History of Sheshequin 1777---1902
C. F. Heverly
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Silas, Asa and George Gore were killed, as were Timothy Pierce and John Murphy, who married my uncles' sisters. Daniel Gore was wounded in the left arm. In the evening as we sat outside of the fort, we heard the voice of a man upon the opposite side of the river. They called to know who he was and he replied, ‘Daniel Gore.’ Grandmother said, ‘Have I one son living? with such expressive voice that it still sounds in my ears. My head at this time was lying in her lap and we were all absorbed in grief. They brought him over, dressed his wounds and he left again under cover night, as did all the rest who remained alive.
"The next day the fort surrendered, and the Indians began plundering. They made the women give up their beads and other ornaments. My aunt, Sally Gore, had a chest of clothing that was very nice and she sat upon it. A young Indian told her to get up. She said she would not. He went out and an older one came in with a tomahawk and she resisted his command. The entreaties of her friends made her leave it to their inspection. They distributed her clothing among the squaws, one putting her white satin bonnet on hind side before and wearing if off. After securing such things as their fancy led them to carry away, they began their work of destruction by cutting open beds and strewing feathers and straw. They emptied meal, flour and all kinds of provisions, and strewed them to the wind in a common mass. I was broken out with measles at the time and they put me in a bed with my sick aunt to keep them from disturbing her. It had the desired effect and few ventured into the room. One Indian came in with her husband’s vest on and wore it away, and by that she knew her husband was killed. She gave her son his father’s name, Asa Gore. I can never forget the heartening sighs and sobs at the sound of the guns that were completing the work of death. We remained there a few days until aunt could be moved.
"Word came there was a nation of Indians coming that could not speak a word of English and every one would be killed who was found there. We then put up such things as we could carry in packs and handkerchiefs and started for New Jersey. We traveled two days, passing a great many who had given out by the way, some sick, others weary. We passed a great many infants who drew their first breath by the roadside, among them two pairs of twins. Their mothers’ beds were hemlock boughs and their covering was poles and bushes with sometimes an article of clothing of blankets added. They remained in this condition until our army was apprised of it and they sent pack-horses with provisions to help them through the woods. They carried those unable to walk until they got to inhabitants in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, where Grandfather Gore stopped. He got the use of a small house of a man by the name of Stroud, (Stroudsburg), about fifty miles from Wyoming. The rest disbanded and went to different parts of the country, many going through to Connecticut. We remained here a few days without knowing whether the rest of our friends were living or not. One day grandmother called me in from play and I came running in. My father sat there: we were neither of us able to speak for some time. Then he took me on his lap and asked me if I wanted to see my mother. I told him yes. He said she was at Mr. Bucoy’s in New Jersey with the rest of the children. They were all alive, but they supposed all on the west side of the river were killed. Father got a passage for Mrs. Satterlee, her four children and myself in a baggage wagon to go within a few miles of where mother was. Mrs. Satterlee’s husband was killed in the battle and she was returning to her friends in Connecticut. Two of my aunts had gone there before. Mrs. Satterlee begged food by the way. Sometimes we fared well, at other times we considered ourselves among Tories. After we separated a kind man took me on a horse and carried me to where mother was.
"After our people took possession of Wyoming again and established guards there, father sent with my Uncle Asa’s widow to Connecticut, where she became an inmate of Deacon Avery’s family with her son. She lived there about seven years and then married a man by the name of Murphy. Mr. and Mrs. Avery had no children and they adopted her son and made him heir to a handsome property. The old people lived and died with him. Father returned, and after burying their dead they erected barracks and small houses and many lived in or near the fort. The men tried to secure their crops. The Indians were frequent visitors and often killed them while at work in the fields. Four men and a boy crossed the river to work; the Indians crept under the brush that grew along the fence until they got near them and then rushed out and killed and scalped the men and stabbed the boy nine times and took off his scalp. The cannon was fired from the fort which frightened them away, and as soon as was deemed prudent they crossed with canoes and carried them over. The boy was alive and recovered: the men’s faces were all cut in gashes. Mr. Ganley and another man were out hunting, and were taken prisoners and carried to Meshoppen. There they killed the Indians and returned. A party of Indians lay in ambush several days watching for Captain Franklin, and not being able to get him they went to his house, Sunday, April 7, 1782, took his wife and four children prisoners and carried them to Meshoppen, that being their place of resort. Our men went in pursuit and found them. They had placed them under guard and commanded them to lay flat upon the ground to keep them from being discovered. Mrs. Franklin raised her head to look about. An Indian told her if she did it again he would kill her. This did not keep her quiet. She raised her head a second time and he shot her. She died on the spot: (Mr. Miner says: In the midst of the firing the two little girls and the boy sprang from their captors and found refuge with their friends. Instantly the savages shot Mrs. Franklin and retreated; the chief raised the babe on his shoulder and thus bearing her aloft fled") then they took the babes and dashed their brains out against a tree. Our men put them to flight, carried back the children and left the dead, not thinking it prudent to remain and bury them. They afterwards went after them. Mrs. Franklin’s clothes were on the ground as she lay in them; her body was gone and never found. Her two oldest sons were prisoners at Niagara at the time.
"The Indians came into the home of Mr. Lester, killed and scalped him, and took his wife and four children prisoners. The two oldest were daughters. The boys died. Mrs. Lester and daughters remained in captivity until the close of the war, when Mrs. Lester and one of them were released. In a few months Mrs. Lester and Captain Franklin were married and then went in pursuit of the other daughter. According to the treaty, the prisoners were to be sent to Niagara. They went there. The girl had not been sent in, and after much inquiry they learned that she was on the Grand river in Michigan. An Indian was sent to pilot Franklin to the tribe she was with. They found her, and as soon as they made their business known the squaws began making great lameniations, tore their hair and she utterly refused to leave the Indians. When they compelled her to come, the squaws tore her clothing all off and left her naked. Franklin wrapped his horse blanket around her and then mounted his horse and an Indian handed her up to him and he carried her off by force. They joined her mother at Niagara, then returned home. They stopped at father’s for dinner, and we tried every way we could to familiarize her with the ways of the white people. She was then fourteen years old, and a squaw in every respect except color. She talked with me afterward and said she was always mortified in company, and yet was unable to overcome the Indian traits and carried them with her through life. She married Mr. Cole, who was one of the first settlers of Scipio.
"July 1, 1778, the next day after the battle, when they came into the fort, Queen Esther, a half breed squaw, said she was "never so tired in her life as she was yesterday killing so many darned Yankees," She killed fourteen. One of my uncles was one of the number. One man escaped to tell the fate of the others. After this the Indians continued their depredations upon the inhabitants. Some days had elapsed since any Indians had been seen about there, and Uncle Daniel Gore and Mr. Abbott went out to look at their farms, a little more than a mile off. They were discovered by a party of Indians that gave chase. Mr Abbott being in the rear, was shot and the Indians stopped to scalp him. This gave my uncle a chance to escape. A young man came to the fort famished, wrary, ragged and dirty. Said his name was Mayers and that he was taken near Sunbury. The Indians had been so troublesome that a party had turned out to hunt them down. They found no signs of them, and had sat down to eat their lunch and some of them had begun to play cards. The Indians had come upon them unexpectedly and killed all but him and another one. He was with the Indians two days, when he managed to get hold of one of their knives and cut the cords he was bound with, and crept softly away until he was out of sight and hearing. He had been gone sixteen days and lived on bark and roots. The life of the other man he doubted had not paid the forfeit of his escape. He was treated harshly by the Indians. Mother washed and mended his clothing and he started for home.
"Before the battle we lived near Jonathan Slocum. They had a daughter about my age; her name was Frances. We went to school together. Mr. Slocum, his son William and Chester Kingsley went out some distance from the fort to grind some knives. Mr. Miner’s account differs somewhat "On the 2d of November, 1778, while the two Kingsley boys were engaged in grinding a knife, Nathan, aged fifteen, was shot and scalped by an Indian. Frances Slocum, aged five, the younger Kingsley boy, and a black girl were seized and carried away into captivity. On the 16th of December following, while Mr. Slocum, his father-in-law, Isaac Tripp, and William Slocum were foddering cattle, they were fired upon by a party of Indians. Mr. Slocum was shot dead, Mr. Tripp wounded and tomahawked, but William escaped"): Frances was with them. The Indians killed Mr. Slocum, wounded William and took Chester and Frances prisoners. Every means was taken to find them but to no purpose. When Mrs. Slocum saw me it brought to mind her lost Frances, and many has been the time I have witnessed her tears in speaking of Frances. After Frances became old she was found among the Miamis in Indiana, surrounded by an Indian family of her own. Chester was never heard from to my knowledge. Mr. Slocum’s house was not destroyed and the family remained there unmolested until our people took the fort.
The Indians had been so troublesome that it was thought best to send the army to destroy their crops and habitations. They went to Tioga Point and then to Catharinetown, and down the west side of Seneca lake to Geneva, cutting their road as they went. They camped with the main army at Tioga, then sent out parties to destroy their crops and wigwams. When the crops were near enough to Genessee river they were thrown in, and at other times burned. The Indian families had all left and kept before the army. Their warriors were on the lurk to kill our men when they could. By one of their parties Boyd was tortured because he would not tell them the situation of our army. He made signs of being a Free Mason. The chief, understanding him, gave orders not to kill him but to provide for him, as he was going away to gone some days. After the chief had gone they questioned Boyd again. He would tell them nothing. The Indians took out one end of his intestines and fastened it to a tree, and drove him around it until they were all wound on the tree. They scalped and left him. He was found next day. John Spalding assisted in carrying him into camp. After surveying the country around Genesee, Moscow and Allen’s Hill, they returned to Seneca lake and divided: some going between the lakes, others went around the outlet of the Cayuga to the east side. There they found a large hewed log house, called a castle, built for a place of worship. It had a large brass lock on the door. Father took it off, carried it home, put it on his own door and it still remains there. They burned the castle. I think it stood near where Savonia now stands. The two armies met at Ithaca again. They cut down a large orchard near Geneva. At Chemung river they had a warm skirmish with the Indians. They were in a gulf between the hills. When the inhabitants were returning to Wyoming after the massacre, the smallpox broke out in the army.
"Grandfather and grandmother returned two weeks before we did and moved into the house father had built, and while father was after his grandfather and grandmother were both taken very sick. When we got into the neighborhood we were halted, vaccinated and staid there some days. Grandfather wished to see us very much; we were not permitted to go there until he died, when mother and I were permitted to look through the window and view the cold remains of one who had been dear to me. I felt his loss very much. Grandmother recovered. The house was cleaned and we moved there. Father had hired a woman to pick up feathers from the corners of the fences and other lodging places. She had enough for two beds, and we made ticks from old tent cloth. We lived there on small means, witnessing scenes of cruelty every few days. A man and a boy were boiling sap in their cabin. The Indians tomahawked and poured boiling sap down the man’s throat, scalped him and took the boy prisoner. Men crossed over Kingston flats to work. The Indians secreted among the bushes and killed a number of our men and they killed an Indian noted for his bravery. He was called Anthony Turkey. The rest disappeared. Our men brought over their dead and also Anthony Turkey, laid him on the green before the fort and all went to view him. The next day they fitted up an old canoe and placed him in a sitting position, fastened a rooster between his legs with a peck of corn before him, wrote a pass and fastened it to his hand, stating where he started from and shoved him in the current of the river. Shortly the Indians came near the fort in the night and said, "They have killed Anthony Turkey," his name was Anthony Kneebuckle; and they defied those in the garrison to come out and kill them, thinking that they would get them out that way. We were often alarmed in the night and ran to the fort. Much of the time we slept with our clothes on. A party went out to see what they could discover, and they found a mulatto with a very nice spyglass. They could not get him to speak a word. They marshalled him, sentenced him to have his fingers pinched with bullet molders, and put to torture in other ways, yet could not get a word from him. They sent him to headquarters as a spy, and as father was officer of the day he gave the spyglass to him.
"Forty Fort is on the west side of the river (Susquehanna) opposite Kingston flats. It was called Forty Fort, because forty men were there from Connecticut to help build it. I think grandfather was one of the forty men. There were three or four springs coming out of the back directly in front of the fort, and there the river is so wide that small arms on the opposite side can do no damage. The guard house was a small distance from it, and a part of the times was occupied for a school-room. One day we heard the report of a gun directly in front of the door and windows soon after school had opened in the afternoon, and a scene of confusion instantly commenced. Teachers and scholars sprang for the door and windows, getting out as best they could, and ran for the fort. Soon after we learned an Indian had been concealed in the bushes watching the movements at the fort, and that there were 100 more further back. They expected to come at night and take the fort by surprise. The Indian said he could have hit a number of us with his gun while we were at play at noon. Our seats ran from the door directly back and were filled with scholars. He pointed to see how many he could hit with one shot, and in putting his gun down he accidentally hit it against a bush and it went off, and put all on their guard. They left for that time. When General Sullivan was marching his army into Wilkes-Barre to drive back the Indians, father watched until he saw them come over the mountains, then he called us all to him and let us look through the spyglass to see them, and told us we might go to bed and sleep that night. Our joy was beyond description.
"These scenes finally closed and we were settled quite securely, when on March 24, 1784, we were visited by an ice flood in the night which did great damage. We were awakened by one of our neighbors after the water had surrounded our house. We all got away and went to high land, where we were joined by many others. They built a large fire in the fields and we remained there until daylight, when they discovered a family by the name of Pierce in a black walnut tree which stood in front of their door. Mr. Pierce had drawn his canoe up near his house and lashed it to a tree to feed his cattle in: he awoke in the night and found his bed in the water. They went into the chamber and knocked a hole through the roof and sat on the peak of the house. A son four years old was left in the house until near day, when a cake of ice came against the house and knocked the chimney down. He called out, "What is that?" They asked to know where he was, and he said "Here on a board." They drew him up with the rest of the family, and finally they succeeded in getting in their canoe, and from there to the tree where they remained until near noon before they could be got off.
The settlement was mostly overflowed and nearly all the cattle, sheep and hogs were drowned or carried away in the night. In the morning we saw a hencoop floating down with a rooster on the top crowing. Such a flood had not been known before, and I have not heard of any since that compared with it. Father and others went about ten miles to a place that had been vacated in the time of the war and cut grass to winter the cattle. My brother Avery and another man went there to take care of the stock. They carried their provisions, built a cabin and cooked for themselves. The winter was very severe, the snow very deep, so there was no passage to and fro until the middle of March, when three men fixed snow shovels and went to see what had been their fate. They found them well and remained a few days. After they had eaten what provisions they had carried with them they killed a heifer and lived on beef. Then they took the fences from the stacks, and all started for home and reached there a few days before the flood. By this means, our cattle were saved, but the hogs were drowned. The darkness of the night was doubtless a great saving of human life; as the people could see nothing all escaped as fast as they could to high ground. Only one man was drowned near here. Mr. Asa Jackson and Uncle Daniel Gore were together. Uncle Daniel got into his skiff and rode safely across the flats. The other man got on his horse and rode part way, when a block of ice came against him and both he and his horse were drowned. As soon as the water had settled we returned to our house. My brother was the first to enter. He stepped upon a loose board and went under water into the cellar. A chest we had our best clothes in had a pound of copperas in also, and everything was nicely colored and all things about the house compared with that.
"All went to work again to prepare for another year’s crops, when on May 1 we received orders from the Pennamites to leave the place. They had a treaty with the Indians, and had hired them to come and plunder and drive off the settlers. Many of the settlers not wishing to engage in any more warfare, prepared to move, some going to Connecticut, others went up the river about thirty miles to a place called Bowman’s Creek. We started the 18th for that place. The first day we went ten miles. There were sixty or seventy in the company, and each one that was able carried a pack or bundle. The heavy articles were carried in canoes. At night they would unload and camp until daylight.The second morning we saw a boat returning, and mother got a passage for my youngest sister, Sally, in a canoe, and left Anna and myself to make our way the best we could with the others. We kept in their company until we came to Uncle Daniel Gore’s on Bowman’s flats. We had driven down some stakes and peeled bark, and wove in and made a small room. Mother returned in a few days. At that time father was at the assembly in New Jersey and did not return until June. After making their families as comfortable as they could, the men went back to defend their rights. They had a battle and a number were killed on both sides. They proposed coming together the next day. All laid down arms, and as soon as the attention of our men was drawn towards the speaker their commander gave "Order Arms," and they secured the guns of our men and took most of them prisoners. My brother was one of them, and was kept in jail until there was a settlement with the colonies. Colonel Swift tried to fire the fort in their possession one dark night. He was discovered and was wounded by a shot from the fort. His men carried him away and concealed him until he could be carried farther. They brought him to our house, where he remained three weeks. He left as soon as he was able, for the enemy were on the lookout for him. He started in the morning for Owego. That night there came a company and surrounded our house: two or three came in so still that none awoke until they lit a candle, when the light awoke father. They asked for Swift. Father told them he left here in the morning, and he thought him out of their reach for that time. They searched until they were satisfied, then lay down upon our floor (which was composed of solid earth) until morning. Our house was in part, the one I spoke of, my uncles’s building of stakes and barks. After father returned, he added another room of bushes and there we lived until November. Then father and mother went down the river to get the rest of their goods, and left my three sisters and myself alone. The second day we saw a boat coming up the river; we heard their voices, we watched it and it did not pass, nor could we see anyone. Being accustomed to the fear of men, we put out the light, covered the fire and sat out doors most of the night. We were not disturbed, and we learned afterwards that they had been stealing plums, as there was a large plum orchard near.
"In November, father, with two other families, moved about forty miles up the river. The season had been very dry and warm and the river low. Our goods were carried in canoes with hands to row them. The rest traveled on foot along the bank of the river. The boats often got stuck, and we had ropes fastened to them to pull them along. All took hold to help, and some of them were in the water most of the time while assisting in towing the boats. My uncle had the fever and ague and every other day he rode on horseback. His fits came on in the afternoon, and Wealthy and myself took turns going ahead to wait on him while his fits were on. We would go as far as we thought the company would go that day, then make what preparations we could for their coming. One night the boats did not come. The boys got there with the cows. I carried a drinking cup and we all had our supper and breakfast from the cup. I had the saddle for a pillow and the boys found their beds as best they could. The rest of the company came up about ten o’clock. They had had more than usual trouble with the boats. After taking a rest we all moved on.
"We settled near the mouth of the Chemung river, on Queen Esther’s flats: remained there one year, then moved ten miles down the river upon the opposite side in the town of Sheshequin. There my parents spent the remainder of their days, and there Grandmother
106 Gore died in 1804, aged 83 years. At the age of 19, October 19, 1788, I was married to Elisha Durkee and moved to Scipio, Cayuga county, New York, in company with William, Patrick and family. One company had gone before us. They followed the old Sullivan road to the head of Seneca lake. There they fixed up some boats left by the army and went down the lake, and from Seneca river up the outlet of Cayuga lake. Our boat was leaky and we had to unload and caulk it often and dry our clothes. We had but little, and it took but little time to unload. We would go ashore and camp at night. When we arrived at our destined place, Mr. Durkee drove down two stakes in front of a large log, put up some poles, covered the top with bark and set up branches at the end. There we spent the summer of 1789. In the fall we built a log house on the east shore of Cayuga lake, about half way between Aurora and where Savannah now stands. All the boards used were split and hewed. In December I gave birth to a daughter (Betsey Durkee Sweetland). She was the first white child born in the town of Scipio. We lived there two years, during which time it had become settled all along the shore for miles. Captain Franklin, who married Mrs. Lester, moved here and settled on a farm where Aurora now stands, with money to pay for it when it came for sale; but not being able to see his neighbors starve around him, he had lent his money to buy provisions with, so he could not pay for the whole. He agreed with a man to deed the whole and leave him half. The man had a friend who was willing to join him in robbing Franklin of it all. That was too much for him; he became deranged and shot himself. It was a heavy blow to the whole settlement, for he had been a father to all. We lived on the Indian reserve and got a title of them in 1791. Governor Clinton sent orders to drive off the inhabitants and burn their buildings and fences, and we were again compelled to be homeless. Our house was burned as well as those of all others. I had two children at that time. I remained there and cooked by the fire of our house one week, then started on horseback with my children for Sheshequin. Mr. Durkee built a rail pen, chinked it with buckwheat straw, and remained there throughout the winter to care for his cattle. In the spring he moved on the old Watkins farm at Scipioville and lived there one year. Then he bought a farm of 200 acres of Gilberry
Tracy at $1.25 per acre, one mile west and one mile south of what is called Scipio Center.
"Elisha Durkee’s mother’s maiden name was Molly Benjamin. Her father was sent to England as a representative of the Connecticut colonies, was taken sick and died there. His grandmother’s maiden name was Molton. She was a Scotch woman and a noted doctress."
Joseph Spalding, one of the original proprietors of the Susquehanna Company’s township of Ulster, came to Sheshequin in 1784 or ’85. He was a descendant in the fifth generation from Edward Spalding and distant relative of General Simon and William Witter Spalding. He was born at Plainfield, Conn, June 7, 1745. In 1791 he removed to Athens and settled on the west side of the Chemung river, where he died Aug 31, 1832. He married first, Eunice Shepard, who died in Sheshequin Dec. 6, 1790, aged 37 years and 2 months; and second, Mrs. Anna Margaret Snell. His children were: Welthy (Mrs. Benedict Satterlee), John, Howard, Jared, Rachel (Mrs. Daniel Snell), Sarah (Mrs. Amasa Hamblin), Simon and Celestia (Mrs. Isaac Morley). The eldest son, John occupied the homestead and after holding many local positions in 1815 was elected the second sheriff of Bradford County. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Amos Prentice. Their children were: George, Owen, Amos P., William, Julia Ann (wife of Rev. Curtis Thurston), Joseph, John, Edward. Harriet (wife of Rev. Alpha Warren) and Jesse. John Spalding died Aug. 11, 1852, aged nearly 79 years.
The Murphy Family,-Five sons of Obadiah Gore and two sons-in-law, John Murphy and Timothy Pearce, sealed with their lives at the battle of Wyoming their attachment to freedom. On the day of the massacre Mrs. Murphy, who witnessed the terrible scene, with others broke through the guard stationed around Forty Fort, escaped to the river and in a boat floated down to Sunbury; thence traveled across the wilderness to the Delaware river near Stroudsburg. Here on the 30th of September in Esquire Depew’s barn was born to Mrs. Murphy a son, whom she named George-famous 100 years later as "the centenarian." After the war Mrs. Murphy returned with her children to Wyoming, which became her permanent abode.
George Murphy, son of John and Sally (Gore) Murphy, at the age of seven years, came to Sheshequin to live with his uncle, Judge Gore. Upon the establishment of a mail route through the wilderness from the Wyoming valley to the lake country (Canandaigua) he had the honor of being the first post-boy on the route, and made the trips on horseback once a week. In 1803 he married Lydia Wallace and took up a farm in the wilderness on what is now Towner Hill. Here he struggled with the wild woods and suffered many privations. Such supplies as could be had he carried in on his back from Sheshequin. The Red Man was gone, but ferocious wild beasts lurked on every side. Being a good huntsman from the abundance of game, however, he kept a well supplied larder. He cleared up a considerable part
of his 100-acre farm, which he sold in 1845 and removed to the place now occupied by his son, Ira, where he continued to reside, till the time of his death in his 101st year. In his long life he never called a doctor and retained his mental faculties to a remarkable degree till the very last. He kept up his active habits and labored in the fields and garden until he was very aged. On the 30th of September, 1878, he celebrated the 100th anniversary of his birth, several hundred people gathering to do him honor. On the occasion, Hon. O. H. P. Kinney delivered an address, who, in part, said:
"George Murphy was born 100 years ago to-day, and his neighbors are here to do reverence to the centenarian and express their gratitude for what he and his compeers of the past century have done for them. Here he has lived and labored 93 years; a longer period, perhaps, than any other man in this country ever resided in one immediate vicinity. It may properly be said that he lived that very long period of time in one town; for, although a portion of the time was spent in the township of Rome, that part of Rome is which he resided was taken from Sheshequin to create the new town. Remarkable events have occurred in the lifetime of Mr. Murphy. When he first saw the light, the country was in the midst of that great Revolutionary struggle, which will pass down the annuals of time as a memorable epoch in the history of the world. When he came to Sheshequin the war had just closed, and he was old enough to remember, more or less distinctly, the formation of the Constitution of the United States, and its ratification by the thirteen colonies which constituted us a nation in the great families of nations. He saw his country pass through and come victoriously out of the War of 1812; a war which settled forever some of the most important international questions ever submitted to the arbitrament of the sword. He dwelt among these hills during the war with Mexico, and saw almost an empire added to our domain as the result of that conflict. He took much interest in the great Civil war, which shook to its very foundation
the government he saw established in his infancy; and he was spared to see it come out thence stronger by the four years’ conflict, and so purified and so free that none but freemen now travel American soil. He now finds, as his century of life is completed, a nation of 3,000,000 people grown to one of 45,000,000 and spread over a territory larger than any empire of the earth. No nation in the history of the world has ever made such gigantic strides in its increase of population and territory in a single century. These are briefly a few of the great national events and achievements wrought out in a single lifetime. And they are of small moment compared with the growth of the country in the more important elements of human advancement and civilization. One hundred years ago this whole region of country, embracing an area of what is now several counties, was an almost unbroken wilderness, occupied in the most superficial way by tribes of roving Indians. From Wyoming on the south to the lakes on the north, the ground of the woodman’s axe had scarcely yet awakened the echoes of these hills; and it was not till General Sullivan with a large army passed up these valleys to the Genessee country, completely destroying the power of the Six Nations, and scattered them to the Canadas, that this beautiful country was opened to a higher order of civilization. We all realize, in some faint degree, the toils and hardships incident to commencing life in the wilderness. For long years our fathers struggled with rugged nature among these hills, securing by the most arduous and persistent toil but a scanty subsistence. The valley of Sheshequin was most favored of all this section of the country. The lands being prairie in their natures, rich of soil but scarcely wooded, with frequent wide openings where the Indians had cultivated corn in their crude way, they soon became productive, and afforded a surplus to their fortunate owners. They became the Egypt of this country, whence the suffering pioneers of other and less favored localities drew their rations of corn, generally without money and without price. As the settlements extended east and west, the settlers made pilgrimages every spring to the valley of Sheshequin for provisions, and they were never sent empty away. There are some here to-day myself among them who remember people coming from remote portions of
the country with their crude carts on begging errands for the poor of their localities. I have always felt proud of the kindness and generosity, which in these early days characterized my native town of Sheshequin. Her humanity became proverbial all the country through. Our venerable and aged friend was among the toilers who helped to feed the hungry and clothe the naked of those struggling times. He did his share in converting the stubborn wilderness into what we see about us today. We cannot be two grateful to those pioneers for the wonders wrought by their brave hearts and strong arms, and for the rich inheritance received at their hands. Ninety three years ago he saw the farmers going to Wilkes-Barre in canoes to get their grain ground, the trip requiring from ten days to two weeks. A horse mail passed through the valley once a week on its way to the lake countries of New York, and he had the honor of being the first post-boy on that route. A daily newspaper was unknown, and a weekly from Philadelphia reached the valley in about ten days after it was printed, containing latest news from England forty days old. Today a railroad threads the valley, dropping daily papers from New York and Philadelphia within ten hours after they leave the press. Passengers take a sleeping coach at evening and awaken at early morning in either of these cities refreshed and ready for a day of business. But George Murphy has lived to see the time of communication between London and New York reduced from thirty days to less than thirty seconds. One hundred years ago newspapers were printed on the old Ramage press and a good pressman could turn out complete about 100 newspapers an hour. Now the Bullock or Hoe press can run off, perfectly printed on both sides and counted and folded ready for the mails, about 30,000 an hour; and all without the aid of human hands after the machinery is started. More mail matter is carried today on the Lehigh Valley railroad than was then carried throughout the length and breadth of our land. In agriculture the improvements have not been less marked of important. Mr. Murphy, in common with others of that day, used the wooden plow and the wooden–tooth harrow, and he reaped his grain with the primitive sickle. Now the polished steel plow, the improved drags, cultivators, seed drills, etc, reduce the la-
bor of tilling the soil fully one-half; while the mower, reaper, horse rake and horse-fork have almost annihilated the dreaded three months of haying and harvesting; and with it has disappeared the inevitable pail of milk punch, with which the close of that heated term of toil was celebrated. The ‘death maul,’ which resounded among these hills through the long dreary month of winter, has given place to the threshing machine, whose marvels are hardly spread to the mower and reaper."
The father of George Murphy was a native of Ireland, and his mother of sturdy New England stock. His long life came to a close, January 27, 1879. His wife, born February 2, 1784, died December 6, 1852. Their remains repose in a private burial ground on the farm where they spent their closing years. The children of George and Lydia Murphy were; Selim W., born November 12, 1805, married Hannah Townsend and lived on Towner Hill; Lucy Ann, born August 10, 1812, married John Munn of Genesco, N.Y.; John and Chester both died on the homestead; Percilla married Harry Lawless of Rome; Polly married Samuel Bailey of Sheshequin; Ira, born August 20, 1826, married Amanda Shores and occupies the homestead. He was a soldier in the Civil war.
Captain Jeremiah Shaw, native of Bristol county, Rhode Island, born February 2, 1730, came to Sheshequin with his family in 1786. He married Abigail Campbell, and in 1772 removed to the State of New York, a where he remained till 1786. In the meantime, he had served his country in the struggle for Independence. Again seeking better opportunities, he went to
Wilkes-Barre with his family, where he remained only a few weeks. While here he met General Spalding, who told him of the beautiful Sheshequin flats and urged him to move his family thither. He, accordingly, secured a boat, took his family on board with such effects as he had and came up the river, requiring a journey of several days. He reached the new settlement on the 21st of April, and took up his abode with General Spalding until he could erect a log house for himself. He settled on the farm now owned by Asa Kinner, near the Sheshequin church, and lived there until the time of his death, May 29, 1815. His wife died March 19, 1811, aged 64 years. The children of Jeremiah and Abigail Shaw were: Esther, Jedediah, Hannah, Ebenezer, Jeremiah, Benjamin, Lorin, Abigail, Phoebe and Deborah.
ESTHER married Charles Manchester of Rhode Island; died at Tarrytown, N.Y.
JEDEDIAH married Martha, daughter of Silas Gore, who was slain at the battle of Wyoming; died in Sheshequin, May 15, 1800, aged 37 years.
HANNAH, born in 1766, married Hezekiah Townsend. She died at the home of her son, Manchester Townsend, in Torry, Yates county, N.Y., March 19, 1866, aged 100 years, 1 month and 26 days. Her biographer says: "Mrs. Townsend came with her husband to this country in 1788, and settled near Milo Center, where she had lived most of the time since. She was married in Pennsylvania, and her eldest was born in the year of their emigration. Some time after this, she took this boy be-
hind her on horseback and went to visit her parents in Pennsylvania. She swam the Susquehanna river with her horse, and when she returned she brought a bag of flour before her, and again swam her horse across the same river. Her husband opened the first tavern ever kept in Western New York, and lived there in the days of Jemima Wilkinson’s glory. She was ever respected and beloved by her neighbors and associates. Her descendants are quite numerous and respectable. She was generally a vigorous, healthy woman and never allowed herself to flinch from any duty, and never knew how to say "can’t,’ She died from sheer old age, having her senses to the last, complained of no pain, but gradually sunk, and finally went out like a taper burnt to its socket. Her like will never be seen again among the females of this land. May her virtues he remembered and her memory long cherished."
EBENEZER, "the centenarian," soon after attaining his majority purchased the northern half of his father’s farm and subsequently the balance, thus becoming the sole proprietor. For many years he was constable for Ulster, and while acting in that capacity was required to go to Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport to make his returns to court. In 1801 he married Cynthia, daughter of Eli Holcomb, one of the Ulster pioneers. On the 5th of September, 1871, he celebrated his 100th birthday anniversary, five generations being present to do him honor. It was his pride and boast that he voted for General Washington at his second election in 1792, and at every presidential election up to the date of his death.