250 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Hon. James Allison, commissioned Aug. 17, 1791.
Hon. Matthew Ritchie, commissioned Aug. 17, 1791.
Hon. William Hoge, commissioned April 6, 1798.
Hon. John McDowell, commissioned April 7, 1802.
Hon. Boyd Mercer, commissioned Jan. 1, 1806.
Hon. John Hamilton, commissioned Jan. 15, 1820.
Hon. Thomas McKeever, commissioned Oct. 11, 1837.
Appointed under the Constitution of 1838.
Hon. Samuel Hill, commissioned March 26, 1840.
Hon. John Grayson, Sr., commissioned March 18, 1843.
Hon. James Gordon, commissioned March 8, 1845.
Hon. Isaac Hodgens, commissioned March 18, 1848.
Hon. William Vankirk, commissioned Nov. 12, 1850.
Elected under the Amendment of 1850.
Hon. Abraham Wotring, commissioned Nov. 10, 1851.
Hon. John Freeman, commissioned Nov. 10, 1851.
Hon. James G. Hart, commissioned Nov. 12, 1856.
Hon. Jacob Slagle, commissioned Nov. 12, 1856.
Hon. James G. Hart, commissioned Nov. 23, 1861.
Hon. William Vankirk, elected Oct. 8, 1861.¹
Hon. Thomas McCarrell, commissioned June 3, 1862.
Hon. James C. Chambers, commissioned Nov. 9, 1866.
Hon. John Farrer, commissioned Nov. 9, 1866.
Hon. Thomas W. Bradley, commissioned Nov. 17, 1871.
Hon. John Scott, commissioned Nov. 17, 1871.
Hon. David Sample, appointed Oct. 2, 1781.
Hon. David Bradford, appointed December, 1783.
Hon. Henry Purviance, served from March, 1795.
Hon. Parker Campbell, served from April, 1796.
Hon. James Ashbrook, qualified May, 1801.
Hon. Thomas Baird, served from March, 1809.³
Hon. William Baird, served from March, 1814.
Hon. Walter Forward, served from June, 1814.
Hon. Thomas M. T. McKennan, served from June, 1815.
Hon. William Baird, appointed Dec. 27, 1816. 4
Hon. William Baird, reappointed March 26, 1821.
Hon. William Waugh, served from June 28, 1824.
Hon. Isaac Leet, served from March, 1830.
¹ But his election being contested, the seat was awarded to Judge McCarrell.
² Great difficulty has been encountered in the endeavor to make this list complete. The records often fail to disclose the date of appointment or of qualification ; sometimes only the fact of service between certain dates appears. The list, it is thought, contains the names of all who ever served, and by the words "served from," used when other information has not been obtained, is intended to cover a period thence to the next entry. Thus, Henry Purviance served as deputy attorney-general from March sessions, 1795, to April sessions, 1796, though the date of his appointment has not been obtained. A few biographical sketches may be found as foot-notes to the Roll of Attorneys.
³ So written then by himself, without the "H."
4 The following is found on record to No. 15, March ss, 1817:
"To all to whom these presents shall come, I, Amos Ellmaker, attorney-general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, send greeting:
"Know ye that I hereby constitute and appoint William Baird, Esquire, of Washington, Attorney and counsellor at law, my Deputy, to implead and prosecute for, in the name and on behalf of the Commonwealth aforesaid, all criminals whatsoever for any offence done or perpetrated, or which may be done or perpetrated, within the County of Washington, and to sign all indictments in and with my name, and to take all fees and perquisites to the same office belonging cir appertaining, during the continuance of this deputation. In testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen.
" AMOS ELLMAKER."
Hon. Isaac Leet, reappointed Feb. 5, 1833.
Hon. Alexander W. Acheson, qualified Jan. 26, 1835.
Hon. Richard H. Lee, qualified March, 1836.
Hon. William McKennan, qualified Aug. 23, 1837.
Hon. Alexander W. Acheson, served from March. 1839.
Hon. William Montgomery, qualified Feb. 17, 1845.
Hon. Alexander W. Acheson, served from February, 1846.
Hon. George S. Hart, served from August, 1846.
Hon. Robert H. Koontz, qualified February, 1848.
Hon. George S. Hart, elected Oct. 8, 1850. 5
Hon. William Linn, elected Oct. 11, 1853.
Hon. Alexander Wilson, elected Oct. 14, 1856.
Hon. Alexander Wilson, re-elected Oct. 11, 1859.
Hon. James R. Ruth, elected Oct. 14, 1882.
Hon. Boyd Crumrine, elected Oct. 10, 1865.
Hon. Ianthus Bently, elected Oct. 13, 1868.
Hon. Thomas H. Baird, Jr., elected Oct. 10, 1871
Hon. John A. Mcllvaine, elected Nov. 3, 1874.
Hon. John A. McIlvaine, re-elected Nov. 6, 1877.
Hon. Ralph C. McConnell,* elected Nov. 2, 1880.
ROLL OF ATTORNEYS.
[For the names and dates in the following list of the gentlemen who have been admitted to practice in the several courts of Washington County credit is due to the industry of some of the junior members of the bar, each taking a part of the work: Joseph F. McFarland, from 1781; William S. Parker, from 1830; Robert W. Irwin, 1840; John S. Marquis, from 1850; Ralph C. McConnell, from 1860; J. F. Taylor, from 1870 to 1882.]
Hugh M.6 Brackenridge, Oct. Samuel Irwin, October.
David Sample, October.
Thomas Smith, January.
David Espy, January.
David Bradford, April.7
Robert Galbraith, April.
George Thompson, December.
Thomas Duncan, December.
David Redick, December. 8
Michael Huffnagle, December.
John Woods, December.
5 Under the act of May 3, 1850; P. L. 654.
6 The " M" soon afterward was changed to " H ;" why is unknown.
7 David Bradford was a native of Maryland, and had not been long in the county when admitted. In 1783 he was appointed deputy attorney. general for the county, and held that office for a long time. He Is chiefly noted for the prominent part he took in the Whiskey Insurrection, having been the head and front of that offending. The amnesty proclamation issued by the government included all the insurrectionists save him; he then fled to Bayou Sara, in Louisiana Territory, where he died. He built the house now occupied by Mrs. Harding, on the west side of Main Street, a few doors north of Maiden, said to have been the first stone house built in Washington.
8 David Redick was a native of Ireland. His wife was a daughter of Jonathan Hoge, the brother of David Hoge, the proprietor of Washington. He was elected a member of the Supreme Executive Council in 1786; represented the county in the Constitutional Convention of 1790; was chosen vice-president of Pennsylvania in 1788; and in 1791 was appointed prothonotary of Washington County. In the Whiskey Insurrection he also took a prominent part, but on the aide of law and order, being one of the commissioners, Mr. Findley the other, to wait upon President Washington when on his way out with the army, and to explain the condition of affairs in the western counties. He died at Washington, Sept. 28, 1805. A daughter was the first wife of Dr. James Stevens, deceased.
CIVIL AND LEGAL-ROLL OF ATTORNEYS. - 251
James Carson, June.
Alexander Addison, March ²
George Vallandigham, April.
John Young, June.
Daniel St. Clair, September.
Henry Purviance, March ³
John Ralph, March.
Thomas Scott, September.
Steel Sample, September.
Hugh Ross, September.
Joseph Pentecost, September 4
David McKeehan, December.
George Armstrong, June.
Arthur St. Clair, September.
Henry Woods, September.
Parker Campbell, December .5
Thomas Collins, March.
George Henry Keppele, Sept.
James Morrison, September.
¹ No minute is found of the admission of Hon. James Ross in our courts, but the records of Fayette County show that he was admitted in the courts of that county in December, 1784, which is satisfactory evidence that he was admitted here that year. Mr. Ross was born July 12, 1762, the son of Hon. George Ross, of York County. Following Dr. McMillan from the place of the latter's nativity, he taught in McMillan's school in the log cabin for a while, then upon the recommendation of H. H. Brackenridge began the study of the law. In 1790 he was in the Constitutional Convention of that year, and United States senator in 1794-1803. On Aug. 8, 1794, with Jasper Yeates and William Bradford, he was appointed on the commission to " confer with such bodies of individuals as you may approve concerning the commotions" then existing, during the Whiskey Insurrection. He died at Allegheny City, Pa., Nov.27, 1847, leaving children of deceased daughters, and one sou, James Ross, Jr., who was admitted to the bar, but never practiced. He has also died, unmarried. During the Whiskey Insurrection Hon. James Ross lived in Washington. See Brackenridge's His. Wh. Ins., 70, 174.
² The first president judge under the Constitution of 1790.
³ Deputy attorney-general, 1795-96.
4 Joseph Pentecost was the oldest son of Col. Dorsey Pentecost, with whom the reader of previous chapters is already familiar. After the death of his father be built the brick house now occupied by John Gamble, Esq., on part of the old Dorsey Pentecost estate, in North Strabane. He was a leading lawyer of his day! and a respected citizen, and is now represented in the county by a son, George Pentecost, of West Middletown. He died March 29, 1823.
5 Parker Campbell is said to have been the most distinguished lawyer of hie day, the old records of this and adjoining counties showing that he was extensively engaged in the trial of most of the causes instituted. He was born in Carlisle in 1768, married Elizabeth Calhoun, of Chambersburg. Their children were Nancy, who married Samuel Lyon; Elizabeth, who married first William Chambers, then the late John S. Brady, Esq.; Ellen, married John Ritchie; and three sons, Francis C., John, Parker, born in 1815, and lately died at Richmond, Va. Mr. 2ampbell died July 30, 1824. In the resolutions of the bar meeting, held immediately after his death, he is described as the "lamented advocate, the chief leader for many years of this bar."
James Allison, January.
Joseph Shannon, July.
John Simonson, January.
James Montgomery, October.
Thomas Creigh, July.
Thomas Madden, October.
Samuel Sidney Mahon, October.
Thomas Nesbit, July.
John Lyon, October.
Thomas Bailey, July.
Robert Whitehill, October.
John Cloyd, August.
Thomas Johnston, November.
Thomas Mason, August.
Cunningham Semple, Nov.
James Ashbrook, November.
William Ayers, November.
George Heyl, May.
Robert Callender, August.
John Kennedy, August.
Isaac Kerr, August.
Robert Moore, August.
Obadiah Jennings,6 Nov.
John Gilmore, August.
James Mountain, November.7
Alexander Wm. Foster, Feb,
Sampson Smith King, Feb.
Isaac Meason, Jr., August.
Jonathan Redick, November.
Elias E. Ellmaker, February.
John Purviance, Jr., Feb.
Hill Runyan, February.
Joseph Douglass, August.
John Porter, August.
George Paull, May.
James Taylor, September.
Thomas McGiffin, February 8
6 Obadiah Jennings was born near Baskenridge, N. J., Dec..13, 1778. Educated at the Canonsburg Academy, he studied law with John Simonson, who was also from New Jersey. He settled at Steubenville, Ohio, where he practiced until 1811, when he returned to Washington. Turning his attention to theology, he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Ohio in 1816. A short time before hie death, which was at Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 12, 1832, the College of New Jersey conferred upon him the degree of D.D.
7 James Mountain was a brilliant Pittsburgh lawyer of his day, but practiced much here. In 1796 he was teaching in the Canonsburg Academy, and an advertisement in the Western Telegraphe in June of that year speaks in high terms of his classical attainments.
8 Thomas McGiffin was the son of Nathaniel McGiffin, a Scotch-Irishman, who came to America before the Revolution ; a soldier in the Pennsylvania line, in the battle of Brandywine and at Trenton, and suffered at Valley Forge; settled on Ten-Mile about 1781 or 1782. The son, Thomas, was born Jan. 1, 1784; educated at Canonsburg Academy; studied law with Parker Campbell, and admitted as above. The same year he went to Vincennes, Ind., where he began practice, and soon after removed to and remained a short time at St. Louis. In 1809, having returned to Washington, he continued in active practice here all his life. The last case he tried was the celebrated Vanatta murder case in Greene County. During his professional life he was at the same time much engaged in outside business enterprises, among others, with Parker Campbell and Thomas H. Baird, in the building of a large portion of the National road through Washington County. He was also deeply interested in politics; was personally intimate with Henry Clay, William H. Crawford, as well as many others of the leading men of that day; represented the county in the Legislature of 1836. He died Feb. 5, 1841, in his house on West Maiden Street, now occupied by Mr. John Baird. He left children : Maria, married Thomas Boyd; Fayette County ; Nathaniel,
252 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
John Marshel, October.'
John McDonald, December.
William Wilkins, March.
Thomas Baird, July. ²
Charles Wilkins, July.
John Tarr, October.
John Shannon, October.
John White, October.
Morgan Neville, December.
Richard Carr Lane, July.
Joseph Weigley, October.
John H. Chapline, July.
David Redick, December.
Jesse Edgington, October.
Thomas Irwin, December.
Philip Doddridge, July.³
Andrew Buchanan, July. 4
William Baird, June.5
Joseph B. Beckett, December.
Walter Forward, December.
John C. Wright, March.
David Jennings, June.
Thomas Morgan, March.
Thomas Cunningham, June.
T. McK. T. McReiman, Oct.6
H. H. Brackenridge, Oct.
Samuel Lyon, October.
Mount Vernon, Knox Co., Ohio; Julia, now deceased, married Rev. William Hamilton; Margaret, married Rev. W. C. MeIlvaine, Peoria, Ill.; Thomas, admitted to the bar of Washington County in February, 1841, never practiced much, now near Fairfield, Iowa; George Wallace, graduated at Washington College in 1841, studied law but never practiced, died in 1858; Norton McGiffin, born Jan. 23, 1824, graduated at Washington College in 1841; studied law awhile, but in 1846 went to Mexican war; returned in 1848, and was sheriff 1858-61; In the war of the Rebellion he served as captain of Company E, Twelfth Pennsylvania Regiment, three months' service, the first company that left the county; afterwards as lieutenant-colonel Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, in the three years' service; he represented the county in the House of Representatives from 1880 to 1882, and in the spring of 1882 removed with his family to Ida Grove, Ida Co., Iowa.
¹ John Marshel was the son of Col. James Marshel, the county lieutenant (as to whom see biographical sketch in preceding pages), and is well remembered as the cashier of the old Franklin Bank of Washington. He never engaged in the practice of the profession.
² This was the Hon. Thomas H. Baird, who succeeded Hon. Samuel Roberts as president judge; his name is without the " H" at first.
³ This was the celebrated Wellsburg lawyer, who practiced much in our courts. He was the son of John Doddridge, who settled near Middletown in 1773; a brother of Philip was Dr. Joseph Doddridge, author of "Note on the Early Settlements, etc.," written in 1824. Philip died, a member of Congress, at Washington, D. C., on Nov. 19, 1832.
4 Andrew Buchanan was the father of Hon. J. A. J. Buchanan, now of the Waynesburg bar.
5 The brother of Hon. Thomas H. Baird.
6 Rev. William McKennan, of Scotch lineage, emigrated front the north of Ireland ; married Miss Wilson, Winchester, Va.; was long pastor of White Clay Creek congregation, Delaware, and fur a large part of the time he was also in charge of the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, dying in 1809, at the age of ninety-four. His sun, William McKennon, was born in Delaware in 1758; in June, 1776, entered a "Flying Camp" Regiment as second lieutenant; on April 5, 1777, commissioned first lieutenant Delaware regiment of foot, and served during the Revolutionary war, participating in the service which compelled the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, and being mustered out as captain, serving afterwards as colonel of militia. He married Elizabeth Thompson, whose father, John Thompson, married Dorothea, only sister of Governor Thomas McKean. In 1797, Col. McKenuan removed to Charlestown, now Wellsburg, W. Va., and upon the election of Thomas McKean as Governor he removed to Washington County, and on Jan. 11, 1803, was appointed prothonotary and clerk, serving to the end of Governor Mc-Kean's term. He died Jan. 14,1810, front the effects of a wound received in the battle of Germantown, Oct. 4, 1777. His wife survived him till 1839. Their children were William, John Thompson, Thomas McKean
J. Philpot C. Sampson, June.
Henry Baldwin, June.
Nathaniel Ewing, June.
Samuel Stokely, September.
James L. Bowman, January.
Charles Shaler, March.
John S. Brady, June.
Alexander Caldwell, June.
John M. Goodenow, June.
Alexander Brackenridge, Mar.
John Hoge Ewing, June.
William Waugh, June.
Henry M. Campbell, June.
Walter B. Beebe, December.
James S. Craft, December.
Harmar Denny, December.
Hiram Heaton, March.
William Harvey, March.
John Dawson, June.
Stephen D. Walker, June.
Asa Andrews, June.
Ephraim Roote, September
Samuel H. Fitzhugh, Sept.
James Shannon, December.
Isaiah Winge, September.
John M. Austin, October.
Alexander Addison, Dec.
John S. Garrett, December.
Jacob B. Miller, March.
James Piper, March.
William G. Hawkins, March.
Thomas Gibbs Morgan, June.
Samuel Evans, March.
Joshua Seney, June.
John H. Waugh, November.
A. S. Mountain, March.
Jonathan B. Smith, March.
William H. Brown, June.
John H. Hopkins, June.
Dorsey B. Pentecost, July.
John C. Campbell, November.
Roswell Marsh, November.
James Russ Pentecost, Nov.
Thomas Ustice White, December.
James C. Simonson, February.
Richard Biddle, March.
Thomas L. Rodgers, June.
James Todd, June.
George Watson, June.
W. W. Fetterman, November.
Charles H. Israel, November.
William W. King, January.
John Louden Gow, January.7
James W. McKennan, June.
Henry B. Tomlinson, Dec.
Thompson, David, James Wilson, and Anne. Thos McK. T. McKennan was born in New Castle County, Delaware, March 31, 1794; graduated at Washington College ; married Matilda, daughter of Jacob Bowman, of Brownsville, in 1815; was deputy attorney-general for Washington County 1815-16; member of the United States House of Representatives from 1831 to 1839, and from May, 1842, to March, 1843; and was for a short time Secretary of the Interior during President Fillmore's administration. He died July 9, 1852. Of his children, two are now residents of Washington, Pa.,—Hon. William McKennan, born Sept. 27, 1816; graduated at Washington College in 1833; admitted to the bar in 1837; deputy attorney-general for the county 1837 to 1839; a member of the fruitless Peace Congress at Washington, D.C., 1861 ; appointed by President Grant United States circuit judge for the Third Circuit in 1869, which position he still holds. The other Is Thomas McKennan, M.D.
7 Mr. Gow was born in the town of Hallowell, Me., Sept. 28, 1797. His father, James, was a Scotchman from Glasgow; his mother, Lucy Gilman, of Puritan stock. His education was mostly obtained in the Hallowell Academy, but at an early age he went to Boston, Mass., thence to Fred-
CIVIL AND LEGAL—ROLL OF ATTORNEYS - 253
Alexander Wilson, June.
Isaac Leet, June. Charles Coleman, June.
Edward D. Gazzam, March.
Samuel McFarland, Dec.
George Selden, June.
John Glenn, June.
Benjamin S. Stewart, June.
Samuel Creigh, December.
Ethelbert P. Oliphant, Dec.
Samuel Gormly, June.
Francis C. Campbell, June.
Griffith J. Withey, July.
George W. Acheson, Dec.
William R. McDonald, June.
Nathaniel P. Fetterman, June.
Joshua B. Howell, June.
Thomas L. Shields, October.
James Watson, October.
Alexander W. Acheson,* June..
Charles W. Kelso, October.
Thos. S. Humrickhouse, Oct
Samuel Cleavinger, October.
David Walker, December.
Benjamin Patton, March.
James Veech, January.
Thomas J. Gass, January.
Richard H. Lee, January.
Thomas B. Beall, October.
R. F. McConnauley, Sept.
William Allison, September.
David Blair, June.
William McKennan, June.
Thomas J. Bigham, August.
Daniel Baldwin, March.
T. J. Fox Alden, December.
ericksburg, Va., where he supported himself by teaching while he studied the law and until he was admitted to the Fredericksburg bar. Soon he removed to Washington, D. C., and for Several years was an assistant editor of the National Journal, a Whig paper, owned by Peter Force. He came to Washington, Pa., in 1824, and was at once admitted to the bar of this county. Soon afterwards, attention being attracted to his special fitness, he was put in charge of an English department in Washington College, so continuing for several years, when he then devoted himself exclusively to the law. Full of the New England ideas upon the subject of common-school education, when the present Pennsylvania system was proposed he became its earnest advocate, and when finally adopted in 1854, he was chosen the first superintendent of common schools for Washington County, and during his whole life his influence was a strong one in the cause of popular education. His practice at the bar continued, however, first in partnership with Mr. King, then with Thomas McGiffin, afterwards with his brother-in-law, Alexander Murdock, and when he died he had been in the successful practice of his profession for over forty years. On June 12, 1827, he married Mary H., daughter of Alexander Murdock, by whom there were twelve children, ten of whom at this writing are living useful lives, widely separate from each other. He died Aug.17, 1866, and is now represented in the profession by his sons, John L., Jr., Washington, Pa., and George L., Greenfield, Iowa. Two sons are editors, Alexander M., Washington, Pa., and James M., Greenfield, Iowa. A daughter. Minnie, is the wife of M. C. Acheson, Esq., of the Washington bar.
Samuel Frew, April.
Daniel M. Edgington, April
Daniel Leet, May
Joseph Henderson, May.
J. P. Avery, November.
Lewis Roberts, February.
Isaiah Steen, February.
Robert Woods, August.
Robert H. Koontz, August ¹
Peter F. Ege, August.
Thomas R. Hazzard, Nov.
Ross Black, February.
John H. Deford, February.
Thomas McGiffin, February.
Seth T. Hurd, May.
Samuel Kingston, August.
Simon Meredith, November.
William Montgomery, November.
Robert F. Cooper, May.
John Watson, Jr., August.
Francis C. Flenniken, November.
Obadiah B. McFadden, Feb.
George Acheson, February.
Solomon Alter, May.
Alexander Murdoch, August.²
Wm. F. Johnston, August.
Jonathan D. Leet, November.
Uriah W. Wise, February.
James Dunlop, February.
John D. Creigh, February.
J. W. F. White, May.
Henry H. Clark, May
William Wilson, May.
Ebenezer Boyce, August.
G. W. McIlvaine, August.
R. F. McIlvaine, August.
Job Johnston, February
Alexander Miller, May.
Richard J. Allison, November.
J. Bowman Sweitzer, Nov.
Thomas H. Baird, Jr.,*Feb.
R. C. Ingall, February.
David Reed, May.
George Scott Hart, August.
William Grayson, August.
Elbridge G. Creacraft, Aug
George E. Appleton, August.
Wilson McCandles, August.
George W. McGiffin, Nov.
John P. Penny, November.
¹ Robert Hamilton Koontz was a son of John H. Koontz, who came from Lancaster County to Washington, Pa., about 1792. He was born June 16, 1818, and after graduating at Washington College while quite young, studied the law with T. M. T. & William McKennan, and was admitted as above. He never held any public office, except that of deputy attorney-general for this county, by appointment under the old system, from February, 1848, to December, 1850. Mr. Koontz was a man of a very high degree of culture, literary and legal. Full of the finest quality of wit and humor, life to him was a bright spring morning; yet he was a laborious student and a successful lawyer. He it was who was always called upon for an address on public occasions, and his powers of oratory in such efforts were not more effective than he exhibited as an advocate at the bar. He died June 30, 1863.
² Hon. A. Murdoch is the grandson of John Murdoch, a native of Scotland, who removed from near Carlisle, Pa., to what is now North Strabane township in 1778. The third son of John Murdoch was Alexander, born in Carlisle in 1770; in 1803 married Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Matthew Henderson; was appointed prothonotary and clerk in 1809, and held those offices until 1819; built the brick house on corner of Main Street and Pine Alley, now occupied and owned by his eldest daughter, the widow of Hon. John L. Gow, deceased; also what is now the principal part of the Fulton House building; in the mean time having purchased the "Morganza" tract, he subsequently removed thither, where he died in 1836. The seventh of his eleven children was Alexander, admitted to the bar as above. Mr. Murdoch while at the bar practiced chiefly in partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. Gow. In April, 1861, he was appointed by President Lincoln United States marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania, served four years; reappointed in April, 1865, and served two years, and again appointed by President Grant to same office in March, 1869, but resigned in December, 1872. The family is now represented at the bar by his son, John H. Murdoch.
254 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Joseph S. Morrison, Nov.
John McKee, November.
Andrew Hopkins, November.
David Craig, February.
R. S. Moody, February.
John J. Pierson, May.
W. M. Farrar, May.
William S. Moore, November.
George H. Oliver, November.
J. A. J. Buchanan, November.
Thomas W. Porter, February.
Daniel Donehoo, May.
Daniel M. Stockton, August.
William Baird, August.
David S. Wilson, August
Daniel Kaine, August.
John C. Flenniken.
William Linn, May.
Samuel G. Pepper, November.
Ellis Gregg, February.
Harvey J. Vankirk,* Feb.
Alfred Howell, February.
John M. Stockdale, May.
Huston Quail, May.
J. Lawrence Judson,* Aug.
Marcus W. Acheson, May.
D. W. Bell, May.
William L. Bowman, Nov.
Jacob F. Slagle, November.
Alexander Wilson,* February.
George W. Miller,* February.
John D. Braden,* February.
John B. Kreeps, August.
Robert M. Gibson, August.
Samuel M. Semmes, Nov.
George A. Peare, November.
Charles Naylor, February.
A. S. Ritchie, February.
A. P. Morrison, February.
A. S. Fuller, February.
John C. Messenger, February.
John Nicholls, May
Robert F. Stream, August.
B. W. Lacy, November.
Samuel N. Cochran, May.
Samuel Cole, Jr., May.
Peter B. McMahon, August.
William Mills, August.
Eugene Ferero, November.
John H. Craig, May.
Jasper E. Brady, February.
Addison Oliver, February.
Alexander M. Gow, May.
Thomas Ewing, February.
John R. Donehoo, May.
William A. Stokes, May.
Ira J. Lacock, August.
Francis P. Fitzwilliams, Aug
Jonathan W. Mott, Nov.
William E. Gapen, February.
R. P. Lewis, May.
Archibald McBride, August.
James Lindsey, November.
Andrew A. Purman, February.
Freeman Brady, Jr.,* May.
Wilson N. Paxton, May.
William F. Templeton, May.
Charles McClure Hays, Aug.
H. G. Rogers, November.
John G. Ruple, April.
Leroy W. Little, May.
Isaac Y. Hamilton,* May.
Mordecai B. Massey, May.
James R. Ruth, May.
Boyd Crumrine,* August.
Thomas Boyd, November.
William J. Patton, November.
James Murray Clark, November.
David Crawford, February.
Robt. A. McConnell, Feb.
William C. Lindsey, May.
Isaac Bailey, August.
George W. Caldwell. August.
Hill Burgwinn, April.
James S. Rutan, May.
Samuel B. Wilson, May.
Wesley Wolf, August.
Samuel O. Taylor, November.
A. W. Wilson, November.
Simon Buckingham, Nov.
Daniel W. Leet, November.
Eugene Tarr, November.
A. W. Aiken, May.
Samuel F. White, May.
Marshal Swartzwelder, Feb.
David F. Patterson, May.
Henry Gantz,* May.
R. Galy Barr, August.
David S. Smith, August.
Joseph Hays, November.
John L. Gow,* February.
Ianthus Bentley, February.
Charles M. Ruple,* May.
John S. C. Weills, May.
David T. Watson, July.
J. W. Kirker, August.
M. L. A. McCracken, May.
George L. Gow, May.
Wm. Owens, Jr., May.
Ebenezer Williams, Jr., May.
George Shiras, Jr., June.
Bishop Crumrine, August.
John W. Donnan,* August.
John A. McIlvaine,* August.
John W. Wiley, August.
W. C. Moreland, August.
J. G. Wood, December.
Solomon Bell, December.
John W. McWilliams, Dec.
John W. Donaldson, Dec.
R. B. Patterson, December.
A. G. Cochran, February.
R. L. Morrison, February.
R. C. Hoffman, February.
Alexander M. Todd,* May
George R. Cochran, May.
W. M. Nickerson, August.
Marcus C. Acheson,* Feb.
Henry M. Dougan,* May.
Joshua R. Forrest, May.
Cicero Hasbrouck, May.
J. W. McDowell,* August.
David W. Brown,* August.
L. McCarrell,* August.
James L. Black, August.
James P. Sayer,* December.
John Aiken,* December.
Franklin Ezra Oliver, May.
John Milton Oliver, May.
Clark Riggle,* August.
George Fetterman, May.
Oscar L. Jackson, August.
H. P. Mueller, August.
John Mueller, August.
William McEnrue, December.
Jacob Davis, February.
Joseph McK. Acheson, April.
Daniel N. McCracken,* April.
B. F. Lucas, May.
George O. Jones,* August.
Leopold Becker, December.
W. G. Guyler, January.
G. W. G. Waddle, February.
S. A. McClung, April.
William S. McFadden, Aug.
William Blakeley, October.
B. C. Christy, December.
J. Hanson Good, February.
Nathaniel Richardson, Feb.
E. G. Creacraft, February.
John H. Murdoch,* August.
John McCracken Hoon, August.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—SLAVERY IN PENNSYLVANIA - 255
Edgar Galbraith, January.
John Dalzell, January.
William H. White, April,
J. B. Jones, April.
Thomas Henry, May.
John R. Braddock,* June.
John M. Kennedy, June.
David H. Martin, April.
Charles W. McCord, Oct.
James L. Berry, October.
Thomas J. Duncan,* October.
George A. Hoffman, Jr.,* Oct.
John W. Morehead, February.
Isaac S. Vanvoorhis, February.
John A. Moninger, March.
B. Frank Montgomery, May.
William O. Crawford, May.
John H. McCreary, May.
A. S. Miller, August.
Julian B. Crenshaw, Dec.
Alvan Dolman,* January.
William F. Wright,* January.
John M. Davis, January.
J. Carter Judson, January.
James M. Sprowls,* March.
Ralph C. McConnell,* March
John F. O'Mally, May.
David F. Enoch, May.
Joseph S. Haymaker, May.
Wm. Archibald Barr, Aug.
Ernest F. Acheson, August.
W. C. Stillwagon, August..
William M. Boggs, October.
J. B. R. Streator,* October.
J. N. Patterson, February.
Charles C. Montooth, March.
Louis R. Smith,* April.
J. H. S. Trainer, May.
George C. Burgwin, June.
John Barton, July.
William M. Watson, August.
James Irwin Brownson,* Oct.
J. F. McFarland,* October.
W. McBride Perrin,* October.
James McFadden Carpenter, October.
Samuel C. Cook, March.
John M. Braden,* March.
John S. Marquis, Jr.,* March.
William Reardon, March.
William H. Playford, March.
Thomas J. Lazear, April.
Julius P. Miller,* October.
John D. McKennan, October.
Albert S. Sprowls,* October.
James Franklin Taylor,* Oct.
Samuel C. Clark,* January.
Thos. Fleming Birch,* June.
Thomas McK. Hughes,* June.
William G. Stewart, Sept.
Hugh A. Rogers,* January.
Robert Wilson Irwin,* June.
Joseph Id. Swearingen, June.
Joseph T. Noble, June.
George W. Guthrie, February.
Wm. Sanders Parker,* March.
James Q. McGiffin, June.
Joseph M. Dickson,* June.
John L. Rogers,* June.
J. M. Patterson,* June.
George Peyton Miller, June.
[Term of study required, three years.]
Edwin Linton, January T.
Geo. A. Spindler, January T.
E. G. Hemphill, January T.
Thomas Irwin, October T.
Winfield McIlvaine, June T.
F. A. McGill, June T.
Albert G. Braden, June T.
John M. Birch, September T.
D. L. McConaughey, September T.
Wm. Brown Ewing, June T.
D. W. Wilie, June T.
Jas. McC. McBurney, Jan. T.
Ernest L. Crumrine, Sept. T.
THE CIVIL AND LEGAL HISTORY.—(Continued.)
Slavery and Servitude—Slavery in Pennsylvania—Act of 1780 abolishing Slavery—Slavery in Washington Comity—Special Act for Washington and Westmoreland Comities—Supplementary Act of 1788—Registry of Slaves—Registry of Servants—Statistics of Slaves, 1790-1840—The Underground Railway.
Slavery and Servitude.—As a final chapter of the civil and legal history of our county is placed the subject of slavery and servitude; for, though "God has sent forth all men free, and nature has made no man slave," yet there was a time when, even in Washington County, human beings were held and sold as slaves. To show how slavery was abolished in Pennsylvania, and how and when it ceased to exist with us, is the purpose of the following pages.
Slavery in Pennsylvania.—Coeval with the grant of the charter to William Penn, in April, 1681, and the first settlement of Pennsylvania, slavery entered that province. William Penn himself was a slave-holder. Nevertheless, from the very earliest date of the new government, the benign spirit of the Quaker element set itself against the continuance of the evil. The German settlers about Germantown, who were indeed of substantially the same religious belief with the Quakers, in the year 1688, but six years after the establishment of Penn's government, bore their testimony against the slave traffic, as follows ;¹
"We hear," they said, "that the most part of such negroes are brought hither against their will and consent, and that many of them are stolen. Now, though they are black, we cannot conceive there is more liberty to have them slaves as [than] it is to have other white ones. . . . But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against. . . . Pray, what thing in the world can be dome worse to us, than if men should rub or steal us away and sell us for slaves to strange countries; separating husbands from their wives and children. Being now this is not done in the manner we would be done at, therefore we contradict and are against this traffic in men-body."
This memorial was referred to the Quarterly Meeting, and thence to the Yearly Meeting, but no definite action was taken. However, subordinate meetings still continuing to remonstrate, in 1696 the Yearly Meeting advised that " Friends be careful not to encourage the bringing in of any more Negroes," and that those who have them be careful of their moral training. Four years afterward, in 1700, a minute of the Yearly Meeting of the Society of Quakers at Philadelphia says, " Our dear friend and Governor laid before the meeting a concern that hath laid upon his mind for some time, concerning the Negroes; and Indians." And William Penn, in a will written about the same time, provided for the emancipation of his own slaves, and having also made recommendations to the Provincial Assembly looking in the same direction, upon the ground that there was no precedent for such legislation as he proposed, the Assembly declined to accede to his wishes. However, soon after
¹ See III. Bryant's History of the United States, 175.
256 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
settling into regular legislative action, the Assembly made from time to time frequent efforts to suppress the slave trade, yet as long as Pennsylvania remained an English colony every attempt to interdict the importation of African ,slaves was promptly suppressed by the English government.¹
Nevertheless the Friends, or Quakers, still continued to bear testimony against slavery and the slave trade, and finally, in 1755, just in the beginning of the Indian wars which disturbed the country until and after the Revolution, a "rule of discipline was adopted for the disownment of all members of the Society who persisted in the practice of buying negroes. Three years afterwards Friends were advised to manumit their slaves; in 1776 this advice was enforced by discipline, and Friends were no longer permitted to retain their membership if they continued slaveholders. ²
Except in particular localities, the Friends and, allied to them by similarity of principles, the Germans formed a majority of the settlers, and naturally it would not be long, after a separation from the mother-country would be completed, until the blot of slavery, now abhorred, would be erased. Proud, the early historian of the State, writing between 1760 and 1770, says of the inhabitants of that period : ³
"The negroes, or black people, it is supposed, are less numerous in Pennsylvania and New Jersey than in most of the other colonies, in proportion to the number of inhabitants; the Legislature at different times having used the best endeavors in their power to discourage and prevent the impolitic and inhuman practice of the introduction and importation of them; a practice which has long prevailed in this part of the world, both in its nature and manner not only the great opprobrium of Christianity, but even the shameful disgrace of human nature itself."
Hence there is found in the minutes of the meeting of the Supreme Executive Council, on Feb. 5, 1779,4 three years after the declaration of independence, an address by the Council to the General Assembly, containing inter alia the following paragraph :
"We would also again bring into your view a plan for the gradual abolition of slavery, so disgraceful to any people, and more especially to those who have been contending in the great cause of liberty themselves, and upon whom Providence has bestowed such eminent marks of its favor and protection. We think we are loudly called on to evince our gratitude in making our fellow-man joint heirs with us of the same inestimable blessings, under such restrictions and regulations as shall not injure the community, and will imperceptibly enable them to relish and improve the station to which they wilt be advanced. Honored will that State be in the annals of history which shall first abolish this violation of the rights of mankind, and the memories of those will be held in grateful and everlasting remembrance who shall pass the law to restore and establish, the rights of human nature in Pennsylvania. We feel ourselves so interested on this point ate go beyond what may be deemed by some the proper line of our duty, and acquaint you that we have reduced this plan to the form of a law, which, if acceptable, we shall in a few days communicate with you."
This recommendation of the Supreme Executive Council, of whom Joseph Reed was president, and
¹ See IV. Bancroft, Centenary Ed., 232, el seq.
² III. Bryant's Hist. of the U. S., 176.
³ II. Proud's Hist. of Penna., 274.
4 XI. CA Records, 688.
George Bryan vice-president, resulted in the passage by the General Assembly of "An act for the gradual abolition of slavery" on the 1st day of March, 1780. The celebrated preamble to this act, written by Vice-President George Bryan, though of some length, will here be given, that the reader of this day who remembers the great civil war, the slaveholders' Rebellion, may see how our own forefathers regarded the institution of slavery. It is as follows:5
"AN ACT for Me gradual abolition of slavery.
" When we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition, to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us, when Ave look back on the variety of dangers to which we have been exposed, and how miraculously our wants in many instances have been supplied, and our deliverance wrought, when even hope and human fortitude have become unequal to the conflict, we are unavoidably led to a serious and grateful sense of the manifold blessings, which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being, from whom every good and perfect gift cometh. Impressed with these ideas, we conceive that it in our duty, and we rejoice that is in our power, to extend a portion of that freedom to others, which bath been extended to us, and release them from that state of thraldom, to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered. It is not for us to enquire why, in the creation of mankind, the inhabitants of the several parts of the earth were distinguished by a difference in features or complexion. It is sufficient to know, that all are the work of an Almighty hand. We find, in the distribution of the human species, that the most fertile as well as the most barren parts of the earth are inhabited by men of complexions different from ours, and from each other; from whence we may reasonably, as well as religiously, infer, that He, who placed them in their various situations, have extended equally his care and protection to all, and that it becometh not us to counteract his mercies. We esteem it a peculiar blessing granted to us, that we are enabled this day to add one more step to universal civilization, by removing, as much as possible, the sorrow of those who have lived in undeserved bondage, and from which, by the assumed authority of the Kings of Great Britain, no effectual legal relief could be obtained. Weaned, by a long course of experience, from those narrow prejudices and partialities we had imbibed, we find our hearts enlarged with kindness and benevolence towards men of all conditions and nations; and we conceive ourselves at this particular period extraordinarily called upon, by the blessings which we have received, to manifest the sincerity of our profession, and to give a substantial proof of our gratitude.
"And whereas the condition of those persons, who have heretofore been denominated Negro and Mulatto slaves, has been attended with circumstances, which not only deprived them of the common blessings that they were by nature entitled to, but has cast them into the deepest afflictions, by an unnatural separation and sale of husband and wife Iron, each other and from their children, an injury, the greatness of which can only be conceived by supposing that we were in the same unhappy case. In justice, therefore, to persons so unhappily circumstanced, and who, having no prospect before them whereon they may rest their aor-rows and their hopes, have no reasonable inducement to render their service to society, which they otherwise might, and also in great full commemoration of our own happy deliverance from that state of unconditional submission, to which we are doomed by the tyranny of Britain, Be it, etc."
Section III. of the act provided that no negro or mulatto children who should be born within the State after the passage of the act should be deemed or considered as servants for life or slaves, and that all slavery of children by reason of the slavery of their mothers should be and was utterly taken away, extinguished, and abolished.
And Section IV. provided that every negro and mulatto child born within the State after the passage of that act, who would in case the act had not been
5 II. Carey & Bloren, 246; I. Doll. L., 838; I. Smith’s L.,492.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—SLAVERY IN 'WASHINGTON COUNTY - 257
passed been born a slave, should be deemed to be a servant until the age of twenty-eight years, to be held as servants bound by indentures are holden, and to like freedom, dues,..and other privileges.
And Section V. provided that every person who was the owner of any negro or mulatto slave should register on or before the 1st day of November next, with the clerk of the peace of his county, his or her name and surname and occupation or profession, and also the names and ages of his or her slaves, in order to distinguish them from all other persons.
And Section VI. provided that the owners of unregistered slaves should be liable for their support and maintenance to the overseers of the poor.
By Section VII. negroes and mulattoes, whether slave or free, were to be tried for criminal offenses as other persons, except that a slave should not be permitted to testify against a freeman.
By Section VIII. when sentence of death should be passed upon a slave his value was to be found by the jury and paid by the State.
By Section IX. rewards for the taking up of runaway slaves and servants were to be the same as provided in cases of servants bound for years.
By Section X. it was provided that no man or woman, of any nation or color, except negroes or mulattoes registered as aforesaid, should be adjudged or held as slaves, excepting domestics attendant upon delegates in Congress from the other American States, ,upon foreign ministers and consuls, and upon persons passing through or sojourning in the State without becoming residents.
It will be seen that this act abolished slavery very gradually indeed. By its provisions a slave born prior to the act continued a slave for life, if registered. The children of registered slave mothers became servants for twenty-eight years, at the end of which time they became free, with freedom dues and privileges. But by this means slavery was certainly to disappear with that generation. And so it was that " at length, in 1780, Pennsylvania, first of all the States, passed an act for the gradual emancipation of all the slaves within its jurisdiction."¹
Slavery in Washington County.—It will be remembered that Washington County was not erected until March 28, 1781, one year after the passage of the act abolishing slavery, but still formed a part of Westmoreland County ; and also that the Virginia boundary along Washington County was not finally ascertained, run, and marked until the year 1785. For these reasons, and the resultant contentions arising out of the two jurisdictions, already discussed in previous pages, there were difficulties not only as in land titles, wills, and administrations, but also as to slaves. And hence it was that on April 13, 1782, the General Assembly passed an act which, as it is not
¹ III. Bryant's Hist. of the U. S., 177.
printed in any of the editions of our laws, and is a part of our legal history, is now printed entire:
"AN ACT to redress certain grievances within the Counties of Westmoreland and Washington.
"Whereas, a number of the inhabitants of Westmoreland and Washington Counties have represented to the General Assembly that they labor under many inconveniences by reason that Before the Boundary was agreed to between the States of Virginia and Pennsylvania, many of the inhabitants aforesaid, conceiving themselves under the jurisdiction of Virginia, which exercised judicial Authority over them, had taken and subscribed the oath of Allegiance and Fidelity as prescribed by the laws and usages of the said state, are considered in many respects as not in titled to all the rights of free citizens of this State; and that for the reason above mentioned they have had no opportunity of entering or registering their slaves agreeable to the act of Assembly of this State for the gradual Abolition of slavery; and that a number of the records and papers containing the proceedings of the late counties of Yohogania, Monongalia and Ohio are HOW in the hands of the late Clerks, who are not Authorized to give exemplified copies thereof:
"Be it therefore enacted, &c., . . that all and every Person or Persons inhabitants of the said counties of Westmoreland and Washington, whose names shall be found in the records hereinafter mentioned, & who shall be possessed of certified copies of their having taken the oath of Allegiance and fidelity as aforesaid, shall within six mouths after the publication of this act produce to the clerk. of the General Quarter Sessions of the said Counties, respectfully, the said certified copies or certificates of their having taken the oath of Allegiance and fidelity to the State of Virginia before the said Boundary was agreed to, shall be and they are hereby declared to be, to all intents and purposes free citizens of this State.
"And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that it shall and may be lawful for all such inhabitants of the said counties, who were on the 23rd day of Sept., 1780, possessed of Negro or Mulatto slaves or servants until the age of thirty-one years, to register such slaves or servants agreeable to the directions of the acts aforesaid for the gradual abolition of slavery, on or before the 1st day of January next, and the said master or masters, owner or owners, of such slaves or servants shall be entitled to his or their service as by the said act is directed, and the said slaves and servants shall be entitled to all benefits and immunities in the said act contained and expressed.
"And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the clerks of the Orphans Courts, the Registers of the probates of wills & granting letters of administration and the Recorders of deeds, for the respective counties of Westmoreland and Washington aforesaid, shall be authorized and empowered to call on the late clerks of the said counties of Yohogania, Monongalia, and Ohio, for all such papers and records in their custody or possession which relate to or affect the taking of the oath or affirmation of Allegiance, the probates of wills, granting letters of administration, and the Recording of Deeds, or other Indentures of Bargain and Sale, of any of the inhabitants of the said Counties of Westmoreland and Washington, and when they shall have received all or any part of the said papers and records as aforesaid they shall be lodged within their respective offices and become part of the records of said counties; and the said Clerks are hereby required and enjoined on demand as aforesaid to deliver up intire and indefaced all such papers and records as aforesaid, and in case they or either of them shall refuse or neglect to deliver up the papers and records in manner and form aforesaid, they or either of them so neglecting or refusing shall forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred pounds to be recovered by action of debt in any Court of Common Pleas within this Commonwealth, for the use of the same.
"Signed by order of the House,
" FREDK. A. MUHLENBERG, Speaker."
Before referring to the "Registry" of slaves and slave children, made under the act abolishing slavery, and the special act just quoted, attention is called to another act upon the subject, entitled "An Act to explain and amend an act Entitled an Act for the gradual abolition of Slavery," passed March 29, 1788,² which made quite an advance in the antagonism to slavery.
² III. Carey and Bioren, 269 ; II. Smith L., 443; II. Dall. L., 586.
258 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
By Section II. slaves brought into the State by persons intending to reside therein were to be deemed free persons ; Section III., slaves or servants for a term of years were not to be removed out of the State without their consent; Section IV., persons possessed of children liable to serve till twenty-eight years old were required to make entry thereof with the clerk of the peace, in terms provided, on or before April 1, 1789, or within six months next after the birth of such child. By Section V. vessels builded and equipped for and employed in the slave trade were to be forfeited; Section VI., slaves or servants for terms of years were not to be separated, parents from children, husbands from wives; in Section VII. severe penalties were provided against forcibly carrying off a slave or a servant for a term of years; and Section VIII. required the justices of the Court of Common Pleas " to cause this act to be read at least twice in each term for the two terms next following the passing of this act."
With these several acts in mind, a small manuscript book, yellow with a century's age and cover worn, but complete, becomes of great interest. The first entry is copied verbatim :
"List of Negroes Registered pursuant to the Late act of assembly for Redress of Certain Grievances in the Counties of Westmoreland and Washington.
"October 1st 1782.
"William Fry of Peters Township, Miller.
"One man named James, aged 25 years.
"One wench named Nell, aged 20 years.
"One wench named Sarah, aged 14 years."
The following list is made up from this registry, and shows the date of registration, the owner's name, and, when given in the record, his residence and occupation, and also the number of slaves entered. The spelling of names is preserved.
Oct. 1, 1782, William Fry, Peters, miller, 3 ; Nicholas Crist, Fallowfield, 4; James Fry, Fallowfield, 1 ; Abraham Fry, Fallowfield, 2; Benjamin Fry, Fallowfield, 1; Henry Spears, Fallowfield, 1 ; William Minor, Greene township, 4; John Minor, Greene township, 1; Isaac Julan, Bethlehem, 2 ; Alexander Boling, Strabane, 1.
Oct. 3, 1782, Thomas Wells, Fallowfield, 2; William Rankin, Smith, 5; Samuel Bealer, Smith, 7 ; Thomas Scott, prothonotary, 1; Thomas Cherry, Smith, 3 ; John Bill, Peters, 3; James Bill, Peters, 1 ; Joshua Meeks, Nottingham, 3; Henry Heath, Nottingham, 2; Nicholas Crist, Fallowfield, 1; William Campbell, Hopewell, 2; Ezekiel Ross, Bethlehem, 1; Richard Wills, Hopewell, 1; John Kerr, Fallowfield, 2 ; Jesse Morton, Hopewell, 1.
Nov. 26,1782, Ezekiel Dewit, Hopewell, 2; Catharine Atcheson, Cecil, widow, 1; George Vallandigham, Robinson, 1 ; William Henry Tarvin Noble, and Martha Noble, Robinson, widow, 4; John McDonald, Robinson, 4; Daniel McFarlin, Bethlehem, 7; James Edgar,¹ Smith, 2; Joseph Vance, Smith, 1; the Hon. Dorsey Pentecost, 2; Dr. Benjamin Johnston, Strabane, 2; Samuel Glasgow, Peters, wheelwright, 2 ; Zachariah Pomfrey, Strabane, 2; Elijah Nuttell, Strabane, 6.
Dec. 2, 1782, William Crawford, Cumberland, 1; Thomas Redman, Peters, 2; Est. of Thomas Rigby, 4 ; Charles Stewart, 1 ; Richard Baum, 1 ; Dr. Charles Wheeler, Fallowfield, 4; Frederick Cooper, Fallowfield, 5.
Dec. 19, 1782, Samuel Sweringin, 3 ; John Tonhill, 1; John Ross, 3; Samuel Frye, Fallowfield, 3; Nicholas Crist, Fallowfield, 1; John Swan, Cumberland, 7 ; William Greathouse, 1; Edward Dooling, 4; John Marquis, Cecil, 2 ; James Hazelrigg, Strabane, 3; Samuel Blackmore, 7; Richard Hawkins, 1; Joshua Meek, 3 ; John Flail, 1; Charles Morgan, 1; Lewis Peisse, 1; Nicholas Johnston, 4.
Dec. 28, 1782, James Ewing, Robinson, 3 ; James Caldwell, Donegal, 2; David Shepherd, Strabane, 1; William McIntire, Strabane, 1 ; John Dickerson, Amwell, 5 ; James Ellis, Fallowfield, 1; Jacob Jones, Fallowfield, 4; Zephaniah Beall, Fallowfield, Major, 6; Benjamin White, 1; John Cunningham, Peters, 7 ; John Bland, Fallowfield, 5 ; John Darnall, Fallowfield, 1 ; Matthew Laughlin, Fallowfield, 1; Thomas Moody, Nottingham, 4 ; David Evans, Amwell, 2 ; Francis Wallace, Fallowfield, 11; John Fleming, Fallowfield, 1; William Wallace, Fallowfield, 1; Herbert Wallace, Fallowfield, 20 ; John Hopkins, Fallowfield, 10; Thomas Waller, Donegal,1; Vinson Colvan, 2; John Robinson, Nottingham, Sadler, 4 ; Andrew Heth, Nottingham, 1; Moies Holliday, Nottingham, 1; Neal Gillespie, Bethlehem,
2; Henry Wills, 1.
¹ This entry in full is thus:
"James Edgar, gen tn., of Smiths township.
One woman named Press, Aged 21 years,
One Dto. Hannah, Aged 5 years,
There is on record in our recorder's office, in Book L., vol. I., 703, this paper:
"Know all men by these presents that whereas I James Edgar of Smiths township and county of Washington and State of Pennsylvania being on the twenty-sixth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two in the township and county aforesaid possessed of a negro girl as a slave and then of the age of five years did register the said girl being of the name of Hannah on the said day and so described in the office of the Clerk of the Sessions of the said County according to the Act of Assembly of Pennsylvania for the Gradual abolition of slavery whereby the said Negroe girl Hanna remained a slave to the said James Edgar and whereas I am under a serious conviction that involuntary servitude beyond a just compensation for maintenance and education is incompatible with a sense of duty to God and my fellow-creatures. I the said James Edgar do hereby release and forever quit claim to the said Hannah all my right or claim or all right and claim which any may derive under me to the time or service of the said Hannah after she shall have arrived at the age of twenty-seven years and do hereby declare that the said negroe woman Hanna as soon as she shall arrive at the age of twenty-seven years shall be and thereafter remain entirely free. In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this sixth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six.
" JAS. EDGAR.
" Acknowledged before me 6th January 1796,
Recorded 7th January, 1796, Book I., L. 703.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—SLAVERY IN WASHINGTON COUNTY - 259
Dec. 31. 1782, Richard Wells, Sr., 5; Bazil Williams, 1; William McMahon, 13 ; Edmond Riggs, 1 ; James McMahon, 1 ; Samuel Agnew, Hopewell, 2 ; Thomas McGuire, 1 ; Rev. Mr. Jos. Smith, Hopewell, 1; Henry Morrison, Nottingham, 1 ; Moses Chaplain, Donegal, 1; Robert Woods, 1 ; Absalom Wells, Hopewell, 3 ; Richard Talbot, 1 ; John Timele, 10; Thomas Suttals, Cecil, 1; Mordecai Richards, Cecil, 1 ; George McCullough, 1 ; Thomas Rodgers, 1 ; Seshbazar Bentley, 1; Solomon Gregg, 2 ; John Hopkins, Peters, 3 ; Benjamin Mills, Peters, 2; Michael Thomas, 3; Benjamin Bentley, Bethlehem, millwright, 1 ; Levi Dungan, Cecil, 2 ; William Blackmore, Nottingham, 2 ; Samuel Workman, Strabane, 2; William McCombs, Fallowfield, 1 ; John Neville, Cecil, 8 ; Patrick Allison and John Swan, Amwell, 3; Robert Hill, Amwell, 1; James Foreman, Strabane, 4; William Johnstone, Strabane, 1; Joshua Harvin, 2; Elizabeth Harvin, 2; Lucy Nichols, 1 ; George Reed, Bethlehem, 1; James Carmichael, Cumberland, 2; James Innis, 10; Joseph Brown, 3; William Hutton, Fallowfield, wheelwright, 5; Christian Leatherman, Sr., 1; Edward Geather, Strabane, 1 ; David Duncan, 6; John and George Wilson, 11.
Dec. 12, 1782, Joseph Dorsey, Bethlehem, 9 ; Joseph Wilson, Somerset, 1; Mr. Richard Yeates, 4; Elizabeth Yeates, 1; Mr. Phelix Hughes, 3; Mr. Thomas Hughes, 2; Mr. Philip Ross, 1 ; Coll. John Campbell, 2; Rezin Pomphrey, 6.
Dec. 26, 1782, Jacob Long, 1 ; John Swearingen, 1; Forgus Smith, 3.
July 17, 1782, Col. William McCleary, 6; Mrs. Seaton, 6 ; Mr. James Seaton, 1; Samuel Irwin, 6 ; George McCormick, 5.
Total owners, 155; total slaves, 443.
The foregoing contains all the entries made under the act of 1780, as extended by the special act of 1782, already quoted. It is observed that they are not in chronological order, though given here in their order in the registry. This was doubtless because the papers were filed, and not put on record till afterwards, and not in the order of date.
After the registry, from which the above list is abstracted, is another immediately succeeding it, from which is here copied the heading and the first entry :
"The following is a list of Negro and Mulatto children Recorded agreeably to the Act of assembly instituted an Act to explain and amend an Act instituted au Act for the gradual abolition of Slavery, passed at Philadelphia on Saturday the twenty-ninth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight."
"July 22d, 1788.
"David Bradford of Straban Township in the County of Washington Attorney at Law hereby makes application to Thos. Scott, Esquire, Clerk of the Peace of the County of Washington aforesaid, that he enter upon Record agreeably to an Act of assembly a female mulatto child born since the 1st March 1780, named Heather, alias Het, aged two years.
"Given under my hand the date aforesaid
" DAVID BRADFORD.
"Oath made according to law
before me the date above
" THOMAS SCOTT."
Omitting the form of entry the following is an abstract:
July 22, 1788, David Bradford, Strabane, attorney, 1. Sept. 3d, Zephaniah Beall, Bethlehem, 1. Oct. 2d, Daniel Elliott, Peters, 1. Sept. 24th, Alexander Wells, Hopewell, 1. Oct. 27th, David Bradford, Washington, attorney, 1. Jan. 1st, 1789, Benjamin Parkinson, Nottingham, 1. Jan. 2d, Neal Gillespie, Fallowfield, 2. John McDonald, Robinson, 4. Jan. 14th, Thomas Scott, Prothonotary, Washington, 1. Feb. 27th, William McComas, Fallowfield, 2. William Wallace, Somerset, esquire, 3. March 7th, John Hopkins, Jr., Fallowfield, 2. March 9th, Herbert Wallace, Fallowfield, 1. March 21st, Frederick Cooper, Fallowfield, 4. Abraham Fry, Fallowfield,
3. Rev. John Brice, Nottingham, 1. March 31st, Daniel Swearingen, Hanover, 1. Samuel Swearingen, Hanover, 1. Dorsey Blackmore, Strabane, 2. Joseph Dorsey, Bethlehem, 1. James Innis, Fallow-field, 2. Edward West, Fallowfield, Const., 2. Daniel Jacobs, Nottingham, 1. John Swearingen, Peters, 2. Henry Morrison, Nottingham, 2. Samuel Glasgow, Hanover, esquire, 1. April 1st, Charles Bruce, Robinson, 2. Joseph Bentley, Nottingham, millwright, 1. William Henry Town Noble, Robinson, 1. Sheshbazzar Bentley, Somerset, millwright, 2. Aug. 6th, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. Aug. 25th, James Stephenson, Donegal, 1. Oct. 2d, Richard Talbert, Hopewell, 1. Sept. 30th, Frederick Cooper, Fallowfield, 1. Jan. 29, 1790, Mary Cherry, Smiths, 1. Feb. 2d, James Gillespie, Hopewell, 1. Feb. 29th, John Swearingen, Peters, 1. July 15th, William Wallace, Somerset, Esquire, 1. Sept. 2d, Zachariah Pumphrie, Strabane, 1. Sept. 29th, James Innis, Fallowfield, 1. Sept. 30th, Samuel Glasgow, Hanover, 1. Dec. 27th, Richard Wells, Cross Creek, 1. March 31, 1791, Elizabeth Bradford, widow of Charles, Nottingham, 1. Henry Speers, Fallowfield, 1. June 21st, Abraham Fry, Fallowfield, 1. July 11th, Thomas Scott, Washington, Esquire, 1. Sept. 19th, Basel Williams, Donegal, 1. Nov. 19th, John McDonald, Robinson, 2. Feb. 9, 1792, James Foreman, Cecil, 1. Feb. 21st, John Cooke, Smiths, 1. March 2d, John Boyer, Peters, 1. May 3d, Andrew Swearingen, Washington, 1. June 2d, William Wallace, Bethlehem, Esquire, 1. Samuel Glasgow, Hanover, Esquire, 1. Richard Wells, Cross Creek, 1. Dec. 19th, Nicholas Johnston, Fallowfield, 1. Dec. 31st, James Foreman, Cecil, 1. Feb. 11th, 1793, James Boyer, Peters, 1. March 11th, John Dodd, Washington, "In-holder," 1. March 15th, Thomas Catton, Amwell, 1. March 16th, John Baldwin, Nottingham, millwright, 1. March 26th, Samuel Swearingen, Hanover, 1. May 14th, James Parker, Fallowfield, 1. June 25th1 Thomas Perrin Cherry, Smith, 1. June 29th, Abarilla Blackmore, Peters, widow, 1. Aug. 9th, James Ross, Washington, attorney, 1. Aug. 16th, Frederick Cooper, Nottingham, 1. Abraham Fry, Nottingham, 1. Aug.
260 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
28th, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. Sept. 23d, James McFarlane, Fallowfield, miller, 1. Oct. 31st, John Ross, Morgan, 1. Nov. 18th, James Kerr, Strabane, Cutler, 1. Dec. 23d, Richard Wells, Cross Creek, 1. Feb. 25, 1794, Thomas Scott, Washington, 1. March 24th, Abarilla Blackmore, Peters, 1. March 26th, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. March 28th, John Swearingen, Peters, 1. May 31st, Basil Williams, Donegal, 1. June 3d, James Boyer, Peters, 1. June 24th, Abraham Fry, Jr., Fallowfield, 1. Frederick Cooper, Fallowfield, 1. Feb. 12, 1795, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. Andrew Swearingen, Washington, 1. March 10th, James Foreman, Cecil, 1. April 11th, Susannah Caton, widow of Thomas Caton, Amwell, 1. June 4th, James Hughes, Strabane, blacksmith, 1. June 22d, Samuel Moore, Hanover, 1. James Bradford, Greene, 1. Aug. 18th, Thomas Rankin, Smith, 1. Sept. 28th, Richard Talbot, Hopewell, 1. James Edgar, "farmer and one of the judges of C. P.," 1. Oct. 14th, Thomas Hill, West Bethlehem, 1. Nov. 14th, Mary Dodd, Washington, widow of John Dodd, 1. Feb. 6, 1796, Richard Wells, Cross Creek, 1. April 7, Adam Wickerham, Jr., Nottingham, 1. April 16th, James Kerr, Cutler, 1. Sept. 10th, John Cooke, Smith, 1. Oct. 25th, James Hughes, Strabane, blacksmith, 1. Jan. 30, 1797, Susannah Caton, Amwell, widow of Thomas Caton, 1. March 13th, Charles Valentine, Washington, baker, 1. April 7th, Samuel Black, Nottingham, merchant, 1. May 6th, Basil Williams, Donegal, 1. May 30th, John Dannell, Cecil, 1. Sept. 26th, Andrew Boggs, Fallowfield, 1. Oct. 23d, Absalom Baird, Washington, practitioner of physic, 1. Feb. 28, 1798, James McCalister, Fallowfield, merchant, 1. March 26th, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. June 14th, Henry McDonough, Somerset, 1. June 18th, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. Aug. 3d, John Cook, Smith, 1. Sept. 15th, Mary Dodd, Washington, widow of John, 1. March 11, 1799, James Hughes, Strabane, blacksmith, 1. May 27th, Michael Sowers, West Bethlehem, "In-holder," 1. Richard Talbot, Hopewell, 1. July 12th, Basil Williams, Donegal, 1. Aug. 3d, Samuel Black, Nottingham, merchant, 1. Aug. 26th, Andrew Boggs, Fallowfield, miller, 1. Aug. 29th, Dr. Absalom Baird, Washington, doctor of medicine, 1. Nov. 28th, James Edgar, Smith, Esq., 1. March 22, 1800, Henry Woods, Canton, 1. .rug. 20th, Robert Jackman, Pike Run, 1. Sept. 1, John Cooke, Smith, 1. Sept. 6th, Alexander Sweeney, Peters, 1. Sept. 12th, Mary Dodd, Washington, spinster, 1. Sept. 18th, James McCallister, Fallowfield, merchant, 1. Jan. 21, 1801, Michael Sowers, West Bethlehem, " In-keeper," 1. March 30th, Andrew Boggs, Fallowfield, 1. April 9th, John McDonald, Robinson, farmer, 1. Sept. 1st, Henry Conrad, Pike Run, 1. Oct. 24th, George McCulloch, Smiths, 1. Nov. 5th, James Kerr, Strabane, cutler, 1. Nov. 30th, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. Dec. 14th, Hugh Wilson, Washington, merchant, 1. May 7, 1802, John Wallace, Nottingham, 1. May 25th, Michael Sowers, West Bethlehem, inn-keeper, 1. Aug. 11th, Mary Dodd, Washington, spinster, 1. Jan. 15, 1803, Ebenezer Jinnings, physician, 1. March 18th, Robert Jackman, Pike Run, 1. March 26th, John Simonson, Washington, attorney, 1. Sept. 1st, Henry Conrad, Pike Run, 1. Jan. 21, 1804, Hugh Wilson, Washington, merchant, 1. May 8th, Mary Dodd, Washington, spinster, 1. Aug. 13th, John Arbuckle, Fallowfield, inn-keeper, 1. Oct. 17th, George Miller, Smiths, 1. Feb. 28, 1805, Ebenezer Jinnings, 1. March 19th, Absalom Baird, Esquire, 1. May 4th, John Hoge, Canton, Esquire, 1. May 29th, Frederick Cooper, Fallowfield, 1. May 31st, James McCallister, Fallowfield, 1. June 24th, Daniel Moore, Washington, 1. Aug. 8th, John Wallace, Nottingham, 1. Sept. 11th, Edward Todd, Somerset, 1. Nov. 1st, John McDonald, Robinson, 1 Dec. 17th, Hugh Wilson, Washington, 1. Dec. 30th, Thomas Ward, Somerset, 1. April 4, 1806, Mary Arbuckle, Fallowfield, 1. May 3d, Alexander Reed, Washington, 1. June 17th, Robert Jackman, Pike Run, 1. Feb. 10,1807, Thomas Smith, Cross Creek, 1. April 2d, Mary Dodd, Washington, widow, 1. June 6th, Ebenezer Jinnings, Smiths, 1. June 27th, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. Aug. 1st, John Simonson, Washington, attorney, 1. Aug. 4th, John Hoge, Washington, Esquire, 1. Sept. 29th, Frederick Cooper, Fallowfield, 1. Nov. 24th, the Rev. Matthew Brown, Canton, 1. June 22, 1808, Robert Jackman, Pike Run, 1. Nov. 19th, Mary Dodd, Washington, widow, 1. Jan. 2, 1809, Joseph Pentecost, Esquire, I. Jan. 31st, Thomas Ward, Somerset, 1. Feb. 25th, Jane Sweetman, Fallowfield, widow, 1. March 30th, Hugh Wilson, Washington, merchant, 1. Sept. 20th, Thomas Smith, Washington, Esquire, 1. May 7, 1810, Mary McCamant, Washington, spinster, 1. July 2d, Valentine Cooper, Fallowfield, 1. Robert Jackman, Pike Run, 1. Oct. 17th, Thomas McGiffin, Washington, attorney, 1. Nov. 1st, John McDonald, Robinson, 1. Nov. 21st, Elizabeth Cunningham, Washington, spinster, 1. Dec. 11th, Mary Dodd, Strabane, 1. March 22, 1811, John Krepps, East Bethlehem, 1. Aug. 9th, Thomas Cherry, Mount Pleasant, 1. Oct. 8, 1812, John McDonald, Robinson, 2. May 25, 1813, James McDonald, Robinson, 1. June 21st, John Kreps, East Bethlehem, 1. Nov. 6th, John Cooper, Fallowfield, 1. Dec. 2d, Samuel Clark, East Bethlehem, 1. Jan. 8,1814, William Hoge, Canton, 1. Dec. 13th, James Kerr, Strabane, 1. June 7, 1815, James McDonald, Robinson, 1. June 22d, John Cooper, Fallowfield, 1. Jan. 16th, Mary Dodd, Strabane, 1. June 15th, Elizabeth McDonald, Robinson, 1. June 18th, James McDonald, Robinson, 1. Aug. 12, 1816, James Bunyan, 1. May 16, 1817, Isabella Hoge, 1. July 11th, Rev. Thomas Hoge, Washington, 1. Sept. 1st, John Neal, Esquire, Washington, 1. Nov. 22d, Elizabeth Cunningham, Washington, 1. Feb. 28,
CIVIL AND LEGAL—SLAVERY IN WASHINGTON COUNTY - 261
1818, James Runyon, Cecil. 1. March 26th, Christian Krepps, East Bethlehem, 1. Dec. 11th, James McDonald, Robinson, 1. May 5, 1819, John Mitchell, Smith, merchant, 1. June 15th, Moses Bell, Donegal; tanner, 1. June 26, 1820, Christian Krepps, East Bethlehem, inn-keeper, 1. July 14th, Rev. Thomas Hoge, Washington, merchant, 1. March 6th, Thomas McGiffin, Washington, attorney, 1. April 28th, Thomas Brice, Washington, merchant, 1.
Total entries, 232.¹
After the foregoing there is one other entry, and but one, which is as follows:
"James A. D. Henderson, of Morris township, Cumberland Presbyterian Minister, enters of record, a female mulatto child named Harriet, born of the body of Margaret, of Marion county, Kentucky, in the year A. D.1836, on the 9th day of September, 1845.
" Cognovit, September 9, 1845.
" A. G. MARSHMAN, Clerk."
It was slow work indeed for the people of any country to become educated up to the idea that slavery in any form was wrong; witness the extraordinary paper executed and put upon record by Hon. James Edgar, a judge upon the bench and a man of the highest character in his day, found in a note to a previous page. And there is an extraordinary proceeding recorded as having taken place before the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania on Aug. 9, 1699.² Translating the record into modern English it is this: One Samuel Hadden appeared before the Council—a Quaker Council at that—and complained that he had bargained with one Samuel Cart, in Bristol, Eng-gland, that if he would procure the latter seventeen passengers for Pennsylvania, he should then have his own passage free, and the passage for his wife and four children for fifteen pounds; that he had secured for Cart that number of passengers, and with them had brought his family and goods a distance of seventy miles, and put his goods on board ; that then the said Cart would not permit the wife and children to embark unless the complainant would pay him five pounds for his own passage and as much for each one of his children; nor would Cart re-deliver his goods; that having but three pence left, the complainant was forced to sell to Cart two of his children, one for nine and the other for ten years, or else stay in England when his whole substance was carried elsewhere :
"and yfor Requesting ye Gov. & Council to Order His Children to be returned him, or else yt they order him satisfacon some other way. Samuel Cart appearing and having heard ye sd petion read, and after a tedious disput on ye matter between ye per and the sd Small Cart. They both submitted ye difference to ye Lt. Gov. & Council, the per being poor & not able to go to law. Whereupon it was ordered yt the sd Sandi Cart do return to ye sd Samll Hadden his son Adam Hadden, & yt the ad Samll Hadden give securitie to Samll Cart to pay him 8 pounds, &c."
1 a Under the law of March 29, 1788, registries of children liable to servitude continued in Fayette for more than half a century, and three hundred and fifty-four such registries were made in the county during the period from Feb. 5, 1789, to Jan. 12, 1839, after which latter date none have been found in the records."—History of Fayette County, by Major Franklin Ellis, 1882.
² I. Col. Records, 564.
Here was justice for you, administered in the shape of equity. Still, let us not look at our forefathers with the glasses we wear to-day.
The writer has compiled from various authoritative sources these data as to the colored people :
When slavery and servitude had ceased to exist under the law in Pennsylvania, many of her people turned their attention to its extermination in other States, and there were not a few in Washington County who were always ready to aid the slave in his escape from his Southern master. In spite of the terrors of the Fugitive Slave law, there were bold men who did not hesitate to become station-agents of the Underground Railway, which had several routes across this county.
The roadway of this corporation was not always the same, though the stations and agents were always to be found. The fugitives from Virginia, below us on the south, seldom came down the Monongahela River, perhaps because that was a route which they would be expected to follow, but almost always traveled with guides across the country, along unfrequented ridges and valleys, until brought to a friendly station.
It is too soon to make known the names of persons who assumed the responsibility of caring for and aiding these fugitives on their way. They might be subjected to the reflections of those who think that a law, however wrong, should be obeyed until repealed. But whatever view be held as to this, no one would impute much wrong to the colored man who became the conductor of his brethren from slavery to freedom. And this enables the writer to close the subject with one incident, illustrating the method of running the Underground Railway.
In 1856 about a half-dozen sturdy fellows escaped
³ This slave woman was Hannah Kelly, the grandmother of Charles C. Kelly, at this date the Republican candidate for the office of jury commissioner for Washington County. She was brought from Africa when about three years old, sold in Virginia from the ship, afterwards bought by one John Elliott, a merchant of Pittsburgh, and by his administrators sold to Mr. John Gardner. Mr. Gardner died its 1820, and the woman remained with the family till the death of Mrs. Gardner, in 1820. She herself died, Jan. 31,1863, from a burning received on the first of that month. She was thought to be one hundred and ten years old at her death. Communicated by Mr. James Simpson, of Cross Creek township.
262 -HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
from their owner, living near Clarksburg, Va. They were under the guidance of an experienced conductor, who knew to whom to bring them. Arriving at Waynesburg, they were delivered over to a colored barber there, who fed them at a spring in a deep thicket across the creek, then brought them to a dry-house and stowed them away among the lumber. The owner was heard to be approaching, when for greater safety they were started to Rogersville. While the transfer was being made the owner arrived at Waynesburg with his posse, and began to search the town. The barber was out on the streets. Being the regularly commissioned conductor from that place, under the circumstances it was best he should easily be found. The owner met him, and charged him with a knowledge of his property. The barber trembled, but while the owner threatened, then coaxed, then scolded, he parleyed and joked and denied to gain time for the fugitives. At length the owner pulled out a roll of money and offered him three hundred dollars per head to disclose where the slaves were. A gentleman, then a student at Waynesburg College, who, unobserved himself, saw and heard this offer from within the door of the Hamilton House hotel, held his breath till he heard the rejection of it, accompanied by this remark, "No, sir; if I knowed where your slaves are, all the money in the South wouldn't git me to tell." That barber was Ermin Cain, the present janitor of our court-house.
The slaves were not found. Shipped from Rogersville to West Alexander, thence to West Middletown, for a time they were kept in that neighborhood until the owner's watch for them along the Ohio was ended. Then one night they were cautiously guided towards Washington, and at a blacksmith-shop in Canton township put into the hands of Samuel W. Dorsey, a colored barber at Washington, now deceased, who well knew how to get them into Canada, and that soon.
Let it be made known here now that among gentlemen of good position who were always ready to aid fugitives from slavery were many connected with the political party alleged to be in sympathy with the "institution," and whose uncompromising advocacy of their political principles was abundantly sufficient to conceal a most active employment as the humble and unpaid agents of the Underground Railway.
THE WHISKEY INSURRECTION.
IN 1794, and a few preceding years (but principally from 1791 to the year first named), there occurred in the valley of the Monongahela and region contiguous to it a series of unlawful and violent acts, to which, collectively, was applied the term "The Whiskey Insurrection," a term which in that application has continued in use for seven-eighths of a century. These illegal and insurrectionary acts were done in the four (then) southwestern counties of Pennsylvania,—Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland, and Fayette, —but of these four Washington was the chief actor, " the home of the Insurrection." It was in this county that the insurgent spirit first showed itself. Here it lived longest, and in this county more especially than in either of the three others it was violent and reckless during its continuance. The insurrectionary outbreak embraced an armed resistance on several occasions to the execution of certain State and national laws imposing an excise tax on distilled spirits and stills used for the manufacture of such spirits, a measure which was generally and peculiarly obnoxious to the people of these counties, particularly because they regarded it as calculated to bear with especial and discriminating severity on the industries of this section as compared with other parts of the country.
The first excise tax imposed in the province of Pennsylvania was that authorized in an act of Assembly passed March 16, 1684, entitled " Bill of Aid and Assistance of the Government."¹ As it was found to be objectionable to the sense of the people, that part of the bill relating to the collection of excise duties was repealed soon afterwards, and no similar legislation was had for more than half a century. In 1738 the Provincial Assembly passed " An act for laying an excise on wine, rum, brandy, and other spirits,"² but this, like its predecessor of 1684, was received with such unmistakable disfavor that it remained in force only a few months from the commencement of its operation. Again, in May, 1744, the Assembly renewed the measure, "for the purpose of providing money without a general tax, not only to purchase arms and ammunition for defense, but to answer such demands as might be made upon the inhabitants of the province by his Majesty for distressing the public enemy in America."³ This enactment remained in operation but a short time. Another excise law was passed in 1756, but failed of execution; then for nearly sixteen years the people of Pennsylvania were undisturbed by governmental attempts to collect impost duties on spirits.
In 1772 the subject came again before the Assembly, and as a measure of revenue a new act was passed,4 levying a duty on domestic and foreign distilled spirits. At first this law was not executed in reference to domestic liquors, nor was there any energetic attempt made for that purpose, particularly in the old counties of the province ; but after Pennsylvania became a State, and her necessities were greatly increased by the Revolutionary war, then in progress,
¹ Votes of Assembly, I. 29.
² Dallas, I. 293.
³ Ibid 299.
4 Ibid., 634.
THE WHISKEY INSURRECTION - 263
the law was re-enacted and put in execution,¹ and a very considerable revenue obtained in that way, the measure being at that time the less obnoxious because patriotic men weirs opposed to the consumption of grain in distillation at a time when every bushel was needed for the subsistence of the troops in the field fighting for liberty.² A large part of the proceeds collected at that time was appropriated to the "depreciation fund," created in this State (as in others, in pursuance of a resolution passed by Congress in 1780) for the purpose of giving to officers and soldiers of the Revolutionary army an additional compensation, a measure which was manifestly just and necessary, because the value of their pay bad been greatly lessened by the depreciation of the Continental currency.
After the close of the Revolution, laws imposing excise duties on distilled spirits remained on the Pennsylvania statute-books until 1791, but they were not generally enforced, and were exceedingly unpopular, especially in the western and southwestern portions of the State. During the period mentioned (some seven or eight years prior to their repeal in 1791), though the excise laws of the State were by no means generally enforced, the collection of the revenue tax on spirits was several times attempted, but never successfully executed in the southwestern counties. Such an attempt was made in Washington, Fayette, and Westmoreland Counties in the years 1785 and 1786, by an excise collector named William Graham, whose ill success in the attempt in Washington County is thus narrated by Judge Veech :
"In 1785 they [the Executive Council] sent out as collector for the three counties a broken-down Philadelphia Market Street tavern-keeper by the name of Graham. He collected some in Fayette without any obstacle. He then went to Westmoreland and got a little there, but in the darkness of the night, at his hotel, he was called to the door of his room by a man in disguise who told him he was Beelzebub, and had called for him to hand him over for torment to a legion
¹ In 1779 the Assembly enacted a law to prevent the distillation of all kinds of grain or meal, but in the October following the law was repealed so far as to permit the distillation of rye and barley.
² Findley, in his history of the Western Insurrection, says, "In the time of the Revolutionary war, when neither foreign rum nor molasses could be imported, the demand for domestic distilled spirits for the army and for general consumption became exceeding great, and the manufacturing of it became sp profitable that not only the rye, but a great quantity of wheat was consumed by distillation. In many parts of the country you could scarcely get out of eight of the smoke of a still-house. The citizens became alarmed lest the army should suffer for want of bread for the troops, and forage for the horses. The clergy from the pulpits, and in some instances by judicial warnings of Presbyteries, inveighed against this alarming destruction of bread from the army and the poor, and against the still-houses, as the general nurseries of intoxication and licentiousness. There was no law then in force to prevent distillers front selling in small quantities, consequently those who loved to get drunk at a small expense resorted to the stills. The manners of our youth were much endangered by the number of the stills, and by associating with such as usually resorted to these receptacles of vice. The army soon felt the effects of this waste of grain to as alarming degree."
of devils who were in waiting without." He saw his danger and escaped, but was afraid to stay longer, and " fled with all convenient speed into what he was told was the more sober and submissive county of Washington, then covering all west of the Monongahela. There he fared worse than at Greensburg." How badly the collector fared in Washington County is shown in a letter written by Dorsey Pentecost³ to the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, as follows :
" WASHINGTON COUNTY, 16th April, 1786.
" GENTLEMEN :
"About ten days ago a Mr. Graham, Excise officer for the three western Counties, was in the exercise of his office in this County, seized by a number of People and Treated in the following manner, viz.: His Pistols, which he carried before him, taken and broke to pieces in his presence, his Commission and all his papers relating to his Office tore and thrown in the mud, and he forced or made to stamp on them, and Imprecate curses on himself, the Commission, and the Authority that gave it to him; they then cut off one-half his hair, cued the other half on one side of his Head, cut off the Cock of his Hat, and made him wear it in a form to render his Cue the most Conspicuous ; this with many other marks of Ignominy they Impos'd on him, and to which he was obliged to submit ; and in the above plight they marched him amidst a Crowd from the frontiers of this County to Westmoreland County, calling at all the Still Houses in their way, where they were Treated Gratis, and expos'd him to every Insult and mockery that their Invention could contrive. They set him at Liberty at the entrance of Westmoreland, but with Threats of utter Desolution should he dare to return to our County.
"This Bandittie I am told denounces distraction, vengeance against all manner of People Who dare to oppose or even ganesay this their unparrelled behavior, and that they will support every person concerned against every opposition. I suppose they depend on their numbers, for I am told the Combination is large.
" I have thought it my duty as a good citizen to give your Honorable Board information of this matchless and daring Insult offered to Government, and the necessity there is for a speedy and Exemplary punishing being inflicted on these atrocious offenders, for if this piece of conduct is lightly looked over, no Civil officer will be safe in the Exercise of his duty, though some Gentlemen with whom I have conversed think it would be best, and wish a mild prosecution : for my part, I am of a different opinion, for it certainly is the most audacious and accomplished piece of outragious and unprovoked Insult that was ever offered to a Government and the Liberties of a free People, and what in my opinion greatly agrivates their Guilt is that it was not done in a Gust of Passion, but cooly, deliberately, and Prosecuted from
³ Pa. Archives, x. 757.
264 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
day to day, and there appears such a desolute and refractory spirit to pervade a Certain class of People here, particularly those, concerned in the above Job, that demands the attention of Government, and the most severe punishment.
"I am not able to give the names of all concerned, nor have I had an opportunity of making particular enquiry, but have received the foregoing information from different people on whom I can rely, neither do I think they have as many friends as they suppose, or would wish to make the public believe. I have it not in my Power at this tine to be as full and explicit as I could wish on this subject, as I have but Just time to hurry up this scrawl while the carrier is waiting."
This was the first actual violence committed in resistance to the execution of the excise laws in Western Pennsylvania. It occurred on the 7th of April, 1786, at a place near Cross Creek village. Graham made no further attempt to enforce collections, or to remain in Washington County ; but prosecutions for riot were instituted against twelve persons charged with being concerned in the affair, and they were in due time found guilty and fined; but their fines were afterwards remitted. One of them was afterwards elected to Congress, and three times re-elected, serving in all eight years.
With regard to Graham and his appointment as excise collector, Findley says, "A person of more fair character and greater discretion would have been necessary for the successful discharge of that trust, but such did not apply." But Findley almost invariably defended, or at least apologized for, the acts of the insurgents and censured those engaged in attempts to execute the law. Judge Veech says of him (Findley), "He was an ultra partisan of the Republican or Anti-Federal school. He was considered one of the leaders of the opposition to Washington's administration, and being charged with instigating the Whiskey Insurrection, wrote his book to defend himself and abuse Hamilton. . . . In Garland's `Life of John Randolph' he is said to have been habitually intemperate while in Congress, a statement which has some support from tradition."
After Graham's maltreatment and expulsion from the country, the office of collector was accepted by a Mr. Craig, who made some attempt to execute the duties, but, as is said by Brackenridge, " with no result but that of becoming infamous with the populace.¹
¹ "Afterwards a man of the name of Craig accepted of the office of excise for the western counties. His eon, who acted as his deputy, I was acquainted with; he behaved himself well and appeared to be successful, but his father getting into some quarrels, near the place of his residence, complaints went against hint, and he was removed. . . . There were no riots but those against Graham ; but as all those who held the office received some money, for which it was believed they never accounted (probably they did not receive more titan was a competent compensation), those that paid at first, seeing others escape with impunity, refused to comply. They all knew that in the old counties it was generally paid only on foreign liquors."—Findley.
Another attempt was made by a person of the name of Hunter, who made seizures in Pittsburgh in 1790, and instituted seventy suits against delinquent distillers; in these cases the suits were set aside for irregularity, and Hunter soon after left the country and resigned his commission." No further attempts at collection were made by officers in this district under the State law during its continuance. A bill for its repeal was introduced in 1790, and during its pendency in the Assembly a numerously signed petition of inhabitants of Westmoreland County was presented praying for the repeal of the excise law. The memorial and petition set forth : ²
"That this is the only law passed since our Revolution that has been treated with general disapprobation, and reflected upon with universal abhorrence and detestation ; and such has been the resentment of many of our fellow-citizens, which we are sorry to have occasion to confess that they have upon several occasions proceeded to unwarrantable lengths in opposing its operations.
" We do not deny that we are as strongly rooted in the habits, and as much addicted to the use of spirituous liquors as our brethren in the eastern part of the State; having emigrated from among them, we cannot be condemned for carrying their customs along with us. But independent of habit, we find that the moderate use of spirits is essentially necessary in several branches of our agriculture. In this new country laborers are exceedingly scarce, and their hire exceedingly high, and we find that liquor proves a necessary means of engaging their service and securing their continuance through the several important seasons of the year when the pressing calls of labour must be attended to, let the conditions be what they may. For these reasons we have found it absolutely necessary to introduce a number of small distilleries into our settlements; and in every circle of twenty or thirty neighbours, one of these are generally erected, merely for the accommodation of such neighbourhood, and without any commercial views whatever. The proprietor thereof receives the grain (rye only) from the people, and returns the stipulated quantity of liquor, after retaining the toll agreed upon. In this manner we are supplied with this necessary article, much upon the same conditions that our mills furnish us with flour ; and why we should be made subject to a duty for drinking our grain more than eating it, seems a matter of astonishment to every reflecting mind.
"These distilleries, small and insignificant as they are, have always been classed among the first objects of taxation, and have been highly estimated in the valuation of property. This, we conceive, might fully suffice, without extending revenue to the mean and humble manufacture produced by them. With as much propriety, a duty might be laid on the rye we
² Penn. Archives, 1790, pp. 670, 671.
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feed to our horses, the bread we eat ourselves, or any other article manufactured from the products of our own farms.
"Our remote situation from the channels of commerce has long ago prohibited the use of all imported liquors amongst us, and as we are aiming at independence in our manner of living, we have neither the abilities nor inclination to aspire to their use. We freely resign them to our eastern neighbours whom Providence has placed under the meridian rays of commercial affluence, and whose local situation confer on them many enjoyments which nature has denied to us; and whilst they are revelling in the luxuries of the most bountiful foreign climes, we are perfectly content with the humble produce of our own farms, and it is our only wish to be permitted to enjoy them in freedom."
The repealing act¹ was passed, and approved Sept. 21, 1781; but in the mean time Congress had passed the national excise law, which brought about the insurrection in the western counties of Pennsylvania.
Upon the adoption of the Federal Constitution, it became necessary to provide ways and means to support the government, to pay just and pressing Revolutionary claims, and sustain the army, which was still necessary for the protection of the frontier against Indian attack. " The duties on goods imported were very far from adequate to the wants of the new government. Taxes were laid on articles supposed to be the least necessary, and, among other things, on distilled liquors, or on the stills with which they were manufactured." At the suggestion of Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury, a bill was framed, among the provisions of which was the imposition of an excise duty of four pence per gallon on all distilled spirits. This bill was passed by Congress, March 3, 1791, against the strong opposition of many members, including all those from the western counties of Pennsylvania.²
¹ “An Act to repeal so much of every act or acts of Assembly of this State as relates to the collection of excise duties," provided, " Section 1.. .. That so much of every act or acts of Assembly as authorize the collection of any duty or duties upon wine, rum, brandy, or other spirituous liquors shall be, and the same are, hereby repealed.
"Section 2. Provided always, . .. That nothing herein contained shall be deemed or construed to prevent the recovery of all such duties upon the said articles as are now due to the Commonwealth, nor to release or take away any forfeiture or penalty which any person or persons may have incurred by reason of the said acts of Assembly; but that all prosecutions commenced, or which may be commenced in consequence thereof, may be prosecuted to as full effect as if such acts or parts thereof had not been repealed."
² The House of Representatives of Pennsylvania, too, recorded its protest against the national excise law. On June 22, 1791, it was by that body "Resolved, That any proceeding on the part of the United States tending to the collection of revenue by means of excise established on principles subversive of peace, liberty, and the rights of the citizens ought to attract the attention of this House.
"Resolved, That no public urgency within the knowledge or contemplation of this House can in their opinion warrant the adoption of any species of taxation which shall violate those rights which are the basis of our government, and which would exhibit the singular spectacle of a nation resolutely oppressing the oppressed of others in order to enslave itself."
It was argued that the law of 1791 bore more heavily and unjustly on the interests of the region west of the Alleghenies than on those of any other part of the Union. Here a principal product of the farmers was rye. For this there was little home demand, and it could not be transported across the mountains at a profit, except in the form of whiskey. " A horse could carry but four bushels, but he could take the product of twenty-four bushels in-thee shape of alcohol. Whiskey, therefore, was the most important item of remittance to pay for their salt, sugar, and iron."³ As a result of these peculiar circumstances, there was in this section .a greater number of stills and a larger amount of whiskey manufactured than in any other region of the same population in any part of the country. "There were very few or no large manufactories where grain was bought and cash paid. There was not capital in the country for that purpose. In some neighborhoods every fifth or sixth farmer was a distiller, who during the winter season manufactured his own grain and that of his neighbors into a portable and salable article." And thus the people thought "they foresaw that what little money was brought into the country by the sale of whiskey would be carried away in the form of excise duties."4
In these western counties a large proportion of the inhabitants were Scotch-Irish, or of that descent, ,0 people whose earlier home, or that of their fathom, had been beyond the sea, in a land where whiskers was the national beverage, and where excise laws 8V41 excise officers were regarded as the most odious of ail the measures and minions of tyranny.5 "They also remembered that resistance to the Stamp Act aud duty on tea at the commencement of the Revolution began by the destruction of the tea and a refusal to
³ " As late as the year of the insurrection, freight in wagons to Philadelphia coat from five to ten dollars per hundred pounds. Batt sold at five dollars a bushel, while iron and steel cost from fifteen to twenty cents per pound. In that fertile region grain was abundantly produced, but there was no market, while farmers east of the mountains were growing rich by means of the general war in Europe. Trade down the Ohio, despite its danger, had then no outlet, the lower Mississippi being in possession of the Spanish. The freight on a barrel of flour to Philadelphia was as much as It would bring in that market. 'Wheat,' says the Rev. Dr. Carnahan, was so plentiful and of so little value that it was a common practice to grind that of the best quality and feed it to the cattle ; while rye, corn, and barley would bring no price as food for man or beast.' The only way left for the Inhabitants to obtain a little money to purchase salt, iron, and other articles necessary la carrying on their farming operations was by distilling their grain and seducing it to a more portable form, and sending the whiskey over the mountains or down the Ohio to Kentucky, then rapidly slung up and affording a market for that article."—Papers Relating to the Whiskey Insurrection, Pa.
Archives, vol. iv., 6.
4 Address of Rev. Dr. Carnahan.
5 "To resist or elude the excise is one of the hereditary prerogatives of an Irishman, be he Protestant or Catholic. To kill an exciseman has been reckoned among them an ample expiation for a multitude of sins. By every native of the Emerald Isle it is regarded as the most humiliating badge of subjection which England has ever imposed; end if the parents have nothing else to transmit to their posterity, they bequeath to them unto the third and fourth generations a hatred of excise laws, and of all who make or enforce them. Nor was it much better in Scotland."
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use the royal stamps; that the design was not to break allegiance to the British throne, but to force a repeal of these odious laws. They were, almost to a man, enemies to the British government, and had contributed their full proportion in service in establishing the independence of America. To them no other tax of equal amount would have been half so odious." It can scarcely be wondered at then that among a people holding such opinions the measure was regarded as a most unjust and oppressive one, nor that the more hot-headed and turbulent ones freely and fiercely announced their determination to oppose its execution even to the extremity of armed resistance to the government.
This rebellious sentiment was so wide-spread, so unmistakable in its character, and indicated by such open threats of violence to any officers who might be hardy enough to attempt the collection of the excise duty, that it became difficult to find any proper person willing to take the risk of accepting the office of chief inspector of the Western District. The position was finally accepted by Gen. John Neville,¹ of Allegheny County, a man who above nearly all others was, on account of his great personal popularity and unquestioned honesty and patriotism, the proper man for the place. But the confidence and respect of his fellow-citizens proved insufficient to screen him from their insults and violence when against these was weighed the fact that he had accepted an office the duties of which obliged him to attempt the execution of a law which they detested.
The popular excitement increased rapidly, the spirit of resistance became more determined, and soon found expression in a public act which may be said to have marked the commencement of the famous " Whiskey Insurrection." This was a preliminary meeting held at Redstone Old Fort (Brownsville), on the 27th of July, 1791, composed of people opposed to the execution of the law. At this meeting it was concerted that county committees should be formed in each of the four counties of Washington, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Allegheny, to meet at the respective county-seats and take measures looking to a common end,—successful resistance to the operation of the law. These committees were formed accordingly, and the
¹ "In order to allay opposition as far as possible," says Judge Wilkeson, "Gen. John Neville, a man of the most deserved popularity, was appointed to the inspectorship for Western Pennsylvania. He accepted the appointment from a sense of duty to his country. He was one of the few men of great wealth who had put his all at hazard for independence. At hie own expense he raised and equipped a company of soldiers, marched them to Boston, and placed them, with his son, under the command of General Washington. Besides Gen. Neville's claims as a soldier and a patriot, he had contributed greatly to relieve the sufferings of the settlers in his vicinity. Hp divided his last loaf with the needy; and in a season of more than ordinary scarcity, as soon as his wheat was sufficiently matured to be converted into Pad, he opened his fields to those who were suffering with hunger. It any man could have executed this odious law, Gen. Neville was that man. He entered upon the duties of his office and appointed his deputies from among the most popular citizens. The first attempts, however, to enforce the law were resisted."
temper and ideas of the men composing them may be judged from the proceedings had at a meeting of the Washington County Committee, held at the county-seat on the 23d of August, on which occasion resolutions were passed to the effect that any person who had accepted or might accept an office under Congress in order to carry the excise law into effect should be considered inimical to the interests of the country, and recommending to the people of their county to treat every person who had accepted, or might thereafter accept, any such office with contempt, and absolutely to refuse all kind of communication or intercourse with him, and to withhold from him all aid, support, or comfort. The Secretary of the Treasury (Alexander Hamilton) mentioned that among those present at this meeting at Washington were the following-named persons, all public officers of Pennsylvania, viz.: James Marshel, register and recorder of Washington County; David Bradford, deputy attorney-general of Pennsylvania ; Henry Taylor and James Edgar, associates justices of Washington County ; Thomas Crooks, William Parker, Eli Jenkins, and Thomas Sedgwick, justices of the peace; and Peter Kidd, major of Washington County militia. The resolutions passed at this meeting were printed in the Pittsburgh Gazette, the proprietor of which paper would doubtless have feared the consequences of a refusal to publish them if he had been so disposed.
Each of the four county committees deputed three of its members to meet at Pittsburgh on the first Tuesday of September following, for the purpose of expressing the sense of the people of the four counties in an address to Congress "upon the subject of the excise law, and other grievances." The meeting of delegates was held at Pittsburgh, as appointed, on the 7th of September, 1791, on which occasion (according to the minutes of the meeting) "the following gentlemen appeared from the counties of Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Allegheny, to take into consideration an act of Congress laying duties upon spirits distilled within the United States, passed the 3d of March, 1791 :
" For Westmoreland County : Nehemiah Stokely and John Young, Esqs.
" For Washington County : Col. James Marshall, Rev. David Phillips, and David Bradford, Esq.
" For Fayette County : Edward Cook, Nathaniel Bradley [Breading], and John Oliphant, Esqs.
" For Allegheny County : Col. Thomas Morton, John Woods, Esq., and William Plumer, Esq.
" Edward Cook, Esq., was voted in the chair, and John Young appointed secretary."
The meeting then proceeded to pass a series of resolutions, censuring the legislation of the late Congress, especially the obnoxious excise law, which they characterized as " a base offspring of the funding system, . . . being attended with infringements on liberty, partial in its operations, attended with great
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expense in the collection, and liable to much abuse," and declaring that " it is insulting to the feelings of the people to have their vessels marked, houses painted and ransacked, to be subject to informers, gaining by the occasional delinquency of others. It is a bad precedent, tending to introduce the excise laws of Great Britain, and of countrys where the liberty, property, and even the morals of the people are sported with, to gratify particular men in their ambitious and interested measures." The meeting also adopted a remonstrance to "be presented to the Legislature of Pennsylvania," and further "Resolved, That the foregoing representations [the series of resolutions adopted] be presented to the Legislature of the United States." An address was also adopted, which, together with the proceedings of the day, was ordered to be printed in the Pittsburgh Gazette, and the meeting then adjourned.
In reference to this meeting at Pittsburgh, and others of similar character, Mr. Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, said that, being " composed of very influential individuals, and conducted without moderation or prudence," they were justly chargeable with the excesses which were afterwards committed, serving to give. consistency to an opposition which at length matured to a degree that threatened the foundations of the government.
On the 6th of September, the day before the meeting of the committees' delegates at Pittsburgh, the opposition to the law broke out in an act of open violence, said to have been the first of the kind committed in the western counties since the outrage on Graham, five years before. At a place near Pigeon Creek, in Washington County, a party of men, armed and disguised, waylaid Robert Johnson (collector of revenue for Allegheny and Washington), cut off his hair, stripped him of his clothing, tarred and feathered him, and took away his horse, " obliging him to travel on foot a considerable distance in that mortifying and painful situation." He was also compelled to resign his commission and to publish the fact in the Pittsburgh Gazette, which he did as follows : "Finding the opposition to the revenue laws more violent than I expected, regretting the mischief that has been done, and may from the continuance of measures [continue to be done] ; seeing the opposition changed front a disguised rabble to a respectable party, I think it my duty, and 'do resign my commission. Robert Johnson." It was stated that the commission itself was surrendered by Johnson to David Hamilton. The case was brought before the District Court, out of which processes issued against John Robertson, John Hamilton, and Thomas McComb, three of the persons concerned in the outrage. The serving of these processes was confided by the then marshal, "Clement Biddle, to his deputy, Joseph Fox, who in the month of October went into Allegheny County for the purpose of serving them ; but he was terrified by the " appearances and circumstances which he observed in the course of his journey," and therefore, instead of serving them himself, sent them forward under cover by a private messenger.¹ The marshal (Mr. Biddle), in his report of this transaction to the district attorney, said, "I am sorry to add that he [the deputy, Fox] found the people in general in the western part of the State, particularly beyond the Allegheny Mountains, in such a ferment on account of the act of Congress for laying a duty of distilled spirits, and so much opposed to the execution of said act, and from a variety of threats to himself personally (although he took the utmost precautions to conceal his errand), that he wag not only convinced of the impossibility of serving the process but that any attempt to, effect it would have occasioned the most violent opposition from the greater part of the inhabitants, and he declares that if he had attempted it he believes he would not have returned alive. I spared no expense or pains to have the process of the court executed, and have not the least doubt that my deputy would have accomplished it if it could have been done."
In Fayette County the collector of revenue, Benjamin Wells, was subjected to ill treatment on account² of his official position. That Mr. Wells was peculiarly unpopular among the people of his district appears from the letters of Judge Alexander Addison, and from other sources, and he was afterwards several times maltreated, and his house sacked and burned: These acts were done in 1793 and 1794, but the first instance of abuse to him appears to have occurred in the fall of 1791, as the Secretary of the Treasury in his report to the President, after narrating the circumstances of the attack on Robert Johnson, in Washington County, on the 6th of September, continues : "Mr. Johnson was not the only officer who, about the same period, experienced outrage. Mr. Wells, collector of the revenue for Westmoreland and Fayette, was also ill treated at Greensburg and Uniontown. Nor were the outrages perpetrated confined to., the officers, they extended to private citizens who only dared to show their respect for the laws of their country."³
¹ The messenger sent by Fox was John Conner, a simple-minded old man, a cattle-drover, who was wholly ignorant of the dangerous character of his errand. He was seized, whipped, tarred and feathered, and left in the woods in a pitiable condition. The Secretary of the Treasury said that John Hamilton (colonel of the Mingo Creek battalion) was one, of the party who committed this outrage.
² Judge Addison, in a letter addressed to Governor Mifflin (Pa. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv., p. 62), said, " Benjamin Wells, so far as I hate ever heard him spoken of, is a contemptible and unworthy man, whom, I believe, the people of this country would never wish to see in any °Moe or trust with an object of any importance." But it should be remarked in this connection that the judge's opinion, as above expressed, may have been strongly biased by his own well-known personal dislike to Wells, In a communication by Alexander Hamilton to President Washington, the former related that on one occasion when Judge Addison was stopping, during a term of court, at a public-house in Uniontown, " Wells went to the same tavern, but was informed by the tavern-keeper and. his wife that he could not be received there, assigning for reason that Judge Addison had declared that if they took him in again he would leave the house."—Pa. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv., p. 292.
³ Ps. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. p. 88.
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Another outrage was committed in Washington County, in the month of October of the same year, on the person of Robert Wilson, who was not an excise officer, but "a young schoolmaster who was looking for employment, and carried with him very reputable testimonials of his character."¹ It was supposed that he was a little disordered in his intellect, and having, unfortunately for himself, made some inquiries concerning stills and distilleries, and acted in a mysterious manner otherwise, he was suspected of being in the service of the government. On this account he "was pursued by a party of men in disguise, taken out of his bed, carried about five mires back to a smith's shop, stripped of his clothes, which were afterwards burnt, and having been inhumanly burnt in several places with a heated iron, was tarred and feathered, and about daylight dismissed, naked, wounded, and in a very pitiable and suffering condition. These particulars were communicated in a letter from the inspector of the revenue of the 17th of November, who declared that he had then himself seen the unfortunate maniac, the abuse of whom, as he expressed it, exceeded description, and was sufficient to make human nature shudder. . . . The symptoms of insanity were during the whole time of inflicting the punishment apparent, the unhappy sufferer displaying the heroic fortitude of a man who conceived himself to be a martyr to the discharge of some important duty." ² For participation in this outrage Col. Samuel Wilson, Samuel Johnson, James Wright, William Tucker, and John Moffit were indicted at the December Sessions, 1791; but before the offenders were taken upon the process of the court,³ the victim, Wilson (probably through fear of further outrage), left that part of the country,4 and at the Jane Sessions, 1792, the indicted persons were discharged.
Not long afterwards a person of the name of Rose-berry underwent the humiliating punishment of tarring and feathering, with some aggravations, for having in conversation hazarded the very natural but unpalatable remark that the inhabitants of Washington County could not reasonably expect protection from a government whose laws they so actively opposed.
The demonstrations above mentioned comprise all of the more notable acts of violence which were done in these counties by the opponents of the law during the first year of its existence.. On the 8th of May, 1792, Congress passed an act making certain changes
¹ Letter of James Briton, of Allegheny, to Governor Mifflin, dated Nov. 9, 1792.—Pa. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. pp. 44, 45.
² Report of the Secretary of the Treasury ; Pa. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. p. 88.
³ Pa. Archives, Brison's letter, before quoted.
4 "The audacity of the perpetrators of these excesses was so great that an armed banditti ventured to seize and carry off two persons who were witnesses against the rioters in the case of Wilson, in order to prevent their giving testimony of the riot to a court then sitting or about to sit"— Alexander Hamilton to President Washington; Pa. Arch., iv., p. 89.
in the excise law, among these being a reduction of about one-fourth in the duty on whiskey, and giving the distiller the alternative of paying a monthly instead of a yearly rate, according to the capacity of his still, with liberty to take a license for the precise term which he should intend to work it, and to renew that license for a further term or terms.5 This provision was regarded as peculiarly favorable to the western section of the State, where very few of the distillers wished to prosecute their business during the summer. "The effect has in a great measure," said Hamilton, in 1794, "corresponded with the views of the Legislature. Opposition has subsided in several districts where it before prevailed,6 and it was natural to entertain, and not easy to abandon, a hope that the same thing would, by degrees, have taken place in the four western counties of the State."
But this hope was not realized. The modifications made in the law, favorable as they had been thought to be to the western counties, did not produce acquiescence and submission among the people of this section. On the 21st and 22d days of August next following the passage of the modified law there was held at Pittsburgh "a Meeting of sundry Inhabitants of the Western Counties of Pennsylvania," the proceedings of which plainly indicated that the feeling of opposition had not been lessened, but rather intensified. At that meeting there were present the following-named delegates from the western counties, viz.: John Canon, William Wallace, Shesbazer Bentley, Benjamin Parkison, John Huey, John Badollet, John Hamilton, Neal Gillespie, David Bradford, Rev, David Phillips, Matthew Jamison, James Marshel, James Robinson, James Stewart, Robert McClure, Peter Lyle, Alexander Long, Samuel Wilson, Edward Cook, Albert Gallatin, John Smilie, Bazil Bowel, Thomas Gaddis, and. John McClellan.
The meeting was organized by the choice of Col. John Canon, of Washington County, as chairman, and Albert Gallatin as clerk. The subject of the excise law was then " taken under consideration and freely debated ; a committee of five members was appointed to prepare a draft of Resolutions expressing the sense of the Meeting on the subject of said Law;" and on the second day the resolutions were reported, debated, and adopted unanimously. After a preamble
6 "The act of May, 1792," says Judge Veech, " made some slight but immaterial changes in the law of 1791. It lowered the rates a little and allowed distillers to take and pay for monthly instead of yearly licensee., but raised the penalty for non-entry from $100 to $250. It also required offices of inspection and entry to be opened and maintained in each county, and that entries therein of stills, etc., should be made yearly In June, and only then. Without, much time to think about It, many Ma tillers complied with this requirement, whenever they had opportunity by the establishment of offices. Others hesitated until too late, and in the most deeply disaffected parts of the country Many were deterred from compliance."
6 Opposition to the law of 1791 was violent, not only hi the "tear western counties" of Washington, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Allegheny, but also in several other counties of the State, notably Chester, Bedford, Bucks, and Northumberland.
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denouncing the excise law as unjust in itself, oppressive upon the poor, and tending to bring immediate distress and ruin on the western country, and declaring it to be their duty to persist in remonstrances to Congress, and every other legal measure to obstruct the operation of the law, the resolutions proceeded, first, to appoint a committee to prepare and cause to be presented to Congress an address stating objections to the law, and praying for its repeal ; secondly, to appoint committees of correspondence for Washington, Fayette, and Allegheny, charged with the duty of corresponding together, and with such committee as should be appointed for the same purpose in Westmoreland, or with any committees of a similar nature from other parts of the Union. The committees appointed for this purpose for the three counties named were composed of the following-named persons, viz.: William Wallace, John Hamilton, Shesbazer Bentley, Isaac Weaver, Benjamin Parkinson, David Redick, Thomas Stokely, Stephen Gapen, Joseph Vanmeter, Alexander Long, William Whiteside, James Long, Benjamin Patterson, Samuel Johnston, William Plummer, Matthew Jameson, Thomas Gaddis, Andrew Rabb, John Oliphant, Robert McClure, and James Stewart.
The final declaration of the meeting was to the effect that, " Whereas, Some men may be found amongst us so far lost to every sense of virtue and feeling for the distresses of this country as to accept offices for the collection of the duty; Resolved, Therefore, that in future we will consider such persons as unworthy of our friendship; have no intercourse or dealings with them; withdraw from them every assistance, and withhold all the comforts of life which depend upon those duties that as men and fellow-citizens we owe to each other; and upon all occasions treat them with that contempt they deserve ; and that it be and it is hereby most earnestly recommended to the people at large to follow the same line of conduct towards them."
It is difficult to understand how men of character and good standing, such as were a majority of those composing the Pittsburgh meeting, could have given their assent to the passage of these extreme resolutions. They were aimed in a general way (as appears on their face) at all who might be even remotely concerned on the side of the government in the collection of the revenue, but in particular, and more than all, at Gen. John Neville, against whom no charge could be brought, except that he had dared to accept inspectorship of the Western Revenue District.
Gen. Neville had found it almost impossible to obtain the use of a building in which to open an inspection office in Washington County; but, in the early part of August, 1792, he finally succeeded in renting from Capt. William Faulkner, of the United States army, a part of his house in the town of Washington, and gave public notice that the inspection office would be opened there on a certain day. But
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this action aroused the indignation of the people to such a pitch, and threats were so openly and freely made against the inspector's life, in case he should come to Washington for the purpose named, that, although he was a man not easily intimidated, he had the discretion to absent himself from the county-seat, and the office remained unopened. In reference to this affair, John Wilkins, Jr., said in a letter addressed to Gen. William Irvine, dated Aug. 31, 1792,¹ " They have frightened Gen. Neville lately very much at Washington. He had advertised his office in that town, and was to attend on certain days. On the day be was to come the road was waylaid by a number of armed men disguised ; he heard of it and did not go; and a day or two ago these came to the town of Washington, disguised as before, broke into the place where the office of inspection was kept, and made search for him in expectation of finding him there. It is hard to tell to what lengths they might have gone had they found him."
The rage of the insurgents was also visited upon Capt. Faulkner for the offense of having rented his house to Neville for an inspection office.. Being out in pursuit of some deserters near Pigeon Creek, in the same neighborhood where Robert Johnson was maltreated in the previous autumn, he was encountered by a number of disguised men, who reproached him with having let his house to the government officers, drew a knife on him, threatened to scalp him, tar and feather him, and burn his house if fie did not solemnly promise to prevent all further use of it as an inspection office.² He was induced by their threats to make the promise demanded, and on the 21st of August gave public notice in the Pittsburgh Gazette that the office of the inspector should no longer be kept at his house.
On receiving intelligence of these occurrences, as also of the proceedings of the Pittsburgh meeting, the Secretary of the Treasury reported the facts to President Washington, who thereupon, on the 15th of September, 1792, issued a proclamation admonishing all persons to refrain and desist from all unlawful combinations and proceedings whatsoever having for their object or tending to obstruct the operation of the laws, declaring it to be the determination of the government to bring to justice all infractors of the law, to prosecute delinquents, to seize all unexcised spirits on their way to market, and to make no purchases of spirits for the army except of such as had paid the duty.
¹ Niles' Register, II 54.
² " I can learn," wrote Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, "of no instance of the conviction and punishment of any person for a violence committed upon officers or private citizens, clearly on account of their agency under or friendly disposition towards the laws; which is the more remarkable, as the rioters in Faulkner's case are asserted to have passed in open day through the town of Washington, to have parleyed there with the inhabitants of the town, and 'to have been afterwards entertained at two or three houses."—Penn. drainer. 2d Series, vol. iv., 293.
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A supervisor of the revenue (George Clymer) was sent into the western counties immediately afterwards to gain accurate information of and report on the true state of affairs; but his mission " had no other fruit than that of obtaining evidence of the persons who composed the meeting at Pittsburgh, and two of those who were understood to be concerned in the riot [against Capt. Faulkner], and a confirmation of the enmity which certain active and designing leaders had industriously infused into a large proportion of the inhabitants, not against the particular laws, in question only, but of a more ancient date against the government of the United States itself.”¹
On the 1st of June, 1795, the inspector, Gen. Neville, gave notice in. the Pittsburgh Gazette that offices of inspection and entry were opened at his own house at Bower Hill, at the house of Robert Johnson in Allegheny County, at Philip Reagan's, in Westmoreland, and at Benjamin Wells', in Fayette. This Robert Johnson was the same who had been attacked at Pigeon Creek in September, 1791, and compelled to resign his commission as deputy inspector. Evidently he had again accepted the commission and reopened the office. Benjamin Wells, although he reopened his office as advertised by Neville, was not permitted to do any business in it. His house on the
¹ Report of Secretary Hamilton, Penna. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. p. 93.
The Secretary also said, in a communication to President Washington, dated Sept. 2, 1794, in reference to the visit of the revenue officer,—
" It is mentioned in my Report that the Supervisor of the Revenue, in September, 1792, was sent into the refractory country, among other things to collect evidence of the persons concerned in the Riot in Faulkner's case. When at Pittsburgh he applied by letter to Alexander Addison, President of the court of Common Pleas, who resided in the town of Washington, to engage his assistance in taking the Depositions of persons who were named to him by the Supervisor, as able to testily concerning infractions of the Laws, and in causing some of the best informed Witnesses to attend a Circuit Court of the United States about to be holden at York Town. The Judge, not content with declining au agency in the business. in answer to the application digresses into a Censure on the Judiciary System of the United States, which he represents as ' im-,practicable, unless it be intended to sacrifice to it the essential principles of the liberty of the Citizens, and the Just authority of the State Courts,' and afterwards declares, that were it his duty to do what way requested of him (which, however, he states in a manner different from what the Supervisor seems to have intended), ' he should do it with reluctance, because he should be serving a cause which he thought unfavorable to the liberty and Just authority of the State Courts.'
"Without examining the sufficiency of the reasons which led to declining the agency proposed to him, without commenting upon the observations which seek to derive a part of the Justification for it from the resentment of the people against the Laws. and the danger of losing their confidence by a compliance with what was desired of him, the propriety of which in the month of a Magistrate might well be contested, it cannot admit of a doubt that there was great unfitness in a Judge of Pennsylvania indulging himself with gratuitous invectives against the Judiciary System of the Government of the Union. . . . It is difficult to perceive in such a digression the evidence of a temper cordial to the institutions and arrangements of the United States. The particulars of this affair have been long since in possession of the Governor." In addition to the above, the Secretary writes (as showing that Judge Addison was a sympathizer with the insurrection in the days of its popularity), that " Mr. Stokely, a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature for Washington, states that Judge Addison wrote a letter or letters in opposition to his election to the Legislature, and among other objections to him, mentioned his having applied for, or having had an intention to obtain, an office in the excise."—Penn. Archives, iv. 290, 292.
Youghiogheny was repeatedly attacked, and was finally fired by a mob and destroyed, with all its contents, about the 1st of July in the following year. Philip Reagan's house, in Westmoreland (in which Wells had also opened an office for that county), was attacked, and the officers who occupied it were compelled to surrender their books and close the office. At about the time when Neville published the above-mentioned notice of the opening of the several inspection offices, he " was burned in effigy at the place, and on the day of the public election, with much display, and in the presence of and without interruption from magistrates and other public officers."
In the early part of 1794 numerous outrages were committed by the opponents of the law in Washington and Allegheny Counties. In January of that year William Richmond had his barn burned, with all his hay and grain, in revenge for his having given information against the rioters who committed the outrage on Robert Wilson, the half-demented school-teacher. Robert Strawhan, a distiller, who had bean among the first to comply with the law by entering his still, also had his barn burned. Both these outrages were committed in Allegheny County.
Gen. Neville, the inspector, in a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury, dated February 27th, said he had received information that persons living near the dividing line of Allegheny and Washington had thrown out threats of tarring and feathering one William Coughran, a complying distiller, and of burning his distillery ; and that it had also been given out that in three weeks there would not be a house standing in Allegheny County of any person who had complied with the laws; in consequence of which he (Neville) had been induced to pay a visit to several leading individuals in that quarter, as well as to ascertain the truth of the information as to endeavor to avert the attempt to execute such threats. It appeared afterwards that on Neville's return home he had been pursued by a body of men threatening vengeance against him. On their way these men called at the house of James Kiddoe, who had recently complied with the laws, broke into his still-house, fired several 'balls under his still, and scattered fire over and about the house. In March, Neville reported an increased activity in promoting opposition to the law, and that frequent meetings were being held to strengthen and extend the combination for that .purpose; also that he was cognizant of a plan having been formed to collect a force to capture him, force him to resign his commission, and hold him prisoner, probably as a hostage.
In May and June new acts of violence were committed. James Kiddoe and William Coughran, the complying distillers before mentioned, sustained repeated injuries to their property. At different times Kiddoe had parts of his grist-mill taken away, and Coughran suffered greater injuries, having his still destroyed, his saw-mill rendered useless, and great
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damage done to his grist-mill. On the last visit of the law-breakers to Coughran a written note was left requiring him to publish in the Pittsburgh Gazette an account of the injuries which he had sustained, threatening in mysterious but unmistakable language that, in case of his refusal or neglect to do so, he would receive another visit, in which his property would be destroyed by fire. The note was signed "Tom the Tinker,"—a name which had its origin on this occasion, but which at once went into popular use as a significant synonym for the ruthless power of the insurgent party,—their battle-cry and watchword.¹
Gen. Neville had, as already mentioned, found the greatest difficulty in obtaining a place in which to open an inspection office in Washington County, but he at last succeeded in renting for that purpose the house of John Lynn, in Canonsburg. This was in May, 1794, in time for the opening of the office for the business of the following month, June being the time for receiving the annual entries of stills. But he was here met by the same trouble which had been experienced previously in the town of Washington. "In the night of the 6th of June," says Secretary Hamilton,² "about twelve persons, armed and painted black, broke into the house of John Lynn, where the office was kept, and after having treacherously seduced him to come down-stairs and put himself in
¹ TOM THE TINKER was a name which the law-breakers not only used individually for the purposes of disguise, but also applied to the insurgent body collectively, and to the secret and dreaded power of the organization, if organization it could be called. As to the origin of the name, Brackenridge says, "A certain John Holcroft was thought to have made the first application of it at the time of the masked attack on William Coughran, whose still was cut to pieces. This was humorously called mending his still. The menders of course must be tinkers, and the name collectively became Tom the Tinker." Advertisements were put upon trees and in other conspicuous places with the signature of Tom the Tinker, admonishing or commanding individuals to do or not to do certain things under the penalty of retribution at the hands of the mysterious Tom in case of non-compliance. Menacing letters with the same signature were sent to the Pittsburgh Gazette with orders to publish them, and the editor dared not refuse to comply, though he did so unwillingly. Often the persons to whom these threatening notices were addressed were commanded to see that they were published in the Gamille, Hod they always complied; for they knew that refusal or neglect to do so would bring upon them the destruction of their property and endanger their lives.
"This Tom the Tinker," says Judge Lobengier, " was a new god added to the mythology at this time, and was supposed to preside over whiskey-stills and still-houses. Whoever stoutly hurrahed for Tom the Tinker was of unquestionable loyalty with the whiskey-bops; while those who could not were branded as traitors to this new deity and their country." Judge Veech says of the mysterious god that it was supposed "his Olympus was oil some of the hills of Mingo or Peters Creek. But truly he was a multiform deity, or at least he was Briarean in his functions. Hie mundane recreations were to destroy the stills and mills and burn the barns of complying distillers, and Certify others into noncompliance. Be sometimes warned before striking, but the warnings and blows were always in the dark and of difficult detection." Findley says it afterwards appeared that the letter left at Coughran's still house was not written by John Rolcroft as was first supposed, and that the person who did write it and who thus originated the name " Tom the Tinker" was never discovered.
² Papers relating to the Whiskey Insurrection. Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, Aug. 5, 1794. Pa. Arch., 2d Series, vol. iv. pp. 97,98.
their power, by a promise of safety to himself and his house, they seized and tied him, threatened to hang him, took him to a retired spot in the neighboring wood, and then, after cutting off his hair, tarring and feathering him, swore him never again to allow the use of his house for an office, never to disclose their names, and never again to have any sort of an agency in aid of the excise, having done which they bound him naked to a tree and left him in that situation till morning, when he succeeded in extricating himself. Not content with this, the malcontents, some days after, made him another visit, pulled down part of his house, and put him in a situation to be obliged to become an exile from his own home, and to find an asylum elsewhere."³
Soon after the Lynn affair in Canonsburg, Maj. David Lenox, a United' States marshal, was sent West with a large number of writs to be served on non-complying distillers in Allegheny, Washington, and Fayette Counties, and a few against certain persons in the last-named county who had been concerned in the riots at the house of the excise officer, Benjamin Wells. " The marshal of the district," said Secretary Hamilton, "went in person to serve these processes. He executed his trust without interruption, though under many discouraging circumstances, in Fayette County. He then proceeded to Washington and Allegheny Counties, where he served all but one, which was against a distiller named William Miller, who lived on Peters Creek, in Allegheny County, on the road from Pittsburgh to Washington, and about fourteen miles from the former place. For some cause which does not appear he delayed serving this last process, and went to Pittsburgh. On the following day (July 15th), in company with Gen. Neville, he rode out to serve the writ on Miller, and did so, but on their return towards Neville's house he was beset on the road by a party of from thirty to forty armed men, who, after mush irregularity of conduct, finally fired on him, but, as it happened, without injury either to him or the inspector." This is Secretary Hamilton's account of the affair. Findley says of the same occurrence that " On leaving the place [Miller's] a number of men were observed as if in pursuit of them,
³ Dr. Carnahan gives a different account of this affair. He says, " The first acts of violence were done to the deputy inspectors, men generally of low character, who had very little sensibility, and who were willing, for the paltry emolument of the office, to incur the censure and contempt of their fellow-citizens. These sub-excise men were seized by thoughtless young men and received a coat of tar and feathers, more through sport than from deliberate design to oppose the law. Of several cases of this kind which occurred I shall mention one, which In part fell under my notice. About the last of June or first of July, 1784, John Lynn, a deputy inspector residing in Canonsburg, Washington Co., was taken from his bed, carried into the woods, and received a coat of tar and feathers, and he was left tied to a tree, but so loosely that he could easily extricate himself. He returned to his house, and after undergoing an ablution with grease and soap and sand and water, he exhibited himself to the boys in the academy and others, and laughed and made sport of the whole matter." This account of Carnahan's, however, omits, as will be noticed, all reference to the assault which, the secretary says, was made on Lynn's house several days afterwards.
272 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
and one gun was discharged, not, however, it is believed, with a design to do execution." Findley, and other apologists for the acts of the insurgents on this and other occasions, carries the idea that the sole cause of the firing on the marshal was that he was accompanied by Gen. Neville. Miller, it is said, afterwards told H. H. Brackenridge that "he was mad with passion when he reflected that being obliged to pay two hundred and fifty dollars and the expenses of going to Philadelphia would ruin him, and his blood boiled at seeing Gen. Neville along to pilot the officer to his very door." After being fired on by the party of men, who were from a harvest-field near 13S,, the marshal and Gen. Neville pursued their way unmolested, the former going to Pittsburgh, and the latter to his home at Bower Hill.
This attack proved to be but the prelude to one of the most daring outrages committed during the continuance of the insurrection. The service of the writs by the marshal had greatly incensed the disaffected people ; and the feeling against Gen. Neville had been increased threefold in its bitterness by his appearance with Maj. Lenox at William Miller's. At the tithe when the two United States officers came to Miller's house there was some kind of a military gathering being held not far away, at the Mingo Creek Meetinghouse. Precisely what was the nature and object of this gathering does not appear. One account says it was a rendezvous of the Mingo Creek regiment, which had met there " in order to form a select corps of militia as their quota of the eighty thousand men required by the Government by act of Congress." Findley says, " Doctor Beard [Dr. Absalom Baird], the brigade inspector for Washington County, was there hearing appeals made by some of a battalion which had been called upon for its proportion of the eighty thousand men required." But the cause of the meeting is immaterial. There were present at the Mingo Creek Meeting-house at the time mentioned a large number of militiamen belonging to Col. Hamilton's "Mingo Creek Battalion," of whom more than fifty bad their firearms with them. While they were so gathered, but just as they were about to separate and return to their homes, the announcement was made to them (probably by William Miller, on whom the process had been served that afternoon) "that the Federal sheriff (as they styled the marshal) had been serving writs in Allegheny County and carrying the people to Philadelphia for not complying with the excise laws, and that he was then at Gen. Neville's house." This announcement created among the militiamen an intense excitement, and a determination to take vengeance on the marshal and the inspector. During the night a party was made up, numbering thirty-seven¹ armed men, including their leader, John
¹ This is the number given by Brackenridge. N. B. Craig says the party was nearly one hundred strong. Findley says, " Between thirty and forty flew instantly to their arms and marched towards Mr. Neville's, about twelve miles distant, where they appeared early the next morning."
Holcroft (the reputed original Tom the Tinker), and before daylight on, the following morning they marched from Mingo, taking the road leading to Neville's house, which was about twelve miles distant.
Gen. Neville's " Bower Hill" estate was on Chartiers Creek, about seven miles in a southwesterly direction from Pittsburgh. The mansion, situated on the highlands which rise from the creek bottoms, was large, and for those days an exceedingly elegant and aristocratic one. In its rear and upon one of its flanks were the outhouses, and several small buildings occupied by the negroes of the Neville family. Taken together, the " Bower Hill" establishment was the finest and most imposing to be found at that time in Pennsylvania south of the Monongahela. Before this mansion, at an early hour in the morning of the 16th of July, appeared the armed party from Mingo Creek, with John Holcroft at their head. Marshal Lenox was not at Neville's, as they supposed, having gone to Pittsburgh the previous evening, as before mentioned. Gen. Neville had intended to ride to town that morning, but when nearly ready to set out he espied the approaching party, and surmising their purpose he postponed the journey and immediately made preparations for defense. When Holcroft's party came up they found the house closed and bolted against them ; but Gen. Neville boldly appeared at an upper window and demanded to know the purpose of their visit. An evasive and "suspicious" answer being given by the party outside, " they were without further provocation fired on from the house, and after returning the fire they were fired on by the negroes from the adjoining buildings!' This quotation is from Findley, who in this instance, as in all others, did his best to show that the insurgents were the injured party rather than aggressors. Another account is to the effect that Holcroft's party having demanded the surrender of Neville's commission and official papers, and being answered by a peremptory refusal, first fired on the house and received in return from the inmates (including the negroes) so prompt and vigorous a volley that they became intimidated and withdrew to reorganize, gather reinforcements, and return with augmented numbers to carry out their original design.
In this first attack on Neville's house no one was killed on either side. After the departure of Holcroft's party, Gen. Neville rode to Pittsburgh, and there communicated the events of the morning to his brother-in-law, Maj. Kirkpatrick, who, in view of the probability of another attack, advised him to obtain assistance from the garrison of the fort at Pittsburgh. Application to that effect was made to Maj. Butler, the commandant, who thereupon detailed a subordinate officer and ten men for the purpose. Neville then returned to his house, and did what was practicable to put it in a condition of defense against the expected attack. Kirkpatrick came up
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afterwards with the eleven soldiers from the garrison.
When Holcroft's party retired from Neville's they returned to Mingo Creek, narrating to all whom they saw (doubtless with much exaggeration) the events of their visit to Neville's. The indignation of the insurgents and their sympathizers was great, and a large force was raised without delay to rendezvous during the succeeding night at Couch's fort, a few miles from Neville's house. At that place, on the morning of the 17th of July, there were assembled nearly five hundred men, most of them fully armed and prepared for that which all understood to be the object of the gathering, an attack on Neville. The greater part of these men were from Mingo Creek and that vicinity, but there were also many from the settlements farther north and west.¹ It is related that in the midst of the excitement there appeared upon the scene a venerable clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Clark, who made an earnest appeal to the infuriated multitude, imploring them not to become law-breakers and criminals, and using all the power of his eloquence to dissuade them from their purpose, but in vain. After such slight organization as was thought necessary the insurgent force moved from the rendezvous towards Bower Hill. Its leader was James McFarlane, who was then a major of militia, and who bad previously done honorable service as a lieutenant in the war of the Revolution.
The large party (or, as it has sometimes been called, the " insurgent army"), led by McFarlane, moved rapidly towards the Neville mansion. The general, fully expecting a second visitation, was on the alert, and by some means became aware of the movements and great strength of the approaching party while they
¹ It appeals, however, that all were not present who had been warned or were expected to report at the rendezvous, and in the next issue of the Pittsburgh Gazette there was published the following warning from the mythical personage understood to represent the insurgent power, viz.:
"In taking a survey of the troops under my command, in the late expedition against that insolent exciseman, John Neville, I find there were a great many delinquents now amongst those who carry on distilling. It will therefore be observed that Tom the Tinker will not suffer any certain class, or set of men, to be excluded the service of this my district, when notified to attend on any expedition in order to obstruct the execution of the law, and obtain a repeal thereof. And I do declare, upon my solemn word, that if such delinquents do not come forth on the next alarm, in equipments, and give their assistance, as in them lies in opposing the execution, and obtaining a repeal of the excise laws, be, or they, will be deemed is enemies, and standing opposed to the virtuous principles of republican liberty, and shall receive punishment according to the nature of the offence, and that at least the consumption of his distillery.
"TOM THE TINKER."
"July 19, 1794,
This notice in the Gazette was prefaced by the following, addressed to the editor and proprietor of that paper:
"MR. SCULL,—I am under the necessity of requesting you to put the following in your next paper. It was found posted on a free near my distillery.
"July 23, 1794."
were yet a considerable distance away, and believing that his life would be in danger in the presence of such a large and greatly excited crowd, very wisely retired towards Pittsburgh, leaving the defense of the house to Maj. Kirkpatrick, the soldiers, and the negroes. The insurgent party soon arrived, and finding that the house was closed and barricaded, and also (to their surprise) that it was garrisoned by soldiers, halted for consultation, and finally advanced a flag of truce, demanding that Neville should surrender himself, with his commission, inspection-books, and official papers. The flag returned, reporting that Neville was not in the house. Again a flag was sent, with the demand that six persons of the besieging party be allowed to search the house for the inspector and the papers. A peremptory refusal was returned, whereupon the flag was sent for the third time, now with notice for the women and children to leave the house. This was complied with, and a desultory firing was then commenced on both sides, but no general assault wee made on the house, the assailants contenting theme selves for the time with firing from cover, like Indians, while the defenders replied occasionally from the windows. Finally, during a temporary lull in the firing, Maj. McFarlane stepped out from behind a tree which he had been using as a shelter, and on doing so was fired on from the house, receiving a bul. let-wound in the groin, from which he died in a few minutes. It was alleged by the insurgents that a white flag had been treacherously displayed at an upper window, and which, being regarded by McFarlane as a signal for a cessation of hostilities, caused him to expose himself as a target for the fatal shot, which, as they also claimed, was fired by Maj. Kirkpatrick himself.
At the death of McFarlane the insurgents became furious with rage, and boldly advancing from their cover, set fire to the barn and outbuildings. As the flames spread it became evident that the house must also be destroyed, and realizing this, and consequently the hopelessness of further resistance, Maj. Kirkpatrick surrendered. The house was entirely consumed with all its contents, except the liquors, which the assailants were careful to save, by breaking open the cellar and rolling out the casks before the house was burned. The casks were opened and most of the men became intoxicated, but it does not appear that such was the case with the principal leaders.² Among the contents of the house which were destroyed was a large sum in money and bonds. All the outbuildings were burned, except a meat-house, which was spared, and a guard placed on it at the request of the negroes, who said the bacon contained in it was all that they had left to depend on for their subsistence.
The prisoners taken by the insurgents at. Bower Hill were Kirkpatrick, the soldiers, Ensign Sample, Maj.
² " Notwithstanding their rolling out the liquors and drinking them," says Brackenridge, "there is not to be found in the history of riots au instance of greater forbearance and less of savage ferocity"
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Lenox the marshal, Maj. Isaac Craig, and Col. Presley Neville, the son of the general; young Neville, with Majs. Lenox and Craig, having come up from Pittsburgh, and arrived at the scene of action at about the time of Kirkpatrick's surrender. The soldiers were at once liberated, and allowed to depart for Pittsburgh unmolested. Kirkpatrick succeeded in making his escape; being assisted to do so by David Hamilton, of Ginger Hill, Washington Co., who was present with the attacking party. Maj. Craig was liberated. Col. Presley Neville and Maj. Lenox, the marshal, were disarmed and set at liberty on a kind of parole, embracing (as was alleged by the insurgents) an agreement on the part of the marshal that he would serve no more writs, and would make no return of those which had been served, and would surrender his person when such surrender should be demanded. It was claimed that Col. Neville also agreed to hold himself as a prisoner on parole ; but the existence of such an agreement was denied both by the marshal and Col. Neville.
Having done their work of devastation at Neville's, the rioters marched southward, taking with them the body of Maj. McFarlane, which they buried in the old graveyard at the Mingo Creek meeting-house, where his grave may still be seen, marked by a stone bearing an inscription to his memory. At the time of his burial there were present at and around the old Mingo Creek meeting-house a great assemblage of sympathizing people, many of them sad and thoughtful in view of the possible consequences of the lawless acts that had been done, but the great majority in a half frenzied state of mind, and wild with rage against Gen. Neville and Maj. Lenox. It was proposed and vehemently advocated to march in a body a thousand strong (which number of men could easily have been raised) from Mingo Creek to attack Pittsburgh and capture the inspector and the marshal, but this project was opposed by the committee which had been chosen to deliberate upon the situation and control the action of the assemblage. The committee decided that instead of the proposed plan of marching to Pittsburgh in a body, David Hamilton and John Black should be sent to that town, to meet Neville and Lenox; to demand of the former a resignation of his commission, and of the latter that the writs which he had served should be surrendered (as it was claimed he had promised to do), in order to prevent the possibility of their being returned. Hamilton and Black proceeded on their way, being accompanied by the committee as far as Shockan's tavern, four miles south of Pittsburgh, where they left the committee and rode into town.¹
¹ An account of the journey of Hamilton and Black to Pittsburgh, and of the business on which they went there, on the day following the burning of Neville's house, le found in an affidavit made by John Black before William Meetkirk, a justice of the peace for Washington County, in May, 1795, as follows:
"Being about to go to Pittsburgh, I fell in with a body of people collecting for the burying of Captain James McFarlane, who had fallen at the burning of Gen. Neville's house; David Hamilton had been de-
There they found Neville and Lenox, and made known to them the errand on which they had been sent by the committee. Both the inspector and the marshal refused compliance with the demands made on them, the marshal positively denying that he had, while a prisoner, promised to give up the writs. Having received these final and decisive answers Black and Hamilton remained in Pittsburgh overnight, and in the morning crossed to the south side of the Monongahela on their return to the committee, whom they expected to find still in session at Shockan's tavern, but on their arrival there, found that the committee had returned to Mingo Creek, where the two men followed them to report what they had done in Pittsburgh.
In the evening of July 18th, a few hours after Hamilton and Black delivered the committee's message to Gen. Neville and Maj. Lenox, the latter two fled from Pittsburgh, passing down the Ohio in a small boat in the midst of a heavy thunder-storm, afterwards landing on the Virginia shore, and making their way through that State and Maryland to the East, where Neville remained until the army crossed the mountains to quell the insurrection.
When Hamilton and Black reported to the committee the result of their mission in Pittsburgh, a meeting was at once called, to be held at the Mingo Creek Meeting-house on Wednesday, the 23d of July. It was ostensibly to be a meeting of the "committee," but it was notified through all the eastern and central parts of Washington and Allegheny Counties and in the western parts of Westmoreland and Fayette. On the appointed day there was a great assemblage of people at the old church. "Many of the best men
puted by a committee of these people to go to Pittsburgh to return the pistols taken from the Marshal, and to have a fulfillment from lama what had been agreed upon on his part. Understood from Hamilton that he had consented to go, in order to prevent the people from coining in themselves and doing mischief, for there was danger of their going in at that time. Went with Hamilton to Pittsburgh, and met the Marshal and Colonel Neville. Hamilton explained his business, returning the pistols, and required a fulfillment of what was agreed upon, viz.: that he would serve no further writs, and not return those that were served. The Marshal said he had not agreed not to return the writs. A query was then in the mind of Hamilton, what effect the returns would have. At his request I went to Mr. Brackenridge to ask his opinion, as a lawyer. He said it was a delicate point, and he would talk to the Marshal. On. this he went out, and came in with the Marshal and Col. Neville. Upon that, I went out, and, after some time, re. turned; and Mr. Brackenridge said he was not much acquainted with the practice of the Federal courts, but would consult, and give his opinion in the morning. He gave his opinion in writing; which Hamilton thought would not be satisfactory to the committee. It was understood that the committee would be sitting till be returned. It was proposed to return by Neville's house; and it was our wish that some of the gentlemen of Pittsburgh should go with us. General Gibson, Doctor Bedford, Mr. Brackenridge, and others had consented to go. The day looking for rain, or for other cause, some declined going. Mr. Brackenridge came ; I understood him to be about to go forward to the committee, to see if he could not satisfy the people in respect to the Marshal. In my conversation with Mr. Brackenridge, with respect to the burning of General Neville's house, be said it was an unhappy affair, and was stroll it would turn out a civil war, that government would call out the militia, that we were the militia ourselves, and have to be at war with one another."
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of the land were there, some upon compulsion, others to prevent, if possible, rash measures." There was a delegation from Pittsburgh, among whom were George Robinson, chief burgess of the borough, Col. William Sample, Peter Audrain, Josiah Tannehill, William H. Beaumont, and Hugh H. Brackenridge. Among those present from Washington were David Bradford (deputy attorney-general) and Col. James Marshel, who had been county lieutenant in the trying times of the Revolution. Craig Ritchie was there from Canonsburg, and Col. Edward Cook, formerly county lieutenant of Westmoreland, and then associate judge in Fayette County. Brackenridge, of Pittsburgh, attended, as he says, with the expectation of finding it a committee meeting, but he found "a large assemblage or mass-meeting, some from a distance, but the majority consisting of those who had been engaged in the riot and outrage at the house of the inspector." The avowed purpose of the leaders was to commit the whole western country "to adoption of the crimes already perpetrated, and by combination to procure impunity."
The meeting having been organized by the choice of Col. Edward Cook as chairman and Craig Ritchie as secretary, proceeded to business, which was in a great degree the delivery of and listening to inflammatory speeches. "There was," says Brackenridge,¹ "the appearance of gloom and distrust in the countenances of all, especially of those who had taken an active part in the recent riots. The fury of the moment had passed off, but time had not yet been given for cool reflection ; those who were committed began to have some vague idea of being involved in treasonable acts. The gloom of these was not that of sorrow or repentance; the unextinguished fire of rage still glowed in their bosoms, and required but little to fan it into fierceness. No one knew how far to trust his next neighbor; and however much he might be opposed to violence himself, he was afraid that the first person he addressed might be one of the enrage, and himself suspected of incivism, for a vague and undefined apprehension hung over all, rendering life itself insecure. . . . Every countenance discovered a strong sense of the solemnity of the occasion., those who had been involved not more than those who were afraid to be involved. It will be asked, how came any one there who was afraid to be involved? I have accounted for my being there; but how came David Bradford, James Marshel, Edward Cook, and Craig Ritchie there? I select these instances. As to Marshel and Bradford, I am at a loss to say anything by way of opinion or deduction. I can only state what I have understood from others, or what is within my own knowledge. Not having had the least communication with Marshel or Bradford prior to that day, or on that day, on the subject, I have nothing of my own knowledge. I have understood from others that
¹ In his "Incidents of the Western Insurrection."
after the first attack on the house of the inspector, when the adjacent country was about to be roused to a second attack, persons went to the town of Washington and called on Marshel and Bradford to come forward on that occasion, which they declined. The expression of Bradford reported to me is, ' I cannot act; you may do as you think proper.' He alluded, or was supposed to allude, to his being prosecuting counsel for the commonwealth, and in that case not at liberty to do what others might. After the destruction of the house, persons went to Marshel and Bradford, demanding of them to come out and support what had been done, or they would burn their houses. They had a claim upon them, as having been conspicuous in the deliberative committees with regard to the excise law, and alleged that Bradford had encouraged them to do what they had done by his words when he was urged to take part before the burning. I encourage!' said he. 'Good God! I never thought of such a thing.' Yes you did encourage,' said they; 'and if you do not come forward now and support us you shall be treated in the same or worse manner as the excise officer.' He found himself thus under the necessity of taking part; and that being the case, he would seem from that time to have adopted the most violent counsels. Marshel was also obliged to take part, and, having done so, to pursue a violent course. I am of opinion that both of these men acted in the first instance under a subordination to popular influence. Be this as it may, it is not from a solicitude to make an apology for them that I state this, but from a wish to show the truth of the transaction. Edward Cook also came, probably at the solicitation and under the fear of the people. Craig Ritchie and many others I know did. They had with great difficulty avoided going to the attack on the house of the inspector, but could not avoid at least the appearance of being with the people now."
So much for the opinion expressed by the elder Brackenridge as to the motives which actuated some of the principal men who were present at Mingo Church on the 23d of July, 1794. Now with regard to the proceedings of the meeting held at that time and place. In his " History of the Western Insurrection," page 60, et seq., H. M. Brackenridge says, "The first thing which took place after the opening of the meeting was the reading a letter which was presented by Benjamin Parkinson from Col. [Presley] Neville (and which had been brought by one of the Pittsburgh party), stating that his father and the marshal [Lenox] had left the county; that the near- had not considered himself bound by that part of his engagement which was to surrender himself when demanded, and for which engagement he (Neville) had become sponsor, because, after the engagement made, and the marshal dismissed upon it, he had been again arrested and was indebted to himself for his escape. That with regard to what had been
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done by them, they had burned his father's house, and they might burn his, but he had enough beyond their reach. As men of honor, he conceived, they ought to approve the intrepidity of Kirkpatrick in defending the house of a friend. It is observed by Mr. Brackenridge (father of the writer) that this letter had a bad effect on those to whom it was addressed, had better have been written in a different spirit, and, better still, not written at all. His praise of Kirkpatrick did not accord with public opinion, and his allusion to the particular case only excited indignation, as it was generally believed, perhaps erroneously, that McFarlane had fallen by his hand when, deceived bra, flag of truce, he stepped into the open space of the road to command the assailants to cease firing. Besides, the defiant tone, the boast of wealth tended to exasperate instead of awakening within them a proper sense of the wrong they had committed. It added not a little to the embarrassment of the situation of those who now attended the meeting at his solicitation.¹
" This and some other letters being read and remarked upon, Benjamin Parkinson addressed the chair. You know,' said he, what has been done ; we wish to know whether what has been done is right or wrong, and whether we are to be supported, or left to ourselves ?' These ominous words were followed by silence for some time. The Pittsburgh party was struck with astonishment, and Mr. Brackenridge declares that he felt in agony of mind for himself and his associates in that assemblage of persons who appeared to be excited to desperation, and feeling themselves thus placed in a situation to vote against a proposition perhaps at the peril of their lives or to give a direct sanction to treason. They felt somewhat relieved when Marshel, who followed, observed that the question was not as to what had been done, but what was to be done in the future? Bradford now rose, and in a most inflammatory speech sustained what had been done and applauded the rioters, demanding that it be put to vote whether those present gave their approval, and would pledge themselves to support those who had attacked and destroyed the house of the inspector. His violent declamation was of considerable length, and yet,' says Mr. Brackenridge, ' from my knowledge of the man, I doubt whether he spoke according to his wish, or according to the humor of the people, and through fear of them.' There was again a dead silence for some time after he had concluded. Those who were implicated were no doubt eager and anxious for the vote, and the others, at least the more reflecting, were alarmed at this unexpected predicament in which they were placed.
¹ Meaning H. H. Brackenridge, who, as he says in his " Incidents of the Western Insurrection," went to the Mingo Creek meeting only at the earnest solicitation of Co1. Presley Neville, between whom and himself an apparent friendship had existed up to this period, although there was a different feeling on the part of some of the [Neville] connection with Mr. Brackenridge."
" Marshel came to Mr. Brackenridge and requested him to speak. This gentleman had already settled in his mind some outline of an address, but called on so unexpectedly, and knowing that the popular current was strongly against him and his associates (the persons who had come up with him to the meeting from Pittsburgh), he was much at a loss what to say; but the situation was too urgent to admit of such delay or reflection. One of his associates, Mr. Audrain, in his statement declared that he never felt himself in a situation so embarrassing in his life. Mr. Brackenridge, observing the eyes of the audience turned upon him, advanced to the middle of the aisle, toward the chair, and began in a slow, deliberate, and even hesitating manner, encountering the angry scowls of the principal leaders, who were in favor of pushing the people to still greater acts of violence."
It appears from the accounts of Brackenridge's speech on this occasion that he (as well as his friend Audrain) found himself in an extremely embarrassing situation, for although he " had already settled in his mind some outline of an address" which would satisfy the excited multitude without giving utterance to words which might be quoted against him in case of disaster (which, in his far-sightedness, he realized might result) to the insurrectionary movement. Bat there was no alternative; the people expected a speech from him, and he proceeded. "He began by giving a narrative of what had taken place in Pittsburgh, the withdrawal from the country of the marshal and the inspector, who were supposed to have descended the river," and made merry in the recital of the hasty manner in which one of the Neville party (Maj. Craig) bad closed the inspection office in town, tearing down the cloth or paper sign over the doe!, and sending the mutilated fragments of it to the insurgents in proof of the fact. To Parkinson's question, " whether what has been done is right or wrong?" he returned an evasive answer, saying that the act of burning Neville's house might be morally right, it was legally wrong And treasonable, and that the President might call out the militia to enforce the law. At this there was sensation of rather an alarming nature among the audience, which the speaker made baste to allay by assuring them that the President, before proceeding to such a measure, would reflect on the difficulty of securing the obedience of the Eastern militia to orders to march against the people in the West; that those of the middle counties and of the upper parts of Virginia and Maryland would obey only with the greatest reluctance, if at all, and that if any troops could be obtained, it would be only those from the seaboard portions and from New Jersey; and that for these reasons the President would doubtless be disposed to grant an amnesty. But the request for such amnesty would, he said, come with better grace from those who were not implicated than from thaw who were already so, and "that it was not the interest of the latter to involve others, but to let them re-
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main as they were, in order to act as mediating men with the government.¹ At this point in the speech Parkinson and others began to show signs of exasperation, and therefore he attempted to restore them to good humor by telling his hearers that the President had repeatedly shown himself anxious to avoid war, especially civil war, and cited the instance in which the United States government had receded from its position in regard to the Presque Isle establishment, on account of the threats of the Indian chief Cornplanter, with a few beggarly Senecas at his back, spicing his address with a burlesque of Cornplanter and the Secretary of War making speeches to each other on the subject. Finally, he proposed the calling of a larger meeting, to include representatives from the whole revenue survey, and that in the mean time a delegation (of which he offered to be one) be sent to the President, though the precise object for sending such delegation does not appear. At the end of the speech most of the audience adjourned to the spring near by for the apparent purpose of drinking. "In the mean time Mr. Brackenridge collected his companions and advised them to leave the ground without delay, to avoid the danger of being again called on by the meeting; but in order to avoid the appearance of retiring in haste, he returned to the ground to show himself for a few moments, and then joined his company and departed." By his attendance and speech at the Mingo Creek meeting he had identified himself with the insurgents (at least in the estimation of the government officials) ; but if his object had been to gain popularity with the multitude, he had, for the time, failed in his object, though he afterwards secured and held it during the continuance of the insurrection.
In a letter written by Col. William Sample,² who was present with Brackenridge at the Mingo Meetinghouse on the 23d of July, he gives an account of some of the occurrences there, as follows:
"SIR,—At your request, I shall give you a short detail of the circumstances leading to, and of the principal traits of your conduct at Mingo Meetinghouse. I remember that it was the general opinion of the inhabitants of Pittsburgh, that it would be prudent that a number of persons should be sent from this place to meet those who were collecting from various parts of the country. No instructions, to my knowledge, were given to those who went. But I understood the general purport of our going there, was to hear and report. You asked me if I would make one of the number that would go. I hesitated for some time, and until I asked the opinion of Col. Presley Neville, which was `I see no harm in
¹ Hist. West Insurrection, by H. H. Brackenridge.
² The letter—dated Pittsburgh, Sept. 20, 1795—was addressed to H. H. Brackenridge; having been procured by him for the purpose of showing by the testimony of one present that his speech upon that occasion proved him to be not in sympathy with, but opposed to, the acts and purposes of the insurgents.
your going there if you choose to venture, and if you do, I will thank you to carry a letter for me to the chairman of the committee, contradicting some false aspersions which have been industriously circulated, respecting the Marshal and myself being released upon our words of honor to hold ourselves as prisoners on demand, that night my father's house was burned.' I accepted the office, and came back to you, and told you I would go. When we arrived at Jacob Friggley's house, near the meeting-house, in the course of various conversations, a tall man there, with red hair, frequently expressed a warmth of affection for Presley Neville; seemingly commiserated his situation, and took some credit to himself in ilk-cuing him when he was made prisoner, the night aforesaid ; but at the same time, was still making some sarcastic observations on his [Col. Neville's] father. I found the temper of the people was wound up to a very high pitch, and I took this favorable opportunity of delivering Col. Neville's letter to him, after finding his name was Parkinson and that he had considerable influence ; telling him that the Colonel had desired me to deliver this letter to him in case I should find him, and requested he would deliver it to the chairman. He readily took it and it was the first thing brought on the carpet at the meeting. The secretary read the letter, but no observations followed. After some silence, a person stood up and made a motion that the burning of Gen. Neville's house, and those concerned in it, should be justified and supported. I could observe the people of the meeting considerably agitated. Col. Marshal, of Washington, was the first who ventured to oppose this motion, and he appeared to do so both with fear and trembling. After this speech was over, David Bradford arose, and beckoned to Benjamin Parkinson (as Capt. Josiah Tannehill informed, who had mixed with the crowd and happened to sit down on the forma close by him), asked him if the relation Col. Neville had given in the letter was true ? To which question Parkinson answered, putting his hand to his breast, it is true. Mr. Bradford then dropping the subject of the letter, began a most violent and inflammatory oration in support of the first motion. I observed Mr. Brackenridge, in the course of this oration, who being seated at the west end of the church, and opposite to the principal part of the Pittsburghers, who had seated themselves at the east corner by themselves, in great agitation, often throwing his head down on his hand, and in the attitude of study. At length, Mr. Bradford's speech being ended, Mr. Brackenridge advanced nearly to the middle of the house, and opposite the chairman, and began his speech, slowly and irregularly ; for the current of the people's prejudices seemed to be strongly against him. He first opened the reasons why the few persons from Pittsburgh came there ; that they were not instructed, nor had they delegated powers to agree, or to disagree, on any proposition that might be made ; they came only to
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hear and report. He took various methods of diverting the audience 'from the speech that preceded his. Sometimes he would give a sarcastical stroke at the excise, and the inventors of it, and then tell some droll story thereto relating, in order, as I apprehend, to unbend the audience's mind from the serious tone to which they had been wrought up. He viewed the subject before him in various lights; and then entered warmly on his main argument, which was, to dissuade the audience from the first proposition. He told them in direct words that he hoped they would not involve the whole country in a crime which could not be called by a less name than high treason ; that this would certainly bring down the resentment of the general government, and there would be none left to intercede.
"The audience seemed petrified, thunderstruck with such observations, 'and when he had done not a person seemed desirous of renewing the arguments. Silence ensued for some time, and then the company broke up, and some went to drink at the spring, and others in little knots or clubs were dispersed over the green. Those who came from Pittsburgh, finding that the audience was to be called to the church once more, took this opportunity to make the best of their way to Jacob Friggley's. The company met again, but I know not that they did any business of consequence, for Mr. Brackenridge was soon with us, and we took our horses and returned to Pittsburgh." After the departure of the Pittsburgh delegation the meeting was re-convened, and after the delivery of inflammatory harangues by Bradford, Marshal, and others was dissolved, the last and most important business of the day being the adoption of a resolution or call, which during the succeeding week was published and widely circulated through the counties of Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland, and Fayette, as follows :
" By a respectable number of citizens who met on Wednesday the 23d inst. at the meeting-house on Mingo Creek, it is recommended to the township of the four western counties of Pennsylvania, and the neighboring counties of Virginia, to meet and choose not more than five, nor lees than two representatives, to meet at Parkinson's Ferry on the Monongahela, on Thursday the 14th of August next, to take into consideration the condition of the Western Country."
Three days after the meeting at Mingo Creek Church there was committed an act of outlawry as bold and daring as the burning of Gen. Neville's house, and even more momentous in its results. This was the robbery of the United,„States mail, on its way from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. The project originated in Washington County, with David Bradford. His first idea and plan was to capture the eastern mail from Washington, on its way from that town to Pittsburgh, hoping thereby to ascertain from its contents the real sentiments of the citizens of Washington concerning the recent outrage at Neville's. This plan he made known to Col. Marshel, David Hamilton, and John Baldwin, either at the Mingo meeting or while on their way there, and asked their co-operation and assistance in carrying it out. It appears that this proposition did not find favor with Hamilton and Baldwin, though for what reason is not apparent, as one of them, at least, took part in the scheme which was afterwards adopted in its stead, which was to seize the eastward-bound mail from Pittsburgh,¹ which was done on the 26th of July, on the post-road between Pittsburgh and Greensburg, Westmoreland Co., at a point about twenty-two miles east of the first-named town, the robbery being done by William Bradford (a cousin of David) and John Mitchell, which last-named person was employed for the purpose by David Hamilton. These men, having obtained possession of the mail-pouch, took out the Pittsburgh and Washington packages, and returned the pouch, with its other contents, to the carrier. They then rode to the Monongahela, crossed the river at Parkinson's Ferry, and delivered the stolen mail matter to Benjamin Parkinson. He reported with it to Bradford, who then (in company with Parkinson and Col. James Marshel and Alexander Fulton) took it to the " Black Horse Tavern," kept by Henry Westbay, in Canonsburg. There it was taken to a private room, where it was opened and examined by Bradford, in presence of Marshel, Parkinson, Fulton, Col. John Canon,² and Thomas Speer, of Canonsburg, and two or three others. The mail from Wash-
¹ Concerning this mail robbery, Judge Alexander Addison, in a letter to H. H. Brackenridge, dated Jan. 18,1795, rid,—
"I have been pursuing the plan for robbing the mail, and can trace it no higher than Bradford. It was proposed by him to Marshal, on their way to the Mingo Meeting-house. Baldwin and David Hamilton were in company, and it was put on them to execute it. The object to be obtained was to know the opinions of the people on the business carried on. The post to be robbed was the poet from Washington to Pittsburgh ; and it was only when Baldwin and Hamilton sent word that they could not perform their part, and when it was too late to intercept the mail to Pittsburgh, that the plan was changed to what was really executed. Bradford sent his cousin William, and David Hamilton, I believe, sent John Mitchell, who executed the business. My Informs-don is from a good source, and may be depended on."
In reference to the same matter, H. M. Brackenridge (son of B. H. Brackenridge) said,—
"On the failure of the first scheme of stopping the mall from Washington, Bradford determined to intercept that from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, in order to find out what was written by persons in the former place to those at the head of the government. He sent his cousin, William Bradford, while David Hamilton sent an obscure, ignorant man of the name of John Mitchell, who perpetrated the deed. The post wee intercepted when about ten miles from Greensburg, on the 26th of July, three days after the Mingo meeting. The packets from Washington and Pittsburgh were taken out. They were carried by Benjamin Parkinson to Washington, and thence accompanied by Bradford and Marshal to Canonsburg, a small village about seven miles distant. On the Washington packet being opened, no letters on the late affairs from any individuals of that place wore found, but there were some from individuals of Pittsburgh, and as eavesdroppers seldom hear any good of themselves, these letters contained matters which gave great offence, especially to Bradford."
² "John Canon and a Mr. Speer, a store-keeper in Canonsburg, were invited to the tavern, and the mail was °period. In the course of conversation at the tavern it was asked what will be done with those known to be connected in the attack and burning of Neville's hous at Bradford replied, 'They will be hung,' and suggested that the only way to protect them was to involve the whole western country in the matter, and that the numbers concerned would prevent extreme measures on the part of the government."—Carnahan.
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ington was found to contain nothing objectionable, but in the Pittsburgh package there were discovered five letters, the contents of which threw Bradford into a rage, and placed the writers under the ban of the insurgent leaders. These letters were from Col. Presley Neville to Gen. Morgan ; Gen. Gibson to Governor Mifflin ; James Bryson to Governor Mifflin ; Edward Day to the Secretary of the Treasury, and from Maj. Thomas Butler (commandant at the fort) to the Secretary at War. These letters were kept by Bradford ; the rest of the mail was re-sealed and restored to the packages to be returned to the office at Pittsburgh.
The discovery by these letters of the strong sentiment of opposition that existed among the principal men in Pittsburgh to the lawless acts of the insurgents gave great alarm to Bradford and others, and be lost no time in taking new measures calculated to further inflame the minds of the disaffected, and to bring the wavering ones to side with the insurrectionists. Seventeen days must yet elapse before the appointed meeting of delegates at Parkinson's Ferry, and during that time the excitement might to a great extent subside, and a reaction set in. Dreading such a result; he, with the others who were gathered at the "Black Horse" in Canonsburg on the day of opening of the Pittsburgh and Washington mail, issued from that place a circular, addressed to the militia officers of the four western counties of Pennsylvania, as follows :
"SIR,—Having had suspicions that the Pittsburgh post would carry with him the sentiments of some of the people in the country respecting our present situation, and the letters by the post being now in our possession, by which certain secrets are discovered hostile to our interest, it is therefore now come to that crisis that every citizen must express his sentiments, not by his words, but by his actions. You are then called upon as a citizen of the western country to render your personal service, with as many volunteers as you can raise, to rendezvous at your usual place of meeting on Wednesday next, and thence you will march to the usual place of rendezvous at Braddock's Field,¹ on the Monongahela, on Friday, the first day of August next, to be there at two o'clock in the afternoon, with arms and accouterments in good order. If any volunteers shall want arms and ammunition, bring them forward, and they shall be supplied as well as possible. Here, sir, is an expedition proposed in which you will have an opportunity of displaying your military talents, and of rendering service to your country. Four days' provisions will be wanted; let the men be thus supplied.
[Signed] "J. CANON,
T. SPEARS [Speer],
J. LOCKNY [Lochry],
"July 28, 1794."
¹ Braddock's Field was the place where the annual brigade musters were held.
The significance of this circular was only partially apparent It was evidently a call for a general rendezvous of the militia at Braddock's Field, but it did not set forth the ulterior object of the leaders, which was (at least with Bradford) to march on the town of Pittsburgh, besiege and reduce the fort, seize the magazines and all the arms, ammunition, and equipments to be found in the fort and town ; also to capture the writers of the obnoxious letters, and imprison them in the jail at Washington. This part of the plan, though not declared in the call, became ,immediately and generally known, and it was at once apparent that among the people of the county there was a general approval of the project. " When an officer disapproved the circular letter," says Brackenridge, "he did not dare to conceal from his battalion or company that he had received such a notice ;² and when communicated, it was the people commanding the officer, and not the officer the people,—' Call us out, or we will take vengeance on you as a traitor to the country.' The whole country was one inflammable mass; it required but the least touch of fire to ignite it. I had seen the spirit which prevailed at the Stamp Act, and at the commencement of the Revolution from the government of Great Britain, but it was by no means so general and so vigorous amongst the common people as the spirit which now existed in the country."
With reference to the readiness displayed by officers and soldiers to obey these orders, emanating as they did from no responsible authority, Judge Addison said that in consequence of the danger of Indian incursions having often rendered it necessary in this region to assemble the military force without waiting for orders from the government, "it had become habitual with the militia of these counties to assemble at the call of their officers, without inquiring into the authority or object of the call. This habit, well known to the contrivers of the rendezvous at Brad-dock's Field, rendered the execution of their plan an easy matter. They issued their orders to the officers of the militia, who assembled their men, accustomed to obey orders of this kind given on the sudden ,and without authority. The militia came together without knowing from whom the orders originated, or for what purpose they met. And when met it was easy to communicate from breast to breast more or less of the popular frenzy, till all felt it or found it prudent to dissemble and feign that they felt it."
But many among the more influential and conservative people disapproved of, and were alarmed at, the intended demonstration. Several of these remonstrated with Bradford and Marshel, protesting against
² "Great exertions, however, were made in communicating the circular letters, and though many who probably wished to suppress them durst not, there were some who did keep their secret, and some clergymen and others, in the south of Washington County, were active and successful with their neighbors in dissuading them from going."—Findley, p 97
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the carrying out of their dangerous plan, and insisting on the issuance of another circular countermanding the march of the troops to the rendezvous.¹ Finally Bradford appeared to yield, and sent out circulars, one of which was as follows
"DEAR SIR,—Upon receiving some late intelligence from our runners, we have been informed that the ammunition we were about to seize, was destined for Gen. Scott, who is just going out against the Indians. We therefore have concluded not to touch it. I give you this early notice, that your brave men of war need not turn out till further notice.
" Yours &c.,
COL. DAVID WILLIAMSON "
These circulars, however, were issued only two or three days before the time appointed for the rendezvous, and this, together with the absurd character of the notice, prevented their having any effect except in a few instances. In general the men were determined to march, and did march to the field.
" No sooner was the news of this frivolous counter order rumored through the town of Washington—which being in the midst of a farming population and entertaining feelings more in common with them than those of the town of Pittsburgh, where there was more trade and more government influence—than the people of Washington broke out into a furious rage, called a meeting at the court-house, and those of the country hearing of it, came rushing in under still greater excitement. James Ross, United States senator, who then resided there, in a speech of great earnestness of two hours endeavored to dissuade the populace. Thomas Scott, of the house of Representatives, Thomas Stokely, of the State Senate, David Redick, prothonotary, Henry Purviance, and others of the bar exerted themselves to effect the same object. James Marshel was in earnest to retract, and spoke publicly. Bradford, seeing the violence of the multitude, by which he was always swayed, was more inflammatory than he had ever been ; denied that be had given his consent to the countermand, and asked with confidence who was the scoundrel who would say he had consented. There happened to be no one present who could contradict him or was willing to do so. It was now carried by a vote that the march to Braddock's Field should proceed. To show their displeasure with Marshel, the door of his house was tarred and feathered that night ; threats of personal injury were thrown out, and he was compelled to declare his readiness to go."²
¹ " When Col. [John] Hamilton and some others had discovered the design of attacking the garrison fat Pittsburgh], and persuaded Bradford and Marshel to countermand the orders, he told them that the arms were for an expedition against the Indians, under General Scott. Bradford, without even consulting Marshel, or answering a word to Hamilton, wrote the countermand, and handing it to Hamilton, asked him if that would do. He inserted in a postscript what he had been told of Scott's expedition as a reason for the countermand; this first brought the design of the rendezvous to light; but it seems it was now given up; but the rendezvous being carried on, some who attended still believed that to have been the object of it, till they were convinced of its being laid aside by the event."—Findley.
² Brackenridge's History of the Western Insurrection, pp. 84-86.
The reported intention of the insurgent leaders to march from the appointed rendezvous on the 1st of August to attack the fort and despoil the town of Pittsburgh was generally known by the inhabitants of that place, and they were in consequence in a state of great anxiety, which was intensified to the wildest consternation by the arrival there in the afternoon of the day preceding that fixed for the mustering, at Braddock's Field of a committee from Washington, bringing, as it was understood, from the leaders of the insurrection a message and demand of such importance that its immediate consideration and acceptance was necessary if the town was to be saved from destruction. In this alarming situation of affairs notices were at once sent out to the inhabitants of the place to attend a meeting to be held at the courthouse in the evening of that day (July 31st), for the purpose of adopting measures to insure the public safety.
The meeting, composed of very nearly all the male adults of the town of Pittsburgh, assembled at an early hour in the evening, and an organization was soon effected by the choice of Gen. Gibson as chairman, and Matthew Ernest secretary. The main business was at once announced,—to hear and act upon a communication brought by the committee from Washington, viz.: Absalom Baird, William Meetkirk, Henry Purviance, and Gabriel Blakeney. The mail-packets which had been taken from the post-rider on the Philadelphia road near Greensburg, five days before, had been delivered to them by Bradford and Marshel, to be returned to the Pittsburgh post-office, with all their contents except the letters of Neville, Gibson, Bryson, Day, and Butler. But this was not the principal object of their mission. They brought the intelligence that Bradford and his satellites had taken great umbrage at the contents of the suppressed letters; that they were determined to take vengeance on the writers, and that the people who were even then on their march to the rendezvous at Braddock's Field were in a state of ungovernable fury, and apparently determined to destroy Pittsburgh,³—a resolve which would undoubtedly be put
³ " The common language of the time in the country was, they wars going to take Pittsburgh; some talked of plundering the town. It was an expression used, that as the old Sodom had been burned by are from heaven, this second Sodom should be burned by fire from earth. The shop-keepers were told at their counters, by persons cheapening their goods, that they would get them at a lees price in a few days. The very women coming in from the country would say, ' That fine lady lives in a fine house, but her pride will be humbled by and by.' Persons were coming to the blacksmiths with old guns, that had lain by a long time, to be repaired. Others were buying up flints and powder from the stores; there were many who were supposed to be from distant parts, no one in the town knowing them. Some were supposed to be spies, to see the condition of the garrison or the town; without appearing to have anything to do, they were seen to be lounging about from place to place. . . . It wart now understood that preparations were everywhere making throughout the survey, and especially on the south [west] side of the Monongahela and in the neighborhood of that river, for the contemplated rendezvous at Braddock's Yield. Maj. Butler had been industrious to improve the defenses of his garrison; Maj. Craig, the
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in execution on the morrow, unless some effective means were at once taken to prevent it. It was to give this warning to the people of that town, and to assist in devising some means to avert its destruction, that the men of the Washington committee now came; and it was with great difficulty that they had made their way there at all, for they had several times been stopped on the road by people in the interest of the insurgents, who wished to prevent any warning as to the true state of affairs from reaching the people of the doomed town, as they then supposed Pittsburgh to be.
These facts having been communicated to the meeting by a committee who had been appointed for conference with the Washington delegation, the question at once came up, what should be done to avert the stroke that seemed about to fall. The gentlemen from Washington gave it as their opinion that but two measures were practicable at best, and that either one, or even both of these, if adopted, would be as likely to fail as to succeed. One of these was that the proscribed persons be at once banished ¹ (or, in other words, that they leave the town with the appearance of banishment), and the fact announced without delay to the insurgent leaders; and the other, that the citizens of Pittsburgh should march in a body to Braddock's Field, there to appear to fraternize with the insurgents, and convince them that the people of Pittsburgh were not their enemies, but friends.
These propositions were at once brought before the meeting and fully considered. All agreed that something must be done, and done immediately. If the forces should move on Pittsburgh with hostile intent, the destruction of the town was sure, for the assailants would number thousands,—the greater part fighting men who had seen service in the Revolution and Indian campaigns,—while the defenders would not exceed three hundred, including the forty or fifty men who formed the garrison of the fort, and it was suspected that even among the townspeople there were some who, having no property at stake, would be likely to go over to the enemy in case of an attack in strong force. Among the dwellings of the town there were none of any strength to resist an assault; all were mere wooden structures which could easily be burned over the beads of the inmates. The fort itself was but a slight stockade, which, although it
quartermaster, had removed into it with his family. Col. Neville had prepared to ,defend himself in his own house. Under these circumstances it was thought advisable by the citizens to call a town-meeting, to consider what was to be done for their own safety and that of the place thus threatened with destruction."—H. M. Brackenridge's History of the Western Insurrection.
¹ " We gave it as our opinion that the town was in imminent danger of being destroyed if some of the obnoxious characters were not sent away, for that we ourselves have been insulted on the road coming there by some people when they understood we were going to Pittsburgh, for they said we were going there as spies to tell the people to get out of the way, and that we ought to be taken prisoners, and they actually raised a party to follow us for that purpose, as we were afterwards informed." —Affidavit of William Meetkirk, one of the Washington Committee.
would afford security against rifle-shots, was but weakly garrisoned, and could be soon carried by a heavy assaulting force without the aid of artillery, and even if the enemy should decline to assault it, would fall after a siege of a few days, as it was but, lightly provisioned. It could afford little protection to the citizens by its artillery, for the guns were light, and the work stood a mile away from the cluster of buildings called the town. These circumstances being duly considered, it was evident that the idea of resistance was not to be entertained, and thereupon the people unanimously adopted the only course offering a probability of safety, namely, to banish the proscribed persons, and to march en masse to the insurgent rendezvous on the following day, as will be seen by the minutes of the meeting,² which are here given, viz.:
" At a meeting of the inhabitants of Pittsburgh, on Thursday evening, July 31, 1794, to take into consideration the present condition of affairs, and declare their sentiments on this delicate crisis. A great majority, almost the whole of the inhabitants of the town assembled. It being announced to the meeting that certain gentlemen from the town of Washington had arrived, and had signified that they were intrusted with a message to the inhabitants of the town relative to present affairs, a committee of three persons were appointed to confer with them, and report the message to the meeting. The persons appointed were George Wallace, H. H. Brackenridge, and John Wilkins, Jr. These gentlemen made a report to the meeting, to wit: That in consequence of certain letters sent by the last mail, certain persons were discovered as advocates of the excise law, and enemies to the interests of the country, end that a certain Edward Day, James Bryson, and Abraham Kirkpatrick were particularly obnoxious, and that it was expected by the country that they should be dismissed without delay; whereupon it was resolved it should be done, and a committee of twenty-one were appointed to see this resolution carried into effect.
"Also that whereas it is apart of the message from the gentlemen of Worthington, that a great body of the people of the country will meet tomorrow at Braddock's Field, in order to carry into effect measures that may seem to them advisable with respect to the excise law, and the advocates of it.
" Resolved, That the above committee shall, at an early hoar, wait upon the people on the ground, and assure the people that the above resolution, with respect to the proscribed persons, has been carried into effect.
"Resolved, also, That the inhabitants of the town shall march out and join the people on Braddock's Field, as brethren, to carry into effect with them any measure that may seem to them advisable for the common cause.
"Resolved, also, That we shall be watchful among ourselves of all char-actors that, by word or act, may be unfriendly to the common cause; and, when discovered, will not suffer them to live amongst us, but they shall instantly depart the town.
"Resolved, That the town committee shall exist as a committee of information and correspondence as an organ of our sentiments until our next town meeting. And that whereas, a general meeting of delegates from the townships of the country on the west of the mountains will be held at Parkinson's Ferry on the Monongahela on the 14th of Animist next,
"Resolved, That delegates shall be appointed to that meeting, and that the 9th of August next be appointed for a town meeting to elect such delegates.
" Resolved, also, that a number of handbills be struck off at the expense of the committee, and distributed among the inhabitants of the town, that they may conduct themselves accordingly."
Immediately after the passage of these resolutions the people dispersed. The committee of twenty-one at once warned Kirkpatrick, Bryson, and Day to leave
² Penn. Archives, vol. iv. pp. 79-80.
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the town,¹ and also placed the proceedings of the meeting in the hands of John Scull, proprietor of the Pittsburgh Gazette, with orders to print six hundred copies, adding to the resolutions the certificate of the committee that the proscribed persons had already been warned, and had complied by leaving the town. The printed handbills to this effect were placed in the hands of the Washington committee to be distributed among the people at the rendezvous.
The people of Pittsburgh had done all in their power to appease the wrath which was held against them by a large proportion of the insurgents and those sympathizing with them among the inhabitants of the four counties (particularly those of Allegheny and Washington), but there was little sleep in the town that night, and all looked forward with dread to the morrow, which was more than likely to close on the smoking ruins of their homes.
At Braddock's Field on the appointed day there gathered a vast and excited multitude (variously estimated at from five thousand to eight thousand men), of whom a large proportion were militiamen and volunteers under arms. More than half of those present were men of Washington County, as were nearly all of the principal leaders. Among the great throng of persons assembled there, very few were favorable to the government and to the execution of the *law. Such as were there of this class had come to the rendezvous lest their absence might be made a cause for proscription.² But they were compelled,
¹ No compulsion was necessary to induce the obnoxious persons to leave Pittsburgh, as demanded by the insurrectionists ; but it afterwards appeared that they did not withdraw to any great distance, or go with any intention of remaining long away. "It was agreed," says H. M. Brackenridge, "that the proscribed should leave the town ostensibly as if banished, and that these who remained behind, some of whom would have been banished also, should put on a mask of being with the mob called the people, and the insurgents at Braddock's Field. . .
“Two days after the alarming march of the Whiskey Boys from Braddock's Field, it was rumored that Kirkpatrick had been seen in town. This rumor was traced to one of the inhabitants, on which the committee was called upon to inquire of that person, and to admonish him, in case he had circulated a false report. As the committee was assembling, Major Craig and Col. Neville were met coming from the garrison, and on being interrogated, acknowledged that Kirkpatrick was then in the garrison, having returned to town. The fact caused indignation in the committee ; they considered themselves ill used, after the exertions they had made to save Kirkpatrick, and the dangers to which they had been exposed on his account and that of his connections, and resolved that Craig and Neville should be seized in his stead. The former returned to the garrison; the latter came before the committee . . . and stated that Kirkpatrick had returned for want of an escort, having been dogged by a party from whom his life was in danger. The committee undertook to furnish the escort, which was done; and ho escaped by a circuitous way, until he reached the mountains, where he took the direct road to Philadelphia.
" Edward Day had gone down the river; Bryson was concealed a few days at the house of Robert Galbraith, Esq., the prosecuting attorney, who resided a few miles out of town. The country getting wind of it, collected in a mob, and surrounded the house at night, and insisted on searching, but in the mean time he had left the place. Gibson and Neville, at the instance of the Pittsburgh committee at Braddock's Field, had been allowed ten days to prepare for their departure, with passports for their security."—History of the Western Insurrection.
² Mr. Brackenridge, in describing the general feeling prevailing at that time throughout, the western counties, says, "A breath in favor of the law was sufficient to ruin any man. Is was considered as a badge of
out of regard for their personal safety, to conceal their real sentiments; and some of them had even assumed the role of leaders, for the purpose (as they said afterwards when the insurrection had been crushed) of gaining the confidence of the disaffected multitude, and then by organization and judicious management to restrain them from proceeding to outrage and rebellion. The Hon. Hugh H. Brackenridge was one of these, and there were some among the Washington County leaders whose course has been similarly explained. There were also present at Braddock's`Field on this occasion some who went there merely as spectators, without any strong feeling on either side; but by far the greater part were in full sympathy with the insurgent cause. Mr. Brackenridge, who was a member of the Pittsburgh committee and marched with them to the field in accordance with the resolutions of the meeting above mentioned, gave the following description of what he saw there on the memorable first and second days of August :
" The ground where Braddock fought is on the east side (right bank) of the Monongahela, and on the same side with the town of Pittsburgh. The militia from Washington had therefore to cross the river in order to come upon the ground. They had crossed in great numbers at the same ford where Braddock did, and were now on the ground. They were dressed in what we call hunting-shirts, many of them with handkerchiefs on their heads ; it is in this dress they equipped themselves against the Indians. They were amusing themselves with shooting with balls at marks, and firing in the air at random with powder only. There was a continual discharge of guns, and constant smoke in the woods and along the bank of the river. There appeared great wantonness of mind, and a disposition to do anything extravagant. We [the Pittsburgh committee] had advanced within the camp, as it was called, when the committee halted, and waited for Gen. Wilkins at the head of the Pith-burgh militia to approach. I saw him march by us, and discovered in his countenance a sufficient evidence of a sense of danger. Though I knew him to be a man of great personal intrepidity, yet I did not wonder at his apprehensions. Nothing but his appearing at the head of the militia could have saved him. I was thinking of his danger, when I turned my head a moment and was struck with the sight of the very man I was most afraid of, Andrew McFarlane I brother of James McFarlane, who was killed at the burning of Gen. Neville's house], just by me. He was dressed in a blue coat, with a dark visage, lowering countenance, and a rifle in his hand, looking at me. I
Toryism. A clergyman was not thought orthodox in the pulpit unless against the law. A physician was not capable of administering medicine unless his principles were right in this respect. A lawyer could have got no practice without at least concealing his sentiments if for the law, nor could a merchant at a country store get custom. On the contrary, to talk against the law was the way to office and emolument. To go to the Legislature or to Congress you must make a noise against it. It was the Shibboleth of safety, and the ladder of ambition."
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eyed him in my turn, but did not venture to speak. . . . After some time he turned about and went away. The next object that arrested my attention was Bradford walking before a number of battalions that had just crossed the river, and were ranged on the bank to be viewed by him. . . .
"Having been some time on the ground I fell in with Benjamin Parkinson. . . . He was in a group of men whom I knew to be warm in the cause. . . . All or most of them had been at the conflagration of the house of the Inspector. . . . They sat in a group on the ground, each with his rifle in his hand, or lying by him. I sat with them: The conversation turned upon the burning of the house, and they expressed great rage against Kirkpatrick, who had been the cause of burning it, and of the death of James McFarlane, by his refusing to let the house be searched for the Inspector's commission and papers. They expressed resentment against Major Butler for sending out soldiers to the house of the Inspector. They had inquired for Ormsby, who had accompanied Neville, the younger, and the Marshal from Pittsburgh. I said he was upon the ground, but was scarcely worth looking after. . . . I did not know that in the mean time the young man had been on the point of assassination. Fifteen men had painted themselves black as the Indian warriors do when they go to war. They had gone in search of Ormsby. Zedick [Enoch ?] Wright, of Peters Creek, had discovered it, and having a good will for the family, or from motives of humanity, made haste to give him the intelligence of it, a few minutes, not a quarter of an hour, when they were seen to pass by openly in pursuit of him. He made his way to Pittsburgh in the course of the day by devious routes, and lay concealed in the barracks of the old garrison until the whole cavalcade was over.
"People were coming in from every quarter all that day, generally armed, but some without arms. It was impossible to know the real sentiments of almost any one amongst the multitude, how far they were there from necessity or of choice. Every man was afraid of the opinions of another. Sometimes a word dropped, which might be construed away if not well taken, would lead to a confidence. The great bulk of the people were certainly in earnest, and the revolutionary language and the ideas of the French people had become familiar. It was not tarring and feathering as at the commencement of the Revolution from Great Britain, but guillotining,—that is, putting to death by any way that offered. I am persuaded that if even Bradford himself that day had ventured to check the violence of the people in any way that was not agreeable to them, and had betrayed the least partiality for the excise law, or perhaps even of a remission of his zeal against it, he would have sunk in an instant from his power, and they would have hung him on the first tree. . . . Certain it is that his influence was great. I saw a man wade into the river, lift cold water from the bottom of the channel, and bring it in his bat to him to drink. Applications were made to him that day for commissions in the service.¹ Nevertheless, whatever his idea might have been, he would have seen the extent of his power if he had ventured to tell the people that they should return without going to Pittsburgh. It was the object of all men who were apprehensive of the consequences to dissuade from this, but it appeared doubtful through the whole day whether or not it was practicable. It was afterwards found that it was not."
The troops bivouacked for the night upon the mustering-ground, and when the shadows of evening fell hundreds of fires blazed brightly in the woods and along the slopes of the historic field. The men stretched themselves in careless comfort on their blankets or upon the bare ground. Many were hilarious, and all were good-humored and cheerful, except the Pittsburgh people, who still felt great anxiety in view of what might be the fate of their town on the morrow. Besides this they had another source of discomfort in the fact that, not having come with the expectation of remaining overnight, they brought no provisions with them, and were consequently suffering from hunger. Some of the Pittsburghers attempted (notwithstanding the order that all should remain on the ground through the night) to steal away and return to town to procure food, but as they were still regarded with suspicion their movements were closely watched, and they were compelled to remain. "In the evening," said John Wilkins, of Pittsburgh,² "I intended coming to town, and met with some of my neighbors who wished the same; we came as far as Judge Wallace's. A man cape after and acquainted us that no man should go to Pittsburgh that night,—another severe stroke. However, the order must be obeyed. I then got into a farmhouse for the night." They were told that, for their own safety, as well as that of their town, they must stay at the rendezvous no matter how hungry they might be, for if their absence was discovered they would be suspected of deserting the cause, and the consequences would be serious. At the time when the party attempted to leave and return to town the fact was immediately noticed, and a clamor raised§ but Col. Marshel, who was friendly to them, sent a messenger to order them back, and when they had returned he and a few others took care to let the fact be known among the men in all the battalions.
¹ “David Bradford assumed the office of major-general; mounted on superb horse in splendid trappings, arrayed in full martial uniform. with plumes floating in the air and sword drawn, he rode over the ground, gave orders to the military, and harangued the multitude. Never was mortal man more flattered than wee David Bradford on Braddock's Field. Everything depended on his will. The insurgents adored him, paid him the most servile homage in order to be able to control and manage him."—Carnahan.
² In a letter to Gen. Irvine, dated Aug. 19, 1794; Penn. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. pp. 168-72.
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"About midnight," says Brackenridge, "I rode through the camp where the people were lying at the fires in their blankets or without. I made a pretense of inquiring for the Pittsburgh battalion, and with this in view at the same time to let them know the Pittsburgh people were still on the ground. My principal object was to ascertain the determination of the people with regard to their coming to Pittsburgh. I found the universal sentiment to be that they would see the town. There was little sleep in the camp. The firing and shouting had ceased, but there was a continued conversation.
" Passing on to a range of fires, I found Hamilton's battalion [composed of the Mingo Creek men]. This had arrived late in the evening. It had been long expected, and was called the ' bloody battalion.' The greatest part of it had been at the burning of the Inspector's house. We expected desperate measures when these came. It was commanded by John Hamilton, a man very moderate and reasonable, and who was disposed to restrain the people from acts of violence, and with that view had come with them. David Hamilton, his cousin, was the first that accosted me, and wishing to serve me with the people, called out, ' This is a true Whig, but what do you think of that d—d fellow, James Ross? He has been here, and all through the camp, persuading the people not to go to Pittsburgh.' . . . Returning to a farm-house just by the camp, where some of our committee were, I communicated the result of my observations. Some of them had been through the camp in the same manner, and had the same impressions that I bad with regard to the impossibility of preventing the people from coming to town."
At an early hour on the following morning a council of officers was called, and a committee of three persons from each battalion chosen to say what should be done. The committee retired to a grove and organized, with Col. Edward Cook as chairman. They were harangued by Bradford, who put the question what was to be done with certain objectionable persons who still remained in Pittsburgh,—Maj. Butler, commandant of the garrison, Gen. Gibson, Maj. Isaac Craig, and others. It was decided to take no action against Majs. Butler and Craig until the Parkinson's Ferry meeting, to be held on the 14th. The deliberations of the committee were interfered with by a great crowd of people who gathered around them. These began to grow impatient when-the cases of Craig and Butler were under consideration, and plainly informed the committee that they should take the matter into their own hands if there was much more delay. Then Bradford at once proposed that the entire body should march to Pittsburgh, and in this he was seconded by Brackenridge, who, despairing of success in opposition to the project, conceived the idea of guiding and controlling the lawless movement by apparent acquiescence. " Yes," said he, "by all means let us go, if for no other reason than to give a proof to our opponents that we are capable of maintaining the strictest order, and of refraining from all excesses. Let us march through the town, muster on the banks of the Monongahela, take a little whiskey with the people, and then move the troops across the river." The plan was adopted. Officers were appointed,—David Bradford and Edward Cook, generals, and Col. Gabriel Blakeney, officer of the day,—and under their command the entire body moved over the Monongahela road to Pittsburgh, Brackenridge leading the column as guide, on account of his knowledge of the country and the roads.
As soon as it was fully decided that the troops should march to Pittsburgh, and some time before the column was formed and put in motion, Bradford very thoughtfully sent the Pittsburgh committee forward to notify the people of the movement. One of those who went in advance for this purpose was John Wilkins, who, in the letter before quoted from, says, "I did not go into camp [from the farm-house where he bad passed the preceding night] until nine o'clock Saturday morning; the first orders I received were that the committee of twenty-one must go immediately to town, and acquaint the women, etc., that the army was determined to march into town, but that they were coming in peace; that all stores and taverns should be shut, and no liquors sold to the men, but that if any refreshments were given by the inhabitants, it must be carried to the place where the men would halt on the commons; as also to procure all the craft and bring them to a certain part of the river in order to carry the men over the Monongahela. I was one of the first five who reached town; we first called on Major Butler, and informed him that the men were all marching into town, that they intended no harm either to him or the town, but only wished to show themselves, then march every man to his own home.
" We had scarce finished our instructions until the front appeared. I then rode to a place where I could see the length of the line. They marched in film, and in good order, leaving a small space in between each Battalion. They appeared to be upwards of two and a half-miles long, and by the space of ground they took up there might be between five and six thousand, some said seven or eight thousand. A great number of people left them at Braddock's Field ; one Battalion from Westmoreland went from thence in a body."
The insurgent column (in reality numbering fully four thousand five hundred men) entered Pittsburgh at a little after twelve o'clock, and marching down the main street of the town (keeping out of sight of the fort) " halted at the large flat of ground opposite Maine house." The inhabitants were terror-stricken, but exerted themselves to the utmost to please their unwelcome guests, many of them setting before their doors tables covered with such refreshments as they had at command. The committee had ordered the
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taverns Closed, but the landlords were called on, and willingly set out their whiskey free of charge. Large quantities of liquor were furnished by others of the inhabitants, and H. H. Brackenridge said the amount furnished by him individually was four barrels. "I thought it better," he says, "to be employed in extinguishing the fire of their throats than of my house, and most other persons thought in the same manner."
Immediately after the entrance of the army into the town the men of the Pittsburgh battalion (who marched in the rear) left their places, and set themselves actively at work carrying water to the place where the other troops were halted. " Members of the committee," says Brackenridge, "set the example by carrying water and whiskey to these ' Whiskey Boys,' as they have since been called." It appears that there was liquor in plenty, and furnished without stint. The quantity consumed by four thousand five hundred thirsty and excited men must have been enormous, and it is a wonder that in their semi-intoxication they could have been prevented from firing the town, as had been so freely threatened. But this desirable object was accomplished, and beyond the thorough frightening of the inhabitants very little serious damage was done during the brief stay of the " army."
There were some of the leaders (in fact, nearly all of them) who did not wish to have the town destroyed. It is certain that Major-General Bradford was of this number, for if he had wished to see it burned, the lightest word from him would have 'caused the torch to be applied. Another, Col. James Marshel, of Washington, was in an agony of mind, fearing that it would be done by the half-drunken riflemen in spite of his efforts to prevent it. He with others co-operated most earnestly with the leading people of Pittsburgh to get the troops across the Monongahela to the south side as soon as possible. If the water had been high it would have taken many hours to cross them, for only three or four flat-boats could be collected from the ferries as a means of transportation; but the river was at so low a stage that it could be forded by the mounted men, who formed the greater part of the army. These were piloted across by H. H. Brackenridge, who knew the fording-place, a short distance above the mouth of the Allegheny. Meanwhile, the few boats were being used for the transportation of the infantry, and before sunset nearly the entire army had been crossed in safety to the south side of the Monongahela. The boats were returned to the north side, and the citizens of Pittsburgh breathed freer, though their apprehensions were by no means entirely removed, for there still remained on the north side nearly two hundred of the insurgents, who could not be induced to cross the river, being determined to remain overnight in the town, and any commotion raised or shots fired by these, indicating, as it would, a collision between them and the citizens, would cause the horsemen of the main body to return from the
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south side, in which case the consequences would doubtless have been deplorable.
During the night the men who were on the south side of the river set fire to the buildings of Maj. Kirkpatrick, on the bluff opposite Pittsburgh, and succeeded in destroying his barn at that place, though the dwelling was saved. Meanwhile a part of the men not included in the body which had been enticed across the Monongahela had become somewhat riotous in Pittsburgh, and set fire to the town residence of Maj. Kirkpatrick. It had been their intention to destroy his house, as well as those of Neville, Gibson, and others, but the consummation of this design had been prevented, largely by the interference of Col. Marshel, Col. Edward Cook,¹ and Andrew McFarlane, brother of Maj. McFarlane, who was killed in the attack on Neville's house at Bower Hill, two weeks before. A company dressed in butternut-dyed hunting-shirts and under command of a Capt. Riddle were foremost in this attempt to burn Kirkpatrick's house. If they had succeeded in it, there is little doubt that the principal part of the town would have been burned ; but after the quelling of this outbreak the night passed without any further disturbance. In the following morning the main body of the host that had bivouacked on the opposite side of the Monongahela marched southward from the river, and long before sunset on that Sabbath-day the last stragglers of the rearmost bands had crossed the stream from Pittsburgh and disappeared from the vicinity.
An account of the turbulent proceedings at Braddock's Field and Pittsburgh was forwarded without delay to the State and national authorities, and on the 7th of August the President of the United States .issued a proclamation, reciting in its preamble that "combinations to defeat the execution of the laws laying duties upon spirits distilled within the United States, and upon stills, have from the time of the commencement of those laws existed in some of the western parts of Pennsylvania, . . . that many persons in the said western parts of Pennsylvania have at length been hardy enough to perpetrate acts which I am advised amount to treason, being overt acts of levying war against the United States," and com-
¹ Concerning this affair, the following card was published in the Pittsburgh Gazette: "We, the undersigned, on behalf of ourselves and the great body of the column that marched from Braddock's Field on the 3d of August, 1794, think it necessary to express our disapprobation of the disorderly proceeding of those of the troops who were concerned in setting fire to the house of Abraham Kirkpatrick, on the hill opposite the town of Pittsburgh, also of the attempt made by others of burning his house in the town, as these acts were not within the sentence of the committee of volunteers in Braddock's Field, and therefore there could be no authority for carrying them into effect. We consider it as blemish on the good order of the march of the column through the town of Pittsburgh and, their cantonment in the neighborhood of it. It has been endeavored to be removed as much as possible by repaying the tenant of Kirkpatrick's his damages." The signatures to this card of explanation and disclaimer were headed by that of Edward Cook, which was followed by those of Col. Marshal and thirteen others prominent in the insurrection.
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manding "all persons being insurgents, as aforesaid, and all others whom it may concern," to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes on or before the 1st of September following ; moreover, warning all persons "against aiding, abetting, or comforting the perpetrators of the aforesaid treasonable acts, and requiring all officers and other citizens, according to their respective duties and the laws of the land, to exert their utmost endeavors to prevent and suppress such dangerous proceedings." At the same time the President called for troops to be raised and equipped in the States of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey, and to be held in readiness to march at shortest notice, for the purpose of suppressing the insurrection and enforcing the law. The quotas of the States were assigned as follows :
On the same day Governor Mifflin, of Pennsylvania, issued his proclamation directing that the State's quota of men be armed and equipped as speedily as possible, " and to be held in readiness to march at a moment's warning," and a second proclamation was issued calling together the Assembly of the State in special session. Previously (on the 6th of August) the Governor had appointed Chief Justice McKean and Gen. William Irvine to proceed immediately to the disaffected counties, to ascertain the facts in reference to the recent acts of violence and lawless gatherings, and, if practicable, to induce the people to submit to the law.
The President, on the day next following the issuance of his proclamation, appointed James Ross, United States senator, Jasper Yeates, associate judge Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and William Bradford, Attorney-General of the United States, commissioners on the part of the United States, with full instructions and ample powers, to repair forthwith to the western counties, for the purpose of conferring, at their discretion, with individuals or bodies of men, "in order to quiet and extinguish the insurrection."
The call for a meeting of delegates from the townships of the four western counties of Pennsylvania and the neighboring counties 'of Virginia, adopted and issued by the Mingo Creek meeting of July 23d, has been mentioned. This was supplemented by another call, issued by Maj.-Gen. Bradford at Braddock's Field on the 1st of August, in the following circular letter:¹
¹ "Immediately after the Mingo Creek meeting, Bradford wrote to the principal persons in the neighboring counties of Virginia, pressing them in the most urgent manner to send delegates to the meeting which was appointed to be held at Parkinson's. Ferry. His sending this letter, and the style in which it was written, indubitably proves the improvement
"To the Inhabitants of Monongahela, Virginia:
" GENTLEMEN, —I presume you have heard of the spirited opposition given to the excise law in this State. Matters have been so brought to pass here that all are under the necessity of bringing their minds to a final conclusion. This has been the question amongst us some days, Shall we disapprove of the conduct of those engaged against Neville, the excise officer, or approve?' Or, in other words, 'Shall we suffer them to fall a sacrifice to Federal persecution, or shall we support them ?' On the result of this business we have fully deliberated, and have determined, with head, heart, hand, and voice, that we will support the opposition to the excise law. The crisis is now come, submission or opposition : we are determined in the opposition. We are determined in future to act agreeably to system ; to form arrangements guided by reason, prudence, fortitude, and spirited conduct. We have proposed a general meeting of the four counties of Pennsylvania, and have invited our brethren in the neighboring counties in Virginia to come forward and join us in council and deliberation in this important crisis, and conclude upon measures interesting to the western counties of Pennsylvania and Virginia. A notification of this kind may be seen in the Pittsburgh paper. Parkinson's Ferry is the place proposed as the most central, and the 14th of August the time. We solicit you by all the ties that an union of interests can suggest to come forward and join us in our deliberations. The cause is common to us all. We invite you to come, even should you differ with us in opinion. We wish you to hear our reasons influencing our conduct."
The events of the first days of August at Braddock's Field and Pittsburgh and of the two or three succeeding weeks seemed to mark the culmination of the popular frenzy on the subject of the excise law, and from the 15th of July to the last of August was the period of the greatest excitement that exhibited itself during the insurrection. During the interval of time between the great muster at Braddock's and the day appointed for the meeting at Parkinson's Ferry, great numbers of "liberty-poles" were erected by the insurgents in various parts of the four counties, and upon these were hoisted flags, bearing such inscriptions as "DEATH TO TRAITORS," "LIBERTY AND No EXCISE." Few persons were found hardy enough to refuse assistance in the' erection of these poles, for to do so was to be branded as an enemy to the cause, and a fit subject for the vengeance of Tom the Tinker. One of these "liberty-pole" was erected in the town
he designed to make of the Parkinson congress. His robbing the mail and directing the rendezvous at Braddock's Field were calculated to inflame the minds of the people previously to that meeting and increase the number of those who would be rendered desperate by their Crimea In this he was but too successful, . . . and by these means the infatuation was vastly extended, and the number of offenses was increased after the meeting at Mingo Creek, and before that at Parkinson's Ferry."—Findley.
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of Washington on the 24th of August, its raising being attended by scenes of great excitement and commotion. Similar poles were erected at about the same time at a great number of places in different parts of the county. They stood, bearing their threatening flags and inscriptions, until the tide of insurrection began to turn before the menace of military force, and then those who had raised them were glad enough to see them fall, and to deny all agency in their erection.
On the 14th of August, according to appointment, the meeting of delegates from the several counties was opened at Parkinson's Ferry (now Monongahela City), the place of meeting being near the river-bank " on an eminence under the shade of trees,"¹ near which had just been erected a tall liberty-pole, from which floated a flag bearing the inscription, "Equal Taxation and no Excise—No Asylum for Traitors and Cowards." There were two hundred and twenty-six delegates present, of whom ninety-three (more than two-fifths of the whole number) were from the townships of Washington County, forty-three from Allegheny, forty-nine from Westmoreland, thirty-three from Fayette, two from Bedford, and six from Ohio County, Va. Gathered around the delegates as they sat in convention was a greater number of spectators, many of them armed.
The meeting was organized by the appointment of Col. Edward Cook and the Hon. Albert Gallatin, both of Fayette County, respectively as chairman and secretary. The proceedings were opened by a speech from David Bradford, in which he rehearsed the events which had occurred,—the coming of Marshal Lenox; the service of the writs; the attack on and destruction of Gen. Neville's house, and the death of McFarlane; the meeting at Mingo Creek; the great mustering of the clans at Braddock's Field; the march through Pittsburgh, and the expulsion from that town of the proscribed persons, at the latter point reading the objectionable letters which had been intercepted, commenting on their contents in severest terms, and in general advocating extreme measures against those who were recreant enough to side with the government by assisting or approving the execution of the laws. This speech was followed by another from Col. Marshel, which was less extreme but yet firm in support of the insurrection and its purposes.
At the time when the meeting convened, the proclamations of the President and Governor Mifflin had not been received, and neither the commissioners for the State nor those for the United States had made their appearance or been heard from, but during the proceedings there came news of the calling out of the troops, that the two delegations were on their way from Philadelphia, and that two of the United States
¹ H. M. Brackenridge says, "The place was an open field on the banks of the river with fallen timber and stumps, with a few shade-trees instead of buildings for the accommodation of this important assembly, whose deliberations might be attended with the most serious consequences for good or evil."
commissioners had just arrived at Greensburg.² The receipt of this intelligence marked the culminating point of the insurrection. It fell like a thunderbolt on those assembled at Parkinson's Ferry, and the fact became at once apparent that a reaction had commenced, and that the tide of opinion had, with nearly all the leaders, begun to set against the adoption of violent measures.
It was claimed for some of those who at this meeting developed a strong opposition to the plans of Bradford and other extremists that their (course was prompted by the same desire which had at first induced them to range themselves among the disaffected,—that of appearing to assume leadership for the purpose of curbing the lawless element, and diverting its energies from the track leading to open violence and rebellion. But there is little doubt that their action at this time was in no small degree due to their late realization of the fact that the United States government had resolved to put down lawlessness at whatever cost, that it would exert all its powers, if necessary, to enforce obedience, and that as against that power the cause of the insurrectionists was hopeless. Brackenridge, an able and far-sighted man, had realized from the first that this result was probable, and in his connection with the insurgent movement, all his acts had been done, and all his speeches made, in a manner to admit of a double interpretation, so as to allow him to keep his popularity with the insurrectionists, and yet not compromise him with the government. Gallatin, a wily and prudent man, had foreseen that such might be the result, and his course had been much the same, though less adroit than that of Brackenridge. Findley was a time-server, and with all his bitterness against the administration of Washington, and all his love of office and popularity, he was careful to avoid advancing to a point from which he would be unable to recede. But nearly all the other leaders believed, or appeared by their actions to believe, that their combination was extensive and strong enough to defy the government and force it to terms, but when the announcement was made that the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary armies had invoked the military power to crush them, they were in a single hour awakened from their delusion, and the cry which before had been a l'outrance was now sauve qui peut, though each one was careful to conceal his misgivings from the others.
2 In a letter written by William Findley to Secretary Dallas, dated Ang. 23, 1794, he mentions that he was present at the meeting at Parkinson's, and says, "Messrs. Yates and Bradford cams to Greensburg the morning of the meeting, and wrote by express to me of their pacific intentions and authority, which being communicated to the meeting had a salutary effect, and a committee of discreet men were appointed to confer with the commissioners at Pittsburgh, but unfortunately the newspapers came next morning with the President's proclamation and the orders for an armed force as a substitute for judicial proceedings; this irritated and inflamed those even who had been formerly moderate and regular, and greatly increased the difficulty of accommodation."
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Col. James Marshel, who in the first of the meeting had introduced a series of very strong resolutions, was thoroughly subdued by the alarming news from the East, "and from that moment," says Brackenridge, "he acted with the friends of the government with sincerity." Bradford alone, of all the leaders, stood defiant, even more so than before. In a fiery speech , he demanded that measures be taken to prepare for repelling " invasion," declaring in effect that a show of vigorous military preparation would be sure to overawe the government and enable them to dictate their own terms. His speech found no favor with any of the other leaders, and was replied to in opposition by several of them; but the insurgent rank and file who were present, sided with him almost unanimously. "I lay that night," says H. H. Brackenridge, "at a farm-house in the neighborhood, with a hundred or more of the gallery spectators and of the assembly about me; the whole cry was war."
At the reassembling of the meeting on the morning of the 15th of August, a committee composed of Albert Gallatin, H. H. Brackenridge, and Herman Husbands, of Bedford County, who had been appointed to remodel the resolutions previously offered by Col. James Marshel, submitted the result of their labors, which was read before the meeting and afterwards passed, though somewhat modified. During the forenoon the United States commissioners came to a house not far from the place of meeting, which, as Findley says, " rendered the situation of the friends of order more delicate," which means that they were so placed that if they flocked to the commissioners, each one anxious to have the first word, and to record himself as a " friend of order," the fact would at once be known to the body of the insurgents, and a loss of popularity would be the result ; whereas if they kept aloof from the commissioners it might place the ban of the government upon them as obdurate adherents to the insurgent cause. Most of them, however, forgot in their fears, all considerations of popularity with the masses, and the hopes of future election to office, and some of them insisted that the meeting should never adjourn until terms had been made with the commissioners, but this result was not accomplished.
The resolutions reported by the committee were passed in a modified form as before stated. The second of the series provided for the appointment of a standing committee, to consist of one member from each township, charged with various duties, among which was the drafting of a remonstrance to Congress, praying for a repeal of the excise law. They were also "to have power to call together a meeting, either of a new representation of the people or of the deputies here convened, for the purpose of taking such further measures as the future situation of affairs may require; and in case of any sudden emergency to take such temporary measures as they may think necessary." The closing resolution was to this effect, "That a committee, to consist of three members from each county, be appointed to meet any commissioners that have been or may be appointed by the government, and report the result of this conference to the standing committee." The standing committee (consisting of sixty persons) met, and appointed the committee to meet the commissioners of the United States and those of Pennsylvania, as provided by the final resolution. This committee of conference was composed as follows :
For Washington County : David Bradford, James Marshel, and James Edgar.
For Allegheny County : Hugh H. Brackenridge, Thomas Moreton, and John B. C. Lucas.
For Fayette County : Albert Gallatin, Edward Cook, and James Lang.
For Westmoreland County: John Kirkpatrick, George Smith, and John Powers.
For Bedford County : Herman Husbands.
For Ohio County, Va., William Sutherland.
The meeting of the delegates at Parkinson's Ferry adjourned at two o'clock P.M. on the 15th of August. The Committee of Sixty, after having appointed and instructed the committee of conference, adjourned to meet at Redstone Old Fort (Brownsville) on the 2d of September.
The commissioners for the State arrived at Pittsburgh on the 17th of August, and those appointed by the President came immediately afterwards. On the 20th the two bodies met the committee of conference which was appointed at Parkinson's Ferry. At this meeting preliminary proceedings were taken, which resulted in propositions by both bodies of commissioners, who declared explicitly that the exercise of the powers vested in them to suspend prosecutions, and to promise a general amnesty and pardon for past offenses, "must be preceded by full and satisfactory assurances of a sincere determination in the people to obey the laws of the United States." The members of the committee who took the most prominent part in the proceedings were Bradford and Marshel, of Washington; Gallatin and Cook, of Fayette; and Brackenridge, of Allegheny County. All these, with the exception of Bradford, were in favor of acceding to the propositions of the commissioners, and this was found to be the sense of the committee; but they had no power to act, further than to report the result of the conference to the standing Committee of Sixty. That committee had adjourned to meet at Redstone Old Fort on the 2d of September, as before mentioned, but upon the conclusion of the conference with the commissioners at Pittsburgh the time of their meeting was changed and made five days earlier,¹ though this change
¹ Following are extracts from a communication addressed by the committee of conference to the United States commissioners:
"PIITSBURGH, Aug. 22,1794.
" GENTLEMEN,—Having in our conference at considerable length stated to you the grounds of that discontent which exists in the minds of the people of this country, and which has lately shown itself in acts of opposition to the excise law, you will consider uses waiving any question
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of time gave great offense to Bradford and other extremists. The change of time was made in deference to one of the conditions imposed by the commissioners, viz.: " It is expected and required by the said commissioners that the citizens composing the said standing committee do, on or before the first day of September next, explicitly declare their determination to submit to the laws of the United States, and that they will not, directly or indirectly, oppose the execution of the acts for raising a revenue on distilled spirits and stills."
Accordingly, on the 28th of August, the standing committee (the "Committee of Sixty") met at Redstone Old Fort (Brownsville), to receive and act upon the report of the committee of conference. Of the sixty members of the committee, fifty-seven were in attendance, of whom twenty-three were from Washington County, thirty from the three counties of Westmoreland, Allegheny, and Fayette, one from Bedford, and three from Ohio County, Va. While the members of the committee were assembling a large military company crossed the Monongahela from the western side, by John Krepps' ferry, to the site of the present town of Bridgeport, then crossed Dunlap's Creek to the Old Fort. The company consisted of about seventy men on foot, all fully armed,
of the constitutional power of the President to call upon the force of the Union to suppress them. It is our object, as it is yours, to compose the disturbance. . . . We have already stated to you in conference that we are empowered to give you no definite answer with regard to the sense of the people on the great question of acceding to the law, but that in our opinion it is the interest of the country to accede, and that we shall make this report to the committee to whom we are to report, and state to them the reasons of our opinion, that so far as they have weight they may be regarded by them. It will be our endeavor to conciliate not only them, but the public mind in general to our views on this subject. We hope to be assisted by you in giving all that extent and precision, clearness and certainty to your propositions that may be necessary to satisfy the understandings and engage the acquiescence of the people. . . . As we are disposed, with you, to have the sense of the people taken on the subject of our conference as speedily as may be, with that view we have resolved to call the committee to whom our report is to be made at an earlier day than had been appointed, to wit, on Thursday. the 28th instant, but have not thought ourselves authorized in changing the place at Redstone Old Fort, on the Monongahela.
"By order of the Committee,
" EDWARD COOK, Chairman."
—Papers Relating to the Whiskey Insurrection, Pennsylvania Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. pp. 190, 191.
Less conciliatory but more curious was the reply of the Ohio County (Va.) committee to the United States commissioners, viz.:
"PITTSBURGH, Aug. 23, 1794.
"GENTL—Having Considered your Letter of this Date since the Departure of the speachel Comatie delegated from Westmoreland, Washington, Featt & Aleganie countis, in Pensilvenea, & Considering our Selves a Justifyable representation of those inhabtents of Ohio County by whome we were deligated, & a part of that speachell Comitie to whom your proposals wear mead and Accepted yesterday, and the day posding and relying on the faith aledy pledged by you and Accepted by the Speachell Comatee, we d'clin entering any further on this Bussens, un-tell we Consult our Constaituents & the Cometee of Safety.
“We are, Gentl., with esteem,
"Your most Obed. Humble Serv't,
" ROBERT STEPHENSON,
" WILLIAM SUTHERLAND,
" Wm. McKINLEY."
—ibid., p. 203.
and some of them dressed in a kind of military uniform, and fifteen or twenty horsemen also fully armed, and all in the uniform of the day and region, the principal garment of which was the omnipresent hunting-shirt. The entire company, which was under command of Capt. Crawford, of Muddy Creek, was made up of men from that section of Washington County. They attended the meeting for the purpose of showing their sympathy with the insurrection and their defiance of the government, and to administer chastisement to Samuel Jackson,¹ of Fayette County, for having (as was reported) applied a contemptuous epithet to the August Committee of Sixty, otherwise styled by their adherents the " Committee of Safety." As they paraded the single street of the place they made quite a formidable appearance, and contributed no little towards keeping up the excitement and spirit of defiance among the mass of people; but it had no such effect on the leaders, for nearly all of them were thoroughly cowed and resolved on submission, making the best terms possible for themselves. Judge Alexander Addison said² "that the minds of all men appeared to be strongly impressed with a sense of the critical situation of the country, and the minds of almost all with a fear of opposing the current of the popular opinion," and that "these impressions were greatly increased by the appearance of a body of armed men assembled there from Muddy Creek, in Washington County." The armed party remained at Brownsville until night, when they were prevailed on by the more prudent of the leaders to recross the river and return to their homes ; but Findley says that during their stay at Brownsville, "by their presence and threats, they overawed the meeting."
The business of the meeting was opened by the submission of the conference committee's report and a speech upon it by Mr. Gallatin, who urged the adoption of a resolution in acceptance of the terms offered by the commissioners, and set forth the dan-
¹ Samuel Jackson was a Quaker of great respectability, a man of some wealth, and in part owner of a paper-mill on Redstone Creek. He was conscientiously opposed to the use and manufacture of whiskey, and naturally sided against the insurgents. This caused them to regard him as a foe, and the enmity was increased by a remark which he had made concerning the meeting at Parkinson's Ferry, calling it a "serub cote. grass." It was for this offense that the Muddy Creek men now visited him, took him prisoner, marched him to Brownsville, and arraigned him before the Committee of Sixty. Violence might and probably would have been done him but for the interposition of Judge Brackenridge, a member of the committee, but an acquaintance and personal friend of Mr. Jackson. On the appearance of the latter the judge took the matter into his own hands. He addressed the meeting, saying that Samuel was certainly very culpable for having applied so disrespectful an epithet to such an August and legitimate assemblage of the sovereign people, but that it was probably from lack of thought and reflection more than from sinister design, and that on this account the proper punishment to apply to him would he to pay him in his own coin by stigmatizing him as a "scrub Quaker." The effect was just what the judge had intended. Tom the Tinker's boys yelled with delight, and after admonishing the scrub Quaker to be more careful of his language in the future allowed him to depart with no other maltreatment than the jeers of the Muddy Creekers and their compatriots.
² In a deposition before Richard Peters, judge of the United States District Court.—See Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, vol. iv. p. 390.
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ger of using force in resistance to the law, the impossibility of these western counties contending successfully against the force of the United States, and the evident necessity of submission. "Mr. Gallatin, although a foreigner who could with difficulty make himself understood in English, yet presented with great force the folly of past resistance and the ruinous consequences to the country of the continuance of the insurrection. He urged that the government was bound to vindicate the laws, and that it would surely send an overwhelming force against them. He placed the subject in a new light, and showed the insurrection to be a much more serious affair than it had before appeared." ¹ Brackenridge followed Gallatin in an argument to the same end, though urged in a different manner. His speech was followed by a violent one from Bradford, who scouted the idea of "surrender," as he called it, denounced those who advocated the making of terms with the commissioners, and strenuously advocated continued resistance, in which he was almost unanimously supported by the large assembly of people present, who greeted his speech with the most enthusiastic cheers. The business of the day proceeded amid scenes of wild excitement, and no result was reached.
On the 29th the meeting was opened by Gallatin, who made another long and sensible speech in. favor of accepting the terms of the commissioners. Other addresses to the same end were made by speakers of the previous day. Bradford was of course prominent in the debate, and his speech at this time was more violent than any he had previously made. He boldly advocated the project of erecting a new and independent government.² He cited the revolutions in America and in France as models for imitation, and as inducements to hope for the success of these counties against the government, which he said was rendered reasonably certain on account of their peculiar situation, as separated. from the eastern country by almost insurmountable natural barriers. He proposed the immediate raising of an army to meet any
¹ Judge Wilkerson.
² With reference to this speech of Bradford, Findley says, "Reports were circulated that Bradford, who lodged on the Washington side of the river that night, had bound himself firmly with a number of others to support the opposition by force of arms until government would be brought to agree unequivocally to their own terms ; it appeared by what followed that the idea of a complete revolution was now taken up by Bradford, and it was certain that several of the most obstinate of those who originated the present violent measures were among the spectators, and perhaps some of them members of the committee; but Marshel and others of the most respectable men among them had totally withdrawn from their interest." Judge McKean, one of the commissioners, in a letter to Attorney-General Ingersoll, dated Pittsburgh, Aug. 29, 1794, said, "In case a reconciliation and amnesty bad not taken place many (I believe a majority of the people here) threatened to become British subjects, to remove into the Indian country, or at all events to detach themselves from the laws of the Union, and be independent of any government except one formed by themselves. Indeed, their speeches and actions have been most extravagant; a frenzy seemed to be diffused through the country; the still voice of reason drowned, and the wildest chimeras to have taken possession of men's minds. One might be led to think it was the work of magic, or owing to some physical cause."
government force that might be sent against them, to drive it back in rout and possess themselves of its arms and ammunition, after which they could easily hold their country against all invaders and secure independence beyond all doubt. His whole speech was manifestly intended to keep up the opposition to government and to prevent the adoption of the resolutions proposed by Gallatin. The leaders, with the exception of Bradford and a few others of less prominence, had fully made up their minds to abandon the wreck of the insurrection, but the followers had apparently at that time little thought of submission, and were as violent and determined on opposition as ever, and so strong an influence did this exert, even on the leaders who knew that the cause was hopeless, that they dared not openly and fully avow their sentiments and place themselves on record. " Such was the fear of the popular frenzy that it was with difficulty that a vote could be had at this meeting. No one would vote by standing up. None would write a yea or nay, lest his handwriting should be recognized. At last it was determined that yea and nay should be written by the secretary on the same pieces of paper, and be distributed, leaving each member to chew up or destroy one of the words while he put the other in the box," thus giving each member an opportunity of concealing his opinion, and of sheltering himself from the resentment of those from whom violence was to be apprehended, or whom he wished to avoid offending. In this way a balloting was had, and in the adoption of the resolutions by a vote of thirty-four to twenty-three, as announced, though it was afterwards found that six votes had been cast in the negative under a misapprehension of its import, so that but for this mistake the vote would have stood forty for, and seventeen against, the resolution.³ When the result was declared, so strongly in
³ The following letter, in reference to this meeting and the result of the voting, was written by the Pennsylvania commissioners to Governor Mifflin. It is dated Pittsburgh, Aug. 30 (2 o'clock Pax), 1794:
" We have this moment received a copy of the proceedings of the Committee of Sixty, called the Committee of Safety, at Brownsville yesterday, which we have the honor to enclose to you. Exclusive of the knowledge of the sentiments of these gentlemen, to be derived from the Resolutions they have passed, we have good information that the sense of those present, being fifty-seven in number, was taken by ballot on the question whether they would acquiesce in the terms of reconciliation proposed by the Commissioners of the United States; and that it was carried in the affirmative by thirty-four votes against twenty three as the votes were counted, although in reality six had put in their ballots in the negative in a mistake, so the true state of the numbers was forty for, and seventeen against, submission. We have been told there were a considerable number of Spectators there (one company of militia with their arms), who appeared to be variously affected, though our information is that the majority were for pacific measures."—Pa. Arch.,2d Series, iv., pp. 218, 219.
But the United States commissioners took a somewhat different view of the significance of the proceedings at the Brownsville meeting. In their report, made September 24th, they said,—
"The underwritten were informed by several of the members of that meeting, as well as other citizens who were present at it, that the report of the committee of conference and the proposals of the commissioners were unfavorably received; that rebellion and hostile resistance against the United States were publicly recommended by some of the members,
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opposition to his views, Bradford left the meeting in anger and disgust¹ Nearly all the spectators also withdrew as soon as the vote was declared, and the committee was left almost alone to complete their business.
The main resolution adopted at the Brownsville meeting was as follows : " Resolved, That in the opinion of this Committee it is the interest of the people of this Country to accede to the proposals made by the Commissioners on the part of the United States. Resolved, that a Copy of the foregoing resolution be transmitted to the said Commissioners."
But instead of giving the assurances required by the commissioners, the Committee of Sixty showed a disposition to temporize, and in the hope of obtaining better terms they further " Resolved, That a Committee be appointed² to confer with the Commissioners on the part of the United States and of the State of Pennsylvania, with instructions to the said Committee to try to obtain from the said Commissioners such further modification in their proposals as they think will render them more agreeable to the people at large, and also to represent the necessity of granting further time to the people before their final determination is required. . . . That the said Committee shall publish and communicate throughout the several counties the day at which the sense of the people is expected to be taken. That on the day thus published the following question be submitted to the citizens duly qualified to vote, according to the election law of the State, of the Counties of Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette, Allegheny, and that part of Bedford which lies west of the Allegheny mountains,
and that my excessive a spirit prevailed that it was not thought prudent or lisle to urge a compliance with the terms and preliminaries prescribed by the underwritten or the commissioners from the Governor of Pennsylvania, . . . and the underwritten have been repeatedly assured that if the question had been publicly put, it would have been carried in the negative by a large majority.
"The conduct of the meeting at Brownsville, notwithstanding the thin veil thrown over it by the resolve already mentioned [that it was expedient to comply with the terms proposed by the commissioners], was said to be considered by many, and especially by the violent party, as a rejection of the terms. It was certainly a partial rejection of those proposed by the underwritten, and a total one of the preliminaries prescribed by the State commissioners, who had required assurances from the members of that meeting only, and not from the people themselves." —Penna. Arch., 2d Series, vol. iv. pp. 353-54.
¹ "Bradford stood appalled; his power and influence were at an end; he withdrew from the place almost immediately and was not heard of again until some days after, when he visa one of the first to hasten to seize the horns of the altar, or, in other words, to take the benefit of the amnesty, in the midst of his deserted followers, who now cried out, 'Dagon, how art thou fallen!' But being excepted, on account of his last act, and perhaps on account of his robbery of the mail, be took to the river and escaped."—Brackenridge.
² The following letter from the chairman of the committee was addressed to the United States committee:
" BROWNSVILLE., 29th August, 1794.
GENTLEMEN,—Difficulties having arisen with us, we have thought it necessary to appoint a committee to confer with you in order to procure, if possible, some farther time, in order that the people may have leisure to reflect upon their true situation.
" I am, Gentlemen, your most obt. Humble Servt,
in Pennsylvania, and of Ohio County, Virginia,—Will the people submit to the laws of the United States upon the terms proposed by the Commissioners of the United States ?"
The persons appointed to form the committee under these resolutions were John Probst, Robert Dickey, John Nesbitt, Herman Husband, John Corbly, John Marshal, David Phillips, John Heaton, John McClelland, William Ewing, George Wallace, Samuel. Wilson, and Richard Brown. The meeting continued in session at Brownsville for two days, and adjourned on the 29th of August. It was the last meeting of the kind³ held during the insurrection, and virtually marked its close, as the meeting held at the same place three years before (July 27, 1791) had marked its opening, that being the first public meeting held in opposition to the excise law.
The committee appointed at the Brownsville meeting met the commissioners of the United States and those of Pennsylvania in conference at Pittsburgh on the 1st of September, at which meeting "it was agreed that the assurances required from the citizens of the Fourth Survey of Pennsylvania [the four western counties] should be given, in writing, and their sense ascertained in the following manner:
"That the citizens of the said survey (Allegheny County excepted 4) of the age of eighteen years and upwards be required to assemble on Thursday, the 11th instant, in their respective townships, at the usual place for holding township meetings, and that between the hours of twelve and seven, in the after noon of the same day, any two os more of the members of the meeting who assembled at Parkinson's Ferry on the 14th ultimo, resident in the township, or a justice of the peace of said township, do openly propose to the people assembled the following questions : Do you now engage to submit to the laws of the United States, and that you will not hereafter, directly or indirectly, oppose the execution of the acts for raising the revenue upon distilled spirits and stills? And do you also undertake to support, as far as the laws require, the civil authority in affording the protection due to all officers and other citizens? Yea or nay f . . . That a minute of the number of yeas and nays be made immediately after ascertaining the same. That a written or printed declaration of such engagement be signed by all those who vote in the affirmative, of the following tenor, to wit: ‘I do solemnly promise henceforth to submit to the laws of
³ Two meetings were afterwards held at Parkinson's terry, not, however, to consider the acceptance or rejection of terms, but to send out ambassadors in hot haste to the President and the commander of the army to urge the acceptance of their submission, to give assurances of good conduct in future, and to avert if possible the march of the military forces to the Monongahela.
4 The citizens of Allegheny County were required to "meet in their respective election districts on the said day, in the same manner as if they were assembled in townships."
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the United States ; that I will not, directly or indirectly, oppose the execution of the acts for raising a revenue on distilled spirits and stills ; and that I will support, so far as the law requires, the civil authority in affording the protection due to all officers and other citizens.' This shall be signed in the presence of the said members or justices of the peace, attested by him or them, and lodged in his or their bands.
"That the said persons so proposing the questions stated as aforesaid do assemble at the respective county court-houses on the 13th inst., and do ascertain and make report of the numbers of those who voted in the affirmative in the respective townships or districts, and of the number of those who voted in tile negative, together with their opinion whether there be such a general submission of the people in their respective counties, that an office of inspection may be immediately and safely established therein ; that the said report, opinion, and written or printed declarations be transmitted to the commissioners or or any one of them at Uniontown on or before the 16th instant."
On the part of the United States, the commissioners agreed that if the assurances should be given in good faith, as prescribed, no prosecution for treason or any other indictable offense against the United States committed in this survey before the 22d of August, 1794, should be commenced before the 10th of July, 1795, against any person who should, within the time limited, subscribe such assurance and engagement, and perform the same, and that on the 10th of July, 1795, there should be granted "a general pardon and oblivion of all the said offenses ;" but excluding therefrom every person refusing or neglecting to subscribe the assurances and engagement, or who having so subscribed should violate the same, or willfully obstruct the execution of the excise laws. On behalf of the State of Pennsylvania, the commissioners, McKean and Irvine, promised that if the proposed assurances should be given and performed until July 10, 1795, there should then be granted (so far as the State was concerned) "an act of free and general pardon and oblivion of all treasons, insurrections, arsons, riots, and other offenses inferior to riots committed, counseled, or suffered by any person or persons within the four western counties of Pennsylvania" subsequent to the 14th of July, 1794, but excluding from its operation every person refusing or neglecting to subscribe to such agreement, or violating it after subscribing.
The Pennsylvania commissioners left Pittsburgh on the 3d of September, and Messrs. Yeates and Bradford, United States commissioners, proceeded east soon afterwards. Both bodies were requested by the Governor and the President respectively to remain until after the announcement of the result of the popular vote;¹ but for some reason only James Ross remained to carry the signatures to Philadelphia.
¹ See Pa. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. pp. 260, 261.
On the day appointed, September 11th, elections were held in (nearly) all the townships or election districts of Washington, Westmoreland, Allegheny, and Fayette. The result was that in all the four counties votes were cast for submission by three thousand two hundred and eighty of the thirteen thousand eight hundred taxable inhabitants. Thus it appeared that the vote for submission was cast by less than one-fourth the taxables, and by probably less than one-sixth of the whole number classed as voters under the terms granted by the commissioners, which embraced all male citizens of the age of eighteen years old and upwards. Yet great efforts had been made by a few of the more thoroughly cowed leaders (such as Col. James Marshel and some others), as well as by many well-disposed individuals of good standing who had never been with the insurgents, to induce the people to sign the submission ; and this was especially true of the clergy in general. Brackenridge says they were conspicuous in this work; that "the Rev. John McMillan, of Washington County, and the Rev. Mr. Porter, of Westmoreland County, very influential clergymen, exerted themselves with their congregations and elsewhere with much effect." Findley says Mr. Porter "labored publicly and privately with success from the beginning to prevent the spirit of disorder from spreading in his congregation," and that Dr. McMillan, of Washington County, " refused to administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to his congregation until they would submit to the laws."
The result of the elections and the apparent continuance of the rebellious sentiment among the great majority of the people was regarded as extremely unsatisfactory by both the commissioners of the United States and those of Pennsylvania; and that this was especially the case with reference to the county of Washington² is apparent in a report made by the
² No return of the election in Washington County was made in regular form to the commissioners. The report made and signed by David Bradford and twenty-seven others, superintendents of the elections, was as follows:
" We, the subscribers, members of the committee who met at Parkinson's Ferry on the 14th August last, and justices of the peace of the different townships in Washington County, met this 13th day of September, 1794, do find ourselves under great embarrassments to express our sentiments and opinions whether there be such a general submission of the people as that au office of inspection may be immediately and safely established in the county; yet we are free to declare that no opposition shall arise from us, the undersigned, to the excise law, or to any officers appointed under it; and we believe and are of opinion that a large majority of the inhabitants of the respective townships in this county will acquiesce and submit to the said law, under a hope and firm belief that the Congress of the United States will repeal said law. Given under our hands at Washington Court-House the 13th of September, 1794."
This return was forwarded to James Ross at Uniontown, but was regarded unfavorably by the commissioners, as being evasive and indirect, not stating the number of yeas and nays on the question of submission, "declining giving any opinion whether there is such a general submission that an office of inspection may be established therein," and merely expressing the belief that a large majority of the people would submit in the expectation of a repeal of the law. Very naturally the commissioners regarded this as being far from satisfactory evidence of a general submission in Washington County.
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Pennsylvania commissioners, in which they said, "From our best conjecture, the people of Washington, if governed by what appears to be the majority, will prefer a civil war to a submission to the excise laws, so infatuated and frantic are their leaders in opposition ; a great majority, however, of the other three counties are friends to peace and order." The last part of this opinion, however, was not indorsed by the United States commissioners with regard to at least one other county of the survey. In their report to the President¹ they said, "The county of Fayette rejected the mode of ascertaining the sense of the people which had been settled between the under-signed and the last committee of conference at Pittsburgh (September 1st). The standing committee of that county directed those qualified by the laws of the State² for voting at elections to assemble in their election districts and vote by ballot whether they would accede to the proposals made by the commissioners of the United States on the 22d of August or not. The superintendents of these election districts report that five hundred and sixty of the people thus convened had voted for submission, and that one hundred and sixty-one had voted against it; that no judge or member of their committee had attended from the Fourth District of the county to report the state of the votes there. . . . But it is proper to mention that credible and certain information has been received that in the Fourth District of that county (composed of the townships of Tyrone and Bullskin), of which the standing committee have given no account, six-sevenths of those who voted were for resistance. . . . The written assurances of submission which have been received by the commissioners are not numerous, nor were they given by all those who expressed a willingness to obey the laws. In Fayette County, a different plan being pursued, no written assurances were given in the manner required."
The leaders of the insurrection were seriously alarmed by the result of the elections, for they foresaw the consequences that were certain to follow. Their deluded followers too now seemed to realize for the first time the danger that impended³ Immediately after the result became known, the township committees in the several counties (the same who had composed the great meeting of the 14th of
¹ Papers Relating to the Whiskey Insurrection; Pa. Archives, Series 2, vol. iv. pp. 257, 258.
² The agreement of the committee with the commissioners was, not that qualified voters by the law of Pennsylvania alone should vote on the proposition, but that the question should be submitted to "the citizens of the said survey of the age of eighteen years and upwards."
³ " It was but a few days (in some places the very next day) after signing that many who had been most riotous on the day of signing came, some of them in tears, begging permission to sign. In some places their signing was received with certification that it would not be &emitted as a claim for amnesty ; in other places they were refused the privilege altogether. When they reflected they saw that they were deserted by those on whom they had depended, and who perhaps had advised them, or by their example encouraged them to mischief"—Findley.
August) became active, and appointed meetings to be held at the county-seats for the purpose of expressing assurances to the government that resistance to the laws was ended, and the desire for submission general. Such a meeting, composed of the township delegates, but also attended by a great multitude of the people of Washington County, was held at the town of Washington on the 27th of September. At this meeting resolutions were passed declaring the firm belief that if the submission was not universal, it was largely owing to the lack of time and information necessary to bring about that result, as well as to the fact that a large proportion of the people, conscious of having taken no part in any outrage or breaking of the laws, might and probably did regard the signing of a declaration of submission as implying a sense of guilt which they did not entertain. And finally it was ".Resolved that a meeting of the delegates of the townships, who met at Parkinson's Ferry on the 14th of August, be called to convene at the same place on Thursday next, the 2d of October, to take the above into consideration. And as it is of great moment, the delegates are requested to be punctual in their attendance at an early hour that day." The above proceedings and notice were published in an extra issue of the Pittsburgh Gazette, and circulated by express-riders through the four counties.
A similar meeting of township delegates had been held at the county-seat of Fayette on the 17th of the same month. Speakers at that meeting had whiningly asserted that "whatever heat existed in this county was chiefly owing to what had passed in the neighboring counties," and resolutions were passed recommending township associations in the four counties for the purpose of promoting submission to the law, and reciting in their preamble that " It is necessary to shew our fellow-citizens throughout the United States that the character of the inhabitants of the western country is not such as may have been represented to them, but that on the contrary they are disposed to live in a peaceable manner, and can preserve good order among themselves without the assistance of a military force." Evidently the opponents of the law had at last begun to realize that successful resistance to the government was hopeless, and that voluntary submission was better than that enforced by infantry, cavalry, and artillery. But the knowledge came too late to prevent the exercise, or at least the menace of the military power., Upon a full knowledge of the result of the meetings held on the 11th of September in the townships and election districts of the disaffected counties, the United States commissioners reported to the President, narrating the events connected with their mission, and concluded by saying that although they firmly believed that a considerable majority of the inhabitants of the four counties were disposed to submit to the execution of the laws, "at the same time they [the commissioners] conceive it their duty
294 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
explicitly to declare their opinion that such is the state of things in that survey that there is no probability that the act for raising a revenue on distilled spirits and stills can at present be enforced by the usual course of civil authority, and that some more competent force is necessary to cause the laws to be duly executed, and to insure the officers and well-disposed citizens that protection which it is the duty of the government to afford. This opinion is founded on the facts already stated [the accounts of the unsatisfactory result of the township and district meetings], and it is confirmed by that which is entertained by many intelligent and, influential persons, officers of justice and others, resident in the western counties, who have lately informed one of the commissioners that whatever assurances might be given, it was in their judgment absolutely necessary that the civil authority should be aided by a military force in order to secure a due execution of the laws."
The commissioners' report upon the situation of affairs in the western counties caused the President to decide, unhesitatingly, to use the military power, and to extinguish the last vestige of insurrection at whatever cost. In taking this course he had (as he afterwards said to a committee from these counties) two great objects in view: first, to show, not only to the inhabitants of the western country, but to the entire Union and to foreign nations, that a republican government could and would exert its physical power to enforce the execution of the laws where opposed, and also that American citizens were ready to make every sacrifice and encounter every difficulty and danger for the sake of supporting that fundamental principle of government; and, second, to effect a full and complete restoration of order and submission to the laws in the insurrectionary district. In pursuance of this determination the forces were promptly put in motion, and on the 25th of September the President issued a proclamation, which, after a preamble, setting forth that the measures taken by government to suppress the lawless combinations in the western counties had failed to have full effect; that " the moment is now come where the overtures of forgiveness, with no other condition than a submission to law, have been only partially accepted; when every form of conciliation not inconsistent with the well-being of government has been adopted without effect," proceeds,—
" Now, therefore, I, George Washington, President of the United States, in obedience to that high and irresistible duty consigned to me by the Constitution, `to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,' deploring that the American name should be sullied by the outrages of citizens on their own government, commiserating such as remain obstinate from delusion, but resolved,-in perfect reliance on that gracious Providence which so signally displays its goodness towards this country, to reduce the refractory to a due subordination to the law ; Do hereby declare and make known that, with a satisfaction which can be equaled only by the merits of the militia summoned into service from the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, I have received intelligence of their patriotic alacrity in obeying the call of the present though painful yet commanding necessity ; that a force which, according to every reasonable expectation, is adequate to the exigency is already in motion to the scene of disaffection ; that those who have confided or shall confide in the protection of government shall meet full succor under the standard and from the arms of the United States; that those who, having offended against the laws, have since entitled themselves to indemnity, will be treated with the most liberal good faith, if they shall not have forfeited their claim by any subsequent conduct, and that instructions are given accordingly...."
The forces called out for the exigency amounted to about thirteen thousand men, in four divisions, one division from each of the States of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as before mentioned. The Virginia and Maryland troops (commanded respectively by Gen. Daniel Morgan, of the former State, and Brig.-Gen. Samuel Smith, of Baltimore) formed the left wing, which rendezvoused at Cumberland, Md. The right wing (which was rendezvoused at Carlisle, Pa.) was composed of the Pennsylvania troops, commanded by Maj.-Gen. William Irvine (and accompanied by Governor Mifflin), and those of New Jersey, under Governor Richard Howell, of that State.. The commander-in-chief of the whole army was Gen. Henry Lee, Governor of Virginia, the " Light-Horse Harry" of Revolutionary fame, and father of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Confederate commander in the war of 1861-65.
In his instructions from the President, the commander-in-chief was directed to "proceed as speedily as may be with the army under your command into the insurgent counties, to attack and as far as shall be in your power to subdue all persons whom you may find in arms in opposition to the laws. You will march your army in two columns from the places where they are now assembled, by the most convenient routes, having regard to the nature of the roads, the convenience of supply, and the facility of co-operation and union, and bearing in mind that you ought to act, until the contrary shall be fully developed, on the general principle of having to contend with the whole force of the counties of Fayette, Westmoreland, Washington, and Allegheny, and of that part of Bedford which lies westward of the town of Bedford, and that you are to put as little as possible to hazard. The approximation, therefore, of your columns is to be sought, and the subdivision of them so as to place the parts out of mutual supporting distance to be avoided as far as local circumstances will permit. Parkinson's Ferry appears to be a proper point towards which to direct the march of the columns for the purpose of ulterior measures.
" When arrived within the insurgent country, if an
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armed opposition appear, it may be proper to publish a proclamation inviting all good citizens, friends to the constitution and laws, to join the standard of the United States. If no armed opposition exist it may still be proper to publish a proclamation exhorting to a peaceful and dutiful demeanor, and giving assurances of performing with good faith and liberality whatsoever may have been promised by the commissioners to those who have complied with the conditions prescribed by them, and who have not forfeited their title by subsequent misdemeanor. Of those persons in arms, if any, whom you may make prisoners, leaders; including all persons in command, are to be delivered to the civil magistrates, the rest to be disarmed, admonished, and sent home (except such as may have been particularly violent and also influential), causing their own recognizances for their good behaviour to be taken in the cases which it may be deemed expedient. . . . When the insurrection is subdued, and the requisite means have been put in execution to secure obedience to the laws, so as to render it proper for the army to retire (an event which you will accelerate as much as shall be consistent with the object), you will endeavor to make an arrangement for attaching such a force as you may deem adequate, to be stationed within the disaffected counties in such a manner as best to afford protection to well-disposed citizens and the officers of the revenue, and to suppress, by their presence, the spirit of riot and opposition to the laws. But before you withdraw the army you shall promise, on behalf of the President, a general pardon to all such as shall not have been arrested, with such exceptions as you shall deem proper. . . . You are to exert yourself by all possible means to preserve discipline among the troops, particularly a scrupulous regard to the rights of persons and property, and a respect for the authority of the civil magistrates, taking especial care to inculcate and cause to be observed this principle,—that the duties of the army are confined to attacking and subduing of armed opponents of the laws, and to the supporting and aiding of the civil officers in the execution of their functions.
"It has been settled that the Governor of Pennsylvania will be second, and the Governor of New Jersey third in command, and that the troops of the several States in line on the march and upon detachment are to be posted according to the rule which prevailed in the army during the late war, namely, in moving towards the seaboard the most southern troops will take the right, in moving towards the north the most northern troops will take the right. . .”
In addition to his military duties as commanding officer of the expeditionary forces, Gen. Lee was also charged to give countenance and support to the civil officers in the execution of the law, in bringing offenders to justice, and enforcing penalties on delinquent distillers, and "the better to effect these purposes" the judge of the United States District Court, Richard Peters, Esq., and the attorney of the district, William Rawle, Esq., accompanied the army.
President Washington, with Gen. Henry Knox, Secretary of War, and Gen. Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, left Philadelphia on the 1st of October, and proceeded by way of Harrisburg to the headquarters of the right wing of the army at Carlisle. From that place on the 11th he went to Chambersburg, and thence by way of Williamsport to Fort Cumberland, where he arrived on the 14th, and where he reviewed the Maryland and Virginia troops, composing the left wing ; after which he proceeded to Bedford, Pa. (which was then Gen. Lee's headquarters), reaching it on the 19th, and remaining there two or three days, then returning east, and arriving at Philadelphia on the 28th.
In the mean time the meeting of delegates (which had been called by the Washington meeting of the 27th of September, as before noticed) was held at Parkinson's Ferry on the 2d of October, Judge Alexander Addison being made secretary.¹ At this meeting William Findley, of Westmoreland, and David Redick, of Washington County, were appointed a committee to wait on the President of the United States and to assure him that submission and order could be restored without the aid of military force. They found the President on the 10th of October at Carlisle, where he had come to review the troops of the right wing of the army, as before mentioned. They there had several interviews with him, in which they informed him of the great change that had taken place; " that the great body of the people who had no concern in the disorders but remained quietly at home and attended to their business had become convinced that the violence used would ruin the country; that they had formed themselves into associations to suppress disorder, and to promote submission to the laws." In reply to this the President said that as the army was already on its way to the western counties the orders could not be countermanded, yet he assured the delegates that no violence would be used, and that all that was desired was to have the inhabitants of the disaffected region come back to their allegiance.
This reply was final, and ended the mission of the committee. They returned and made their report at another meeting, which was held at Parkinson's on the 24th of October, and of which Judge James Edgar was chairman and Albert Gallatin secretary. At this meeting of the committees of townships of the four western counties of Pennsylvania and of sundry other citizens" it was resolved, " First,—That in our opinion the civil authority is now fully competent to enforce the laws and punish both past and future
¹ "Bradford and Marshel attended the meeting; but how changed from what they were in the same body less than one month before! The former, particularly, wee much crestfallen, and had become the moat humble in sueing for peace. He denied that he had deserted the cause; it was the people who bad deserted him."—Findley.
296 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
offenses, inasmuch as the people at large are determined to support every description of civil officers in the legal discharge of their duty.
"Second,—That in our opinion all persons who may be charged or suspected of having committed any offense against the United States or the State during the late disturbances, and who have not entitled themselves to the benefits of the act of oblivion, ought immediately to surrender themselves to the civil authority, in order to stand their trial ; that if there be any such persons among us they are ready to surrender themselves to the civil authority accordingly, and that we will-unite in giving our assistance to bring to justice such offenders as shall not surrender.
" Third,—That in our opinion offices of inspection may be immediately opened in the respective counties of this survey, without any danger of violence being offered to any of the officers, and that the distillers are willing and ready to enter their stills.
" Fourth,—That William Findley, David Redick, Ephraim Douglass, and Thomas Morton do wait on the President with the foregoing resolutions."¹
The four committee-men appointed by the meeting to carry the renewed assurances to the President met at Greensburg preparatory to setting out on their mission, but at that place they received intelligence that the President had already left Bedford for Philadelphia, and that the army was moving towards the Monongahela, and thereupon they decided to await the arrival of the forces, and to report the action of the meeting to the commander-in-chief, as the President's representative.
There was no delay in the movement of the army. The New Jersey and Pennsylvania troops, composing the right wing, marched from Carlisle on the 22d of October, and proceeded by way of Bedford, across that county and Somerset, to what is now Mount Pleasant, in Westmoreland, at which place the advance brigade arrived and encamped on the 29th. The centre corps (of this wing) encamped on the farm of Col. Bonnett, in Westmoreland, near the line of Fayette County, and the rear went into camp at Lobengier's Mills on the 30th. At these places they remained encamped about one week. Following is an extract from a letter written from the rear brigade, dated Jones' Mill (in Westmoreland County), Oct. 29, 1784: "I am
¹ "Great indeed," says Findley, "was the difference between the complexion of this meeting and that which met at the same place on the 14th of August preceding, and this difference was in a great measure owing to a few men. Bradford, Fulton, Parkinson, Marshel, and others who had contrived and promoted the meeting at Braddock's Field had either secured an amnesty by submitting in due time or fled out of the country, and others, who perhaps had done neither, were ashamed to appear at this meeting, though the terror of them and their friends had overawed the first; and a great number of respectable citizens attended at this meeting who did not think it prudent to countenance the first."
² Papers Relating to the Whiskey Insurrection; Pennsylvania Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. p. 433.
distressed at the ridiculous accounts sometimes published in our papers. I assure you that there has not been a single shot fired at our troops to my knowledge. The whole country trembles. The most turbulent characters, as we advance, turn out to assist us, supply forage, cattle, etc. From Washington we hear of little but fear and flight; a contrary account as to' one neighborhood (Pidgeon Creek) has been sent down, but no appearance of an armed opposition, and this the only part of the country where the friends of government are not triumphant. Our army is healthy and happy ; the men exhibit unexpected fortitude in supporting the continued fatigues of bad roads and bad weather."
The left wing of the army moved from Fort Cumberland on the 22d of October, and took the route marched over by Gen. Braddock thirty-nine years before to the Great Meadows, and from there to Uniontown, at which place Gen. Lee arrived on the last day of October, and the main body of the left wing came up and encamped there the same evening. With this wing of the army came Col. Presley Neville, and with the right wing was Gen. John Neville, who had fled from Pittsburgh on the 18th of July, and had remained in the East from that time until the marching of the army.
The committeemen, Findley, Redick, Douglass, and Morton, who, as before mentioned, had been met at Greensburg with the intelligence of the departure of the President from Bedford, which decided them to wait the arrival of the army, went to the headquarters of the right wing at Bonnett's farm on the 30th of October, and presented the resolutions of assurance to Secretary Hamilton, who accompanied the division of Governor Mifflin. The secretary examined them and returned them to the committee, with the remark that, " for the sake of decorum, it would be best to present them to the commander-in-chief." This was what the committee had intended to do, and learning that Gen. Lee was then at or near Uniontown they immediately left for that place, and arriving there on the 31st of October, laid the business of their mission before him, he having full power to act in the name of the President. Secretary Hamilton also came over from the right wing, and arrived at Uniontown on the same evening.
Gen. Lee received the committee with great politeness,³ and requested them to call on him in the following morning. At the appointed time he gave them his reply, which they embodied in their report, dated Uniontown, Nov. 1, 1794.4 It was as follows :
³ The committee, however, were not very well pleased with their reception by Gen. Lee. One of their number, Mr. Findley, said (in his " History of the Insurrection," p. 199), " Indeed, though we were treated politely in other respects and employed to assist in the fixing of necessaries for the army, and consulted about the ground on which it should encamp when it advanced farther into the country, yet we did not meet with that candour and frankness with which we had bean treated by the President at Carlisle."
4 Penna. Archives, 2d Series, vol. iv. p. 437.
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"GENTLEMEN.—The resolutions entered into at the late meeting of the people at Parkinson's Ferry, with the various papers declaratory of the determination of the numerous subscribers; to maintain the civil authority, manifest strongly a change of sentiment in the inhabitants of this district. To what cause may truly be ascribed this favorable turn in the public mind it is of my province to determine. Yourselves, in the conversation last evening, imputed it to the universal panic which the approach of the army of the United States had excited in the lower orders of the people. If this be the ground of the late change,—and my respect for your opinions will not permit me to doubt it,—the moment the cause is removed the reign of violence and anarchy will return.
" Whatever, therefore, may be the sentiments of the people respecting the present competency of the civil authority to enforce the laws, I feel myself obligated by the trust reposed in me by the President of the United States to hold the army in this country until daily practice shall • convince all that the sovereignty of the Constitution and laws is unalterably established. In executing this resolution I do not only consult the dignity and interest of the United States, which will always command my decided respect and preferential attention, but I also promote the good of this particular district.
"I shall, therefore, as soon as the troops are refreshed, proceed to some central and convenient station, where I shall patiently wait until the competency of the civil authority is experimentally and unequivocally proved. No individual can be more solicitous than I am for this happy event, and you may assure the good people whom you represent that every aid will be cheerfully contributed by me to hasten the delightful epoch.
"On the part of all good citizens I confidently expect the most active and faithful cooperation, which in my judgment cannot be more effectually given than by circulating in the most public manner the truth among the people, and by inducing the various clubs which have so successfully poisoned the minds of the inhabitants to continue their usual meetings for the pious purpose of contradicting, with their customary formalities, their past pernicious doctrines. A conduct so candid should partially atone for the injuries which in a great degree may be attributed to their instrumentality, and must have a propitious influence in administering a radical cure to the existing disorders.
"On my part, and on the part of the patriotic army I have the honor to command, assure your fellow-citizens that we come to protect and not to destroy, and that our respect for our common government, and respect to our own honor, are ample pledges for the propriety of our demeanor. Quiet, therefore, the apprehensions of all on this score, and recommend universally to the people to prepare for the use of the army whatever they can spare from their farms necessary to its subsistence, for which they shall be paid in cash at the present market price; discourage exaction of every sort, not only because it would testify a disposition very unfriendly, but because it would probably produce very disagreeable scenes. It is my duty to take care that the troops are comfortably subsisted, and I cannot but obey it with the highest pleasure, because I intimately know their worth and excellence.
" I have the honor to be, gentlemen.
"Your most obedient servant,
"With due consideration,
" HENRY LEE."
This reply, or address to the people, was printed and circulated extensively in every part of the four counties.
After a stay of a few days at Uniontown and Mount Pleasant respectively, the two columns of the army moved on in obedience to the general orders of the commander-in-chief, as follows :
"UNION (BEESON'S) TOWN, Nov. 2, 1794.
"The army will resume its march on the morning of the 4th, at the hour of eight, when a signal-gun will be filed. They will advance in two columns, composed of the respective wings. The right column will talc., the route by Lodge's to Budd's Ferry, under the command of his Excellency Governor Mifflin, who will please to take the most convenient situation in the vicinity of that place for the accommodation of the troops and wait further orders. The left column will proceed on the route to Peterson's, on the east side of Parkinson's Ferry, under the orders of Major-General Morgan; they will march by the left in the following manner: Light corps, cavalry, artillery, Virginia brigade, Maryland brigade, the baggage to follow each corps, and the public stores of every kind In the rear of the Virginia brigade. On the first day the light corps and artillery will march to Washington Bottom, fourteen miles; the Virginia brigade to Peterson's farm, twelve miles; the cavalry under Major Lewis will move with the commander-in-chief; the bullocks to precede the army at daylight. On the second day the column will proceed to the camp directed to be marked out between Parkinson's and Budd's Ferries.
"Should Brigadier-General Smith find the second day's march rather too much, be will be pleased to divide the same into two days. The quartermaster-general will immediately take measures for the full supply of forage and straw at the different stages. The commissary will place the necessary supply of provisions at particular intermediate stages where issues will be necessary ; guards over the straw as soon as the van reaches the ground, and to see the same fairly divided amongst the troops. [Here follows the assignment of straw to each brigade, to the cavalry and artillery, and directions for making out the pay-rolls for one month's pay from the commencement of service.] The inspector and muster-master-generals of the respective line will also make pay-rolls for the general staff, to be countersigned by the commander-in-chief previous to payment.
" By the Commander-in-Chief,
"G. H. TAYLOR, Aide-de-Camp."
Under these orders the left wing marched from Uniontown, and the right wing from its camps at Mount Pleasant, Bonnett's, and Lobengier's, at the appointed time, and moving to the vicinity of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers, in Westmoreland County, went into camp at the place designated, between Parkinson's and Budd's Ferries. From his headquarters, "near Parkinson's Ferry," on the 8th of November, the commander-in-chief issued an address or proclamation to the inhabitants of certain counties lying west of the Laurel Hill, in the State of Pennsylvania, the tone of which was a little after the manner of a conquering chieftain addressing the people of a subjugated province. "You see," he said, " encamped in the bosom of your district a numerous and well-appointed army, formed of citizens of every description from this and the neighboring States of New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, whom the violated laws of our common country have called from their homes to vindicate and restore their authority. . . . The scene before your eyes ought to be an instructive one; it ought to teach many useful truths, which should, for your own happiness, make a deep and lasting impression on your minds. . . . Those who have been perverted from their duty may now perceive the dangerous tendency of the doctrines by which they have been misled, and how unworthy of their confidence are the men by whom, for personal and sinister purposes, they have been brought step by step to the precipice from which they have no escape but in the moderation and benignity of that very government which they have vilified, insulted, and opposed. The friends of order may also perceive in the perils and evils that have for some time surrounded them how unwise and even culpable is that carelessness and apathy with which they have permitted the gradual approaches of disorder and anarchy."
The general then proceeded to recommend to the people to manifest their good intentions by taking and subscribing an oath (the form of which he prescribed)
298 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
to support the constitution and obey the laws, and by entering into associations to protect and aid all government officers in the execution of their duties. He further recommended to all men able and willing to do military duty and truly attached to their government and country, "to array themselves into regiments, one for each county, and to place themselves under such officers as may be selected by the Governor of the State, known to be firm friends to order and right, upon the express conditions of holding themselves in constant readiness to act in defense of the civil authority whenever called upon, receiving for their services the same pay and subsistence as is .allowed to the militia of the United States when in actual service." He then concluded his proclamation as follows : " In pursuance of the authority vested in me by the President of the United States, and in obedience to his instructions, I do moreover assure all who may have entitled themselves to the benefit of, the amnesty proffered by the commissioner heretofore sent by him to this district, and who may not have forfeited their title by subsequent misconduct, that the promise will be faithfully and liberally observed, and that all possible endeavors will be used to prevent injury to the persons or property of peaceable citizens by the troops, whose sole province it is to subdue those, if any there should be, hardy enough to attempt an armed resistance, and to support and aid the civil authority as far as may be required. To the promulgation of these, my orders, I with pleasure add my assurances that every exertion will be made by me—and, from my knowledge of the officers and soldiers of the army, I am persuaded with full success—to carry these wise and benevolent views of the President into complete effect."
The entire army remained in the neighborhood of Parkinson's Ferry for about ten days, after which the main part of the troops moved down the Monongahela River, and on the 15th of November a detachment was marched from the vicinity of Parkinson's to the town of Washington, accompanied by Secretary Hamilton and Judge Peters, and taking with them a large number of prisoners which had been taken in the eastern part of Washington County. All the prisoners taken by the army, excepting three, were taken in that county and Allegheny, under Gen. Lee's special orders,¹ issued for that purpose to Gen. Irvine and other officers.
¹ The following are extracts from Gen. Lee's orders to Gen. William Irvine:
"HEAD QUARTERS NEAR PARKINSON'S FERRY,
"November 9th, 1794.
" SIR,—From the delays and danger of escape which attend the present situation of judiciary investigations to establish preliminary processes against offenders, it is deemed advisable to proceed in a summary manner in the most disaffected scenes against those who have notoriously committed treasonable acts; that is, to employ the military for the purpose of apprehending and bringing such persons before the judge of the district [Judge Peters], to be by him examined and dealt with according to law; to you is committed the execution of this object within that part of Allegheny County to which you are advancing. . . The
The time indicated in these orders (Thursday morning, November 13th) was the time when most of the arrests were made by the military. During the night following these arrests the prisoners suffered greatly from cold, wet, hunger, and other causes, and on this account it has been called by Brackenridge and others " the terrible night," though why that term was applied to the night of the 13th more than to that of the 14th does not appear, as the condition of the prisoners was fully as bad on the latter as on the former night. The various histories of the insurrection have given so much of notoriety to these arrests and the manner in which they were made that it seems proper to mention them here at some length. The Rev. James Carnahan, afterwards President of Princeton College, but at that time a student in the academy at Canonsburg, gave the following account of some of them :
"Companies of horsemen were scattered in different directions over the country, and as there was no opposition, it was thought the army were about to return. On the night of the 13th of November,² a frosty night, about one o'clock, the horse was sallied forth, and before daylight arrested in their beds about two hundred men. A company of Virginia horse were stationed for several days near Canonsburg, and I give the manner of their proceedings as a sample of what probably occurred in other places. About two o'clock in the morning they surrounded the house where I lodged, and some came in and ordered my landlord, an old
persons apprehended ought to be leading or influential characters or particularly violent. You will find a list (No. 3); this paper comprehends witnesses. The individuals are to be brought forward and treated u such. Direct all who may be apprehended by you to be conveyed to your camp until further orders. Send off your parties of horse with good guides, and at such a period as to make the surprises, however distant or near, at the same moment, or intelligence will precede them and some of the culprits will escape. I presume the proper hour will be at daybreak on Thursday morning, and have therefore desired the operation to be then performed in every quarter.
" I have the honor to be, sir,
" With great respect,
"Your most obedient servant,
" HENRY LEE."
The following, purporting to be a letter from Gen. Lee to Gen. Morgan, is in possession of Judge Cranmer, of Wheeling. It does not have the appearance of a letter of instructions from a commanding general, but it may have been such. It is given for what it is worth, viz.:
"DEAR SIR,—Biggs went away yesterday charged with instructions relative to the Ohio culprits. Dick's is sent to Morgantown with similar instructions; you will receive herewith the plan and business an it respent the county of Washington.
"Mr. Williams tells me that the people will not thresh out their wheat and therefore that the army may be reduced to want unless they are Immediately made so to do. This furnishes an excellent pretext on the present occasion. Your horse can be assembled for the purpose of visiting the farmers with orders to insist on their getting out their grain. In executing this order publicly they can well accomplish the other business—farewell.
" 11th Nov.,1794,, H. Quarters,"
² Dr. Carnahan is evidently mistaken In the date. He gives the impression that the arrests were made in the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. They were made in the morning of the 13th, most of them between three o'clock and sunrise.
THE WHISKEY INSURRECTION - 299
man, to rise and guide them to a neighborhood about eight miles distant, where he was well acquainted. He had no horse. They inquired where a horse could be found. He named two or three places. They wanted a guide to the stables. The old man had no servant in the house. Two boys belonging to the academy lodged in an upper chamber. The older one, of an impetuous temper, had talked big in favor of the insurgents, and he believed the horsemen had come to arrest him, and he lay trembling in bed. The younger, more considerate, had always condemned the insurgents. Conscious of innocence, he jumped up and ran down-stairs, half dressed, to see what was going on. The horsemen slapped him with their scabbards, and ordered him to show them the stables. He had to go, and run about a quarter of a mile without shoes, frosty as it was. No horse was to be found at the first stable, and then he had to run as far in a different direction, and happily found a horse. The epithet `young insurgent,' with additional hard words, were liberally applied, with an occasional slap to quicken his steps. This lad was afterwards the Rev. Dr. 0. Jennings, of Nashville, Tenn.
"In justice to the Virginia, Maryland, and Philadelphia horsemen, it must be said they made arrests
and treated their prisoners with as much gentleness and humanity as practicable. Yet we can easily imagine what terror seized mothers, sisters, and wives when their sons and brothers and husbands were taken out of bed and carried off, they knew not whither. That night was afterward called `the dreadful night.'
"A large number of prisoners from Washington County were collected together at the county town, and taken thence to Pittsburgh under guard. The object in taking them to Pittsburgh was that they might be examined by a district judge, so as to ascertain which of them ought to be taken to Philadelphia for trial. I saw them on their way as they entered Canonsburg, and were placed in a large upper room Hi the academy to lodge for the night. They were conducted by the Philadelphia and New Jersey cavalry. The contrast between the Philadelphia horsemen and the prisoners was the most striking that can be imagined." Then, after describing the splendid appearance of the Philadelphia troopers, with their fine blue .uniforms and flashing sabers, and all mounted on beautiful bay horses, superbly caparisoned and glittering with silver trappings, he proceeds, "The prisoners were also mounted on horses, of all shapes, sizes, and colors ; some large, some small, some long tails, some short, some white, some black, some fat, some lean, some of every color and for n that can be named. Some had saddles, some blankets, some bridles, some halters, some with stirrups, some With none. The riders were also various and grotesque in their appearance. Some were old, some young, some hale, respectable-looking men; others were pale, meager, and shabbily dressed. Some had great-coats, others had blankets on their shoulders. The countenance of some was downcast, melancholy, dejected; that of others stern, indignant, manifesting that they thought themselves undeserving such treatment. Two Philadelphia horsemen rode in front, and then two prisoners, and so two horsemen and two prisoners alternately throughout a line extending perhaps half a mile. I have more than once seen gangs of fifty or sixty negroes tied to a long rope, two and two opposite to each other, and marched to a distant slave-market; but their anguish and indignation was not to be compared to that manifested by these Western men. If these men had been the ones chiefly guilty of the disturbance, it would have been no more than they deserved. But the guilty had signed the amnesty, or had left the country before the army approached. It has been estimated that between one and two thousand men, with rifles in their hands, had withdrawn, and remained absent until the army left the country."
The following account of the capture of a large number of prisoners on Mingo and Peters Creeks by Brig.-Gen. Anthony M. White, of New Jersey, and their brutal treatment at his hands, is related by Findley in his " History of the Western Insurrection ;" but it is not improper to say here that his statements may have been a good deal exaggerated, as there is to be seen through all his narrative an unmistakable disposition to place in the worst possible light every occurrence or act done by the army, particularly all which could by any assumption be supposed to have been authorized, encouraged, or countenanced by Secretary Hamilton or executed by Brig.-Gen. White.
" On Thursday, the 13th of November, there were about forty persons brought to Parkinson's house, by order of Gen. White. He directed to put the damned rascals in the cellar, to tie them back to back, to make a fire for the guard, but to put the prisoners back to the farther end of the cellar, and to give them neither victuals nor drink. The cellar was wet and muddy, and the night cold ; the cellar extended the whole length under a large new log house, which was neither floored nor the openings between the logs daubed. They were kept there until Saturday morning, and then marched to the town of Washington. On the march one of the prisoners, who was subject to convulsions, fell into a fit, but when some of the troops told Gen. White of his situation he ordered them to tie the damned rascal to a horse's tail and drag him along with them, for he had only feigned having the fits. Some of his fellow-prisoners, however, who had a horse, dismounted and let the poor man ride. He had another fit before he reached Washington. This march was about twelve miles. The poor man who had the fits had been in the American service during almost the whole of the war with Great Britain.
"Having heard much about this inhuman business, and having occasion last summer  to go to Wash-