Chapter Seven

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Submitted by Debbie Smith

Chapter VII
from Julia Anna Sheppard Perkins' EARLY TIMES ON THE SUSQUEHANNAH.
At the time of Sullivan's march up the valley of Wyoming, as the army passed through Sheshequin valley, Captain Simon Spalding, who commanded a company, was much pleased with the appearance and location of the place, and resolved to make that his future residence. Captain Spalding was a resident of Plainfield, Conn. He was born in 1741, married Ruth Shepard, and removed to Wyoming at an early period of its settlement, and died at Sheshequin, in 1814. He was a large man, of fine personal appearance. He was a captain in the Revolutionary war, and was constituted General in the militia after he removed to Sheshequin. He with his family, and several of his neighbors, removed from Wyoming to Sheshequin, in May, 1783. This beautiful valley was at that time covered with Indian grass, five or six feet high, to which these pioneers set fire, which ran through the valley about four miles. General Spalding, with his numerous sons and daughters, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law, occupied the upper part of the val
The daughters were: Mrs. Joseph Kinney, Mrs. Moses Park, Mrs. William Spalding, mother of the late Robert Spalding, and Mrs. Briggs, well known among us, and Mrs. Kingsbury, wife of Colonel Joseph Kingsbury, known as a prominent surveyor and agent.
These all had large and uncommonly fine looking families.
Other families were added to the number: Mr. Fuller, Mr. Hoyt, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Snyder, and Mr. Shaw, father of the surviving son, now over ninety-four years of age.
These families all had pleasant farms allotted them, extending from the river back to the mountain. They first bought of the Susquehannah Company, under Connecticut title, in which state they enjoyed peace, quietness, and prosperity, and were able also to meet the Pennsylvania claim, hard as they might have felt it to be, when it was presented.
They found in this beautiful valley a variety of nuts and wild fruit, plums and cranberries. In a few short years, their presses began to burst forth with new cider, and their barns with plenty. Their butter and cheese, their pork and beans, Indian bread and honey, were not surpassed in their own native Connecticut.
John Spalding, oldest son of General Spalding, was appointed Colonel of the Militia, and was well situated on a fine farm of his own, and one presented to his wife by her father, joining his. Colonel Spaslding had an erect and stately figure, was lively in his manner, and was proud of his wife and of his children, fourteen in number. Visitors were sometimes amused, when inquiry was made how many children they had. One of them would say, "Harry, Billy, Noah, Dyer, Simon, Sally, Ulysses, Wealthy, George, John, Charley, Zebulon, Avery, and Mary." They all grew up to be fine, stately sons and daughters; but the mother outlived all but two, Mrs. General Welles and Mr. Zebulon B. Spalding, who reside with us.
Joseph Kinney, Esq., from Killingly, Conn., one of the sons-in-law, was a man of intelligence and reading. some of his descendants have partaken of his spirit, and have been noted for their literary turn. There have been among them professsional men, editors, and statesmen.
Mrs. Julia Scott, deceased, daughter of the late George Kinney, Esq., of Sheshequin, wrote much, and published a volume of poems, which showed a refined taste and cultivated mind, and her name has found a place in a volume of American poets. She died at Towanda, in 1842.
Obadiah Gore was born in Norwich, Conn., 1744, and came to Wyoming with the early settlers. He was the eldest son of Obadiah Gore, Esq., who had seven sons engaged in the Revolutionary war, a fact of which Colonel Stone speaks about in his history of Wyoming as "The most remarkable in the history of man. That a father and six* (*Colonel Stone says six, the number was seven) sons, including two sons-in-law, should be engaged in the same battlefield, is rarely, if ever, known. Five corpses of a single family sleeping upon the cold bed of death together the self-same night! What a price did that family pay for liberty!" Obadiah Gore came to Sheshequin in 1783, about the time Captain Spalding removed there, and settled in the lower part of the valley. Obadiah was an officer in Washington's army, and served throught the war.* (*Obadiah Gore was engaged as an officer in General Sullivan's army. He kept a connected journal of the entire campaign, which has been read by some of his grandchildren, and which, i
Obadiah Gore had five children and fifty-two grandchildren. He died March 22, 1821, aged 77 years.
Avery Gore, his son, married Lucy, daughter of Silas Gore, who fell in the massacre of Wyoming. Mrs. Gore was a rare woman. Her domestic management of a very large family, part of the time consisting of four generations and numerous dependents, was a marvel to all who knew her position, more than fifty years ago. "Rising while it was yet dark and giving meat to her household," she would apportion to her domestics the labors of the day, the spinning, the weaving, and the dairy, attending to the butter and the cheese, for which she was noted, and the many supernumeraries, attending upon it all. Those duties done systematically, day after day and year after year, with a quick step and cheerful face; the impression was, "Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."
She lived in the same house where she was married until the time of her death. She presided at her own table more than sixty years. When we last called upon her, her sun was declining, and she soon after died, in March, 1867, over 92 years of age. The eldest sister, Mrs. Wilkinson, who died some years age, was also over 90 years old.
Lucy, quite a little girl, was in Forty Fort at the time of the battle of Wyoming, with her mother and two other children. Her father, Silas Gore, and two of his brothers, were killed. Their names may now be seen on the monument, near the fatal spot. The children of the family remembered when the Indians took possession of the Fort, and many of their antics impressed their childish minds. They placed the ladies' caps and bonnets upon their own heads, put their side-saddles upon their own ponies and mounted them, riding in ladies' style, much to the merriment of all but the poor sufferers. They remembered how the fugitives waded through the Indian meal and corn and feathers knee deep when they were exiled from the Fort. Mrs. Gore, with a stricken heart, made her way with her three children to a boat, which took her to a place of safety.
Samuel Gore came to Sheshequin with his brother, Obadiah, and owned a farm adjoining his, which was, at one time, considered very valuable; but some parts of it, as well as other farms in Sheshequin, have suffered greatly from the floods and back-water from the Towanda dam.
Mr. Gore was justice of the peace, and had the business of the neighborhood at that time. Among the numerous marraiges he was called to perform, was that of old Mrs. Northrup, about 90, and old Mr. Howder, a few years younger, in about the year 1830. They lived above the Narrows in Athens, and both took their staves in hand and walked down to Squire Gore's, five or six miles, for the performance of the ceremony. Mr. Gore was fond of pleasantry, and told them it was necessary to have some witnesses for the occssion. He therefore sent to some of the neighbors, whom he invited to attend the wedding.
After the marraige this unique bride and groom took their staves in hand again and started homeward. It is said that Mrs. Howder lived to be over a hundred years old.
About 1790, Mr. Gore was once coming home from Owego, where he had been to make some purchases, with his knapsack upon his back. He found the Indians quite numerous and hostile at Tioga Point, and the river very high, and could not cross it that night. For safety, he climbed a tree opposite the island, and secured himself by a strap, where he stayed through the night. Early the next morning he went to the ferry with all possible stillness, where the ferryman took him across the river and he went on his way in safety. A part of Samuel Gore's history has been previously noticed, in order to give his petition to Congress, containing a particular account of the Wyoming massacre, and attending circumstances. We have thought it unneccessary to give any other history of that memorable event.
It was inserted in that part of our record, in order to give those statements in their proper chronological order.
Moses Park, of Stonington, Connecticut, who married a daughter of General Spalding, was a Baptist minister, and preached to a small Baptist church in Sheshequin, of which Joseph Kinney was Deacon. They, with many others, afterwards embraced Universalism.
His son, Chester Park, is a licensed local Methodist preacher. His ministrations over the hills and among these valleys have been accecptable and very useful.
Mr. Jabez Fish and family came from Wilkes-Barre, who afterward went on a mission to the Cherokee nation, at Mission Ridge, Georgia. They united with the Congregational Church at Athens in 1812. Mr. Fish died in a few years after, and Mrs. Fish lived long to honor her profession. She was much interested in the missionary cause. Her granddaughter, Mrs. Tracy, has recently gone on a mission to Turkey.
Breakneck, the lower part of Sheshequin, was known by that name at the time of Sullivan's army passed through the narrows. Col Hubley states in his journal: "So high and so narrow was the path at Breakneck Hill, a single false step must inevitably carry one to the bottom, the distance of 180 feet perpendicular;" and yet, an army of more than 3,000 men, with their long train of packhorses, marched through this dangerous path in safety. They then "entered the charming valley of Sheshequin, made a halt at a most beautiful run, and took a bit of dinner."
It has been said that a squaw fell from the precipice years ago and broke her neck, and it was generally supposed this circumstance gave name to the place, and a face was painted on the rocks, by a rough artist, commemorating the event, which, perhaps, is still visible.
Obadiah Gore, son of Avery Gore, has a short and ancient record of a title, of much interest, a duplicate of which is as follows:
Nicholas Tatemy, an Indian Chief, bought of the State or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in 1783, a tract of land, 180 1/2 acres, in the center of Sheshequin, and sold it to John Brotsman, a gentleman of Philadelphia. This farm was bought of Mr. B. by Obadiah Gore, grandfather of the present occupant, who gave it to his grandson for his name. The draft of land was called Indelelamookong, situated on the East Branch of the Susquehannah river, opposite an Indian settlement called Sheshequinung, lying in Northumberland Co., Pa. Returned to surveyor's office for John Lukens.
It is pleasant to visit the valley of Sheshequin, where so many of our fathers and grandfathers have lived and died; where cluster so many pleasant associations, and where we have spent so many of our youthful days. We remember while there seeing the total eclipse of 1806, when the chickens went to roost, the cows went lowing home, and the teachers and scholars ran home in dismay.
We remember the old barn, which has just fallen under the weight of more than four score years, and the additional pressure of a heavy snow, the first frame building in Bradford, then a part of Luzerne Co., built in 1786; and also the house of our grandfather, built a little later, and now undergoing extensive repairs. We felt like saying, "Woodman, spare that tree," when we heard it was to pass through a revolution; but have been gratified to find some parts of it remaining unchanged, and we can there see the old tall clock, and the spy-glass which Lieutenant Gore carried in the army of the Revolution, and which children and children's children, have been permitted to look through, as a special favor. There have been many living in Sheshequin remarkable for their longevity. We can name numbers who have lived more than four score years, and several over ninety.

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 12/5/98
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: JoyceTice@aol.com