History of Sheshequin 1777---1902
C. F. Heverly
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UNIONS, AND LIFE OF THE PIONEERS
The following 100 marriages from 1783, the first in Sheshequin, to 1850, were obtained from family records, newspaper files, justices’ dockets and other official sources:
1783—October 1, John Spalding and Wealthy Ann, daughter of Judge Obadiah Gore.
1788—February 20, Benedict Sattlerlee and Wealthy, daughter of Joseph Spalding.
1788—October 19, Elisha Durkee and Hannah, daughter of Judge Obadiah Gore.
1789—August 23, William Witter Spalding and Rebekah, daughter of General Simon Spalding.
_______, John Shepard and Anna, daughter of Judge Obadiah Gore.
1792—March 14, Moses Park and Mary, daughter of General Simon Spalding.
1793—June 13, Samuel Rutty and Polly Newell, by Rev. Ebenezer Martin, at the home of the bride’s father, John Newell.
1793—September 19, Josiah Newell and Lydia Ogden, by Rev. Ebenezer Martin, at the home of the groom’s father, John Newell.
1793—October 3, William Avery and Anna Garrison, by Rev. Ebenezer Martin, at the home of the bride’s father, Ephraim Garrison.
1793—December 12, Avery Gore and Lucy, daughter of Silas Gore, by Joseph Kinney, Esq.
1793—December 19, Isaac Horton and Sally Smith, by Rev. Ebenezer Martin, at the home of the bride’s father, Jonas Smith, on Sugar Creek.
1797—February 1, Joseph Kingsbury and Anna, youngest daughter of General Simon Spalding.
1801—February 26, Jeremiah Shaw and Cynthia, daughter of Eli Holcomb..
1803—James Bidlack and Esther, daughter of Daniel Moore.
1803—George Murphy and Lydia Wallace.
1806—September 11, William Snyder and Hannah, daughter of John Parks.
1806—Chester P. Spalding and Sarah Tyler.
1807—February 1, Harry Spalding and Lemira, daughter of John F. Satterlee.
1808—John M. Smith and Rachel, daughter of Benjamin Brink.
1809—January 15, William Horton and Esther, daughter of Christopher Cowell, by Samuel Gore, Esq.
1809—December 28, Franklin Blackman and Sibyl, daughter of David Beardsley.
1812—February 13, Henry Welles and Sally, daughter of John Spalding.
1812—March 25, Caleb Shores and Anna, daughter of Richard Horton, by William Myer, Esq.
1812—May 31, David Horton and Hannah, daughter of Abel Newell, by George Scott, Esq.
1813—February 22, Elijah Townsend and Sally M. daughter of Samuel Gore.
1813—June 13, Isaac S. Horton and Hannah, daughter of John Elliott, by Samuel Gore, Esq.
1813--___ __, John Lyons and Jemima, daughter of Richard Horton.
1814—July 2, Colonel Robert Spalding and Aurelia, daughter of Elisha Satterlee.
1814—July 3, Obadiah Gore Spalding and Chlotilda, daughter of Samuel Hoyt.
1820-- __ __, Captain James Smith and Rebecca Gillett.
1820—December 28, Alvin Dana and Diantha, daughter of Captain Jabez Fish.
1822—January 24, Thomas R. Davies and Asenath, daughter of Moses Woodburn.
1822—March 7, Jesse Brown and Maria, daughter of Captain Jabez Fish.
1822—Guy Kinney and Matilda, daughter of Avery Gore.
1822—Byron Kingsbury and Welthy Ann, daughter of Avery Gore.
1822—December 26, Jabez Fish and Amanda, daughter of Moses Park.
1823—October 16, Chester Park and Lemira, daughter of Captain Jabez Fish.
1824—George Gooding and Mrs. Jane (Smith) Eggett.
1827—May 2, Amos Prentice Spalding and Statirs, daughter of Samuel Hoyt.
1827—July 4, Richard Horton and Eliza, daughter of James Shores, by Jared Holcomb, Esq.
1827—October 4, Guy Tozer and Wealthia, daughter of Joseph Kinney.
1828—December 18, Joseph McKinney and Mary, daughter of James Bidlack.
1831—September 15, William B. Horton and Melinda C., daughter of Colonel Franklin Blackman.
1832--January 19, Uriah Shaw and Patience Lenity, daughter of Henry Segar.
1832—May 14, Arnold F. Fergason and Betsy F., daughter of Franklin Blackman.
1832—June 4, John Brink and Amanda, daughter of Ebenezer Segar.
1833—April 9, James DeMoney and Nancy S., daughter of David Horton, by Harry Morgan, Esq.
1833—July 10, Albert Tuttle and Delight, daughter of William Horton, by R. Jenks, Esq.
1833—September 25, Jonathan Shores and Miss Sarah Merithew, by H. Morgan, Esq.
1834—October 12, Richard H. Fuller and Celinda D., daughter of Colonel Franklin Blackman.
1834—October 16, Obadiah Gore and Matilda, daughter of Ebenezer Shaw, by Rev. Goerge Rogers.
1834—October 23, Richard T. Horton and Rhoda, daughter of David Horton, by Chester Park, Esq.
1834—Samuel P. Wolcott and Lydia, daughter of James Bidlack.
1835—October 1, Lewis B. Gillett and Jemima, daughter of Caleb Shores.
1835—October 8, Reuben Young and Emily, daughter of Isaac S. Horton, by Rev. Noel Rouse.
1837—November 12, Isaac Lyons and Minerva, daughter of Reuben Griffin.
1837—December 27, William J. Lent and Harriet N. daughter of Abraham B. Gore, by Rev. Noel Rouse.
1838—April 19, Warren E. Gillett and Sarah, daughter of Elijah Townsend.
1838—November 18, John E. Horton and Zipporah, daughter of James Bidlack.
1838—November 28, William E. Bull and Fannie W., daughter of Abraham B. Gore.
1839—May 22, Giles M. Hoyt and Almira Green.
1839—November 20, Francis S. Ayer and Sarah A., daughter of Josiah Tuttle.
1840—January 14, Hiram Saunders and Martha E., daughter of Warren Gillett.
1840—September 22, Ulysses E. Horton and Sally, daughter of Joseph Elliott.
1840—Autumn, James Smith and Diana, daughter of Nathaniel Shores, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
1840—October 22, Silas P. Gore and Rebecca, daughter of Colonel Robert Spalding.
1841—January 13—Hiram L. Blackman and Caroline, daughter of Parley Ayer.
1841—March 3, Daniel J. Horton and Rhoda R., daughter of Sullivan Chaffee, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
1842—October 19, Charles Chaffee and Adaline, daughter of David Horton, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
1843--May 7, Sterling Blackman and Miss Aurelia Bostwick, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
1843—Charles Gore and Ann Eliza Ballenger.
1843—May 26, Richard C. Horton and Elizabeth, daughter of John M. Smith, by George Kinney, Esq.
1843—July 2, William Stephenson and Theresa, daughter of Tobias Lent.
1813—December 10, Russell S. Ayer and Wealthy Ann, daughter of Franklin Blackman.
1844—January 17, Benjamin L. McAfee and Nellie, daughter of Abram Fretts, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
1844—January 31, Oscar Smith and Elvira, daughter of Captain Jabez Fish, by Rev. S. J. Gibson
1844—February 28, Lemuel S. Kingsbury and Sarah, daughter of William Osborn, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1844—May 22, Caleb B. Rice and Miss Mary Jane Stephenson by Milton Bailey, Esq.
1844—June 19, O. H. P. Kinney, Esq., and Miss Mary Eggett, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1844—August 18, Valentine Smith and Miss Temperance Thompson, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1845—Elijah A. Parsons and Ethlyn A., daughter of Jesse Brown.
1845—December 23, George Chaffee and Rachel A., daughter of William Horton.
1845—December 31, George C. Gore and Abigail, daughter of Isaac Bull, by Rev. Morgan Ruger.
1846—May 3, Darwin T. Gillett and Viana, daughter of Jeremiah Kilmer.
1846—May 6, Daniel D. Tompkins and Orilla, daughter of Joseph Hemenway.
1846—August 8, Dr. William C. Ransom and Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac S. Horton, by Franklin Blackman, Esq.
1847—February 24, David Newell and Sally Ann, daughter of John Rundell, by F. Blackman, Esq.
1847—November 2, Edward G. Gooding and Mahala A., daughter of James Kipp, by Rev. F. Lane.
1848—May 17, Stephen Bidlack and Ethelinda, daughter of George Vibbert, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
1849—January 31, Oscar Smith and Elvira, daughter of Jabez Fish, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1849—February 22, Abraham Gore and Eliza Jane, daughter of Josiah B. Marshall, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1849—October 10, David Horton and Arille, daughter of Josiah Newell, by Charles O. Spencer, Esq.
1849—October 11, Daniel M. Bidlack and Caroline, daughter of Cornelius Smith, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
1849—December 25, David J. Blackman and Esther, daughter of Joshua Horton.
1850—March 21, John Trout and Miss Harriet A. Snyder, by Rev. Mr. Brown.
1850—April 23, William H. Bishop and Sarah, daughter of Reuben Griffin, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1850—April 30, James Sherwood and Eliza M., daughter of Edmund Hill, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1850—July 3, James M. Peck and Jane, daughter of Daniel Brink, by Elder William C. Peck.
1850—October 16, Sidney B. Wells and Miss H. Elizabeth Cole, by Rev. S. J. Gibson.
1851—January 1, William H. Shaw and Mary Ellen, daughter of Franklin Blackman, by Rev. S. J. Gibson
1851—February 19, William B. Horton and Saloma J., daughter of Jeremiah Kilmer.
1851—March 4, Horace B. Chaffee and Mary, daughter of Abraham B. Gore.
1851—September 17, Lewis Horton and Sally Maria, daughter of Sullivan Chaffee, by Rev. Joseph Towner.
HABITS AND CUSTOMS
Money was a very scarce article among the pioneers; and they were required to dress in the plainest and least expensive manner. Their common habiliments were pantaloons and dresses, made from flax for summer wear, and from wool for winter. "Buckskin trousers" were in fashion, and were not infrequently worn by the men and boys. Roundabouts, or sailors’ jackets, took the place of coats. Calico was less common than silk is now, and cost seventy-five cents a yard. She who could afford a dress made from seven yards of this material, wore "an extravagant garment." "The fashion was petticoats and short gowns." Shawls were made from pressed woolen cloth, and the finest home-made linen was bleached and constructed into fine shirts for men and boys. A lady’s common dress was "copperas and white," as it was called; and "copperas and blue, two and two," for nice. The women wore handkerchiefs, as a covering for the head, or bonnets of their own manufacture. It was not a strange occurrence to see a young lady, with her shoes and stockings in her hand, and a handkerchief about her head, while on her way to "meeting," in the log school house, or at some neighbor’s cabin. When upon nearing the place of worship, she would sit down by the roadside and dress her feet. Garments were made to wear the longest possible, as it was very uncertain when the next could be had. The boys had hats and caps, made by their mothers, from woolen cloth or straw, and sometimes, perhaps from raccoon skins. Some wore knit caps, also, until "seal-skin caps," as they were called, came in fashion. Garments were fastened together with buttons constructed out of thread.
Nearly every wife had her spinning-wheel and loom, and manufactured her own cloth. Each did her own coloring, and the bark from a soft maple tree, hemlock, butternut or "witch hazel" was used for dyeing purposes, also log-wood and smartweed. Copperas, alum and sorrel were used to set the colors. Mrs. Abraham B. Gore kept her loom in almost constant operation in supplying the needs of her own family and others in the neighborhood.
During the summer season the boys, girls and women generally went barefooted, as did some of the men. Rattlesnakes and other venomous reptiles, were numerous, and a great dread to the boys when in search of the cows. In the winter shoes with leggings were worn. Frequently it happened that some of the poorer families had no shoes. In which case the boys would heat large chips or pieces of boards to stand upon while chopping wood or performing other outside duties. But few of the men had a "dress-up" suit. This consisted of knee breeches ornamented with buckles, long stockings made from cotton, wool or silk, and shoes with buckles. A lady’s "dress-up" generally consisted of a linsey-woolsey suit, improved by pressing.
The food of the pioneers was coarse, and consisted of corn and rye bread, sometimes wheat with potatoes. The last were generally baked in the fire-place by covering them with ashes and coals. Mush and milk was not an uncommon diet. Venison could be had in abundance for the killing, and brook trout and shad for the catching. Deer and bear meat was made more appetizing by smoking it. Jerked venison was also a favorite article on the bill of fare. The flesh of the raccoon, woodchuck and squirrel was utilized when larger game could not be had. Sometimes bread was made out of wheat and rye bran. Wheatheads cut before ripe, then dried and the kernels rubbed out, afforded material for an "extra" dish, which was prepared by boiling with a little sugar or milk added. Milk was the main dependence and was made a most palatable dish in several ways.
Stoves with ovens had not been invented, and baking was done in fire-places and stone bake ovens. The raw material for bread and cake was prepared and put in the bake kettle (a low kettle-shaped iron pot with a cover) which was then placed over coals on the hearthstone. Upon the cover of the kettle coals were also placed that the baking would be more evenly done. "Johnny cakes" were baked in the long handled frying pans, which were heated over the fire-places. The bake kettle remained in use for some years when it was supplanted by the tin oven, which could be heated before the fire-place and every side readily shifted against the blaze as the cooking required. Maple sugar was used for sweetening purposes, and corncobs were burned in the bake kettle cover to get a substitute for saleratus. Maple syrup and honey took the place of butter, and bear’s fat was used for shortening. Fried cakes were baked in pots of bear and raccoon fat. Browned rye, peas, beechnuts, chestnuts and chickory were substituted for coffee, and sage, thyme, peppermint, spearmint, evans root, spice bush, sweet fern, tansy and hemlock boughs for tea. Imported tea and coffee were too costly and could only be afforded when the "good mothers" had company. Herbs of all kinds were gathered and used for teas in sickness, and each had its specific cure. For instance, elderblow, catnip and wormwood were used for children and boneset, penny-royal, etc., for adults.
Greased paper, hung over an opening in the wall, afforded light for the cabins in the daytime. At night they were illuminated by the light given out from the huge fire-places, and pitchpine splinters stuck into the chimney jambs. This furnished sufficient light for the mothers to sew, spin and weave by; for the fathers to mend and make shoes, and the boys and girls to get their lessons. A supply of pitchpine knots was generally put in before winter. Deer fat and lard were sometimes used for illuminating purposes, but not frequently. Tallow lamps were finally introduced, and were used when tallow could be had, or lard spared. They were a cup like construction, to contain animal fats, and could be hung against the wall. One end of a piece of cloth, answering as a wick, was dropped into the cup and the other end, which hung out, was lighted. Tallow candles next followed, and subsequently lamps for burning coal oil. The time of day was determined by "sun marks" or moon marks, upon the door or window frame. Finally the old fashioned clocks without cases and with long cords were brought in and sold at fabulous prices. Matches had not yet been invented, and fire was made by striking a piece of flint and steel, for the back of a jackknife) together, causing a spark, which was caught in a piece of punk, (an inflammable substance, formed from decayed, which was always kept in supply) "Borrowing fire," as it was called, was not an infrequent occurrence. Wooden pails were substituted for tin, and wooden plates (called "trenchers,") bowls, etc., for earthenware. Wooden spoons and forks, also pewter plates, spoons and other table pieces were in use. Sap troughs were substituted for cradles, and brooms were made out of young birch and hickories.
Farming implements were very imperfect as compared with those of modern invention. A plow was used with one handle, and a wooden mould board: a crotched sapling with holes bored through and supplied with wooden pins answered as a harrow. Grain was sometimes "brushed in" by dragging a hemlock bush over the ground; pitchforks and hoes were manufactured by blacksmiths and were very clumsy articles. Reaping with the sickle or the hand-cradle was the slow and tedious method of cutting grain, which was threshed with flails, and cleaned by shaking it with a hand-fan, a very laborious task. Fanning mills were not introduced till about 1825. Corn was ground or rather smashed by resorting to the Indian’s invention—the stone mortar and pestle: or the Yankee’s device of the hollowed stump with spring-pole and pounder. Settlers along the river went in boats to Wilkes-Barre to mill; later to Shepard’s mill at Milltown until mills were erected by Judge Gore and General Spalding.
Modes of traveling and conveyance were in novel contrast with those of to-day. It was common to see the footman traveling with his knapsack on his back. Riding on horseback was the usual mode of conveyance from place to place and even of making long journeys. Sometimes a gentleman and lady, or a father and mother with two children might be seen pursuing their way in this style; and not infrequently parties to a hymeneal engagement betook themselves in this manner to the house of the minister or magistrate. Oxen took the place of horses, and in the ox-cart or sled families were conveyed to social gatherings or the places of worship. As the country improved a chaise or gig was occasionally seen, and in due time wagons, stages and coaches were introduced.
In lieu of a wagon, long sleds were generally used in hauling hay and grain and in making trips to mill. Sometimes, however, hay was hauled to the satck by placing a bunch or more upon a brush which formed a sort of sled; and not infrequently carried by two men for some distance by running two poles under a bunch with a man at each end. Logging and chopping bees were common, and the men and boys most cheerfully turned out with their ox-teams, or came with their axes to assist their neighbors in getting a start. "On such an occasion, a sheep would be killed, and boiled mutton and pot-pie had in abundance, for dinner and supper."
Spinning bees were also in fashion. The lady getting up the bee would distribute tow among her lady friends, and on a day set apart they would bring in their skeins and enjoy a visit and supper with her. The affair generally wound up in the evening by a dance, or snap-and-wink-em," and other games. Another practice was for the gallants of the neighborhood to go to the home of the lady who was to be favored and procure a quantity of tow which was distributed among their sweethearts. On an evening agreed upon each swain took his girl with her skein to the home of their friend, where several hours were enjoyed in merrymaking. Sometimes, however, the ladies would take their spinning wheels under their arms and go to the house of a friend, do a day’s work and enjoy a visit together at the same time. Quilting and sewing parties were common, and mothers alike came with needles to assist their friends in need—
"In them good days us old folks called the happy long ago:
Some afternoons the girls ‘u’d meet an’ gayly chat an sew,
An’ keep it up till evenin’, when the boys u’d congregate
An’ hold a sort o’ party till the night was grownin’ late
‘N en when the quilt was finished, why, they’d take the family cat
An’ place her in the middle o’ the quilt an’ holler ‘scat!’
The boy an’ girl she jumped betwixt, so every body said,
Of all ‘twas at the quiltin’, why, they’d be the first to wed."
Husking bees, apple cuts and spelling school were more of modern date, and dancing was the chief entertainment of the young people. Every mother taught her daughter to spin, weave, make garments, bread, in fact everything required of a housewife, and the young lady who showed herself the best skilled in these arts was the first to find a suitor. Wm. Snyder’s was a noted rendezvous for the young people who "tripped the light fantastic toe" sixty and seventy years ago. People danced and sang to the spirit of the times as may be seen from the following invitation
"HARRISON & TYLER BALL
Come Join with Mirth our Jubilee—
The Nation’s gained a victory.
Your company is respectfully solicited at Wm. Snyder’s in Sheshequin on Thursday the 4th of March, 1841, at 2 o’clock pm
L. S. Kingsbury G. C. Gore
Samuel Griffin Josiah Marshall
February 12, 1841"
Courting is said to have been "short and sweet," and this is the way one of "the boys" of the "happy past" remembers it:
"In the merry days of boyhood when we never knew a care
Greater than the mumps or measles or a mother’s cut of hair.
When a sore toe was a treasure and a stonebruise on the heel
Filled the other boys with envy which they tried not to conceal.
There were many treasured objects on the farm we held most dear.
Orchard, fields, the creek we swam in, and the old spring cold and clear;
Over there the woods of hick’ry and of oak so deep and dense.
Looming up behind the outlines of the old rail fence.
On its rails the quail would whistle in early summer morn.
Calling to their hiding fellows in the field of waving corn.
And the meadow larks and robins on the stakes would sit and sing
Till the forest shades behind them with their melody would ring.
There the catbird and the jaybird sat and called each other names,
And the squirrels and the chipmunks played the chase-and–catch-me games.
And the gartersnake was often unpleasant evidence
In the grasses in the corners of the old rail fence.
As we grew to early manhood when we thought the country girls
In the diadem of beauty were the very fairest pearls;
Oft from spellin’ school or meetin’ or the jolly shuckin’ bee
Down the old lane we would wander with a merry little "she."
On the plea of being tired (just the country lover lie).
On a grassy seat we’d linger in the moonlight, she and I,
And we’d paint a future picture touched with colors most intense
As we sat there in the corner of the old rail fence.
There one night in happy dreaming we were sitting hand in hand,
Up so near the gates of heaven we could almost hear the band,
When she heard a declaration whispered in her lis’ning ear—
One she often since has told me she was mighty glad to hear.
On my head there’s now a desert fringed with foliage of gray,
And ther’s many a thread of silver in her dear old head today.
Yet the flame of love is burning in our bosoms as intense
As it burned in the corner of that old rail fence."
The greatest economy had to be practiced, and the wife vied with her husband in trying to get along. She not only did the work pertaining to the house, but helped to gather the hay and grain, and not infrequently assisted in the fallow, or the sugar bush. The people took great delight in visiting each other, and would generally go on foot or with ox-sleds. A meal was always had together, the hostess giving the best the house afforded, which was sometimes one thing and sometimes another. The guest never forgot her knitting work or sewing, and would visit and work at the same time. The kitchen was the parlor, sitting room, and all. There were no castes then, and the old people say—"those were the happiest days we ever saw." One neighbor envied not another, but, on the contrary, did all in his power to encourage and help along. Such was the true. Christian life of the pioneers.
Hay was scarce, and cattle fed largely upon browse—the tender shoots of trees, especially of the maple and basswood. Cows roamed in the woods, and were found by the tinkle of the bells which they wore about their necks. Pigs were fatted upon hickorynuts, or taken to the beechnut woods.
Liquor was always had in abundance at chopping, logging and mowing bees, raisings, shooting matches and weddings. It was a very common drink—even church members and preachers imbibing. The best could be had for six shillings a gallon, and when a tippler got boozy, he was not a week in getting over it, "Spirits" were regarded a necessity, and every family kept a supply.