History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches
By H. C. Bradsby, 1891
MANKIND's FIRST ATTACK UPON KING FETICH-WAR MEETING, 1774- AND TORIES-THERE COMPANIES SENT TO THE FIELD-PROM- MEN-RUDOLPH Fox CAPTURED -*BATTLES IN BRADFORD COUNTY -WYOMING BATTLE, AND NEAR WYALUSING -CAPTIVES ESCAPE-SULLIVAN'S EXPEDITION-COL. FRANKLIN, SAMUEL GORE, MAJ. FLOWER AND OTHERS-ETC.
IN preceding chapters are incidental allusions to the great American war for Independence-the war of all wars in behalf of mankind, of man's inalienable right to liberty and the unrestricted pursuit of happiness. The whole world bad been for all preceding time dominated by the one idea that the masses were made to belong to their respective born rulers; to toil and sweat and yield tribute for the pleasure and glory of kings and princelings, whose will or whim was at all times the inexorable law; that the life and labor of every one born below a certain favored circle was the property of the king, which he could use or destroy at his drunken pleasure. Of all the monstrous perversions of nature there has been no idea so utterly
80 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
shocking, so laden with crime and woe unspeakable. On every hand, even with our self- government long past the century post, there is still a wide persistence in this fatal delusion, and the far larger portion of the race are now writhing in the horrors of the beliefs in these kingmonkeys, these born rulers, these inheritors, the "divine governors" of the world; these half-idiotic devotees of war to suppress freedom, wars for glory, wars for looting, wars for empire, where men are arrayed in mutual destruction as are fighting dogs in the pit, for the delight of spectators, hardly fit by nature to lick the wounds the poor brutes have received in the fray. In all history there has been nothing at all comparable to this perversion that reaches total depravity so shocking as this idea that these master-rulers are the heavenly order, to which the human race is unalterably fixed. Could anything be more pitiful to a healthy mind than the spectacle going on at this hour, of the rule of the mad king in one of the European powers?
This divine " ruler, "who can do no wrong," is but one of a family of lordly maniacs, whose chief delight and employment is to slip out on his grounds and shoot peasants. His keepers humor him, load his gun with blank cartridges, and the people are required to fall when he fires, and as he tumbles them over be is wild with delight; wholly daft, he is far more harmless, in fact, than have been the most of the sanest of the long line that have afflicted the world. And to see a nation black with grief over the deaths of such fetiches-in deepest, real sorrow, trembling for fear God has determined to ruin them by taking their beloved royal family, would be amusing as well as pathetic were it not the proof of a perversion so deep as to" be hopelessly incurable. This condition of the race is artificial; there can be nothing natural in it because it is monstrously cruel-the cruelest idea that ever found lodgment upon the earth, and it is absurd, stupid and horrid, throughout. The companion idea of this king-fetich worship is the one of a strong, fighting government, able to cross over and murder your neighbors and loot their country, and millions of men upon the earth ready to offer up their lives on the slaughter block in defense of the theory that their nation has a chip on its shoulders and dares all the world to knock it off. Naturally enough, indeed, the poet philosopher has exclaimed, "What fools we mortals be!
The first real effective assault made upon this heathenism by men Combined
together to the extremity of life and death itself, was the immortal Declaration
of Independence, made by our fathers, whose sharp swords cut the way to
liberty and self-government. Other men had struck at the born-ruler idea,
but it had been as Napoleon did merely to push them off that be might seat
himself on the throne and be a little more " divine " than the best of
them, because he had the sharper sword; a mere swapping of whips, which,
no matter how the trade went, was sure to end in the deeper and still more
cruel enslavement of the people. How our grand old sires slowly and finally
reached the sublime idea of the non-necessity of a crowned ruler to transmit
to his offspring all the 11 divine rights," it is now easy enough to see,
provided we commence only at the time of the signing of the Declaration;
but it is a more involved problem if we go a little farther back and
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 81
attempt to find the germ idea. It is glory enough that they struck down the king-fetich delusion, and proclaimed that they and their posterity were equal to the task of self-government, and no thanks to the bastard race.
The proclamation of war against the mother country found the people of this section fairly consumed with the Pennamite and Yankee contention, and the rebellion portents came to them slowly; but the idea once grasped, all local questions were forgotten, and neighbors became Whig or Tory, respectively, and forgot that they were once divided between Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Some prominent men on the lower Susquehanna had been denounced by their neighbors as Tories, and they had come to what is now Bradford county, to get away from their neighbors. But this was literally jumping from the pan into the fire, as this was the outer borders and the confines of the Indian country. In 1777, some deserters from the Colonial army found refuge here, and in a little while the terms Tory and Whig were bandied with even fiercer passions than had the old feud epithets. British emissaries stirred to foment the Indians, and the whites, whether Whig or Tory, had to flee for their lives. The Whigs, of course, suffered the most; many of them were killed, their property destroyed, and others carried into captivity; and from 1779 to 1783, there was not left a single white inhabitant in what is now Bradford county. Yet this was an important theater of war during the entire seven years of the struggle. The most decisive act, of course, was the expedition of Gen. Sullivan, and the expedition of Col. Hartley, that followed up the river and destroyed nearly every Indian village that lay in his route. The great Indian war path followed the river, and in their incursions upon the Wyoming they usually traveled the Sheshequin path. Hardly a month passed, from the beginning to the end of the war, but these old hills echoed the war whoops and the cracking of the rifles of the pursuers of the savages.
A war meeting was called by the people. of this section as early as 1774, and as this was then known as Westmoreland county, Conn., it was divided into eight military districts, and immediately thereafter it was publicly resolved that the people form themselves into military companies. In August, 1775, the Wyoming people of Westmoreland Town declared in a public meeting that "we consent to and acquiesce in the late proceedings, and advice of the Continental Congress, and do rejoice that those measures are adopted." And a committee was appointed " to attentively observe the conduct of all persons within this town touching the rules and regulations prescribed by the honorable Continental Congress, and will unanimously join our brethren in America in the common cause of defending our liberty." This was heroically responsive to every sentiment of the Declaration -indeed, it was a second Declaration, coming from the then remote borders of American civilization. The meeting of these earnest old patriots (but rebels then) unanimously resolved "that Mr. John Jenkins, Joseph Sluman, Nathan Dennison, Obadiah Gore, Jr., and Lieut. William Buck be chosen a committee of correspondence for the town of Westmoreland." It was further resolved that Jonathan Fitch, Anderson Dana,
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Capt. McKarrachan, Caleb Spencer, Capt. Samuel Ransom, Lieut. George Dorrance, Asahel Buck, Stephen Harding, John Jenkins, Jr., Barrilla Tyler, Elijah Witer, Nathan Kingsley, John Secord and Robert Carr " be chosen a committee of inspection for ye town of Westmore Miner says (page 189): "The proceedings of this meeting, cast the die for Wyoming. Her people girded up their loins for the contest against British oppression, and immediately commenced putting themselves in condition to meet the shock of battle." The news of the battle of Concord and Lexington roused the military ardor of the people, and instantly Lieut. Obadiah Gore, with about thirty others, hastened to join the command of Capt. Weisner, of the New York line; and, August 23, 1776, at a meeting at Wilkes-Barre, it was resolved that Westmoreland would immediately raise two companies and place them in position for defense of the people until they received orders from Congress. They left it to Congress to appoint the commissioned officers. There was a hearty response from those eminent men to this call from in what is now Bradford county. Among the first to respond were Simon Spalding, then living at Standing Stone; the Welleses, father and son, of Wyalusing, and Ambrose Gaylord, Justus Gaylord, Jr., Ludd Gaylord, Stephen Skiff and others. Congress appointed as officers of the two companies of Wyoming: Robert Durkee and Samuel Ransom, captains; James Welles and Perin Ross, first lieutenants; Asahel Buck and Simon Spalding, second lieutenants; Herman Swift and Mathias Hollenback, ensigns; and the two companies were mustered into service September 17, 1776, under the name of the First and Second Independent Companies of Wyoming.
October following Connecticut passed an act for the raising in the town of Westmoreland of another company, of which Solomon Strong was captain, and Obadiah Gore, Jr., and John Jenkins, Jr., lieutenants, and to be a part of the Twenty-fourth Regiment of Connecticut Militia. Immediately thereafter John Jamison recruited twenty men and marched out and joined the Connecticut line. These were in addition to the eight I train bands " that had been provided for in 1774, which had been united and formed the Twenty-fourth Connecticut, commanded by Col. Nathan Dennison; George Dorrance, lieutenant-colonel, and John Garrett, major.
December 12, following, the two companies joined Washington's 'Command, then retreating from New York City.
The people in this valley were busily erecting forts, and Old Forty Fort was enlarged and strengthened, and others built to the south of it.
Stone's history of Wyoming, referring to the critical moment of the war, estimates that in what is now Bradford county there were probably twenty families that should be classed as in sympathy with the Tories, and through their influence appeared again the old feud between the Yankees and Penns, and Minor discovered an old document bearing, this label: " A list of Tories who joined the Indians." It was said to have been made by Col. Zebulon Butler; most of these were transient persons who had- come to the Wyoming as birds of passage- hunters, trappers or laborers, and that among the Connecticut
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 83
people in the valley there were not more than three families thus affected. In the list are mentioned "four Secords, three Pawlings, three Larraways and four Van Alstynes." The Pawlings were of Wyalusing, the Van Alstynes of Standing Stone, the Larraways of Wysox, and the Secords of Athens.
For some time there was nothing more serious on the Susquehanna than rumors and charges and counter accusations between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut people, and the secret contriving of the few Tories remaining. But in the spring of 1777, the Tories from the lower Wyoming to Tioga Point (Athens), began to give signs of activity and uneasiness; first noticeable in the impudence, and arrogance of the Indians, who had at the commencement treated to keep the peace and remain neutral. The Indians withdrew from among the white settlements. Burgoyne was marching with a strong force from Canada to effect a junction with Gen. Clinton at New York, and this was designed to cut the Colonies in twain. British emissaries had tampered with the Indians, and offered them gold and scalps and loot if they would join them. Soon the Indians committed act after act of open hostility. Col. John Jenkins, with James Sutton, visited Queen Esther's village, near Tioga Point, in the hope of procuring the release of Ingersoll, who had been carried into captivity. They were received cordially, but the Queen finally told them that the bucks had resolved to waylay and murder them, when they started to return. By the loyal aid of the Queen they escaped in the darkness to the river, and jumped into her canoe, and softly paddled down the river. Now several deserters from the American army came to Tioga Point and Sheshequin, and their presence was unfortunate.
It is probable that designing parties, on both sides in the right to the territory question, unfortunately now seized upon this as a pretext, and each was ready to charge their opposers indiscriminately with treason. The British were not idle, and the Indians made themselves not only intolerable, but began systematic plundering and murdering upon exposed, helpless families.
The people (Yankees, to more particularly designate them) resolved on active measures to rid themselves of the spies and enemies in their midst. Samuel Gordon, a surveyor, was sent on a tour of observation to locate the dangerous men, return to Wyalusing and there to meet Lieut. Jenkins with a force and by rapid movements capture the leaders. Jenkins' expedition miscarried from some cause, and the Tories assembled and captured Gordon with other prisoners. Open hostilities swiftly followed. Rudolph Fox, the first settler at the mouth of the Towanda creek, was carried off into captivity in the month of March, 1777. He was taken to Quebec and kept nine months, his family all this time being in total ignorance of even his life or whereabouts. In the meantime the savages had stolen, and by open robbery had carried off even the last morsel of food of the family. Mr. Fox escaped, and on the night of December 17th following he reached the opposite side of the river and called to his family, and his voice was recognized by his wife. The Indians had stolen the canoe, and the ice was running in the river and a raft could not be pushed across, so
84 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
the poor man was obliged to bivouack on the bank in that black and stormy night, and the next morning the river was frozen over; but he reached his family alive.
Mr. Fox was again captured when the Indians captured the Strope family, and they carried him along for fear be would give the alarm. He soon made his escape, and again returned to his family. The dangers thickening, be undertook to gather his kine together, and with these make his way overland, while he placed his family in a bateau and started them down the river.
When in the vicinity of Dodge's island, Mr. Fox discovered a band of Indians crossing the hill in front of him. He motioned his family to come ashore, when he abandoned his stock and got into the canoe with them. They secreted themselves behind the island until the hostile party bad passed, when they again resumed their journey. It was about the time of the Wyoming battle, and the river was swarming with parties of hostile Indians. It seems almost miraculous that they could have escaped. At one time, as they were passing along, they heard firing and cries on the shore. A band of Indians had surprised a party of whites, and what also added to their danger, the babe, Rudolph, commenced screaming. The mother tried to hush him, crammed leaves into his mouth, and still being unable to quiet him, thrice took him up to throw him overboard-a desperate, but apparently only means of escaping detection. But the mother's heart could not consent to the sacrifice. They succeeded in passing the Indians, and reached Sunbury in safety.
After the Wyoming battle Mr. Fox came up the river with Hartley's expedition to look after his interests. Upon the return of the detachment, he went back to his family. He remained at Sunbury till the close of the war, when, in 1873, he moved his family to Wilkes-Barre, whence he and four of his children proceeded to their old home at Towanda. A short time after this he returned to bring up their effects and family, and left a young daughter all alone to take care of the cabin.
"A young girl, on the spot where their buildings had been burned, surrounded by savage beasts and liable to be disturbed by savage men, consents to be the sole occupant of the premises for ten days. the time supposed to be necessary for the trip. But unexpected trials awaited her. The mother was found to be too ill to be removed, and a delay of more than a month was unavoidable. Provisions ran short with the little girl. The Forsythes returned and called to see her, and tried to persuade her to go back with them. This she stoutly refused to do, and they left her some food, while she awaited the coming of the family. The shrill scream of the panther and howls of the wolf at night, added horror to her dreary situation in the wilds. Both these savage beasts had been heard upon her bark-covered cabin, hoping to gain admission. One night as she was lying upon her bed of hemlock boughs asleep, a panther unceremoniously came in her through her blanket-door, took the jerked venison from over her head and then left again without doing her any harm. The animal was detected by his tracks the next morning. When a short distance from
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 87
her cabin one day, the sound of footsteps suddenly fell upon her ears. She was much alarmed at first, thinking that Indians were coming. Peering out from behind a, tree she saw an enormous pack of wolves advancing, and, as she remarked, her fears were gone. Picking up a pine knot, she struck it against a tree, making a sharp, ringing noise, which frightened the grey denizens quite as much as she had been, and they turned and ran off as fast as their legs would carry them. She kept her post for about three weeks, when, after eating the last of her provisions, and seeing no, prospect of relief, she set out to meet the family, or find a hut where she might procure some food. She had proceeded but a few miles, when at Gordon's Island ' she discovered the boat with her family slowly ascending the river. The moment of deliverance from peril was not only a moment of pleasure, but of pleasantry. The father inquired, 'Where are you going?" To Wilkes-Barre, to get something to eat,' replied the daughter. She was taken on board, and they reached home after an absence of five years."
The sequel of the story of this bold first settler of Bradford county way be properly here given in a few sentences. He was drowned in the river at a place since known as "The Fox Hole," breaking, through the ice, March 4, 1806; he was by birth a German, born March 29, 1739. And was thirty-one years old when he first came. His wife was Catharine Elizabeth Miller - she was born in Germany, May 4, 1748, and died April 10, 1810. The brave old pioneers sleep side by side in Cole's cemetery. Their daughter, Elizabeth Fox, was the first white child born in Bradford county, September 1, 1770. In this family were children as follows, Catharine, Mary, Philip, Elizabeth, Dorothy, Daniel, Rudolph, John, Anna, Eleanor, Susanna, Abraham, Margaret and Christiana. Many descendants are now living in the county, and have maintained the good name of the family-worthy sons and daughters, and noble parentage.
About the time of the first capture of Rudolph Fox a party of Indians plundered Mr. Fitzgerald's house and drove all his stock, and took him prisoner; he lived at Standing Stone.
Lieut.-Col. Dorrance, with about 100 men of the Twenty-fourth Connecticut, made an expedition up the river as far as Sheshequin. They went to the wigwam of an Indian who was known to be in the English service to hunt for suspects whom he was supposed to be harboring. They did not propose to molest Indians, but arrested him while searching his premises. He attempted to break away from his guard, Rufus Baldwin, who shot him through the body; he recovered, however, and was at the battle of Wyoming. This was said to be the first bloodshed in this county in the Revolution. Dorrance captured and carried off several Tories, and pacified the Indians, but they soon broke out again more violently than previously. Thereupon was published an order, holding the following as prisoners of war, all from Bradford county: Richmond Berry, Edward I-licks, Jr., Jacob Bowinan, Adam Bowman, Jr., Jacob Bruner, Henry Hoover, Jacob Anguish and George Keutner. There were other prisoners from the valley, but the list given is confined to this county.
The year 1777 closed in uncertainty and gloom for the patriots of
88 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
this locality. All their surroundings were dark and foreboding. Tioga and Sheshequin were filled with fierce and arrogant foes, while the able-bodied whites were away in the Continental army. In January following, Lemuel Fitch, of Standing Stone, the first settler in the township, was captured and carried off to Canada, where he died. A party of Indians led by Terry and Green went to Wyalusing-a severe snow storm raging at the moment of their arrival. They secreted themselves in the old Indian town until the next morning, when they made a sally and captured Amos York as he came into the village on horseback; his house was plundered and stock driven off. A short time after this, in the same place, they captured Nathan Kingsley and carried him and York to Quebec. Wyalusing was now abandoned by every white person-captured or fled the country. In March following, as soon as the ice was clear of the river, Lieut-Col. Dorrance again came up with 150 men for the purpose of aiding the remaining whites to get out of the country. A raft was made of the old Moravian church, and the people and some of their effects loaded thereon; among others, the families of York, Kingsley, Benjamin Eaton, Fitzgerald, Jonathan Terry and Christopher Hurlbut.
Old man Van Valkenberg and three daughters, and his two sons-in-law families and the Strope family, had not been molested, but had been assured by the Indians of their continued friendship and protection. But in time, they became alarmed, and Strope set out for Wyoming for aid to take his family down the river. Hardly had he left his family, May 20, when thirteen Indians rushed in and captured the inmates, burned the house and drove off the stock. The men captured at this time were sent to Niagara, but the women and children were kept until the war ended. Thus, piecemeal, the entire settlement was swept away. It is estimated that in the beginning of 1777, there -were thirty-eight Whig families in Bradford county; seven of these had enlisted in the two companies, and two had joined the militia company; seven in the Van Valkenberg family were captured; seven were killed by the enemy; one died in captivity, and another soon after his release; the total property of these people was destroyed, the cabins all burned, and the gloom and desolation brooded over the fair and once happy land, as if the angel of destruction had spread its wings and covered it in the shadow of death and utter ruin.
Of all these people the last to attempt to flee was Rudolph Fox, at the mouth of Towanda creek, and as soon as possible be gathered his effects and family and fled down the river.
Wyoming Battle. The enemy now had undisputed possession of all that is Bradford county. The few people here, brave and patriotic men and women as ever lived, had stood as a. barrier and shield to the older settlements against the mongrel enemies-the Indians, Tories and deserters and spies, who wanted this key to the great Susquehanna valley for the free going and coming of their marauding parties.
Maj. John Butler, of the English army, actively set about gathering and organizing a force at Tioga Point, (Athens), and in June, 1778, had about 400 assembled there, He was soon joined by Joseph Brandt, and a descent was made on Cherry Valley, and a 'force under an
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Indian chief made a foray on the West branch, and in the meantime a large force at Newtown (Elmira) and Tioga, Point were making boats with which to descend the river. They gathered in all about 1,100 men, under Butler, 500 rangers and the others, Indians and deserters. A great dog feast was indulged in at Tioga, preparatory to starting, and then, daubing themselves with paint and singing their war song, they floated out on their bloody mission to Wyoming. Butler concealed his movements with great cunning, and sent out small parties in different directions for the purpose of misleading the people along the way. The fortunate return of Mr. Jenkins from captivity at this moment was the first warning to the people of the coming attack. This was the second of June. "The people assembled rapidly and sent a statement to Congress by carriers, and asked for military aid. The air was now filled with alarms and every hour the gloom and sadness deepened. William Crooks and Asa Budd, both formerly of this county, were sent out as scouts, and were fired upon, and Crooks was killed and Budd narrowly escaped. Crooks was the first man killed in the Susquehanna valley in the war. Blood was now tasted and the dogs of war unleashed. Butler was capturing, killing or driving all before him.
Col. Nathan -Dennison, commanding the militia, saw the impending danger, and sent out word for all to speedily assemble at Forty Fort. About 300 were thus called together, according to Col. Franklin's estimate. Col. Zebulon Butler was put in command, and Cols. Dennison, Dorrance, and Maj. John Garrett were his aides. The commands were two companies from Wilkes-Barre, under Capt. James Bidlach, Jr., and Rezin Geer; Capt. Asaph Whittesy's company from Plymouth; from Hanover under Capt. Lazarus Stewart.
Maj. Butler invested the fort, and demanded a surrender, which was promptly refused. A council of war was held in the fort, and there was a divided opinion as to whether to go out and fight, or -await the enemy's attack. It was expected that Col. John Franklin and his company would arrive during the night. Lieut. Timothy Pierce had just arrived from Spalding's company, and reported that that command could reach the fort in two days. Capt. Stewart favored an immediate attack on the enemy-vowed he could whip the whole of them with his one company and finally threatened to take his company and return to Hanover if the attack was delayed, and unfortunately Butler yielded. The little army marched out to Abraham's creek, where it" halted to await the attack. The enemy being concealed just in front of them, our forces marched into the trap. When within three hundred yards they deployed and opened fire; the Americans Poured a galling fire into the enemy and continued advancing when the enemy's line began to waver. At this moment the savages rushed from their concealment in the flank and rear and attacked furiously, and now an order to fall back was mistaken for one to retreat.
The whole valley was now in a, panic of terror, and the people fled down the river and across the country to places of safety; and in after years the women and children told the pathetic stories of their sufferings in their hurried exodus from the dark and bloody ground, where they
90 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
left here unburied someone of nearly every fleeing family. When the dreadful story spread through the country, it created a profound sensation all over the civilized world.
The militia were called out and ordered to Sunbury. These were to be
joined by Capt. Spalding's company. A detachment from New York was given
them, and under Col. Thomas Hartley, of Pennsylvania, an expedition was
set on foot up the Susquehanna. Much delay in getting the expedition ready,
followed. Only in September had 266 men assembled at Muncy, of these 130
were from Wyoming under Capt. Spalding, sixty of whom were from the Eleventh
Pennsylvania Regiment. With this little band Col. Hartley set out for Tioga
Point, September 21. The road was a terrible one; the fall rains had raised
the streams, and of the route Col. Hartley said: " I cannot help observing
that I imagine the difficulties in crossing the Alps or passing up the
Kennipeck could not have been greater than those our men experienced for
the time." Four days was this journey, through the cold rains and wading
streams frequently, and on the cold ground at night without fire, for fear
of the enemy, and yet these men never so much as murmured. The first of
the enemy they discovered was near where is now Canton, in the southwest
corner of the county. Sept. 26, Hartley's advance met a party of Indians,
fired upon them, killed and scalped their chief and the others fled. In
the neighborhood of LeRoy they came upon a fresh camp where about seventy
had spent the night previous, but had fled on Hartley's approach. The command
pressed on as fast as possible to Sheshequin; here they rescued fifteen
prisoners from the Indians, and recaptured quite a number of cattle. Col.
was to have joined Col. Hartley at this point, but failing to do so, a
small detachment was sent to Tioga, and Queen Esther's village was destroyed.
No more daring military movement was ever made with impunity, than this
of Col. Hartley's. He returned rapidly, the first day reaching Wyalusing,
where they halted and cooked the little beef they had as all the food left.
The powerful enemy was rapidly collecting to swoop down on his little band
and exterminate them, and Hartley realized that be must move fast enough
to keep ahead of any pursuers. They had hardly formed in the march out
of Wyalusing when they met the enemy, these they soon dispersed, and in
a short time again were attacked in front but again beat off their assailants.
As the reached Indian Hill on the lower edge of Bradford county, a heavy
attack was made on their left flank and rear, the rear guard gave away
when Capt. Spalding went to its support. Col. Hartley skillfully handled
his men, while those in the boats landed and came up in the rear of the
enemy, when they supposing they were about to be surrounded precipitately
fled. Hartley's loss was four killed and ten wounded. Col. John Franklin
was in this expedition as captain of the Wyoming militia. In his diary
is this entry: "The troops retook a great number of the Wyoming cattle,
horses and other property, and returned with their booty October 1; they
met many hazardous skirmishes, with the loss of several lives. Several
Indians were killed. Col. Hartley and
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 91
his men were warmly thanked on their return by the executive council of Pennsylvania."
The battle and massacre of Wyoming occurred July 3 and 5, 1778, now one hundred and twelve years ago, and yet the barest recitals are enough to chill one's blood in horror. The people had fled to Forty Fort, when they heard of the devastation that roving band of Indians, in which were white men often directing the bloody work. were making along the Susquehanna valley. The Indians in strong force bore down upon them and the men in the forts, instead of waiting and standing upon the defensive within the enclosure, marched out and gave battle. A heavy fight was kept up in front, and the Indians sent out a force on the flanks, and then closed in on their rear and killed or captured all. This battle occurred on July 3, and on that and the next two days they amused themselves killing every one they had captured. Here the savage Queen Esther shocked the civilized world by her brutal ferocity. A number of captives were arranged in line near the foot of the hill and near the Susquehanna river at the base of Bloody Rock, tied and held by the Indians while this female monster walked in front of the line braining them, one by one, with a heavy tomahawk. Only two men escaped. One of these it is said was Joseph Elliott, who settled in Merryvale township, and whose descendants are still living there. They broke away from those holding them and sprang into the river, and by diving, under drift wood finally got away and from their pursuers, who sent shower of bullets and arrows after them, wounding each one several times, but fortunately only slightly; and after crossing the stream they were soon hid in the mountains, and after many days and much danger they made their way separately to civilization and safety. This crowning act of infamy on the part of the Indians closed the doors to all. further attempts at peaceful arbitrament, at least until the heavy hand of punishment should fall upon the monsters. The historians of that evil day say that in the force that attacked the whites at Wyoming or Forty Fort, were 800 Seneca Indians, and 400 British, or Tories.
The Continental Congress now determined upon the vigorous measures to punish the Indians who had been practicing the most cunning deception on the frontier settlers, protesting entire neutrality between the Americans and the British. They now had the correct insight into the Indian character. The Congress advised with Gen. Washington, and it was determined to send a strong force up the Susquehanna, and from thence through the Genesee valley, the heart of the powerful Iroquois nation, and lay waste and kill to their utmost power-kill the men and lay waste the lodges, villages, as well as take cattle, ponies, and destroy all their growing, crops. In the rich Genesee valley the Iroquois had advanced in the cultivation of the soil beyond anything known of any other Indians at that day, and here the British could find abundant supplies for invading armies, as well as great assistance from the braves in these extended and pitiless inroads upon the frontier settlers. Gen. Washington advised this movement as the only way to strike effectively this dangerous enemy in the rear-more threatening than the armies in front. The result was Gen.
92 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
John Sullivan's expedition up the Susquehanna. Washington's instructions for the commander bear date May 31, 1779. He tendered the command to Gen. Gates, who, on account of age, declined, and it was given to Gen. John Sullivan, who was directed to rendezvous a force of about five thousand men at Easton, Pa., and march up the Susquehanna. At the same time, Gen. Clinton was ordered to move with his brigade of New York troops and pass down the upper Susquehanna and join Sullivan's forces at Tioga (now Athens), Bradford county. This military movements of the Revolutionary was one of the important war-in results, perhaps, far exceeding any or all others. It was forced reluctantly upon Washington, who had forgiven one act of treachery after another on the part of the red men. After he and the American people had exhausted every means to keep terms of amity with the Indians, or at least to remain neutral in the rebellion against the Mother Country. There was nothing in the question between the two countries that should have caused the Indians to take sides. In their dense ignorance they knew not that they were by their folly, not only forfeiting their rich possessions, but were periling their very existence as a tribe. Washington's military genius indicated to him the immediate results that must follow the success of Sullivan's expedition, but to greater and ulterior results, it is highly probable, neither entered his mind nor that of the Continental Congress. A panic ensued, and in a few minutes the field was covered with flying fugitives, pursued by yelling, murderous savages, and more than one-half of the entire force soon lay dead on the field. Of all the prisoners taken, but five escaped alive. Maj. Butler reported 227 scalps, and he adds: "The Indians were so exasperated with their loss last year, near Fort Stanwix, that it was with the greatest difficulty that I could save the lives of these few." He congratulates his superiors in his report that the women and children were spared. Three of the Gore boys and their two brothers-in-law lay dead on the battlefield, side by side. The other in the fort heard the firing and saw our men in confusion pour in and being tomahawked, and stood in the door of the fort awaiting the awful news so soon to break upon her, and when it did come, " What! have I one son left? " was all that escaped her quivering lips.
The expedition was directed against the Six Nations., the most powerful body of savages this continent ever knew. Their seat of empire was along the Genesee valley by the lakes. They had trodden like the grass the other tribes of America, extending their conquests to Florida and west to the Mississippi river. The lands in New York were as rich and beautiful as any on the continent.. They had progressed in agriculture until broad, smiling fields of grain, corn and various vegetables, were on every hand. They had comfortable huts, and in some cases rude chimneys to them. They struck the cruel blow upon the helpless frontier people, and thereby forfeited all their rich inheritance. In Gen. Washington's instructions to Sullivan and in his report to Congress be says " congratulate Congress on his (Gen. Sullivan's) having completed so effectually the destruction of the whole of the towns and settlements of the hostile Indians in so short a time and with so inconsiderable a loss of men." In his letter of instruction
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 93
to the commander before starting he said "It is proposed to carry the
war into the heart of the country of the Six Nations, to cut off their
settlements, destroy their next year's crop, and do them every other mischief
which time and circumstances will permit." And again, that there might
be no misapprehension, he adds: " The immediate objects are the total destruction
of the hostile tribes of the Six Nations and the devastation of their settlements
and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible."
There could be no mistake here on the part of Gen. Sullivan. Not only the
commander, but the civilized world, understood that here was the terrible
answer back to the Wyoming massacre. This was war, not strictly in kind,
but swift and terrible, and gave us empire from ocean to ocean. Strict
neutrality would have left the Indians in peace, the possession of their
homes, crops, ponies and cattle, but far greater than these their rich
and boundless land possessions.
Gen. Sullivan's expedition was at the same time supplemented rather duplicated-by a similar expedition simultaneously carried on by Gen. George Rogers Clark, down the Ohio river and into the Illinois against the British forts at Kaskaskia and Vincennes. The first Was under the Continental Congress and Gen. Washington, while the other was under Virginia (Gov. Patrick Henry) and the "Hannibal of the Northwest "-Gen. George Rogers Clark.
These military expeditions, conceived and executed at the same time, one by Washington and Congress, the other by Gov. Patrick Henry and Gen. Clark, the movements of each unknown to the other, arc two of the most stupendous episodes in the annals of mankind.
The question of the success of the American Revolution, little as it was known by our great forefathers, was the very soul and being of the advance of the human race in liberty, in thought, and the higher civilization. We can now know the liberty gained by the Americans in its reflected influence spread over the world, even to the remotest corner of the British Empire itself, after its long seven years of cruel war of attempted subjugation. The American Tories-even these mistaken men so fierce in opposing their own neighbors, and sometimes members of their own families-were among the beneficiaries of the heroic struggles of the noble sons of liberty. Until the hour of the conception of the Sullivan and the Clark expeditions, there was no thought among the fathers other than that of independence for the little fringe of territory that ran along our Atlantic shore. It washardly more than individual liberty in their ideas, but these two expeditions were the secret of our present wide empire: these numerous stars set in azure blue, now glinting upon sixty-two millions of free men, marching ever onward. These then were vastly more than local events. In results they were not only continental, but world-wide and as the hills. They have touched the whole human race, as enduring and made millions of freemen where otherwise would yet have been bred only galley slaves-men and women yoked to the cruelest servitude.
Here the chief interest in Sullivan's expedition, as a part of the local history, is, that his army passed through Bradford county, following
94 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
the river to where is now Athens, where a fort was built, and where Gen. Clinton joined Sullivan by coming down the stream that be bad ascended, and thus strengthened Gen. Sullivan marched out and fought the battle of Newton (Near Elmira), and overwhelmingly defeated the Mohawk warriors under their greatest commanders, Joseph Brandt and Col. Butler, and their English allies, with their science of war, added to their savage cunning, bravery and fortitude.
The army passed up on the east side of the river, nearly the same as is the bed of the railroad. From the many diaries of men in the expedition is extracted the following, verbatim, from that of Maj. James Norris, Commencing with their arrival at the battle ground of Wyoming:
June, 18, 17 79. The New Jersey and New Hampshire brigades, with Proctor's regiment of artillery, under the command of Major-General Sullivan, began to March from Easton on an expedition to the western frontiers against the savages. [Omitting the next few days the extracts are taken up again on the arrival at the battle ground.]
23. Our next place of halting is Wyoming. About 4 miles from this town we Capt. Davis and Lieut. saw two Monuments set up by the wayside in memory of Jones, of the 11th Pennsylvania Reg't, with the following inscription "The place where Capt. Davis was murdered by Savages, April 23d, 1779," & "The blood of Lt. Jones--" About 12 o'clock we entered the Town of Wyoming which exhibits a melancholy scene of desolation, in ruined Houses, wasted fields & Fatherless Children & widows. These unhappy people after living in continual alarms & disputing for many Years their possessions with the Pennsylvanians, at length were attacked by a merciless band of savages, led on by a more savage Tory, the unnatural monster, Butler; their houses were plundered and burnt, their cattle and effects carried away after they had capitulated; and the poor helpless Women & children obliged to Sculk in the Mountains and perish or travel down to the Inhabitants, hungry, naked and unsupported; in a word Language is too weak to paint Humanity unable to bear the history of their sufferings. The Refugees who joined the Indians to cut off this settlement are said to have given proofs of more wanton and unnatural Barbarity than even the Savages themselves. The following is a deeper Tragedy than has been acted since the Days of Cain. A Young man by the men, & in name of Henry Pensil, who had escaped the Fate of most of his Country the Evening after the battle had taken refuge in a small Island in the River, was discovered by Tory who fiercely accosted him with the Appellation of a Damned Rebel the poor fellow being unarmed began to implore his pity, fell down upon his knees and entreated him not to stain his hands with his Brother's blood. " John, I am your brother, spare my Life and I will serve you :" " I know you are my Brother," replied the Villain, "but you are a damned Rebel, Henry, and we are of opposite sides and Sentiments in the meantime was loading his gun with great coolness, which after the most moving appeal to his humanity & Justice, with all deliberation he leveled at his breast and shot him ! Then Tomahawked & Scalped him! Another young man who lay concealed in the bushes a little way off & afterwards Made his Escape heard all that passed, and saw the Murderer, who stood up upon a log while he loaded his Gun and Knew him to be the Brother of his unfortunate Companion. He also adds that the Savages came up soon after he had finished the bloody deed ; and cursed his cruelty in the bitterness of their hearts & said they had a great mind to put him to death the same way
24 This Evening one of the Centries fired upon a Savage, who had crept up within 2 or 3 Rods of him to take him by Surprise but the fellow made his escape
28. Gen. Sullivan reed. a Letter from Genl. Clinton, dated Schoharra, advising that lie was furnished with 3 Months Provissions, 1700 effective men with him present & 300 more at another post ready to join him & was waiting his Commands.-Same letter adds that lie had taken and hanged a British Officer, a Spy, who was going from But let's Army to N. York-by the Same Express we learn from Gen]. Clinton that the Oneida tribe of Indians had reed. a letter from Genl. Haldiman, Governor of Quebeck, Charging them with a breach of faith & breathing out threatening against them, if they did not declare in favor of Britain.
2d Rode out this morning with Genl. Poor and Leut. Col. Dearborn about four miles from Camp to view the ground where the battle was fought between the Savages
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 97
and the people of Wyoming under Col. Butler, he saw a Stockade fort with a Covert Way to a fountain which our guide told its was built for a shew by some of the disaffected Inhabitants & given up to the Enemy immediately upon their Approach; we examined the Trees where the line of Battle was formed. but found very few marks of an Obstinate Engagement ; it appears indeed that the Enemy were superior in numbers to the Militia and soon after the Commencement of the Action turned their left Flank, this brought on a retreat, in which the savages massacred upwards of 200 Men-We saw more or less bones scattered over the ground for near two miles & several Sculls brought in at different times, that had been Scalped and inhumanly mangled with the Hatchet. A captain's commission with 17 Continental Dollars was found in the pocket of the Skeleton of a man, who had laid above ground 12 months-Our guide shewed us where 73 Bodies had been buried in one hole, this place may with propriety be called Golgotha-All the houses along this river have been burnt ; and the Gardens and fields, the most fertile I ever beheld, grown over with weeds and Bushes, exhibit a melancholy of Savage rage and Desolation.
"5 [August] Our next place of Encampment is Wyalusing, distant ten miles the Ground rocky and mountainous, particularly one tremendous ridge over which our right Flank was Obliged to pass, that seemed to over look the World & threaten Annihilation to our prostrate Troops-After leaving this place the Scene Opened into a fine, clear, extensive piece of Woodland; here the Genl. apprehending an attack, the Signal was beaten for the Army to Close Column this order of March was observed till we left this forest and gained the Summit of a very lofty Mountain; when another Signal was given for marching in files-From the Top of this height we had a grand prospective view of our little Fleet coming up the river about three Miles distance-The green hills as far as the eye could reach rising like the seats of an Amphitheatre and the distance of the prospect gave the River and the boats the beautiful Resemblance of Miniature painting-After marching abt. 2 Miles we descended into the low grounds of Wyalusing where every, one was amazed at the luxuriant growth of Timber, chiefly Sycamore-few of the trees being less than 6 ft, in Diameter; and to close this days march the more agreeably after passing half a mile of piny barren, the plains of Wyalusing opened to our sight covered with english grass, the greatest and richest Carpet that Nature ever Spread-There was once an Indian Town at this place consisting of about 80 Houses, or hutts built in two parallel right lines forming a Street of 60 or 70 feet wide; with a Church or Chapel in the Center, the place of the town is still to be seen in the old Ruins that remain on the Ground-The natives it seems had actually ambraced the Christian Religion which was taught them by a Moravian Missionary from Bethlehem for that purpose in the year 1770, the Connecticut Company having purchased the lands on this River, the Indians Retired farther Westward and left this place in the possession of a few Americans who have joined the Enemy since the Commencement of the War-notwithstanding the Settlement has been over run by the Savages and the Town burnt-the Susquehanna at this place makes nearly a right Angle, and forms a point on which the Town stood and where Genl. Sullivans Army lay Two days encamped-"
8th. Sunday morning, 7 o'clock, moved on towards Tioga, and Encamped on a low piece of ground by- the River, where there has been it settlement, & four families dwelt in the year 1775. This place is called Standing Stone Bottom - Capt. Spalding who command,,; the Independent Company in Genl. Hood's light Troop-, lived at this place - distance ten miles.
9. Marched at 6 this morning and halted to breath near a cold stream called Wesawking [Wysox], about three and one-half miles from last encampment-Then pursued our route without rest or refreshment twelve miles farther, the Weather hot and the men much fatigued, this brings us to Sheshukonuck Bottom, a large meadow of 150 Acres, lying on the Susquehanna, covered with a vast burthen of wild grass. We rested here t evening-[This is opposite Ulster
In explanation of the route of the army it may be well enough to here explain the apparent fact from these diaries and journals of those who were with the expedition that there is no mention of Towanda, creek, or any other point in or about where is now the borough. It seems there was no "journal" of the trip kept by anyone who was on the Heel. There were 120 boats laden with stores, and carrying the cannon, etc. In order to protect the boats there was a detachment of the army that was kept on the west side of the river, And there
98 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
was no diary kept or that was published in the Government report by any one who was in that portion of the army that was on the west-side of the river. It seems that the main army shortened their route to Sheshequin by striking straight from the bend of the river below Towanda in a northwest course to that place, that Is from the month of Wysox creek. In this way they passed east of Towanda nearly four miles. The army rested two days at Sheshequin, no doubt chiefly awaiting the arrival of the boats and the detachment that had followed the bends of the river on the west side.
On their way from Wysox to Sheshequin the army passed the Narrows above Towanda-called " Breakneck mountain." On this narrow path some of the cattle fell over the side and were killed.
On the 11th of August they struck tents on the way to Tioga Point. The diary speaks of the splendid rich valley they found two miles above Sheshequin. The main army crossed the river to the west side two miles above Sheshequin. All passed over in safety-one man was washed down stream, but he was rescued. They would stem the swift current in safety by firmly locking hands, and thus supporting each other. The cattle and pack-horses forded also in safety. Maj. Norris then proceeds to say: "After advancing about one mile through timber which shut out a rich bottom covered with strong and stately the sun and shed a cool agreeable twilight, we unexpectedly were introduced into a plain as large as that of Sheshequonunck that Esther, Queen of the Seneca tribe dwelt in retirement and sullen majesty, detached from all the subjects of her nation. The ruins of her palace are still to be seen; surrounded with fruit trees of various kinds. At the east end of the plain, the Tioga (Chemung) forms a junction with the Susquehanna river. At this place the army forded the Tioga river about half a mile above the junction where it encamped. We now find ourselves happily arrived at Tioga with our army and fleet."
Gen. Sullivan at once set about building a fort and preparing the place for military occupation, and as a base for his army in his movements north into the Indian country. Maj. Morris describes the place as presenting evidences of recent occupation by large numbers of Indians-many hides being strewn over the around, and the place of burial for their dead, but he adds, 11 There were no Vestiges of Hutts or Wigwams The commander had built Fort Sullivan and four blockhouses, and near these the boats were sheltered. A strong-enough garrison for defense was left, and Gen. Clinton and his force had arrived. In the meantime, before Clinton's arrival, Sullivan had hurried marched out fifteen miles to an Indian town, Chemung, and, finding, it deserted. burned the place-about forty Indian huts. The place had been deserted on the approach of the army, and the Indians were seen on a hill watching the soldiers. Gen. Hand pursued them, and they -waited until he was in range, when they delivered a fire and fled. They were hotly pursued about a mile The fire of the Indians was effective, as they wounded three officers, killed six men, and wounded seven others. This has the strong appearance of having been an ambush in -which the crafty savages drew Gen. Hand, and then fled, receiving no injury ill return. The soldiers were then put to destroying
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 99
a field of corn, about forty acres; while thus engaged they were fired upon from across the river, killing one man and wounding five.
August 26. Army about 5,000 strong moved out of Tioga, leaving three hundred men to guard the fort, under command of Col. Shreve. On the 29th the army reached Newtown, and fought the decisive battle of that name. This is situated about seven miles Southeast of where is now Elmira. The Indians were commanded by Col. John Butler and Joseph Brandt. The Americans had three men killed and twenty-nine wounded. The town of forty huts was destroyed, and the growing grain in the fields. The army then proceeded without further interruption up to and through the great Genesee valley, laying waste on every hand, literally overrun and destroyed it, and then returned to Tioga Point. In this expedition it was estimated the army burned forty Indian villages, destroyed 200,000 bushels of corn, besides thousands of fruit trees, etc. " The land was the Garden of Eden before them, and behind a desolate wilderness.
October 3. Fort Sullivan was demolished, and the next day the army set out for Wyoming, passing down through Bradford county over the route they had come up. On the 15th the army reached its starting point, Easton, where a thanksgiving service was held. On the 17th, Gen. Washington congratulated the army on Gen. Sullivan's success, and that "The whole of the soldiery engaged in the expedition merit, and have, the Commander-in-chief's warmest acknowledgments for their important services.
This blow, more lasting and terrible than was supposed at the time, destroyed the power of the Iroquois forever. The greatest Indian con federation ever formed, Gen. Sullivan had crushed. While the war lasted they kept up their forages, but it was in insignificant bands of four or flive. There were no more Wyoming or Cherry Valley massacres from these savages.
Particulars of this important movement of the Colonial authorities, while one or the most important in our history, has been a neglected chapter by our historians. Simply to mention it as an incident, with but little regard to the tremendous effects following, has been too much the rule of writers on the subject of the war for Independence. Under the auspices of the State of New York a Centennial Celebration of the battle of Newtown was held in the year 1879, August 29, and under a resolution of Congress of 1876, asking for the publication of the history, of the several counties in the Union, the historian of that locality brought public attention to Sullivan's expedition. It was then determined to fuilly celebrate the centennial day of the battle of Newtown, and to construct on the ground a monument dedicated with appropriate ceremonies. This resulted in the grandest celebration of that period. And the activity or the managers of that occasion, the liberal assistance from the State of New York and the elaborate memorial addresses, particularly that of the Rev. David Craft, of Wyalusing, all contributed to drive this important event its proper place in American history. The 29th of August was hot and dry, but the people assembled in vast multitudes, by organized military and civic societies, singly and in long and numerous processions, The monument standing on
100 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
Sullivan Hill, on the battlefield, commanding a wide view of the surrounding country, was unveiled with imposing ceremonies, and addresses delivered from two stands by many of the most eminent men of the country. The governors and staffs of New York and Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, as well as Gen. Sherman and staff, and many other officials, were present. It is estimated that there were assembled on the battlefield 50,000 people on that eventful day.
This expedition forever destroyed the powers of the Iroquois, and drove Butler and his forces from this portion of the country, and comparative peace and safety were once more established on the Susquehanna.
March, 1780, a party of fifty or more Indians came down the river and when near Wyoming they divided into bands for the purpose of striking the isolated settlers. One of these parties captured Thomas Bennett and his son, near Kingston, and added Libbeus Hammond to their capture, and started to Tioga and camped near Meshoppen. During the night the prisoners rose upon their captors, killed four, wounded another, and one fled, and seizing all the rifles of the slain returned Home March 27; another of these bands suddenly appeared at Hanover and shot and killed Asa Upson. Two days after they captured a boy, Jonah Rogers, and the next day Moses Van Campen they killed and scalped Van Campen's father, brother and uncle; the same day they captured a lad named Pence. They then passed to Huntinqton and fell in with Col. Franklin and four of his men, two of whom were wounded but all escaped. They found in Lehman township, Luzerne county, Abraham Pike and his wife making sugar. They stayed all night' -with them and took the man and wife prisoners the next morning, having, bundled the baby and thrown it on the cabin roof; during the day they released the woman, and she returned in all haste to her baby which she found, and with it in her arms fled to the settlement. Pike was a deserter from the British army-a gallant Irishman, and made up his mind that it would be decidedly unpleasant to be carried into the British lines. The party with their captives on the night of April 3 camped on the Strope place at the mouth of Wysox creek. Supposing they were now out of danger, they Jonah Rogers, the boy mentioned relaxed somewhat their vigilance. above, afterward told this narrative:
"In the afternoon of the day before we reached the place of encampment we came to a stream. I was tired and fatigued with the journey; my feet were sore and I was just able to proceed. Pike told the chief of the gang that he would carry me over on his shoulders. The old chief, in a gruff voice, said: 'Well.' Pike whispered in my ear as we were crossing the stream: I Jonah, don't close your eyes tonight. When they sleep take the knife from the chief and cut the cords with which I am bound.' I was the only one of the prisoners who was not bound every night-the old chief took me under his blanket. The nights were raw and Cold, and though protected in this way I thought I should perish. This much of the project was communicated by Pike to the other prisoners. Toward nightfall they halted, kindled a fire, partook of their evening meal, and were soon
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 101
stretched on the ground. In a few minutes the old chief was asleep, and in the course of half an hour the savages were all snoring; but he knew his friends were awake, from the occasional half-suppressed cough.
Pike was the nearest to me, and not over two feet in distance. It was a terrific effort for me to make up my mind to perform my part of the business, for I knew that instant death would be the penalty in case of failure. but, as time passed On, and the snoring of the savages grew louder and louder, my courage seemed to gather new strength. I had noticed where the old chief lay down ; the knife in the belt was on the side next to me. I peered out from under the blanket, and I saw the embers of the fire still aglow and a partial light of the moon. I also saw the hands of Pike elevated ; I thought the time had come, and these two hours of suspense I had passed were more terrible than all the rest of my life put together. I cautiously drew the knife from the scabbard in the chief's belt, and, creeping noiselessly out from under the blanket, I passed over to Pike and severed the cords from his hands.
"All was the silence of death save the gurgling noise made by the savages in their sleep. Pike cut the cords that bound the other prisoners. We were all now upon our feet. The first thing was to remove the guns of the Indians-the work for us to do was to be done with tomahawks and knives. The drums were carefully removed out of sight, and each of us had a tomahawk. Van Campen placed himself over the chief, and Pike over another. I was too young for the encounter, and stood aloof. I saw the tomahawks of Pike and Van Campen flash in the dim light of the half-smoldering flames ; the next moment the crash of two terrible blows followed in quick succession, when seven of the ten arose in a state of momentary stupefaction and bewilderment, and then came the hand-to-hand conflict in the contest for life. Though our enemy were without arms, they were not disposed to yield. Pence now seized one of the guns, fired and brought one down; four were now killed and two dangerously wounded, when the others, with terrific yells, fled at the report of the gun. As they ran, Van Campen threw his tomahawk and buried it in the shoulder of one of them. This Indian, with a terrible sear on his shoulder blade, I saw years after, when be acknowledged how it came there." Mrs. Jane (Strope) Whitaker told that Pike had visited her father often after the war, and she had heard him relate over and over again every detail of the episode. June, 1780, Col. Franklin, Sergt. Baldwin with four men had trailed it party front near Tunkhannock to Wysox, near where is the Lanning farm. They discovered the camp smile, and crept upon them mid captured four white men, bearers of dispatches to the British
forces. Me of them got away, the others were taken to headquarters; they were Jacob and his son, Adam and Henry Hoover. Among other trophies found on the prisoners was a beautiful spy-glass, now the property of Maj. W. 11. 11. Gore, of Sheshequin; it bad been purchased by his father, Judge Gore. And Burr Ridgeway when a very old man said that he had heard Col. Franklin say, on pulling out a silver watch, "I took that from one of the prisoners."
102 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
Stubborn Fight- A battle with the red skins on Bradford soil took place at the Frenchtown mountain, opposite Asylum, April 10, 1782. A band of marauders had captured Roswell Franklin's family, of Hanover. For some unknown cause this family was the especial object of attack by the Indians. A year before they had captured Franklin's son, Roswell, and his nephew, Arnold Franklin, -whose father had been killed in the Wyoming battle, and they had burned his grain and drove off his stock. On April 7, while Roswell Franklin was away, a band of eight savages rushed into the cabin and captured Mrs. Franklin and her children, Olive, aged thirteen, Susanna, Stephen, aged four, and Ichabod, aged eighteen months, and hurried away with them, going north toward Tioga. The second day they were joined by five other Indians making thirteen. In a few hours after they had gone, Franklin returned, and divining the affair hastened to Wilkes-Barre and the alarm guns were fired. The captives heard the guns and knew what it meant. Soon a party was in pursuit under Sergt. Thomas Baldwin, seconded by Joseph Elliott. The others of this party were: John Swift (afterward a general, and killed on the Niagara frontier in 1812), Oliver Bennett, Watson Baldwin, Gideon Dudley, Mr. Cook and a Mr. Taylor-eight men. The pursuers struck straight across the country to Wyalusing and reached that point ahead of the Indians, but, for the purpose of a more eligible place for a stand, they passed on to the Frenchtown mountain, and erected a kind of defense works by felling some trees and placing brush in front of them. The Indians had proceeded so slowly that they awaited them two days, and when on the point of concluding that they had gone by some other route they finally appeared and halted, and began to peer about with great caution. Mrs. Franklin thought they were looking for deer, as they were out of provisions. As soon as one of the bucks came in range he was fired upon, and then a regular battle commenced. The women and children were compelled to lie flat on the ground, as they were between the combatants and the bullets whistling close above them. A savage fell at Dudley's first shot, but when loading Dudley was wounded in the arm. A desperate fight now raged each party behind trees. The next execution was Taylor's shot that killed their medicine man; he rushed up to scalp him, but broke his knife, when two Indians started for him, but he cut off the Indian's head and ran with it and escaped. The fight raged several hours. Mrs. Franklin, anxious to know whether her husband was in the rescuing party, raised on her elbow to look; her daughter, Susanna, seeing an Indian approach urged her to lie down; the next moment the Indian fired and killed Mrs. Franklin. Joseph Elliott saw the murder of the woman from his place, and creeping along the trunk of a fallen tree got in opportunity, and shot the Indian dead. The children now supposing all were to be murdered, jumped up and ran. They heard some one shout to them, and thought at first it was an Indian pursuing to murder them. Again they beard the voice, saying: " Run, you dear souls, run And the poor, frightened children rushed into the arms of Elliott. The Indians now fled in terror. The whites remained behind their ambush until near sunset
HISTORY of BRADFORD COUNTY. 103
lest it was a trap to get them out and murder them all. Mr. Swift, had joined the party about the close of the fight, and was hardly on the ground when he was favored by the opportunity and shot an Indian dead. Mrs. Franklin was buried near where killed, and years after the daughter, Olive, wrote the following: " Our friends having found the tomahawks of the Indians along with their packs, cut dry poles to make a raft on which to float, and we dropped silently down the river, and at the dawn came to Wyalusing island. It was just a week since we were taken prisoners. Here we lay a whole day, fearing to go forward lest we should be discovered by the enemy, probably lurking near the shore, and could single us out and shoot us down at their leisure. We were sixty miles from safety, and starving; and our friends gave the one remaining biscuit to the children, and fears were entertained that the little ones would die of hunger." The party reached Wilkes-Barre the Wednesday following. The youngest child of Mrs. Franklin was caught up by an Indian at the moment they tied, and carried off, and was never again heard of.
No spot in America suffered more in the great cause in proportion to population than this, and the river was strewn with remains of the times, some of which are still being found.
Indian Relic. Judge C. S. Russell has an old match-lock gun that it is supposed was left on the ground near Towanda by some "good Indian." Some years ago one of our citizens was passing over the country with his wagon, when he found the road obstructed, and in attempting to make a way around the obstruction removed an old rotted to(,,; in doing so he struck his leg against something stubborn and sharp enough to penetrate his boot-leg, and after passing on a little distance he discovered the wound was bleeding. This excited his curiosity, and he returned and found sticking up the end of a gun barrel, and it was the sharp point of the breech-pin that had wunded his leg. He carefully resurrected it, and it was found to be loaded the breech-end was cut off, and now it has a stock and new lock, and is quite an old-fashioned long gun. Its owner was at Gettysburg, and after the battle he found a gunlock and also a part of the stock of a gun, and these were put on the old barrel. The supposition is that the old gun originally belonged to an Indian. When they camedown for their second attack on Wyoming, the authorities heard of their approach, when word was sent to the people of the north part of Northumberland, and they gathered a force and swooped down, striking the Susquehanna at about this point, falling upon the Indian marauders in the rear. There was much skirmishing and running fighting as the Indians, when they discovered the trap they were in, turned and tried to break through the lines and get away to the point where they had started from. In this way there were dead Indians scattered for miles along the river.
Samuel Gore was one of the notable men of the Revolutionary war. In January, 1832, he penned his own petition to Congress, giving something of his service in the war and asking for a pension. It is a condensed, pathetic story of the dreadful days in this beautiful valley; after a respectable introductory address to the Congress then
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in session he proceeds in his appeal for a pension, every word of which is pregnant with history.
"Your petitioner's request is of a singular nature, differing from the common case of those who served in the War of the Revolution ; he was not engaged for any limited time; that the resided at Wyoming settlement at the commencement of the late Revolutionary War; that in the year 1777, in the month of May, lie was enrolled in the militia of Capt. Aholiab Buck's company , and took the oath of allegiance to be true and faithful to the cause then at issue; that in December, the same year, he was draughted on a tour of duty up the river as far as Wysox and Towanda; the command he was attached to took twenty-eight prisoners, men that had served under Gen. Burgoyne the preceding campaign ; that in the year 1778 the Settlement was in almost continual alarm the afore part of the season; and what added mostly to their fears was that three companies of soldiers had been enlisted in the Settlement and had joined the main army of Washington.
The militia that was left was on duty the principal part of the time, in fortifying, scouting and learning the military discipline till the month of July, when the settlement was invaded by the British and Indians, under the command of Col. John Butler, and Brandt, the Indian chief.
Your petitioner was in the memorable battle and massacre of Wyoming, and narrowly escaped the fate of five brethren and officers, and the principal part of the company to which he belonged.
In addition to his misfortune, in running across a bay or morass. the Indians in close pursuit, every step over knee-deep in mud and. mire, by over-exertion, caused a breach in his body, which has been a painful and troublesome disorder ever since.
It is unnecessary to describe the entire destruction of the settlement by the enemy, dispersion and hardships of the fugitives, old men, women and children, fleeing through the wilderness, carrying with them scarcely enough to support nature by the way.
The place was retaken in August or September following, by Col. Zebulon Butler, and Capt. Simon Spalding, and a garrison replaced there. Your petitioner returned soon after and served as a volunteer during the years 1779, 1780 and 1781, and was subject to be called on in every case of emergency.
The expedition of Gen. Sullivan to the Genesee country (lid not prevent wholly the depredations of the enemy being frequently harrassed by small parties. In the year 1782, Capt. Spalding's company was called to join the main army at headquarters, and a company of invalids was stationed at the post, commanded by Capt. Mitchell, soldiers that were not calculated for the woods, scoutings, etc. Col. Dennison gave orders to have the militia organized and classed, which took place."
Afterward, April 3, 1832, Sergt. Gore wrote a private letter to -Philander Stephens, member of Congress, and from which is taken the following extracts: "1 would take it as a favor if you would inform me what is the prospect of a bill for the general compensation of old soldiers and volunteers of the Revolution. Some cheering information
HISTORY OF 13RADFORD COUNTY 107
on this subject would revive my spirits, which have been almost exhausted during the severity of the past winter. On reflecting back in these trying times, I would state some particulars respecting our family at the commencement of the Revolution. My father had seven sons, all zealously engaged in the cause of liberty. I Himself in acting magistrate and a committee of safety, watching the disaffected and encouraging the loyal part of the community.
Three of his sons and two sons-in-law fell in the Wyoming massacre. Himself died the winter following. One son served during the war, the others served in the Continental Army for shorter periods." Then lie draws a picture of some of the things he saw in that war, and says: " Let any person at this time of general prosperity of our country, reflect back on the troubles, trials and suffering of a conquered country by a savage enemy. Men scalped and mangled in the most savage manner. Some dead bodies floating down the river in sight of the garrison. Women collecting together in groups, screamin g and wringing their hands in the greatest agony; some swooning and deprived of their senses. Property of every description plundered and destroyed, buildings burned, the surviving inhabitants dispersed and driven through the wilderness to seek subsistence wherever they could find it." " This," he says, and its truth is on its face, " is but a faint description of the beautiful valley of 1778," and it should be remembered the savages continued their depredations until 1782.
"John Franklin was chosen captain. Your petitioner was appointed to sergeant and had the command of a class which was ordered to be ready at the shortest notice to scout the woods and to follow any part of the enemy that should be sent on their murderous excursions, that he performed four tours of scouting that season of about eight days each.
"Your petitioner never drew any pay, clothing or rations during the contest for Independence, but ammunition he was supplied with from the Continental store.
He had the charge of a family at the time (his father being dead); had to support himself as well as be could belaboring between spells, and frequently plowing with his musket slung at his back."
He concludes with this pathetic sentence, after stating that he had been informed by the newspapers of the great spirit of liberality manifested by Congress toward old soldiers: "I take the liberty to request of your Honorable Body to take my case into consideration; and if you, in your wisdom and justice, should think that your petitioner is entitled to any remuneration to do what you may think right and just; and your petitioner will ever pray."
Such was the language of the old Revolutionary soldier who had served his country "without any pay or rations," and had to support himself and his 'dead father's family, by "working between spells; often with his gun strapped on his back." It is much of the story of the war in Brad ford county.
The story of the wives and mothers of those times is condensed and typified in that of Samuel Gore's mother. When the battle was raging she was watching at the door of the fort to catch the first news
108 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
where were her four sons and two sons-in-law; the first panting courier told her the horrid story that her three sons, Ralph, Silas and George, and her two sons-in-law, John Murphy and Timothy Pierce, were dead, and their scalped and mangled corpses lay side by side; the brave woman's heart was broken, and her stricken soul cried Have I one son left?" The fort was pillaged the next day, and the Indians carried all the feather beds to the river's bank, and scattered the feathers to the winds. They burned Mr. Gore's house, and the children, while the Indians were sacking the fort, gathered enough feathers to make the noted " Wyoming Bed, " and hid them. Mrs.Gore procured a horse, threw this " bed " across it and started on the long journey across the 14 Shades of Death," as the seventy miles of wilderness was called, that lay before them on their way to the Delaware. The old people and the children rode alternately and in hashed silence, not knowing what moment the red devils would spring upon them. The small children endured agony in silence and trudged on and on. That exodus from the Susquehanna is the unparalleled story of suffering and woe. One poor woman's infant died in her arms on the way; they could not stop to bury it on the way, and she carried the corpse over twenty miles in her arms. An old lady resident of the county, who died a few years ago, was born on that awful voyage. Frances Slocumb, a little girl aged five, was taken captive by the Indians, and never recovered. She was never heard of until she had become old, and then refused to return to her friends and civilization. She died Queen of the Miamis, near Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1847.
M Zephan Flower's memory merits a paragraph among the heroes of the Revolution. The son of Ithuriel Flower, a genuine specimen of the Old-World Puritans that came of the stormy times of 1620, in the very beginnings Of this continent, a generation praying and fighting and reading their old black-letter Bibles in order, we boys used to think, to find old scriptural names for their many children. The name Zephan, it is said, occurs but once in the Bible, but it could not escape the devotional readings of Father Ithuriel, and the bearer of sea that name was born November 30, 1765, and died April 16, 1855, on his farm across the river from Athens, now the property of his relative and adopted son, Z. F. Walker, and is buried near the old family residence on the roadside in the Franklin cemetery. He enlisted in the Continental army in 1778, when not yet quite thirteen years old, and served seven years. and at the age, therefore, of twenty-one, when the modern young man tears himself away from his mama's apron, he was an old Revolutionary soldier, who could tell of the war and battles and sieges and marches with bare feet over frozen ground; of how he was captured and recaptured; how he captured a Tory, and the Tory turned and captured him when his overcoat caught in crossing a fence,
and his prisoner took his gun and about-faced him and finally took the flint from his gun and returned it to him with the injunction: " Go your way in peace and I will go mine. " How he too quickly found a flint, and put it in his gun and ordered the retiring man to halt secret or he would fire, but the fellow only quickened his pace, and although
HISTORY\ OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 109
lie could have shot him dead, yet he had not the heart to do it, and the man went in safety or how, when a sentinel, he challenged Gen. Washington, whom he knew very well, but refused to let him pass until he gave the countersign - this was given, and the great soldier threw the lad a silver half dollar to show his appreciation of the act. Or how, in storming a fort, he was at the head of the storming party, and on the impulse jumped to the port-hole to crawl in, when the cannoneer attempted to fire the gun with the boy right at its mouth, when he was killed almost in the act of applying the torch. In 1791, he came to Sheshequin, and then to Spalding s creek and built a distillery. Then, though with very scant book education, he became a surveyor, and to this day his notes and surveys are among the most reliable records of the early times on the Susquehanna. In April, 1795, he surveyed for the Susquehanna Company the old town of Flowersburg, and in 1798 the township of Litchfield, as it is now, and Windsor, now Sheshequin.
While a resident of Sheshequin he was made a major of the militia. In 1801) he went to Athens and located on the present Michael Coleman farm, and was here when the great flood came, and his family was taken from the house in boats and landed at the foot of the hill of Col. Frankiln's residence, and from there by boats or rafts across the flats to the door of Col. Satterlee's house; the women holding their skirts for sails as propelling power. His next move was to the farm; then to the borough of Athens in the house now Julius Tozer Widow Seward's. In 1834 he moved into the Col. Franklin house, and occupied this with his son Nathaniel, who had purchased the place.
An incident in the life of this old soldier and surveyor was the ill-will he encountered among the settlers because he was surveying the land. They shaved his horse's mane and tail, and threatened him with violence time and again. He was ambushed and fired at several times, but fortunately was never hurt.
Among his reminiscences was the "starving summer " of 1791, in this locality, when tile people were brought to the verge of starvation by it frost that had ruined the previous year's crops breadstuff had all gone and none obtainable, and only such meat as could be captured. The suffering in the forests. The only market was Wilkes-Barre. people wandered through the woods, digging roots and devouring the scant eatable herbs they could find, and one who was there has said: "The best meal I ever ate was when finally we gathered rye that was Just out of the milk, kiln-dried, and pounded it out with a flail, dried it again in kettles and then pounded it Indian fashion with a stone, and made Graham short-cake, and with our invited neighbors partook of the royal feast." Thus the hungry-eyed children were brought back to plenty and happiness, and the whole population were rejoiced, and the dreadful ordeal passed away.
Zephan Flower and Mary Patrick were married March 28, 1785; she was a native of Hartford, born December 25, 1765-a princely Christmas gift indeed. Her brothers, Shepard and Jacob, were among tile early prominent pioneers of Wysox.
The children of Maj. Flower were, Heloisa, Mary, Nathaniel,
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Ithuriel, Huldah, Philomela, Zulimma (mother of Z. F. Walker, of Athens), George. Alfred, Albert, Almore and Zephan. Mrs. Flower died March 5,1848, and is buried in tile Col. Franklin burying-round, now on the farm of her grandson, Z. F. Walker.
Mrs. John Cole, nee Catharine Letts, mother of Dr. C. 11. Cole, of Sheshequin, who died in 184-6, aged seventy-five, has often related her experiences at the battle of Wyoming She was then but six or seven years old, and her father swam the river with his three small children clinging to his clothes, and made his escape and fled through, then called, the "Wilderness of Death," to the Delaware river, subsisting, on the terrible journey, upon roots and berries.
But few of the families of the Revolution on this border but had some such experiences as this old lady could tell of her young girlhood, and now to look back and hear it told as it came in. later years from their lips, we wonder how it was possible that any survived to put in words the dreadful tale. We speak of our brave Revolutionary sires, and honor them above all men, and are liable to forget that the women and weak children were by their side in every ordeal-in the fiercest battles, the bloodiest massacres and in the flights through the wilderness, in the storms and hunger, A hen the very air was laden with death, and often with horrors far worse than death. One is now sometimes incredulous in trying to realize that one of our modern bug squealing, corseted. girls could ever come of such a stock as the race of women and children that helped plant our civilization, and maintained it against every foe. Surely, the Lord tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb.
Soon after the establishment of the Union occurred the episode in history of the attempt by Col. John Franklin and others to establish a new State here. "Wirt Arland" (A. S. Hooken) in the Athens News March 5, 1889, communicated the following:
In the latter years of the last century this was I he great unorganized territory of northern Pennsylvania. At the same time Col. Franklin and his followers were Organizing to form a new State. John Sevier was carving a new State out of Tennessee, Carolina and Georgia. The move was to drive off the Connecticut settlers. Ethan Allen came and joined Franklin, and they resolved to make a new 'Mate with Tioga Point, now Athens, the capital. Gen. Allen said he had made one State and could make another.
The new State was to extend into the unorganized portions of Southern N. Y. The Independent Gazetteer of October 5, 1787, says: "A few days since Capts. Craig, Brady, Stephenson, Begs, Pim and Erb went to the camp of Luzerne and there, by order of the Supreme Executive Council, apprehended John Franklin, and yesterday brought him to this city. This man has been very active in fomenting disturbances in the camp, has great address and resolution, as was shown by the gentlemen employed in conducting this business; they were all officers of the Continental Arm who distinguished themselves by their bravery during the late war-it is to be hoped they will receive sufficient compensation for their services."
Gen. Franklin's long imprisonment without trial-lie was refused any, even enormous, bail that was offered, the trial postponed and he was kept in chains in a dismal fetid cell, is a most sickening chapter in Pennsylvania history. Prickering fled after Franklin's arrest. He returned, however, in 1788 to Bradford county. June 28, 1.778, Pickering was seized and carried to the woods and kept secreted twenty days, but was finally set at liberty.
Ashburn Towner's novel, Chendayne of Kotono, gives an interesting description of this event. The real hero of those days was Col, Franklin. Franklin, the wilderness hero, lay in jail while the National Constitutional Convention assembled to form our wonderful constitution. When after in prison a year or more Franklin was brought before the court, the court said: "There was evidence that he and the people had assembled for the purpose of opposing the authority and law of the Commonwealth, and that a paper subscribed by him had been posted inviting the people to throw off allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania and to erect themselves into an independent
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 111
State, also it appeared that the insurgents had appointed a court of three judges, vested with jurisdiction in all cases criminal and civil."
This was sufficient treason, but the Commonwealth in its abundance of mercy had concluded to charge it to misprision of treason." Then bail was asked when the Chief Justice said that "yesterday we might have allowed it, but to day's Dews of the arrest of Pickering shut out all such idea, and the charge was reverted back to 'treason.'
The new State project lingered after the arrest of Franklin, November 5, 1787, Dr. Bell Franklin then Secretary of the Commonwealth sent the following to the council.
Gentlemen: Since the last session, there has been a renewal of the disturbances at Wyoming some restless spirits there having imagined a prospect of withdrawing the Wyoming, so that part of the State and some of the State of New York from their allegiance, and of forming them into a new State. to be carried into effect by an armed force in defiance of the laws of tile two States. Having intelligence of this, we caused one of the, principal conspirators to be apprehended and secured in the goal of this city -and another, who resides in the State of New York, at our request has been taken up by the authorities of that Government. The papers found on this occasion fully discovers the designs of these turbulent people, and some of their letters are herewith laid before you. . . . To protect the civil officers of our new Court of Luzerne in the exercise of their respective functions ' we have ordered a body of Militia to hold themselves in readiness to march thither, which will be done unless some future circumstances and information from those points may make it appear unnecessary."
[Signed] B. FRANKLIN, President Supreme Ex. Council.
Session of Gen assembly, October 31, 1787, mostly taken up with the Luzerne troubles, a resolution was passed to raise troops. Benj. Franklin sent another message to the assembly recommending the adoption of effectual measures to suppress rebellion and enforce the laws. The people drove the Commissioners from Luzerne Court 2 and at the November election following, Timothy Pickering was elected to the Legislature from Luzerne. He was afterward Washington's Secretary of State.