HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
CHARTERS OF CONNECTICUT AND PENNSYLVANIA.
THE history of the section of Pennsylvania described as Susquehanna County, extends far back of its official organization. It can best be understood by a somewhat extended reference to a period preceding even the settlement of the county, when its area, with that of Luzerne from which it was taken, was still a portion of old Northumberland. A review of still earlier times is necessary fully to account for the peculiar relation which this territory once sustained to the State of Connecticut.
Grave questions have been practically decided in the status of this small corner of the Commonwealth—questions arising from the transatlantic origin of titles to lands in America—and these first claim our attention.
Explanation of Map of Charter Claims.
1. Massachusetts and Connecticut, with a general review of their charter claims, west.
2. The Connecticut County and Town of Westmoreland, from the Delaware west to the Fort Stanwix line ; which sent Representatives to the Assembly at Hartford and New Haven, from 1774 to 1783.
3. The north and south line, one hundred and twenty miles west of the line, ten miles east of the Susquehanna, indicates the western limits of the Connecticut Susquehanna Company's Indian purchase at Albany, in 1754. Nearly to this line ranges of towns five miles square were granted and surveyed ; the five most western in M'Kean County, named Lorena, Conde, Turrenne, Newtown, and Addison, are designated.
4. The Western Reserve, or New Connecticut, in Ohio, being one hundred and twenty miles in length, the width of the Connecticut charter claim, confirmed to that State on the final adjustment of western land claims ; the United States having accepted the cession from Connecticut of the territory west to the Mississippi. Five hundred thousand acres of this reservation, called " Fire Lands," were granted to New London, Fairfield, Norwark, and other towns burnt by the enemy. The remainder, being sold, is the source of the noble school fund of that State.
5. About seven millions of acres of the beautiful Genessee country, being, with slight reservations, all the territory in New York, west from a line beginning at the eighty-second mile-stone from the Delaware, on the northern boundary of Pennsylvania, running north to the British possessions—confirmed, by compromise between New York and Massachusetts in 1786, to the latter State--together with 230,400 acres east of that line.—From Miner's History of Wyoming
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2 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
The charters granted by English sovereigns to Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and from which the early troubles of this section of country arose, were based on the assumed right of possession in virtue of the discovery of its shores by Sebastian Cabot, who first sailed from England under commission of Henry VII. May, 1497.
A few years later, voyagers from France, in the service of its sovereign, also made discoveries and took possession in the name of Francis I.; and, thereafter, the French sovereigns claimed a part of the territory which England held as her own.
In 1603, Henry IV. of France having granted to Sieur de Monts the country called Acadia, extending from the 40th to the 46th degree of north latitude, James I. of England became alarmed at the encroachments upon English claims, and, in 1606, divided that portion of North America which lies between the 34th and 45th degrees, into two nearly equal districts; granting the southern part to a company of London merchants —to whom Sir Walter Raleigh had transferred the patent obtained from Queen Elizabeth—and the northern to another corporation called the Plymouth Company. From 38° to 41° the same was granted to both ; but, wherever the one made a settlement, the other might not settle within 100 miles.¹
In 1607, the Plymouth Company attempted a settlement at the mouth of the Kennebec, but it was abandoned after a few months.
November, 1620, James I. incorporated the "Grand Council of Plymouth, for planting and governing New England in America;" and granted to the persons constituting it, all that tract of North America lying between the 40th and 48th degrees of north latitude, in its whole extent "from sea to sea," excepting only such land as might already be in possession of another Christian prince. The Council were authorized to convey or assign " such particular portions of said lands to such subjects, adventurers, or planters, as they should think proper."
In 1631, a deed from the Earl of Warwick, then president of the Plymouth Council, conveyed to Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brooke and others, that part of New England afterwards purchased from them by the colony of Connecticut. Now, "though the right of soil had passed from the Crown by the original grant, the powers of government were considered of a nature so sacred, they could only be derived directly from the king ;" consequently, in 1662, Charles II. renewed and confirmed the charter to Connecticut, distinctly recognizing it as a part and parcel of the old Plymouth grant. The tract patented to Connecticut extended " from Narragansett River 120 miles on a
¹ U. S. History. Mrs. Willard.
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straight line, near the shore towards the southwest, as the coast lies towards Virginia, and within that breadth from the Atlantic Ocean to the South Sea." This measurement would bring the southern limit of Connecticut nearly or quite to the 41st degree of north latitude; and, "that these boundaries included Wyoming, has never, that we are aware of, been controverted.¹
In 1664, the Dutch, who had settled on the Hudson more than fifty years previous, and who claimed the land from the Connecticut River to the Delaware, were conquered by the English, and their territory was given to the Duke of York (afterwards. James II.), the king's brother.
The charter to Connecticut had included an exception in favor of the Dutch, their land never having been vested in the Crown previous to this conquest ;² and, in 1650, articles of agreement respecting the eastern line of their possessions had been made between them and Connecticut. But, because this line, as agreed upon in 1664, was pronounced " the western bounds of the colony of Connecticut," as it was the eastern of the Duke's patent, the plea was afterwards made by Pennsylvania, that Connecticut had relinquished all claims to lands west of the Delaware; though these were distinctly included within the charter of 1662.
" Now there were no opposite or adverse claims, in 1664, as to the western land. No foreign nation had any pretensions to it. The Duke did not and could not claim it, the Delaware being expressly made his western limit. The king gave no intimation that he was dissatisfied with his own grant of it to Connecticut."'
The commissioners, therefore, who were appointed to mark the division line between the Duke and Connecticut, had nothing to do or to determine about lands west of this patent.
But, as his territory fell again into the hands of the Dutch, and was afterwards restored to the British, a new charter was issued to the Duke of York. This occasioned a fresh dispute between him and Connecticut; but the line between this colony and his possessions was finally adjusted in 1683-85, as it now remains.
In that part of America claimed by England, three requisites were demanded to render title to lands perfect : First, a grant or charter from the king; Secondly, a purchase of the soil from the Indians ; Thirdly, possession.¹
That the steps taken on the part of Connecticut respecting the lands within her charter west of the Delaware may be seen in connection with the action of the Government of Pennsylvania, the following dates are given side by side:—
¹ See Miner's History of Wyoming.
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Titles to land west of the Delaware included in the 420 of north latitude, and extending from that river to a north and south line 110 miles west of the Susquehanna River :—
1662. Charter from Charles II.
1754. Purchase from the Indians.
1762. Settlement at Wyoming.
1681. Charter from Charles II.
1768. Purchase from the Indians.
1769. Settlement at Wyoming.
There is no dispute as to the above facts and figures; and, to the casual reader, nothing more would seem necessary to make clear the validity of the Connecticut claim. To explain how Pennsylvania claimed to prove her right to the land above the Blue Mountains, a few more dates must be given :—
1662. Pre-emption rights with charter, the grant extending " from the Narragansett River to the South Sea."
1753. Formation of the " Connecticut Susquehanna Company" (and, soon after, of the Connecticut Delaware Company), with a view to purchase the Indian title.
1755. The Assembly of Connecticut " manifest their ready acquiescence" in the purchase made by the Susquehanna Company, and " gave their consent for an application to His Majesty to erect them into a new colony." Surveyors sent out, but obliged to return because the Indians were at war with the French against the English.
1769. Second settlement at Wyoming, by people of Connecticut, which, after varying success, at last became permanent.
1782. The Decree of Trenton had reference solely to jurisdiction, and not to right of soil, which had passed from the government of Connecticut to the Susquehanna and Delaware Companies.
1681. Charter to William Penn not given until " the eastern bounds of New York had been decided to be the western bounds of Connecticut, which restored the land beyond those settlements westward, to the Crown, and laid them open to a new grant."'
1736. Deed of the Indians which conveyed to Thomas and Richard Penn, the then proprietaries of Pennsylvania, the right of pre-emption of and in all the lands not before sold by them to the said proprietaries within the limits of their charter. " Said lands bounded on the north by the beginning of the 430 of north latitude," or where the figures 42 are marked on the map.
1779. By an act of Legislature, the right of soil and estate of the late Proprietaries of Pennsylvania was vested in the Commonwealth
1782. The Decree of Trenton in favor of Pennsylvania.
The student in history is perhaps in nothing more puzzled than in the attempt to reconcile the successive grants of different kings ; and, worse, those of the same king. An example of the former is seen by the patent from Charles I. to Lord Baltimore in 1632, which granted him the country from the Potomac to the 40th degree of north latitude ; thus, by a mere act of the crown (the rights and privileges of the London
¹ Argument of Mr. Pratt (afterwards Lord Camden), Attorney General to the Crown, in reply to a query of the Pennsylvania proprietaries.
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Company having been returned to it), what had long before been given to Virginia, was taken away ; as a part of what was granted to Lord Baltimore was subsequently given to William Penn, But of this the latter might well believe himself innocent, since, when he petitioned for his charter, it was referred to the Attorney-General, Sir William Jones, who reported that it did not appear to intrench upon the boundaries of Lord Baltimore's province nor those of the Duke of York; " so that the tract of land desired by Mr. Penn seems to be indisposed of by His Majesty; except the imaginary lines of New England patents, which are bounded westwardly by the main ocean, should give them a real, though impracticable, right to all those vast territories."
Thus, in 1681, Charles II. granted to William Penn a charter of lands having the end of the 42d degree of north latitude for a northern boundary, thus overlapping by one degree the grant to Connecticut made nineteen years before by the same monarch.
An answer to the claim of Pennsylvania under this date (1681) has been already given ; but Pennsylvania further argued that, in 1761, one of the Connecticut governors, in reply to an inquiry of the king, stated: "The colony is bounded on the west by New York." This, however, was not the wording of the reply as adopted by the Assembly, which stated that the colony was bounded by their charter. The change had been made by the governor, without authority, and resulted in his political decapitation, though it is possible he answered with the idea that the king meant to inquire for the boundary of the occupied portion of the grant.
Mr. Miner, in the 'History of Wyoming,' sums up other objections made by able writers in behalf of the Pennsylvania claims, as follows :—
Objection first. That the Susquehanna Company never had a formal grant from the colony of Connecticut.
Second. That the colony of Connecticut received nothing from the Company as a consideration for those lands.
Third. That the Company made their purchase from the Indians, contrary to the laws of Connecticut.
Fourth. That the king, in 1763, forbade the settlement of territory.
A remark taken from 'Day's Historical Collections' may be in place here.
"The different principles involved in the charter of the Connecticut colony and the province of Pennsylvania, necessarily produced an essential difference in the manner of acquiring the Indian title to the lands. In the colony, the right of pre-emption was vested in the people; and the different towns in Connecticut were settled at successive periods, by different bands of adventurers, who separately acquired the Indian title either by purchase or by conquest, and, in many instances, without the aid or the interference
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of the Commonwealth. In the province, the pre-emption right was vested in William Penn, who made no grants of lands until the Indian title had been extinguished, and, consequently, the whole title was derived through the proprietaries."
Mr. Miner continues :—
" In reply to the first three objections, it may be said, also, to be a matter between the Susquehanna Company and the Colony or State ; the whole proceedings of the Company having again and again received the most full and explicit recognition and confirmation from the Connecticut Government.
" In reply to the fourth, it may be asked, After the king had granted the lands by charter, what authority had he reserved to forbid the settlement ?
" The authority to constitute a new power, or government, was reserved, and could not be communicated by the colony of Connecticut, although the latter might govern the new settlement as a part of itself while still a subject of Great Britain.
" Again, Connecticut asserted that ' the Pennsylvania agents did not set forth a conveyance of the land from the natives ; but a deed of pre-emption, or a promise to convey at some future time.'"
In December, 1773, commissioners on behalf of Connecticut wrote to the Governor of Pennsylvania thus :—
"It were easy to observe that the purchases from the Indians by the proprietaries, and the sales by them made, were they even more ancient than they are, could add no strength to the proprietary title, since the right of pre-emption of the natives was by the royal grant exclusively vested in the colony of Connecticut, and, consequently, those purchases and sales were equally without legal foundation."
No purchase affecting the dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania had been made by the proprietaries prior to the treaty at Fort Stanwix (Rome, N. Y.), in 1768. The Indians had already received two thousand pounds sterling from the Connecticut Susquehanna Company for the lands which they then resold to Pennsylvania.
The Rev. Jacob Johnson, then a missionary to the Oneidas, and afterwards the first minister in Wilkes-Barre, testified, that the Indians agreed to give Gov. Penn a deed, " because Sir William Johnson had told them that their former conveyance to the New England people was unlawful," and "because the commissioners urged that the Connecticut people had done wrong in coming over the line of Pennsylvania to buy land of the Indians."
But we never hear of the return of the two thousand pounds. The sale had been made at Albany, in 1754, in open council, and at a time when delegates from Pennsylvania made efforts to induce the chiefs to sell them the Wyoming lands—one hundred and twenty by seventy miles, the Susquehanna Company purchase—to which they steadily refused to accede. Beloved as William Penn had been by the natives, the proprietaries were by no means favorites with the Six Nations (admitted by all to be the original owners of the land), and,
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for the reason that they had declined to recognize the Delawares as the subjects of the Six Nations, but had persisted in regarding them as an independent people ; and, as such, making treaties and purchasing land of them. (See Miner.) They owed them a grudge, too, on account of the " Walking Purchase," of 1737, with which every student of Pennsylvania history is supposed to be familiar.
But the Commissioners of Pennsylvania, after their return to Philadelphia at that time, reported having held a private treaty, and having purchased lands between the Blue Mountains and the forks of the Susquehanna (Fort Augusta, or Sunbury), which was, of course, below the tract sold to the Connecticut people.
IN Susquehanna County, except along the river in Harmony, Oakland, and Great Bend, traces of the original proprietors of the soil are not very frequent. The reader is referred to the annals of those townships for details respecting them. In the vicinity of Apolacon and Tuscarora Creeks, numerous arrowheads have been found, and, in other localities, other implements of the Indians. (See Apolacon, Auburn, Silver Lake, Herrick, etc.) A stone pestle with the head of a squirrel carved on it, now in possession of Rev. H. A. Riley, was found on the farm of the late Judge Lathrop, in Bridgewater.
It is stated, in Eaton's Geography of Pennsylvania,' that the Tuscarora Indians, on their emigration northward, made this region their residence for a number of years.; it is known they had a village near Lanesboro.
The Delawares, who inhabited the country about Deposit, derived their supply of salt from this county. (See Mineral Resources.)
It appears that the two most noted salt springs in our county had been worked by Indians ; and, respecting the one near Silver Creek, a legend is preserved that lends a charm to the spot, now rifled of its pristine wildness and beauty by the hand of modern enterprise. Many of our citizens will recall the scenery described in 1832, by a writer in the Montrose Volunteer' :—
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SALT SPRING LEGEND.
"Previous to the massacre of Wyoming, this whole extent of country was overrun by Indians, along the course of the Susquehanna. A roving band had succeeded in capturing a white man, named Rosbach, after he had killed two or three of them ; his wife and children escaped, but he, though wounded and bleeding on the threshold, was doomed to perish at the stake. They were compelled to make a march to elude pursuit from the whites, and at length reached and followed up the course of a stream, to avoid leaving a track ; and in their progress passed close beside the mineral spring. What the appearance of the spot was then, it is not difficult to conceive at present, since a clearing of a few acres, an old log-house, and the tottering frame used for boring for salt water, is all that remains to tell that the hand of man has been here. The view in the clearing is not uncommon—a stream of silvery flow and murmur, a high hill and the forest—but, by following up the western creek that here meets one from the north, a wild glen opens unsurpassed among our hills.
" It was night when the Indians and their captive reached this hidden valley, but they passed on, after drinking of the spring, to the greater concealment of the ravine beyond. Conceive them as they enter—the party of a dozen' half-naked savages, leading, threatening, and at times supporting the drooping form of the white hunter as he toils through the water tinged with his blood. On either side, the beetling rocks hang a hundred feet overhead, crowned with high columns of the old forest trees. The water, though not abundant, yet produces a series of beautiful cascades, leaping over irregular ledges of rock, and gathering at intervals in basins, clear as the purest crystal. As the leafy dome above closes heavy and compact in the darkness, the party reach the first cascade; they clamber over the rock and find another basin, deeper, darker, and more secluded than the first. Here they pause.
"At a safe distance the hunter's wife has dogged their path, and now watches from the cliff above. In the recess on the right they light their fire. A little apart, the white man is bound to a sapling; the captors are seated ; the pipe is passed; they are fed, and the hour of vengeance is nigh. At this moment an owl, startled by the fire, shrieks so discordantly, that even the warriors quiver at the sound. Succeeding this horrid scream, a voice of exquisite clearness chanted, in the native language, a war-song of the Oneidas :—
‘The northern eagle scents his prey,
His beak with blood shall drip to-day,
The Oneida's foot is on thy track
His spoils are won ere he turns back.'
"Before the verse was completed, the Indians had extinguished their fire, and at its conclusion they yelled back the war-whoop of defiance, for the Oneidas were in coalition with the whites. A huge rock came thundering down the precipice—then another, and another—vexing the air; and amid the echo and gloom, a hand rested on the shoulder of Rosbach, and in his ear was whispered, 'Robert, do you hear me?" Emmeline ! my wife ! Oh, God !'
" In a moment she cut the withe that bound him, and, as the surprised party had left the bed of the stream, she led him down to where the spring issued from its side. His strength is exhausted, his head sinks upon her bosom, and he is a corpse.
" After concealing his body among the rocks, she resumed her journey toward the river, and at length reached friends, whose joy upon her return was changed to sadness, as she bade them seek the remains of her husband beneath the shadow of the mountain that overhangs the mineral spring."
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WESTMORELAND AND THE PENNAMITE WARS.
ALTHOUGH the section now embraced in Susquehanna County was without a settlement until the close of the Pennamite wars of Wyoming, and until the "town and county of Westmoreland" had ceased to exist, our history is still closely connected with them. The events of the period to which they belong are given in detail by Chapman, Miner, and others, from whose works a synopsis is given here, prefaced by the following remark from Dr. Hollister's " History of the Lackawanna Valley " :—
" While Wyoming, in its limited signification, now gives name to a valley (about twenty miles in length and three or four in width) unsurpassed for the beauty of its scenery or the romance of its history, it was formerly used in a more enlarged sense to designate all the country purchased of the Indians by the New England men, in 1754, lying in what is now known as Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna, and Wayne Counties." (A large part of Bradford should also be included in this statement.)
The territory of Susquehanna County was included in the Connecticut Delaware Company's purchase, which extended from the Delaware River within the 42d degree of north latitude, west to the line of the Susquehanna Company's purchase; or to within ten miles of the Susquehanna River after it enters the State the second time. In 1755, the Delaware Company began a settlement at Coshetunk.
The greater portion of the purchases made by the two companies was included in the county named by Pennsylvania, Northumberland, then comprising a vast area, from Northampton County (now Wayne and Pike Counties) to the Alleghany River. Luzerne, Mifflin, Lycoming, Centre, Columbia, and Union Counties, in their original extent, with the present area of Northumberland, comprised the Northumberland, which was separated from Berks and Bedford in 1772.
The Pennamite wars comprised the struggles of Connecticut settlers to retain possession of the Wyoming lands which they had purchased from the Susquehanna Company ; but which were claimed also by the proprietaries of Pennsylvania, who were bent upon securing either the recognition of their own claim, or the ejection of the settlers. Between one and two hundred persons came from Connecticut, August, 1762, and began a settlement in Wyoming, a little above the Indian
10 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
village of this name, but the massacre of twenty of them by the Delawares, the following year, and the expulsion of the remainder, discouraged any further effort for nearly seven years.
At no period until 1772, were there more than three hundred Connecticut men on the ground at one time.
It must not be supposed that peaceful measures were not first resorted to by settlers, before pitting themselves against a superior force. In May, 1769, Col. Dyer and Major Elderkin went to Philadelphia and submitted to Benj. Chew, agent for the proprietaries—a proposition to have the matter in dispute between the Susquehanna Company and the proprietaries, referred either to a court of law or to referees to be mutually chosen by the parties, and in either case the decision to be conclusive. But Pennsylvania would in no wise recognize the Connecticut claim. Thirteen years later such a court was convened but, had the first proposition been acted upon, how much bloodshed and misery would have been avoided !
The first Pennamite war extended over a period of three years—from February, 1769, to September, 1771; during which the "Yankees" had been expelled five times, but as often renewed the contest, and with ultimate victory. The close of 1771 found the Susquehanna Company in full possession. In 1772, Wilkes-Barre¹ was laid out near Fort Wyoming, which the settlers had taken under Col. Durkee, who had command in 1769.
In 1773, the government of Connecticut, which, up to this time, had left the Susquehanna and Delaware companies to manage their own affairs, now decided to make its claim to all the lands within the charter, west of the province of New York, and in a legal manner to support the same. Commissioners appointed by the assembly proceeded to Philadelphia " to negotiate a mode of bringing the controversy to an amicable conclusion." But every proposition offered by them was declined by the Governor and Council of Pennsylvania, who saw no way to prevent a repetition of the troubles in Wyoming, except by the settlers evacuating the lands until a legal decision could be obtained.
In the mean time the people had accepted articles, framed by the Susquehanna Company, at Hartford, Conn., June 2, 1773, for the government of the settlement, and acknowledged them to be of force until the colony of Connecticut should annex
¹ The name Wilkes-Barre, commonly written with but one capital, was given in honor of the celebrated John Wilkes and Col. Barre, both members of the British Parliament, and both of whom took a decided part in favor of America, against the measures of the British ministry.
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them to one of its counties, or make them a distinct county; or until they should obtain, either from the colony, or from " His Gracious Majesty, King George the Third," a more permanent or established mode of government. " But his majesty soon had weightier matters to decide with his American subjects, which were settled by his acknowledgment of their Independence."
On the report of the Commissioners to the Assembly of Connecticut, after their return from Philadelphia, decisive measures were adopted by the Assembly to bring the settlement on the Susquehanna under their immediate jurisdiction. An act was passed early in January, 1774, erecting all the territory within her charter limits, from the river Delaware to a line fifteen miles west of the Susquehanna, into a town with all the corporate powers of other towns of the colony, to be called Westmoreland, attaching it to the county of Litchfield. The town was seventy miles square, and was divided into townships five miles square, though those townships comprised within the Connecticut Delaware purchase were, for the most part, six miles square.
Explanation of Map of Westmoreland—Connecticut Surveys.
The towns marked with a star, thus *, within the Susquehanna Company's purchase, namely, Huntington, Salem, Plymouth, Kingston, Newport, Hanover, Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Providence, Exeter, Bedford, Northumberland, Putnam or Tunkhannock, Braintrim, Springfield, Claverack, Ulster, are designated in ancient Pennsylvania proceedings as "The seventeen towns occupied or acquired by Connecticut claimants before the Decree of Trenton," and were, with the addition of Athens, confirmed to Connecticut claimants by the Compromising Law of April 4, 1799, and its several supplements.
The Delaware Company's Indian purchases comprised the land west from the Delaware River to the line within ten miles of the Susquehanna.
The Susquehanna Company's Indian purchase at Albany (1754), extended from the line ten miles east of the river, one hundred and twenty miles west, and included the chief parts of M'Kean and Elk counties.
Ranges of towns, west of our map, were granted and surveyed (some as late as 1805) embracing more than a million of acres ; the most western on the State line being in M'Kean County. But we have deemed it useful to give place only to those wherein, or in the neighborhood of which, the New England people commenced settlements.
Allensburg, on the Wyalusing, was a grant to Gen. Ethan Allen of Vermont, of several thousand acres, for his expected aid in the grand scheme of treason and rebellion, as it was designated by one party, and of just resistance to unendurable oppression, as it was regarded by the other, in 1787. It is supposed he derived no value from the grant.
The square townships in the Delaware purchase contain 23,000 acres. Those in the Susquehanna purchase, being five miles square, contain 16,000 acres.
Bozrah, on the Lackawaxen, shows the compact part of the " Lackawa" settlement, and was the birthplace of the Hon. George W. Woodward.
The mark in Usher (lot No. 39), three miles west from Mont-Rose, designates the place of the author's bark cabin, where, in the spring of 1799, then a lad
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From the date of the act mentioned above until after the Decree at Trenton—nine years--the laws of Connecticut were exercised over the "town" in full force. Accounts of their operation were comprised in what is called the Westmoreland Records,¹ now unfortunately not obtainable, having been either lost or destroyed.
In the mean time, November, 1775, a General Congress of Representatives from all the Colonies was assembled at Philadelphia to consult upon measures of mutual defence against the British forces; when, in reply to an application of the Wyoming settlers for protection, Congress had recommended the contending States of Connecticut and Pennsylvania to cease hostilities immediately, and that settlers should behave themselves peaceably in their respective claims, until a legal decision could be rendered in regard to their dispute ; but it was expressly stipulated, that nothing in this "recommendation" should be construed into prejudice of the claim of either party. Plunket's expedition " to restore peace and good order in Wyoming," then on foot, was not, however, countermanded ; but, failing to effect an entrance into the valley, his troops returned down the Susquehanna. This was the last military enterprise ever undertaken by the provincial government bf Pennsylvania.
The Revolutionary War was begun and ended without the aid of a single man drawn from the country now constituting Susquehanna County; as not a civilized inhabitant was then within her borders. But that part of Westmoreland in the
Explanation of Map of Westmoreland—Continued.
of nineteen, assisted by Mr. John Chase (the pleasant bar-keeper at Wilson's Hotel, Harrisburg), he commenced a clearing.
The mark further west in Usher shows the boyhood residence, in 1800, of the Hon. Andrew Beaumont.
The designation of "Barnum," at Lawsville, in the town of Cunningham, shows the log-cabin tavern (1800) of that prince of hotel keepers, afterwards of Baltimore.
The triangle marked "Hyde," west of Usher, indicates the head-quarters of Col. Ezekiel Hyde, Yankee leader in the Delaware purchase in 1800. Also the store of Enoch Reynolds, Esq. (in 1799), afterwards at the head of one of the Bureaus in the Treasury Department, at Washington, for many years ; and since, till his decease, the residence of Judge Jabez Hyde.
To avoid embarrassing the map by the insertion of too many names, letters are placed in Wilkes-Barre, Exeter, and Pittston, as points of reference, and their explanation is made here. A, Fort Durkee; B, Fort Wyoming; C, Fort Ogden; D, Wintermoot's Fort; E, Jenkin's Fort; F, three Pittston Forts; G, Monockacy Island.
After years of search, two maps only of those Connecticut Surveys could be found. Our efforts probably have rescued them from oblivion.¹
¹ From 'Miner's History of Wyoming.' In accordance with a more minute and accurate survey (see Map of Manor) we have altered the relative positions of Montrose and that of individuals.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 13
vicinity of Wilkes-Barre furnished, on the first call, two companies, and these, with individuals afterwards enlisted, amounted to nearly three hundred men given to the Continental service. It was this drain upon the new settlement that left it so unprotected at the time of the massacre by Indians and tories on the memorable 3d of July, 1778. The reader is referred to the graphic descriptions of Chapman, Stone, Miner, Peck, and others, for full accounts of that distressful time. Patriots of the Revolutionary contest have since honored our country by a residence within it, and their remains hallow our soil; while descendants and relatives of those who fell in the Wyoming massacre are still among us.
Fifteen days after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, a petition was presented to Congress "from the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, stating a matter in dispute between the said State and the State of Connecticut, respecting sundry lands lying on the east branch of the river Susquehanna, and praying a hearing in the premises, agreeable to the ninth article of the Confederation." Arrangements to this effect were made, and one year later, November 12, 1782, a court composed of five commissioners convened at Trenton, who, after a sitting of forty-one judicial days, in which the parties, represented by their counsel (four gentlemen on behalf of Pennsylvania, and three agents from Connecticut), had proceeded with their pleas, gave their decision in these few and astounding words:—
" We are unanimously of the opinion that Connecticut has no right to the
lands in controversy.
" We are also unanimously of opinion, that the jurisdiction and pre-emption of all the territory lying within the charter of Pennsylvania, and now claimed by the State of Connecticut, do of right belong to the State of Pennsylvania."
Thus, with the close of 1782, and the Trenton decree, the jurisdiction of Connecticut ceased. Before that decree, the court had expressly stated that the right of soil did not come before them, and thus the settlers were content to be transferred from one State to the jurisdiction of another; but events soon made it apparent that expulsion, or the entire abandonment of their possessions was to be preliminary to any adjustment of existing difficulties. The land bad been purchased by Pennsylvania speculators,¹ while it was occupied by those who held it under title from the Susquehanna Company; and the Legislature of Pennsylvania, by its commissioners appointed in 1783,
¹ The landholders who stimulated the Assembly to unjust measures against the Wyoming people, were generally claimants under leases from the proprietaries, or warrants of 1784. The landholders under warrants of 1793 and 1794—the Tilghmans, Drinkers, Francises, etc., are in no respect implicated in the censure.—Miner.
14 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
to inquire into the circumstances of the Wyoming inhabitants, expressly declared: "It cannot be supposed that Pennsylvania will, nor can she consistent with her constitution, by any ex-post facto law, deprive her citizens of any portion of their property legally obtained." This of course, implied the loss to the Connecticut settlers of all they had paid to the Susquehanna Company, in favor of prior " citizens" of Pennsylvania who had " legally obtained" possession of the land. This was the origin of the second Pennamite war, which fortunately extended over only one year-1784—and resulted in the restoration to the " Yankees" of the lands from which they had been cruelly driven during the spring of that year.
The years 1785 and 1786 were marked by renewed activity among the holders of lands under the Connecticut title, Col. John Franklin being the leading spirit among them ; while, on the other side, Col. Timothy Pickering had been appointed by Pennsylvania to introduce her laws and support her claims in Wyoming. " Col. P. had executed with fidelity and approbation, the office of Quartermaster-General of the army. A native of Massachusetts, after the peace he had settled at Philadelphia." [See Franklin and Harmony.] " But the first healing measure adopted by the State of Pennsylvania was the erection of the county of Luzerne from Northumberland in 1786, " to give the people an efficient representation in the Council and Assembly, so that their voice might be heard, their interests explained, and their influence fairly appreciated." Col. P. was appointed Prothonotary, Clerk of the Peace, Clerk of the Orphans' Court, Register and Recorder, for the county.
" A crisis was depending of the highest moment, pregnant with civil war and revolution. A constitution for a new State was actually drawn up, the purpose being to wrest Wyoming and the old county of Westmoreland from the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, and establish a new and independent government, as Vermont was established in despite of New York." Col. Franklin would not take the oath of fidelity to Pennsylvania, nor accept (at that time) a post of official importance to which he had been chosen with a view to conciliate the one whose opposition was the most bitter. Even the famous Gen. Ethan Allen, from Vermont, appears upon the scene as one pledged to furnish men and means towards the establishment of the new State; but the arrest of Franklin on a charge of high treason, and his subsequent long confinement in prison, put a quietus to the project.
Luzerne County, in 1786, included all the New England emigrants, except those in the ancient Lackawack settlement, and a few on the Delaware, being one hundred and twenty miles north and south, or from the mouth of the Nescopec to
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 15
the north line of the State, on which its extent was from the sixth mile-stone to a point fifteen miles west of the Susquehanna River where it enters the State a second time. The relative position of what is now Susquehanna County, is given on the accompanying map of Old Luzerne ; for more than a quarter of a century all of her settlers were amenable to the courts held at Wilkes-Barre. What privation and inconvenience this occasioned the remote inhabitants of Willingboro' (Great Bend) and Nine Partners (Harford), one can only imagine when taking into consideration the want of roads, and the peril of traveling through the then literally howling wilderness. Doubtless, the difficulty of executing justice often permitted lawlessness of certain kinds, when either to enter a complaint or serve a writ involved a formidable outlay of time and courage in overcoming distance, as well as physical obstacles. A story is told of the late Judge Hyde, who, when sheriff of Luzerne County, came on horseback from Wilkes-Barre to Silver Lake, more than fifty miles, to serve a jury notice, and received for his fee the sum of twenty-five cents.
It was at the suggestion of Col. Pickering that a large number of the people united in a petition, setting forth that seventeen townships, of five miles square, had been located by the Connecticut settlers before the Trenton decree, and the lots averaging 300 acres had been set off specifically to settlers and proprietors; and praying that these might be confirmed : whereupon the Assembly, on the 28th of March, 1787, passed the Confirming Law—an act " for ascertaining and confirming to certain persons called Connecticut claimants, the lands by them claimed within the county of Luzerne," etc. This allowed to Pennsylvania claimants an equivalent, at their option, in the old or new State purchases. The act was suspended by an act of March 29, 1788, and finally condemned and repealed by an act of 1st April, 1790, being called " unconstitutional," as inflicting a wrong upon Pennsylvania claimants.
But, since it was only just that the persons complying with the provisions of the act of March 28, 1787, while the law was in existence, should be entitled to the benefit of the same it was enacted, March 9, 1796, that the board of property ascertain from the documents placed in the Secretary's office what sums ought to be allowed to the respective owners, and that " the Receiver-general shall thereupon deliver a certificate of such sum or sums to the respective owners, and enter a credit in his books for the same, which may be transferred to any person, and passed as credit." Claimants compensated under this act, were obliged to release to the commonwealth their respective claims to the lands in question, before receiving certifi-
16 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
cates to the foregoing effect; the latter were sometimes styled " Wyoming credits."
In 1795, the Intrusion Law warned off all settlers not applying for land under a Pennsylvania title.
April 4, 1799, an act for offering compensation to the Pennsylvania claimants of certain lands within the seventeen townships of Luzerne, often spoken of as the " certified" townships, was passed, and is known as the Compromising Law.
April 1, 1805, redemption of certificates under act of March 9, 1796, was commenced.
At the period when the Confirming Law was passed, the State was proprietor of a large portion of the lands so confirmed to the settler, and the result has been that with one exception, the government of Pennsylvania has refused to recognize any right in warrant holders, whose titles originated in the seventeen townships after the Confirming Law. But settlers within the limits of what is now Susquehanna County, could not come within the provisions of that law, since they were outside of the seventeen townships to which it was limited; how then could they expect any title to hold good, except one derived from the State of Pennsylvania ? And all the more was this expectation foolish, after the passage of the Intrusion and the Compromising Laws. " By the latter law all Pennsylvania claims to lands in the seventeen townships, which originated before the date of the Confirming Law, were to be paid for by the State, and Connecticut claimants were to pay for lands of the first class $2 00 per acre, of the second, $1 20; of the third, fifty cents : of the fourth, eight and a half cents. And those claims under Connecticut within townships on which settlement had been made after the Trenton Decree, then numerous and rapidly increasing, threatening wide and extended mischief, forthwith fell before this act of mingled policy and justice." But the "Yankees" were hard to be convinced. With them, might did not make right; and the fact that the United States (and Pennsylvania by her vote) accepted from Connecticut, about the year 1800, a formal release of all claim to jurisdiction or soil, west of the eastern limits of New York, excepting to that of the Western Reserve; and granted letters patent for that tract, served but to corroborate her claim. By this act, Congress recognized the right of Connecticut west of New York, and the Hon. Charles Miner pertinently asks : "How could she have a right west of Pennsylvania, and not through Pennsylvania, when her charter was nineteen years the oldest ?"
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 17
THE INTRUSION LAW.
AN act of Assembly, passed April 11, 1795, was designed "to prevent intrusions on lands within the counties of Northampton, Northumberland, and Luzerne." The first section
" If any person shall, after the passing of this act, take possession of, enter, intrude, or settle on any lands" within the limits of the counties aforesaid, "by virtue or under color of any conveyance of half share right, or any other pretended title, not derived from the authority of this commonwealth, or of the late proprietaries of Pennsylvania, before the Revolution, such persons upon being duly convicted thereof, upon indictment in any Court of Oyer and Terminer, or Court of General Quarter Sessions, to be held in the proper county, shall forfeit and pay the sum of two hundred dollars, one half to the use of the county, and the other half to the use of the informer ; and shall also be subject to such imprisonment, not exceeding twelve months, as the court, before whom such conviction is had, may, in their discretion, direct."
The second section of this act provided punishment for combinations to convey, possess, and settle under pretended titles—payment of " not less than five hundred, nor more than one thousand dollars," and " imprisonment at hard labor not exceeding eighteen months."
This act went no further, verbally, than to make intrusions punishable—prohibition being only implied.
An act supplementary to this, passed February 16, 1801, authorized the governor (sect. xi.) to issue his proclamation,
" Forbidding all future intrusions, and enjoining and requiring all persons who have intruded contrary to the provisions of the act to which this act is supplementary, to withdraw peaceably from the lands whereon such intrusions have been made; and enjoining or requiring all officers of government, and all good citizens of the commonwealth, to prevent, or prosecute by all legal means, such intrusions and intruders," etc.
April 6, 1802, an act of Assembly provided that "no conveyance of land within the counties of Luzerne, Lycoming, and Wayne, shall pass any estate where the title is not derived from this State or the proprietaries before the 4th of July, 1776." It imposed a penalty upon any judge or justice for receiving proof of, or recorder for recording, a deed of a different description. "No person interested in the Connecticut title to act as judge or juror, in any cause where said title may come in question," etc. An exception was made in favor of the inhabitants of the seventeen townships, only as far as related to judges,
- 2 -
18 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
sheriffs, or jurors. This law was required to be made known by a proclamation from the governor, and took effect May 1, 1802.
From that date, whatever " right" persons may have bad under titles derived from Connecticut, it was sheer folly to defend. But all the overtures of the State were still scorned by many, as we learn from the Luzerne Federalist of January, 1803, which stated :—
" In the district of Rindaw (Rush) one hundred and fifty persons not only avowedly, but firmly and positively, believe in the Connecticut title and no other. In Willingboro (Great Bend) perhaps thirty. But in all the districts nearer two thousand than one thousand could be found who would risk their all in defence of their Connecticut title, if Pennsylvania ever attempts to
drive them off by force of arms."
Newspaper controversy upon the subject was particularly rife that year, but extended over a much longer period.
The following letters of Henry Drinker, of Philadelphia, a large holder of lands in this section, under title derived from the State of Pennsylvania, reveal the intrusion on his tracts.
" PHILADELPHIA, 5 mo. 22d, 1801.
ABRAM HORNE, ESQ.
" There are in the hands of Timothy Pickering, Esq., two maps, one of them of a considerable body of lands situate on the waters of Tunkhannock Creek and extending to the head waters of Salt Lick Creek ; the other represents lands bounding on the State line between this State and New York, and to the eastward of the Susquehanna—these maps Col. Pickering has promised to deliver thee when called for.
" I now deliver herewith a map of a large body of lands, principally on and near the waters of Meshoppen Creek, and including branches of Wyalusing, Tuscarora, and Tunkhannock.
" The townships laid out by the companies (Connecticut) are distinguished by dotted lines, which may be of some use to thee in traversing that country. I have also obtained the names of about 50 settlers from Connecticut, etc., and the parts they are settled on : tho' there may be some variation as to the particular tracts they occupy, yet I presume the following statement may be nearly right, viz :—
"There is one Isaac Brunson settled in the forks of Wyalusing Creek, just to the westward and adjoining my bounds of lot No. 239. He is on a tract survey'd to Thomas Dundas. This man has always conducted well and deserves to be kindly treated ; being Town Clerk he can give all the names of settlers in New Milford.
4/27/2015 6:38:01 PM * * * * * * * * *
" Thy Friend,
Extract from a letter of the same to Ebenezer Bowman, of Wilkes-Barre;
dated " PHILADELPHIA, 3 mo. 24, 1802.
" Esteemed Friend,
Is it not probable, while impressions are fresh and warm on the minds of the Connecticut leaders, speculators, &c., and their hopes and prospects in a low, desponding state, and before they have time to devise and contrive further means of deluding the people, and prolonging the controversy, there may be openings for bringing on agreements and contracts on such terms as the Pennsylvania landholders might not dissent from ?
" I am concerned in an extensive tract, and in the general of an excellent quality, situate principally on the waters of Meshoppen Creek, and including parts of Wyalusing, Tuscarora, and Tunkhannock Creeks, in the whole near 100,000 acres, which, on receiving part payment and undoubted good security for the remainder, I would sell together at two dollars pr. acre, though I believe it cheap at double that price. There are parts, however, picked pieces, which have been intruded on, that are of very superior value, and if separately sold, must be at a very different price. I care nought about relinquishments, all that I require is pay and undoubted security, when a clear title will be made under grants from this State."
¹ The reader will be careful to distinguish this from the Pennsylvania township of the same name. The Kinneys were just below the south line of Rush.
20 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY
From the same to the same.
" PHILADELPHIA, 7 mo. 29, 1802.
" Esteemed Friend :
" Our friend E. Tilghman drew up the form of the depositions sent thee, and this mode of proceeding against the intruders was recommended by him, and also by Gov. McKean ; it is grounded on the Intrusion Laws, and has no reference to the cutting of timber, etc. It is expected the defendants must, in conformity to the laws, be subject to confinement, or give immediate security. Whether these suits are to be grounded on the act passed the 16th February, 1801, thou wilt judge. Will it not be necessary to ascertain when Spencer' and the others intruded and commenced their settlements? If it was before passing the Intrusion Law in 1795, will not this circumstance be an objection to the proposed prosecution ?"
From the same to the same.
" PHILADELPHIA, I mo. 7, 1802.
" Esteemed Friend :
" I have this day received thy letter of the 25th inst., by which it appears that doubts continue on thy mind as to the propriety of commencing the suits I had proposed. Upon the whole, as my friend E. Tilghman is absent, and likely to continue so for a considerable time, on a journey into New England, and as it was by his advice that I move in this matter, it may, under every consideration, be prudent to let your next court go over without proceeding therein, intending to take further advice on the subject."
From the same to the same.
" PHILADELPHIA, 1 MO. 10, 1803.
" A letter was received by our committee of landholders, about three weeks since, dated Athens, 6th December, 1802, and signed by John Franklin and Samuel Avery, which letter thou hast seen. An answer was lately sent to Franklin at Lancaster, in substance as follows : After owning receipt of their aforesaid letter, and reciting the words of it, that they are a committee appointed at a meeting of the Susquehanna Connecticut Company, to write to, and treat with our committee for the purpose of promoting a just and reasonable settlement, or compromise of the long subsisting dispute, and requesting we would appoint a time and place to meet them on the occasion, our answer goes on to say. we cannot agree to meet them, or any description of persons styling themselves a committee claiming lands under the Susquehanna Connecticut Company; and then refers them to the printed letter written to thee, dated in the 5th mo., 1801, which, if they rightly prize their own peace and happiness, they will duly attend to.
"I have a letter from a certain Elisha Tracy, dated Norwich, Connecticut, December 19, 1802; he therein says, he owns lands on Wyalusing, Wappasinic, and at the Nine Partners, under the Connecticut Delaware Company, and offers to buy of me, or proposes I should buy of him at a low price, or transfer to him part of my lands, on his covering the remainder with his title, and says, unless the dispute is settled in some way like this, it never will be settled during our lives ; he goes further and says, more people are going from there this year on the disputed lands than ever did before.
" As yet, no intimation has come to us from the Connecticut speculators and leaders, showing an intention in them to give up the companies ; what effect the late decisions of our judges may have on them remains to be known ; a quiet and peaceable adjustment of this matter without a resort to force, particularly a military force, is much desired by thy assured friend,
¹ Jeremiah Spencer, who bought land under Connecticut title, and settled in Springville.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 21
From the same to the same.
" PHILADELPHIA, 9 mo. 30, 1806.
" It was pleasing to hear of the progress thou had made, and of the prospect of additional sales on the waters of Wyalusing. . . .
" A company who have lately viewed about six thousand acres of land owned by Colonel Hodgdon, near Kirby and Law's settlement, have offered him two and one-half dollars per acre, which he has agreed to accept, one-fourth in cash, and remainder on interest."
The animosity so long existing between the two parties now culminated into open warfare. In 1803 occurred the famous assault on Mr. Bartlet Hinds, the first settler in what is now Montrose, who had become on conviction an advocate of the Pennsylvania claim, and was charged with bringing against Connecticut settlers indictments for intrusion. This he denied. (He had himself been indicted for the same in 1801, along with Ezekiel Hyde, John Robinson, Charles Geer, Josiah Grant, Elisha Lewis, A molo Balch, Ichabod Halsey, John Reynolds, Jeremiah Meachem, Otis Robinson, Elias West, and others.) His enemies believed him leagued with the Pennsylvania landholders, and said (though without reason) that he received five acres from them, for every settler he induced to come in under their title, and he had succeeded in bringing in about one hundred. But the fact that he had acknowledged the Pennsylvania right, by repaying for his own land, was exerting an influence that embittered against him all who denied that claim.
They purchased a note of Mr. Hinds, commenced a suit upon it, took him fourteen miles from home for trial before D. Ross, Esq., at a late hour in the day, making it necessary for him to remain over night. In the evening, the house in which he lodged was surrounded by a mob, who forcibly entered and took him from the house; and, tying him to a horse's tail, dragged him through the Wyalusing Creek, near its forks. When nearly exhausted, Mr. Hinds made the Masonic sign, which induced one of the fraternity to give him assistance, but, when he had reached the shore, his assailants formed a ring, and; seizing his hands, drew him around his burning effigy, and occasionally pushed him into the flames.¹ For this deed, eighteen persons were indicted for riot and assault, and taken to Wilkes-Barre, as the parties belonged in what was then Lu-zerne County. On the trial, the defendants withdrew the plea of "not guilty," and entered "guilty." Five were imprisoned for
¹ Cyrus Whipple, son of Ebenezer Whipple, and now living in Iowa, says : " Mr. Hinds bore it like a martyr ; on his return home, he called at my father's, and he looked as if he had seen hard times. There was a constable among the mob, who would cry out at the top of his voice, I command the peace!' then, in a low whisper, would say : Rush on, boys, rush on "
22 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
the space of three months without bail, one of whom had to pay $10, and four of them, $20 each; and also to pay the costs of prosecution and stand committed until the whole was paid. Nine were to pay a fine of $30 each, and the court further ordered "that they enter into recognizances each in the sum of $500, with one good freeholder in like sum, conditioned for their good behavior for the space of one year; and that they severally pay the costs of prosecution, and stand committed till the whole sentence be complied with."
One would suppose this had been enough to deter others from further assaults upon the person of B. Hinds, on account of his loyalty to Pennsylvania ; but, as late as 1808, another case occurred, in which he again came off conqueror.
In 1804, Gov. McKean ordered out two brigades of militia, to enforce the laws against Connecticut claimants.
In 1805, the Pennsylvania landholders invited such claimants to give descriptions of their lands, and offered easy terms of purchase in return ; but the public journals warned settlers against giving information which might lead to their ejectment. The old settlers in the seventeen townships, occupied before the Decree at Trenton, endeavored to dissuade new-comers from resistance to Pennsylvania claims, saying, " The State of Connecticut has abandoned you," which of course was the fact, so far as jurisdiction was concerned, since 1782. Congress refused to interfere, though its action in regard to acknowledging the claim of Connecticut to lands west of Pennsylvania, had only confirmed whatever claim she had entered to territory within it ; since, in law, "all titles from the same source are equally valid."
In May, 1806, the trustees appointed by the association of settlers under Connecticut claims met¹ and proposed to settle the controversy by an amicable compromise, " on such terms as settlers can meet with safety ; as it respects payments, and the regularity of title;" and in their appeals to them, stated : " An agent (Tench Coxe) is appointed on the part of our opponents," and so discouraged individual arrangements, advising that the business be effected with him through the agents for the settlers. These were John Franklin, at Athens, Major Nath'l Allen, at Burlington, and Captain (afterwards Colonel) Thomas Parke, of Rush. Three years previous, the committee of Pennsylvania landholders had refused to treat with persons styling themselves "President and Board of Directors appointed at a meeting of the proprietors and claimants of lands under a title derived from the Connecticut Susquehanna Company ;"
¹ Of this meeting Isaac Brownson was chairman, and Joseph Kingsbury clerk.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 23
but a less offensive phraseology seems to have conduced to a final adjustment of affairs.
Anecdotes are told to this day of the perils and adventures within our own vicinity which those encountered who came still later to take possession in the name or under the sanction of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. " A surveyor in the employment of Dr. R. H. Rose, while tracing a boundary line through the woods, placed his hand high on a tree to mark where the ax-man, who followed, should strike out a chip as an evidence of the line that had been run. The surveyor had scarcely taken his band from the tree, when the sharp crack of a rifle ran through the forest, and the spot where the hand had been laid was ‘chipped' by a leaden bullet, a hint that sufficed to stay all proceedings for the rest of that day. On one occasion, to such extremities had matters proceeded, the Yankees' bad resolved to take the life of Dr. R., and information was brought to him that a meeting would be held at a particular place on a certain day named, to organize their measures. He determined at once to face the danger ; and, riding boldly to a small clearing, which had been described to him as the scene of the intended meeting, he found the plotters in actual consultation on the subject. The very boldness of the step procured him a hearing ; he rehearsed to them the history of the claims of the two States, and of the grounds of the final settlement, reminded them it was governmental, not individual action ; that he had bought of the legal claimant; that he felt sorry for them, and wished to lighten their load in every possible way, and repeated his offers, which he said were final. He told them he was aware of their designs, but added, Why shoot my surveyors? It is bright moonlight, and I shall ride slowly to my camp by such a track—but let whoever follows take a sure aim; he will not fire twice!' Soon one of the leaders advanced towards him, and renewed the conversation respecting the dis-
putes that existed ; the matter was freely discussed ; a better temper sprang up, and from that moment may be dated the negotiations that produced the happy termination to which all the troubles arising from the conflicting claims of the two States were subsequently brought."
24 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
SUSQUEHANNA County was set off from Luzerne by an act of Legislature, passed February 21, 1810; but it was not fully organized, with county officers elected, until the fall of 1812. The first section of the same act set off from Luzerne, with a portion of Lycoming, another county, then named Ontario, now Bradford; and the east line of Ontario formed the west line of Susquehanna County,
'From the fortieth mile-stone standing on the north line of the State, to a point due east of the head of Wyalusing Falls, in the Susquehanna." From thence, the southern line was directed to run " due east to the western line of Wayne County; thence northerly along the said western line of Wayne County to the aforesaid north line of the State (at the sixth mile-stone counting from the Delaware River westward), and thence along the said State line to the fortieth mile-stone, the place of beginning."
Different opinions exist respecting the origin of the present southern line of the county ; of these, one seemingly authoritative is, that, owing to some misunderstanding between the surveyors as to the allowance to be made for the magnetic variation in the north line of the State, the party which set out to run the line from the point indicated in the act, found themselves considerably north of the line run by the party starting from the western line of Wayne County. This resulted in a compromise, which has since given rise to various difficulties, especially in determining the northern line of Wyoming County. By reference to the county map, it will be seen that a line drawn due east from the southwest corner of our county would cut off Dundaff and the land adjacent for more than a mile north and south.
From the report made by B. T. Case, Esq., to the commissioners of Susquehanna County, in 1827, we learn that the whole length of the county on the south line is thirty-three miles and one hundred and seventeen perches, and the breadth on the east line is twenty-three miles and three hundred and fourteen perches. (Magnetic variation 2° 30" west. See APPENDIX.)
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 25
The county derives its name from the fact that the Susquehanna River first enters the State of Pennsylvania within its limits. We are happy in having the sweet-sounding Indian name retained for our frequent local use. " Hanna" signifies a stream of water, and " Susque" is generally believed to mean crooked, though one writer gives its signification as muddy, for which there is no justification in point of fact; and the Indians gave no arbitrary names. A more winding, crooked stream than the Susquehanna, as to general course, is not to be found in the Northern States; in our own county it varies directly three times. In the grand sweep of the river, from Lanesboro to Pittston, it completely drains our county, every stream within our borders eventually falling into it. When the north line of the State was determined, in 1786, it was found to cross twelve streams running south, and nine running north between the sixth and fortieth mile-stones from the Delaware River___ ver—the limits of the north line of Susquehanna County. Prominent among these were the " Appelacunck," " Chucknut," and " Snake Creeks." (See Pennsylvania Archives,' No. 29.)
Running north into the Susquehanna, but not crossing the State line, there are, besides minor streams, Wylie Creek, the Salt Lick, Mitchell's, Drinker's, the Canawacta, and Starucca; though the latter and Cascade Creek may rather be said to enter the river from the east.
The Lackawanna (Leckaw, forks, and Hanna, stream), and Tunkhannock (Tonic two, and Hanna, stream), including Bowman's Creek, with their tributaries, have their sources in the eastern townships, and run across the south line of the county ; the sources of Martin's and Horton's Creeks are in the central townships, and, with the Meshoppen (Mawshapi cord, or Reed stream), in its four streams, one of which rises near Montrose ; they cross the south line to reach the river, while the Tuscarora and Wyalusing ( Wighalusui, plenty of meat) find it after crossing the county line on the west.
But, without entering further, at present, upon the topographical features of the county, the reader's attention is invited to the following diagram illustrating its official divisions at different periods. And, first, in the year 1790, that portion of Luzerne, since constituting the area of Susquehanna County, was included within two townships, Tioga¹ and Wyalusing. By order of the justices of Luzerne, Tioga was bounded on the north by the northern line of the State, and east and west
¹ Tioga township, in old Northumberland, from which Luzerne (including Susquehanna and Bradford Counties) was taken, extended from the present western line of Wayne County to Phoutz's or Big Meadows, in Tioga County, and was eighteen miles in depth from the State line.
26 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
by the lines of that county, and on the south by an east and west line which should strike the standing stone.
Wyalusing was " bounded on the north by Tioga township, on the east and west by lines of the county, and on the south by an east and west line passing through the mouth of the Meshopping Creek." Tunkhannock, the next township below, also extended across Luzerne County, and its southern limit was an east and west line through Buttermilk Falls.
In March, 1791, the court of Luzerne ordered the erection of the township of Willingborough, from the northeast corner of Tioga, but its boundaries were not defined until April, 1793. (See Great Bend.)
August, 1795, Nicholson, so named from John Nicholson, Comptroller of the State, was erected from parts of Tioga and Wyalusing, with the following boundaries :—
" Beginning at the place where the north line of the township of Tunkhannock crosses a small creek west of Martin's Creek; running thence due north thirteen miles; thence east to the east line of the county; thence south on the county line to the place where it shall intersect the north line of Tunkhannock township ; thence west on said line to place of beginning."
This proves that Nicholson was never " twenty miles square," as some have supposed.
In January, 1797, the court approved, but not " finally" until January, 1798, the petition of Ephraim Kirby, and others, for the erection of the township of Lawsville. (See Franklin.)
In 1799, Braintrim was set off from Wyalusing and Tunkhannock; the portion taken from the former by Susquehanna County, retains nearly its original dimensions in the present town of Auburn. (See Fig 3.)
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 27
Fig. 3. (A.D. 1799.)
TOWNSHIPS ERECTED FROM TIOGA AND WYALUSING.
January, 1801, Ezekiel Hyde, Justus Gaylord, and M. Miner York were appointed commissioners to set off the township of Rush, and in November of the same year, their report was accepted. The township was eighteen miles north and south by thirteen miles east and west, except that on the south line it extended five miles further, this extension being five miles square. The whole comprised 172,660 acres. The following diagram represents the boundaries ft Rush in 1801. The dotted line marks the division made by he erection of Susquehanna County.
At this time there were but twelve election districts in Luzerne County : Willingborough, Lawsville, and Nicholson, together
28 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
constituting the tenth : and Rush, or Rindaw, the ninth. Rindaw as a Pennsylvania election district must be carefully distinguished from the Connecticut township of that name at the forks of the Wyalusing; the former included the latter, but its name appears to have been only temporarily adopted.
Fig. 5. (A.D. 1801.)
Though the boundaries of the townships already given did not absorb the two townships of 1790, the latter are not again mentioned in this section on the Luzerne records. Practically, the line of Willingborough extended to Nicholson on the south, and both, to Rinclaw (district) on the west.
In 1805, the court was petitioned to erect the townships of Clifford, Bridgewater, and New Milford. The first named was approved " finally" in April, 1806; the second, in November, following; and the last, in August, 1807. The northeast corner of Clifford was then twelve miles below the State line, being also what was the northeast corner of old Nicholson ; and its area was one hundred and eight square miles. The eastern limit of New Milford, like that of Clifford, was the line of Wayne County. Bridgewater extended north and south about twenty-five miles.
At August sessions, 1807, a petition from the " Nine Partners" was promptly considered, and Harford was granted January, 1808. For eleven years the inhabitants had desired township organization, but two or three previous petitions bad failed to secure the result.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 29
FIG. 6. (A.D. 1808.)
2. Remainder of Nicholson.
3. Lawsville extended.
4. A section of Braintrim.
5. Remainder of Rush.
8. New Milford.
In 1809, Harmony was organized, the last township ordered by the court of Luzerne in the section set off to Susquehanna County. It formed the northeast corner of the latter as it had of the former, extending from the State line twelve miles south, and from Wayne County nine miles west.
Early in 1808, a division of Luzerne County was contemplated, and a public meeting to favor the object was held July 13, at the house of Edward Fuller, in Bridgewater, about four miles below Montrose; Asa Lathrop presiding, and J. W. Raynsford acting as secretary. Owing to a disagreement as to county lines, it was proposed that all the townships should send delegates to a meeting to be held at the house of Salmon Bosworth, iu Rush, September 1, following, and then endeavor to decide the matter; but it was not until a year and a half later that the act of legislature was passed, which erected the counties of Susquehanna and Ontario; and it was two years more before the former " bade good-bye to old mother Luzerne, and set up housekeeping for herself."
[In the map of Old Luzerne, the west line, indicating the relative position of Susquehanna, is either not far enough west, or the line of the north branch of the Wyalusing is incorrectly given, for the forks should be within Susquehanna County.]
30 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Fig. 7. (A.D. 1810.)
THE TEN TOWNSHIPS SET OFF TO FORM SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
These are numbered in the order of their erection, a review of which may serve the reader :-
1. Willingborough, now Great Bend.
2. Nicholson, being that part of old Nicholson cut off from Luzerne by the county line, since August, 1813, and now called Lenox.
3. Lawsville, embracing Liberty and the greater part of Franklin.
4. Braintrim, being that part of old Braintrim cut off from Luzerne by the county line, and now called Auburn.
5. Rush, then extending eighteen miles north to the State line, by eight miles east and west, embracing besides its present limits, all of Middletown, Choconut, and Apolocon, and the western parts of Jessup and Forest Lake.
6. Clifford, embracing besides its present limits, Gibson, Herrick, and the southern part of Ararat.
7. Bridgewater, then embracing besides its present limits, all of Brooklyn and Lathrop, Springville and Dimock, the eastern parts of Jessup and Forest Lake, all of Silver Lake, and the south part of Franklin.
8. New Milford, nearly as it is.
9. Harford—its southern and eastern lines slightly changed—was for many years known as " Nine Partners."
10. Harmony, embracing besides its present limits, Oakland, Jackson, Thomson, and the northern part of Ararat.
In 1811, all moneys in the county district of Susquehanna were by act of Legislature, to be kept separate from those of Luzerne, and within the bounds of that district. February 25, 1812, a meeting was held at the house of Isaac Post, in Bridgewater, to recommend proper persons to the governor to fill the several offices necessary to the organization of Susquehanna county; Davis Dimock, chairman, and J. W. Raynsford, secretary. The citizens of each township were recommended to nominate officers at their annual town meeting in March, 1812, and make returns the Monday following at the house of I. Post.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 31
Proclamation for elections, 1812, were issued from Luzerne to Susquehanna County district; but it bad been decreed by act of Legislature that " from and after the 2d Tuesday of October, 1812, Susquehanna shall enjoy and exercise in judicial concerns all powers and privileges;" and the new county was included with Tioga, Wayne, and Bradford in the 11th judicial district.
Bridgewater township, in the year 1810, numbered 1418 inhabitants ; Clifford, 675 ; Harford, 477 ; Willingboro' and Harmony, 413 ; New Milford, 174; and Lawsville, 169.
Isaac Post was appointed treasurer of the county in 1812, Edward Fuller, sheriff; Bartlet Hinds, Labon Capron, and Isaac Brownson, commissioners, and Dr. Charles Fraser, prothonotary, clerk of the courts, register, and recorder.
At the time of the division of Luzerne County, Thomas Parke of Bridgewater was commissioner, but he resigned October, 1812 ; Hosea Tiffany had previously served as commissioner, and these two were the only ones who bad been appointed to that office from the ten townships now set off.
The court was organized by the appointment of the Hon. J. B. Gibson, President Judge, with Davis Dimock and William Thomson, Associate Judges —the two latter took their oaths before the Prothonotary of Luzerne.
The county seat was located at Montrose as early as July, 1811, by three commissioners appointed by the governor. They were permitted to locate it at a distance not exceeding seven miles from the centre of the county. Stakes were set at several places proposed ; one in Brooklyn, one in Harford, and one in New Milford. But, in addition to a greater political influence existing, a stronger pecuniary interest was brought to bear for its location in Montrose. Dr. R. H. Rose, whose extensive tracts of land reached this vicinity, made more liberal offers to secure this location than any that could be made elsewhere. Besides, a gift of a public square at this point for the erection of the county buildings, as also of other lots, was made by Bartlet Hinds and Isaac Post.
The land given by Bartlet Hinds had been granted by the commonwealth to Thos. Cadwallader, who by deed conveyed it to Samuel Meredith, who by deed conveyed it to George Clymer, who by deed, October 19, 1804, conveyed it to Bartlet Hinds. Another portion was granted by the commonwealth to Jos. Bullock and Isaac Franks, who by deed conveyed it to Tench Francis, whose widow, by her attorney, conveyed the same to Bartlet Hinds, July 9, 1804. The land given by Isaac Post (consideration $1.00) was first granted to the same parties, as the portion last mentioned ; who by their deeds conveyed it
32 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
to Tench Francis, who by his last will and testament, April 4, 1800, devised his estate to his widow Anne Francis ; who by deed, February 18, 1809, granted the land to Robert H. Rose ; which sale was confirmed to the said Robert H. Rose, by deed, February 25, 1809, from Richard Penn (her attorney), and on the 5th of October of the same year was conveyed by him to Isaac Post. July 24, 1812, the aforesaid lands were deeded to Susquehanna County, by Isaac and Susannah Post, and Bartlet and Agnes Hinds; and, on the 31st of the same month, the conveyance was acknowledged as a free act and deed, before J. W. Raynsford, Justice of the Peace.
Soon after the organization of the board of commissioners, Isaac Post, the treasurer, was charged with the subscription papers of donations made towards building the court-house, etc. It will be seen by the following list of subscribers, with the sums given by each, that the amounts were graduated somewhat by the nearness of their property to the new county-seat, as well as by the length of their purses. Robert H. Rose, whose lands reached near the village, gave $200 ; Stephen Wilson, whose farm was a little south of it, gave $100; Abinoam Hinds, Conrad Hinds, and Isaac Peckins, gave each $50 ; David Harris, Jonathan Wheaton, and James Trane,¹ gave each $25; Simeon Tyler, Cyrus Messenger, Samuel Quick, Joseph Hubbard, and Samuel Cogswell, gave each $20; Joseph Chapman, Edward Fuller, Joseph Butterfield, Henry Post, Levi Leonard, John Bard, Zebulon Deans, and Edmond Stone, gave each $10; and Freeman Fishback, Thomas Scott, and Samuel Scott, gave each $5 ; Bartlet Hinds, and Isaac and David Post, on whose lands the county-seat was located, gave sundry village lots.
The corner stone of the first court-house was laid in 1812, but the building was not erected until June, 1813 ; Oliver C. Smith was the builder. Though now so diminutive in size and appearance, compared with the new one, it was then considered quite a magnificent edifice—an ornament to this region of the State. Besides the court-room in the second story, the jail and jailor's residence were in the first story, and the corner rooms in front, above, and below, were made to accommodate all the county offices.
The first assessment of taxes by this county was for 1813. The following is the list of collectors, with the amount of their duplicates :-
¹ It may be news to those who recollect poor "Old Trane," who never had a family, and who died some years ago a pauper of this borough, that he was actually one of the Fathers of the town.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 33
TOWNSHIP OFFICERS FOR 1813.
Sworn April 26th.
Petitions were read during the first term of court, January, 1813, praying for the erection of three new townships, viz., Silver Lake, Choconut, and Gibson. The first was confirmed in August following ; at which time, also, Nicholson (with a small porton of Harford) received the name of Lenox. Gibson was finally confirmed November, 1813. During the second and third terms of court, petitions were read, praying for the erection of Springville and Waterford, and the division of
- 3 -
34 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Rush into three townships, viz., Choconut, Middletown, and Rush—a remonstrance being presented-against the confirmation of a report making Choconut eight miles square, as proposed in January; the division was finally effected in January, 1814; while Springville and Waterford were not confirmed finally until the April following, or just one year after the petition was first read ; but this was a decided improvement upon former delays, when Wilkes-Barre was the seat of justice for this remote section. The same month, the name Braintrim was changed to Auburn, and, in November following, Willingborough to Great Bend. Jackson was erected from the southern half of Harmony, December, 1815, having been confirmed " nisi" in the previous spring; from that time for ten years no proposed new township received the favor of the court.
Fig. 8. (A.D. 1815.)
In the mean time, the name of Waterford had twice been changed, first, in 1823, to Hopbottorn, and, in 1825, to Broolklyn, which then covered an area represented by Nos. 16 and 23 on the accompanying diagram.
Montrose, taken from Bridgewater, had been incorporated in 1824, and Dundaff, taken from Clifford, in 1828. Herricik was erected by order of the court, May, 1825, from Gibson and Clifford.
For the next seven years propositions in regard to townships referred to separation rather than annexation ; when, late in 1832, a new township was organized from Springville and the southern part of Bridgewater, and named Dimock.
In May, 1833, Thomson was taken from Jackson.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 35
Fig. 9. SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY, 1873
22. Forest Lake
In December, 1835, Franklin was erected from Lawsville and the northern part of Bridgewater; and in September of the following year the name of Lawsville was changed to Liberty. Thus after nearly forty years' service the old name disappeared from the list of townships, though, happily, it is retained in the central P. O. of Liberty.
In 1836, the township of Forest Lake was taken from parts of Bridgewater, Silver Lake, and Middletown. This year the dispute in reference to a division of the county was renewed, and continued full three years, placing its fair proportions in no small danger of being sadly curtailed.
In 1846, the township of Lathrop was erected from the southern half of Brooklyn; that of Jessup from the western part of Bridgewater and the eastern part of Rush ; and, from Choconut, more than half was taken to constitute Apolacon. The borough of Friendsville was incorporated in 1848. Ararat was only a settlement of Harmony and Clifford, and afterwards of Jackson and Gibson, and then of Herrick and Thomson, until 1852, when its various transmigrations were terminated in its pro-. motion to a township.
By decree of court, Susquehanna Depot became a borough, August, 1853. Oakland township was erected from the western part of Harmony, in December of the same year.
The borough of New Milford was incorporated, December,.
36 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
1859. Great Bend, November, 1861; and Little Meadows, March, 1862.
It should be observed, that, of the twenty-seven townships, seven received their names in honor of the Judges of the courts of Susquehanna County with the exception of Rush, which, being erected while it was a part of Luzerne, was named after Judge Rush then presiding over the courts at Wilkes-Barre.
OFFICERS OF THE COUNTY.-JUDGES OF THE COURTS.
[FOR the following statements and the list of county officers to 1858, the compiler is indebted to Hon. J. W. Chapman.]
Hon. John B. Gibson (since Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania) was the first President Judge of the district to which this county was attached. It embraced Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, and Wayne Counties. He presided about four years.
Hon. Thomas Burnside succeeded him in September, 1816, presiding two years. He, too, has since been a Judge of the Supreme Court.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 37
Hon. Edward Herrick first presided here in August, 1818, being appointed for a new district embracing Susquehanna, Bradford, and Tioga Counties. He presided for twenty-one years, lacking one term of court, when he was superseded by the adoption of the new constitution limiting the terms of all the Judges, and
Hon. John N. Conyngham ¹ succeeded him in May, 1839, continuing two years.
Hon. William Jessup, who had previously been appointed for the district embracing Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne Counties, first presided in our county, in April, 1841; Susquehanna being added to his district, and Luzerne put with Bradford and Tioga in Judge Conyngham's district, for the mutual accommodation of both. Judge J. presided for ten and a half years.
Hon. David Wilmot was first elected Judge for Bradford, Susquehanna, and Wyoming in the fall of 1851. He presided nearly six years, and on his resignation in the summer of 1857,
Hon. Darius Bullock² was appointed to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the year. The district embraced only Bradford and Susquehanna.
Judge Wilmot was appointed to preside again in January, 1858, and was re-elected for ten years, in the following fall.
Hon. Ulysses Mercur was appointed President Judge of this judicial district in March, 1861, and in the October following was elected to the same office for a term of ten years from December, 1861 ; was elected to the Thirty-ninth Congress, and resigned his judgeship, March 4, 1865; was re-elected to the Fortieth and Forty-first Congresses, and was re-elected to the Forty-second Congress as a Republican. In the fall of 1872 he was elected a Judge of the Supreme Court.
Hon. Farris B. Streeter was appointed to succeed Judge M. in 1865. He was elected in October of that year for ten years.
Hon. Paul Dudley Morrow was appointed additional law judge of the 13th district, March 1, 1870. He was elected the following October to the same office for ten years from December, 1870.
¹ John N. Conyngham was born in Philadelphia, December, 1798 ; graduated. at University of Pennsylvania in 1816 ; studied law with James R. Ingersoll, and was admitted to the bar, in 1820 ; soon after he came to Wilkes-Barre, where he married a daughter of Lord. Butler,
Esq. In 1841, after he had served for two years as President Judge of this district, the change referred to above was made with Judge Jessup. " Two more able and upright judges have never presided in these courts."
In 1850 Judge C. was elected to the judgeship he had held by appointment, and was re-elected in 1860. In 1870, he resigned from failing eyesight.
In 1871, he was killed on a railroad at Magnolia, Miss.
² Dr. Bullock is now nearly 80 years of age. He was for years a practicing physician, studied law, was an able counsellor, President Judge, a Major General of the olden time.
38 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Davis Dimock and William Thomson were appointed Associate Judges for this county at its organization in 1812. The terms of all the Judges were then " during good behavior ;" but the resignation of Judge Thomson, after serving twenty-five years, created a vacancy which was filled by the appointment of
Isaac Post in October, 1837, who served a little over five years. The limitation imposed by the constitution terminated Judge Dimock's services after nearly twenty-eight years, and
Jabez Hyde was appointed in his place, March, 1840. His death, about eighteen months afterward, created a vacancy, and
Benjamin Lathrop was appointed in his place, November, 1841. He served five years.
Dr. Calvin Leet succeeded Judge Post, February, 1843, for five years.
Moses C. Tyler succeeded Judge Lathrop, March, 1847, for five years, nearly.
Charles Tingley succeeded Judge Leet in March, 1848. His term lasted only three and one-half years, as the amendment to the constitution for the election of Judges cut him off, and
John Boyle, and Davis D. Warmer, were elected Associate Judges for five years, in the fall of 1851.
Urbane Burrows and Charles F. Read were elected in the fall of 1856.
Charles F. Read (second term) and I. P. Baker were elected in 1861.
Alfred Baldwin and R. T. Ashley were elected in 1866.
James W. Chapman and Judson II. Cook were elected in 1871.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.
(Those in italics are from Susquehanna County.)
1812. Isaac Smith, Jared Irwin, for North'nd, Union, Col., Luzerne and Snsque'na.
1814. David Scott, Wm. Wilson,
1816. " " " " " " " " "
1817. J. Murray, (in pl. of Scott, res.) " 4, " " "
1818. " Geo. Denison, " " " " "
1820. W. C Ellis, " "" " " " "
1822-24-26. Samuel McKean, George Kremer, Espy Van Horn, for Lnzerne, Sus-que'na, Bradford, Tioga, North'nd, Col., Union, Lycom., Potter, McKean.
1829. Philander Stephens, Alem Marr, James Ford.
1830. " " Lewis Dewatt, " "
1832-34. John Laporte, for Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Potter, McKean.
1836-38. Sam'l W. Morris, " " "
1840. Davis Dimock, Jr., died January, 1842.
1842. Almon H. Read, elected in March, " " " "
1842. " " (died) for Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga.
1844. G. Fuller, elected to fill vac., "
1844. D. Wilmot, for 29th Congress, " " "
1846-48. " re-elected,
1850-52-54-56-58-60. G. A. Grow, " "
1862-64-66. Charles Denison.
148. Geo. W. Woodward.
1871. L. D. Shoemaker.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 39
(Representing Susquehanna after our separation from Luzerne.)
1812, William Ross, for Northumb., Union, Columbia, Luzerne, and Susque.
1814, Thomas Murray, Jr , " " " "
1816, Charles Fraser, " " " " "
1818, Simon Snyder, " " " "
1819, Robert Willet, " " " " "
1820, Redmond Conyngham, " " " "
1822, Jonah Brewster, for Susquehanna, Bradford, and Tioga.
1825, John Ryon, " "
1829, Samuel McKean, " " "
1830, Reuben Wilder, " "
1833, Almon H. Read " " " "
1837, Elihu Case, for Susquehanna and Bradford.
1841, Asa Dimock, "
1844, Wm. H. Dimmick, for Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming.
1847, F. B. Streeter, "
1850, George Sanderson, for Susquehanna, Bradford, and Wyoming.
1853, William M. Platt, " "
1856, E. Reed Myer, " " "
1859, George Landon, " " "
1862, William J. Turrell, " "
1865, George Landon, " " "
1868, P. M. Osterhout, " " "
1871, L. F. Fitch, " " "
1812, Charles Miner, Benjamin Dorrance, for Luzerne and Susquehanna.
1813, Jabez Hyde, Jr., Joseph Pruner, " "
1814, Putnam Catlin, Benjamin Dorrance, " "
1815, Redmond Conyngham, Benj. Dorrance, " ".
1816, Jonah Brewster, George Denison, ." "
1817, " " James Reeder, " "
1818, " '' " "
1819, " " Benjamin Dorrance, " "
1820, Cornelius Cortright, " " " "
1821, Jabez Hyde, Jr., Andrew Beaumont, " "
1822, Hyde, Beaumont, Jacob Drumheller, " "
1823, Drumheller, Elijah Shoemaker. " "
1824, Philander Stephens, Drumheller, G. M Hollenback, "
1825, Stephens, Hollenback, Samuel H. Thomas, " "
1826, " Thomas, Garrick Mallery, " "
1827, Almon H. Read, Mallery, George Denison, " "
1828, Isaac Post, " " " " "
1829, Almon H. Read, for Susquehanna alone.
1833, Bela Jones, " "
1834, Joseph Williams, " "
1835, Bela Jones, " "
1836-37, Asa Dimock, " "
1838-39, Chas. Chandler, Jr., " "
1840, Franklin Lusk, " "
1841, Dr. Calvin Leet, " "
1842, Franklin N. Avery, " "
1843-44, Lewis Brush, Thomas Morley, for Susquehanna and Wyoming.
1845-46, David Thomas, Schuyler Fasset, "
1847-48, Samuel Taggart, R. R Little, " "
1849, Sidney B. Wells, E. Mowry, Jr., " "
40 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY
1850, Isaac Reckhow, E. Mowry, Jr., for Susquehanna, Wyoming, and Sullivan.
1851, Isaac Reckhow, Michael Meylert, " " "
1852, Ezra B. Chase, John W. Denison, " " "
1853, Ezra B. Chase, James Deegan, " " "
1854, Charles J. Lathrop, John Sturdevant, " " "
1855, Thomas Ingham, John V. Smith, " " "
1856, Simeon B. Chase, Alfred Hine, " " "
1857-58, Simeon B. Chase, for Susquehanna alone.
1859-60, George T. Frazier, " "
1861-62, D. D. Warner, " "
1863, George H. Wells, "
1864, George H. Wells and P. M. Osterhout, for Susquehanna and Wyoming.
1865, J. T. Cameron, P. M. Osterhout, " "
1866, J. T. Cameron, Jacob Kennedy, "
1867, Loren Burritt, Ziba Lott, "
1868, Loren Burritt, A. P. Stephens,
1869, A. P. Stephens, Harvey Tyler,
1870, E. B. Beardslee, A. B. Walker,
1871, E. B. Beardslee, M. Brunges,
1872, H. M. Jones,
MEMBERS FROM WESTMORELAND TO CONNECTICUT ASSEMBLY.
April, 1774, ZebuIon Butler, Timothy Smith.
Sept. 1774, Christopher Avery, John Jenkins.
April, 1775, Capt. Z. Butler, Joseph Sluman.
Sept. 1775, Capt Z. Butler, Maj. Ezekiel Pierce.
May, 1775, John Jenkins, Solomon Strong.
Oct. 1776, Col. Z. Butler, Col. Nathan Denison.
May, 1777, John Jenkins, Isaac Tripp.
May, 1778, Nathan Denison, Anderson Dana.
Oct. 1778, Col. N. Denison, Lieut. Asahel Buck.
May, 1779, Col. N. Denison, Dea. John Hurlbut.
May, 1780, John Hurlbut, Jonathan Fitch.
Oct. 1780, Nathan Denison, John Hurlbut.
May, 1781, John Hurlbut, Jonathan Fitch.
Oct. 1781, Obadiah Gore, Capt. John Franklin.
May, 1782, Obadiah Gore, Jonathan Fitch.
Oct. 1783, Obadiah Gore, Jonathan Fitch.
MEMBERS FROM LUZERNE COUNTY TO PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLY.
1787, 1788, and 1789, to the 9th of October, Nathan Denison. 30th of October,
1789, to 20th of December, 1790, Lord Butler.
On the 20th of December, 1790, the Council closed its session. The State was organized under the constitution of 1790, and a senate took the place of a council.
As Susquehanna County was associated with Luzerne in choosing Legislators, previous to 1829, the following table of Senators and Representatives to 1811, the year following the organization of the county, will be profitable for reference :-
1790, (with Northumberland and Huntington), William Montgomery.
1792, William Hepburn.
1794, George Wilson (with Northumberland, Mifflin, and Lycoming).
1796, Samuel Dale (with Northumberland, Mifflin, and Lycoming).
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 41
1798, Samuel McClay.
1800, James Harris.
1801, Jonas Hartzell (with Northampton and Wayne).
1803, Thomas Mewhorter.
1805, William Lattimore.
1807, Matthias Gross.
1808, Nathan Palmer (with Northumberland).
1810, James Laird.
Year of Election Given.
1787, John Paul Schott.
1788, 1789, and 1790, Obadiah Gore.
1791 and 1792, Simon Spaulding.
1793, Ebenezer Bowman.
1794, Benjamin Carpenter.
1795 and 1796, John Franklin.
1797 and 1798, Roswell Welles.
1799 and 1800, John Franklin.
1801, John Franklin, Lord Butler.
1802, John Franklin, Roswell Welles.
1803, John Franklin, John Jenkins.
1804, Roswell Welles, Jonas Ingham.
1805, Roswell Welles, Nathan Beach.
1806, Roswell Welles, Moses Coolbaugh.
1807, Charles Miner, Nathan Beach.
1808, Charles Miner, Benjamin Dorrance.
1809 and 1810, B. Dorrance, Thomas Graham.
1811, Thomas Graham, Jonathan Stevens.
1812. Isaac Post.
1815. David Post.
1818. Justin Clark.
1821. Charles Avery.
1824. Mason S. Wilson.
1825. J. W. Raynsford.
1826. Hiram Finch.
1828. Davis Dimock, Jr.
1831. C. L. Ward.
1832. William Foster.
1834. Davis Dimock, Jr.
1835. George Fuller.
1837. Henry J. Webb.
1839. Moses C. Tyler.
1841. Moses C. Tyler (elected).
1843. David D. Warner.
1845. Walter Follett.
1847. Harvey Tyler.
1849. O. G. Hempstead.
1851. Wm. K. Hatch.
1853. D. R. Lathrop.
1855. S. A. Woodruff.
1857. C. W. Mott.
1859. D. W. Titus.
1861. Amos Nichols.
1863. Nicholas Shoemaker.
1865. Charles B. Dodge.
1867. Richard V. Kennedy
1869. Benjamin Glidden.
1871. Tracy Hayden.
PROTHONOTARIES, CLERK OF COURTS, REGISTER, AND RECORDER.
Dr. Charles Fraser held all these offices by appointment of Governor Snyder, from the organization of the county in 1812, four years.
Jabez Hyde held all these appointments under Governors Snyder and Findley from December, 1816, four years ; and Judge De Haert, who had been clerk for Dr. Fraser a part of his time, did all the writing as deputy for Mr. Hyde during his term.
42 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Asa Dimock, Jr., was prothonotary and clerk of the courts, doing his own work, from January, 1821, under Governors Heister, Shulze, and Wolf; in all fifteen years.
David Post was register and recorder (A. H. Read and other deputies) under Governor Heister three years from January, 1821.
William Jessup was register and recorder under Governors Shulze and Wolf, nine years from January, 1824. Did the work mainly himself at first; E. Kingsbury and others, students at law, were deputies some of the time.
Christopher L. Ward was register and recorder under Governor Wolf three years from January, 1833. Secku Meylert deputy a part of the time.
George Walker was prothonotary, etc., under Governor Ritner three years from January, 1836. Did his own work mainly.
Simon Stevens was register and recorder (S. Meylert deputy) the first year of Governor Ritner's term, and
Charles Avery was appointed for the remainder of the term, and did his own work.
George Fuller was prothonotary, and Hiram Finch register and recorder under Governor Porter in
(Mr. Simrell died in 1870, and J. F. Shoemaker was appointed to fill the vacancy until the election of G. B. Eldred, the present incumbent.)
NOTE.-All the registers and recorders from 1839 to 1869, and all the prothonotaries excepting Messrs. Ward and Wells, did their own work mainly, so far as one person could do it all. F. M. Williams served as deputy for the former exception, and J. T. Langdon, F. Fraser, and W. B. Wells for the latter. Miss Mary E. Lyons, sister of the present register and recorder, does the whole work in the recording of deeds.
The work of transferring and rearranging the index books in the Offices of Record at Montrose, and in the Register's Office, was performed recently by J. B. Simmons and Miss Lottie Simmons. Some months were required for its completion. The clerical execution was entrusted to the lady, and it will not suffer by comparison with the kindred work in the prothonotary's office.
Some idea of the magnitude of the labor may be formed by considering that there are about forty-five volumes of deeds alone, averaging about 800 pages of HISTORY OF
SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 43
written matter to the volume, besides mortgages, records, letters of attorney, etc. The twenty-five or thirty books first examined and indexed, necessitated something like 50,000 entries of grantors and grantees. The new indexes are superior to the old ones for the reason that where many grantors or grantees are named in one conveyance, each name is indexed. Giving the acreage and location, necessitates a careful reference to each conveyance.
COMMISSIONERS, AUDITORS, AND TREASURERS.
County commissioners have always been elected annually ; after the first board, one every year to serve three years each and so following each other out in succession.
Auditors in the same manner after 1814. None elected till 1813, and then three for one year each.
Treasurers were appointed annually by the commissioners till 1841 ; since which they have been elected once in two years. The following are the names of those who were elected to these offices in October of each year, or appointed in January following.
1812. Bartlet Hinds, 1 year.
" Laban Capron, 2 years.
" Isaac Brownson, 3 years.
1813. Jonah Brewster,
1814. Hosea Tiffany, Jr.
1815. Stephen Wilson.
1816. Sylvanus Hatch.
1817. Daniel Ross.
1818. Philander Stephens.
1819. Samuel Warner.
1820. Joseph Washburn.
1821. Philo Bostwick.
1822. Hosea Tiffany, Jr.
1823. Simon Stephens.
1824. Edward Packer.
1825. Charles Avery.
1826. Walter Lyon.
1827. Ansel Hill.
1828. Joseph Williams.
1829. Wm. Hartley.
1830. Joseph Washburn.
1831. Calvin Summers.
1832. Arad Wakelee.
1833. Jonathan C. Sherman.
1834. Cyrus H. Avery.
1835. Charles Tingley.
1836. Robert Griffis.
1837. John Comfort.
1838. Edward Heald.
1839. Thomas Burdick.
1840. Nathaniel Norris.
1841. Wm. G. Handrick.
1842. Abel Hewitt.
1843. Alonzo Williams.
1844. Isaac Reckhow.
1845. Jonas Carter.
1846. Nathaniel West.
1847. Elisha P. Farnam.
1848. David O. Turrell.
1849. John Murphy.
1850. Shubael Dimock.
1851. John Hancock.
1852. Amos Williams.
1853. Amherst Carpenter.
1854. Joseph Smith.
1855. Wm. T. Case.
1856. Perrin Wells.
1857. Orange Mott, Jr.
1858. Levi S. Page.
1859. C. M. Stewart.
1860. J. B. Cogswell.
1861. James Leighton.
1862. Nelson French.
1863. John B. Wilson.
1864. David Wakelee.
1865. J. T. Ellis.
1866. B. M. Gage.
1867. Samuel Sherer.
1868. J. T. Ellis, second time.
1869. Preserved Hinds.
1870. Edward L. Beebe.
1871. Oscar Washburn.
1872. Lyman Blakeslee.
Col. Thomas Parke and Hosea Tiffany, Esq., were commissioners for Luzerne County before this county was set off.
44 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Jonah Brewster was appointed for the first year, 1813, and Dr. Asa Park for
Almon H. Read was clerk five years from January, 1815.
Bela Jones deputy part of the time.
William Jessup six years from January, 1820.
George Fuller three years and two months from January, 1826.
E. Kingsbury, Jr., one year and ten months from March, 1829.
B. Streeter eight months and J. W. Chapman four months of 1831.
Davis Dimock, Jr. for 1832. Charles Avery for 1833.
Secku Meylert seven years from January, 1834. Asa Dimock for 1841.
Robert J. Niven eleven years and four months from January, 1842.
William A. Crossmon from May, 1853, to present time.
Remarks.-For the information of those who desire to know what townships have furnished commissioners for the county, and how many each (for it is desirable that these officers should be somewhat distributed), it may be seen that Bridgewater, having them so frequently at first, has had in all, counting Mr. Sherman, who was afterwards cut off into Jessup, viz., Messrs. Hinds, Brewster, Wilson, Stephens, Warner, Joseph Williams, Sherman, Wells.
Harford, Capron, Tiffany twice, Tingley, Carpenter.
Rush, Brownson, Ross, Griffis, now in Jessup.
Gibson, J. Washburn twice, Case, 0. Washburn.
Great Bend, Reckhow, Hatch.
Springville, Stephens (afterwards in Dimock), Wakelee.
Apolacon, Amos Williams, P. Hinds (Little Meadows).
Middletown, Bostwick, Handrick, Wilson.
Brooklyn, Packer, Hewitt.
Herrick, Lyon, Dimock, Ellis.
Silver Lake, Hill, Murphy, Gage.
Lenox, Hartley, Farnam.
Clifford, Burdick, Stewart.
Jackson, Norris, French.
Auburn, C. H. Avery, Carter, Coggswell.
Jessup, Hancock, Smith (besides Sherman and Griffis).
Franklin, Alonzo Williams,. Leighton, Beebe.
And the following towns have had one each: Montrose, Chas. Avery ; New Milford, Summers ; Harmony, Comfort ; Choconut (afterwards Apolacon), Heald ; Liberty, Turrell ; Thomson (since
Ararat), West; Forest Lake, Mott; Susquehanna, Page; Dimock, Samuel Sherer ; Oakland and Lathrop have never had a commissioner, nor has Choconut or Thomson within their present limits.
SHERIFFS AND CORONERS.
The election for sheriffs and coroners has always been for three years each. They have been as follows:-
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 45
Prior to 1827, Susquehanna County was connected with some other county (Bradford ?), as a deputy-surveyor's district. In 1827, the surveyor-general appointed Adolphus D. Olmstead his deputy for Susquehanna County; in 1830, J. W. Chapman; in 1833, John Boyle ; in 1836, Issachar Mann ; in 1839-1847, John Boyle ; in 1847, O. S. Beebe. County surveyors first elected in 1850, O. S. Beebe ; in 1853, Timothy Boyle ; in 1856, Joel Turrell ; in 1859, Wilson J. Turrell ; in 1862-65-68, J. W. Chapman ; in 1871, O. S. Beebe.
46 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
ATTORNEYS FROM OTHER COUNTIES ADMITTED TO THE BAR OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY, FROM THE YEAR 1813 TO 1840.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 49
IN November, 1814, the township previously known as Willingborough received from the court the name of Great Bend on petition of several of its residents. It was then but a section of the original township, which, March, 1791, was formed from the northeast corner of old Tioga, Luzerne County, and which was the first taken from the two townships then comprising the
territory afterwards set off to Susquehanna County.
Willingborough, in 1791, was so far from the seat of justice -Wilkes-Barre-that it appears to have received little attention for two years; the only record of it being the appointment of viewers to lay out a road within its limits. These seem not to have been actually defined until April, 1793, when the line was ordered thus:-
" From the twenty-first mile-stone on the north line of the State, south six miles ; thence east until it shall intersect the line to be run between Luzerne and Northampton Counties ; thence north to the State line ; thence west to the place of beginning."
This made the township six miles north and south, by fifteen miles east and west; but, practically, or as an election district, until the erection of New Milford, it extended over the area of the latter as originally defined, and, in all, covered one-quarter or more of the present county.
Perhaps no section of Susquehanna County has scenery more beautifully diversified than that included in old Willingborough-now Harmony, Oakland, and Great Bend. Here the Susquehanna River flows around the base of a spur of the Alleghanies, of which the lower outline is marked by a number of rounded peaks of great beauty ; the higher, by the two mountains of the vicinity bearing their original Indian names-Ouaquaga,¹
¹ In reference to the correct orthography of this word, J. Du Bois, Esq., says : " There is now a post-office of this name on the north side of this mountain, near the village of Windsor, N. Y., and by reference to any post-office register you will find it written as above. When I was a child, I remember standing before the guide-post at the forks of the road a few rods beyond the three (Indian) apple trees, on which was a finger-board marked thus ☞Ms. TO OUAQUAPHA, and of myself and other children puzzling our brains in trying to make out how those letters could make the then accepted pronunciation, Ochquago.
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