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History of Sheshequin 1777---1902

C. F. Heverly

pub.1902, Towanda, Pa. 
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Please note: Pages 243 and 246 of this facsimilie reprint of The History of Sheshequin are misprinted. These pages were misprinted in the original book.


Sheshequin--what theme could be more fascinating? The allurements of this beautiful valley were first known to the Red Man. Here he dwelt in peace and at war for many generations, and the ashes of his people mingle with the soil along the banks of the Susquehanna. He was destined, and a cruel race was swept away in the march of a conquering army. The brave men who had accompanied Sullivan up the valley, pleased at the prospect , returned to establish peaceful homes and pave the way for civilization. They were a Liberty-loving people whose lives had been eventful in the trying and fearful experiences of Wyoming. What a thrilling chapter in American history, bloody and beautiful Wyoming furnishes us! Sheshequin is scarcely less captivating, for her pioneers helped to make that history. But other stalwart sons of New England, who had fought for the freedom of their devoted land, soon found their way to the shores of the Susquehanna and joined their compatriots in Sheshequin, thus forming a settlement, distinctively, of Revolutionary soldiers. The battle with the wilderness was begun, and other dauntless spirits joined in the struggle, suffering the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life. Finally, a grand achievement crowned the efforts of these pioneers and their faithful companions. They were noble men and women. Their deeds and virtues should ever be kept bright; and we should all revere the memory of “the Fathers and Mothers” for the valuable lessons their lives have taught us, and for the hardships and privations they so nobly bore, that we might enjoy the fruits and blessings of their labors. Accordingly this volume is most affectionately dedicated to Sheshequin’s heroic pioneers, the men and women who founded the settlements, made the country what it is, and her loyal sons who offered their lives to save our country from disunion.

C. F. Heverly

Towanda, Pa., July 21, 1902.




SHESHEQUIN is an Indian term and is believed to be derived from Tschetschequannink, signifying “the place of a rattle.”

Sheshequin is one of the central townships of the county, Athens and Litchfield forming its boundary on the north, Rome on the east, the Susquehanna and Wysox on the south, and the Susquehanna on the west. The general shape of the territory embraced in the township is rectangular with a triangular projection at the northwest and south. From north to south the township has an average length of seven miles, and from east to west an average width of five miles, comprising an area of 35 square miles.

Broad fertile flats extend along the river three-fourths the length of the township. Beyond these the face of the country rises into hill-lands which slope towards the south and west. The greatest altitude is in the northern part where the lands are the most hilly. The township is well watered by the Little Wysox, Deerlick, Hornbrook and Spalding creeks and numerous smaller streams.

Forests of huge pines and oak originally covered the township with a thrifty intermingling of hemlock, chestnut, beech, birch and maple, and gigantic buttonwoods along the river. But little timber is left, and large and fruitful farms succeed. The soil is highly productive, even to the summits of the hills. All the cereals are grown profitably. Fine crops of tobacco are produced on the flats and the culture of small fruits made of paying industry. There is but little waste land in the township, and nearly four-fifths of all are under a good state of cultivation. The Sheshequin and Hornbrook flats are noted as being among the richest in the Susquehanna valley. Agriculture is the sole business of the people. Dairying is an important factor, and stock-raising a matter of secondary consideration.

The people are largely scions of the hardy and intelligent pioneers, who settled the township and are a hospitable, industrious, patriotic and progressive class of citizens. In writing of the early settlers of Sheshequin, Judge Bullock says: “There was one trait of the inhabitants worthy of remark and of imitation, which was their avoidance of lawsuits. In attendance at our courts for nearly half a century, I was seldom, if ever, present at a trial of a suit between parties from that locality. I attribute the circumstance very much to the general influence of some of the aged members of that community, and have also thought its happy effects could be seen in the continued prosperity of the inhabitants. Instead of wasting their time and means at court, and in supporting constables, lawyers, sheriffs and prothonotaries, their energies were devoted to improving their farms, and in making themselves and their families comfortable at home, in which they were eminently successful.” As law-abiding, intelligent citizens the people of Sheshequin have always been among the most noted, and an examination of the records will show that several decades had passed before one of their number was convicted of crime. The following is the population as determined by the different enumerations: 720 in 1830; 1010 in 1840; 1455 in 1850; 1599 in 1860; 1596 in 1870; 1460 in 1880; 1272 in 1890; 1154 in 1900.


WHAT is now Sheshequin was originally parts of the Susquehanna company’s townships of Ulster and Claverack, but being included in the purchase of 1768, its broad plains were eagerly appropriated by the friends of the Proprietaries. Accordingly there were grants made by the Penns, covering all the township lying on the river, thus bringing Sheshequin within the disputed territory of the rival claimants--the Susquehanna company and the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania. For many years Sheshequin was a name applied to the settlements on both sides of the river. Finally to distinguish the settlement of the west side of the river from that on the east side, the former was given the name of Old Sheshequin and the latter New Sheshequin. The names Ulster and Sheshequin came in with the division of Ulster township in 1820, as follows: At a court of quarter sessions of the peace, held at Meansville in and for the county of Bradford on Monday, the 6th day of December 1819, before the said court was read the petition of George Kinney, Samuel Gore, Wm. Snyder, W. Brown and Jabez Fish, inhabitants of the township of Ulster, praying the court to appoint viewers to divide the said township, and that the Susquehanna river be the dividing line. Whereupon the court appointed John F. Satterlee, Stephen Hopkins and David Paine to view, etc. February sessions, 1820, the viewers report concerning said order as follows: “We, the undersigned commissioners named in the within rule of court, having met for the purposes therein mentioned and having examined into the premises, do report that although the territory within the bounds of Ulster as we now find it is not too large in our opinion for a township, yet in consequence of the township elections which happen to be in the spring of the year, often when the river is impassable, which renders it unsafe and hazardous in the crossing the same thereby depriving the people on one side of the river of the right of suffrage, therefore taking all things into consideration we believe the township ought to be divided and do accordingly divide the same, making the Susquehanna river the line between them, naming agreeable to the rule that part on the east side of the river Sheshequin and the part on the west side of the river Ulster, as witness our hands this 30th day of January, 1820. Stephen Hopkins, John F. Satterlee.” Which at the same court was read and confirmed ni si. And now to wit, May sessions, 1820, was read a second time and finally confirmed and ordered to be entered of record. In 1822 a strip of land between one and two miles in width, lying between Sheshequin and Orwell, was taken from Wysox and added to Sheshequin on the east. In 1824, a narrow neck of land along “the narrows” was taken from Athens township and added to Sheshequin on the north. In 1831 a considerable area was taken from Wysox and added to Sheshequin on the south.


ULSTER, a little more than half of which was included in Sheshequin, was originally granted by a committee of the Susquehanna company to Asahel Buck and others in 1775; but no survey or allotment being made, it was superseded by another grant, made Sept 12, 1785, which was itself superseded by a third grant, dated July 23, 1786, and surveyed and allotted in the fall of the same year, and described as follows: “Beginning on the west side of the Susquehanna river, opposite the head of an island, about three-fourths of a mile below the junction of the Tioga and Susquehanna; thence west two miles to a corner; thence south five miles; thence east five miles; thence north five miles; thence west three miles to the place of beginning.” The following depositions of Judge Gore and Elijah Buck, taken Sept 2, 1802, will be found to contain more fully the history of this township:

“Before me, Thomas Cooper, Esq., one of the commissioners, under the Act passed April 4, 1799, entitled ‘An Act for offering compensation to the Pennsylvania claimants of lands within the seventeen townships of Luzerne county,’ etc., personally appeared Obadiah Gore. Esq., associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the said county, and Elijah Buck, Esq., of Tioga county, of the State of New York, who, upon their oaths do swear, depose and say that on the 28th of August 1775, on the application of persons (proprietors in what was called the Susquehanna Company), whose names are mentioned in documents A and B, hereto annexed, a grant was regularly made, according to the rules and regulations of the Susquehanna Company, for a township containing twenty-five square miles, called Ulster, located on the west side of the northeast branch of the river Susquehanna. A true copy is hereto annexed, marked G.

“That the war breaking out soon after with the British and Indians, no effectual settlement was made in the said township under the said grant of 1775, the generality of the proprietors and settlers, claimants under the said grant of 1775, being called to the common defense of Wyoming and the neighborhood or having joined the army of the United States.

“That on the close of the war and during the fall of 1784 and the spring of 1785, these deponents, with upwards of thirty other persons, settled and resident within the township of Ulster, as located in the said grant of 1775, and being weary with the contest with Pennsylvania respecting the Susquehanna Company’s claim, and desirous of living in peace and comformably with the laws of the State in which they were placed by the decision of Trenton. They, with the generality of the proprietors and settlers, were and have continued supporters of the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania.

“That the sentiments of the undersigned deponents and other settlers in the old town of Ulster being commonly known, they were violently opposed on many occasions and their interests thwarted by many leading proprietors in the Susquehanna Company, then and now resident in Luzerne county, and who were and have continued universally hostile to the pretensions of Pennsylvania, in respect to the Susquehanna purchase, and opposers of any plan of compromise hitherto held out under the authority of the State.

“That being overpowered by the numbers of their opponents in the Susquehanna purchase, and unwilling to embark in any further contention and dispute, the undersigned, with other settlers of the old town of Ulster, acquiesced in the claims of an interfering township laid out by and under the patronage of their opponents, of the description aforesaid, under the name of Athens, still existing and settled as a half share township and not recognized as one of the seventeen townships of the county of Luzerne, under the Act of April 4, 1799, and the supplements, in lieu of the old town of Ulster, which was entirely on the west side of the river, northeast branch of Susquehanna. These deponents and other claimants acquiesced in and accepted a new grant of the township of Ulster, the northern bound of which commenced at the south part of Tioga Point and extended on both sides the river Susquehanna. A copy of the second grant, as far as it remains perfect, is contained in document D. Document E is a list of the proprietors applying for the second grant, in conformity to the rules and regulations, of the Susquehanna Company. The boundaries of the town of Ulster, according to the location of the second grant, were not yet agreeable to the claimants and settlers of the town of Athens, who, having the guidance of the affairs of the Susquehanna Company entirely among themselves and their adherents, insisted that the town of Ulster should be placed lower down the river, and this was again consented to by the undersigned deponents and other settlers in Ulster, and a third grant was accepted in the year 1786, a copy whereof is contained in document F. Of the old town of Ulster, no regular survey was made, owing to circumstances of the war immediately succeeding the original grant, nor was a survey completed under the second location, as the third was granted about nine months only after the second. A copy of the survey under the three grants herewith presented being document G. If the old location of Ulster, under the grant of 1775, be established, it will include but few comparatively of the applicants under the law of April 4, 1799: the second will include all those who have applied under said law.”


List of the proprietors of the township of Ulster, Mr. Asahel Buck

agent, August 23, 1775 :

Catherine Draper, one-half share, one right, certified by receipt.

Elijah Phelps, one-half share, two rights.

Jonathan Buck, one-half share, one right, certificate.

Lockwood Smith, one-half share, one right, certificate.

Thomas Millard, one-half share, one right, receipt.

Aholiab Buck, one-half share, one right, certificate.

Captain Joseph Eaton, one-half share, one right, certificate.

Elijah Buck, one-half share, one right, certificate.

Daniel Kellogg, one share, two rights, certificate.

Abraham Brockaw, one-half share, one right, receipt.”


N. B. On another list exhibited, these names appear to have been added:

Steven Shepard, one-half share, one right.

Joseph Spalding, one-half share, one right.

William Buck, two and one-half shares, five rights.

Obadiah Gore, one-half share, one right.

M. Hollenback, one-half share, one right.

J. Jenkins requests the favor of being admitted.

Asahel Buck, one share, two rights.

Thomas McCluer, one share, two rights.”


(Documents C and D have not been discovered).

“List of proprietors for Ulster, July 21, 1786 (figures in parenthesis denote the number of rights belonging to the person whose name they follow) : Captain Simon Spalding (4), Captain Thomas Baldwin (3), Obadiah Gore (2), William Buck (2), Elijah Buck (2) Henry Baldwin (1), Joseph Kinney (1), Joseph Kinney, Jr. (1), Captain Joseph Spalding (1), John Spalding (2) Reuben Fuller (1), Widow Hannah Gore (1), Samuel Gore (2), Abraham Brockaw (2), Avery Gore (1), Captain Joseph Eaton (2), Captain Joshua Dunlap (1), Lockwood Smith (1), heirs of Aholiab Buck (1), John Shepard (1), Stephen Shepard (1), Colonel Nathan Denison (1), Joshua Jewel (1), Hugh Forsman (1), Isaac Baldwin (1), Chester Bingham, (1) Adriel Simons (1), Nehemiah Defries (1), Abner Kelly (1), Benjamin Clark (1), Major William Judd (1), Captain Timothy Hosmer (1), Silas Gore’s heirs (1), Asa Gore’s heirs (1), Zera Beach (1), Lebbeus Hammond (1), Benjamin Bailey (1), Laurence and Sarah Myers (1).”


Pursuant to a vote of the Susquehanna Company, appointing a committee to grant townships to such proprietors as appear authorized to take up the same, I have, with the leave and approbation of said committee, located and surveyed a town on the North Branch of the Susquehanna river, beginning etc., which survey is made at the request of Captain Simon Spalding, Lieutenant William Buck and others, a list of whom is herewith delivered to the committee aforesaid.

(Signed) OBADIAH GORE, Agent.”

“The above survey of a township called and known by the name of Ulster, is accepted and approved by us, the subscribers, to be and belong to the said Simon Spalding, etc., etc., and others, their associates, as part of their general rights in the Susquehanna Company’s purchase, and the same is hereby granted and confirmed to them, their heirs, and assigns, agreeable to the votes of the Susquehanna company. In testimony whereof, we have signed these presents this 21st day of July, A.D., 1786.




CLAVERACK embraced half of Wysox and the Towandas, Lower Sheshequin and a section of Macedonia. Permission was given Jeremiah Hogaboom and Solomon Strong , June 20, 1774, by the Committee of the Susquehanna Company for laying out townships, to locate and survey a township five miles square. In his report, which was accepted June 4, 1778, Hogaboom says:

“Pursuant to the votes of the Susquehanna Company of proprietors to locate and lay out townships to a number of proprietors, applying to take up a township, as will appear by said vote, I have by the approbation of the Committee appointed to direct the laying out of townships, surveyed and laid out a township on the East Branch of the Susquehanna river in said purchase, beginning at a place called and known by the name of Wysocks Creek, about five hundred yards below where said creek flows into the East Branch of the Susquehanna river, at a white oak tree : thence south 59 degrees west five miles and sixty rods : thence north 31 degrees west five miles : thence north 59 degrees east five miles : thence south 30 degrees east five miles to the first mentioned bound, containing twenty-five square miles, exclusive of the river, lying partly upon each side of the river, which I have surveyed at the request of Col. John H. Lydiu.

s, Capt. Abraham Lansing, Baltiaser Lydius, Peter Hogaboom and others, their associates, proprietors in said purchase, a list of whom is herewith delivered to the Committee aforesaid.


Agent for said Proprietors.”

“The above survey is approved, as witness our hands and seals.



Committee of the Susquehanna Co.”

Under date of December 18, 1795. Zebulon Butler and Obadiah Gore of Wyoming, Committee for laying out townships, issued the following certificate: “This is to certify that Col. Jeremiah Hogaboom and Capt. Solomon Strong laid out and located a township on the Susquehanna river, in the Susquehanna purchase, agreeably to the rules and orders of the Susquehanna Company, and was granted to them by the Committee appointed for that purpose and are still entitled to it, provided they proceed to settle it by the first of May next.”

According to the rules of the Susquehanna Company, Claverack was divided into fifty-three equal shares. It was called Strong and Hogaboom’s town, they owning one-third of the whole number of rights in it. These two gentlemen were extensive land speculators, and, wishing to hold their claims, were active in securing settlers. In the autumn of 1800, Col. Benjamin Dorrance of Kingston and Col. John Franklin of Athens by the conveyance of former claimants, became the joint owners in Claverack of over twelve thousand acres of land, which they subsequently leased and sold to the settlers.

“In establishing his claim to lot No. 11 of Claverack, Abel Newell brought before the Commissioners, under the compensation law of 1799, John Strope, who testified that Capt. Solomon Strong told him William Webber was a settler under him, and that Webber came in the fall of 1786. It was shown that John Newell bought of Webber the year after (1787) : that John was the father of Josiah and Abel. John, Josiah and Abel Newell are given in the Claverack list as settlers prior to 1786.” Arnold Franklin was a settler in Claverack in 1784 and was proprietor of a half-right. Ichabod Blackman held one share. In 1802 the following were among the claimants: Abel Newell (ten lots ), Richard Horton (11), Gilbert Horton, Elijah Horton and Josiah Tuttle.


Claverack was one of the “original seventeen townships” of the Susquehanna Company, which came into existence as follows: “Rumors of the wondrous beauty and fertility of the Susquehanna Valley were in circulation. A few prominent men of Connecticut, wishing to know more of the country, sent a party to explore this region. They were charmed with Wyoming. Its broad plains, its rich soil and beautiful situation made it a paradise beside the sterile, rock-bound New England, and so favorable a report did they make that an association, styled the Susquehanna Company, was formed July 8, 1753, for the purpose of securing the purchase and effecting a settlement of the Susquehanna lands with the ultimate design of being erected into a separate colony by a royal charter.”

At a meeting of the company at Albany on the 9th of January, 1754, Deacon Timothy Woodbridge was appointed to negotiate with the Six Nations for the purchase of the Susquehanna land. By the aid of Col. John H. Lydius of Albany, a deed was obtained from the Indians, for the company, of a large tract of land beginning ten miles east of the East Branch of the Susquehanna river, on the one and fortieth degree of north latitude, thence with a northward line ten miles distant from the said river to the end of the forty-second degree, and to extend westward throughout the whole breadth thereof, through two degrees of longitude, one hundred and twenty miles. This deed, which covered all of Bradford county except the northeastern corner, was properly executed and signed by seventeen sachems of the Six Nations, and bears date July 11, 1754.

The company began at once to take measures for occupying their lands, and in the fall of 1754 a considerable number came in for the purpose of selecting a favorable location for a settlement, but on account of the disturbed condition of affairs, growing out of the French war, the matter was held in abeyance for eight years. After peace had been declared, the company at once renewed its efforts to take possession of its domain. Preliminary arrangements having been made, in the month of May, 1763, about one hundred and fifty settlers came on, some of them bringing families with them, and occupied and improved lands in Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, Plymouth, and Handover. This year “Pontiac’s War” broke out, and bands of hostile Indians began to hover over the frontier settlements in Pennsylvania, watching for a favorable opportunity to avenge the wrongs inflicted upon them by the whites. About mid-day, October 15th, just as the “Connecticut pioneers” were returning from their fields, they were suddenly attacked by a band of hostile Indians, twenty of their number were killed, a few taken prisoners and the remainder fled, leaving everything behind them. By order of the crown, all further attempts at making a settlement on the Susquehanna were suspended until the establishment of peace. This was finally secured at the treaty of Fort Stanwix, November 5th, 1768, at which time


effected a purchase of a tract of land “beginning on the east side of the East Branch of the river Susquehanna, at a place called Owegy (Owego) ; thence down the said branch on the east side, to the mouth of a creek, called by the Indians Awandac (Towandee), and across the river and up the said creek on the south side, and along the north side of a range of hills, called “Burnett’s Hills,” to the head of Pine Creek, thence down that stream to the West Branch and across to the Ohio. This tract included a large part of Bradford County. The remaining part of the territory was not purchased until after the close of the Revolutionary war. The Pennsylvania government now holding a title for the coveted Wyoming, at once adopted rigorous measures to effect a settlement under the patronage of the proprietaries, for whom two large manors were surveyed, and lots of one hundred acres each were leased to Charles Stewart and Amos Ogden and others, friends to the proprietaries, at a nominal rental, on condition that they hold possession of the country. Within a short time warrants were issued and surveys were made of the most valuable lands in the purchase, which were assigned to the friends of the government to he held by themselves or leased to their faithful allies.

The Indians having become reconciled once more, the Connecticut people began to prepare for a second expedition to the Susquehanna country. Upon returning to their possessions in 1768-’69, they found them in the occupation of Stewart, Ogden, Jennings and others, who had reached the valley a few days in advance of them and had raised the flag of the Proprietary government. Here was a dilemma, what was to be done? There was but one alternative; either to retrace their steps to Connecticut, or stand their ground. They chose the latter. And here began that long and bitter conflict between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania men, known as


which never became finally settled till the passage of the Compromise law of 1799, by the Legislature of Pennsylvania. Sometimes attended by bloodshed, sometimes reprisals only, but always a bitter and vindictive feud. The jails of the adjoining counties of Northampton and Northumberland were often filled with Wyoming prisoners, sent there by the authorities of Pennsylvania for trespassing on the disputed lands. And thus a series of murders, arsons, battles, sieges, arrests and angry personal disputes continued for more than a fourth of a century. These controversies related to two distinct questions--the right of jurisdiction and the right of soil. Both the charters of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, which were derived from the Crown of England, covered the territory in dispute, hence the result is obvious.

During the troubles incident to the “Yankee and Pennamite War,” the Connecticut people were not daunted. The Susquehanna Company continued to grant new townships and settle them, occupying in all seventeen prior to 1782. Of these, four were in Bradford county, viz: “Springfield,” “Standing Stone,” “Claverack” and “Ulster.” After fourteen years of bitter strife, Congress finally, at the instance of the State of Pennsylvania , with the concurrence of the State of Connecticut, intervened the federal authority to adjust the Susquehanna troubles. This body adopted a resolution, naming commissioners, who met at Trenton, N.J., in November, 1782. The commissioners, after a protracted session of forty-one days, during which the agents and attorneys on both sides discussed at length the subject of the troubles, decided, on the 30th of December, that the State of Connecticut had no right to the land in controversy, and that the jurisdiction and pre-emption of all lands of right belonged to Pennsylvania. To this decree, as it has always been called, the two contending States, as well as the settlers, assented. It was now supposed upon all sides that the troubles had found a peaceful as well as final end. Unfortunately, such was not the case, and the confusion and strife became more bitter and disastrous than before.

Finally, in 1799, the whole question was arranged in the passage by the Legislature of the “Compromise Law.” Under the terms of this enactment, commissioners were appointed to cause a survey to be made of all lands claimed by the Connecticut settlers within the “Seventeen Townships,” previous to the decree of Trenton, in which titles had been granted to them, according to the rules and regulations among them. They were to classify and value these lands and give certificates to the owners, upon the presentation of which, to the Secretary of the Land Office, on the payment of a small sum as purchase money, a patent was granted by the State. The purchase money to be paid was: For the first class, two dollars an acre; for the second, one dollar and twenty cents; for the third, fifty cents, and eight and one-fourth cents for the fourth class. The lands of the Pennsylvania claimants were also to be ascertained and valued, and when they came in conflict with the claims of the Connecticut men they were required to relinquish their title to the State and receive from the treasury, in full compensation for land of the first class, five dollars an acre; three dollars for the second, one dollar and fifty cents for the third, and twenty-five cents for the fourth. As soon as forty thousand acres should thus be released to the State by the Pennsylvania claimants, and the Connecticut claimants, who owned an equal quantity, should bind themselves to submit to law, to the satisfaction of the commissioners, then the Act was to take effect. This then provided for the settlers within the “Seventeen Townships.”

But there was another class to whom no compromise was offered; these were the “Half Share men,” or as they were sometimes called, the “Wild Yankees,” who were induced to come upon the purchase in full faith in the validity of the Susquehanna Company’s title, and for the purpose of defending it from encroachment by the Pennsylvania landholders. For these, though they were for the most part industrious and honest men and would have made good citizens, the Commonwealth had a policy not of conciliation, but of extirpation, or in the language of one of the judges of the Supreme Court, “to cut them up by the roots.” Toward these juries were allowed no discretion, and for them courts could show no mercy. To this policy, as may be supposed, these settlers did not readily accede, although many of the old settlers endeavored to persuade them to submit to the oppressive laws, which were attempted to be enforced against them, and trust to the generosity of the State to afford them relief. On the other hand, they were urged to maintain their claims at all hazards by such men as Col. John Franklin, the Satterlees, Colonel Kingsbury and the Spaldings of this county. In order more successfully to maintain their claim, they banded together under a league, each pledging to defend the other with money or force. As might be expected, acts of violence were committed and many things were done, which, in less exciting times would have been considered even by the proprietors as atrocious. Settlers under Pennsylvania title were driven off their lands, and surveyors who came to locate warrants were compelled to desist.

Col. Arthur Erwin of Easton, an extensive owner of lands in the northern part of the county, was shot dead while sitting in the door of the house of Mr. McDuffie of Athens: the Rev. Thomas Smiley, at that time living eight or ten miles up the Towanda Creek, while acting as an assistant agent under the “Intrusion Law, “ was tarred and feathered. Col. Abraham Horn had been appointed by the Pennsylvania landholders to put the “Intrusion Law” in force, and at once entered upon his duties. In June, 1801, he came into Bradford County, but apprehending danger from the violent oppression of the people, he stopped at Asylum. Rev. Thomas Smiley had written to the agent that nearly all the forty settlers on Towanda Creek would renounce their Connecticut titles and purchase of the Pennsylvania claimants. A conference was held at Asylum. Mr. Smiley was commissioned a deputy agent and furnished with the necessary papers. July 7th he obtained the signatures of nearly forty to their relinquishments and submissions and started for Asylum. A meeting was held and the “Wild Yankees” determined that the business must be stopped. About twenty men from Sugar Creek, Ulster and Sheshequin, armed and disguised, started in pursuit. Mr. Smiley, hearing the arrangements of the conspirators, went down to Joshua Wythe’s near Monroeton, where he remained until dark, and then stopped for the night at Jacob Granteer’s, then living on the Towanda Creek above Mr. Hale’s. The party, learning of his lodging place, followed him, broke into his room, compelled him to burn his papers, took him near the creek, poured a bottle of tar over his head and beard, then adding feathers, the leader after giving him a kick told him he might go, but must leave the country. John Murphy, David Campbell, Jacob Irvine, Ebenezer Shaw, Stephen Ballard and Benjamin Griffin were arrested for the assault, but the proof being insufficient the grand jury returned the bill ignoramus. It has been said that the man who carried the bottle of tar was on the grand jury, but as in this capacity he was supposed to take cognizance only of the facts proven, he was not expected to decide from his own personal knowledge, and therefore voted with the majority. Mr. Smiley removed to Lycoming county, where for twenty-five years he was pastor of the Baptist church in White Deer Valley.

Sheshequin, as Pennsylvania territory, has been included in the following counties : Northampton, from 1752 to 1772; Northumberland, from 1772 to 1786; Luzerne, from 1786 to 1804; from 1804 to 1812 that section of Sheshequin, north of Warren Gillett’s, was in Lycoming county, and the balance of her territory in Luzerne till 1812, when Bradford county was formed. Under township jurisdiction, Sheshequin has been a part of Tioga, Ulster and Wysox.


Sheshequin was originally the home of the Red Man. As known and called by him, it was Tschetschequannink, which embraced the plains and Indian towns along the river in both of what is now Sheshequin and Ulster. When first known to white man there was an Indian village at Ulster, but none on the east side of the river. However, there were many evidences, proving conclusively that the Sheshequin flats had been the site of an important Indian town and an ancient burying ground. The great Indian war path entered Sheshequin near Breakneck, thence followed the course of the river to opposite the Indian village on the Ulster side, where it crossed, then traversed the west bank of the river to Tioga Point. Over this path great Indian war parties moved to and fro in their own bloody struggles, continued for three-quarters of a century, in the Susquehanna valley. Later, captives taken at the frontier settlements were marched over this route to Tioga Point and Canada.