History of Sheshequin 1777---1902
C. F. Heverly
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OWING to the hostility of the Indians, an attempt to form a settlement was made by either the Susquehanna Company or the Proprietaries until after the Revolutionary war. The first settlement in Sheshequin dates from May 30, 1783, when General Simon Spalding and his little band arrived from Wyoming. The party consisted of General Spalding, his wife, two sons and five daughters, Joseph Kinney, Benjamin Cole, Hugh Forseman,("Fordsman"), Sergeant Thomas Baldwin, Captain Stephen Fuller and his sons, John and Reuben. It will be remembered that General, (then Captain) Spalding was with General Sullivan in his expedition against the Indians, and was so favorably impressed with Sheshequin that he resolved to make it his future place of abode. He first purchased of the Susquehanna Company the Connecticut title, and farms were allotted to himself, his sons, son-in-law, (Joseph Kinney) in the upper part of the valley, extending from the river back to the mountain. The place settled by General Spalding is now owned by Hon O D Kinney and occupied by Mrs L S Kingsbury. When the settlers came, as General Spalding himself said, "the Indian grass upon the flats was as high as his head as he sat on his horse." "They set fire to the grass when a conflagration, such as the one present had ever seen transpired; it ran from one extreme of the interval to the other, a distance of almost four miles, and was, no doubt, very destructive to the animals which made their homes in its dense covers." When the settlers took possession of Sheshequin, there were a few Indian families resident upon Queen Esther’s flats, and one family on the same side of the river, but none of any note among them. They proved friendly, and the next year mostly moved off to the West.
General Simon Spalding was a descendent in the sixth generation from Edward Spalding, the first of the family to come to America. He was a son of Simon and Anne (Billings) Spalding, and was born in Plainfield, Connecticut, January 16, 1742. In 1761, he was married to Ruth Shepard, and a few years thereafter removed to the Wyoming Valley. He took up Connecticut Lands in Standing Stone in 1775, remained there a year, then returned to Wyoming. On the 26th of August, 1776, he was commissioned second lieutenant in Captain Samuel Ransom’s company; promoted and commissioned first lieutenant, January 1, 1777; promoted to captain, June 24, 1778 and given command of the two independent companies of Wyoming (united in one) and accompanied Sullivan on his expedition against the Indians. He was at Valley Forge with his company, participated in the Battles of Germantown and Brandywine, and also had a command in "Mud Fort" on the Delaware river, during the long continued and severe cannonading of that point by the British in October, 1777. In speaking of this siege, Mr Miner says: "Almost every shot from the British tore through the fort, and the men fell on every side. A Soldier in Spalding’s company threw himself on the ground. "Nobody," he said, "can stand this." "Get up my good fellow," said Spalding coolly; "I should hate to have to run you through; you can stand it if I can," and the man returned cheerfully to his duty." Captain Spalding was transferred to the First Regiment, Connecticut line, and continued in the service till January 1, 1783. He was a brave and faithful officer, and distinguished himself in various engagements, one of which was Bound Brook, where he captured several prisoners and recovered a quantity of forage gathered by the British. After the war he was made a general of militia.
General Spalding is described as "a large man of imposing and pleasing appearance." Colonel Joseph Kingsbury says of him: "General Spalding was a man calculated to gain the love and esteem even of a savage. A better hearted man I never was acquainted with. He had a peculiar tact in pleasing the redskins, and usually, when passing through the place, on treaty business to Philadelphia, he would set some sport on foot. I remember of hearing it told of a feat performed by a couple of these redskins at a time when a large company of Indians were on their return from the City of Brotherly Love. They always made it a point to stop at night with their old friend, who never failed in providing them something to eat. At this time, he selected out two long-legged hogs from a company of half a score or more. He informed the chiefs that these two hogs were a present to them for supper & breakfast on the following conditions, to wit: The chiefs were to select from their company two young Indians, who were to catch the hogs at fair running and then they were theirs. The young racers were selected, stripped bare to Indian leggings and breech-clouts, armed each with a scalping knife. The hogs were turned loose upon the flats and the sport began. Such ecstasy as the Indians were in, as well as the palefaces present, I expect from the account, does not often happen to any people. The hogs at first were too swift on foot for the two-legged swine in pursuit. Once in awhile the redskins would catch the hogs by the tail, but in attemping to stop them they were generally thrown down, sometimes tumbling heel over head, and sometimes dragged for several rods till they could hold no longer; giving loose they were up and at it again. This sport lasted for three-quarters of an hour, when the fiercer brutes finally conquered. A fire was built, the hogs layed on without any dressing, roasted, and eated with much satisfaction." General Spalding was a member of the Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati, and prominent in Wyoming affairs before his removal to Sheshequin. In 1791 and ’92 he represented Luzerne county in the Pennsylvania Legislature, and took an active interest in all popular movements that tended to good government. In the old Sheshequin cemetery on an unpretentious headstone, is found this inscription:
GEN. S SPALDING
Died January 24, 1814,
Aged 72 YEARS AND 8 DAYS
He was a Revolutionary soldier,
Brave and a friend to all
Ruth, wife of General Spalding, died October 1, 1806, in her sixty-fifth year. The children of Simon and Ruth Spalding were: Sarah, John, Rebecca, Mary, Anna, George and Chester Pierce.
SARAH, born January 31, 1763, married Joseph Kinney, died June 9, 1840.
JOHN, born November 14, 1765, was a fifer in his father’s company and accompanied him on the Sullivan expedition. He took an active part in military affairs and was commissioned colonel of State Militia. He married Wealthy Ann, (the first bride in the Sheshequin settlement), daughter of Judge Gore; died February 9, 1828. The children of John and Wealthy Spalding were: Harry, born September 30, 1784, married Lemira Satterlee, died May 23, 1821; William Bela, born August 24, 1786, married Delight Spalding, died in Texas, September, 10 1848; Noah, born June 28, 1788, married Huldah Kellogg, died February 5, 1835; Obadiah Gore, born August 11, 1790, married Clotilda Hoyt, died in Michigan, December, 1847; Simon, born June 5, 1792, died May 15, 1814; Sarah, born August 26, 1794, married General Henry Welles, died December 29, 1877; Ulysses, born July 3, 1796, married Jane A Smith, died in Peru, Illinois; Wealthy Ann, born July 14, 1798, married Luther Carner, died April 8, 1833; George W., born August 18, 1800, married Prudence Brown, died in Illinois, August 24, 1840; John Avery, born August 14, 1802, married Amanda Tracy, died August 7, 1842; Charles M, born December 20, 1804, married Jane Crawford, died in Texas, January 20, 1858; Zebulon Butler, born December 20, 1807, married Keziah B Ovenshire, died November 19, 1870; Avery Gore, born March 28, 1810, died September 19, 1835; Mary Ann, born April 30, 1812, died October 26, 1831.
REBECCA, born December 16, 1773, married William Witter Spalding, died April 21, 1813.
MARY, born July 20, 1776, married Moses Park, died May 2, 1842.
ANNA, born April 21, 1779, married Colonel Joseph Kingsbury, died September 18, 1864.
GEORGE, born September 5, 1782, died May 26, 1800, unmarried.
CHESTER PIERCE, born June 18, 1784, married Sarah Tyler, died at Palmyra, N. Y. in 1811.
Joseph Kinney was born of Scotch-Irish parentage at Plainfield, Conn, in 1755. At the age of twenty-one he joined the American army and saw his first service at Dorchester Heights in March, 1776. He was wounded in the leg and captured at the battle of Long Island. For three months he suffered the horrors of confinement in the old Jersey prison ship. After being released, and still much crippled from his wounds, he made his way home on foot. He again joined the army and was at the battle Saratoga, resulting in the surrender of Burgoyne, October 17, 1777. He then returned to Plainfield, where he remained until 1778 when he emigrated to Wyoming. Here, on the 18th of June, 1781, he married Sarah, the eldest daughter of Captain Simon Spalding, and with his father-in-law and others removed to Sheshequin in 1783. He settled on the farm now owned by his great-grandson, Hon. O D Kinney. In Wyoming he had been a school teacher, but changed his occupation to that of a farmer in his new home, a calling in which he prided himself. He built and occupied the second framed house in the Valley. His biographer says: "Mr Kinney was not only a great reader, but was also a close and logical reasoner and analyzed thoroughly everything offered before he stored it away in his memory as knowledge. He was particularly apt in theological themes, and had many a gusty bout with the preachers of the day. However, he and Moses Park, when sent to oppose and confound Mr Murray in his first seed-sowing of the doctrines of universal salvation at Athens, "went wool-gathering and came home shorn," after a three days’ protracted effort, Mr Kinney’s house was the home of all the itinerants of the gospel in his day. Being of a scrofulous diathesis, he was no doubt more or less irritable. But his wife, Sarah, always mild and forbearing, always generous and couciliatory, never was swerved from the unerring law of kindness, which seldom fails to soothe the morbid passions of humanity. Upon the whole, with the limited education attainable in his day, except by the wealthy few, he would be called a man of decided brain power, strong in the convictions of right and duty, a close reasoner, irreproachable in his integrity and highly respected by the large circle of his acquaintances. He was emphatically domestic in his tastes and hence disliked and refused political positions generally." However, in 1791 he accepted the appointment of justice of the peace for the "Tioga district," and served as one of the first county commissioners, being elected on the Federal ticket in 1812. Mr Kinney died June 3, 1841, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He is buried in the old Sheshequin cemetery and his headstone bears the inscription—"A Soldier of the Revolution." His wife died June 9, 1840, aged nearly seventy-seven years. The children of Joseph and Sarah Kinney were: Ruth (drowned in childhood), Simon, Ruth, George, Charles, Sarah, Lucy, Guy, Wealthy, Mina and Phebe M.
SIMON, born August 26, 1784, was one of the first two children born in Sheshequin. His early life was spent in assisting in clearing up a heavily timbered farm, receiving in the meantime a careful, moral and intellectual training. At his majority he married Phebe Cash and took up the study of the law. In January, 1814, he was admitted to practice in the several courts of Bradford county and located in Towanda. He was a man of unquestioned legal ability and soon became one of the foremost lawyers in Northern Pennsylvania. He was elected to the State legislature from the Bradford—Tioga district in 1820 and re-elected in 1821. He was also county treasurer in 1816-’17. He was a man of strong mind, and his service is favorably remembered by active participators in the political affairs of the time. The great David Wilmot completed his law studies in the office of Mr Kinney, who was his first associate after entering the profession. Mr Kinney’s wife died May 31, 1835, aged fifty years, and in 1836 he removed to Illinois with the rest of his family. He identified himself with the interests of the "Prairie State," and was one of the founders of her State government. He died at Indiantown, Bureau county, September 11, 1859. The children of Simon and Phoebe Kinney were: Harriet (Mrs Charles Whitehead), Henry Lawrence, Joseph Warren, Emily, Sarah and Anna. The two sons have an interesting and romantic history connected with their lives. Henry Lawrence achieved an enviable celebrity by his dash, courage and enterprise, which made him at one time quite the lion of the country. He was the founder of Corpus Christi, Texas, and peopled the town by a denomination of his own settlers. After the Texan war he was captured in Mexico, and for a long time confiued in the prison of Preote; served in the Mexican war in General Taylor’s army; supplied the commissariat with stores from the resources of the country, and was deemed a millionaire at the end of the war. He spent much of his fortune afterwards in Central American expeditions. During the rebellion he served in Mexico as colonel of her army, and fought against the French and Maximilian and was killed at Monterey in 1862, while leading a small troop in ferreting out guerrillas in the city. He became one of the finest horsemen of Texas, taking lessons of the Comanches, and so far surpassing them that they were to his mastery but initiates. He won many victories over them in some of their sharpest fights. It will not be amiss to state that he married a daughter of General Lamar, of the "Lone Star" fame. He was about sixty years of age at the time of his death. Joseph Warren followed the fortunes of his brother in Texas, and acquired considerable landed property. He was accidentally shot by the explosion of his pistol in mounting his horse and died from the wound soon after.
RUTH married Warren Brown, a merchant of Towanda, who was commissioners’ clerk from 1826 to ’30. They removed to Illinois in the ‘30’s.
GEORGE, born May 13, 1788, spent his life in Sheshequin. He possessed a native strength and clearness of mind, which made him prominent in his day; and with the aid of a borrowed book or two and the faint glimmer of a tire light, he acquired the rudiments of education, a few fundamental truths and principles, which were his beacon lights in after life. He contributed largely to his county papers, mostly political, but occasionally a miscellaneous gem of prose or poetry, of which the more pretending might well be proud. He was a justice of the peace for many years, a portion of the time by appointment under Governor Wolf and for ten years by election of the people. He was a captain and lieutenant-colonel in the State militia. In 1837 he was elected representative of the county. In the legislature he maintained a prominent position and wielded an influence over its deliberations. Mr Kinney possessed a legal and philosophical mind, and his counsels in matters of law were much sought after. He had an instinctive hatred of slavery and every species of oppression. He was among the first of the old Whig party to openly sustain Mr Wilmot in his proviso of freedom. He married Mary Carner. Mr Kinney died April 29, 1862; his wife, born March 16, 1787, died December 30, 1863. The children of George and Mary Kinney were: Julia Hutchinson, George Wayne, Horace, Newcomb, W Wallace, O H Perry, Mary and Somers. Julia, married Dr David L Scott of Towanda. She was a lady of rare intelligence and poetic genius. She was a poetical contributor of merit to the periodicals of her time. Her poems have been collected and two editions published. They rank with those that have been produced by the more eminent authors. Mrs Scott died of consumption in 1842, in her thirty-third year. George Wayne learned the printing art and spent some years on the local papers. Later he was deputy prothonotary, and elected representative in 1865 and re-elected in 1866. He died in Sheshequin, Mary 8, 1880, aged sixty-nine years. His only son, Newcomb, was killed while serving his country in the war of the rebellion. Horace engaged in mercantile pursuits. He died suddenly July 4, 1867, in his fifty-fifth year. He was the father of Orrin D, an ex-member of the Minnesota legislature, who has made a fortune in the West. Newcomb went to Illinois, where he died quite early in life. W Wallace studied medicine; married Elizabeth Chaffee of Sheshequin and practiced at Rome. He was the father of Winfield S Kinney, an ex-member of the State legislature. O H Perry read law and practiced at Towanda for a time. He was elected to the State legislature in 1858 and 1859. Subsequently, he purchased an interest in the Waverly Adrocate, where his former record found him out and he was sent to represent his district in New York, in the legislature of the State for two successive terms, and was also a member of the last Constitutional convention of the State. He was postmaster of Waverly at the time of his death, in September, 1883. Mary married D S Bull and removed to Iowa. Somers went to Texas and engaged in public enterprises. He was a member of the Texas legislature in 1857, and later engaged in journalism.
CHARLES followed farming in Sheshequin. He married Amanda Carrier, who bore him three sons; Joseph, who became a Universalist minister and died in the West; Hanford, who died from army exposure, and Amzi, who occupied the homestead.
SARAH married Lockwood Smith of Ulster, who was somewhat prominent in politics, having been sheriff of the county and a member of the State legislature. She died in Sheshequin, March 14, 1856, aged sixty-four years, without issue.
LUCY married Thomas Marshall of Sheshequin and died in 1868, aged seventy-two years, without issue.
GUY, married Matilda, daughter of Avery Gore, and lived in Sheshequin. He died October 25, 1872, in his seventy-fourth year. His children were: Ellen, Newton, Roxana, Ada, Avery, Simon, H Clay and Ida. Newton gained a considerable celebrity as a lecturer on phrenology and Spiritualism.
WEALTHY married Guy Tozer of Athens, who was sheriff of the county from 1837 to ’40. Their children were: Helen, Ralph, Lucy, Guy M, George, Frank and Charles. Mrs Tozer died August 18, 1868, in her sixty-eighth year.
PERLEY occupied the homestead until the time of his death, September 4, 1845, being accidentally killed in a threshing machine. He married Sarah Hutchins and they had three children, Perley H, Miles F and Ruth. Miles read law and was a successful practitioner of the Bradford county bar. He died in January, 1862, aged thirty-two years. Ruth married G W Fish. Perley occupied the homestead.
MINA married Stephen Smith and removed to Illinois, where her husband served as sheriff of Bureau county.
PHEBE M, never married and died at the old home, November 17, 1867, aged sixty years.
Sergeant Thomas Baldwin, one of the patriots accompanying General Spalding into Sheshequin, was a native of Norwich, Conn. He early removed with his father’s family to the Wyoming Valley, and was in the battle of Wyoming, where a brother and sister were captured and taken to Tonawanda Creek, near Niagara. Thomas served with Colonel Franklin and hunted Indians and Tories along the Susquehanna. During the captivity of his brother and sister he scouted the Susquehanna and Chemung valleys hoping to meet and release them. The following is recounted: "He heard the report of a gun one day, and soon saw a white man running and an Indian after him. He fired and wounded the Indian, who turned about and ran off. The white man had been scalped, shot and stabbed seven times. Baldwin followed the Indian and found him sitting in the grass with his rifle across his lap. He advanced with his rifle at his shoulder and finger on the trigger ready to fire if the savage stirred. The Indian sat still, and striking his gun out of his reach, Baldwin said to him, "I will pay you for scalping a white man alive,’ and commenced hacking at his head with his tomahawk. The Indian scratched his head and grunted, whereupon the heart of the avenger failed him in his cruelty and he sunk his hatchet into the brain of his helpless victim and left him. He took the white man along with him to the settlement, where he recovered from his wounds and ever after made an annual pilgrimage to his preserver’s house while he lived." Baldwin also commanded one of the companies of volunteers sent in pursuit of Roswell Franklin’s family, and persisted in the pursuit when the other companies turned back, and rescued the children, though Mrs Franklin was shot. Seven of the company were left on Frenchtown Mountain to watch the Indians, while the eighth man went out to kill game, supplies having been exhausted. The hunting party was under strict orders to return at nine o’clock a m, but did not get in at the time appointed, and shortly after the Indians were seen coming along the trail. The seven men on guard formed a semi-circle, and as the Indians came within range opened fire on them, expecting the return of their comrade every moment, Baldwin showed his hat on his ramrod and drew the fire of the Indians, and as they looked out from their coverts behind the trees, gave them the contents of his rifle. One of the redskins getting into close quarters, Baldwin held his hat up and received a bullet through his hand. The Indian rushed forward with his tomahawk, when Baldwin fired into his face, having only powder in his gun, and burned the Indian horribly. About this time the Indians ran, and as they left, Mrs Franklin looked above the log behind which she was lying, and was shot and killed by the Indians. The children were taken back to their friends. When the treaty was made at Newtown, Baldwin saw the Indian whose face he had burned, and upon inquiry the Indian corroborated the fact, saying, "Yankee fired big gun in my face." Baldwin was with Sullivan at the battle of Baldwin’s Creek, where the Indians and British fought together behind breastworks. He got in the rear and was having a busy session by himself, firing into the enemy’s back. When the Indians ran, one of them jumped over the log, behind which Baldwin lay, and seeing him, gave him the contents of his gun in his knee, the ball passing on and lodging in his thigh. He rode to Tioga Point on horseback, had his wound dressed and retired with the army to Wyoming. Mr Baldwin remained in Sheshequin only temporarily. While residing here, in the summer of 1783 his son, Vine, was born-said to be the first white child born in the Sheshequin Valley after the Revolution. He settled on the battle ground where he was wounded, now the town of Ashland, Chemung county, NY. Here he spent the remainder of his days and is buried. The son, Vine Baldwin, was a man of great enterprise, and for many years was a resident of Ridgebury and Troy.
Captain Stephen Fuller removed from Hampton, Windham county, Conn, to Wyoming in 1769. He took an active interest in the affairs of the Susquehanna Company and held various positions in the organization of the new colony. In 1773, he, Obadiah Gore, Jr, and Seth Marvin were given the privilege of erecting a saw mill on Mill Creek. The mill was completed the same year, and was the first saw mill erected on the upper waters of the Susquehanna. In October, 1775, he was commissioned captain of the First company of the Connecticut militia and took part in the battle of Wyoming. In 1783, he and sons, John and Reuben, joined General Spalding’s party and came to Upper Sheshequin, where they occupied Connecticut lands. John had been a member of Captain John Franklin’s company. The Susquehanna Company’s township of Fullersville (now Franklin) in 1 795 was granted to Captain Fuller on account of "his former expenses, services and loss in supporting and defending the interests of the company." Captain Fuller had married Mary Abbott of Connecticut. Their daughter, Abigail, married first Captain James Bidlack, second Colonel John Franklin. The sons, John and Reuben, after residing in Sheshequin a score of years removed to other parts. Captain Fuller died May 21, 1813, aged 82 years. His wife, Mary, lies besie him in the Sheshequin cemetery, and the headstone over her grave contains the solitary inscription-"M F."
Hugh Forseman, ("Fordsman") who came with General Spalding’s pioneers, was a native of Ireland. He married Judith Slocum, sister of "the lost" Frances. He served as justice of the peace, and as one of the Justices of Quorum in the county court of Westmoreland. Mr Miner says: "Being a man of business and probity, few shared more highly the general confidence. As clerk of the town, his writing is singularly neat and accurate. To his care we are indebted that the old Westmoreland records were preserved." Mr Forseman was a resident of Sheshequin as late as 1804. He probably returned to Wyoming.
Benjamin Cole, who came to Sheshequin with General Spalding, remained about twenty years, then removed to other parts.
Arnold Franklin was the first settler in Lower Sheshequin. He came from Wyoming in 1784 and occupied the place now owned by Joseph Towner. He was proprietor of a half-right in Claverack, which embraced the island opposite his farm. The island contained about sixty acres and was very productive. It had been cleared by the Indians and used by them for their corn patches. In about 1805 Mr Franklin sold his property to Richard Horton and removed to Palmyra. Here his wife (Abigail Foster) died. He married again and subsequently came to Smithfield, where he lived with his son, Rev William Franklin, a Presbyterian preacher. He died at the latter place, February 20, 1839, at the age of 74 years. Of the Wyoming Franklins, there were seven brothers, all of whom had large families. Seven of the Franklins were killed at the Wyoming slaughter. Jonathan, one of the brothers, who was the father of Arnold, was killed in the battle. Arnold was also in the battle, but escaped. Later he was captured, but after three month’s captivity escaped from the Indians on the Genesee and made his way back to his uncles’s, Roswell Franklin, living at Kingston, who adopted him into his family. A cousin, Roswell Franklin, Jr, was about Arnold’s age. While the two boys were at work in the field, they were made prisoners by the Indians and taken to Canada, where they remained three years, when they were released or escaped. With great difficulty, they made their way home, to the joy and surprise of their friends who had