REPORT OF THE COMMISSION TO LOCATE THE SITE OF THE
FRONTIER FORTS OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Vol.1, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, 1916
Contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by Georgette Ochs.
Transcription is verbatim.
We turn now again, to the regular forts established by the Provincial Government. The next in order, and the most important of all those along the Blue range, was Fort Allen, located where the town of Weissport now stands, on the Lehigh river some ten miles above Lehigh Gap.
The Moravian church, if not great in numbers, has ever been great in its missionary work. Its early history and that of the State of Pennsylvania are closely woven together. Especially is this the case with Northampton and Carbon counties. The first settlement in the latter county was made by Moravian missionaries in the year 1746. From Loskiel's history we glean the following interesting facts:
The converted Mohican Indians having been driven out of Shekomeko, in New York, near the borders of Connecticut and from Pachgatgoch in the latter state, found an asylum for a short time at Friedenshutten, near Bethlehem. Deeming it inconvenient to maintain a large Indian congregation so near Bethlehem, the missionaries purchased one hundred and twenty acres, in 1745, on the north side of the Mahoning creek, about half a mile above its junction with the Lehigh river, near the site of the present town of Lehighton. Hence a town was laid out, and called Gnadenhutten, meaning "Tents of Grace," or more literally "Mercy Huts." The congregation numbered some five hundred, each Indian family being allotted a portion of the land and each having its own house. A log church was built in the valley, and the house half surrounded it on one side, extending over the higher ground in the form of a crescent; in the other side stood the house of the missionary, and the burying ground. All went well until the year 1754, when, already, that dissatisfaction and spirit of enmity was brewing amongst the Indians which finally culminated in the outbreak of 1755. Efforts were made by the Shawanese and Delawares, under the direction of their wily chief, Teedyuscung, to alienate the Christian Mohicans at Gnadenthutten, which finally resulted in a part of the Indians deserting the mission and going to the Wyoming Valley. The road to Wyoming and other Indian towns lay through the settlement. This was the famous path over Nescopee mountain, still known as the "Warrior's path." The Indians who remained were joined by the Christian Delawares from Meniolagomekah.
During this same year, 1754, the land on the Mahoning being impoverished, the mission was removed to the opposite side of the river, where Weissport now stands. A new chapel was erected in June, and the buildings, which had also been transferred, were put up to form a street, on one side of which lived the Mohicans, and, on the other, the Delawares.
The hostile Indians, who had been enlisted in the French service, were so exasperated at the thought that the others should remain true to their friends, they determined to cut off the settlement. The defeat of Braddock, in 1755, gave them the desired opportunity. Soon the whole frontier was bathed in blood, and the neighbors of the Brethren at Gnadenhutten forsook their dwellings in terror and fled, but the Brethren made a covenant together to remain undaunted in the place allotted them by Providence.
God, however, had ordained otherwise than they had hoped. Late in the evening of November 24th, the mission house on the Mahoning creek was suddenly attacked by the French Indians, burnt, and eleven of the inhabitants murdered.
The family, being at supper, heard an uncommon barking of dogs, upon which brother Senseman sent out at the back door to see what was the matter. On the report of a gun, several ran together to open the house-door. Here the Indians stood with their pieces pointed towards the door, and, firing immediately upon its being opened, Martin Nitschman was instantly killed. His wife and some others were wounded, but fled with the rest upstairs into the garret, and barricaded the door with bedsteads. Brother Partsch escaped by jumping out of a back window. Brother Worbas, who was ill in bed in a house adjoining, jumped likewise out of a back window and escaped, though the enemies had placed a guard before his door. Meanwhile the savages pursued those who had taken refuge in the garret, and strove hard to burst the door open; but, finding it too well secured, they set fire to the house, which was soon in flames. A boy, called Sturgeous, standing upon the flaming roof, ventured to leap off, and escaped; though at first, upon opening the back door, a ball had grazed his cheek, and one side of his head was much burnt. Sister Partsch, seeing this, took courage and leaped likewise from the burning roof. She came down unhurt, and unobserved from the enemies; and thus the fervent prayer of her husband was fulfilled, who, in jumping out of the back window, cried aloud to God to save his wife. Brother Fabricius then leaped also off the roof, but before he could escape was perceived by the Indians, and instantly wounded by two balls. He was the only one whom they seized upon alive and, having dispatched him with their hatchets, took his scalp, and left him dead upon the ground. The rest were all burnt alive, and brother Senseman, who first went out at the back door, had the inexpressible grief to see his wife, consumed by the flames. Sister Partsch could not run far for fear and trembling, but hid herself behind a tree, upon a hill near the house. From thence she saw sister Senseman, already surrounded by the flames, standing with folded hands and heard her callout, "Tis all well, dear Saviour-I expect nothing else." The house being consumed, the murderers set fire to the barns and stables, by which all the corn, hay and cattle were destroyed. Then they divided the spoils, soaked some bread in milk, made a hearty meal, and departed - sister Partsch looking on unperceived.
This melancholy event proved the deliverance of the Indian congregation at New Gnadenhutten; for, upon hearing the report of the guns, seeing the flames, and soon learning the dreadful cause from those who had escaped, the Indian brethren immediately went to the missionary, and offered to attack the enemy without delay. But, being advised to the contrary they all fled into the woods, and New Gnadenhutten was cleared in a few minutes; some who already were in bed having scarce time to dress themselves. Brother Zeisberger, who had just arrived in New Gnadenhutten from Bethlehem, hastened back to give notice of this event to a body of English militia, which had marched within five miles of the spot; but they did not venture to pursue the enemy in the dark.
The fugitive congregation arrived safely at Bethlehem. After the Indians had retired the remains of those killed on the Mahoning were carefully collected from the ashes and ruins, and solemnly interred. A broad marble slab, in the grave yard south of Lehighton, placed there in 1788, and a small white obelisk on a sandstone base, erected at a more recent date, tell in brief the story of Gnadenhutten and preserve the names of those who fell as victims to savage hate.
We have just noticed the timely arrival of brother David Zeisberger at New Gnadenhutten. He hastened back to Bethlehem and notified Timothy Horsfield of the massacre, who, in turn, at once reported the fact to the Governor, giving him a detailed account of the terrible affair. At 8.00 A. M., November 24th, Col. Anderson, and his company left Bethlehem for Gnadenhutten, accompanied by a number of the settlers. On the 26th, Capt. Wilson and his company, from Bucks county, started for the mountains. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 521).
To this the Governor replies, November 29th, approving of the steps that had been taken, expressing great sorrow for the atrocities which had been perpetrated, and promising pecuniary relief to the Moravian brethren for their heavy losses. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 513).
By the middle of December the whole country was in a state of alarm; the people were fleeing from their homes; the Governor reported to the Council that, in addition to what has been narrated, the Indians had already burnt fifty houses in Northampton county, murdered above one hundred persons, and were still continuing their ravages. (Col. Rec., vi, p.767).
A thorough and systematic plan of defense was a matter of immediate necessity. Benjamin Franklin and James Hamilton were selected to execute such a plan and, on December 18th, arranged to start for Easton. On December 29th, after their arrival at said place, they appointed William Parsons to be Major of the troops raised in Northampton county.
In the meantime Capt. Hays, with his company from the Irish Settlement, in Northampton county, had been ordered up to New Gnadenhutten. The troops were stationed at the forsaken village to guard the Brethren's mills, which were filled with grain, and to keep the property of the Christian Indians from being destroyed. They were also expected to protect the few settlers who remained.
A temporary stockade was erected, and all would have gone well had the soldiers been better versed in Indian tactics. From lack of this experience disaster followed, and on January 1st, 1756, a number of the men fell victims to an Indian stratagem. Whilst amusing themselves skating on the ice of the river, near the stockade, they caught sight of two Indians farther up the frozen stream. Thinking that it would be an easy matter to capture or kill them the soldiers gave chase, and rapidly gained upon the Indians, who proved to be decoys skillfully manoeuvring to draw them into an ambush. After they had gone some distance a party of Indians rushed out behind them, cut off their retreat, and falling upon them with great fury, as well as with the advantage of surprise and superior numbers quickly dispatched them. Some of the soldiers, remaining in the stockade, filled with horror by this murder of comrades, deserted, and the few remaining thinking themselves incapable of defending the place, withdrew. The savages then seized upon such property as they could use and fired the stockade, the Indian houses and the mills.
Every one was filled with alarm and the whole country became a scene of confusion. It is not to be wondered at if in the midst of their excitement and terror, the people made many unreasonable demands of the Government. To such an extent does this seem to have been done that Governor Morris, became somewhat discouraged. On January 5, 1756, he writes from Reading to the Council at Philadelphia, saying:
"The Commissioners have done everything that was proper in the County of Northampton, but the People are not satisfied, nor, by what I can learn from the Commissioner, would they be unless every Man's House was protected by a Fort and a Company of Soldiers, and themselves paid for staying at home and doing nothing. There are in that County at this time three hundred Men in Pay of the Government, and yet from Disposition of the Inhabitants, the want of Conduct in the Officers and of Courage and Discipline in the Men, I am fearful that the whole County will fall into the Enemy Hands.
Yesterday and the Day before I received the melancholy News of the Destruction of the Town of Gnadenhutten, and of the greatest part of the Guard of forty Men placed there in order to erect a Fort. The particulars you will see by the inclosed Papers, so far as they are yet come to hand, but I am in hourly Expectation of further Intelligence by two Men that I dispatched for that Purpose upon the first News of the Affair, whose long stay makes me apprehend some mischief has befallen them.
Last night an Express brought me an acco't that seven Farm Houses between Gnadenhutten and Nazareth were on the First Instant burnt, about the same time that Gnadenhutten was, and some of the People destroyed, and the accounts are this date confirmed.
Upon this fresh alarm it is proposed that one of the Commissioners return to Bethlehem and Easton, and there give fresh Directions to the Troops and post them in the best Manner for the Protection of the remaining Inhabitants." (Col. Rec., vi, p. 771.)
Here then we have the inception of Fort Allen. It seems that, in the middle of December, the erection of a fort at New Gnadenhutten had been determined upon, partly because of the valuable property remaining there after the Moravians had deserted it, and partly because of its commanding and central location. Messr's Franklin and Hamilton, the Commissioners, had ordered Capt. Hays to that point during the latter part of the month, not alone to guard the material which was there, but, in addition to build the fort. We have just read of his unfortunate failure, and have also seen the Governor's suggestion to send one of the Commissioners to the scene of hostilities, to take in hand and give proper direction to efforts for protection then making. Benjamin Franklin was the Commissioner selected for that duty, and, at once, entered upon it. He immediately started for Bethlehem, from which place he writes, January 14th, to the Governor, as follows:
"As we drew near this Place we met a Number of Waggons, and many People moving off with their effects and families from the Irish Settlement and Lehi Township, being terrified by the defeat of Hay's Company, and the Burnings and Murders committed in the Township on New Year's Day. We found this Place fill'd with Refugees, the workmen's Shops and even Cellars being crowded with Women & Children; and we learnt that Lehi Township is almost entirely abandoned by the inhabitants. Soon after my arrival here, the principal People of the Irish Settlement, as Wilson, elder Craig&c came to me and demanded an Addition of 30 men to Craig's Company, or threat'ned they would immediately one and all leave that Country to the Enemy. Hay's Company was reduc'd to 18 Men (and those without Shoes, Stockings, Blankets or Arms) partly by the loss at Gnadenhutten, and partly by Desertion. Trump and Aston had made but slow Progress in building the First Fort, complaining for want of Tools, which it was thought the People in those Parts might have Supply'd them with. Wayne's Company we found posted at Nazareth agreeable to your Honour's Orders. I immediately directed Hays to compleat his Company, and he went down to Bucks County with M'r Beatty, who promised to assist him in Recruiting. His Lieutenant lies here lame with frozen Feet, and unfit for Action; But the Ensign, with the 18 men, is posted among the present Frontier Inhabitants to give some Satisfaction to the Settlement People, as I refus'd to increase Craig's Company. In my turn, I have threatened to disband or remove the Companies already posted for the Security of particular Townships, if the People would not stay on their Places, behave like Men, do something for themselves, and assist the Province Soldiers. The Day after my Arrival here, I sent off 2 Waggons loaded with Bread, and some Axes, for Trump & Aston, to Nazareth, escorted by Lieut. Davis, and the 20 men of McLaughlin's that came with me; I ordered him to remain at Nazareth to guard that place while Capt. Wayne, whose Men were fresh, proceeded with the Convoy. To secure Lyn and Heidelberg Township, whose Inhabitants were just on the Wing, I took Trexler's Company into Pay, (he had been before commission'd by M'r Hamilton), and I Commission'd Wetterholt (Nicholas) who Commanded a Watch of 44 Men before in the Pay of the Province, ordering him to Compleat his Company. I have also allowed thirty men to secure the township of Upper Smithfield and commission'd Van Etten and Hindshaw as Captain and Lieutenant. And in order to execute more speedily the first Design of erecting a Fort near Gnadenhutten to compleat the Line and get the Rangers in Motion, I have rais'd another Company under Cap't Charles Foulk, to join with Wayne in that Service; and as Hays I hear is not likely soon to recruit his Company, I have ordered Orndt to come up from Rockland in Bucks County to Strengthen this Part of the Province, convoy Provisions, &c. to the company, who are and will be at work over the Mountains, and quiet the Inhabitants who seem terrified out of their Senses." (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 549.)
In addition to the official report made by Franklin, showing how he was gradually bringing order out of chaos, we have also his private account in his autobiography of what took place at Bethlehem and how, in person, he went to Gnadenhutten and superintended the erection of Fort Allen. In his usual modest way he says:
"While the several companies in the city and country were forming, and learning their exercise, the Governor prevailed with me to take charge of our northwestern frontier, which was infested by the enemy, and provide for the defence of the inhabitants by raising troops, and building a line of forts. I undertook this military business, though I did not conceive myself well qualified for it. He gave me a commission with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for officers, to be given to whom I thought fit. I had but little difficulty in raising men, having soon five hundred and sixty under my command. My son, who had in the preceding war been an officer in the army raised against Canada, was my aid-de- camp and of great use to me. The Indians had burned Gnadenhutten, a village settled by the Moravians, and massacred the inhabitants; but the place was thought a good situation for one of the forts. In order to march thither, I assembled the companies at Bethlehem, the chief establishment of those people. I was surprised to find it in so good a posture of defence; the destruction of Gnadenhutten had made them apprehend danger. The principal buildings were defended by a stockade; they had purchased a quantity of arms and ammunition from New York, and had even placed quantities of small paving stones between the windows of their high stone houses for their women to throw them down upon the heads of any Indians that should attempt to force their way into them. The armed brethren too kept watch, and relieved each other on guard methodically as in any garrison town. In conversation with the bishop, Spangenberg, I mentioned my surprise; for knowing they had obtained an act of parliament exempting them from military duties in the colonies, I had supposed they were conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms. He answered me, "That it was not one of their established principles; but at the time of their obtaining that act it was thought to be a principle with many of their people. On this occasion however, they, to their surprise, found it adopted by but few." It seems they were either deceived in themselves or deceived the parliament; but common sense, aided by present danger, will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions.
(Plan of Fort Allen.—1756.)
It was the beginning of January, 1756, when we set out upon this business of building forts. I sent one detachment towards the Minisink, with instructions to erect one for the security of that upper part of the country; and another to lower part with similar instructions; and I concluded to go myself with the rest of my forces to Gnadenhutten, where a fort was thought more immediately necessary. The Moravians procured me five wagons for our tools, stores, baggage, &c. Just before we left Bethlehem, eleven farmers, who had been driven from their plantations by the Indians, came to me requesting a supply of fire arms, that they might go back and bring off their cattle. I gave them each a gun with suitable ammunition. We had not marched many miles before it began to rain, and it continued raining all day. There were no habitations on the road to shelter us, till we arrived near night at the house of a German, where, and in his barn, we were all huddled together as wet as water could make us. It was well we were not attacked in our march for our arms were of the most ordinary sort, and the men could not keep the locks of their guns dry. The Indians are dextrous in their contrivances for that purpose, which we had not. They met that day the eleven poor farmers above mentioned, and killed ten of them; the one that escaped informed us that his and his companions' guns would not go off, the priming being wet with the rain. The next day being fair, we continued our march, and arrived at the desolate Gnadenhutten; there was a mill near, round which were left several pine boards, with which we soon hutted ourselves; an operation the more necessary at that inclement season, as we had no tents. Our first work was to bury more effectually the dead we found there, who had been half interred by the country people; the next morning our fort was planned and marked out, the circumference measuring four hundred and fifty-five feet, which would require as many palisades to be made, one with another of a foot diameter each. Each pine made three palisades of eighteen feet long, pointed at one end. When they were set up, our carpenters built a platform of boards all round within, about six feet high, for the men to stand on when to fire through the loop holes. We had one swivel gun, which we mounted on one of the angles, and fired it as soon as fixed, to let the Indians know, if any were within hearing, that we had such pieces; and thus our fort (if that name may be given to so miserable a stockade) was finished in a week, though it rained so hard every other day that the men could not well work.
This kind of fort, however contemptible, is a sufficient defence against Indians who had no cannon. Finding ourselves now posted securely, and having a place to retreat to on occasion, we ventured out in parties to scour the adjacent country.
Franklin's official report of January 26th, and personal letter to Gov. Morris of January 25th, which give more minute details of the fort, were as follows:
Fort Allen, at Gnadenhutten, Jan. 25, 1756.
We got to Hays the same evening we left you, and reviewed Craig's Company by the way. Much of the next morning was spent in exchanging the bad arms for good - Wayne's Company having joined us. We reached, however, that night to Uplinger's [at Fort Lehigh, as we have seen], where we got into good Quarters.
Saturday morning we began to march towards Gnadenhutten, and proceeded near two miles; but it seeming to set in for a rainy day, the Men unprovided with great Coats, and many unable to secure effectually their arms from the wet, we thought it most advisable to face about and return to our former Quarters, where the men might dry themselves and lie warm; whereas, had they proceeded they would have come in wet to Gnadenhutten where Shelter and Opportunity of drying themselves that night was uncertain. In fact it rain'd all day and we were all pleased that we had not proceeded. The next Day, being Sunday, we march'd hither, where we arrived about 2 in the afternoon, and before 5 had inclosed our Camp with a Strong Breast work, Musket Proof, and with the Boards brought here before by my Order from Drucker's Mill [Wm. Kern's Mill at Slatington, as we have seen], got ourselves under some shelter from the Weather. Monday was so dark with thick Fog all day, that we could'd neither look out for a Place to build or see where Materials were to be had. Tuesday morning we looked round us, Pitched on a Place, mark'd out our Fort on the Ground, and by 10 o'clock began to cut Timber for Stockades and to dig the Ground. By 3 in the afternoon the Logs were all cut and many of them halled to the Spot, the Ditch dug to Set them in 3 Feet deep, and that Evening many were pointed and set up. The next Day we were hinder'd by Rain most of the Day. Thursday we resum'd our Work and before night were pretty well enclosed, and on Friday morning the Stockade was finished and part of the Platform within erected, which was compleated the next morning, when we dismissed Foulk's and Wetterholt's Companies, and sent Hay's down for a Convoy of Provisions. This Day we hoisted your Flag, made a general Discharge of our Pieces, which had been long loaded, and of our two Swivels, and Nam'd the Place Fort Allen, in Honor of our old Friend [Judge William Allen, father of James Allen who laid out Allentown in 1762, and also Chief Justice of the Province]. It is 125 Feet long, 50 wide, the Stocadoes most of them a Foot thick; they are 3 Foot in the Ground and 12 Feet out, pointed at the Top, the Figure nearly as opposite.
This is an Account of our Week's work, which I thought might give you some Satisfaction.
Foulk is gone to build another [Fort Franklin], between this and Schuylkill Fort [Fort Lebanon], which I hope will be finished (as Trexler is to Join him) in a Week or 10 Days: As soon as Hays returns I shall detach another Party to erect another at Surbas' [Fort Norris] which I hope may be finished in the same Time, and then I purpose to end my Campaign, God willing, and do myself the Pleasure of seeing you in return. I can now add no more than that I am, with great Esteem and affection, D'r Friend,
[To] The Honourable Robert Hunter Morris, Esquire. (Col. Rec., vii, p. 15.)
His official report was as follows:
Fort Allen, at Gnadenhutten, Jan'y 26, 1756.
We left Bethlehem, the 10th Instant, with Foulk's Company, 46 men, the Detachment of McLaughlin's, 20; and 7 Waggons, laden with Stores and Provisions. We got that night to Hay's Quarters, where Wayne's Company joined us from Nazareth.
The next Day we marched cautiously thro' the Gap of the Mountain, a very dangerous Pass, and got to Uplinger's, but twenty-one Miles from Bethlehem, the Roads being bad and the Waggons moving slowly.
[Here comes an account of the week's work, as previously given].
This present Monday we are erecting a third House in the Fort to accommodate the Garrison.
As soon as Cap't Hays returns with the Convoy of Stores and Provisions, which I hope may be tomorrow, I propose to send Orndt and Hays to Join Cap't Trump in erecting the middle Fort there, purposing to remain here between them and Foulk; ready to assist and supply both as occasion may require, and hope in a week or ten Days, weather favouring, those two Forts may be finished and the Line of Forts compleated and garrisoned, the rangers in Motion, and the internal Guards and Watches disbanded, as well as some other Companies, unless they are permitted and encouraged to go after the Enemy to Susquehannah.
At present the Expense in this County is prodigious. We have on Foot, and in Pay, the Following Companies:
Trump, 50 men.
Foulk, 46 --
Trexler, , 48 -- without the Forks.
Wetterholt, 44 --
Orndt, 50 ----
Craig, 30 ---- in the Irish Settlement
Martin, 30 ---
Van Etten, 30 -- Minisinks.
Detachment of McLaughlin, 20
Parsons, 24 -- at Easton.
[Total men:] 522.
This, Sir, is a particular Account of our Transactions and the present State of affairs in this County. I am glad to learn by your Favour of the 21st Just received, that you have Thoughts of coming to Bethlehem, as I may hope for an Opportunity of waiting upon your Honour there after our Works are finished, and communicating everything more fully. I now only add that I am, with dutiful Respect.
Sir, Your Honour's most obedient humble Servant,
To Gov'r Morris. (Col. Rec., vii, p.16).
A word more with regard to Franklin, and his connection with Fort Allen. In his autobiography he adds to what has already been given:
"I had hardly finished this business and got my fort well stored with provisions, when I received a letter from the Governor, acquainting me that he had called the Assembly, and wished my attendance there, if the posture of affairs on the frontiers was such that my remaining there was no longer necessary. My friends, too, of the Assembly, pressing me by their letter to be if possible at the meeting, and my three intended forts being now completed, and the inhabitants contented to remain on their farms under that protection, I resolved to return; the more willingly as a New England Officer, Col. Clapham, experienced in Indian War, being on a visit to our establishment, consented to accept the Command. I gave him a commission, and, parading the garrison, had it read before them, and introduced him to them as an officer who, from his skill in military affairs, was much more fit to command them than myself; and, giving them a little exhortation, took my leave. I was escorted as far as Bethlehem, where I rested a few days to recover from the fatigue I had undergone. The first night, lying in a good bed, I could hardly sleep, it was so different from my hard lodging on the floor of a hut at Gnaden-Huetten, with only a blanket or two."
Thus he returned to Bethlehem after an absence of but nineteen days. His military experience was limited, it is true, but he showed in it the same good judgment and common sense which made him the great man he afterwards became in civil life.
The very complete description which has been given of Fort Allen, by those who took part in the tragic drama enacting at that time, fixes so definitely the time of its construction, and narrates so minutely its size, shape and appearance, as to make even comment unnecessary. It only remains to connect its past with our present by pointing out the position where it stood as compared with modern locations and buildings. I can do this no better than by means of the map herewith given.
(Present Site of Fort Allen.)
The site of Fort Allen, in Weissport, Carbon County, is now occupied by the "Fort Allen Hotel," which stands on the S.W. corner of Bridge street and Franklin street, about 150 yards east of the bridge across the Lehigh river to Lehighton. The old well is still in existence, although unused, and may be seen in the yard back of the hotel.
Col. Clapham, who relieved Mr. Franklin at Fort Allen, in the supervision of matters in general, was only appointed temporarily to that duty. The entire country from the Sus- quehanna to the Delaware was under the command of Col. Weiser, and under the care of his First Battalion of the Penn'a Regiment. Col. Clapham was given command of what was called the "Augusta Regiment" with instructions to erect sundry forts along the Susquehanna, more especially Fort Augusta at Shamokin (Sunbury). The last of Col. Clapham's men left April 19th. Fort Allen then seems to have been left in care of Captain Foulk. Major Parsons, in writing to the Governor from Easton on June 15th, 1756, says, "I purpose to let Capt. Foulk's Lieu't and Men remain in Fort Allen till Capt. Reynolds comes to relieve them." (Col. Rec., vii, p. 164).
It was at this time that Commissary James Young, on his tour of inspection, reached Fort Allen. His diary reads as follows:
Fort Allen. - At 8 A. M. June 22d We sett out for Fort Allen, at Gnadenhutten (from Fort Franklin); it is ab't 15 miles from Alleminga; the first 7 miles of this Road is very hilly, Barran, and Swampy, no Plantations; the other part of the Road is, for the most part, thro' a Rich Valley, Chiefly Meadow Ground. Several Settlements, but all the houses Burnt and deserted; at Noon we came to the Fort; for the last half hour before we came here, had a very severe Gust of Thunder, Lightning, and Prodigious heavy Rain.
This Fort stands on the River Leahy, in the Pass, thro' Very high hills & in my Opinion, in a very important Place, and may be of great Service, if the officer does his Duty. It is very well Stoccaded with four Good Bastions, on one is a Sweivle Gun; the Woods are Clear all around it for a Considerable way, and is very Defencable; within is three good Barracks and a Guard Room; I found here 15 men without any officer or Commander; they told me that Lieu't Jacob Meis and two men from the Fort was gone this morning (22'd June), with two Gentlemen from Bethlehem, and four Indians, 15 miles up the Country to bring down some friendly Indians, and that the Serjant with 3 men were gone to Cap'tn Foulks, late Commander here, to receive the Pay that was due to them, and one was gone to Bethlehem with the Serjant's Watch to Mend, which was the Reason I could not muster those Present, nor have any acc't of the Provisions, but saw a large Quantity of Beef very ill Cured. I was inform'd that a Cap'tn with a New Comp'y was Expected there in a Day or two to take Post at this Fort. Being very uncertain when the Lieu'tn would return, or the New Comp'y Come, I resolved to Proceed to Leahy Gapp, where a Detachment of a Comp'y is Posted. - 27 Muskets, 50 Cartooch Boxes, 10 lb Powder, 60 lb Lead; and 20 Rounds filled for 25 Men, 19 Axes, 4 broad Do., 26 Hatchets, 43 Tomhauks, 3 Iron Wages, 1 Sweivle Gun." (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 678.)
It will be noticed that Lieu't Mies had gone up the country to bring down, in safety, a party of friendly Indians. In explanation of this it should be said that, owing to the great pressure brought upon him, Gov'r Morris, on April 14th, 1756, was obliged to issue a proclamation offering bounties for Indian scalps. (Col. Rec., vii, p. 88). As a consequence various parties were formed to hunt up Indian scalps. Amongst them was one numbering about one hundred men, from the Jerseys, which started out in the early part of June. Unfortunately at the same time Gov'r Morris had declared a cessation from hostilities for thirty days, to see if he could not make a treaty with the Susquehanna Indians, and desired to send some friendly Indians, as messengers, to Diahoga, at the mouth of the Cayhuga branch of that river, near the present Owego, Tioga county, New York State, to arrange a time and place for holding a conference looking towards this end. These could not be sent if the scalping party was out. An express was immediately dispatched to Gov. Belcher; also one to Col. John Anderson, to see if it could not be recalled. In the meantime the friendly Indians, intended as messengers to the hostiles, were obliged to remain at Bethlehem. At this time, on June 21st, two Delaware Indians, whose names were Nicodemus, and Christian, his son, former residents of Gnadenhutten, reached Bethlehem from Diahoga, and informed the authorities that they had left Diahoga with a company of others, friendly to the English, men, women and children, to the number of fifteen. These now lay a day's journey from Fort Allen, awaiting safe escort. It was to bring in these friendly Indians that Lieut. Mies had gone away from the fort.
Further efforts finally effected a meeting between the Governor and Teedyuscung, the Delaware Chief, at Easton, about the middle of July, which resulted in an agreement to bring about a treaty of peace, with the understanding that all English prisoners held by the Indians should first be released, to which the latter seemed to agree quite readily. Having been given presents, the Chief departed to arrange for the carrying out of his part of the program. All his movements, however, were so dilatory as to cause grave suspicion with regard to the sincerity of his purpose. He loitered along the frontiers, went away and came back again, until finally, in the early part of August, we find him at Fort Allen, where the Lieutenant in command kept plying him with rum, until he was in no condition to move away, much to the detriment of the Province, and to the disgrace of said officer. This brings us to another chapter in the history of the fort.
In the latter part of June, as we have already seen, Capt. Foulk's command at Fort Allen was relieved by Capt. Reynolds Company. This latter gentleman seems to have been rather young and inexperienced to manage the rough spirits about him. Amongst these was his Lieutenant, whose name was Miller, a man apparently of no principles, with no desire nor power to preserve discipline, and ever ready to increase his own worldly possessions at the expense of others, rather preferring to do so by foul means than by fair. The first exploit of this person, at Fort Allen, was in connection with Teedyuscung, who was a typical Indian chief, brave, shrewd and dignified under ordinary circumstances, but cursed with the only civilization which the white man seems to have been able to generally implant in the Indian nature, the love of strong drink. As we know, it was most important that the Delaware chief should speedily get back to his people, which was the only hope existing of a return to peace and a cessation of the barbarous murders constantly occurring. Instead of furthering the efforts of the Government, Lieut. Miller deliberately detained Teedyuscung by keeping him constantly drunk with rum which he sold him, and, in addition, made him angry by cheating him out of various articles in his possession. What effect this had in delaying negotiations at this time, and how many lives were sacrificed thereby, it is impossible to say.
We cannot relate the circumstances more clearly than Major Parsons has done in his letter of August 14th, 1756, from Easton, to Gov. Morris. He says:
Yesterday afternoon the Detachment that escorted the Indians from Bethlehem to Fort Allen returned, and with them came Ben and another Indian Man of Teedyuscung's Retinue, who intend to go to Philad'a and stay there.
I ask'd Ben after Teedyuscung, and the Reason of his staying so long at the Fort, and what his Reason was for leaving the King. He told me his Reason for returning was that he saw nothing but want and Hunger before him if he went to Diahogo, whereupon he told the King that he was now going to a People whose Language he was entirely unacquainted with, and therefore he could not be of any Service to him with them; that he would stay with the English till the King returned again, when he would very cheerfully serve him as an Interpreter to the English as he now had done.
This pass'd last Wednesday, when Ben waited upon the King about 12 miles from the Fort, (on his way to Diahogo) where Ben left him with the other Indians. So that it seemed unnecessary for me to go up to the Fort, the Indians being really gone from it.
As to the stay of the Indians at the Fort, Ben gives a most villainous account of the Lieut. there, while the Captain was at Philad'a. He says that Teedyuscung had procured 16 Deer Skins, which he intended to have sent as a present to the Governor to make him a pair of Gloves, as he said; the Lieut. told the King that one Skin was enough to make a pair of Gloves, and kept teezing him and plying him with Rum till the old Man was off his Guard. Ben told the King he hoped he would not go from his Design of sending the Skins to the Governor, and told the Lieut. that he did not understand Indian affairs, that the King knew very well that the Governor could not use 16 Skins in making a pair of Gloves but that that was the Indlian way of speaking, But all was to no purpose, and the Lieut. got the 16 Skins for three pounds, which Money Ben counted himself, but does not know what became of it. Ben says further, that as long as the Indians had money, the Lieut. sold them Rum, so that they were almost always drunk; and he believes that if they had been refused Rum at their first coming to the Fort, the King and his Company would not have stay'd long there, but would have proceeded to Diahogo, and would not have Stay'd and eaten all their Store of Provisions before they left the Fort.
Ben informs further that they had discovered the Tracks of about 20 strange Indians coming from Susquehannah and going towards Minnisinks. That they suppose these Indians are out upon some bad Design as they marched mostly a Breast or aside of one another whereas the Indian manner is, when they have no unfriendly or hostile Intentions, always to march one after the other. Your Honour will yourself hear things more particularly from Ben. He was very free from Liquor and very clear and intelligible when he gave me this acc't,
WM. PARSONS. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 745.)
Not only did Lieut. Miller engage in the nefarious business just narrated, but he seems to have dishonestly taken the liquor furnished by the Government to sell to the Indians. With such an example before them it is not to be expected that the men under him would behave much better. Neither did they, for in the beginning of August, whilst the Indians were still there one of the non-commissioned officers, Corporal Weyrick, committed a disgraceful act of rank insubordination, indeed one of actual mutiny.
Captain Nicholas Wetterholt, then at Fort Hamilton, learning of the occurrance, immediately notified Major Parsons, who replied. on Aug. 12th, from Easton, as follows:
I received your letter of the 6th Instant, relating to the Mutiny at Fort Allen; excited by Christian Weyrick, a Corporal.
I therefore desire you to go with a Detachment of your own men, and take the said Christian Weyrick and bind him fast & send him to the County Gaol at Easton, for exciting a Mutiny on the 5th Day of August Instant, at Fort Allen, be sure to secure him very well.
Also, I desire, you to put the Lieut. under Arrest for not endeavoring to Suppress a Mutiny, excited by Christian Weyrick, the 5th Instant, at Fort Allen. I think it will be best to order the Lieut. to Fort Norris, 'till further Orders. If these Mutinies are not suppress'd in the Beginning, it will be impossible to preserve Order among the Forces. If Capt. Reynolds is not return'd to the Fort, I would have you take Care not to leave the Fort without a Commissioned Officer to command it, in his absence. I hope you will not lose any time in doing what is above directed you.
I am, &c.,
P. S.-I am also informed that the Lieut. has been guilty of selling and embezelling the publick Stores, at Fort Allen. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 741.)
Capt. Orndt also seems to have written to Major Parsons on the subject, as we see by the reply of the latter, on August 15th:
This morning early I received your 3 Letters of the 12th, 13th & 14th Instant. That relating to Lieut. Miller I shall transmit immediately to his Honour the Governor, and in the mean time approve what you have done with regard to the Lieut. Capt. Reynolds has Powder & Lead, and can spare 6 lb of powder & 20 lb of Lead to the Forces at Trucker's Mill, and if you order any Body for it they may show him this Letter. I ordered Capt. Wetterhold to go to Fort Allen and arrest the man that had been so mutinous, for exciting a Mutiny, and to send him bound to the prison at Easton. I ordered him also to put the Lieut. under arrest for not endeavoring to suppress a Mutiny lately raised at Fort Allen, and to order him, the Lieut. to Fort Norris till further Orders, but I have not heard one Word from Capt. Wetterhold in answer to my Orders, and wonder very much that he is so negligent. I desire you to let him know that I expect he will pay immediate Obedience to his Orders as above. I am very much concerned to hear the Indians keep lurking about Swaratauro, and that they can't be drove away from that place.
I am, &c. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 742.)
Captain Wetterholt was never neglectful of his duty, as we can see from what Major Parsons says of him in the following letter to the Governor, written August 15th, the same day as that to Capt. Orndt, which I take the liberty of quoting in full because of other matters of interest contained in it:
In my Letter to your Honour of the 8th I mentioned my Design of going to Fort Allen to learn the Occasion of King Teedyuscung's Stay there but was prevented by other publick affairs from going as I intended, but I believe by my letter of yesterday your Honour will see the Reason of his stay at the Fort.
On the 10th I received a Letter from Mr. Horsfield, informing me that four of the Indians that came with Teedyuscung, and who had returned with him to the Fort, came back to Bethlehem: He likewise informed me that two of them desired to be escorted to Philad'a which he had prevailed with the Brethren to do. The other two with a Woman and Child wanted to go to Fort Allen, and desired me to send a Detachment to escort them there; which I did that Ev'ning and repeated my Orders to the Commanding Officer to build a Shade for the Indians and not to let them have more than a Gill of Rum a Man Per Day. And I believe these orders were the Reason of the King's resolving to go; and Ben is of the same Opinion. I only wait for Capt. Wetterhold, from whom I expect to hear (or to see him) this Day, and then shall pay them a visit at the Fort, unless I can be satisfied otherways. The occasion of my expecting Capt. Wetterhold soon, is that on the 10th I heard there had been some Disorders committed at Fort Allen, and that he had been there and assisted in setting them right again, but received no written Information from any Body. I thought it necessary to send immediately to Capt. Wetterhold for an account of what he had seen amiss at Fort Allen. And early on the morning of the 12th I received the inclosed German letter from him [already given the reader], the substance of it I have put into English which also comes inclosed. That same morning I wrote a Letter to Wetterhold, a copy whereof comes also inclosed. And I expect every minute to hear what he has done in the Affair, I can't think it right to leave the Town till I do hear from (or see) him. I have been inform'd by a private Hand that saw him with his Detachment going to Fort Allen, as he said, to execute the Orders he had received from me. This morning Capt. Orndt's letter came to Hand and am afraid that Lieut. Miller is faulty. It gives me great Pain that I am obliged to give your Honour all this Trouble at this time; but without your Authority and Direction we are like to run into great confusion. I am, however, determined that nothing shall be wanting on my part to preserve good Order in the several Companies. And I persuade myself that your Honour will not think I have been idle.I am very doubtful that Capt. Reynolds is rather too young for that Station where the Indians are, and will be continually passing and repassing, and may require the Care and Conduct of a more experienced Officer. His Lieut. I take to be that little impertinent Body which your Honour saw at the Tavern on Quittopohela Spring, where Reynolds was with his Recruits, when your Honour returned from the Camp at Harris's Ferry. I am
Your most obedient
August 16, 1756.
This Evening between 7 & 8 Capt. Wetterhold brought Christian Weyrick Prisoner to this Town, and delivered him to the keeper of Goal. Yesterday he met with Capt. Orndt's Ensign returning to Fort Norris, who told him that Lieut. Miller would not submit to his arrest, Wetterhold told him he should "go back with him to the Lieut. and he did, not doubting but he could bring him to submit. When they came to the Lieut., Wetterhold asked him why he was not obedient to his Captain's Orders; The Lieut. told him that he had as good a Commission as his Capt. and he would not submit to him and he questioned if Wetterhold had Power to arrest him. Wetterhold told him if he did not immediately submit to his own Capt. he would soon convince him that he had himself Authority to put him into arrest whereupon the Lieut. desired one day to settle his affairs before he went. I am fully of opinion if it were not for Wetterhold there would not be one Officer found in those Parts that dared execute orders of this kind, and he appears to me to be a resolute discreet Man. By Lieut. Allen's Letter to me of Yesterday, which comes with this, Your Honour will observe that Capt. Reynolds is gone again from the Fort with his Ensign, who, as far as I can learn, is the best officer of the 3 at Fort Allen. And that Teedyuscung is returned again to the Fort. Tomorrow morning I will go and enquire into the reason of his unaccountable Behaviour and endeavour to send him away.
Your most Obedient,
WM. PARSONS. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 747-749.)
Whilst much has been said with regard to a mutiny at Fort Allen and the measures taken to suppress it, the reader has, as yet, been left in the dark as to the nature of the occurrence. Capt. Nicholas Wetterholt's report to Major Parsons, which follows, supplies this deficiency very fully. It is as follows:
In the night of the 5th of August, Christian Weyrick, a Corporal, began to quarrel with the Indians, and threatened to drive them out of the Fort. The Lieut, pursuaded him to forbear, but he siezed the Lieut. & threw him on the Ground, and afterwards went to the Indian Squaws and behaved very undecently with them the whole night, and some of his Comrades; One John White upbraiding him with it, he began to curse and attempted to tear him to pieces, when Phillip Bortner stept out of the Guard Room and ask'd him if he was not ashamed to behave so, but he took him and threw him on the Bench, who calling out for help, Dewalt Bossing sprung between them, but he was not able to manage him; Then came Michael Laury, he struck him several Blows upon the Head, and thereupon they were parted; then he took a Gun and drove about the Fort like a Beast and not like a man, and struck down two of them, afterward he laid hold of his Cutlass and went into the Captain's House and pointed it out at the window; Then he took a Gun and snapped it twice, but it would not go off; Then he took another Gun, and that miss'd Fire also; then he laid hold of a third Gun, which Capt. Foulk took from him; Then he seized another Gun and went out of the House, and said one of the 4 Reading town Soldiers, or John White, should die, and shott at him; then he called to his Comrades and told them they should not leave him, they would storm the Fort, and no man should live that Day; then he ran into the Captain's House and threw the Benches about from Top to Bottom, but there was no Body in the House but the Lieut., the Clerk and the Serjeant, they warned him, but it all helped nothing; Then the Serjeant Bossing went to the Guard and told them to take him into arrest, but they would not; Then he went and broke Stones from the Chymny Back and threw them in at the window, and cursed furiously, and said he would kill one of the 4 Reading town Soldiers, or would stab or shoot Serjeant White; He behaved so violently that they were obliged to leave the Fort; He broke several Guns to pieces, and afterwards Michael Beltz, the Lieut., Christian Weyrick and Killian Lang, fetch'd water and put Rum in it, and washed their private parts therein. The 6th of Aug't the Ensign returned to the Fort and put things in better order. This is the Information from me, John Nicholas Widerhold, Captain.
N. B. I have already acquainted Coll'o Weiser with the affair.
Copy or Translation of Capt. Wetterhold's German Letter.
N. B. The Capt. Dates his Letter the Day he was at the Fort Allen but he must have wrote it since that time, for it was the 10th I wrote him, reced his answer the 12'th, so that his Letter to me should bear Date the 11'th Instant.
W. P. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 754.)
So ends this disgraceful affair, the only one of its character we have been obliged to record. What befell this prisoner after Capt. Wetterholt had taken him to Easton we do not know, but he doubtless received his just punishment.
One result of the whole affair was the detachment of Capt. Reynolds, and his command, from Fort Allen, who was ordered to Fort Norris to replace Capt. Jacob Orndt who, in turn, occupied Fort Allen.
The report of these two officers to Major Parsons shows when the change was accomplished:
Fort Allin, Octo. 9th, ye 1756.
Yeasderday I arrifid here with my Whole Compa'y att the fort, and Captin Reynolds hath Suply'd with his men my Place, and these Day arrifid one fraindly Indins here with one wite Presoner, his name is Henry Hess, the Indin informs me that there is teen Indins more a Comen, which are about a Coply mils of from here and that the King with more Indins layes att Waywamok, and is afraid to Come in fore they was Several Tims informid that the Inglish would kill Them if they would come in now, therefore the King hath Sent them to See wether it is True or not, that Indin Desired me to Seand one qu'rt of Rum and Sum bred by him to them teen Indins which are now a little ways off, and I have Supply'd him with and I have Seand my Seargind with one Soldir with him to escord him, I have orderid emmadtly a Shealdr to be made a Distance off from the Fort that they may lodge there, the Indin was very glead that he was Recev'd kindly there, Obinin was to go to Bethleham, but I Told him it was beast to go Streat to Easton to your Worship, then he Told me he would Consider of it, and I hope your Worship will excuse me and Captin Raynolds, that wee Can not Seand our Returns with these opertunyte, fore wee have not quite Setelet, fore I Thought to Sent emitly these Reports first fore I and Captin Raynolds, wee are in good health att Present, and wee are Eesy to Setel our besinis here att the fort.
Sir, wee Remain your Frainds and
Wery humble Servint,
JACOB ORNDT, GEORGE REYNOLDS. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 5.)
Major Parsons at once sent an express to Secretary Richard Peters, informing him of the facts reported to him, thus:
By Capt. Orndt's inclosed Letter you will perceive that a number of the Indians are actually come in and that the Rest are on the Road, and I understand that besides the white Prisoner brought in they have 10 more with them, who no doubt will all want some kind of cloathing especially Shirts & Shoes. When they come to Easton I shall take Care to provide House Room & Provisions for them, but shall want His Honour's Orders concerning them. I imagine they are now all coming in, and it will be very necessary for me to know how long they are to stay here, and how I am to conduct myself in this important Affair.
You will please to acquaint His Honour that Lieut's Allen and Miller have made their Submissions agreeable to His Honours Commands of the 22d last past. And Capt. Orndt is just moved with his Company to Fort Allen, & Capt. Reynolds is gone to Fort Norris &c. to supply his Place. By your Favour of the 5th Instant, you inform me that the Governor is gone to Harris's Ferry, I therefore thought it would be best to direct this Letter to you in his Absence. As I expect some of the Indians will be here to-Day or to-Morrow, I have sent my Lad express that no time may be lost.
I am, Sir,
P. S.-Cap. Orndt's Letter came to Hand ab't 2 o'clock before Day this Morning. I am very glad he is got to Fort Allen. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 7.)
It will be seen from these letters that not only was a change of officers made at Fort Allen, but that, still more important, the efforts of Gov. Morris to bring about a Conference with the Indians, looking towards a Treaty of Peace, were at length bringing forth fruit. Teedyuscung, the Chief, with various of his followers, were already on their way to Easton, bringing with them sundry white prisoners as agreed. Apprehending, however, vengeance on the part of the whites, they had stopped short at Wyoming and sent a messenger in advance to Fort Allen, notifying the officers of their presence. We have just seen how this fact was announced to the Provincial Secretary, who in turn laid it before the Council. Governor Morris had but recently been superseded by Gov'r Denny who was then absent. The following letter was accordingly dispatched to him, on October 11th, from Philad'a:
The Council received by Express this afternoon the inclosed letters from Major Parsons & Capt. Orndt & advising that one Tediuskunk, a Delaware Chief, who, with other Indians, In consequence of a late Treaty made with them at Easton by Gov'r Morris, were Coming in with a Number of English Prisoners, had on hearing a Report that we intended to cout them off, stopt at Wyoming & sent a Party forward to know the Truth of that Report. The Council conceiving it of the utmost Consequence that the Indians should be undeceived & their Fears removed without Loss of time, have taken the Liberty to direct Major Parsons to send an Express to them immediately, to invite them down to Easton, there to remain till your Hon'r shall be pleased to give further Orders about them, and have directed the inclosed Copy of their Letter to Major Parsons to be transmitted to you, that you may supply by your further Orders what they have omitted." (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 8.)
In due course the Indians reached Easton, when a new alarm arose, this time on the part of the whites, who were informed that there were some 40 Indians at and about Fort Allen, also about 100 Minisink Indians at Trout Creek, all averse to a peace with the English, and who had laid a plot to attack Easton whilst the Governor was there, and kill both him and Teedyuscung, the latter for entering into even a Conference with their Enemy. This was on Nov'r 5th. Reinforcements were immediately obtained from Fort Franklin and the Town Guard increased. In the meantime, however, Col. Weiser had a private talk with those of the Six Nation Indians in Easton and informed them of the rumor which was afloat. They told him that two of their number who had been sent to Fort Allen would be back that evening when they could speak better with him. They assured him, however, that the report was false, and were indignant that they should be suspected of treachery. Upon the arrival of the two from Fort Allen they confirmed the falsity of the rumor, and all desired Col. Weiser to remind the Governor that when they, the Indians, were on their way to Easton they had heard similar plots on the part of the English to exterminate them, but still, placing confidence in the word of the white people, they had come and now that such wicked rumors were out about them they desired the Governor to place equal confidence in their fidelity. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 32.)
Shortly after the arrival of the Governor at Easton the Conference with the Indians began, on Nov'r 8th, and was concluded on Nov'r 17th. At its conclusion the Indians had all expressed themselves favorable to peace. The next day Col. Weiser started with them back to Fort Allen. With much trouble he got them away from Easton and with still more difficulty he finally reached Fort Allen. Their old enemy - rum - was too much for the poor savages. They insisted upon having some, and finally it became necessary to supply them. Capt. Orndt took a cask to their camp. Col. Weiser warned them not to come near the Fort, and their orgies began. In the midst of their drunkenness one of them attempted to crawl over the stockades but when the Colonel warned him that the sentry would fire on him he ran off as fast as he could shouting back, "Damn you all, I value you not!" (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 67.)
At last the Indians were started off and disappeared for the time being, but, notwithstanding the Conference, and all their assurances, peace did not yet come. However, in justice to Teedyuscung it must be said that he apparently made efforts to induce the other Indians to join with him in declaring peace, but it was many months more before his efforts were crowned with any semblance of success.
We have seen that the Indians brought back with them sundry white prisoners. One of these, whose name has been mentioned was Henry Hess. Another was Leonard Weeser who made the following deposition during the Conference:
The Examination of Leonard Weeser, aged twenty years, taken before the Governor, 9th Nov'r, 1756.
This Examinant says that on the 31st Dec'r last he was at his father's House, beyond the Mountains, in Smithfield Township, Northampton County, w'th his Father, his Bro'r William & Hans Adam Hess; That Thirty Indians from Wyomink surrounded them as they were at Work, killed his Father & Hans Adam Hess and took this Examinant & his Brother William, aged 17, Prisoners. The next day the same Indians went to Peter Hess's, Father of the s'd Hans Adam Hess; they killed two young men, one Nicholas Burman, ye others Name he knew not, & took Peter Hess & his elder son, Henry Hess, and went off ye next morning at the great Swamp, distant about 30 miles from Weeser's Plantation, they killed Peter Hess, sticking him with their knives, as this Examinant was told by ye Indians, for he was not present. Before they went off they burned the Houses & a Barrack of Wheat, kill'd y'e Cattle & Horses & Sheep, & destroyed all they could. Thro' ye Swamp they went directly to Wyomink, where they stayed only two days & then went up the river to Diahogo, where they stayed till the Planting Time, & from thence they went to little Passeeca, an Indian Town, up the Cayuga Branch, & there they stayed till they brought him down. Among the Indians who made this attack & took him Prisoner were Teedyuscung alias Gideon alias Honest John, & three of his Sons, Amos & Jacob, ye other's name he knew not. Jacobus & his Son, Samuel Evans & Thomas Evans were present; Daniel was present, one Yacomb, a Delaware, who used to live in his Father's Neighborhood. They said that all the country was theirs & they were never paid for it, and this they frequently gave as a reason for their conduct. The King's Son Amos took him, this Examinant, & immediately gave him over to his Father. He says that they cou'd not carry all the Goods, y't were given them when last here, & the King sent to his wife to send him some Indians to assist him to carry the Goods, & she ordered him to go with some Indians to the old man & coming where the Goods lay, ab't 18 miles on the other side of Fort Allen, he stayed while Sam Evans went to the Fort to tell Teedyuscung that said Indians were with ye Goods & this Examinant w'th them, & this being told ye white people, Mr. Parsons sent two soldiers to ye place where the Goods were & brought him down with them, and he has stayed in Northampton County ever since. This Examinant saw at Diahogo a Boy of Henry Christmans, who lived near Fort Norris, & one Daniel Williams Wife & five children, Ben Feed's wife & three children; a woman, ye wife of a Smith, who lived with Frederick Head, & three Children; a woman taken at Cushictunk, a Boy of Hunt's who lived in Jersey, near Canlin's Kiln & a negro man; a Boy taken about 4 miles from Head's, called Nicholas Kainsein, all of which were Prisoners with the Indians at Diahogo & Passeeca, and were taken by the Delaware Indians; that Teedyuscung did not go against the English after this Examinant was taken, Tho' His sons did; That the King called all the Indians together, & they made up ye number of Eighty Five, viz: from Diahogo and Passeeca, & another Indian Town; That Provisions were very scarce; That they went frequently out in Parties ag't ye English; That he never saw any French or other Indians among them as he Knows of.
his "x" mark
LEONARD WEESER. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 45.)
We have been so accustomed to read of savage murders and atrocities, that we have become, by this time, more or less filled with a feeling of repugnance towards them, and yet this history would neither be fair nor complete did we neglect to say that the white men were not always so honorable or merciful towards the Indian, on their side. It was at the Conference just held, and also in private explanation to Conrad Weiser, they claimed that the war now in progress was owing to the fact that the white settlers had defrauded them of their lands and cheated them in other ways, notably, as they said, in the case of the "Walking Purchase," the scene of which was in that immediate vicinity. Even at the time when the Government was endeavoring to bring about peace, and were especially desirous of not molesting friendly Indians, they were unwisely ill treated. The following instance, reported by Timothy Horsfield to Gov. Denny November 29th, 1756, is on record:
"I beg leave to mention to your Honour, that few Days Since as one of our Indians was in the Woods a Small distance from Bethlehem, with his Gun, hoping to meet with a Deer, on his return home he met with two men, who (as he Informs) he Saluted by takeing off his Hat; he had not gone far before he heard a gun fired, and the Bullet whistled near him, which terefied him very much, and running thro' the thick Bushes his gun lock Catched fast, and went off, he dropt it, his Hat, Blanket, &c., and came home much frighted. The Indians came to me complaining of this Treatment, Saying they fled from amongst the Murthering Indians, and come here to Bethlehem, and Addresst his Honour the Late Governor, and put themselves under His protection, which the Governor Answered to their Satisfaction, Desireing them to Sit Still amongst the Brethren, which they said they had done, and given offence to none. I told them I would do all in my Power to prevent such Treatment for the future, and that I would write to the Governor and Inform him of it, and that they might be Assured the Governor would use proper measures to prevent any mischief happening. I thought at first to write a few Advertisements to warn wicked People for the future how they Behave to the Indians, for if one or more of them should be kill'd in such a manner, I fear it would be of very bad consequence; but I have since considered it is by no means proper for me to advertise, for as the Late Governor's proclamation is Expired, the first Proclamation of War against the Indians I conceive is still in force. I thought it my Duty to Inform your Honor of this Affair, and Doubt not you will take the matter into your wise Consideration." (Penn. Arch., iii, p.76.)
Following the late Conference at Easton, efforts to accomplish a peace with the Indians were kept up unremittingly. Much reliance was placed on Teedyuscung to aid in this matter, and, whilst he was, as an Indian, but human and by no means perfect, yet, to his credit, it must be said that he did his part faithfully. Unfortunately he was the Chief of the Delawares, a tribe looked upon with more or less disdain by the Six Nations, so that, whilst he may have been fairly able to control his own people, yet he found it very difficult to persuade the other tribes. Finally he met with some success, so much so, in fact, that he felt able to bring them to a Conference with the Governor, and in the meantime sent a detachment of Delawares in advance to Fort Allen. About them Capt. Orndt writes to Major Parsons:
Fort Allen, March 31st, 1757
The Bearer hereof, an Indian, named Samuel Evans, desires to have an order from your Worship to get a New Stock made for his gun in Bethlehem, and that the same might be charged to the Province. Since my last letter w'ch I have wrote to you, arrived here King Teedyuscung's two Sons, Captain Harrison (his brother), and several other Indians, in number 50, men and squaws, and children; they behave very civil here, they have made Cabbins about 60 perches from the Fort, where they live, and intend to tarry here till the King comes.
I am, Sir, Your humble servant,
JACOB ORNDT. (Col. Rec., vii, p. 474.)
And again on April 5th, he writes:
"This is to acquaint your Worship that the day before yesterday, arrived here Four Indians from the Susquehanna, above Diahogo, and have brought one White Prisoner, whose name is Nicholas Ramston; he was taken at the same time that Christian Pember was killed. The same Indians informed me that King Teeduscung can hardly come down here till the latter End of this Month, for the Mohock Indians were not quite ready to March. Those four Indians will come with the bearer hereof, one of my Soldiers, whom I shall send to escort them to Easton, and I have also order'd the white Prisoner with them. I desire your Worship wou'd be pleased to send an order to Mr. Warner, who is order'd to entertain the Indians, that he shall not give them too much Rum, as he has done to those who were at Easton last week, for some of them were so drunk that they Stay'd all Night in the Woods, and the remainder went with my Men to Bethlehem, and by so doing there might easily happen any Misbehaviour." (Col. Rec., vii, p. 474.)
This captive, just restored, was a German by birth, taken prisoner some fifteen months ago by Teedyuscung's party and given by them to a Minisink Indian, whose brother brought him to Fort Allen. He had but little to say except that, at first, he had been treated pretty roughly, but afterwards kindly. He thought that when the Chief came he would bring other white prisoners with him.
Teedyuscung was busy in persuading, not the Mohawks, as stated, who were already at Fort Allen, but the Seneca Indians to come to the Conference, and it was not until July that, after accomplishing his object, he reached Fort Allen. Capt. Orndt immediately wrote to Colonel Weiser:
To the honorable Colonel Weiser:
These are to inform you that Detiuscung is arrived here Yesterday Ev'ing, and there be at present about 200 Indians with him, with young and old. Detiuscung is intended to stay here about five or six days, and in this time He expects one hundred of the Seneka Indians here, and then he is intended to go to Easton, in hopes to meet with his Honour the Governor.
I am inform'd that Lieut. M ____ is run away with another man's wife and hope you will inform his Honour the Governor how necessary it is that I might have another Lieutenant. If you would be pleas'd to recommend Ensign Conrad in his stead, who, I think, will be a man very fit for a Lieutenant. I send with these the Muster and Pay Roll of my Company. I hope you will excuse me, as I have not sent my Journal, for I had not time to draw a Copy of it.
I am, Sir, &c.,
Fort Allen, July 5, 1757.
With Submission, I think Ensign Conrad worthy of a Lieutenants Commission.
CONRAD WEISER. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 207.)
Ensign Conrad was duly given his Commission as Lieutenant.
As the provisions were giving out, Captain Orndt found it to be impossible to keep all these Indians at Fort Allen, therefore on July 7th he marched with 150 of them to Easton, leaving but 50 behind, where he arrived safely with all except one, named William Dattame, who, contrary to his orders, started for Bethlehem, and was shot by a foolish white boy, 15 years old, who followed him. He was wounded in the right thigh, but, fortunately, the wound was not mortal.
On July 14th Colonel Weiser arrived at Easton, and, later, detachments from various forts, forming a Guard of 110 men. On July 20th and 21st Governor Denny and the entire Council reached the same place, and shortly after the Conference began which lasted until August 7th. There were over 300 Indians present, Chiefs and representatives of the Delawares, Shawanese, Mohicans, Senecas, &c. On the last day a treaty of peace was finally concluded with them, and all left under most harmonious circumstances.
After all the Conferences held with the Indians and the various treaties made with them it becomes a matter of surprise to find that hostilities still continued. And yet a little thought will make the reason very clear. We must not forget that the savages were divided into many tribes, each with their chiefs. At no time were all of these various divisions represented at the Conferences, and, even if those who entered into the treaty should keep it, yet there were others who had not agreed to bury the hatchet, and did not. Then, too, savage nature delighted in blood and murder, and individually could not always be controlled by their own chiefs. Peace was an exceedingly difficult end to reach, requiring much time, patience and wisdom to accomplish. Teedyuscung still faithfully assisted the Governor, and had his agents at work at different points. Capt. Orndt notifies Mr. Horsfield, from Fort Allen, on March 7th, 1758, of the arrival of five Indians from Diahogo and from Fort Augusta, with a particular message to the Chief. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 359.) These were sent to Philad'a where Teedyuscung joined them from Bethlehem. On March 25th twenty more Indians came to Fort Allen from Diahogo, with several strings of white wampum, in token of peace, and a message that, as soon as they returned, a great number of Indians of the Muncy and Mohican tribes would come to make a treaty. In this same letter Capt. Orndt says, "I have almost finished the Trench about the Fort, and intend setting up Saplins to hinder the enemy from breaking over the Trench." (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 367.)
Teedyuscung even entered into somewhat of an alliance with the English and furnished spies for them to watch the movements of the French. Having been requested to send an Indian to the Allegheny River and see what was going on there, he sent a Message, August 9th, 1758, to the Governor saying he had not done so because it was too dangerous, and adding:
"That a number of French Mohocks and a French Captain came down as far as Diahogo to go to War against the English, but the Indians there persuaded a Number of them to return back, but a French Captain & ten of them would not be restrained but proceeded, and I believe they are going against the Minisink. I think proper to give this Information that ye People on your Frontiers may be put on their guard.
I consider the English our Brethren, and We have but one Ear, one Mouth, one Eye, you may be sure I shall apprize them of every motion of the Enemy."
Two Indians came to Wioming from Allegheny and informed Teedyuscung that they had already struck the French and destroyed six of their Forts. That Fort Duquesne was very strong, but if their Brethren, the English, came to attack it they would help them.
That the Intelligence of this French party of ten men was given to the Captain at Fort Allen, who sent Messengers immediately to alarm the People of the Minisink.
That Lawrence Bush was come from the upper parts of the Susquehannah River to Wioming and went to Shamokin (Sunbury) as they (the messengers) sat out for Fort Allen." (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 509.)
At last in October, 1758, a grand Conference was held at Easton at which were present Gov. Denny, of Pennsylvania, Gov. Bernard, of the Jerseys, and Chiefs of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Onondagoes, Senecas, Cayugas, Conoys, Nanticokes and other tribes, and a final peace was effected which was lasting, although even after that desultory forays were made at various points, and sundry murders committed. I say lasting, because I do not consider the outbreak of 1763 of short duration and confined to a limited district, as worthy to be considered a part of the so-called Pontiac War. It is doubtful whether, with all the efforts made, diplomacy could have brought about this state of affairs, even at this late hour, had it not been for the success of the English arms and the gradual withdrawal of the French, a fact their savage allies who had their own interests especially at heart, were not slow to notice.
I have dwelt somewhat at length on the several Conferences held at Easton, and the many efforts made by the Government to terminate the war, because of the important connection of Fort Allen with them. In doing so I have necessarily passed over some facts which may be worthy of notice now.
Major Parsons reports to Sec'y Rich'd Peters that on October 21st, 1756, there were in that place 49 lb powder, 103 lb, lead and 50 flints. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 81.)
In April, 1757, it is proposed to reduce the forts between the Susquehanna and Delaware to three only,- Fort Henry, Allen and Hamilton - each to have a garrison of 100 men. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 119.)
On February 5th, 1758, Adjutant Kern reports at Fort Allen, Capt. Orndt and Lieut. Conrad, with 53 men, 63 Province arms, 3 private arms, 190 lbs powder, 200 lbs lead, 4 months provisions, and Jacob Levan as their Commissary. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 340.) On February 9th, 1758, Commissary James Young reports on duty there, one and a half Companies, with 78 men. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 341.)
Major James BURD, in his tour of inspection, visited Fort Allen. He has this to say of it:
Monday, Feby 27th, 1758.
Arrived at Fort Allen at 1/2 after 2 P. M. (from Fort Everett), a prodigious Hilly place and poor land, 15 miles from Mr. Everett's, ordered a review of this Garrison tomorrow at 8A. M.
At 8 A. M. reviewed this Garrison; doing duty, Capt. Orndt, Lieu'ts Hays & Laughery, Ensigne Quixell & 75 men, this is a very good Garrison, Stores, 2 months' Provisions, 225 pounds powder, 300 lb lead, 500 flints, 2 Sweevel Guns, 26 Province ,Arms bad, no Drum, kettles, nor Blankets, 1 spade, 1 shovell, 1 Grubing how & 14 bad axes.
This is a very poor Stockade, surrounded with Hills, situated on a barren plain, through which the River Leehy runs, distance ab't 70 yards from the Fort, there is scarce room here for 40 men.
Ordered Cap't Orndt to Regulate his Ranging by his Intelligence from time to time, as he informed me that 5 Indians from Bethlehem has promised faithfully to Cap't Orndt to come here & reconnoitre the woods constantly round & to furnish him with Intelligence, likewise to put up a Targett 6 Inches thick to learn the Soldiers to Shoot.
Sett off from hence at 10 A. M. for Lieu't Ingle's post * * * * (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 355.)
It would seem from this report that Fort Allen had fallen somewhat out of repair. It did not remain so long, however, as we will recall that, in the following March, Capt. Orndt had it thoroughly repaired and renewed.
On June 30, 1758, Gen'l Forbes left Philadelphia on his western Campaign. In the meantime Capt. Orndt had been promoted to Major and given charge of the district about Fort Allen. He was directed to notify the people of the frontiers to assemble in large parties during their harvesting and provide each party with sentrys for protection. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 448.) He was also directed to see that the friendly Indians wore a broad yellow band around their head or arms to distinguish them from the enemy, and requested the Governor to send a supply of the same to Forts Augusta and Allen for distribution. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 487.)
Unlike the history of the other forts, which we have traced, that of Fort Allen is singularly free from a long list of at least recorded murders. It has been thought by some writers that this was owing to its strength. From said opinion I am obliged to differ, as, in the first place, whilst important it was not of unusual strength, and, in the second place, its strength or weakness would have mattered little to the savages who never attempted to assault any garrison fort, but skulked around it to perpetrate their cruelties, unperceived, in its rear. I account for this immunity to the fact, which we have seen, that the Indians were constantly stopping at it on their way to and from the many Conferences and lesser talks, which were held at. Easton, Bethlehem and Philadelphia, and they were too cunning to commit themselves by any untoward act in its vicinity. Be that as it may, however, it is a source of great rejoicing to know that the fact, at least, existed.
On April 21st, 1756, John Mee and Joseph Leacock, residing within 1-1/2 miles of Fort Allen, requested of the Governor a detachment of men from said fort to protect them whilst they put up their fences and burnt the leaves around their fields. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 638.)
During 1757 a couple petitions were sent the Governor requesting protection and recommending certain dispositions of troops.
On March, 1758, the following petition was sent to Gov. Denny by the inhabitants on both sides of the Blue Mountains, on the West Branch. in Towamensing and Lehigh Townships:
"Wee, the Poor Inhabitants of the Said Townships, Come to Lay this Humble Petition before your Honour, to Lat you know that we are informed that Fort Allen Shall be taken away from the Place where the Fort Stationed at present, and Shall be Build another this Side the Mountains, which would be verry Hartt for us them that Leaves Behind and this Side the Mountain on the Frontiers, if the Said Fort Allen Should be moved from the Place; and if it Should be So, Wee Pray your Honour might be plised to Order that said Fort might be Build of the other Side the Mountain, on the Place Called the Good Spring or well, which is a very Convinient Place; But if the Fort Should be Build this Side the Mountains, all the Inhabitants this and the Other Side near the Mountains will be obliged to move off from their Plantations, and the Enemies will get the Mountains in to Do more mischief, and will be more Danger for the Inhabitants; Wee Pray your Hon'r will be plised to take all this in Consideration, and your Wisdom will order the
Best for us, and We Shall Ever pray.
We are your most
humble and obedient Servants
[numerously signed, principally in German]. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 359.)
Captain Jacob Orndt having been promoted, was succeeded at Fort Allen by Captain John Bull, who, on June 14th, 1758, notlfiee Sam'l Dupui of a party of 25 hostile Indians on their way to the Minisinks. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 423.)
How much longer Fort Allen was regularly garrisoned I have been unable to find from the records. Matthews and Hungerford, In their History of Carbon County, p. 579, say until 1761, and after that time was occasionally occupied by soldiers. We know that such at least was the case in 1763, during that outbreak, when Captains Nicholas and Jacob Wetterholt were there. As late as June 1st, 1780, Lt. Col. Kern had 112 men stationed at and near Fort Allen.
This latter event was owing to the capture, on April 25th, 1780, of the Gilbert family, living on the Mahoning Creek, some 5 or 6 miles from Fort Allen, by a party of eleven Indians. The Indians who made this incursion were of different tribes, who, on the approach of Gen'l Sullivan's Army to Wyoming, had abandoned their country and fled within the British Lines in Canada. From thence they made frequent inroads on the frontier settlements. The account of the captivity of this family, which extended over a period of two years and five months, is most interesting and romantic. It does not, however, belong to this work and must, therefore, be omitted. It is sufficient to say that, after many trials and hardships, they were all happily reunited.
After what has been said of Fort Allen it seemed almost unnecessary to add that a monument should certainly be erected to mark its site. I would suggest, as a suitable place the public square opposite the Fort Allen Hotel.
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