Matthew Mar. 13; [Oct. 10].
Smith’s Mill, Widow July 8
Snyder Calls for Troops in War of 1812 Aug. 24
Snyder Escapes Kidnapping Nov. 9
Springettsbury Manor June 16
Squaw Campaign May 2
Stamp Act Nov. 7
Steamboat, Robert Fulton’s Aug. 17
Steamboat “Susquehanna” Explodes April 27
Stevens, Inquiry About Free Masonry Dec. 19
Story of “Singed Cat” Aug. 4
Stump, Frederick Jan. 10
Sullivan’s Expedition Against Six Nations May 26
Sunbury & Erie Railroad Oct. 17
Susquehanna Company Feb. 8
Susquehanna Company Organized July 18
Swedes Come to Delaware River Mar. 30
Swedes Make First Permanent Settlement Sept. 4
     
Tedyuskung Annoys Moravians at Bethlehem Aug. 21
Tedyuskung at Easton Conference Oct. 8
Tedyuskung Defends Himself at Easton Council Aug. 7
Tedyuskung, King of Delaware Indians April 16
Theatrical Performances, First April 15
Thief Joseph Disberry Nov. 22
Thompson’s Battalion of Riflemen, Colonel William July 25
Threatened War with France Nov. 11
Tories Flee from Fort Pitt Mar. 28
Tories of Sinking Valley April 10
Transit of Venus June 3
Treaty of Albany Oct. 26
Treaty Ratified by Congress, Wayne’s Dec. 3
Trent, Captain William Feb. 17
Trimble, James Jan. 26
TulliallanTulliallan or Story of John Penn’s First Wife June 6
Turmoil in Lower Counties Nov. 1
Typewriter, Sholes Invents the Feb. 14
     
Unholy Alliance with Indians Sept. 21
Upland Changed to Chester Oct. 29
     
Venus, Observation of Transit of June 3
Veterans French and Indian War Organize April 30
Vincent, Bishop John Heyl May 9
Walking Purchase Sept. 19
War of 1812 Aug. 24
War of 1812 Begun May 12
Washington and Whisky Insurrection Sept. 30
Washington at Logstown Nov. 30
Washington Leads Troops in Whisky Insurrections Oct. 3
Washington Shot at by Indians Nov. 15
Washington to Command Troops in War with France Nov. 11
Washington Uses Bucks County Homes for Headquarters Dec. 8
Washington, Lady Martha May 22
Waters of State Explored by Europeans Aug. 27
Watson, John Fanning Dec. 23
Wayne Defeats Indians Dec. 3
Wayne Defeats Indians at Fallen Timbers Aug. 20
Weiser, Conrad June 13
Westmoreland County Erected Feb. 26
Whisky Insurrection in Pennsylvania Sept. 30
Whitefield Starts Negro School at Nazareth May 3
White Woman of Genesee April 5
xiiiWiconisco Valley Suffers Indian Attack Mar. 7
Wilmot, David Mar. 16
Wilson, Alexander, The Ornithologist Aug. 23
Wilson’s Indian Mission Oct. 27
Witchcraft in Pennsylvania Feb. 27
Wolf, Governor George and Public Education Mar. 11
Wyalusing Indian Mission May 23
Wyoming, First Massacre Oct. 15
Wyoming Massacre July 3
Yankees Drive Pennamites from Wyoming Aug. 15
     
Yankees Humiliatingly Defeat Colonel
Plunket Dec. 25
Yellow Fever Scourges Nov. 6
York County in Revolution Aug. 19
York, Duke of June 29
Yost Murdered by Mollie Maguires May 4
     
Zinzindorf, Count Nicholas Dec. 10
1

Mutiny Broke Out in Pennsylvania Line,
January 1, 1781

As the year 1780 drew to a close there were warm disputes in the Pennsylvania regiments as to the terms on which the men had been enlisted. This led to such a condition by New Year’s Day, 1781, that there broke out in the encampment at Morristown, N. J., a mutiny among the soldiers that required the best efforts of Congress, the Government of Pennsylvania and the officers of the army to subdue.

New Year’s Day being a day of customary festivity, an extra proportion of rum was served to the soldiers. This, together with what they were able to purchase, was sufficient to influence the minds of the men, already predisposed by a mixture of real and imaginary injuries, to break forth into outrage and disorder.

The Pennsylvania Line comprised 2500 troops, almost two-thirds of the Continental Army, the soldiers from the other colonies having, in the main, gone home. The officers maintained that at least a quarter part of the soldiers had enlisted for three years and the war. This seems to have been the fact, but the soldiers, distressed and disgusted for want of pay and clothing, and seeing the large bounties paid to those who re-enlisted, declared that the enlistment was for three years or the war.

As the three years had now expired, they demanded their discharges. They were refused, and on January 1, 1781, the whole line, 1300 in number, broke out into open revolt. An officer attempting to restrain them was killed and several others were wounded.

Under the leadership of a board of sergeants, the men marched toward Princeton, with the avowed purpose of going to Philadelphia to demand of Congress a fulfillment of their many promises.

General “Mad” Anthony Wayne was in command of these troops, and was much beloved by them. By threats and persuasions he tried to bring them back to duty until their real grievances could be redressed. They would not listen to him; and when he cocked his pistol, in a menacing manner, they presented their bayonets to his breast, saying:

“We respect and love you; you have often led us into the line of battle; but we are no longer under your command. We warn you to be on your guard. If you fire your pistol or attempt to enforce your commands, we shall put you instantly to death.”

General Wayne appealed to their patriotism. They pointed to the broken promises of Congress. He reminded them of the effect their conduct would have on the enemy. They pointed to their tattered garments and emaciated forms. They avowed their willingness to support 2the cause of independence if adequate provision could be made for their comfort and they boldly reiterated their determination to march to Philadelphia, at all hazards, to demand from Congress a redress of their grievances.

General Wayne determined to accompany them to Philadelphia. When they reached Princeton the soldiers presented the general with a written list of their demands. These demands appeared so reasonable that he had them laid before Congress. They consisted of six general items of complaint and were signed by William Bearnell and the other sergeants of the committee, William Bouzar, acting as secretary.

Joseph Reed, President of Pennsylvania, who had been authorized by Congress to make propositions to the mutineers, advanced near Princeton on January 6, when he wrote to General Wayne in which he expressed some doubts as to going into the camp of the insurgents. The general showed this letter to the sergeants and they immediately wrote the President:

“Your Excellency need not be in the least afraid or apprehensive of any irregularities or ill treatment.”

President Reed went into Princeton. His entry was greeted with the whole line drawn up for his reception, and every mark of military honor and respect was shown him.

Articles of agreement were finally assented to and confirmed on both sides, January 7, 1781. These articles consisted of five sections and related to the time of their enlistment, terms of payment, arrearages and clothes. It was also agreed that the State of Pennsylvania should carry out its part of their contract.

The agreement was signed by Joseph Reed and General James Potter.

General Arthur St. Clair, the distinguished Pennsylvanian, and General Lafayette went voluntarily to Princeton and offered their services in the settlement of the difficulty, especially as they had learned of the attempt of the British to win the malcontents to their cause.

When Sir Henry Clinton heard of the revolt of the Pennsylvania Line he misunderstood the spirit of the mutineers and dispatched two emissaries—a British sergeant named John Mason and a New Jersey Tory named James Ogden—to the insurgents, with a written offer that, on laying down their arms and marching to New York, they should receive their arrearages; be furnished with good clothes, have a free pardon for all past offenses and be taken under the protection of the British Government and that no military service should be required of them unless voluntarily offered.

Sir Henry entirely misapprehended the temper of the Pennsylvanians. They felt justified in using their power to obtain a redress of grievances, but they looked with horror upon the armed oppressors of their country; and they regarded the act and stain of treason under the circumstances as worse than the infliction of death.

3Clinton’s proposals were rejected with disdain. “See, comrades,” said one of them, “he takes us for traitors. Let us show him that the American army can furnish but one Arnold, and that America has no truer friends than we.”

They seized the two emissaries, and delivered them, with Clinton’s papers, into the hands of General Wayne.

The court of inquiry sat January 10, 1781, at Somerset, N. J., with the court composed of General Wayne, president, and General William Irvine, Colonel Richard Butler, Colonel Walter Stewart and Major Benjamin Fishbourne. The court found John Mason and James Ogden guilty and condemned them to be hanged.

Lieutenant Colonel Harmar, Inspector General of the Pennsylvania Line, was directed to carry the execution into effect. The prisoners were taken to “cross roads from the upper ferry from Trenton to Philadelphia at four lanes’ ends,” and executed.

The reward which had been offered for the apprehension of the offenders was tendered to the mutineers who seized them. They sealed the pledge of patriotism by nobly refusing it, saying: “Necessity wrung from us the act of demanding justice from Congress, but we desire no reward for doing our duty to our bleeding country.”

The whole movement, when all the circumstances are taken into account, should not be execrated as a military rebellion, for, if ever there was a just cause for men to lift up their strength against authority, these mutineers of the Pennsylvania Line possessed it. It must be acknowledged that they conducted themselves in the business, culpable as it was, with unexpected order and regularity.

A great part of the Pennsylvania Line was disbanded for the winter, but was promptly filled by new recruits in the spring and many of the old soldiers re-enlisted.


General Assembly Occupies New State
Capitol, January 2, 1822

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania met in the Dauphin County courthouse for the last time December 21, 1821, and then a joint resolution was adopted:

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, That when the Legislature meets at the new State Capitol, on Wednesday, the 2d of January next, that it is highly proper, before either house proceeds to business, they unite in prayer to the Almighty God, imploring His blessing on their future deliberations, and that the joint committee already appointed be authorized to make the necessary arrangements for that purpose.”

4On Wednesday, January 2, 1822, on motion of Mr. Lehman and Mr. Todd, the House proceeded to the building lately occupied by the Legislature. There they joined the procession to the Capitol and attended to the solemnities directed by the resolution of December 21, relative to the ceremonies to be observed by the Legislature upon taking possession of the State Capitol.

The Harrisburg Chronicle of January 3, 1822, printed an account of the proceedings from which the following is taken:

“The members of both branches of the Legislature met in the morning at 10 o’clock, at the old State House (court house) whence they moved to the Capitol in the following

Order of Procession
The Architect and his Workmen, two and two.
Clergy.
Governor and Heads of Departments.
Officers of the Senate.
Speaker of the Senate.
Members of the Senate, two and two.
Officers of the House of Representatives.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Members, two and two.
Judges.
Civil Authorities of Harrisburg.
Citizens.

“In front of the Capitol the architect and his workmen opened into two lines and admitted the procession to pass between them and the Capitol.

“The service was opened by a pertinent and impressive prayer, by Rev. Dr. A. Lochman, of Harrisburg. The prayer was followed by an appropriate discourse, by Rev. D. Mason, principal of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., which concluded as follows:

“Sixty years have not elapsed since the sound of the first axe was heard in the woods of Harrisburg. The wild beasts and wilder men occupied the banks of the Susquehanna. Since that time, with the mildness which has characterized the descendants of William Penn, and that industry which has marked all the generations of Pennsylvania, the forests have been subdued, the wild beasts driven away to parts more congenial to their nature, and the wilder men have withdrawn to regions where they hunt the deer and entrap the fish according to the mode practiced by their ancestors.

“In the room of all these there has started up, in the course of a few years, a town respectable for the number of its inhabitants, for its progressive industry, for the seat of legislation in this powerful State.

“What remains to be accomplished of all our temporal wishes? 5What more have we to say? What more can be said, but go on and prosper, carry the spirit of your improvements through till the sound of the hammer, the whip of the wagoner, the busy hum of man, the voices of innumerable children issuing from the places of instruction, the lofty spires of worship, till richly endowed colleges of education, till all those arts which embellish man shall gladden the banks of the Susquehanna and the Delaware, and exact from admiring strangers that cheerful and grateful tribute, this is the work of a Pennsylvania Legislature!”

The act to erect the State Capitol was passed March 18, 1816, and carried an appropriation of $50,000. A supplement to this act was approved February 27, 1819, when there was appropriated $70,000, with the provision that the said Capitol should not cost more than $120,000.

But a further supplement was approved March 28, 1820, for “the purpose of constructing columns and capitols there of hewn stone, and to cover the roof of the dome, etc.,” there was appropriated $15,000.

At this time the total cost of all the public buildings was $275,000, and consisted of the new Capitol, $135,000; executive offices on both sides of the Capitol building, $93,000; Arsenal, $12,000, and public grounds, its enclosure and embellishment, $35,000.

The cornerstone of this new Capitol was laid at 12 o’clock on Monday, May 31, 1819, by Governor William Findlay, assisted by Stephen Hills, the architect and contractor for the execution of the work; William Smith, stone cutter, and Valentine Kergan and Samuel White, masons, in the presence of the Commissioners and a large concourse of citizens. The ceremony was followed by the firing of three volleys from the public cannon.

The newspaper account of the event states that the above-mentioned citizens then partook of a cold collation, provided on the public ground by Mr. Rahn.

The Building Commissioners deposited in the cornerstone the following documents:

Charter of Charles II to William Penn.

Declaration of Independence.

Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1776.

Articles of Confederation and perpetual union between the several States.

Copy of so much of an act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, by which indemnity was made to the heirs of William Penn for their interest in Pennsylvania.

Treaty of peace and acknowledgment by Great Britain of the independence of the United States.

Constitution of the United States, 1787.

Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1790.

Acts of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, by which the seat of government was removed from Philadelphia to Lancaster and Harrisburg, 6and the building of a State Capitol at the latter place authorized.

A list of the names of the Commissioners, architects, stonecutter and chief masons; likewise, a list of the then officers of the Government of Pennsylvania, embracing the Speakers of the two Houses of the Legislature, the Governor, the heads of departments, the Judges of the Supreme Court and Attorney General, with the names of the President and Vice President of the United States.

It was a singular oversight that this cornerstone was not marked as such, and in after years it was not known at which corner of the building the stone was situated.

An act providing for the furnishing of the State Capitol was approved March 30, 1821: Section 1. The Governor, Auditor General, State Treasurer, William Graydon, Jacob Bucher, Francis R. Shunk and Joseph A. McGinsey were appointed Commissioners to superintend the furnishing of the State Capitol. This able commission expended the $15,000 appropriated, and the new Capitol was a credit to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when the General Assembly formally occupied it January 2, 1822.


Lucretia Mott, Celebrated Advocate of
Anti-Slavery, Born January 3, 1793

From the earliest settlement at Germantown, and especially in the period following the Revolutionary War, there were many thoughtful people in all walks of life who considered slavery to be an evil which should be stopped. But the question of actually freeing the slaves was first seriously brought forward in 1831, by William Lloyd Garrison, in his excellent paper, “The Liberator,” published in Boston.

Seventy-five delegates met in Philadelphia in 1833 to form a National Anti-Slavery Society. It was unpopular in those stirring days to be an abolitionist. John Greenleaf Whittier acted as one of the secretaries, and four women, all Quakers, attended the convention.

When the platform of this new society was being discussed, one of the four women rose to speak. A gentleman present afterward said: “I had never before heard a woman speak at a public meeting. She said only a few words, but these were spoken so modestly, in such sweet tones and yet so decisively, that no one could fail to be pleased.” The woman who spoke was Lucretia Mott.

Lucretia Coffin was born in Nantucket January 3, 1793. In 1804 her parents, who were Quakers, removed to Boston. She was soon afterward sent to the Nine Partners’ Boarding School in Duchess 7County, N. Y., where her teacher (Deborah Willetts) lived until 1879. Thence she went to Philadelphia, where her parents were residing.

At the age of eighteen years she married James Mott. In 1818 she became a preacher among Friends, and all her long life she labored for the good of her fellow creatures, especially for those who were in bonds of any kind.

She was ever a most earnest advocate of temperance, pleaded for the freedom of the slaves, and was one of the active founders of the “American Anti-Slavery Society” in Philadelphia in 1833.

She was appointed a delegate to the World’s Anti-Slavery convention, held in London in 1840, but was denied a seat in it on account of her sex. She also was a very prominent advocate of the emancipation of her sex from the disabilities to which law and custom subjected them.

When the Female Anti-Slavery Society was organized Lucretia Mott was its first president and served in that office for many years.

The anti-slavery enthusiasts dedicated a building, Pennsylvania Hall, in Philadelphia, May 14, 1838, which excited the rage of their enemies and the mob burned the building three days later. The excited crowd marched through the streets, threatening also to burn the houses of the abolitionists.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. James Mott stood on Ninth Street above Race. Lucretia Mott and her husband were warned of their danger, but refused to leave their home. Their son ran in from the street, crying, “They’re coming!”

The mob intended to burn the house, but a young man friendly to the family assumed leadership and with the cry “On to Motts!” led them past the place and the mob satisfied its thirst by burning a home for colored orphans, and did not return.

Such incidents failed to daunt the spirit of Lucretia Mott, and her husband, who approved the part she took.

A meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society in New York City was broken up by roughs, and several of the speakers, as they left the hall, were beaten by the mob. Lucretia Mott was being escorted from the hall by a gentleman.

When she noticed some of the other ladies were frightened, she asked her friend to leave her and take care of the others. “Who will look after you?” he asked. Lucretia laid her hand on the arm of one of the roughest in the mob, saying: “This man will see me safely through the crowd.” Pleased by the mark of confidence, the rioter did as she asked and took her to safety.

The home of the Motts was always open for the relief of poor colored persons, and they helped in sending fugitive slaves to places of refuge. On one occasion the Motts heard the noise of an approaching mob. Mr. Mott rushed to the door and found a poor colored man, pursued by the mob, rushing toward the friendly Mott house. He entered 8and escaped by the rear door. A brick hurled at Mr. Mott fortunately missed him, but broke the door directly over his head.

A sequel to the riot at Christiana, Lancaster County, September 11, 1851, which occurred on the farm then owned by Levi Powell, was the arrest of Castner Hanway and Elijah Lewis, two Quakers of the neighborhood, and nearly fifty others, mostly Negroes, on the charge of high treason for levying war against the Government of the United States.

The trial began in the United States Court at Philadelphia, before Judges Green and Kane, November 24. It was one of the most exciting ever held in the State. Thaddeus Stevens, John M. Read, Theodore C. Cuyler, and Joseph J. Lewis, conducted the defense, while District Attorney John W. Ashmead was assisted by the Attorney General of Maryland, and by James Cooper, then a Whig United States Senator from Pennsylvania.

Lucretia Mott attended the trial personally every day, and after the elaborate argument of counsel, Judge Green delivered his charge. The jury returned a verdict, in ten minutes, of “not guilty.”

A colored man named Dangerfield was seized on a farm near Harrisburg on a charge of being a fugitive slave. He was manacled and taken to Philadelphia for trial.

The abolitionists engaged a lawyer to defend the Negro. Lucretia Mott sat by the side of the prisoner during the trial. Largely through her presence and influence Dangerfield was released. The mob outside the court awaited Dangerfield to deliver him over to his former master, but a band of young Quakers deceived the crowd by accompanying another Negro to a carriage and Dangerfield walked off in another direction.

Lucretia Mott and her friends were rejoiced to see the Negroes all free. There was still much to be done after the Civil War. This noble woman remained a hard worker for their cause all through her life.

Lucretia Mott died in Philadelphia, November 21, 1881, at the age of nearly ninety years. Thousands attended her funeral, the proceedings were mostly in silence. At last some one said, “Will no one speak?” The answer came back: “Who can speak now? The preacher is dead.” Her motto in life had been “Truth for authority, not authority for truth.”

Lucretia Mott’s influence still lives. Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Hampton Institute in Virginia, and Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania, are institutions made possible by such as she, and in them young colored persons are taught occupations and professions in which they can render the best service to themselves and to their country.


9

Samuel Maclay Resigned From United
States Senate January 4, 1809

A monument was unveiled in memory of Samuel Maclay, a great Pennsylvanian, October 16, 1908. The scene of these impressive ceremonies was a beautiful little cemetery close by the old Dreisbach Church, a few miles west of Lewisburg in the picturesque Buffalo Valley, Union County.

Samuel Maclay was the eighth United States Senator from Pennsylvania and had the proud distinction of being the brother of William Maclay, one of the first United States Senators from Pennsylvania. The Maclays are the only brothers to ever sit in the highest legislative body of this country. The third brother, John, was also prominent and served in the Senate of Pennsylvania.

The imposing shaft was erected by Pennsylvania at a cost of only $1000, which included the contract for the marble shaft and the reinterment of the Senator’s body.

Miss Helen Argyl Maclay, of Belleville, a great-great-granddaughter of Samuel Maclay, unveiled the monument assisted by her two brothers, Ralph and Robert Maclay. Rev. A. A. Stapleton, D. D., delivered the principal address. Other speakers included Frank L. Dersham, then the Representative in the General Assembly from Union County, who introduced the bill for this memorial; Alfred Hayes, now deceased, also a former member of the Assembly, who represented the Union County Historical Society; Captain Samuel R. Maclay, of Mineral Point, Mo., a grandson of Senator Samuel Maclay.

Lieutenant Governor Robert Murphy attended the ceremony, as did many distinguished citizens from this and other States, school children and military, civic, historical and patriotic societies. There were thirty-five representatives of the Maclay family in attendance.

Perhaps the strangest emotion during the preparation of this shaft and its unveiling was caused by the seeming lack of knowledge of this statesman, farmer, frontiersman, soldier, surveyor, citizen, who was an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolution, who was a foremost actor in the actual development of the interior of the State to commerce, one who sat in the highest legislative councils of this Commonwealth and presided over its Senate, who represented his State in Congress and later in the United States Senate, and so serving was the compeer of men whose names are radiant with luster on the pages of American history.

Yet, strange to say, the memory of this man had so completely faded from public view that college professors, members of the General Assembly 10and men who held some claim to be styled historians asked in wonder, when the bill was before the Legislature, “Who was this man?”

The ancestors of Senator Maclay came from Scotland, where the clan Maclay inhabited the mountains of County Boss in the northlands.

When the darkest chapter of Scotch-Irish history was written in tears and blood, emigration was the only alternative to starvation, and among the 30,000 exiles who left for these shores were two Maclays.

These two exiles were sons of Charles Maclay, of County Antrim and titular Baron of Finga. Their names were Charles, born in 1703, and John, born in 1707. They set sail for America May 30, 1734.

Upon arrival they first settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where they remained nearly seven years, when they removed to what is now Lurgan Township, Franklin County, on an estate, which is still in possession of their descendants.

Here John, son of Charles, the immigrant, built a mill in 1755, which, with modern improvements and alterations, is still operated by the third succeeding generation. This mill was stockaded during the French and Indian War, as it was located on the well-traveled highway leading from McAllister’s Gap to Shippensburg.

During the Revolution every male member of the Maclay family, of military age, was in the service, and every one an officer.

John Maclay, the younger of the immigrant brothers, married Jane MacDonald in 1747. To this union were born three sons and one daughter; John born 1748, a soldier of the Revolution, died 1800; Charles, born 1750, a captain in the Continental Army, who fell in the action at Crooked Billet, 1778; Samuel, born 1751, also an officer, fell at Bunker Hill; Elizabeth, wife of Colonel Samuel Culbertson, of the Revolution.

Charles Maclay, the elder immigrant brother, died in 1753. His wife, Eleanore, whom he had married in Ireland, died in 1789. To them were born four sons and one daughter: John, born in Ireland, 1734, for many years a magistrate, and in 1776 he was a delegate to convention in Carpenters’ Hall, Philadelphia. He also served in the General Assembly, 1790–1792 and 1794; William, born in Chester County, July 20, 1737, whose sketch appears in another story; Charles, also born in Chester County, in 1739, was a soldier of the Revolution, died in 1834 at Maclays Mills; Samuel, the subject of our sketch, was born June 17, 1741.

Samuel Maclay was educated in the classical school conducted by Dr. J. Allison, of Middle Spring. He also mastered the science of surveying, which he followed for years. In 1769 he was engaged with his brother William and Surveyor General Lukens in surveying the officers’ tracts on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, which had been awarded to the officers of First Battalion in Bouquet’s expedition.

A coincident fact is that the remains of this distinguished patriot lie 11buried on the allotment awarded Captain John Brady, who drew the third choice, and which was surveyed for him by Maclay.

Samuel Maclay, November 10, 1773, married Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel William Plunket, then President Judge of Northumberland County, and commandant of the garrison at Fort Augusta. They took up their residence on the Brady tract in Buffalo Valley. To this union six sons and three daughters were born.

From the moment Samuel Maclay became a resident of what is now Union County until his death he was identified with the important history of the valley.

Samuel Maclay was one of the commissioners to survey the headwaters of the Schuylkill, Susquehanna and Allegheny Rivers. The others were Timothy Matlack, of Philadelphia, and John Adlum, of York. They were commissioned April 9, 1789. These eminent men were skilled hydrographical and topographical engineers and completed the first great survey of Pennsylvania.

The journal kept by Maclay is interesting and valuable and relates many thrilling experiences quite foreign to those of present-day surveyors.

He was lieutenant colonel of the First Battalion, Northumberland County Militia, organized at Derr’s Mills, now Lewisburg, September 12, 1775.

In 1787 Samuel Maclay was elected to Pennsylvania Assembly and served until 1791, when he became Associate Justice of Northumberland County. In 1794 he was elected to Congress. Three years later he was elected to Pennsylvania Senate, where he served six years. He was elected Speaker in 1802 and he served in this capacity until March 16, 1802, when he took his seat in the United States Senate, where he continued until January 4, 1809, resigning on account of broken health.

He died October 5, 1811, at the age of seventy years. His wife, Elizabeth Plunket Maclay, survived her distinguished husband until 1835.


12

Amusing and Memorable “Battle of the
Kegs,” January 5, 1778

In January, 1778, while the British were in possession of Philadelphia, some Americans had formed a project of sending down by the ebb tide a number of kegs, or machines that resembled kegs as they were floating, charged with gunpowder and furnished with machinery, so constructed that on the least touch of anything obstructing their free passage they would immediately explode with great force.

The plan was to injure the British shipping, which lay at anchor opposite the city in such great numbers that the kegs could not pass without encountering some of them. But on January 4, the very evening in which these kegs were sent down, the first hard frost came on and the vessels were hauled into the docks to avoid the ice which was forming, and the entire scheme failed.

One of the kegs, however, happened to explode near the town. This gave a general alarm in the city, and soon the wharves were filled with troops, and the greater part of the following day was spent in firing at every chip or stick that was seen floating in the river. The kegs were under water, nothing appearing on the surface but a small buoy.

This circumstance gave occasion for many stories of this incident to be published in the papers of that day. The following account is taken from a letter dated Philadelphia, January 9, 1778:

“This city hath lately been entertained with a most astonishing instance of activity, bravery and military skill of the royal army and navy of Great Britain. The affair is somewhat particular and deserves your notice. Some time last week a keg of singular construction was observed floating in the river. The crew of a barge attempting to take it up, it suddenly exploded, killed four of the hands and wounded the rest.

“On Monday last some of the kegs of a singular construction made their appearance. The alarm was immediately given. Various reports prevailed in the city, filling the royal troops with unspeakable consternation. Some asserted that these kegs were filled with rebels, who were to issue forth in the dead of night, as the Grecians did of old from the wooden horse at the siege of Troy, and take the city by surprise. Some declared they had seen the points of bayonets sticking out of the bung-holes of the kegs. Others said they were filled with inflammable combustibles which would set the Delaware in flames and consume all the shipping in the harbor. Others conjectured that they were machines constructed by art magic and expected to see them mount the wharves and roll, all flaming with infernal fire, through the streets of the city.

13“I say nothing as to these reports and apprehensions, but certain it is, the ships of war were immediately manned and the wharves crowded with chosen men. Hostilities were commenced without much ceremony and it was surprising to behold the incessant firing that was poured upon the enemy’s kegs. Both officers and men exhibited unparalleled skill and prowess on the occasion, whilst the citizens stood gaping as solemn witnesses of this dreadful scene.

“In truth, not a chip, stick or drift log passed by without experiencing the vigor of the British arms. The action began about sunrise and would have terminated in favor of the British by noon had not an old market woman, in crossing the river with provisions, unfortunately let a keg of butter fall overboard, which as it was then ebb tide, floated down to the scene of battle. At sight of this unexpected re-enforcement of the enemy the attack was renewed with fresh forces, and the firing from the marine and land troops was beyond imagination and so continued until night closed the conflict.

“The rebel kegs were either totally demolished or obliged to fly, as none of them have shown their heads since. It is said that His Excellency, Lord Howe, has dispatched a swift sailing packet with an account of this signal victory to the Court of London. In short, Monday, January 5, 1778, will be memorable in history for the renowned battle of the kegs.”

The entire transaction was laughable in the extreme and furnished the theme for unnumbered sallies of wit from the Whig press, while the distinguished author of “Hail Columbia,” Joseph H. Hopkinson, paraphrased it in a ballad which was immensely popular at the time.

This ballad is worthy of reproduction and is given almost in full:

The Battle of The Kegs
By Joseph H. Hopkinson
Gallants attend and hear a friend,
Trill forth harmonious ditty,
Strange things I‘ll tell which late befell
In Philadelphia City.
‘Twas early day, as poets say,
Just when the sun was rising,
A soldier stood on a log of wood
And saw a thing surprising.
As in a maze he stood to gaze,
The truth can’t be denied, sir,
He spied a score of kegs or more,
Come floating down the tide, sir.
14A sailor too in jerkin blue,
This strange appearance viewing,
First d—d his eyes, in great surprise,
Then said “some mischief’s brewing.
“These kegs, I‘m told, the rebels bold
Pack up like pickl’d herring;
And they’re come down t’attack the town
In this new way of ferry’ng.”
The soldier flew, the sailor too,
And scar’d almost to death, sir,
Wore out their shoes, to spread the news,
And ran till out of breath, sir.
Now up and down throughout the town,
Most frantic scenes were acted;
And some ran here, and others there,
Like men almost distracted.
Some fire cry’d, which some denied,
But said the earth had quaked;
And girls and boys, with hideous noise
Ran thro‘ the streets half naked.
“The motley crew, in vessels new,
With Satan for their guide, sir,
Pack’d up in bags, or wooden kegs,
Come driving down the tide, sir.
“Therefore prepare for bloody war,
These kegs must all be routed,
Or surely despis’d we shall be
And British courage doubted.”
The cannons roar from shore to shore,
The small arms loud did rattle,
Since wars began I‘m sure no man
E‘er saw so strange a battle.
The rebel dales, the rebel vales,
With rebel trees surrounded;
The distant woods, the hills and floods,
With rebel echoes sounded.
The fish below swam to and fro,
Attack’d from ev’ry quarter;
Why sure, thought they, the devil’s to pay,
‘Mongst folks above the water.
15The kegs, ’tis said, tho’ strongly made
Of rebel staves and hoops, sir,
Could not oppose their powerful foes,
The conqr’ing British troops, sir.
From morn to night these men of might,
Display’d amazing courage—
And when the sun was fairly down,
Retir’d to sup their porrage.
A hundred men with each a pen,
Or more upon my word, sir,
It is most true would be too few,
Their valor to record, sir.
Such feats did they perform that day,
Against these wicked kegs, sir,
That years to come, if they get home
They’ll make their boasts and brags, sir.

Bishop Cammerhoff Started Journey Among
Indians on January 6, 1748

John Christopher Cammerhoff was a Moravian missionary who undertook several hazardous trips to the Indians along the Susquehanna and to Onondaga, and of whom there is an interesting story to be told.

He came to America in the summer of 1747, in company with Baron John de Watteville, a bishop of the Moravian Church, and son-in-law and principal assistant of Count Zinzindorf. They were also accompanied on the voyage by the Reverend John Martin Mack and the Reverend David Zeisberger, the latter also an interpreter, and each of these figured very prominently in the early history among the Indians of the great Susquehanna Valleys.

Cammerhoff was born near Magdeburg, Germany, July 28, 1721; died at Bethlehem, Pa., April 28, 1751. He was educated at Jena and at the age of twenty-five was consecrated Bishop in London and came to America.

His greatest success was among the Indians of Pennsylvania and New York. The Iroquois adopted him into the Turtle Tribe of the Oneida Nation, and gave him the name of Gallichwio or “A Good Message.”

Accompanied only by Joseph Powell, he set out from Bethlehem for Shamokin on the afternoon of January 6, 1748, and reached Macungy, now Emaus, by night. The next day they traveled through deep 16snow, sleeping that night at the home of Moses Starr, a Quaker. Early next morning the Schuylkill was reached, which was partly frozen over. A crossing was effected with great risk over the thin ice, leading their horses, which broke through and nearly drowned. They passed through Heidelberg, Berks County, and reached Tulpehocken, where they slept at Michael Schaeffer’s.

Next morning they arrived at George Loesch’s and here determined to leave the mountain road via the Great Swatara Gap and Mahanoy Mountains, and to travel along the Indian path leading from Harris’ Ferry, which they were to meet at the river.

They got as far as Henry Zender’s, where they spent the night, and next morning set out for Harris’ Ferry, a long day’s journey along the Great Swatara, which they reached at noon. Seven miles from Harris’ they got lost in the woods, but the missionaries arrived at Harris’ at 7 o’clock and found there a great company of traders.

Next morning, January 11, they proceeded toward Shamokin, following the path made by some Indians who the previous day had traveled from Shamokin to Harris’ Ferry. They passed by Chambers’ Mill, at the mouth of Fishing Creek, seven miles above the ferry. They proceeded, after a sumptuous noonday meal, and in a few hours struck the base of the mountain, which marked the northern limit of Proprietaries’ land. They passed over Peter’s Mountain, then forded Powell’s Creek, and, completely exhausted, arrived at Armstrong’s house, which was at the mouth of the present Armstrong Creek, above Halifax.

In spite of a hard storm during the night they pressed on the next day and nearly lost their lives crossing Manhantango Creek, which was very high, reached the house of Captain Thomas McKee and passed the night.

At 3 o’clock next day they reached Mahanoy Creek, which they forded at a place McKee had advised, and night overtook them five miles from their destination, but in the moonlight they pressed on, and descending the steep hills they encountered a miraculous escape, and again at Shamokin Creek were carried nearly 100 yards down stream by the raging current. Here Missionary Mack and others, anticipating their approach, met them at 9 o’clock at night and cheered them on the last two miles of their long and tedious trip. They arrived at Shamokin (now Sunbury) at daybreak on Sunday, January 14.

Shikellamy went to see Cammerhoff and expressed his regret that he had such a fatiguing journey, and during his stay at that great Indian capital showed him every attention.

Following the great conference at Philadelphia, in August, 1749, it became necessary the next spring for the Moravian missionaries to visit the Great Council of the Six Nations at Onondaga.

It was arranged that the Rev. David Zeisberger, who was then at Shamokin, should join Bishop Cammerhoff at Wyoming and accompany 17him on this journey. The latter, having obtained a passport from Governor Hamilton, set out from Bethlehem on May 14, accompanied by John Martin Mark, Timothy Horsfield and Gottlieb Bezold. They journeyed on foot up the Lehigh to Gnadenhutten, then over the mountains to Wyoming, where they arrived May 20, 1750, and “at once went to Nanticoke town; there they were kindly welcomed, and where they awaited the Indian who was to guide them.”

When the Cayuga chief arrived, accompanied by his wife, his son, aged fourteen, and his daughter, aged four years, they departed in canoes on the afternoon of May 28. “David and I, with the boy and girl, set out in our canoe and the Cayuga and his wife in their hunting skiff,” records Cammerhoff.

On June 6, they passed Wyalusing Falls, and then came to Gahontoto, the site of an ancient Indian city where a peculiar nation once lived. Traces of their former Indian city were discernible in the old ruined corn fields. The Cayuga chief told the Bishop that the Five Nations had fought and exterminated the inhabitants of this city long before they fought with guns.

They proceeded up the Susquehanna and then into the Tioga or Chemung River, and disembarked at Gandtscherat, a Cayuga village near Waverly, N. Y. Thence they traveled overland by way of Cayuga to Onondaga, where they arrived June 21, the very day the big council was to convene, but its actual assembly was delayed because a majority of the Indians got drunk.

When the council finally met at Onondaga, the design of the proposed negotiations, as made known to the visitors, was that emissaries of the French were endeavoring to entice the Six Nations from their compact with the English.

During the course of the conference, Cammerhoff presented to the Council a petition from the Nanticoke Indians at Wyoming, to the effect that they might have a blacksmith shop, under Moravian auspices, set up in their village. This request was denied by the Council, and the Nanticokes informed that they could avail themselves of the services of the blacksmith at Shamokin. This smith was Anthony Schmidt, who was sent to Shamokin from the Moravian Mission at Bethlehem. He arrived there August 3, 1747, accompanied by his wife. He remained there many years and performed his task to the general satisfaction of the Indians who traveled 100 or more miles to have a gun barrel straightened or the firelock repaired.

Their business at Onondaga being finished, Cammerhoff and Zeisberger journeyed overland to the Susquehanna, where they embarked in a canoe and floated down the river as far as the village of the Nanticoke, which they reached Sunday, August 2, 1750. They tarried only a day and then proceeded to Shamokin, where they arrived August 6, having traveled more than 600 miles on horseback, afoot and in canoes.


18

Bank of North America, First Incorporated
Bank in the United States, Commenced
Business January 7, 1782

The first incorporated bank in America was the Bank of North America, and its operations commenced January 7, 1782, in the commodious store belonging to its cashier, Tench Francis, on the north side of Chestnut Street, west of Third.

In 1780 the Assembly of Pennsylvania made a strong effort to relieve the people from the withering blight of the Continental money. It tried to redeem it by taxation at the rate of 1 to 40. But neither this nor any other measure prevented the coinage of the phrase, “It is not worth a Continental.”

To assist Congress in providing for the army, Robert Morris and other financiers of the State established the Bank of Pennsylvania, the first bank in America. The last attempt to prolong the life of the “Continentals” was made by the Supreme Executive Council in May, 1781; but the remedy proved fatal. Pelatiah Webster said of the proceedings: “Thus fell, ended and died the Continental currency, aged six years.”

During the Revolutionary War the country was extremely poor, with few industries but agriculture, and was quite denuded of the precious metals, owing to a heavy and long continued adverse foreign trade, so that the Congress of the United States experienced great difficulties in providing the requisite means for carrying on the hostilities.

On May 10, 1775, soon after the battle of Lexington, Congress made preparation to issue Continental paper, $2,000,000 of which were put in circulation on June 22 following.

From month to month these issues, which in the aggregate reached three hundred millions, depreciated, until eventually they became entirely valueless, notwithstanding the passage of laws making them a legal tender for the payment of debts.

On May 17, 1781, a plan for a National Bank was submitted to Congress by Robert Morris, of Pennsylvania, the principal provisions of which were as follows: The capital to be $400,000, in shares of $400 each; that each share be entitled to a vote for directors; that there be twelve directors chosen from those entitled to vote, who at their first meeting shall choose one as president; that the directors meet quarterly; that the board be empowered from time to time to open new subscriptions for the purpose of increasing the capital of the bank; statements to be made to the Superintendent of the Finances of America; 19that the bank notes payable on demand shall by law be made receivable for duties and taxes in any state, and from the respective states by the treasury of the United States; that the Superintendent of Finances of America shall have a right at all times to examine into the affairs of the bank.

On May 26, 1781, Congress adopted the following: “Resolved, that Congress do approve of the plan for the establishment of a National Bank in these United States, submitted for their consideration by Mr. R. Morris, May 17, 1781, and that they will promote and support the same by such ways and means, from time to time, as may appear necessary for the institution and consistent with the public good; that the subscribers to the said bank shall be incorporated agreeably to the principles and terms of the plan, under the name of ‘The President, Directors, and Company of the Bank of North America,’ so soon as the subscription shall be filled, the directors and president chosen, and application for that purpose made to Congress by the president and directors elected.”

On December 31 following Congress adopted “an ordinance to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of North America.”

The first president was Thomas Willing, and the cashier was Tench Francis. The bank became at once a most important auxiliary in aid of the finances of the government, and so continued to the end of the war.

This institution was also incorporated by the State of Pennsylvania, on April 18, 1782.

Robert Morris subscribed for 633 shares of the bank on account of the United States, paying therefore $254,000, but, owing to the necessities of the government, he was almost immediately compelled to borrow a like amount from the bank, so that the institution derived but little benefit from the government subscription.

The deposits gradually assumed large proportions. Some of the States gave to the bank the assistance of their recognition. Connecticut made the notes receivable in payment of taxes, Rhode Island provided punishment for counterfeiting its issue, and Massachusetts created it a corporation according to the laws of that Commonwealth.

The operations of the bank were almost immediately attended with the restoration of confidence and credit. The State of Pennsylvania being unable to pay the officers of its army, relief was found in the bank, which advanced the money for the state, and received its reimbursement when the revenue was collected.

The public enemy infested the Delaware River and Bay, and seized vessels in the port of Philadelphia. The bank advanced $22,500, which enabled the merchants to fit out a ship of war, which not only cleared the river of the enemy, but captured a cruiser of twenty guns belonging to the BritishBritish fleet.

20The defense of the Western frontier was promoted by the advance of £5000 by the bank in 1782.

In the year 1785, when an ill feeling had arisen between the government of the State of Pennsylvania and the bank, the former repealed the charter which it had granted in 1782. The bank, however, continued its operations under the charter granted by the Federal Government till 1787, when it was rechartered by Pennsylvania.

The charter of the Bank of North America has been renewed from time to time, and was made a National Bank, December, 1864, and is still one of the leading financial institutions of the State and Nation.

It is one of the only three banks in existence at the time of the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the others being the Bank of New York, at New York City, and the Bank of Massachusetts, at Boston.


Matthias Baldwin Completed First Successful
Locomotive January 8, 1831

The first successful American locomotive was made in Philadelphia by Matthias William Baldwin, and completed January 8, 1831.

The story of the man and his wonderful achievement is the story of one of the greatest industrial plans in the world and is full of human interest.

Matthias Baldwin was born December 10, 1795, the son of an Elizabeth, N. J., carriage-maker, who was in affluent circumstances at the time of his death, but the mismanagement of his property caused the loss of nearly all. Matthias was the youngest of five children and but four years old when his father died. He inherited his father’s skill with tools and early began to construct labor-saving devices to assist his mother in her housework.

At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a firm of jewelers in Frankford, now a part of Philadelphia. His habits were sober, industrious and earnest. He devoted much of his spare time to singing in the little Presbyterian Church.

At twenty-one he became an apprentice in the firm of Fletcher & Gardner, silversmiths and jewelers, of Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

In 1825 he formed a partnership with David Mason, a machinist, for the manufacture of bookbinder tools and cylinders for calico printing. Their first shop was in a small alley running north from Walnut Street above Fourth. Afterwards they moved into a shop on Minor Street, where they also began to manufacture machines of Mr. Baldwin’s invention.

21The first such invention was a small upright engine adapted to the motive power of a small factory. From this success the manufacture of stationary steam engines took a prominent place in the establishment.

The plant now employed a number of young men. Baldwin felt that these needed some place where they could get instruction in science and mechanical art, so that they might become more intelligent and inventive. He talked over the matter with many other employers, and the result was the founding of Franklin Institute, the cornerstone of which was laid with Masonic ceremonies, June 8, 1824. This is still one of the active and valuable institutions of the country.

About this time Mr. Mason withdrew from the firm, Mr. Baldwin continuing the manufacture of engines.

It was in 1829–30 that steam, as a motive power on railroads, began to attract the attention of American engineers. George Stephenson had produced a successful locomotive in England. In 1830 the Camden and Amboy Railroad Company brought across the ocean a locomotive, which was kept hidden from the public eye until it should be used.

Franklin Peale, who owned the Philadelphia Museum, where up-to-date novelties were shown, wished to have a small working model of a locomotive to exhibit, and he turned to Matthias Baldwin.

The two men found out where the locomotive was kept, and visited the place. Baldwin was already familiar with the published description and sketches of engines which had taken part in the Rainhill competitions in England, but he now had an opportunity to see and measure for himself an actual engine.

Baldwin made the model, completing it January 8, 1831. It was taken to the museum and on April 25 was put in motion on a circular track made of pine boards, covered with hoop-iron. It drew two small cars, each holding four persons, and attracted great attention from the crowds who saw it. Both anthracite and pine-knot coal were used as fuel, and the steam was discharged through the smokestack to increase the draught.

The success of the model obtained for Mr. Baldwin an order for a locomotive for the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad Company.

This engine when completed was called “Old Ironsides” and left the shop November 23, 1832. It stood on the rails like a “thing of life.” Its light weight, between four and five tons, did not give it that tractive power necessary to draw a loaded train on wet and slippery rails, hence the newspapers of that day termed it a “fair weather” locomotive, because the notices specified that “the locomotive built by Mr. M. W. Baldwin, of this city, will depart daily, when the weather is fair, with a train of passenger cars. On rainy days horses will be attached.”

The “Old Ironsides” was a four-wheeled engine, modeled essentially on the English fashion of that day. The wheels were made with 22heavy cast-iron hubs, wooden spokes and rims, and wrought-iron tires. The price of this engine was $4,000, but the company claimed that it did not perform according to contract, and after correction had been made as far as possible, a compromise was effected and Mr. Baldwin received $3,500 for his work.

“Old Ironsides” on subsequent trials attained a speed of thirty miles an hour with the usual train.

Only one man in Baldwin’s shop, besides the inventor himself, could properly run “Old Ironsides.” This man fell sick, and others who tried, could not get it to run satisfactorily. The president of the road was about to throw it back on Baldwin’s hands when the engineer recovered and the locomotive gave satisfaction. But Baldwin was so thoroughly disgusted with all the complaints, and such was his first locomotive that he said with much decision, “That is our last locomotive.” But other great men have been known to change their minds, and when Matthias Baldwin died, his works had built more than 1500 locomotives.

“The Miller,” for the Charleston and Hamburg, S. C., Railroad Company was the next engine built by Mr. Baldwin. During 1834 he completed five locomotives, and his business was now fairly established. It was during this year that larger quarters were necessary, and Mr. Baldwin removed his shops to the location on Broad and Hamilton Streets, where, in 1835, the present Baldwin Locomotive Works had their origin, and where they have since developed into their immense proportions.

The financial difficulties of 1836–37 did not leave Mr. Baldwin unscathed. Great as his embarrassments were a full consultation with his creditors resulted in the wise determination to leave him in full and complete possession of the plant and business, under an agreement to pay full amount of indebtedness, principal and interest. In five years Baldwin discharged every dollar of debt.

August 25, 1842, Mr. Baldwin obtained a patent for a six-wheel connected engine, which revived the business. In 1840 Baldwin built a locomotive for Austria and in 1845 he built three for Wurtemburg.

Mr. Baldwin died September 7, 1865, after he had virtually perfected the locomotive and witnessed the rise and wonderful increase of the most important material interest of the age, to the completion of which he had contributed more than any other individual. His name was familiar where the locomotive was known and his personal character as a Christian and a philanthropist was as highly esteemed by his associates and acquaintances as his scientific achievements were valued by the profession.


23

Fort Hunter, an Important Defense,
Garrisoned January 9, 1756

A motorist touring north along the Susquehanna Trail, when six miles above Harrisburg, just at the point in the roadway where one would turn off sharply to the right, if going to the beautiful Country Club of Harrisburg, can see a boulder which marks the site of Fort Hunter, one of the busy places during the stirring period immediately following hostilities which inaugurated the French and Indian War.

This fort stood on the south bank of Fishing Creek, at its junction with the Susquehanna River, on property now occupied by John W. Reily near the village known as Rockville.

The date of its erection is uncertain, but it is probable that it was built by the settlers about October, 1755, immediately after the two terrible Indian massacres at Penn’s Creek and Mahanoy Creek. It was completed by the Provincial Government in January, 1756.

Benjamin Chambers was the first white man to settle in that vicinity, where he built a mill in 1720. He was the senior of four brothers, all sturdy Presbyterians from the County of Antrim in the north of Ireland. He was subsequently joined by his three brothers, and in 1735 all but Thomas removed to the Cumberland Valley.

Benjamin erected Fort Chambers and became a most influential citizen. Thomas remained on Fishing Creek and operated a mill. His son-in-law, Robert Hunter, subsequently fell heir to the improvements and henceforth the stockade was known as the fort at Hunter’s Mill, or Fort Hunter.

The first orders on record relating to Fort Hunter were issued January 9, 1756, by Governor Morris to Adam Read, of Hanover Township, Lancaster County, and were as follows:

“The Commissioner thinking that a company of fifty men under your command are sufficient to guard the frontier along the Kittektiny Hills, from your own house to Hunter’s Mill, have refused for the present to take any other men in that quarter into the pay of the Government, and requested me to order, and I do hereby order you to detach twenty-five of the men now at your house, to the fort at Hunter’s Mill, upon Susquehanna, under the command of your lieutenant, or officer next under yourself, or in case there be none such appointed by the Government, then under the command of such person as you shall appoint for that service; and you are to give orders to the commander of such detachment to keep his men in order and fit for duty, and to cause a party of them, from time to time, to range the woods along 24and near the mountains toward your house; and you are in like manner to keep the men with you in good order, and to cause a party of them from time to time, to range the woods on or near the mountains toward Hunter’s Mill, and you and they are to continue upon this service till further order.

“You are to add ten men to your company out of the township of Paxton, and to make the detachment at Hunter’s Mill of twenty more men, which with those ten, are to complete thirty for service, and keep an account of the time when these ten enter themselves, that you may be enabled to make up your muster roll upon oath.”

Hardly had the above order been executed and the men recruited until additional orders were dispatched by the Governor to Captain Read: “I have also appointed Thomas McKee to take post at or near Hunter’s Mill with thirty men.”

An interesting sentence in his letter revealed the hardships of a Provincial soldier: “But as the Province is at present in want of arms and blankets, if any of the men you shall enlist will find themselves with those articles, they shall receive half a dollar for the use of their gun, and half a dollar for the use of a blanket.”

At the same time Governor Morris wrote to James Galbraith, Esq., a Provincial Commissioner, rehearsing the sundry orders given to Captains Read and McKee, to which he added:

“I have also instructed Capt. McKee to advise with you whether to finish the fort already begun at Hunter’s Mill, or to build a new one, and as to the place where it would be best to erect such new one. I therefore desire you will assist him in those matters, or in anything else that the King’s service and the safety of the inhabitants may require.”

On December 9, 1755, Thomas Foster and Thomas McKee were furnished with “12½ pounds powder and 25 pounds swan shot.” It is therefore more than probable the soldiers ordered there in January, 1756, by Governor Morris were the first Provincial soldiers put on duty at Fort Hunter.

The activity of the French, in their efforts to enlist the Indians of the Province to take up the hatchet against the English, was felt at this post, as letters written by Captain McKee to Edward Shippen and others reveal.

At this time the Province had decided to erect a great fortress at the forks of the Susquehanna, which was subsequently built and named Fort Augusta. Colonel William Clapham was commissioned early in April, 1756, to recruit a regiment of 400 men for this purpose.

Governor Morris advised Colonel ClaphamClapham, April 7, that he had directed a rendezvous to be established at Fort Hunter and advised the colonel to use it for the safe storage of supplies and stocks which he would require in his expedition farther up the river.

25June 11, 1756, Colonel Clapham stationed twenty-four troops there, under command of a Mr. Johnson, and directed him to “escort provisions, from there to McKee’s store.” November 3 the garrison consisted of “2 sargants and 34 Private Men.”

March 14, 1757, at a conference on the defense of the Province, held at Philadelphia, it was decided that 400 men should be kept at Fort Augusta; 100 should constitute the garrison at Fort Halifax, and that Fort Hunter should be demolished, only fifty being retained there temporarily until the removal of the magazine which was to take place as soon as possible.

The long frontier of the Blue Mountain, between the Susquehanna and Delaware was to be defended by Colonel Conrad Weiser’s battalion, and the forts reduced to three in number.

This caused consternation among the settlers near Fort Hunter and they appealed to the Provincial authorities.

Commissary Young, the Reverend John Elder and others appeared in person August 25 in Philadelphia, and strongly urged the retention of the garrison at this important place. Their appeal was effective. Fort Hunter was not demolished but strengthened.

Indians appeared within twenty rods of Fort Hunter, October, 1757. William Martin was killed and scalped while picking chestnuts.

Colonel James Patterson was in command of the garrison in January, 1758. From that time until the Pontiac Conspiracy in 1763, there was not much activity about Fort Hunter, when it again became the rendezvous of Provincial troops. After peace was declared Fort Hunter slowly but surely passed out of existence until the last log was rotted and disappeared and the old fort only existed as an historical memory.


Founder of Stumpstown Murdered Ten
Indians, January 10, 1768

About a dozen years ago the members of the Lebanon County Historical Society enjoyed three evenings of entertainment when that able and clever historian, Dr. E. Grumbine, of Mt. Zion, gave a history of interesting events, traditions and anecdotes of early Fredericksburg, known for many years as Stumpstown.

The village was laid out in 1761 by Frederick Stump, who for years afterwards led a most unusual and exciting life. The town was then in Lancaster County, later in Dauphin, then after 1813 in Lebanon County.

In the year 1826 a postoffice was established in the place, which with eminent propriety received the name Stumpstown. In 1843 the name of the postoffice became Fredericksburg.

26In 1828 two enterprising citizens, named Henry and Martin Meily, built a canal boat, as the Union Canal had recently been opened and the canal was the talk of the day. While Stumpstown was distant from the canal, the Meilys did not seem to care for this handicap, but using a vacant corner of the only graveyard in the village, they constructed their boat and when finished they loaded it on heavy wagons and conveyed it four miles overland to Jonestown, where they christened it “Columbus” and launched it on the raging canal. It carried freight to and from Philadelphia for many years.

In 1767 the German Lutherans erected a church of logs, which served its purpose for sixty years.

Like many places, Stumpstown had a big fire which destroyed nearly one-fourth of the village. That was in 1827, and was caused by a boy shooting at a crow perched on the thatched roof of a stable. His old flint-rock was wadded with tow, which being inflammable, set fire to the straw thatch, and soon the barn was in flames, and fanned by a strong northwest breeze, a total of twenty buildings including a tannery, sheds, dwelling of owner, blacksmith shop, the only school house, and other houses were consumed.

Frederick Stump, the founder, was a notorious character. He was born in 1735 in the neighborhood of Stumpstown, and in 1768 was living near the mouth of Middle Creek in what is now Snyder County.

On Sunday morning, January 10, 1768, six Indians went to the house of Frederick Stump. They were White Mingo, Cornelius, John Campbell, Jones and two squaws. They were in a drunken condition and behaved in a suspicious manner. Stump endeavored to get them to leave, but without success. Fearing injury to himself, he and his servant, John Ironcutter, killed them all, dragging their bodies to the creek, where they cut a hole in the ice and pushed their bodies into the stream.

Fearing the news might be carried to the other Indians, Stump went the next day to their cabins, fourteen miles up the creek, where he found one squaw, two girls and one child. These he killed and threw their bodies in the cabin and burned it.

The details of these murders were told by Stump to William Blythe, who found the charred remains of the four in the cabin ruins. Blythe testified to these acts before the Provincial authorities in Philadelphia, January 19, 1768.

One of the bodies which Stump pushed through the hole in the ice floated down the Susquehanna until it finally lodged against the shore on the Cumberland County side, opposite Harrisburg, below the site of the present bridge at Market Street.

The Indian had been killed by being struck on the forehead with some blunt instrument, which crushed in his skull. His entire scalp, including his ears, was torn from his head. An inquest was held February 28, 1768, at the spot where his body was found.

27John Blair Linn, in his “Annals of Buffalo Valley,” places the scene of this crime on the run that enters the creek at Middleburgh, known by the name of Stump’s Run to this day.

This crime caused the greatest consternation throughout the Province, as the authorities had just cause to fear a repetition of the Indian outrages unless Stump was apprehended and punished for his crime.

A few Indians who escaped the wrath of Stump chased him toward Fort Augusta. Stump did not enter the fort, but rushed into a house occupied by two women. He claimed their protection, alleging he was pursued by Indians. They did not believe him, and feared the Indians, if his story be true, but he begged piteously they hide him between two beds.

The Indians were but a moment behind Stump, but the women insisted they knew nothing of him. Before the Indians left the house they seized a cat, plucked out its hair and tore it to pieces, illustrating the reception which awaited Stump, had they found him.

Captain William Patterson led a score of his neighbors to assist in arresting Stump and Ironcutter.

On their approach Stump fled to the woods, but Patterson pretended that he wanted Stump to accompany him to Great Island to kill Indians. This appealed to Stump, who returned to the house, when Patterson arrested and bound him and took him and his servant to Carlisle, where they were lodged in jail, Saturday evening, March 23, 1768.

But justice was to be cheated. The magistrates fought over the place of Stump’s trial, and it was decided to try him in Philadelphia.

On Monday morning following his arrest, the Sheriff proceeded to do his duty, but was restrained by the magistrates. On Wednesday, forty of the country people assembled on the outskirts of Carlisle, and sent two messengers to the jail. When they learned Stump was not to be sent to Philadelphia for trial, they dispersed.

On Friday a company from Sherman’s Valley, where Stump had lived, marched toward Carlisle, about eight entering the town. Two of them went to the jail and asked the jailor for liquor. As he was serving them the others entered with drawn cutlasses and pistols and demanded he make no outcry. Sixty others now surrounded the jail. Stump was taken from the dungeon, the handcuffs removed and he was released.

The Sheriff, Colonel John Armstrong and others attempted to restrain the mob, but in the struggle which ensued Stump escaped, as did his servant, Ironcutter.

The Governor was angered at this escape and issued instructions for his rearrest and then a formal proclamation offering a reward of £200 for Stump and £100 for Ironcutter.

After their rescue from the Carlisle jail both Stump and Ironcutter returned to the neighborhood of their bloody crime, but as their presence 28was not longer agreeable to the inhabitants, Stump soon left and went to the residence of his father at Tulpehocken and Ironcutter was spirited away by friends.

They were never again arrested, for the settlers generally sympathized with them, but Stump and his servant both went to Virginia, where it is known that Stump died at an advanced age.


First Records of Courts in State Preserved
January 11, 1682

Nearly a month after the signing of the charter, March 4, 1681, King Charles II, April 2, issued a declaration informing the inhabitants and planters of the Province that William Penn, their absolute Proprietary, was clothed with all the powers and pre-eminences necessary for the Government. A few days later, April 8, the Proprietary addressed a proclamation to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania.

Captain William Markham, a cousin of William Penn, was appointed Deputy Governor and his commission contained five items of instructions, the fourth being “to erect courts, appoint sheriffs, justices of the peace, etc.” These courts were established and the new Government was soon functioning.

The records of these early courts are interesting to both the lawyer and those who care for the history of our State.

Most of our citizens are but little attracted by the tedious accounts of routine practice, or the fine distinction between one jurisdiction and another, yet they find gratification in contemplating the manners, customs and modes of thought once prevalent in our courts of justice.

A review of the practice of the courts of Pennsylvania in the seventeenth century and as late as the eighteenth present many interesting subjects.

The power to erect courts of justice and to appoint all judicial officers in and for the Province of Pennsylvania was by the express terms of the charter conferred upon the Proprietary. But, in deference to the wishes of the people, Penn was willing to forego to some degree the exercise of this extraordinary right and the concurrence of the Assembly was invariably required to the bill for the erection of a court. The judges during the early years of the Province were also selected by the Provincial Council, the members of which were elected annually by the people in accordance with provisions of the Frame of Government.

The County Courts of the Province had their origin in 1673, under the Government of James, Duke of York, and were established in every 29county, “to decide all matters under twenty pounds without appeal,” and to have exclusive jurisdiction in the administration of criminal justice, with an appeal, however, in cases extending to “Life, Limbo and Banishment,” to the Court of Assizes in New York. These courts usually consisted of five or six justices, which met quarterly. No one learned in the law presided on the bench, no attorney was allowed to practice for pay. Juries were only allowed to consist of six or seven men, except in cases of life and death, and in all save those instances, the conclusions of the majority were allowed to prevail.

The first court held in the Province, the records of which are preserved, was held in Philadelphia January 11, 1682. There were six bills presented to the Grand Jury, all but one having to do with the highway. That one exception was a petition for a court house.

These tribunals lacked almost every element of distinctly English procedure, but were continued by Penn. Justices of the Peace were from time to time commissioned, some for the whole Province and some for a particular county. Their attendance at court was secured by the penalty of a fine.

Twelve jurymen were subsequently provided whose unanimous opinion was required to bring in a verdict. The panel of jurymen was drawn in a highly primitive manner. “The names of the freemen were writ on small pieces of paper and put into a hat and shaken, forty-eight of whom were drawn by a child, and those so drawn stood for the Sheriff’s return.”

The civil jurisdiction of the County Courts was first distinctly defined in 1683, when all actions of debt, account or slander and all actions of trespass were by Act of Assembly declared to be originally cognizable solely by them. Other jurisdiction was given them by subsequent action of the Legislature.

The justices interfered to promote and defend the popular interests in all matters that were of public concern. In very early times they granted letters of administration. They superintended the laying out of roads, apportioned the town lots to responsible applicants, took acknowledgments of deeds and registered the private brands and marks of considerable owners of cattle.

They exercised, too, a supervision over all bond servants, regulated the sale of their time, afforded summary relief if they were abused by their masters, punished them with stripes or the pillory if they attempted to escape, and took care that they were at liberty to purchase their freedom on reasonable terms.

July 8, 1683, “Philip England made complaint against Sea Captain James Kilner, who denieth all alleged against him, only the kicking of the maid, and that was for spilling a chamber vessel upon the deck; otherwise he was very kind to them.”

They were also intrusted with other duties. The minutes of the 30Provincial Council for February 12, 1687–8, show that the County Court of Philadelphia was ordered to cause “stocks and a cage to be provided,” and was required “to suppress the noise and drunkenness of Indians, especially in the night, and to cause the crier to go to the extent of each street when he has anything to cry, and to put a check to horse racing.”

In 1702 the Grand Jury found true bills for the following offenses:

“John Simes, ordinary, and others, for keeping a disorderly house to debauch the youth. John was disguised in women’s clothes walking the streets openly, and going from house to house against the laws of God and this Province, to the staining of the holy profession, and against the law of nature. Edward James, a like offender, at an unreasonable hour of night.

“Dorothy, wife of Richard Conterill, is indicted also for being masked in men’s clothes, walking and dancing in the house of said John Simes at 10 o’clock at night. Sarah Stiver, wife of John Stiver, was also at the same house, dressed in men’s clothes, and walked the streets.”

It is quite probable that these indictments stopped any further attempts to hold “masquerade balls” in Philadelphia for some years.

In 1703 three barbers were indicted for “trimming on the First day”; three persons were brought before the Court for playing cards; a butcher was in court for “killing meat in the street and leaving their blood and offals there,” another for “setting up a great reed stack on Mulberry Street, and making a close fence about the same.” Many runaways were publicly whipped.

In the year 1708 “Solomon Cresson, a constable of the City of Philadelphia, going his rounds at 1 o’clock at night and discovering a very riotous assembly in a tavern, immediately ordered them to disperse, when John Evans, Esq., Governor of the Province, happened to be one of them, and called Solomon in the house and flogged him very severely, and had him imprisoned for two days.”

In 1731, at New Castle, “Catherine Bevan is ordered to be burned alive, for the murder of her husband; and Peter Murphy, the servant who assisted her, to be hanged.”


31

Pious Henry Antes Organized First
Moravian Synod January 12, 1742

Pious Henry Antes assembled at his home in Germantown on January 12, 1742, thirty-five persons, representing eight distinct denominations of the Christian religion, and formed the first Moravian Synod.

Heinrich Antes (Von Blume) of a noble family in the Palatinate, was born about 1620. He left a son, Philip Frederick, born about 1670.

When Philip Frederick and his wife came to America they brought only the oldest, Johann Heinrich, born in 1701, and the youngest, Mary Elizabeth, along.

It is not known exactly when the Antes family arrived in America. The last time we find the name of Philip Frederick Antes in the Freinsheim Church book of baptisms is in September, 1716. The first time we find his name in America is in the Deed Book of Philadelphia County, in February, 1723, when there was recorded a deed conveying to Antes a tract of 154 acres along the Swamp Creek. In the deed Antes is described as a resident of Germantown. On April 9, 1742, he married Elizabeth Wayman. In 1725, Philip Frederick Antes lived in Frederick Township, where he died November 28, 1746.

Henry Antes, the son, was taught the trade of carpenter and mill-wright before coming to America. He was tall in stature, of a large frame, strong physique and enjoyed robust health.

After his father moved to New Hanover Township, Henry stayed in Germantown, where he engaged in partnership with William Dewees in the construction of a paper mill and grist mill, both at Crefeld along the Wissahickon.

On February 2, 1726, Henry Antes was married to his partner’s daughter, Christina Elizabeth Dewees, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1702. She died October 5, 1782. The ceremony was celebrated by John Philip Boehm, pastor of the German Reformed congregations of Falkner Swamp, Skippack and Whitemarsh.

His trade took him to various parts of the settled portion of Pennsylvania. His services were in constant demand. Antes became known to many people. He was thoroughly familiar with the streams, water power, forest and soil of many localities.

On September 2, 1735, he bought 175 acres in Frederick Township, near his father’s farm. In partnership with George Heebner he at once began the erection of a grist mill upon his own property, which for many years was known far and wide as Antes’ Mill.

32Antes lived the rest of his life on his Frederick Township farm, except when temporarily called away, and during his short residence in Bethlehem among the Moravians.

In 1736 Antes had a quarrel with the Reverend Mr. Boehm, the cause of which is not known. Boehm said he had occasion to speak to Antes several times on necessary matters. A statement friendly to Antes said it was caused by Antes rebuking Boehm for unbecoming behavior. It was probably caused by Boehm speaking to Antes in protest at his close association with Bishop Spangenberg. At any rate Antes left Boehm’s church and became a Moravian.

In religious matters Henry Antes displayed much zeal and activity. He became known as the “Pious Layman of Fredericktown.” He taught the proper way of life to his countrymen, frequently calling them together in their homes for prayers, reading of the scriptures and exhortation. He was thus employed in Oley as early as 1736.

In 1740 a great religious revival occurred in Falkner Swamp. George Whitefield, the great revivalist, preached at the house of Christopher Wiegner at Skippack, then later in the day he preached at the house of Henry Antes. About two thousand persons, mostly Germans, with some Quakers, Dunkards, Swedes, Huguenots and other church people were in attendance.

Antes yearned for the unity of the followers of the Christian religion.

On November 24, 1741, Count Zinzindorf came to Philadelphia to unite the leading men of the several denominations in Pennsylvania for evangelical work. John Bechtel indorsed the movement, and Henry Antes issued a call for the first meeting in furtherance of this object to be held in Germantown. In order to command the confidence of German colonists it was necessary that the movement be recommended by one well known to the people, so Antes issued the call.

Because the movement did not meet with success in the way anticipated Henry Antes really died of a broken heart. The Moravian Church, however, was one of the results.

During the session of the Moravian Synod, March, 1745, at the home of Henry Antes, he offered the use of his farm and buildings and his mill for the brethren to be used as boarding school for boys.

On June 3, 1745, the school was started with thirty-four scholars. Christina Francke Christopher, of Bethlehem, was superintendent, and John C. Heyne, a teacher. The Moravians named it Mount Frederick School, and it was the first nonsectarian school in Pennsylvania.

Antes and his family, excepting two sons, John and Henry, who remained as pupils, moved to Bethlehem. Here he gave his whole time to the temporal affairs of the Moravians. He planned and superintended the building of the first mills, dams, bridges and houses at the different Moravian settlements.

On December 15, 1745, he was appointed by King George of England, 33to be Justice of the Peace for Bucks County, in which Bethlehem was then a part. October 27, 1748, Henry Antes was appointed business manager of the Moravians.

In 1750 Antes withdrew from the Moravians, because he did not approve of the introduction of the wearing of a white surplice by the minister at the celebration of the Eucharist.

During the summer of that year the white scholars were transferred to the schools at Oley and Macgungie and the Indians and Negroes to Bethlehem, and in September, 1750, Mount Frederick School was closed and Henry Antes moved back to his farm.

In 1752 Antes was appointed justice of the peace for Philadelphia County, but at this time his health was broken, caused by an injury received during the construction of the Friedenstal Mill, near Nazareth.

On August 25, 1752, Antes accompanied Bishop Spangenberg to North Carolina. Antes was in miserable health and returned home in the spring of 1753. He was an invalid until he died July 20, 1755.

He was buried by the Moravians in the family graveyard beside his father. Bishop Spangenberg preached the funeral sermon. Ten pall-bearers from Bethlehem carried his body to its final resting place.

Antes left four distinguished sons: Frederick, a delegate to the Provincial Convention in Carpenters’ Hall, a colonel of the Sixth Battalion of Philadelphia County Militia, which participated in the Battle of Brandywine, etc. He removed to Northumberland where he held many important positions of honor and trust, and was president judge of the county. He was the father-in-law of Governor Simon Snyder; William, a lieutenant colonel in the Revolution; John, a Moravian who suffered untold agonies in a mission field in Egypt; and John Henry, Lieutenant Colonel in Revolution, sheriff of Northumberland County and the pioneer settler of what is Nippenose Valley in Lycoming County. Five daughters also survived Pious Henry Antes.


General Simon Cameron Defeated Colonel
Forney for United States Senate,
January 13, 1857

Great excitement prevailed all over the State of Pennsylvania, and the Democracy of the great Commonwealth were thrown into intense perturbation and indignation, January 13, 1857, by dispatches from Harrisburg announcing that Representatives Samuel Manear, of York County, William H. Lebo, and G. Wagenseller, of Schuylkill County, Democratic members of the Legislature, had not only refused to support John W. Forney, the caucus nominee of their party for United States Senator, but had given their votes to the opposition candidate, Simon Cameron.

34Forney was one of the favorites of the Philadelphia Democracy at this time, and they were moved to the warmest feelings of resentment by the base treachery which had removed from his grasp the cherished object of his ambition.

Meetings were held by various clubs and organizations, denouncing the traitors in unmeasured terms. The names of Manear, Lebo and Wagonseller remained for many years synonymous with corruption.

At Harrisburg the hotels long refused to receive them, and in Philadelphia and other places there yet remain some who have not forgotten to regard them with contempt.

The result of this unforeseen defeat of Colonel Forney was the loss of an accomplished publicist and statesman, and to give Philadelphia, in the career which opened before him a few months later, its most eminent journalist.

The story of this political event is interesting to students of the history of our state.

When Hon. James Buchanan was appointed Secretary of State, by President Polk, in 1845, he resigned from the United States Senate to accept the cabinet portfolio.

This vacancy brought into the political limelight Simon Cameron, then one of the leaders of the Democratic Party in the State.

Cameron had arisen from his printer’s case in his native county of Lancaster, and had attained prominence as a newspaper publisher in Doylestown and Harrisburg, and had been appointed to the office of Adjutant General by Governor Shulze, when he was but thirty years of age. He had extensive banking and large iron interests for that day. He had become a wealthy and influential man.

On account of his business interests he did not give enthusiastic support to Polk, yet held his grip on the management of the party in Pennsylvania.

There were a number of prominent candidates for the senatorship to succeed Buchanan, one of whom was the able George W. Woodward, who finally received the nomination of his party, and there did not seem to be a ripple on the political surface.

But Cameron saw his opportunity, and with the power of the canal board, which he controlled, together with a combination of Protection or Cameron Democrats with the Whigs, Cameron defeated Woodward, and served from 1845 to 1849. His election was a keen disappointment to President Polk and Secretary of State Buchanan.

The new Republican Party became a national organization in 1856.

Former Senator Simon Cameron was in the Know Nothing organization but was smarting under his long and bitter contest for Senator in 1855, when he was defeated by former Governor William Bigler.

Colonel John W. Forney was chairman of Democratic State Committee 35and had absolute charge of the battle that was fought for the election of James Buchanan, to whom he was romantically attached.

In the event of Buchanan’s election Forney was assured the editorship of the Washington Union, the organ of the administration, and the Senate printing. There were subsequent developments which led the President to assent to the sacrifice of Forney, and when tendered a cabinet position, the President was forced to recall it.

President Buchanan then turned to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, which was still Democratic, and asked that Colonel Forney be elected United States Senator.

The Democratic Party was demoralized in 1856, when many of its most distinguished members supported Fremont, and in this condition, the party lines were rather closely drawn. The Senate stood fifteen Democrats to eighteen opposition, and the House had fifty-three Democrats to forty-seven opposition, giving the Democrats three majority on joint ballot.

The nomination of Forney was not cordially supported by those who were smarting under the defeat he had given them in October, but there were very few who were favorable to Cameron, and certainly not one-fourth of the members would have preferred him as a candidate.

But Cameron, with his exceptional shrewdness as a political manager, saw that he could depend upon the resentments against Forney among the opposition members to support him if he could assure them of his ability to defeat Forney.

Cameron was most fortunate in having in the Senate as one of his earnest friends Charles B. Penrose, of Philadelphia, a former Senator, and a man of ripe experience and great political sagacity. He was quite as earnest in his desire to punish Forney as he was to promote his friend, General Cameron.

Cameron was not nominated in the caucus, but had the assurance from Representatives Lebo, Manear and Wagonseller, all Democrats, that they would vote for him if their votes could elect him.

This information was communicated to Senator Penrose, who very shrewdly stated to the Republican caucus that the defection of these three votes would elect General Cameron, if they would unite in their support. The Republicans refused to take any action until the members could have absolute information as to the Democratic defection.

Penrose had the caucus name three members who could be trusted and he would arrange for an interview. This was held at Omit’s Hotel, and Lebo, Manear and Wagonseller gave the assurance required, and the committee reported the fact to the caucus, but they were pledged not to divulge the names of the three persons.

The caucus was somewhat distrustful, but agreed to vote once for Cameron.

The voting took place only in joint convention, and when the House 36and Senate met, the compact was carried out to the letter, and Cameron was elected over Forney for a full term senatorship.

The whole arrangement was conducted with such secrecy that not one of the opposition legislators had any idea as to what Democrats had bolted, and the Democrats themselves did not doubt the fidelity of any of their members.


Railroads Fight to Enter Pittsburgh. Great
State Convention January 14, 1846

It was but natural that the great undeveloped wealth of the Mississippi Valley should attract those who had any vision as to the future of this vast country. This enormous wealth must be dumped into the great cities planted along the Atlantic seaboard.

General Washington, skilled surveyor that he was, early trained his eyes westward, and he spent much time in outlining plans for connecting the Potomac and Ohio Rivers by means of a canal. Twenty-five years after his death the Erie Canal was opened, when the merchants of Philadelphia and Baltimore realized they must awaken or succumb.

Baltimore believed a railroad should be built to the West. The Baltimore and Ohio, first of all great railroads, shows by its name the purpose for which it was incorporated. Pennsylvania, however, undertook to connect the West by a system of combined railroads and canals.

From the first both cities looked to Pittsburgh as the logical terminus of their improvements. Then began a struggle of Philadelphia-Baltimore rivalry, which lasted for forty-three years, from 1828 to 1871.

In 1828 Pennsylvania had given a charter to the Baltimore and Ohio, by which it could construct its line through Southwestern Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh. The members of the Legislature at that time did not consider future competition, for the State works had not been built.

The charter was granted for fifteen years, and, in 1839, another act extended its provisions until 1847. This act, among other onerous conditions, was discriminating in favor of traffic to Philadelphia; it also contained a heavy State tax on freight, and the company could not accept it.

The Pennsylvania State works from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh were completed in 1834. When the charter of the Baltimore and Ohio expired in 1843, the road was completed only as far as Cumberland.

The company tried to obtain better terms from Pennsylvania. The residents of the western part of the State were all eager for an additional outlet to the coast, but the Philadelphia politicians were unwilling to yield any concession to their Baltimore rivals.

37Several years later it was admitted that the State works would never provide adequate transportation facilities to the West, even though in excess of $10,000,000 had already been expended and the State seriously involved. Pennsylvanians were made to realize that railroads were superior to canals and that the commercial solution of Philadelphia lay in a central railroad to Pittsburgh.

The feeling in all three cities reached fever heat. The legislative hall was the battleground and all interests were well represented. The battle centered on the bill granting right of way through Pennsylvania to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Public meetings were held in Philadelphia and elsewhere. A State railroad convention was held at Harrisburg, January 14, 1846, where resolutions were adopted favoring the Central Railroad scheme and against the Baltimore and Ohio right of way grant.

The people of Pennsylvania believed since a railroad must be built it would be better for it to be run entirely through Pennsylvania and be a Pennsylvania institution. They also felt that if the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was given the franchise, it would be next to impossible to raise money to build the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Pittsburgh business interests were fearful if the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was refused admission to Pennsylvania that road would extend its rails farther down the Ohio to Wheeling, perhaps, and thus control river trade, which had been long enjoyed at Pittsburgh. Many meetings were held in Pittsburgh urging the support of the Baltimore bill. It must also be understood that State prejudice held back railroads from entering other States. In 1846 States rights theories were more potential than they are today.

In this connection the position of the Baltimore and Ohio was unfortunate and interesting. Either Pennsylvania or Virginia must charter the company before a road of great importance could be built. Neither State was willing to do so.

The Baltimore and Ohio bill was defeated in the Senate February 23, 1846, by a single vote. Philadelphia rejoiced and Pittsburgh was sad. The Senate reversed itself February 26, and Philadelphia was maddened beyond reason.

On April 10 the Baltimore bill passed the House, with an amendment providing that the grant to the Baltimore and Ohio should be null and void if the Pennsylvania Railroad obtained subscriptions of $3,000,000 in capital stock, of which $900,000 must be paid in cash by July 31. The bill passed the Senate and was signed by Governor Shunk, April 21.

Every effort was exerted to procure the subscriptions, a house-to-house canvass resulting in 2600 subscriptions. Nearly all of which were for five shares or less.

Philadelphia won the struggle and the conditions were met in time. 38Governor Shunk issued a proclamation announcing the grant to Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to be null and void.

In 1837 a group of Pittsburgh men obtained a charter for the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad. This with the design to get into Baltimore, as it would build fifty-eight miles of the route to that city.

That scheme fell through, but in 1843 the charter was renewed and the interest of the Baltimore crowd was obtained. But they did not seem to appreciate the advantage secured for them by the astute Pittsburgh business men, and the Pittsburgh and Connellsville relapsed into slumberland until 1853.

The Baltimore and Ohio had completed its line to Wheeling and the Pennsylvania was about to finish its line into Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh and Connellsville obtained authority to make connection with the Baltimore and Ohio at Cumberland. But new troubles arose. The president of the company embezzled the funds and the City of Baltimore failed to give as liberally as promised.

In spite of those obstacles the road was opened from Pittsburgh to Connellsville January, 1857. Then came the panic of 1857 and the depression by the prospect of the Civil War.

In 1864 the stretch of ninety miles between Uniontown and Cumberland again became a political matter. Thomas A. Scott, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, determined this link should not be built, as the last thing he wanted was a competing line in Pittsburgh.

On April 11, 1864, two bills were introduced into the Legislature. One claimed the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad had misused its charter; the other incorporated a new railroad from Connellsville. The bills passed and became laws without the approval of Governor Curtin.

Judge Grier in United States Court June 20, 1865, held the repeal of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville to be unconstitutional. This case now became a legal battle for years and eventually got into Congress and back into the Pennsylvania Legislature. On January 29, 1868, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously decided in favor of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad. The next day the Legislature repealed the Act of 1864.

The happy ending was in spite of all litigation. Pittsburgh and the great mineral and lumber wealth along the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Valleys was opened up, and on June 26, 1871, the Pittsburgh, Washington and Baltimore Railroad was formally opened and the long struggle for Pittsburgh ended.


39

Governor Andrew G. Curtin Inaugurated
War Governor January 15, 1861

Andrew Gregg Curtin, of Bellefonte, was inaugurated Governor of Pennsylvania January 15, 1861, and assumed the office at a time when the gravest problems ever presented to American statesmanship were to be solved. The mutterings of the coming storm were approaching nearer and nearer, and the year opened up gloomily.

In his inaugural he took occasion “to declare that Pennsylvania would, under any circumstances, render a full and determined support of the free institutions of the Union,” and pledged himself to stand between the Constitution and all encroachments instigated by hatred, ambition, fanaticism and folly.

He spoke with words of deliberation, decision and wisdom, and made a record of statesmanship that stood the severe test of years of bloody and lasting war. The conflict obliterated old and sacred landmarks in political teaching.

On February 17, the House adopted resolutions pledging to Maryland the fellowship and support of Pennsylvania. On January 24, the House had adopted resolutions taking high ground in favor of sustaining the Constitution of the Union.

Threatening as was the danger, while the Legislature was in session and meetings were being held in Philadelphia and throughout the State, no one anticipated that the strife would actually break forth so suddenly, nor that it would grow to such fearful proportions at the very beginning.

It is true, that the soldiers of the South, who had long secretly been preparing to dissolve the Union unmasked their design when the guns of Fort Moultrie were trained on Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor, South Carolina, April 12, 1861. No State in the Union was less prepared, so far as munitions of war were concerned, to take its part in the conflict than Pennsylvania. Her volunteer soldiery system had fallen in decay.

There were fewer volunteer companies of militia in Pennsylvania at that moment than ever before on the rolls of the Adjutant General’s office. But when the first overt act was committed, and the news was flashed over the Northland, it created no fiercer feeling of resentment anywhere than it did throughout the Keystone State.

On the morning of April 12, 1861, a message was handed to Governor Curtin in Harrisburg which read as follows:

“The war is commenced. The batteries began firing at 4 o’clock this morning. Major Anderson replied, and a brisk cannonading commenced. 40This is reliable and has just come by Associated Press. The vessels were not in sight.”

Later in the day, in response to the Governor’s suggestion, the Legislature passed an act reorganizing the military department of the State and appropriated $500,000 for the purpose.

President Lincoln issued a proclamation, April 15, calling out 75,000 militia from the different States to serve for three months. A requisition was at once made on Pennsylvania for fourteen regiments. The alacrity with which these regiments were furnished demonstrated not so much the military ardor as it did the patriotic spirit of the people. Sufficient men were rushed to Harrisburg not only to fill up the State quota of fourteen regiments, but enough to organize twenty-five.

There were two distinguished patriotic Pennsylvanians who comprehended the seriousness of the situation from the outset. General Simon Cameron, who had resigned his seat in the United States Senate to become the Secretary of War in President Lincoln’s Cabinet, advised the organization of the most powerful army the North could raise, so that at one blow armed rebellion might be effectually crushed. Governor Curtin took advantage of the excess men offering their services and began at once, after the complement of the three months’ men had been furnished to the Federal Government, to organize the famous Reserve Corps.

He discovered the approaching tornado in the distance, and thus commenced to prepare for its fury, the Reserves being the only troops well organized and disciplined in the North ready for the services of the Union at the moment of the disaster of the first battle of Bull Run.

During the second year of the Civil War, Governor Curtin broke down his health through overwork and anxiety, and was compelled to give himself, for weeks at a time, to the exclusive care of eminent physicians.

President Lincoln, appreciating Curtin’s faithful services, and recognizing the necessity for a change of climate and employment, formally tendered him a first-class Foreign Mission, which the Governor signified his willingness to accept when his term should expire. But in the meantime he was nominated for re-election, and again entered upon the canvass, and was elected by more than 15,000 majority.

As is well known, the early part of the war went against the Union forces. All through the North there were many persons, the “peace at any price” men, who thought war was wrong, or a failure, and tried to have it end. Governor Curtin, in order to check this feeling, issued an invitation to the Northern Governors to hold a meeting, for the purpose of considering how the Government might be more strongly supported and how the loyalty of the people might be increased.

In September, 1862, just after the battle of Antietam, which stopped Lee’s invasion of the north, eleven Governors met at Altoona. 41They adopted an address to President Lincoln, warmly commending his Emancipation Proclamation. The Governors then went to Washington, presented the address, and asked Lincoln to keep on hand in the various states a reserve army of 100,000, and pledged “Loyal and cordial support, hereafter as heretofore.” It gave Lincoln renewed courage for his heavy task.

In 1866, his health was such that his life was despaired of and in November his physicians ordered him to Cuba to recuperate. President Johnson offered him a foreign post but he again declined to leave his executive duties in the state and completed his term.

In 1867 he was a strong candidate for the United States Senate and a year later received a large vote for vice president in the Republican Convention which nominated General Grant for President. Soon after Grant became President, he nominated former Governor Curtin for Minister to Russia, and he was promptly confirmed by the Senate.

Before embarking for his new post of duty Governor Curtin was the recipient of a marked evidence of devotion. The Councils of Philadelphia unanimously invited him to a public reception in Independence Hall and in addition, the leading citizens, without distinction of party, united in giving him a banquet at the Academy of Music, that has seldom been equalled for elegance and every manifestation of popular affection and applause.

He sailed June, 1869, and in the discharge of his diplomatic duties proved himself one of the most popular representatives ever sent abroad by our nation. He was again supported for the vice presidential nomination in 1872.

Governor Curtin died October 7, 1894, in fullness of years, and Bellefonte mourned as it had never done before, and there was given to the great War Governor the biggest soldier’s funeral that the Bald Eagle Valley ever saw.


Simon Girty, Outlaw and Renegade,
Born January 16, 1744

Much of the ride along the Susquehanna trail on the western side of the Susquehanna River is at the base of majestic hills along the old Pennsylvania Canal bed, and more beautiful scenery it is not possible to find anywhere. Especially is this true as the motorist nears the quaint town of Liverpool. A few miles before reaching this place there is a gap in the mountains long known as Girty’s Gap, named in memory of one of the most despised outlaws in the provincial history of Pennsylvania.

The rocks on the face of the precipitous hills at this point have 42formed an almost perfect Indian head; indeed, it seems to be smiling down upon the thousands who pause to view this wonderful natural likeness of the primitive American race.

So important is this rock-face that when the new State highway was being built at this point summer of 1922, the engineers intended that the rocks should be blasted out and the road straightened at this bend, but on account of the sentiment connected with this really wonderful image the roadway was finally laid around the rocks and so the Indian face at Girty’s Notch is still to be seen.

Simon Girty, Senior, was a licensed Indian trader on the frontiers of Pennsylvania as early as 1740, and about that period he located on Sherman’s Creek, in what is now Perry County. Here his son, Simon, who figures so conspicuously in the annals of border life, was born January 16, 1744. There were three other sons, Thomas, George and James.

In 1750, the father and sundry other “squatters” on Sherman’s Creek, were dispossessed of their settlements by the Sheriff of Cumberland County and his posses, under orders of the Provincial authorities.

Girty removed his family to the east side of the Susquehanna River, near where the town of Halifax is now situated. Afterward he moved to the Conococheague settlement, where it is related he was killed in a drunken brawl. In 1756, his widow was killed by the savages, and Simon, George and James were taken captives by the Indians. Thomas, the eldest brother, being absent at his uncle’s at Antietam, was the only one who escaped.

Simon Girty was adopted by the Seneca and given the Indian name of Katepacomen. He became an expert hunter, and in dress, language and habits became a thorough Indian. The author of “Crawford’s Campaign” says that “it must be passed to his credit that his early training as a savage was compulsory, not voluntary as has generally been supposed.”

George Girty was adopted by the Delaware and became a fierce and ferocious savage, while James, who was adopted into the Shawnee nation, became no less infamous as a cruel and bloodthirsty raider of the Kentucky border, “sparing not even women and children from horrid tortures.”

Simon Girty and his tribe roamed the wilderness northwest of the Ohio, and when the expedition under Colonel Henry Bouquet, at the close of the Pontiac War, in 1764, dictated peace to the Indian tribe on the Muskingum, one of the hostages given up by the Ohio Indians was Simon Girty. Preferring the wild life of the savage, Girty soon escaped and returned to his home among the Seneca.

One of the conditions of the treaty referred to, was the yielding up by the Ohio Indians of all their captives, willing or unwilling. This being the case, Girty was again returned to the settlements and took 43up his home near Fort Pitt, on the little run emptying into the Allegheny and since known as Girty’s Run.

In the unprovoked war of Lord Dunmore, in company with Simon Kenton, Girty served as a hunter and scout. He subsequently acted as an Indian agent, and became intimately acquainted with Colonel William Crawford, at whose cabin on the Youghiogheny he was a frequent and welcome guest, and it is stated by some writers, although without any worthwhile evidence to substantiate it, was a suitor for the hand of one of his daughters, but was rejected.

At the outset of the Revolution, Simon Girty was a commissioned officer of militia at Fort Pitt, took the test oath as required by the Committee of Safety, but March 28, 1778, deserted to the enemy, in company with the notorious Alexander McKee and Matthew Elliott.

Simon Girty began his wild career by sudden forays against the borderers, and in his fierceness and cruelty outdid the Indians themselves. Hence the sobriquet of “Girty the White Savage.”

Many atrocious crimes were attributed to the notorious renegade, but the campaign against the Sandusky Indian towns in 1782, under the command of Colonel William Crawford, proved to be the one in which Girty displayed the most hardened nature and showed him to be a relentless foe of the Colonies.

Girty’s brutality reached its climax when he refused any request, even to discuss terms of easier punishment for his former friend and brother officer, but viewed with apparent satisfaction the most horrible and excruciating tortures which that ill-fated but brave and gallant Crawford was doomed to suffer. This episode in his career has placed his name among the most infamous whose long list of crimes causes a shudder as the details are told, even after a lapse of a century and a half.

During the next seven years but little is recorded of this renegade and desperado, except that a year after Crawford’s defeat, he married Catharine Malott, a captive among the Shawnee. They had several children and she survived her husband many years, dying at an advanced age.

Notwithstanding Girty’s brutality and depravity he never lost the confidence of the Indians; the advice of Simon Girty was always conclusive.

Girty acted as interpreter when the United States attempted to negotiate with the Confederated Nations, for an adjustment of the difficulties during which his conduct was insolent, and he was false in his duty as interpreter.

In the defeat of General St. Clair, Girty saw and knew General Richard Butler, who was writhing in agony with his wounds. The traitor told a savage warrior he was a high officer, whereupon the Indian buried his tomahawk in General Butler’s head, scalped him, took his heart out and divided it into as many pieces as there were tribes engaged in the battle.

44When General Anthony Wayne in 1795 forever destroyed the power of the Indians of the Northwest, Girty sold his trading post and removed to Canada, where he settled upon a farm near Malden, on the Detroit River, the recipient of a British pension. Here he resided until the War of 1812 undisturbed, but almost blind.

After the capture of the British fleet on Lake Erie, Girty followed the British in retreat and remained away from his home until the treaty of peace was signed, when he returned to his farm, where he died in the fall of 1819, aged seventy-four years.

There have been efforts to make a hero of Girty, but without success. He was without one redeeming quality. He reveled in the very excess of malignity and above all in his hatred for his own countrymen. Such was the life and career of Simon Girty, the outlaw and renegade.


Benjamin Franklin, Youngest Son of Seventeen
Children, Born January 17, 1706

Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, philosopher and printer, was born in Boston January 17, 1706, youngest son of the seventeen children of Josiah and Abiah Folger Franklin.

Born a subject of Queen Anne of England and on the same day receiving the baptismal name of Benjamin in the Old South Church, he continued for more than seventy of the eighty-four years of his life a subject of four successive British monarchs. During that period, neither Anne nor the three Georges, who succeeded her, had a subject of whom they had more reason to be proud nor one whom at his death their people generally supposed they had more reason to detest.

Franklin learned the art of printing with his brother, but they disagreeing, Benjamin left Boston when seventeen years old, sought employment in New York, but, not succeeding, went to Philadelphia and there found success, and for much more than half a century was the greatest man in Pennsylvania.

Franklin soon attracted the attention of Governor Keith, who, making him a promise of the Government printing, induced young Franklin to go to England to purchase printing materials. He was deceived and remained there eighteen months, working as a journeyman printer in London. He returned to Philadelphia late in 1726, an accomplished printer and a man of the world.

In 1730 he had a printing establishment and newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and stationers’ shop of his own. Was married to Deborah Read, a young woman whose husband had absconded, and was already pressing upon public opinion with a powerful leverage.

45For many years he published an almanac under the assumed name of Richard Saunders. It became widely known as “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” and is still one of the marvels of modern literature.

As a practical printer Franklin was reported to have had no superiors. As a journalist he exerted an influence not only unrivaled in his day, but more potent, on this continent at least, than either of his sovereigns or their parliaments.

Franklin was the chief founder of the Philadelphia Library in 1731. The organization of a police and later of the militia for Philadelphia; of companies for extinguishing fires; making the sweeping and paving of the streets a municipal function, and establishment of an academy which has matured into the now famous University of Pennsylvania, were among the conspicuous reforms which he planted and watered in the columns of the Gazette.

In 1736 he became clerk of the Provincial Assembly, and the following year was postmaster of Philadelphia. He was the founder of the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia in 1744, and six years later was elected to the Provincial Assembly.

In 1753 Franklin was appointed deputy postmaster for the English-American colonies. In 1754 he was a delegate to the Colonial Congress at Albany, in which he prepared a plan of union for the colonies, which was the basis of the Articles of Confederation adopted by Congress more than twenty years afterward.

Franklin graduated from journalism into diplomacy as naturally as winter glides into spring.

The question of taxing the Penn Proprietary estates for the defense of the Province from the French and Indians had assumed such an acute stage in 1757 that the Assembly decided to petition the King upon the subject, and selected Franklin to visit London and present their petition. The next forty-one years of his life were virtually spent in the diplomatic service.

Franklin was five years absent on this first mission. Every interest in London was againstagainst him. He finally obtained a compromise, and for his success the Penns and their partisans never forgave him, and his fellow Colonists never forgot him.

Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1762, but not to remain. The question of taxing the Colonies without representation was soon thrust upon them in the shape of a stamp duty, and Franklin was sent out again to urge its repeal. He reached London in November, 1764, where he remained the next eleven years, until it became apparent that there would never be a change during the reign of George III.

Satisfied that his usefulness was at an end, he sailed for Philadelphia March 21, 1775, and on the morning of his arrival was elected by the Assembly of Pennsylvania a delegate to Continental Congress.

Franklin served on ten committees in this Congress. He was one 46of five who drew up the Declaration of Independence, July, 1776, and in September following was chosen unanimously as one of the three commissioners to be sent to solicit for the infant Republic the aid of France and the sympathies of Continental Europe.

Franklin had begun his investigations and experiments in electricity, by which he demonstrated its identity with lightning, as early as 1746. The publication of his account of these experiments procured his election as an honorary member of the Royal Society of London and his undisputed rank among the most eminent natural philosophers of his time.

He received the Copley gold medal and the degree of LL.D. from Oxford and Edinburgh in 1762. Harvard and Yale had previously conferred upon him the degree of master of arts.

When Franklin arrived in Paris, therefore, he was already a member of every important learned society in Europe.

The history of his mission and how Franklin succeeded in procuring financial aid from the French King, and finally a treaty of peace more favorable to his country than either England or France wished to concede, has been often told.

Franklin’s reputation grew with his success. More was published about him in the newspapers of the world than of any other man that ever lived.

Franklin landed in Philadelphia on September 13, 1785, on the same wharf on which sixty-two years before he had stepped, a friendless and virtually penniless runaway apprentice of seventeen.

Though now in his seventy-ninth year and a victim of infirmities, he had hardly unpacked his trunks when he was chosen a member of the Municipal Council of Philadelphia and its chairman. Shortly after he was elected President of Pennsylvania, his own vote only lacking to make the vote unanimous.

He was unanimously elected for two succeeding years, and while holding that office was chosen a member of the convention which met in May, 1787, to frame the Constitution under which the people of the United States are still living. With the adoption of that instrument, to which he contributed as much as any other individual, he retired from official life, though not from the service of the public.

His last public act was the signing of a memorial to Congress on the subject of human slavery by the Abolition Society, of which he was the founder and president.

He died in Philadelphia April 17, 1790, and four days later his body was interred in Christ Church burying ground. His funeral was such as the greatest philosopher and statesman had deserved.


47

Long Reign of Terror by Mollie Maguires
Brought to End January 18, 1876

January 18, 1876, was an eventful day in Mauch Chunk, the county seat of Carbon County, and, in fact, for the State of Pennsylvania and the entire country.

On that day Michael J. Doyle, of Mount Laffee, Schuylkill County, and Edward Kelly were arraigned charged with the crime of the murder of John P. Jones, of Lansford.

For years preceding this murder the coal regions of Pennsylvania had been infested by a most desperate class of men, banded together for the worst purposes—called by some the Buckshots, by others the Mollie Maguires. They made such sad havoc of the country that life was no longer secure and the regions suffered in many ways.

The unusual circumstance of this trial was the fact that it was the first indictment of a “Mollie Maguire” in this country which had a possible chance for ultimate conviction.

John P. Jones was a mine boss who had incurred the illwill of some of the Irish connected with the organization of Mollie Maguires, masking under the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and on the morning of September 3, 1875, he left his home in Lansford, in which were his wife and seven children, and traveled toward the breaker where he was employed. The three assassins, James Kerrigan, Mike Doyle and Edward Kelly, were lying in wait for him and cruelly shot him down, killing him on the spot.

This crime was no more revolting or cruel than the many others committed by this murderous organization, but it was the one in which the Pinkerton detective, James McParlan, had been able to connect all the facts in the case, and with the additional assistance of James Kerrigan turning State’s witness the civil authorities were able to conduct such a trial that the two other murderers were convicted.

Michael Doyle was found guilty January 22, 1876, and sentenced to death. This was the first conviction of a Mollie Maguire in this country. Edward Kelly was subsequently placed on trial for the same crime and on March 29 was found guilty. Doyle and Kelly both were hanged at Mauch Chunk, June 21, 1876, and the Mollie Maguires ceased to be the terror of civilized people.

To form some idea of the operations of these desperadoes it must be known that the Mollie Maguires were more than bloodthirsty and active in 1865. On August 25, that year, David Muir, superintendent of a colliery, was shot and killed in broad daylight. On January 10, 1866, Henry H. Dunne, a well known citizen of Pottsville, and superintendent 48of a large colliery, was murdered on the highway near the city limits, while riding home in his carriage. On Saturday, October 17, 1868, Alexander Rea, another mining superintendent, was killed on the wagon road, near Centralia, Columbia County. Several arrests were made but no convictions.

On March 15, 1869, William H. Littlehales, superintendent of the Glen Carbon Company, was killed on the highway enroute to his home in Pottsville. F. W. S. Langdon, George K. Smith and Graham Powell, all mine officials, met death at the hands of assassins.

On December 2, 1871, Morgan Powell, assistant superintendent of the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal and Iron Company, at Summitt Hill, Carbon County, was shot down on the street.

In October, 1873, F. B. Gowen, president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company and the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, employed Allan Pinkerton, the noted detective, to take charge of a thorough investigation of this organization.

Pinkerton accepted the commission and selected James McParlan, a young Irish street-car conductor of Chicago, to be his chief operative in this hazardous enterprise. On the evening of October 27, 1873, there arrived at Port Carbon a tramp who gave his name as one James McKenna, who was seeking work in the mines. This McKenna was none other than Detective McParlan and well did he perform his task.

McParlan cleverly assumed the role of an old member of the order, and as one who had committed such atrocious crimes in other parts of this country that he must be careful of undue publicity. He could sing and dance, and was an all around good fellow, but only feigned the drunken stupor in which he was so constantly being found by his associates.

The crowning event in his three years’ work was his initiation into the Ancient Order of Hibernians, at Shenandoah, April 14, 1874. He was soon appointed secretary on account of his better education. In fact, he was a leader and supposedly the most hardened criminal of the coal regions.

October 31, 1874, George Major, Chief Burgess of Mahanoy City, was shot and killed by Mollie Maguires. On April 6, 1875, a despicable plot to destroy the great bridge on the Catawissa Railroad only failed because the Mollies in charge of the work failed to make the fire burn the structure. McParlan was in on this crime, but had much to do with its failure.

Conditions were so serious by June 1, 1875, that Governor Hartranft sent militia to Shenandoah and in their very faces 700 Mollies attempted to capture and destroy a breaker, June 3. August 11 there was a great riot in Shenandoah. Edward Cosgrove and Gomer James were murdered and a bystander was killed during the riot.

August 14, 1875, has since been known as “Bloody Saturday” in 49the coal regions. On that day Thomas Gwyther, a justice of the peace, of Girardville, was murdered. Miners rioted in many places.

September 1, Thomas Sanger, boss at Heaton & Co., colliery, near Ashland, and William Uren were murdered. On September 3, John J. Jones, already mentioned, was killed.

At the great trial the Commonwealth was represented by E. R. Siewers, the able district attorney; F. W. Hughes, of Pottsville; General Charles Albright, of Mauch Chunk, and Allen Craig. For the defense appeared Linn Bartholomew, J. B. Reilly and John W. Ryon, of Pottsville; Daniel Kalbfus and Edward Mulhearn of Mauch Chunk. James Kerrigan gave State’s testimony, which left no doubt of the guilt of the prisoner, and this also was the death knell to the Mollies. Arrests rapidly followed for the other murders.

When the Mollies learned of McParlan’s true character, they planned his destruction, March 5, 1876, but now it was too late. Their nefarious work was at an end.

What might be said to be the closing climax of this reign of terror was the trial in Bloomsburg, February 24, 1877, when Pat Hester, Pat Tully and Peter McHugh were arraigned for the murder of Alexander Rea. The first trial February 2, 1869, had resulted in acquittal for Thomas Donahue, and the other cases were dropped, but this time the three prisoners were found “guilty” and were hanged in Columbia County jail, March 25, 1878, nine years after the murder of Rea.

On May 21, 1877, Governor Hartranft signed the death warrants for eight other Mollies and on June 21 they were hanged. These, with the three hanged at Bloomsburg, brought to a close the business of the Mollie Maguires.


Prophetic Letter to President Buchanan by
GovernorGovernor Packer, Who Was Inaugurated
January 19, 1858

The campaign of 1857 was unusually active, as there were three prominent candidates in the contest. The Democrats nominated State Senator William F. Packer, of Williamsport, one of the most widely known of the representative men of the State; the Republicans named the Hon. David Wilmot, of Towanda, author of the “Wilmot Proviso,” who enjoyed a wide-spread reputation as a public speaker and a politician; and the Hon. Isaac Hazlehurst, was the choice of the Native American Party, still quite a factor in Pennsylvania politics. After a spirited campaign Senator Packer was elected by a majority of fourteen thousand votes over both the other candidates. He was inaugurated January 19, 1858.

50The political question which overshadowed all others at this period was, whether Kansas should be admitted into the union with or without a constitutional recognition of slavery.

Governor Packer was an ardent friend of James Buchanan, and labored zealously to secure his nomination for the Presidency. Mr. Buchanan was inaugurated about the time of Packer’s nomination for Governor. The clouds were rapidly forming in Kansas where a state of hostility existed between the inhabitants and the general Government, and the agents of the latter, for their safety, had been compelled to flee from the territory. The slave-holders were making a desperate effort to control the state and thus extend their sway.

Buchanan had been in Washington only a few days when he received a letter from Mr. Packer, which in view of his prophetic utterances, honest advice and the further fact that it was written by a Pennsylvanian, so soon to become Governor, to a Pennsylvania President of the United States, that the following paragraphs should prove of interest.

The letter was dated Harrisburg, March 24, 1857.

“Our people confidently expect that your administration will see that equal and exact justice shall be done to all parties—the free-state as well as the pro-slavery men—and they will be satisfied with nothing short of that. We approve of the Kansas bill; but in God’s name let its provisions be honestly carried out; let the law be faithfully executed. Let the conduct of the public agents in Kansas not only be right, but let it appear to be right. If slavery should be instituted by, or under a slave-holding executive; and Kansas should claim admission as a slave state, it does not require a prophet to foretell the consequences north of Mason and Dixon’s line.

“The Democratic party, which has stood by the Constitution and the rights of the South with such unflinching fidelity, would be stricken down in the few remaining States where it is yet in the ascendancy; the balance of power would be lost; and Black Republicans would rule this nation, or civil war, and disunion would inevitably follow.

“What, then, is to be done? Will you permit me to make a suggestion? The post of honor and renown, if successfully and satisfactorily filled, at this moment in the gift of the President, is the Governorship of Kansas. Send one of the first men of the nation there—some gentleman who enjoys the confidence of the North and the South—and let him cover himself with glory by a fearless and a faithful discharge of the duties of his station. Sustain him, then, with the whole power of the Government, and follow with swift vengeance any party that dares to raise a hand against the law or its prompt and faithful execution.

“The time for trifling is past. Bold, efficient action is required. To waver or to vacillate, is to fail. Who, then, should be appointed? If 51General Scott would accept of the position, and if the duties are compatible with those of the military station he now holds, I answer, appoint General Winfield Scott. He has the confidence of the nation. He is acceptable to the South, having been born and reared in Virginia; and he is not unacceptable to the North, inasmuch as he now resides there. If requested by the President, in view of the importance of the Mission, I do not think that he would decline. However, let some such man be appointed—some man well known to the American people, and in whom they confide, and the result will be the same. All will be well. Otherwise I tremble for the result.”

It was during Governor Packer’s administration in 1858, that the office of superintendent of public schools was separated from that of secretary of the Commonwealth. The first state normal school was located at Millersville, Lancaster County.

In 1859 the celebrated raid into Virginia by John Brown occurred, by which the public property of the United States at Harper’s Ferry was seized, and the lives of citizens of that State sacrificed by that band of fanatics, who, in their mad zeal, attempted to excite the slave population to insurrection. The plans for this raid were perfected in Chambersburg, where John Brown and his associates lived for a time, under assumed names.

The subsequent trial and conviction of John Brown, and his followers, by no means quenched the fire of disunion which was then kindling.

Governor Packer, in his last message to the Legislature, expressed in plain terms the fearful position in which South Carolina, and the other states preparing for similar rebellious action, had placed themselves.

Mutterings of the coming storm were approaching nearer and nearer and the year 1861 opened up with a gloomy aspect. In the midst of this portentous overshadowing, Andrew G. Curtin took charge of the helm of State.


Albert Gallatin, Soldier, Statesman and
Financier, Born January 20, 1761

Albert Gallatin was born in Geneva, Switzerland, January 20, 1761. Both of his parents were of distinguished families and died while he was an infant. He graduated from the University of Geneva in 1779.

Feeling a great sympathy for the American colonists in their struggle for liberty, he came to Massachusetts in 1780, entered the military service, and for a few months commanded the post at Passamaquoddy.

At the close of the war he taught French at Harvard University, 52where he remained until 1784, when he received his patrimonial estate. He invested it in land in West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, and, in 1786, he settled on land on the banks of the Monongahela River, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Here he lived and became naturalized.

The town was named New Geneva from his native place in Switzerland. Here he built a log house, which subsequently gave place to a stone structure yet standing. He was a partner in establishing the first glass house in that section of the State. He became one of the foremost citizens of America.

He served in the General Assembly of Pennsylvania for several terms and in 1793 was chosen a United States Senator for Pennsylvania, but was declared ineligible on the ground that he had not been a citizen of the United States the required nine years.

During the Whisky Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania, 1794, Albert Gallatin played a conspicuous role.

In the meeting of the malcontents, August 14, 1794, at Parkinson’s Ferry, where 260 delegates, elected by the several counties, organized and adopted some intemperate resolutions, Colonel Edward Cook was appointed chairman, and Albert Gallatin, secretary. The organic force of the insurrection was condensed into a committee of sixty and that committee was again represented by a Standing Committee of twelve.

Gallatin was energetic in working with his friends to gain time and restore quietness. He presented with great force the folly of resistance and the ruinous consequences to the country of the continuance of the insurrection. He urged that the Government was bound to vindicate the laws and that it would surely send an overwhelming force against them. He placed the subject in a new light and showed the insurrection to be a much more serious affair than it had before appeared.

After the Pennsylvania commissioners had reached Pittsburgh and met with those of the National Government and the committee appointed at the meeting at Parkinson’s Ferry, a conference of the committee of sixty was held at Redstone Old Fort, now Brownsville.

This meeting was opened by a long, sensible and eloquent speech by Albert Gallatin in favor of law and order. Backed by Judge Hugh H. Brackenridge, Gallatin won the day, and the insurrection was happily ended before the army was called into action.

Gallatin was censured for the part he had taken, but no man stood higher in the opinion, not only of President Washington, but of the Pennsylvania authorities. In the General Assembly December, 1794, in an able speech Gallatin admitted his “political sin” in the course he had taken in the insurrectionary movement.

He was elected to Congress in 1795, and in a debate on Jay’s Treaty in 1796 he charged Washington and Jay with having pusillanimously surrendered the honor of their country. This, from the lips of a young 53foreigner, exasperated the Federalists. He was a leader of the Democrats and directed his attention particularly to financial matters.

Gallatin remained in Congress until 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson appointed him Secretary of the Treasury, which office he held until 1813, and obtained the credit of being one of the best financiers of the age.

The opponents of Jefferson’s Administration complained vehemently in 1808 that the country was threatened with direct taxation at a time when the sources of its wealth, by the orders and decrees of Great Britain and France, were drying up. Gallatin replied to these complaints, as Secretary of the Treasury, by reproducing a flattering but delusive suggestion contained in his annual report the preceding year.

He suggested that as the United States was not likely to be involved in frequent wars, a revenue derived solely from duties on imports, even though liable to diminution during war, would yet amply suffice to pay off, during long intervals of peace, the expenses of such wars as might be undertaken.

Should the United States become involved in war with both France and Great Britain, no internal taxes would be necessary to carry it on, nor any other financial expedient, beyond borrowing money and doubling the duties on import. The scheme, afterwards tried, bore bitter fruit.

His influence was felt in other departments of Government and in the politics of the country. Opposed to going to war against Great Britain in 1812, he exerted all his influence to avert it.

In March, 1813, he was appointed one of the envoys to Russia to negotiate for the mediation of the Czar between the United States and Great Britain. He sailed for St. Petersburg, but the Senate in special sessions, refused to ratify his appointment because he was Secretary of the Treasury. The attempt at mediation was unsuccessful.

When, in January, 1814, Great Britain proposed a direct negotiation for peace, Gallatin, who was still abroad, was appointed one of the United States Commissioners. He resigned his secretaryship. He was one of the signers of the Treaty of Ghent.

In 1815 he was appointed Minister to France, where he remained until 1823. He refused a seat in the Cabinet of President Monroe on his return and also declined to be a candidate for Vice President to which the dominant Democratic Party nominated him.

President Adams appointed him Minister to Great Britain, where he negotiated several important commercial conventions.

Returning to America in 1827, he took up his residence in New York City. There he was engaged in public service in various ways until 1839, when he withdrew from public duties and directed the remainder of his life to literary pursuits.

Although strictly in private life, Gallatin took special interest in the 54progress of the country, and wrote much on the subject. His published works include such subjects as finance, politics and ethnology.

Mr. Gallatin was chief founder, in 1842, and the first president of the American Ethnological Society, and was president of the New York Historical Society from 1843 until his death, August 12, 1849, at Astoria, L. I.


General Thomas Mifflin, Soldier, Statesman
and Several Times Governor, Died
January 21, 1800

When the venerable Franklin was about to step aside as the President of the Council and withdraw from public employment, the people of Pennsylvania became concerned in the successor to so brilliant a man. The choice fell upon Thomas Mifflin, and he occupied the enviable position of Chief Executive of the Commonwealth longer than any other Pennsylvanian, two years as President of the Council and three times Governor, an aggregate of eleven years.

Thomas Mifflin was the son of Quaker parents, and was born in Philadelphia in 1744. He was educated in the Philadelphia College, and his parents intended that Thomas should follow a mercantile profession. Upon the completion of his college course he entered the counting house of William Coleman. At the age of twenty-one he made a tour of Europe and then entered into a business partnership with his brother in Philadelphia.

In 1772 he was elected one of the two members of the Legislature from the City of Philadelphia, and was re-elected the following year, when he was the colleague of Franklin, then just returned from his mission to England.

So conspicuous were his services in the Assembly, that when the appointment of delegates to the first Continental Congress came to be made, Mifflin was selected as one, and he occupied a position of commanding influence.

“When the news,” says Dr. Rawle, his biographer, “of the battle of Lexington reached Philadelphia, a town meeting was called and the fellow citizens of Mifflin were delighted by his animated oratory.” None did more than he to arouse the populace to a sense of the danger which threatened. He did not only exhort, but he put in practice his pleading. When the troops were to be enlisted and drilled, Mifflin was among the foremost to train them, and was selected as a major in one of the earliest formed regiments.

The patriot blood spilled at Lexington and Concord fired a martial 55spirit throughout America by which the bold leaders in every State were nerved to resist and resent those unprovoked assaults, and when Washington appeared at the camp in Boston as the Commander-in-Chief of the American armies, Mifflin was by his side.

Recognizing his great personal popularity, the ease and dignity of his manners, breadth and soundness of his views, Washington placed Mifflin at the head of his military family. In the absence of, or at the retirement from the table of the chief it fell upon Mifflin to occupy his place and do the honors; and for this duty, by his social position at home and his foreign travel he was admirably fitted. Colonel Mifflin was the first person in America who officiated as aide-de-camp.

When Washington, July, 1775, organized the entire army, the difficult position of quartermaster general was assigned to Mifflin. The duties were new and arduous. Everything was in chaos. Order had to be established and system inaugurated.

On May 19, 1776, Congress appointed and commissioned Mifflin to be a brigadier general and he was given command of Pennsylvania troops. An assignment to the active field was much more to his liking than one at headquarters.

Upon taking the field Mifflin was relieved as quartermaster general by General Stephen Moylan, who was ill suited to the difficult task of providing for an army where the authority for calling in supplies was little respected and the means of paying for them was rarely in hand; and not long after accepting the position he abandoned it.

Congress called upon Mifflin to again assume the duties of quartermaster general and he reluctantly responded to the call of his country, deeming it a matter of duty.

The reverses of the American Army during the summer and fall of 1776 culminated in its withdrawal into New Jersey, hotly pursued by the British troops. Pennsylvania was threatened and especially Philadelphia, where Congress was sitting. At this dark hour Mifflin was sent with dispatches from Washington to Congress, calling on that body loudly for help.

Mifflin, at the request of Congress, made a stirring address, setting forth the perilous situation, and appealing for the means to oppose the further advance of the defiant enemy. That body was greatly exercised and ordered that General Mifflin should remain near Congress for consultation and advice.

As the enemy pressed toward Philadelphia, General Putnam was sent to take command in the city and General Mifflin was placed in charge of the war material and stores.

The victory at Trenton produced a gleam of hope and Congress dispatched Mifflin throughout the State of Pennsylvania in order that, by his personal appeals, volunteers might be drawn to the support of Washington’s decimated ranks. He caused large numbers to enlist.

56Mifflin was mixed up in the “Conway Cabal,” but in after years he explained his position, and it would seem to prove the intensity of his devotion to the struggle in which he had staked fortune and life itself.

In 1783 General Mifflin was elected a member of Congress, and had the satisfaction of being President of that body, when General Washington, December 23, 1783, resigned his commission into its hands. Mifflin made an eloquent reply.

General Mifflin was a member of the Assembly of Pennsylvania which met in 1785; also of the convention which sat in 1787 and framed the Constitution of the United States.

In 1788 he was chosen a member of the Supreme Executive Council, and upon the retirement of Franklin, he was elected President.

General Mifflin was the president of the convention that framed the State Constitution of 1790, and he and General Arthur St. Clair were the two candidates for Governor. Mifflin triumphed and was continued in office for that and the two succeeding terms.

Governor Mifflin was very efficient in quelling the Whisky Insurrection of 1794, and personally commanded the troops from Pennsylvania.

His last official communication as Governor was made December 7, 1799. It contained his farewell sentiments on taking leave of office and was received with every manifestation of respect by the Assembly.

He was elected to the Assembly and took his seat, but did not long survive. He died during a session of the House, then sitting in Lancaster, on January 21, 1800. His decease was noticed with becoming ceremonies, resolutions being adopted expressive of the high sense entertained for him as a soldier and statesman, authorizing his interment at the public expense and providing for the erection of a monument to his memory.

“Thus ended,” says Dr. Rawle, “the checkered life of Thomas Mifflin—brilliant in its outset—troubled and perplexed at a period more advanced—again distinguished, prosperous and happy—finally clouded by poverty and oppressed by creditors. In patriotic principle never changing—in public action never faltering—in personal friendship sincerely warm—in relieving the distressed always active and humane—in his own affairs improvident—in the business of others scrupulously just.”


57

Story of the Old Log College and the
Reverend Charles Beatty, Born
January 22, 1715

The pioneer seminary for aspirants to the Presbyterian ministry nearly two hundred years ago, was long known as “The Old Log College.” It stood at Neshaminy in Warwick Township, Bucks County.

When the celebrated evangelist George Whitefield came to America in 1739, he preached here to three thousand persons.

The deed for the land upon which this early educational institution was built, was dated 1728, and was given by Hon. James Logan, the secretary of the Province and one of the most illustrious of the early officials of Pennsylvania, to his cousin, Reverend William Tennent, an Irish emigrant, who shortly after his arrival in America renounced his allegiance to the Church of England and united with the Philadelphia Presbytery.

The gift consisted of fifty acres of land and the part of it on which the college stood is believed to have been an ancient Indian burying ground. The log college, twenty feet by thirty feet in size, was for many years the only institute south of New England where young men could be prepared for the ministry.

The Log College flourished under Mr. Tennent for twenty years, when its place was eminently supplied by kindred institutions thereabouts. From its walls came many noted preachers of Scotch-Irish descent, among them four of his own sons. One of the latter, Gilbert Tennent, preached most eloquently to stir up patriotism during the French and Indian War.

It is said that a carload of these sermons were very opportunely discovered in an old lumber room of Dr. Benjamin Franklin’s when the American patriots were hunting for paper to make cartridges, after the British evacuated Philadelphia, June 17, 1778. The sermons were utilized as cases for cartridges, and told effectively afterwards on the retreating British in the battle of Monmouth. Thus these eloquent sermons served the country in two great wars, more than is usually the case.

The Reverend Charles Beatty, an Irish Presbyterian, who was chaplain with Colonel Benjamin Franklin in his army on the Lehigh and later with Colonel William Clapham in his regiment which marched to Fort Augusta at the Forks of the Susquehanna, was a student here.

The Rev. Mr. Beatty was the son of an officer in the British Army, and was born in Ireland, January 22, 1715. He obtained a fairly accurate 58classical education in his own country and when he emigrated to America in 1740, his circumstances being meager, he employed several of the first years of his residence as a peddler.

He halted one day at the Log College, where he addressed the Reverend William Tennent familiarly in correct and classical Latin. After some conversation in which the peddler manifested much piety and considerable religious zeal, Tennent said, “Go and sell the contents of your pack, and return immediately and study with me. It will be a sin for you to continue a peddler, when you can be so much more useful in another profession.”

Beatty accepted Tennent’s offer, became an eminent preacher, and succeeded his preceptor, as head of the Log College. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Ministry, December 1, 1743, and passed most of his life in charge of “ye congregation of Warwick, in ye forks of the Neshaminy.”

An interesting incident is related of his military service. The soldiers were issued a gill of rum each day in addition to their regular stipulation, one-half being dealt out in the morning and the balance in the evening.

Chaplain Beatty complained to Colonel Franklin that the soldiers were not punctual in attending divine service, when Franklin suggested, “It is, perhaps, below the dignity of your profession to act as a steward of the rum, but if you were to distribute it out only just after prayers, you would have them all about you.”

Mr. Beatty profited by the advice and in the future had no reason to complain of non-attendance. A few hands regularly measured out the liquor after prayers.

When Colonel William Clapham was detached from Franklin’s command and ordered to recruit a regiment to build Fort Augusta, he selected Beatty as the chaplain of the regiment. He kept an interesting journal of this tour of duty, of which the following is the first paragraph:

“Having received his honor, the Governor’s commission to be chaplain to the regiment of foot in the provincial service under the command of Colonel William Clapham, and having the advice and concurrence of the Commission of the Synod, who appointed supplies for the congregation in my absence—set out from home in order to join the regiment at Harris’ Ferry, Monday, May 3, 1756. I was accompanied as far as Schuylkill by my elders and some other friends, and having stopped at a friend’s house, not far from the road to refresh myself, reached as far as the Sign of the Ship on the Lancaster road, at which I lodged. Felt my need of the Divine Presence to be with me in my dangerous or at least difficult undertaking.”

He reached Lancaster the following afternoon, where he was met by Colonel Clapham and Captain Thomas Lloyd, who advised him that 59Governor Morris was in town. They called on His Excellency, who received them very kindly.

They all set out the following morning for Harris’ Ferry, arrived at Barney Hughes’ hotel in time for dinner and reached Harris’ Ferry in the evening, when the soldiers were ordered to assemble for prayer and to meet their distinguished guests.

Just as the assembly call sounded, a fire broke out in John Harris’ house and there were no prayers.

He frequently lamented in his well-kept journal, that some trifling incident prevented officers or men, or both, from attending prayer. “Just as service began in the afternoon, had an alarm, but few, alas, seemed to regret the disappointment. Wickedness seems to increase in the camp, which gives me a great deal of uneasiness.”

The following Sunday, “One of the bateaux which had on it a cannon was upset, which occasioned a great deal of labor, and what profane swearing there was. If I stay in the camp my ears are greeted with profane oaths, and if I go out to shun it, I am in danger of the enemy—what a dilemma is this? But my eyes would be toward the Lord.”

In 1766 he was appointed, with the Rev. George Duffield, missionary to the frontier settlements in the new purchase and to the Indians of the Ohio River. He died August 12, 1772, at Barbados whither he had gone to collect money for the New Jersey College, which is now Princeton University.

The Rev. Philip Fithian, who traveled through Central Pennsylvania in 1775, and who kept such an interesting journal of his experiences, was a son-in-law of the Rev. Charles Beatty.[1]

1. Reverend Charles Beatty had four sons, all officers in the Continental Army; John, who rose to the rank of colonel, and after the Revolution became a brigadier-general in the militia; Charles Clinton, a lieutenant, who was accidentally killed when another soldier of his command shot him while carelessly handling a pistol; Reading, a surgeon; and Eukuries, a lieutenant and paymaster, who continued long in the military service of his country after the Revolution, and was a major during the Indian campaign of 1788–1792.


Militia Organized at Provincial Council
Meeting January 23, 1775

A Provincial Convention was held in Philadelphia, January 23, 1775, which lasted six days. At the organization of the convention, General Joseph Reed was chosen chairman.

Strong resolutions were adopted, heartily approving the conduct and proceedings of the Continental Congress; opposing future importation of slaves into this Province; protecting members of committees of Congress from embarrassment on account of this service, and one, “That in case the trade of the city and liberties of Philadelphia shall be suspended in consequence of the present struggle, 60it is the opinion of this convention that the several counties should, and that the members of this convention will exert themselves to afford the necessary relief and assistance to the inhabitants of the said city and liberties; who will be more immediately affected by such an event.”

This convention also adopted a lengthy resolution which tended toward the regulation of the supply and consumption of foodstuffs, and the necessities of life, especially such as had been regulated by laws of England.

The crisis to which the convention looked forward when framing these resolutions had arrived. The battle of Lexington had been fought and submission to the arbitrary acts of Parliament was attempted to be enforced by the bayonet. Soon as the news of this battle spread multitudes of men, at the suggestion of the county committees of observation, entered into an association for defense.

The officers of these organizations were generally men of unusual military skill, men who were veterans of several campaigns and some of innumerable Indian incursions. This was not as generally true of the older portion of the Province. This had been peaceable, and remote from the frontiers, so the chief officers in these countries were frequently without military experience, who owed their preferment to political activity, or social prominence.

Dickinson accepted the colonelcy of the first battalion, while the others raised in the City of Philadelphia were commanded by Daniel Roderdeau, merchant and politician; John Cadwallader, a shopkeeper, son of one of the Governor’s Council; Thomas McKean, lawyer and lately Speaker of the Delaware Assembly, and Timothy Matlack, politician.

The colonels of the six battalions raised in Philadelphia County, which then included what is now Montgomery County were: William Hamilton, Robert Lewis, Thomas Potts, Samuel Miles, a veteran of French and Indian War, and Hill Tench Francis, brother of Colonel Turbutt Francis, also a hero of the French and Indian War, sons of the deceased Attorney General Tench Francis. The colonels from the other counties were:

Bucks County—Joseph Kirkbride, Joseph Hart, Andrew Kachlein and Arthur Erwin.

Chester County—James Moore, Thomas Hockley, Hugh Lloyd, William Montgomery and Richard Thomas.

Lancaster—George Ross, Matthias Slough, Curtis Grubb, Thomas Porter, John Ferree, James Burd, hero of the French and Indian War and of many other campaigns; Peter Grubb and Bartram Galbraith.

York County—Robert Callender, William Thompson, John Montgomery and James Wilson.

Berks County—Edward Biddle, Mark Bird, Daniel Brodhead, veteran of the French and Indian War; Balzer Geehr and Christian Louer.

61Northampton County—George Taylor, Henry Geiger, Yost Dreisbach and Jacob Stroud.

Bedford County—Bernard Dougherty and Samuel Davidson.

Northumberland County—Samuel Hunter, James Potter and William Plunket, each a hero of the French and Indian War and thoroughly trained as officers.

Westmoreland County—John Proctor and John Cornahan.

To assist in carrying into effect the many measures passed for the defense of the province, the Assembly on June 30, appointed a Committee of Safety, consisting of ten from City of Philadelphia, four from the county and one from each of the other counties excepting Chester, which had two members.

Benjamin Franklin was chosen president of the committee at its first meeting, July 3, 1775; William Garrett was named clerk and Michael Hillegas treasurer.

The several County Commissioners were asked to purchase a specified number of guns with bayonets, cartridge boxes with twenty-three rounds of cartridges and knapsacks.

The Assembly offered £20 for every hundredweight of saltpeter manufactured in the province within the next three months.

Among the first labors of the Committee of Safety was that of preparing articles for the government of the military organizations known as Associators. A set of resolutions to that effect were adopted August 19, which included every possible phase of a soldier’s life, including his personal appearance, conduct, sobriety, loyalty, demeanor as an officer, noncommissioned officer or private, etc.

Many of the citizens refused to subscribe to the regulations, alleging that numerous persons, rich and able to perform military duty claimed exemption under pretense of conscientious scruples and asserting that where liberty of all was at stake, all should aid in its defense, and that where the cause was common to all, it was inconsistent with justice and equity that the burden should be partial.

The Friends addressed the Legislature, setting forth their religious faith and practice with respect to bearing arms, and claiming exemption from military service by virtue of laws agreed upon in England and the Charter of William Penn. The Mennonites and German Baptists also remonstrated, praying exemption, but willing to contribute pecuniary aid.

Assembly resolved that “all persons between the ages of sixteen and fifty capable of bearing arms, who do not associate for the defense of the Province, ought to contribute an equivalent for the time spent by the associators in acquiring military discipline; ministers of the gospel of all denominations and servants purchased bona fide for valuable consideration only excepted.”

Returns were required from the assessors of all persons within military 62age, and the captains of the companies of the Associators were directed to furnish to their colonels and the colonels to the County Commissioners lists of such persons as had joined the Associators. The commissioners were empowered to assess those not associated £2 10s annually, in addition to the ordinary tax.

The Assembly also adopted rules and regulations for the better government of the military association, the thirty-fifth article of which provided “that if any associator called into actual service should leave a family not of ability to maintain themselves in his absence, the justices of the peace of the proper city or county, with the overseer of the poor, should make provisions for their maintenance.”


Captain Thomas McKee, Indian Trader,
Makes Deposition Before Governor
January 24, 1743

Thomas McKee was the most noted of the later Shamokin Traders, and we have records of his trading expeditions as far west as the Ohio.

His career was highly romantic, and a consideration of the same will enable us to understand his son, Captain Alexander McKee, who afterwards became well-known at Fort Pitt, and rendered himself notorious in border history by deserting to the British during the time of the Revolutionary War, carrying over to that interest a great many Indians whom he had befriended during his service as Deputy Indian Agent under the Crown. We will then know better why he should seek more congenial company among the Ohio Indians and in the service of the King, than he had found among the American forces at Fort Pitt, who were enemies of both.

Dr. W. H. Egle has stated that Thomas McKee was a son of Patrick, but it is quite possible that he was the son of one Alexander McKee who died in Donegal Township, Lancaster County, in May, 1740, leaving a son, Thomas, who was the executor of his will.

A contributor to Dr. Egle’s “Notes and Queries” relates a traditionary account of Thomas McKee’s marriage, which had been told to him in his boyhood days by his father, a native of the Susquehanna Valley. This story was to the effect that Thomas McKee, in his early manhood began trading with the Indians, and after learning the language of the Delaware, established a trading post among them, in the vicinity of Shamokin (now Sunbury), at or near the Forks of the Susquehanna.

In the performance of this enterprise while he was on a trading 63expedition farther up the West Branch, he ventured into the camp of strange Indians, who stole his goods, drank his rum, and then becoming incensed at the resistance he made to their proceedings, bound him as a captive, and decided to burn him at the stake the following day.

During the night, an Indian maiden came to the wigwam where he lay bound to a log. She released him, and they fled together, making their escape. McKee from gratitude, made the girl his squaw and they lived together during the remainder of their lives as husband and wife.

Edward Shippen, of Lancaster, wrote to Governor Morris April 19, 1756, after a visit to Captain McKee’s fort, where he found ten Indians, among them John Shikellamy. He adds; “Shikellamy let me know that he wished the Indians would be moved down to Barney Hughes, where Captain McKee’s woman and children live.”

In a conference between Sir William Johnson and Canaghquiesa, an Oneida chief, the latter reported on his mission to the hostile Shawnee of Northern Pennsylvania. He advised Sir William that one who lived near those Indians had applied to the Delaware to accompany them to the proposed meeting at Onondaga, which they refused to do, saying that “One Thomas McGeeMcGee, who lives on the Susquehanna and is married to a Shawnese squaw, had told them that in ten days’ time an army of the English would come and destroy them.”

The Moravian Bishop, Cammerhoff, visited Captain Thomas McKee’s trading post in 1748. In his journal he writes under date of January 13:

“We have before us twenty long miles to Shamokin, also two bad creeks and the narrowest passes along the river to pass. At 9 o’clock we reached Thomas McKee’s, the last white settlement on the river, below Shamokin.”

This trading post was at the site of the present village of Dalmatia, Northumberland County. His other post at this time was below the mouth of the Juniata, not far distant from Big (now Haldeman’s) Island. Both these trading posts are shown on Scull’s map of 1759.

The bishop further wrote in his journal: “McKee holds a captain’s commission under the Government, is an extensive Indian trader, bears a good name among them and drives a brisk trade with the Allegheny country. His wife, who was brought up among the Indians, speaks but little English. They received us with much kindness and hospitality.”

Thomas McKee’s “woman,” “squaw” or “wife” as referred to by Edward Shippen, Chief Canaghquiesa and Bishop Cammerhoff, respectively, may have been the same who assisted him to escape from the unfriendly party of Indians in the early winter of 1743. The details of that adventure are set forth in an affidavit which McKee made before Governor Thomas in Philadelphia, January 24, 1743.

64In this deposition McKee states he had a store near the Big Island, and that “on the 12th or 13th of this instant, January, about 7 o’clock in the morning, the Indians of the town came to the deponent’s store and told him they had heard the Dead Halloa and were much surprised at it. Whereupon he, with a servant of his, took a canoe and went over to the island, and in his passage heard the Indians belonging to the town call over to those on the island. To which they answered that the white men had killed some of their men. A council was called, and this deponent attended at the Council House and was admitted.”

At the council the leader of the Iroquois war band informed the Shawnee of an attack made upon their war expedition in Virginia, in which four Indians were killed.

McKee addressed the council, reminding them that these disorders had not happened in Pennsylvania, and urged them to press in their council a treaty of peace with Pennsylvania. The Shawnee did not receive the suggestion kindly. A short time after McKee was informed by a white woman, who had been taken prisoner, that it was left with the Shawnee to deal with him as they pleased and that they were going to hold a council concerning him at some distance from the town, and that if he did not escape he would certainly be cut off.

McKee realized the advice was timely and, with his servant, they departed, leaving all his goods behind. The two traveled three days and three nights before they believed themselves out of danger.

Captain Thomas McKee was in command at Fort Hunter in 1756. He died near McKee’s Half Falls, on the eastern side of the Susquehanna, in 1772, leaving two sons, Alexander and James. The former was then at Fort Pitt as an assistant to George Croghan, the deputy Indian agent for the Crown, and where he owned a large tract of land at the mouth of the Chartiers Creek, including McKee’s Rock, still a noted landmark on the Ohio River, just below Pittsburgh. When he deserted from the garrison at Fort Pitt and joined the British in 1777 his possessions in Pennsylvania passed to his brother, whose descendants are still living in Allegheny County.

If the woman Captain Thomas McKee had made his wife was the white captive of the Shawnee, who had been adopted into their tribe, it is not hard to understand why her son, Alexander the renegade, should have inherited a half-savage nature. This would be even more true if his mother was a Shawnee squaw. His adherence to the British Government when the Revolution came, a government which had so long been his paymaster, is less to be wondered at than his temporary defection therefrom during the first two years of the struggle.


65

Work Commenced on Erection of Fort
Henry January 25, 1756

The Provincial authorities in 1755 sent Colonel Benjamin Franklin and others to erect a chain of forts, about ten or twelve miles apart, stretching in a line from the Delaware to the Susquehanna River.

The principal fort on the Lehigh River was Fort Allen, where the town of Weissport, Carbon County, now stands. Fort Swatara was the principal fort on the end of the chain as it approached the Susquehanna, although Fort Hunter was situated on the east bank of that river, about six miles above the present City of Harrisburg.

Fourteen miles east of Fort Swatara was erected Fort Henry, and it soon became the most important place of defense between the two great rivers in this chain of forts.

It is sometimes referred to as Busse’s Fort, in honor of Captain Christian Busse, who commanded the garrison there during its most active period. It was frequently referred to as the “Fort at Deitrick Six’s,” because of the Indian atrocities which occurred there and which had much to do with the decision to erect the fort on part of Six’s farm.

Fort Henry was situated on the main road to Shamokin (now Sunbury), where Fort Augusta commanded the forks of the Susquehanna, and protected the settlers resident on both the north and west branches of that river.

There was no town in the vicinity of Fort Henry, nor did it guard any mountain pass or prominent stream, but it did command the connecting highways between the Swatara Creek and the settlements near that stream. The Indians were obliged to pass through Talihaio Gap to reach any of the white settlements in that region.

The history of Fort Henry really begins with the attack from ambush made on a company of six settlers traveling to Deitrick Six’s, Saturday afternoon, November 15, 1755.

None was killed in the first attack, but as the terrified settlers hastened toward a watch-house, a half mile distant, they were overtaken by the savages and three of them killed and scalped, and one Indian was killed. During the late afternoon three other settlers were killed and three wounded.

The Indians remained in the neighborhood and the following night killed a servant of Thomas Bower and set fire to his house and barn.

Conrad Weiser informed Governor Morris of this tragic affair in a long letter and related this and many other incursions made by the 66Indians in the region now embraced by Berks, Lebanon, Dauphin, and part of Northumberland Counties. Weiser concluded his letter as follows:

“The Fire alarmed a neighbor, who came with two or three more Men; they fired by the way and made a great noise, scared the Indians away from Bower’s House, after they had set fire to it, but by Thomas Bower’s Diligence and Conduct was timely put out again. So, Thos. Bower, with his Family, went off that night to his Neighbor Daniel Schneider, who came to his assistance. By 8 of ye Clock Parties came up from Tulpenhacon & Heidleberg.

“The“The first Party saw four Indians running off. They had some prisoners, whom they scalped immediately; three children lay scalped, yet alive, one died since, the other two are like to do well. Another Party found a woman just expired, with a Male Child by her side, both killed and Scalped. The Woman lay upon her Face, my son Frederick turned her about to see who she might have been and to his and his companions Surprize they found a Babe of about 14 Days old under her, and life was yet in it, and recovered again.

“Upon the whole, there is about 15 killed of our People, Including Men, Women and Children, and the Enemy not beat but scared off. Several Houses and Barns are Burned; I have no true account how many. We are in a dismal Situation, some of this Murder has been committed in Tulpenhacon Township. The People left their Plantation to within 6 or 7 miles of my house (which was located at the present town of Womelsdorf) against another attack.

“Guns and Ammunition is very much wanted here. My Sons have been obliged to part with most of what was sent for the use of the Indians. I pray your Honour will be pleased, if it lies in your Power, to send us up a Quantity upon any Condition. I must stand my Ground or my Neighbours will all go away, and leave their Habitations to be destroyed by the Enemy or our own People. This enough of such melancholy Account for this.”

Conrad Weiser had been on a mission to the seat of government, to which place he had escorted a band of friendly Indians, and it was on his return that he learned of the terrible murders. In fact, the trusted chief Scarouady, also known as the Half-King, and a company of Delaware were still with him at his home when his sons recited the melancholy news.

It is not to be wondered that many of the settlers did not fully understand the exact position which Colonel Weiser held, both toward the Provincial Government and towards the Indians. Both had implicit faith and confidence in him. The angry settlers were so incensed at Weiser that had not the smoke of fire along the mountain scared them off he might have paid the price of his friendship toward the Indians with his own life.

67These atrocities decided the position of Fort Henry, and January 25, 1756, Captain Christian Busse, with a company of fifty provincial soldiers, reported there and began the erection of a fort. Governor Morris advised Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, and Colonel George Washington that he had ordered Fort Henry built at this important place.

It was at Fort Henry where Colonel Weiser held his councils with the officers of the other forts and planned the protection of the farmers during harvest, etc.

During June, 1756, Fort Henry was honored by a visit from Governor Morris, which was occasioned by a threatened attack by the French on Fort Augusta, and at a time when the terms of enlistment of many men had expired.

The Governor directed the movement of troops to the larger fortresses. More than fifty of the inhabitants called at Fort Henry and laid their grievances before the Governor in person.

Soon after this visit the Indians committed many murders. Five children were carried off in one day and a sick man was slain in his bed. His daughter, hidden under a bed in the adjoining room, saw her father killed. Two other families were destroyed.

A French deserter was captured and held at Fort Henry. He was taken to Weiser’s home, and put through the third degree. He proved to be quite clever and nothing of value was learned. He was a lad of seventeen and had been sent from Fort Machault, on the Allegheny River, on a marauding expedition in command of thirty-three Indians, when he accidentally got lost in the mountains and he approached the sentry at Fort Henry, as he had been seven days without food.

June 19, 1757, the Indians carried away the wife of John Frantz and three of their children, who lived only six miles from Fort Henry.

The actual history of Fort Henry, except for the incidents recorded here, was one of routine military work, but it remained a garrisoned fortification for some years, surely until the summer of 1763, for at that time Governor Hamilton wrote to Colonel John Armstrong about disposition of troops for Lancaster, Berks and Northampton Counties, and mentioned Fort Henry as one of the chain of forts then occupied by provincial troops.


68

James Trimble, First Deputy Secretary of the
Commonwealth, Public Servant Sixty-seven
Years, Died January 26, 1837

When James Trimble died at his home in Harrisburg, January 26, 1837, he closed a record of sixty-seven years service as an official of Pennsylvania, a record which none other has ever approached.

Another unusual feature of this record is the fact that Mr. Trimble was the first Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth, beginning his service as such March 6, 1777, and being the only occupant of that important office until his death, nearly sixty years afterwards.

James Trimble was born in Philadelphia, July 19, 1755. His father, Alexander Trimble, emigrated from the North of Ireland; was a Protestant, and soon became a member of the Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, then under the care of Reverend Gilbert Tennent, of whom it is believed he was a relative.

Alexander Trimble was married to Eleanor Rogers, of Abington, June 20, 1754. Alexander died about 1769.

James was the eldest of several children, and though only a lad at the time of his father’s death, he manifested all those qualities of mind and heart for which he was so justly noted throughout a long life devoted to the service of his country.

When his mother was left a widow with a store, James assisted her in the conduct of the business.

One day James Tilghman, Secretary of the Land Office under the Proprietaries, called at the Trimble store and made some purchases. Young Trimble, who waited upon him, also made out his bill, and the great gentleman was so much pleased with his writing and business style that he at once took measures to secure his services in his department. Thus James Trimble at the age of fifteen years became an apprenticed clerk in the Land Office.

The endorsement upon the archives of the Board of War and the Council of Safety indicates that James Trimble was subordinate clerk in the State Council as early as 1775, and when Colonel Timothy Matlack became the first Secretary of the Commonwealth, March 6, 1777, James Trimble became Deputy Secretary, and so continued down to Thursday, January 14, 1837.

Pending some difficulties with the Supreme Executive Council in regard to his accounts of his money trust, Colonel Matlack resigned his 69position as Secretary, and March 25, 1783, General John Armstrong, Jr., was commissioned in his stead.

General Armstrong was elected a member of Congress in 1787, and November 7 of that year Charles Biddle became Secretary. He served in that office until January 19, 1791, when Alexander James Dallas, Esq., was commissioned by Governor Thomas Mifflin the first secretary of the Commonwealth, under the Constitution of 1790.

On March 12, 1791, the very day the Governor approved the Act of Assembly providing for a Deputy Secretary, Mr. Dallas appointed James Trimble, who had served continuously under his several predecessors, to be Deputy Secretary, and the appointment was approved by the Governor.

Secretary Dallas resigned his commission December 2, 1801, when Thomas McKean Thompson succeeded him. Nathaniel B. Boileau became Secretary of the Commonwealth, December 20, 1808, and remained through the three terms of Governor Simon Snyder, when he was succeeded by Thomas Sergeant, December 16, 1817; he resigned July 6, 1819, when Samuel B. Ingham was commissioned; Andrew Gregg took up the reins of office December 19, 1820, serving three years, when Molton C. Rogers became Secretary; he resigned January 2, 1826, to be succeeded by Isaac G. Barnhard, who served less than two years, when Calvin Blythe was commissioned November 28, 1827; Samuel McKean was commissioned December 16, 1829, and was succeeded by James Findley who served until December 15, 1835, when Thomas H. Burrowes became Secretary of the Commonwealth, and in all this time, and with these fifteen changes in the office of Secretary, a commission and dedimus issued regularly every three years to James Trimble as Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth.

His records are models of neatness, his papers elaborately endorsed, and filed with great care, so that in those days of tallow candles, when he was wont to enter his office at night, he could, without striking a light, lay his hands on any paper he wished.

James Trimble was of slight stature, dignified, brisk in his movements and carefully dressed in solemn black knee pants, queue, long hose, and buckle shoes.

When he died, Harrisburg lost its last gentleman of the old school for Alexander Graydon, his peer in dress and address, had gone before.

In the judgment of his contemporaries James Trimble was a faithful public servant, a man of unimpeachable integrity, and obliging manners, and respected by the community at large.

On April 22, 1782, he married Clarissa, widow of John Hastings; her maiden name was Claypoole. She was a descendant of James Claypoole, an intimate of William Penn, and brother to John Claypoole who married Elizabeth, daughter of Oliver Cromwell. Mrs. Trimble died at Lancaster, February 6, 1810. Of their eleven children two only 70survived them—Dr. James Trimble, who died in Huntingdon County, in 1838, and Thomas R., who died in Chester County in 1868.

James Trimble helped pack and remove the State papers at the time the British occupied Philadelphia, and again when the seat of government was removed to Lancaster in 1799, and from Lancaster to Harrisburg in 1812.

After he removed to Harrisburg he was chosen trustee and treasurer of the Presbyterian Church there, in which capacity he served until his death.

That he survived his removal from office only eleven days many believed he died of a broken heart. Truly if such be the case, party spirit must have been at fever heat to cause the removal of such a public servant, without some other position for him.


Great Indian Conference Began in Easton
on January 27, 1777

The year 1777 opened for the colonists with much brighter prospects, as General Washington had defeated the Hessians at Trenton, and close upon this victory followed the action at Princeton, in which many Pennsylvania organizations displayed such valor, but in which General Hugh Mercer and a number of other officers and men fell.

On Monday, January 20, Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson, with about 400 militia, composed of the two Westmoreland independent companies, of Wyoming, Pa., and New Jersey militia, defeated a foraging party of the enemy of an equal number, near a bridge at Millstone River, two miles from Somerset Court House, New Jersey, and took forty wagons and one hundred horses, a large number of sheep and cattle, and some prisoners. General Dickinson lost but five men.

To return to internal affairs: early in January, 1777, Continental Congress received information “that certain tribes of Indians living in the back parts of the country, near the waters of the Susquehanna within the Confederacy and under the protection of the Six Nations, the friends and allies of the United States,” were on their way to Easton for the purpose of holding a conference or treaty with the General Government.

Congress thereupon appointed a commission, consisting of George Taylor, of Easton; George Walton and others to purchase suitable presents for the Indians and conduct a treaty with them. The Assembly of Pennsylvania named Colonels Lowrey and Cunningham, while the Council of Safety sent Colonels Dean and Bull. Thomas Paine was appointed secretary to the commission.

On January 7, a company of Indians arrived at Wilkes-Barre to 71announce the coming of the larger body en route to Easton. About January 15 the main delegation reached Wilkes-Barre. There were seventy men and one hundred women and children in the party.

Among the chiefs were the following: Taasquah, or “King Charles,” of the Cayuga; Tawanah, or “The Big Tree,” of the Seneca; Mytakawha, or “Walking on Foot,” and Kaknah, or “Standing by a Tree,” of the Munsee; Amatincka, or “Raising Anything” of the Nanticoke; Wilakinko, or “King Last Night” of the Conoy, and Thomas Green, whose wife was a Mohawk, as interpreter.

The Indians held an informal conference there and received food from the Wyoming authorities.

The conference was formally opened at Easton, January 27, in the new First (German) Reformed Church, on North Third street. It is said that while the organ played the members of the commission and the Indians shook hands with each other and drank rum to the health of the Congress and the Six Nations and their allies before proceeding to business.

It was soon learned that the English, through the influence of Colonel John Butler, in the King’s service at Niagara, were making a great effort to turn the Indians against the Americans.

In an official report of the treaty, subsequently made to the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, it was stated: “The Indians seem to be inclined to act the wise part with respect to the present dispute. If they are to be relied upon, they mean to be neuter. We have already learnt their good intentions.”

The members of the Supreme Executive Council, chosen under the Constitution of the State, met for the first time March 4, 1777, and proceeded to form an organization and the Council of Safety was dissolved. In joint convention with the Assembly, Thomas Wharton, Jr., was elected president, and George Bryan, vice president. To give new dignity to the executive of the new Government, the inauguration took place on the following day, March 5.

Thomas Wharton, Jr., was born in Philadelphia in 1735. He was descended from an ancient English family and was the grandson of Richard Wharton, who emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1683. His father, Joseph Wharton, of Walnut Grove, was an aristocrat of the day. Thomas Wharton was twice married, first to Susan, daughter of Thomas Lloyd, and subsequently to Elizabeth, daughter of William Fishbourne. He was a warm supporter of the principles of the Revolution, and on the change of government was elected to the highest office in the State.

President Wharton died suddenly May 25 of the following year of an attack of quinsy, at Lancaster. His funeral on the day following was conducted by the State authorities, and as commander-in-chief of the forces of the State he was buried with military honors, and at the request of the vestry was interred within the walls of Trinity Church in 72Lancaster. By his decease, the Vice President, George Bryan, assumed the executive functions.

On March 13 the Supreme Executive Council appointed a navy board, consisting of Andrew Caldwell, Joseph Blewer, Joseph Marsh, Emmanuel Eyre, Robert Ritchie, Paul Cox, Samuel Massey, William Bradford, Thomas Fitzsimmons, Samuel Morris, Jr., and J. Thomas Barclay, to which board was committed all powers necessary for that service. The board entered very promptly upon its duties, meeting with many difficulties, boats out of repair and inefficiently manned, difficulties about rank in the fleet, all of which it succeeded in overcoming.

The same day a Board of War was appointed consisting of David Rittenhouse, Owen Biddle, William Moore, Joseph Dean, Samuel Morris, Sr., Samuel Cadwallader Morris, John Bayard, George Gray and Colonel John Bull. This board served most capably in assisting to carry out the provisions of the new militia law.

The Speaker of the House being seriously ill, John Bayard was chosen Speaker March 17. On the 20th Joseph Reed was appointed Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, but he declined on account of military engagements and on July 28 Thomas McKean was named for that office.

On June 13, the Assembly required all white male inhabitants over eighteen years of age, except in Bedford, Northumberland, and Westmoreland Counties to take an oath of allegiance before July 1, and those in said counties before August 1, excepting, however, delegates in Congress, prisoners of war, officers and soldiers in the Continental army and merchants and marines in port trading from foreign powers and not becoming subjects. Any person refusing should be incapable of holding office, serving on juries, electing or being elected or even bringing lawsuits, or buying or selling lands and as was perfectly reasonable, should be disarmed.

Early in June, General Howe, commander of the British forces at New York, showed a disposition to advance by land across New Jersey, and to take possession of Philadelphia. On the 14th of that month he actually made an advance by two columns, which led General Washington to believe that this was his real intention. General Mifflin again came to Philadelphia with messages to Congress and the Assembly, and there was intrusted to him and De Coudray the arrangements of the defense of the Delaware River.

The same day General Morris appeared before Congress to say that Philadelphia was in danger.


73

Massacre of Settlers Along the Juniata River
Began January 28, 1756

The Delaware Indians, especially those who lived west of the Susquehanna River, were exceedingly angry because of the sale of the lands along the Susquehanna and Juniata to the whites, and declared that those coveted hunting grounds had been given to them (the Delaware) by the Six Nations, and that therefore the latter had no right to sell them.

The Six Nations admitted that they had given the region to their cousins, the Delaware, as a hunting ground, yet they did not hesitate to make the sale to the English in 1754, and to confirm it in 1758.

The Delaware received none of the 400 pounds which had been paid to the Six Nations, and it is little wonder that they sought an opportunity and pretext for that revenge against the English which they dared not show against their ancient conquerors, the Six Nations.

Such an opportunity was presented by General Braddock’s disaster on the Monongahela, July 9, 1755, immediately after which they, with the Shawnee, became the active allies of the French.

Within three months their war parties had crossed the Alleghanies eastward, and had committed atrocities among the frontier settlements.

On October 16 occurred the massacre on Penn’s Creek, in what is now Snyder County, and on the 25th, John Harris’ party was ambushed at Mahanoy Creek.

On January 27, 1756, a party of Indians from Shamokin (now Sunbury) made a foray in the Juniata Valley, first attacking the house of Hugh Mitcheltree, who was absent at Carlisle, having left his house in the care of his wife and a young man named Edward Nicholas. Both of these were killed by the Indians, who then went up the river to the house of Edward Nicholas, Sr., whom they killed, also his wife, and took seven prisoners, namely, Joseph, Thomas and Catherine Nicholas, John Wilcox and the wife and two children of James Armstrong.

The scene of the first of these incursions was on the farm of James Mitcheltree, who was a warrantee in Delaware Township in 1755, and where he died in the early part of 1803. This farm then passed into the hands of John Thompson, and it is still in the hands of his descendants. Hugh Mitcheltree, who escaped death or capture in this foray, was carried off by the Indians two months later, March 29, 1756. The Mitcheltree family lived near the present Thompsontown, Juniata County.

While the Indians were committing the murders at the Mitcheltree and Nicholas homes, an Indian named James Cotties, who wished to be 74captain of the party, but could not be so chosen, took with him a young brave and went to Sherman’s Creek, where they killed William Sheridan and his family, thirteen in number. They then went down the creek to the home of two old men and an elderly woman, named French, whom they killed. Cotties often boasted afterward that he and the boy took more scalps than all the others of the party.

James Cotties, in 1757, went to Fort Hunter and killed a young man named William Martin, while he was busy picking chestnuts. After the war was over, the same Cotties being again at the same fort was reproached by another Indian, named Hambus, for the death of young Martin, and a quarrel ensued in which Hambus killed Cotties.

There are letters extant which give an account of the massacre by the Indians, on the river between Thompsontown and Mexico. They reveal the fact that this was the largest butchery of the whites that ever took place in the east end of Juniata County.

A letter of January 28 proves that Captain James Patterson was with his company at his fort, on the Juniata, the day of the massacres.

Extract from a letter dated Carlisle January 29, 1756, says:

“This afternoon came to town a man that lived on Juniata, who in his journey this way called at the house where the woolcombers lived, about ten miles from this place, and saw at his door a bed-tick, and going into the house found a child lying dead and scalped. This alarmed us much and while we were consulting what to do, we received the enclosed, which puts it past all doubt that the enemy intend to attack Sherman’s Valley or this place. We thought it necessary to acquaint you as soon as possible, not only to hurry you home, but, if thought needful, that the people of York might send over some aid.”

The “enclosed” referred to in the above, was a long letter written by a soldier in the garrison at “Patterson’s Fort, of Juniata,” dated January 28, 1756, in which the fifteen murders of the Wilcox, Nicholas and Armstrong families were explained in all their horrible details, the writer having visited the several places and witnessed for himself the bodies of the victims.

The letter continues:

“The party that went to bury the dead, found one Sheridan and his wife, three children and a man-servant, all murdered; also two others in another house: these within a few miles of Carlisle.

“I am heartily sorry that I must grieve you with an account of a most inhuman murder committed by the Indians at Juniata and Sherman’s Creek on the 27th of last month. Within three miles of Patterson’s Fort was found Adam Nicholson and his wife dead and scalped and his two sons and a daughter carried off; William Wilcock and his wife dead and scalped; Mrs. Hugh Micheltree and son of said Nicholson dead and scalped, with many children, in all about seventeen. The same day one Sheridan, a Quaker, his wife and three children, and a 75servant were killed and scalped, together with one William Hamilton and his wife and daughter and one French, within ten miles of Carlisle, a little beyond Stephen’s Gap.”

On March 24, Captain James Patterson with his scouting party of borderers fell in with a party of Indians on Middle Creek, now Snyder County, attacked them, killed and scalped one and put the rest to flight. On their return, Patterson reported that the country from the forks of the Susquehanna to the Juniata was “swarming with Indians, looking for scalps and plunder, and burning all the houses and destroying all the grain which the fugitive settlers had left in the region.”

The Indians who committed these depredations were of the Delaware Nation; there were no Shawnee among them. They had their headquarters on the North Branch at Nescopeck and Wyoming, and were so incited by the craftiness of the French that they threatened “to break the heads of any of their own race who advised peace with the English.”


John Penn, “The American,” Born in Slate-Roof
House January 29, 1700

When William Penn crossed the ocean in the Canterbury to visit his province in 1699, he came up to Chester, December 1. Two days later Penn reached Philadelphia, and made a formal call upon his deputy, Governor William Markham, and other dignitaries of the town and province.

From Markham’s house Penn proceeded to the Friends’ meeting house at Second and High Streets, and took part in the afternoon meeting, offering a prayer and delivering one of those short incisive addresses in which he was so happy.

Penn was very well received by all classes, says James Logan, who had come out with the Governor and was in constant attendance upon him.

After the meeting was over and the Friends had dispersed to their homes, Penn and his suite went to the house of Edward Shippen, and lived there for a month. About January 14 he took up his residence in the “Slate-Roof House,” which was his home during his sojourn in his province.

On January 29, his son John, known as “The American,” was born. John was the only one of William Penn’s children born in his province.

This old mansion when first built was the largest house in Philadelphia, and better known than any other, not excepting the “Letitia House,” of any place of historic interest connected with William Penn and the city he founded.

76The Slate-Roof House was built on the southeast corner of Second Street and Norris Alley, the site for many years of the Chamber of Commerce. The house was built by Samuel Carpenter, and it stood until 1867.

Besides being the residence of Penn in 1699, James Logan entertained Lord Cornbury there in 1702 and Governor James Hamilton, Mrs. Howell and Mrs. Graydon were successively its occupants, the ladies using it for a boarding house.

Alexander Graydon, who lived there and whose mother was the Desdemona of the pert British officers of the day and kept the place as a boarding house just before the Revolution, describes the old house, “as a singular old-fashioned structure, laid out in the style of a fortification, with abundance of angles, both salient and re-entering. Its two wings projected to the street in the manner of bastions, to which the main building, retreating from sixteen to eighteen feet, served for a curtain. Within it was cut up into a number of apartments and on that account was exceedingly well adapted to the purpose of a lodging house, to which it had long been appropriated.”

The yard or garden was graced with a row of venerable pine trees, and the association of the place gave it a substantial historic interest. It bore much less the look of a fortress than Captain Graydon’s military eye conceived.

The back building was as peaceful looking as the culinary offices should be and the neat little chambers in the so-called bastions were cozy nooks, with chimney places in the corners. The kitchen had a giant pile of chimney, with a great fireplace and the garrets were high and roomy.

This house was built for Samuel Carpenter by James Portens. It was erected about 1698, and William Penn was probably its first occupant.

Samuel Carpenter had built in 1684–85 a house on Front Street, near his wharf and warehouses, and it is likely he lived there after the Slate-Roof House was completed.

Carpenter was a man of great ability and enterprise, accumulating wealth rapidly and doing much to build up the city of his adoption. He married Hannah Hardiman, a Welsh Quakeress and preacher, in 1684, and held many important positions, member of the Assembly, treasurer of the province, etc. He bought large tracts of land, owned numerous vessels, mines, quarries and mill seats, so much property, in fact, that it impoverished him and threw him into serious pecuniary embarrassment, though he was ranked as the richest man in the province.

Samuel Carpenter died in his house on King Street (now Water Street) between Chestnut and Walnut Streets, April 10, 1714, and the Friends Meeting, after his death, said of him that “he was a pattern of humility, patience and self-denial; a man fearing God and 77hating covetousness; much given to hospitality and good works. He was a loving, affectionate husband, tender father, and a faithful friend and brother.”

When Carpenter leased his Slate-Roof House to Penn it was furnished and so occupied until his departure for England, when James Logan moved into it.

The Slate-Roof House was sold in the latter part of 1703 to William Trent, the Iverness miller, who founded and gave his name to Trenton, N. J.

Trent paid £850 for the property. In 1709 he sold it for £900 Pennsylvania currency to Isaac Norris, who occupied it until his removal to Fairhill in 1717.

Logan was very desirous that Penn should buy the house when Trent offered it for sale, and said that it was hard that the Governor did not have the money to spare. “I would give twenty to thirty pounds out of my own pocket, that it were thine, nobody’s but thine,” said honest James.

The Slate-Roof House remained in possession of the Norris family until 1807, when it was bought by the Chamber of Commerce and torn down.

From 1717 onward it seems to have been used as a boarding and lodging house, being in the hands of Mrs. Howell and then of Mrs. Graydon.

General John Forbes, successor to General Edward Braddock, died in the Slate-Roof House in 1759, at which time the house was kept by Mrs. Howell. Baron de Kalb lodged there in 1768–69, when he was the secret agent of France. Sir William Draper, the target of Junius’ sarcasm, lodged there during his visit to the colonies. James Rivington, the Tory printer and publisher, ate and slept there.

It is also reported that John Hancock and George Washington lodged there during the first sessions of the Continental Congress. Baron Steuben, Peter S. Duponceau and others lodged there after the British evacuated Philadelphia.

The Slate-Roof House then became the seat of a boarding school, kept by Madame Berdeau, reputed to be the widow of Dr. Dodd, hanged in London for forgery in 1777.

Then this historic old mansion became a workshop, a general place of business, a tenement house, with shops on the ground floor, which were occupied by tailors, engravers, watch-makers, silversmiths, etc. Under one of the “bastions,” a notable oyster cellar was opened, the resort of the merchants and bankers doing business in that vicinity.


78

Betsy Ross, Who Made First American Flag,
Died January 30, 1836

When Elizabeth Claypoole died at her home in Arch Street, Philadelphia, January 30, 1836, aged eighty-four years, her body was borne to Mount Moriah Cemetery and interred by the side of her husband, who had preceded her in death nearly twenty years. A simple monument records the above facts, but does not tell those of the present generation that this heroine was none other than Betsy Ross.

The school children of today are learning more of the history of our country and its flag, but the story of the woman who made the first American flag is always interesting.

The fact that the flag of our country had its birth in the City of Philadelphia; that it was a patriotic woman of Philadelphia who made the first flag; that it first waved over the United States Congress then in session in Independence Hall, is sufficient incentive for every boy and girl in Pennsylvania to be justly proud.

The story of the flag is told on another day, but the story of how Betsy Ross became associated with it is to be today’s story.

Ever since the Revolution began there was real necessity for an American flag, but there was, however, no national flag authorized by an act of the Continental Congress until June 14, 1777.

The committee appointed by Congress to prepare a design for the new flag consisted of General George Washington, Robert Morris and Colonel George Ross.

Colonel Ross had a relative, Betsy Ross, who lived at 239 Arch Street, and who had previously made flags for the American Army and Navy.

The committee called upon Mrs. Ross, stated their mission, and asked her if she would make a flag such as was ordered by Congress.

“I do not know whether I can, but I’ll try,” was her reply.

The act of Congress did not specify the number of points of the stars, or their arrangement, simply stating: “That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Mrs. Ross suggested that a star of five points would be more distinct, pleasing and appropriative than the six-pointed star which the committee had designed. Folding a piece of white paper, she cut, with a single clip of her scissors, a five-pointed star, and placing it on a blue field, delighted the committee with her taste, ingenuity and judgment.

79The committee decided that the stars, thirteen in number, should be arranged in a circle in a blue field, as the circle is typical of eternity.

So well pleased were the committee with the flag which Betsy Ross made that they authorized her, in the name of Congress, to make the United States flags. Betsy Ross employed many hands to aid her, and made flags for the army, navy and public buildings.

The maiden name of Betsy Ross was Elizabeth Griscom. She was born in Philadelphia in 1752, of Quaker parents. At an early age she married John Ross, son of an English clergyman, an upholsterer. He was a nephew of Colonel George Ross, of Lancaster, one of the signers of the Declaration and one of the leaders of the young republic. Betsy never went back to “Friends’ Meeting,” and was “read out” of meeting for this marriage.

John Ross died soon after his marriage and Mrs. Ross continued the upholstering business at 239 Arch Street, which had once been number 89. This house is still standing, and is one of the most valued of the many historic places in old Philadelphia. It was in this little house, where Betsy Ross, a widow at twenty-five years of age, made the first United States flag.

Betsy Ross was not only noted for her skill with the needle, but quite as well for her piety and patriotism. So widely was her extraordinary skill recognized that she adorned the parlors of the wealthy with draperies, the theatres with curtains, hotels with quilts and even state-rooms of the finest packet boats were fitted up by her. It is also said that she made the handsome ruffled shirt bosoms worn by General Washington, and not a few for other patriots who held high office in the young nation.

At an early date, and before she made United States flags, she made Colonial flags for the army and navy and there is a minute dated May 29, 1777, “an order on William Webb to Elizabeth Ross for fourteen pounds twelve shillings and two pence, for making ships’ colors,” etc.

In time Mrs. Ross married Joseph Ashburn, who was captured on the privateer Luzerene and died a prisoner of war in Mill Prison, England. By this marriage she had two children, Zillah, who died in infancy, and Eliza, who married a Mr. Sullivan. Ashburn sent a farewell message to his wife by a fellow-prisoner, John Claypoole, who later was exchanged for a British prisoner. On reaching Philadelphia he delivered his message and personal effects, and about a year later married Mrs. Elizabeth Ashburn.

In April, 1783, the Stars and Stripes were put to their first national use in the demonstration for peace throughout the new nation. The Flag of Peace was the name given to it in this widespread employment of the ensign.

80Two weeks after this occasion Betsy Ross (Ashburn) and John Claypoole were married.

By this marriage five children were born. One, Clarissa by name, the first child of this marriage, married a Mr. Wilson and succeeded to the business of upholstering and making American flags. Subsequently Mrs. Wilson became a member of the Society of Friends, and relinquished the business of making flags for the United States Army and Navy, and thus after many years, the making of the American flags passed from the house and family of Betsy Ross.

Clarissa was thirty-one years old when her father died from war-inflicted diseases.

After about eighty years of making American flags for the United States Government, the contracts passed from the Ross family, when Clarissa Claypoole Wilson made the following public declarations: “From conscientious motives ceased to furnish flags for military and naval purposes,” and “retired from the business on account of conscientious scruples.”scruples.”

Thus the Ross family discontinued to fill Government contracts a quarter of a century after the death of Betsy Ross.

During all the eighty years women and girls were exclusively employed in making flags, mostly daughters and granddaughters of Betsy Ross and her neighbors, as the work grew in volume.

So the tradition of Betsy Ross, as the maker of the first American flag, known as the Stars and Stripes, has quite as interesting a sequel in the action of her daughter.


Robert Morris, Financier of the Revolution,
Born January 31, 1734

Robert Morris was born in Liverpool, England, January 31, 1734, son of Robert Morris, a nail maker, and grandson of Andrew Morris, who was a seafearingseafearing man of the British Isles.

Robert Morris, Sr., was the Maryland agent of a London tobacco firm. When Robert, Jr., was thirteen years old, his mother having died, he came to America, rejoined his father and was for a time under the tuition of a clergyman and then entered the mercantile firm of Charles and Thomas Willing.

In 1750, Morris, the father, died leaving a small estate. When Robert, the son, reached the age of twenty-one, Charles Willing made him a partner in the business and turned over his own share to his son, Thomas. The firm of Willing & Morris became famous, and soon their trade was extended to Europe and the West Indies. Long before 81the battle drums of the Revolution were heard the two partners became wealthy men and were regarded as among the foremost people of the city.

Willing and Morris were among the merchants who protested against the Stamp Act, and in 1766 Robert Morris was one of the Board of Port Wardens.

As soon as the news of Lexington reached Philadelphia, the Assembly appointed a Committee of Safety. Robert Morris was a member and helped greatly to get powder and firearms, to organize troops and to fortify the Delaware.

The Assembly elected him a member of the Continental Congress and his practical knowledge of ships made him a member of the Naval Committee and the first American Navy was soon launched.

April, 1776, he was specially commissioned to suggest methods and provide plans for procuring money to prosecute the war. No other man in Congress, probably, could have succeeded so well, and he was not relieved from this task while the war lasted.

However reluctantly he subscribed to the Declaration of Independence, when the crucial moment came he risked his fortune and faced beggary for his family and he looked at the gallows for himself as bravely as any of his contemporaries. Other Pennsylvanians who voted against it lost their places, but neither Pennsylvania nor the Colonies could spare Robert Morris.

When Congress in a fright fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore, Morris, with two other men, was left in charge of its affairs and the defense of the capital of the infant republic. The two men who were to assist Morris failed to appear, but Morris stuck faithfully to his post, and he became really the ruler of the city.

When Washington defeated the British at Trenton, the English were surprised but not troubled. They expected Washington’s unpaid army to disband and Morris thought so too. He promised $10 extra pay to each soldier if he would remain six weeks longer, then went to his Quaker friends and on his personal credit borrowed the money and turned the cash over to Washington on New Year’s Day. Hope sprang up again in patriotic hearts.

After the battle of Brandywine there remained no hope of saving Philadelphia. Congress fled once more, this time to Lancaster, then to York. The Liberty Bell was hauled away to Allentown, where it was hidden under the floor of the Zion Reformed Church. The State officials went to Lancaster, and Morris traveled there also.

Morris was not eligible for re-election in 1778, but he worked to supply the army. He turned over a cargo of ninety tons of lead for cartridges at a time when the troops sorely needed them. In 1780 he was again chosen to the Assembly, and a year later was chosen by Congress to be Superintendent of Finance.

82Some persons had wished Alexander Hamilton to take this post, but Hamilton himself proposed Morris. Until the end of the war Morris had power to appoint and dismiss all employes in his own department and could even fix their salaries. No one else connected with the Government possessed such extensive powers.

Morris counseled with Washington the project of transferring his army southward to block Cornwallis. When the troops appeared in Philadelphia, Washington, Count dede Rochambeau and other generals dined with Morris and used his house on Market Street as their headquarters.

During this visit Morris borrowed money which the Count de Rochambeau had brought to pay his own soldiers and gave it to the Americans. He advanced every shilling of his own money and borrowed all he could obtain from his friends.

Robert Morris realized that a national bank was necessary, but few had sufficient confidence to invest in the shares, but just at this time France sent over some hard money, which was landed at Boston. Morris sent two trustworthy men to bring the coins to Philadelphia.

The treasure amounted to half a million dollars. The coins were packed in great oak boxes, which when filled weighed a ton. These chests were set on the axle of a cart and driven by oxenoxen, through country which contained many English troops. After a drive of two months, the coins were safely dragged into Philadelphia. Half the money was used to start the bank, which was chartered December 31, 1781, as the “Bank of North America.”

At the same time the bank opened its doors, Morris reported to Congress that a mint should be established, in which money could be coined of one kind and one standard. The mint was established and has been making coins to this day.

Robert Morris was a member of the convention which framed the Federal Constitution, and he had the pleasure of nominating his friend, General Washington, for presiding officer.

After this Constitution was ratified by the States, Pennsylvania chose Robert Morris and William Maclay as her first two Senators.

Morris owned several magnificent homes, and much desirable real estate, and was regarded as the richest man in America. But he had been too hopeful. Land values did not rise quickly and he and his partners could not sell their properties, nor were they able to pay their debts.

At last the crash came and Morris was sent to prison for debt, February 15, 1798. Close to the prison sat the Congress which, on April 4, 1800, passed the Bankrupt Act, though it was not until August 26, 1801, that Morris regained his liberty. He came out with three millions of debt to be a pensioner on his family.

On May 7, 1806, Robert Morris died and was buried in Christ 83Churchyard. His widow, who survived him twenty-one years, in 1824 received the first private call made by Lafayette in Philadelphia.

It is sad to think that a man who did so much for his country should at last have done so badly for himself. If we had had no Robert Morris there would probably have been no United States. All he had was at the service of America. There was no truer patriot. It was his confidence in the quick growth of the young nation that ruined him. Our country owes a great debt to Robert Morris, the Financier of the Revolution.


84

First Division of Province Into Counties
Begun February 1, 1685

After William Penn had spent nearly two years in his new province and had made a trip of investigation as far interior as the Susquehanna River, held many interviews with Lord Baltimore over the vexed question of boundary, made several treaties with the Indians and placed the government of his province in competent hands, he returned to England, where he arrived during August, 1684.

Charles II died December 12 following, and was succeeded by James, Duke of York, whose accession was greatly dreaded by the Protestants, who apprehended a revival of the persecutions during the reign of Mary. Penn might have taken advantage of these apprehensions to induce more emigrants to settle in Pennsylvania, but he was disinterested and used his influence with the King to grant liberty of conscience to all religionists, and more especially to the Quakers.

Penn stood in high favor with King James long before he ascended the throne, on account of friendship which James had for his father, who had bravely fought under his flag, and this was increased by the son, who by that means succeeded in obtaining from the King’s Council a favorable decree in his dispute with Lord Baltimore over the boundaries of his province.

The lines of separation between the County of Philadelphia and those of Bucks and Chester were confirmed by the Provincial Assembly February 1, 1685.

This was a peculiar situation. Bucks and Chester were laid out with specified boundaries adjoining Philadelphia, and, as a consequence, the County of Philadelphia embraced the whole province between Chester and Bucks and north-northwest and northeast to an indefinite extent. This, of course, meant as far as Penn had purchased the land from the Indians.

During his absence from the province all was not well with William Penn in England or with his followers in the beloved Pennsylvania. Dissensions sprang up between the Legislature and the Executive, and between the members from the territories and those from the province proper, which threatened the loss of all his possessions. Troubles of Penn in America were not all confined to civil affairs, for his religious society was torn with dissension.

In 1685, the Proprietary appointed Nicholas More, a London lawyer, president of the “Free Traders” and a member of the Assembly, to the office of Chief Justice. The Assembly was jealous of its prerogatives and disregarded the fundamental laws of the province in enacting 85statutes without previously publishing them as required to do by the constitution.

Chief Justice More opposed some of the laws of the Assembly, and particularly those which attempted to alter the organization of the courts, and he incurred the enmity of the House, which proceeded to impeach him. He was charged with violence, partiality and negligence, in a cause in which the society of Free Traders was interested. Ten articles were preferred against him, which he refused to answer, though frequently summoned by the Council.

More was saved from conviction by a technicality, but was not protected from punishment. He was expelled from the Assembly, and was interdicted all places of trust by the Council until he should be tried upon the articles of impeachment or give satisfaction to the board. His punishment was not severe because he retained the confidence of the Proprietary.

The anger of the House was extended to Patrick Robinson, clerk of the Provincial Court, who refused to produce the minutes of that court. They voted him to be a public enemy and ordered him into the custody of the Sheriff.

When brought before the House Robinson refused to answer questions and threw himself at full length upon the floor. He was disqualified from holding any office in the province or territories, but this sentence does not seem to have been enforced, for he afterward held the clerkship in the Council and other offices.

Neither More nor Robinson were Quakers. They were charged with enmity to that sect, or, in the language of Penn, “were esteemed the most unquiet and cross to Friends.”

There were other disturbances at this time in the province. John Curtis was charged with “uttering troublesome and dangerous words against the King.”

Charges were made against several officers of the Government for extortion, and gross immoralities were practiced among the lower class of people inhabiting the caves on the banks of the Delaware. These and other things were reported with great exaggeration in England by the enemies of Penn and the Quakers. They prevented emigration and greatly affected the reputation of the Society of Friends and the Proprietary.

In 1686 Penn changed the form of executive government to a board of five commissioners, any three of whom were empowered to act. The board consisted of Thomas Lloyd, Nicholas More, James Claypoole, Robert Turner and John Eckley.

In 1688 the actions of the Assembly were marked by the usual want of unanimity and the objectionable act of laying on its members a solemn injunction of secrecy. This measure was not without an exhibition of undignified violence. Lloyd requested to be relieved from his office, and his request was reluctantly granted, and on his recommendation the 86Proprietary changed the plural executive into a single deputy, and named Captain John Blackwell, formerly an officer of Cromwell, under whom he had earned a distinguished reputation in England and Ireland. He was in New England when he received his commission, dated July 25, 1688.

Governor Blackwell met the Assembly in March, 1689, but through some misunderstanding between him and some of the Council the public affairs were not managed with harmony, and but little was done during his administration, which terminated in December when he returned to England, and the government of the province, according to charter, again devolved upon the Council, with Thomas Lloyd as president.

The revolution in England during 1688, which drove James from the throne, also lost for the Proprietary all his influence at the English court. He was now an object of suspicion. His religious and political principles were misrepresented. He was denounced as a Catholic, a Jesuit of St. Omers, and a self-devoted slave of despotism, and was even charged with conspiracy to restore James. He was freed of all these charges and arranged to again visit his Province of Pennsylvania, and was about to set sail when he was detained by another persecution.

He was charged with being engaged in a conspiracy of the Papists to raise a rebellion, and restore James to the throne. He narrowly escaped arrest on his return from the funeral of George Fox, the celebrated founder of the Society of Friends. Rather than suffer the ordeal of another trial he retired to privacy and his contemplated colony failed and the expense of the outfit was lost.


Governor Pattison’s Administration to Burning
of Capitol, February 2, 1897

In the campaign of 1890 the political conditions in Pennsylvania were somewhat similar to those of the preceding gubernatorial campaign.

Four candidates were again in the field. The Republicans named as their standard bearer George W. Delamater, who defeated Daniel H. Hastings in the convention by eleven votes; former Governor Robert E. Pattison was now eligible to again become a candidate and was promptly nominated by the Democrats, and the Prohibition and Labor parties named John D. Gill and T. P. Rynder as their candidates.

The campaign again revealed great dissatisfaction in the majority party and Pattison was elected for a second time. He was inaugurated on January 20, 1891.

During the month of May, 1891, there occurred great excitement 87by failure of the Keystone and Spring Garden National Banks of Philadelphia. John Bardsley, familiarly known as “Honest John,” was City Treasurer, and a depositor not only of moneys belonging to that city, but also of taxes collected for the Commonwealth.

A few days after the failure of these banks it was found that Bardsley’s losses would make him a defaulter to the city and the State to a large amount. He at once resigned his office, and was as promptly prosecuted for embezzling public funds. On trial, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment and to pay a fine of $237,000.

Ballot reform became one of the leading questions before the Legislature and on June 19, 1891, a reform act was passed, which was known as the “Australian” ballot system, which provided for secrecy in voting.

There were several serious labor disputes during Governor Pattison’s Administration, in the suppression of which it was necessary to use the strong arm of State authority. April 2, 1891, a riot occurred in Westmoreland County in which seven persons were killed and twenty-one wounded. Two regiments of the National Guard were sent to assist the sheriff in restoring peace.

The great labor riots at Homestead occurred early in July, 1892, and on the sixth the sheriff of Allegheny County asked the Governor for militia assistance.

The cause of the trouble here was a reduction of wages in the Carnegie Steel Company, and the officials of the corporation employed armed men to patrol the property and protect the men who accepted the cut in wages and remained at their jobs. A large force of Pinkerton detectives was also employed to assist in this protection. The striking miners attacked those detectives and in the riots a dozen lives were lost.

The militia was not sent on first call for aid, but on July 10, after other riots, Governor Pattison ordered two brigades of the National Guard to Homestead. They arrived there on the morning of July 12. The presence of the troopers overawed the malcontents and peace was immediately restored.

Another riot occurred January 27, 1893, at Mansfield, Allegheny County, which resulted in loss of life and property. In June, 1894, it was necessary to send two regiments of militia into Jefferson County to preserve life and property on account of rioting among foreign miners. There were fifty-three strikes in 1893, and twenty-seven in 1894, all failing in their purpose save three.

The interest in forestry had increased to such an extent that in 1893 a commission on forestry was created by Act of Legislature. William F. Shunk was appointed engineer and Dr. J. F. Rothrock, botanist of the commission.

In 1893, the Legislature appropriated half a million dollars for the erection of a fireproof building on the east side of the Capitol grounds, to be occupied by the State Library and various executive offices.

88In the campaign of 1894, five candidates contested the election for Governor. General Daniel H. Hastings, of Bellefonte, was nominated by the Republicans, William M. Singerly, of Philadelphia, was the Democratic standard bearer, while Charles I. Hawley, Jerome T. Allman and Thomas H. Grundy, represented the Prohibition, People’s and Socialist-Labor parties respectively. The Republicans presented a united front and easily elected General Hastings, who assumed office on January 15, 1895.

The first important change in the Government was the creation of the Superior Court, which was done by an act passed June 24, 1895.

Governor Hastings, June 28, appointed Ex-Governor James A. Beaver, Edward N. Willard, John J. Wickham, Charles E. Rice, Howard J. Reeder, George B. Orlady and Henry J. McCarthy as the original members of the Court, with Charles E. Rice as President Judge. At the ensuing election the six first named and Peter P. Smith were elected for the full term of ten years.

The first vacancy was occasioned by the resignation of Justice Willard, September 1, 1897, and William W. Porter was commissioned September 14; next was the death of Justice John J. Wickham, June 18, 1898, and he was succeeded by William D. Porter, July 6; then Justice Reeder died December 28, 1898, to be succeeded by Dimner Beeber, January 2, 1899, who served only until his successor was elected.

James I. Mitchell was commissioned December 6, 1899, and resigned November 28, 1902, his place being filled by Thomas A. Morrison, December 30, 1902; Justice William W. Porter resigned January 27, 1903, his place being filled by John J. Henderson. John B. Head was elected 1905, and resigned April 12, 1922. John W. Kephart was elected 1913, and resigned January 6, 1919, to become a member of the Supreme Court, his place being filled by the commission of William H. Keller.

Former Governor James A. Beaver died January 31, 1914, and Frank M. Trexler was commissioned February 6. J. Henry Williams succeeded Justice Morrison December 9, 1915; he died October 24, 1919, and was succeeded by William B. Linn, November 5. President Charles E. Rice retired at the end of his term, December, 1915. Justice Head resigned April 12, 1922, and Robert S. Gawthrop was commissioned.

The present court is composed of President Judge George B. Orlady, the only survivor of the original court; William D. Porter, who has served since July 6, 1898; John J. Henderson, who was commissioned March 11, 1903; Frank M. Trexler, William H. Keller, William B. Linn and Robert S. Gawthrop.

The Department of Agriculture was created by act of March 13, 1895, and Thomas J. Edge was commissioned the first Secretary. His 89successors have been John Hamilton, N. B. Critchfield, Charles E. Patton, Frederic Rasmussen and Frank P. Willits, the incumbent.

July 3, 1895, the Legislature authorized the erection of a monument to each Pennsylvania regiment engaged in battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. These were all placed in the proper positions by 1898, and reflect much credit to the State and those who had this patriotic work in charge.

The old Capitol Building was destroyed by fire February 2, 1897. The Governor took immediate steps for the erection of a new Capitol Building and the Legislature promptly authorized a commission to supervise the erection of the same.


Benedict Arnold Arrested for Conduct in
Philadelphia February 3, 1779

When our troops took possession of Philadelphia the day following the evacuation of the British, June 18, 1778, General Benedict Arnold, then flushed with the recent capture of Burgoyne, was sent by General Washington to assume command of the city, and his headquarters were established at Henry Gurney’s.

The autocratic demeanor of Arnold would make it appear as if Philadelphia, appalled at the circumstances, deemed it provident to make no resistance. Arnold, however, to their agreeable surprise, was polite and clever, as were his able aides, Major Franks and Captain Clarkson.

It was here that Arnold entered upon a style of living but ill according with republican simplicity. He issued a proclamation, among other things, to prevent the removal, transfer, or sale of goods or merchandise in possession of the inhabitants belonging to the King of Great Britain.

Arnold prevented even army officers from purchasing while he made purchases on his own account, and then through agents sold them at exorbitant prices.

The first incident in Arnold’s administration which attracted attention to his conduct was his questionable handling of the award of prize money obtained in the capture of the British sloop “Active.”

Having succeeded in ingratiating himself into the good will of the Shippen family, Arnold won the affections of Margaret (“Peggy”) Shippen, the young and accomplished daughter of Edward Shippen, afterward Chief Justice of the State, who became his second wife.

Owing to a recent wound received under circumstances which would alone havehave established a claim to grateful remembrances, had not his subsequent extraordinary defection obliterated his name from the roll of his 90country’s heroes, Arnold during his marriage ceremony was supported by a soldier and when seated his disabled limb was propped upon a camp stool. These wounds may perhaps have made him more interesting to the lovely but unfortunate bride.

At all events, her “hero,” except for his character for extravagance, was at that moment regarded with a share of public favor, if not with any feeling of popular affection. He had rendered “some service to the State,” and was distinguished for gallantry among the bravest of the land.

It is as unjust as vain to urge, as some have done, in palliation of his stupendous crime, the fashionable and expensive propensities of his beautiful and accomplished wife. That she was addicted to displays of wealth inconsistent with the spirit of her time and the condition of public affairs may not with propriety be questioned; but no external influence can move a truly great and honorable mind and heart from a fixed purpose of patriotic or social duty.

When a mob was formed which gave out an intention to assault the house of Hon. James Wilson, which became known as “Fort Wilson,” and assault his person, it was a day of great excitement in Philadelphia. Wilson’s friends gathered around him and prepared to defend him as best they could.

In the meantime, the mob and militia assembled on the commons, while a meeting of the principal citizens took place at the Coffee House. The mob began its march from Arch above Fifth Street. General Arnold came to repress the mob, but he was so unpopular they stoned him.

Arnold’s conduct had given great offense to many of the active supporters of the American cause, which involved him in a quarrel with the authorities of Pennsylvania, and February 3, 1779, the Supreme Executive Council ordered the Attorney General of the State to prosecute General Arnold for illegal and oppressive conduct while in command of the military in Philadelphia. Active among those who urged an investigation of the charges was General Joseph Reed, President of the Council.

A copy of the charges was presented to General Arnold, but he did not care to meet them, and under pretense of attending to his duty, “fled from the inquiry.”

From the camp on the Raritan, whence he had gone, he addressed a letter “To the Publick,” expressing his willingness that Congress should direct a court-martial to inquire into his conduct. The accusations of the Supreme Executive Council were laid before that body, but the trial was delayed and not until January, 1780, was the court-martial held.

Arnold was “convicted of using the public wagons for his own benefit,” but he was acquitted of any corrupt intent and sentenced to be reprimanded by General Washington.

91The verdict exasperated Arnold, who was still further humiliated by the action of Congress on claims preferred by him growing out of the Canadian expedition. His estimate was materially reduced by the Treasury officers, and when Arnold appealed to Congress a committee reported that a larger sum had been allowed him than was really due. Having failed to secure a loan from the French Ambassador, he determined to betray his country for British gold.

The extravagance of Arnold produced the want of money and probably the predilections of the wife for what was splendid in the British army influenced them both to forfeit home and country for a splendid but elusive hope.

It must be remarked of “Peggy” Shippen that she had been the belle of Philadelphia and the standing toast of the British officers while their army was in Philadelphia. She had been brought up in British affections. Her father, Chief Justice Edward Shippen, was biased on that side. Major Andre was intimate in the family, which led to a friendly correspondence between Miss Shippen and him.

After Arnold married her he, of course, became acquainted with that fact, and encouraged its continuance. It was continued, until at last Arnold and Andre opened it more directly between themselves, under the names of Gustavus for the former and John Anderson for the latter.

The failure of Arnold’s scheme to surrender West Point, his flight, the execution of Andre, and the unhappy life of “Peggy” Shippen Arnold are familiar facts of history.

In September, 1780, the populace of the city of Philadelphia were drawn together in great excitement to witness the degradation and burning of Arnold, the traitor, in effigy. His figure, in regimental uniform, was placed on a cart and drawn through the city, to be burned on High Street Hill.

The effigy had two faces and a mask in his left hand. Near him was the devil, in black robes, holding out to him a purse of money. Near them were transparencies of pictures and letters describing his treachery and treason.

The procession began from the rear of St. George’s Methodist Church, in Fourth Street, and was in the following order: Gentlemen on horseback, a line of Continental officers, sundry gentlemen in a line, a guard of the City Infantry. Just before the cart, drums and fifes playing all the way the “Rogues’ March.” Guards on each side of the cart.

The procession was attended with a numerous concourse of people who after expressing their abhorrence of the treason and traitor, committed him to the flames, and left both the effigy and the original to sink into ashes and oblivion.


92

John Penn, Last ProprietaryProprietary Governor, Succeeds
Richard Penn, Who Died
February 4, 1771

Richard Penn, one of the Proprietors, died February 4, 1771, and under the terms of the family settlement, and his own will, Lieutenant Governor John Penn succeeded to Richard Penn’s one-fourth interest in Pennsylvania, and to the legal title of Governor.

On May 4, Governor John Penn embarked for England, when Mr. James Hamilton administered the executive powers of the government as president of council.

Richard Penn, second son of the deceased Proprietary, and previously a member of the Governor’s Council, was appointed by his uncle and brother to be Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties.

He arrived a second time in Pennsylvania on October 6, 1771.

The following May he married Miss Mary Masters, of Philadelphia. She was a lady possessed of sufficient property to make her distinguished husband somewhat independent.

Richard Penn was blessed with a pleasing personality and most charming manners, which, with his genuine desire to keep on intimate and friendly terms with the people, contributed much toward making him the most popular member of the founder’s family.

He had a dispute with his brother, John, concerning his father’s will. He claimed that the manors were not appurtenant to the Proprietorship, but were included in the private real estate directed to be sold for the benefit of the residuary legatees.

Thomas Penn took the side of John, and the two found fault with Richard’s conduct in the government, but the latter defended himself, and spoke of his father’s promise to try to have the family agreement of 1732 dissolved as unfair to his younger children in its stipulation that the Proprietaryship should go to the eldest son, charged only with payments to the widows and younger children of certain sums which had since become entirely disproportionate to the estates.

Governor Richard Penn was superseded in office by his brother, John, who arrived back in the Province in August, 1773.

For a long time Richard did not go near him, and maintained that he had been greatly injured. John offered, as long as he should be governor, to allow him £500 a year, but Richard declared he would not be his brother’s pensioner.

There is a story told that the brothers attended a banquet, sitting 93opposite to each other, on the right and left hand of the head of the feast, but they did not speak to each other during the whole entertainment.

Richard was, in May, 1774, induced to execute a release of his claim, and a reconciliation took place, when John appointed him naval officer, and Richard, accepting the position, called to thank him.

During the administration of John Penn the counties of Northumberland, March 21, 1772, and Westmoreland, February 26, 1773, were erected.

The Connecticut claimants were unusually active at this time and extended their settlements, not only in the Wyoming Valley, but built forts and houses as far east as Shoholy and Lackawaxen, on the Delaware, where the Proprietary had manors, and on the west they seated themselves on the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

He made strenuous efforts to eject the Pennsylvania claimants, but the Provincial authorities succeeded in holding the Yankees in check.

The colony of Connecticut endeavored to have Governor John Penn define a boundary, who would not accede to their demands, but advised the claimants that they should take their dispute before the King and Council, where the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania would appear, and use their best offices toward a final decision.

But this was not the only trouble Governor Penn had to contend with usurpers, for at this very moment the boundary dispute with Virginia claimed his best effort.

This contest was over the western limit of the province, where many settlers, west of the Allegheny Mountains, believed they were the subjects of the government of Virginia. Even George Croghan maintained that the limits of Pennsylvania ended at the Laurel Hill Range. He understood that a degree of longitude meant forty-eight miles only.

But other and darker clouds were appearing above the horizon than those of boundary strips.

The importation of tea had been forbidden by the determined colonists, and but a small quantity had been brought into the country.

Large accumulations had to be disposed of and the owners were determined to unload it on the American market.

On the approach of tea ships pilots refused to conduct them into the harbor. A large cargo landed in Charleston, S. C., was stored in damp cellars, and rotted.

Ships designed for Boston entered that port, but before the tea could be landed, a number of colonists boarded the vessels and emptied the cargo into the sea.

The King and Parliament closed the port of Boston, and the colonists believed that their civil rights were destroyed.

The terms “Whigs” and “Tories” were introduced at this time—the 94former to describe those in sympathy with the cause of Boston, and arrayed on the side of the colonies against Parliament; the latter to designate those whose sympathies were with Great Britain against the colonies.

Throughout the Province of Pennsylvania the warmest interest and most cordial sympathy were manifested for the people of Boston.

Governor Penn declined to convene the Assembly. The Committee of Correspondence for Philadelphia sought the sentiments of the inhabitants, and in a meeting held in the State House, resolutions were adopted which resulted in the great meeting of Provincial deputies in Philadelphia, July 15, 1774, which called upon the colonies to organize a Continental Congress.

Such was the determined stand taken by the people of Pennsylvania, says Sherman Day, who, with loyalty upon their lips, but the spirit of resistance in their hearts, pushed forward the Revolution.


Ole Bull, Founder of Colony in Potter

County, Born February 5, 1810

Several years ago more than one thousand persons from every section of Pennsylvania, and not a few from Southern New York State, journeyed to a most out-of-the-way place up in the wilds of Potter County to do homage to the memory of a great man, and to view the scene of one of the saddest failures in the history of the settlement of our great Commonwealth.

This pilgrimage was to the land of Ole Bull, the great Norwegian violinist, who during his lifetime played before the royal families of Europe and distinguished personages all over the world.

Ole Bornemann Bull was bornborn in Bergen, Norway, February 5, 1810, and in his earliest childhood developed a fondness for music, especially that of a violin.

Ole was destined for the church but failed to pass the necessary examination, and at once decided that he would make music his vocation in life. He became a pupil of Paulsen for a short time, about the only instruction he ever received from a master.

It was upon a visit to Paris that Paganini heard of the youthful genius and saw in him the latent possibility of a great musician. He encouraged him to become a violin virtuoso. His first appearance on the concert stage was with Ernst and Chopin, and he was received with such approval that it was not long before his fame had spread over the entire continent of Europe.

At a time before his talent was appreciated he had become so despondent 95that he attempted suicide by drowning in the river Seine, but was rescued by a young French woman, Alexandriene Felice Villeminot, whom he married in 1836, and with whom he lived happily until her death in 1863.

He married a second time in 1870, taking as his bride Sara C. Thorpe, of Wisconsin. Ole Bull died on the island of Lyso, near his native Bergen, in Norway, August 17, 1880.

Ole Bull first visited the United States in the winter of 1843–44. He had grave doubts of the success of an American tour but was persuaded by friends to come here. His success was instantaneous. He was received with wild acclaim and the financial returns were far beyond his fondest dreams.

He again returned to America in 1852, and it was during this concert tour that he went to Williamsport and played before a vast audience, when the newspapers of that time wrote of him as “an attractive figure with gold snuff box, diamond-studded buttons in his shirt and his fingers almost covered with rings.”

Certainly a fastidious personage and one with such talent could not fail his audiences. The bow with which he produced such perfect melody contained a large diamond setting which sparkled as he drew it across the strings.

During his trip to Williamsport Ole Bull was entertained in the home of John F. Cowan, and the attention of the great violinist was called to certain tracts of land owned by Cowan situated in Abbott and Stewardson Townships, Potter County, and the great advantages of this location for colonization purposes, which so impressed Bull that he visited the site and noting a striking resemblance to his native Norway, decided at once to found a colony of his countrymen at this spot on the headwaters of Kettle Creek.

The following year about thirty of his countrymen, forming the advance guard, arrived in this country and proceeded to their new home in the wilderness. These adventurers were not of the ordinary immigrant class, but persons of culture and refinement, many being musicians of repute.

Ten days following the arrival of the first settlers, 105 other colonists joined them and settled in one of the four villages. These brought a minister and religious services were begun the first Sunday following.

The first difficulty encountered by these new arrivals was the transportation of their personal effects, which could only be hauled by wagon and then under the worst conditions imaginable.

Ole Bull’s colonization scheme attracted much attention, and friends and admirers of his contributed stock, machinery and farming implements. Among those who thus offered encouragement was Henry Clay, of Kentucky, who gave blooded horses and cattle, descendants of which are still among those in use in Potter County.

96Four villages were laid out: Oleona, named in honor of Ole Bull; New Norway, New Bergen and Walhalla. Sixteen houses were soon under construction at Oleona, all finished within a year.

Ole Bull soon after his arrival selected a site for his castle and garden. Soon as the spot was determined upon, a flag pole of beautiful straight pine was cut, trimmed and placed. By arrangement the name by which the town was to be known was to be pronounced as the flag was unfurled to the mountain breeze; “Oleona” was the name of the home of the Norwegians. Thirty-one cheers, one for each State, were given and three long ones for Ole Bull.

The evening was one of rejoicing and celebration. Bonfires were burning everywhere. Ole Bull made an address and then, taking his violin, played an anthem suitable to the occasion. At the conclusion of the hymn of liberty of old Norway, a gentleman representing the State of Pennsylvania, stepped forward and welcomed Ole Bull and the Norwegians to the United States of America, and to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Old Bull turned his attention to the erection of his castle, which was built on a high eminence, about 200 feet above the valley below. From this site he could view every part of his colony. A great retaining wall was built at its base, extending one hundred and twenty feet in length and rising to a height of sixteen feet. This wall gave to the place the appearance of a large fortress and resembled some ancient castle of the old world.

A broad road was constructed leading up to the castle, which was broad enough to drive three teams abreast.

Any one familiar with the conditions these colonists had to face, in an almost unbroken wilderness, far from any base of supplies with little money and less business sagacity, can realize that the colony was doomed to failure the very day it started. Bull was compelled to abandon his project with the loss of his wealth, and again play in concert to recoup his fortune.

Ole Bull was a musical genius, but building five cities in the wilds of Potter County was a different thing than playing Beethoven’s Eighth Sonata on a violin. He could move audiences but not mountains.

The title of the lands he bought was defective, and, while it has been charged that he was defrauded by Cowan, there is no evidence to substantiate that. Cowan took back the property and refunded Bull the purchase money.

The castle was never fully completed and never occupied by Bull. The doors and windows were never put in place, and soon after this breaking up of the colony the building began to fall into decay until all that now remains are the cellar and retaining wall.

Ole Bull never again visited the scene of his visionary paradise, but his name is still perpetuated in the town of Oleona.


97

Dr. Joseph Priestley, Discoverer of Oxygen,
Died at Northumberland February 6, 1804

Dr. Joseph Priestley was born near Leeds in Yorkshire, England, March 13, 1733. He died at Northumberland, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1804.

Joseph was the youngest of nine children. His father and grandfather were prosperous cloth makers, employing, for that age, a large force of workmen. From his parents, who were strict Calvinists, Joseph inherited a deeply religious nature. He attended the school of the neighborhood and at eleven had read most of the Latin authors, and in a few years had made considerable progress in Greek and Hebrew, with some knowledge of Chaldee, Syrian and Arabic.

He began to experiment at the age of eleven, when he selected spiders and insects and placed them in bottles to ascertain how long they could live without fresh air.

A few years later he made “electrifying machines,” and a kite of fine silk, six feet wide, which he could take apart and carry in his pocket. The string was composed of thirty-six threads and a wire, similar to that used by Dr. Franklin, in Philadelphia, to “bring electric fire from the clouds.”

At nineteen, Priestley was sent to Daventry, where he embraced the heterodox side of almost every question, as he afterwards wrote of his three years at Daventry: “In my time the academy was in a state peculiarly favorable to the serious pursuits of truth, and the students were about equally divided upon every question of much importance, such as ‘Liberty and Necessity,’ the ‘Sleep of the Soul’ and all the articles of theological orthodoxy and heresy.”

After leaving Daventry, he preached for three years to a dissenting congregation at Needham. In 1761 he was a professor at Warrington Academy. While here he published several of his books and made such experiments in electricity and “fixed air,” that the results began to be noised abroad. He married, while at Warrington, a daughter of a wealthy iron manufacturer, a Mr. Wilkinson.

In one of his visits to London he met Benjamin Franklin. He became a member of a famous club which met at the London Coffee House, and here he interested Franklin in his experiments, and they became the closest friends. Both became members of the Royal Society and both in turn received its highest honor, the Copley medal. Each obtained from Edinburgh University the degree LL. D. Oxford conferred a like degree upon Franklin, while for a space of a century it ignored his heretical friend.

98In 1860 a statue of Dr. Priestley was erected at Oxford by Prince Albert, afterward King Edward.

Franklin wrote to Priestley, in 1777: “I rejoice to hear of your continual progress in those useful discoveries. I find you have set all the philosophers of Europe at work upon fixed air (carbonic acid gas); and it is with great pleasure I observe how high you stand in their opinion, for I enjoy my friend’s fame as my own.”

When Franklin was in France during the closing days of the Revolution, Priestley was there pursuing literary work. He was afterward made a citizen and offered a seat in the National Assembly.

Shortly before the American Revolution, Priestley wrote anonymously three pamphlets in defense of the colonies. His influence was potent.

Dr. Priestley announced his discovery of “dephlogisticated air” (oxygen) in 1774, to a large assemblage of philosophers who were dining at the house of M. Lavoisier in Paris. This was man’s first introduction to the mighty element that makes one-fifth of the atmosphere in volume and eight-ninths of the ocean by weight, besides forming one-half of the earth’s solid crust and supporting all fire and all life.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Priestley did not have a biographer worthy the name, for his life is full of dramatic incidents, scientific attainment, learning and human interest.

We find him the central figure in the great gatherings of that day, receiving the highest honors of his own and other Governments, and, when the tide turned, denounced, persecuted, the victim of the mob, home and library burned and pillaged. Through all the changes of this eventful life we find him the same able, earnest, fearless and cheerful spirit to the end.

Dr. Priestley, disregarding the warning of David Hume, and against the wishes of his philosophic friends, took up the cause of liberty in religion. In his letters he makes a strong appeal for Christianity. His desire was to revive in France and England the simple spiritual communion of the early church.

He published many works upon his religious views which made him the most hated man in England. He was everywhere detested. The streets of London were strewn with scurrilous handbills and caricatures of him. Even his fellow associates in the Royal Society turned their backs upon him.

But it must be remembered that the men, at home and abroad, who opposed Priestley’s doctrines, were the very men who honored him as a man.

At Birmingham, in 1791, the last great religious riot in England occurred. It is often spoken of today as “Priestley’s Riots,” for the doctor was the chief object of the mobs.

It was during a celebration on the anniversary of the fall of the 99Bastille, at which Dr. Priestley was not present, that the cry of the mob was “Church and King.” Dr. Priestley had favored the agitation, then rife in Birmingham, for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. The mob suddenly marched toward his home and Dr. and Mrs. Priestley, who were playing a game of backgammon, barely succeeded in escaping. The doctor was pursued for several days and his life threatened.

The mob vented its rage by pillaging Priestley’s house and tearing it to pieces. The rioters made a pyre of his furniture, manuscripts, priceless apparatus, a library of 30,000 volumes, his private correspondence, and his diaries, and all were destroyed by fire.

In 1794 Dr. Priestley came to America and settled at Northumberland, Pa. Here he erected a fine house and laboratory, and resumed his experiments, which resulted in the discovery of three new gases. Here he wrote many books.

Dr. Priestley made trips to Philadelphia, where he lectured on historical and religious subjects, founding, in 1796, the first Unitarian Church in that city.

The University of Pennsylvania offered him the chair of chemistry, and afterward its presidency, but he preferred the quiet of his home at the “Forks of the Susquehanna.”

In 1874 the chemists of America met at Northumberland to celebrate at the grave of Dr. Priestley the centennial of his great discovery. Messages were flashed across the Atlantic to chemists who met the same day at Birmingham to unveil a colossal statuestatue of the man whom that city had, eighty years before, driven from the streets, and burned his home and possessions.

Dr. Joseph Priestley was one of the most distinguished adopted citizens of our great State.


Western Boundary in Dispute—Jail at| Hannastown Stormed FebruaryFebruary 7, 1775

Virginia, by virtue of her “sea-to-sea” charter, made an indefinite claim to all lands west and northwest of her coast line. She therefore held that the region about the forks of the Ohio belonged to her. Accordingly, in 1749, the Ohio Land Company obtained from King George II a grant of half a million acres on the branches of the Ohio. The object was to form a barrier against the French and to establish trade with the Indians.

Christopher Gist was sent to explore the country, and, with eleven other families, he settled within the present limits of Fayette County.

100A fort was begun in 1754 on the present site of Pittsburgh, but the French captured the Virginians, finished the fort and named it Fort Duquesne. In November, 1758, General John Forbes captured the fort from the French. It was rebuilt and named Fort Pitt.

Before 1758 the western part of Pennsylvania could be approached from the east only by the route of the Juniata and the Kiskiminitas. In that year Forbes finished as far as Loyalhanna the road previously begun from Fort Loudon by way of Bedford. Many Scotch-Irish settlers seated themselves in the Ligonier Valley at Hannastown, and about the forks of the Ohio, and, with settlers from Maryland and Virginia, they possessed the land in comparative quiet until Pontiac’s War.

Pittsburgh, begun in 1760, was cut off from communication during Pontiac’s conspiracy, and had it not have been for Colonel Bouquet’s victory over the savages at Busby Run in 1764 it might have been entirely destroyed.

The growth of Pittsburgh was slow. England after the French and Indian War had forbidden colonists to settle west of the headwaters of the rivers in the Atlantic basin, and the settlers on Redstone Creek and the Cheat River were at one time driven off by the same British proclamation. A law was passed by the Assembly of Pennsylvania which imposed a death penalty, without benefit of clergy, for trespassing upon lands not purchased from the Indians.

But the continued accession of emigrants into this region made it necessary to erect a new county, and the General Assembly, February 26, 1773, established Westmoreland County, which included all of the southwestern portion of the province west of Laurel Hill. Robert Hanna’s settlement, on the old Forbes road near the present site of Greensburg, was made the county seat and named Hannastown.

When Virginia saw that Pennsylvania was extending jurisdiction over the forks of the Ohio she renewed her claims to that country.

The Earl of Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, asserted that Pittsburgh was outside the limits of Pennsylvania. In this contention he was supported by Colonel George Croghan and many others, who believed that the five degrees of longitude which were to be the extent westward of Pennsylvania placed the Monongahela beyond the limits of that province. Croghan maintained that the limits were at the Alleghenies or Laurel Hill Range, “having heard, among other things, that a degree of longitude at the time of the charter of William Penn meant forty-eight miles.”

At the close of 1773 Governor Dunmore appointed Dr. John Connelly, a Pennsylvanian, as commandant of the militia of Pittsburgh. He took possession of Fort Pitt and changed its name to Fort Dunmore.

Connelly defied Pennsylvania authority and commanded all the people to appear as a militia under the authority of Lord Dunmore.

Arthur St. Clair, Prothonotary, Clerk, and Recorder of Westmoreland 101County, had Connelly arrested and bound over to keep the peace. St. Clair reported his actions to Governor Penn, who sent to Lord Dunmore a draught of the lines of Pennsylvania as surveyed by David Rittenhouse, William Smith and Surveyor General John Lukens, showing that Pittsburgh was east of the westernmost limit of the grant to the Proprietaries.

Dunmore demanded better evidence and that St. Clair should be dismissed from office for committing Dr. Connelly to jail.

A large company paraded in arms through the streets of Pittsburgh, and opened a cask of rum. St. Clair issued an order for them to disperse.

The Sheriff allowed Connelly to go to Pittsburgh under promise to return. He traveled about collecting adherents, and on the day he was to return he appeared before the Hannastown court house at the head of 200 men, all armed and colors flying. He placed sentinels at the door and kept the magistrates from entering unless they agreed to act under Virginia authority, and he demanded their decision in writing.

The magistrates declared they would continue to act under authority of Pennsylvania, when Connelly, a few days later, had them arrested and brought before him in Pittsburgh. When they refused to give bail, he sent them to the court of Augusta County, at Staunton, Va.

Governor Penn advised the three magistrates to get bail, but sent the Attorney General of Pennsylvania and James Tilghman, as commissioners to induce Lord Dunmore to join with the Proprietaries in a petition to the King to have the boundary line run and marked, and in the meantime to agree to a temporary line of jurisdiction, suggesting that the Monongahela River would answer for a line.

The application to the King was consented to, but the boundary was not agreed upon.

The adherents of Virginia increased in strength at Pittsburgh, and it became impossible to collect taxes imposed by Pennsylvania. How these troubles would have ended is unforeseen, for during the latter part of 1774, the attention of all the western frontier was turned to the Indian invasion, since known as Dunmore’s War.

While this war was confined to the western border of Virginia, the inhabitants of Westmoreland County organized, under command of St. Clair, assisted by Colonels Proctor and Lochrey and Captain James Smith, and put the frontier in a state of defense.

On February 7, 1775, by order of a Virginia magistrate, a man named Benjamin Harrison with an armed party broke open the jail at Hannastown and set free the prisoners. Robert Hanna, who was a magistrate, read to them the riot act, but Harrison said he did not regard that act, or those who read it, or those who made it. Two weeks later Hanna and another magistrate, James Cavett, were arrested and confined in Fort Dunmore, where they remained for months.

The controversy got into Congress, but the Revolution brought 102about a more amicable feeling, and by 1779 the Virginians and Pennsylvanians agreed to a settlement.

A commission surveyed the boundary by extending the Mason and Dixon’s line to its western limit of five degrees. There a meridian was drawn as far north as the Ohio.

Ceding her western lands, north of the Ohio to Congress in 1784, Virginia had no further interest in the boundary and the next year Pennsylvania alone extended the meridian to Lake Erie.

After the Revolution, affairs in Western Pennsylvania were generally peaceful.


First Members of Susquehanna Company
Settle in Wyoming, February 8, 1769

The Proprietaries of Pennsylvania, determined to hold possession of lands in the Wyoming Valley, which were claimed by the Connecticut settlers, sent Captain Amos Ogden, John Anderson, Charles Stewart, Alexander Patterson, John Jennings and several other Pennsylvanians and New Jerseymen into that section with the intention of becoming lessees or purchasers of the proprietary lands at Wyoming.

They established themselves on Mill Creek, December, 1768, where they erected a small fort or blockhouse, this settlement being within the Manor of Stoke, which had been located and surveyed for the Proprietaries December 9 of that year.

The Susquehanna Company, which had been organized at Windham, Conn., July 18, 1753, determined to take possession formally of the lands located at Wyoming, purchased by them from the Indians at Albany. The first forty settlers under this company arrived at Wyoming February 8, 1769. A large body, led by Major John Durkee, with authority from the Susquehanna Company, arrived at Wyoming from Connecticut and New York May 12, 1769. They immediately began the erection of about twenty substantial and commodious one-story log cabins. A few days later 150 additional settlers arrived.

The Connecticut settlers finished the erection of their first twenty-five cabins by May 20 and a week later began the erection of the stockade to surround them, which, when completed, they named “Fort Durkee,” in honor of their leader, Major John Durkee.

Governor John Penn was immediately advised of the arrival of the Connecticut settlers, and he at once planned to discourage their permanent location and directed letters to Colonel Turbutt Francis, then in command of the small garrison of provincial troops stationed at Fort Augusta, and to John Jennings, of Bethlehem, Sheriff of Northampton 103County. These letters urged them to discourage unlawful settlements, but to use force, if necessary, to drive them off.

May 24 Sheriff Jennings arrived at Wyoming and read the Governor’s proclamation to the “intruders.”

An exciting occurrence took place when “Colonel Turbut Francis, commanding a fine company from the city (Philadelphia), in full military array, with colors streaming and martial music, descended into the plain and sat down before Fort Durkee about the 20th of June, but finding the Yankees too strongly fortified, returned to await re-enforcements below the mountains.”

Another version of the affair is: “June 22 Colonel Francis, with sixty men, in a hostile manner demanded a surrender of our houses and possessions. He embodied his forces within thirty or forty rods of their (the settlers) dwelling, threatened to fire their houses and kill our people unless they surrendered and quitted their possessions, which they refused to do; and after many terrible threatenings by him he withdrew.”

Soon as Major Durkee, who had been in Easton on court business, returned to Wyoming and learned of the hostile demonstration of Colonel Francis and his small force he set about to strengthen the defenses of Fort Durkee. It was at this time, July 1, 1769, that the major compounded and originated the almost unique name “Wilkes-Barre” and bestowed it upon the settlement and territory at and immediately adjacent to Fort Durkee.

Governor Penn was fully aware that the Yankees were determined to keep possession of the lands upon which they were settled, and on August 24, 1769, wrote to Colonel Francis at Fort Augusta, directing him to raise an expedition to assist the Sheriff of Northampton County in executing the King’s writ, and concluded as follows: “It is hoped you will be able to procure the people to go without pay, as they have already manifested a very good disposition to bring the intruders to justice.”

The attempt to serve these writs in September, 1769, precipitated the first of the so-called Pennamite-Yankee Wars. The Sheriff approached a number of the settlers at work, and they were attacked by men of his posse under the command of Amos and Nathan Ogden, and “several of the settlers were beat and wounded.” This action and its results may be understood from a letter written to Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut:

“In September Amos and Nathan Ogden, with twenty-six others armed with pistols and clubs, assaulted and wounded sundry of our people, whereby their lives were endangered. The same month thirteen of our people in three canoes loaded with wheat and flour, about sixty miles below Wyoming, were met and robbed of their canoes and loading by thirty armed men who came from Fort Augusta, about one-half mile away.

104“In the same month came the trial of many of our men at Easton; the charge against them was riot. * * * In the course of the trial challenge was made to a juryman for having some time before expressed an opinion openly against our people; but neither that nor any other exception would prevail. The jury were treated with wine by the King’s attorney before verdict, which verdict was brought in against the prisoners, and they condemned them to pay a fine of £10 each, with large costs, in which was included the cost of the wine the jury were treated with.”

Some paid the fine, others were imprisoned. These later escaped from jail at Easton September 24, and a reward of £60 was offered by the sheriff for their apprehension. None of the twelve was captured, for they all fled to Connecticut.

Another skirmish took place in November, 1769, between the Yankee settlers at Fort Durkee and a small party of Pennsylvanians under the command of the Ogdens.

On the afternoon of November 11 Captain Ogden, apprised of the approach of Sheriff Jennings and his “posse comitatus,” gathered together his whole force of Pennamites, numbering about forty, and dashed rapidly and unexpectedly on a small party of Yankees, among whom was Major Durkee, and captured them.

Captain Ogden, also a justice of the peace, prepared legal papers for the commitment of Major Durkee in the city jail at Philadelphia, shackled him with irons and sent him under heavy escort to Philadelphia, where he was imprisoned. Emboldened by their success, Ogden and his men that night surrounded Fort Durkee and fired upon the men within.

Sheriff Jennings and his posse arrived upon the scene the next morning (Sunday) and paraded the whole body of Pennamites, about 200 in number, before Fort Durkee. While Jennings was carrying on a parley with the Yankee garrison, Ogden and a party drove off all the horses and cattle belonging to the Yankees.

The following day the Pennamites assembled in front of Fort Durkee, where they threw up breastworks, upon which they mounted a four-pounder brought from Fort Augusta. They demanded the surrender of the fort, or its destruction. Deprived of their commander and having nothing but rifles, the Yankees agreed to sign articles of capitulation.

By the terms of this agreement all but fourteen of the settlers were to leave the region within three days; the others were allowed to remain and live at Fort Durkee until His Majesty’s decree should determine who had proper title to the lands at Wyoming.

Ogden and his men, however, starved out the fourteen settlers who remained, and in a short time they were compelled to follow their companions in exile.


105

John Penn, Last of Proprietary Governors,
Died February 9, 1795

John Penn, son of Richard, and grandson of William Penn, the founder, arrived in Philadelphia October 30, 1763, and assumed the duties of Deputy Governor.

John was the eldest son of Richard, and was born in England in 1728. At the age of twenty-five, he first visited the Province of Pennsylvania, and ten years later, he came bearing the commission of Deputy Governor. The day he arrived to assume his office was on Sunday, and was marked by the shock of an earthquake, which the superstitious interpreted as an evil omen to his administration.

At the time of his appointment as Governor, his father was proprietor of one-third of the Province, and his uncle, Thomas, of two-thirds, the latter having inherited the share of John, the oldest of the three original proprietors, upon the occasion of his death in 1746.

When John Penn arrived as Deputy Governor he was received with great demonstrations of respect, and many entertainments were given in his honor, one of which was a civic feast which cost £203 17s.

The administration of John Penn began when the Province was in the throes of the terrible Pontiac War, and the condition along the frontier was deplorable. The “Paxtang Boys” soon thereafter murdered the Moravian Indians in the work house at Conestoga, and Governor Penn issued several proclamations, offering rewards for the chief actors in that affair.

On July 7, 1765, Governor Penn again declared war against the Shawnee and Delaware Indians, and sent Colonel Bouquet to Fort Pitt, who subdued the savages.

On March 22, 1765, the obnoxious Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament, and the real troubles for Governor Penn began in earnest. This in addition to the long controversy with the Government of Connecticut over the claims of the Susquehanna Company for lands in the Susquehanna Valley.

Early in 1771 Governor Penn was called to England by the death of his father, leaving the government of the Province in the hands of the Council, of which James Hamilton was President, who thus for the third time became in effect Governor.

On October 17, 1771, Richard Penn, second son of the late Richard, arrived in the Province, bearing the commission of Lieutenant Governor. His administration was marked by the troubles with the Connecticut 106settlers, which extended throughout his administration, a little less than two years.

He was well fitted by nature and education to serve as Governor and when his commission was unexpectedly revoked August 30, 1773, there was much genuine regret among the people of the Province.

In May, 1772, he married Miss Mary Masters, of Philadelphia, and on being superseded as Governor, he became a member of Council.

A few months later the merchants presented him with an address and invited him to dine with them. He had acted with prudence and manliness in difficult times, and the people believed in him.

Governor John Penn was present at the dinner. Robert Morris, who presided, placed one on his right and the other on his left, but the brothers did not speak. Richard had been deprived of his office without cause and he resented it. However, Richard was induced to execute in May, 1774, a release of his claim, and a reconciliation took place when John appointed him naval officer, and Richard, accepting the position, called to thank him.

Richard was intimate with members of the Continental Congress and when, in 1775, he returned to England, he was intrusted with the last petition from the Colonies ever presented to the King. He was examined respecting American affairs at the bar of the House of Lords and gave testimony so favorable to the Colonial cause that he incurred the displeasure of the Peers.

Upon the death of his father, February 4, 1771, Governor John Penn inherited the one-third of the Proprietary interest.

Soon after John Penn again assumed the gubernatorial powers his attention was directed to Indian hostilities on the western border of the Province. Then soon came the harsh measures adopted by Parliament toward the Massachusetts Colony, especially toward the town of Boston.

A public meeting was held in Philadelphia, but the Governor refused to convene the Assembly, and another meeting was held, at which nearly 8000 persons were present and John Dickinson and Thomas Willing presided.

The outcome of these meetings was a movement to urge the convening of a Continental Congress and committees to that end were appointed. The first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, September 4, 1774.

Without manifesting partisan zeal, Governor Penn was believed to sympathize with the Colonies, though he mildly remonstrated against the system of congressional rather than Colonial action.

During the stirring times of the early days of the Revolution, Governor Penn was only a witness to the proceedings in the province he claimed as his own.

On September 28, 1776, the Assembly, which had existed for nearly a century under the organic law of William Penn, ceased to exist, 107and John Penn was shorn of his power as Proprietary Governor of Pennsylvania.

After he was superseded in authority by the Supreme Executive Council, he seems to have submitted gracefully to the progress of events, which he found himself unable to control, and remained during the Revolution a quiet spectator of the long struggle without manifesting any particular interest in its result.

He married Anne Allen, daughter of William Allen, Chief Justice of the province.

In person he is described as of middle size, reserved in manners and very nearsighted.

When Howe sailed with his army from New York to make a mighty effort to end the Revolution by capturing Philadelphia, the Continental Congress, July 31, 1777, recommended to the Government of Pennsylvania to make prisoners of such of the Crown and proprietary officers as were disaffected.

Accordingly a warrant was made out for the apprehension of the former Governor, John Penn, and his Chief Justice, Benjamin Chew. Some of the City Troop made the arrest.

Both Penn and Chew refused to sign any parole, and they were taken to Fredericksburg, Va., under care of an officer and six of the troopers. They were soon paroled and resided at the Union Iron Works until May 15, 1778, when Congress discharged them from their parole.

Penn continued to reside in Bucks County, where he died February 9, 1795. He was buried in the aisle of Christ Church in front of the chancel, nineteen feet from the north wall. He was sixty-seven years old.


Munley and McAllister, Mollie Maguires,
Arrested for Murder of Thomas Sanger
and William Uren, February

10, 1876

Thomas Munley and Charles McAllister were arrested February 10, 1876, charged with the murder of Thomas Sanger and William Uren, at Raven’s Run, near Ashland, Wednesday, September 1, 1875.

These two Mollie Maguires were brought to trial in June 1876, at Pottsville. Munley was tried first, before Judge D. B. Green, and a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree was returned July 12.

108It was in this case that Hon. Franklin B. Gowen, assisting the prosecution, made his memorable address against the Mollie Maguires.

To return to the crime, which followed in two weeks the murders of Gomer James and Squire Gwyther.

Facts brought to light by James McParlan, the Pinkerton detective, who joined the Mollies under the name of James McKenna and lived among them until he collected sufficient evidence to send so many to the gallows that they ceased to function as an organization, are as follows:

On the eventful morning, Hiram Beninger, a carpenter connected with the colliery owned by Heaton & Company, near Ashland, was on his way to work, when he noticed two strangers sitting on some lumber near the carpenter shop, but such being a common occurrence he passed by, but remembered their personal appearance. John Nicolls noticed three strangers resting on some idle trucks as he passed by to enter the colliery, one of whom addressed him, when he returned the salutation and almost immediately noticed the two others, where the carpenter found them. He also remembered how they were dressed, and the fact that they spoke to him, he could recall many details in their clothing and personal appearance.

About fifteen minutes afterward Thomas Sanger, a boss in Heaton & Company’s colliery, accompanied by William Uren, a miner, who boarded in his family and who was employed in the same mine, came along the road, carrying their dinner pails in their hands.

Sanger was a man greatly respected by his employes and neighbors, about thirty-three years of age, and while he had long been in the employ of the firm, he had failed to make any enemies, excepting among the Mollies. He had been several times threatened, but more recently believed the anger of his organized enemies was buried, forgotten, or appeased. This proved to be a great mistake.

Sanger and his companion had not gone far from the Sanger home, when they were both fired upon and both mortally wounded, by the same strange men noticed by the carpenter and Nicolls.

Beninger heard the shots, and rushed out of the shop, and saw Mr. Robert Heaton, one of the proprietors of the colliery, firing his pistol at and running after two of the murderers.

Two of the five assassins at this moment stopped in the flight, turned and fired their revolvers at Heaton, but without hitting him. Mr. Heaton boldly stood his ground and continued to empty his revolver at the strangers.

The five men then quickly turned and ran up the mountains. Heaton followed and when opportunity offered he continued to fire at them, but apparently none was wounded.

It was this dogged and determined courage of Mr. Heaton which made him a marked man for the nefarious organization of murderers, 109and which eventually drove him from the coal regions to reside elsewhere.

Had any of the others who witnessed the exchange of shots between Mr. Heaton and the Mollies been armed and helped in the uneven chase, some of them might have been killed or captured.

The assassins made good their escape in the timber and bushes of the mountains.

Both Sanger and Uren were removed to the home of a neighbor named Wheevil, where every attention was given them. Mrs. Sanger soon arrived and almost immediately that a physician came into the house Sanger expired. Uren, who had been shot in the right groin, about same place as Sanger had been hit, lingered until next day, when he died. Neither man retained consciousness long enough to give any coherent description of the manner in which they had been attacked.

Mr. Heaton was eating his breakfast when he heard the firing, and at once his mind reverted to the men he had seen sitting by the carpenter shop. He seized his pistol and ran out of the house. He first saw Sanger, groaning on the ground, who said: “Don’t stop for me, Bob, but give it to them!”

Heaton then gave the chase, as before related.

A young Williams, who wanted to join Heaton in pursuit, was prevented by his mother, but they both saw the men attack Sanger and were able to relate the manner in which the cold-blooded murder was committed.

The careful description of the story of this murder as related in the Shenandoah Herald, gave McParlan the clue which he pursued in running down the murderers. It was at this time that he was believed to be the worst Mollie in the world and was in constant danger of being killed by people who did not know his true character.

On February 10, 1875, Captain R. J. Linden, a fellow Pinkerton operative with McParlan, captured Thomas Munley at his home in Gilberton. Charles McAllister was apprehended at the same time.

McAllister demanded a separate trial and George Kaercher, Esq., the District Attorney, elected to try Munley first.

McParlan voluntarily testified in the case, and his evidence was so accurate and convincing that no other verdict could be possible.

The wonderful address of Mr. Gowen, and those of General Charles Albright, Hon. F. W. Hughes, and Guy E. Farquhar, Esq., added just the argument which the jury required to find a just verdict of “guilty of murder in the first degree.”degree.”

In November McAllister was convicted.

Munley was hanged in the Pottsville jail August 16, 1876, and McAllister was hanged later.


110

First Anthracite Coal Burned in Grate by

Judge Jesse Fell, February 11, 1808

The first knowledge of anthracite in America dates back to about 1750 or 1755, when an Indian brought a supply of it to a gunsmith at Nazareth for repairing his rifle, the smith’s supply of charcoal having become exhausted.

Stone coal was used by the garrison at Fort Augusta, mention of which fact is made by Colonel William Plunket, who was one of the original soldiers sent to build this important provincial fortress. The records in the British War Office also contain references to its use there.

A certain Ensign Holler, of the fort’s garrison, wrote that in the winter of 1758 the house was heated by stone coal brought down the river from near Nanticoke and that a wagon load had been brought from a place six leagues from Fort Augusta, which point must have been at or near either the present Shamokin or Mount Carmel.

Anthracite had been used in the Wyoming Valley before 1755, and during the Revolutionary War it was shipped down the Susquehanna for the use of the arsenal at Carlisle.

On November 25, 1780, the Congress “Resolved, That all the artificers in the department of military stores in Pennsylvania be removed to Carlisle and that in the future only an issuing store and an elaboratory fixing ammunition be kept in Philadelphia.”

Immediately thereafter Colonel Blaine was directed to prepare stores, etc., for the troops, and during the month of December of 1780 nearly all the artificers were sent to Carlisle.

There is no doubt that coal from Wyoming was there used in the casting of cannon, as it could have been more readily brought down the Susquehanna in bateaux than hauled from the seaports for that purpose. It is also well known that provisions were taken up the Susquehanna, and as coal was then known and probably mined, the bateaux in returning evidently conveyed the fuel to Kelso’s ferry, opposite Harrisburg.

The barracks erected by the Hessian soldiers captured by General Washington at the battle of Trenton, and sent to Carlisle as prisoners of war, later became one of the historic buildings of Pennsylvania. The building was one long used by the Carlisle Indian School and is still standing on the Government reservation there.

Pittsburgh, too, had used fuel dug from a high bluff before the town. Coal was known to have existed near the present City of Pottsville as early as 1790, when Nicho Allen is said to have discovered some of the black stones and tested their burning qualities.

111An act approved by the Legislature of Pennsylvania, March 15, 1784, was “for the purpose of improving the navigation of the Schuylkill so as to make it passable at all times, enabling the inhabitants to bring their produce to market, furnishing the county adjoining the same and the City of Philadelphia with coal, masts, boards,” etc.

In 1766 a company of Nanticoke and Mohican Indians visited Philadelphia and reported to the Governor that there were mines in Wyoming. A survey of Wyoming in 1768 notes “stone coal” near the mouth of Toby’s Creek. One of General Sullivan’s officers in 1779 records the presence of “vast mines of coal, pewter, lead and copperas.”

Obadiah Gore used coal in his blacksmith forge as early as 1769. He also used it in nailing in 1788.

The Conestoga wagons might have transported the products of the farm to market for many years more had not Philip Ginter, the hunter, in 1791 discovered “stone coals” under the roots of a fallen tree nine miles west of Mauch Chunk.

About the same time that Ginter made his discovery coal was discovered by Isaac Tomlinson at what is now Shamokin. He had recently removed on a farm between there and Mount Carmel and found the coals lying in the bed of Quaker Run, a stream running through his farm and so called because he was a member of the Society of Friends.

Thus we see that the three discoverers of anthracite were Allen, Ginter and Tomlinson, and what is more remarkable, all these discoveries were made about the same time, and yet it is a fact that coal was mined at Wyoming nearly a quarter century before these “discoveries.”

Philip Ginter did not exactly “discover anthracite.” He knew all about the existence of coal at Wyoming and something of its use. But his discovery of coal in 1791 while hunting on the mountains where is now Summit Hill is the date from which the great business of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company originated, though it was twenty-nine years before the coal trade really began.

The date is usually accepted as 1820, the time that the Lehigh schemes got into action.

Ginter made known his discovery to Colonel Jacob Weiss, residing at what is now known as Weissport, who took a sample in his saddlebags to Philadelphia.

But the coal trade was active in Wyoming Valley as early as 1807, when the Smiths shipped a boat load to Columbia. George H. Hollenback shipped two loads down the river in 1813, and sent coal by wagon to Philadelphia. Lord Butler and Crandall Wilcox both shipped coal in 1814.

The use of anthracite for domestic purposes seems to have been discovered by Judge Jesse Fell, of Wilkes-Barre. The following memorandum was made at the time on the fly-leaf of one of his books:

112“February 11, 1808, made the experiment of burning the common stone coal of the valley in a grate, in a common fireplace in my house, and found it will answer the purpose of fuel, making a clearer and better fire, at less expense, than burning wood in the common way. Jesse Fell.”

News of this successful experiment soon spread through the town and country, and people flocked to witness the discovery. Similar grates were soon constructed by Judge Fell’s neighbors, and in a short time were in general use throughout the valley.

In the spring of that year, John and Abijah Smith loaded two arks with coal at Ransoms Creek, in Plymouth, and took it down the river to Columbia; but on offering it for sale, no person could be induced to purchase. They were compelled to leave the black stones behind them unsold, when they returned to their homes.

The next year the Smiths, not in the least discouraged, took two arks of coal and a grate, and again proceeded to Columbia. The grate was put up, and the coals were burned in it, thus proving the practicability of using coal as a fuel. The result was a sale of the coal, and thus began the initiative of the immense coal trade of Pennsylvania.


Quakers Make Protest Against Slavery to
Congress February 12, 1790

There is unmistakable evidence of Negro slavery among the Dutch on the South (now Delaware) River as early as the year 1639. In that year a convict from Manhattan was sentenced to serve with the blacks on that river.

In September and October, 1664, the English defeated the Dutch, and some of the Dutch soldiers were sold in Virginia as slaves. The Negro slaves were also confiscated by the victors and sold. A cargo of three hundred of those unhappy beings having just landed, failed to escape capture.

In 1688 Pastorius, the Op den Graffs (now Updegraffs), and Gerhardt Hendricks sent to the Friends’ meeting house the first public protest ever made on this continent against the holding of slaves, or as they uncompromisingly styled it, “the traffick of men’s body.”

These early residents of Germantown compared Negro slavery to slavery under Turkish pirates, and failed to note that one was better than the other. Their protest said:

“There is a saying that we shall doe to all men licke as we will be done ourselves; making no difference of what generation, descent, or colour they are. And those who steal or robb men, and those who buy or purchase them, are they not all alicke? Here is liberty of Conscience, 113which is right and reasonable; here ought to be likewise liberty of ye body, except of evil doers, which is another case. In Europe there are many oppressed for Conscience sake; and here there are those oppressed which are of a black colour.”

This memorial is believed to be in the handwriting of Francis Daniel Pastorius, and at the date it was written New England was doing a large business in the Guinea trade, the slave depots being located chiefly at Newport, where the gangs for the Southern market were arranged.

All honor is due these honest first settlers of Germantown, who asked categorically: “Have these Negers not as much right to fight for their freedom as you have to keep them slaves?”

They asked, further, to be informed what right Christians have to maintain slavery, “to the end we shall be satisfied on this point and satisfy likewise our good friends and acquaintances in our natif country, to whom it is a fairfull thing that men should be handled so in Pennsilvania.”

The Quakers were embarrassed by the memorial and its blunt style of interrogatory. It was submitted to the Monthly Meeting at Dublin Township, “inspected” and found so “weighty” that it was passed on to the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting, which “recommended” it to the Yearly Meeting at Burlington, where it was adjudged “not to be so proper for this meeting to give a positive judgment in the case, it having so general a relation to many other parts, and, therefore, at present they forebore it.” So the matter slept.

Very soon thereafter slavery in Philadelphia was not very different from what it was in the South at a later period. The white mechanics and laborers complained to the authorities that their wages were reduced by the competition of Negroes hired out by their owners, and the owners objected to the capital punishment of slaves for crime, as thereby their property would be destroyed.

In 1708 two slaves, Tony and Quashy, were sentenced to death for burglary, but their owners were allowed to sell them out of the province after a severe flogging had been given them upon the streets on three successive market days.

The Assembly of Pennsylvania soon viewed with much concern and apprehension the introduction of so many slaves into the province, but the House would not consider any proposition to free Negroes, deciding that to attempt to do so would be “neither just nor convenient,” but it did resolve to discourage the introduction of Negroes from Africa and the West Indies. It laid a tax of £20 a head upon all such importations. The Queen and Royal Council failed to approve the act, for the British Government was set like flint against any provincial attempt to arrest the African slave trade or tax it out of existence—that trade was a royal perquisite.

114The year 1780 is memorable in the annals of Pennsylvania for the passage of an act for the gradual abolition of slavery in this State. On February 5, 1780, the Supreme Executive Council in its message to the Assembly, called the attention of that body to this subject, and although it was forcibly presented, the matter was dismissed, “as the Constitution would not allow them to receive the law from the Council.”

On March 1, 1780, by a vote of thirty-four to twenty-one, an abolition act passed the Assembly. It provided for the registration of every Negro or mulatto slave or servant for life, or till the age of thirty-one years, before the first of November following, and also provided “that no man or woman of any nation or color except the Negroes or mulattoes who shall be registered as aforesaid, shall at any time hereafter be deemed, or adjudged, or holden within the territory of this Commonwealth, as slaves or servants for life, but as free men and free women.”

The Quakers partly forgot their woes on hearing of an act which they so much approved, as in 1774 the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting had taken a definite and decided stand against slavery.

They proceeded without delay to urge war on the system.

On February 12, 1790, the Quakers made their first formal protest to Congress for the abolition of slavery in every form.

The movement against slavery had been making quiet progress during all these years, and on January 1, 1794, a convention was held in Philadelphia by invitation of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, of delegates from all societies throughout the United States.

At this convention two memorials were adopted, one to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, and the other to Congress, asking for suitable laws to suppress the slave trade.

The petition to Congress was referred to a committee, which made a report recommending the passage of a law against the fitting out of any ship or vessel in any port of the United States, or by foreigners, for the purpose of procuring from any part of the coast of Africa the inhabitants of the said country, to be transshipped into any foreign ports or places of the world to be sold or disposed of as slaves. The law was finally passed on March 22, 1794, and vessels were thereafter liable to heavy fine and forfeiture, and the freedom of the slaves on board.

Thus after the taunt of the early German settlers, the Quakers cleared their own skirts and then led in the movement which abolished slaves from Pennsylvania and were the first to lay this great question before Congress.


115

First Magazine in America Published in

Philadelphia, February 13, 1741

There has been recent controversy, especially among New York newspapers, regarding the oldest magazine in America, one such newspaper concluding that the oldest such publication was Oliver Oldschool’s “Portfolio,” published by Bradford and Inskeep, of Philadelphia, and Inskeep and Bradford, in New York, 1809–1810.

That is not the fact and Pennsylvania cannot be denied the honor of being the home of the earliest magazine published on this continent.

On November 6, 1740, Andrew Bradford’s “Mercury,” published in Philadelphia, contained a two page editorial which must surely have caused some sensation, heralding as it did a genuine innovation.

“’Tis not in mortals to command success,” and if the innovator in this case failed, he was at least the first to make the attempt, not alone in Philadelphia, but throughout America.

The editorial plunged headlong into the business at hand as follows:

“The PLAN of an intended MAGAZINE.”

“The Success and Approbation which the Magazines, published in Great Britain, have met with for many years past among all Ranks and Degrees of People, Encouraged us to Attempt a Work of the like Nature in America. But the Plan on which we intend to proceed, being in many respects different from the British Models, it therefore becomes necessary, in the first Place, to lay before the Reader a general Prospect of the present Design.

“It is proposed to publish Monthly, ‘An Account of the Publick Affairs transacted in His Majesty’s Colonies, as well on the Continent of America, as well as in the West India Islands,’ and at the end of each session, ‘an Extract of the Laws therein passed, with the Reasons on which they were founded, the Grievances intended to be Remedied by them, and the Benefits expected from them.”

The prospectus then proceeds to apologize beforehand for “the mistakes which will probably be committed in handling so great a Variety of Matter.” It sketches the general lines of the future magazine in regard to “remarkable Trials as well Civil as Criminal,” also the “Course of Exchange, Party-Disputes, Free Inquiry into all sorts of Subjects, its views of the Liberty and Licentiousness of the Press, its contempt for the rude Clamours of envious Ignorance,’ and the ‘base suggestions of the Malevolence’,” and then terminates as follows:

“To conclude, the Reader is desired to consider the Undertaking as an attempt to Erect on Neutral Principles A PUBLIC THEATRE in 116the Center of the British Empire in America, on which the most remarkable Transactions of each Government may be impartially represented, and fairly exhibited to the View of all His Majesty’s Subjects, whether at Home or abroad, who are disposed to be Spectators.

“This is TRUE Liberty, when freeborn Men,
Having to advise the Publick, may speak free,
Which he who can, and will, deserves high Praise;
Who neither can, nor will, may hold his Peace;
What can be juster in a State than this?

“From Euripides, by Milton, for a motto to his Vindication of the Subject’s Right to the Liberty of the Press.”

The first number of this, The American Magazine, was to be published “in March next, if by that Time there are a Sufficient Number of Subscriptions.”

But something went wrong with the plans. The very week following this announcement, out came Benjamin Franklin with the charge that this scheme now put forth by John Webbe and Bradford was really his own, “Communicated in Confidence,” to the said Webbe, who was to be the editor of his magazine.

Webbe was not slow to indignantly repudiate the charge, and an unseemly controversy followed between the two rival printing houses, which, no doubt, interfered considerably with the ultimate result or their respective ventures.

Be that as it may, “The American Magazine, or a monthly view of the Political State of the British Colonies,” 8vo size, price eight pence sterling, made its appearance, not in March as advertised and expected, but on February 13, 1741.

Thus the first magazine in America made its initial bow to the public, and only three days later, Franklin’s press brought out “The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, for All the British Plantations in America.”

Both of these periodicals were advertised as monthly publications, and the Mercury carried a small advertisement March 19, which announced the issuance of “The American Magazine” for February; but alas! that is the last we read of Andrew Bradford’s pioneer magazine publication.

Franklin’s “General Magazine” reached its sixth month of existence, after which it simply ceased, no explanation of its discontinuance, not a semblance of a valedictory appeared in “The Gazette,” where its monthly advent had been so well heralded and advertised.

The name of these original “magazines” naturally suggests to the present-day reader a very incorrect idea of their general appearance and contents, thanks to the luxurious works of art that American enterprise has put into publications now classed as magazines.

117Franklin’s magazine, for example, had but one illustration, and a poor one at that, a representation of the Prince of Wales’ feathers and the motto “Ich dien” on its front page.

It was only a 12mo; yet under existing conditions the labor of filling seventy-six pages with small print month after month and the neat manner in which the work was performed reflect the highest credit upon the publisher and was deserving of more favorable circumstances. The contents of each number bear a favorable comparison with the best magazines of today.

Dr. William Smith, provost of the University of Pennsylvania, soon manifested a practical interest in intellectual affairs in the province in an effort to found a literary review called “The American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle for the British Colonies.”

The first number appeared October, 1757, and was printed by William Bradford, presumably for “a society of gentlemen,” which in truth consisted of Dr. Smith and several of his pupils in the college. This periodical was principally devoted to political matters, literary discussions and poetry. It was discontinued November 14, 1758, and Pennsylvania had not yet had a successful magazine.

Between 1741 and the close of the century nearly fifty magazines were born in America, only deservedly to die. Philadelphia and Boston struggled for literary supremacy, yet the four magazines of today which may be called the veterans of the field are the North American Review, Harper’s, and Scribner’s, each published in New York, and the Atlantic, published in Boston.

But Philadelphia was long the home of three widely circulated magazines—Graham’s, Peterson’s and Godey’s Lady’s Book. The last named was perhaps the most famous, established in July, 1830, by Louis A. Godey, and it reached the enormous circulation of 150,000 a month in the heyday of its prosperity.

If the Saturday Evening Post is regarded as a magazine, Philadelphia is today the home of the oldest and largest in the world.


118

Christopher L. Sholes, Inventor of Typewriter,
Born in Mooresburg, February
14, 1819

More than a score of attempts, both in this country and abroad, were made to perfect a typewriter after the birth of the idea in the mind of Henry Mill, an English engineer, who obtained a patent from Queen Ann of England, January 1, 1714, but none was successful.

It remained for an humble country boy, a printer, by the name of Christopher Latham Sholes, who was born in the little village of Mooresburg, Montour County, Pennsylvania, February 14, 1819, to perfect a model in the winter of 1866–67, which, after later improvements, was the basis for the typewriting machines which are now so much a part of commercial life throughout the world.

The patent granted to Henry Mill by Queen Ann never availed the imaginative engineer anything, because he lacked the essential ability to perfect a model which might be manufactured on a commercial basis. It is true, nevertheless, that he had the idea for a “writing machine for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after the other,” but this was not sufficient to be practical in any sense of the term.

The same difficulty that beset Mill prevented others from attaining success, and it was a century and a half before the actual birth of a commercial typewriter.

This interesting event was enacted in a small machine shop in the outskirts of Milwaukee. An interesting history was published recently by the Herkimer County (New York) Historical Society in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the manufacture of the first typewriter for commercial use. According to this story the principals were Carlos Gliden, the son of a successful iron monger of Ohio, who was engaged in developing a mechanical plow; Samuel W. Soule and Christopher Latham Sholes, both printers, who were engaged in developing a machine for numbering serially the pages of blank books, etc.

Sholes was the central figure in the association subsequently formed among the three. Sholes began his active life as an apprentice in the office of the Danville, Pa., Intelligencer.

The Intelligencer was then the oldest paper in Montour County, founded in 1828 by Valentine Best. At the time of Sholes’ apprenticeship the newspaper was a leading Democratic organ. The Intelligencer office was an excellent school for a boy when Christopher Sholes became the “devil” and began the career which was to stamp him as one of the great inventors of the country.

119Thomas Chalfant purchased the property July 15, 1861. He was a prominent Democratic politician, serving as member of the Legislature and as State Senator. He was a Civil War veteran and many years postmaster at Danville. Through all his various offices Chalfant devoted much time to his newspaper.

Sholes was diligent and progressed in his chosen profession, becoming in turn, editor of several newspapers and ultimately an owner. In 1866 he was collector of the port of Milwaukee and had held other public offices, including State Senator and Assemblyman.

Sholes’ subsequent invention of the typewriter is ascribed to inspiration he and Glidden obtained from a description of a machine invented by John Pratt, of Alabama, which, however, was very crude and impracticable.

The three friends engaged the services of skilled mechanics to help them in the construction of their typewriter, the first working model of which was completed in that small Milwaukee shop in the fall of 1866, but it was not until the following June that a patent was obtained for the invention.

This original machine had innumerable defects and was a crude and cumbersome affair, but it wrote accurately and rapidly, and after all that was their objective.

Sholes was the one of the trio who did most to produce this machine, and while he was not satisfied, he soon scored a notable triumph and made the machine its own best advertiser. A number of letters were written with it, among them one to James Densmore, then a resident of Meadville, Pa. Densmore was immediately interested. Like Sholes and Soule, he had been both printer and editor, and could realize the importance of such a machine.

The relationship between Sholes and Densmore was a strange meeting of opposites, the former was a dreamer and an idealist, the latter was bold, aggressive and arrogant and by some considered a plain “crank.”

Densmore was not impressed with the machine more than to regard the idea as feasible, but he determined to make an attempt at selling it to some firm with the facility and financial resources to manufacture it.

Densmore paid all the debts incurred by Sholes whereby he obtained an interest in the invention. He then engaged the services of a Mr. Yost, with whom he had been associated in a Pennsylvania oil business, and together they presented the proposition to the old firm of gun makers, E. Remington & Son, of Ilion, N. Y.

A tentative agreement was effected between the Remingtons and Sholes and his new partners, and the first contract signed for the manufacture of a typewriter for commercial use, the one built by Sholes was made in March, 1873.

The original contract was for the manufacture only, but in time the Remingtons acquired complete ownership.

120Sholes, soon thereafter, sold out his royalty right to Densmore for $12,000, which was a goodly sum in those days, but was the only reward that he ever received for his priceless invention and the years of earnest labor and expense he had bestowed upon it.

Densmore did not part with his royalty rights and was subsequently enriched.

Further improvements were made on Sholes’ invention when the skilled mechanics of the Remington factory were brought into service, but the fact remains that the Montour County printer was the inventor of the almost universally used typewriter and Densmore, another Pennsylvanian, was the medium by which the invention was saved from the scrap heap and commercially developed to the almost perfect machine of today. Thus Pennsylvania has given to the world the typewriter.


German Christians Organized Harmony
Society in Butler, February 15, 1805

The Harmony Society, as it was organized by George Rapp in Wurtemberg and established in America, was an outgrowth of a Separatistic movement in Germany and an attempt to put into practice, under favorable circumstances, Separatistic principles.

The members of the society had constituted a congregation of Separatists, where they listened to the teachings of their pastor, George Rapp. According to his instructions, they left their homes in Wurtemberg and followed him to America. They settled at Harmony, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Without election, by common consent George Rapp had maintained himself as their leader.

In order to put their society on a firm basis, and to prevent misunderstanding, articles of association were drawn up and signed by the members February 15, 1805. This was the date recognized as the birthday of the society, and in after years its anniversary was celebrated as the “Harmoniefest.”

The agreement contains five articles to which the subscribers pledged themselves:

(1) To give absolutely all their property to George Rapp and his associates.

(2) To obey the rules and regulations of the community and to work for its welfare.

(3) If they desired to withdraw from the society, not to demand any reward for labor or services.

In return, George Rapp and his associates pledged themselves:

121(1) To supply the subscribers with all the necessities of life, both in health and sickness, and after death, to provide for their families.

(2) In case of withdrawal to return them the value of property contributed without interest and to give a donation in moneys to such as contributed nothing.

The original of this agreement was in German, which was the language used by the society.

George Rapp was born November 1, 1757, in Iptingen, Wurtemberg, the son of Adam Rapp, a peasant. He learned the trade of weaving. Like many of his neighbors he also engaged in wine growing.

Early in life he became deeply interested in religion. He identified himself with the Separatists of Wurtemberg, who believed that the true Christian must live a life of self-denial and that he must suffer ridicule and persecution on account of the purity of his life. They regarded the established clergy as hypocrites.

The Government interferedinterfered with their plans for living in the manner of the early Christians with community of goods, and their religious meetings were prohibited at the instigation of the clergy. George Rapp decided to lead his congregation to America.

In this great undertaking, as in others of a similar nature in later years, he displayed rare judgment in making his plans and great ability in executing them. He did not underestimate the difficulties of such an enterprise.

He advised his people of the hardships to be expected. He directed those who were determined to follow him to sell their property and prepare themselves for the journey.

He came to America in 1803, with money of his own amounting to 2000 gulden, to choose a site for the proposed settlement. He left behind him in charge of his congregation a young man of high character, Frederick Reickert, who in Pennsylvania was adopted by him as his son and is known in the history of the society as Frederick Rapp.

George Rapp landed at Baltimore and early in September, 1803, was in Lancaster, Pa., considering offers of land for his settlement.

After inspecting several tracts of land, Rapp purchased 5000 acres in Butler County, on the Connoquenessing Creek, about twelve miles from the Ohio River at Beaver. He then sent for his people.

They came in several companies. The ship “Aurora” brought about 300 persons to Baltimore, July 4, 1804.

Another party of 260 persons, headed by Frederick Rapp, arrived on the ship “Atlantic” at Philadelphia in August.

The remainder of the people came in a third ship, the “Margaretta,” but these settled in Lycoming County, under the direction of Mr. Haller, who had assisted George Rapp in exploration for a site.

The settlers who went to the new settlement worked hard to build their town, Harmony. They were sustained in their labors by religious 122enthusiasm. After a few months they were joined by their friends and on February 15, 1805, the Harmony Society was formally organized.

During the first year fifty log houses were erected, nearly 200 acres cleared and a house of worship, grist mill, barn and shops were built. The following year 400 acres more were cleared, a saw mill, tannery, distillery and brick store house were erected and a vineyard planted.

They raised 600 bushels of wheat more than their requirements and had 3000 gallons of whisky to sell.

They soon made woolen cloth, spinning the yarn by hand. In 1809 they erected a woolen factory for manufacturing of broadcloth from the wool of merino sheep, which they were among the first to introduce in this country. They had their own mechanics and tradesmen.

The society was always a religious community and George Rapp, in temporal affairs was extremely practical, but he was an enthusiast only in religion. He would not allow his authority to be questioned.

While the settlers were prosperous, they were disappointed in their settlement in some respects. In Germany they had raised grapes and made wine, and had hoped to engage in that industry here, but the land was poorly adapted to the culture of the vine. As their manufactures increased their transportation troubles also increased, as they were twelve miles distant from the Ohio River.

They accordingly decided to move, and in 1814 George Rapp, John L. Baker and Lewis Shriver explored the Western country in search of a new site for settlement. They found a suitable place on the Wabash, in Posey County, Indiana, and in 1815 the whole society moved there.

They had lived in Harmony ten years, during which time 100 members had died. They were buried in a small plot, and, as was their custom, the graves were not marked, but only numbered.

This little graveyard, together with the substantial brick buildings of the village, is all the memorial the Harmonists have left of their first home in America.

The society again removed, in 1825, to Economy, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, where they arrived May 17, 1825, making the trip by boat, their new home being located on the Ohio River twenty miles from the first home of the society, at Harmony, and eighteen miles from Pittsburgh.

George Rapp died August 7, 1847, aged ninety years. The society remained intact, although reduced in membership, until May 12, 1903, when there were but four members.


123

Johan Printz Arrives as Governor of New
Sweden, February 16, 1643

The Swedes followed the Dutch in settling along the Delaware River, which they called the Zuydt or South River. The Swedes formed several companies for the purpose of trade with the New World, as America was then called.

The first expedition came under Peter Minuit, a Hollander, in March, 1638, and settled on Christiana Creek, near the present Wilmington, Del. Here they built Fort Christiana and gave the country the name New Sweden. Two other expeditions came from Sweden and with them came colonists whose names are still borne by families in Pennsylvania.

In 1642, Johan Printz, who had been kept busy capturing delinquent Finns, who were committing all sorts of depredations in Sweden, and refusing to either desist or return to their own Finland, was knighted by the Swedish Government and appointed Governor of New Sweden.

He had been a lieutenant colonel of a regiment of cavalry in the Thirty Years’ War, and had been dismissed from the service because of what was held to be a too feeble defense of a city in which he had command.

Accompanied by his wife, daughter Armegot, and a minister, the Rev. John Campanius, and two vessels, the Fawn and the Swan, loaded with wine, malt, grain, peas, nets, muskets, shoes, stockings, wearing apparel, writing paper, sealing wax, oranges, lemons and hay, and having on board a number of poachers, deserters and culprit Finns, he arrived at Fort Christiana, February 16, 1643, after a stormy voyage of five months.

This was an unusual expedition in that it was the most important of all those sent out by Sweden and in the further fact that Printz was, next to Minuit, the most conspicuous figure connected with New Sweden.

In the instructions he received with his commission, he was to deal with the English at Varkens Kill, near the present Salem, New Jersey, and the Dutch at Fort Nassau; to treat with the Indians with humanity, protect them, and “civilize” them—especially to sell them goods at lower prices than the English or Dutch.

He was allowed to choose his residence at Cape Henlopen, Christiana, or Jacques Island; but he was ordered to see that his fort commanded the river, and that a good winter harbor for vessels was close at hand.

Printz lost no time in carrying out his instructions. Proceeding 124up the river from Christiana, he decided to make the seat of government at Jacques Island, the place called by the Indians Tenacong and since Tinicum. Here he built a fort of green logs, mounted on it four brass cannon, and called it Nye (New) Gottenburg.

Thus Printz made the first settlement by white men in what is now Pennsylvania which was destined to survive. Kling was sent to make a settlement on the Schuylkill, and he built a fort near its mouth, called New Korsholm.

Printz, however, was not content with the forts already erected, but a third was built, in 1643, on the east side of the river below Mill Creek, called Fort Elfborg, which was mounted with eight cannon and a mortar, and garrisoned with thirteen soldiers, under Swen Skute. The story is that later the men were driven out by mosquitoes. This fort was intended to shut up the river, a matter which greatly exasperated the Dutch, whose ships, when passing, had to lower their colors and were boarded by the Swedes.

In 1645 these Swedes started what was undoubtedly the first industrial plant in Pennsylvania. That was a small grist mill, which they built on the waters of Cobbs Creek, and when its wheels began to turn the industry of the greatest industrial State in the world began its production.

At Tinicum the Swedish settlements now centered. In three or four years following Printz’s arrival, Tinicum gradually assumed the character of a hamlet.

In 1645, he built a mansion on Tinicum Island, and it long bore the name of Printzhof.

A church was also built at this time, which the Reverend Mr. Campanius dedicated September 4, 1646. This was the first house of Christian worship within the present limits of Pennsylvania.

Indian troubles threatened during 1644. The shocking and unpardonable cruelties of Kieft, the Governor of Manhattan, in which hundreds of Indians, along the Hudson, were slain, caused the belief among the natives that the newcomers were cruel.

In the spring of 1644, two white soldiers and a laborer were killed on the Delaware, below Christiana, and later a Swedish woman and her English husband were killed between Tinicum and Upland. This event was the first tragedy in which white blood was shed in Pennsylvania by the Indians.

Printz assembled his people for defense at Upland, but the Indian chiefs of the region came in, disowned the act, and effected a treaty.

There was a long period during which no ships from Sweden came, and the colonists were destitute for necessities which they depended on receiving from the homeland. There was no vessel from March, 1644, until the “Golden Shark” arrived October 1, 1646.

The settlement of the country, however, proceeded very slowly under Swedish enterprise, while trade was pushed to an extent never 125before known upon the river. This greatly annoyed the Dutch, and in consequence of having lost this trade to the Swedes, the Dutch Governor, Kieft, sent Hudde to keep watch on the proceedings of Governor Printz and to resist his supposed innovation. These two soon got into angry controversy, but through the negotiationnegotiation of the Reverend Mr. Campanius, an amicable arrangement was entered into regarding the trade of the Schuylkill.

But the real object of the Dutch was to plant a settlement on the western shore of the Delaware, and to this Governor Printz entered a sharp protest.

Governor Kieft was recalled about this time, and he was succeeded by Peter Stuyvesant, whose Administration commenced May 27, 1647, and continued until 1664, when the American interests of the Dutch passed into the hands of the English.

The disagreement between the Dutch and Swedes continued, giving rise to mutual hatred and jealousy. The Dutch “arms” were set up on the west bank and as promptly taken down by the Swedes.

Printz had requested to be relieved, but he was ordered to remain when new grants of land were made to him, and he remained at his post until October, 1653, when he transferred the charge of the Government to his son-in-law, John Papegoja, and sailed for Sweden.


Captain William Trent Leads First English
Armed Force to Forks of Ohio,
February 17, 1754

Previous to the French and Indian War, and in fact until the Revolution, Virginia held that the upper Ohio Valley, in what is now Pennsylvania, was a part of their Dominion.

Governor Dinwiddie feared the aggressions of the French in that region and commenced preparations for raising a force to be sent to the “Forks of the Ohio” (Pittsburgh), to occupy that strategic point, and build a defensive work that would enable him to resist the French.

This force, a company of Colonial Militiamen under command of Captain William Trent, marched from Virginia, in January, 1754, and reached the Forks February 17, following.

Work was begun, but proceeded slowly on account of the severity of the weather, and Captain Trent returning to Will’s Creek, left in charge a young commissioned officer, an ensign, named Edward Ward.

This was not, however, the first aggressive action on the part of Virginia.

Pennsylvania authorities believed that the limits of the State were 126about what they are today, but they had so many internal jealousies and quarrels on their hands at the time the French became active intruders along the French Creek, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, that they delayed making any action against them.

While Virginia was experiencing almost similar difficulties as Pennsylvania, she did, in 1753, take steps to put a stop to the farther advance of the French.

Governor Dinwiddie dispatched Captain William Trent to ascertain the activities of the French, but he neglected his duty, and went no farther than Logstown. In a letter to the Lords of Trade, Dinwiddie said of them: “He reports the French were then one hundred and fifty miles up the river, and, I believe, was afraid to go to them.”

The home government advised Dinwiddie to obtain information and for this purpose to dispatch a messenger. Acting under these instructions, Dinwiddie sent a young man who was destined to becomebecome finally the most illustrious figure in American history. This was George Washington.

Following out his instructions, young Washington proceeded to Logstown, and thence with Tanacharison or the Half-King, Jeskakake, White Thunder, and Guyasutha or the Hunter, he set out November 30, and on December 11, reached Fort Le Boeuf, which was on the site of the present Waterford, Erie County, Pennsylvania.

Having accomplished the purpose of his mission, and obtained full information of the strength and plans of the French, and an answer to the letter which he had carried from Governor Dinwiddie to the French commandant, he returned with much hardship to Virginia, reaching Williamsburg, January 16, 1754, where he made his report to the Governor.

This information led at once to military measures for the defense of the Ohio, and the command of Captain Trent pushed forward.

The French were promptly warned of the arrival of Trent’s troops, and were not long idle.

On April 17, when the fort was still uncompleted, Ensign Ward suddenly found himself surrounded by a force of one thousand men, French and Indians, under the command of Captain Contrecoeur, with eighteen pieces of artillery.

By Chevalier Le Mercier, captain of the artillery of Canada, Contrecoeur sent a summons to the commanding officer of the English to surrender, informing him that he, Contrecoeur, “was come out into this place, charged with orders from his General to request him (the English commander) to retreat peaceably, with his troops from off the lands of the French king, and not to return, or else he would find himself obliged to fulfill his duty, and compel him to it.” “I hope,” continued Contrecoeur, in his summons, “that you will not defer one instant, and that you will not force me to the last extremity. In that case, sir, you 127may be persuaded that I will give orders that there shall be no damage done by my detachment.”

The friendly Half King, who was present, advised Ward to reply that he was not an officer of rank with power to answer the demand, and to request delay until he could send for his superior officer.

Contrecoeur refused to parley, and demanded immediate surrender.

Having less than forty men in a half finished stockade, Ward was unable to resist the force opposed to him, and therefore prudently yielded to the demand without further hesitation.

He was allowed to withdraw his men and take his tools with him, and on the morning of April 18, he left the position and started on his return to Virginia.

This affair was one of the initial events of the French and Indian War, an epoch-making struggle.

The French took possession of the half-finished fort and completed it, naming it Fort Duquesne, in honor of Marquis Du Quesne, then Governor General of Canada.

Captain William Trent who led the first English armed force into the Ohio Valley, February 17, 1754, was a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania. His name is given to Trenton, N. J.

In 1746, Governor Thomas appointed him captain of one of the four companies raised in Pennsylvania, for an intended expedition against Canada. In 1749, Governor Hamilton appointed him a justice for Cumberland County, where in the following year he formed a partnership with George Croghan to engage in the Indian trade, and he went to Logstown.

In 1753, the Governor of Virginia directed him to build a fort at the “Forks of the Ohio,” which seems to be the first time he recognized the authority of Virginia.

Captain Trent again entered the service of Pennsylvania, in 1755, as a member of the Council, but two years later he again entered the employ of Virginia.

In 1763, his large trading house near Fort Pitt was destroyed by the Indians.

During the Revolution Congress gave him a commission as major.


128

William Rittenhouse, Who Built First Paper

Mill in America, Died February 18,1708

The first paper mill on the American continent was established in 1690 by the Reverend William Rittenhouse, upon a branch of Wissahickon Creek, and from that date until 1710 there was no other paper mill in the American Colonies.

This mill was situated on a meadow along the bank of a stream known as Paper-Mill Run, which empties into the Wissahickon Creek, about two miles above its confluence with the Schuylkill.

The founder emigrated from Holland, where he was born in the Principality of Broich, in the year 1644. He spelled his name then Ryttinhuisen, which is anglicized into Rittenhouse.

His ancestors had been engaged for generations in paper-making, and he had learned the same business. It has been stated that he had a brother who originally came to New York while it was a Dutch Colony; that the brother settled in New Jersey, but William, with his two sons, Claus or Nicholas, and Garrett or Gerhard, came to Pennsylvania prior to or during the year 1690. The Rittenhouses were among “sixty-four of the first Germantown inhabitants,” as they were styled, who were granted naturalization by Thomas Lloyd, Deputy Governor, on May 7, 1691.

At the time Rittenhouse arrived in Germantown there was a printer, William Bradford, already established in an office in Philadelphia, and it may be that he induced the paper-makers to locate there. Anyway they no sooner settled at Germantown than they began the erection of a paper mill, on property purchased from Samuel Carpenter, of Philadelphia.

It appears from the original deed that William Bradford, Robert Turner and Thomas TresseTresse were interested with William Rittenhouse in the enterprise. They were deeded twenty acres.

The mill was built, but soon thereafter Robert Turner died, and Bradford and Tresse assigned their rights to William Rittenhouse, who became the sole owner. Their deed for this property was acknowledged December 6, 1693. The term of the lease was for 975 years from the 29th of September, 1705, and the rent reserved was five shillings sterling per annum.

It thus appears that there was at first a company regularly organized to establish a paper mill. Samuel Carpenter and Robert Turner were extensive land owners and were advisers and coadjutors of William Penn. Thomas Tresse was a rich iron monger and William Bradford was the famous printer who established the first printing press in the middle colonies of America, in 1685.

129The chief and most important member of this company was William Rittenhouse, who became the sole proprietor prior to 1705, unless the interest of Tresse was purchased by Claus Rittenhouse, about 1701. It also seems that the son bought Bradford’s interest in 1704. Father and son were practical papermakers and the owners.

Bradford got himself into trouble when he printed the charter without leave of the ruling powers, and then for printing a pamphlet of George Keith, a seceding Scotch Quaker. He was arraigned in court, and in 1693 left Philadelphia and established himself in New York, where he introduced the first printing plant in that province.

When Bradford left Philadelphia he was to receive for his share of the mill paper of the value of six pounds, two shillings, and the assurance that he had a monopoly of the entire printing paper that was made in America from September 1, 1697, until September 1, 1707. The quantity is not stated, neither is there anything by which we can determine, at this late day, the capacity of the mill.

All paper was then manufactured by hand, each sheet being made separately. At that early day and long afterward the rags were pounded into pulp in stone and iron mortars by the aid of trip-hammers, and several days were required to furnish a sample sheet of dry-finished paper. At that time a day’s production per man was one and a half reams of newspaper of the size of 20 by 30 inches. Small as was this mill, its importance can hardly be understood, for the greatest commercial metropolis of America drew its supply of printing paper from this mill.

There, in this secluded spot, away from any except the hermits who lived in the caves along the Wissahickon, and with no access to Philadelphia except by Germantown, William Rittenhouse, and his son devoted themselves with untiring industry to their useful and honorable art. They soon acquired a wide reputation as producers of “good paper,” and to this they usually affixed a water-mark.

In 1701 a great misfortune overtook the honest craftsmen. The little stream on which they depended for their water-power experienced a freshet of such fury that the mill was swept away and entirely destroyed, and all machinery, stock, tools and much personal property carried away in the flood.

Nothing daunted they resolved to begin anew. They chose another site a short distance below the first mill and in 1702 a mill, better than the original, was erected.

In the new mill Bradford still retained an interest but Claus Rittenhouse would not renew his monopoly on the mill’s supply. On June 30, 1704, Bradford sold his share in the mill, and from that day the paper mill became a Rittenhouse concern and so continued for generations, until the mill had been rebuilt a fourth time, when it was converted into a cotton factory.

William Rittenhouse died February 18, 1708, and was succeeded in 130the business by his son, Claus. Both father and son were also Mennonite preachers.

Claus continued to supply not only Bradford in New York, but the home market in Germantown and Philadelphia. Bradford paid partly in fine rags for his paper.

A second paper mill was erected in 1710, in Germantown, by William De Wees, a brother-in-law of Claus Rittenhouse, under whom he learned the trade of papermaking. Claus Rittenhouse obtained possession of this mill in 1713, and it was operated for many years.

When Andrew Bradford established The American Mercury, in Philadelphia, December 22, 1719, the first newspaper ever printed in the British Middle Colonies, the paper for his Mercury was made at the Rittenhouse mill.

Claus Rittenhouse, the second papermaker in America, died in May, 1734, aged sixty-eight. He was born in Holland, June 15, 1666. He was the grandfather of David Rittenhouse, the American astronomer, who was also treasurer of Pennsylvania during the Revolution.


Canal System Started with Committee Report
of February 19, 1791

In the earliest days, before railroads and steam power were developed, water communication was the popular mode of commercial transportation. The spirit of the early settlers in Pennsylvania was alive with the idea of internal improvement, and very early they were anxious to reach out toward the western empire that was to become the promised land and furnish food for the world. The ultimate result of this vision was the construction of the grand system of canals connecting the navigable rivers, Delaware and Ohio, by which products of the States and Territories to the westward could be carried to Philadelphia, the metropolitan seaport city of Pennsylvania.

William Penn fostered the idea and recommended a scheme to connect the Susquehanna at what is now Middletown with Philadelphia by uniting the waters of the Schuylkill River at Reading with those of Tulpehocken Creek and the Quittapahilla, which flowed into the Swatara ten miles westward and thence into the Susquehanna at Middletown.

As early as 1761 Commissioners were appointed by the Proprietaries to clear, scour and make the Schuylkill navigable for boats, flats, rafts, canoes and other small vessels, from the ridge of mountains commonly called the Blue Mountains to the river Delaware. This action was the initial step in the formation of the Schuylkill Navigation Company.

The broad river itself in many portions was concentrated into pools 131forming slack water navigation and these pools were connected by sections of canals with a depth of six feet of water, passing boats with a capacity of 200 tons.

The committee appointed in January, 1791, to examine the report of the Commissioners who explored the Delaware and western waters of the Susquehanna, reported February 19. They considered the Delaware toward New York State and to Lake Ontario; the Lehigh and Schuylkill, the latter with the object of reaching Harrisburg; the Juniata and the north and west branches of the Susquehanna.

The several principal canals of the State in the order of the dates in which they were created by acts of Assembly, and from which all others were either extensions or feeders, were as follows:

1. Schuylkill and Susquehanna Navigation Company, created September 29, 1791, passed through the counties of Dauphin, Lebanon and Berks. It began at Columbia on the Susquehanna and extended to the mouth of the Juniata, then later on up along that river to Hollidaysburg at the eastern base of the Allegheny Mountains—a total length of 171 miles.

2. Delaware and Schuylkill, April 10, 1792, in Berks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.

3. Conewago Canal in York County, April 10, 1793.

4. Brandywine Canal and Lock Navigation, April 10, 1793.

5. Lehigh Navigation, February 27, 1798, in Northampton and Luzerne Counties. A total of forty-six miles.

6. Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, February 19, 1801.

7. Concocheague Navigation, February 7, 1803; connected Chambersburg with the Potomac.

8. Conestoga Lock and Dam Navigation, March 17, 1806, in Lancaster County, was an improvement of Conestoga Creek by locks and dams from its mouth to the city of Lancaster, a distance of fourteen miles.

9. Union Canal Company, April 2, 1811, connected the Susquehanna at Middletown to the Schuylkill two miles below Reading; length eighty-two miles. There was also a branch canal and feeder twenty-two miles in length with a railroad of four miles to Pine Grove coal mines.

10. Neshaminy Lock Navigation, March 26, 1814.

11. Schuylkill Navigation, March 8, 1815, in Schuylkill, Berks, Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia Counties. This began at Port Carbon on Schuylkill, and ran to Philadelphia, a distance of 108 miles.

12. Lackawanna Navigation, February 5, 1817, a part of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, from Honesdale on the Lackawaxen to the mouth of that stream, a distance of twenty miles.

13. Monongahela Navigation, March 24, 1817, in Fayette, Greene, Westmoreland, Washington and Allegheny Counties. From Johnstown 132on the Conemaugh, at the western base of the Allegheny down the Conemaugh, Kiskiminetas and Allegheny to Pittsburgh—distance, 105 miles.

14. Octoraro Navigation, March 29, 1819.

15. Conewago Canal, east side, March 29, 1814.

In the report of Canal Commissioners made in 1827 was this paragraph:

“In the latter end of May the location of a line from the mouth of the Juniata to Northumberland was commenced, beginning at Duncan Island, and extending up the west side to a point opposite Northumberland.” This canal was thirty-seven miles in length.

The North Branch began at Northumberland and extended to two miles below Wilkes-Barre, and later extended to New York State line.

The West Branch began at Northumberland and ran to Muncy Dam, a distance of twenty-six miles, but later was extended to Bald Eagle, where it united with the Erie Canal.

After extensive surveys made in 1824 and 1825, the Commonwealth entered, in the year 1826, into the actual construction of an extended system of internal improvements and continued the annual expenditure of large sums of money for canals and railroads for fifteen years, or until 1841.

Ground was broken at Harrisburg for the building of the Pennsylvania Canal, on July 4, 1826. By the year 1834 a total of 673 miles of public works had been completed, at a time when the credit of the State was good. But unfortunately too extensive a system was undertaken and the works were not constructed or managed with economy. The debt of 1834 had mounted to twenty-three millions. By 1841 it reached forty-two millions, and the State defaulted even the interest on these bonds and all work ceased.


French and Indian War Started by Arrival of

Braddock’s Troops February 20, 1755

The French and Indian War opened April 17, 1754, when Ensign Ward was surprised by the appearance of a large French force, under Contrecoeur, while he was engaged in completing a stockade at the forks of the Ohio. The Ensign was obliged to surrender his position to the superior forces and retreat.

Governor Hamilton strongly urged the Pennsylvania Assembly to organize the militia and aid the Virginians, but they questioned the right of Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia to invade the Province of Pennsylvania and charged his action as impudent.

Virginia raised a force of 300 men, under command of Colonel Fry and Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, and near the Great 133Meadows, in Pennsylvania, a detachment of the French forces, under Jumonville, which had been sent to intercept the Virginians, was defeated and Jumonville killed.

Colonel Washington erected Fort Necessity near this point, and upon the death of Colonel Fry was promoted to the command.

Washington led the small column against Fort Duquesne, but a large French force compelled the Virginians to fall back upon their stockade. The French, under M. de Villier, attacked them and, after a desperate defense, Washington was obliged to capitulate.

In October, 1754, Governor Hamilton was succeeded by Robert Hunter Morris, who assumed his duties at the same time that a new Assembly was elected. At the session in December the Governor laid before it the royal order for a concert of action with the other colonies, commanding them to act vigorously in defense of their own province and to aid the other colonies to repel every hostile invasion.

The Assembly appropriated £40,000 of which £20,000 was for the King’s use, redeemable by the excise in twelve years, the balance to supplant the torn and defaced bills of former issues.

Great Britain determined to oppose the growing power of France in America, and ordered two regiments of foot from Ireland, under command of Colonels Dunbar and Halkett, to Virginia, to be there reinforced; other troops were ordered to be raised in America, 2000 in New England, 3000 in Pennsylvania, which were to be placed at the disposal of a commander-in-chief, who would be sent over for that purpose.

Pennsylvania was, in addition, required to supply the foreign troops on their arrival with provisions and all necessaries for the soldiers landed or raised in the Province; also to provide the officers with means for traveling; and to impress carriages and quarter troops. All the expense of this program was to be borne by the Province; whilst articles of more general concern would be charged upon a common fund to be raised from all the colonies of North America, of which the Province of Pennsylvania would be required to bear its proportionate share. The Governor of Pennsylvania was also directed to urge the Assembly to contribute liberally, until a union of the northern colonies for general defense could be effected. At this late day it would appear that the mother country depended more on Pennsylvania and Virginia than on all her other possessions in North America; and more on Pennsylvania than on Virginia for men and provisions.

Governor Morris and the Assembly fenced for position on the proposition of a grant of an enormous sum for the King’s use. Neither side would yield. Finally the Assembly borrowed, on the credit of the House, £5000, to be expended in the purchase of fresh provisions, for the use of the King’s troops on their arrival, and appointed a committee to negotiate the loan. This action was unquestionably arrived at in an effort to prove to the Crown that their disposition was to assist the 134mother government, if treated by the Proprietary as they had a right to expect.

On January 14, 1755, Major General Edward Braddock, Sir John St. Clair, Adjutant General, and the regiments of Colonels Dunbar and Halkett sailed from Cork. They arrived at Alexandria, Va., February 20, whence they marched to Fredericktown, Md.

The place of debarkation was selected with that ignorance and want of judgment which distinguished the British Ministry. Neither the country of Maryland nor Virginia could furnish provisions or carriages for the army, while Pennsylvania, rich in grain and well stocked with wagons and stock, could readily supply food and the means of transportation required by officers and men in moving an army to any point.

The Assembly could hardly feel otherwise at such a move, than that either the British ministry or Major-General Braddock was prejudiced against the government of this Province, so Dr. Franklin was sent to General Braddock, to undeceive him.

While Franklin was yet with the army the return of the wagons obtainable was made to the general, from which it appeared that there were not more than twenty-five, and not all these serviceable.

Braddock was so thoroughly disgusted with this condition of affairs that he declared the expedition at an end and exclaimed against the Ministers who would send him into a country destitute of the means of transportation. Franklin expressed his regret that the army had not been landed in Pennsylvania, where such means abounded. Braddock seized his words and at once commissioned him on liberal terms to procure 150 wagons and 1500 pack horses.

Franklin immediately returned to Philadelphia and circulated advertisements through the counties of Lancaster, York and Cumberland, and by a clever address obtained in two weeks all the wagons, 250 pack horses and much popularity for himself.

Franklin stated in his address that he found General Braddock incensed at the delay of the horses and carriages he had expected from Philadelphia, and was disposed to send an armed force to seize carriages, horses and drivers necessary to the service. But that he, apprehending the visit of British soldiers in their present temper would be very inconvenient to the inhabitants and that he was desirous to try what might be done by fair and equitable means; and that now an opportunity was presented of obtaining £30,000 in silver and gold, which would supply the deficiency of the Provincial currency. He expended £800 received from the general, advanced £200 from his own purse and gave his personal bond for the payment of the value of such horses as should be lost in the service. The claims made upon him in consequence of this engagement amounted to £20,000, and were not settled by the Government until after much trouble and delay.


135

State Capital Removed to Harrisburg by Act

of February 21, 1810

Very soon after the close of the Revolution there began an agitation about the removal of the seat of the State Government from Philadelphia.

In March, 1787, the Assembly, then a single branch, resolved that Philadelphia was “an unfortunate location” and expressed by their votes its determination to build a State house at Harrisburg on a plot of ground the property of the Commonwealth, etc., being four and a half acres, conveyed by John Harris in 1785. Harrisburg was then a town of nearly 600 inhabitants.

Action was not taken, but again in subsequent sessions, as in 1795, the House voted thirty-six to thirty-four in favor of moving the seat of Government to Carlisle. The Senate did not concur.

In 1798 the House agreed to remove to Wrightsville, York County, “without delay.” Again the Senate refused to concur.

But in 1799 the effort in favor of removal was crowned with success. Both branches voted this time to remove to Lancaster, then a town of great importance, by far the most considerable in the interior. Accordingly, in December, 1799, the Legislature met in Lancaster, continuing to do so until the spring of 1812, when the seat of Government was removed to its present location in Harrisburg.

The provisions of the Constitution now require that no removal can hereafter be made without the consent of the people at a general election, and, although there have been many attempts made to relocate at Philadelphia and elsewhere since 1812, it is hardly probable that any other city or section will ever be acceptable to the citizens.

It appears the choice of Lancaster was not as satisfactory as expected as agitation for another removal was almost immediately commenced. On December 9, 1801, a motion was made by Stacy Potts, of Dauphin County, seconded by Mr. Lord Butler, of Luzerne County, calling for the appointment of a committee to consider and report on “the most eligible place to fix the permanent seat of government of this State.” The House voted to consider the report, January 13, 1802, but nothing further was done during that session, except an attempt to introduce the measure under a fresh dress. A measure was introduced for the erection of a structure for the “safe preservation” of the State papers. Under this thin disguise, the subject of removal was very skillfully avoided by those opposed to removal in a debate extending through December, 1802, and ending latter part of the following January.

Senator Laird, January 4, 1809, presented the petition of sundry 136inhabitants of the town of Northumberland, at the forks of the Susquehanna, setting forth the central situation of that growing town, and showing the advantages of fixing the State government there, offering accommodations for the officers of the State and members of the Legislature, and praying a removal of the seat of government thither.

This petition was referred to a committee consisting of Senators Laird, Heston, Doty, Hiester and Laycock.

The committee shortly after submitted a report recommending the removal of the seat of government to the town of Northumberland. The Senate, however, when the report was under consideration, struck out the word “Northumberland,” and from that moment onward the subject was constantly agitated.

On February 17, 1809, the Senate, in Committee of the Whole, endeavored to have the words “City of Philadelphia,” inserted as the place for the seat of government, but, on vote, the motion was lost when only eight Senators supported the motion. Then another effort to insert the name of Northumberland was made, also Middletown, and Harrisburg. Northumberland received only seven votes, but when Harrisburg was voted upon the Senate supported it by a vote of fourteen to ten, but the House refused to consider the bill during that session. No further action was taken until February, 1810, when a bill passed both branches of the Legislature and became a law, February 21, 1810.

This act consisted of ten sections and provided “that within the month of October, 1812, all the offices attached to the seat of government of this State shall be removed to the Borough of Harrisburg,” etc.

Robert Harris, George Hoyer and George Ziegler were named in the act as commissioners to superintend and direct the removal of books, records, papers and other documents, etc., and to provide good and suitable rooms and apartments for the accommodation of the Legislature and the State departments.

The Governor was directed to accept “on behalf and in the name of the Commonwealth the offer of ten acres of land in or adjoining the said Borough of Harrisburg, at $100 per acre, made by William Maclay, adjoining to the four-acre lot formerly appropriated by John Harris for the use of the State,” etc.

Appropriations were made for the payment of this land and for the erection of office buildings. The Governor was authorized to appoint three commissioners to fix upon a site, procure plans for and superintend the erection of the buildings.

Governor Simon Snyder appointed William Findlay, Richard M. Crain, George Bryan, John B. Gibson and William Gibbons as commissioners and they selected Stephen Mills as architect.

A supplement to the act passed February 7, 1812, provided that all the offices should be removed to Harrisburg during the month of April. A second supplement passed March 10, 1812, directed “the clerks of 137the two houses, on or before the 1st of June next (1812), to remove or cause to be removed all the papers, records, books and documents belonging to each house aforesaid, together with whatever furniture may be thought fit for removal.”

From these records it is ascertained that the Government of the State was removed in all its departments, in the year 1812, from Lancaster to Harrisburg, and that the first organization at the latter place was in December of that year.

The first sessions of the Legislature were held in the old court house.

The cornerstone of the capitol was laid Monday, May 31, 1819, by Governor William Findlay. The construction was rapidly pushed forward, and the building made ready for occupancy in December, 1821.

The Legislature met in the new capitol, Wednesday, January 2, 1822, when proper ceremonies were held in honor of the event. This building was destroyed by fire February 2, 1897.

The present magnificent capitol building was constructed by a Commission composed of Governor William A. Stone, Edward Bailey, William P. Snyder, Nathan C. Schaeffer and William H. Graham. Other officers of the commission were T. L. Erye, superintendent; Robert K. Young, general counsel; Edgar C. Gerwig, secretary; Joseph M. Huston, architect, and George F. Payne, contractor.

The capitol was dedicated, October 4, 1906, when President Roosevelt delivered the oration, and was entertained at luncheon by Governor Pennypacker.


Service and Captivity of Captain John Boyd,
Born February 22, 1750

One of the distinguished patriots of the Continental Army during the Revolution was Captain John Boyd, a frontiersman, who suffered Indian captivity and lived to rejoin his family and again become one of the foremost citizens of his time.

The Boyd family gained a foothold in America when John Boyd, the emigrant from the North of Ireland, landed on these shores in 1744, and settled in Chester County. He married Sarah De Vane, and they removed to Northumberland County, where they continued to reside until their decease. They were the parents of three patriotic sons—John, born February 22, 1750; Thomas, born in 1752, and William, born in 1755.

William Boyd was a lieutenant in the Twelfth Regiment of the Continental Line, under Colonel William Cooke. He fell at the Battle of Brandywine.

138Thomas Boyd was a lieutenant in General John Sullivan’s command when he made his successful campaign against the Six Nations in Northern Pennsylvania and Southern New York in 1779. Lieutenant Boyd was in charge of a scouting detail on the march when he was captured by the Indians and Tories under command of Colonel John Butler, near Little Beard’s Town, in the Genesee.

Boyd was surrounded by a strong detachment of the enemy, who killed fourteen of his men. He and a soldier were captured and only eight escaped. When General Sullivan learned of Boyd’s fate the advance was quickened in the hope they could reach him, but on arriving at Genesee Castle his remains and those of the other prisoners were found, surrounded by all the horrid evidences of savage barbarity. The torture fires were yet burning. Flaming pine knots had been thrust into their flesh, their fingernails pulled out, their tongues cut off and their heads severed from their bodies.

John, the eldest brother, was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Continental Army in May, 1777, which rank he held until February, 1781, when he received a captain’s commission from the State of Pennsylvania, which had resolved to raise and equip three companies of Rangers for the defense of the western frontier, then sorely distressed by the hostile incursions of the savages. It was to the command of one of these companies, that Captain John Boyd was promoted.

In June, 1781, while marching his men across the Allegheny Mountains, he fell into an ambuscade of Indians near the headwaters of the Raystown branch of the Juniata River, in Bedford County, and was made a prisoner with a number of his soldiers, and led captive through the wilderness to Canada.

Captain Boyd was confined during his imprisonment in Canada on an island in the St. Lawrence, near Montreal.

In the spring of 1782 an exchange of prisoners took place and he was returned to Philadelphia with a number of his fellow soldiers.

Previous to his capture he had been engaged in the Battles of White Plains, Germantown, Brandywine and Stony Point. He was one of the fifty who composed the “forlorn hope,” led by Mad Anthony Wayne at Stony Point, who met within the fort. He was at West Point and witnessed the execution of the unfortunate Major Andre.

At the time of the ambuscade Captain Boyd was wounded during the skirmish, but after his capture and in spite of his wounds, he made a desperate effort to escape by running, but was pursued and received three terrible gashes in his head with a tomahawk when he was re-captured.

The Indians immediately struck across the country, reaching the West Branch of the Susquehanna near the mouth of the Sinnemahoning Creek. They also had another prisoner named Ross, who was wounded even more severely than Boyd, and could travel no farther. He was 139fastened to a stake, with his arms tied behind his back; his body was cut with sharp points and pitch-pine splinters stuck into the incisions; the fire was lighted and the savages danced around him in fiendish glee. His tortures were terrible before death relieved him.

During this tragic scene Captain Boyd, faint from the loss of blood, was tied to a small oak sapling, in such a position that he could not refrain from being a silent spectator of the horrible scene; realizing that he was soon to suffer the same tortures.

He summoned up all his courage and resigned himself to his fate. Certainly his thoughts must have reminded him of the sufferings of his heroic brother only two years before, almost in the same manner.

While the incarnate fiends were making preparations to torture him to death by inches, he sang a pretty Masonic song, with a plaintive air which attracted their attention and they listened to it closely until it was finished. At this critical moment an old squaw came up and claimed him for her son. The Indians did not interfere and she immediately dressed his wounds and attended to his comfort, carefully guarding him during their journey to Canada.

This old squaw accompanied Captain Boyd to Quebec, where he was placed in a hospital and attended by an English surgeon. When he recovered he was turned out on the street without a penny or a friend.

He found a Masonic Inn and made himself known to the proprietor who cared for him until he was exchanged.

The old squaw who befriended him belonged to the Oneida tribe. Captain Boyd remembered her kindly as one of his best friends and frequently sent her presents of money and trinkets. On one occasion he made a journey north to visit her in her aboriginal home and personally thank her for saving his life.

Captain Boyd, in partnership with Colonel William Wilson, operated a mill on Chillisquaque Creek, Northumberland County, for many years.

He was one of the surviving officers who enjoyed the provisions of the act of Congress, May, 1828.

He was a delegate to the convention which ratified the Federal Constitution December 12, 1787.

He was an elector of President and Vice President in 1792, when he voted for Washington and Adams. He was appointed by President Washington Inspector of Internal Revenue for Pennsylvania. He also served as Register and Recorder of Northumberland County.

Captain Boyd married May 13, 1794, Rebecca, daughter of Colonel John Bull, famous Revolutionary officer. They were the parents of five daughters and two sons. He died February 23, 1831.


140

Simon Girty, the Renegade, and Indians
Attacked Fort Laurens, February
23,1779

Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh, who had been sent by Congress and General Washington to restore peace on the harried western frontier of Pennsylvania, relieved General Edward Hand of his command at Fort Pitt.

A treaty of peace with the Delaware Indians was concluded September 17, 1778, and General McIntosh immediately prepared an expedition against the British post at Detroit.

On October 1, the army, consisting of 1300 troops, of whom 500 were regulars of the Eighth Pennsylvania and Thirteenth Virginia, marched from Fort Pitt down the Ohio, to the mouth of the Beaver.

Four weeks were occupied in building a fort within the present town of Beaver, which was named Fort McIntosh, in honor of the commanding officer.

A herd of lean cattle arrived at Fort McIntosh November 3, and on the 5th the army began its march, but they did not reach the Tuscarawas River until November 19.

In accord with a provision in the treaty with the Delaware, General McIntosh was pledged to erect a protection for the Indian women and children. During the march to the Tuscarawas a Delaware chief was shot by a Virginia militiaman, and many Indians deserted the American force.

General McIntosh, with great reluctance, determined not to continue the campaign so late in the year, and to employ the troops and make a show of enterprise, he began the construction of a stockade fort at Tuscarawas, where the army then encamped and from which place it would again set out in the spring on another attempt against Detroit.

The fort was named Fort Laurens, in honor of the President of the Continental Congress.

Before this fort was finished General McIntosh realized he could not get forward a sufficient quantity of provisions to maintain his large force in the Indian country long enough even for an expedition against the Sandusky towns.

The Virginians were enlisted only until the end of the year, the weather became intensely cold, starvation and deep snows threatened, which seemed enough to discourage any commander and the general was forced to march his army to the Ohio.

He left 150 men of the Thirteenth Virginia, under command of Colonel John Gibson, one of the stoutest-hearted of the frontiersmen. 141Colonel Daniel Brodhead, of Northampton County, with a detachment of the Eighth Pennsylvania, formed the winter garrison at Fort McIntosh, while General McIntosh took up his quarters at Fort Pitt much chagrined over his disappointments.

The little garrison at Fort Laurens experienced a terrible winter. They were short of food and clothing. The troops hunted until driven out of the woods by the hostile Indians.

The erection of this fort in the very heart of the Indian country greatly provoked the Wyandot, Miami and Mingo tribes, and they plotted its destruction. Early in January, 1779, they began to prowl about the post.

General McIntosh promised to send provisions to the post by the middle of January, and Captain John Clark, of the Eighth Pennsylvania, was sent from McIntosh with fifteen men to convoy the pack horses loaded with flour and meat to the relief of the post on the Tuscarawas.

This detail reached the fort January 21, and two days later set out on their return to the Ohio. Three miles from the fort the party was attacked from ambush by seventeen Mingo Indians, under the leadership of Simon Girty, the renegade and Tory, and two soldiers were killed, four wounded and one captured.

Captain Clark was forced back to Fort Laurens, but a few days afterward he again started and led his little detail through without molestation. Girty led his captive soldier to Detroit, and while there raised a much larger force and returned to the vicinity of Fort Laurens, where he arrived about the middle of February.

Fort Laurens was now surrounded by a band of 200 Miami and Mingo Indians led by Girty and Captain Henry Bird. Colonel Gibson succeeded in sending a messenger through the savage lines, who carried the distressing news to General McIntosh.

On February 23, 1779, a wagon was sent out from the fort under an escort of eighteen soldiers to haul some firewood which had been cut by the troops. About a half a mile from the fort the little party passed an ancient Indian mound behind which a band of Indians lay hidden. The Indians burst upon them, both front and rear, and every man in the detail was killed and scalped except two, who were taken prisoners.

The Indians then planned a regular siege upon the fort and endeavored to starve the garrison into surrender.

Colonel Gibson dispatched another messenger, who eluded the watchful Indians and reached Fort McCord March 3.

In the interim the condition in the garrison became desperate. A sortie in force was contemplated but the strength of the savages caused this plan to be abandoned. The Indians paraded over the crest of the hill within plain sight, and about 850 warriors were counted. It was 142afterward learned that 200 had been marched to make a show, four times the strength.

Captain Bird after this stratagem, sent in a demand for surrender, promising safe passage for the soldiers to Fort McIntosh, but Gibson sternly refused. The Indians then promised to withdraw if Gibson would furnish them with a barrel of flour and a barrel of meat.

Bird believed the garrison was reduced to its last ration and would, of necessity, refuse the request, and therefore he felt certain that in a few days the garrison must surrender.

Gibson had but a few barrels of food, and that in bad condition; but he quickly complied with the demand, sent out two barrels and said he had plenty yet inside. They enjoyed a feast on the flour and meat, and on the following day left that vicinity and returned to their towns in Northwestern Ohio.

On March 23, General McIntosh appeared with his relieving force of 300 regulars and 200 militia escorting a train of pack horses with provisions. For more than a week the men had subsisted on roots and soup made by boiling raw hides.

The famished troops sallied forth, and fired a volley to express their joy. The shooting frightened the pack horses, causing them to stampede through the woods, scattering food in every direction. Many of the horses were never recovered and the food lost.

By the middle of May the garrison was compelled to return to Fort McIntosh to escape actual starvation. The fort was finally dismantled and the men returned to Fort Pitt.


General Jacob Brown, Hero of War of 1812,
Died February 24, 1828; Native of
Pennsylvania

When General Jacob Brown died in Washington, D. C., February 24, 1828, a monument was erected over his remains in the historic Congressional burial ground, which bore the following inscription:

“Sacred to the memory of General Jacob Brown. He was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on the 9th of May, 1775, and died in the city of Washington, commanding-general of the army, on the 24th of February, 1828.

“Let him who e’er in after days
Shall view this monument of praise,
For honor heave the patriot sigh
And for his country learn to die.”

143Then this surely was an unusual man and such is the fact.

He was born of Quaker parentage, in the house long since known as the Warner mansion, about three and a half miles below Morrisville, on the banks of the Delaware River, where his father lived until the son Jacob was grown, and they removed to New York toward the close of the century.

From his eighteenth to his twenty-first year Jacob Brown taught school at Crosswicks, N. J., and passed the next two years in surveying lands in Ohio.

In 1798 he opened a select school in New York City, and at the same time studied law.

Some of his newspaper essays attracted the attention of General Alexander Hamilton, to whom he became secretary while that officer was acting General-in-Chief of the army raised in anticipation of a war with France.

When those war clouds disappeared Brown went to northern New York, purchased lands on the banks of the Black River, not far distant from Sackett’s Harbor, and founded the flourishing settlement of Brownsville, where he erected the first building within thirty miles of Lake Ontario.

There Brown became county judge; colonel of the local militia in 1809; brigadier general in 1810; and, in 1812, received the appointment of commander of the frontier from Oswego to Lake St. Francis, a line two hundred miles in extent.

During the War of 1812–14, he performed most conspicuous service, receiving two severe wounds in battle.

At the second attack upon Sackett’s Harbor, May 27, 1813, when the news of the approach of the British squadron reached there Colonel Backus was in command. General Jacob Brown was at his home, a few miles distant. He was notified and arrived before dawn of the 28th. He sent expresses in all directions to summon the militia to the field, and fired guns to arouse the inhabitants.

As rapidly as the militia came in they were armed and sent to Horse Island, where it was expected the enemy would attempt to land. On the appearance of some American gun boats the British squadron went out on the open lake. But when the enemy discovered the real weakness of the defenders, the squadron returned on the morning of the 29th and landed a large force on Horse Island.

The militia had been withdrawn from the island to the mainland, and fled at the first fire of the invaders.

This disgraceful conduct astonished General Brown, who rallied his troops, when he discovered the store houses and a ship in flames, set on fire by Americans who believed their militia was in full retreat. This caused General Brown to redouble his exertions to rally the 144militia. He succeeded, and so turned the fortunes of the day in favor of his country.

When Sir George Prevost, mounted on a high stump, saw the rallying militia on his flank and rear, he believed them to be American reinforcements and sounded a retreat.

For his conduct in the defense of Sackett’s Harbor, Brown was made a brigadier in the United States Army.

General Brown made the only redeeming movement in Wilkinson’s disgraceful expedition down the St. Lawrence River against Montreal, November, 1813. Brown captured and held the post at the foot of the rapids, which movement permitted the union of the several armies, or the defeat would have been even more disastrous.

General Brown was severely wounded at the repulse of the British at Fort Erie, August 15, 1814.

Both parties prepared to renew the contest, and General Brown remained in command. On September 17, he stormed the attacking forces by a sortie from the fort, and won a brilliant victory. This saved Fort Erie with Buffalo, and the stores on the Niagara frontier.

Public honors were bestowed upon Generals Brown, Porter and Ripley. Congress presented each with a gold medal.

To the chief commander, General Brown, it was said, “no enterprise which he undertook ever failed,” and the city of New York gave him the freedom of the city in a beautiful gold box. The Governor of New York presented him with an elegant sword.

At the function in New York City, held February 4, 1815, Mayor DeWitt Clinton presided, and the aldermen and principal citizens hailed him as the hero of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane.

The citizens of Philadelphia gave him a great public banquet at Washington Hall, Chief Justice Tilghman presiding, and Major Jackson, vice president.

The sanguinary battle near the cataract of the Niagara is known in history as the battle of Lundy’s Lane.

The British had just been defeated (July 5, 1814), at Chippewa, and were smarting under the disgrace of having their veteran troops defeated by raw Americans.

General Brown was ably supported by General Scott in this action and both were severely wounded. The command devolved upon General Ripley who disobeyed General Brown’s orders, lost the advantage of a brilliant victory, and was soon replaced by General E. P. Gaines.

At the close of the war, General Brown was retained in command of the northern division of the army, and was made general-in-chief, March 10, 1821, which exalted position he held with honor and credit till his death.


145

Andrew McFarlane Captured by Indians at

Kittanning February 25, 1777

The Indian depredations along the Ohio River in the fall of 1776 began along its eastern shore, when small parties of the Mingo tribe made incursions among the settlements, inflicting only slight damage. But in the spring of 1777, the outrages became general and more destructive. The first outrage was on the frontier of Westmoreland County when Andrew McFarlane was captured at an outpost of Kittanning.

McFarlane soon after the close of the French and Indian War, made his way west to Fort Pitt, where he engaged in the Indian trade with his brother James. When the territorial dispute with Virginia became acute, in January, 1774, Andrew McFarlane was appointed a justice of the peace by Governor Penn and he vigorously upheld the Pennsylvania authority.

Captain John Connolly, at the head of his Virginia militia, interrupted the sessions of the Pennsylvania court at Hannastown, April, 1774, and arrested three Pennsylvania justices, who resided in Pittsburgh; Andrew McFarlane, Devereux Smith and Captain Aeneas Mackay. They were taken as prisoners to Staunton, Va., and there detained four weeks, until released by order of Governor Dunmore.

On the evening of his arrest in Pittsburgh, McFarlane managed to send a letter to Governor Penn, in which he said: “I am taken at a great inconvenience, as my business is suffering much on account of my absence, but I am willing to suffer a great deal more rather than bring a disgrace upon the commission which I bear under your honor.” One result of his arrest indicates that McFarlane did not really suffer much during his captivity at Staunton for there he met and married Margaret Lynn Lewis, daughter of William Lewis, famed in the military history of Virginia.

Andrew and James McFarlane, to escape exactions and persecutions of Virginia military authority, removed their store, in the autumn of 1774, to Kittanning, at that time the extreme limit of white settlements toward the North. Here they prospered.

When the Iroquois tribe began to give concern to the settlers on the western frontier, after the Revolution opened, the Continental Congress in July 1776, ordered the raising of a regiment consisting of seven companies from Westmoreland and one from Bedford, to build and garrison forts at Kittanning, Le Boeuf and Erie and protect that region from British and Iroquois.

These troops were promptly raised under command of Colonel 146Aeneas Mackay, with George Wilson, lieutenant colonel, and Richard Butler, as major. This regiment rendezvoused at Kittanning preparatory to an advance up the Allegheny, to build two other forts.

A call was received for the regiment to march eastward, across the State, and join the hard-pressed army of General Washington, then near the Delaware. This regiment obeyed the call, in spite of a storm of protest on the frontier, and became known as the Eighth Pennsylvania. The long march began early in January, 1777.

Many settlers believed the western frontier was not in imminent danger but Andrew McFarlane was not one of these. As soon as Mackay’s regiment departed Justice McFarlane begged of the Westmoreland Commissioners that a company of militia be sent to Kittanning. He could hardly restrain his neighbors from running away, and during the late winter many did flee, leaving McFarlane and two clerks the only men at the place.

There were many stores left at Kittanning by Colonel Mackay but no soldiers could be spared to guard them. In this emergency Samuel Moorhead, who lived at Black Lick Creek, undertook the formation of a company of volunteer rangers. He chose McFarlane as his lieutenant, and these two spent much time trying to recruit a small company from the scattered settlers.

The story of the capture of Andrew McFarlane is preserved in two forms: One is gathered from letters written at the time, while the other is a tradition handed down in the Lewis family of Virginia. The Lewis story is now preserved in a history of Lynchburg, Va., and is in part as follows:

“When Margaret Lynn Lewis married Mr. McFarlane, of Pittsburgh, and left the parental roof, she traveled through a wilderness infested with hostile Indians till she reached that place. Once, when they least apprehended danger, a war whoop was heard, her husband taken prisoner, the tomahawk raised and she averted her eyes to avoid witnessing the fatal stroke.

The river was between them and she, with her infant and maid servant, of course endeavored to fly, knowing the inevitable consequences of delay. After starting, the servant reminded Mrs. McFarlane of her husband’s money and valuable papers, but she desired the girl not to mention anything of that sort at such a moment; but, regardless of the commands of her mistress, the servant returned to the dwelling, bringing with her all of the money and as many of the papers as she could hold in her apron, overtaking, in a short time, her mistress, as the snow was three feet deep. On looking back she saw the house in flames, and pursuing their journey with incredible fatigue, reached the house of Colonel Crawford, a distance of fourteen miles.

The contemporary account of this event is found in letters from the frontier, written to the officers of the Pennsylvania Government at 147Philadelphia and made public in later years. “Two British subalterns, two Chippewa and two Iroquois Indians were sent by the commandant of Fort Niagara, to descend to Allegheny.

“On February 25, 1777, they arrived opposite the little settlement of Kittanning. Standing on the shore, they shouted toward the far shore, calling for a canoe. Thinking the Indians had come to trade or to bring important news McFarlane decided to venture across. The instant he stepped from his boat he was seized by the savages and told he was their prisoner. His capture was witnessed by his wife and some men at the settlement.”

At the time Andrew McFarlane was captured, his brother James was a lieutenant in the First Pennsylvania of the Continental Line. It was through his personal efforts that Andrew was exchanged, in the fall of 1780. The released man immediately rejoined his wife and child at Staunton, and they soon afterward returned to the vicinity of Pittsburgh. Kittanning being deserted and exposed, Andrew McFarlane opened a store on Chartier’s Creek, where he lived for many years.

His eldest son, Andrew, doubtless the infant whom Mrs. McFarlane carried in her arms when she fled from Kittanning, became one of the pioneer settlers on the Shenango, near the present New Castle, Pa., and his descendants are numerous in Lawrence County.


Westmoreland County, Last Under Proprietary,

Erected February 26, 1773

The county of Westmoreland was erected by the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania by an act of February 26, 1773. It was the eleventh county in Pennsylvania and the last erected under the Proprietary Government. Like all the other counties, except Philadelphia, it received its name from a county in England.

In 1771 this wide region was included in the county of Bedford, but settlements grew so rapidly west of the mountains during the year 1772 that a new frontier county was demanded. The evacuation of Fort Pitt by the British troops in the fall of 1772 also led the frontiersmen to demand a stronger civil government.

When Westmoreland was erected it included all the Province west of Laurel Hill, being what is broadly known as Southwestern Pennsylvania and included what is now Westmoreland, Fayette, Washington, Greene, and the parts of Allegheny and Beaver Counties south of the Ohio River and about two-thirds of Indiana and one-third of Armstrong County, a total area of 4,700 square miles.

While this was the area of Westmoreland County in the intent of 148the Provincial Government, it was restricted in fact by Virginia’s seizure and government of a large portion of the territory.

A general settlement of the country west of the Allegheny Mountains did not begin until after the land office was opened in April, 1769.

The settlers flocked into this new region from two directions. The Scots from the Cumberland Valley and other settled posts of the Province made their way westward along the Forbes military road and planted their cabins along its course. These men were loyal Pennsylvanians, and they held their lands under the Provincial Government. Other Scots came from the South, principally from the Old Dominion; they crossed the mountains by the Braddock road and occupied the fertile lands along the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers and Chartiers Creek. These men were Virginians and believed their settlements were still within that territory.

A lively contest was carried on between Pennsylvania and Virginia for control of this region, and the organization of Westmoreland County had signal influence in strengthening the Pennsylvania authority, especially when sixteen magistrates were commissioned to administer justice within its boundaries.

The county seat was established at Robert Hanna’s little settlement on Forbes Road, about thirty-five miles east of Fort Pitt, and here at Hannastown, the first Pennsylvania court, west of the mountains, was held April 13, 1773. It was a Court of Quarter Sessions and William Crawford presided. These proceedings stirred up the Virginia authorities.

The Earl of Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, took forcible possession of the disputed territory. He appointed John Connolly, of Pittsburgh, “captain commandant of Pittsburgh and its dependencies.”

Connolly mustered the militia under the Virginia law, seized and garrisoned Fort Pitt, intimidated the Pennsylvania magistrates, marched some of them off to prison, and established the authority of Virginia throughout all the region between the Monongahela and the Ohio. Pennsylvania had no militia law at that time and was powerless to resist the usurpation.

By this action upon the part of Virginia the territory of Westmoreland County, during the period of the Revolution, was limited to about half its actual area. It was not until the summer of 1780 that Virginia finally agreed to accept the results of a joint survey which would extend the southern boundary line of Pennsylvania to a distance of 5 degrees of longitude west of the Delaware River.

Ligonier Valley, which extends along the eastern border of the county, was well settled by 1775, the largest settlement being Ligonier, where the British had built a fort in 1758. The principal citizen here was Captain, afterwards General Arthur St. Clair, a Scotchman who 149served under Wolfe at Quebec and afterwards became the agent of the Penn family in Western Pennsylvania.

Settlements also became numerous west of Chestnut Ridge, along the Loyalhanna and its tributaries, as far as Hannastown on the Forbes Road. Derry settlement was to the north of the road, between the Loyalhanna and the Conemaugh. Nearly all the settlers were Scots from Ulster, or their immediate descendants, with a sprinkling of Irish of Presbyterian faith. There was another Ulster settlement at the Braddock road crossing of Big Sewickley Creek, while lower down that stream were cabins and blockhouses of German emigrants from the Rhine Palatinate.

The Virginia settlers along the Monongahela and Youghiogheny were a generation or more removed from the old country, but were nearly all of Scotch stock. The richest of these brought their slaves with them from Virginia, who were held in bondage long after the Revolution.

The traders and principal citizens in the vicinity of Fort Pitt were members of the Church of England; it was from among these that the Tory sentiment developed during the Revolution. Old Westmoreland was, however, decidedly a Scotch and CalvinisticCalvinistic settlement.

The Scotch pioneers were bold, stout and industrious men, sharp at bargains, fond of religious and political controversy and not strongly attached to government either of the royal or the proprietary brand. In nearly every cabin could be found three principal articles, the Bible, a rifle and a whiskey jug. Their hatred of the treacherous Indian was a strong characteristic.

In 1775 the most prominent representatives of the Pennsylvania interests, in addition to General Arthur St. Clair, were Colonel John Proctor and Colonel Archibald Lochry, who lived near the Forbes Road, west of Chestnut Ridge; Robert Hanna and Michael Huffnagle, of Hannastown; James Cavet and Christopher Hays, of Sewickley; John Ormsby, Devereux Smith and Aeneas Mackay, traders and storekeepers at Pittsburgh; Edward Cook, near Redstone, and George Wilson, whose plantation was in the very heart of the Virginia sympathizers, on the Monongahela at the mouth of George’s Creek.


150

Early Days of Witchcraft in Pennsylvania—Two
Women on Trial February 27, 1683

The most conspicuous of the early provincial tribunals and by far the best known to the present-day reader was the Provincial Council. Its duties were at once executive, legislative and judicial.

The judicial functions discharged by the members of the Council were both interesting and important, and the volume of such business was very great. Its members were regarded by all classes as the supreme judges of the land.

The trial of Margaret Mattson, which took place on February 27, 1683, before William Penn himself, is of great interest, both on account of the peculiarity of the accusation and the notoriety it has acquired as illustrating the temper of our ancestors.

The records of the early Provincial Council contain this item:

“1683, 7th, 12th mo., Margaret Mattson and Yethro Hendrickson were examined and about to be proved witches; whereupon this board ordered that Neels Mattson should enter into a recognizance of fifty pounds for his wife’s appearance before this board on the 27th instant. Hendrick Jacobson doth the same for his wife.”

“27th of the 12th mo. Margaret Mattson’s indictment was read, and she pleads not guilty, and will be tryed by ye country.”

It is a matter of historical interest that the Council was then composed of William Penn, Proprietor and Governor, and James Harrison, William Biles, Lasse Cock, William Haigue, Chris Taylor, William Clayton and Thomas Holmes.

The Grand Jury was as follows: Robert Euer, foreman; Samuel Carpenter, Andrew Griscom, Benjamin Whiteman, John Barnes, Samuel Allen, John Parsons, Richard Orne, John Day, John Fisher, John Barnes, Gunner Rambo, Enoch Flower, Henry Drystreet, Thomas Mosse, Thomas Duckett, Dennis Lince, Thomas Phillips, Thomas Millard, John Yattman and Harnaby Wilcox.

The petit jury was composed of John Hastings, foreman; Robert Wade, William Hewes, John Gibbons, Albortus Hendrickson, Nathaniel Evans, Jeremiah Collett, Walter Martin, Robert Piles, Edward Carter, John Kinsman and Edward Bezac.

The evidence adduced against the prisoner was of the most trifling character, and such as now would be scouted from the witness-box of a court of justice.

“Henry Drystreet, one of the Grand Jurors attested, saith he was tould 20 years agoe that the prisoner at the Barr was a witch and that 151severall cows were bewitcht by her, also that James Sunderling’s mother tould that she bewitcht her cow but afterwards said it was a mistake and that her cow should doe well againe for it was not her cow but another persons that should dye.

“Charles Ashcom attested, saith, that Anthony’s wife being asked why she sould her cattle was because his mother had bewitcht them having taken the witchcraft off of Hendricks cattle and put on their oxen, she might keep but noe other cattle; and also that one night the Daughter of the Prisoner called him up hastily and when he came she sayd there was a great Light but just before and an old woman with a knife in her hand at the Bedd’s feet and therefore shee cryed out and desired Jno. Symcock to take away his calves or else she would send them to Hell.

“Annakey Coolin attested, saith, her husband tooke the heart of a calfe that dyed as they thought by witchcraft and Boyled it whereupon the Prisoner at the Barr came in and asked them what they were doing, they said boyling of flesh, she said they had better they had boyled the bones with severall other unseemly Expressions.

“Margaret Mattson saith that she values not Drystreets Evidence but if Sunderlin’s mother had come she would have answered her also denyeth Charles Ashcoms attestation at her soul and saith where is my daughter lett her come and say so.

“Annakey Coolin’sCoolin’s attestation concerning the Gees she denyeth, saying she was never out of her conoo, and also that she never said any such things concerning the calves heart.

“The Prisoner denyeth all things and saith that ye witnesses speake only by hear say.

“After which the Govr. gave the jury their charge concerning ye Prisoner at ye Barr.

“The jury went forth and upon their Returne brought her in Guilty of having the common fame of a witch but not Guilty in the manner and forme as she stands indicted.

“Neels Mattson and Anthon. Neelson Enters into Recognizance of fifty pounds apiece for the good behavior of Margaret Mattson for six months.”

In 1695 Robert Roman, presented by the grand inquest of Chester County for practicing geomancy according to Hidon, and divining by a stick. He submitted himself to the bench and was fined £5, and his books, Hidon’s Temple of Wisdom, Scott’s Discovery of Witchcraft, and Cornelius Agrippa’s Geomancy, were ordered to be taken from him and brought into Court.

In 1701 a petition of Robert Guard and his wife was read before Council, setting forth “That a certain strange woman lately arrived in this town, being seized with a very sudden illness after she had been in their company on the 17th instant, and several pins being taken out of 152her breasts, one John Richards Butler and his wife Ann charged the petitioners with witchcraft and as being the authors of the said mischief.” A summons was issued accordingly, but the matter, being judged trifling, was dismissed.

Even as late as 1719, the Commissions to the justices of Chester County empowered them to inquire of all “witchcrafts, enchantments, sorceries and magic arts.”

George Shrunk, of Germantown, known as “Old Shrunk,” was a great conjuror and many persons from Philadelphia and elsewhere went to him to learn where stolen goods were secreted and to have him tell their fortunes. They believed he could make any thieves stand still, while they desired to run away. They believed he could tell them where to dig for money and hidden treasures, and this brought “Old Shrunk” much business, for the idea was very prevalent that the pirates of Blackbeard’s day had deposited treasures along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.


Towns Laid Out in Erie County by Act of
Assembly, February 28, 1794

The frontiers of Pennsylvania had not been seriously harassed by the Indians since the close of the Revolution, but late in 1793 they again became restive and early in the following year so many depredations had been committed along the western frontier of the State that the Assembly on February 28, 1794, passed an act for enlisting soldiers for the defense of the Delaware River and the western frontiers. At the same time efforts were made toward the laying out of a town at Presqu’ Isle, “in order to facilitate and promote the progress of settlement within the Commonwealth and to afford additional security to the frontiers thereof.”

Governor Mifflin transmitted to the President of the United States a copy of this act, apprehending the difficulties which soon manifested themselves. Prior to this he had sent to Captain Ebenezer Denny a commission, giving him command of the Allegheny Company, which was ordered to protect William Irvine, Andrew Elliott and Albert Gallatin, who had been appointed Commissioners to lay out the town. For the same object a post had been established at Le Boeuf, two miles below the old French fort of the same name.

The three Commissioners were instructed to lay out 1,600 acres for town lots and thirty-four acres for out-lots at Erie, the town lots to contain about one-third of an acre and the out-lots to contain five acres. In addition, sixty acres were reserved for the use of the United States near the entrance of the harbor for forts, etc. Upon completion of the surveys the Governor was authorized to offer at auction one-third 153of all the lots, conditioned upon the building upon the lots within two years of a house with a stone or brick chimney.

The troops were busily employed to protect the surveyors from the incursions of the Indians. Miss Sanford in her History of Erie County says:

“Thomas Rees, Esq., for more than half a century a citizen of Erie County, made a deposition in 1806 as follows: ‘Thomas Rees of Harbor Creek Township, in Erie County, farmer, being sworn according to law, etc. I was appointed deputy surveyor of District No. 1 north and west of the rivers Ohio, Allegheny and Connewango Creek, now Erie County, in May, 1792, and opened an office in Northumberland County, which was the adjoining. The reason of this was, all the accounts of the country north and west of the rivers, Ohio, Allegheny, and the Connewango Creek, represented it as dangerous to go into the country. In the latter part of said year I received three hundred and ninety warrants, the property of the Penn Population company for land situated in the Triangle and entered the same year in my book of entries. In 1793 I made an attempt to go; went to the mouth of Buffalo Creek to inquire of the Indians there whether they would permit me to go into my district to make surveys. They refused and added that if I went into the country I would be killed. At the same time I received information from different quarters which prevented me from going that year.

“‘In 1794 I went into District No. 1, now Erie County, and made surveys on the three hundred and ninety warrants, mentioned above in the Triangle, except one or two for which no lands could be found. Among the surveys made on the warrants above mentioned, was that on the warrant in the name of John McCullough.

“‘Before I had completed I was frequently alarmed by hearing of Indians killing persons on the Allegheny River, in consequence of which, as soon as the surveys were completed, I moved from the country and went to Franklin, where I was informed that there were a number of Indians belonging to the Six Nations going to Le Boeuf to order the troops off that ground. I immediately returned to Le Boeuf. The Indians had left the place one day before I arrived there. I was told by Major Denny, then commanding at that place, that the Indians had brought General Chapin, the Indian agent, with them to Le Boeuf; that they were very much displeased, and told him not to build a garrison at Presqu’ Isle.

“‘There were no improvements made, nor any person living on any tract of land within my district during the year 1794.

“‘In 1795 I went into the country and took a number of men with me. We kept in a body, as there appeared to be great danger, and continued so for that season. There was no work done of any consequence, nor was any person, to my knowledge, residing on any tract within my 154district. In the course of the summer the Commissioners came on to lay out the town of Erie, with a company of men to guard them.

“There were two persons killed within one mile of Presqu’ Isle, and others in different parts of the country. Such were the fears that though some did occasionally venture out to view the lands, many would not. We all laid under the protection of the troops. I sold, as agent of the Penn Population Company, during that season, 79,700 acres of land, of which 7,150 acres were a gratuity. The above quantity of land was applied for and sold to 200 persons. That fall we left the country,’”

Captain Martin Strong, of Waterford, who had arrived at Presqu’ Isle the last of July, 1795, said:

“A few days previous to this a company of United States troops had commenced felling the timber on Garrison hill, headed by General Elliott, escorted by a company of Pennsylvania militia commanded by Captain John Grubb, to lay out the town of Erie. We were in some degree under martial law, the two Rutledges having been shot a few days before (July 26 or 27) by the Indians near the present site of the present railway depot.

“In 1795 there were but four families residing in what is now Erie County. These were the names of Reed, Talmadge, Miles and Baird. The first mill built in the Triangle was at the mouth of Walnut Creek; there were two others built about the same time in what is now Erie County; one by William Miles, on the north branch of French Creek, now Union; the other by William Culbertson, at the inlet of Conneautte Lake, near Edinboro.”

In spite of all these preparations, the Legislature suspended the laying out of a town at Presqu’ Isle, and it was not until April 18, 1795, the difficulties were removed and the Assembly authorized the laying out of the towns at Le Boeuf, at the mouth of Conewango Creek, at the mouth of French Creek and at Presqu’ Isle.

July 25, 1796, the Harrisburg and Presqu’ Isle Company was formed “for the settling, improving and populating the country near and adjoining to Lake Erie.”

Erie County was erected March 12, 1800, and Erie named as the place for holding courts of justice, but it was not organized judicially until April, 1803, when Judge Jesse Moore held the first court near French and Third Streets.


155

Commissioners Appointed to Purchase Last
Indian Lands, February 29, 1784

William Maclay, Samuel John Atlee and Francis Johnson were appointed February 29, 1784, by the Supreme Executive Council to be Commissioners to treat with the Indians claiming the unpurchased territory within the acknowledged limits of the State.

At the close of the Revolution, in 1783, the ownership of a large area of the territory within the charter boundaries of Pennsylvania was still claimed by the Indians of the several tribes that were commonly known as the Six Nations.

The last purchase of lands from these Indians by the Proprietaries was made at Fort Stanwix, November 5, 1768. The Indian claim, therefore, embraced all that part of the State lying to the northwest of the purchase lines of 1768.

As early as March 12, 1783, the General Assembly had passed an act setting apart certain lands lying north and west of the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers and Conewango Creek to be sold for the purpose of redeeming the depreciation certificates given to the officers and soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line, and for the purpose of making donations of land to the same officers and soldiers in compliance with a resolution adopted in 1780.

At the time this resolution was adopted the Indian claim of title to these lands was still in force, but the authorities were fully alive to the necessity of securing the right to all the lands within the State—about five-sixteenths of its area—that remained unpurchased after the treaty of 1768.

September 25, 1783, the General Assembly placed itself on record in the form of a resolution which recommended the appointment of a committee to devise ways and means for this acquisition.

The three persons named as commissioners acknowledged their appointment to the trust May 17, and recommended that Samuel Weiser, a son of Colonel Conrad Weiser, a proper person to notify the Indians of the desire to treat with them, as he was familiar with their language and customs and could also act as interpreter.

The Continental Congress had likewise appointed Commissioners to meet the Six Nations for the purpose of purchasing lands beyond the limits of Pennsylvania, and these arranged for the meeting at Fort Stanwix. The Commissioners of Pennsylvania reached Fort Stanwix early in the month of October, where they found some of the tribes already assembled, and with them the Commissioners of the Continental Congress.

156The negotiations continued until the twenty-third of the month, and on that day ended in an agreement by which the Indian title to all the lands within the boundaries of the State that remained after the title of 1768 was extinguishedextinguished. The consideration agreed upon for this surrender of their rights was $5,000.

This deed, dated October 23, 1784, is signed by all the chiefs of the Six Nations and by the Continental Commissioners as witnesses.

The territory thus acquired included a part of the present Bradford, Tioga, Clinton, Center, Clearfield, Indiana, Armstrong, Allegheny and Beaver Counties, and all of the land within Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, Butler, Venango, Clarion, Forest, Jefferson, Elk, Warren, McKean, Potter and Cameron Counties and all of Erie County, excepting the small portion of the Erie triangle which did not become a part of Erie County until 1792.

After the Commissioners had accomplished in so satisfactory a manner the object for which they journeyed to Fort Stanwix, it became necessary to appease the Western Indians, the Wyandot and the Delaware, who also claimed rights to the same lands.

The same Commissioners were therefore sent to Fort Mcintosh, on the Ohio River, at the site of the present town of Beaver, where in January, 1785, they were successful in reaching an agreement with those Indians for the same lands. This deed, signed by the chiefs of both tribes, is dated January 21, 1785, and is in the same words (except as to the consideration money, which is $2,000) and recites the same boundaries as the deed signed at Fort Stanwix.

The Indian claim of right to the soil of Pennsylvania, within its charter limits, had thus, in a period of a little more than one hundred years ceased to exist.

This large and important division of our great Commonwealth, now teeming with population and wealth, thriving villages, busy towns and great cities, was, in 1784, largely an uninhabited and untraversed wilderness.

After the purchase of 1768 a disagreement arose between the Proprietary Government and the Indians as to whether the creek flowing into the West Branch of the Susquehanna, and called in the deed “Tyadaghton” was intended for Lycoming Creek or Pine Creek. The Indians said it was the former, the proprietaries claimed the latter stream to be the extent of the purchase, but in order to avoid any trouble that might arise from the dispute, it was wisely determined that no rights should be granted for lands west of Lycoming Creek.

This determination, however, did not deter or prevent adventurous pioneers from making settlements within the disputed territory.

These settlers, being classed as outlaws, were compelled to enter into an agreement for their government and protection. This resulted in an organization known as Fair Play Men.

157It is handed down as a tradition that they met when and where the exigencies arose, and on short notice, tried the case at hand.

It is related that when a squatter refused to abide by the decision of the court, he was immediately placed in a canoe, in which was a small quantity of food, then rowed to the mouth of Lycoming Creek, the boundary line of civilization, and there sent adrift down the river.

These Fair Play courts were composed of three commissioners as they were termed, and after hearing a case and making a decision, there was no appeal.

After the purchase of 1784 it was discovered that the trouble was likely to arise with the original squatters and the Legislature passed an act entitling those who had made actual settlement prior to 1780, the benefit of pre-emption to their respective possessions.


158

First Law to Educate Poor Children Signed

March 1, 1802

The same earnest solicitude for public education which made itself manifest in the settlement of the New England Colonies in an unusual degree does not run through the early history of Pennsylvania, yet, outside of the Puritan settlements, there was no other colony which paid so much attention as Pennsylvania to the mental training of youth.

During the seventeenth century the general character of the province, as regards the intelligence of its people, stood deservedly high. The school-house, with its inevitable concomitant, the printing-press, never at any time ceased to exert its wholesome influence in training up a population which as regards sobriety, thrift, and all the substantial qualities that flow from instructions, has never been surpassed by any other great community.

William Penn, who was one of the most accomplished scholars of his time, never wearied in pointing out to the colony the advantages of public education. The Constitution which he proposed for the infant Commonwealth contains the direction that virtue and wisdom must be propagated by educating the youth, and that after ages would have the benefit of the care and prudence of the founders in this respect.

It was one of the provisions of the great law of April 25, 1683, that “schools should be established for the education of the young” and those in authority did not long delay in carrying it into practical effect.

On December 26, 1683, the subject of education was brought up in the Provincial Council, when it was agreed that there existed a great necessity for a schoolmaster. Accordingly an agreement was entered into with Enoch Flower, who promised that in conducting such an establishment as was needed he would charge only four shillings for teaching English each quarter, six shillings for reading, writing and costing accounts. A scholar who boarded with him would receive his tuition as well as his lodging, meals and washing for £10 a year.

This was the first regular English school in Pennsylvania. There had been schools during the ascendancy of the Swedes and the Dutch. The former are known to have maintained schools at Chester and Tinicum as early as 1642, and the Dutch records show that in 1657 Evert Pieterson came over from Holland, and in the capacity of “schoolmaster, comforter of the sick and setter of Psalms,” sought twenty-five pupils.

In 1689 George Keith was engaged at a salary of £50 a year, the use of a house, and the profits of the school for one year, to open a grammar school in Philadelphia. This institution was a flourishing one for 159many years. Here the children of the poor were instructed free of charge, the schoolhouse being located on Fourth Street, below Chestnut, and conducted under a charter which had been procured by Edward Shippen, David Lloyd, John Jones, Samuel Carpenter, Anthony Morris, James Fox, William Southby and others.

Darby became the seat of a school in 1692. One was established in Germantown in 1701, with the learned Pastorius at its head.

No church or sect was more active in education than the Moravians, and schools were established at Germantown, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Lititz. Christopher Dock, “the pious schoolmaster of the Skippack,” taught a Moravian school in Germantown, and is the author of the first book on school teaching published in America.

During the sixty years following the establishment of Keith’s school there was no attempt made to start schools that would be free to all and not marked by the distinction between the rich and poor children. This democratic principle was not clearly formulated and advanced until it was taken up by Benjamin Franklin in 1749, when he distributed gratis a pamphlet which soon became productive of important results in the establishment of the future University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that time most of the schools in the province were conducted either under strictly private auspices or under the patronage of religious denominations.

March 1, 1802, Governor Thomas McKean signed the first law for the education of the children of the poor gratis, although both the Constitution of 1776 and that of 1790 provided for the establishment of “a school or schools in every county.” Owing to the lameness of this law, it remained a dead statute so far as some of the counties of the State were concerned.

The City and County of Philadelphia had been erected into “the first school district of Pennsylvania” in 1818, and in 1822 the City and County of Lancaster were erected into “the second school district.” These, termed the Lancasterian methods, were the beginnings of that glorious system of free education which has been a blessing to our great Commonwealth.

Up to 1830, the great free-school system, as we now have it, was still in embryo. The people began to awaken; public meetings were held all over the State, resolutions were adopted, comparisons with other States were made. The result was that on March 15, 1834, “An Act to Establish a General System of Education by Common Schools” was passed. Only a single member of the House and three Senators voted nay.

Late in 1834 the enemies of free schools attacked the measure all over the State, and the Senate voted to repeal the act of 1834, but Thaddeus Stevens saved the measure in the House. By 1848 this school law had grown much in favor, but it was not until 1874 that the last district in 160the State accepted the law. State Superintendent Wickersham then said in his annual report: “For the first time in our history the door of a public school house stands open to receive every child of proper age within the limits of the State.”

The progress of education after 1850 was very rapid. The crowning acts to make elementary education universal were the free textbook law of 1893 and the compulsory attendance law of 1895.


Pennsylvania on Paper Money Basis When
Bills of Credit Are Issued
March 2, 1722–23

The first bills of credit, or paper-money, issued in the English American colonies were put forth by Massachusetts, in 1690, to pay the troops who went on an expedition against Quebec, under Sir William Phipps.

It was Governor Sir William Keith who first introduced the people of Pennsylvania to the pleasures and benefits of an irredeemable paper currency.

There had been great and long-standing complaint about the deficiency of a circulating medium, for the use of wampum had ceased, and foreign coin had never become plenty. The course of exchange ran heavily against the Province, and those who possessed money made enormous profits by the purchase and sale of bills.

The merchants of England did not ship bank-notes or coin to the Provinces. They paid for the produce which they purchased here with English goods, and settled the balances by shipments of sugar, rum, etc., from Barbadoes and other places in the West Indies, and by Negroes and indentured servants.

There seems to have been more hard money in Philadelphia than in New England, for Franklin, a paper-money man, notes in his autobiography how his fellow-workmen in Boston were surprised when he returned to his brother’s place in 1724 from Philadelphia. Franklin displayed a handful of silver, which was a rare sight, for they only had paper-money in Boston.

When Franklin first visited Philadelphia, in 1723, he noticed with surprise the free circulation of metallic money among the people of Pennsylvania. The whole of his own money then consisted of a Dutch dollar and a shilling’s worth of coppers.

But this condition soon changed for James Logan, in writing to the Proprietaries late in 1724, says, “No gold or silver passes amongst us.”

The Proprietary demanded sterling money in payment of quit-rents, no matter what the depreciation of the provincial currency. This was 161their right since they had nothing to do either with the emission of the currency or its depreciation.

As early as 1729 Logan wrote, “I dare not speak one word against it. The popular phrenzy will never stop till their credit will be as bad as they are in New England, where an ounce of silver is worth twenty shillings of this paper. They already talk of making more, and no man dares appear to stem the fury of popular rage.” Logan at that early date thought the king should arrest the delusion by proclamation.

The peltries, grain, flour, ships, cooper-stuff, and lumber of Philadelphia were always good for hard money with a good mercantile system. But the people were not satisfied.

It is quite likely that wages and small debts were paid almost entirely in the way of barter instead of money, and this, by the losses it occasioned produced discontent. The capitalists opposed a change in the currency, the farmers, laborers, and small trades people favored it.

In the language of petitions sent to the Assembly at this time, the friends of paper money contended that they were sensibly “aggrieved in their estates and dealings, to the great loss and growing ruin of themselves, and the evident decay of the province in general, for want of a medium to buy and sell with,” and they therefore prayed a paper currency.

The people of Chester County, on the other hand, asked to have the value of the current money of the Province raised, the exportation of money prohibited, and produce made a legal tender, so as to obviate the necessity for paper money. They did not want a regular State issue, but nevertheless, like men of more modern greenback times, they wanted an inconvertible paper money, a non-exportable currency, as if that were a blessing.

On March 2, 1722–23 an act was passed to issue £15,000. Governor Keith, in consenting to and promoting this experimental load, had been encouraged by the popularity of a similar measure matured by Governor Burnett of New Jersey.

Pennsylvania was the very last of the middle colonies to embark in the paper money manufacture; but once embarked, she plunged in rapidly and deeply.

This first small loan of £15,000 was to be redeemed within eight years. In 1723 £30,000 was issued; in 1740 the issue reached a total of £80,000.

Benjamin Franklin, who had urged and used his personal influence for this currency became alarmed and wrote, “I now think there are limits beyond which the quantity may be hurtful.” He was right.

In 1755 Pennsylvania had £160,000 currency out; and in 1783 the State’s irredeemable currency had been increased by various issues until it reached $4,325,000, a sum simply ruinous to all values.

162The general plan of these loans was good. No bills were loaned but on good security. The friends of the system were many.

Paper money was also issued at times by individuals. In May, 1746, Joseph Gray gave notice that Franklin had printed for him £27,100 in notes of hand of 2 d., 3 d., and 6 d., “out of sheer necessity for want of pence for running change. Whoever takes them shall have them exchanged on demand with the best money I have.”

In 1749 the scarcity of small change was so great that the inhabitants petitioned for relief, and a committee of the Assembly was appointed to bring in a bill for the issue of £20,000, mostly in small bills.

An association was formed for issuing paper money to relieve the pressure for change. Eight reputable merchants issued five-pound notes to the amount of £20,000, payable at nine months with five per cent interest. It was soon evident that anyone might do the same thing, and the community be flooded with valueless currency. It was also at the same time a new way of borrowing capital. A petition signed by two hundred tradesmen was presented to the Assembly, which forbade it.

In 1763 the whole paper-money system of the colonies, including that of Pennsylvania, was outlawed by act of Parliament, when Franklin wrote a pamphlet, protesting against the act.

This outlawing of colonial money had much to do with prejudicing the people of the colonies against the rule of Parliament.


General Clark Began Draft for Troops in

Drive Against Detroit, March 3, 1781

The Western frontiers of Pennsylvania were sorely distressed during the spring and summer of 1781 by the efforts of General George Rogers Clark, an officer of the Dominion of Virginia, to raise troops for an expedition in the interest of Virginia against the British post at Detroit.

Clark received a commission as brigadier general and was given ample funds with which to purchase provisions in the country west of the Allegheny Mountains. Also a small force of 140 Virginia regulars was placed at his service and he was empowered to equip additional volunteers in the border counties.

Agents were sent in advance of General Clark into the country between the Laurel Hill range and the Ohio River, who began to buy flour and live cattle. This caused much uneasiness among the Pennsylvania militiamen stationed in that country, and Colonel Daniel Brodhead made complaint to the State Government.

Colonel Brodhead received a letter from General Washington directing him to give aid to General Clark’s undertaking and to detach from 163his own force the field artillery under command of Captain Isaac Craig, and at least a captain’s command of infantry, to assist the Virginia expedition.

General Clark arrived on the Pennsylvania frontier March 3 and established his headquarters at the house of Colonel William Crawford, on the Youghiogheny, spending part of his time with Colonel Dorsey Pentecost on Chartiers Creek.

It was generally known by this time that all of Virginia county of Yohogania and much of the counties of Monongahela and Ohio, claimed as part of Virginia, really belonged to Pennsylvania, but the actual boundary line had not been surveyed west of the Monongahela River.

Among the settlers there were many factions, some who would only obey the laws of Pennsylvania, and who declared that Clark was a Virginia officer and had no business in Pennsylvania; others adhered to Virginia authority until the line should be permanently settled. A few took advantage of the situation and refused to obey either government saying they did not know which had authority over them, and they had enough to do to plant and keep their rifles in readiness for the savages.

Clark intended to raise a force of 2,000 men. When he arrived at Colonel Crawford’s he learned that the frontiers were being raided by bands of Shawnee from the Scioto, Delaware from the Muskingum and Wyandot from the Sandusky.

An expedition against those tribes would be more popular among the Western Pennsylvanians than a campaign against distant Detroit, and Clark very adroitly made an ostensible change in his plans. He gave it out that he was going against the Ohio savages, for the immediate benefit of the Westmoreland frontier, but his real design to conquer Detroit was not altered.

Colonel Brodhead was not for one moment deceived by General Clark, but many Pennsylvania officials were. On March 23 Clark wrote to President Reed, of Pennsylvania, asking his indorsement of the enterprise, for the effect it might have on the frontiersmen who called themselves Pennsylvanians.

Colonel Christopher Hays, the Westmoreland County member of the Supreme Executive Council, was directed to aid Clark’s expedition, but he was at heart opposed to it.

Colonel Hays called a meeting of all the commissioned officers of the Westmoreland militia to arrange a plan for the frontier defense. The officers met June 18, at the home of Captain John McClelland, on Big Sewickley Creek, and, much to the chagrin of Colonel Hays, decided by a majority vote to give aid to General Clark. It was resolved to furnish 300 men out of the county militia to join Clark’s army and Colonel Lochry was directed to see that this quota was raised by “volunteer or draft.”

164This was the initial effort on the Pennsylvania frontier to raise soldiers by draft and it caused an outcry.

Such prominent citizens as Colonel Pentecost, John Canon, Gabriel Cox and Daniel Leet worked zealously to recruit men for General Clark, while county lieutenant Marshel and his adherents were just as active to defeat the Virginian project. This rivalry, which grew exceedingly bitter, was fatal to Clark’s enterprise.

Few assembled at the general rendezvous, and Clark began to draft men for his army. This afforded the rougher element among the Virginians an opportunity to exploit their hatred toward Pennsylvanians. The draft proceeded amid pillage, cruelty and personal violence. Virginian raiding parties scoured the country, seizing and beating men, frightening and abusing women, breaking into houses and barns and causing a general reign of terror.

Captain John Hardin was most vigorous in denouncing the Virginia proceedings and advising against the draft. He owned a grist mill near Redstone. His eldest son, John, was a lieutenant in the Eighth Pennsylvania, afterward famous as General John Hardin, of Kentucky.

At the head of forty horsemen General Clark visited Hardin’s settlement and announced his purpose of hanging the stubborn old pioneer. Hardin could not be found, but one of his sons was caught and kept bound for several days. They broke open the mill, fed the grain to their horses, occupied his dwelling, killed his sheep and hogs for food and feasted there several days.

General Clark declared Hardin’s estate forfeited for treason. The general threatened to hang those opposed to the draft, but none were hanged.

On August 8, Clark began the descent of the Ohio with a force of 400, but with his spirit broken. The evening of the day he left Colonel Archibald Lochry arrived with 100 volunteers from Westmoreland County. These expert riflemen could have been used to advantage by Clark and at the same time they would have avoided the disaster which befell Lochry during his effort to join Clark.

Most of Clark’s force deserted him before he reached Louisville, so that he could not venture upon his march into the enemy’s country. He soon returned with small detachments, who dispersed to their homes in Virginia and Pennsylvania.


165

William Penn Received Charter for Pennsylvania

from King, March 4, 1681

Admiral Sir William Penn, renowned in English history by his martial valor as an officer of the British Navy, left to his son a claim against the Government for £16,000, consisting to a great extent of money advanced by him in the sea service and of arrearages in his pay.

Sir William Penn was in command of an English warship at the age of twenty-three, when sent to the coast of Ireland to help fight the battle of Parliament against Charles the First.

When the war with the Dutch followed—caused by the seizure of New Netherlands—Admiral Penn commanded the English fleet, under the Duke of York, in a fierce naval engagement off the east coast of England at Lowestoft, in June, 1665. Just before this battle the admiral’s son, William Penn, Jr., was sent to the King with dispatches.

Admiral Penn died in 1670, worn out at forty-nine, and his son succeeded to his estates.

In 1680 William Penn petitioned Charles II to grant him, in lieu of the sum due to his father’s estate, letter-patent, “for a tract of land in America, lying north of Maryland, on the east bounded with the Delaware River, on the west limited as Maryland, and northward to extend as far as plantable.”

King Charles II was at once willing to grant the petition of William Penn because he could thus pay the debt owed Sir William. Some of his counselors objected, saying, that it would be ridiculous to suppose that the interests of the British nation were to be promoted by sending a colony of people that would not fight, that would have nothing to do with gin and gunpowder in dealing with the Indians. But the young Quaker stood high in the favor of the Duke of York, and of Charles II, and the King gladly consented to this easy mode of discharging the obligation.

The Duke of York desired to retain the three lower counties, or the present State of Delaware, as an appendage to New York, but his objections were finally withdrawn, as were those of Lord Baltimore.

After sundry conferences and discussions concerning the boundary lines and other matters of minor importance, the committee finally sent in a favorable recommendation and presented a draft of charter, constituting William Penn, Esq., absolute Proprietary of a tract of land in America, therein mentioned, to the King for his approbation; and leaving to him also the naming of the Province.

The King affixed his signature on March 4, 1681. The original charter is in the State Library. It is written on three pieces of strong 166parchment, in old English handwriting, with each line underscored with lines of red ink. The borders are gorgeously decorated with heraldic devices, and the top of the first page exhibits a finely executed likeness of His Majesty, in good preservation.

Penn wished his province to be called New Wales, but the King insisted on Pennsylvania. Penn next proposed Sylvania, on the ground that the prefix “Penn” would appear like a vanity on his part, and not as a mark of respect for his father; but no amendment was accepted.

The extent of the province was three degrees of latitude by five degrees of longitude, the eastern boundary being the Delaware River, the northern boundary “the beginning of the three and fortieth degree of northern latitude, and on the south a circle drawn at twelve miles distant from New Castle, northward and westward into the beginning of the fortieth degree of northern latitude, and then by a straight line westward to the limits of longitude above mentioned.” The three lower counties on the Delaware were not included in the charter.

The charter gave title to more than 45,000 square miles of land, and was among the largest tracts in America ever granted to a single individual. This grant gave Penn no coast line for his colony; so, August 2, 1682, he purchased from the Duke of York the “Three Counties Upon the Delaware,” which now form the State of Delaware. Although these were separated from Pennsylvania in 1702, they remained a part of the domain of the Penn family until the American Revolution.

Three things moved Penn to plant a colony in the New World; first, he would get payment for the amount of £16,000 due his father; secondly, he would find a place for his brethren, the Quakers, or Friends, where they would not be openly insulted in the streets, or dragged from their meeting houses to loathsome jails and robbed of the last bed or cow to pay the fines for not attending the established church; and thirdly, he would satisfy the desire which the glowing accounts of the brethren in the present New Jersey had created in him.

The second of these motives was by far the strongest. Penn himself had been tried for preaching to “an unlawful, seditious and riotous assembly.” Penn and his people enjoyed neither religious nor civil liberty in England.

The charter to Penn sets forth three objects; a desire on the part of Penn to enlarge the English empire; to promote trade; and to bring the savage natives by gentleness and justice to the love of civil society and the Christian religion.

Besides the territory granted, the charter gave Penn the power to make laws, set up courts, to trade, to erect towns, to collect customs duties; to make war, to sell lands and to impose taxes.

Copies of all laws were to be sent to England, and if disapproved within six months they became void. No war was to be made upon any State at peace with England. Any twenty of the people could request 167the Bishop of London to send them a preacher of the Church of England, who was to reside within the province without being molested.

Penn offered attractive concessions to the settlers. Land was sold to them at the rate of $10 for 100 acres and every purchaser of lands should have a lot in the city, to be laid out along the river. In clearing the ground care was to be taken “to leave one acre of trees for every five acres cleared.” This was the beginning of forestry in America.

At the time of the charter the present limits of the State were inhabited by the Indians, with some Swedes and Dutch settled along the Delaware.

The first real settlement under the new proprietor was made in 1681, when Penn sent William Markham, his cousin, to take possession of the province. The next year Penn himself arrived, bringing in his ship, the Welcome, a hundred colonists of his own faith, to found Philadelphia, the city of “Brotherly Love.”

Penn bought the land from the Indians, making a treaty of peace with them which remained unbroken for more than fifty years. “We shall never forget the counsel he gave us,” said an Indian chief at Conestoga in 1721.


Colonel Daniel Brodhead Arrives at Fort Pitt
to Fight Indians, March 5, 1779

Colonel Daniel Brodhead was sent to Fort Pitt to relieve General Edward Hand, and he arrived there March 5, 1779. He was a trained soldier and knew how to fight Indians.

General Hand turned over to him seven hundred militiamen. Some of these were stationed at Fort McIntosh, at what is now Beaver, some at Fort Henry, now Wheeling, W. Va., a few at Fort Randolph, now Point Pleasant, details at Fort Hand, near Kiskimimetas, near Apollo, and another guard at Fort Crawford, now Parnassus.

Forts Hand and Crawford were intended to protect the northern border of Westmoreland County from the raids of the Iroquois who lived on the upper waters of the Allegheny River.

With the first mild weather of spring the incursions of the savages began. The Seneca and Munsee descended the Allegheny in canoes and scattered in little bands throughout the country. They burned cabins, killed and scalped men, carried off the women and children and household goods.

Colonel Brodhead put into operation a system of scouting along the border from one fort to another. From his regulars at Fort Pitt, he selected his boldest and most experienced frontiersmen and organized ranging parties and sent them on extended tours through the forests. 168To the command of these important details he selected three of the bravest woodsmen in the Eighth Pennsylvania, Captain Van Swearingen, Lieutenant Samuel Brady and Lieutenant John Hardin. It was in this service that Brady won his fame as an Indian fighter.

Samuel Brady’s hatred of the savages was personal and he made it his business to kill them. In this he was justified in the cruel death of his brother, James, August 8, 1778, which was followed by the treacherous murder of his father, the celebrated Captain John Brady, April 11, 1779.

Samuel Brady received the news of his father’s death about the time he was chosen by Colonel Brodhead to the command of forest rangers. This increased his hatred of the red men and moved him to execute vengeance.

Brady and his scouts were clad entirely in Indian fashion. In the forest excursions they even painted their bodies and faces and wore feathers in their hair, in imitation of savage warriors.

An attack was made on Ligonier settlement in April. On April 26, one hundred Indians and Tories attacked Fort Hand, in both affairs defenders were killed and many captured, and other places were attacked and habitations burned.

During May, Brodhead kept his scouts out along the upper Allegheny to give warning of the approach of hostile bands.

Brodhead learned, about June 1, that a large band of Seneca and Tories, under Colonel John Butler was preparing to descend the Allegheny, and he dispatched three scouts, in canoes as far as Venango, the present Franklin. The scouts were discovered and pursued, and narrowly escaped capture, but brought the news which confirmed the report received by Brodhead.

The savages penetrated into Westmoreland, where they killed and scalped a solitary soldier, then attacked the little settlement at James Perry’s Mills, on Big Sewickley Creek, killed a woman and four children, and carried off two children, many cattle and much plunder.

Two ranging parties were sent after these marauders. One was marched to the Sewickley settlement and an attempt was made to follow the trail. The other band consisted of twenty men under Brady, which ascended the Allegheny River.

As Brady’s detail advanced one evening along the beach within the mouth of the Big Mahoning where it empties into the Allegheny, they found many Indian canoes drawn up and hidden among the shrubbery. The Indians had gone into camp in the woods, on a little knoll north of the creek, and were preparing the evening meal when discovered by Brady. They had hobbled their horses and turned them out to graze. The stream was very high and the scouts were compelled to ascend it two miles before they could wade across.

After nightfall Brady and his men hid themselves in the tall grass 169near the Indian camp. Brady and Chief Nonowland, laying aside their tomahawks, knives, powder horns and bullet pouches, crept to within a few yards of the Indian camp to count the savages and ascertain the position of the captive children.

One of the Indians suddenly cast off his blanket, arose, stepped forth to within six feet of where Brady lay, stood there awhile, stretched himself and then returned to his slumber.

Brady and Nonowland then prepared for an attack at daybreak. The whole party of scouts made their way through the grass and weeds to a position as near the camp as was considered safe, and lay awaiting the dawn.

As daylight appeared an Indian awoke and aroused the others. They stood about the fire laughing and chatting when a deadly volley broke forth from the rifles of the scouts lying in the bushes. The chief and seven Indian warriors fell dead and the others, almost naked, fled into the dense forest, two of them severely wounded. Brady’s own rifle brought down the chief, and with a shout of almost fiendish triumph he sprang forward and scalped him.

The traditions of the Brady family say that the chief was none other than Bald Eagle, who had struck down and scalped Brady’s younger brother, James, ten months before. Brodhead reported to Washington that the chief was “a notorious warrior of the Munsee nation.”

The children captured at Sewickley were recovered unharmed and Brady and his men returned to Fort Pitt with the stolen horses and plunder, the blankets, guns, tomahawks and knives of the savages and many scalps.


Settlers Attack Pack Trains Near Fort
Loudoun, March 6, 1765

The period immediately following Colonel Bouquet’s successful expedition against the Indians at Muskingum October, 1764, was one of comparative peace, but this did not long continue.

A most interesting episode occurred about this time in the Conococheague Valley, from the North to the South Mountain. The people who had been driven off had gradually returned and were now determined to make a better stand against the enemy. They raised a sum of money and recruited a company of riflemen, of which James Smith was elected captain. They dressed in Indian fashion and painted their faces red and black like the Indian warriors.

Two of the officers had long been in Indian captivity, and they drilled their men in Indian discipline, and so expert did this company become that it was recognized by the British Government and Captain 170Smith received a commission in the regular service under King George III, and the following year was with Bouquet’s expedition against Muskingum.

George Croghan, the deputy agent for Indian affairs, went to Fort Pitt in February, 1765, and brought about the meeting with Sir William Johnson, whereby on May 8, 1765, a definite treaty of peace was made with the Delaware.

When Croghan set out from Philadelphia for Fort Pitt, March 1, 1765, he gave a pass for a large number of wagons belonging to Boynton and Wharton, of Philadelphia, loaded with merchandise, which was intended as presents for the Indians at Fort Pitt.

But the people of Cumberland County took the law into their own hands to prevent warlike stores being supplied to savages recently in arms against them. These goods were hauled to Henry Collins, at Conococheague, and there he contracted to pack them on eighty-one horses, by which they were to be delivered into Fort Pitt.

This large transaction alarmed the country and William Duffield raised and armed about fifty of the trained men of that valley and marched to Fort Loudoun, where Duffield made a request that this consignment of goods be stored up until further orders, but this was refused, and on March 6 the pack train proceeded on its journey.

The same morning a large company started from the house of William Smith, one of the Justices of Cumberland County. They came up with this pack train at Sideling Hill, about seventeen miles beyond Fort Loudoun, when sixty-three of the horse loads were burned or pillaged.

A sergeant and twelve men of the Highlanders sent from the fort, went through the neighborhood, saved the balance of the goods, captured several persons, five rifles and four smooth bore guns.

The traders, after losing their caravan, went back to the fort and complained to the commanding officer. It was then that three hundred riflemen marched to Fort Loudoun and encamped on the hill in sight of the fort.

James Smith, a relative of Justice Smith, and the captain who served with Bouquet, appeared in a few days at the head of a large crowd of his infuriated neighbors, and declared that they would suffer death to the last man, rather than let the prisoners be put to jail at Carlisle.

Two months later another caravan of horses laden with liquors, etc., for the troops at Fort Pitt, under a pass from the commander there, arrived at Fort Loudoun, about May 1, and were relieved of their burden in the fort. The drivers led their horses out to pasture, when about thirty men, with their faces painted black, rushed upon them, flogged the drivers, killed five horses and burned all the saddles. In the battle which ensued one of the attacking party was wounded.

Again Captain James Smith led his neighbors to the fort. He was 171accompanied by three Justices who demanded right to search the goods in store there, but intended for transportation to Fort Pitt.

Lieutenant Charles Grant, of the Highlanders, commandant of the fort, explained that the general had committed the goods to his care, but had ordered an inventory to be taken before a justice of the peace, but this inventory could not be taken in the presence of a mob.

The vigilance men threw off the restraints of decent appearance by issuing the following:

“Advertisement. These are to give notice to all our Loyal Volunteers to those that has not yet inlisted, you are to come to our Town and come to our Tavern and fill your Belly’s with Liquor and your mouth with swearing, and you will have your pass, but if not, your Back must be whipt and mouth gagged. * * * We will have Grant, the officer of Loudoun, whip’d or hanged. * * * The Governor will pardon our Crimes, and the Clergy will give-us absolution, and the Country will stand by us; so we may do what we please. * * * free toleration for drinking, swearing, sabbath breaking, and any outrage what we have a mind to, to let those Strangers know their place. * * * We call it Hell’s town, in Cumberland County, the 25th May, 1765. Peter’s Township.”

The crowning deed was reserved for May 28. Lieutenant Grant, while riding about a mile from the fort, was fired upon. His horse started suddenly at the crack of the rifle and he was thrown off. Captain James Smith and others seized him, carried him six miles distant and kept him a prisoner all night in the woods. He was there threatened unless he agreed to give up all the arms taken from the rioters.

Governor Penn and General Gage were humiliated by these insults to the King’s uniform and their inability to punish the offenders, but the more serious concern was in the obstruction of the communication for traders with their goods to reach the Illinois country, where the French across the Mississippi, were ready to obtain an influence by commerce.

While allegiance of the Indians was thus jeopardized, white men began to creep over the mountains and encroach upon land not yet sold by the aborigines. Red Stone settlement was thus made, at the risk of another war. Gage sent a detachment of Highlanders to this region to compel all whites west of the Alleghenies to return to their own provinces, but those who left soon went back again with others.

On June 4, 1765, Governor Penn declared trade with the Indians open from June 20 to all inhabitants of the Province who should apply for and obtain his license.


172

Andrew Lycans Killed in Attack by Indians
in Wiconisco Valley, March 7,1756

The Wiconisco or Lykens Valley includes that section of the “Upper End” of Dauphin County that is watered by the Wiconisco Creek and its branches, save where local names have been given to certain portions, such as Williams Valley, etc.

In 1732 Andrew Lycans settled on the Swartara Creek, where he took up 250 acres of land. In 1740 he removed to the west side of the Susquehanna, where he settled between Sherman’s Creek and the Juniata, in then Cumberland County.

This land had not been included in the last Indian purchase and the Shawnee Indians, who had a few scattered villages on the Juniata, complained of the encroachments of these settlers and demanded their removal. To pacify the Indians the provincial authorities sent, in 1748, the Sheriff of Lancaster County, with three magistrates, accompanied by Conrad Weiser, to warn the people to leave at once, but they remained, determined not to be driven away, at least by threats.

On May 22, 1750, a number of high dignitaries appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, held a conference at the house of George Croghan, in Pennsborough Township, Cumberland County. Subsequently, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Andrew Work, of that county, they went to the place where Andrew Lycans and his neighbors lived, took them all into custody and burned their cabins.

Sheriff Work presented his account for the “removal of trespassers at Juniata,” in which he asked for ten days’ pay for his “attendance on the Secretary Magistrates of the County of Cumberland, by his Hon’s. the Governor’s command to remove sundry persons settled to the northward of the Kickitania Mountains.” This and the expenses of a messenger sent from Lancaster amounted to three pounds and seven shillings. Then he asked for “the Under-Sheriff’s attendance in taking down Andrew Lycan to prison to Lancaster; other expenses on the journey; two pounds ten shillings.”

Lycans and his neighbors were subsequently released by order of Governor Hamilton. Andrew Lycans removed with his family to the east side of the Susquehanna, beyond the Kittochtinny Mountains, and by permission of the authorities “settled on a tract of about 200 acres situated on the northerly side of Whiconesong Creek.” Here he made extensive improvements.

Until the spring of 1756 these pioneers were not disturbed, but following the defeat of General Braddock, everywhere along the frontier the savages began their work of devastation and death.

173On March 7, 1756, Andrew Lycans and John Rewalt went out early to feed their cattle, when they were suddenly startled by the report of two rifles. Neither of them being harmed, they were able to reach the house, where they prepared themselves for defense in case of an attack.

The Indians concealed themselves behind a hog-house not far from the dwelling. John Lycans, a son of Andrew; John Rewalt and Ludwig Shutt, a neighbor, crept out of the house in an effort to discover the whereabouts of the savages and get a shot at them, but they were fired upon by five Indians and each one wounded, Shutt receiving a dangerous wound in the abdomen.

At this moment Andrew Lycans discovered one of the Indians named Joshua James near the hog-house and also two white men running away from their hiding place. Lycans fired and killed James.

Lycans and his party in the house believed this a favorable opportunity for escape and started from the dwelling, but they were observed and closely pursued by a score of the enemy.

John Lycans and John Rewalt were too badly wounded to put up much resistance, but with the aid of a Negro servant they escaped, leaving Andrew Lycans, Ludwig Shutt and a boy to engage the Indians.

The savages rushed in upon them, and one Indian in the act of striking the boy with his tomahawk was shot dead by Shutt, while Lycans killed another and wounded a third Indian.

The Indian killed by Shutt was named Bill Davis. Two others recognized by Lycans were Tom Hickman and Tom Hayes, all of the Delaware tribe, and well known in that neighborhood.

This upset in the plan of attack caused the Indians to momentarily cease their pursuit and Lycans, Shutt and the lad, being exhausted from loss of blood, sat down on a log to rest themselves, believing they were no longer in danger. The Indians stood some distance off to keep them in view, but in spite of this caution, Lycans managed to lead his little party to a place of safe concealment and later over the mountain into Hanover Township, where neighbors gave them assistance; but Andrew Lycans died from his injuries and exposure.

This pioneer martyr left a wife, one son and five daughters. These returned to their home soon as the danger was over, and on more than one subsequent occasion were compelled to flee before the marauding savages. The one attack in which Andrew Lycans was killed is the only occasion where a life was lost by the Indian incursions in the Wiconisco Valley.

John Lycans, son of Andrew, became an officer in the provincial service, commissioned July 12, 1762. In June, 1764, he was stationed at Manada Gap. His mother, Jane Lycans, in February, 1765, had a patent issued to her for the land on which her husband had located.

The original Lycans cabin stood until about fifty years ago. It was 174situated near the present site of Oakdale, a few yards north of the bridge that crosses the Wiconisco. It was built of hewn logs with windows about nine inches square, which were also used as port holes.

Andrew Lycans has given his name to the beautiful valley of the Wiconisco, owing possibly to his fatal encounter with the Indians, March 7, 1756.

Ludwig Shutt recovered from his serious wounds and lived until 1790, and left a large family, some of his descendants being present residents of Lykens Valley. John Rewalt subsequently removed to another part of the province as did John Lycans, following his tour of duty as an officer in the provincial service.


Frightful Slaughter of Indians at Gnadenhuetten,
March 8, 1782

In the fall of 1781, Pennsylvania frontiersmen decided that their safety would no longer permit the residence of the Moravian Indians on the Muskingum, which was about seventy miles from Fort McIntosh, in the present State of Ohio. Fort McIntosh was on the right bank of the Ohio River at the mouth of Beaver River, now Beaver, Pennsylvania.

Colonel David Williamson, one of the battalion commanders of Washington County, gathered a company of 100 men and on November 5 started for the Tuscarawa Indians to compel the Moravians either to migrate into the hostile country or to move in a body to Fort Pitt. They found the village deserted save by a few Indian men and women. Colonel Williamson conducted these Indians safely to Fort Pitt.

A small settlement of Delaware had already been established near Fort Pitt. After Colonel Daniel Brodhead destroyed Coshocton, in the spring of 1781, Killbuck, the chief sachem of the Delaware, with his immediate kindred and the families of Big Cat, Nonowland and other chiefs, who remained friends to the American cause took possession of a small island at the mouth of the Allegheny River, opposite Fort Pitt, where they built bark wigwams, planted corn and vegetables and otherwise supported themselves by hunting and the sale of furs. This place became known as Killbuck Island, afterwards Smoky Island.

Many of this settlement accompanied military scouting parties, and were of much service in the defense of the Western frontier. Chief Killbuck, also known as Gelemend, meaning “leader,” became a soldier and officer in the United States Army. He died in 1811.

In the spring of 1782, which was unusually early, came the marauding Indians. The first blow fell February 8, when John Fink 175was killed near Buchanan’s Fort, on the upper Monongahela. On Sunday, February 10, a large body of Indians visited the dwelling of Robert Wallace, on Raccoon Creek, Beaver County. The head of the family being absent at the time, the savages killed all his cattle and hogs, plundered the house of its contents and carried away Mrs. Wallace and her three children.

About February 15, six Indians captured John Carpenter and two of his horses on the Dutch Fork, of Buffalo Creek. They crossed the Ohio at Mingo Bottom and made off toward the Tuscarawa villages. Four of these Indians were Wyandot. Two spoke Dutch, and told Carpenter they were Moravians. On the morning of the second day, Carpenter was sent to the woods to get the horses. Finding them some distance from the camp fire, he mounted one of the horses and dashed for Fort Pitt, where he told his story to Colonel Gibson.

Gibson mustered 160 young men of Washington County, and placed Colonel Williamson in command of the expedition, which moved immediately. The Ohio was at flood height and they effected a crossing Monday, March 4, and hastened along the beaten trail toward Gnadenhuetten on the Muskingum. As may well be imagined Robert Wallace was an eager volunteer in this expedition.

They had not proceeded far until they found the torn corpse of Mrs. Wallace, impaled on the trunk of a sapling, just off the path. The mutilated body of her infant lay nearby. The infuriated frontiersmen remounted their horses, reached the environs of Gnadenhuetten in the evening of March 6, when their scouts brought back word that the village was now full of Indians.

Colonel Williamson divided his force into three parties, sending one command to strike the river below the town, a second to cross the stream above and cut off retreat in that direction, the third forming the center to advance upon the place directly.

The attack was begun on the morning of March 7, and not a shot was fired by the center or left. The presence of women and children warned the frontiersmen that it was not occupied simply by a war party, and Colonel Williamson quickly learned the Indians were Moravians. No resistance was made and soon the frontiersmen were conversing with the Indians who could speak English. In a council the colonel told them they must go to Fort Pitt, which the Indians appeared willing to do. The Indians sent messengers down the river to Salem to tell their people to come to Gnadenhuetten.

The right wing had a more thrilling experience when they found the Tuscarawas was in flood and too swift for their horses to swim. A young man named Sloughter swam across to get a canoe, which proved to be a maple sugar trough, but he paddled it across the swollen stream. The others stripped, placed their clothing and rifles in the trough, swam across, pushing the trough before them.

176Advancing down the western shore, a solitary Indian was shot and wounded in the arm. This act was witnessed by another Indian named Jacob, who sought escape in a canoe, but was killed.

The company advancing upon the Indians working in the corn field, found them to be Moravians and led them to the village. Soon the Indians from Salem arrived to the number of 96, all of whom were confined in a log church, after being disarmed.

An Indian woman was found to be wearing the dress of Mrs. Wallace. The garment was identified by the bereaved husband. A search of the cabins was then made which resulted in finding stolen household effects.

The volunteers could hardly be restrained longer. Colonel Williamson consulted with his captains, some of whom favored the execution of the whole band. But during this council many Indians were brought before it, one at a time, and examined. Not one acknowledged his own guilt, but some confessed that others had been on the war path. Some were even then in their war paint. These revelations produced such an effect upon the borderers that the Colonel could no longer resist their outcry for vengeance. He put the question to a vote and only eighteen of the entire body of volunteers voted for mercy.

Friday morning, March 8th, the decree of condemnation was executed. The Indian men were led, two by two, to the cooper shop and there beaten to death with mallets and hatchets. Two broke away and ran for the river, but were shot dead. The women were led to another building and slain like the men.

Only forty of the volunteers participated in the execution of forty men, twenty women and thirty-four children. It is probable that even the frontiersmen who stood aside and looked on did not consider their deed a crime.

The volunteers then burned the Indian village at Schoenbrun, and before they departed from Gnadenhuetten they set fire to every building. Salem was also destroyed.

Two weeks later, on Sunday, March 24, some militiamen attacked the Indians on Killbuck Island. Several Indians were killed. Killbuck and most of his band escaped in canoes.

General Irvine returned to Fort Pitt from a visit to Philadelphia and Carlisle the day after the attack and immediately put a stop to the raids.


177

County of Bedford Formed from a Part of
Cumberland, March 9, 1771

The county of Bedford was erected March 9, 1771, by an act of the General Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania.

The entire territory for the new county was cut from Cumberland County.

The commissioners appointed to “run, mark out, and distinguish the boundary lines between the said counties of Cumberland and Bedford,” were Robert McCrea, William Miller, and Robert Moore.

The boundaries of the new county embraced the entire southwestern portion of the State, from the Tuscarora Mountains westward to the Ohio and Virginia line.

March 21, 1772, at the time Northumberland County was erected, the limits of Bedford County were more definitely explained. Northumberland County was given a part of the original territory of Bedford.

The limits of Bedford were afterward reduced by the erection of Westmoreland in 1773, Huntingdon in 1787, Somerset in 1795, Cambria in 1804, Blair in 1846, and Fulton in 1850. The territory now wholly or in part of twenty of the present counties of Pennsylvania was in the original Bedford County.

The name was taken from the county town, which was selected when the county was erected. The town was so called from the fort of that name, which had been given to it by Governor John Penn, when, by his order the fort at Raystown was built. This was in honor of one of the dukes of the house of Bedford, in England, during the latter part of the reign of King George II.

The exact date of the building of Fort Bedford is not certain, but there is no doubt that the place of defense was celebrated during the French and Indian Wars. It was one of the earliest settlements west of the Allegheny Mountains. Mr. Jones in his History of the Juniata Valley claims that the earliest settlement on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata was made by a man named Ray in 1751, who built three cabins near where Bedford now stands. He further says: “In 1755 the province agreed to open a wagon road from Fort Loudon, in Cumberland County, to the forks of the Youghiogheny River. For this purpose three hundred men were sent up, but for some cause or other the project was abandoned.”

This road was completed in 1758, when the allied forces of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania marched against Fort Duquesne, under General John Forbes.

178A fort was built at this same time at Raystown, and called Fort Bedford.

Mr. Charles N. Hickok, of Bedford, who has written much of the history of that county, claims that Rae, as he spells the name, defended his settlement as early as 1751, almost a decade before the soldiers of Forbes’ exposition arrived there. The settlement was known as “Camp at Raystown” before General Forbes was encamped there, and his first official papers were so dated.

Early in April, 1757, Governor Denny ordered Colonel John Armstrong and his battalion to encamp at Raystown, “a well chosen situation on this side of the Allegheny Hills between two Indian roads.”

In June following Captain Hance Hamilton led a scouting party from the “Fort at Carlisle to Raystown, but encountered no Indians.”

On August 16, 1758, Major Joseph Shippen wrote from the camp at Raystown: “We have a good stockade fort here, with several convenient and large store houses. Our camps are all secured with good breast works and a small ditch on the outside, and everything goes well.”

The “Old Fort House,” which is still standing, was a large and commodious building for the period in which it was erected. It was used as the officers’ quarters, and was designated as the “King’s House.”

Fort Bedford was the center of much activity during the latter part of the French and Indian and the Pontiac Wars. At times more than a thousand troops were quartered there. There are accounts of mutiny among the troops and other exciting incidents.

In 1763, Fort Bedford was the principal depot for military stores between Carlisle and Fort Pitt, and in order to further strengthen it, the small stockades at Juniata Crossing and Stony Creek were abandoned and the force concentrated at Fort Bedford.

Indians never made an attack upon the fort, but killed, scalped, or took prisoner, eighteen persons, in that immediate neighborhood.

The town of Bedford was laid out by Surveyor-General John Lukens, in 1766.

Following the Pontiac War Colonel James Smith, and his celebrated band of “Black Boys,” were conspicuous for several years and kept the Indians in check and administered a lasting rebuke to the Proprietary Government when it attempted to furnish food and clothing to the Indians on the western frontier.

The history of Fort Bedford was celebrated by the visitations of such celebrities as Generals Forbes and Washington, Colonels Armstrong, Bouquet, Burd and others.

The first white child born at Raystown was William Fraser.

The county buildings, court house and prison, were arranged for in the act which erected the county. The first session of court was held April 16, 1771, before “William Proctor, Jr., Robert Cluggage, Robert Hanna, George Wilson, William Lochrey, and William McConnell, 179Esquires, justices of our Lord the King.” William Proctor was the first sheriff, and Arthur St. Clair was appointed first prothonotary, recorder, and clerk of the court.

The first attorney to be sworn was Robert Magraw.

The names recommended to the Governor for license as tavern-keepers were Margaret Fraser, Jean Woods, Frederic Naugel, George Funk, John Campbell, Joseph Irwin, John Miller, and Samuel Paxton.

Bedford County became an active unit in the State and when the Revolution broke out she sent her best men into the State Conventions and during all that long struggle for independence performed her full duty to Pennsylvania and the colonies.

Bedford County has had some illustrious sons among whom were Hon. Thomas Smith, Hon. Jonathan Walker, Hon. Charles Huston, Hon. John Tod, Hon. Jeremiah S. Black, all members of the Supreme Court, and other high offices; United States Senator Hon. William Wilkins, and Hon. John S. Carlisle, who served as United States Senator from West Virginia, and others

The medicinal springs at Bedford are widely and justly celebrated, and the town is one of the most attractive resorts in all this country.


Organization of Sixty-seven Counties of
Pennsylvania Began with Philadelphia,
March 10, 1682

The three original counties of Pennsylvania were Philadelphia, Chester and Bucks. Some authorities claim Philadelphia was the original county and the others formed soon thereafter. These authorities give the date of the erection of Philadelphia County as March 10, 1682.

Pennsylvania historians generally agree that the three were originally erected at the same time by William Penn. Philadelphia extended toward the northwest, bounded on either side by its neighboring counties, Bucks and Chester.

Bucks was called Buckingham in a letter written by William Penn to the Society of Free Traders in 1683. At that time its northern boundary was the Kittatinny Mountains, or as far as the land might be purchased from the Indians—a very indeterminate line.

Chester County included what is now Delaware County, and all the territory, except a small portion now in Philadelphia County southwest of the Schuykill, to the extreme limits of the Province.

The first county to be formed in addition to the three original counties was Lancaster, which was taken from the territory of Chester County May 10, 1729. Its boundaries then comprised “all the province 180lying to the northward of the Octararo Creek, and westward of a line of marked trees running from the north branch of the said Octararo Creek northeasterly to the Schuylkill.” This new county was first reduced in size August 19, 1749, when York County was cut from its territory; and secondly on January 27, 1750, when the big county of Cumberland was erected from Lancaster. The limits of Cumberland then included the whole country west to the boundary of the State, or as far as the preceding Indian purchase.

Bucks County was reduced in size when Northampton County was erected from its territory, March 11, 1752, and on the same day the County of Berks was erected from Philadelphia, Bucks and Lancaster. Thus the Province of Pennsylvania continued with the eight counties until March 9, 1771, when Bedford was formed from Cumberland, the first of the many counties taken from her territory.

Northumberland County was erected March 21, 1772, from parts of Lancaster, Cumberland, Berks, Bedford and Northampton. On account of Indian purchases now reaching to the western boundaries of the State, the limits of Northumberland reached to the western and northern boundaries of the State. Her territory was so extensive that she has been known as “The Mother of Counties,” and all or parts of thirty of the present counties of Pennsylvania have been taken from the original territory of “Old Mother Northumberland.”

February 26, 1773, was erected the County of Westmoreland, whose territory was taken from Bedford County. It then included the entire southwestern section of the State. The next county to be erected was Washington, on March 28, 1781, and its territory was taken from Westmoreland, as was the County of Fayette, formed September 26, 1783. Thus, Westmoreland was considerably reduced in size within ten years from its organization.

Franklin County was erected September 9, 1784, and its territory taken from Cumberland. The following day, September 10, 1784, Montgomery County was formed from a part of Philadelphia County, the last territory to be taken from the original county.

March 4, 1785, Dauphin was cut off from Lancaster; September 25, 1786, Luzerne was erected from Northumberland, and September 20, 1787, Huntingdon was formed from Bedford.

Allegheny County was formed from Westmoreland and Washington Counties, September 24, 1788. Mifflin was formed from Cumberland and Northumberland Counties September 19, 1789.

Old Chester County lost part of its territory when Delaware County was cut from it September 26, 1789. Thus the county which comprised the most ancient settlements in Pennsylvania was now formed into the new County of Delaware, and the organization of counties in the southeastern part of the State completed.

When the County of Lycoming was cut from Northumberland, 181April 13, 1795, it was for years the largest county of the State. Four days later the County of Somerset was formed from Bedford. Green County was cut from Washington February 9, 1796, thus completing the formation of counties in the southwest corner of the State.

The next county to be formed was that of Wayne, which was set off from Northampton March 21, 1797, and formed the northeastern corner of the State.

Adams was erected from York January 22, 1800, and February 13 following Center was formed from parts of Northumberland, Lycoming, Mifflin and Huntingdon, and March 12 eight new counties—Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango and Warren—were formed. Thus, the remaining corner of the State was organized. The counties were taken from Lycoming and Allegheny, Westmoreland furnished a part of Armstrong and Washington yielded up a portion for Beaver, but Allegheny furnished the largest amount of territory for the new counties.

Indiana was cut from Westmoreland and Lycoming, March 30, 1803.

Six new counties were erected on March 26, 1804, when Cambria, Clearfield, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Tioga were formed. The latter four being taken from Lycoming, while Northumberland helped with Clearfield, but Cambria was cut from parts of Huntingdon, Somerset and Bedford. Bradford and Susquehanna, were formed February 21, 1810, the former from Lycoming and Luzerne and the latter from Luzerne alone.

March 11, 1811, Schuylkill was formed from Berks and Northampton. March 6, 1812, Lehigh was taken from Northampton, and February 16, 1813, Lebanon was erected from Lancaster and Dauphin. Columbia and Union were erected March 22, 1813, both being taken from Northumberland. Pike was cut from Wayne, March 26, 1814, and Perry was taken from Cumberland, March 22, 1820.

The State remained thus until Juniata was formed, March 2, 1831, from Mifflin; Monroe was taken from Northampton and Pike, April 1, 1836; Clarion was taken from Venango and Armstrong, March 11, 1839, and on June 21 following Clinton was formed from Lycoming and Center. Wyoming was erected from Luzerne, April 4, 1842, and Carbon was formed from Northampton and Monroe, March 13, 1843. April 18 following, Elk was cut from Jefferson, Clearfield and McKean.

Blair was formed February 26, 1846 from Huntingdon and Bedford; Sullivan was taken from Lycoming, March 15, 1847; Forest was formed from Jefferson and Venango, April 11, 1848; Lawrence from Beaver and Mercer, March 20, 1849; Fulton was cut from Bedford, April 19, 1850, and little Montour was taken from Columbia, May 3, of the same year.

Snyder was formed from Union March 2, 1855, and March 29, 1821860, Cameron was cut from parts of Clinton, Elk, McKean and Potter.

The last of the sixty-seven counties of Pennsylvania is Lackawanna which was cut from Luzerne, August 13, 1878.


Public Education Established by Governor
George Wolf, Who Died March 11, 1840

George Wolf, the seventh Governor of Pennsylvania, was born in Allen Township, Northampton County, August 12, 1777, and died March 11, 1840.

He attended a classical school established in the county by a society formed for the purpose, which was presided over by Robert Andrews, A. M., a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. Here he acquired a good knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages and of the sciences usually pursued in a liberal education. Leaving school he took charge of his father’s farm and also acted as principal of the academy in his native township. Before his majority he acted as clerk to the prothonotary, at the same time studying law under the direction of John Ross.

He early espoused the political principles of Thomas Jefferson, and when the latter became President he appointed Mr. Wolf Postmaster at Easton, and shortly after Governor Thomas McKean appointed him Clerk of the Orphans’ Court of Northampton County, which office he held until 1809.

In 1814 he was elected a member of the Legislature, and in 1824 he was elected a Representative in Congress, a position he acceptably filled for three terms.

In 1829 he was chosen Governor of Pennsylvania over Joseph Ritner.

Mr. Wolf was not an active aspirant for the office of Governor and received the nomination without knowing that any considerable strength in the convention was in his favor. He accepted the nomination, abandoned his lucrative practice and entered vigorously into the campaign.

At this period there began to be a change in the political horizon of the state. A fearful crusade was made against secret societies, which were denounced as tending to subvert government.

Commencing in the New England States, the reported abduction of a traitor to the Freemasons in Batavia, New York, assisted to spread rapidly the contagion, and party lines were almost equally drawn in the State of Pennsylvania. The Federal party lost its identity, and the Anti-Masons sprang up like mushrooms. Their candidate, Joseph Ritner, was defeated at the first election by seventeen thousand and at the 183second by only three thousand out of a poll of almost two hundred thousand.

When Governor Wolf came into office the financial affairs of the Commonwealth, owing to the extensive scheme of public improvements, then progressing at a fair rate, were in deplorable condition. There was but one course to pursue which would maintain the credit of the State and that was to push the works to rapid completion. This was done and in a few years he with others had the proud satisfaction of beholding how far these needed improvements went towards developing the great natural resources of Pennsylvania.

But the most substantial and enduring merit of Governor Wolf was evinced in his advocacy of a system of popular education.

James Buchanan, in a speech delivered at West Chester previous to the election of the Governor, had said: “If ever the passion of envy could be excused a man ambitious of true glory, he might almost be justified in envying the fame of the favored individual, whoever he may be, whom Providence intends to make the instrument in establishing Common Schools throughout the Commonwealth. His task will be arduous. He will have many difficulties to encounter and many prejudices to overcome; but his fame will exceed that of the great Clinton, in the same proportion that mind is superior to matter. Whilst, the one has erected a frail memorial, which like everything human must decay and perish, the other will raise a monument which shall flourish in immortal youth, and endure whilst the human soul shall continue to exist. ‘Ages unborn and nations yet behind’ shall bless his memory.”

To Governor George Wolf that honor was accorded.

The Governor, in his annual message, December, 1831 said in reference to this subject: “It is cause for no ordinary measure of gratification that the Legislature, at its last session, considered this subject worthy of its deliberations, and advancing one step toward the intellectual regeneration of the State by laying a foundation for raising a fund to be employed hereafter in the righteous cause of a practical general education. It is no less gratifying to know that public opinion is giving strong indications of having undergone a favorable change in reference to this momentous measure, and by its gradual but powerful workings is fast dispelling the groveling fallacies, but too long prevalent, that gold is preferable to knowledge and that dollars and cents are of a higher estimation than learning. I would suggest for your consideration the propriety of appointing a commission, to consist of three or more talented and intelligent individuals, known friends of a liberal and enlightened system of education, whose duty it should be to collect all the information and possess themselves of all the facts and knowledge that can be obtained from any quarter having a bearing upon or connection with the subject of education, and arrange and embody the same in a report to the Legislature.”

184In compliance with this wise recommendation, Senator Samuel Breck, of Philadelphia, was made chairman of the committee, which reported a bill, embodying what were believed to be the best features of those systems which had been most successful in other States, and at the session of 1834 it passed both branches of the Legislature with a unanimity rarely equaled in legislation. The bill was approved by the Governor April 1, 1834.

Although the school bill was adopted with comparative unanimity, it was at once attacked by a storm of opposition in certain sections of the State. The opposition was well crystallized when the Legislature convened in the fall of 1834.

Governor Wolf’s message was firm, but the members had been flooded with petitions for the repeal of the measure.

On April 11, 1835, Thaddeus Stevens, by a memorable speech and a remarkable parliamentary effort, swayed the opposition, and by a vote of 55 to 30 successfully defended the schools when threatened with destruction.

Thus public education in Pennsylvania was saved; but Governor Wolf, who had advocated it so strenuously, was defeated for a third term by Joseph Ritner.

Retiring from the gubernatorial chair, he was appointed by President Jackson in 1836, to the office of First Comptroller of the Treasury. After holding this position for two years he was appointed by President Van Buren to be Collector of the Port of Philadelphia, which he held until his death on March 11, 1840.


Lands Set Apart for Soldiers of Revolution,
March 12, 1783

The soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line who served in the War of the Revolution were by act of legislation entitled to wild lands of the State and a large area of the northwestern portion of the State north of the depreciation lands and west of the Allegheny River was set apart and surveyed to the officers and soldiers.

As early as March 7, 1780, while the war for the independence of the American colonies was still in active progress, and being vigorously waged by the hostile armies in the field, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, by resolution, made a promise of “certain donations and quantities of land” to the soldiers of the State, known as the “Pennsylvania Line,” then serving in the Continental Army.

This resolution provided that these lands should be “surveyed and divided off” at the end of the war, and allotted to those entitled to receive 185them according to their several rank. In order to comply with the letter and intention of the resolution, an act was passed by the General Assembly on March 12, 1783, by the provisions of which certain lands were set apart to be sold for the purpose of redeeming the certificates of depreciation given to the soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line. It also provided that a certain tract of country, beginning at the mouth of Mogulbughtition Creek, now known as Mahoning Creek, in Armstrong County; then up the Allegheny River to the mouth of Cagnawaga Creek, in now Warren County; thence due north to the northern boundary of the State; thence west by the said boundary, to the northwest corner of the State, thence south, by the western boundary of the State, to the northwest corner of lands appropriated by the act for discharging the depreciation certificates; and thence by the same lands east to the place of beginning, “which said tract of country shall be reserved and set apart for the only and sole use of fulfilling and carrying into execution the said resolve.”

The territory thus set apart comprised parts of the present counties of Lawrence, Butler, Armstrong, Venango, Forest and Warren, all of the counties of Mercer and Crawford and that portion of Erie County which lies south of the triangle.

This territory was a wild and unbroken wilderness, except at the few places fortified by the French and later occupied by the English and Colonists during the Revolution.

The officers of the First and Second Battalions of the Province of Pennsylvania in the French and Indian War petitioned for and received twenty-four thousand acres of land along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and these officers and their families thus became pioneer settlers in that picturesque valley, and now the veterans of the Revolution were given homes in the northwestern section of the State and there planted the settlements which have grown into the most important industrial centers of the Western Hemisphere.

The act of March 12, 1783, gave a clear title to the land, for under Section 6, all rights, titles, or claims to land within the described bounds, whether obtained from the Indians, the late Proprietaries, or any other person or persons, were declared to be null and void, thus reserving the entire tract from sale or settlement until after the allotments to the soldiers were duly made and their claims fully satisfied.

By the following section of the act the officers and enlisted soldiers were to be allowed two years after the declaration of peace in which to make their applications, and in event of death occurring before any veteran made his application, an additional year was allowed his heirs, executors or administrators to make application. Thereafter the unlocated tracts were to be disposed of upon such terms as the Legislature might direct. This period for making applications was many 186times extended, so that no veteran was deprived of a fair opportunity to obtain his tract of the donation land.

The authorities of Pennsylvania were even more thoughtful of these Revolutionary veterans, for the General Assembly passed an act which exempted from taxation during lifetime the land which fell to lot of each veteran unless the same was transferred or assigned to another person.

Then followed the great purchase of October 23, 1784, and then the Act of March 24, 1785, which directed the manner in which the allowances of land were to be distributed to the troops, and provided for legal titles, vesting in them the right of ownership.

A section of the act described the persons who should be entitled to land, and Section 5, in order to comply with a previous resolution of the General Assembly, included the names of Baron Steuben, the German patriot drill master of the Continental Army, who was to receive a grant equal to that of a major general of the Pennsylvania Line, and Lieutenant Colonel Tilghman a grant equal to his rank.

Complete lists of all soldiers entitled to land were furnished by the Comptroller General to the Supreme Executive Council, and these claimants were divided into four classes.

Upon application of the officers of the Pennsylvania Line, General William Irvine, the commanding officer at Fort Pitt, was appointed agent to explore the lands, as he was well acquainted with all the land appropriated for donation purposes.

General Irvine entered upon his duties promptly and seemed to have exercised good judgment. An interesting report of his notes and observations was transmitted to President John Dickinson of the Supreme Executive Council in a letter dated at Carlisle, August 17, 1785. The streams, boundaries and other natural terrain were carefully described, and the general gave a most comprehensive narrative of his every act while on this important tour of duty.

Section 8 provided minute directions for the distribution of the tracts by lottery.

The drawing of the lottery commenced October 1, 1786, and was to continue one year. The committee of the Supreme Executive Council selected to superintend the drawing consisted of Captain John Boyd, Jonathan Hoge, Stephen Balliet and William Brown, to which was shortly added Peter Muhlenberg and Samuel Dean.

The time of the drawing was subsequently extended until under various laws the last limit of time was fixed as April 1, 1810, and from that day the offices were closed against any further applications for donation lands.


187

Colonel Matthew Smith, Hero of Early Wars,
Born March 13, 1740

Matthew Smith was the eldest son of Robert Smith, and was born March 13, 1740, in Paxtang, then Lancaster County, but since March 4, 1785, a part of Dauphin County. At the age of fifteen he was a soldier under Colonel Henry Bouquet, serving in the final campaign of the French and Indian War. During the interim between that war and the Revolutionary War he was an active leader among the early settlers in what are now Dauphin, Cumberland and Northumberland Counties, a leader in the struggles against the Indians and a respected and brave frontiersman.

Late in 1763 the Indians, especially the Conestoga, caused much suffering in the lower Susquehanna region and the territory between Harris’ Ferry and the Schuylkill. The terrible incursions perpetrated and the many murders committed by these savages resulted in having the provincial authorities place these Indians under their care in Lancaster, Conestoga and Philadelphia.

This protection so incensed the settlers, who had lost many of their kin through the perfidy of the so-called friendly Indians, that an appeal was made to the authorities against this support and protection, but no attention was given the frontiersmen.

These settlers continued to suffer until their patience was sorely tried. They then took matters in their own hands and banded together as the “Paxtang Boys,” under the leadership of Captains Matthew Smith and Lazarus Stewart, and they made a clean job of their design.

The “Paxtang Boys” marched to Lancaster, December 27, 1763, broke into the workhouse, and before their anger could be suppressed the last of the so-called “Conestogas” had yielded up his life. After this no other murder was committed by the Indians among the settlers in this vicinity.

Captain Matthew Smith, as one of the actual leaders, seems to have borne the lion’s share of the blame for the act.

February 13, 1764, a lengthy declaration was prepared for presentation to the General Assembly, then meeting in Philadelphia, signed by two of the citizens, Matthew Smith and James Gibson. The petition stated, however, that they signed it “on behalf of ourselves and by appointment of a great number of the frontier inhabitants.” This petition was one of the most important ever presented to a Pennsylvania Legislature and caused much heated debate.

A long and exciting siege in the Assembly was enacted by the leaders. On one side were Benjamin Franklin, Israel Pemberton, the 188Quaker leader, and Joseph Galloway, and on the popular side, or that of the people and the “Paxtang Boys,” were the Rev. John Ewing, the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, Dr. David James Dove and many others.

As a stronger act in supporting their position the “Paxtang Boys” planned a march to Philadelphia and started in a body under Captain Matthew Smith. Great consternation was witnessed in the capital city. The militia was called out and all business was suspended. But the delegation was not warlike and totally unaware of the anxiety felt in Philadelphia or of the military preparations made to receive them. Proudly bearing their declaration, approved by fifteen hundred of the frontier inhabitants, with many letters from prominent personages, they were met by commissioners sent out by the Governor, to whom they made known their intentions. Captain Smith presented their declarations to the Assembly, which was termed in the minutes of that day as “The declaration of the rioters and the petition of the back inhabitants.” During the long debate the main body of the party returned home and thus ended the “Paxtang Boys’ Insurrection.”

At the very outbreak of the Revolution Captain Smith organized a company of riflemen, which was assigned to Colonel Thompson’s battalion. After a tedious march overland from Dauphin County to Boston, the company joined the Continental Army at that place and on September 5, 1775, his company was detached to General Arnold’s command for the expedition to Canada.

He survived the hardships of the march through the Maine woods, the disastrous assault at Quebec December 31, and the brief confinement as a prisoner of war which followed, when he joined his regiment together with the few survivors of his company, but he soon thereafter resigned his commission on December 5, 1776. Captain Smith’s services were, however, much appreciated and he was promoted to full rank of major, September 27, 1777, and assigned to the Ninth Pennsylvania Regiment.

In the spring of 1778 he was elected by the citizens of the central part of the Province as a member of the Supreme Executive Council. October 11, 1779, he was elected vice president of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but resigned shortly after assuming the responsible duties of his high office.

When the intelligence of the capture and total destruction of Fort Freeland, on Warrior Run, in Northumberland County, reached Paxtang, Matthew Smith marched to Sunbury with a volunteer militia of fifty men raised by his own efforts and made a hurried march to overtake the British commander, Captain McDonald, and the retreating British invaders, including their Indian allies.

This distinguished statesman-soldier-patriot established himself in a fine residence, in what is now the Fourth Ward of Milton and became its most influential and revered citizen.

189The following obituary appeared in Kennedy’s Gazette, published at Northumberland, under date July 30, 1794:

“Died, the 22d inst., about sunset at Milton, Colonel Matthew Smith, aged fifty-four years, being one of the first patriots for liberty; went to Canada in the year 1775, and suffered extremities. He was once prothonotary of Northumberland County. Was interred 23d inst., attended by a large number of his friends and acquaintances, together with a volunteer company of light infantry from Milton, conducted by Major Pratt, and commanded by Captain James Boyd, who, marching about six miles to Warrior Run burying ground and shedding a tear over the old patriot’s grave, deposited his remains with three well directed volleys and returned home in good order.”

Linn’s Annals of Buffalo Valley is authority for the statement that these soldiers actually carried the body the entire distance of six miles to the old cemetery, where his bones now repose. The dust of this patriot, soldier and statesman lies within a few rods of the very fort he rushed from Paxtang with his brave militiamen to protect. His grave is unmarked and few have knowledge that he is buried there.


Fries’ Rebellion or Hot-Water War Arouses
Governor, March 14, 1799

In 1798 the Federal Government enacted a direct tax law, which became known as the “house tax,” and was unpopular in many parts of the country, especially in some of the counties of Pennsylvania, and it led to an insurrection known in history as “Fries’ Rebellion.”

The story of this insurrection, as told in “Pennsylvania Colonial and Federal” by Jenkins, is as follows:

“The troubles between the United States and France at this time assumed the form of active hostilities, and James McHenry, Secretary of War, began to organize an army. The President was given authority to borrow $5,000,000, and $2,000,000 more was to be raised by a new and odious tax. This tax was direct, and fell upon houses, lands and slaves.

“For every slave between the ages of twelve and fifty years, fifty cents was to be required of the owner. For every house valued at from $200 to $500, twenty cents per $100 was required, while the tax was thirty cents per 100 on houses valued from $500 to $1000.

“There were but few slaves in Pennsylvania, and as a result the tax fell mainly on houses and lands. The value of the houses was determined by counting the number and measuring the size of the windows. Houses with but few and small windows were rated lower, and in 190order to save the tax the farmers usually had small windows in their houses. Pennsylvania’s share of the tax was $232,177.72.”

The assessors and collectors of the tax found very little difficulty and opposition until the eastern part of the State was reached. It was in the counties of Bucks, Montgomery and Northampton, almost within sight of the Federal capital, that the opposition became alarming, arising from the fact that the German people did not understand the law. Many a farmer knew nothing of the tax until the assessor came around. The people remembered the old hearth tax of Germany, and they thought this tax was a revival of it.

Women set dogs on the assessors, and poured scalding water on them when they tried to measure windows. This fact has also given the name “Hot Water War” to the affair. In a number of townships, associations of the people were formed in order to prevent the officers from performing their duty.

In many places, violence was actually used and the assessors were taken and imprisoned by armed parties. The insurrection rose to such a height that it became necessary to compel the execution of the laws, and warrants were issued against certain persons and served upon them. Headquarters were appointed for the prisoners at Bethlehem but a number of persons marched there and demanded the release of the prisoners. The operations of the mob were so hostile that the marshals could offer no resistance, so the prisoners were released.

The leading spirit in the opposition to the Government was John Fries, a farmer’s son, born in Hatfield Township, Montgomery County, in 1750. He learned the cooper trade and in 1779 married Mary Brunner, of Whitemarsh Township. In 1775 Fries removed to Lower Milford Township, Bucks County. He saw service in the Revolution. He also helped to put down the Whisky Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania.

After settling in Bucks County, Fries became a traveling auctioneer and journeyed from village to village in this employment. He and his dog, Whiskey, were familiar figures in every country store. He could speak German fluently and in his rounds had excellent opportunities to denounce the tax.

Fries was present at a meeting in February, 1798, at the house of Jacob Kline, near the point of union of the four counties of Montgomery, Bucks, Lehigh and Berks. Fries assisted in drawing up a paper in opposition to the tax, which received fifty-five names. He also pledged himself to raise 700 men to resist the tax. His expressions against the law were very violent, and he threatened to shoot one of the assessors, Mr. Foulke, through the legs if he proceeded to assess the houses. Fries and his partisans followed and persecuted a number of the assessors, chasing them from township to township.

Fries was armed with a large horse pistol, and a man named Kuyder 191assisted him in command. Learning that the marshal had taken a number of prisoners, the rioters determined to rescue them. Fries drew up a paper at his own house, setting forth their design, and the next morning more than twenty followers appeared in arms. They then set out for Bethlehem to release the prisoners. The marshal was intimidated and the imprisoned rioters were released.

The Government became greatly alarmed at these proceedings. The President issued a proclamation commanding rioters to disperse. He also called upon the Governor and militia of Pennsylvania to assist in maintaining order. Governor Mifflin issued a proclamation March 14, 1799, and on March 20 the cavalry from Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks and Lancaster Counties was called out and encamped at Springhouse, Montgomery County. Here General MacPherson issued a proclamation to the rioters. Proceeding to Quakertown, the army began to make arrests and to scour the country in search of rioters.

After releasing the prisoners at Bethlehem, Fries returned to his old employment, but was arrested while holding a vendue. At the cry of the soldiers he leaped to the ground and fled to a swamp. He was arrested for treason, and with some thirty others taken to Philadelphia for trial.

The case of Fries was called up in Federal Court at Philadelphia on April 30, 1799. His lawyers were Alexander J. Dallas and Messrs. Ewing and Lewis. Messrs. Rawle and Sitgrave were the counsel for the United States. The verdict was guilty, but as it appeared after the verdict that one of the jury, previous to being empaneled, had expressed the opinion that Fries ought to be hanged, a new trial was granted. The second trial was called April 29, 1800. At the former trial Fries’ lawyers argued at great length that the offense was only riot and not treason. They cited many cases in support of their view. But the Court relied upon the definition of treason in the Constitution.

Fries’ counsel then refused to appear further in the case. He was again declared guilty, the Friday for the hanging was named and the sheriff’s posse was selected.

The cause of Fries was espoused by the old Republican Party and by a number of newspapers throughout the State. The Aurora denounced the action of the officers and charged that the Army lived in free quarters on the inhabitants. The Adler, a German paper published in Reading also condemned the course of the Government and claimed that the troops imposed upon the people as they marched through the country. Discussion on the subject became so bitter that it entered into National and State politics and became an important issue.

In the meantime National political affairs were so developing that President Adams was led to pardon Fries.


192

Mollie Maguires Murder Wm. H. Littlehales,
March 15, 1869, Which Brings
Detective McParlan to the
Coal Regions

The bloody record of the Mollie Maguires during the decade 1865 to 1875 marks the darkest and most terrible period in the history of the anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania.

This was a secret organization, composed of lawless Irishmen, who resorted to murder in its most cowardly form, to attain their ends and satisfy their revengeful feelings toward mine owners, superintendents and bosses, and also justices of the peace and borough officials who had the integrity to administer justice, and not cringe before these criminals, when under arrest.

The members of this organization became unusually active and bloodthirsty in 1865. On August 25 of that year David Muir, a colliery superintendent, was cruelly murdered in Foster Township, Schuylkill County; January 10, 1866, Henry H. Dunne, superintendent of a colliery and one of the leading citizens of Pottsville, was murdered on the public road, near his home.

There were other crimes committed by the members of this organization, but those which most aroused the indignation of the public were where prominent men were killed from ambush for no apparent reason than that they held responsible position in a coal company.

October 17, 1868, Alexander Rea was murdered near Centralia, Columbia County, and this crime was the most heinous up to this time. Arrests were made, and a strong chain of circumstantial evidence made out by the Commonwealth against them. One of the accomplices even gave out the facts which caused the apprehension of the others.

Separate trials were granted by the Columbia County Court, and Thomas Donahue was tried first. He was defended by Messrs. Ryon, Freeze, Strouse, Wolverton and Marr. He was acquitted February, 1869. The others, Pat Hester, Peter McHugh, and Pat Tully, were not then placed on trial.

But the next and most important outrage committed by the Mollie Maguires was the murder of William H. Littlehales, superintendent of the Glen Carbon Coal Company, in Cass Township, Schuylkill County.

This crime occurred March 15, 1869, on the main highway leading from his home to the mines. The act was witnessed by several persons, but the assassins escaped.

It was this act which caused Hon. Franklin B. Gowen, President of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company, and the Philadelphia 193and Reading Coal and Iron Company to send for Mr. Allan Pinkerton, and engage his services in dispersing this murderous crew.

Mr. Pinkerton accepted the employment offered him and assigned to the principal task a young man named James McParlan, a native of Ireland, aged twenty-eight years.

McParlan set out on his mission Monday, October 27, 1873, in the disguise of a vagabond Irishman seeking employment in the mines, and as a criminal who was seeking refuge from crimes committed in the vicinity of Buffalo, N. Y.

He assumed the name of James McKenna, and as such won his way into the confidence of the Mollies, joined their organization and became known as the most desperate Mollie in all the anthracite region.

Many others were murdered after McParlan arrived in the region. He prevented murder when it was possible to do so. He warned those who were to be victims through Mr. Franklin, superintendent of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal Company, with whom he kept in daily contact by clever correspondence.

Up to the hour that James McParlan arrived in Schuylkill County, no information had been obtained concerning the identity of those who murdered Littlehales, nor had it been possible to convict a single Mollie Maguire in any court where they were brought to trial.

Another crime which McParlan was sent to investigate was the murder of Morgan Powell, at Summit Hill, Carbon County, which occurred December 2, 1871. These were enough to occupy the time of a man even as clever as Detective McParlan alias James McKenna.

During the more than two years that McParlan lived among the Mollies he did not learn the murderers of Littlehales but succeeded in bringing to justice many other murderers.

The arrests quickly followed one another when once begun early in 1876. The trials began in Mauch Chunk in March. While McParlan did not testify in the first case he furnished very valuable information, and greatly assisted the prosecution.

Then followed the arrest and trial of others in Pottsville, Mauch Chunk and Bloomsburg with the conviction of many.

McParlan went upon the stand in the trial of James Carrol, Thomas Duffy, James Roarty, Hugh McGehan, and James Boyle, for the murder of B. F. Yost, which occurred at Tamaqua, July 6, 1875. This trial was held at Pottsville, before a full bench of Hon. C. L. Pershing, D. B. Green and T. H. Walker. James Kerrigan, a Mollie, was a witness for the Commonwealth.

The trial of Thomas Munley in June, 1876, in the same court, for the murder of Thomas Sanger and William Uren, brought Mr. F. B. Gowen into the case and the delivery of his wonderful speech, which will ever remain one of the greatest in the history of the criminal courts of our State.

194The Mollies were convicted of murder in the first degree and paid the extreme penalty on the gallows.

Many other Mollies were hanged, and on May 21, 1877, Governor J. F. Hartranft issued warrants for the execution of eight of the Mollie Maguires, which brought to an end the bloody record of this nefarious organization.


David Wilmot, Author of Proviso, Died at
Towanda, March 16, 1868

David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, retired from Congress after six years of service, March 4, 1851, with his name more generally involved in the political discussion of the country than that of any other of our statesmen. He was born in Bethany, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1814, and died in Towanda, March 16, 1868.

After acquiring an academic education wholly by his own efforts he was admitted to the bar in Wilkes-Barre in 1834. He at once located at Towanda, the county seat of Bradford, where he commenced his career and to which place he brought great and lasting honor.

He took a leading part in the support of Van Buren for the presidency in 1836, and in 1844 he was elected to Congress from the TwelfthTwelfth District, then composed of the Counties of Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga.

At that time there existed much friction with Mexico over the boundary line, also ominous signs of a determined effort to extend slavery beyond its then existing limits, tariff agitation, trouble with Great Britain in the Oregon region, and other grave questions of national import.

The admission of Texas as a State, March 1, 1845, which was favored by Wilmot and his party, was followed by the war with Mexico a year later.

A bill was introduced August 8, 1846, which authorized the placing of $2,000,000 at the disposal of President Polk for the purpose of negotiating peace with Mexico and the crucial hour in our history had arrived. The prospect of the erection of future slave States out of Mexican territory aroused the anti-slavery sentiment of the North, and among the most pronounced of the dozen or more anti-slavery Democrats was David Wilmot.

At a conference of anti-slavery Democrats was presented what became known as the Wilmot proviso, of which the text was a repetition of the Jefferson proviso to the ordinance of 1787, except that it was framed for the present situation. The following is the full text: “Provided, that as an expressed and fundamental condition to the 195acquisition of any territory from the Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty that may be negotiated between them, and to the use by the Executive of the moneys herein appropriated, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of such territory, except for crime whereof the party shall be first duly convicted.”

When offered by Wilmot the proviso produced the utmost consternation in the House, as many members had become alarmed at the anti-slavery sentiment in their districts. The House was in committee of the whole, and to the surprise of both sides the proviso was adopted by a vote of 83 to 64, the Democrats of the North supporting it with but three exceptions.

An effort was made in the Senate to remove the proviso, but the last day of the session the gavel fell while the proviso was being debated, the first instance in which a bill was defeated by speaking against time in the Senate.

Wilmot was vehemently assailed by most of the leaders of his party, but the growing anti-slavery sentiment in the North only served to inspire Wilmot in his great battle, and he developed wonderful power as a public disputant.

Wilmot’s contest for re-election in 1848 attracted the attention of the whole Nation, and his triumph did much to strengthen the anti-slavery movement throughout the North.

Opposition to the Wilmot Proviso was finally forced as a cardinal doctrine of the party. When Wilmot came up for re-election in 1850 he was nominated at the Democratic primaries, but the newspapers opposed him and his defeat was regarded as one of the first duties of those who desired the success of the Democracy against him, and it appeared as if a Whig was sure to be elected.

Conservative Democrats suggested that both the Democratic candidates withdraw and select another upon whom all could unite. Wilmot promptly agreed on condition that the one nominated would sustain his anti-slavery faith and be personally acceptable to himself. He was asked to suggest a man, and he named Galusha A. Grow, then a young member of the bar in Susquehanna County, who had studied law with him.

Grow was found by a committee in his mountain retreat and hurried back to make his battle. He was elected and became the Speaker of Congress in the trying days of the Civil War.

The year Wilmot retired from Congress he succeeded Hon. Horace Willston on the bench of the judicial district then composed of Bradford, Susquehanna and Sullivan Counties, and ably served in that capacity until 1857, when he resigned to become a candidate for the governorship against William F. Packer, by whom he was defeated. After his defeat, Wilmot, by appointment of Governor Pollock, resumed his place on the bench and served until 1861.

196When Wilmot cast his lot with the Republican Party he was recognized as a leader in the first national convention in 1856. He was tendered the nomination as Vice President on the ticket with Fremont, which was declined. He was chairman of the Committee on Resolutions and to him belongs the honor of drafting the first platform of the Republican Party.

In the campaign of 1860 Wilmot was a delegate at large and was honored by being selected as the temporary chairman of that historic body that nominated Abraham Lincoln.

Wilmot was a candidate for Senator in 1861, but Simon Cameron held the balance of power in the contest, and gave the victory to Edgar Cowan. Later during the same session when Cameron resigned his seat in the Senate to enter the Cabinet of President Lincoln, as Secretary of War, Wilmot was chosen to succeedsucceed him.

At the end of his two years’ term the Democrats had carried the Legislature by one majority and made Charles R. Buckalew, of Columbia County, the Senator. Soon thereafter he was appointed by President Lincoln Judge of the Court of Claims, which position he held until death terminated his remarkable career.

His vigor was much impaired during the last few years of his life by steadily failing health, and he was finally able to give but little of his time to his judicial duties, and March 16, 1868, he quietly passed away in his home at Towanda.

In the beautiful suburbs of the town may be seen Riverside Cemetery, and near the public road stands the simple marble headstone of the grave of David Wilmot, with his name and date of birth and death on the inner surface, and on the outer surface, where it can be seen by every passerby, is inscribed the text of the Wilmot Proviso.


First Excise Laws of Pennsylvania Enacted

March 17, 1684

The first excise tax in Pennsylvania was imposed by the Assembly of the Province March 17, 1684, in an act entitled “Bill for Aid and Assistance of the Government.”

This act seems to have been prompted by a record in the minutes of the Assembly for February 20, 1684: “The Govr. & Provll Councill have thought fitt. from the Exteriordinary in the Case, to place Patrick Robinson as administrator to Benj. Acrods Estate, and to have a recourse to this board from time to time.

“Wheras, the Verdict of the Coroner’s Jury was, that Benj. Acrod killed himselfe with drinke, wch might give the Province a pretence to his Estate therin. The Propor & Govr. Relinquished all his Claime 197thereunto in Council, and desired ye Council to take Care that some person be appoynted to take Care of ye Estate of ye sd Acrod, for ye paymt of his debts, and the remaineder to be disposed of according to Law, &c.”

At the session held on March 26 a bill was read that it should be left to the Governor and Provincial Council to discuss with Indians matters concerning the use of rum among them. Another bill was read which prohibited bargains being made “when People are in Drinke.” This bill was passed.

The objectionable features of the first excise bill passed by the Assembly were soon after repealed and not again renewed until the year 1738, when the Provincial Assembly, August 14, heard a bill “sent by the House of Representatives, entitled an Act for laying an Excise on Wine, Rum, Brandy and other Spirits.” This bill was passed without amendments and signed by Lieutenant Governor George Thomas, August 25, 1738.

This bill proved to be very unpopular, and it remained in force only a few months.

In 1744 this subject was again revived when at the session of the Provincial Council held May 25 Lieutenant Governor Thomas in a message sent to him by the Assembly was advised among other things that “We are also of the Opinion that it will be for the Interests of Our Constituents to make further Provision concerning the Excise Act and we have a bill before us to this Purpose; and we hope these Bills, and such others as shall be truly useful to the Province, when offered, will meet with the Governor’s assent. And we, on our Part, shall then Cheerfully make Provision for his Support for the Current Year, equal to any granted for the like Time to either of his immediate Predecessors.”

This bill proposed an excise tax as a means of providing money without resorting to a general tax, not only to be used to purchase arms and ammunition for defense, but as well to answer such demands as might be made upon the inhabitants of the Province by his Majesty for distressing the public enemy in America. This bill, like the former ones, was not long in operation.

March 31, 1764, a bill was passed by the Assembly and Council and signed by Lieutenant Governor John Penn, which tended to suppress “Idleness, Drunkenness, & other Debaucheries, within this Government.”

The attention of the Assembly was once more called to the excise as a productive source of revenue on February 24, 1772, when Lieutenant Governor Richard Penn laid before the Council a bill sent to him by the Assembly, entitled “An Act for the support of the Government of this Province making the Excise on Wine, Rum, Brandy, and other spirits more equal, and preventing Frauds in the Collecting and paying the said Excise.”

That a considerable portion of the money expended in the Provincial 198Government was raised by excise is evidenced from a report made by Governor John Penn June 26, 1775, which was an account of the several amounts of the excise tax collected for the years 1771, 72, 73 and 74, the total amount of which, after deducting the commissions to the Treasurer and collectors exceeded £28,000. Together with this report was another indorsed “State of the Bills of Credit struck on the Excise for several years, laid before the Governor with the bill for the support of Government & paymt of public debts.”

In the Act of 1722 a duty was levied on domestic and foreign spirits. At first, however, as to home-distilled spirits it was not executed, and, indeed, hardly any steps were taken for the purpose particularly in the older counties. But, during the Revolutionary War, the necessities of the State and a temporary unpopularity of distillation, owing to the immense amount of grain consumed, when the troops so much needed it as a food, rendered the collection of duties both necessary and practicable, and a considerable revenue was thereby obtained. Toward the end of the war the act was repealed.

In 1780 Congress resolved that an allowance of an additional sum should be made to the army, to compensate the troops for the depreciation in their pay. This was distributed among the several States for discharge. Pennsylvania made several appropriations for the purpose, but the revenues so applied turned out to be unproductive.

The depreciation fund was always favorably regarded, and upon an application of officers of the Pennsylvania Line, another effort was made, the revenue arising from the excise remaining uncollected was appropriated to this fund, and vigorous measures were taken for its collection.

Great changes, however, had taken place in the disposition of the people since the first imposition of these duties. The neighboring States were free from the burden, and in New Jersey, where a law had been passed for the purpose, its execution had been entirely prevented by a powerful combination. The Pennsylvania law, therefore, met with great opposition, especially west of the Allegheny Mountains and there is no evidence that the excise was ever paid in that section.

The excise law of Pennsylvania, after remaining for years a dead letter, was repealed, and the people were to submit to a similar law passed by the Congress of the new Federal Government March 3, 1791. This laid an excise of fourpence per gallon on all distilled spirits.

The members of Congress from Western Pennsylvania, Smilie, of Fayette, and Findley, of Westmoreland, stoutly opposed the passage of the law, and on their return among their constituents loudly and openly disapproved of it. Albert Gallatin, then residing in Fayette County, also opposed the law by all constitutional methods.

The majority of the people in the western counties of the State were of Scotch-Irish descent. They had heard of the exaction and oppression in the Old Country under the excise laws—that houses were entered 199by excise officers, the most private apartments examined, and confiscation and imprisonment followed if the smallest quantity of whisky was discovered not marked with the official brand. They also remembered the effective resistance to the Stamp Act, that those who forced the repeal of the odious law were the real factors in bringing about the independence of America. Holding these opinions, it is not to be wondered at that the more hot-headed resorted to threats of violence and precipitated the riotous proceedings known in Pennsylvania history as the Whisky Insurrection.


Pittsburgh Built in 1760, Incorporated April
22, 1794, and Chartered as City
March 18, 1816

On April 17, 1754, Ensign Ward was surprised by the appearance of Frenchmen, who landed, planted their cannon and summoned the English to surrender. The French soon demolished an unfinished fort and built in its place a much larger and better one, calling it Fort Duquesne, in honor of the Marquis Duquesne, the French Governor of Canada.

This was the actual beginning of what is now Pittsburgh, but there were many stirring conflicts for permanent possession of the site at the “Forks of the Ohio.”

When General John Forbes invested Fort Duquesne November 25, 1758, he marched into a place which had been abandoned by the French and instead of a formidable fortress it was now nothing but a mass of blackened and smoldering ruins. The enemy, after burning the barracks and storehouses, had blown up the fortifications. Forbes’ first care was to provide a better defense and shelter for his troops, and a strong stockade was built, which he named Pittsburgh, in honor of England’s great Minister William Pitt.

A strong fort was subsequently built, which was known as Fort Pitt, and which continued until after the Revolutionary War to be the western base of the military department.

The first town of Pittsburgh was built near Fort Pitt in 1760. In a very carefully prepared list of the houses and the inhabitants outside of the fort, headed “a return of the number of houses of the names of the owners and number of the names of the owners and number of men, women and children in each house Fort Pitt, April 14, 1761,” the number of inhabitants is 233, with the additionaddition of ninety-five officers, soldiers and their families residing in the town, making the whole number 328. There were 104 houses. The lower town was nearer the fort, 200the upper on higher ground, principally along the bank of the Monongahela, extending as far as the present Market Street.

This town enjoyed comparative quiet until the Pontiac War, in 1763, when Fort Pitt was completely surrounded by the savage foe and the garrison reduced to dire straits until relieved by Colonel Bouquet.

The second town of Pittsburgh was laid out in 1765, by Colonel John Campbell, by permission of the commandant of Fort Pitt. It comprised the ground bounded by present Water Street, Second and Ferry Streets. Campbell’s plan of lots was subsequently incorporated unaltered in the survey made by George Woods for the Penns in 1784, and is known as the “Old Military Plan.” Several of these houses built of hewn logs and weather-boarded stood until quite recently and the old redoubt of Colonel Bouquet, built in 1764, north of the present Penn Street, west of Point, remains the most valued relic of the pre-Revolutionary days in Western Pennsylvania.

The little building is of brick, five-sided, with two floors having a squared oak log with loop holes on each floor. There are two underground passages, one connecting it with the fort, and the other leading to the Monongahela River. This building and ground upon which it stands is owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution of Allegheny County, who keep it in excellent repair. It was the gift of Mrs. Mary E. Schenley, April 1, 1894.

During the Revolution the Assembly confiscated the property of the Penn family, excepting certain manors and other property which the Proprietaries held in their private capacities by devise, purchase, or descent. The Manor of Pittsburgh contained 5766 acres and included the present city of Pittsburgh and the country eastward of it and south of the Monongahela; this was surveyed March 27, 1769, and remained as the property of the Penns.

In 1784 Tench Francis, of Philadelphia, as agent for the Proprietaries, laid out this Manor in town and outlots. The surveyor’s work was done by George Woods, of Bedford. These lots found ready sale and by 1786 there were 100 houses and 500 population. The fur trade was still the most important, although the general business was improving.

The first newspaper published west of the Alleghenies was the Pittsburgh Gazette, now the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, established July 29, 1786. Pittsburgh was incorporated as a borough April 22, 1794.

Another important event occurred May 19, 1798, when the galley President Adams was launched at Pittsburgh. She was the first vessel built here which was competent for a sea voyage, and was constructed by the Government, in preparation for the threatened war with France. The Senator Ross was launched the following spring.

The first glass works were established here in 1797 by James O’Hara and Isaac Craig. William Eichbaum was brought from near Philadelphia 201to superintend this new enterprise, the first real manufacturing venture in this place. The first paper mill west of the Alleghenies was erected this same year in Pittsburgh.

During the three years from 1802 to 1805 four ships, three brigs and three schooners were built in Pittsburgh.

The first bank in the western part of the State was a branch of the Bank of Pennsylvania, which opened for business January 1, 1804, on Second Street, between Ferry and Chancery Lane. An iron foundry was established by Joseph McClurg during 1804.

On March 24, 1811, the New Orleans, the first steamboat ever built or run on Western waters, was launched at Pittsburgh. This boat started on its initial trip to the Crescent City, December 24 following. The second such boat was christened the Comet and launched in Pittsburgh in 1813. A large number of boats was built in this city, and the trade was immense.

The first canal boat ever built or run west of the mountains was the General Abner Lacock. She was owned by Patrick Leonard, of Pittsburgh, but was built in ApolloApollo. This was a fine packet boat, with berths and dining service, as well as capacity for carrying freight.

The first railroad entered Pittsburgh in the fall of 1834, on the completion of the Philadelphia and Columbia, and the AlleghenyAllegheny portage railroads.

Pittsburgh became a city by an Act of Assembly at the sessions of 1815–1816, the date of the change in city government being March 18, 1816. At the first election for municipal officers under the City Charter, Major Ebenezer Denny was chosen Mayor.

The first great consolidation was effected March 29, 1872, when the South side was united with Pittsburgh. This brought into the city the boroughs of Birmingham, East Birmingham, Ormsby, Allentown, St. Clair, South Pittsburgh, Monongahela, Mount Washington, Union, West Pittsburgh and Temperanceville.

The population of Pittsburgh according to the census of 1920 was 588,343.


202

Margaret Junkin Preston, Poetess-Laureate,| Died March 19, 1897

It is a matter of just pride that the most brilliant and beloved poetess of yesteryear was none other than a Pennsylvania girl, Margaret Junkin Preston, who through her writings, both in prose and poetry, attained Nation-wide distinction and won the title “Poetess-Laureate of the South.”

Margaret Junkin was born in Milton, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, May 19, 1820, the eldest child of Rev. George and Julia Rush Miller Junkin.

Her parents were of that stalwart, heroic race, the Covenanters of Scotland.

Dr. Junkin’s life was devoted to religion and education, and at the time of his marriage he was the minister of the Presbyterian Church at Milton.

When Margaret was ten years old her parents moved to Germantown, where her father assumed charge of the Manual Labor Academy of Pennsylvania. After a delightful residence of two years Dr. Junkin was called to the first presidency of Lafayette College, and the family moved to the “Forks of the Delaware.”

It was during the incumbency of Dr. Junkin that the college, which for two years was conducted on a farm south of the Lehigh, was moved to the present site, on what has since been known as College Hill Easton, and Old South College built. President and Mrs. Junkin and their seven children moved into the original building, where they continued to reside until March 30, 1841, when the doctor accepted the presidency of Miami College, Oxford, O.

It was during her residence at Easton that Margaret and her sister, Eleanor, became members of the First Presbyterian Church and that her first productions in verse appeared in the columns of a local newspaper; they were “Childhood,” “The Forest Grave” and “Where Dwelleth the Scent of the Rose.” After her removal to Oxford, O., she wrote “Lines Written on Reading Letters Bringing Sad News From Easton.”

In 1844 Dr. Junkin returned to Easton to again assume the presidency of Lafayette College, in which position he capably served until 1848, when he accepted the presidency of Washington College, now Washington and Lee University, at Lexington, Va.

Upon Margaret Junkin’s return to Easton, she wrote “Love’s Tribute to the Departed,” occasioned by the death of an intimate friend, and “The Fate of a Raindrop.” These were followed after removing to Lexington, by “Thoughts Suggested by Powers’ Proserpine,” “The Old 203Dominion,” “The Solaced Grief,” “Galileo Before the Inquisition,” and “The Polish Boy.”

The life of Margaret Junkin at Lexington differed from that which she experienced as a young girl at Germantown, Easton and Oxford. She had reached the age of twenty-eight, and the old town in the Shenandoah Valley, with its educational institutions, social atmosphere and local culture brought many interesting persons as visitors, not to speak of the quaint life among the slaves. This all appealed to her. She entered into the spirit of this environment to the fullest extent. Her lovely character, unusual attainments, literary and social, were fully recognized at home and abroad.

The death, in 1849, of her brother, Joseph, followed by that of her mother, in 1854, and only a few months later by that of her favorite sister, Eleanor, brought profound grief to the Junkin household.

The sister, Eleanor, survived only a year her marriage to Major Thomas J. Jackson, a graduate of West Point, and then a professor in the Virginia Military Institute, who later achieved fame in the Civil War and gained the sobriquet of “Stonewall Jackson,” second only to his commander-in-chief, Robert E. Lee. After the death of Mrs. Jackson, her husband continued to be a member of Dr. Junkin’s household for four years.

Margaret Junkin married, August 3, 1857, Major T. L. Preston, professor of Latin in the Virginia Military Institute, a widower with seven children. To this family she proved to be an affectionate and devoted mother.

Two sons were born to Major and Margaret Junkin Preston—George Junkin Preston, for many years a successful specialist in nervous diseases at Baltimore, now deceased, and Herbert Preston, now General Solicitor for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company.

The war clouds were lowering for a bitter conflict between the North and South, and the Junkin family became divided. The father, Rev. George Junkin, a pronounced abolitionist and opposed to secession, resigned the presidency of Washington College, and, with his widowed daughter departed for Philadelphia.

The story told of this trip, which was made overland, is that when the Mason and Dixon line was reached the team pulling the heavy load of household effects, and the one attached to the carriage in which the doctor and his daughter were riding, were halted, the goods unloaded, the horses, harness, wagon, carriage and themselves all carefully washed, then again loaded and driven over the boundary line into Pennsylvania. As the doctor afterwards related, no Southern soil should be brought into Pennsylvania, he wanted to leave it all where it belonged.

His son, William, espoused the Southern cause and became a captain, but his son, John M., served as a surgeon in the Federal Army.

204Following the close of the Civil War, Mrs. Preston devoted much time to reviewing books for various publishers, and in compiling and arranging for publication her own compositions in prose and verse, the latter resulting in the publication, in 1866, of her “Bechenbrook,” a book of poems voicing the sorrow and patriotism of the Southern people, and of “Old Songs and New” in 1870.

These were followed by “Cartoons,” “Handful of Monographs,” “For Love’s Sake,” “Colonial Ballads and Sonnets,” “Chimes for Church Children” and “Aunt Dorothy.” In addition she contributed to Century Magazine in the early eighties some reminiscences of General Robert E. Lee, and personal reminiscences of General “Stonewall” Jackson.

Colonel Preston resigned his professorship in 1882, when he and his talented wife traveled and visited among their children. The husband died July 15, 1890, and Mrs. Preston continued to live at Lexington for two years, but late in December, 1892, she removed to Baltimore and made her home with her eldest son, Dr. George Junkin Preston.

Margaret Junkin Preston died March 19, 1897.

There was much written about this poetess at the time, and possibly the best known was “An Appreciation of Margaret J. Preston, a Sketch of her Fifty Years of Literary Life,” by Prof. James A. Harrison, of the University of Virginia.

Mrs. Elizabeth Randolph Preston Allan compiled and published a volumevolume entitled “The Life and Letters of Margaret Junkin Preston,” and an excellent sketch of her interesting life has also been written by Ethan Allen Weaver, of Germantown, from which much of this story of the “Poetess-Laureate of the South” has been taken.


Military Laws of Province Repealed by
Import Act, March 20, 1780

On March 20, 1780, a law was passed to effect a reorganization of the whole militia system in Pennsylvania. It provided for the appointment of a lieutenant for each county, and two sub-lieutenants or more, not exceeding the number of battalions, which were to be divided into classes as heretofore. Fines, however for non-attendance on muster days were fixed for commissioned officers at the price of three days’ labor.

When called out, the pay of privates was to be equal to one day’s labor. Persons called out, but neglecting or refusing to go, were liable to pay in each case the price of a day’s labor during the term of service, beside a tax of fifteen shillings on the hundred pounds upon their estates. As a relief to this class, the hiring of substitutes was allowed. 205Pensions were promised the wounded in battle, and support to the families of those militiamen who were killed, at rates to be fixed by the courts. Considerable opposition was made to this law, from the fact that by permitting the hiring of substitutes it would relieve the disaffected and Tories.

While this bill, undoubtedly, had many defects, it was the first real effort toward the establishment of a military system in the Commonwealth upon a practical basis.

Militia companies were provided in each county, the State being divided into districts, and all males were required to enroll, who were between eighteen and fifty-three years of age.

This act was modified in 1783, when a more specific code of discipline was adopted. This act remained in force until 1793.

The militia act of March 20, 1780, was the outgrowth or development of the militia system of Pennsylvania which may be considered to have begun in the year 1747. Altho in the charter given to William Penn, the Governor was given authority to levy, muster and train men, to make war upon and pursue the enemy, even beyond the limits of the province.

As early as 1702, Lieutenant Governor Hamilton asked the Assembly to enact a bill to provide for “what may come against us by land or by sea.”

Several years later Lieutenant Governor Evans urged a similar law, but the idea was unpopular. Several other similar bills were subsequently defeated, yet the Assembly occasionally appropriated funds for “the King’s use,” for the purchase of bread, beef, pork, flour, wheat and “other“other grain.” Franklin later commented that “other grain” meant black grains of gunpowder.

It was through the effort and influence of Franklin, in 1747, that a volunteer military association was effected, consisting of about 1200 of the most influential men in the province. This soon grew to 10,000 and the following year the “Associated Companies,” by which name the organization became known, had enrolled 12,000 horse, foot and artillery, each armed and equipped at personal expense, and the officers chosen from the members. Franklin was one of the original colonels.

This association rendered conspicuous service in the French and Indian wars and preserved its organization. Many of the companies volunteered for service in the Revolution and formed the backbone of the State’s militia.

In 1756 there were in Philadelphia three of these companies, with a total of seventeen officers and 260 private men, one troop of horse with five officers and forty men and one battery of artillery with three officers and 150 men. In Bucks County there were nine companies with thirty-nine officers and 513 men; in Chester County there were several companies, under command of Captain John Singleton, Samuel 206West, Robert Boyd and Jacob Richardson. In York County there were eight companies with an enrollment of 642 men and in Lancaster County there were nine companies and 545 men.

It was not until Braddock’s defeat that the Assembly voted a substantial sum for the “King’s use,” but made no provision for an organized military force. November 25, 1755, the Assembly passed “an Act for the better ordering and regulating such as are willing and desirous to be united for military purposes within the province.”

This was the first act of Assembly which in any way provided for the organized defense of the province, and this was to remain in force only until October 30, 1756.

By March 29, 1757, the Quakers had become a minority in the Assembly and an act was passed which was more satisfactory. It also provided for the compulsory enrollment of all male persons between the ages of seventeen and fifty-five years. It also stated the financial responsibility required of those who would serve as officers.

One section of this act provided “that all Quakers, Menonists, Moravians and others conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, who shall appear on any alarm with the militia, though without arms, and obey the commands of the officers in extinguishing fires, suppressing insurrection of slaves or other evil-minded persons during an attack, in caring for the wounded, conveying intelligence as expresses or messengers, carrying refreshments to such as are on duty, and in conveying to places of safety women and children, aged and infirm, and wounded persons are free and exempt from penalties of this act.” This act remained in force until the close of the French and Indian War in 1763.

There was no special control of military affairs again until June 30, 1775, when the Assembly passed an act for “the defense of their lives, liberty and property.”

At this same session there was established a Committee of Safety, of twenty-five members, which constituted the Board of War, whose powers enabled them to call into service so many of the associators as they deemed necessary or the occasion required.

The Committee of Safety was organized July 3, 1775, with Benjamin Franklin as president.

This committee exercised supreme control of the land and naval forces of the province until October 13, 1777, when its powers were transferred to the body known as the Council of Safety, this comprising the Supreme Executive Council and nine others. The Council of Safety was dissolved December 6, 1777, when the military authority was assumed by the Supreme Executive Council and the Assembly.

The aggregate number of men furnished by the Associators during the Revolution was in excess of 35,000.

Pennsylvania furnished in all arms of the service, under the various 207calls, a total of 120,514 men, which number does not include many bodies of militia and many men who were under arms for a brief period, a record of which service was not kept during the early years of the war.

Laws were passed during the war relating to the military forces, but these were all repealed by the formal act of March 20, 1780.


Old Northumberland, Mother of Counties,

Erected March 21, 1772

The political development of Pennsylvania followed closely in the wake of its expanding settlements. In 1682 the Counties of Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester were formed, with limits intended to include not only the populated area, but territory enough in addition to meet for a considerable time to come the growing necessities of the rapidly increasing immigration.

It was not until 1729, therefore, that the extension of the settlements and the purchase of new lands from the Indians led to the erection of Lancaster County. At that time the Susquehanna River marked the western limit of the land purchased from the Indians in the province. But the purchase of October 11, 1736, opened a triangular area west of the river, which was attached to Lancaster until the convenience of the increasing settlements in this region in 1749 demanded the erection of York County, and a year later for the erection of Cumberland County.

The northern extension of these counties was limited by the Indian boundary line, marked by the Kittatinny Range.

Again the extension of settlements and the treaty of August 22, 1749, demanded new county organizations, and in 1752 Berks and Northampton were formed to include in their jurisdiction the northern portions of the older counties and the newly acquired territory between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers. Berks embraced the larger area.

Additional territory west of the Susquehanna was acquired from the Indians by the treaties of 1754 and 1758, which made the outlying county of Cumberland too large for the convenience of its inhabitants, and in 1771 Bedford County was erected.

A similar development was rapidly taking place east of the Susquehanna, occasioned by the activity about Fort Augusta, at the Forks of the Susquehanna, and the Pennamite-Yankee War, which was being waged for possession of the territory in the Wyoming Valley and elsewhere, claimed by the Susquehanna Company of Connecticut, and the treaty of November 5, 1768, added much new territory.

208By an act passed March 21, 1772, the County of Northumberland was erected out of parts of the counties of Lancaster, Cumberland, Berks, Bedford and Northampton. The bounds of the new county stretched to the New York-Pennsylvania boundary line on the north and to the Allegheny River on the west, including in its extensive territory the present-day counties of Susquehanna, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union, Lycoming, Tioga, Potter, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, McKean, Forest, Jefferson, Clarion and parts of Schuylkill, Center, Mifflin, Juniata, Clearfield, Indiana, Armstrong, Venango and Warren.

It is with eminent propriety this tenth county of Pennsylvania has been frequently styled “Old Mother Northumberland,” and each of her twenty-nine children refer back to her for their earliest political history.

Its greatest proportions were attained in 1785, when, by the Act of April 9, all that part of the purchase of October 22, 1784, east of the Conewango Creek and Allegheny River was placed within its limits. The county thus extended along the northern line of the State as far west as the Conewango Creek, which crosses the New York-Pennsylvania boundary line in Warren County, and from the Lehigh River to the Allegheny River, with a maximum width of nearly two-thirds that of the State. The extent of this region exceeds that of several States of the Union.

By the Act of September 24, 1788, Allegheny County was created, including all the territory in the State north and west of the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers, and from this territory, by act of March 12, 1800, the counties of Beaver, Butler, Mercer, Crawford, Erie, Warren, Venango and Armstrong were erected. Thus it would seem that the first five of these should be added with the offspring of Old Northumberland, for three years at least. If this be the case her children would number thirty-four of the sixty-seven counties of the State.

The first curtailment of this generous domain resulted from the erection of Luzerne County, September 25, 1786. West of the Susquehanna the first county to which Northumberland contributed was Mifflin, erected September 19, 1789, but the part taken from Northumberland with additional territory from Northumberland and other counties, was erected into Center, February 13, 1800. The formation of Lycoming County, April 13, 1795, deprived Northumberland of the large extent of territory it had acquired under the purchase of 1784, with a considerable part of its original area.

Northumberland was thus reduced to the position of an interior county. With this reduced territory the statesmen of Pennsylvania were not fully satisfied, and March 22, 1813, the townships of Chillisquaque and Turbot were detached to form part of the new Columbia 209County, but this was an unpopular move and the greater part of these townships were re-annexed to Northumberland, February 21, 1815.

On June 16, 1772, the surveyor general was directed to “lay out a town for the county of Northumberland, to be called by the name of Sunbury, at the most commodious place between the fort (Augusta) and the mouth of Shamokin Creek.”

Until the court house was built the courts were held at Fort Augusta, the first session being held April 9, 1772.

The first jail in the county was the dungeon beneath the magazine of Fort Augusta. This is the only part of the early county buildings now in existence, and this particular dungeon and the old well which supplied water for the garrison are now the property of the Commonwealth.

When the county was erected the Governor appointed William Plunket, Turbut Francis, Samuel Hunter, James Potter, William Maclay, Caleb Graydon, Benjamin Allison, Robert Moodie, John Lowdon, Thomas Lemon, Ellis Hughes and Benjamin Weiser to be justices. William Plunket was the president of the court and served as such four years.

William Maclay was the Prothonotary and Register and Recorder, and served until March 22, 1777; George Nagel, Sheriff of Berks County, served in a similar capacity in the new county; Edward Burd was the State’s attorney, and the Coroner was James Parr. The original County Commissioners were William Gray, Thomas Hewitt and John Weitzel. Alexander Hunter was Treasurer, and Walter Clark, Jonathan Lodge, Peter Hosterman, James Harrison, Nicholas Miller, Jacob Heverling and Samuel Weiser, Assessors; Thomas Lemon, Collector of Excise; Joshua Elder, James Potter, Jesse Lukens and William Scull were appointed to run the boundary line; Samuel Hunter was the first member of the Assembly.


Peter Pence, Indian Fighter, Captured

March 22, 1780

One of the conspicuous characters along the Susquehanna Valleys during the period of the Revolutionary War, and afterwards, was a Pennsylvania Dutchman by the name of Peter Pence. It is generally believed that his proper name was Bentz, a name which occurs frequently in Lancaster County, from which place he went to Shamokin. The well-known aptitude of the Dutchman to incorrectly sound his letters is given as the reason that his name was pronounced and spelled Pence.

In accord with the resolution adopted by Congress, June 14, 1775, directing the formation of six companies of expert riflemen in Pennsylvania 210to be employed as light infantry, one of the companies was recruited in Northumberland County, June 25, 1775, under the command of Captain John Lowdon.

Captain Lowdon then resided on a farm called Silver Spring, adjoining the present town of Mifflinburg, Union County, where he died in February, 1798, aged sixty-eight years.

The company formed part of the battalion of riflemen commanded by Colonel William Thompson, of Carlisle. This company boarded boats on the Susquehanna River and were conveyed to Harris’ Ferry, then marched overland to Reading, where they arrived July 13, and received knapsacks, blankets and other equipment. This battalion was composed of nine companies, two from Cumberland County, two from Lancaster, and one each from York and Northumberland, Berks, Bedford and Northampton.

The battalion arrived at Cambridge August 7, and soon became the picketguard of the 2000 provincials there. It also became the First Regiment of the Continental Line, Colonel Thompson being promoted to brigadier general, March 1, 1776. He was succeeded by Colonel Edward Hand, of Lancaster, who also became a brigadier, September 17, 1778.

This battalion participated in the Battle of Trenton, was at the taking of Burgoyne, was with Sullivan in his expedition against the Six Nation Indians, was at Stony Point under General Wayne and finally served in the campaign of South Carolina during the latter days of the war.

The first record of Peter Pence is as a private soldier in Lowdon’s company, and the further fact that he served faithfully is sufficient introduction to the thrilling life he led in the frontiers of Pennsylvania.

On March 22, 1780, the Indians made an attack on some settlers in the vicinity of Fort Wheeler, on the banks of Fishing Creek, about three miles above the present town of Bloomsburg, Columbia County. The Indians killed and scalped Cornelius Van Campen and his brother, and a son was tomahawked, scalped and thrown into the fire. Lieutenant Moses Van Campen, another son, was taken captive, as was his cousin, a young lad, and Peter Pence. Soon after this, at another place, the Indians took a lad named Jonah Rogers and a man named Abram Pike.

With their captives the Indians made their way over the mountains, into what is now Bradford County. The savage warriors were ten in number.

One evening, while the prisoners were being bound for the night, an Indian accidentally dropped his knife close to Van Campen’s feet, and he covered the knife unobserved.

About midnight, when the warriors were all asleep, Van Campen got the knife and released Peter Pence, who in turn released the others. 211Cautiously and quickly the weapons were obtained and a plan of action determined. The prisoners had been placed in the midst of the warriors. Van Campen and Pike were to use the tomahawk on one group, while Peter Pence opened fire on the other with the rifles.

The work was well done, Van Campen and Pike dispatched four while Pence, with unerring aim speedily killed his group. A hand to hand fight between the remaining Indian, John, a Mohawk sachem, and Van Campen, resulted in the Indian making his escape.

The liberated captives scalped the Indians, picked up their plunder and hastily constructed a raft, and, after a series of adventures, reached Wyoming, April 4, 1780, where Pike and young Rogers left the party. Peter Pence and the Van Campens reached Fort Jenkins on the morning of April 6, where they found Colonel John Kelly, with 100 frontiersmen who had hurried there from the West Branch. The following day Pence and Van Campen reached Fort Augusta, where they were received in a regular frontier triumph.

The next exploit in which we find Pence engagedengaged is in the year 1781, when one of the most atrocious murders was committed near Selinsgrove.

Three brothers by the name of Stock were at work in the field when a party of about thirty Indians appeared. They did not attack the boys, but passed on to the house, which they entered. On the way they found another son plowing, whom they killed. Mrs. Stock and a daughter-in-law were found in the house. The mother defended herself with a canoe pole, as she retreated toward the field where her husband was working. She was tomahawked, however, the house plundered and the young woman carried into the woods nearby and killed and scalped. When Stock returned and found his wife, son and daughter-in-law inhumanly butchered he gave an alarm.

Three experienced Indian fighters, Michael Grove, John Stroh and Peter Pence went in pursuit of the enemy. They found them encamped on the North Branch, on the side of a hill covered with fern. Grove crept close enough to discover that their rifles were stacked around a tree and that all but three were asleep.

One of the Indians was narrating in high glee how Mrs. Stock defended herself with the pole. Grove lay quiet until all the Indians fell asleep. He then returned to his companions, Stroh and Pence. They decided to attack, and crept up close to the camp, when they dashed among the sleeping savages. Grove plied his deadly tomahawk, while Stroh and Pence seized the rifles and fired among the sleepers. Several Indians were killed; the others, believing they were attacked by a large party fled to the woods.

A captive white boy was liberated and the three brave men brought home a number of scalps and the best rifles.

March 10, 1810, the Legislature passed an act granting an annuity 212to Peter Pence, in consideration of his services, of $40 per annum. He died in the Nippenose Valley, in 1812. He left several sons and daughters. Robert Hamilton, of Pine Creek Township, Clinton County, was the executor of his estate. He left a will which is recorded in Lycoming County.


John Bartram, First Great American Botanist
and Founder of Bartram Gardens, Born
at Darby, March 23, 1699

It is not generally known, at least outside of Pennsylvania, that that State was the birth place of a man whom the celebrated Linnaeus pronounced the greatest natural botanist in the world. This man was John Bartram, a native of Delaware County.

August 30, 1685 John Bartram bought three hundred acres of land from Thomas Brassey, which land was situated along Darby Creek, in now Delaware County. Here John Bartram was born March 23, 1699.

His early attention was first directed to botanical studies by one of those accidents which seem to shape the destinies of all great men.

When a mere lad and helping his father with the work about the farm he plowed up a daisy. Despite everything the modest little flower kept intruding itself on his consideration, until after several days he hired a man to plow while he rode to Philadelphia to procure a treatise on botany and a Latin grammar.

Fortunately for himself and the world he inherited a farm from a bachelor uncle, which gave him the means to marry early, and purchase the land where he afterwards established the noted “Botanical Gardens.” His wife was Mary, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Maris; they were married April 25, 1723. Mrs. Bartram died within a few years, and he then married Ann Mendenhall, February 11, 1729.

Bartram bought his piece of ground at Gray’s Ferry in 1728. On this estate he built with his own hands a stone house, and on one of the stones in the gable was cut “John * Ann Bartram, 1731.”

Here he pursued his studious habits, his reputation spreading abroad until correspondence was solicited by the leading botanists of the Old World,—Linnaeus, Dr. Fothergill, and others,—while in the colonies, all scientific men in the same line of study sought his favor, advice and opinions. Dr. Benjamin Franklin was his earnest friend, and constantly urged Bartram to authorship.

His fame had so extended that in 1765 King George III appointed him botanist to the King.

213He transmitted both his talents and tastes to his son William, and their joint labors during a period of nearly one hundred years were the most valuable contributions that this country has made to the science in whose behalf they were devoted.

They were pious Quakers, admired and loved by their acquaintances.

James Logan was probably the first person who directed the mind of John Bartram seriously to botany as the pursuit of a lifetime.

Logan was a lover of plants and flowers and enjoyed a wonderful garden at “Stenton,” and Bartram was a welcome guest.

Logan, in 1729, sent to England for a copy of “Parkinson’s Herbal,” saying he wanted to present it to John Bartram, who was a person worthier of a heavier purse than fortune had yet allowed him, and had “a genius perfectly well turned for botany.”

A subscription was started in 1742 to enable Bartram to travel in search of botanical specimens. It was proposed to raise enough for him to continue his travels for three years, he being described as a person who “has had a propensity to Botanicks from his infancy,” and “an accurate observer, of great industry and temperance, and of unquestionable veracity.”

The result of these travels was the publication of two very delightful books by this earliest of American botanists.

The specimens he collected were sent to Europe, where they attracted Kahn and many other naturalists to this country.

In 1751 he published his work, “Observations on the Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Divers Productions, Animals, etc., made in his Travels from Pennsylvania to Onondaga, Oswego, and the Lake Ontario.” In 1766 appeared “An Account of East Florida, by William Stork, with a Journal kept by John Bartram, of Philadelphia, upon a Journey from St. Augustine, Fla., up the River St. John’s.”

He also contributed numerous papers to the Philosophical Transactions from 1740 to 1763.

He was the first in this country to form a botanical garden.

On the outside of his house, over the front window of his study, was a stone with the inscription, carved by his own hand:

“’Tis God alone, Almighty God,
The Holy One, by me Adored.
John Bartram, 1770;”

and an inscription over the door of his greenhouse was:

“Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,
But looks through nature up to Nature’s God.”

As the British soldiers were approaching Philadelphia from the Battle of Brandywine, John Bartram greatly feared they would destroy his “beloved garden,” the work of a lifetime. He became very much 214excited, and said, “I want to die!” and expired half an hour later, September 22, 1777. His remains lie buried in the Friends’ burying ground, Darby.

His son William went to Florida to study and collect botanical specimens, returning home in 1771. In 1773, at the instance of the distinguished Quaker physician, Dr. John Fothergill, of London, William spent five years in the study of the natural productions of the Southern States. The results of these investigations were published by Dr. Fothergill.

In 1782 he was elected Professor of Botany in the University of Pennsylvania, but declined the appointment on the score of ill health.

Besides his discoveries and publications on botany, he prepared the most complete table of American ornithology prior to Wilson’s great work, and he was an assistant of the latter in a portion of his work.

He died suddenly, July 22, 1823, just a moment after he had completed writing a sketch of a new specimen of a plant.

This first botanical garden in America is situated in West Philadelphia, near Fifty-fourth Street and Woodland Avenue. There is a cider mill, and close by the grave of an old and faithful slave.

The house is sufficient to attract any visitor, and it was here where the illustrious visitors from various parts of the world were received by the Bartrams.

The city authorities assumed control of this property in 1891.


Proposal for Second Constitution for Pennsylvania
Adopted March 24, 1789

The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 proving inadequate for the requirements of a useful and effective Government, its revision was demanded. On March 24, 1789, the Assembly adopted resolutions recommending the election of delegates to form a new Constitution.

The struggle for independence had been fought and won, but with the triumph of the Revolution even those who had been opposed to the movement speedily acquiesced, though many years elapsed before all the bitter memories engendered by the strife could pass away. Time was healing the wounds of war, and others were growing up who had not suffered.

The adoption of the Federal Constitution had rendered the institution of measures necessary for the election of members of Congress and electors of President and Vice President of the United States. In order to avail themselves as fully as possible of the privileges afforded, the Anti-Federalists were early at work.

215A few of the leading men of this party assembled in convention at Harrisburg in September, 1788, ostensibly for the purpose of recommending revision of the new Constitution. Blair McClenachen was chosen as the chairman of this small assembly, and General John A. Hanna, secretary. They resolved that it was expedient to recommend an acquiescence in the Constitution but that a revision of the instrument was necessary. They debated among other topics, a reform in the ratio of congressional representation, and a referendum on the term of a Senator. Several other changes were advocated, but the body contented itself by nominating a general ticket for Congress.

The action of this body was immediately denounced and as the nominees were Anti-Federalists, it was said that power to enforce the new constitutional system ought not to be granted to its opponents.

A new convention was to meet at Lancaster, which selected candidates for Congress and electors for President. The election took place in November, and in the State six of the nominees on the Federal ticket were elected and two (David Muhlenberg, of Montgomery, and Daniel Hiester, of Berks), who, although Federalists, had with two others of the same politics, been placed as a matter of policy with the opposition ticket.

The political condition of Pennsylvania had undergone a great change, and now the three original counties had multiplied by 1790 to twenty-one. Immigration was strongly flowing into the State. The abundance of fertile lands formed an attraction to the immigrant almost without parallel in the county.

Then the Constitution of 1776 had been rather hastily prepared amid great excitement and was adopted with the determined spirit that characterized all public measures during the Revolutionary period.

Even though the instrument had become somewhat antiquated, it might have been improved by regular methods, and the amended Constitution would have been acceptable to a large number of people, but such action would not have served the personal ambitions of the leaders.

The chief objections to the Constitution were the single legislative body, and a Council of Censors whose functions were of such an unusual character, the latter body being the real bone of contention.

When the people had grown discontented with the old Constitution, believing they had suffered long enough through lack of action and authority, they were willing to adopt another Constitution containing the principles of enduring life.

The same movement that led to the ratification of the Federal Constitution by Pennsylvania stirred the waters in another direction. If the Federal Constitution could be ratified by a convention, why could not a convention be called to make and adopt another Constitution for Pennsylvania?

216A petition was addressed to the Legislature, which adopted a resolution March 24, 1789, but the Supreme Executive Council refused to promulgate this action of the Assembly.

September 15, 1789, the Assembly adopted another resolution calling for a convention by a vote of 39 to 17.

At the election in October delegates were chosen, and on Tuesday, November 24, 1789, the convention assembled in Philadelphia, but a quorum not being present, the organization was effected the following day with sixty-four delegates in attendance. No returns had been received from the counties of Northumberland and Allegheny, and Mifflin had sent a double delegation.

Thomas Mifflin was chosen president; Joseph Redman, secretary; Frederick Snyder, messenger, and Joseph Fry, doorkeeper.

On the Republican side, those in favor of a new constitution were James Wilson, Thomas McKean and Thomas Mifflin, all of Philadelphia; Timothy Pickering, of Luzerne; Edward Hand, of Lancaster. Among the Constitutionalists were William Findley, of Westmoreland; John Smilie and Albert Gallatin, of Fayette; Robert Whitehill and William Irvine, of Cumberland.

After a long session the convention adjourned Friday, February 26, 1790, to meet Monday, August 9.

The second session of the convention met pursuant to adjournment and got down to business the third day, and concluded its work by the final adoption of a new instrument September 2, 1790, the final vote being sixty-one to one, Mr. George Roberts, of Philadelphia, voting against its adoption.

The most radical changes were made in the executive and legislative branches of government. The Assembly ceased to have the sole right to make laws, a Senate being created. The Supreme Executive Council was abolished. A Governor was directed to be elected to whom the administration of affairs was to be entrusted.

The former judicial system was continued, excepting that the judges of the higher courts were to be appointed during good behavior, instead of seven years. The Bill of Rights re-enacted the old Provincial provision copied into the first Constitution, respecting freedom of worship and the rights of conscience. The Council of Censors ceased to have authority and Pennsylvania conformed in all important matters to the system upon which the new Federal Government was to be administered.

The first election held under the Constitution of the Commonwealth, that of 1790, resulted in the choice of Thomas Mifflin, the president of the convention, which made, adopted and proclaimed the Constitution, for Governor. He served three terms.


217

David Lewis, Robber and Counterfeiter,
Born March 25, 1790

David Lewis was the most notorious robber and counterfeiter in this country a little more than a century ago.

He was born at Carlisle, March 25, 1790, of poor, but respectable parents, being one of a large family of children. The father died when David was less than ten years old, and the widow had a hard struggle to raise her family. Be it said to the credit of David that he remained with her and assisted in raising the family until he was seventeen years old. Then he worked at different occupations in and about Bellefonte until he enlisted in the army.

During this service he was punished by a sergeant for some offense and deserted, only to re-enlist a few months later, as a private in Captain William N. Irvine’s company of light artillery, under an assumed name.

By this time he had formed vicious habits and he immediately planned to decamp with his bounty money, but he was discovered as a former deserter. The War of 1812 was imminent and discipline rigid, so that the sentence of his court martial was death. Through the efforts of his distressed mother, his sentence was commuted to imprisonment in a guard house, secured by ball and chain.

He served only one week of this sentence, for he then made his escape and safely reached a cave on the banks of the Conodoguinet Creek, less than two miles from Carlisle. The very night he arrived in this favorite haunt Lewis began his long and varied career of robbery and lawlessness. This cave and another on Little Chickies Creek near Mount Joy, Lancaster County, were the storehouses for the major portion of the ill-gotten loot of Lewis and his gang.

The first victims of Lewis were the country banks, but recently established and whose bank notes were easy to counterfeit. Lewis was quick to make the most of this condition. He journeyed to Vermont and there made enormous quantities of spurious bank bills, purporting to have been issued from banks in Philadelphia and various Pennsylvania towns. These were successfully passed in New York.

Lewis was captured and committed to jail at Troy, from which he soon escaped, with the assistance of the jailer’s daughter, who fled with him and became his wife. His devotion to her was so genuine that it is strange her influence did not prove sufficient for him to have become a valuable member of society instead of one of the worst criminals on record.

Lewis was a man of unusual physical strength, handsome, and possessed a most pleasing personality. He was conscious of that fact, and 218made many friends, not in crime, but those who would aid him in making escape or give him timely warning. The story is told of Nicholas Howard, a prominent landlord near Doubling Gap, who would display a flag from a certain upper window when the coast was clear, and Lewis was thus advised of the movements of the officers seeking his apprehension. Food was often carried to him in his hiding place by those who never suspected they were befriending an outlaw.

A Mr. Black, of Cumberland, Md., related a personal adventure with Lewis in the Allegheny Mountains. Black had crossed the mountain on horseback to Brownsville, where he collected a large sum of money. He rode a speedy black horse. While in Brownsville he won another horse in a race and the following day started home, riding the new horse, leading his own “Blacky.”

In a lonely ravine a man suddenly appeared and jumped on Blacky’s back and rode alongside Black and began to barter for the horse. The horse was not for sale and they rode together until a spring was reached, where they dismounted and quenched their thirst and ate a bite and drank some peach brandy. By the time a second spring was reached Black and his new-found companion were on intimate terms. The stranger asked Black if he had ever seen Lewis, about whom there was so much fear and excitement. He replied that he had not.

“Well, sir,” replied the stranger, jumping to his feet, “here is Lewis—I am the man.”

Black further stated that Lewis told him he had seen the race in Brownsville and knew he had collected much money there, and that he had preceded him to waylay and rob him, but that Black had treated him like a gentleman and he would not harm him or take a cent from his pocket.

At another time when a large searching party in Adams County in pursuit of Lewis met a well-dressed stranger on horseback, they asked him if he had “seen or heard anything of Lewis, the robber.” He replied that he had not and joined in the pursuit. Later he had the audacity to send a letter stating that they had been riding with Lewis, and he was anxious to learn if they had thought him an agreeable companion.

One of the best of his exploits took place in Mifflin County. Having failed in the execution of some plots to rob several wealthy farmers, his ready cash uncomfortably low, he set out to replenish his finances. Coming across a fine, large house that stood back from the highway, he knocked at the door, which was opened by an elderly woman of respectable appearance. Lewis, to ascertain where her money was kept, asked her to change a five dollar note.

“That I am not able to do,” replied the woman, “for I am unfortunate and have not a dollar in the house, and what is worse,” she added despondently, as she caught sight of a man coming through the 219woods toward the house, “there comes the constable to take my cow for the last half-year’s rent. I don’t know what to do without her.”

“How much do you owe?” inquired Lewis, hurriedly.

“Twenty dollars, sir,” answered the woman.

“Have you no one to help you?” inquired Lewis.

“No one,” she replied.

“Then I will,” said the robber, as he drew from his pocket the exact sum. “Pay that fellow his demand and be sure to take his receipt, but don’t say anything about me.”

Lewis had just time to make his escape, unobserved, when the constable arrived and proceeded to drive away the widow’s cow, but she rushed forward, paid him the money and took his receipt.

He immediately set out upon his return, but had not proceeded far, when Lewis bounded into the road and greeted him as follows:

“How d’ye do, stranger? Got any spare change about you?”

“No,” answered the frightened constable.

“Come, shell out, old fellow, or I’ll save you the trouble,” retorted Lewis, as he presented his pistol. This argument convinced the worthy official that the stranger meant business and he quickly handed over his money.

Lewis got back his twenty dollars and forty dollars in addition. He often afterward boasted that the loan of that twenty to the widow was one of the best investments he ever made.


More Exploits of Lewis, the Robber—Conclusion

of Yesterday’s Story, March 26

Yesterday’s story was a brief outline of the early life of David Lewis, the robber and counterfeiter, and in this will be told those events which followed and ended in his death.

In 1818, Dr. Peter Shoenberger, owner of the Huntingdon Furnace, in Huntingdon County, had made extensive shipments of iron to Harper’s Ferry and prepared to cross the mountains to receive his pay. Lewis and his band knew of this proposed trip and determined to waylay and rob him. The sum to be collected amounted to more than $13,000, and the ironmaster’s credit would be ruined if this sum was not in deposit in Bellefonte by a certain date.

While they were scheming to rob Shoenberger news reached them that their victim was returning home by way of the Cumberland Valley and Harrisburg.

When Lewis and his gang arrived at Harrisburg they learned that the doctor, warned of their designs, had again changed his route, but the highwaymen knew the country and soon got in advance of their victim. 220In the early hours of the morning, a few miles east of Bellefonte, the doctor was confronted by a large man on horseback, who, with a pistol in hand, ordered him to “stand and deliver.”

The doctor was in a dilemma; he faced financial ruin or loss of life. As he reached for his saddlebag he heard a shout and at the same time saw the top of a Conestoga wagon reaching the top of the hill. The wagoners were encouraging their horses as the doctor yelled in desperation, “Men, I am being robbed. Help! Help!”

Lewis snapped his pistol, but it failed to discharge. Connelly, a mate of Lewis, rode up and would have killed the doctor, but for Lewis. A shot by one of the wagoners struck Connelly in the shoulder, but he and Lewis escaped in the woods.

During his operations in New York City Lewis formed a partnership with other noted crooks. Each one signed an ironclad compact with blood drawn from the veins of each member as they formed in a circle, while Lewis held a basin to receive the blood of each, which was used as ink.

Lewis knew that Mrs. John Jacob Astor was to attend a well-advertised auction sale, where she made many purchases of rare laces and jewelry, placing them in a reticule, which she kept on a bench close by her side. While she was engaged in conversation, Lewis stole the bag and made his escape. He failed to divide the plunder with the gang, but gave it all to his wife, barely escaping their wrath.

Lewis headed for Princeton, where, he said, he found “empty heads and full purses.” He succeeded in fleecing many of the students of all the money they had or could obtain.

His next exploits were in Philadelphia, where he was the leader of a band which attempted to decoy Stephen Girard out of the city into the country, to keep him in confinement until forced to purchase his freedom. They also planned to dig a tunnel from the Dock Street sewer to Girard’s banking house, where they intended to reach the bank vaults from below. The dangerous illness of Lewis’ daughter caused a delay in these plans, his gang drifted apart, and the scheme was abandoned.

He then drove a team in the United States Army, where he robbed officers and men. When he received his pay for his services and for his employer’s teams and wagons, he stole the entire proceeds and left for Western Pennsylvania, where he was most active and successful in his nefarious pursuit.

His wife died about this time and his grief was so genuine that he almost changed his mode of life, but soon fell in with another gang and for some time devoted his attention to making and circulating spurious money. He was caught passing bad money and arrested at Bedford and sentenced to the penitentiary, from which he was pardoned by Governor Findlay.

Lewis and his band robbed a Mr. McClelland, who was riding from 221Pittsburgh to Bedford. Lewis saved McClelland’s life when Connelly insisted on shooting him, saying “Dead men tell no tales.” Lewis was again caught and confined in the Bedford jail. He not only escaped, but he set free all the convicts who entered in the plan with him, leaving behind “an ordinary thief who had robbed a poor widow. Such a thief should remain in jail and pay the price,” wrote Lewis in his confession.

Lewis and Connelly made a trip through York and Cumberland Counties robbing wealthy German farmers. A well-laid plot to rob a wealthy Mr. Bashore was frustrated through the presence of mind and bravery of his wife, who blew a horn to alarm the neighborhood, as Lewis confessed, “displaying as much courage as any man and more resolution than any woman I had met with.”

On several occasions he was known to have risked capture, and even his life, just to spend a few hours with his mother, whom he dearly loved.

Lewis learned that a wagon load of merchandise belonging to Hamilton and Page, of Bellefonte, was expected to pass through the Seven Mountains. He and his gang quickly planned and successfully executed this robbery, and immediately thereafter made a rich haul from the store of General James Potter, in Penn’s Valley near the Old Fort.

Lewis was a shrewd mountaineer and smart as a steel trap, but like all such criminals of his daring was sure to meet his fate. Even though frequently arrested and confined in jail, none was strong enough to hold him. He never served a sentence in a single institution.

After the robbery of General Potter’s store, Lewis and Connelly started for Sinnemahoning, meeting at the house of Samuel Smith, where they participated in shooting at a mark, and mingled in the crowd. Lewis and Connelly were recognized and their surrender demanded as rewards were everywhere offered for their arrest. Connelly opened fire, killing one of the captors.

Lewis, never having taken life, snapped his pistol in the air, but the fire was returned in earnest, Lewis being shot in the right arm and Connelly in the hip. The latter was found hiding in a tree top. Lewis and Connelly were loaded in canoes and taken down the river to Great Island, now Lock Haven, where three physicians attended them. Connelly died that night. Lewis was removed, as soon as his wounds would permit to Bellefonte jail, where he died a month later, July 13, 1820.

Thus a sad commentary in the life of Lewis, the Robber, that the only jail from which he failed to escape was the Bellefonte bastile, and while there his wounds were of such a nature he could not plan nor did he desire to escape, but he often told his jailer he could easily get away any hour he pleased.


222

Bethlehem Hospital Base During Revolution,
Moved March 27, 1777

Bethlehem was the seat of a general hospital twice during the Revolution and during the six years from 1775 to 1781, it was a thoroughfare for Continental troops. Heavy baggage and munitions of war and General Washington’s private baggage were stored in the town and guarded by 200 Continentals under command of Colonel William Polk, of North Carolina, while many houses were occupied by American troops and British prisoners of war. The Continental Congress found refuge there when on its flight from Philadelphia.

The inhabitants of Bethlehem, therefore, witnessed not only the horrors and experienced the discomforts of war, but also its “pomp and circumstance,” for at times there were sojourning among them Generals Washington, Lafayette, Greene, Knox, Sterling, Schuyler, Gates, Sullivan, De Kalb, Steuben, Pulaski and Arnold, with members of their staffs, and General Charles Lee’s division of the army in command of General Sullivan was encamped opposite the town.

The population of Bethlehem in those stirring days was about 500 souls, principally Moravians. The “Church Store,” on Market Street, was well stocked and spacious; in its cellars were stored supplies for the hospital and in the dwelling part sick and wounded soldiers found desirable quarters.

The dwelling of Thomas Horsfield was nearby. He was a hero of the French and Indian War, a colonel of the Provincial forces and a magistrate. Many refugees from Philadelphia and New York were provided a temporary home by the old veteran. Beyond, to the west, resided William Boehler, where Captain Thomas Webb, the founder of Methodism in America, and a British prisoner of war with his family of seven persons, were comfortably accommodated.

On what is now Main Street, and north of the “Brethren House,” stood the “Family House,” for married people, in which were confined more than 200 British prisoners, whose guard of 100 Continentals were quartered in the water works building. When they marched for Reading and Lancaster, the surgeons of the hospital occupied the building.

Farther up the thoroughfares were the farm buildings and dwelling of Frederick Boeckel, the farmer general of the Moravian estates, where Lafayette, after being wounded at Brandywine, was tenderly nursed to convalescence by Dame Barbara Boeckel and her pretty daughter, Liesel.

The last house overlooking the Valley of the Monocacy was the Sun Inn, a hostelry unsurpassed in the Colonies, and surely none other 223entertained and sheltered so many of the patriots of the American Revolution.

The Single Brethren’s House now the middle building of the Moravian Seminary and College for Women, which has weathered the storms of more than 175 years, was twice during the Revolution occupied as a general hospital, the first time from December, 1776, to April, 1777, and for the last time from September, 1777, to April, 1778. The cornerstone of this large building was laid April 1, 1748.

The Americans were defeated at Long Island in August, 1776, when Washington withdrew his troops to New York City, which a few days later fell into the hands of the enemy. This loss was quickly followed by that of Fort Washington and Fort Lee, when Washington crossed the North River into New Jersey, and continued his retreat to Trenton, in which he was closely pursued by Cornwallis. It was at this crisis that the general hospital, in which more than 1,000 sick and wounded were living, was removed from Morristown to Bethlehem.

On December 3, 1776, Dr. Cornelius Baldwin rode up to the clergy house and delivered to Reverend John Ettwein an order from General John Warren, general hospital surgeon, which stated that General Washington had ordered the General Hospital to Bethlehem and directed the Moravian brethren to put their buildings in condition for the reception of the invalids and he doubted not “but you will act upon this occasion as becomes men and Christians.”

Toward evening Drs. William Shippen and John Warren arrived and made arrangements with Reverend Ettwein for the reception of 250 of the sick. During the ensuing two days the invalids, in charge of their surgeons, commenced to arrive. Their suffering from exposure and improper transportation made them pitiable objects to behold and two died before they were removed from the wagons. Food was scarce and the Moravians relieved their distress from their own supplies. Some of the sick were taken to Easton and Allentown.

On December 7 two deaths occurred and a site for a cemetery was selected on the bluff on the west bank of the Monocacy Creek.

The Moravians constantly attended the sick and Mr. Ettwein visited the patients daily. In February smallpox was brought to the hospital by some soldiers, but an epidemic was averted. On March 27, 1777, the hospital was transferred to Philadelphia.

During the time the hospital was in Bethlehem more than 100 died, coffins for whom were made by the Moravian carpenters, who also dug the graves and served at the burial of the deceased patriots.

Again when the Continental army failed to defend Philadelphia, the hospital was removed to Bethlehem. On September 13, 1777, Washington ordered all military stores of the army, in 700 wagons to Bethlehem. The Church bells of Philadelphia, with the Liberty Bell, were also transported to Bethlehem en route to Allentown. Again the 224Moravians were directed to prepare their buildings for hospital use and September 20, the sick and wounded began to arrive, among them Lafayette and Colonel, later General John Armstrong, of Carlisle. On the twenty-second the archives and money of Congress, under an escort, arrived.

On October 7 the wounded from the Battle of Germantown began to arrive and in a fortnight 450 patients were being treated. A rain lasting six days set in and the suffering was indescribable. The Moravians furnished many blankets and much clothing for the destitute soldiers. During December many sick soldiers were brought to Bethlehem from hospitals in New Jersey. The loss was enormous due to lack of proper facilities with which to treat the patients, and the mortality during eight months and ten days was 120.

Among the surgeons from Pennsylvania were William Shippen, Jr., John Morgan, Thomas Bond, Jr., William Smith, Bodo Otto, Aquila Wilmot, James Houston, S. Halling and Francis Allison, Jr.

On August 28, 1778, the remaining sixty-five patients were removed to Lancaster and Yellow Springs, and Bethlehem ceased to be a hospital base during the war.


Flight of Tory Leaders from Pittsburgh,
March 28, 1778

General Edward Hand, the commandant at Fort Pitt, had failed in two expeditions, and the resultant effect was disastrous to the American cause on the border, especially in the spring of 1778. During the previous winter the British, under General Howe, had occupied Philadelphia, the capital of the colonies; the Continental Congress had been driven to York, and Washington’s Army, reduced to half-naked and half-starved condition, had suffered in camp at Valley Forge, so there was not much to win adherents to the cause of liberty among those otherwise inclined.

Governor Hamilton, the British commander at Detroit, sent many agents, red and white, to penetrate the border settlements to organize the Tories into effective military units. In February and March, 1778, a daring and shrewd British spy visited Pittsburgh and carried on his plotting against the colonies almost under the nose of General Hand. Most of the Tories of this neighborhood were at the house of Alexander McKee, at what is now called McKees Rocks. Another place of assembly was at Redstone, where a British flag flew nearly all of that winter.

Captain Alexander McKee, the Tory leader at Pittsburgh, was an educated man of wide influence on the frontier. He had been an Indian trader and for twelve years prior to the Revolution had been the King’s 225deputy agent for Indian affairs at Fort Pitt. For a short time he had been one of the justices of the peace for Westmoreland County, and he was intimately acquainted with most of the Indian chiefs. In 1764 he received a grant of 1,400 acres of land from Colonel Henry Bouquet, at the mouth of Chartier’s Creek, and he divided his time between his house in Pittsburgh and his farm at McKees Rocks.

In the spring of 1776, McKee was discovered to be in correspondence with the British officers in Canada, and he was put on his parole not to give aid or comfort to the enemies of American liberty, and not to leave the vicinity of Pittsburgh without the consent of the Revolutionary Committee.

In February, 1778, General Hand had reason to suspect that McKee had resumed his relations and correspondence with the British authorities and ordered the captain to go to York and report himself to the Continental Congress. For a time McKee avoided compliance, on plea of illness, but unable to further delay, he contrived to escape to Detroit and there openly ally himself with the British cause.

About a year before this a young trader, Matthew Elliott, who understood the Shawnee language, had been employed by the Americans to carry messages from Fort Pitt to the Shawnee and other Indian tribes to the westward, in the interest of peace. On one of his missions he was captured by hostile savages and carried to Detroit, where, after a short imprisonment, he had been released on parole.

He returned to Pittsburgh via Quebec, New York and Philadelphia, all then in British possession. He had been impressed by the show of British power in the East, in contrast to the miserable conditions of the American forces, especially along the frontier. He became convinced that the colonists would fail in the Revolution, and on his return to Pittsburgh got into communication with Captain McKee and others of the Tory party.

Elliott was suspected of having poured into McKee’s ears the wild tale that he was to be waylaid and killed on his journey to York. McKee heard such a story and believed it, which decided him to escape from Fort Pitt and go to Detroit.

The flight of the Tories took place from Alexander McKee’s house during the night of March 28, 1778. General Hand received a hint of this move early in the evening and dispatched a squad of soldiers to McKee’s house Sunday morning to remove McKee to Fort Pitt. The soldiers arrived too late. The members of the little party who had fled into Indian land in that rough season were Captain McKee, his cousin, Robert Surphlit; Simon Girty, Matthew Elliott, a man of the name of Higgins, and two Negro slaves belonging to McKee.

Simon Girty was a Pennsylvanian, who had been captured by the Indians when eleven years old, kept in captivity for three years by the Seneca, and afterward employed at Fort Pitt as an interpreter and messenger. 226He had served the American cause faithfully. He then became the most notorious renegade and Tory in Pennsylvania.

The Tories in their flight made their way through the woods to the Delaware town Coshocton, where they tarried several days endeavoring to incite the tribe to rise against the colonists. Their efforts were thwarted by Chief White Eyes, who declared his friendship for the “buckskins” as he called the Americans, and he proved his sincerity until his death.

Chief White Eyes and Captain Pipe, an influential chief, debated in the Coshocton council on the advocacy of war, White Eyes pleading the cause of peace. The oratory of White Eyes carried the day and the seven Tories departed to the Shawnee towns on the Scioto, where they were welcomed. Many of the Shawnee were already on the warpath, and all were eager to hear the arguments of their friend McKee. James Girty, a brother of Simon, was then with the Shawnee tribe, having been sent from Fort Pitt by General Hand on a futile peace mission. He had been raised among the Shawnee, was a natural savage and at once joined his brother and the other Tories.

When Governor Hamilton heard of the flight of Captain McKee and his companions from Fort Pitt, he dispatched Edward Hazle to the Scioto to conduct the renegades safely through the several Indian tribes to Detroit. Hamilton, as would be expected, received them cordially and gave them commissions in the British service. For sixteen years McKee, Elliott and the Girtys were the merciless scourges of the border. They were the instigators and leaders of many Indian raids, and their intimate knowledge of the frontier rendered their operations especially effective. Long after the close of the Revolution they continued their deadly enmity to the American cause and were largely responsible for the general Indian war of 1790–94.

McKee and his associate renegades left behind them at Fort Pitt a band of Tories who had planned to blow up the fortress and escape in boats at night. In some way the scheme was frustrated just in time, probably by the confession of one of the conspirators, and the disaster averted. A score of the traitors escaped in boats during the night, and fled down the Ohio River. On the following day they were pursued and overtaken near the mouth of the Muskingum. Eight of the runaways escaped to the shore and were lost in the trackless woods; some were killed in the conflict which then occurred and the others were taken back as prisoners to Fort Pitt.

Two were shot, another hanged and two were publicly whipped on the parade ground of the fort. The punishment of these men was almost the last act performed by General Hand before he was relieved by General Lachlan McIntosh, but it put an end to the machinations of the Tories at Pittsburgh.


227

Colonel Clapham Commissioned to Build

Fort Augusta, March 29, 1756

From the moment Captain John Smith beheld the waters of the Susquehanna to the present, it has been the main artery for the development of Central and Northern Pennsylvania.

The two great branches of the Susquehanna River join at what is now Northumberland, but opposite is a plain, where the old Indian town of Shamokin was located, upon which the present city of Sunbury was laid out July 4, 1772.

It was at Shamokin where the Indians established a vice-regal government and installed the noble Shikellamy, the friend of the English and foe of intemperance and vice. This was the largest and most important Indian town south of Tioga Point. It was visited by the Moravian missionaries and the interpreter, Conrad Weiser, tarried there in 1737 on his way to a council at Onondaga. He and Shikellamy became intimate friends and remained so until the latter’s death, December 17, 1748.

The erection of a fort at Shamokin was repeatedly urged by friendly Indians, especially Andrew Montour and Monakatuatha or the Delaware Half King, at a council at Harris’ Ferry, November 1, 1755. This request was favorably considered by Governor Morris, but refused by the Assembly.

After Braddock’s defeat, when the French and Indians began to attack the settlers along the frontier, occurred the terrible massacre at Penn’s Creek, October 16. Later forty-six terrified settlers fled to Shamokin for protection, but the attitude of the Indians caused them to leave the following day, and as they traveled south they were fired upon from ambush near Mahonoy Creek and four killed.

The Moravians broke up their mission at Shamokin and soon thereafter the Indians abandoned the town.

October 31, 1755, a number of inhabitants gathered at John Harris’ and signed a petition for a fort at Shamokin as a protection against the French and Indians. On the same day a like gathering at Conrad Weiser’s sent a similar petition to the provincial authorities. John Shikellamy, son of the great vicegerentvicegerent, went to Philadelphia and personally solicited the Governor to build a fort, saying “that such Indians as continue true to you want a place to come to and live in security against your and their enemies, and to Shamokin, when you erect the fort, they will come and bring their wives and children. Brethren, hasten the work; our warriors will assist you in building the fort.”

At a conference held at Carlisle January 17, 1756, this necessity was 228again brought to the notice of the Governor, who replied that he would build a strong house at Shamokin.

The fear of delay was because the French had for some time realized the importance of the strategic situation of Shamokin and if they could gain a foothold there the places below would be easy prey.

The Governor was determined that the fort should be built and made his plans accordingly. He informed the Board of Commissioners April 15, 1756, that he had on March 29 commissioned Lieutenant Colonel William Clapham to recruit a battalion for the purpose. This was the third battalion and was known as the Augusta Regiment. Major James Burd was second in command and Asher Clayton was commissioned adjutant of the battalion.

The regiment rendezvoused at Harris’ Ferry, where Governor Morris attended the recruiting and training in person. On June 12 orders were received to march.

A stockade was built at Halifax, where supplies were stored and a garrison maintained. While at this camp Colonel Clapham had a conference with the Iroquois chief, Oghagradisha, assuring him they were on their way to Shamokin.

Sufficient bateaux were built by July 1, when the regiment marched from Halifax, and by a tedious march the 400 troops reached Shamokin without mishap July 6 and immediately began the construction of the fort, which was built from plans drawn by E. Meyer, engineer of the British Government. It was called Fort Augusta in honor of the daughter of King George II.

Colonel Clapham pushed the work of construction with dispatch and September 23, wrote to Governor Denny, “The fort is now almost finished, and a fine one it is.” The construction required less than seven weeks upon the main works, but much time was employed in better protecting the fortress and in adding necessary buildings.

Much difficulty was experienced in obtaining adequate supplies of provisions and ammunition, as the only means of transportation were pack horses over a mountainous Indian trail or by bateaux and the latter was impossible during the severe winters.

Colonel Clapham was succeeded by Colonel James Burd, who left such a fascinating journal of his experiences at that frontier fort.

Expeditions were sent out from the fort to the Great Island, now Lock Haven; to Chinklacamoose, now Clearfield; to Penn’s Creek, to Wyoming, and other places.

The fort faced the main river and was nearly 300 feet square, with bastions at the four corners. The total length of the fortification was more than 600 feet. A magazine was later built in the south bastion and a covered way to the river. This was strongly built with a brick arched roof and was reached by a narrow stairway descending into it. This is now the surviving structure of that dark and gloomy period in 229the State’s history. It is the property of the Commonwealth and it is well marked and well kept.

Fort Augusta was far in advance of any English settlement in the Province, holding the only passage by water and blocking the pathway along the river by land, to the settlements below.

The Assembly wanted to dismantle the fort and save the expense of the garrison, but no Governor would agree to this plan, as it was an actual protection for the inhabitants.

During the Revolution Fort Augusta again became an important place, the headquarters of the Military Department of the Susquehanna. Colonel Samuel Hunter, the county lieutenant, mustered and trained troops there for the Continental Army. It was here where Colonel Thomas Hartley drew his supplies for his expedition against the Indians in 1778.

It was at Fort Augusta where the terrified inhabitants found safety in the “Great Runaway,” following the Indian incursions which culminated in the Wyoming massacre, July 3, 1778.

The work of dismantling the fort began about 1780, as the ground then passed into private hands. Thus this old fort has crumbled into ruins, its story unsung, its heroes forgotten.

But for the wisdom of the Indians this fort would not have been built and the horrors of the French and Indian War would have been carried to the banks of the Delaware. This fort was where the high tide of the Revolution was turned backward and the English and their Indian allies forced to turn their faces again toward Canada. It was the largest and most important provincial fortification on the frontier of this continent.


Swedes Come to the Delaware—Peter Minuit
Steps Ashore, March 30, 1638

Samuel Blummaert, of Holland, who had business interests in Sweden, directed the attention of the Swedish Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna, to the possibilities of the copper trade with the West Indies. At that time Peter Minuit, who had been Governor of New Netherlands, 1626 to 1632, and was dissatisfied with his treatment, having been dismissed, offered his service to Blummaert, knowing that the latter owned lands on the South River, now the Delaware.

The great Gustavus died in November, 1632, and upon Oxenstierna devolved all the burdens of the American scheme. Sweden was poor; the times were unpropitious; he was forced to wait five years until practical plans could be matured. Minuit had suggested the founding of a 230colony upon the South River to trade with the Indians. A company was formed with the exclusive right to trade on that river for twenty years and to send goods to Sweden for a period of ten years free of duty. The ownership of this company was half Swedish and half Dutch.

An expedition reached the South River, landing at the mouth of Mispillon Creek, which they called “Paradise Point.” Passing on upward they cast anchor at Minquas-kill, where Minuit went ashore March 30, 1638, to confer with the Indians. He knew well the story of Swanendael and meant to avoid a recurrence. The chief with whom he talked was Mattahoorn, the principal sachem of that region and an Indian of worthy character, who came often into the early history of Pennsylvania before William Penn arrived. Minuit concluded an agreement, obtaining land on which to build a house for “a kettle and other articles,” and for ground on which to plant, he was to give half the tobacco raised upon it. The land was defined as “within six trees.”

Minuit had instructions to set up the arms of Sweden and take possession of the country, avoiding New Netherlands, to do no harm to the Indians, to name the country New Sweden, to dispose of his cargo and then, leaving the sloop, return to Sweden.

Minuit built Fort Christiana, named in honor of the girl queen at Stockholm, five miles below the Dutch Fort Nassau, and left in it when he departed twenty-four men.

Nearly coincident with the arrival of the Swedes at Minquas-kill, came a new Director-General of the Dutch at Manhattan, in the person of William Kieft, who sailed into that port, March 18, 1638. He was disturbed over this Swedish intrusion, and promptly wrote to his company in Holland and, May 6 addressed a formal letter to Minuit, protesting against his settlement, declaring that both banks of the river belonged to the Dutch.

This claim by the Dutch to the west bank was based on De Vries’ adventure at Swanendael. Minuit made no reply, he knew that no white man had more than six years been living on the west side of the river. So he pushed the work on his fort and built log-houses. Trade with the Indians was firmly established. A second treaty with the Indians was made, which purchase included land down the river and bay and northward as far as the Falls of Trenton. Minuit returned with his two vessels, July, 1638.

The twenty-four persons now comprising the colony at Christiana were under command of Mans Kling, with Hendrik Huyghen as commissary. This company formed the first permanent settlement by white men on the Delaware Bay, or River, on either side.

Minuit was lost at sea on his return voyage and New Sweden suffered a hard stroke of misfortune. He and De Vries were the ablest men ever sent to the South River.

The colony was in such distress in 1639 that the people thought seriously 231of abandoning the locality and going to Manhattan, but the following year another vessel arrived from Sweden with supplies. She sailed into Christiana, April 17, 1640. On board were four mares and two horses, a number of farming implements, thirty-one barrels of beer, and colonists, made up to some extent of deserters from the army and people accused of offenses. This vessel soon returned laden with beaver skins and other peltry. At this time the Dutch members of the company sold their interest to the Swedes.

Peter Hollender, who succeeded Peter Minuit as Governor of the Swedes, arrived in April, 1640, and continued in authority until February, 1643.

Another effort to send colonists to New Sweden originated in Utrecht. A charter granted to Hendrik Hooghkamer and others authorized them to start a settlement on the west side of South River twenty miles above Fort Christiana. They were to have what land was needed, provided they improved it within ten years. They could start manufactories and carry on trade. They were given religious liberty and were required to support ministers of the Gospel and schoolmasters. But they were compelled to submit to the Swedish law and Government and pay a tax of three florins a year for each family.

Under this arrangement the ship Fredenburg sailed from Holland, and arrived at Christiana, November 2, 1640. This ship was armed with twenty-five cannon and carried fifty Dutch colonists, headed by Jost de Bogharat. The Fredenburg took back to Sweden 737 beaver skins, 29 bear skins and some other productions of the New World.

It was a difficult matter to find colonists. At this time there were many Finns scattered over Sweden, who lived a somewhat nomadic life. They roamed about, burned the forests, and shot deer and other game unlawfully. Severe laws were passed to prevent this wantonness, but the Finns paid little attention to them, and they refused to return to Finland. New Sweden seemed to be the solution and the Government of Sweden ordered the capture of these law-breaking Finns.

Among those engaged in the pursuit of these Finns was Johan Printz, who was later Governor of New Sweden. When he caught a Finn, who had cut down six apple trees in the King’s orchard, he was given his choice between going to New Sweden or being hanged.

Two vessels were fitted out for the voyage to the New World; one of them carried thirty-five colonists, mostly Finns. They set sail in November, 1641, and arrived in New Sweden the following April. Among these arrivals were Olaf Paullsson, Anders Hansson, Axel Stille, Henrich Mattson, Olaf Stille, Mans Swensson, and Per Kock, and their names are still borne by families in Pennsylvania. Tobacco soon became the main article of commerce sent from New Sweden.

When the Swedes first arrived with Peter Minuit they built inside the fort little cottages of round logs, with low doors and no windows 232except the loop-holes cut between the logs. The cracks were closed with mud or clay. The fireplaces were made of stone, and a bake-oven was built within the house.

In 1640 lands were bought from the Indians on the west side of the South River from the Schuylkill as far north as the site of Trenton.


History of Pennsylvania Railroad Begins
with Organization of Company
March 31, 1847

Prior to 1809, Oliver Evans, of Philadelphia, urged repeatedly in public addresses the construction of a passenger railroad from Philadelphia to New York, and in that year attempted to form a company for this purpose.

In 1829 a railroad, sixteen miles long, from Honesdale to Carbondale, to carry coal, was completed.

In 1827 the Mauch Chunk railroad, nine miles long, was built to connect coal mines with the Lehigh River; the gauge was three feet seven inches, and wooden rails were faced with iron.

The Baltimore and Ohio finished, in 1829, the first six miles of track upon which passengers were carried.

The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company was incorporated by special act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, approved April 4, 1833.

The charter granted to the company, December 5, 1833, authorized it to construct a railroad from Reading to Philadelphia. At Reading it was proposed to connect with the Little Schuylkill Navigation and Railroad, which had been incorporated in 1827, to build a railroad from Tamaqua to Reading.

Then followed the development of the rails in this country, and the first T-rails made in America were rolled at the Montour Mill, in Danville, Pa., in 1845. This was also an American invention. The first rails, thirty feet in length, were made at the Cambria Iron Works, at Johnstown, Pa., in 1856.

The greatest development of the locomotive was made by the great Baldwin plant in Philadelphia.

Among the several great railroad groups of America is that of the Pennsylvania system, and this corporation enjoys the distinction of having the greatest number of individual stock holders.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the most important carrier in Pennsylvania and in the Eastern United States, and one of the greatest and most extensive railroad systems in the entire world, was brought into existence by an act of Assembly of Pennsylvania, approved by Governor 233Francis R. Shunk, April 13, 1846. Letters patent were issued February 15, 1847, and the company organized March 20, but the election of officers was held and the actual beginning of this great corporation dates from March 31, 1847.

Under the articles of incorporation this company was authorized to construct, equip, and operate a line of steam railroad to connect with the then known Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy and Lancaster Railroad, and to run to Pittsburgh or to any point in Allegheny County, or to Erie, in Erie County, as its management might deem expedient.

This charter was not obtained without opposition, as it was understood that the operation of this new railroad would draw from the revenues upon which the State system of public works largely depended for support. This was undoubtedly true, but the charter was granted and the work of construction was carried forward with such vigor that in 1850 portions of the line were completed and ready for operation.

The Erie Canal, devised by DeWitt Clinton, and constructed by David Thomas, a Pennsylvanian, had deflected the trade of the Great Lakes and the West from Philadelphia to New York, and made the latter the leading city of the nation. It was expected that a railroad over the mountains would bring this trade back to Philadelphia and restore the supremacy of that city.

In order to make sure that no outside influence should get control, the charter provided that all of the directors “shall be citizens and residents of this Commonwealth.” This part of the plan failed, but the leading capitalists of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere in the State, subscribed liberally to the stock of the company and from the beginning the enterprise was well backed with ample funds and equally valuable influence.

Hardly had the original road been opened for traffic before the company began to extend its lines and enlarge the field of its operations.

The movement which proved of the greatest benefit to the public, and to the company itself, was in 1857, when the Legislature passed an act, May 16, directing the line of public works between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to be sold, and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company became the purchaser.

The purchase price was seven and one-half millions, and ownership was obtained for the combined State canal and railroad. The State was relieved of a burdensome property, and at the same time these public works were placed under the control of a corporation whose methods of management must result in great benefit to the people of the State.

Governor James Pollock caused the sale to be made, June 25, and on July 31 following the actual transfer was consummated.

This transaction fixes the date from which the progressive history of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company begins.

The canals on the Susquehanna and its branches above the mouth 234of the Juniata, together with the Delaware division, were sold the following year to the Sunbury and Erie Railroad Company, now a part of the great Pennsylvania system, and the work of extension did not cease.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, in 1861, leased for 999 years the Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy and Lancaster road and brought it under the Pennsylvania’s management.

The work of extension has ever kept pace with the opportunity to develop this great railroad system until it includes, in whole, or in part, more than one hundred lesser lines of road, with its main line, branches and spurs.

The great terminal station in Philadelphia, recently damaged by fire, will soon be replaced by one of the finest railroad stations in the world, even comparable with the great Pennsylvania Station in New York City.

The greatest corporation in Pennsylvania is the railroad system which so gloriously carries the name of the Keystone State into every part of the Western Hemisphere.


235

Great Indian Council Opened at Harris’ Ferry, April 1, 1757

September 10, 1756, Governor Denny ordered a suspension of hostilities against the Indians on the east side of the Susquehanna. A month later Major Parsons wrote from Easton that nine Indian men and one Indian woman with four white prisoners had arrived at Easton. One of the prisoners was Henry Hess, who had been taken prisoner on New Year’s day from his father’s plantation in Lower Smithfield, Northampton (now Monroe) County. These had been sent by Tedyuskung from Wyoming.

The Governor sent ConradConrad Weiser to Easton, who met and greeted the Indians in his behalf. Weiser concluded his mission by inviting Tedyuskung to meet the Governor in Philadelphia, but he declined and demanded the Governor convene a council at Easton.

This attitude incensed the Governor, who refused to humor the Indians, and said no treaty should be held outside of Philadelphia. The Governor finally yielded and under escort of a heavy guard proceeded to Easton. This treaty was formally opened on Monday, November 8, with a great display of militia and ceremonial pomp. Tedyuskung was again the principal speaker for the Indians and he assured the Governor that the Delaware were glad to meet again their old friends, the English. The council continued nine days, during which Governor Denny appears to have conducted himself with much tact and good judgment.

Early in December accounts were received that some of the Indians who had been at the Easton treaty had, on their way home, murdered certain white settlers on the frontiers—thus making it appear that Tedyuskung’s authority over these Indians was very doubtful.

About the middle of January George Croghan, next to Sir William Johnson the most prominent figure among British Indian agents, sent Joe Peepy, son of the deceased Shikellamy, and Lewis Montour, son of the celebrated Madame Montour, with a message to the Susquehanna Indians, inviting them to attend a council, or treaty, at Lancaster. Peepy and Montour delivered the message to the Indians assembled in council at Tioga when they went to the Ohio to inform the Delaware and Shawnee there of the proposed Lancaster meeting.

Upon their return Peepy and Montour reported to Croghan that all the Susquehanna Indians were disposed for peace except the Munsee, or Minisink Indians, although the messengers believe that these Indians would come down to the treaty with King Tedyuskung.

On February 18, 1757, Zaccheus, a Delaware Indian, formerly of 236Gnadenhuetten, arrived at Fort Allen and on the following day seven Indian women and three children arrived there, all sent from Tioga by Tedyuskung to announce to Governor Denny that they intended to come in March to Easton to hold a treaty.

Early in March Tedyuskung with two of his sons, his half-brothers, Captain Harris and Sam Evans, squaws and children, in all numbering about fifty, arrived at Fort Allen. Captain Arndt, commandant of the fort, advised Major Parsons that these Indians had “built cabins about sixty perches from the fort, where they live and intend to stay till the King comes.”

About the time these Indians had departed from Wyoming for Fort Allen all the Six Nations, Nanticoke and Delaware, who had accompanied Tedyuskung there from the Council at Tioga, proceeded down the river to Fort Augusta at Shamokin.

Major James Burd, then in command of the garrison, wrote, March 21, advising Governor Denny that 150 Six Nations had arrived there. “Sent by Sir William Johnson to oblige the Delawares to lay down the hatchet, and to be present at the treaty proposed between the Government and the Delawares.” These Indians did not tarry long at Fort Augusta, for they arrived at John Harris’ March 29, where they were met by George Croghan, who reported there were “about 160 of them—men, women and children—part of eight tribes.” A day later they were joined by some Conestoga Indians.

April 1 a formal conference between Croghan and the Indians was begun at Harris’ Ferry. Thus this much-discussed council was opened at neither Lancaster, where Croghan had suggested it be held, nor at Easton, where Tedyuskung said it would be held, but at John Harris’ Ferry, now Harrisburg.

Among the white men present were the Reverend John Elder, of the Paxton Presbyterian Church, known as the “Fighting Parson,” Captain Thomas McKee, John Harris and Hugh Crawford. Scarouady was the principal speaker for the Indians.

On April 6 it was decided to remove the council-fire to Lancaster, and the next day the entire company marched thither, being met on the outskirts of Lancaster by a number of the principal inhabitants.

The conference at Lancaster was delayed by the failure of Governor Denny to attend. Smallpox had broken out among the Indians, and they were uneasy. At length the Governor reached Lancaster, attended by members of the Provincial Council, the Assembly, the Indian Commissioners, Colonel Stanwix of the “Royal Americans,” and a number of citizens.

Three days later, May 12, 1757, the conference was formally opened in the Lancaster Courthouse. “Little Abe” and Thomas King were the chief speakers for the Indians. The former told of the declaration of the Delaware at a council where they denied the allegation they were 237women, and further said they acknowledged no authority over them among the Six Nations, but would listen to the Seneca.

Little Abe then advised that the Seneca be invited to a meeting with the Delaware and Shawnee at Lancaster or elsewhere. Messengers were accordingly sent, who were also instructed to see Tedyuskung and inquire as to the reasons for his absence from the Lancaster conference, which was that day brought to a close.

On the 23d all the Indians, in charge of Captain McKee, departed from Lancaster and arrived at Fort Augusta June 1. They tarried four days, and on the 5th all, except the Delaware, left the fort “in canoes, with plenty of flour, rum, etc., sufficient to carry them home.” The Delaware started a few days later across the country to Bethlehem.

Edward Shippen, of Lancaster, in a letter to his son-in-law, Major James Burd, at Fort Augusta, dated May 22, 1757, among other interesting things wrote: “We have had many meetings of the Indians here, to whom valuable presents have been given by the Governor and the Quakers; but as Tedyuskung and the Indians who were expected along with him were not come, a very handsome part is reserved for them.

“It appears to me that unless the Militia Act be passed we of this borough shall in less than a month become the frontiers.”

On June 16, 1757, Sir William Johnson held a conference with the Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca, of the Six Nations, and made an earnest and successful appeal for them to remain loyal to the English. Tedyuskung was severely censured for his conduct, and Sir William charged the Seneca to bring him around to a sensible understanding.


First Mint Established in Philadelphia by Act

of April 2, 1792

The project of a national mint for the United States was first introduced by Robert Morris, of Philadelphia, the patriot and financier of the Revolution.

As the head of the Finance Department, Mr. Morris was instructed by Congress to prepare a report on the foreign coins then in circulation in the United States. On January 15, 1782, he laid before Congress an exposition of the whole subject, and accompanying this report, was a plan for American coinage.

Robert Morris was assisted in his effort to establish a mint by Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

On April 15, 1790, Congress instructed the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, to prepare and report a proper plan for the 238establishment of a national mint. This was done at the ensuing session of Congress. The act was framed and passed finally March 26, 1792, and received the approval of President George Washington April 2, 1792.

A lot of ground was purchased on Seventh Street near Arch, and appropriations were made for erecting the necessary buildings. An old stillhouse, which stood on the lot, had first to be removed. In an account book of that time we find an entry on July 31, 1792, of the sale of some old material from the stillhouse for seven shillings and sixpence, which Mr. Rittenhouse directed “should be laid out for punch in laying the foundation stone.”

David Rittenhouse was the first Director of the Mint, April 14, 1792, until his health compelled him to resign in June, 1795.

This building for the United States Mint in Philadelphia was the first structure erected in America for public use under authority of the Federal Government. It was a brick building, the cornerstone of which was laid by David Rittenhouse July 31, 1792.

In the following October operations were commenced by the coinage of the silver half dimes. President Washington mentions this first coinage in his address to Congress, November 6, 1792, as follows: “There has been a small beginning in the coinage of half dimes, the want of small coins in circulation calling the first attention to them.”

The original purchase of metal for coinage was six pounds of old copper at one shilling and three pence per pound, which was coined and delivered to the Treasurer in 1793. The first deposit of silver bullion was made July 18, 1794, by the Bank of Maryland. This consisted of coins of France amounting to $80,715.73½. The first return of silver coins to the Treasurer was made on October 15, 1794. The first deposit of gold bullion was made by Moses Brown, a Boston merchant, on February 12, 1795, and paid for in silver coins. The first gold coins turned into the Treasury were 744 half eagles, on July 31, 1795. Eagles were first delivered September 22, when 400 were delivered.

There were four different currencies or rates, in different parts of the Union, and a consequent perplexity, until the passage of the law which regulated the coins of the United States. The present system of coins is formed upon the principles laid down in the resolution of 1786, by which Congress determined the denominations should be dollars (the dollar being the unit), dimes or tenths, cents or hundredths, and mills or thousandths of a dollar.

Nothing could be more simple or convenient than this decimal sub-division. The terms are proper because they express the proportions which they are intended to designate. The dollar was wisely chosen, as it corresponded with the Spanish coin, with which the colonists had long been familiar.

The mills were imaginary and never coined. The first cents were 239made of copper, round and about an inch in diameter and one-sixth of an inch in thickness.

It is an interesting fact that silver was first coined in money 869 years before the Christian era.

Previous to the coinage of silver dollars at the Philadelphia mint, in 1794, there occurred an amusing incident in Congress, when a member from the South bitterly opposed the choice of the eagle, on the ground of its being the “king of birds,” and hence neither proper nor suitable to represent a nation whose institutions were inimical to monarchial forms of government.

Judge Thatcher playfully in reply suggested that perhaps a goose might suit the gentleman, as it was a rather humble and republican bird, and would also be serviceable in other respects, as the goslings would answer to place on the dimes.

This answer created considerable merriment, and the irate Southerner, conceiving the humorous rejoinder as an insult, sent a challenge to the Judge who promptly declined it. The bearer, rather astonished, asked, “Will you be branded as a coward?” “Certainly, if he pleases,” replied Thatcher; “I always was one and he knew it, or he would never have risked a challenge.”

The affair occasioned much mirth, and, in due time, former existing cordial relations were restored; the irritable Southerner concluding there was nothing to gain fighting one who fired nothing but jokes.

March 2, 1829, provisions were made by Congress, for extending the Mint establishment, the supply of bullion for coinage having increased beyond the capacity of the existing accommodations.

The Mint edifice under this provision was erected at the northwest corner of Chestnut and Juniper Streets. The corner-stone was laid July 4, 1829, by Samuel Moore, then Director of the Mint. The building was occupied in 1833.

This was among the finest of Philadelphia’s classic structures, and it was admired by every resident and visitor. The building was of marble and of the Grecian style of architecture, the roof being covered with copper. Each front on Chestnut Street and Penn Square was ornamented with a portico of sixty feet, containing six Ionic columns.

The present structure on Spring Garden Street is huge and an impressive building, but a disappointment when compared with the beautiful edifice that it supplanted. It was first occupied October 1, 1901, and was about three years in building.

Nearly two-thirds of our coinage comes from the mint at Philadelphia, which is the largest and most completely equipped mint in the world. The coins for nearly all the South American countries are also made in this mint.

A wonderful collection of coins and medals of all lands can be seen by the public in this building.


240

Act for Purchase of Erie Triangle Passed

April 3, 1792

For many years after William Penn received the charter for Pennsylvania he was engaged in controversies over the boundary line of his Province, and long after his death the several proprietaries were concerned with the question. It was not until 1774 that the controversy with Maryland was concluded, and it was after the Revolution that the armed conflict with Connecticut was finally determined by Congress, and the imminent conflict with Virginia over the territory west of the Alleghenies was satisfactorily settled.

It was not until 1786, after many difficulties between the States of Pennsylvania and Virginia, that the western boundary of our State was surveyed by extending the Mason and Dixon line to the end of the five degrees west from the Delaware River and a meridian drawn from the western extremity to the northern limit.

In 1785 commissioners were appointed on the part of Pennsylvania and New York to ascertain the northern boundary of the former from the Delaware River westward to the northwest corner. The commissioners were David Rittenhouse on the part of Pennsylvania, and Samuel Holland on the part of New York. They proceeded to act in pursuance of that appointment, and in December, 1786, ascertained and fixed the beginning of the forty-third degree of north latitude, erected suitable monuments there and near the Delaware River, but were prevented by inclement weather from proceeding further in the survey.

The next year Andrew Ellicott was appointed a commissioner, on the part of Pennsylvania, and James Clinton and Simeon Dewitt on the part of New York. In 1787 they completed the running and marking of this northern boundary 259 miles and 88 perches from its commencement at the Delaware River, to its termination in Lake Erie, five or six miles east of the Ohio State line and marked the whole distance throughout by milestones, each one indicating the distance from the Delaware River. In 1789 an act of Assembly confirmed the acts of the commissioners.

The Indians being recognized as owners of the soil, the whole was purchased from them by different treaties. One at Fort Stanwix extinguished their title to the lands of Western Pennsylvania and New York, excepting the Triangle or Presqu’ Isle lands, which were accidentally left out of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia and were supposed at different times to belong to each.

General William Irvine discovered while surveying the Donation Lands that Pennsylvania had but a few miles of lake coast and not any 241harbor, and in consequence of his representations the State of Pennsylvania made propositions for its purchase from Philips and Gorham, the reputed owners, in the year 1788. Surveyor General Andrew Ellicott surveyed and established lines at the request of the Federal Government, but Frederic Saxton accompanied him on behalf of the owners.

It was finally determined by comparison with the charters of New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut just what was the western limit of New York. This was found to be twenty miles east of Presqu’ Isle.

On June 6, 1788, the Board of Treasury was induced to make a contract for the sale of this tract described as bounded “on the east by New York, on the south by Pennsylvania and on the north and west by Lake Erie.”

On September 4 it was resolved by Congress “that the United States do relinquish and transfer to Pennsylvania all their right, title and claim to the Government and jurisdiction of the said land forever, and it is declared and made known that the laws and public acts of Pennsylvania shall extend over every part of said tract as if the said tract had originally been within the charter bounds of the State.”

By an act of October 2, 1788, the sum of £1200 was appropriated to purchase the Indian title to the tract, in fulfillment of the contract to sell it to Pennsylvania.

At the treaty of Fort McIntosh, January 9, 1789, Chief Cornplanter and other chiefs of the Six Nations signed a deed in consideration of the sum of £1200, ceding the Presqu’ Isle lands to the United States. It was then, by a deed dated March 3, 1792, ceded by the United States to Pennsylvania. This deed is signed by George Washington, President, and Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State.

In 1790 Surveyor-General Andrew Ellicott made a survey of the triangle and found it to contain 202,287 acres. The purchase-money paid to the United States, at seventy-five cents an acre, was $151,640.25.

This purchase having been completed before the passage of the act of April 3, 1792, the lands within it except the reservations were sold under the provisions of this act. The first settlements in Erie County were made under the provisions of that law, and many instances of personal violence occurred between the contending claimants. The squatters would league together to prevent the legal claimants from depriving them of their improvements.

The settlement of the lands northwest of the Allegheny River, and especially the Presqu’ Isle lands, was never cordially acquiesced in by the Six Nations, and Cornplanter became very unpopular among his own people. It was charged upon him that he and Little Billy had received the purchase price both at Fort McIntosh and Philadelphia. Cornplanter himself protested to the United States at Buffalo Creek in June, 1794, against the garrison established by General Anthony Wayne at Presqu’ Isle, when he went out against the Miami Indians.


242

Reading Railroad Incorporated by Act
Passed April 4, 1833

The Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company was incorporated by special act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, approved April 4, 1833.

The charter granted to the company, December 5, 1833, authorized it to construct a railroad from Reading to Philadelphia. At Reading it was proposed to connect with the Little Schuylkill Navigation and Railroad, which had been incorporated in 1827, to build a railroad from Tamaqua to Reading. By a latter statute the company was authorized to extend its road from Reading to Port Clinton, where connection was made with the Little Schuylkill and Navigation and Railroad.

The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad was planned primarily to transport anthracite from the Schuylkill region to Philadelphia and intermediate points, especially where a number of blast furnaces were then operating.

Anthracite was known to exist in the Schuylkill Valley as early as 1800, since which time the iron industry had become one of much importance, the first furnace being established on Manatawney Creek, near Pottstown, in 1716. Wood and charcoal were first used in smelting the ore, but the increasing scarcity of these fuels led to experiments, which, in 1808, proved that anthracite could be used advantageously as furnace fuel.

Anthracite was first transported by the Schuylkill Canal from the vicinity of Pottsville to Philadelphia, and the furnaces in the Schuylkill Valley. The growing need for this new fuel in domestic and furnace use and the limitations of canal transportation led to the era of railroad construction between the anthracite regions and tidewater ports.

On December 5, 1839, the railroad was opened to traffic from Reading to Philadelphia, and on January 1, 1842, the first locomotive and train passed over the entire line between Mount Carbon in Schuylkill County, and Philadelphia. On May 17, 1842, the Richmond Branch, from the Falls of the Schuylkill to the terminal at Port Richmond, on the Delaware, was opened, from which time the Reading has been an important railroad.

In 1853 the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company began the construction of the Lebanon Valley Railroad, extending from Reading to Harrisburg. The line was completed in 1858, and merged into the Reading Railroad.

May 8, 1871, the parent company bought the Northern Liberties 243and Penn Township Railroad, in Philadelphia, control of which had been obtained in 1857.

In the period between 1859 and 1870, the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company commenced the systematic extension which has resulted in the development of the present Reading System. In that period the company acquired through purchase or lease twenty-six railroads. Between 1870 and 1880, thirteen more were acquired; in the next decade nine were added; from 1890 to 1900 eight were acquired and since 1900, four more were added, until, at the present time the Reading Company, with its affiliated lines operates 1619.15 miles of railroad, exclusive of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and 3.63 miles of road leased jointly by the Reading Company and the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

Forming quite a contrast with the huge high-speed Pacific type locomotives used today, are the locomotives used in the early days. At first these locomotives in appearance were somewhat grotesque. Their loud puffing was alarming, and the twenty-mile speed was terrifying.

One of these early engines, the RocketRocket, has been preserved for posterity and is on exhibition in the Columbia Avenue Station in Philadelphia.

The Rocket never ran when it rained. On clear days it was capable of taking a train at nearly thirty miles per hour. It burned wood as fuel but later adopted coal.

The engineer of the Rocket was also the fireman. When his steam was running low he reached over, grabbed a log from the pile along the platform, thrust it into the fire box, then again became an engineer. There was only one lever, and that was the throttle. All the way ahead there was one speed, same in reverse. There were only four wheels and no driving rods. There were no brakes on the Rocket. It had a kerosene bull’s eye and a pop whistle, and at night when it came crashing along at its twenty-mile clip, its bull’s-eye quivering, its stack emitting sparks, its whistle popping, it was the marvel of the countryside.

Of almost equal interest are the stories of the first day coaches and the Pullman cars. In the early days the coaches were very narrow, built to meet the conditions of the narrow-gauge tracks, as there was a row of double seats in one side of the aisle and a row of single seats on the other.

There were first and second class coaches, designated by the figure 1 and 2 on the sides of the car. Those of the first class were upholstered with black hair cloth, while the second-class had only plain wooden seats and backs. The windows were small and placed near the roof.

In the winter the cars were heated with wood stoves. The cars were lighted with candles. When a change from one line to another was made each passenger picked out his own baggage and attended to its loading on the new train.

244At the dining stations the menu consisted of coffee and ham sandwiches and sometimes beef stew.

The first sleeping cars were the ordinary day coaches changed by adding sleeping requirements. They were usually divided into four compartments, in each of which three bunks were built against one side of the car, while in a corner of the rear end of the car were provided water, a towel and a basin. No bedclothes were furnished, and the passengers, fully dressed, retired upon rough mattresses with their overcoats pulled over them for covering.

Continued patronage by the public of the day coaches, parlor, sleeping and dining cars led, step by step to the facilities for comfortable and luxurious travel offered today, where there is nothing left to be desired and modern American railroad comfort is supreme.


Mary Jemison, White Woman of Genesee,
Captured April 5, 1758

The thrilling narrative of the life of Mary Jemison, who was captured by the Indians April 5, 1758, when only twelve years old, and who continued to live among them during her long and eventful life, marrying two chiefs of renown, continues to this day to be a wondrous story of one of the most remarkable captivities suffered at the hands of the Indians by the pioneer settlers of this country.

Mary Jemison, who came to be known as “The White Woman of the Genesee,” related her own story of her capture and life among the Indians when eighty years old.

She endured hardship and suffering with astonishing fortitude, and amidst all the surrounding of barbaric life she preserved the sensibilities of a white woman. The story of the captivity may be briefly told as follows: Thomas and Jane Erwin Jemison emigrated from Ireland about the year 1746. Mary, the fourth child, was born on shipboard during the voyage to America.

Thomas Jemison removed his family to the then frontier settlements of Pennsylvania on a tract of excellent land lying on Marsh Creek, in Franklin Township, Adams County. They removed to another place near the confluence of Sharps Run and Conewago Creek, a short distance from their first home.

A few neighbors had come to live with the Jemison family on account of the men being with Washington’s army and their fear of the Indians.

One morning Mary returned from an errand to the mill, and a man took her horse to his house after a bag of grain. Mary’s father was busy 245with the chores, her mother was getting breakfast; the two older brothers were in the barn, and the little ones with Mary and the neighbor woman and her three children in the house.

Breakfast was not yet ready when they were alarmed by the discharge of a number of guns. On opening the door the man and horse lay dead. The Indians captured Mr. Jemison, then rushed into the house and made prisoners of Mrs. Jemison, Robert, Matthew, Betsey and Mary and the other woman and her three children and then plundered the house. The two brothers in the barn escaped and afterward went to Virginia.

In the attacking party were six Indians and four Frenchmen, and after they took everything they wanted and all the food in the house, they set out in great haste with their prisoners, keeping them in single file, using a whip when any one lagged behind. No food or water was given them all that day, and at night, fatigued and hungry, they were compelled to lie upon the ground without fire or shelter. In the morning they were given breakfast from the provisions taken from the Jemison home.

They were made to march a great distance the second day and at night had a meal with bread and meat.

An Indian removed Mary’s shoes and stockings and put a pair of moccasins on her feet which Mrs. Jemison believed meant they intended to spare her life and destroy the other captives. An Indian removed the shoes and stockings from the neighbor boy, and after putting moccasins on him, led him and Mary off from the others some distance into the woods and there laid down with them for the night.

That was the last time Mary ever saw her parents, for during the night, the Indians murdered in most cruel manner the rest of the captives and left their bodies in the swamps to be devoured by wild beasts.

During the next day’s march Mary had to watch them scrape and dry the scalps of her parents, brothers and sisters and neighbors. Her mother’s hair being red, she could easily distinguish it from the others, but she knew them all, and the sight was one which remained with her during all her life.

The boy was given to the French and Mary was given to two Shawnee squaws. They started down the Ohio in canoes, toward their home at Sciota. Upon arrival at the home of the squaws, Mary was given a suit of Indian clothing and formally adopted according to Indian custom, replacing a brother of the squaws, who had been killed in war. She was given the Indian name Dickewamis, which means pretty girl or good thing. She was not allowed to speak English, so soon learned the Indian tongue.

At this time the English had taken Fort Pitt, and as soon as the corn was harvested the Indians went to the fort to make peace with the British and Mary was taken along. She went with a light heart, feeling 246sure she was to be restored to her brothers. The English asked her many questions about herself, and this interest so alarmed her Indian sisters that they hurried her away in their canoe. She learned later that some white people had come to take her away, but could not find her.

Her Indian sisters made her marry a Delaware Indian named Sheninjee. Mary spoke of him as noble, large in stature, elegant in appearance, generous in conduct, courageous in war, a friend to peace and a great lover of justice. Truly a fine tribute for an Indian warrior.

Her first child died soon after birth, but the fourth year she had a son who she named in memory of her father, Thomas Jemison.

She had many hardships traveling with her child to the Genesee country, which was 600 miles through an almost pathless wilderness.

Her husband died while she was en route to her new home. Several times efforts were made to restore her to the English, and on one occasion the chiefs determined she should be given up, but she fought against it herself and her Indian brother helped her in her effort to remain among the Indians.

Several years after the death of her husband she married Hiokatoo, commonly called Gardow, by whom she had four daughters and two sons. Her second husband was the most cruel Indian known.

Mary Jemison continued to live in the German Flats, N. Y., and upon the death of Hiokatoo became possessed of much valuable land.

Two great sorrows were experienced when a feud between her sons resulted in John, a wayward fellow, killing Thomas, who was a great comfort to his mother and a leader among the Indians, and some years later John killed his other brother, Jesse.

This double grief was almost more than the venerable woman could endure and it was not assuaged when John was murdered in a drunken quarrel with two Indians.

She was naturalized April 19, 1817, by which she received a clear title to her reservation. In 1823 she disposed of the major portion of her real estate holdings, reserving a tract two miles long and one mile wide.

She died September 19, 1833, aged ninety-one years, and was buried with Christian service in the cemetery of Seneca Mission Church, Buffalo Creek Reservation. Her body was reinterred on March 7, 1874, in the Indian Council House Grounds at Letchworth Park, where an elegant bronze statue marks the grave of Mary Jemison, “The White Woman of the Genesee.”


247

Governor Penn Makes Trip Through State,
Starting April 6, 1788

Following the last great purchase from the Indians at Fort Stanwix, October 23, 1784, the State enjoyed a steady flow of immigration. There was an abundance of fertile and cheap lands, a desirable climate and low taxes. It was possible for a foreigner to buy and hold lands with relinquishment of their allegiance to the country of their birth. This right had been granted for three years from 1787, and was continued for a longer period after 1790.

About this time John Penn, son of Thomas Penn, and a grandson of William Penn, and twice governor of the Province, traveled through the State to look after some of the Proprietary estates, and during his trip from Philadelphia to Carlisle and return he made some notes that are replete with interest.

He set out from Philadelphia on the morning of April 6, 1788, on horse back. He passed through the Township of Roxborough, and on his way saw two meeting houses filled with people, another proof that the Friends were still faithful to their old traditions.

At a tavern where he alighted he met a hoary-headed guest who invited him within, calling him the “honorable proprietor.” That night he rested at Brooke’s tavern and very much admired the sign, which was a striking likeness of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, painted by George Rutter (Ritter), a noted sign painter of that period. He then called on Frederick A. Muhlenberg, Speaker of the last Assembly.

As Penn drew near Reading he was questioned by a person concerning a manor of which he was the owner. This was Penn’s Mount, at that time on the eastern limits of the town. Penn thought Reading was finely situated. He dined on catfish with Abraham Whitman, the only tavern keeper who had not voted against the confirmation of the proprietary estate. He visited a ferry, still belonging to him, and from there went to a farm “belonging to the proprietors,” which he determined to divide and sell in smaller parcels.

Penn paid a visit to Angelica, the beautiful farm belonging to General Thomas Mifflin, situated a few miles from Reading. A neighbor of General Mifflin’s, who attracted Penn’s attention, was “one of the marrying Dunkers, who live in their own houses like other countrymen, but wear their beards long.”

Penn tarried here until the 9th, then went to Womelsdorf, passing on the way one place that was “remarkable for its European appearance.” He then rode through Lebanon, “a handsome town containing some hundred inhabitants.” The horses were “baited” at Millerstown.

248About sunset Penn caught his first glimpse of the Susquehanna “flowing between its wooded and cultivated banks close to the town” of Harrisburg.

Penn adds: “Mr. Harris, the owner and founder of the town, informed me that three years ago there was but one house built and seemed to possess pride and pleasure in his success.

“Though the courts are held here generally, Lebanon is infinitely larger. The situation of this place is one of the finest I ever saw. One good point of view is the tavern, almost close to the river. It is called the Compass, and is one of the first public houses in Pennsylvania. The room I had is twenty-two feet square and high in proportion.”

After breakfast on the morning of April 11 Penn and John Harris walked to the ferry and had a thrilling experience while ferrying across the river, and on account of the high water and swift current they were carried far out of their course.

About two miles west of the river they passed the home of Robert Whitehill, the Assemblyman, and about 3 o’clock in the afternoon they reached the town of Carlisle.

The first buildings seen were three or four separate wings, intended for magazines originally, but granted by Congress to the trustees of Dickinson College for twenty years. The Reverend Charles Nisbet, D. D., was then at the head of the institution.

In the neighborhood of Carlisle Penn had lands in charge of General John Armstrong. Colonel Robert Magaw was also his companion during his stay in Carlisle.

After remaining in Carlisle until the 13th Penn commenced his return to Philadelphia by rising early in order “to see a cave near Conedoguinet Creek,” in which the water petrifies as it drops from the roof. Then he resumed his route and noted the “Yellow Breeches Creek,” reaching the Susquehanna, again crossed Harris’ Ferry and then traveled along the eastern bank of the river to Middletown. He was impressed with the scenery and made many comments about both banks of the river. He wrote:

“At Middletown I put up at one More’s, who was a teacher formerly at Philadelphia of Latin and Greek. He talked very sensibly, chiefly on subjects which discovered him to be a warm Tory and friend of passive obedience. Here the Great Swatara joins the Susquehanna, and a very fine mill is kept at their confluence by Mr. Frey, a Dutchman, to whom I carried a letter from Mr. D. Clymer.”

“April 14. Before my departure Mr. Frey showed me his excellent mill and still more extraordinary millstream, running from one part of the Swatara for above a mile till it rejoins it at the mouth. It was cut by himself, with great expense and trouble, and is the only work of the kind in Pennsylvania. Middletown is in a situation as beautiful as it is adapted to trade, and already of respectable size.”

249Penn then writes of passing through Elizabethtown, and over Creeks Conewago and Chickesalunga, and adds: “As you leave Dauphin for Lancaster County the lands improve.” He was told of a farm “said to be worth £15 per acre.”

On his return through Lancaster Penn learned that the country was friendly to the new Federal Constitution, the argument being “that matters could not be worse nor taxes higher.”

“April 15. I rode alone over to Bluerock and spent a great part of the day in examining the grounds, not returning till dusk. The consequence of this ride was the resolution I made of keeping or purchasing nearly 200 acres round a spot admirably calculated for a country seat.”

Penn’s next stop was at the Horse and Groom, next to Nottingham Meeting House. To this society William Penn had given forty acres as a place of worship. The titles were in dispute, owing to the boundary lines being uncertain between Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the grandson, having his eyes wide open to all possibilities, remarked that he could gain little information of his “claims to these lands.”

Continuing his journey Penn reached Wilmington, and after a brief visit there returned to Philadelphia.


Edwin Forrest, the Great American Actor,
Founded the Home for Actors,
April 7, 1873

One of the asylums which has attracted more attention than many others is the Edwin Forrest Home for Retired Actors.

It was founded under the direction of Edwin Forrest, the famous tragedian, who by his will, dated April 5, 1866, bequeathed to his executors, James Oakes of Boston, James Lawson of New York, and David Dougherty of Philadelphia, all his property, with the exception of annuities to his sisters and some personal legacies, in trust for an institution “which they will call the Edwin Forrest Home.” He further directed that it should be established at his country place called Spring Brook, below Holmesburg, in the city of Philadelphia, which he had purchased some years before.

Mr. Forrest recommended that an application should be made to the Legislature for a charter to trustees, with authority to conduct the affairs of the institution in accordance with his plans.

Application was accordingly made, and on April 7, 1873, James Oakes of Boston, James Lawson of New York, Daniel Dougherty, John W. Forney, James H. Castle, John H. Michener, and the mayor of Philadelphia for the time being, were made a body politic by the 250name of the Edwin Forrest Home, with authority to carry out the designs of the donor.

The estate which Mr. Forrest left was largely in real property, land and houses, some of it unproductive and waiting for a market, so that there was no product from it. In addition there was a claim on behalf of his wife, who had been separated from him for years, which seemed to affect his property. She had been divorced in the State of New York, where the judge had allowed her alimony, three thousand dollars per year, and this claim was thought to be good against Mr. Forrest’s estate during the entire period of her life.

This condition embarrassed the executors, but a compromise was arrived at which released the property, upon payment of a large sum of money, by which the aggregate fund for the support of the home was considerably diminished.

The executors were not able to open the home until 1876, when it commenced with four inmates, William Lomas, George G. Spear, Mrs. Rhoda Wood and Mrs. Burroughs. To these old actors and actresses was shortly added Jacob W. Thoman, who had made his first appearance at the Chestnut Street Theater, Philadelphia, in 1834.

The location of the home was far out in the country and the actors who spent their life in the environment of the stage, would prefer to spend their declining days near the theatres, so that they could frequently visit them and renew acquaintances and friendships with old companions of the mask and wig.

The mansion was a fine house, and capable of being made comfortable. It was of old style, three stories high, skirted by broad pillared porticos, tastefully decorated with growing plants.

The halls and rooms were hung with portraits and works of arts, and marble busts of the great characters of earlier days were there in abundance. Many fine oil portraits of Forrest in different roles were among the collection of art. Many interesting play-bills of his early performances, and portraits of most of the actors who had won fame before the footlights were on the walls.

The bedrooms were each furnished with high-post bedsteads, and old types of bureaus and dressers.

The library was unique and wonderfully furnished, and the eight thousand volumes embraced the classics, treatises upon art, and interesting histories of the stage. In niches of the walls were busts of the nation’s great men. Art masterpieces in oil and marble were to be found in the old home.

The farm attached to the fine mansion contains one hundred and eleven acres.

Edwin Forrest was born in Philadelphia, March 9, 1806. He died there December 12, 1872.

His father was Scotch, his mother of German birth. He exhibited 251from early age a taste for the stage, and when eleven years old participated in theatrical representations as a member of an amateur club, sometimes performing female roles.

His first appearance on the regular stage was on November 27, 1820, in the part of Douglas in Home’s tragedy of that name.

A protracted professional tour in the west and south ensued, in which he won considerable reputation.

His first great success was achieved May 26, 1826, in the Park Theater, New York, as Othello. This led to a long engagement at the Bowery Theater, where he enjoyed extraordinary popularity.

In 1836 he crossed the Atlantic and first appeared as Spartacus in Drury Lane Theater, London, October 17. He achieved distinguished success, and acquired the friendship of Macready, Kemble, and others.

In 1837 he married Catherine Norton Sinclair, daughter of John Sinclair the singer, and soon afterward returned to the United States, where he was welcomed by enthusiastic audiences.

In 1845 Mr. and Mrs. Forrest returned to London. During this visit, which lasted two years, a rupture occurred in the friendly relations between Forrest and Macready, and to the zeal with which the friends of the former espoused his quarrel was due the disgraceful riot in New York, May 10, 1849, during an engagement of Macready at the Astor Place Theater. This was accompanied by serious loss of life.

Soon after Forrest separated from his wife, and between 1853 and 1860 he retired from professional life, but when he returned to the stage he filled the role of Hamlet with all his former acceptance.

Latterly he suffered considerably from illness, and his last engagement began on February 6, 1871.

He died of apoplexy, surviving the attack only half an hour.

He was a man of fine presence, well equipped for his profession, naturally frank and engaging.

A large part of his valuable library and Shakespeare collection, which he had spent many years in gathering, was almost entirely destroyed by fire in his house in Philadelphia, January 15, 1873.


252

Monument Erected to Colonel Kelly, Revolutionary

War Hero, April 8, 1835

A monument to the memory of Colonel John Kelly was erected with impressive ceremonies April 8, 1835, in the Presbyterian burial-ground, in the borough of Lewisburg. A company of cavalry from Northumberland County, one from Union, and three infantry companies participated. General Abbott Green was grand marshal, with General Robert H. Hammond, General Michael Brobst, Colonel Philip Ruhl and Surgeon Major Dr. James S. Dougal as aids.

The parade was formed by the adjutant, Colonel Jackson McFadden, with the citizen militia on the right of line, followed by the veterans of the Revolutionary War and those of the War of 1812, and hundreds of citizens.

The most interesting feature of the large procession was a float which was drawn by four gray horses, upon which was placed the monument. Cavalry on either side acted as a guard of honor. In the carriages were the orator, General James Merrill, the clergy, and relatives of the old hero in whose honor the celebration was being held.

Upon its arrival at the ground, after the proper military manoeuver was performed, the monument was set by the architects, William Hubbard, F. Stoughton, Samuel Hursh and Charles Penny. The orator had a subject worthy of his best efforts, for such was Colonel John Kelly.

Colonel Kelly was born in Lancaster County, February, 1744. Almost immediately after the purchase from the Indians, November 5, 1768, he went to Buffalo Valley, in what is now Union County. There he endured hardships common to all the settlers who pushed out along the frontiers. He was in the prime of manhood, of a robust constitution, vigorous and muscular, 6 feet 2 inches in height, and almost insensible to fatigue, and so accustomed to dangers that bodily fear was foreign to his nature.

Colonel Kelly served in the Revolutionary War and distinguished himself in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. In the course of one of the retreats Colonel James Potter sent an order to Major Kelly to have a certain bridge cut down to prevent the advance of the British, who were then in sight. Kelly sent for an ax, but represented that the enterprise would be very hazardous. Still the British advance must be stopped and the order was not withdrawn. He said he could not order another to do what some would say he was afraid to do himself—he would cut down the bridge.

Before all the logs were cut away he was within range of the British 253fire, and many balls struck the logs. The last log fell sooner than he expected and he fell with it into the swollen stream. The American soldiers moved off, not believing it possible to assist him to make his escape. He, however, reached the shore and joined the troops and managed to capture an armed British scout on the way and took him into camp a prisoner of war.

History records the fact that our army was saved by the destruction of that bridge, but the manner in which it was done or the person who did it is not mentioned.

After his discharge Major Kelly returned to his farm and family, and during the three succeeding years the Indians were troublesome to the settlers on the West Branch. He became colonel of the regiment, and it was his duty to guard the valley against the incursions of the savages.

When the “Big Runaway” occurred following the Wyoming massacre, Colonel Kelly was among the first to return. For at least two harvests reapers took their rifles to the field, and some of the company watched while others wrought.

Colonel Kelly had the principal command of scouting parties in the valley, and very often he went in person. Many nights he laid on the branches of trees without a fire, because it would have indicated his position to the enemy. He was skilled in Indian mode of warfare and was a terror to their marauding bands.

So greatly was he feared by the savages that they determined on his destruction and, being too cowardly to attack him openly, sought his life by stealth. One night he apprehended they were near. He rose early next morning and, looking through the crevices of his log house, he ascertained that two at least, if not more, were lying with their arms so as to shoot him when he should open his door. He fixed his own rifle and took his position so that by a string he could open the door and watch the Indians. The moment he pulled the door open two balls came into the house and the Indians rose to advance. He fired and wounded one, when they both retreated. When safe to do so he followed them by the blood, but they escaped.

After the capture and destruction of Fort Freeland, Colonel Kelly with a company of men went to the scene of the battle and buried the dead.

For many years Colonel Kelly held the office of Justice of the Peace, and, in the administration of justice, he exhibited the same anxiety to do right, which had characterized him in his military service. He would at any time forego his own fees, and, if the parties were poor, pay the constable’s costs, to procure a compromise.

While he was a devout Presbyterian he entertained an intense hatred for an Indian. When the Presbytery of Northumberland called on Colonel Kelly for a contribution to be used to evangelize the savages, 254he refused to give one cent, but said he would cheerfully subscribe any sum required to buy ropes to hang them.

Toward the end of a long and active life, Colonel Kelly became by disease incapable of much motion; and seldom left his home. He died February 18, 1832, aged eighty-eight years. He was greatly respected by his neighbors and friends, and it is little wonder that a monument was unveiled to his memory three years later.

The spring of 1856 the monument, together with his remains, were removed to the new and beautiful cemetery on the western border of the Union County seat.

The old colonel was survived by his wife, seven sons and two daughters. One son, James, was the father of United States Senator James K. Kelly, of Oregon.


Captain John Armstrong Murdered in Jack’s
Narrows April 9, 1744

John Armstrong, a trader among the Indians, residing on the Susquehanna above Peter’s Mountain, on the east bank of the river, and two of his servants, James Smith and Woodward Arnold, were barbarously murdered April 9, 1744, by an Indian of the Delaware tribe named Musemeelin in Jack’s Narrows, now Huntingdon County.

The murderer was apprehended and delivered up by his own nation and imprisoned at Lancaster, whence he was removed to Philadelphia lest he should escape or his trial and execution, if found guilty, produce an unfavorable impression on the Indians. This was particularly important, as a large council was about to convene at Lancaster.

Governor George Thomas directed that the property of Armstrong be returned to his family. He also invited a deputation of the Delaware tribe to attend the trial of Musemeelin and to be present at his execution, if such was to take place.

Nine of Armstrong’s relatives and neighbors went in search of the remains of the murdered men and to gather such evidence as they could about the details of the crime. They signed a deposition before James Armstrong, one of His Majesty’s justices of the peace for Lancaster County, dated “Paxtang, 19th day of April, 1744.”

These deponents testified that when they learned of the murder they met at the house of Joseph Chambers, in Paxtang, and determined to go to Shamokin and consult with Shilkellamy, the vicegerent of the Six Nations, what they should do concerning the affair.

Shikellamy sent eight Indians to accompany the deponents. The entire party then went to the house of James Berry, on Mahantango 255Creek, which empties into the Susquehanna above the mouth of the Juniata.

On the way to Berry’s three of the Indians ran away, but on the morning after their arrival there, the deponents, with the five Indians, set out in quest of the bodies.

They proceeded to the last known sleeping place of John Armstrong and his men, and a short distance from this place James Berry picked up the shoulder bone of a human being. He showed his find to his companions, and the action of the Indians at this time proved to the whites that they knew more about the crime than they had made known.

The party proceeded along a path three miles, heading to the Juniata Narrows, to a point where they suspected the crime to have been committed. Here the white men directed the Indians to go farther down the creek, but they hung back, and actually followed the white men. Some eagles or vultures were noticed and then the Indians disappeared.

At this place a corpse was discovered, which they believed to be that of James Smith; three shots were heard at a short distance, and the deponents, believing the Indians had fired them to advise the finding of another corpse, rushed to the place, but the Indians had run away. A quarter of a mile farther down the creek the corpse of Woodward Arnold was found lying on a rock.

The deponents examined the bodies of Arnold and Smith and found them to have been most barbarously and inhumanely murdered by being gashed with deep cuts on their heads with tomahawks, and other parts of their bodies mutilated. The body of Armstrong was believed to have been eaten by the savages.

This deposition was signed by Alexander Armstrong, a brother of John, the murdered man, who lived at the mouth of Armstrong’s Creek, above the present town of Halifax, Dauphin County; Thomas McKee; John Foster, who also lived on the west side of the Susquehanna; William Baskins, James Berry, who lived on the east side, near the Juniata, and John Watts, James Armstrong and David Denny.

The atrocity of this outrage was so revolting that a Provincial Council was held to take the matter into consideration, and it was finally resolved that Conrad Weiser should be sent to Shamokin to make demands, in the name of the Governor, for those concerned in the crime.

Mr. Weiser arrived at Shamokin, May, 1744, and delivered Governor Thomas’ message to Allummapees, then the Delaware King, a large number of that tribe and in the presence of Shikellamy and a small number of the Six Nations.

Following the presentation of the affidavit, Allummapees replied, confessing the guilt of Musemeelin. Shikellamy then arose and entered into a full account of the unhappy affair.

He claimed that Musemeelin owed Armstrong some skins, and that 256Armstrong seized a horse and rifled gun belonging to the Indian in lieu of the skins. These were taken by Smith for Armstrong.

When Musemeelin met Armstrong near the Juniata, he paid all the account but twenty shillings and demanded his horse. Armstrong refused to give up the animal, and after a quarrel the Indian went away in great anger.

Some time later Armstrong and his two servants, on their way to the Ohio country, passed by the cabin of Musemeelin, and his wife demanded the horse of Armstrong, but by this time he had sold the beast to James Berry.

Upon his return from a hunting trip his wife told Musemeelin of her demand to Armstrong. This angered the Indian, who determined on revenge.

Musemeelin engaged two young Indians to go on a hunting trip, but he led them to the camp of Armstrong and his men. When they arrived at a fire James Smith was sitting there alone. Musemeelin told Smith he wanted to speak with him privately, and they went into the woods. Musemeelin soon came back laughing, as he had killed Smith and shot Arnold, whom he found coming back to the camp.

The young Indians were terrified, but too afraid of Musemeelin to leave him. They soon came across John Armstrong sitting on an old log. Musemeelin asked: “Where is my horse?” Armstrong replied: “He will come by and by.” “I want him now,” said Musemeelin. “You shall have him. Come to the fire and let us smoke and talk together,” said Armstrong. As they proceeded, Armstrong in the advance, Musemeelin shot him in the back, then tomahawked him.

Shikellamy further said that the three Indians buried John Armstrong and that the others were thrown into the river.

Jacks Narrows, where this crime was committed, takes it name from Captain John (Jack) Armstrong, the victim.

Musemeelin was not convicted of the crime, but returned to his wigwam and was looked upon by his savage people as a hero.


257

Tories of Sinking Valley Take Oath to King
April 10,1778

Among the tragedies during the Revolutionary war, none seem more melancholy than those connected with efforts of the disaffected to escape to the enemy. During the winter of 1777–78, British agents were busy along the western frontier and as far east as Cumberland County, seeking to corrupt the frontier settlers, insinuating sentiments of discontent, assuring them that the American cause was sure to fail and making glittering promises of reward for those who should join the cause of the King.

One of the agents visited the valleys of the Allegheny Mountains in what is now Blair County, but then was a part of Bedford. He was successful in deluding a considerable band of ignorant frontiersmen by the most despicable methods.

This rascal held out to these mountaineers a vision of wholesale plunder and carnage on the property of their patriot neighbors. His appeals were made only to the vicious, who were promised if they would organize and join a force of British and Indians coming down the Allegheny Valley in the spring they would be permitted to participate in a general onslaught on the settlements and would receive their share of the pillage and, in addition to this, they should each receive grants for the lands of the rebel neighbors to the extent of 300 acres each, wherever they should select.

One of the men who entered into this despicable plot afterward confessed that it was the design to slaughter the peaceable inhabitants without mercy—men, women and children—and seize their property and lands.

In the northern part of Blair County is a deep valley called Sinking Spring Valley. It is still a wild and romantic country, but 150 years ago was singularly desolate and lonely and seemed a fitting place for the meeting of such conspirators as had been enlisted in this cruel Tory plot.

In Sinking Spring Valley the tory band held its gatherings during February and March, 1778. Many of the plotters were from the frontier settlement of Frankstown, near what is now Hollidaysburg. The leader was John Weston, a bold, lawless man, half farmer, half hunter, half civilized, who lived with his wife and brother, Richard, in a crude mountain cabin.

The British agent, having thoroughly enlisted Weston in the murderous enterprise, returned up the Allegheny, promising to be at Kittanning about the middle of April, with 300 Indians and white men, there to meet his mountain friends and with them swoop down on the other 258settlements, and make all of his partisans weary under the burden of their rich plunder.

Weston furthered the propaganda and enlisted thirty of his neighbors in the adventure. Alarming intelligence of the Tory plans leaked out, reached the larger settlement of Standing Stone, now Huntingdon, where it was reported that a thousand Indians and Tories were about to fall on the frontier.

A stockade had been built at Standing Stone, but its garrison never consisted of more than a score of green militiamen, and there was a general flight of the terrified people from the upper valley of the Juniata toward Carlisle and York.

The band of plotters was joined, about April 1, by a man named McKee, of Carlisle. He had been in communication with a British officer, who was confined in Carlisle, with other prisoners of war. He gave McKee a letter addressed to all British officers, vouching for the loyalty of McKee and his associates. This letter was to be used in securing protection and a welcome for the Sinking Spring Valley Tories when they should meet with the British and Indians on their flight to the Allegheny.

At the appointed time word reached the valley that a large force of Indians had gathered at Kittanning. The last meeting of the plotters was held April 10, in the forest, and thirty-one took the oath of allegiance and pledged themselves to follow Weston.

On the following morning, at the break of day they began their march over the mountains. In the afternoon of the second day they had come within a few miles of their intended destination, when they encountered a band of about 100 Iroquois Indians. The savages burst suddenly out of the thicket in full war paint.

John Weston sprang forward, waving his hand and crying out, “Friends! Friends!” The Indians were not in the British conspiracy, but were bent on a plundering raid on their own account and regarded Weston and his armed companions as a hostile party.

The Indian chieftain fired at Weston, and the Tory leader fell dead. His startled and horrified followers halted in dread astonishment. Another of the savages sprang forward and, before the ignorant borderers could recover from their surprise, tore the scalp from Weston’s head.

At this point McKee rushed out, holding aloft in one hand a white handkerchief and in the other hand the letter from the British officer at Carlisle, and called out to the Indians: “Brothers! Brothers!” The savages did not respond. Almost as suddenly as they appeared they vanished into the undergrowth, leaving the bewildered mountaineers alone with their dead and scalped leader. Weston was buried where he fell.

The Tories feared to go forward and even more to return to their 259homes. They held a consultation, when some declared their intention to return to Bedford County, but others feared arrest and determined they would seek safety elsewhere.

Hard was the fate of this company. Some of them wandered in the forests and perished from hunger. Some of them made their way to the southward, and reached British posts after great suffering. Five of them returned to their homes in Sinking Spring Valley and were seized by the aroused frontiersmen and lodged in the log jail at Bedford.

Richard Weston, brother of the slain leader, was caught near his home by a party of settlers going to work in the lead mines there, and he was sent under guard to Carlisle. Weston confessed the whole plot, but claimed he had been misled by his older brother. He escaped from prison before his trial, so his taint of treason was hardly to be blamed on his brother.

The Supreme Executive Council ordered a special court to try the prisoners at Bedford. It held two sessions in the fall of 1778 and spring of 1779, with General John Armstrong, of Carlisle, as president. The court failed to convict any of the defendants on the charge of high treason. The leaders were either dead or out of the country, and the few men brought before the court seemed to be sufficiently punished by their imprisonment and the contempt of their neighbors.

Those who fled away were tainted with treason and their estates were declared forfeited.


Captain John Brady, Noted Hero, Killed by
Indians April 11, 1779

Captain John Brady was foremost in all the expeditions that went out from the West Branch of the Susquehanna settlements, and his untimely death, April 11, 1779, was the worst blow ever inflicted upon the distressed settlers.

John Brady, second son of Hugh and Hannah Brady was born in 1733, near Newark, Delaware. He came with his parents to Pennsylvania, married Mary Quigley, when he was twenty-two years old, and soon thereafter enlisted in the French and Indian War. On July 19, 1763, he was commissioned captain and assigned to the Second Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment, commanded by Governor John Penn and LieutenantLieutenant Colonels Turbutt Francis and Asher Clayton.

The following year his command was with Colonel Henry Bouquet on his expedition west of the Ohio, and was actively engaged against the Indians who made terrible slaughter in Bedford and Cumberland Counties.

260Captain Brady was one of the officers who received land grants from the Proprietaries, and, in 1768, he removed his family to Standing Stone, now Huntingdon. The following year he changed his residence to a site opposite the present town of Lewisburg. He was a land surveyor and his note books furnish much valuable land data.

In 1776 Brady removed to Muncy Manor, where he built a semi-fortified log house, known later as Fort Brady. It was in what is now the borough of Muncy, and was a private affair but was classed among the provincial fortifications.

In December, 1775, when Colonel William Plunket made his famous expedition to the Wyoming Valley, Captain John Brady was one of his ablest assistants. When the Twelfth Regiment of the Continental Line was organized under command of Colonel William Cooke, September 28, 1776, Captain Brady was one of the original captains. Two of Captain Brady’s sons married daughters of Colonel Cooke.

At the Battle of Brandywine the Twelfth was engaged under General John Sullivan and was cut to pieces in the desperate fighting near the Birmingham Meeting House. Captain John Brady was among those seriously wounded, and his son, John, a lad of only fifteen, who had come like David of old, with supplies for the camp and had remained for the battle, was also wounded, and only saved from capture by the act of his colonel in throwing the boy upon a horse when the troops retreated. So fierce was the fighting that every officer in Captain Brady’s company was killed or wounded, together with most of his men.

Captain Brady was given a leave of absence while the army was in winter quarters at Valley Forge, and during this time was at his home at Fort Brady. When the Indians became so troublesome between the North and West Branch Valleys, he removed his family to Sunbury, and September 1, 1778 returned to the army. He served for a time with Colonel Daniel Brodhead’s regiment at Fort Pitt.

James Brady, Captain John’s second son, who was himself a militia captain, was mortally wounded August 8, 1778, while he was working in the field near Fort Muncy. Young Brady survived his frightful wound for five days and died at Sunbury in the arms of his mother, an heroic pioneer woman.

Captain John Brady had taken such an active part in the efforts of the settlers to subdue the Indian atrocitiesatrocities, and his daring and repeated endeavors had so intensified their hatred, that they determined his capture above all other efforts.

April 11, 1779, Captain Brady went up the river some distance to procure supplies for those in the fort, and he took with him a wagon, team and guard, and was in charge of the party. They secured the supplies and were returning in the afternoon, Captain Brady astride a fine mare. Within a short distance of the fort, where the road 261forked, he was riding a little distance in the rear of the team and guard, and engaged in conversation with Peter Smith, who was walking. He determined that they would not follow the team, but would take another and shorter road to the fort. They rode and walked along together until they reached a small run where the same roads again joined. Brady observed, “This would be a good place for Indians to secrete themselves.” Smith replied “yes.” That instant three rifles cracked and Brady fell.

The mare ran toward Smith, who grabbed her and threw himself upon her back and in a few moments reached the fort.

The people in the fort heard the rifle shots and, seeing Smith on the mare coming at full speed, all rushed out to learn the fate of Captain Brady. Mrs. Brady led those of the party in reaching Smith’s side. Smith told them, “Brady is in heaven or hell or on his way to Tioga,” meaning that he was either killed or taken prisoner. Those in the fort ran to the spot and soon found the captain lying on the ground, his scalp and rifle gone; but the Indians had been in too much haste to take his watch or shot-pouch.

Samuel, known as “Old Sam,” Brady happened to be at the fort when Captain John Brady was killed, and it was he who rushed out, followed by some of the garrison, and bore his brother’s body into the fort.

Thus perished one of the most skilled and daring Indians fighters, on whose sterling qualities and sound judgment the pioneers so much depended.

His remains are interred in the old graveyard near Halls, where a heavy granite marker was erected bearing the inscription:

Captain John Brady
Fell in defense of our forefathers
at Wolf Run, April 11, 1779.
Aged 46 years.

One hundred years after his death funds for a monument were raised by public subscription and $1600 secured, and on October 15, 1879, the shaft was unveiled in Muncy cemetery. The oration was delivered by the Hon. John Blair Linn, in the presence of an immense concourse made up of military and patriotic organizations and thousands of citizens, including several hundred of the Brady family.


262

General Abner Lacock, United States Senator
and Distinguished Citizen, Died in
Beaver County, April 12, 1837

In the Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States published in 1876, appears the following brief notice of a once prominent citizen of Pennsylvania:

“Abner Lacock, born in Virginia, in 1770. Without the advantage of much early education, he raised himself by his talents to eminence as a legislator, statesman and civilian. He filled various public stations for a period of nearly forty years; was a Representative in Congress from Pennsylvania from 1811 to 1813, and United States Senator from 1813 to 1819. He died in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, April 12, 1837.”

A search for further information concerning one of whom so little is known by the public, but who was honored with the highest offices in the gift of his neighbors and of the whole people of our State, reveals many interesting details and important events in the life of this man.

Abner Lacock was popularly known as General Lacock. He was born in Cobs Run, near Alexandria, Virginia, July 9, 1770. His father was a native of England, and his mother a native of France. The father emigrated to Washington County, Pennsylvania, while Abner was quite young, and settled on a farm.

In 1796 Abner removed to the town of Beaver, then in Allegheny County, and was one of the first settlers in that neighborhood.

His public career commenced almost immediately after his settlement at Beaver. On September 19, 1796, he was commissioned by Governor Thomas Mifflin a justice of the peace for Pitt Township, Allegheny County. This appointment made him the first public official within the present limits of Beaver County, which was formed out of parts of Allegheny and Washington Counties, March 12, 1800.

In his first office Lacock evinced such a natural strength of mind and sound intelligence that he was elected in 1801, the first Representative to the State Legislature from Beaver County, which post he filled until 1803, when he was commissioned the first associate judge for the new county, but he resigned at the end of the year to again enter the Legislature. The first session of court was held in Abner Lacock’s house, February 6, 1804.

After serving four successive terms in the House, in 1808, he was elected to the Senate, representing Allegheny, Beaver and Butler Counties in the upper body of the Pennsylvania Legislature with marked ability.

263The War of 1812 with the agitation which preceded it brought him into the larger field of national politics. In 1810 he was elected by the people of his district as the “War Candidate” to Congress, when he showed such qualities of leadership that in 1813 the Legislature of his State with great unanimity elected him a Senator of the United States. He served in the House during the Twelfth Congress and in the Senate in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Congresses.

General Lacock was a warm friend of Madison and Monroe, and a bitter enemy of Andrew Jackson. In his later years he was an Adams and Henry Clay Whig.

On December 18, 1818, a select committee of five members was appointed in the Senate of the United States, to investigate the conduct of General Andrew Jackson in connection with the Seminole War. Of this committee Senator Lacock was chairman, and author of the report made February 24, 1819, which severely arraigned Jackson with the violation of the Constitution and International Laws.

This action of the committee made Jackson and his friends furious, he threatening members of the committee with personal violence. Lacock was unafraid and wrote frequently about Jackson’s boasting only in public, and that he should never avoid him a single inch.

The clash never came, and they left the capital on the same day, and in the same public conveyance.

General Lacock was one of the most active promoters of internal improvements in the State of Pennsylvania. Soon after his term in the United States Senate had ceased, he entered heartilyheartily into the scheme for uniting the waters of the Delaware and the Ohio by a State line of Canals and railroads. On April 11, 1825, he was appointed one of five commissioners to make a complete survey of the route for the contemplated improvementsimprovements.

On February 25, 1826, the Legislature authorized the commencement of the work on the canal. General Lacock was chosen to supervise the construction of the Western division of the canal from Pittsburgh to Johnstown.

The first canal boat built or run west of the Allegheny Mountains was named the “General Abner Lacock.” It was built at Apollo by Philip Dally.

Later General Lacock repeatedly served Beaver County in the State Legislature, and in 1836 was appointed to survey and construct the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal, known as the “cross-cut canal,” connecting the Erie division of the Pennsylvania Canal with the Portsmouth and Ohio Canal, contracting in its service in that year his last illness.

Besides those named, General Lacock held, or was offered many other positions of high public trust, both in this and other states.

Abner Lacock obtained the title of General in the early part of his 264public career while serving as an officer of the Pennsylvania militia. As early as 1807 he was a brigadier general, commanding a brigade in the counties of Beaver and Butler.

General Lacock was the friend and earnest champion of the common school system, which when first proposed was very unpopular in Pennsylvania. His library was one of the largest in Western Pennsylvania, and was partially destroyed by a flood in the Ohio River in 1832.

General Lacock was of medium height and well proportioned. He was strong and athletic. He was the father of a large family, but there are no living male descendants of this distinguished citizen.

He died at his residence, near Freedom, on Wednesday morning, April 12, 1837, after a long and painful illness.


Family of Richard Bard Captured by Indians
April 13, 1758

During the French and Indian War of 1755–58, the barrier of the South Mountain shielded the settlers of York County, from the savage incursions that desolated the Cumberland Valley and other parts of the frontier of Pennsylvania. Yet occasionally a party more daring than the rest would push across the mountain and murder or carry defenseless families into captivity.

An affecting instance of this kind was the captivity of Richard Bard, which is narrated in detail by his son, the late Archibald Bard, of Franklin County.

Richard Bard owned and resided near a mill, which was later known as Marshall’s Mill, on the Carroll tract, in now Adams County.

On the morning of April 13, 1758, his house was invested by a party of nineteen Delaware Indians, who were discovered by a little girl named Hannah McBride. She was at the door and when they approached she screamed and ran into the house, where were Richard Bard and his wife, a child six months old, a bound boy, and a relative of the Bards, Lieutenant Thomas Potter, a brother of General James Potter.

The Indians rushed into the house, and one of them, with a large cutlass in his grasp, made a blow at Potter, who wrested it from the savage. Mr. Bard laid hold of a pistol that hung on the wall and snapped it at the breast of one of the Indians, but there being tow in the pan it did not fire, but the Indians ran out of the house.

The savages were numerous and there was no ammunition in the Bard home, and fearing a slaughter or being burned alive, those inside 265surrendered, as the Indians promised no harm would befall them. The Indians went to a field and made prisoners of Samuel Hunter, Daniel McManimy, and a lad named William White, who was coming to the mill.

Having secured the prisoners the Indians plundered the house and set fire to the mill. About seventy rods from the house, contrary to their promises, they put to death Thomas Potter; and having proceeded on the mountain three or four miles, one of the Indians sunk the spear of his tomahawk into the breast of the small child, and after repeated blows scalped it.

The prisoners were taken over the mountain past McCord’s fort, into the Path Valley, where they encamped for the night. The second day the Indians discovered a party of white men in pursuit, on which they hastened the pace of their prisoners, under threat of being tomahawked.

When they reached the top of the Tuscarora Mountain, they sat down to rest, when an Indian, without any previous warning, sunk a tomahawk into the forehead of Samuel Hunter, who was seated next to Richard Bard, killed and scalped him.

Passing over Sideling Hill, and the Allegheny Mountains, by Blair’s Gap, they encamped beyond Stony Creek. Here Bard’s head had been painted red on one side only, denoting that a council has been held, and an equal number were for killing him, and for saving his life, and that his fate would be determined at the next council.

While Mr. and Mrs. Bard were engaged together in plucking a turkey, the former told his wife of his design to escape. Some of the Indians were asleep, and one was amusing the others by dressing himself in Mrs. Bard’s gown. Bard was sent to the spring for water and contrived to escape, while his wife kept the Indians amused with the gown.

The Indians made an unsuccessful search for Bard, and proceeded to Fort Duquesne, then twenty miles down the Ohio River to Kuskusky, in what is now Butler County.

Here Mrs. Bard and two boys and girls were compelled to run the gauntlet, and were beaten in an unmerciful manner. It was at this place that Daniel McManimy was put to death. The Indians formed themselves into a circle round the prisoner, and beat him with sticks and tomahawks, then tied him to a post, and after more torturing he was scalped alive, a gun barrel was heated and passed over his body, and he was pierced in the body until he was relieved from further torture by death.

Mrs. Bard was taken from the other prisoners and led from place to place, until she was finally adopted into the tribe by two Indian men, to take the place of a deceased sister.

She was next taken to the headwaters of the Susquehanna, and during this journey she suffered much from fatigue and illness. She lay 266two months in this doleful situation, with none to comfort or sympathize with her, a blanket her only covering, and boiled corn her only food.

She met with a woman who had been in captivity several years and was married to an Indian. She told Mrs. Bard that soon as she could speak the Delaware tongue she would be obliged to marry one of the Indians or be put to death. She then resolved not to learn the language. She was kept in captivity two years and five months, during which time she was treated with much kindness by her adopted relations.

Richard Bard suffered extreme hardships in effecting his escape and return to his home, traveling over mountains thick with laurel and briers and covered with snow. His feet were sore, his clothes wet and frozen and he was often exhausted and ready to lie down and perish for want of food. His food during a journey of nine days was a few buds and four snakes, when he reached Fort Littleton, in now Bedford County.

After this he did but little else than wander from place to place in quest of information respecting his wife. He made several perilous journeys to Fort Duquesne, in which he narrowly escaped capture several times. He at length learned she was at Fort Augusta, at Shamokin, and redeemed her.

Before the Bards departed from Shamokin, Richard Bard requested the Indian, who was the adopted brother of his wife, to visit them at their home. Accordingly, some time afterwards the Indian paid them a visit, when the Bards were living about ten miles from Chambersburg.

The Indian remained there for some time and one day went to McCormack’s tavern and became intoxicated, when he fell into a brawl with a rough named Newgen, who stabbed the Indian in the neck. Newgen escaped the wrath of the settlers by fleeing the neighborhood. The Indian was attended by a physician and recovered, being nursed back to health by his adopted sister, Mrs. Richard Bard.

When he returned to his own people he was put to death on the pretext of having, as they said, joined the white people.


267

Bounties for Scalps of Indians Proclaimed
April 14, 1756

After Braddock’s defeat, the protection of the frontiers of Pennsylvania being left to the inhabitants themselves, they rapidly formed companies, designated their own officers and received commissions from Lieutenant Governor Morris.

It was thought that the Indians would do no mischief in Pennsylvania until they could draw all the others out of the province and away from the Susquehanna. But the Delaware and Shawnee had been ravaging in the neighborhood of Fort Cumberland on both sides of the Potomac. In the middle of October, 1755, occurred the terrible massacres of John Penn’s Creek, at the mouth of Mahanoy Creek, and when the Great and Little Coves were destroyed. Shortly after occurred the massacres at Tulpehocken and other places.

When any Indians of the Delaware or Shawnee Nations were discovered they were found in their war paint. These were under the command of Chief Shingass.

These incursions aroused the Quakers, and November 7, 1775, an address signed by Anthony Morris and twenty-two other Quakers was presented to the Assembly, expressing willingness to contribute toward the exigencies of government. But the Assembly and the Executive still fought over the tax bill.

At this juncture Scarouady went to Philadelphia and demanded to know if the people of Pennsylvania intended to fight, yes or no. The Governor explained to the chieftain how the Assembly and he could not agree.

Scarouady, who had suffered defeat with Braddock and remained a firm friend of the English, with many other Indians went to Shamokin to live, or at least hunt, during the ensuing season.

Governor Morris sent Scarouady to the Six Nations to report the conduct of the Delawares. While he was on this mission the Delaware destroyed Gnadenhutten, in Northampton County, and the farm houses between that place and Nazareth were burned January 1, 1756.

Benjamin Franklin, as Commissioner, then marched with several companies and built Fort Allen.

The Delaware, forcing even John Shikellamy to go against the English, sent representatives to the Six Nations to justify their conduct, but were condemned and ordered to desist.

When Lieutenant Governor Morris heard this chastisement given the Delaware, and seeing that it so far had not deterred the enemy, he determined to meet barbarity with barbarity, and gave a hatchet to Scarouady, as a declaration of war against the Delaware, and obtained 268an offer in writing from Commissioners Fox, Hamilton, Morgan, Mifflin and Hughes to pay rewards for Indian prisoners.

Governor Morris issued a proclamation April 14, 1756, offering such bounties that he hoped would incite not only the soldiers and more venturesome of the inhabitants, but which would also alarm those Indians who still remained friendly to the English.

The proclamation contains the following provisions:

“For every male Indian enemy above twelve years old, who shall be taken prisoner and delivered at any fort, garrisoned by the troops in pay of this Province, or at any of the county towns to the keepers of the common jail there, the sum of 150 Spanish dollars or pieces of eight; for the scalp of every male enemy above the age of twelve years, produced to evidence of their being killed the sum of 130 pieces of eight; for every female Indian taken prisoner and brought in as aforesaid, and for every male Indian prisoner under the age of twelve years, taken and brought in as aforesaid, 130 pieces of eight; for the scalp of every Indian woman, produced as evidence of their being killed, the sum of fifty pieces of eight, and for every English subject that has been killed and carried from this Province into captivity that shall be recovered and brought in and delivered at the City of Philadelphia, to the Governor of this Province, the sum of 130 pieces of eight, but nothing for their scalps; and that there shall be paid to every officer or soldier as are or shall be in the pay of the Province who shall redeem and deliver any English subject carried into captivity as aforesaid, or shall take, bring in and produce any enemy prisoner, or scalp as aforesaid, one-half of the said several and respective premiums and bounties.”

This proclamation gave great offense to the Assembly, but not to the population, especially those who lived in the counties distant from Philadelphia. The times were perilous, and the bounties were absolutely necessary to secure better protection of the borders. To the credit of the hardy and brave frontier pioneers of Pennsylvania be it said no Indian was wantonly killed for the sake of the reward.

Robert Morris resigned the office of Lieutenant Governor he had held during these stirring years, and on August 20, 1756, William Denny arrived from England, and superseded him. Governor Denny was well educated and held in high favor at Court. His advent here was hailed with joy by the Assembly, who flattered themselves that with a change of the executives at this time there would come a change of such measures as had caused their enmity with his predecessors. Upon his assumption of the office and making known the Proprietary instructions, to which he stated he was compelled to adhere, all friendly feeling was at an end, and there was a renewal of the old discord.

Before Governor Morris resigned as Lieutenant Governor he had concerted with Colonel John Armstrong an expedition against the strong Indian town of Kittanning, on the Allegheny River.


269

Theatrical Performances Begun in State
April 15, 1754

The amusements of the young people were for many years of the simplest and most innocent kind. Riding, swimming and skating afforded pleasant outdoor sport.

Yearly Meeting, in 1716, advised Friends against “going to or being in any way concerned in plays, games, lotteries, music and dancing.” In 1719 advice was given “that such be dealt with as run races, either on horseback or on foot, laying wagers, or use any gaming or needless and vain sport and pastimes, for our time passeth swiftly away, and our pleasure and delight ought to be in the law of the Lord.”

Various early laws of the Province prohibited stage plays and amusements, not only bull-baiting, bear-baiting and cock-fighting, but such as were neither immoral nor cruel, as bowls, billiards and quoits.

Macauley said of the Puritans that they opposed bear-baiting “not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”

Quaker legislation as to games was, indeed, scarcely stricter than Henry VIII’s, but Quakerism discountenanced excitement.

In 1723 a wandering showman arrived in Philadelphia and set up a stage just below South Street, where he was outside the jurisdiction of the City Corporation. At the desire of the Quaker Assemblymen, the Speaker, Joseph Growdon, on March 30, asked Lieutenant Governor Keith to prohibit any performance. This he declined to do, but promised that good order should be kept.

So the actor issued his playbills and gave what is supposed to have been the first entertainment in Pennsylvania that might be called theatrical.

As the man who entertained by his “Comical Humour” in April, 1724, called himself the audience’s “Old friend Pickle Herring,” he may be presumed to have been the owner of both shows. In 1724, he introduced the “Roap-Dancing” as “newly arrived.” The rope-walkers were a lad of seven years and a woman. There was also a woman who would spin around rapidly for a quarter of an hour with seven or eight swords pointed at her eyes, mouth and breast. Governor Keith himself attended one or more of these performances.

Small shows now, from time to time, made their appearance. In 1727, “The Lion, King of Beasts,” was advertised to be exhibited on Water Street.

The Quakers and rigid Presbyterians, who in the early days frowned down dancing and other “frivolous amusements,” could not be expected 270to countenance the introduction of the drama in Philadelphia. So when Murray and Kean’s company of Thespians made their appearance in 1749 they were not permitted to make a long stay, but were ordered off as soon as the worthy rulers of the city’s morals realized the fact that their entertainments possessed irresistible attractions. So Murray and Kean went to New York and for five years the Philadelphians did not see a play.

In August, 1749, mention is made of the tragedy of Cato being acted; but January 8, 1750, attention being called to some persons having lately taken upon themselves to act plays, and intending “to make a frequent practice thereof,” the City Council asked the magistrates to suppress the same.

In the year 1753 Lewis Hallam’s English company, after traveling a year in the Southern colonies and performing in various places in Virginia and Maryland, went to New York, where they opened their theatre in the month of September. The report of the great success of their talented actors awakened a desire among the more liberal-minded Philadelphians that Hallam should visit the Quaker City.

On April 15, 1754, they gave their first performance in the large brick warehouse of William Plumstead, situated in King or Water Street, between Pine and Lombard Streets. This house remained standing until 1849, when it was pulled down.

The opening piece was the tragedy of “The Fair Penitent,” followed by the farce “Miss in Her Teens.”

Mr. Rigby spoke a prologue and Mrs. Hallam an epilogue written for the occasion, in which, after defending the stage from the accusation of sinfulness and alluding to the effect produced by the tragedy upon the audience, she asked:

“If then the soul in Virtue’s cause we move
Why should the friends of Virtue disapprove?”

This temporary theatre was neatly fitted up and opened to a full house. The license was for twenty-four nights but this number was extended to thirty, and the theatre closed June 24 after having had a brilliant and profitable season. One of the performances was given for the benefit of the charity school.

Hallam’s company came back to Philadelphia in 1759 to occupy a permanent theatre erected for them in Southwark, at the corner of Cedar (or South) and Vernon Streets, on Society Hill.

This theatre was opened June 25, 1759, but either because the house was too small and not well equipped or because of discouraging opposition the company only played in it one season. They remained away five years.

On their return a new house, much larger than the first one, was 271built at the corner of South and Apollo Streets. This new theatre was opened November 12, 1766.

It was in this theatre and by “The American Company” that the first play by an American author performed on any regular stage was given April 24, 1767. This was “The Prince of Porthia,” by Thomas Godfrey, Jr., of Philadelphia.

The American Company played at this theatre several seasons. The theatre remained closed from the beginning of the Revolutionary War until it was opened by the British officers during their occupancy of the city, 1777–78.

These amateur performers gave regular plays, the proceeds going to widows and orphan children of the soldiers. The ill-fated Major Andre and Captain Delancy painted the scenes and other decorations. The curtain, representing a waterfall scene, the work of young Andre, remained in use until the theatre was destroyed by fire May 9, 1823.

After the return of the Continental Congress the Legislature of Pennsylvania legislated against theatrical performances. No plays were given until 1789, when a petition signed by 1900 citizens, asking the repeal of the prohibiting provision relating to theatres, was presented to the Legislature. The religious community presented a petition signed by more than 1000 citizens as a remonstrance against the repeal.

The restrictive portion of the act was repealed and Hallam and Henry opened the Southwark Theatre January 6, 1790, with “The Rivals” and “The Critic.”

The season was unusually brilliant, and the theatre in Philadelphia and elsewhere throughout Pennsylvania has since been popular.


Tedyuskung, Indian Chieftain, Burns to
Death in Cabin, April 16, 1763

Tedyuskung was made king of the Delaware nation in the spring of 1756, and from that date until his untimely death this great Indian chieftain exerted a most powerful influence throughout the entire Province of Pennsylvania.

The name is of Munsee dialect, and signifies “the healer,” or “one who cures wounds, bruises, etc.”

He was one of the most famous and crafty of the Delaware chiefs during the period of discussion of the Indian claims, following the sale of the lands along the Delaware and Susquehanna to the Proprietors of Pennsylvania by the Iroquois.

Tedyuskung was born at the present site of Trenton, N.J., about 1705, and died April 16, 1763. Nothing is known of his life before the time he first appears as an historic character, prior to which he was known as “Honest John.”

272When about fifty years old he was chosen chief of the Delaware on the Susquehanna, and from that time wielded a potent influence, although he occupied a peculiar position.

Sir William Johnson, of New York, was a zealous friend of the Iroquois, while Conrad Weiser and George Croghan, of Pennsylvania, were strongly prejudiced against the Delaware and Shawnee. The problem which the Provincial Government of Pennsylvania had to solve was how to keep peace with the Iroquois and at the same time prevent the Delaware and the Shawnee who were then becoming independent of the Iroquois, from going over to the French.

The Delaware were conscious they had been unjustly deprived of their lands by the Pennsylvania authorities, aided by the Iroquois. They had been driven from the Delaware to the Susquehanna, and many had been forced even as far west as the Ohio, and now that France and England had commenced to struggle for the possession of that region the Delaware felt they were to be again driven from their home. They were revolting not only against the English, but against their masters, the Iroquois.

At this critical time, when the border settlements in Western Pennsylvania were being ravaged by hostile bands of Delaware and Shawnee, and when the English were making preparations for an expedition to take Fort Duquesne, Tedyuskung took his stand as a friend of the English.

Christian Frederic Post had been sent on a mission to the Ohio Indians, and Conrad Weiser and others were working to retain the friendship of these Indians. The many squatters along the Juniata River and the illegal sale of land at Wyoming made by the Mohawk to the Connecticut settlers complicated the situation and made the work of these emissaries much more difficult and trying. Then the Indians who had been in conference at Albany in 1754, found when they returned home that lands had been sold to the Proprietors which they did not comprehend.

Washington suffered defeat at Fort Necessity and this was followed by the terrible Braddock disaster; which with the evil effects of the rum traffic among the Indians and the almost total neglect by the Province of Pennsylvania had almost entirely alienated them from the English cause.

Then began the several attempts to win them back, but the passage of the Scalp Act and the declaration of war against the Delaware caused this tribe to rise in rebellion against the Province and also against their hated title of “women,” given them by the Iroquois.

Such was the situation when the great council was called at Easton, July, 1756, at which Tedyuskung appeared as the champion of the Delaware. Governor Morris opened the council with a speech, in which he warmly welcomed the chief. Tedyuskung replied: “The Delaware 273are no longer the slaves of the Six Nations. I, Tedyuskung, have been appointed King over the Five United Nations. What I do here will be approved by all. This is a good day. I wish the same good that possessed the good old man, William Penn, who was a friend of the Indian, may inspire the people of the Province at this time.”

The first session was followed by a grand feast and reception, during which King Tedyuskung and Chief Newcastle were sent to give the “big peace halloo” to the Indians and invite them to a larger conference, which was held at a later time.

Tedyuskung left Easton, but loitered about Fort Allen, where he became drunk and disorderly, and so incensed Lieutenant Miller that the whole outcome of the peace conference was, for a time, endangered.

During this drunken spree Tedyuskung was blamed for having dealings with the French, but no evidence was produced to prove the charges; yet Governor Morris dispatched Chief Newcastle to Sir William Johnson to learn if the Iroquois had deputized Tedyuskung to act for them. This they denied.

Then followed endless discussions in Provincial Council. Governor Morris had been succeeded by Governor Denny, who went to the council at Easton, July, 1757, under a heavy guard. Tedyuskung, in his opening speech, said: “I am sorry for what our people have done. I have gone among our people pleading for peace. If it cost me my life I would do it.”

Tedyuskung demanded a clerk at this Easton Council on threat of leaving, and he was assigned such official. While Tedyuskung was drunk each night, he appeared at council each morning with a clear head and was the equal of any in debate.

This second Easton council determined upon a general peace and Tedyuskung promised to see that their white prisoners were all returned. He then went to Fort Allen, where he and his warriors had a drunken frolic. Conrad Weiser says of him at this time: “Though he is a drunkard and a very irregular man, yet he is a man that can think well, and I believe him to be sincere in what he said.”

A fourth council was held at Easton in October, 1758, when Post had returned from his Western mission. Land disputes again became a principal topic, and Tedyuskung was discredited by the Iroquois, who attempted to destroy his influence with the Provincial Government. They even left the council when he spoke, but the old King won out and the council finally ended in a treaty of peace.

In 1762 the Governor offered Tedyuskung £400 as a present if he would withdraw his charges of fraud in the “Walking Purchase,” and he accepted the bribe.

After all the dealing with the Governors and councils of Pennsylvania, and his personal controversies with the enemy tribes, this last of the chiefs of the eastern Delaware traveled from Philadelphia to his 274home at Wyoming, and on the night of April 16, 1763, his house was set on fire while he lay on his couch in a drunken debauch and he was burned to death in the flames. The perpetrators of this crime were either Seneca or Mohawk.

He was the most virile chief of the Delaware nation during the years of their subjugation to the Iroquois. His efforts for peace did much to win the Ohio region from the French.

A monument to Tedyuskung has been erected in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.


Lottery for Union Canal for $400,000 Authorized
by Legislature, April 17, 1795

By the act of April 17, 1795, the president and managers of the Schuykill and Susquehanna Navigation, and the president and managers of the Delaware and Schuykill Canal Navigation, were authorized to raise by means of a lottery, a sum of $400,000 for the purpose of completing the works cited in their acts of incorporation, under a prohibition that neither of them should form the same into capital stock, upon which to declare a dividend of profits.

An Act Passed March 4, 1807, authorized the said companies to raise their respective sums separately, subject to the prohibition as to dividends.

The two companies were consolidated by act of April 2, 1811 into a corporation known as the Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania. The new company was authorized to raise money by loan to complete the canal and to use the proceeds of the lotteries already authorized, and by the twenty-eighth section of the act authority was given to raise the residue of the original sum equal to $340,000 by a lottery.

By the act of March 29, 1819 the proceeds of the above lottery were pledged as a fund for the payment of an annual interest of 6 per cent upon the stock of the company.

By these and subsequent acts it appears that the lottery grants were given in the first instance, to the two companies, and afterwards continued to the Union Canal Company to aid and encourage the construction and completion of a canal and lock navigation uniting the waters of the Susquehanna and Schuylkill.

In consequence of these lottery grants, individuals were induced to invest their funds in the furtherance of the work, and loans to the amount of $830,400 were made upon the credit of the capital stock and the profits of the lotteries.

The Union Canal Company entered into contracts for the conduct 275of these lotteries, the last one, October 6, 1824, for five years, which expired December 31, 1829.

There was much sentiment against these lotteries and as there were laws in force for suppressing and preventing lotteries, there was objection made when the extension of this lottery was brought to the General Assembly. The Committee on Ways and Means, February 9, 1828, reported that it was inexpedient to resume the lottery grants to the Union Canal Company at this time and further resolved, “that the committee be instructed to bring in a bill to regulate lottery brokers, and to restrain the sale of lottery tickets within this Commonwealth.”

For more than half a century after the founding of the Province, Pennsylvania was dominated by the Quakers, who were constantly opposed to all games of chance. At the very first meeting of the Assembly, at Chester, in 1682, an act was passed against cards, dice, lotteries, etc. This and similar acts were annulled by the English Government.

Although lotteries were not legally prohibited only one lottery appears to have been drawn during the next several decades. In 1720 a Mr. Reed by means of a lottery of 350 tickets, which were sold for twenty shillings each, disposed of a new brick house and several lots in Philadelphia.

In 1730 lotteries were prohibited under a penalty of £100, half of which was to go to the Governor, and half to the party bringing suit.

It seems probable that the Provincial Assembly authorized lotteries by special legislation for at least two lotteries had the official sanction of the Philadelphia Council; one in 1747, for the fortification of the City, the other a year later for street paving. From this time until the passage of the anti-lottery act of 1762, lotteries increased in number.

During this period lotteries were drawn for the college, academy and charitable school of Philadelphia, to complete the Episcopal Church, etc.

The act of 1762 proved to be effective in limiting the number and purposes for which lotteries might be established. Between 1762 and 1796, there were only twenty-three lotteries in Pennsylvania. Of these six were private, eight were for public use and nine for the erection of church buildings, in which twenty-one churches were concerned.

With the establishment of the Federal Government the financial condition of the country rapidly improved. With the gradual growth of population, and rapid development of business, came increased demands for new churches, schools, public buildings and improved transportation. To meet these public needs the regular revenue was insufficient and to avoid an abnormal increase in taxation, petitions were presented to the Legislature for the privilege of establishing public or semi-public lotteries.

The Legislature rejected all requests for lotteries, except when some important purpose was to be served. Only one lottery was authorized in 1790, for the erection of a Jewish synagogue; none then until 1795, 276when one was granted the Aaronsburg Town Lottery, in now Center County, and the other was to aid in opening the canal navigation between the Schuylkill and Susquehanna Rivers.

From 1796 to 1808 inclusive seventy-eight different lotteries were authorized.

The lottery of 1782 for the improvement of roads west of Philadelphia was managed as a state lottery. Others were county, city, borough and township schemes. Some were for erection of bridges, ferries and even improving creeks. One was for a garden and public bath in Philadelphia, one for the pay of soldiers in the French and Indian War; hospitals were also included, as were schools.

Many churches were built by means of lotteries and the newspapers of that period carried many advertisements, both from those authorized by the Pennsylvania Legislature and those of other States. It is estimated that at least fifty lotteries chartered by other States had agencies in Pennsylvania.

From 1747 to 1883 there were 176 separate lotteries. One single lottery, Union Canal lottery, awarded in prizes more than $33,000,000 between 1811 and December 31, 1833.

The State became flooded with local and foreign lottery tickets, and many memorials were presented to the Legislature against all form of lotteries, but they continued to thrive until December 31, 1833, when they were abolished by law, Pennsylvania taking the lead of all States in banishing lotteries.

Governor George Wolf said in a message to the General Assembly: “A more pernicious, ruinous and demoralizing evil can scarcely be imagined.”


First Northern Camp in Civil War
Established April 18, 1861

On April 18, 1861, Camp Curtin was regularly and formally established in the northwestern suburbs of Harrisburg. It was the first regular camp formed north of the Susquehanna in the loyal States, and before the end of the month twenty-five regiments were sent to the front from the counties of Pennsylvania.

The willing and prompt response to the call of President Lincoln and the appeal of Governor Curtin created immediately the necessity for a great rendezvous for the State’s troops. Harrisburg was the logical place for such a camp, for it had the advantage of being the seat of government and railroad lines extending in all directions.

The troops began to pour into Harrisburg so suddenly that temporary 277shelter was erected on all public grounds, within three days after the President’s call for volunteers.

Governor Curtin acted promptly in procuring accommodationsaccommodations for the troops, and on April 18 requested Captain E. C. Williams to take charge of the grounds controlled by the Dauphin County Agricultural Society, near the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company on the east and less than a quarter of a mile from the Susquehanna on the west.

It was the original intention to call this rendezvous “Camp Union,” but Captain E. C. Williams, Captain J. P. Knipe and others very appropriately changed the name in honor of the patriotic and beloved Governor of Pennsylvania.

When the war broke out in all its suddenness, and Washington was cut off from the loyal States of the North by the riotous proceedings at Baltimore, there was an utter lack of military organization in Pennsylvania. The military system of the State had decayed and aside from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, there were very few military companies in the State fully armed and equipped. Of these only a few contained the minimum number of thirty-two men. But, as the appeal for men was disseminated through the towns and villages of the interior counties, the officers of such military companies as did exist very promptly rallied their men and tendered their services to the Governor.

Ringgold Light Artillery, Captain McKnight, of Reading; the Logan Guards, Captain Selheimer, of Lewistown; the Washington Artillery, Captain Wren, and the National Light Infantry, Captain McDonald, both of Pottsville, and the Allen Rifles, Captain Yeager, of Allentown, were the first to offer their services in an armed and disciplined condition for immediate action. When the Ringgold Light Artillery, numbering one hundred and two men, reached Harrisburg and word was sent to the Secretary of War of the presence of so strong a company at the State Capital, he at once telegraphed for its immediate presence in Washington, but for prudence the order was suppressed.

On the morning of the 18th, the day Camp Curtin was established, a detachment of Company H, Fourth United States Artillery, numbering fifty, arrived from the West, in command of Lieutenant Pemberton.

The five volunteer companies, first to report at Camp Curtin, were promptly mustered into the United States service by Captain, afterwards Colonel Seneca G. Simmons, of the Seventh United States Infantry, and the regulars, mentioned above, and these volunteers departed on the same train for Fort McHenry, to assist in the defense of Washington.

The volunteers marched through Baltimore, then filled with Southern sympathizers, ready and eager to obstruct their passage through the city. On leaving the cars at Bolton station to march to the Camden station, a battalion was formed. As the march began the Baltimore police appeared in large force, headed by Marshall Kane, followed by a mob, who at once attacked the volunteers and were countenanced by the 278police sent to give safe conduct through the city. The troops were ordered to maintain their discipline.

When in the center of the city, the regulars under Lieutenant Pemberton marched off toward Fort McHenry leaving the volunteers to pursue their march to Camden station. This seemed to be a signal to the mob, and at once the air was filled with flying missiles, while every species of oath and imprecation were flung at the volunteers as they marched forward. Not a man made a reply, but steadily, sternly, and undauntedly the five companies of Pennsylvanians moved over the cobble-stoned streets of the city. At every step the mob increased, but with unblanched faces and martial step the brave men never for one moment wavered, marching like veterans as the mob gave way before and around them as they forced their passage to the depot.

The mob believed that a portion of the Logan Guards carried loaded guns, because their half-cocked pieces displayed percussion caps, but in reality there was not a load of powder and ball in the entire five companies. Nevertheless, the feint of displaying the caps, which was done partly as a jest on leaving the cars at Bolton Station, saved the men from the bloody attack which was hurled the next day at the force of Massachusetts troops passing through the city. As it was, when the troops were boarding the cars at Camden station, the infuriated rabble who had dogged their steps, hurled bricks, stones, clubs and mud into their disorganized ranks, without, fortunately, injuring a single volunteer.

Attempts were made to throw the cars from the track, to detach the locomotive, and even to break the driving mechanism of the engine, all of which failed, and the train pulled out of the station amid the demoniac yells of the disappointed ruffians whose thirst for blood was now aroused to a savage fury.

The solicitude of Governor Curtin for the safe transportation of these troops through Baltimore was intense. He remained at the telegraph office in Harrisburg receiving dispatches which depicted the stirring scenes in the streets of Baltimore. When it was finally announced that the trains had passed out of reach of their assailants with the men safely aboard, he emphatically declared that not another Pennsylvania soldier should march through Baltimore unarmed, but fully prepared to defend himself.

At 7 o’clock in the evening of the eighteenth, the five Pennsylvania companies reached Washington, the first troops which arrived from any State to defend the National Capital. On July 22 Congress adopted a resolution commending these Pennsylvania volunteers for the gallantry displayed in passing through the Baltimore mob and reaching Washington so promptly. It is of interest to note that our own Pennsylvanian, Galusha A. Grow, was then Speaker of the House of Representatives and signed this resolution.


279

Training of Troops Began at Camp Curtin,
April 19, 1861

When the First Defenders departed from Camp Curtin and were the first troops which arrived at Washington from any State to defend the National Capital, the real activities of this famous training camp began.

Beginning on the morning of April 19 every inbound train brought troops to Harrisburg, and soon Camp Curtin was a hive of activity.

Eli Seifer, Secretary of the Commonwealth, assumed the discharge of certain military functions, such as replying to telegraphic offer of troops, etc., but beginning April 19, Captain G. A. C. Seiler, the commandant, assumed the responsibilities, and displayed great energy. His administration was characterized by earnestness and activity, until by exposure and over-work, he contracted a disease from which he died. He was succeeded July 31 by Colonel John H. Taggart, of Philadelphia.

Colonel Taggart was the editor of the Sunday Times, in Philadelphia, and when the news of hostilities reached there, he raised a company of volunteers called “The Wayne Guards” and marched them from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. They arrived at Camp Curtin June 7.

Governor Curtin was not over sanguine that the war was likely to be concluded at the first contest so when the responses to the first call for volunteers brought enough to make twenty-five regiments instead of only the eight asked for, the Governor did not disband them, but directed that they preserve their organizations, and immediately applied to the Legislature for authority to form a corps of thirteen regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and one of artillery, to be organized and equipped by the State, to be subject to the call of the National Government if needed, and at all times to be in readiness for immediate service.

On May 15, the Legislature passed an act authorizing the organization of the “Reserve Volunteer Corps of the Commonwealth,” and Governor Curtin issued his call for men to compose the corps, and apportioned the number that would be received from each county, in order that each section of the State and every class of its people should be duly represented in it.

Four camps of instruction were established; one at Easton, under command of Colonel William B. Mann, of Philadelphia; one at West Chester, under Captain Henry M. McIntire, of West Chester; one at Pittsburgh, under Colonel John W. McLean; and one at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, under Colonel G. A. C. Seiler, of Harrisburg.

280George A. McCall, a graduate of the West Point Military Academy, of the class of 1822, a distinguished soldier in the war with Mexico, was appointed a Major General to command the corps. General McCall immediately organized his staff by appointing Henry J. Biddle, Assistant Adjutant General, and Henry Sheets and Eldrige McConkey, Aids-de-Camp. Subsequently, Professor Henry Coppee was attached to the staff as Inspector General.

On June 22 two of the regiments were ordered to Cumberland, Md., and soon afterward rendered excellent service at New Creek and Piedmont, in West Virginia until ordered to the lower Potomac regions.

On July 22, the day after the disaster at Bull Run, a requisition was made on the State for its Reserve Corps, and as quickly as the means of transportation could be provided, eleven thousand of these troops, fully armed and equipped, were sent to the defenses of Washington, and a few days later the regiments were mustered into the United States service for three years, or during the war.

This was the beginning of the Pennsylvania Reserves, an organization, which, during the later years of the war, won fame on many battlefields, and many of whose members sleep beneath the sod in Southern States. Their skill was everywhere recognized, and no others were more renowned for bravery.

Reverend A. S. Williams who gave the historical address on the occasion of the dedication of the statue to Governor Curtin on the site of Camp Curtin, among other interesting facts said: “When General McDowell’s soldiers were defeated at Bull’s Run, the trained Pennsylvania Reserve Regiment from Camp Curtin, steadied the Government at Washington. When General Lee attempted to invade the North in 1862, Governor Curtin called for fifty thousand volunteers, and a strong reserve was maintained at Camp Curtin ready to march at a moment’s notice.

“During the early months of the war, on one occasion trucks were pushed on the tracks of the railroad to the east of the Camp and a Brigade of Soldiers stepped on them and was carried by way of Huntingdon over the Broad Top Railroad to Hopewell; from here they marched through Bedford to Cumberland, Md. For two months these soldiers protected this community from the harrassing enemy.

“In June 1863 when the people of the State became apprehensive lest Harrisburg and Philadelphia fall into the hands of General Lee, again the troops from Camp Curtin met the enemy but a few miles from Harrisburg along the Carlisle Pike.”

Camp Curtin was available and often used as an Army hospital.

Among the commanders at Camp Curtin besides those above mentioned were Colonel Thomas Welsh, of Lancaster; Colonel Charles J. Biddle, of Philadelphia; and Colonel James A. Beaver, afterwards General and later Governor of Pennsylvania.

281Governor Curtin, after all, was the leading spirit in this greatest of Army Camps and it is appropriate that the words on a bronze tablet on his statue should read: “His administration of the Gubernatorial office during the dark days of the Republic made an imperishable name for his family, and added historic grandeur to the annals of the Commonwealth.”


Colonel Brodhead Destroyed Indian Town
of Coshocton, April 20, 1781

Colonel Daniel Brodhead, the commandant at Fort Pitt, had not been able to execute his design to lead a force against the Wyandot and Shawnee Indian towns in Ohio. He had expected to obtain the help of the Delaware warriors at Coshocton for this expedition, but in the spring of 1781, a change in the situation impelled him to strike at the Delaware.

Until December, 1780, the Delaware took no part, as a nation, in the warfare against the frontiers of Pennsylvania, and the alliance with the United States, made by their three principal chiefs in the autumn of 1778, was outwardly observed for more than two years. The death of their noted chief, White Eyes, which occurred from an attack of smallpox, at Pittsburgh, November, 1778, was followed by the election of Killbuck, or Gelelemand, the celebrated sachem, who proved himself to be an unswerving friend of the Americans. Chief Killbuck found himself the leader of the minority of his nation, but his influence was sufficient to delay the union of the Delaware with the other hostile Indian nations.

The Americans gave no presents to the Indians and had little else of value to offer them, while the British, especially those at the Detroit post, gave them not only alluring promises but showered many valuable presents upon them. It was then only a matter of time until the Shawnee, Seneca, Miami, Wyandot and other Indians hostile to the Americans could persuade the Delaware to join with them in war against the Colonists. Captain Pipe was the principal Delaware chief who had long led the war party and finally controlled their determination to take up the hatchet.

In February, 1781, a council was held at Coshocton, at which Killbuck was not present, being then on an important mission to Fort Pitt, and the Delaware yielded to the pressure and voted to join in warfare against the borders of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Killbuck was afraid to return to Coshocton, as he learned of threats against his life, so he made his home with the Moravians and their converted Indians at Salem, on the western branch of the Tuscarawas 282River, fourteen miles below New Philadelphia. Here he professed Christianity and was baptized and received the Christian name William Henry, in honor of a distinguished citizen of Lancaster, Pa. He was afterward commissioned by the United States Congress and was proud to call himself “Colonel Henry.” When he removed his family to Salem he took also with him the family of White Eyes and other Delaware Indians, including the aged warriors Big Cat and Nonowland.

Killbuck wrote a long letter to Colonel Brodhead informing him of the hostile action of the council at Coshocton. The missionary, the Reverend John Heckewelder, who penned this letter, also sent another by the same messenger, John Montour, in which he suggested an expedition against Coshocton.

Colonel Brodhead at once determined to attack the place and punish the Delaware for their perfidy. The Pennsylvania Government gave him much assistance and a supply of provisions, but his force of regular troops at Fort Pitt had been reduced, from various causes, to about 200 men. He made a call for assistance to the officers of the border counties, but no troops were furnished by them. Colonel David Shepherd, county lieutenant of Ohio County, Virginia (now Green County, Pa.) however, sent him a body of excellent volunteers consisting of 134 Virginia militiamen, arranged in four companies, under Captains John Ogle, Benjamin Royce, Jacob Leffler and William Crawford. These men were hardy young farmers from the settlements in Washington County; most of them rode their own horses, and cheerfully responded to Colonel Shepherd’s call.

These troops rendezvousedrendezvoused at Fort Henry, the stockade at Wheeling, where Colonel Brodhead and his command joined them. On Tuesday, April 19, the little army of 300 was ferried over the Ohio River and marched over the Indian trail for Muskingum River. John Montour, Nonowland and Delaware braves joined the Americans to fight their own treacherous tribesmen.

The purpose was to march rapidly and take the village of Coshocton by surprise; yet it required ten days to reach that place on account of severe weather and unusually heavy rains. A short pause was made at Salem, where Colonel Brodhead held a conference with the Reverend John Heckewelder.

He learned there were no Christian Indians at Coshocton. The Moravians were to prepare corn and cattle for the soldiers against the return march. The missionary then hastened back to Gnadenhuetten and Salem to carry the news that the Americans were in the country and Killbuck and his warriors again donned the war paint to join the Continentals against other savages.

Although it required ten days to reach the Muskingum, the Delaware were taken by surprise. They had no expectation that the Americans would act so promptly and, on account of stormy weather, they were 283careless and kept out no scouts. Then some of the principal chiefs were at Detroit, in attendance at a big council with De Peyster, the British governor.

On Friday morning, April 20, during a heavy downpour, the advance guard came upon three Indians in the woods, not more than a mile distant from Coshocton. One of the savages was captured, but the two others escaped to the town and gave the alarm. The captured Indian said there were not many warriors at home, that a band of forty had just returned from a border raid, with scalps and prisoners, but had crossed to the farther side of the river, a few miles above the town, to enjoy a drunken revel.

Brodhead hurried forward and dashed into the Indian capital, finding but fifteen warriors there, who made a brave resistance, but every one was either killed by rifle ball or tomahawked by an American soldier. The mounted men were first in the town and they would not accept surrender or suffer the wounded to linger long in agony. No harm was done to any of the old men, women or children, of whom more than a score were captured. These were removed and every building in Coshocton set on fire. A great quantity of peltry and other stores was taken and forty head of cattle furnished good food for the hungry soldiers.

As a result of the Coshocton campaign the hostile Delaware migrated to the headwaters of the Sandusky and other places farther westward, while the adherents of Chief Killbuck and those friendly to the Americans moved to Pittsburgh and erected their rude wigwams on Smoky Island, sometimes called Killbuck Island, at the northern side of the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers.


Cornerstones Laid for Germantown
Academy, April 21, 1760

By the year 1760, the French and Indian War had narrowed its area and was confined chiefly to Canada. This was then a period of development in and about Philadelphia.

The Germantown Academy was organized January 1, 1760, and four cornerstones were laid with appropriate ceremonies, April 21, 1760.

This ancient and honorable institution was originated in a meeting held December 6, 1759, at the house of Daniel Mackinet, when it was resolved to start a subscription for erecting a large and commodious building near the center of the town for the use of an English and High Dutch School, with suitable dwelling houses for the teachers. Christopher Meng, Christopher Sower, Baltus Reser, Daniel Machinet, John Jones, and Charles Bensell were appointed to solicit and receive subscriptions.

284At the organization meeting held by the contributors, January 1, 1760, Richard Johnson was appointed treasurer, and Christopher Sower, Thomas Rosse, John Jones, Daniel Mackinet, Jacob Rizer, John Bowman, Thomas Livezey, David Dreshler, George Absentz, Joseph Galloway, Charles Bensell, Jacob Naglee and Benjamin Engle were chosen trustees.

The trustees purchased a lot from George Bringhurst in Bensell’s Lane, subsequently called Schoolhouse Lane. The institution was named Germantown Union High School House.

It was also decided that the school should be free to persons of all religious denominations.

The buildings were completed by the following year, when the school was opened in September.

The schoolhouse was eighty feet long and forty feet wide, two stories high, and six schoolrooms, and wings supplying two dwelling houses for the use of the masters.

The Academy is a long-fronted building of rough gray stone topped by a quaint little belfry tower, and with small stone houses on either side, which balance the pleasing effect. There is a worn stone sill, which doubtless is the same upon which Washington stepped when he visited the institution.

Hilarius Becker made his appearance as the German teacher, with seventy pupils, and David James Dove as the English teacher, with sixty-one pupils and Thomas Pratt was the English usher.

Although the mass of people used the German language, these numbers show that those of the English-speaking tongue were rapidly creeping on them.

David James Dove was one of the most famous characters in old Philadelphia. He had formerly taught grammar sixteen years at Chichester, England. He was an excellent master and his scholars made surprising progress. He was the first English teacher in Franklin’s Academy, and then conducted a school of his own in Vidells Alley before he became the first English teacher in the new academy at Germantown.

He became rather overbearing and also divided too much of his time with private scholars, and in 1763 the trustees tried to remove him, but he refused to be removed, even though Pelatiah Webster had already been appointed as his successor. Dove held possession of the schoolhouse and declared he would not retire. Finally Joseph Galloway and Thomas Wharton were charged with the duty of dealing with Dove.

Of course, Dove made way after a time for his successor, but for many years he continued to teach a private school in Germantown.

Dove’s method of reclaiming truants was to send a committee of five or six boys in search of them with a lighted lantern and a bell and in an odd equipage in broad daylight. The bell was always tinkling as 285they went about the town, and soon they would bring the culprits back filled with shame.

The progress of the academy was most satisfactory, for in 1764 Greek, Latin and the higher mathematics were taught. In the early seventies additional ground in the rear of the lot was obtained.

The rudiments of good manners were taught along with those of learning, but it was expressly enjoined that youths of Quaker parentage should not be required to take off their hats in saluting the teachers.

In March, 1761, a lottery scheme was put forth to raise £1125 for the use of this school. Another lottery the same year was for the Germantown Public School. The academy lottery consisted of 6667 tickets at $3 to raise $3000.

As the Revolution approached, and, at last, swept over them, the school experienced troubled times; it was difficult even to get a quorum of the trustees.

In July, 1777, a new teacher was appointed because Thomas Dungan, the master of the English school, had joined the American army.

After the Battle of Germantown the academy was used by the British as a hospital. Some twenty feet to the east of the back part of the grounds six British soldiers, who died of their wounds, were buried in what was Dreshler’s lot.

After the war the revival was slow. In 1784 a charter was obtained incorporating it as the “Public School at Germantown,” which was amended in 1786. The school was poor, the State could not furnish much assistance and contributions were solicited. These and the increase in the enrollment kept the Academy forging ahead. In 1808 another lottery was held which yielded about $500, but John Bowman, the treasurer, refused to receive the money.

In the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 the Legislature of Pennsylvania and the Congress of the United States made proposals for an occupation. It was given to Congress, on the rather easy terms of the restoration of “104 panes of glass, two window shutters, two door linings, three door locks, the steps front and back both of new wood, the hearths to be laid with new bricks, sundry patchings and white washing for which repairs and no others, the sum of $60 will be allowed out of the rent, which is to be $300 for one session.”

In the yellow fever of 1798 the use of the lower floor and cellar was granted to the Banks of North America and Pennsylvania, they agreeing as compensation to paint the building and to renew its roof.

The centennial anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone was celebrated with great enthusiasm April 21, 1860, by ringing the bell, parade, 100 guns, and in the evening an address by John S. Littell and an oration by Sidney George Foster.

These are only incidents in the career of more than 160 years, and the Academy has long been one of the most celebrated in the country.


286

Eccentric John Mason’s Leaning Tower on
Blue Hill Destroyed April 22, 1864

Travelers up and down both branches of the Susquehanna River years ago will well remember the leaning tower high up on Blue Hill, opposite Northumberland. This peculiar building hung over a precipice and viewed from the river level, looked as if a breath of air would topple it to the rocks below. It was built by John Mason, who owned a farm of ninety acres of land on the hill, and who, from his eccentricities, came to be known as the “Hermit of Blue Hill.”

The tower, which was built as an observatory, was about sixteen by eighteen feet, two stories in height and of octagonal shape. It leaned at an angle of about twenty-two degrees and for safety was clamped to the rock upon which it was built with strong iron rods. The roof was flat, and there was a railing around it for protection of those who had courage to go upon it and look down the frightful precipice.

The view from the roof of “John Mason’s Leaning Tower,” as it was called, was one of superlative grandeur. Both the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna, as well as the main stream below their confluence, the majestic hills and pretty towns of Northumberland and Sunbury could all be taken in one panoramic view. Blue Hill at this point is 301 feet in height, as determined by the engineers who laid out the railroad in after years.

The leaning tower was built very near the spot one now sees, in seeking the profile of old “Shikellamy,” which would be located about where the top of the forehead would be seen. The tower was almost destroyed by visitors who cut their initials upon everything of wood, until it was entirely covered by these characters.

John Mason built this odd-looking house in 1839. William Henry did the carpenter work. It stood there until the spring of 1864—a period of twenty-five years—when, on a Sunday afternoon, April 22, it was destroyed by a party of railroad men in a spirit of deviltry. They loosened its moorings and the curious tower rolled down the rocky precipice with a tremendous crash and landed on a raft of logs passing down stream.

Its destruction removed one of the oddest, as well as one of the most conspicuous, landmarks along the Susquehanna River.

There are several stories related of John Mason’s eccentricities and the motives which induced him to erect this leaning tower.

About the time the vandals destroyed the tower a most interesting novel was written entitled “Eros and Antiros,” which story was woven about this scene and its unusual builder. In fact, John Mason was 287the hero of the story. The author, being a personal acquaintance, may have written from a knowledge of the facts.

In the story John Mason had been disappointed in a love affair and sought this manner to remove himself from the busier world and to live and die in seclusion.

Another version of the eccentric John Mason’s leaning tower is that it was his eyrie, where he gathered together a rare collection of queer old English books—they sold at 75 cents the bushel-basketful at his sale—and here he slung his hammock and here he read his books.

That story says John Mason’s father was a Quaker, living in Philadelphia, an old acquaintance of James Jenkins, Jr., at Turtle Creek, opposite the town of Northumberland, at the base of Blue Hill, who said to him one day, speaking of his son John, that he was a restless fellow and wanted to go to sea, and that it would be the death of his mother. “Can’t thee take him out with thee?” Jenkins replied that it was a wild place and not likely to suit the taste of one who wanted to go sea-faring.

But John Mason did go up into the wilderness, engaged in the mercantile business for a time at Northumberland, then moved his stock of merchandise to the western side of the river and opened a store at Turtle Creek.

John Mason never recognized or became intimate with women. One evening at the Jenkins home, Mason came in as was his custom from the store, about 9 o’clock, and seated himself by the ample fireplace to read a book. There was a number of young people in the room, who were playing pawns and forfeits. One pretty girl was condemned in a whisper, to kiss John Mason. He was apparently paying no attention to the others, but, as she slyly approached within reaching distance, he raised the tongs between them, saying, “Not one step nearer.”

Jenkins and he went alternately to Philadelphia to buy goods. Mason always walked there and back. He lived to an extreme age and was buried on his hill-top.

So much for that story. It is generally accepted that John Mason was of English origin, born in Philadelphia, December 7, 1768, and died on the farm of Colonel Meens above the present city of Williamsport, April 25, 1849.

During his life at the Blue Hill home, it is told of him that he was a sterling athlete, and could skate to Harrisburg in half a day; that he often walked to Williamsport, always carrying an old umbrella. His eccentricities were much talked about in his day.

During the winter following his death his remains were removed by friends, on a sled and carried to the scene of his hermit life, and buried under the wide spreading branches of a chestnut tree a few yards in the rear of his leaning tower. A neat marble tombstone, properly inscribed, was erected to mark the place of his burial.

288This grave has long since been so trampled upon by curious visitors, that it was entirely obliteratedobliterated many years ago. Relic hunters so defaced the stone that it was removed to a neighboring farm house for preservation. This is all that remains by which to remember John Mason, “The Hermit of Blue Hill,” the builder of the “Leaning Tower.”


James Buchanan, Pennsylvania’s Only President,
Born April 23, 1791

James Buchanan, Pennsylvania’s only President of the United States, was born in a little settlement which bore the odd name of Stony Batter, near Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pa., April 23, 1791.

Among the Scotch-Irish, whose enterprise brought them to America, was James Buchanan, a native of Donegal, Ireland. He settled in Franklin County in 1783, where he set up a store, married Elizabeth Speer, daughter of a farmer of Adams County, a woman of remarkable native intellect, and distinguished for her good sense and rare literary taste.

Many a man has owed his success to his mother. James Buchanan said: “My mother was a remarkable woman. The daughter of a country farmer, engaged in household employment from early life until after my father’s death, she yet found time to read much and to reflect on it. What she read once she remembered forever. For her sons she was a delightful and instructive companion. I attribute any distinction which I may have gained to the blessing which God conferred upon me in granting me such a mother.”

After he was grown a man, James might often be found sitting in the kitchen to talk with his mother while she worked.

In 1798 James Buchanan, the elder, removed to Mercersburg, where his son received his academical education and made such progress that his parents determined to give him the benefit of a collegiate course.

He entered Dickinson College at Carlisle at the age of fourteen. Here he found that many of the students did very much as they pleased. “To be a sober, industrious, plodding youth,” said Buchanan afterwards, “was to incur the ridicule of the mass of students.” He imitated the majority and soon learned that he was not longer desired as a student. Knowing his father would not help him out of his plight, he turned to the pastor of his church, and by his aid James received another chance and made good use of it. He graduated in June, 1809.

In December, following, he commenced to study law with James Hopkins, of Lancaster. He applied himself, “determined” said he, “that if severe application would make me a good lawyer, I should not fail. 289I studied law and nothing but law.” He was admitted to practice November 17, 1812, and at once took the first rank in his profession. So successful was he, that when but forty years old he had acquired means that enabled him to retire from the profession.

When the British burned the Capitol at Washington and threatened Baltimore, James Buchanan displayed his patriotism by enlisting as a private in the company commanded by Captain Henry Shipman, which marched from Lancaster to the defense of Baltimore and with which he served until honorably discharged.

In October, 1814, he was selected a representative in the Legislature, and re-elected. His intention, however, was to return to the practice of law and stay out of political office. A sad event changed the current of Buchanan’s life.

A young woman, to whom Buchanan was engaged in early manhood, a daughter of the wealthiest family in the county, wrote him a letter of dismissal under the spell of jealousy which had been aroused by gossips. Pride on both sides kept the two apart until their separation was made irrevocable by her sudden death. In grief and horror, the young lover wrote to the father of the dead girl, begging the privilege of looking upon her remains and of following them to the grave. But the letter was returned to him unopened.

Four and forty years passed, and Buchanan went to his grave without ever having taken any other woman to his heart.

To help him forget his grief, Buchanan accepted the nomination for Congress. He did not expect to win but did, and his career thenceforward became political. He served five terms and at the end of his service the Democrats of Pennsylvania brought forward his name for the vice presidency. Then President Jackson appointed him Minister to Russia. In this position he concluded the first commercial treaty between the United States and Russia, securing to our seamen important privileges in the Baltic and Black Seas.

In 1833, on his return to the United States, he was elected United States Senator, taking his seat December 15, 1834.

President Van Buren offered Buchanan the place of Attorney General, but it was declined. When Polk became President, the post of Secretary of State was offered and accepted. The most pressing question Buchanan had before him was the northern boundary of the Oregon Territory. Buchanan closed this transaction with Great Britain in 1846, and completed our boundary line to the Pacific.

At the close of Polk’s Administration, Buchanan retired to private life at his country home, called Wheatland, just outside of Lancaster. A niece and nephew were taken into his home and raised as his own children.

When Pierce became President, on March 4, 1853, Buchanan was sent as United States Minister to England. On his return from this 290mission he was nominated and elected to the presidency, and inaugurated March 4, 1857.

Buchanan clung to the idea that freedom rather than slavery was to blame for all the trouble. He believed that since this Government had permitted slavery when the Union was formed, the Nation had no right to interfere with it in States already in the Union.

When South Carolina seceded he was within ten weeks of the end of his term, with a hostile Congress in front of him and behind him a country as resolute as himself.

Buchanan lived quietly at Wheatland and saw the Rebellion begin and triumphantly end.

Whatever the writers of history may say concerning the wisdom of Buchanan’s political ideas, no one can deny the honesty of his character. No President could have been more careful to set a good example to others. He considered that his time belonged to the Nation. When presented with gifts of any value, he at once returned them to the sender.

In his travels he paid his own fare, and never used a pass even when out of office. “When I cannot afford to pay my way,” he declared, “I will stay at home.”

His niece, Harriet Lane, while “Mistress of the White House,” took a trip to West Point on a Government vessel which had been named after her. Her uncle wrote to her that national vessels should not be employed on pleasure excursions, and that he would put a stop to the practice.

James Buchanan died at Wheatland, June 1, 1868.


News of Revolution Reached Philadelphia by
Messenger, April 24, 1775

At 5 o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 24, 1775, an express rider came galloping into Philadelphia from Trenton, with the greatest possible haste, excitement in his looks and on his lips. The rider hurried up to the City Tavern, where the people crowded in eagerness to learn of his mission. Members of the Committee of Correspondence were in the crowd and to these the rider delivered his dispatch. It was a brief and hurried message, but it had come a long route and it was big with the fate of a nation.

It was a dispatch from Watertown, dated April 19, announcing that General Gage’s men had marched out of Boston the night before, crossed to Cambridge, fired on and killed the militia at Lexington, destroyed a store at Concord, were now on the retreat and hotly pursued. Many were killed on both sides and the country was rising.

291The message had come by way of Worchester, where it was vised by the town clerk. It then went to Brookline, Thursday, 20th, and was forwarded at 4 o’clock in the afternoon from Norwich; at 7 that evening it was expressed from New London.

The committee at Lynn received, copied and started the rider with it at 1 o’clock Friday morning. It came to Saybrook before sun-up. At breakfast time another messenger took it up to Killingworth. At 8 o’clock it was at East Guilford; at 10 in Guilford, and at noon in Brandford. It was sent from New Haven with further details on Saturday, and dispatched from the New York committee rooms 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon. It reached New Brunswick at 2 o’clock Monday morning, Princeton at 6 o’clock in the evening and Trenton at 9 o’clock Tuesday morning. It was indorsed: “Rec’d the above p. express and forwarded the same to the Committee of Philadelphia.”

Thus was the news of the actual opening battle of the Revolution carried by express riders from Watertown to Philadelphia, which had been selected as the seat of Government for the Thirteen Colonies.

Two days later another express came into Philadelphia bringing fuller particulars of “the Battle of Lexington,” as that memorable fight has since been called.

The news of Lexington arrived too late in the day to spread at once over the city. But next morning every man, woman and child knew it, and, borne by intense patriotic feeling the people assembled in public meeting, as if by common consent at the State House.

There were 8000 persons present, and all seemed to be actuated with but a single purpose. The Committee of Correspondence took charge of the meeting and its authority was recognized and accepted.

Only one resolution was proposed and adopted, to “associate together, to defend with arms their property, liberty and lives against all attempts to deprive them of it,” and then, with impatience and eagerness, to action. The time for words was passed. The time for organization, arming, drilling and marching had come.

The enrollment began at this meeting. The committee besought all who had arms to let them know, so that they might be purchased and secured. The associates availed themselves of their existing organization to turn themselves forthwith into military companies.

It was agreed that two troops of light horse, two companies of riflemen and two companies of artillery, with brass and iron field pieces, should be formed immediately.

Drilling was started at once, and the progress was so marked that the companies were ready to parade by May 10, when they turned out to receive Continentalreceive Continental Congress, and also to honor John Hancock.

The foot company and riflemen turned out to meet the Southern delegates to Congress at Gray’s Ferry. The officers of all the companies mounted, went out to meet the Eastern delegates and Hancock.

292The associators’ organization was officered as follows: First Battalion, John Dickinson, colonel; John Chevalier, lieutenant colonel; Jacob Morgan and William Coates, majors. Second Battalion, Daniel Roderdeau, colonel; Joseph Reed, lieutenant colonel; John Cox and John Bayard, majors. Third Battalion, John Cadwallader, colonel; John Nixon, lieutenant colonel; Thomas Mifflin and Samuel Merideth, majors.

Peter Markoe was captain of the light horse, Joseph Cowperthwait of the Quaker Blues, James Biddle, Benjamin Loxley, Thomas Proctor and Joseph Moulder, were officers of the artillery, and Richard Peters, Tench Francis, William Bradford and Lambert Cadwallader were in command of the Greens. John Shee, John Wilcocks, Thomas Willing, Francis Gurney and others were of the staff.

The battalions, mustering 1500 men, all uniformed and equipped, and 500 artillerymen and troops of horse, gave a drill early in June in the presence of the “honorable members of the Continental Congress and several thousand spectators.”

The troops were reviewed by General Washington on June 20 and next day he set out for Boston escorted across New Jersey by the cavalry troop.

On June 23, the associators listened to an eloquent sermon by the Reverend Dr. William Smith.

They petitioned the Assembly, setting forth a full and detailed account of their organization into companies, etc., and asked that they be put into service at once. Neither the Governor nor the Council had the power or funds to comply, and even the Congress had no direct authority as yet to raise an army.

Franklin had returned from England May 5, and the next morning he was elected to Congress. But his work on the Committee of Safety is really the history of the defense of Philadelphia during the first year of the war.

It was late in June before the Committee of Safety was given power to employ the associators, and the city and counties were called upon to provide arms and equipment, the House agreeing to pay for the service of the troops.

A committee was named whose duty it was to call troops into the service as necessity demanded and to provide for the defense of this Province against insurrections and invasion.

The Committee of Safety met July 3. Franklin was unanimously chosen president, and William Govett, clerk. It proceeded to business with energy and dispatch.


293

Frame of Government Written by William
Penn, April 25, 1682

Penn’s remarkable frame of Government, dated April 25, 1682, was so far in advance of the age that, as Bancroft says, “its essential principles remain to this day without change.” Another competent critic has said that in it was “the germ if not the development of every valuable improvement in Government or legislation which has been introduced into the political systems of more modern epochs.”

The government was to consist of the Governor, a Provincial Council, and a General Assembly. These bodies, which were to make laws, create courts, choose officers and transact public affairs, were to be elected by the freemen by ballot. By freemen, were meant not only handholders, but “every inhabitant, artificer, or other resident that pays scot or lot to the Government.” Penn believed that “any government is free to the people under it, whatever be the frame, where the laws rule and the people are a party to those laws, and more than this is tyranny, oligarchy or confusion.”

The “Frame of Government” and the “Laws Agreed Upon in England” were the final products of all Penn’s best thinking and conferences, and were brought with him to the Colony. Though changed in form many times, they shaped all future Constitutions of Pennsylvania, of other States and even the Federal Union.

This frame was published by Penn, together with certain laws agreed on between himself and the purchasers under him, entitled “The Frame of the Government of the Province of Pennsylvania, in America; together with certain laws, agreed upon in England by the Governor and divers of the Free Men of the aforesaid Province. To be further Explained and Confirmed there, by the First Provincial Council and General Assembly that shall be held, if they seem meet.”

James Claypoole called it in one of his letters, “the fundamentals for government.” In effect it was the first Constitution of Pennsylvania. It was the work of William Penn and reflects precisely some of the brightest and some of the much less bright traits of his genius and character.

The “preface” or preamble to this Constitution is curious, for it is written as if Penn felt that the eyes of the court were upon him. The first two paragraphs form a simple excursus upon the doctrine of the law and the transgressor as expounded in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under the sin,” etc. From this Penn derives “the divine right of 294government,” the object of government being two-fold, to terrify evildoers and to cherish those who do well “which gives government a life beyond corruption (i. e., divine right), and makes it as durable in the world as good men should be.” Hence Penn thought that government seemed like a part of religion itself, a thing sacred in its institution and end.

“They weakly err,” continues Penn, “that think there is no other use of government than correction; which is the coarsest part of it. * * * Men side with their passions against their reason, and their sinister interests have so strong a bias upon their minds that they lean to them against the good of the things they know.”

The form, he concludes, does not matter much after all, “Any government is free to the people under it (whatever be the frame) where the laws rule and the people are a party to these laws.” Good men are to be preferred even above good laws. The frame of laws now published, Penn adds, “has been carefully contrived to secure the people from abuse of power.”

In the Constitution which follows the preamble, Penn begins by confirming to the freemen of the province all the liberties, franchises and properties secured to them by the patent of King Charles II.

After stating how the government was to be organized, he directed that the council of seventy-two members, was to be elected at once, one-third of the members to go out, and their successors elected each year, and after the first seven years those going out each year shall not be returned within a year. Two-thirds of the members constituted a quorum on all important matters, but twenty-four would suffice on minor questions.

The Governor was to preside and to have three votes. All bills should be prepared and proposed by the Council for presentation to the General Assembly, which body, on the ninth day should pass or defeat such measures as presented.

To be sure the Provincial Council also was an elective body, but the difference was in the fact that it was meant to consist of the Governor’s friends; it was an aristocratic body, and therefore not entirely representative.

Aside from this fatal defect there is much to praise in Penn’s Constitution and something to wonder at, as being so far in advance of his age.

Besides carefully defining and limiting the executive functions of the Governor and Council a wholesome and liberal provision was made for education, public schools, inventions and useful scientific discoveries.

The Constitution could not be altered without the consent of the Governor and six-sevenths of the Council and the General Assembly, which rule, if enforced, would have perpetuated any Constitution, however bad.

295On May 15, 1682, Penn’s code of laws, passed in England, to be altered or amended in Pennsylvania, was promulgated. It consisted of forty statutes, the first of which declared the character or Constitution, which has just been analyzed to be “fundamental in the Government itself.”

Regulations as to taxes, trials, prisons and marriage were clearly set forth in the code. It was also arranged that every child of twelve should be taught some useful trade. Members of the Council and General Assembly, as well as Judges, were to be professing Christians. Every one was to be allowed to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience and this not as a mere matter of toleration, but because it was an inherent right.

The penalty of death was to be inflicted sparingly; some 200 offenses which were named as capital by English law were to be punished in a lighter manner.

During Penn’s absence there was clashing, dissension and tumult. If he could have kept his hand in person on the Government for a generation there would have been a wonderful difference in the results attained.


Indians Captured James McKnight, Assemblyman,
April 26, 1779

In the spring of 1779 conditions along the frontier became more serious than in any time past. The Indians were more active and destroyed growing crops and burned the homes and outbuildings of the settlers, whom they murdered or took away in captivity.

The condition was so alarming it was reported to the Supreme Executive Council. One such letter, dated “Fort Augusta 27th April, 1779” written by Colonel Samuel Hunter, was in part: “I am really sorry to inform you of our present Disturbances; not a day, but there is some of the Enemy makes their appearances on our Frontiers. On Sunday last, there was a party of Savages attact’d the inhabitants that lived near Fort Jenkins, and had taken two or three familysfamilys prisoners, but the Garrison being appris’d of it, about thirty men turned out of the Fort and Rescued the Prisoners; the Indians collecting Themselves in a body drove our men under Cover of the Fort, with the loss of three men kill’d & four Badly Wounded; they burned several houses near the Fort, kill’d cattle, & drove off a number of Horses.

“Yesterday there was another party of Indians, about thirty or forty, kill’d and took seven of our militia, that was stationed at a little Fort near Muncy Hill, call’d Fort Freeland; there was two or three of the inhabitants taken prisoners; among the latter is James McKnight, Esqr., 296one of our Assemblymen; the same day a party of thirteen of the inhabitants that went to hunt their Horses, about four or five miles from Fort Muncy was fired upon by a large party of Indians, and all taken or kill’d except one man. Captain Walker, of the Continental Troops, who commands at that post turned out with thirty-four men to the place he heard the firing, and found four men kill’d and scalped and supposes they Captured ye Remaind’r.

“This is the way our Frontiers is harrassed by a cruel Savage Enemy, so that they cannot get any Spring crops in to induce them to stay in the County. I am afraid in a very short time we shall have no inhabitants above this place unless when General Hand arrives here he may order some of the Troops at Wyoming down on our Frontiers, all Col. Hartley’s Regiment, our two month’s men, and what militia we can turn out, is very inadequate to guard our Country.

“I am certain everything is doing for our relief but afraid it will be too late for this County, as its impossible to prevail on the inhabitants to make a stand, upon account of their Women and Childer.

“Our case is Really deplorable and alarming, and our County on ye Eve of breaking up, as I am informed at the time I am writing this by two or three expresses that there is nothing to be seen but Desolation, fire & smoke, as the inhabitants is collected at particular places, the Enemy burns all their Houses that they have evacuated.” The bearer of this important letter was James Hepburn.

It is a matter of interest that the James McKnight captured at Fort Freeland had secured 300 acres of land, April 3, 1769, in what is now Union County, where he brought his family. In 1774 they purchased three tracts of land “contiguous to and bounded on each other,” on Limestone Run, in Turbut Township, Northumberland County.

In 1776 William McKnight was chosen a member of the Committee of Safety, and was a most zealous and active patriot.

Both he and his wife perished at the hands of the Indians, when they attempted to make a trip from Fort Freeland, where they had sought refuge from the savages. Their only son, James, carried their bodies from Fort Freeland to the graveyard now known as Chillisquaque, and there buried them himself.

James McKnight had three sisters. He married Elizabeth Gillen, and was regarded as a man of great courage and rectitude. In 1778 he was elected to the General Assembly, but did not long survive to enjoy the honor.

The McKnight family had frequent and terrible experiences with the Indians. In the autumn of 1778 Mrs. James McKnight and Mrs. Margaret Wilson Durham, each with an infant in her arms, started on horseback from Fort Freeland to go to Northumberland. Near the mouth of Warrior Run, about two miles from the fort, they were fired upon by a band of Indians, lying in ambush. Mrs. Durham’s child was 297killed in her arms, and she fell from her horse. An Indian rushed out of the bushes, scalped her and fled.

Alexander Guffy and two companions named Peter and Ellis Williams rushed to the scene of the shooting and when they approached Mrs. Durham, whom they supposed dead, they were greatly surprised to see her rise up and piteously call for water. With the loss of her scalp she presented a horrible appearance. Guffy ran to the river and brought water in his hat. They then bound up her head, as best they could, and placed her in a canoe and hastily paddled down stream fifteen miles to Sunbury, where Colonel William Plunket, also a distinguished physician, dressed her wounded head, and she recovered. She died in 1829, aged seventy-four years.

Mrs. McKnight escaped unhurt from the surprise attack. The shots frightened the horse she was riding, it turned and ran back to the fort. Mrs. McKnight came near losing her child, when the horse wheeled and the child fell from her arms, but she caught it by the foot and held to it until the fort was reached.

Two sons of Mrs. McKnight, who were accompanying the party on foot, attempted to escape by hiding under the bank of the river, but were taken by the Indians.

James Durham, husband of Margaret, was taken at the same time. The three prisoners survived their captivity in Canada, and returned to their homes at the close of the Revolution in 1783.

On the eventful day that the little stockade was next attacked, April 26, 1779, Hon. James McKnight, was captured by the Indians.

William McKnight and his wife and James and his wife are interred in the old Chillisquaque burying ground.


Steam Boat Susquehanna, in Effort to
Navigate River, Starts Fatal Trip,
April 27, 1826

Even before the advent of canals or railroads the enterprising merchants of Baltimore sensed the importance of facilitating the commerce along the great Susquehanna River.

They believed it would materially enhance their volume of business, especially in lumber, iron, grain, and whiskey, if the river would be freed of such obstructions as impeded or hindered navigation.

Large sums of money were expended in removing rocky channels in the river below Columbia, so as to admit the passage of arks and rafts down stream, on their way to tide water. A canal had been constructed from Port Deposit, northward, in order that the returning 298craft might avoid the shoals and dangerous reefs along the first ten miles above tide water.

Yet in spite of all these improvements no satisfactory way had been found which would return to the producers of the Susquehanna Valley such articles of commerce and merchandise as they would naturally require in return for the raw products of the forest, field and mine.

The authorities of Pennsylvania were also awake to the situation, as were the citizens. Several attempts had been made to have complete surveys of the river and estimates of the cost of the work required to make the great river navigable.

To Baltimore, more than to Pennsylvania, belongs the credit of an actual attempt to establish steamboat navigation.

In 1825 a small steamboat, named the Susquehanna, was built in Baltimore and, when launched, was towed up to Port Deposit.

The Harrisburg Chronicle said:

“The Susquehanna was expected at Columbia on Sunday night, Tuesday’s reports were, that she had not got to Columbia. Eye-witnesses to her progress put the matter to rest on Wednesday; they had seen her a short distance above the head of the Maryland Canal, with a posse of men tugging at the ropes, and when they had tugged nine miles gave up the job. So ended all the romance about the Susquehanna. She drew too much water (22 inches) for the purpose and started at the wrong point. Watermen say that the crookedness of the channel, with the rapidity of the current, makes it utterly impossible for a steamboat to ascend the falls between the head of the canal and Columbia.”

The Chronicle article says further: “We have a report that Mr. Winchester, of Baltimore, has contracted for the building of a steamboat at York Haven. We also learn that the York Company are making great progress with the sheet-iron steamboat, and that she will be launched about the 4th of July.”

This sheetiron boat was called the Codorus, and early in April of the next year ascended the river as far as Binghamton, after which she returned to York Haven. Her captain, a Mr. Elger, reported that navigation of the Susquehanna by steam was impracticable.

Either the original Susquehanna renamed or another steamboat built by the BaltimoreBaltimore promoters, and named Susquehanna and Baltimore was put on the river and operation above Conewago Falls by Captain Cornwell, an experienced river pilot.

She was accompanied on her trial trip on this portion of the river by a board of Commissioners of the State of Maryland, Messrs. Patterson, Ellicott and Morris, three distinguished citizens of Baltimore. Capt. Cornwell had already in March made several successful trips as far up as Northumberland and Danville on the North Branch and to Milton on the West Branch, returning to York Haven without accident.

299April 17, 1826, the boat started from York Haven, having in tow a large keel boat capable of carrying a thousand bushels of wheat, and proceeded on her fatal trip, arriving at the Nescopeck Falls at 4 o’clock on May 3. At these falls there was an outer and an artificial inner channel of shallow water for the accommodation of rafts and arks. Capt. Cornwell decided after consulting with other river men on board, to try first the main, or deep water channel, and the captain argued that if the boat would not stem it, that he could then drop back and try the other one. The boat made a halt in a small eddy below the falls on the east side of the river and some of the passengers went ashore; this was the case with the Maryland Commissioners.

The boat was directed into the main channel, and had proceeded perhaps two-thirds of the distance through the falls, when she ceased to make further progress, the engine was stopped and she was permitted to drift back to the foot of the rapid, where she struck upon a wall dividing the artificial from the main channel, and at that instant one of her boilers exploded.

The scene was as awful as the imagination can picture. Two of the passengers on board, named John Turk and Heber Whitmarsh, raftmen from Chenango, N.Y., were instantly killed; William Camp, a merchant from Owego, was fatally scalded by escaping steam. Dave Rose, of Chenango, N. Y., was fatally injured. Quincy Maynard, the engineer, as stated in the account published in the Danville Watchman, one week after the occurrence, was not expected to recover. Christian Brobst, of Catawissa and Jeremiah Miller, of Juniata, were seriously injured. Messrs. Woodside, Colt and Underwood, of Danville, were more or less injured, as were Messrs. Barton, Hurley, Foster and Colonel Paxton, of Catawissa, and Benjamin Edwards, of Braintrim, Luzerne County.

It was said by somebody on board that at the time of the explosion, a passenger was holding down the lever of the safety valve, but why this should be done after the boat had ceased her efforts to pull through is difficult to conjecture. Thus ended the second attempt to navigate the Susquehanna by steam power.


300

Shawnee Indians Murder Conestoga Tribesmen
April 28, 1728

Two Shawnee Indians cruelly murdered a man and a woman of the Conestoga tribe, April 28, 1728. John Wright, of Hempfield, wrote from Lancaster, May 2, advising James Logan of this murder, and that the Conestoga have demanded of the Shawnee the surrender of the murderers. He further wrote that some Shawnee had brought the Shawnee murderers as far as Peter Chartier’s house, but there the party engaged in a drinking bout and through the connivance of Chartier the two murderers escaped.

Chartier was an Indian trader among the Shawnee and was himself a half-blood Shawnee. He had traded for a time on the Pequea Creek and at Paxtang. Later he settled at the Shawnee town on the west side of the Susquehanna, at the mouth of the Yellow Breeches Creek, the present site of New Cumberland. He later removed on the Conemaugh, then to the Allegheny, about 1734.

The action upon the part of Chartier incensed the Conestoga so much that they threatened to wipe out the whole section of the Shawnee.

John Wright further states in his letter, “Yesterday there came seventeen or eighteen of the young men, commanded by Tilehausey, all Conestoga Indians, painted for war, all armed. We inquired which way they were going. They would not tell us, but said they or some of them were going to war, and that there were some Canoy to go along with them. But we hearing the above report, are apt to think that they are going against the Shawnee.”

Almost contemporary with this murder, the whites along the Schuylkill had their safety threatened from another quarter. Kakowwatchy, head of the Shawnee at Pechoquealon, claimed to have heard that the Flatheads, or Catawba from Carolina, had entered Pennsylvania to strike the Indians along the Susquehanna. He sent eleven warriors to ascertain the truth of this incursion of the Southern Indians, and as they approached the neighborhood of the Durham Iron Works, at Manatawny, their provisions failing, forced the inhabitants to give them victuals and drink.

The people did not know these Indians and believing the chief of the band to be a Spanish Indian, caused great alarm.

Families left their plantations, and the women and children were in great danger from exposure, as the weather was cold. About twenty white men took arms, approached the band, and soon a battle was in progress. The whites said that the Indians refused a parley and fired 301first, wounding several of the inhabitants. The red men made off into the woods and were not seen again. Their leader was wounded, but escaped.

The identity of this band was not known until ten days later, May 20, when the Lieutenant Governor Patrick Gordon was waited upon by John Smith and Nicholas Schonhoven, two Indian traders from Pechoquealon, who delivered to him a verbal message from Kakowwatchy, which was an explanation of the unfortunate affair, and for which the chief sent his regrets, and asked the Governor for a return of the gun which the wounded leader had lost.

The Lieutenant Governor, accompanied by many other citizens of Philadelphia went to the troubled district, and personally pleaded with those who had fled from their plantations to return. So excited were the whites that they seemed ready to kill any red man or woman.

On May 20, an Indian man, two women and two girls, appeared at John Roberts, at Cucussea, then in Chester County. Their neighbors fearing danger, rallied to their defense, and shot the man and one of the women, beat out the brains of the other woman, and wounded the girls. Their excuse was that the Indian had put an arrow into his bow.

The Provincial authorities were fearful that revenge upon the people might be attempted, so the two neighbors who committed the atrocity were arrested and sent to Chester for trial, and notice of the affair was sent to Sassoonan, Opekasset, and Manawhyhickon, with a request that they bring their people to a treaty, arranged to be held at Conestoga with Chief Civility and the Indians there.

The Pennsylvania Government did not leave all to diplomacydiplomacy. John Pawling, Marcus Hulings and Mordecai Lincoln (a relative of President Abraham Lincoln) were commissioned to gather the inhabitants and to put them in a posture to defend themselves.

Having forwarded to Kakowwatchy the watchcoats, belts and tomahawks dropped by the eleven warriors, and having sent a present, together with a request that he warn his Indians to be more cautious in the future, Governor Gordon expressed a wish to see Kakowwatchy at Durham, then went to Conestoga, and met Civility, Tawenne and other Conestoga, some Delaware and three Shawnee chiefs.

Gordon began by reminding the Indians of the links in the chain of friendship and that neither the Indians nor Christians would believe ill reports of each other without investigation of the facts. The Governor then made them presents of watchcoats, duffels, blankets, shirts, gunpowder, lead, flints and knives.

The Governor then told them of the recent murders, and of the intention to punish those who killed the Indians, if found guilty. The chiefs, in turn, declared that they had no cause of complaint.

Sassoonan, or Allummapees, the head of the Delaware, and his nephew, Opekasset, and some other chiefs, including the great Shikellamy, 302vicegerent of the Six Nations, met with Governor Gordon at Molatton, and from there went to Philadelphia, where a great council was held June 4, 1728, which was concluded most satisfactorily for all concerned.


Christian Post, Moravian Missionary and
Messenger, Died April 29, 1785

Christian Frederic Post, who has been denominated “the great Moravian peace-maker,” was a simple uneducated missionary of the Moravian Church. He was born in Polish Prussia, in 1710, and at an early age came under the influence of the Moravians. He emigrated to this country as a member of the “Sea Congregation,” which arrived on the Catherine, at New London, Conn., May 30, 1742. Post, with the other members, joined the congregation at Bethlehem, Pa., three weeks later.

From that time until his death, at Germantown, April 29, 1785, he performed many hazardous missions for his church and the Provincial Government of Pennsylvania, and many times was in imminent peril. The first several years of his residence in Pennsylvania he was employed as a Moravian missionary, but afterwards was almost constantly performing important services for the Province in its Indian dealings.

Some of the journals of Post, which appear in the Archives of Pennsylvania, and have been republished elsewhere, are valuable for the intimate history of the peoples and the country through which he traveled. One of the editors who republished his journals, wrote as follows concerning the missionary and mediator: “Antiquarians and historians have alike admired the sublime courage of the man and the heroic patriotism which made him capable of advancing into the heart of a hostile territory, into the very hands of a cruel and treacherous foe. But aside from Post’s supreme religious faith, he had a shrewd knowledge of Indian customs, and knew that in the character of an ambassador requested by the Western tribes his mission would be a source of protection. Therefore, even under the very walls of Fort Dusquesne, he trusted not in vain to Indian good faith.”

When Conrad Weiser visited Shikellamy at Shamokin, May, 1743, he wrote: “As I saw their old men seated on rude benches and on the ground listening with decorous gravity and rapt attention to Post, I fancied I saw before me a congregation of primitive Christians.”

In 1743 Post was married to a converted Indian woman, and endeared himself to all the Indians. But all was not smooth, for the Brethren were persecuted and humbled before their converts. Post, who had been on a journey to the Iroquois country, in March, 1745, was arrested at Canajoharie and sent to New York, where he was imprisoned 303for weeks, on a trumped-up charge of abetting Indian raids. He was released April 10.

In 1758 it became a matter of importance with Governor Denny and Sir William Johnson, that a treaty of peace be secured with the Western Indians. Post was selected to convey to them the white belt of peace and reconciliation. Tedyuskung, the Delaware king, protested against his going, declaring he would never return alive, but the bold and confident Christian said it was a mission of peace, that God would protect him, and that he must go.

On July 15, 1758, Post departed from Philadelphia with five Indian guides. He carried with him copies of the treaties made with Tedyuskung, belts of wampum and messages from the Governor. He made his trip by way of Bethlehem, Shamokin, Great Island, Chinclamoose, etc.

It was a perilous journey. Twice he got lost in the woods, and one of his guides strayed away and could not be found. Without food and drenched with rain, night after night he slept on the cold, wet ground. He was frequently very near the French. Finally he arrived at King Beaver’s, who ruled over the Delaware in the West. These Indians remembered him when he preached the gospel at Wyoming, and were glad to see him. They gave him a public dinner, to which they invited the surroundingsurrounding tribes.

The French sent spies to watch him and to induce him to go to Fort Duquesne. Post refused to be trapped, but instead succeeded in making arrangements for kindling a great council-fire at Easton in October following.

Post now set out on his return and had not proceeded far when he heard the thunder of nineteen cannon discharged at the fort. Under the very mouths of these guns he had, singly and alone, with the full knowledge of the French, laid a plan which rent asunder the alliance between them and their Indian allies.

Post succeeded in his mission, and the French at the fort, finding themselves abandoned by their allies, fired it and fled, as the invalid general, John Forbes, and his army made their appearance.

Frank Cowan, poet of Southwestern Pennsylvania, tells the story in one of his songs, of which the following is a verse:

“The Head of Iron from his couch,
Gave courage and command,
Which Washington, Bouquet and Grant
Repeated to the band;
Till Hark! the Highlanders began
With their chieftain’s word to swell,
‘Tonight, I shall sup and drain my cup
In Fort Du Quense—or Hell!’
But the Man of Prayer, and not of boast,
Had spoken first, in Frederic Post.”

304Again, in 1761, he proceeded to the Muskingum and built the first white man’s house within the present State of Ohio. He had made previous trips into this country, and always succeeded in persuading the Shawnee and Delaware to “bury the hatchet” and desert the French. He did this with a heavy reward upon his scalp, and while his every footstep was surrounded with danger.

In 1762 the Reverend John G. B. Heckewelder, the Moravian missionary and writer, especially among the Delaware, was an assistant to Post.

Toward the close of his eventful life Post retired from the Moravian sect and entered the Protestant Episcopal Church. He died at Germantown on April 29, 1785, and on May 1 his remains were interred in the “Lower graveyard of that place, the Reverend William White, then rector of Christ Church,” conducting the funeral service.


Veterans of French and Indian Wars
Organize April 30, 1765

As early as 1764 officers of the First and Second Battalions of Pennsylvania who had served under Colonel Henry Bouquet during the French and Indian War tarried at Bedford on their way home and formed an association. The purpose of this organization was that they be awarded the land to which they were entitled for service rendered.

This association held another and more important meeting at Carlisle, April 30, 1765, when they elected officers and renewed their application to the proprietaries and asked for 24,000 acres of land along the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

In this formal application they stated their object was “to embody themselves on some good land at some distance from the inhabited part of the Province, where by their industry they might procure a comfortable subsistance for themselves and by their arms, union and increase become a powerful barrier to the Province.”

These officers knew that the Proprietaries had not that much land to award them and that they had not yet purchased the West Branch lands from the Indians, but at this meeting they adopted a strong resolution calling upon them to make such a purchase.

Following the French and Indian War the lawless white men had been encroaching upon Indian lands, provoked hostilities and murdered many innocent Indians. The situation became so acute that General Gage offered troops to assist Governor Penn in removing and punishing these intruders.

Governor Penn appealed to the Assembly for help. In the discussion 305of this important matter it was learned from George Croghan, Sir William Johnson and others that the Indians designed a northern confederacy, and were determined to avenge this intrusion and the murder of the Conestoga Indians at Lancaster.

The Assembly agreed to pass a boundary bill. They also sent a message to the Indians promising to punish those responsible for the Conestoga massacre, and urged a conference at which a boundary line could be established. They also appropriated £3000 as a present to appease the Indians.

During the following spring several conferences were held, the largest being at Fort Pitt, where many chiefs and warriors of the Six Nations were present; in all 1103 men, women and children. The explanations were satisfactory and the presents and cash joyously received.

But it is quite probable that another savage war was averted by the intervention of Sir William Johnson, who, at this critical period, suggested a great council be held at Fort Stanwix, where this vital question could be definitely decided. This council was held in October, 1768, with Governor Penn present in person, as well as the principal chiefs of the tribes which had grievances to air.

The council, in the treaty of November 5, 1768, settled the boundary dispute and the Indians sold to the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania most of the central and western end of the State, excepting a small strip along Lake Erie. The consideration was $10,000.

Now that the Proprietaries had purchased the land desired by the association, on February 3, 1769, it was ordered by the Board of Property “that Colonel Francis and the officers of the First and Second Battalions of the Pennsylvania Regiment be allowed to take up 24,000 acres, to be divided among them in district surveys on the waters of the West Branch of the Susquehanna, to be seated with a family for each 300 acres, within two years from the time of the survey, paying £5 per hundred and one penny sterling per acre.”

Near the close of February many of the officers met at Fort Augusta and agreed to take the land proposed by the Proprietaries, and that one of the tracts should be surveyed on the West Branch, adjoining Andrew Montour’s place at Chillisquaque Creek, and one in Buffalo Valley. It was also agreed that Captains Plunket, Brady, Piper and Lieutenant Askey should accompany William Scull to the eastern side of the river as they made the surveys.

These surveys were promptly made and another meeting was held at Fort Augusta, when it was determined that the third tract of 8000 acres should be surveyed on Bald Eagle Creek. Captains Hunter, Brady and Piper were appointed to accompany Charles Lukens as he made the survey.

May 16, 1769, the officers met at Harris Ferry, where Messrs. 306Maclay, Scull and Lukens laid before them the drafts of their respective surveys. They agreed that Colonel Turbutt Francis should receive his share, 2075 acres, surveyed to him in one tract. Accordingly he selected land upon which the town of Milton is now the center.

Lots were then drawn by the other officers for the choice of lands. Captain William Hendricks, Captain William Plunket, Captain John Brady, Captain John Kern, Lieutenant Dr. Thomas Wiggins, Captain Conrad Bucher, Captain William Irvine and Lieutenants Askey, Stewart and McAllister took land in Buffalo Valley.

Ensign A. Stein, Lieutenant Daniel Hunsicker, Captain William Piper, Lieutenant James Hayes, Captain Samuel Hunter, Captain Nicholas Hausegger took lands above Chillisquaque Creek. Major John Philip de Haas was the principal officer to be awarded land on the Bald Eagle, and near him were Lieutenant James Hays and Thomas Wiggans, Ensign William McMeen, Lieutenant Hunsicker, Captain Timothy Green, Captain John Brady, Captain James Irvine and Captain William Plunket.

Colonel Francis acquired by purchase land from Chillisquaque Creek to and including the present town of Northumberland, and then owned a continuous strip from the North Branch to a point near Watsontown, a distance of eighteen miles along the West Branch. This made him one of the most extensive land owners of that time.

By these awards the West Branch Valley was permanently settled by these distinguished officers or their kin, and many of the families resident there today are descendants of these sturdy patriots.


307

British Foragers Massacre Americans at
Crooked Billet, May 1, 1778

With the exception of occasional depredations committed by the British foraging parties during the winter of 1777–78, all was quiet on the Delaware. The vigilance of Generals James Potter and John Lacey greatly restrained these forays. In the meantime General Washington, with the aid of Baron von Steuben and other foreign officers in the Continental army, transformed the band of American patriots into a well-disciplined, well-drilled and confident army.

General Wayne’s command was encamped during the whole winter and spring at Mount Joy, in MontgomeryMontgomery County, and materially assisted in securing supplies of provisions for the army at Valley Forge.

When Washington withdrew from Whitemarsh, he was anxious that the upper part of the Delaware-Schuylkill peninsula should be well guarded. A thousand Pennsylvania militia were placed under command of General John Lacey, January 9, 1778. Lacey established his headquarters at the Crooked Billet Tavern, Bucks County, now called Hatboro, about twenty-five miles north of Philadelphia.

The country nearer Philadelphia, where the British were encamped, was thus open to the Queen’s Rangers and James’ and Hovenden’s Loyalists, who foraged and ravaged as they pleased. There was intense hatred between these Tories and the Continentals.

The British continually employed troops to forage and plunder, and while Lacey was himself in Bucks County, he could do nothing to save it from their ravages. But his energy and enterprise, even with his small forces, enabled him to reduce the supplies of Philadelphia so materially that the attempt was made to destroy his command, and an expedition was sent against him.

The party was under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Abercrombie, comprising light infantry, cavalry and Simcoe’s Rangers, and started on May 1, 1778. Simcoe was to get in Lacey’s rear and a party was to be placed in ambush, while the mounted infantry and cavalry advanced along the road.

Lacey’s officers and patrols were negligent, and his force was completely surprised and surrounded on all sides. They retreated fighting, but without their baggage, and finally got away with a loss of twenty-six killed, eight or ten wounded, and fifty-eight missing.

The British, as at Paoli, bayoneted many of the American troops after they were so seriously wounded they could be of no further effect against them; others of the wounded were thrown in among some buckwheat 308straw, which was then set on fire, and they were roasted to death. The bodies of many of the killed among the Americans were then thrown into the burning straw. The famous scoundrels who committed these atrocities were the Tory soldiers of Simcoe’s Rangers. The British loss was nominal.

Among the American slain in this massacre was Captain John Downey, who had been a schoolmaster in Philadelphia and a gallant volunteer at Trenton and Princeton. He had surveyed the Delaware River for the Committee of Safety, and was acting as commissary to General Lacey’s brigade. He was bayoneted and mutilated while lying wounded and a prisoner at the Crooked Billet.

A monument was erected in December, 1861, to the victims of Lacey’s command in this fight, on the battlefield at Hatboro. The surprise was a legitimate act of war, but the massacre after surrender was a barbarous atrocity.

The Supreme Executive Council of the State, and the Assembly in session at Lancaster, and the Continental Congress at York had been principally engaged in legislating for the interests of the army, preparing for the ensuing campaign. The Assembly passed the “act for the attainder of divers traitors,” among whom were specially mentioned Joseph Galloway, Andrew Allen, Reverend Jacob Duche, John Biddle, John Allen, William Allen, James Rankin, of York County, Gilbert Hicks, of Bucks County, Samuel Shoemaker, late of Penn’s Council, John Potts, Nathaniel Vernon, ex-Sheriff of Chester County, Christian Fouts, formerly lieutenant-colonel in Lancaster militia, Reynold Keen and John Biddle, latter two of Berks County. Reverend Duche had made the prayer at the opening of the first Continental Congress and since had been chaplain to Congress, but had prayed for the King.

Joseph Galloway’s estate was worth in excess of £40,000 sterling, and his handsome home on the southeast corner of Sixth and High Streets in Philadelphia, was appropriated by the State of Pennsylvania as a residence for the President of the Supreme ExecutiveExecutive Council, who was the chief executive officer of the State. This house was afterwards sold to Robert Morris.

Through the influence and negotiations of Benjamin Franklin Silas Deane and Arthur Lee, Commissioners sent to Paris by Congress, France had now openly espoused the American cause. The joyful news reached Congress sitting at York, May 2, 1778.

On May 7, Lord Howe was superseded by Sir Henry Clinton. Previous to the British commander’s departure, a magnificent fete called the “Mischianza,” was held May 18 in his honor.

On the following day, Lafayette with 2500 men and eight cannon crossed the Schuylkill to Barren Hill. Howe, with 5700 under Clinton and Knyphausen, supported by Grant in his rear, with 5,300 troops, marched to overwhelm this important post of the American army. 309Lafayette escaped by Matson’s Ford. Four days later, May 24, Howe embarked for England.

The same day a council of war was held under Sir Henry Clinton, and it was resolved to evacuate the city, which event occurred on June 19. This movement had been delayed owing to the arrival on June 6, of three British Commissioners to negotiate peace and a reconciliation. It was too late.

Among other intrigues, it is stated, the Commissioners secretly offered to General Joseph Reed, then delegate to Congress, and afterwards President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, £10,000 sterling, with the best office in the Colonies to promote their plans. General Reed promptly replied: “I am not worth purchasing, but such as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it.”

Upon occupation of Philadelphia, General Benedict Arnold was ordered by General Washington to take command of the city, and “prevent the disorders which were expected upon the evacuation of the place and return of the Whigs after being so long kept out of their property.”


General Edward Hand Relieved of Command
Following Squaw Campaign
May 2, 1778

For some time General Washington had believed that the permanent safety of the western section of Pennsylvania could only be secured by carrying on a successful war, in an aggressive manner, against the enemy in their own country. That determination was strengthened by the Commissioners of Congress, who met in Pittsburgh late in 1777, and learned first handed of the barbarous warfare carried on against the western frontier by the British under Henry Hamilton, then Governor of Detroit, with the assistance of their Indian allies.

During October and November, 1777, while General Edward Hand, then commandant at Fort Pitt, was trying to recruit his army for the invasion of the Indian country, many raids were made in Westmoreland County. Eleven men were killed and scalped near Palmer’s Fort, in Ligonier Valley, and a few days later four children were killed within sight of the fort. Three men were killed and a woman captured within a few miles of Ligonier. A band of Indians, led by a Canadian, made a fierce attack on Fort Wallace, near Blairsville, but the Canadian was killed and the savages repulsed. These mauraudersmaurauders were pursued by a party of rangers led by Captain James Smith and overtaken 310near Kittanning, where five redskins were killed and scalped. The snows of winter prevented other ravages.

During the Christmas holidays General Hand learned that the British had built a magazine where Cleveland now stands and had stored arms, ammunition, clothing and provisions in it for the use of the Indians in the spring. He immediately planned an expedition for the destruction of the magazine. His call for troops required each man to be mounted and provided with food for a short campaign. He promised to provide the arms and ammunition.

The general proposed, as a special inducement to enlist, that all plunder would be sold and the cash proceeds divided among the force. February 15, about 500 horsemen were at Pittsburgh ready for the adventure, and this considerable force caused General Hand to be sanguine for its success.

The expedition followed the old Indian trail which descended the Ohio River to the Beaver and then ascended that stream and the Mahoning toward the Cuyahoga. The snow on the ground was soon melted by heavy rains and the marching was made difficult.

By the time the Mahoning was reached that stream was almost impassable, even some of the level lands were covered with water for wide stretches. The horsemen grumbled and Hand too was so discouraged that he was about to give up the expedition and return, when the foot-prints of some Indians were discovered on the high ground.

The tracks led to a small village, where a sudden attack was made, but the place contained only one old man, some squaws and children. The warriors were away on a hunt. The startled savages scattered and all escaped except the old man and one woman, who were shot and a woman taken prisoner.

This affair took place about where Edenburg is, in Lawrence County. The Indian told her captors that ten Wolf, or Munsee, Indians were making salt ten miles farther up the Mahoning. Hand dispatched a detachment after these savages and he went into camp under uncomfortable conditions.

The reported Munsee proved to be four squaws and a boy. The soldiers killed three of the squaws and the boy, the other squaw was taken prisoner. One of the soldiers was wounded here and another drowned during the march.

The weather conditions made further campaigns impossible and General Hand led his dispirited and hungry men back to Fort Pitt. The trophies were two Indian women. His formidable force had slain one old man, four women and a boy. On his arrival at Fort Pitt his work was generally derided by the frontiersmen and his expedition was dubbed the Squaw Campaign.

This finished General Hand as an Indian fighter. He asked General 311Washington to relieve him and May 2, 1778, Congress voted his recall and commissioned General Lachlan McIntosh to succeed him.

General Edward Hand won distinction in other directions. He was born at Elzduffs, Kings County, Ireland, December 31, 1744.

In 1767 he was appointed by George III surgeon of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment of foot, and sailed with the regiment from Cork on May 20 of the same year, arriving in Philadelphia July 11.

He served with this regiment at Fort Pitt and returning to Philadelphia in 1774, resigned his commission, receiving a regular discharge from the British service. In the same year he went to Lancaster and began the practice of his profession.

He joined the First Battalion of Pennsylvania Riflemen as lieutenant-colonel at the outbreak of the Revolution and served in the siege of Boston. He was promoted to colonel in 1776, and led his regiment in the Battle of Long Island, and also at Trenton. In April, 1777, he was appointed brigadier-general; and in this capacity served in command of the Western Department until relieved May 2, 1778; in October following he succeeded General Stark in command at Albany.

In the successful expedition against the Six Nations Indians in 1779, led by General John Sullivan, General Hand was an active participant.

Near the close of 1780, General Hand succeeded General Scammel as adjutant-general. He was an intimate friend of General Washington and had his full confidence during the entire struggle of the colonies. He was one of the original members of the Order of the Cincinnati.

In 1785 General Hand was elected to the Assembly; then he was a member of Congress and assisted in the formation of the Constitution of Pennsylvania in 1789, when the second Constitution of the State was written, and adopted the following year.

General Hand died at Rockford, Lancaster County, September 3, 1802.


312

Evangelist Whitefield Bought Site for Negro
School at Nazareth May 3, 1740

The Reverend George Whitefield was an exceeding earnest worker for the good of souls. He came to America and spent much of his time in Georgia, where he preached effectively and established an orphan house and school near Savannah, laying the first brick himself for the building, March 25, 1740. He named it “Bethesda”—a house of mercy. It afterward became eminently useful.

Whitefield undertook to found a school for Negroes in Pennsylvania, and with it a settlement for persons converted in England by his preaching and subjected to annoyance on that account.

An agreement for a site was made with William Allen, May 3, 1740, when 5000 acres of land were purchased, situated at the Forks of the Delaware, the consideration being £2200. The title was made to Whitefield and then assigned to his friend William Seward, who was a man of considerable wealth, as security for Seward’s advancing the purchase money.

Two days afterward Whitefield preached in the morning at the German settlement on the Skippack Creek to about 5000 persons, and in the evening, after riding twelve miles to Henry Antes’, he preached to about 3000. The Moravian Boehler followed with an address in German.

During this same day Whitefield offered to hire as builders the Moravians who had arrived from Savannah on the sloop with him.

Whitefield and the Moravians then visited the ground, when the latter, by the cast of the lot, according to their custom, felt directed to engage in the enterprise.

Seward, several days after the purchase of the site was made, sailed from Philadelphia for England, partly to convert some securities into cash and also to solicit further contributions. He was accidentally hit on the head while at Caerleon, Wales, from the effect of which blow he died a few days later, October 22, 1740.

The Moravians arrived in that part of Northampton County, which is now within the limits of Upper and Lower Nazareth and Bethlehem Townships, and there commenced to erect a large stone house which Whitefield proposed to use as the school for Negroes. This tract its proprietor named Nazareth.

Here the Moravians worked for the remainder of the year and by their efforts had built two houses. But at this time there arose a dispute between Whitefield and those employed on the buildings. It is believed Whitefield disapproved of Boehler’s doctrinal opinions and, 313unable in an argument conducted in Latin to convince him, discharged the workmen.

The Moravians were allowed to stay on the property for some time by Allen’s agent, but the whole project failed, largely through Seward’s death. Whitefield again secured the title and cheerfully assigned it to the Moravians.

The Moravian workmen were compelled to seek a new home. This they found when their Bishop, David Nitcshmann, secured a tract of 5000 acres at the confluence of the Monocacy Creek and the Delaware River, on which, in March, 1741, they began to build Bethlehem. This eventually became the principal settlement of the Moravians in the province.

George Whitefield was born in Gloucester, England, December 16, 1714, and entered Oxford in 1732. He was a religious enthusiast in very early life, fasting twice a week for thirty-six hours and while an undergraduate became a member of the “Holy Club,” in which the denomination of Methodists took its rise.

Whitefield became intimately associated in religious matters with John and Charles Wesley. He was made deacon by the Bishop of Gloucester on Sunday, June 20, 1736, two weeks before his graduation, and attracted attention even by his first sermon; he drew such crowds in London and Bristol that people hung upon the rails of the organ loft and climbed in the windows.

The Wesleys accompanied Oglethorpe to Georgia in 1736 and the following year John Wesley invited Whitefield to join him in his work in America. He came in May, 1738, and after laboring for months as a missionary in the colony of Georgia he returned to England and was ordained priest at Oxford, Sunday, January 14, 1739. On his way a second time to Georgia he first visited Pennsylvania.

Whitefield and his friend, William Seward, arrived in Philadelphia in the evening of Friday, November 2, 1739, on horseback from Lewes, where they had disembarked.

He read prayers and assisted at Christ Church in the services of the following Sunday, and preached there in the afternoon and every day for the rest of the week with increasing congregations. He dined at Thomas Penn’s, and was visited by the ministers of the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches and by many Quakers. He preached twice to more than three thousand persons.

He made a trip to New York, and on his return preached from the yard of the Reverend William Tennent’s church on the Neshaminy to about three thousand, and from the porch window of the Presbyterian Church at Abington, and again several times at Christ Church.

When Whitefield was to preach his farewell sermon in the afternoon of November 28, the church not being large enough for those expected he adjourned to the fields, and preached to 10,000. Twenty gentlemen 314on horseback accompanied him out of town. At Chester he spoke from a balcony to 5000, of whom one-fifth had come from Philadelphia.

He was energetically philanthropic. His main purpose in going back to Georgia was to carry on his work among the poor orphans.

On Boston Common he preached to 20,000 at one time, and was distinctly heard.

Although he was active in the establishment of the Methodist denomination, he disagreed with Wesley on points of doctrine, and was finally an evangelist without the discipline of any denomination.

Whitefield crossed the ocean many times, and made tours from Georgia to New Hampshire. In September, 1769, he started on his seventh tour there, and the day before his death he preached two hours at Exeter, N. H., and the same evening preached in the open air at Newburyport, Mass. He died of asthma the next day, September 30, 1770, and was buried under the pulpit of the Federal Street Church in that town.


Trial of Five Mollie Maguires for Murder
of B. F. Yost Begun at Pottsville
May 4, 1876

On May 4, 1876, James Carroll, Thomas Duffy, James Roarty, Hugh McGehan, and James Boyle, were placed on trial in Schuylkill County Court at Pottsville, for the murder of Benjamin F. Yost, of Tamaqua.

The details of this revolting crime and the apprehension of the Mollie Maguires are of interest as they reveal the terrible horrors experienced in the anthracite coal fields during the reign of this lawless organization.

James McParlan, the Pinkerton detective, who joined the Mollies under the alias of James McKenna, and successfully brought their leaders to the gallows, was working on the Gomer James murder outrage, when he learned that the next victim was to be an excellent and competent policeman of Tamaqua, of the name of Benjamin F. Yost.

McParlan had been unable to learn sufficient of their designs to get a warning to Yost, as he had so frequently done in other cases.

Yost had experienced considerable trouble with the Mollies, especially as he had several times arrested James Kerrigan, their local leader, for drunkenness. Barney McCarron, the other member of the Tamaqua police force, had also come in for his share of their ill-will, but, from his German parentage, Yost was the more intensely hated. Yost had been threatened several times but was a fearless man, a veteran of the Civil War, where he displayed conspicuous valor on many battlefields, and a policeman who served his community with fidelity.

315About midnight of July 5, 1875, the two policemen in passing Carroll’s saloon, noted that the place was still open, went inside and saw Kerrigan and another man drinking.

The policemen proceeded with their duties, and extinguished the street lamps on their route. They arrived at Yost’s residence about two o’clock and partook of a lunch, preparatory to finishing up the night’s work.

The two officers parted at Yost’s front gate, and Mrs. Yost, looking out of her bedroom window, saw her husband place a small ladder against a lamp post a short distance from their home, and step upon the rungs, but he never reached the light.

The woman saw two flashes from a pistol; heard the two loud reports and saw her husband fall from the ladder. She ran down the stairs and into the street, and met the wounded man, staggering and weak with loss of blood, clinging to the fence, looking toward his once happy home.

Yost lived long enough to say that his murderers were two Irishmen who had been in Carroll’s saloon that evening. He exonerated Kerrigan of the crime, saying one was larger and the other smaller than he. He did not see Kerrigan.

Yost died at nine o’clock that morning; he was then thirty-three years of age.

McParlan was soon on the trail of the Mollies who committed this cruel murder, and Captain Linden, another Pinkerton operative, was also active on the case.

McParlan was at this time under suspicion by the Mollies of being a detective and his work was the most dangerous any man was ever called upon to perform, but he was a hero.

He now affected the role of a drunken man and while sleeping off his debauch listened to a conversation which gave him a clue; he then fell in with Carroll, engaged his wife in conversation and soon learned much of importance.

The next day he learned the names of two of the men who had killed Yost, Hugh McGehan and James Boyle, both of Summit Hill.

The following day he went to Coaldale and visited James Roarty, head of the Mollie branch there, ostensibly to see another person. Here they had a drinking bout, and Roarty told too much, and he was Mollie number three.

Two days later McParlan was back in Tamaqua and lounging about Carroll’s saloon where he got more information from Roarty and Carroll. He then learned that Thomas Duffy was an actor in the crime.

Sunday, July 26, McParlan and Carroll spent some time together, when the latter related the conversation he had had with some detectives (which McParlan had sent there), and boasted about loaning 316his pistol to the man who did the job. This made Carroll number four.

Soon afterwards Duffy bragged to McParlan of the part he had taken and the fifth Mollie was trapped.

All that was then needed was to gather his evidence so that it could be used against these criminals, and for this purpose Captain Linden was most valuable.

Kerrigan took McParlan to the scene of the murder and enacted the crime for his friend’s benefit, and soon after this incident the detective learned that McGehan fired the two shots which killed Yost.

This is the same James Kerrigan who turned State’s evidence in the great trial of Mollies at Mauch Chunk, January 18, 1876, which resulted in the conviction of Kerrigan, Michael J. Doyle, and Edward Kelly for the murder of John P. Jones. Kerrigan’s evidence was the most stunning blow the Mollies had thus far received, but they knew not the heavier blows which were to fall on their villainous heads.

The great trial of Thomas Munley and Charles McAllister for the murder of Thomas Sanger and William Uren, which was held at Pottsville, June, 1876, brought the great Franklin B. Gowen into the case, and the testimony of McParlan, the Pinkerton detective. Conviction followed.

Then May 4, when the five Mollies were placed on trial at Pottsville for the murder of Yost. Judges C. L. Pershing, D. B. Green and T. H. Walker presided.

A juror was taken sick and died, and the second trial was begun July 6, each of the Mollies was found guilty of murder in the first degree, and each was hanged in the Pottsville jail yard, the warrants being signed by Governor Hartranft, May 21, 1877, the executions being held June 21, the day eight Mollies expiated their crimes.


French and Indian Wars—Lieutenant
Governor Thomas Resigned
May 5, 1747

Coincident with the announcement in the Assembly of the death of John Penn, one of the Proprietors, was the resignation of Lieutenant Governor Sir George Thomas, May 5, 1747, on account of ill-health.

On the departure of Governor Thomas, the executive functions again devolved on the Provincial Council, of which Anthony Palmer was president; he served until the arrival of James Hamilton, son of Andrew Hamilton, former Speaker of the Assembly, as Lieutenant Governor, November 23, 1749.

The harvests of the years 1750 to 1752 were so abundant that an 317extract of the time is interesting: “The years 1751 and 1752 have been so fruitful in wheat and other grain that men in wanton carelessness sought to waste the supply: for the precious wheat which might have supported many poor, they used to fatten hogs, which afterward they consumed in their sumptuousness. Besides, distilleries were erected everywhere, and thus this great blessing was turned into strong drink, which gave rise to much disorder.

These years of plenty were followed by three years of scarcity, 1753–1755, and on the heels of it came the terrible Indian hostilities.

The progress of the white population toward the West alarmed and irritated the Indians. The new settlers did not suffer the delays of the land office, nor did they pay for their lands, but in search for richer soils sought homes in regions where the Indian title had not been extinguished. Some of these settlements were commenced prior to 1740, and rapidly increased, despite the complaints of the Indians, the laws of the Province or the several proclamations of the Governor.

An alarming crisis was now at hand. The French in the neighborhood of the Great Lakes were sedulously applying themselves to seduce the Indians from their allegiance to the English. The Shawnee had already joined the French cause; the Delaware only waited for an opportunity to avenge their wrongs; and of the Six Nations, the Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca were wavering and listening to overtures from the agents of both the English and French.

To keep the Indians in favor of the province required much cunning diplomacydiplomacy and many expensive presents. In the midst of this alarming condition the old flame of civil dissension burst out with increased fury. The presents so frequently procured for the Indians, the erection of a chain of forts along the frontier and the maintenance of a military force drew too heavily upon the provincial purse, which never was burdened with any great surplus.

The Assembly urged that the Proprietary estates be taxed, as well as those of humble individuals. The Proprietaries, as would be expected, refused to be taxed and pleaded prerogative, charter and law; the Assembly in turn pleaded equity, common danger, common benefit and at common expense.

The Proprietaries offered bounties in lands not yet acquired from the Indians by treaty or purchase, and in addition proposed the issuing of more paper money. The Assembly was not satisfied; they wanted something more tangible. They passed laws laying taxes and granting supplies, but the Proprietaries opposed the conditions. They were willing to aid the Assembly in taxing the people, but not the Proprietaries. Here were sown the germs of the Revolution, though not fully matured until twenty years later.

During those frivolous disputes in the Assembly the frontiers were left fully exposed. The pacific principles, too, of the Quakers, 318Dunkards, Mennonites and Schwenckfelders came in to complicate the strife, but as the danger increased they prudently kept aloof from public office, leaving the management of the war to sects less scrupulous. The pulpit and the press were deeply involved, and the inhabitants divided into opposing factions upon this question.

The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was scarcely regarded more seriously than a truce by the French in America. In their eagerness to extend their territories and connect their northern possessions with Louisiana, they projected a line of forts and military posts from one to the other along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. They explored and occupied the land upon the latter stream, buried in many places leaden plates, by which they claimed possession of those lands.

The French established themselves at Presqu’ Isle and extended themselves southward; they erected a fort at Au Boeuf and another at the mouth of French Creek, which they called Fort Machault.

Virginia was much interested in this foothold gained by the French along the Ohio, for they claimed the territory of Pennsylvania west of the Allegheny Mountains as part of their dominion.

The English Government having learned that the French claimed right to the Ohio River country by virtue of the discovery of La Salle, made sixty years previous, remonstrated with the Court of Versailles, but without avail, and resolved to oppose force with force.

The first move made by the English was to present a solid front by combining the efforts of all the colonies. To this end a conference was called at Albany in July, 1754, to which the Six Nations were invited. Governor Hamilton could not attend this conference, and John Penn and Richard Peters, of the Council, and Isaac Norris and Benjamin Franklin, of the Assembly, were commissioned to represent the Province of Pennsylvania. They carried with them £500 as the provincial present to the Indians.

The results of this confederated council were not satisfactory, but the Pennsylvania Commissioners obtained a great part of the land in the province, to which the Indian title was not extinct, comprising the lands lying southwest of a line beginning one mile above the mouth of Penns Creek, in what is now Snyder County, and running northwest by west “to the western boundary of the State.”

The Shawnee, Delaware and Munsee Indians, on the Susquehanna, Juniata, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, thus found their lands “sold from under their feet,” which the Six Nations had guaranteed to them on their removal from the Eastern waters. This proved of great dissatisfaction to these Indians and had not a little part in causing their alienation from the English interest.


319

Work Begun on Building Braddock Road

Over Alleghenies May 6, 1755

Preparatory to the ill-fated expedition of General Braddock, which precipitated the forays of the French and Indians upon the unprotected frontiers of Pennsylvania, was the letter to Governor Morris, of Pennsylvania, asking to have a road cut so that there might be communication between Philadelphia and the Three Forks of the Youghiogheny, both for the security of retreat and to facilitate the transport of provisions. These English officers were unacquainted with American geography, and at best the maps used by them were by no means accurate.

Governor Morris in response advised Sir John St. Clair, deputy quartermaster general, that there was a very good wagon road from Philadelphia to the mouth of the Conococheague, but only a horse path through the mountains by which the Indian traders carried their goods, and that there would be great difficulty in making a wagon road that way. He also gently intimated that the distance was much greater than the English officers realized.

Governor Morris, with the sanction of the Assembly, sent George Croghan, John Armstrong, James Burd, William Buchanan and Adam Hoopes as commissioners to explore the country west of the “Great Virginia Road,” as the road through the Cumberland Valley was called, and to survey and lay out such roads as were most direct and commodious. No better men could have been chosen. They were acquainted with the country, and Armstrong was the best surveyor on the frontier.

These commissioners projected a road from McDowell’s Mill, in present Franklin County, to within eighteen miles of the Three Forks, where they found too many French and Indians scouting and hunting to venture farther. The length of projected road so far as it was surveyed was sixty-nine miles.

The commissioners could not effect a meeting with Sir John until April 16. When they showed him the drafts he raved like a wild man, and the commissioners, believing they had done their part well, were abashed by their unusual reception.

Sir John told them it was too late to build this road now, and instead of marching to the Ohio they would march into Cumberland County. Not a soldier should handle an ax, but by fire and sword General Braddock would compel the inhabitants to build it. He would kill all the cattle and drive away the horses, burn the houses, and if the French defeated the army by the delays of the Province, he would, with his sword drawn, pass through it and treat the inhabitants as a parcel of traitors to his master. He even avowed his purpose to “shake Mr. 320Penn’s Proprietaryship” by representing Pennsylvania as a disaffected province.

Braddock was constantly complaining of the failure of Pennsylvania and Virginia. He spoke slightingly of the provincial contingent and scoffed at danger from the Indians. “These savages,” he said to Franklin, “may indeed be a formidable enemy to raw American militia, but upon the King’s regular and disciplined troops, sir, it is impossible they should make an impression.”

Governor Morris early in May sent Secretary Peters