The sense of security and repose, so welcome to the weary settlers after the distressing scenes of the two preceding years, they were not long permitted to cherish. Effectual as the punishment of the savages seemed, instead of subduing, it only appeared to have exasperated the thirst for revenge, and 1780 was destined to be a year of extreme suffering.
Being confident that Sullivan had left in the whole Indian country nothing for them to subsist upon it was not doubted that the savages were necessarily within the British lines at Niagara, beyond striking distance; and the settlers resumed their farming at Kingston, Hanover, and Plymouth, the latter seven miles distance from the Wilkes-Barre Fort. A few ventured further. The main settlements had block houses built, in case of attack, wherein to seek shelter and defense.
In the latter part of March an alarm was given that Indians were in the valley. On the 27th, Thomas Bennett and his son, a lad, in a field not far from their house, in Kingston, were seized and made prisoners by six Indians. Lebbeus Hammond, who had been captured a few hours before, they found tied as they entered a gorge of the mountain. Hammond had been in the battle, and was then taken prisoner, but had escaped from the fatal ring and bloody rock, where Queen Esther was pursuing her murderous rounds as previously related. He was a prize of more than ordinary value. No doubt could exist but that he was destined a victim to the cruelest barbarity. The night of the 27th they took up their quarters about 12 miles north from the valley. The next day, having crossed the river near the three islands, they pushed on towards Meshoppen with all the speed in their power. While on their march they met two parties of Indians and Tories, descending for murder and pillage upon the settlement. A man by the name of Moses Mount, whom they knew, was particular in his inquiries into the state of the garrison and the situation of the inhabitants. On the evening of the 28th they built a fire, with the aid of Mr. Bennett, who being an old man, was least feared, and permitted to go unbound. To a request from Mr. Bennett, of the Chief, to lend him an awl to put on a button, the savage, with a significant look replied, "no want button for one night," and refused his request. The purpose of the Indians could not be mistaken. Whispering to Hammond, while the Indians went to a spring nearby, to drink, it was resolved to make an effort to escape. To stay was certain death; they could but die. Tired with their heavy March, after a supper of venison, the Indians lay around the fire, Hammond and the boy tied between them, except an old Indian who was set to keep the first watch. His spear lay by his side, while he picked the meat from the head of the deer, as half sleeping and nodding, he sat over the fire. Bennett was allowed to sit near him, and seemingly in a careless manner, took his spear, and rolled it playfully on his thigh. Watching his opportunity when least on his guard, he thrust his spear through the Indian’s side, who fell with a startling grown upon the burning logs. There was not a moment to be lost. Age forgot its decrepitude. In an instant Hammond and young Bennett were cut loose, the arms seized, three of the remaining savages tomahawked, and slain as they slept, and another wounded. One only escaped unhurt. On the evening of the 30th the captive victors came in with five rifles, a silver mounted hanger, and several spears and blankets, as trophies of their brilliant exploit.
Another band of 10 Indians, on the same day that Bennett and Hammond were taken, shot a cell ops and and Hanover, (near where the bridge crosses the canal below Carey-Town). On the 28th, two men were making sugar about eight miles below Wilkes-Barre, one was killed, the other taken prisoner. On the 29th, Jonah Rogers, a lad of 14 or 15, was taken prisoner from the lower part of the valley. The Indians then pushed down the river to Fishing Creek, where, on the 30th they surprised the family of VanCampens. Moses VanCampen was taken prisoner after they had murdered and scalped his father, his brother, and his uncle, and captured a boy named Pence. Directing their courses northeast, the savages passed through Huntington, where they were met by a scout of four men under the orders of Capt. Franklin. Shots were exchanged, and two of his men wounded. To few to cope with the Indian party, Capt. Franklin took up a position in an old log house; but the enemy preferred to pursue their courses, and the same evening came to a camp where Abraham Pike, with his wife, were making sugar. Pike, who was a British deserter, was a most desirable acquisition. The wife and her child they painted, and sent into the settlements. The party now bent their way to the Lake country, crossed the Susquehanna at the little Tunkhannock, and pursued their course up the east branch of the river. Lieut. VanCampen, a man of true courage, brave and enterprising, formed a plan, with Pike, Rogers, and Pence, to rise on the 10 Indians, and affect their liberation, or die in the attempt. It was a bold and hazardous enterprise. The party had ascended to within fifteen miles of Tioga Point, where they encamped on the night of the third of April. The Indians, beyond the probability of pursuit, all lay down to sleep, five on each side of the prisoners, who were carefully bound. VanCampen had observed that a knife, use by one of the Indians, fell nearby, and placing his foot on it, secured the inestimable prize. About midnight, finding the enemy buried in profound sleep, VanCampen cut himself loose, and with noiseless celerity he liberated the hands of his companions. Springing to their feet, placing the guns in a secure place, tomahawks were use with the utmost vigor. The Indians made a desperate, but unavailing effort for them the mastery, but were overpowered, and several of the 10 killed, two others wounded, and two or three escaped unhurt. After scalping the dead, recovering the scalps of those of our people whom the Indians had slain, making a hasty raft, the party, taking the guns, tomahawks, spears, and blankets of the foe, descended the Susquehanna, and on the evening of the fifth of April arrived with its spoils in triumphant at Wyoming. No nobler deed was performed during the Revolutionary War. In a narrative of his life and services, written 1837, and presented as a memorial to Congress, asking for a pension, Lieut. VanCampen represents his companions in this affair, except Pence, as terrified and inactive, thus impairing his own credit, and marring the beauty of a most chivalrous achievement. There was honor enough for all; there could be no motive but excessive self glorification, for representing Pike and Rogers as cowards. But when that narrative was written VanCampen was an old man, Pike and Rogers were both dead, and he may have supposed no one remain to rescue their names from odium. The writer of this knew Abraham Pike and Jonah Rogers well. Mr. Rogers was a highly respectable citizen, and was well understood, though quite a youth, to have performed his duty like a man. That he was collected and cool is evident from his observing that Pike struck his first blow with the head of his ax, then turned it and gave the edge. The former he has often heard recount the daring exploit, and under this recent statement of VanCampen, never heard a doubt of Pike’s courage expressed. Familiarity he was called "Sergeant Pike, the Indian killer," and as such was everywhere welcome. An Irishman! A regularly disciplined soldier! The presumption would be strong against the charge of cowardice. But death was certain if taken to Niagara; even cowardice itself would have stimulated a man, so situated, to fight. That VanCampen’s memory had become impaired, is apparent from the fact that he claims to have killed nine of the 10 Indians. Col. Jenkins, in a memorandum made at the time, says; "Pike and two men from Fishing Creek, and two boys that were taken by the Indians, made their escaped by rising on the guard, killed three, and the rest took to the woods, and left the prisoners with 12 guns," etc. No! Without detracting from the bravery and good conduct of VanCampen we cannot but conclude, that he had told the story of his own promise, heightening the coloring in his own favor, as he found it gave him consideration with his wondering listeners, until, perhaps, he believed himself as sole hero of the victory.
On the 30th of March, three persons, named Avery, Lyons, and Jones, were taken off prisoners by the Indians, from Capouse.
The unfortunate, or fortunate Hammond, who, twice in such fearful jeopardy, had twice in escaped, had now the pleasure of appearing at headquarters, having been set on the third of April, by Col. Butler, express, with the dispatches for his Excellency.
In the course of these predatory excursions, the savages set fire to the simple log buildings which the settlers have erected for the temporary residence.
In the midst of all this distress, the ever popular town meetings were not neglected.
"At a town meeting, legally warned and held, in the town of Westmoreland, on Monday the 10th day of April, 1780,
"John Franklin, Esq., was chosen moderator for the work of the day.
"John Hurlbut, Esq., was chosen to negotiate the affairs of this town, before the General Assembly, to be holden in Hartford, in May next.
"Obadiah Gore, Esq., John Franklin, Esq., and Lieut. Rosewell Franklin are appointed a committee to insist the agent in drawing up a chest representation of our circumstances, to lay before the honorable the General assembly, in May next"
"A town meeting on the 20th of April, John Franklin, Esq., Lieut. Rosewell Franklin, and Ensign John Combstock, (titles as usual scrupulously given,) were appointed a committee "to advise with the inhabitants of this town, about contracting their improvements to a smaller compass, and more defensible situation, against the savages, and to adopt measures for the security of their stock, and make their report to the commanding officer of the garrison, as soon as possible."
The next resolve should be printed in letters of gold.
"Voted-that whereas the parish of Dresden, in the state of Virginia, have contributed and sent $180 for the support of the distressed inhabitants of this town, that the selectmen be directed to distribute said money to those they shall judge the most necessitated, and report to the town at some future meeting.
"Voted-that Col. Nathan Denison return the thanks of this town to the parish of Dresden, in the state of Virginia, for their charitable disposition in presenting the distressed inhabitants of this town with $180."
Col. Butler second Connecticut Regiment consisted, at this time, of 314 man, fit for duty, and while he was stationed in Westmoreland, possessing, as he was known to do, more skill in Indian warfare, and enjoying in an eminent degree of confidence of the inhabitants, of every man of his regiment was below the mountains, under the immediate orders of the of Lieut. Col. Isaac Sherman. Visiting his command, to see that proper discipline and order were preserved, then hastening back to Wyoming, to a station of excessive care and responsibility, in affording no chance to gather laurels, so dear to the high-souled military man, Col. Butler performed most arduous duties, in a manner to entitle him to the gratitude and praise of his contrary.
Early in July, Esq. Hurlbut returned from Hartford, bringing the cheering news, that the assembly, in answer to the petition of her Wyoming people, had resolve to take an account of their losses, preparatory to making compensation therefor, when the public treasury should be any condition to do so. The result, itself, breathed a spirit, and shows an intention so just, that it should be carefully preserved.
"At a General assembly of the Governor, and Company of the state of Connecticut, in America, holden at Hartford on the second Thursday of May, (being the 11th day of said month,) and continued by several adjournments until the 23rd day of June following, Anno Domini, 1780.
-"upon the memorial of the civil authority, and selectman of the town of Westmoreland, representing that the inhabitants of said town had sustained great losses by the invasions and depredations of the enemy, and that the Rate Bills issued against the inhabitants of said town, for State Taxes, had been taken, burnt and destroyed; the town depopulated, and the few remaining families greatly impoverished by the frequent incursions and depredations of the enemy. Praying this assembly than estimation of their losses may be made, and State Taxes abated in part compensation thereof, etc., as per memorial.
"Resolved by this assembly, that the whole of the State Taxes, for which warrants have already issued against the inhabitants of said town of Westmoreland, that are not paid into the hands of the state treasurer, be, and the same are hereby abated, to be considered as in part compensation for their losses, whenever the United States shall order and direct the losses sustained by the citizens of said states, from the depredations of the enemy, to be compensated; and John Hurlbut, Zebulon Butler, Obadiah Gore, Esqs., be, and they are hereby appointed a committee to repair to said Westmoreland; first giving public notice in the several newspapers in the state, of the time and place of their meeting, and there examine into the damages, injuries, and losses sustained and suffered by the present or late inhabitants of said town of Westmoreland, holding under this state, who shall, by themselves or others on their behalf, being duly authorized, make applications to said committee, during their continuance in said town, and report make to some future session of this assembly, of what they shall find in the matters up for said."
Capt. Simon Spalding's Independent Company, being the consolidated Wyoming companies of Ransom and Durkee, was stationed at Wilkes-Barre Fort, with Capt. John Paul Schott’s rifle corps, and a detachment from the German Regiment, under the command of Capt. Michael, making together, about 120 man. The militia consisted of one company under the command of Capt. John Franklin. How entirely broken and reduced was the country, will be apparent from the returns of this company.
"July 29, 1780, they were 29 on the roll. At Hanover, to guard the mill, one Lieut., one Sergeant, and 10 privates. At Kingston, one Sergeant and 14 men; and two on the sick list. Small detachments were frequently made for scouting parties, the utmost vigilance being indispensable. On the 9th of June, Capt. Franklin, with five men, being on a scout 60 miles up the river, at Wysox, took three prisoners, these: Jacob Bowman, Adam Bowman, and Henry Hoover, with, according to the language of the day, a fine lot of plunder, valued at 46 lb 18s. 11d. Capt. Franklin and Sergeant Baldwin each shared a silver watch, several pocket compasses, silver buttons, and sleeves buttoned; a scarlet broadcloth coat, several gold pieces, and a beautiful spyglass, attest the consequence of the prisoners. The canoes sold for fourteen pounds 10s. They were probably confidential messengers on public service from the enemy in New York, to Col. John Butler at Niagara. Col. Z. Butler, purchased the spyglass from the victors, estimated at three guineas, hard money."
In the midst of this scene of general distressed, it is difficult to suppress a smile, when we contemplate the variety of character sustained, and duties performed by Capt. Franklin. We have seen him taking an active part on several committees in town meeting. Indefatigable command of his little Company; during all this time, he was farming with an industry, that showed his reliance for subsistence was on the labor of his hands. A hunter, scarcely a week passed, that he did not in the proper season, bring in a buck. But he was a Justice of the Peace, and the civil laws were regularly administered. As it is our purpose to present an accurate picture of Wyoming as we can possibly sketch, one or two causes, tried before Justice Franklin, will be quoted.
Aug. 19, 1780,--, of Westmoreland, found guilty of playing cards, therefore ordered, that he pay a fine to the treasury of the town of Westmoreland of ten shillings, lawful money, with costs.
Test. John Franklin, J.P.
At a Justice’s Court, Holden at Westmoreland, Aug. 31, 1780, present, John Franklin, Justice of the Peace, where Phineas Pierce, is plaintiff, and Lebeus Tubbs, defendant: whereas, the said Pierce, as administrator in the estate of Col. George Dorrance, deceased complains of the defendant as disclosing, (Q. secreting? Withholding?) Some of the estate aforesaid, the court proceeds to a trial by the consent of the parties, and on the examination of the defendant on oath, who testifies, etc. with these chancery powers of obliging the defendant on oath to reveal the whole truth, everything was explained. Among many other articles, he had a rifle belonging to Col. Dorrance, a bed, a copper teakettle, and several other articles of valuable household furniture.
"The court are of opinion, that the defendant deliver up to send articles to the administrator, and satisfy the costs of the court.
Test. John Franklin, Justice of the Peace."
Military courts were also held. Sergeant Leader was convicted of falsifying a provision return, breaking open the magazine: of conspiring to release the Tory prisoners, and blow up the garrison. He was whipped 100 lashes, and sent out with the prisoners to headquarters, as incorrigible. We make two or three brief extracts from Franklin's journal. "July 12, 1780. A court-martial-Martin Breakall tried, Capt. John Paul Schotts, president; Capt. Spalding, Capt. Franklin, Lieut. Gore, Lieut. Jenkins, Lieut. Kingsley, members. Breakall is found guilty of intending to desert to the Indians, take with him the Tory prisoners, and threatening to scalp one Adam Sybert. It is the opinion of the court, that Breakall run the gauntlet four times to the troops of this garrison. The commanding officer approves the sentence, and the next afternoon, the 13th, was punished accordingly." A singing meeting this evening, says Capt. Franklin in his journal, at Mr. Foresmen's.
"I went to Huntingdon, Saturday 15th, returned," says Capt. F. "Saturday the 22nd, killed two deer, and took up Sherwood's flax."
A boat arrived from down the river on the 28th of the month, with a welcome cargo of 23 barrels of flour. The boatmen stated, "that on Friday the 14th, one man and three children were murdered by the Indians near Buffalo Creek, and on Saturday the 15th, one Capt. McMahon, was taken prisoner by an Indian and Tory, six miles from Northumberland, on the West Branch, but he made his escape, killing the Tory when the Indians had gone to his company, that lay near at hand. This Tory was Capt. Caldwell, a noted villain." Probably the same Capt. Caldwell, on the day before the massacre and 1778, took possession of the Fort at Jenkins ferry. His conduct in that instance was neither marked by treachery nor cruelty. In a boat that arrived at this time, came Lieut. Lawrence Myers, his first visit to Wyoming, a very worthy gentlemen, of whom it will be our pleasure to speak more at large in our chapter of personal narratives.
"Aug. 6. Last Thursday, Benjamin Clark with others, went down the river to mill. Same day, Lieut. Daniel Gore with others, set out to Col. Stroud’s to mill." Col. Stroud’s mill at Stroudsburgh, on the Delaware, was nearly 50 miles distant though the wilderness, from which may be inferred deprivations and hardships the inhabitants had to encounter. No mill remained, but the small one near Nanticoke Falls, defended by a detachment of Capt. Franklin's company.
On the death of Mason F. Alden's child on the 20th, Esq. Hurlbut preached two sermons. On the same day, Mr. Hollenback's boat loaded with goods arrived, having onboard the three welcome "pounders," to enable Wyoming people to make their own powder. Rumors were rife of murders by Indians below. The prowess and success of Bennett and Hammond, and of Pike, Rogers and VanCampen, had doubtless for a brief space, impressed on the enemy a lesson of extreme caution in regard to Wyoming.
Capt. Franklin and three men set out on a scout up the river early in September. At Tioga Point, they came to where large parties had encamped, and saw two Indians. At Tioga they found a canoe, and in an easy day sail arrived at the Wyoming Fort on the 10th. A week previous, Sergeants Baldwin and Searles exchanged shots with Indians at Tunkhannock, took a horse and some plunder from them, which it is supposed the Indians had taken in the neighborhood of Fort Allen, near the Lehigh water gap.
After Wyoming was so reduced as to be unable to afford assistance in checking the excursions of the savages, parties were in the habit of passing the settlement, and attacking the people both sides of the Blue Mountain, taking scalps, prisoners, and plunder. In May 1780, the settlement up at Mahoning, not far from Mauch Chunk, was attacked, several were slain. Benjamin Gilbert, a Quaker, and Abigail Dodson, a girl of 12 were 13, were among the prisoners taken to Niagara. In consequences of these repeated attacks, a chain of block houses was built, at supporting distances, back of the Blue Mountain, from the Schuylkill in Berks County, to the Delaware in Northhampton; and Nathan Beach was an orderly Sergeant for two years under the command of Capt. Smeathers, on the line of defense. In September, a large party of Indians passing Wyoming, without giving the least alarm, crossed the Susquehanna, near the mouth of the Nescopeck Creek, leaving Wilkes-Barre Fort 18 miles on the left. On advancing into the Scotch Valley, now known as Conyngham and Sugar Loaf, moving with catlike wariness, they discovered a party of Americans entirely off their guard, some eating, others at play, for it was noon, and entertaining not the slightest apprehension of any enemy being near, they were reposing or sporting, after a noon march. on counting their numbers, the Indians found the Americans had 33 men, their own being 30. Some were for making a bold attacked, others who had come for plunder, preferred to retire. It was however agreed-upon, that they would all draw near, and take a shot; if the Americans were not broken, but should rally with spirit, they would retreat to the designated place. The fire was as deadly as unexpected. Our people who survived, ran in the utmost confusion. Lieut. Myers, who commanded, did everything an intrepid officer can do to rally his men, seized his rifle, and vowed he would die before he would retreat. One or two ran to his aid, but it was too late. He was seized by the gallant Indian Chief, wounded slightly, and made prisoner. Satisfied with their 13 scalps, their prisoners, and all the booty brought out by the party, the Indians hastened to their retreat, doing what mischief they could, by burning the Shickshinny mills, and all the grains stacks on the route. The second night Lieut. Myers contrived to make his escape, and came into the Wyoming Fort with the melancholy tidings. After the war, Miss Dodson, before named, was redeemed from captivity, and related the Indian account of the affair, as learned at Niagara.
As the proceeding winter had been extremely cold, so the summer was marked by an unusual degree of heat. August especially was, to use an expression of the day, panting hot, severe thunderstorms being frequent, followed by a close and oppressive atmosphere. The consequence was an autumn of greater sickness than had ever before been experienced. Remittance and intermittent fevers, prevailed to a distressing degree. The settlers in Kingston particularly suffered. Calomel, tarter emetic, and Jesuits bark, dispensed by Dr. William H. Smith, with skilled, were efficacious, and the number of baths, though considerable, bore a very small proportion to the great number of afflicted. Every incident in a small community so excited, awakened attention, and William Nelson, being badly bitten by rattlesnake, was probably known in the course of the day, to every person in Wyoming. After much suffering he recovered.
On the 11th October, the good Deacon Hurlbut, who preached in the absence of the Rev. Mr. Johnson, being chosen member of the assembly, set out for Hartford, accompanied by Asa Chapman, who went to visit his friends in Preston. Chapman had been sworn in a Freeman of Westmoreland, a few months before. He returned, and his fate will be recorded in the annals of the subsequent year.
We have spoken several times of Capt. John Paul Schotts, who was stationed with his rifle Corps at Wyoming, where he became attached to the Miss Naomi Sill, sister to Col. Denison's lady. The bans were published on Sunday, October the 15th, and on Wednesday, the 18th, they were married; the occasion being one of great joy and festivity in the garrison, and among the whole people.
On the 24th of the month, the settlement was thrown into commotion by the arrival of an express stating, that Col. Hunter, at Fort Augusta, (Sunbury,) had stopped the boats that were ascending the river with provisions for the garrison. Grain the people now had, but as we have seen, they were obliged to go to Stroudsburgh to mill. This was the first incident which had occurred for three years, exhibiting the smothered, but by no means extinguished jealousy, that existed on the part of Pennsylvania, towards the Connecticut garrison and settlement.
Nearly three months passed away, after the massacre at the Scotch Valley, and comparative peace. Alarms were frequent; Scouts were on the alert; tidings of murder and robbery, weekly, came in from the West Branch, from near Sunbury, and more especially from the settlement along the Blue Mountains; but no direct attack was made in Wyoming. The harvest, though but little ground was cultivated, had come in satisfactorily. Hugh Forseman arrived from Philadelphia, with 100 head of cattle for the garrison, which fact, of itself, speaks of the general destitution of the country. Thus fear of absolute famine was removed. The comforts of life were not looked for, and all were satisfied with sufficient food to sustain its existence.
In September, a town meeting voted-that a petition be prepared to the Assembly at Hartford, asking for an abatement of Taxes. It may be observed, but the ordinary assemblage, "legally warned," were called town meetings. Those more important, where all the town officers were chosen, holden the first Tuesday in December, each year, were sometimes, by way of eminence, denominated "Freeman's meeting." Dec. 5th, 1780, the whole settlement was assembled in town meeting, legally warned, and held at the house of Abel Yarrington. John Hurlbut was chosen moderator.
Voted-that John Hurlbut, Esq., Col. Nathan Denison, John Franklin, Esq., James Nesbitt, and Jebez Sill, the Selectman for the year ensuing. A town clerk, treasurer, constable, surveyors of highways, fence viewers, listers, collectors, leather-sealer, grand jury men, etc. etc., were duly chosen. The fewness of inhabitants may be inferred from the fact, that James Nesbitt and Jabez Sill, were each chosen to three offices, and several others were voted into the duties and honors of two. But the occasion was one of comparative cheerfulness. Winter had set in-snow had fallen-the enemy, kept at a respectable distance by a spirited conduct of Hammond, Bennett, VanCampen, Rogers and Pike, would not be likely, it was thought, soon to return. With frost, sickness had ceased; and Forsemen’s arrival with a supply of cattle, dissipated all fears of suffering from famine. These pleasing dreams of security were destined to be of brief duration. The very next day, Dec. 6, a part of the enemy, consisting of 19 white men, and five Indians, under the command of Lieut. Turney, of John Butler's Rangers, broke into the settlement at Shawney, surprised and took off seven men prisoners, namely, Benjamin Harvey, Elisha Harvey, Nathan Bullock, James Frisbee, Jonathan Frisbee, Manassah Cady, and Samuel Palmer Ranson, highly respectable citizens. No lives were taken, and the party instantly retreated with their captives, and what plunder they could readily seize, marching with the greatest celerity. Capt. Franklin, with 26 men, pursued, the next morning, crossing the Susquehanna at Secord’s, three miles above Tunkhannock; but the enemy were so far in advance, as to render further pursuit hopeless; and taking the canoes they had descended the river with and abandoned, Capt. Franklin return to the Fort. The facility of attacking Wyoming is here again illustrated. Scooping out a pine log into a canoe, the Indians could descend the river in 12 or 14 hours, to within 18 or 20 miles of the settlement. The easy mode of descent was in itself alluring, and attended greatly to the insecurity of the inhabitants.
One of Turney’s men proved a trader, if he did not come in as a spy, which is quite as probable. On the evening of the 11th, Col. Butler examined the deserter in the presence of Capt. Franklin. The fellow said there were 600 British troops at Niagara, and 2000 Indians. If he did not mean to exaggerate, to prevent Niagara being attacked, he must in both estimates have included women and children. He also stated that in October the Ontario, a new 20 gun ship, was lost in a gale of wind, and 350 men, of the 34th British Regiment, perished in her.
In several previous letters I have spoken of the vast numbers of the delicious shad that every spring ascended the Susquehanna, attaining, from change of food and the salt sea for the fresh river water their highest excellence. The picture of old times would be incomplete, were we to omit noting the immense quantity of eels taken in the fall of the year, descending the river.
A wear was set up in the stream, at MonockasyI
Island; the returns from which, for the last September and the beginning
of October, 1780, are before me. It would seem, a part of the time, the
wear was visited but once in three days.
|Friday, September 15||They took 90||18||They took 178|
making up words of 14,000.
Thus the year 1780 passed in constant alarm, scouting and watchfulness. Several valuable lives had been lost. Many estimable citizens had been torn from their families and homes, and taken into captivity. Still hope, which "springs eternal in the human breast," was buoyant. Courage stimulated the settlers to action. Fortitude nerved their hearts to endure. Treacherous despair was allowed no lodgment in a single bosom. Matters must mend; it was impossible they could be worse. Congress would not be insensible to their merits and sufferings. Connecticut, their parent State, who had planted them in the wilderness for noble objects, would not, could not be unmindful how much Westmoreland had done! How many men had been furnished to her line of the Army! How much in taxes for treasury had, in time of pressing needs, drawn from the exhausted people of Wyoming. Cheered and sustained by such reflections, especially after the noble resolve of the last assembly, looking to indemnification, the year 1780 closed it sad and eventful term.