In entering upon 1772, the fourth year of the permanent settlement by the Connecticut people upon the Susquehanna, we find the aspect affairs essentially changed. The stern alarms of war were succeeded by the sweet songs of peace. Availing ourselves of the leisure afforded, we enter on a variety of civil and social details necessary to a perfect knowledge of the early history of Wyoming. So similar was the current of life, and so interwoven the events, that in this letter, we propose to include a view of the two years, 1772 and 1773, this period of time intervening between the close of the war with the proprietaries, and the official recognition of the settlement by Connecticut, and the formal establishment of her jurisdiction west of the Delaware.
Also may turn away from a mere column of names; others, curious in such things may be pleased to see a list of the two hundred first enrolled as actual settlers to "man their rights" in the five allotted townships. The roll bears date June 2nd, 1769. Especially will many of the grandchildren, or those of the fourth generation, look anxiously for the names of their progenitors. A few, after the first sharp collision, did not return, and their places were supplied by others. Several fell in the unhappy conflict, more in the Revolutionary war; but we recognized in the list, a considerable number, whom time and war had spared, as the kindliest friends of our early manhood.
A more brave, hardy, and enterprising set of men never encountered danger in the field; or gave their stalwart arms to the settlement of the wilderness. Though perhaps an hundred others were concerned, from time to time, in the warlike scenes we have detailed, of those, here recounted, it is believed, bore the chief a brunt of the contest. At no time, until 1772, were there more than 130 men on the ground at once, some being on the way out, and others returning home. As there was no mode of enforcing discipline, the association being voluntary, each man acted as prompted by his own sense of interest and propriety.
Those names having a star
[ * ] affixed to them, were all of the Forty, or first settlers in Kingston.
|David Whittlesey||Joseph Hillman|
|Job Green||Abel Pierce|
|Philip Goss||Jabez Roberts|
|Joshua Whitney||Jonathan Carrington|
|Abraham Savage||John Dorrance|
|Ebenezer Stearns||Noah Allen|
|Sylvester Chesebrough||Robert Jackson|
|Zephaniah Thayer||Zululon Hawksey|
|Eliphalet Jewel||James Dunkin|
|Daniel Gore||Caleb Tennant|
|Ozias Yale||Zerobable Wightman|
|Henry Wall*||Gurdon Hopson|
|Rowland Barton||Asa Lee|
|Gideon Lawrence||Thomas Wallworth|
|Asa Lawrence||Robert Hunter|
|Nathaniel Watson||John Baker|
|Philip Weeks||Jonathan Orms|
|Thomas Weeks||David Angel|
|Asher Harrot||Elias Roberts|
|Ebenezer Hebbard||Nicholas Manvil|
|Morgan Carvan||Thomas Gray|
|Samuel Marvin||Joseph Gaylord|
|Silas Gore||W(illia)m Churchell|
|Ebenezer Northrop||Henry Strong|
|Joshua Lampher||Zubulon Frisbee|
|Hezekiah Knapp||John Jollee|
|John Kenyon||Ebenezer Norton|
|Preserved Taylor||Enos Yale|
|Isaac Bennett||John Wiley|
|Uriah Marvin||Timothy Vorce|
|Abisha Bingham||Cyrus Kenne|
|Moses Hebbard, Jr.||John Shaw|
|Jebez Fish||James Forsythe|
|Peris Briggs||Peter Harris*|
|Aaron Walter||Abel Smith|
|James May||Elias Parks|
|Samuel Badger||Joshua Maxfield|
|Jebez Cooke||John Murphy|
|Samuel Dorrance||Thomas Bennet*|
|John Comstock*||Christopher Avery|
|Samuel Hotchkiss||Elisha Babcock|
|W(illia)m Leonard||John Perkins|
|Jesse Leonard||Joseph Slocum|
|Elisha Avery||Robert Hopkins*|
|Ezra Buel||Benjamin Shoemaker, Jr.|
|Gershom Hewit||Jebez Sill|
|Nathaniel Goss||Parshall Terry|
|Benjamin Hewit||John Delong|
|Benjamin Hewitt, Jr.||Theophilus Westover*|
|Elias Thomas||John Sterling|
|Abijah Mock||Joseph Morse|
|Ephraim Fellows||Steven Fuller|
|Joseph Arnold||Andrew Durkee|
|Ephraim Arnold||Andrew Medcalf|
|Benjamin Ashley||Daniel Brown|
|W(illia)m White||Jonathan Buck|
|Stephen Hull||David Mead|
|Diah Hull||Thomas Ferlin|
|Thomas Lee||W(illia)m Wallsworth|
|Samuel Wybrant||Thomas Draper|
|Ruben Hurlbut||James Smith|
|Jenks Corah||James Atherton, Jr.*|
|Obadiah Gore, Jr.||Oliver Smith*|
|Caleb white||James Evans|
|Samuel Sweet||Eleazer Carey|
|Thomas Knight||Cyprian Lothrop*|
|James Nesbitt||Simon Draper*|
|Joseph Webster||John Wallsworth|
|Samuel Millington||Ebenezer Stone|
|Benjamin Budd||Thomas Olcott|
|John Lee||Stephen Hinsdale|
|Josiah Dean||Benjamin Dorchester|
|Zophur Teed||Elijah Witter|
|Moses Hebbard||Oliver Post|
|Dan Murdoch||Daniel Cass|
|Noah Lee||Isaac Tracy|
|Stephen Lee||Samuel Story|
|Daniel Haynes||John Mitchel|
|Lemuel Smith||Samuel Orton|
|Silas Park||Christopher Gardner|
|Stephen Hungerford||Duty Gerold|
|Zerobable Jeorum*||Peris Bradford|
|Comfort Goss||Samuel Morgan|
|W(illia)m Draper||John Clark|
|Thomas McClure||Elijah Lewis|
|Peter Ayers||Timothy Hopkins|
|Solomon Johnson||Edward Johnson|
|Phineas Stevens||Jacob Dingman|
|Abraham Colt||Captain Prince Alden|
|Elijah Buck*||Benedict Satterlee*|
|Noah Read||Naniad Coleman|
|Nathan Beach||Peter Comstock|
|Job Green, Jr.||John Franklin|
|Fred. Wise||Benjamin Matthews|
|Stephen Jenkins||Jno. Durkee|
|Daniel Marvin||W(illia)m Gallop|
|Zachariah Squier||Stephen Hurlbut|
|Henry Wall||Stephen Miles|
Very few of the settlers had yet brought out their families; and in May 1772, there are only five white women in Wilkes-Barre:-Mrs. McClure, wife of James McClure; Mrs. Bennett, grandmother of Rufus Bennett, (who was in the Indian battle); Mrs. Sill, wife of Jebez Sill; another Mrs. Bennett, wife of Thomas Bennett, mother of Mrs. Myers, now living in Kingston, (to those who is clear mind and retentive memory, we are indebted for most valuable information;) and Mrs. Hickman, with her husband; Mrs. Dr. Sprague, and her daughter, afterwards Mrs. Young. The second white child born in Wilkes-Barre was a daughter of Mrs. McClure.
With increasing numbers, and prudent apprehension of danger, more extensive stockades were thought necessary for protection, and the admirable position at Mill Creek, the ruins of Fort Ogden, was resumed, placed in the best condition, and made headquarters of the chief men on the east side of the river.
Let us looking in upon them. Huts were built all around the inside, against the wall, of upright timbers. They were one-story high; several were divided into a number of small, but neat and comfortable rooms. The huts of Capt. Butler and Nathan Denison, adjoined each other. Next in the row was a store of Matthias Hollenback. He had brought up from Lancaster County a variety of indispensable articles. Denison and Hollenback, then young men, the latter 20, the former 23! Having seen, near forty years afterwards, their venerable forms wrapped in their cloaks, one on the right and the other on the left, as Associate Judges of Pennsylvania, his Honorable Judge Rush, presiding, we could not repressed an allusion to the contrast.-the next in order, the largest building in the stockade, was a boarding house kept by Dr. Joseph Sprague. Neither a chair nor table, nor bedstead, except the rude construction of an augur and axe, was yet in the settlement. A samp mortar, that is a large stump, hollowed eight or ten inches by burning, the pestle worked by a spring pole, pounded corn, wheat, and rye, for bread; and this was there are only mill. "Vension and shad," said the good Mrs. Young, "were plenty; but salt was a treasure."-Dr. Sprague would load his horse with wheat, and go out by the bridal path, for as yet there was no road, to the Delaware at Coshuntunk, have his grist ground, get a few spices, and a runlet of Antigua rum. The cakes baked from the flour, and the liquor, were kept as dainties for some special occasion, or when emigrants of note came in from Connecticut.
The venerable and esteemed did John Cary, who has given his name to Carey Town is the only survivor of this interesting collection of early settlers. (He died 1844)
After the massacre of 1763, the Indians generally left the valley, but a number had returned, not as a tribe, but the scattered remnants of tribes, chiefly of those who had been partially Christianized by the Moravians; though from subsequent events it is not doubted that spies of the Six Nations were kept among them, and reported from time to time the condition of the settlement, to the council at Onondaga.-A small number, friendly, and good neighbors, lived on the flats half a mile above Mill Creek, and frequently visited the stockade. Among them were Captain Job Gillaway, Black Henry, and John Lystrum. The wife of Capt. Gillaway seemed pious and well disposed. From the Moravians she had derived to name of Comfort, and the knowledge to knit and to sew. The men were excellent hunters and supplied the Fort with game.
The first marriage and Wyoming was that of Mr. Nathan, afterwards Colonel Denison, and Miss Sill. The Rev. Jacob Johnson was the officiating minister, and the place where the knot was tied, and the nuptials celebrated, was a house on the spot now occupied by the mansion of the late Col. Welles, at the lower corner, on River Street, of the Wilkes-Barre town plot.
From the stockade the people, breakfasting early, taking with them a luncheon, went forth armed to their daily labor. The view here presented, with slight variations, was exhibited in four or five different places in the valley. Stockades, or block houses were built in Hanover, and Plymouth. The celebrated Forty Fort in Kingston was occupied. Many returned to the east for their families, and new settlers came in. It was a season rather of activity than labor; moving and removing, surveying, drawing lots for land rights, preparing for building; hastily clearing out patches to sow with winter grain; the sad consequence of which was, the harvests of autumn were not sufficient for the considerable augmented numbers of inhabitants. Until the conclusion of 1772 very little of the forms of law, or the regulations of civil government had been introduced or required. Town committees exercised the power of deciding on contested land rights.
Thus:-"Doings of the committee May 22, 1772.
"That Rosewell Franklin have that right in Wilkes-Barre, drawn by, Stevens.
"That James Bidlack have that right in Plymouth, drawn by Nathaniel Drake.
"That Mr. McDowell be voted into the Forty town, (Kingston.)
"That for the special services done this country by Col. Dyer, agreed that his son, Thomas Dyer, shall have a right in the Forty, if he has a man on it by the first day of August next.
"That the rights that are sold in the six mile township, or Capouse, should be sold at $60 each, and bonds taken;" etc.
It may be regarded as a transition year, full of undefined pleasure, flowing from the newness and freshness of the scene-a comparative sense of security-the exultation from having come off victorious-the influx of old neighbors from Connecticut, who must listen to the adventures and hear breathless escapes of the narrator, an older settler by 18 months than his hearer. Then the beautiful valley must be shown to the new, inquisitive wives and daughters, who had been told so much of its surpassing loveliness. The year passed without justice or lawyer-judge or sheriff-dun or constable-civil suit or crimes; and from the representations of the old people, may be considered as a season of wild, joyous, almost unalloyed happiness.
The month of February 1773, had so nearly exhausted the provisions of the Wilkes-Barre settlement, that five persons were selected to go to the Delaware, near Stroudsburg, for supplies. Mr. John Cary, (an excellent soldier, a most worthy citizen, whom we shall again have pleasure to mention,) then a lad of 16, volunteered as one of the party. The distance was 50 miles through the wilderness; numerous streams, including the deep and rapid Lehigh were to be crossed. Had these been frozen over so as to be passed over, their coils would have been sensibly mitigated, but the ice formed on each side, many feet from the shore, leaving in the center a deep rushing flood. Stripping naked, tying their clothes and sacks on their heads and shoulders, cutting a way through the ice from the shore to the stream, and from the stream to the opposite shore, they waded through, dressed themselves, and found warmth in marching rapidly. Arrived at the good old Scotchman’s, and sending into make known their errand, Mr. McDowell came out, rubbing his hands in great glee, bade them welcome, but in his Scotch dialect, broad as his benevolence, told them he had a house the thronged with company, on the occasion of his daughter's wedding. Among the guests were magistrates and others, whose amity was to be dreaded, if they knew a party of Yankees were within reach; but gave directions that they should warn themselves noiselessly at an outhouse, then take shelter in the barn, where comfortable blankets were spread on the mow, a most royal supper sent them, with spirits and wine; their sacks were filled with flour, and their pockets with provisions. The four-man took each an hundred pounds, young Carey seventy-five, and welcome was their return to their half famished friends at Wilkes-Barre. Never was an opening spring, or the coming of the shad, look for with more anxiety, or hailed with more cordial delight. The fishing season of course, dissipated all fears, and the dim eye was soon exchanged for the glance of joy and the sparkle of pleasure, and the dry, sunken cheek of want assumed the plump appearance of health and plenty.
This spring too was attended with sickness. Several deaths took place. Capt. Butler buried a son named Zebulon; and soon after, his wife followed her boy to the grave. Both were interred on the hill, near where the upper street of the borough is cut through the rocks, as it passes from the Main Street to the Canal Basin. This picture of the early settlement, simple in its details, we could not doubt would be agreeable to numbers now living, and not less so to readers in future years, when the valley shall become, as it is destined to become rich and populace, not surpassed, if equaled in the Union.
Among the first objects of general interest was the erection of a grist mill. This was undertaken by Nathan Chapman, to whom a grant was made of the site, where Hollenback's old mill now stands, near the stone bridge, on the road from Wilkes-Barre to Pittston. Forty acres of land were part of the donation. Mr. Hollenback brought the mill irons in his boat from Wright’s Ferry, and the voyage was rendered memorable by the loss of Lazarus Young, a valuable young man, who was drowned on the way up.
Immediately afterwards, the town voted: "to get onto Capt. Stephen Fuller, Obadiah Gore, Jr., and Mr. Seth Marvin, all the privileges of the stream called Mill Creek, below Mr. Chapman's mill, to be their own property, with full liberty of building mills, and flowing a pond, but so as not to obstruct or hinder Chapman's mills: Provided, they will have a sawmill, ready to go by the first day of November, 1773, which gift shall be to them, their heirs and assigns, for ever." And this was the first sawmill erected on the upper waters of the Susquehanna.
The township of Wilkes-Barre had been surveyed in 1770, by David Meade, and received its name from John Wilkes and Col. Barre, members of Parliament, and distinguished advocates for the liberty, and the rights of the colonies. "Wilkes and liberty-North Britain-45," was then heard from every tongue. A final division was now made of the back lots among the proprietors. The town plot, now the borough, was laid out by a liberal forecast, on a very handsome scale. On a high flat, on the east bank the Susquehanna, above all fear of inundation, the position was chosen. 200 acres were divided into eight squares of 25 acres, and these into six lots each, containing, after the streets were taken off, about three and three quarters of an acre. A spacious Central Square was allotted for public buildings. The main avenue, perfectly straight for two miles, passing through the town plot from northeast to southwest, was cut at right angles by five streets. On the bank of the river a wide space was left, still beautiful, though much diminished by the ice and floods of the stream.
Two ferries were kept, one opposite North Hampton Street the other at Mill Creek; and from these a revenue of some moment in these early times, were derived. From $25 a year, the rent of the lower ferries soon rose to $60; that at Mill Creek yielding half that some, until discontinued on the erection of mills in Kingston.
Mills and ferries having been provided, with pure Pilgrim zeal, attention was immediately turned to the subject of the gospel ministry, and the establishment of schools.
"A town meeting, December 11, 1772, Capt. Stephen Fuller was appointed moderator. Voted, to give and grant, unto the Rev. Jacob Johnson, and his heirs and assigns forever, in case he settle in this town, as the gospel minister, 50 acres of land, etc."
In August following, feeling them selves more able, or more liberal (for the time it was munificent) provision was made.
"A town meeting held at Wilkes-Barre, Aug. 23, 1773, Mr. Jacob Sill, chosen moderator, Joseph Sluman, clerk.
Voted, that a call or invitation, shall be given to Rev. Jacob Johnson, late of Groton, in the colony of Connecticut, who for some time past has been preaching in this place, to continue a settler with us as our gospel minister.
2d. That Mr. Johnson so be paid 60 pounds the year ensuing, on the present list, and his salary shall rise annually, as our list rises, until it amounts to 100 pounds, etc." (Connecticut currency, six shilling to the dollar, or $333 1-3.)
In laying out the town originally, two lots containing about 400 acres of back lands, had been set off for the first settled minister and for schools. One of those lots, and the 50 acres above mentioned, together with a town lot of four acres, will show the liberal provision made for gospel purposes.
Mr. Johnson, a Presbyterian clergymen, was a graduate of Yale College, and was the grandfather of Ovid F. Johnson, Esq., the present (1842) Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Some highly interesting additional particulars of this eminent man, ("that wicked priest of Canojoharie") will be found in another page.
It is but just to observe, that amidst this zeal, there prevailed the most amiable spirits of toleration. Finding that a number of the inhabitants were Baptists, and attended administrations of Mr. Gray, at Kingston, the vote was rescinded which demanded a tax from them, and a different, but satisfactory arrangement made with their minister.
Any subsequent period, during the temporary absence of Mr. Johnson, the Rev. Elkanah Holmes officiated, preaching and Plymouth, Kingston and Wilkes-Barre.
A vote was also passed, "to raise three pence on the pound, on the district list, to keep a free school in the several school districts in the said Wilkes-Barre." A subsequent meeting specially warned, adopted measures for the keeping open three schools, one in the upper district, one of the lower, and a third on the town plot.
Three votes, thus early in the settlement, passed in the midst of poverty in danger, may be referred to by the descendants of those Pilgrim fathers, with honest pride. They will remain to all in during time, monuments of religious zeal, and their earnest desire to advance the intellectual and moral condition of their children.
Military organization was not neglected. Following the order then existing in New England, discipline was enforced as indispensable to the existence of the settlement. In each township a company was enrolled, and led to the choice of officers; and in Wilkes-Barre, from its being divided by natural boundaries into two sections, and it's more rapid increase of inhabitants, at an early date two companies were formed. If the splendid uniform, the glittering bayonet, the evolution, rapid and precise, with the imposing band of many instruments of music, did not grace their training, there is yet upon the ground the strong banded old French musket, the long duck shooting piece, and more efficient than either, the close drawing rifle, little-known in New England, but becoming familiar among the settlers on the Susquehanna. At a moment when it has become popular to deride the militia, I deem it proper to say, in defense of the thorough, and never relaxing organization and discipline, that in my opinion America owes her independence to immediate and remote causes connected with the militia system, the enrollment and training existing in the colonies: and that Pennsylvania can not too seduously encourage and preserve that right arm of her power, never forgetting, or encroaching upon, what should be deemed to sacred rights of persons conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms.
Among the earliest resolutions adopted by the settlers, was one which has been, I think unjustly, censured as severe.
Any person selling liquor to an Indian was to forfeit his goods, and be expelled the colony. In justification of this seemingly harsh enactment, it may be observed:-that the massacre of 1763 had been ascribed to the Indians being intoxicated; and fears existed that under, to the Indians, the phrenzying influence of rum, another massacre might be attempted; or what was more immediately probable, that individual murders would be committed-retaliation follow, and the settlement be brought into hostile collision with the Six Nations, whose subjects the scattered Indians in the valley were. Penalties to severe, if effectual, could not be imposed, to avert so fatal a mischief.
Rights-shares-and half shares, being frequently mentioned in the ancient proceedings of the Susquehanna and Delaware purchases, or companies, it seems proper that they should be explained more fully. Those purchases of a degree of latitude, and two in longitude would give nearly five millions of acres.-The shares issued by the Susquehanna Company, increased from 150, to 1240, several, perhaps an hundred, being granted for services rendered. A considerable number of half shares were given out, as many poor persons wished an interest in the purchase, whom, of course it was politic to oblige, and who did not feel able to buy a whole right. As dictated by prudence, only 2000 acres were allowed to be surveyed on a whole share, and 1000 on a half share, the balance being deferred until all the shares should have a chance of location.
Prices of whole shares varied from fifty to one hundred dollars. In a deed from Palmer Avery, dated March 7, 1767, the consideration is set down as 30 pounds. Another deed of subsequent date contains a consideration of 20 pounds. The last sales by the Company, previous to the Trenton decree, were at 15 pounds ten shillings. Like other stocks, the price varied with the varying prospects of the company.
Townships of six miles square, generally, were surveyed in the Delaware purchase, extending from the Delaware to within ten miles of the Susquehanna. The Susquehanna purchase was laid out, generally, in townships of five miles square.
To preserve order, and prevent interfering claims, a wise system was early adopted, and rigidly enforced. A land office was established-rights, full, or half shares, being produced to the amount of 16,000 acres, a survey by an appointed officer was made of the township, a patent, or grant issued and recorded, the shares being received and canceled. For several years John Jenkins was surveyor general; and Joseph Biles his deputy ran more lines than any other surveyor in the purchase.
As the colony could not well subsist, with its greatly increasing population, and diversified interest, without a code of laws to govern them, and it did not yet accord with the cautious policy of Connecticut to avouch their proceedings, and extend her jurisdiction beyond the Delaware: a meeting of the Susquehanna Company, held at Hartford, June 2, 1773, adopted for the government of the settlement the following articles, in every aspect important: honorable to the pen that drew, and the people who accepted them.
"1. Whereas, we the subscribers inhabitants of Connecticut in New England, in America, already settled, and about to settle on certain lands on the river Susquehanna in said Connecticut, by us and our associates sometimes since purchased of the original natives, by, and with the consent of the said colony of Connecticut.
And whereas, the same lands are claimed to be within the jurisdiction of the Province of Pennsylvania; and the colony of Connecticut choosing to proceed with caution and deliberation, have applied to counsel learned in the law, in Great Britain, for their advice, which at present the colony have not received, by reason whereof we have as yet no established civil authority residing among us in said settlement, in consequence of which deficiency, disorders may arise tending to disturb the peace and happiness of the settlers, as well as the peace of our sovereign Lord-the King, which to remedy, we have this day, into the following heads, or articles of agreement, with each other.
1st. We do solemnly promise and declared true and sincere allegiance to his Majesty, King George III, and that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate, hath, or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within the realm of England.
2nd. We do solemnly promise and engage, that we will, so far as lieth in our power, behave ourselves peaceably, soberly and orderly towards each other, in particular, and the world in general, carefully observing and obeying the laws of this colony, as binding and of force with us equally in all respects, as though we actually resided within any of the counties of this colony.
3d. For the due in forcing such laws, as well as such other orders and regulations as shell, from time to time, be found necessary to become into by said settlers & Co., we will immediately within each town, already settled, and immediately after the settlement of those that maybe hereafter settled, choose three able and judicious men among such settlers, to take upon them, under the general direction of the Company, the direction of the settlement of each such town, and the well ordering and governing the same, to suppress vice of every kind, preserve the peace of God and the King therein, to whom each inhabitant shall pay such, and the same submission as is paid to the civil authority in the several towns in the colony; such inhabitants shall also choose, in each of their respective towns, one person of trust to be their officer, who shall be vested with the same power and authority, as a constable, by the laws of the colony is, for preserving the peace and apprehending offenders of a criminal nature or civil nature.
4th. The directors in each town shall, on the first Monday of each month, and oftener, if need be, with such their peace officers, meet together, as well to consult for the good regulating thereof, as to hear and decide any differences that may arise, and to inflict proper fines or other punishment on offenders, according to the general laws and rules of this colony, so far as the peculiar situation and circumstances of such town and plantation will admit of; and as the reformation of offenders is the principal object in view, always preferring serious admonition and advice to them, and their making public satisfaction, by public acknowledgement of their fault, and doing such public service to the plantation, as the directors shall judge meet, to fines in money, or corporal punishment, which, however, in extreme cases, such director shall inflict, as said laws direct.
5th. The directors of each individual town or plantation, shall, once every quarter, or three months, meet together to confer with each other on the state of each particular town in said settlement, and to come into such resolutions concerning them as they shall find to their best good, as also to hear the complaints of any that shall judge themselves aggrieved by the decision of their directors in their several towns, who shall have right to appeal to such quarterly meeting.
6th. No one convicted of sudden and violent breach of the peace, of swearing, drunkenness, stealing, and gaming, fraud, idleness and the like, before the directors of the particular town in which he lives, shall have liberty of appeal to such quarterly meeting, from the sentence of such particular directors, without first procuring good security, to the satisfaction of such directors, for his orderly and sober behavior until such meeting, and for his submitting to and complying with the sentence of such meeting.-No one, in matters of private property, shall have liberty of appeal from such particular directors, to such quarterly general meeting of directors, where the controversy is not more than 20 shillings.
7th. Such quarterly meeting of directors, shall appoint an officer, statedly, to attend them as their clerk, who shall carefully register their proceedings, also an officer in the character of general peace officer, or Sheriff, who also shall attend them, and to whom the inhabitants of the hold settlement submitted in the same manner as the inhabitants of any county within this colony, by law are obliged, to their respective High Sheriff.
8th. All persons within such settlement accused of the highly handed crimes of adultery, burglary, and the like, shall be arraigned before such quarterly meeting, and if convicted, shall be sentenced to banishment from such settlement, and a confiscation of all their personal effects therein, to the use of the town, where such offense is committed, and should there still be more heinous crimes of murder committed, which God forbid, the offenders shall be instantly arrested, and delivered into the hands of the nearest civil authority in Connecticut, and should any person or persons be accused of counterfeiting of bills or coins of any province on this continent, and be therefore convicted before such quarterly meeting, the colony whose bills are thus counterfeited, shall have liberty to take such offender and punish him, he shall be instantly banished the settlement, and his personal effects confiscated as aforesaid, and all persons convicted of any heinous crime, in any province on this continent, shall fly from justice, the inhabitants shall, as well directors and peace officers, as others, aid and assist their pursuers in apprehending them, that they may be duly punished in the government where they have offended.
9th. No appeal shall be from the doings of such quarterly meeting, or their decrees, to the Susquehanna Co., in general, save where the property of land is disputed, in which case the appellant shall first secure the appellee for his costs, if he make not his appeal good before the company.
10th. The inhabitants of each town, to wit: all the males of 21 years and upwards, and a proprietor in one of the said towns shall annually meet, on the first Monday in December, and choose directors for such town, with their peace officers, and other officers that shall be found necessary for the ensuing year, and the directors, etc., that now may be chosen, shall have authority until new are chosen, and no longer.
11th. The directors of each town shall make out and exhibit to their first quarterly meeting, a list in the ratable estate and polls of the inhabitants of each town, and such quarterly meeting shall have power to a assess the inhabitants for defraying public expenses, as also to enforce the assessment made in each particular town, if need be.
12th. The law regulating the militia of this colony, shall be particularly attended to by the directors of the respective towns, and the general regulation thereof, as the particular circumstances of the people require, shall be in the power of such general quarterly meeting.
Also, we do solemnly declare these and such other regulations as we shall hereafter come into, by and with the advice and consent of the Susquehanna Company, in full meeting assembled, to be of force and binding on us, and on each of us, our heirs and assigns, until the colony of Connecticut shall annex us to some one of the counties of this colony, or make us a distinct county, or we obtain from the said colony, or from his gracious majesty, King George the Third, whose true and loyal subjects we are, powers of government in some more permanent method.
And lastly, it is further agreed and voted, that the directors in each of the several towns now settled, and that shall be settled, shall forthwith procure a copy of the foregoing agreements, which shall be entered at large in a book for that purpose, and all the male inhabitants of the age of 21 years, shall, personally, subscribe to same with their own proper names, or mark, and strictly abide by and fulfill the same; and such inhabitants or settlers as are already come into, to settle, or shall hereafter appear to come in as settlers, as shall neglect, or refuse to subscribe to and abide by the foregoing agreements shall not continue there, nor be admitted as settlers on said lands.
Voted, that the following persons be, and they are hereby appointed directors in the several towns hereafter mentioned, until the first Monday in December next, with the powers and authorities according to the foregoing agreement.
To wit:-For the town of Wilkes-Barre,-Major John Durkee, Capt. Zubulon Butler, and Obadiah Gore, Jr.
For the town of Plymouth,-Phineas Nash, Capt. David Marvin, and J.Gaylord.
In New Providence,-Isaac Tripp, Timothy Keys, and Gideon Baldwin.
For the town of Kingston,-Capt. Obadiah Gore, Nathan Denison, and Parshall Terry.
For the town of Pittston,-Caleb Bates, James Brown, and Lemuel Harding.
For the town of Hanover,-Capt. Lazarus Stewart, William Stewart, and John Franklin.
Having given a brief picture of the valley, and recorded the building of Mills-settling a gospel minister-establishing schools-the first wedding-birth, and natural death: having given the early constitution or code of laws, adopted, medical gentlemen may expect the result of our researches in respect to members of their profession. Dr. William Hooker Smith, justly eminent and highly successful, emigrated to the valley, in 1772; and his valuable services were continued through the Revolutionary war; indeed, until very advanced age released him from active labor. But there came from New London, in 1773, a noted surgeon, whom many of the people desired to establish among them. A paper, drawn up by Henry Carey, (and it is a very neat piece of penmanship,) for subscription, purposes to "pay Dr. John Caulkins, in case he should settle among us in the quality of a physician," (the sums to be annexed,) "the money to be laid out in land for his benefit and use," etc. Among the names subscribed are, Anderson Dana, 2 lbs. 8; James Stark, 1 lbs 4 etc., and other less sums. The issue of the negotiation, I have not been able to ascertain.
The most important exterior event that occurred, affecting the interest of Wyoming, during these two years, was an official movement on the part of the government of Connecticut, asserting her charter claim west of the Delaware. The progress of the new settlement had been watched with intense interest. As peace reigned and prosperity abounded: as the settlers had shown themselves competent to defend themselves, and their foothold seen permanently established, it was deemed a fitting time for making a declaration of right, and opening a negotiation with proprietary government, in respect to the disputed territory.
At the session of the general assembly, in October 1773, a resolution was adopted, "that the colony would make their claim to those lands; and in a legal manner support the same."
It was also resolved, that commissioners should be appointed to proceed to Philadelphia, to negotiate a mode of bringing the controversy to an amicable conclusion. Col. Eliphalet Dyer, Dr. Johnson, and J. Strong, Esq., were duly empowered, and about the middle of December, opened the matter, by presenting their credentials, and a letter from his Excellency, Gov. Trumbull to Gov. Penn. The notes, letters, replies and rejoiners, go so much into details in respect to title, repeating what, in substance, we have before fully stated, that a publication of them in extenso, in the body of this work, is regarded as unnecessary. A statement of the points made may, however, prove acceptable. On the part of Connecticut it was proposed, that commissioners be mutually appointed to run the respective lines, and ascertain the extent of conflicting charter claims.
The governor and counsel, on behalf of Pennsylvania, denying any right of Connecticut, west of New York, declined to accede to the proposition.
It was next proposed, in accordance with the act of assembly, "to join in an application to his majesty to appoint commissioners" to ascertain the rightful boundaries of the contesting colonies.
To this, Gov. Penn and the council replied, by decisively declining the proposition, but suggests that Connecticut should make separate application to his majesty.
A third proposition was then made by the Connecticut agents:-that Pennsylvania should continue to exercise jurisdiction over the West Branch, where her authority already extended, and Connecticut should extend her laws over Wyoming, and that part of the settlement which was not under the laws of Pennsylvania, so long as the dispute continued with the mother country, and until a decision by his majesty, and counsel, or some other amicable way might be obtained.
A negative, as decided, was given to the last, as to the two former propositions, and Messrs. Dyer, Johnson, and Strong, returned to Connecticut.
Throughout the proceedings, the greatest urbanity and mutual respect were manifested. Much ability was displayed on both sides; and the Connecticut Commissioners effected all that they could have expected when they opened the negotiation. An earnest appeal had been made to accommodate the unhappy differences by amicable means-a mutual commission-a reference to his Majesty-a division of jurisdiction, until a peaceable settlement could be made! What more fair could be offered? The moral influences at home and abroad, could not fail to prove of powerful aid to the offering, against the rejecting party.
Gov. Penn communicated the whole proceeding to the assembly, whose answer on the occasion, though decided, is so mild, that it shows the favorable impression the Connecticut Delegates, personally, had made in Philadelphia.
"To prevent the mischievous effects of this unkind and unneighborly disposition in the Government of Connecticut, we beg leave earnestly to request that you will pursue every effectual measure to call the claimants before his Majesty, in Counsel, and to bring their claim to an immediate decision."
The important proceedings of the Connecticut Assembly, on receiving the report of their Agents, commencing a new year, will be noticed in the following letter.