REPORT OF THE
COMMISSION TO LOCATE THE SITE OF THE
FRONTIER FORTS OF PENNSYLVANIA
Thomas Lynch Montgomery, 1916, Pg.
for use in the USGenWeb Archives by Georgette
Transcription is verbatim.
(Site of Fort Hyndshaw.)
When the commissioners appointed by the Governor took charge of the defences of the Province, Captains Trump and Ashton was sent to build Fort Hamilton, as we know. It was felt that, in addition, the district around the township of Upper Smithfield needed protection. Accordingly Mr. John Van Etten and Mr. James Hyndshaw, both residing in that vicinity, were selected for the purpose mentioned, and on January 12th, 1756, Benjamin Franklin issued the following instructions from Bethlehem:
To Capt Vanetta, of the Township of Upper Smithfield.
1 You are to proceed immediately to raise a Company of Foot, consisting of 30 able Men, including two Sergeants, with which you are to protect the Inhabitants of Upper Smithfield assisting them while they thresh out and Secure their Corn, and Scouting from time to time as you judge necessary, on the Outside of the Settlements, with Such of the Inhabitants as may join you to discover the Enemys Approaches and repel their Attacks.
2 For the better Security of the Inhabitants of that District, you are to post your men as follows: Eight at your own house, Eight at Lieutenant Henshaws, Six with a Serjeant at Tishhock ____, and Six with another Serjeant at or near Henry Cortrachts, and you are to settle Signals, or Means of Suddenly alarming the Inhabitants, and convening your whole Strength with the Militia of your District, on any necessary Occasion.
3 Every Man is to be engagd for one month, and as the Province cannot at present furnish Arms or Blankets to your Company, you are to allow every Man enlisting and bringing his own Arms & Blanket, a Dollar for the Use thereof over and above his Pay.
4 You are to furnish your Men with provisions, not exceeding the Allowance mentioned in the paper herewith given you and your reasonable Accounts for the same shall be allowed and paid.
5 You are to keep a Diary or Journal of every Days Transactions, and an exact Account of the Time when each Man enters himself with you, and if any Man desert or die you are to note the Time in your Journal, and the Time of engaging a new Man in his Place, and submit your Journal to the Inspection of the Governor when required.
6 You are to acquaint the Men, that if in their Ranging they meet with, or are at any Time attackd by the Enemy, and kill any of them, Forty Dollars will be allowd and paid by the Government for each Scalp of an Indian Enemy so killed, the same being produced with proper Attestations.
7 You are to take care that your Stores and Provisions be not wasted.
8 If by any means you gain Intelligence of the Design of the Enemy, or the March of any of their Parties towards any Part of the Frontier, you are to send Advice thereof to the Governor, and to the other Companies in the Neighborhood, as the Occasion may require.
9 You are to keep good Order among your Men, and prevent Drunkenness and other Immoralities, as much as may be, and not Suffer them to do any Injury to the Inhabitants whom they come to protect.
10 You are to take Care the Men keep their Arms clean and in good Order, and that their Powder be always kept dry and fit for Use.
11 You are to make up your Muster Roll at the Months End, in order to receive the Pay of your Company, and to make Oath to the Truth thereof before a Justice of the Peace, and then transmit the same to the Governor.
B. FRANKLIN (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 546.)
It is evident that the Government expected to put down the enemy at once. It is not the only instance in our memory of short enlistments at the outbreak of length wars. It was not long before the Governor concluded it would be better to make the term of service one and even three years.
The following obligation, signed by nearly fifty soldiers (names not given unfortunately), is so unique as to make it well worthy of a little space in our record:
Jany. 12th, 1756
We, the Subscribers, do hereby engage ourselves to Serve as Soldiers in his Majestys Service, under the command of Captain John Vanetta, for the Space of one Month, and whoever of us shall get drunk, desert, or prove cowardly in Time of Action, or disobedient to our Officers, shall forfeit his Pay. This Agreement we make in Consideration of being allowd at the rate of Six Dollars per Month, Wages, one Dollar for the Use of a Gun and Blanket, to each Man who shall furnish himself with them, and the Provisions and Rum mentioned in a Paper hereunto annexd. (Penn., Arch., ii, p. 547.)
Having forwarded his instructions to Capt. Van Etten, on January 14th, Franklin makes a detailed report to the Governor of what had been accomplished to that time. In it he says, I have also allowd 30 Men to secure the Township of Upper Smithfield, and Commissiond Van Etten and Hinshaw as Captain and Lieutenant. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 549.)
This was also the condition of affairs on April 20th, 1756, when, in a report sent the Governor of the position of troops in Northampton county, it mentions Capt. Vanetten at Minisinks, a Lieut. And 30 men. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 325 date incorrectly given 1758.)
We are not told when Fort Hyndshaw was built, but it was doubtless erected by Capt. Van Etten and his Lieut., James Hyndshaw, probably not long after they took charge of the vicinity, realizing that they could better protect the settlers in that way than any other. It was evidently named after Lieut. Hyndshaw, who resided near by.
Commissary James Young visited it on his round of inspection, and has this to say, writing from the Fort 10 miles above Depues, Commonly calld Hyndshaw Fort.
June 24, 1756 At 8 A.M. I sett out from Fort Hamilton for Saml Depues where Captn Weatherholts Lieut and 26 men are Stationed, when I came there his Muster Roll was not ready, I therefore proceeded to the next Fort 10 miles higher up the River, at 1 P.M. Came there, it is a good Plain Road from Depues, many Plantations this way, but all Deserted, and the houses Chiefly Burnt. Found at this Fort Lieut. Jas Hyndshaw wth 25 men he told me the Captn with 5 men was gone up the River yesterday, and did not Expect him back these two days, they had been informed from the Jerseys that 6 Indians had been seen, and fired at the night before 18 miles up the River. Provincial Stores, 11 Good Muskets, 14 Rounds of Powder & Lead for 30 men, 4 lb Powder, 30 Blankets.
This Fort is a Square abt 70 ft Each way, very Slightly Staccaded. I gave some direction to alter the Bastions which at present are of very little use, it is clear all round for 300 yards, and stand on the Banks of a Large Creek, and abt ¼ mile from the River Delaware, and I think in a very important Place for the Defence of this Frontier; at 3 P.M. I musterd the people, and find them agreeable to the Lieuts Roll, Regularly inlisted. Finding here such a small Quantity of Powder and Lead, and this Fort the most Distant Frontier, I wrote a Letter to Captn Arrend (Orndt), at Fort Norris, where there is a Large Quantity desiring he would deliver to this Fort 30 lb Powder, and 90 lb Lead, and I promised he should have proper orders from his Superior Officer for so doing, in the meantime my letter should be his Security, in which I hope I have not done amiss as I thought it very necessary for the Good of this Service.
24 June At 7 P.M. Came to Saml Dupues, **** (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 680.)
It was probably not long after this when Lieut. Jas. Hyndshaw was detached from Capt. Van Ettens Company and attached to the command of Capt. Nicholas Wetterhold, who had charge of the district south of the mountains and also the locality about Dupuis house. Lieut. Hyndshaw therefore remained on duty in the same general neighborhood, although not at Fort Hyndshaw. He was replaced in Capt. Van Ettens Company by Lieut. Samuel
Allen, who was commissioned May 19, 1756.
On December 6th, 1756, Major Parsons reports to Richd Peters, the Colonial Secretary, that he had supplied Fort Hyndshaw on August 24th, with 15 ½ lb powder, 90 lb lead and 25 flints. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 81.)
I beg now to give a sketch showing the location of this Fort, for which I am indebted to Rev. Theo. Heilig of Stroudsburg. With regard to it Mr. Heilig says, About Fort Hyndshaw I am quite sure, having the data from a man who has been in the fort many a time over thirty years ago. Mr. Heilig himself, has resided in the vicinity for a long time and is thoroughly acquainted with its people and history. It would seem as if traces of the embankment, or line of stockades, were visible some thirty years ago.
In accordance with the instructions given him by Franklin, Capt. Van Etten was careful to keep a daily journal of events. We are fortunate in having preserved to us the record extending over some months. Whilst more fully narrating the occurrences at Fort Hyndshaw, it also includes Fort Hamilton, Captain Van Etten being in command of both defences. We cannot do better than to give it, without comment, as he has written it:
Journal kept by Captain John Van Etten, 1757,
Of all the Proceedings and Circumstances of Affairs, together with all Busnis and scouting Done by said Company, from the 2st Day of December, 1756.
December ye 1st, 1756.
1. I went on Scout with the oldest Sert, to see if there ware Indians on the Cost, but discovrd none; we Returned safe to the fort.
2. After Releaving Guard Imployd the men in halling firewood.
3. Relievd Guard and kept the men about the Garrison.
4. and 5. Paid some of the men, and for some provisions.
6. Kept the men in their posts about the Garrison.
7. I went on Scout with 2 men and made no Discovery Returnd Safe to the Fort at Night and found all in Good order.
8. and 9. The men Divided, one part standing on Sentry while the other Cut and Halld firewood.
10. I went out on Scout with one man and made no Discovery, and Returnd safe to the fort.
11. The Lieut went on his Journey to Philadelphia, in order to get the pay for my men for 3 months; the same Day, about 11 oclock I went out on Scout with 6 men and Traviled four milds out making no Discovery, Returnd to the fort.
12. Sunday and Rainey, we all staid at the Garrison.
13. In the morning, after Guard Relvd, I went out with six men on Scout and one neighbour, and Traviled eight milds out and made no Discovery, and Returnd to the Garrison all safe.
14. After Guard Relievd I went out with four men on Scout, and sent two men with Jacob Swortwood to Guarde him in fetching his Grane, where it might be thrashd.
15. I went with five men on Scout, and sd Jacob Swortwood went again to his place with sd Guard, it being about four milds from the fort. At night, when I returned, told me, that before he and sd Guard came to the field they saw a small Stack of Rye set out in a Large Shock of 30 Sheves on a side, and places Left in the middle to Soot out at, and a beehive set on the top.
16. After the Guard Relievd, I went with six men to the place, and orderd two men with the Wagons to come sometime after when I had surrounded the field, then to come and take their Loads which was Done, but no Discovery of the Enemy. I wend then with two men through the woods and the rest of the men Guarded the Waggon, and we all returned safe to the fort.
17. It snowd; I made a pair of Mokesons for myself to Scout in.
18. After the Guard Relievd I went to Scout with six men, and went about Six milds from the fort and found the Snow in many places half Leg deep; we Discovering no Enemy, all Returned safe to the fort.
19. It was Sunday, one of the Corporals with 4 men went on Scout but made no Discovery, and all Returned safe to the fort.
20. It Snowd, therefore we all kept the fort.
21. The Corporal with 5 men halld firewood to the Fort, and I went with 3 men on Scout, and four milds out finding the Snow knee deep, but made no Discovery, and Returned to the fort after dark.
22. After the Guard Relievd we cleard of the Snow round the Fort, in order to go to work to build a blockhouse.
23. We all kept the fort.
24. And to the end of the month, the Snow Rendering it unfit for Work or Scouting, we cleared the Parade and kept the men to their Exercise twice a Day, in which time I paid of the men.
January ye 1st, 1757
1. Relievd Guard and Exercisd the men, and kept the fort.
2. Sunday, kept the fort.
3. Stormy weather.
4. Kept the men to their Exercise.
5. The same.
6. Halld firewood for the Fort.
7. Exercisd the men twice.
8. Halld firewood, having the advantage of the Snow.
9. Sunday, all kept the fort.
10. I went on Scout with Six men, and Night on us we lodgd at Daniel Shoemakers.
11. Returned home to the fort.
12. I went on Scout with 4 men, made no discovery, and all Returned to the fort.
15. Halld firewood for the fort.
17. I went on Scout with 5 men, Discovering nothing, Returnd to the fort.
19. I, with the Leut, went on Scout with 6 men, and Traviled 3 milds out, and Returned to the Fort, Discovering nothing.
20. I went out on Scout with two men and made no Discovery; Returnd safe to the fort.
21. Relievd Guard and kept the fort.
22. I went out with one man on Scout about 7 milds from the fort, Discoverd nothing, and Returned safe to the fort.
23. Receivd order from Honbl Corll, Dated 16 Instant, that as soon as the Season would admit to Dissipline the men in the English Exercise, and to teach them the Indian method of war, the which was immediately observd and daily practisd.
30. Receivd Orders from the Honbl Corll to Inlist men to fill up my Company, to consist of fifty men, Encluding 2 Serjts, 2 Corporals, and a Drummer.
Febrawary ye 4th
Then writ to Majr Wm. Persons, Discovering the necessity we ware in of Ammonission.
6. Receivd an answer with 29 lb Lead.
7. Keept the men to their Exercise as usual.
9. Excessive bad weather.
11. After Guard Relievd halld firewood.
12. Snow, which made it unfit for Exercise.
14.Kept the men to their Exercise.
16.Halld firewood for the fort.
17.The men Exercisd twice.
18. and 19. The same.
20.Sunday, kept the fort.
21. Went out on Scout with 4 men, but finding it so uncomfortable Traviling, and making no Discovery, Returnd to the Fort.
22. and 23. The men kept to their Exercise.
24. After Guard Relievd halld firewood.
25. Kept the men to their Exercise, and to the End of the month.
March the 1st, 1757
At Eight Oc Relievd Guard and Exercisd the men twice.
4. After Guard Relievd, orderd the old Guard to Hall firewood for the fort.
6.Sunday, Relievd Guard at 8 Oc and then Exercisd the men.
8. After Guard Relievd went out on Scout with ten men, Travild about Six milds, made no Discovery, and Returnd to the fort.
9. Exercisd the men twice.
10. Exercisd the men twice.
11. After Guard Relievd at 8 Oc, Halld firewood for the fort.
12. After Guarde Relievd I went with Six men on Scout, and traviled about Six milds and made no Discovery, and all Returnd safe to the fort.
13. Sunday, Relievd Guard at 8 Oc, and all kept the Garrison.
14. After Guard Relievd went on Scout with 8 men, Discovering nothing Returnd to the fort.
16. After Guard Relievd, halld fire wood for the fort.
17. Dissiplind the men twice.
18. After Guard Relievd I went on Scout with 5 men, made no Discovery, and Returnd to the fort.
19. Relievd Guard, Dissiplind the men, and halld fire wood.
20. Relievd Guarde at 8 Oc, and all kept the fort.
21. Went on my Journey for Easton in order to attend Court, Leaving the Charge of the Company wt the Leut, and being Detaind by Reson of Bad weather I attended the whole term.
28. I Returnd Safe to my company at Fort Hyndshaw, finding all thing in good order and my men in health.
29. Relievd Guarde and Dissiplind the men twice.
30. After Guarde Relievd went on Scout with 4 men, and others imployd in halling fire wood for the fort.
After Guard Relievd I went on Scout with 4 men, and went about 4 milds, making no Discovery Returnd to the fort.
2. Relievd Guard and Dissiplind the men.
3. Sunday, Relievd Guard and kept the Fort.
4. Dissiplind the men twice.
5. Relievd Guard, then imploy the men in halling fire wood.
6. Dissiplind the men.
7. Recd an Order, dated March 28th, from the Honbl Corll Wiser, commanding me immediately to Send an Attachment of men, 16 in number, to Relieve the Company stationd at Fort Hambleton.
8. Took possession of sd fort according to my orders, and the Company marchd of Leaving the fort in my care.
9. A Copy of a Letter from Majr Willm Parsons, sent to then commander at fort Hambleton, I being there and no other. I opend the same, and found it to be a Coppy from the original, sent by Jacob Snyder, Insign, being then Commander at fort Norris, with which I could not content myself, but went of immediately to Easton to see the Majr.
10. Then spoke with the Majr at his own House, who orderd that the Leut., with 25 men of my Company, should immediately march to Riddin, to the Corlls, there to Recd further orders.
11. Returnd home to fort Hyndshaw, Receiving the Original of the Majrs order by the way, and acquainted the Leut. with the affair.
12. Got the men ready for a march.
13. Conveyd the Leut. with sd Company as far as fort Hambleton.
14. The Leut. marchd with said Company about Eight OClock in the morning from Fort Hambleton, and I Returned to fort Hyndshaw.
15. Dissiplind the men.
16. Went to see the Majr.
20. Returnd to Fort Hyndshaw, visiting Fort Hambleton on my way, and found all things in good order at both Forts. The Night following an Express came from fort Hambleton to me at fort Hyndshaw, with an accompt of a murder Committed about Sun set.
21.Went to Fort Hambleton with 7 men, and found it to be one Countryman, a Lad of about 17 years of age, Killd and scalpd by the Indians, about 100 Rods from fort Hambleton, which I took up and Buried the same day; Returnd safe with my men to fort Hyndshaw.
22. Dissiplined the men twice.
23. Imployd the men halling firewood to the fort.
24. Sunday, all Kept the fort.
25. My Serjt Leonard Den, with 2 men of, for subsistence to Samll Depues, having got within about 2 milds of sd Depues, sd Sejt was shot, the 2 men Returnd and informd me of it, where upon an alarm was beat, and the neighbours all gatherd to the fort; myself with 7 men went of immediately and found him Killd and Scalpd, and intirely Stripd and shamefully cut, that his bowls was Spred on the Ground, I immediately sent of 3 men to sd Depues for a Wagon, which being come we carried him to sd Sepues, where we kept guarde that night.
26. Early in the morning we Buried him in a Christian manner, & all Returnd to Fort Hyndshaw.
27. Dissiplind the men, increasing our Sentinels as far as our week circumstances would allow.
28. Dissiplind the men, giving them such Causion as I thought needful.
29. and 30. Guarded the neighbours in their necessary Busines, with all that could possible Leave the fort.
Sunday, all Kept the fort.
2. Dissiplind the men at 8 Oc in the morning, then imployd the men in halling firewood for the Garrison.
3. Dissiplind the men at 8 Oc in the morning, then I went on Scout with 5 men, an traviled about 5 milds and Discovered nothing, and all Returned safe to the fort.
4. Dissiplind the men at 8 Oc in the morning, then I went on Scout with 5 men, & traviled about 6 milds, Discovering nothing; all Returnd safe to the fort.
5. About Eight in the morning, word came to me that an Indian was seen about 3 quarters of a mild from the fort; I went out immediately in pursuit of them with Eight men & one neighbour, and found it true by seeing his track, but could not come up with him, but my men from the fourt saw him Running from us at a Considerable distance from us, as they Likewise at the same time Could see some of my Company, as the few I left to Keep the fort affirmd to me at my Return, but I seeing nothing of him Returnd with my men safe to the fort.
The same day one of my men, coming from a field where I sent a guard to Guard the neighbours at there work, saw three Indians coming down a mountain near sd field, he gave me notice, I immediately went out with sd man and 2 others in pursuit of them, not thinking it proper to go very far, the Garison being left very weak. I stood on guard with 2 men, while one went to alarm the Guard that was in the field, then Returned to the fort,
6. At Eight of the Clock Dissiplind the men, after which some of my men, who had observd the night before as they were on Sentury, that the Dogs Keept an unusual barking and running to a particular place, went to see what the occasion should be, and found that an Indian had stood behind a tree about 25 yards from the fort; being told I went to see and found it true, his tracks being visible enough to be seen; in the afternoon I went on Scout with 4 men and a neighbour, but made no Discovery, and all Returnd safe to the fort.
7. The men call to their Exercise at the usual time, after which I went wth 4 men to a Smiths shop whare we made an Instrument to take a Bullit out of my Horse, who was shot when Sert. Den was Killd, and all returnd safe to the fort.
8. Sunday, assisted some of the neighbours with their Goods and families to the fort.
9. Dissoplind the men, after which Guarded two of the neighbours in their necessary Bussiness, with what men could be Spaird, and continued the same to the
15. Sunday, we all Kept the fourt.
16. Tho weak handed, I went on Scout with 4 men, traviled bout 4 milds, made no Discovery, and Returnd safe to the fort.
17. Dissiplind the men at 8 Oc in the morning, then guarded the neighbours with all I could Spair from the fort.
18. Exercised the men twice, and all kept the fort.
19. After Exercising the men, Guarded the neighbours with all that could be Spaird from the fort.
20. The Corporal, with 3 men, went on scout by my order, traviled about 3 milds, mad no Discovery, and Returnd to the fort.
21. Att 4 Oc, afternoon, Receivd a letter from Capt. Busse to send a Corpll, with 5 men, to meat him at Lest on the 22 day, to Guard him to fort Allin, which men Dispatchd in half an hour.
22. Sunday, we few which Remaind all kept the fort.
23. About 10 OClock in the morning I Receivd a Letter from Majr Parson, wherein he Desird me to come to Easton to Rece my pay, with the pay for my men; I having then but 19 men Left me to keep the Fort, I took the Case together with my men into consideration, who all Begd of me not to leave the fort, where upon I wrote to the Majr and Begd of him to Consider our Circumstance, and Excuse me until the men Returnd.
24. Dissoplind the Men at Eight in the morning, and all kept the fort, being week handed.
25. I went on Scout with 3 men, and traviled about 3 milds in the mountains and Discoverd nothing; Returnd to the fort.
26. Dissiplind the men, and all staid about the fort.
27. Dissiplind the men twice.
28. At 2 Oc, in the afternoon, the men, who with Comisary Young, from Easton to fort Allen, Returnd all in Helth.
29. Exercisd the men, and all kept the fort.
30. I went on Scout with 3 men, and traviled about 4 milds, discoverd nothing and Returnd to the fort.
31. Dissiplind the men at 8 Oc in the morning, afternoon went on Scout with 4 men, went about 3 milds from the fort, Discoverd nothing, and Returnd to the fort.
June ye 1st
The Corporal, with 3 men, went on scout, and gave account of no discovery on their Return.
2. Five men sent to Samll Depues for Subsistance, in the afternoon the fort allarmd by hearing several Guns fird, I immediately, with 3 men, went to find out the Reason, & found it to be some who unwittingly shot at fowl in the River. Our men all Returnd safe about Sunsett.
3. I sett of on my Journey for Philadelphia, about 4 OClock in the afternoon, with 6 men as a Guarde, and came all safe to Fort Hambleton, and found everything in good order there.
4. At 8 Oc in the morning Dissiplind the men, and gve strict orders to the Sergant to keep the men Exact to there duty, and about 4 Oc afternoon I persued my Journey.
5. I lay sic by the way within five milds of Easton.
6. Came to Easton and paid my Respects to Majr Persons.
7. Notwithstanding the Ill Surcomstance of Body I was in I persued my Jorney.
8. About 4 in the afternoon I came to Philadelphia, and Deliverd the Express sent to Majr Persons, just as it was sent to him to his Honr the governor, who Desird me to wait on him at 12 Oc the next day.
9. I waited on his Honour as was requested, the answer from Mr. Petters was that my Busines should be done the next day at 9 Oc in the morning.
10. ,11., 12., I waited, but it was not done according to Expectation.
13. About 3 Oc in the afternoon I left the Town.
14. About two in the afternoon I came to Easton, I directly paid my Respects to Majr Persons, who told me I should take a Supply of Ammonicion, where upon I provided Sacks and took 100 lb of powder, 100 lb of lead, and a 100 Flints, and also Recd a Coppy from his Honour, the Governors orders to Remove to fort Hambleton, and left Easton about 6 Oc and went about five milds.
15. Came safe to fort Hambleton with the Ammonicion, about 6 Oc afternoon, and found all things in good order.
16. At Eight Oc in the morning Displd the men and ordered them all to shoot at a mark at Armes End, and some of them did Exceeding well then; taking a Scort of men with me I went to Fort where we all arrived safe. I immediately calld the men to Arms, and Ordred every one to get their Cloaths, and what ever they had, together as quick as possible, and be Redy to march to fort Hambleton.
17. and 18. After Dissoplining the men as usual, we made everything Redy for our march.
19. About 9 Oc in the morning we all marched from fort Hyndshaw, with all the Baggage, and all arrived safe at fort Hambleton, and met no opposition, and found all things in good order there.
20. At Eight in the morning calld the men under Armes, and after Exercissing the men, orderd out Six men on Samuel Dupues Request, to Guard him in taking his wife to the Doctr, at Bethlehem, who tarrid all night at sd Depues; the same day I went on Scout with men and one neighbour to git acquainted with the woods, as also to See if any Discovery could be made of the Enemy, but made no Discovery and Returnd to the fort.
21. At 8 Oc Exercisd the men, about 12 Oc the Guard, with sd Depue & wife, came to the fort; then orderd a Guard of ten men, who went of under the Care of a Corporal with sd Depue with orders, that after they had Guarded sd Depue as far as was needful, to Carry a Message from me to the Majr, at Easton, and to Return as soon as Dispatch could be made.
22. Exercisd the men that Remand at the fort as Usual; nothing Extreordinary hapned, so all kept the fort.
23. In the morning, near Eleven Oc, the fort was allarmd by some of the neighbours who had made their escape from the Enemy, five of them in Company near Brawdheads house, seeking their horses in order to go to mill, was fird upon by the Enemy, and said that one of them, John Tidd by name, was Killd, whereupon I immediately Draughted out 9 men, myself making the tents, in as private a manner as possible, and as privately went back in to the mountains in order to make a Discovery, giving Strict orders to those left to fire the wall peace to alarm us, if any attact should be attempted on the fort in my absence there, but Six men left at the fort, and coming in sight of sd house, on the back side Perceivd a small smoke arise at sd House, then traviling about a Quarter of a mild in order to surround them, we heard four Guns, the first of which being much Louder than the rest, Expected the fort was attacked, where upon we Retreeted back about a Quarter of a mild, and hering no more Guns, my Councel was to go to the House, but my pilot, who was well acquainted with the woods, thought it best to place ourselves in ambush, for they would come that way, he said; and as we ascended the mountain in order to place ourselves we saw the house in a blaze, and the pilot thought best to Retire a little nearer the house and the fort, where we might have a better view, and in the Retreet we heard 14 Guns fird as quick after each other as one could count, then we placd our selves in two Companies, the better to waylay them; the party that was nearest between the house and the fort soon saw 27 Endeavouring to git between the house and the fort, I, with the other party saw 5 more comeing on the other side, we found that we were discovrd and like to be surrounded by a vast number, wherefore we all Retreted and got between them and the fort, then haulting they came in view. I then Calinged them to come, and fird at them, and although at a Considerable distance, it was Generally thought one of them was killd, by ther Sqooting and making off, then we all Retird to the fort; Immediately upon our Return, a Scout of 13 men from the Jarsey, who were in search of Edwd Marshals wife, who was killd some time ago, came to the fort, being brought there by seeing the smoke and hearing the Guns fird, who all seemd forward to go after them, when I with nine men, went out with them, but having got some distance out they would go to the house to see whether the sd man was killd. Being come, we found him Killd and Scalpd, his Body and face Cut in an inhuman manner, Cattle also lying dead on the Ground, where upon they all went of and left me with my small number to take care of the Dead man; whereupon we took him up and Returned to the fort, in which time my men that went to Easton Returnd to the fort.
24. Att about nine in the morning, having made redy, I went with 18 men and buried the man, then went from the grave in search, and found 15 Cattle, Horses and hogs dead, besides two that was shot, one with 5 bulits, the other with one, and yet there are many missing, out of which the Enemy took, as we Judg, the value of two Beaves and almost one Swine in the Evening sent an Express by two men to the Majrs.
25. Disciplined the men nothing Extraordinary hapned, all Kept the fort that night; the two men that went with the Express to Easton Returnd in safety to the Fort.
26. Early in the morning Recd the Majrs Letter, wherein he showd himself very unesey that the men from Fort Norris had not Joyned me, and Desird me to send to fort Norris to know the Reason; and thinking it might be occasiond for want fo Carriages to bring their Stores, Desird me to indeavour to send a Wagon theather, accordingly, as I was indeavoring all I could in compliance of the Majrs Desire, about 3 Oc in the afternoon, Lieut Hyndshaw came to the fort with ten men from Capt. Weatherhold, and Six from Fort Norris, showing his order from Corll Weiser, for him to Command Fort Hambleton, and for me to abide with a small number of men at Fort Hyndshaw.
27. At Eight in the morning calld my men under Armes as usual, and Draughted out Eleven men and sent them under the care of a Corpll, with 3 neighbours, in search of some Cattle, which they feard ware taken or Killd by the Enemy, at which time the Lieut. undertook to talk with me, and proposd to me that if I would Let him have Six out of the men I had with me, to Joyn the men he had from Captn Weatherhold, he would go to Fort Hyndshaw and stay there until further orders, and Leave the Six men he brought from Fort Norris with me, which I could not Comply with, as not being in my power, having movd to Fort Hambleton by his Honours, the Governors, order, there to be reinfordd by a Detachment from Fort Norris, their to stay until further orders, at which the Lieut. went of with a Sejt, and a waiting man he brought under no bodies care; the Scout which went out all Returnd safe to the fort, finding what they went in search of, all well.
28. After Exercising my men as Usual, I sent out a Scout of 12 men under the care of Serjt, who traviled about six milds out, and all Returnd safe to the fort making no discovery. I being not fully satisfied on the acct of the men Left with me, whome I could do no less to then feed and Give them their proper allowance of Rum, wherefore I wrote to the Majr, laying the Circumstance of the matter as plain as possible befor him, Desiring his advice what to do in the Case, the which I sent of in the Evening by the Serjt. and one man with him.
29. After Exercising, the men I sen of Six men, under the Care of the Corporal, with Six of those men which the Lieut. left, who voluntarily went to assist and to guard one Peter Snyder, in taking of some Cattle whome he had, fled of and Left some time ago, least they should be Killd by the Enemy; in the Night the Serjt, wt the man that went wt him Returnd safe from Easton, with a letter from Majr, wherein he advisd me to put the sd men on duty which was left wt me, and where as he Expected Corll Weiser to be hare in a few days, to keep the fort until he came, also Desird me to Endeavour to hasten Lieut. Engles march to fort Hambleton.
30. I put the men left wt me on duty in the afternoon, the men that Guarded Peter Snyder all Returnd safe to the fort.
In the morning Calld my men under Armes, Draughted out ten men whom I sent under the Care of the Serjt, with nine of those men the Lieut Left at the fort, whome I ordred where and how far they should travil on Scout, the which they performd and Returnd about one, after noon. About one Oc, after noon, the Lieut. came past the fort, stoping at John McMackills, soon after. Came to the fort and showd in Order from Corll Weiser, that I should Resign the Command of Fort Hambleton to him, upon which I Calld my men under armes, and as I was sending for the Lieut. to Give up the Command to him, the Centunal hearing musick, acquainted me with it; I Expecting it was the Corll coming, delaid until the Corll came, who weighing the circumstances of things, continued me in possession of sd Fort.
A True Journal of All Transaction in Captain John Van Ettens Company from the Second Day of July.
July ye 2d, 1757
At Eight in the morning the men called to armes, at which time the Corll took a view of the men and their arms, and finding all in good order, after Giving Orders for the Regulation of the Company about 12 oclock, the Corll with his attendance marchd off, after which we all kept the fort.
3. All Kept the Fort it being Sunday.
4. After Disciplining the men a party of twelve men under the command of a Serjt sent to Samll Depues with a Team for Necessary Subsistance, and all Returnd safe to the fort in the evening according to orders.
5. Very Rainy Weather unfit for Scouting or Exercise, all kept the fort.
6. At Eight in the Morning calld the men to their Exercise, and Gave the men necessary Council how to behave according to the Orders Given to me by the Corll, at which time Complaint was made to me by some of the men that some of the Neighbours which Resided in the fort ware Lousey, by which means the whole Garrison would soon be in the same condition. It then Orderd the Corpll with 3 men to assist him to make a search and found that one Henery Countryman, his family, and one John Hillman and his family ware Lousey, I orderd them out of the fort to their own house, it being but about 8 or 9 Rods from the fort, then Imployd the men to Clean the fort within Doors and without, which was accordingly done, also sent out a scout of four men with 3 nieghbors who voluntarily went in hopes to find some Catle they had missing to Return the same Day, which they did in the Evening all safe to the fort, making no discovery of any Enemy.
7. At Eight in the morning I called the men to their Exercise then Divided the men into two Guards, Each Guarde to stand their Day, those that ware not on Guarde to be imployd in Scouting, Guarding the Neighbours and in things necessary to be done about the fort, and gave strict orders to those that ware on guarde that they should not Leave their post nor go from the fort, and that Every Sentunal should behave well on his post, about one oclock after noon having occasion to go to John McMickles, saw John Jough Coming out of the woods with hooppolls on his Sholder, who was one of the Guarde, Immediately the Corpll came to sd house, I then went home, and finding the Glass ran out I examined the matter and found that the Sentunal had stood his proper time out and ought to be Relievd. I therefore calld the next man on the List and see to his Relieff myself, the men that ware not on Guarde I imployed in banking up the Earth against the Stockaders to prevent the waters Settling and running into the well which I found to be the Occasion that the water was so bad in the well.
8. At Eight in the morning Relievd Guard, after which I imployd the old Guard in clearing out the well.
9. After Guard Relievd, a scout of ten men with the Serjt went wt some of the Neighbors to Mr. Broadheads place, who went on Necessary Busines and met no opposition, and all Returnd safe to the fort.
10. Sunday, a scout of 6 men went to Samll Depues on Necessary Busines, on their Return said they heard a person whistle, which was supposed to be an Indian, but see nothing, all Returnd safe to the fort.
11. After Guarde Relievd, The Serjt with the old Guarde ten men Set out on Scout to travil South-East, and as far as to Return by night which was performed, Meeting no Opposition nor Discovering any Signs of the Enemy all returnd safe to the fort.
12. At Eight in the morning calld the men to their Exercise and Relievd Guard, after which upon John McMichaels Impertunity ordred ten men as a Guarde, where he was Cutting his harvest some Distance from the fort, with whom I went myself and placed them to the best advantage I could ordering none to fire his Gun Except at an Enemy, and that 3 Guns should be an Allarm, they meeting no opposition all returned safe to the fort.
13. After the men exercised and Guard Relievd, it was my intent to Guard John McMickle as the Day before but his Son in Law Coming from a Long Jorney or Voiage Detained him from Labour, wherefore I then took the Old Guard consisting of ten men and three Neighbours, with whom I went on Scout Directing my course South about 5 miles from the fort, and from thence west 2 miles, thence by judgment northerly so as to come to the fort in which way we came by the Sepperates Meeting house, where we found the Enemy had Lodged not long since, they Leaving a Bed of Fern even in the pulpit, But meeting no opposition all returnd safe to the fort.
14. At Seven in the morning calld the men to their Exercise & Relievd Guard, I then went with John McMickle and ten of my men as a Guard, to Guard said McMickle and men Imployd at his harvest, posting five men a Small Distance from the field, which I thought best to discover the Enemy if any Should attempt to fall upon the people at work, the other five I posted in the field, about 3 oclock afternoon I went wt the Corporal Round to the Sentunals as privately as we could and found them all on their guard.
15. It being very Rainey unfit to be out with arms we all kept the Fort.
16. The Rain Continueing until near 12 oclock I then went to John MacMickle and asked him wheather he was Redy to go to his harvest, but I saw no preparation or Inclination for it, wherefore I went to the fort intending to go on scout with part of the men after Dinner, but before we ware redy four men came to the fort with an order from Corll Weiser, dated June 14, 1757, the Contents were as followeth, that he had Sent Orders to Lieut Hyndshaw to attend the Treaty with the ten men of Capt. Weatherholts Company with him who ware then at Fort Hyndshaw and ordered me therefore without fail to send ten men from fort Hamilton to replace those Ordered away, where upon I immediately draughted out nine men, the Corpll making the tenth whom I sent off to the Lieut the same day, as soon as possably they could make them Selves Redy which was in about half an hour after Receiving the Corlls Orders Under the Cair of the Corpll with Orders to the Lieut to station them as he thought fit, the which he posted at Samll Depues.
17. Sunday, seven of my small party of men left with me with four neighbours went on scout under the Command of the Serjt, who traviled South-westerly about six miles, then taking a Compass northerly all returned safe to the fort making no Discovery of any Enemy.
18. At Eight in the morning I went with five men and guarded John McMickle at his harvest, placing 3 Sentunals a small Distance from the field, and two in the field with men at work, they meeting no Opposition all returned safe to the fort.
19. Early in the morning one Garrit Brodhead applied to me for a guard to which I told him I would do for him what Lay in my power with the few men I had, I then ordred five men under the Cair of the Serjt & went my Self with one man to accompany me to the fort, and placed the Sentunals in the best manner I could for Safty, Leaving orders with the Serjt that fireing 3 guns should be an alarm, and then returned to the fort, and tended guard unti ye Second Double Sentury.
20. Guarded sd Brodhead as the Day Before, and all returned safe to the fort.
21. In compliance with the Corlls order early in the morning I sent to Samll Depues for the [mare] he had in keeping in order to send my message to the Corll at Easton, who returnd with sd Mare safe in the evening also 4 men Guarded John Drake at his harvest with orders to give an account of what hapnd, which was all was well, but as to their behaviour after their coming to the fort, I shall acquaint the Corll of the matter. (Penn.Arch., iii, p. 222.)
With this diary ends our history of Fort Hyndshaw. It is probable that it was abandoned as a defensive station even before Fort Hamilton, and, with the gradual approach of peace, there only remained for it to stand as a silent memento of the terrible events of the past.
Old Shawanee Church, Site of Fort Dupui.
It is not generally known that probably the first settlements in Pennsylvania were not on the Delaware at Philadelphia, but some hundred miles up that river at Shawnee, in Monroe county, near Stroudsburg. They were made by the Low Dutch or Hollanders, from New Netherlands, on the fertile, low lands along the Delaware, called, after the Indians occupying them, the Minisink Flats. These lands lay on both sides of the river for a number of miles. When the first settlement was made is unknown, and could not be ascertained even from those living there in 1787, generally the grandchildren of the original settlers, and who were merely aware that it antedated, many years, Penns purchase in 1682. Those who first came seem to have been Holland miners, who made a good road, about 100 miles long, from Esopus (now Kingston) on the Hudson river to the Mine Holes on the Jersey side of the Delaware river near Stroudsburg. Tradition has it that much ore was hauled from thence over the Mine road as it was called, to Esopus, but of what character is not known. Seeing the extreme fertility of the low lands, the Dutch soon occupied them, raised abundant crops and hauled their produce over this same road to Esopus, their market. When later the English reached them they found a people who knew nothing of Philadelphia, William Penn or the Proprietary Government. Capt. John Van Etten, of Fort Hyndshaw and Fort Hamilton, was one of the descendants of these original Dutch settlers. The person however, in whom we are now most interested in Samuel Dupui, a Huguenot Frenchman, who settled originally at Esopus, there married a Dutch girl, and some time prior to 1725 came to the Minisink region. He purchased a large portion of the level lands on which the present town of Shawnee is situated of the Minsi Indians in 1727, and likewise the two large islands in the Delaware---Shawano and Manwalamink. Subsequently, in 1733, he purchased the same property of William Allen. Here, on the Delaware river, 5 ½ miles from where the present town of Stroudsburg stands, Dupui built a log house, his first home, which was afterwards replaced by a stone house, of spacious size, and which he occupied at the outbreak of Indian hostilities in 1755.
Fort or Block House at Dupui's.
Prominently situated as it was, just beyond the mountain, where it commanded the populous region above, as well as the district below with the approaches to Easton, Bethlehem, &c, it was but natural to occupy the building at once, especially as its substantial character, in itself, made it an admirable place of defence and refuge.
This was immediately done. As early as December, 1755, Capt. Isaac Wayne was temporarily on duty at the place. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 542.) Before long, however, when the Commissioners were completing their more permanent arrangements, Capt. Wayne was ordered elsewhere, and Dupuis fort was put under the Command of Capt. Nicholas Wetterholt, who had general charge of the entire country just south of the Blue mountains from the Delaware to the Schuylkill. The building was further strengthened and fortified by constructing around it a stockade.
This is what Commissary Jas. Young has to say about it, when he reached it on his tour of inspection:
June 24, 1756. At 8 A.M. I sett out from Fort Hamilton for Saml Depues, where Captn Weatherholts Lieut and 26 men are Stationed, when I came there his Muster Roll was not ready. I therefore proceeded to the next Fort, 10 miles higher up the River (Fort Hyndshaw, which he duly inspected and left the same day). **** At 7 P.M. Came to Saml Depues, Mustered that Part of Captn Weatherholts Compy that are Stationed here, a Lieut and 26 men all regularly Inlisted for 6 months as are the rest of his Compy; Round Depues house is a Large but very Slight, and ill Contrivd Staccade with a Sweevle Gun mounted on each Corner. Mr Depue was not at home, his Son with a Son of Mr Broadheads keeping house. They expressd themselves as if they thought the Province was obligd to them for allowing this Party to be in their house, also made use of very arrogant Expresions of the Commissioners, and the People of Phila in General; they seem to make a mere merchandize of the People stationed here, selling Rum at 8d. pr Gill.---Provincial Stores, 13 Gd Muskets, 3 Cartooch Boxes, 13 lb Powder, 22 lb Lead.
25 June At 5 A.M. sett out from Depues for the Wind Gapp. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 680.)
Mr. Youngs criticism of the family is hardly fair, and was doubtless occasioned by some little occurrence not to his liking. When we remember that these people, and others, had been living for years on their plantations, many of them purchased fairly from the Indians, which, at considerable expense and labor had been brought to a high state of cultivation, and were then suddenly confronted by the English from Philadelphia who bluntly told them the lands were theirs and that they would either be obliged to purchase them over again or leave them, we can readily believe that they did not have the most cordial feeling towards the English. Yet, notwithstanding this fact, I read nowhere else any harsh criticism against Mr. Dupui, but, on the contrary, many kindly expressions. He may have sold rum to the garrison, but it was hardly to be expected that he could keep them supplied with that necessary of life for nothing. We know, in addition, that he served as Commissary to a portion of the Provincial troops, but doubtless gave full and honest measure for everything for which he was paid.
I am again indebted to the Rev. Theo. Heilig, of Stroudsburg, for the map herewith given, showing the location of Dupuis Fort. He, in turn, obtained his information from Mr. Robert Depuy and his wife, the oldest people of the vicinity, descendants of the original settlers, and present owners of the identical farm. Mr. Depuy resides at present in Stroudsburg. It has been and is still a source of great regret to him that many valuable papers relating to this very subject were destroyed by a miserable vandal into whose possession an old secretary fell, which contained them, and which he wanted to use for a more practical purpose and so made way with the papers.
The location of Dupuis Fort is generally given at the mouth of Mill creek. This is a mistake. The fort, as we have seen was Mr. Dupuis residence and this was located as above. It was about 200 ft. west by south of Mr. Robert Depuys present farm house. It was on the road leading from the main road to the ferry. From here the main road runs in a westerly direction to Stroudsburg, 5 ½ miles, and the Delaware Water Gap, and in a northeasterly direction to Bushkill by the river, where stood formerly Fort Hyndshaw. There was an old spring on its site, and numerous relics have since been found on the spot, corroborating the testimony of Mr. Robert Depuy, its present owner, whose ancestor built the original log house, as well as the stone house, which surrounded by its stockade, was a fort.
On February 5, 1758, Adjutant Kern reports Depews House in charge of Capt. Garraway (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 339), and in detail, names Ensign Hughes in Command, with 23 men, 10 Province Arms, 9 Private Guns, 40 lbs powder, 80 lbs lead, 4 months Provisions, 6 Cartridges, and distant from P. Dolls Block House 20 miles. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 340.)
James Burd on his tour of inspection in 1758 reports:
March 2d, Thursday.
Marched from hence [Teeds Block House] at 9 A.M. for Mr. Samuell Depews, went by the way of Fort Hamilton to Vew that place, arrived at Fort Hamilton at 2 P.M., vewed it & found it a very porr Stockade, with one large house in the middle of it & some familys in it. This is 15 miles from Teads.
Arrived at Mr. Depews at 4 P.M., 6 miles, snowed much & prodigious cold, ordered a Revew tomorrow morning at 9 A.M.
This is a very fine Plantation, Situate upon the River Delaware, 21 miles from Teads & 100 Miles from Philaa, they go in Boats from hence to Philaa by the River Delaware, which carrys about 22 Ton. This place is 35 miles from Easton & 38 from Bethlehem. There is a pretty good Stockade here & 4 Sweevells mounted & good accommodation for soldiers.
Revewed this Garrison and found here 22 good men, 50 lb of powder, 125 lb of lead, no flints, a great Quantity of Beaff, I suppose 8 Mo. Provisions for a Compy, but no flour, plenty of flour at the Mill, about 300 yards from the Fort. My horses being tyred Im obliged to hault here today. Extreme cold. The Country apply for a Company to be Stationed here. Ordered Ensigne Hughes to his Post at Swetterrow.
Sett off this morning for Easton. *** (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 356.)
In June, 1758, Capt. Bull, commanding Fort Allen, having been notified of approaching danger, at once wrote Mr. Dupui as follows:
June ye 14th, 1758, at Fort Allen
Mr. Samuel Depugh:
This is to let you know that ther is this evening come to Fort Allen too white men from Wioming, one named Frederick Post, and one Thomson, who have been there with messages from the Government, who informs that there passd by Wimoing a party of Indians, in number 25, Being part of too hundred French Indians, on their way to the frontiers or Minisinks, these in hast from yours to Serve,
JOHN BULL, Capt. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 423.)
Immediately Mr. Dupui wrote to Mr. Swain at Easton:
Smithfield, June 15th, 1758, at night.
Inclosed I send you Capt. Bull's letter to me from Fort Allen, with an acc't of Indians supposed to be on their way to this part of the Frontiers or Minisinks, which is much to be feared, will prove most fatal to this part, as it is at present the most Defenceless, the Bearer of Mr. Bulls letter informs me that he saw 11 Indians between this and Fort Allen, but he Luckily made his escape, to this he says he is willing to be qualified, I hope Dr Sir you will be kind enough to take his qualification, and Transmit it to his Honour our Governor with a state of our present Defenceless Circumstances, interceding for us by imploring his honr to aid and assist us as much as in his power, as your influence I humbly apprehend is Great and yourself well acquainted with our Defenceless Situation, much mischief has been done in the Minisinks some time ago of which I believe you are by this time informed, last Thursday the Indians began to renew their Barbarities by killing and scalping 2 men, and slightly wounding another in the Minisinks, and this morning we heared the Disagreeable news of a Fort being taken at the upper end of the Minisinks, by a party of Indians supposed to be 40 in number, the white men its said belonging to that Garrison were Farmers, and were out in their plantations when the Indians fired on them and killed them, whereupon the Indians marched up to the Fort and took all the women and children Captive and carrying them away, and last night the Indians stole a ferry Boat at a place called Wallpack; and brought from the Jersey Shore to this side a large number of Indians, as appeared by their Tracks on the sand banks, so that we are in continual fear of their approach, I wish we may be able to defend ourselves against them till it be in his honours power to assist us under God, he being our protector, and I make no Doubt from the Fatherly care his honour has been pleased to exercise over us since his succession to this province, But he will be willing to acquiesce with your reasonable and just sentiments upon the whole, which believe me Dear Sir will always meet a gratefull and adequate acknowledgement from your most Humble Servant,
P.S. Should his Honour think proper to send men, he need not provide any further than their arrival here, I have provisions for them. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 424.)
On June 29th Lieut. Samuel Price writes Govr Denny, from Fort Allen, notifying him of the arrival of Teedyuscung, and stating that Capt. Bull, with Ensign Quicksell, and 40 men, had set out on a scout towards the Minisinks and up the Mountains, from whence they had not yet returned. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 429.)
Shortly after this, early in August, a party of Mohawk Indians and a French Captain reached Diahogo, on the Susquehanna, with the avowed intention of making war against the English. The friendly Delawares persuaded a number to return, but ten of them and the French Captain could not be restrained and proceeded, apparently in the direction of the Minisinks. Teedyuscung at once sent word to Fort Allen of this fact. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 509.)
It is needless to say that all the occurrences given in connection with both Fort Hamilton and Fort Hyndshaw are applicable to a certain extent also to Dupuis Fort. As in the case of these other Forts, when peace was finally declared not long after it gradually cast off its warlike garb and became once more the quiet domicile of a prosperous farmer and trader.
Certainly the history of the three forts just concluded, and the part played by each of them in the dark Indian tragedy, is of sufficient interest and importance to entitle each of them to a tablet, perpetuating their memory, to be placed as may be most advantageous for the purpose intended.
(Site of Fort Penn at Stroudsburg.)
Dupuis Fort closes the list of defences erected and used from the Susquehanna to the Delaware River during the Indian War of 1755-63, the history of which has made a more or less connected narrative of events. There remains one more, however, in this territory, which played part, although not a very important one, in the later events of the Revolutionary War. This was Fort Penn, located in the eastern section of Stroudsburg.
When built and by whom I have not been able to ascertain definitely. It seems to have been erected during the early part of the war, by the authorities of Northampton county, doubtless under directions of the Executive Council. I am even inclined to believe that it was under the direct supervision of Colonel Jacob Stroud, commanding the Sixth Battalion of Northampton county militia, who remained in charge of it during its entire history. Colonel Stroud owned some 4,000 acres of land in its vicinity, and it was after him and his family that Stroudsburg was named. The Colonel himself, however, was not inclined to sell any of his property as building lots, and it was not until after his death in 1806 that the town was really laid out, in an admirable manner, by his son Daniel, who had traveled through various towns and villages in New Jersey and New England, and, copying after them, imparted to his own place the quiet rural aspect which they possessed.
The fort was most likely named after the Proprietor of the Province, William Penn. It does not seem, at any time, except for a few days occasionally, to have been occupied by troops of the Continental army, but served as a place of rendezvous for the militia of the neighborhood when called into active service, for which purpose Col. Stroud made it his headquarter. It was evidently built as a possible means of protection against the Indians, and was expected to be used for that purpose more than to resist an attack from the British troops, as it stood near what was still the frontier of settlement and was more or less surrounded by savages who might at any time begin hostilities, being incented thereto by the machinations of the British and Tories. It is equally unfortunate that we have nothing to indicate its appearance. There can be but little question on that point, however, as forts built at the same time and under similar circumstances were very much on the style of the forts used during the Indian War a few years previous, except more substantial and generally more extensive.
Through the kindness of Rev. Theo. Heilig, of Stroudsburg, I am able to give the exact location of Fort Penn.
The first event with which Fort Penn was prominently identified was the terrible massacre at Wyoming in the beginning of July, 1778. In the early part of the war the British, to their disgrace, began intrigues with the Indians of the Six Nations, who had committed such terrible atrocities during the French and Indian War and who had, with such difficulty, been won over to peace. Their depradations in the year 1777 were principally in the northern part of New York, during which time Pennsylvania enjoyed a certain immunity from danger, notwithstanding its proximity to the savages. Prompted by a feeling of patriotism, and ignoring their own danger, the men of the Wyoming Valley enlisted in the Continental army, in response to the many urgent appeals of Congress, leaving their homes defenceless. It was then that Colonel John Butler, with a party of Tory Rangers, a detachment of Sir John Johnsons Royal Greens, and a large body of Indians, chiefly Senecas, descended the Susquehanna and fell upon the hapless women, children, and old men left in the Valley. It has been assigned to another to tell the sad story of brave but ineffectual defence which was made, and of the terrible scenes of massacre which followed. Families were broken up and dispersed, men and wives separated, mothers torn from their children and some carried into captivity, while those who escaped fled through the wilderness of the Pocono mountains toward the Delaware river. Of these some died of their wounds, others were lost and never heard of more, others again perished in the great swamp of this neighborhood which from that circumstance gained its present name, The Shades of Death, and the miserable remnant at last found refuge in Fort Penn.
Just prior to this time Col. Spalding had been at Stroudsburg with a detachment, and, upon learning of the danger threatening the people of Wyoming, immediately left to succor them, but was too late, and passed on to the West Branch, and afterwards went up to Sheshequin.
This brings us to the first official record I have been able to find which has any bearing on our subject, a letter to Vice President Bryan signed by Colonel John Weitzel, Lieut. Of the County, and John Chambers, a Sub. Lieut. It is as follows:
Northampton, July 9, 1778
Just now we Received A Letter from Col. Stroud of the 6th Battn of Northampton County Militia informing us that a body of Indians and Whitemen are upon their march to the Settlements upon Delaware, they being Discovered at the mouth of Lahawaxin and moving towards Shaholy. By the best Information we Received we Learn that Wyoming is Finally Destroyd, upon which we have Ordered out half of the Battn of the County; but by all the Accounts it is not a Sufficient number to withstand their Force, as we suppose this to be a Different Number from those at Wyoming, which by those that made their Escape their number is supposed to be between Seven and Eight Hundred. Sir, we Humbly beg your Interposition on the Premises & am with Due Submission your Humble Servants,
JOHN WEITZEL, Lieut.
JOHN CHAMBERS, Sub Lieut.
To His Honour George Bryan, Esqr., Vice President in and for the State of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia (Penn. Arch., vi, p. 629.)
The enemy continued their ravages and advance towards the Minisinks. Where the people were but poorly prepared to receive them. Col. Stroud begs for aid in a letter of the 17th, to Col. Weitzel:
Fort Penn, July 17th, 1778.
I just now, by express, received a letter from Judge Symens, informing me that Coshishton was entirely cut off yesterday morning by a parcel of torys & Indians, masacreing all Men, Woemen & Children, Even those that have been Captivated by them before and dismissed by them with certain badges of Distinction, and their reputed friends they threatnd to cut off, & destroy Peanpeek this morning, which we expect, if they should incline to come on to Minisinks and this place; we shall be unable to prevent it, as we are but about 60 men Strong now assembled, therefore I must beg a line from you directing me what to do, whether to retreat with the inhabitants or stand with a handful of men to be destroyed, or whether I can depend on relief, as we cannot hear anything of relief coming; if you, in your wisdom, should think it Best for me to make as good a Stand as I can, I beg you will in all haste send me more ammunition, and you may depend on my taking all the care I can.
I am, Sir,
Your humble Servt,
JACOB STROUD, Coln.
P.S. I cannot moderate the Inhabitants to continue much longer without more assistance, and I beg your instructions as I have had none yet from you; and I assure you I think more danger than I apprehend you think of, and I assure you I cannot Stand nor keep my men here without more assistance.
J.S. (Penn. Arch., vi, p. 651.)
It is the letter of a brave man who was willing to remain at his post of duty in the face of almost certain death if attacked. It is therefore a source of comfort to know that, for the present at least, the danger passed by.
The Indians, however, were a constant menace to the inhabitants, and in September, of the same year, we have this appeal for assistance to Vice President George Bryan, of the Executive Council:
Lower Smithfield, Northampton Co.
September 27th, 1778.
We think proper to give your Honour Intiligence of the present Circumstances of this part of the State, relative to the fears of the good people of these Townships labour under for fear of the Indians. It is some time past since the Melitia's times were up & they discharg'd; we for some time after were in hopes that others would be sent to take their place. Above us in Delaware & upper Smithfield, a fine Contry near thirty miles in length, is almost Evacuated, the people moved over to new Jersey for safety; & in this Township there is only a Guard left at Cornl Stroud, whose times is almost expired & will soon return home, & unless they are replaced with others we shall expos'd to the Ravages of the Savages. There is a Verbal report here that Men is sent towards their Towns; as for the certainty we do not know, & if so the success is uncertain, & if the attempt should prove unsuccessful we may soon expect to shere the fate of the later; and as there is no Men to scout to make any discovery, the first notice we may expect is a Stroke, we therefore Submit our case to the wisdom of your Honour & the board of War to grant us such assistance as you in your wisdom shall think Proper.
We are with due respects,
your humble Sarv'ts,
JOHN CHAMBERS, Sub. Lieut.,
BENJAMIN VAN CAMPEN, Sub. Lieut.,
JACOB STROUD, Corl,
JOHN VAN CAMPEN. (Penn. Arch., vi, p. 767.)
Efforts seem to have been made to collect the militia together, but apparently with only partial result, not sufficient to guard against the danger which still threatened. On October 25th, Col. Stroud, himself, writes another letter to the Council direct, laying before them the state of affairs and again asking aid:
Fort Penn, October the 25th, 1778.
I heare send with the Bearer the Copey of Two Mens Oathes, and by other circumstances as wee can fully Learn, That the Indeons and Toreys are gon up to Coshishton with their Plunder, and Expect there to get more Reinforcements, and to be Down Emediately on us; perhaps when you see the oathes of these people that was sworn at Minesink, you may not fully persieve why These Toreys that is there spoke of stays in them woods, but I will Relate a little fuller: a great part of these Toreys that has been seen theire is persons that has there wives and fameleys and Relations, and indeed Correspondance in the Settlement, and I am apprehensive That the Councyl and your Honour Dos not persieve how this settlement and Wyoming Lyes, as Wyoming can be of no service to us as a frunteer from the Indeons and Toreys from Coshishton and Cook house, and That Quarter, if you will please to take the map and Look in that there, you may see that Wyoming with a small party, hardly able to keep That fort can be of any Safety to us from up Delawar, as these Indeons That we feare will fall on us will come down Delawar River with Cnowes (canoes) down to the mouth of Mahaughkamack Crick, which is just above Our Settlement, as they did Last; or perhaps they may Come a little Lower, as they may find Convenient, as I know of nothing to prevent them; for I assure you there is very few people Left above Manuel Gonsaleses mill, which is 12 miles from My house, and Back of me, between me and the great swamp There is no settlement, but the bare woods, now if it Can be thought Best not to have the frunteer heare, I could wish the Councyl in their wisdom would point out the place. Indeons is not like our other Ennemys, that we can live with them and about them, but whare they have there Camp for they Distroy all; and as for the other acc't that wee sent with Esq'r Vancamp, the oath of that woman, the Indeons came near the time she spoke of, and had it not been for the high weatter they would have done much more Mischief, for there was nothing to hinder them, for it was Two Days after they was gon before the Malitia could be collected all; so I must Leave the Matter with you and the Councyl. Hoping you will do at this Distressing time something for us, and to give us Relief, as wee Have our Eyes on you, as wee have no other place to apply to for Relief.
I am, Sir, your very umble serv't,
JACOB STROUD. (Penn. Arch., vii, p. 63.)
In the beginning of his letter Col Stroud mentions that he sends with the bearer the testimony of two men. This he had just received from his Major, Sam'l Westbrook, with the following letter:
I send you the afidavits of Two persons which has had the opertunity of Conversing with some of the Party that was with Brant in Doing the Mischief att Peainpack, and to my sorrow I acquaint you it has struck the People in General with such fear that they are a moving away from the upper End of the Minisink very fast. If there is Not some means Taken to Stop the Enemy the whole of the Inhabitance will move from this Place, and, if so, pray what will be Consiquence? Ruin an distruction will Emediatly follow.
I am Sir,
Your Hu'ble Serv't,
SAM'L WESTBROOK, Major.
Sandiston, Oct. 24, 1778. (Penn. Arch., vii, p. 63.)
Living, as this generation does, in the midst of peace and surrounded by plenty, we can hardly appreciate the sufferings and ordeals through which our fathers were obliged to pass during the long, weary years from 1755 until 1783 during which they were so constantly subject to the murderous assault of the savage Indian. Indeed, more than that, I am deeply impressed with the great lack of general knowledge existing on the subject. Otherwise bright pupils in our public schools can give minute details of Indian depredations in Massachusetts and Virginia, and are not aware that their own State was ever called upon to undergo a like trial, and possibly one of even more terrible character. And for this they are not entirely to blame, especially when we consider how little has been written on the subject, and how much less is contained in the histories furnished them for text books.
Unlike the Provincial Government, who, however, were probably not in a position to do so, the Congress, into whose hands the whole matter finally came, determined to strike a severe blow at the savages. Instead of contenting themselves with garrisoning a number of forts and awaiting the approach of the enemy, active preparations were made in the beginning of 1779 to march into their own country and lay it waste. Two armies were placed in the field, one under General Sullivan who started from Easton as his headquarters marched through the Wind Gap and ascended the Susquehanna, and the other under, General James Clinton who descended the same river from the north. This expedition was entirely successful. The savages were completely routed and all their villages totally destroyed, in the summer of that year.
After this terrible lesson it was supposed the Indians would be too much disheartened to undertake further expeditions. Unfortunately such was the case only in part. Small partie's of them still continued on the war path, and depredations were still committed although in a more or less desultory manner.
Early in June, 1779, prior to the destruction wrought by Gen'l Sullivan, Captain Brant, the half-bred Indian Chief, left the Susquehanna with some four hundred warriors to make an incursion into the Delaware valley. The settlers received due notice of this movement and threw out scouts to watch him. The wily Indians, however, turned a short corner, struck for the upper Delaware, crossed near Mast Hope, at a place known as Grassy Brook, clambered over the monntains, and by forced marches reached the little town of Minisink, where the town of Port Jervis now stands. The inhabitants fled, and the place was sacked and destroyed. Flushed with success the invaders moved slowly up the Delaware with their plunder, on the York State side. In the meantime the people of Orange county raised about one hundred and fifty men who started on the trail of the savages. On the night of the 21st the Indians encamped at the mouth of Beaver brook, whilst their pursuers lay four or five miles further down. On the fatal morning of the 22nd both parties were early in motion. Brant had reached the ford at the mouth of the Lackawaxen and a good part of the plunder was safe in Pike county. The whites held a short consultation at the Indian encampment, where the more prudent urged a return. All further deliberation, however, was cut short by a Captain Meeker, who boldly stepped to the front exclaiming, Let brave men follow me, whereupon nearly the whole party once more started in pursuit. Two short miles brought them to the ford, where a large body of the enemy could be seen on the opposite shore. A few shots were fired and one Indian was seen to roll down the bank towards the river. About this time a heavy volley was fired into the whites from the high hills in the rear, which immediately awoke them to a sense of their danger and the mistake they had made in leaving their only avenue of escape in the hands of the enemy. The officers in command ordered a rush to be made for the high ground. The Indians fell back, and chose their position; the pursued recrossed the river, and the brave but doomed band of patriotic whites were cut off from the water and surrounded by their merciless foes. During the whole of that day the battle raged. As night was closing in, some twenty or thirty, who survived, made a dash for the river, headed by Major Wood, who, through mistake, made the grand masonic hailing sign of distress as he approached the spot where Brant was standing. The Indian, true to his obligation, allowed the party to pass. They swam the river and made their escape into the wilds of Pike county. A few more escaped under cover of darkness, and the rest slept the sleep that knows no waking on this earth. In the year 1822 the bones of friend and foe alike were gathered together, transported to Goshen, in Orange county, where they were decently interred and a beautiful monument erected over them by a public spirited citizen of the place. (History of Penn'a-Dr. W. H. Egle-Vol, ii, p. 1050.)
It was this invasion which caused Col. Stroud to write to Col. Weitzel, the Lieut. of the County, warning him of approaching danger, whereupon Col. Weitzel notified Pres. Reed, and the Council:
I this moment Rec'd an express from Col. Strouds, informing me that he hourly expected an attack from the Indians (their being a Large Bodey of them the numbers not known) at the Minisinks, and are Got Down as farr as Aaron Fraudenburs, in ye Jerseys, and thay have burnt his house and Barn and have taken sum prisseners their. Gent'n Coln Stroud in his Letter to me Greatly Complains for the whant of Aminition and whee have know Aminition hear to send him, I humbly beg your Excelence will give Orders to the Comiss'y of M. Stores for sum Aminition I haveing Ordered a number of men up to Col. Strouds Assistance as fast as possibly.
JOHN WEITZEL, Lieut.
Northampton, y'e 22nd of July, 1779.
(Penn, Arch., vii, p. 572.)
In accordance with this request the Council ordered on July 23d that two hundred pounds of powder, and eight hundred pounds of lead be forwarded as soon as possible, and that the Commissary of Military Stores provide the same, applying to the Honorable Board of War for lead, if the State store cannot supply it, and that the same be delivered to Henry Houghenbuck, (Col. Rec., xii, p. 57.)
The emergency was great and the advance of the enemy such that there seemed but little doubt of his reaching the vicinity of Fort Penn very soon. We are not surprised therefore, in addition to the letter written by Col. Weitzel, to find several from John Van Campen, one of the Sub-Lieutenants of the county, to Prest. Reed, on the same subject. The first is from Lower Smithfield, July 22d, 1779, and reads as follows:
This morning I Returned home from Minnysink at which place I left last Evening where I was the spectator of great Distress's of many Families, left bare and destitute of all Necessaries of life who lived formerly in the midst of Plenty, the Depredations of the Enemy your Honour will Observe by the Inclos'd Deposition of the People in general are all fled in Forts Both sides of the River the Distress's is very great in our parts & adjicent Neighbours, after Informing your Hon'r of all the Distress's, I am much pleas'd to see the People animated with such spirit, one Hundr'd & five under the Command of Major Meeker of the State of New York; by the last Accounts Last Evening was in pursuit of the Enemy within four or five miles Distance of their Rear [this was the party which met the terrible defeat just related], this morning one Clock P. M. Capt. Shymer march't across the River Deleware with one hundred and seventy men with an intent to head them off at the mouth of Lakeroack, taken with him 5 Days Provision. I Flattre myself in a few Days to give y'r Honour an agreeable account of those brave men who are always Ready to Step Forth in the Defence of their Country,
I am Sir,
your Hon's most Obd't
JOHN VAN CAMPEN.
P. S.-We have apply'd to our Lieu's sundry times for Relief but none yet Came.
Coll. Jacob Stroud acts the part of a Brave Officer with a few of his Neighbours who Scouts in the woods with him. (Penn. Arch., vii, P. 573.)
The other letter, written the next day, is as follows:
It is with Distress of mind I Repeat writing to your Exclency in Confirmation of what I mentioned to your Exlency yesterday by Capt. Shrawder, it is Now an Undoubted case with me that this Operation will be as it seems to appeare by Butlers Orders to Capt. Caldwell.
By Express this morning we are informed The Enemy are Legally Encamped at Willes mill and Grinding all the grain that was in the Mill and What they can collect in Defiance of all the Forces that can be collected at present. They have yesterday takeing three Prisoners in Jersey and killed 20 head of Horned Cattle and all The Horses of Morgan Desheay in Pennsylvania, The Entilligence by Express will Accompanie This my letter to your Excelency, I have no Further Doubt unless Speedy Relief by Additions to all the Small Forces we can Collect we will not be able to Relieve the poor people that are Fled into Forts For the reservation of their Lives.
There seems at Present no Prospect but Distress and Distraction in this part of this Country, it Seems to appeare that the object of the Enemy is as much Designed against Jersey as Pennsylvania. I could wish to have the State of the Operation of the Enemy sent to me Qualifyed to, Capt. Hover our informer is a man of undoubted Carreter.
I Entend this afternoon to Set of to See and learn the movement of Enemy, if any Farther Intelligence Properly Asserted by Qualification,
I have the Honor
S'r, to be your
obb't Hum'e Serv't,
JOHN VAN CAMPEN. (Penn. Arch., vii, p. 575.)
Mr. Van Campen was doomed to bitter disappointment with regard to the success which he hoped would attend the advance of the parties hastily gathered together. One of them, as we know, was almost totally annihilated, and the other seems to have met with reverses, or at least to have accomplished nothing, if we may judge from the next letter which he wrote
Smithfield, July the 31st, 1779.
Hon'd Sir ,
The Bearer Coll. Chambers is an ondoubted friend to his Country, Sub. Lieu't of our County, and an intelligable man, our Country is in a Distress'd situation, in my last to y'r Honour I mention'd of the Distress's of that Rich settlement call'd Mahakemack, I flatter'd myself of suckcess of our men that Step'd forth in Pursuit of the Enemy but my Expectations turned out to the Contrary I came from that place yesterday, where I went to get the Particulars of the present Situation of that Cuntry, I feare, without a speedy Relief this Cuntry will be Vacuated we have as yet no hopes of any Relief from the Interior parts of this County, your Militia seems to be in Confusion at present, S'r I would Refer you to the Bearer Coll. Chambers for the particulars of our present Situation.
With Due Respect
I am S'r your Honours
Most Obdt Huble Sert,
JOHN VAN CAMPEN.
N. B. By the Bearer I send y'r Honour an account of the men Missing that pursued the Enemy.
The outlook was of a very gloomy character to the good people of the locality about which we are writing, and would have been still more gloomy in reality had it not been for the providential care of Him who watches over all his creatures and so often averts the danger which is about overwhelming them. Just as the Indian Chief, Brant, was about extending his operations and would shortly have fallen upon a rich and populous region, practically without means of defence, he was obliged to abruptly retrace his footsteps and hasten to the protection of his own home now seriously threatened by the advance of General Sullivan. He barely got back in time to prepare for the battle fought near Newtown, the present site of Elmira, N. Y., on August 29th, 1779, which resulted in his total defeat, and was followed by the complete destruction of all the Indian towns, supplies and property in general. The power of the savages was broken, and, whilst small parties still harassed the inhabitants for a long time, they were prevented thereafter, from accomplishing an invasion on a large scale.
The reader has doubtless noticed, from the correspondence given, that there seemed to have been some difficulty in getting the militia under arms when most needed, and some intimation was given of a clash of authority. Such, unfortunately, was the case and we are obliged, reluctantly, to close our record of Fort Penn with an account of the disagreement which arose between Col. Stroud and the county officials.
On the official minutes of the Executive Council for August4th, 1779, appears this entry:
Complaint having been made against Jacob Stroud, Colonel of the Sixth Battalion of Northampton County Militia, that He incites the People to oppose the authority of the Lieutenants of the County, and in other respects obstructs the Execution of the Law: Whereupon it was resolved, that Colonel Stroud do attend this Board on the Tenth of September next, to answer the said complaint and that a Copy of this resolution be served upon Him, at least Ten days before, and that Colonel Wetzle do give Notice to the Sub-Lieutenants of this resolve, that they may be ready to Support the said complaint.
(Col. Rec., xii, p. 65.)
Notices of this action of the Council were sent by Mr. T. Matlack, Secy, to John Orndt, who was directed to see that they were duly delivered to Colonels Stroud and Weitzel. (Penn. Arch., vii, p. 625.)
What the trouble was we are not told definitely, but can surmise. Col. Stroud was expected to defend his neighborhood from the assaults of the enemy. To do this required troops and these came very slowly indeed, too much so in the opinion of the man who saw the foe drawing nearer every day, knew that all were looking to him for protection, and could see no possibility of obtaining the aid which was needed to enable him to perform his duty. Naturally he blamed the County officers for neglect of duty and doubtless took steps of his own to gather soldiers together, and then came the clash. All were faithful officers, and whilst all were wrong and to blame, yet it was a wrong which might easily be committed under like circumstances, and, which might readily be condoned. Still a disagreement between those who had the care and protection of their fellow citizens in their keeping could only result in public harm, and called for censure. It is a matter of no surprise therefore to find that President Reed felt called upon to address communications to each of the parties in fault, which are herewith given:
Philada., August 3d, 1779,
The Distresses of your County by the late Incursions of the Indians has given us very great Concern, and the more so as we understand the Militia having got into some Confusion do not render the Services that might be expected. We are sorry to find that some mistaken Opinions you have formed on the Mode of their being called out & of the appointments of the Lieutenants have had a great share in this Evil. As you are now most probably experiencing the sad Effects of such Mistakes we shall not add to your Pain by dwelling upon them. But desire you to consider the Effects & Consequences which cannot be other than the Ruin of your outer Settlements & Impoverishment of the County itself. A well regulated Militia is the only proper & effectual Force against Such on Enemy & the Enemy would stand more in Awe of them than three Times the Number of standing Troops. To raise Companies for a few Months is not only dreadfully expensive & in most Cases ineffectual, but it seems to unhinge the System & leave you in fact much weaker than before. As you therefore possess a good share of the Esteem & Confidence of the People, I shall hope & do recommend it to you as the best Service you can perform to your bleeding Country to do away as far as possible the Effects of former Opinions & strive by a general Concurrence with the other Gentlemen in the Militia to give them Vigour & Efficacy, encouraging and promoting a Spirit of Fidelity & Obedience to the Laws calculated to afford the best Relief & Security against this dreadful Calamity. Wishing you Health & Safety
I remain Sir, your most
obed & very Hbbl Serv't.
To Colonel Jacob Stroud, of N'n County. (Penn, Arch., vii, p. 613)
Of the same date follows another to the colonels and other field officers of the militia in Northampton county:
Philada., Aug. 3, 1779.
It has given us great Concern to hear that when your Country is in the utmost Danger & Apprehension, when so many of your friends & Countrymen are suffering so much from a cruel & barbarous Enemy, the Militia which is well regulated would be your best Defence is in such a state of Confusion as to give little or no Aid. We entreat you Gentlemen to bestir yourselves, support your Lieutenants with your utmost Weight & Influence, remove from the Minds of your Neighbours every unkind & uncharitable sentiment & urge them to obey the Laws, to perform the Offices & Duties of Humanity which require us on all Occasions to endeavor to relieve the Distresses & remove the Dangers of our Friends & Fellow Subjects. It is probably from this Beginning that the Indians finding you so unprepared will be induced to continue their Ravages & endeavor to evade the Expedition set on Foot against them by distressing & destroying the Frontiers.-I therefore take this Opp'y to request you would at some convenient Day call out your Battalions, convince them of the Necessity & Duty they are under to turn out with Alacrity & Zeal when such Havock is made among their Friends & Countrymen. If they are Lovers of this Government & Constitution they will shew it by their Submission to its Laws & a cheerful Discharge of their Duty,- for nothing can so effectually disgrace & injure any government as having its Laws neglected, its Frontiers destroyed & a mere handful of an Enemy committing Ravages which the spirited Exertions of a few men will soon suppress if animated by a proper Sense of Duty to themselves & their Country.
Extinguish the Disputes which subsist among you as fatal to your Peace, Safety & Happiness & hereafter let there be but one Dispute who shall serve his Country best. If there are any Differences between you & any of the Lieutenants in Matter of Opinion avoid Disputes & Heartburnings as much as possible, support each other, & be assured that we will support you with every Necessary. If I could flatter myself this happy Spirit would prevail I should have Pleasure in visiting the Country & examining the State of the Militia. This I shall endeavor to do this Fall if other publick Buseness will admit, in the mean Time recommending these Things to your most serious Consideration.
I remain Gentlemen
Your Sincere Friend
& Obed Hbble Serv't,
JOS. REED, President. (Penn. Arch., vii, p. 616.)
The third letter, also of the same date, is to Col. John Weitzel, Lieutenant of Northampton county:
Philada., August 3, 1779.
The Depredations which have lately been committed in & near the County of Northampton have given us the most sensible Concern. We have flattered ourselves that the Expedition under Gen'l Sullivan would have given perfect Peace to that & every other Part of our Western Frontiers. It must now be clearly evident that nothing can afford effectual Relief against this Calamity but a well regulated Militia, which being always at Hand might before This Time, if duly attended to, have given a Check to their barbarous Incursions. It was to this Force & not to standing Troops or Volunteer Companies, raised for a few months & stationed in Forts, that N. England delivered herself from the most horrible Indian Wars. And we must recommend it to you in the most earnest & serious Manner to give this important Service your utmost Attention. If your other offices, as we fear is the Case, interfere with your Duties as Lieutenant of the County we would wish you to Consider in which you can be most useful, and not suffer one Duty to clash with another by attempting to perform too much or too many.
If the Colonels or other Officers fail in their respective Duties & do not give you the Support they ought we request you would candidly and fairly communicate such Transactions that Measures may be taken to enforce a different Line of Conduct. If the Frontiers are broke up those who now think themselves safe will be a Frontier & shortly experience that wretchedness from which they now refuse to rescue their Neighbours. We doubt not from the Influence & Weight you must possess that your Representations on this Head will be much regarded & we do entreat you to leave no Means unessayed to effect this desirable Purpose.
We immediately complied with your Request the other Day, we shall do the same on all other Occasions being resolved that nothing in our Power shall be wanting to give the good People of the County all possible Relief and Assistance.
I am Sir,
Your most Obed. & very
JOS. REED, President (Penn. Arch., vii, p. 617.)
In due course of time the tenth day of September arrived when Col. Stroud was to appear before the Council at Philad'a to answer for his actions. In justice to a faithful officer, the reader of this record will be equally gratified with him who writes it to see the following happy conclusion of a most unfortunate state of affairs, as taken from the minutes of Council on that day:
This being the day appointed for hearing the complaint against Colonel Stroud, and the parties attending, and producing sundry papers, which were also read, the Council took the same into consideration; whereupon, Resolved, That the conduct of Colonel Stroud, in arraigning the authority of the Lieutenants, and the legality of their appointments, is Highly disapproved by this Board, it being their clear opinion, confirmed by the sentiments of all parts of the State, that the Assembly have a legal constitutional power to appoint Lieutenants, and that they ought to be respected accordingly.
Resolved, That disputes between officers appointed to promote the same service, and Especially one on which the safety and security of the People so much depend, is highly prejudicial to the Public Welfare; that, therefore, it be recommended to the parties now before the Board, to lay aside all animosities, and, in future, treat each other with kindness, and conduct the Publick business with Harmony.
Resolved, That in consideration of Colonel Stroud's good Character as an officer, his activity and zeal in the Publick Service, the Board think it proper to pass over any farther proceedings herein. (Col. Rec., xii, p. 100.)
Thus happily ends our account of the more important transactions about Fort Penn.
Thus also ends our record of the Indian Forts along the Blue range, a record which leaves behind it a trail of blood such as, we trust, the fair fields of our beloved State may never again be called upon to witness. The old forts have crumbled away, never more to be rebuilt, and the peaceful plow has long since leveled to the ground the little mounds which marked the line of their stockades. Even their existence was fast passing out of the memory of man, and in a few brief years the location of the spots on which most of them stood would have been buried in utter oblivion had it not been for the wisdom of our Legislature in the appointment of the Commission whose labors have just been completed.
As my investigation into the task assigned me progressed, I was very greatly impressed with its importance, and still more greatly impressed with the neglect which has heretofore been generally accorded it. It is painful to realize how few are familiar with the events of momentous historical importance which transpired at this period in the life of our Commonwealth, and on the other hand gratifying to see how many are desirous of acquiring this information which has hitherto been denied them because not published in a suitable form.
My work is necessarily one of compilation, as is all history, and yet it contains much that is original especially that with regard to the location of the several forts. These were, in early every instance, obtained after most thorough personal visitation and investigation. Indeed I have aimed to insert nothing in this record which is not actual and true history, and, to that end, have written nothing until, after most careful scrutiny and comparison with the statements of reliable authors on the same subject, I have felt assured of its authenticity, And yet, withal, I am painfully aware of how imperfect my efforts have been, and am only constrained to offer them, in obedience to my appointment by his Excellency the Governor, and the hope that they may be an incentive to further research, which in the near future may result in more valuable publications and writings on a most important subject heretofore too much neglected.
In the prosecution of this work my correspondence has necessarily been very large. In addition it has been my privilege to pay personal visits to many homesteads, and to interview many persons. It is with great pleasure I here testify to the universal courtesy and kindness shown me, and the universal desire to aid me in my work, in which every one became at once greatly interested. With the best of intention, however, I found that an actual knowledge of affairs, in many instances, no longer existed, and would have failed in my work had it not been for the presence in the community of one or more very aged gentlemen, in several instances almost centenarians who may, even now, have ceased to exist.
In all cases where information of a more important character was furnished me, I have endeavored to give the name of my informant and fair credit for the same. It only remains for me to mention the name of one more gentleman, not hitherto given, Mr. Samuel J. Weiler, of Reading, Penn'a, who, above all others, has rendered me most valuable aid. Thoroughly acquainted with every road and part of the country in my district, between the Susquehanna and Lehigh rivers, as well as with all the principal inhabitants, he has most cheerfully and unselfishly placed his knowledge at my disposal, besides much of his time, and has been the means of my quickly accomplishing results which could only have been brought about otherwise with the expenditure of much time and labor.
To him and all my kind friends I return sincere thanks.
H. M. M. RICHARDS.
Reading, Penna., May, 1894.
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