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Full text of "History of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, including its aboriginal history; the colonial and revolutionary periods; early settlement and subsequent growth; political organization; agricultural, mining, and manufacturing interests; internal improvements; religious, educational, social, and military history; sketches of its boroughs, villages, and townships; portraits and biographies of pioneers and representative citizens, etc."

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Cornell University Library 
F 157.N8B43 

History of Northumberland County, Pennsy 

3 1924 009 706 841 .«,,..« 

The original of tinis book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



Northumberland CcTunty: 











"XT O county of interior Pennsylvania possesses a greater degree of historic 
i \l interest than Northumberland. Shamokin, one of the most impor- 
tant Indian towns in the State, was situated within its present limits, and 
here, at the confluence of the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna, 
Fort Augusta was erected for the defense of the Province in the French and 
Indian war. This region was constantly harassed by hostile savages during 
the Eevolutionary period; no part of the Pennsylvania frontier suffered more 
from their incursions, as "The Great Eunaway," the fall of Port Freeland, 
and numerous lesser calamities abundantly testify. Organized in 1772, the 
county once extended from the Lehigh river to the Allegheny, with the New 
York line as its northern boundary, embracing more than one third the area 
of the State, and with eminent propriety it has been called " The Mother of 

The physical features of the county — its aboriginal history, and the con- 
test for possession of its soil — the military movements upon its territory in 
the Colonial and Eevolutionary periods — the gradual progress of its early 
settlement, with the customs and characteristics of pioneer life — its civil 
organization and administration — its material resources in soil and mineral 
treasures, and industrial activity in the past and present — the part taken by 
its citizens in the Eevolution, the war of 1812, and the civil war — the educa- 
tional and religious interests of the commimity, with biographical mention of 
many of its citizens, are inclu4ed in the plan of this work, and have been 
treated with such fairness as its comprehensive character would permit. 

Herbert C. Bell, of Leitersburg, Maryland, is the author of the general 
history (Chapters X and XI excepted). The editorial supervision of the 
work was intrusted to Mr. Bell, whose thoroughness and accuracy in histor- 
ical research and narration have been acquired by a varied experience in this 
department of literary effort. In this responsible position he received the 
assistance and co-operation of the publishers, whose long connection with the 
business has made them familiar with all the details of local historical work. 

The Shamokin coal field and its development (Chapters X and XI) have 
been treated by Dr. J. J. John, of Shamokin. In these chapters the history 
of the mining industry in Northumberland county is presented to the public 


in a connected narrative for the first time. Doctor John's long residence in 
the coal region and intimate acquaintance with the subject of which he 
writes are ample guaranty of the thorough execution of his work. 

An important feature of the publication is its several chapters of per- 
sonal and family biography, the data for which were obtained from those to 
whom they relate or their descendants ; and in order to insure accuracy, the 
matter was afterward submitted to them for correction. 

It would be impossible to mention here every one who has rendered valu- 
able aid in the preparation of this volume. The assistance given by Dr. E. 
H. Awl, John B. Packer, W. I. Greenough, S. P. Wolverton, and H. B. Mas- 
ser, of Sunbury, Dr. J. J. John, of Shamokin, and the late John F. Wol- 
finger, of Milton, is, however, worthy of special notice. Appropriate ac- 
knowledgments are due and gladly tendered to the public press of the county 
for access to newspaper files, and words of encouragement; to county and 
borough ofiicials for courtesies shown; to the descendants of the pioneers in 
every locality for information furnished; to attorneys, physicians, and other 
professional men; to the pastors of churches; to the leading spirits in various 
societies; to the owners and managers of manufacturing and other business 
establishments ; , to those enterprising citizens who gave us their patronage, 
and without whose support we could not have succeeded; and in general to 
every one who has contributed in any manner to the success of the work. 

Neither time nor money nor labor has been spared to make this volume 
an authentic and reliable source of information concerning the early history 
and material development of the county, and the various commercial, social, 
and religious activities of its people. We take pride in the knowledge that 
we have redeemed our promises, and furnished our patrons a work which 
every intelligent citizen can justly appreciate. 

Brown, Rdnk & Co. 




General Topography— Drainage— First Exploration of the Susquehanna— Indian Tribes 
— The Susquehannoeks — The Delawares^AUumapees — The Shawanese— The Iro- 
quois — Shikellimy — Indian Traders — Conrad Weiser — Missionary Effort 17-42 



Purchase of the Susquehanna — ^Alienation of the Delaware Indians — Hostilities Inaugu- 
rated — Rumors of French Invasion — Defensive Measures Adopted — The Augusta 
Regiment Organized to Build a Fort at Shamokin — Progress of the Expedition — 
Construction of Fort Augusta — Principal Events of Colonel Clapham's Administra- 
tion — Extracts and Incidents from Major Burd's Journal — Subsequent Commanding 
Officers — The Magazine and Indian Store — Operations in 1763 — Strength of the Gar- 
rison and Armament — The Flag— Doctors and Chaplains — Plan and Description of 
the Fort — Close of the French and Indian War — Purchase of 1768 — Early Surveys — 
Lists of Pioneers — Fithian's Journal — The Yankee and Pennamite War 42-98 



Close of the Provincial Regime — The County's Representation in the Continental Army 
— Companies of Captains Lowdpn, Parr, and Weitzel — Twelfth Pennsylvania Regi- 
ment — Committee of Safety—Militia Organization — Indian Outrages — Defensive 
Measures Instituted by ColoneJ Hunter — " The Great Runaway " — Colonel Brodhead 
Temporarily Stationed on the Frontier — Colonel Hartley's Military Administra- 
tion — Fall of Fort Freeland-^The German Regiment — General Potter's Expedition — 
Events of 1781-82— Colonel Hunter's Accounts 99-142 



Erection of Noi-thumberland County — Disintegration of its Territory — Present Bound- 
aries — Internal Subdivision — Original Townships — Formation of Present Subdivis- 
ions — Statistics of Population — Public Buildings — Early Fiscal Affairs — Inaugura- 
tion of the Public School System — Roster of County Officers — Representation in 
Constitutional Conventions, etc. — Legislative Representation — Early Township Of- 
ficers 142-198 




First Courts and Cases— The Quarter Sessions— Early Administration at Penal Justice— 
Tlie Orphans' Court^The Common Pleas— Rules of Court— The Bench— Roster of 
Justices— Biographical Sketches of President Judges— Associate Judges— The Bar of 
the Past and Presen^-The Supreme Court 201-260 



List of Sunbury Physicians, by Dr. R. H. Awl— Biographical Sketches of Physicians 
Throughout the County— Medical Societies— Roster of the Medical Profession. . .261-273 



Journalism at Northumberland- Sunhury Papers — The Press of Milton — Shamokin 
Newspapers — Journals of Mt. Carmel — McEwensville and Locust Gap Papers 373-296 



Relation of Highways of Travel to Civilization — Public Roads — The Tulpehocken 
Road — The Old Reading Road — Early County Roads — Turnpikes — River Navi- 
gation — Canals — Railroads — Pennsylvania — Danville and Potts ville — Philadelphia 
and Erie — Northern Central — Sunbury, Hazelton and Wilkesbarre — Sunbury and 
Lewistown — Lewisburg and Tyrone — Philadelphia and Reading — Mine Hill and 
Schuylkill Haven — Mahauoy and Shamokin — Enterprise — Shamokin and Trevorton — 
Trevorton, Mahanoy and Susquehanna — Catawissa — Shamokin, Sunbury and Lewis- 
burg — Delaware, I^ackawanna and Western — Lehigh Valley — Wilkesbarre and 
Western 397-328 



Preparation of Soils the Result of Remote Rather than Immediate Agency — Geological 
Structure — Anticlinals and Synclinals — Subdivisions of the Paleozoic System — Loca- 
tion and Characteristics of Each Stratum — Development of the Farming Industry — 
Condition of the Farming Interests in 18i5 — Agricultural Societies 339-346 




Importance of Coal — Its Location— Names of the Veins— Their Position and Character — 
A Walk from the Weigh Scales to the Cameron Colliery— Ascent of the Great Culm 
Bank— A Talk with the Inside Foreman About the Coal Formation — Further De- 
scription of the Sixteen Veins Found in This Region — A Section of the Measures 

Depth of the Shamokin Coal Basin — A Short Description of the Districts and 
Basins — Production of the Three Districts- The Question, " How Long Will Our Coal 
Supply Last?" Answered 347-357 





Discovery of Anthracite in This Region — First Application to General Uses — First Shamo- 
kin Coal Taken to Market — Opening ot the First Mines at Shamokin, Coal Run, and 
Trevorton — First Coal Shipments Down the Susquehanna — Speculation in Coal 
Lands — The Danville and Pottsville Railroad — Pioneer Coal Operations — The Dis- 
astrous Year of 1843 — Revival of 1850 — Judge Helfenstein's Developments — Orig- 
inal Coal Breakers — Marshall's Letter — New Collieries and Outlets — Coal Shipments 
to Elmira in 1855 — Other Collieries Started and Breakers Erected — Tonnage of This 
Region for the Years 1857 and 1889— Total Production for the Past Fifty-one Years.358-391 


WAR OF 1813. 

Mobilization of the Militia — Companies of Captains Robert McGuigan, William McGuire, 
William F, Buyers , and Jacob Hummel, and Lieutenant Joseph Dreibelbies 391-396 



State of Public Sentiment at the Outbreak of the War — Mass Meetings and Resolutions — 
The Sanitary Commission — Regimental Sketches — Eleventh — Eighth — Thirty-fourth 
— Forty-sixth — Forty-seventh — Fifty-first — Fifty-third — Eightieth — One Hundred 
and Twelfth— Fifty-eighth— One Hundred and Thirty -first— One Hundred and Fifty- 
second— Seventy-fourth— Militia of 1863— Militia of 1863— Soldiers' Monuments. . .396-444 



The Town Plat — Early Residents — Sunbury in 1808 — Reminiscences of Dr. R. H. Awl — 
Prominent Merchants, 1772 — 1850 — Early Hotels — Municipal Organization and Gov- 
ernment — Facilities of Travel and Transportation — Industrial Activity — Banking 
Institutions — Gas, Electric Light, and Water Companies — Local Papers — The Post- 
oflfice — Secret and other Societies — Educational Interests — Churches — Cemeteries — 
Borough of East Sunbury 444r-514 



The Town Plat — Early History — Prominent Early Residents — Early Merchants and 
Hotels — The Postofflce — Bridges, Canals, and Railways — Borough Organization and 
Government — Industrial Activity — Schools — Local Journalism — Secret and other 
Societies — Churches — Cemeteries 515-545 



Pioneer History— The Town Plal^Inhabitants from 1804 to 1808— Taxables in 1818— 
Borough Government — The Postofflce — Facilities of Travel and Transportation — 
General Business Interests — Industries of the Past and Present — Floods and Fires — 
Secret and Other Societies — Churches — Sunday Schools — Miscellaneous Moral and 
Humanitarian Organizations — Educational Interests — Local Papers — Cemeteries ..545-591 



Brief of Title— The Town Plal^-Pioneers— Shamokin in 1839— Subsequent Growth Sum- 
marized — The First Stores and Hotels — Early Physicians and Lawyers — Municipal 
Organization and Government — The Eiot of 1877 — Facilities of Travel and Transpor- 
tation — The Shamokiu Coal Trade — General Industrial Interests — The Postofflce — 
Banks— Water, Gas, and Electric Light — Board of Trade — Secret and Other Societies 
— The Press — Churches — Educational Interests — Cemeteries 591-655 


Old Hotels — The Town Plat — First Improvements and Subsequent Growth — The First 
Merchants, Physicians, and Lawyers — The Postoflace — Railroads — Municipal Organi- 
zation and Government — The Mt. Carmel Coal Trade — General Industrial Interests — 
Financial Institutions — Water and Electric Light Companies — Secret and Other Socie- 
ties — The Press — Schools — Churches — Cemeteries 655-676 


Pioneer History— The First Surveys— Early Industries, Stores, and Hotels— The Town 
Plat — Bailroads — The Postofflce — Manufacturing, Past and Present — Banks — Electric 
Light and Water Companies — Borough Organization and Government — Secret and 
Fraternal Societies— Educational and Literary Effort- Churches— Watsontown Cem- 
etery 677-692 



Erection and Original Boundaries — Subdivision and Present Area — Pioneers — Mills 

Churches — Schools — Cemeteries 693-697 


Erection of Augusta Township and Development of its Subsequent Boundaries— Forma- 
tion of Upper and Lower Augusta— Pioneers— Roads and Streams— Industries- 
Schools — Churches 698-705 


Territorial Development— Topography— Fisher' s Ferry— Mills— Schools— Churches 705-707 


Proceedings for the Erection of Mahanoy Township— Disintegration of Its Territory- 
Organization of Upper Mahanoy— Pioneers— Hotels— Mills— Secret Society— Schools 
-Churches ^08_^^p 


Organization— Drainage— Early History and Present Business and Industrial Interests of 
Georgetown— Malta— Industries— Schools— Churches 711-714 



Proceedings for Its Erection — First Township Officers — Pioneers — Industries 714-716 



Area and Topography — Erection and Subdivision — Pioneers — Industries — Pottsgrove — 
Montandon — Sodom — Chillisciuaque — Schools — Churches 716-736 



Formation of Kalpho Township and Description of its Original Boundaries — Change of 
Name to Shamokin — Physical Features — Pioneers — Taxables in 1788 — Industi-ies— 
Early Settlement, Present Business, and Municipal Government of the Borough of 
Snydertown— Villages — Schools— Churches 736-734 


Boundaries — Organization — Pioneers — Mills — Schools — Churches 734-736 



Successive Movements for the Division of Shamokin Township — Formation, Origin of 
Name, and First Township Officers of Rush — Pioneers — Industries — Rushtown — 
Schools— Churches 737-743 



Original Boundaries — Pioneers — Industries — Early History and Growth of Herndon — 
Mahanoy — Schools — Churches 743-748 



Suggestiveness of the Name — Organization — Streams and Roads — Industries — Villages — 
Coal Poor District— Churches 749-751 



Organization and Boundaries — Pioneers — Early Industries — Early History, Growth, In- 
dustries, and Borough Organization of McEwensville — Dewart — Churches — Schools 
— Cemeteries 753-764 



Topographical Features — Political Organization — Freeland's Mill — Settlement, Growth, 
Present Business Interests, and Municipal Government of the Borough of Turbut- 
ville — Churches — Schools — Turbutville Cemetery 765-769 




Extent— Organization— Drainage— Villages of the Past and Present— Schools— Churches. 




Erection and Organization- Drainage — Roads — Post- Villages —Industries — Schools- 
Churches 772-777 



Organization and Boundaries — Pioneers — Origin, Growth, Present Business Interests, 
and Secret Societies of Trevorton— Schools— Churches — 777-783 


Organization — Drainage and Roads — Collieries — Mining Villages— Churches 784-786 



Original Boundaries — First Township Officers — Pioneers — Industries — Rehuck— Schools 
-Churches 786-790 



OrganizationandBoundaries— Drainage and Roads-Village s — Mills — Schools — Churches. 



Successive Steps in the Proceedings by Which the Township was Erected — Line of Divis- 
ion from Shamokin — Drainage and Roads — Pioneers — Early History, Growth, and 
Secret Societies of Elysburg — Industries — Schools — Churches 796-800 



Erection and Organization — The Founding, Growth, and Municipal Government of the 
Borough of Riverside — South Danville — Schools — Churches — Cemetery 800-803 


Sunhury 804^860 



Shamokiu 860-967 



Milton m-ms 


Mt. Carmel 1013-1067 


Watsontown 106&-1093 


Northumberland Borough and Point Township 1093-1106 


Turbut and Chillisquaque Townships 1106-1141 


Lewis and Delaware Townships and Boroughs of Turbutville and McEwensviUe . . .1141-1160 


Upper Augusta, Lower Augusta, and Rockefeller Townships. , 1160-1175 



Shamokin, Ralpho, Rush, and Gearhart Townships, and Boroughs of Snydertown and 
RiTerside 117&-1317 



Zerbe (TreTorton), Cameron, Little Mahanoy, Jackson, Lower Mahanoy, Washington, 
Jordan, and Upper Mahanoy Townships 1317-1339 

INDEX 1341-1356 






Aucker, R. S .' 955 

Awl, M. D., R. H 271 

Bellas, Hugh 51 

Bittenbender, Stephen 163 

Bolich, Daniel D 1027 

Brlce, Andrew N 289 

Bruner, Charles J 145 

Bucher, J. Weiaer 793 

Buck, Peter E 919 

Camp, David 1045 

Carl, John 1054 

Chester, Holden 865 

Clement, Ira T 433 

Dickerman, Charles H 577 

Douty, JohuB 883 

Elliott, "William 523 

Fagely, Reuhen 109 

Fagely, "William 127 

Fairehild, Abram 1009 

Eairchild, Solomon 1117 

Fulton, Alexander 388 

Goodwill, Robert 415 

Graeber, Conrad 807 

Greenough, Ebenezer 69 

Haas, John 343 

Haas, John S 1099 

Haas, M. D., Joseph 1225 

Harvey, Bernard 1018 

Helm, A. A 487 

Heim, D 541 

Herb, Edward C 1207 

Hill, George 829 

Hottenstein, Charles 181 

John, J. J 595 

Jordan, Alexander 91 

KaufEman, J. R 847 

Kellagher, M 1063 

Koch, Rev. J. Joseph 631 


Koerber, Henry 991 

Kremer, Jacob 1081 

Kulp, Darlington R 649 

Leinbach, J. B 1153 

Llewellyn, David 325 

Mahon, Peter A 928 

Markle, Martin 910 

Marshall, "William H 361 

Martin, M. D., Charles M 505 

Martin, Hugh 721 

Martz, Solomon 1171 

Miller, S. M 757 

Morgan, Harry W 901 

Muench, Jacob E 1189 

Mullen, John 613 

Murray, Samuel "Wilson 559 

McCarthy, Francis 784 

McWilliams, C. Q 937 

Newbaker, M. D., J. B 775 

Oram, W. H. M 451 

Packer, John B 199 

Packer, Samuel J 33 

Pardee, Joseph 1135 

Pollock, James 973 

Purdy, T.H 253 

Rambach, Silas 685 

Robertson, Andrew 379 

Rockefeller, "William M 217 

Rohrbach, Lloyd T 811 

Ryon, George "W 469 

Shimer, Samuel J 586 

Speece, A. S 703 

Stahl, George H44 

Taggart, James 397 

"Vastine, Amos 739 

"Watkins, il. K 667 

"Wolverton, Simon' P 235 


Colonel's Quarters, Fort Augusta. 

Fort Augusta 

Map of Northumberland County . . 

.. 81 
.. 80 


^ . 


UJ s^ 



=D ID 


x: o 


h- o 




Northumberland County, 



Genekal Topogbapht — Dkainagb — First Explokatiost op the Susquehanna — 
Indian Tribes — The Susquehannocks — The- Delawares — Allumapbes — The 
Sha-svanese — The Iroquois — Shikellimy — Indian Traders — Conrad Weiser 
— Missionary Effort. 

ACOMPEEHENSIVE survey of the topography of Pennsylvania dis- 
tinguishes three general divisions. The southeastern section of the 
State, a region of wide, fertile valleys and irregular hills, forms part of the 
Atlantic coast plain; on the v^est and northwest is a plateau of moderate 
elevation, deeply indented by numerous watercourses ; while a section of the 
great Appalachian mountain system, averaging about fifty miles in breadth 
with a maximum length of two hundred thirty miles, comprises the inter- 
vening territory. 

The middle division, embracing the territory to which this work especially 
relates, is situated between the Allegheny and Kittatinhy ranges, the former 
on the north and west, the latter on the south and east. It is essentially a 
mountainous region. On the east, between the Lehigh and Delaware rivers, 
is the Pocono wilderness, a region of inaccessible mountain recesses, prop- 
erly a continuation of the Catskills and possessing many of their rugged 
characteristics; between the Lehigh and Susquehanna and traversed by 
both is the anthracite coal region, in which are found the highest altitudes 
of the State; and southwest of the Susquehanna is the Juniata country, in 
many places a labyrinth of irregular mountains. 

No part of this middle belt contrasts more strongly with its general 
mountainous character than the valleys of the Susquehanna. A succession 
of peculiarly symmetrical ranges distinguishes the Appalachian system 


throughout; between the Juniata and the Susquehanna these ranges include 
valleys of varying width and great natural pioturesqueness, of which the 
continuation east of the West Branch, though less marked, is quite noticea- 
ble. Buffalo and White Deer find their counterpart in the valleys of Chillis- 
quaque. Pleasant, and Paradise, extending eastward through Northumber- 
land and Montour into Columbia, but with such changes in name and modi- 
fications of territorial extent as virtually to lose their individuality. The 
valley of the North Branch, which attains considerable width at Wiliesbarre 
and Pittston but becomes narrower in southern Luzerne, again expands in 
Columbia and Montour, with broad stretches of bottom land at several 
points in Northumberland. This wide region of alternating mountain and 
valley, the fairest portion of central Pennsylvania, was all included in the 
original limits of Northumberland county. 

It would be difficult to define the geometrical figure to which the 
present shape of the county corresponds; for, while the Susquehanna 
forms a natural boundary on the west, Muncy hills on the north, and 
Mahantango creek on the south, the remaining county lines are the arbi- 
trary dictations of political necessity and convenience. Embracing on the 
north a part of the valley of .the West Branch, and on the southeast a part 
of the Western Middle coal field, its topography includes the representative 
features of an agricultural and of a mountainous region, with many inter- 
mediate types in which the characteristics of one or the other predomiinate. 

The only elevations that reach the grade of mountain attitudes are 
found in the territory south of the North Branch. The western end of 
Mahanoy mountain, rising abruptly from the level of the Susquehanna river 
and at a short distance from it, has much the appearance of a huge promon- 
tory, with the river at its base and a broad expanse of picturesque landscape 
on the north, west, and south. Two ranges diverge at this point, known, 
respectively, as Line mountain and Little mountain, both of which extend 
entirely across the county, inclosing the coal measures of the Shamokin 
basin, a region essentially mountainous in its character. Line moimtain 
separates Little Mahanoy and Cameron townships on the north from Jackson, 
Washington, and Upper Mahanoy on the south, and has possessed political 
significance longer than any other interior township line of the county; its 
course does not diverge materially from a straight line, and the only gap 
between the Susquehanna river and Schuylkill county, a distance of nine- 
teen miles, is that of Mahanoy creek. Little mountain, the northern range, 
is less regular in contour and elevation; two breaks in its trend occur in 
this county, the gaps of Shamokin and Roaring creeks. It is the mutual 
boundary of Jackson, Little Mahanoy, Zerbe, and Coal townships on the 
south, and Lower Augusta, Rockefeller, Shamokin, and Ralpho on the 
north. Several ridges, of which the most important are Swartz's, Fisher's 
and Jacob's, extend partially across the extreme southern part of the county 


parallel with Line mountain; the Shamokin hills (known as Gilger's between 
Shamokin and Roaring creeks), are similarly situated with reference to Little 
mountain, while all that part of the county south of the North Branch is 
more or less diversified by local elevations of varying altitude. 

Two parallel elevations extend latitudinally across the northern part of 
the county, known, respectively, as Montour ridge and Limestone ridge. 
The former is twenty-seven miles in length, terminating at Espy, Columbia 
county, Pennsylvania, on the east, and at the Susquehanna river, four miles 
above Northum.berland, on the west; it has an altitude of seven hundred 
fifty feet above tide level, and declines in a long, gradual slope at each 
extremity. A beautifully symmetrical crest and remarkable regularity of 
outline are its distinguishing characteristics. At its base on either side is a 
low, narrow valley, bounded on the side opposite the ridge by a succession 
of broad, undulating hills. It is the line of Point and Chillisquaqe town- 
ships, and also separates the former from Montour county. Limestone 
ridge, the mutual boundary of Turbut and Chillisquaque townships, extends 
from a point on the Susquehanna river just below Milton to Chillisquaque 
creek near Washingtonville, Montour county. Its trend across this county 
is continuous and regular, with an altitude of six hundred fifty feet above 
tide level. The northern boundary of Delaware and Lewis townships is 
formed by the Muncy hills, from which there is a general slope to the south 
and southwest. 

With respect to drainage, the entire area of the county is situated within 
the watershed of the Susquehanna river. In order from the north, the 
principal streams that flow into the West Branch are Delaware run. Warrior 
run. Muddy run, Lim.estone run, and Chillisquaque creek, of which the last 
named is the most important. It rises in the northern part of Northumber- 
land, Montour, and Columbia counties, and the main stream first attains 
considerable proportions in the township of Derry, Montour county; from 
thence its course is nearly due southwest to its junction with the river at the 
end of Mountour ridge. In order from the east, the streams that flow into 
the North Branch from Northumberland county are Roaring creek, the south 
branch of which forms the county line; Little Roaring creek, which sepa- 
rates this county from that part of Montour south of the river; Logan's run 
and Wilson's run, the principal streams of Rush township, and Gravel run, 
which separates Rush and Upper Augusta. Much the larger part of the 
county south of the North Branch is drained by tributaries of the main Sus- 
quehanna river, of which Shamokin and Mahanoy creeks are the most 
important. The main branch of Shamokin creek has its source just west of 
Centralia, Columbia county, Pennsylvania; it flows west through Mt. Carmel 
and Shamokin townships, receiving the waters of Beaver and Locust creeks 
in the former and of Coal run, Weikel's run. Buck creek. Furnace run. 
Trout run, and Carbon run in the latter, thus draining nearly all that part 


of the Western Middle coal field situated in this county. It finds a passage 
through Little mountain at the gap north of Shamokin borough, and pur- 
sues a northerly course as the mutual boundary of Shamokin and Ralpho 
townships; thence it deflects to the west, and continues a meandering course 
through Shamokin and Upper Augusta to the Susquehanna river at the 
southern limit of the borough of Sunbury. Its principal affluent is Little 
Shamokin creek, which, with Plum creek, drains Eockef eller township. Hol- 
lowing run and Boyle's run are streams of local importance which flow 
directly into the Susquehanna from that part of Lower Augusta township 
situated between the Shamokin hills and Little mountain. Mahanoy creek 
rises near Delano, Schuylkill coimty, Pennsylvania, and flows westward 
through the Mahanoy coal basin to the town of Ashland, where it breaks 
through the Mahanoy mountain. From this point its course is nearly due 
west, with little deflection through the townships of Cameron and Little 
Mahanoy; from the latter it flows through a gap in Line mountain, and 
thence, by a very circuitous course through Jacksoii township, reaches the 
Susquehanna river at the town of Herndon. Its only affluents of impor- 
tance are Zerbe run, which drains the extreme western part of the Western 
Middle coal field in the township of that name, and Schwaben or Greenbrier 
creek, the largest stream in this county south of Line, mountain. Tiddler's 
run and Stone Valley creek empty into the Susquehanna from Jackson and 
Lower Mahanoy townships, respectively, and Mahantango creek, which 
forms the southern boundary of the county, receives numerous unimportant 
tributaries from its territory. 

The topography of the county, however much its general aspect has 
been modified by the development of its economic resources, has not changed 
in any essential respect since the region comprised within its limits was first 
penetrated by the influences of civilization. No upheaval of nature has inter- 
rupted the ceaseless flow of the broad rivers that course majestically through 
its territory, or disturbed the mountains and hills that diversify its surface, 
with the streams that meander at their bases and the corresponding succes- 
sion of valley, slope, and intervale. It is not difflcult to revert, in imagina- 
tion, to the period when the primeval forest covered the entire country, and 
a different race of people held sway over its woods and waters;, and thus the 
foregoing description of the physical features of the county forms an appro- 
priate introduction to its early history. 

The first exploration of the Susquehanna valley was made in 1615-16 by 
Etienne Brul6, interpreter to Samuel de Champlain and one of the two 
Frenchmen who accompanied him on his first journey to Lake Huron. 
Champlain had agreed to join the Hurons in an expedition against the Iro- 
quois; following the course of the Ottawa river from Montreal to its source 
and crossing the portage to Lake Nipissing, he entered Lake Huron by the 
French river, coasted along the eastern shore of Georgian bay a distance of 


more than a hundred miles, and, after visiting several of the more important 
Huron towns, arrived at Cahiague, the rendezvous of their combined forces, 
August 17, 1615. There it was learned that an allied tribe occupying terri- 
tory adjacent to the Iroquois south of the Great Lakes had promised to rein- 
force the Hurons with five hundred warriors; and, in response to this 
intelligence, Etienne BruI6, at his own solicitation, was sent to urge them 
forward, in order that their movements might harmonize with those of the 
general body. Twelve Indians accompanied him; they crossed Lake Ontario 
and made their way in safety through the Iroquois country to Carantouan, a 
palisaded town of eight hundred warriors. There they were received with 
every evidence of friendliness and joy; the departure of the promised rein- 
forcement was delayed by these demonstrations, however, and before they 
reached the Iroquois town the Hurons had retired, after a brief but desultory 
siege in which Champlain sustained a severe wound. Brul6 thereupon returned 
to Carantouan, " and, with enterprise worthy of his commander, spent the 
winter in a tour of exploration. Descending a river, evidently the Susque- 
hanna, he followed it to its junction with the sea, through territories of pop- 
ulous tribes at war the one with the other."* In the spring of 1616 he retraced 
his' course, and, arriving at Carantouan, was given an escort to guide him 
toward Canada. The route again lay through the country of the hostile 
Iroquois; he was captured and narrowly escaped death at the stake, but finally 
reached the friendly Hurons, whom he accompanied on their annual descent 
to Montreal. There he again met Champlain; three years had elapsed since 
they parted at Cahiague, and during that period Brul6 had doubtless traversed 
a large part of interior Pennsylvania and New York. 

The Carantouans are identified by Parkman as the Andastes, a branch of 
the great Algonquin family. At the beginning of the seventeenth century 
it is supposed that they occupied the western and central portions of Penn- 
sylvania, particularly the valleys of the Allegheny and Susquehanna. Like 
the Hurons of Canada and the Iroquois of New York they fortified their 
towns and gave a limited degree of attention to agriculture, and in numbers 
and prowess enjoyed the superiority among the surrounding tribes on the 
east and south. Captain John Smith's exploration of Chesapeake bay in 
1608 first brought them in contact with the English; from him they received 
the tribal designation of Susquehannocks, by which they were generally 
known in their intercourse with the Maryland provincial authorities. The 
Dutch, who formed their acquaintance as early as 1615, and the Swedes, who 
settled on the Delaware in 1638, called them Minquas. 

Between this tribe and the Iroquois an intermittent but sanguinary war 
was waged. For many years it was without positive advantage to either side, 
as the Iroquois, although the stronger party, had to contend with the Hurons 
as well as the Susquehannocks, who rendered mutual assistance against the 

*Parkman's Pioneers of France in the New World, p. 378. 


common enemy. This is shown by the success of Brul6's mission; and on a 
subsequent occasion (1647), the Susquehannocks, who numbered thirteen 
hundred warriors and had acquired the use of fire-arms, again offered to assist 
their allies beyond the Great Lakes, who were almost exterminated in the 
\^ars of the following years. This enabled the Iroquois to concentrate their 
entire strength against the Susquehannocks, but the latter were assisted by 
the English of Maryland and the Dutch on the Delaware, and for some time 
the scales of victory inclined in their favor. On the Susquehanna river some 
fifty miles from its mouth, they had a fort, defended by several cannon 
mounted in European style; it was invested in 1663 by eight hundred Iro- 
quois warriors, who were repulsed with great loss. But misfortune and dis- 
aster at length succeeded victory and success ; reduced in numbers by the 
ravages of disease and deserted by their former European allies, the Sus- 
quehannocks were almost annihilated in 1675. Some of the survivors were 
taken to New York and adopted by their captors; the remainder located on 
the Potomac river at the western confines of Maryland, but afterward returned 
to their former territory and obtained a reservation on the Conestoga creek 
in Lancaster county. From that time they were called Conestoga Indians; 
many of them had embraced the Moravian faith and were making fair prog- 
ress in civilization, when, on the 27th of December, 1763, having taken 
refuge in the old jail at Lancaster, they were attacked by the Paxtang 
Eangers and killed without the opportunity of defending themselves. And 
thus the Andastes, once the most powerful Indian nation in Pennsylvania, 
finally became extinct. 

The Delawares were also a branch of the Algonquin family. In their 
own language they called themselves the Lenni Lenape (original people). 
Their traditions have probably been preserved, through the Moravian mis- 
sionaries who labored among them, with greater distinctness than those of 
any other of the Pennsylvania tribes. According to the legend, their 
ancestors formerly dwelt far to the west, presumably upon the shores of the 
Pacific ocean, but migrated eastwardly and at length reached the Namoesi 
Sipu (Mississippi river). There they met another powerful nation, the 
Mengwe (Iroquois), who had likewise come from a distant region. East of 
the Namoesi Sipu the country was occupied by the AUegewi, a people 
whose towns were defended by earthworks; permission to pass through 
their confines was obtained, but after a part of the Lenape had crossed the 
river the AUegewi attacked them, thus provoking a protracted struggle in 
which the Mengwe and Lenape united their forces, expelled the Allegewi, 
and apportioned their former territory among themselves, the Mengwe 
receiving the region abou.t the Great Lakes and the Lenape the Ohio valley. 
At length their hunters penetrated the country east of the Allegheny 
mountains and thither they again migrated, occupying the same relative 
positions as before. The legend doubtless possesses many elements of truth- 


The territory of the Delawares extended along the Atlantic coast from 
the Hudson river to Chesapeake bay. There were three principal clans, 
viz. : the Turtle or Unamis, the Turkey or Unalaohtgo, and the Wolf or 
Minsi, while their great council seat was at the Minisink, a locality on the 
Delaware river in Monroe county, Pennsylvania. At the time they first 
came in contact with the Dutch the Delawares were a numerous and 
powerful tribe, and had long waged a successful war against the Iroquois. 
According to their accounts, this was terminated in 1617 by a treaty at 
Albany, New York, whereby they agreed to devote themselves to peaceful 
pursuits in the interest of general harmony among the various Indian tribes. 
As part of this compact they were to receive the protection of the Iroquois, 
but the latter also arrogated over them the right of command; this provoked 
another war, for which, having laid aside their arms, the Delawares were 
unprepared, and, being unable to defend themselves, they were easily 
reduced to the position of a tributary tribe. The Iroquois, on the other 
hand, asserted that their contest had been achieved by fair war, and denied 
the machinations alleged against them. Whatever may have been the 
means by which their subjugation was effected, the Delawares could not 
deny the fact; and although they did not, like other conquered tribes, 
furnish recruits to the Iroquois in prosecuting their wars, a tribute was 
rendered in token of continued submission. 

Allumapees was the first Indian chief and only Delaware king who resided 
within the present limits of Northumberland county at the period to which 
accurate information relates. He first appears in public affairs under the 
name of Sassoonan. He was a chief of his nation as early as 1709, when he 
appeared at Philadelphia with several others, "chiefs of the Delaware Indians 
settled at Paxtang above Conestoga and other adjacent places" on the Susque- 
hanna river. In 1712 he made a visit to the Five Nations with the tribute 
from his tribe and a present from the Governor of Pennsylvania, for whom 
he brought a present from the Iroquois confederacy on his return. In 1715, 
with others of his tribe, he had a conference with the provincial authorities 
at Philadelphia, and in a speech on that occasion referred to "their late king, 
SeoUitchy ;" it is probable that the latter was the immediate successor of the 
renowned Tammany, and that after his death Allumapees assumed the regal 
prerogatives. In the general release of 1718 he is styled "King of the 
Delaware Indians." It is supposed that at that time he resided on the Dela- 
ware river, from whence he removed to Shamokin, an Indian town at the 
site of Stmbury; there he lived among the Minsi, the most belligerent of the 
Lenape clans, who, after the expulsion of the Andastes, had occupied that 
part of their former territory between the Kittatinny mountains and the 
sources of the Susquehanna. 

For some years after this he does not appear to have had much inter- 
course with the provincial authorities, doubtless on account of the remoteness 


of his residence. In 1728 he was interviewed by James Le Tort regarding 
a rumored Indian conspiracy; from that time he is generally referred to by 
the name of AUnmapees, although that of Sassoonan was also retained to 
the close of his life. On the 4th and 5th of June, 1728, he was in confer- 
ence with the Governor and Council regarding the Tulpehocken^lands; he 
also visited then on the 10th of October of the same year. In 1731, while 
in a state of intoxication, he killed his nephew, Shakatawlin; about the same 
time, Opekasset, another nephew and a chief among the Delawares for some 
years, also died. Under the weight of this double affliction his grief was 
such that "it was like to cost him his life," as he "forbore taking necessary 
food." The Governor accordingly invited him to Philadelphia, where he 
spent several days in August, 1731. He was again in that city, August 
20-21, 1736, and October 3-4, 1738, and on both occasions met the Proprietor, 
Thomas Penn. At a conference on the 1st of August, 1740, he said that he 
had come "from Allegheny, a long way off," where he had been to hunt. 
The last treaty he attended was that of July, 1742, but it does not appear 
that he took any active part in the proceedings. In 1744 he had a long 
sickness, but recovered, nothwithstanding his age. Spangenberg wrote, 
under date of June 4, 1745: "He is very old, almost bUnd, and very poor, 
but withal has still power over and is beloved by his people, and is a friend 
of the English." And on the 20th of July, 1747, Conrad Weiser wrote: 
" AUumapees would have resigned his crown before now, but as he had the 
keeping of the public treasure (that is to say, the council bag), consisting of 
belts of wampum, for which he buys liquor, and has been drunk for this 
two or three years almost constantly, and it is thought he won't die so long 
as there is one single wampum left in the bag." In the following Septem- 
ber "Weiser informed the Governor that he understood AUumapees was dead, 
but could not be sure of it; on the 15th of October he wrote: "AUumapees is 
dead." The Delawares were a tributary people when he became their king; 
he appears to have accepted the situation as he found it, making no effort to 
recover their former standing as a nation. He enjoyed, and doubtless merited, 
the confidence of the English, and was an ardent promoter of peaceful rela- 
tions between them and his people. One of his granddaughters was the first 
wife of Andrew Montour; her son, John Montour, served under General 
Daniel Brodhead in the West during the Revolution with the rank of captain.f 
The Shawanese were of southern origin. At a conference with the chiefs 
of the Six Nations, August 26, 1732, the provincial authorities informed them 
" that the Shawanese, who were settled to the southward, being made uneasy 
by their neighbors, about sixty families of them came up to Conestoga about 

1- Tills sketch has been principally derived from the minutes and correspondence of Covmcil; 
further particulars may be obtained by reference to the following : Colonial Records, Vol. II. pp. 469,' 
546,567,559-561; III. pp. 296, 304, 316,316-326, 334-337,403^06, 606; IV. pp. 53-56, 307-311, 432^134,' 443- 
447, 585, 742; V. p. 138; VII. p. OS. Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. I. pp. 214, "20, ■'■>■■> '"i "og 344-345 g49 
762, 772. ' ' ' ' 


thirty-five years since and desired leave of the Susquehanna Indians, who 
were planted there, to settle on that river; that those Susquehanna Indians 
applied to their government that they might accordingly settle, and they 
would become answerable for their good behavior; that our late Proprietor 
arriving soon after, the chiefs of the Shawanese and of the Susquehannas 
came to Philadelphia and renewed their application; that the Proprietor 
agreed to their settlement, and the Shawanese thereupon came under the 
protection of this government; that from that time greater numbers of the 
same Indians followed them and settled on Susquehanna and Delaware." 
They appear to have occupied the upper Susquehanna valley in common 
"with the Delawares, both being under the suzerainty of the Six Nations. It 
is thought that they had a town at the mouth of Chillisquaque creek. Con- 
rad Weiser was ferried across that stream by an old Shawanej Jenoniawano 
by name, on his journey, to Onondaga in 1737; Bishop Spangenberg calls 
it Shawane creek in the journal of his visit to Onondaga in 1745, and men- 
tions passing " the site of the town that formerly stood there." The tribe 
was migratory in its tendencies, and, with no certain tenure to the lands it 
occupied in central Pennsylvania, gravitated to the westward, locating on 
the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. Fearing that it might be won over to the 
French interest the provincial authorities sought to induce a return but 
"without avail. 

The Iroquois, although not the actual occupants of any part of Penn- 
sylvania, played an important part in its history throughout the colonial 
and Revolutionary periods. They inhabited the fertile region south of 
Lake Ontario and about the headwaters of the Hudson, the Delaware, the 
Susquehanna, and the Allegheny rivers, including the valley of the Mohawk 
on the east and that of the Genesee on the west. Five tribes, the Senecas, 
Onondagas, Oneidas, Cayugas, and Mohawks, originally constituted the 
confederacy, whence they were called the Five Nations; a sixth, the Tus- 
«aroras, was admitted about the year 1712, and after that they were known 
as the Six Nations. Each tribe exercised exclusive jurisdiction in purely 
domestic affairs, while matters concerning the nation as a whole were 
determined by the great council at Onondaga. This was the center of their 
power, which was practically coextensive with the thirteen original States, 
embracing also southern Canada and a part of the Mississippi valley. In 
the extent of their dominion, their absolute power, and the statecraft exer- 
cised in rendering conquered tribes subsidiary to their purposes, they have 
not been inaptly styled "the Romans of America." In all the arts of a 
savage people they excelled. Their fields were well cultivated, their towns 
were strongly fortified, their form of government secured practical unanimity 
in the execution of military projects, and in their intercourse with Euro- 
peans their chiefs often evinced a remarkable skillfulness in diplomacy and 
profoundness of policy. Their career of conquest was doubtless inaugurated 


by the subjugation of the immediately contiguous tribes, and thus, in the 
extension of their power to the south, the Andastes and Lenni Lenape were 
first brought under their sway. The Shawanese, Ganawese, Conoys, and 
other Pennsylvania tribes also acknowledged their supremacy, and for the 
better government of these troublesome feudatories the great Onondoga 
council was constrained, in the early p^rt of the eighteenth century, to place 
over them a resident viceroy. To this responsible position Shikellimy was 
appointed, and for a score of years his name is associated with every 
important transaction affecting the Indians of the Susquehanna valley. 

Shikellimy was a Susquehannock by birth, descended from the ancient 
Andastes, and thus returned to govern the land from which his fathers had 
been expelled. Like many of the more enterprising youth of his tribe, he 
had entered the mihtary service of their conquerors; his valor in war was 
rewarded by adoption into the Oneida tribe, of which he at length became a 
chief, an exceptional preferment for one not a member of that nation by 
birth. It is not probable that he was appointed viceroy before 1728; he was 
not present at the treaty with the Five Nations at Philadelphia in July of 
the preceding year, and Le Tort does not mention him among the Indians of 
consequence whom he met " on the upper parts of the river Susquehanna " 
in the winter of 1727-28. The first conference that he attended at Philadel- 
phia was that of July 4-5, 1728, but it does not appear that he took any 
active part in the proceedings. He was present on a similar occasion in the 
following October, when, after the close of the conference, the Council con- 
sidered " what present might be proper to be made " to Shikellimy, " of the 
Five Nations, appointed to reside among the Shawanese, whose services had 
been and may yet further be of great advantage to this government." The 
secretary of Council had gained a more accurate idea of his functions three 
years later, when, in the minutes of August 12, 1731, he gives his name and 
title as " Shikellimy, sent by the Five Nations to preside over the Shawanese." 
At the close of the conference which began at Philadelphia on that date, the 
Governor having represented that he was " a trusty good man and a great 
lover of the Enghsh," he was commissioned as the bearer of a present to the 
Six Nations and a message inviting them to visit Philadelphia. This they 
accordingly did, arriving on the 18th of August, 1732. Shikellimy was pres- 
ent on this occasion, when it was mutually agreed that he and Conrad Weiser 
should be employed in any business that might be necessary between the 
high contracting parties. In August, 1710, he came to Philadelphia to 
inquire against whom the English were making perparations for war, rumors 
of which had reached the great council at Onondaga. He was also present 
at the conference at Philadelphia in July, 1742, at the treaty at Lancaster in 
June and July, 1744, and at the Philadelphia conference of the following 
August. He does not appear to have taken a very active part in the discus- 
sions, a privilege which, among the Six Nations, seems to have been reserved 


for the Onondagas. In April, 1748, accompanied by his son and Conrad 
Weiser, he visited Philadelphia for the last time, but no public business of 
importance was considered.* 

Shikellimy's residence is first definitely located in 1729 in a letter of 
Governor Gordon to " Shikellimy and Kalarypnyacha at Shamokin." With- 
in the next eight years he had removed some miles up the valley of the 
West Branch. In the journal of his journey to Onondaga in 1737 Conrad 
Weiser states that he crossed the North Branch from Shamokin on the 6th of 
March; on the 7th he crossed Chillisquaque creek, and on the 8th he reached 
the village where Shikellimy lived. Bishop Spangenberg and his party 
passed over the same route, June 7, 1745; after passing Chillisquaque creek 
and the "site of the town that formerly stood there," they "next came to 
the place where Shikellimy formerly Uved," which was then deserted; the 
next point noticed is Warrior's Camp (Warrior run). Spangenberg certainly 
did not cross the West Branch; if Weiser had done so in 1737 there is every 
reason to suppose that he would have mentioned it, which he does not; from 
which, if there were no other data bearing upon the subject, it would be 
fair to conclude that in 1737 Shikellimy resided on the east bank of the 
West Branch at some point between Chillisquaque creek and Warrior run. 
But there are other data: numerous apphcations for land in Buffalo valley 
refer to " old Muncy town, Shikellimy's town, or ShikelHmy's old town," and 
from a comparison of the evidence of this nature John Blair Linn arrives at 
the conclusion that the village was situated " at the mouth of Sinking run, 
or Shikellimy's run as it was formerly called, at the old ferry one half mile 
below Milton on the Union county side."f However this may be, there is no 
doubt that at some time between 1737 and 1743 he removed to Shamokin, 
where he resided the remainder of his life. From this point he made fre- 
quent journeys to Onondaga, Philadelphia, Tulpehocken, Bethlehem, Pax- 
tang, and Lancaster, as the discharge of his important public functions 

There is ample evidence in contemporary records that Shikellimy's posi- 
tion was one of responsibility and honor rather than profit or emolument. 
In the general system of national polity of which the Iroquois confederacy 
was the only type among the aborigines of America, his post corresponded to 
that of a Eoman proconsul. But there the parallel ceases. Although he 
was charged with the surveillance of the entire Indian population of central 
Pennsylvania, and doubtless exacted a nominal tribute, no provision what- 
ever was made for his personal necessities, to which, with characteristic 

*Further particulars regarding Shikellimy's participation in pulolio affairs may he obtained tiy 
reference to Colonial Keoords, Vol. III. pp. 316, 330. 334-337, 404^10, 425, 435, 446, BOO-504; IV. pp. 80, 
432-434, 443-447,584,743; V. pp. 84-88, 162, 212, 222; Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. I. pp. 228, 241, 288, 
455, 494-497, 499, 649, etc. 

tLlnn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, p. 3. 


diplomacy, the provincial authorities were induced to contribute.* He was 
expected to hunt and fish, the natural modes of subsistence with an Indian, 
regardless of his station, but in the waning vigor of old age he was obliged 
to relinquish the chase, and in October, 1747, Conrad Weiser found him in 
a condition of utter destitution. This he describes as follows, in a letter to 
Council: — 

I must at the conclusion of this recommend Shikellimy as a proper object of char- 
ity. He is extremely poor; in his sickness the horses have eaten all his com; his 
clothes he gave to Indian doctors to cure him and his family, but all in vain; he has 
nobody to hunt for him, and I can not see how the poor old man can live. He has 
been a true servant to the government and may perhaps still be, if he lives to do well 
again. As the winter is coming on I think it would not be amiss to send him a few 
blankets or match-coats and a little powder and lead, if the government would be 
pleased to do it and you could send it up soon. I would send my sons with it to Sham- 
okin before the cold weather comes."!" 

Upon the consideration of this letter it was immediately decided by Coun- 
cil that goods to the value of sixteen pounds should be procured and for- 
warded to Shikellimy by Conrad Weiser. The consignment included five 
stroud match-coats, one fourth of a cask of gunpowder, fifty pounds of bar 
lead, fifteen yards of blue " half -thicks," one dozen best buck-handled knives, 
and four dufEel match-coats. 

On the occasion referred to (October, 1747), Shikellimy was quite ill. 
Weiser says: "I was surprised to see Shikellimy in such a miserable condi- 
tion as ever my eyes beheld. He was hardly able to stretch forth his hand 
to bid me welcome; in the same condition was his wife, his three sons not 
quite so bad but very poorly, also one of his daughters and two or three of 
his grandchildren aU had the fever." On the 10th of October, the day after 
his arrival, he administered medicines agreeably to the directions of Dr. 
Thomas Graeme, of Philadelphia, and before his departure Shikellimy was 
able to walk about " with a stick in his hand." In the following month he 
was so far recovered as to "visit Tulpehocken, and in April, 1748, he was at 
Philadelphia. After this he seems to have had a relapse, for on the 18th of 
June in the same year the provincial Council was informed that he was " sick 
and Uke to lose his eyesight." He again recovered, however, and in the fol- 
lowing December made a visit to Bethlehem. On the return trip he became 

* "The president likewise acquainting the lioard tliat tlie Indians, at a meeting ivith tlie Proprietor 
and Win, had taken notice that Conrad "Weiser and Shikellimy were, by the treaty of 173'i appointed 
asiflt anclproper persons to go between the Six Nations and this government and to be employed in 
all transactions "witli one another, whose bodies, the Indians said, were to be equally divided betn-eeu 
them and us, we to have one half and they the other; that they had found Conrad faithful and honest • 
that he is a true, good man, and had spoicen their words and our words, and not his own- and the 
Indians having presented him with a dressed skin, to make him shoes, and two deer skins to keen him 
warm, they said, as they liad thus taken care of our friend, they must recommend theirs'(Shikelllmv^ 
to our notice; and the board, judging it necessary that a particular notice should be taken of him 
accordingly, it is ordered that six pounds be laid out for him in sucli thhigsas he inav most wnnt » 
Colonial Records, Vol. IV. p. as. ° ' " 

tColonial Records, Vol. "V. p. 138. 


ill, but reached his home with the assistance of Zeisberger, who attended 
him during his sickness and administered the consolations of religion. He 
died on the 17th of December, 1748, his daughter and Zeisberger being 
present. The latter, assisted by Henry Fry, made a coffin, in which, with 
the possessions he had valued most highly during life, the mortal remains of 
the great viceroy were interred at the burial ground of his people. 

" Where Susquehanna's tranquil branches meet, 
Like prince and princess, each from far retreat, 

" Blue Hill, which has tor many ages frowned 
Upon the less imposing hills around, 
Bock-hreasted, mountain-walled, had ever been 
The legendary home of wondrous men. 

" Half up those rocks, conspicuous in place, 
Time's hand has chisell'd Shikellimy's face. 
Which, looking eastward o'er the rippling wave, 
Beholds the place where chieftains made his grave." * 

LosMel, the Moravian historian, gives the following estimate of his char- 
acter and account of his conversion: — 

Being the first magistrate and head chief of all the Iroquois Indians living on 
the banks of the Susquehanna as far as Onondaga, he thought it incumbent upon him 
to be very circumspect in his dealings with the white people. He mistrusted the 
Brethren at first, but upon discovering their sincerity became their firm and real 
friend. Being much engaged in political affairs he had learned the art of concealing 
his sentiments, and, therefore, never contradicted those who endeavored to prejudice 
his mind against the missionaries, though he always suspected their motives. In the 
last years of his life he became less reserved, and received those Brethren who came 
to Shamokin into his house. He assisted them in building, and defended them against 
the insults of the drunken Indians, bein^ himself never addicted to drinking, because, 
as he expressed it, he never wished to become a fool. He had built his house upon 
pillars for safety, in which he always shut himself up when any drunken frolic was 
going on in the village. In this house Bishop .Johannes Von Watteville and his company 
visited and preached the Gospel to him. It was then that the Lord opened his heart. 
He listened with great attention, and at last, with tears, respected the doctrine of a 
crucified Jesus, and received it in faith. During his visit in Bethlehem, a remarkable 
change took place in his heart which he could not conceal. He found comfort, peace, 
and joy by faith in his Redeemer, and the Brethren considered him as a candidate for 
baptism; but, hearing that he had already been baptized by a Roman Catholic priest in 
Canada, they only endeavored to impress his mind with a proper idea of the sacra- 
mental ordinance, upon which he destroyed a small idol which he wore about his 
neck. After his return to Shamokin the grace of God bestowed upon him was truly 
manifest, and his behavior was remarkably peaceable and contented. In this state of 
mind he was taken ill, was attended by Brother David Zeisberger, and in his presence 
fell asleep happy in the Lord, in full assurance of obtaining eternal life through the 
merits of Jesus Christ. 

At his first appearance in colonial affairs, Shikellimy had a son and 
daughter and probably other children. A present was provided for his 
wife and daughter at the conclusion of the treaty of October, 1728; and on 

♦Legends of the Susquehanna, by Truman H. Purdy, pp. 9, 42. 


the 18th of August, 1729, the Governor sent him a message of condolence 
upon the death of his son and a shroud with which to cover him. Another 
son, Unhappy Jake, was killed by the Catawbas, with whom the Six Nations 
were at war, in 1743, and in a letter dated January 2, 1744, Weiser informs 
Secretary Peters of the fact, suggesting also the propriety of sending the 
bereaved father " a small present, in order to wipe oft his tears and comfort 
his heart." Several days before Weiser's arrival at Shamokin, November 9, 
1747, there were three deaths in the family, viz. : Cajadies, his son-in-law, 
" that had been married to his daughter above fifteen years, and reckoned 
the best hunter among all the Indians," the wife of his eldest son, and a 
grandchild. It is evident that he had more than one daughter at that time; 
" his three sons " are also mentioned. The eldest, Tachnechdorus, succeeded 
to the former authority of his father, and, with two others, " sachems or 
chiefs of the Indian nation called the Shamokin Indians," affixed his signa- 
ture to the Indian deed of 1749. Conrad Weiser, writing to Governor 
Morris under date of March 1, 1755, styles him " Tachnechdorus, the chief 
of Shamokin, of the Cayuga nation," the latter part of which is difficult to 
harmonize with the fact that his father is uniformly referred to as an Oneida. 
His brother seems to have been associated with him; Eichard Peters, the 
provincial secretary, in his account of the eviction of settlers from lands 
north of the Kittatinny mountains not purchased from the Indians, states 
that his party was accompanied by three Indians from Shamokin, " two of 
which were sons of the late Shikellimy, who transact the business of the Six 
Nations with this government." Tachnechdorus was also known to the 
English by the name of John Shikellimy. In 1753 he had a hunting lodge 
at the mouth of Warrior run and resided at a small Shawanese town below 
Munoy creek on the West Branch. These facts are derived from Mack's 
journal, which also states that Shikellimy's family had left Shamokin, where 
they found it very difficult to live owing to the constant drafts upon their 
hospitality. In April, 1756, he was at McKee's fort, but greatly dissatisfied, 
as nearly all of his party were sick. 

Sayughtowa, a younger brother of Tachnechdorus, was the most cele- 
brated of Shikellimy's sons. " In 1768 and 1769 he resided near Keedsville 
in Mifflin county, and has given his name to the spring near that place, to 

Logan's branch of Spring creek, in Centre county, Logan's path, etc 

In 1774 occurred Lord Dunmore's expedition against the Shawanese towns, 
now Point Pleasant, West Virginia, which was the occasion of Logan's 
celebrated speech, commencing ' I appeal to any white man to say if he 
ever entered Logan's cabin hungry and he gave him not meat,' which will 
go down to all time, whether properly or . not, as a splendid outburst of 
Indian eloquence."* Heckewelder, who thought him a man of superior 
talents, called on him in April, 1773, at his sett lement on the Ohio below 

*Lliin's Annals of Buffalo Valley, p. 5. ' 


Big Beaver; the same writer also states that he was murdered in October, 
1781, between his residence and Detroit. His English name, James Logan, 
was conferred in honor of the distinguished Friend who was so long and 
prominently identified with colonial affairs in Pennsylvania; he is generally 
kriown to history as " Logan, the Mingo." 

It has been stated that a Frenchman, Etienne Brul6, made the first 
exploration of the Susquehanna; French traders were also the first to bring 
the valley of that river within the sphere of commercial influence. As early 
as 1694 a petition was presented to Council from certain inhabitants of 
Philadelphia and other parts of the Province, " setting forth their jealousies 
relating to the French in general amongst them, and more especially refer- 
ring to those trading in remote and obscure places with the natives without 
security or approbation." In the previous year information had been lodged 
against Ann Le Tort, charging her with treasonable correspondence and 
with the use of language calculated to alienate the friendly Indians; this 
she denied, and the charges were not substantiated. She was the wife of 
Jacques Le Tort, and among their compatriots in the Province at that time 
were Peter Bazalion, Richard Bazalion, Captain Dubrois, and M. Lewis, a 
French Canadian who was taken prisoner by Pennsylvania Indians and lived 
with the Le Torts. Jacques Le Tort was a resident of the Province as early 
as 1690, when he applied for permission to go to England, which was 
granted. Madame Le Tort resided at Conestoga in 1704 James Le Tort 
was probably their son; regarding his personal history the following entry 
appears in the minutes of Council under date of the I7th of 6th month, 

James Le Tort, who, about two years ago, went out of this Province to Canada and 
returned last spring, having been upon his return examined before several of the 
Council and magistrates and no great occasion found to suspect him of any evil designs 
against this government, he having been bred in it from his infancy, had hitherto 
behaved himself inoffensively, and was seduced to depart in time of peace by the 
instigation of some others without any evil intentions that could be made to appear in 

The earliest evidence of resident Indian traders within the present limits 
of the county is "A Draught of the Susquehanna Eiver in 1701, made by 
Isaac Taylor, Surveyor of Chester County." It locates " J. Le Tort's store " 
at the site of the borough of Northumberland, and from that point the 
journey referred to in the minutes of Council was probably made overland 
to Canada. His position was well chosen; it commanded the trade of both 
branches of the Susquehanna, and, while consignments were doubtless made 
to Philadelphia, there is reason to think that the proprietor was also in com- 
munication with the French. England and France were then at war, and, 
notwithstanding the favorable disposition of the provincial authorities 
toward him and his professions of fidelity to the colonial government, he was 

*Colonial Becords, Vol. 11. p. 100. 


called upon to give " sufficient security for his good behavior in the sum of 
one thousand pounds," in default of which he was incarcerated in the com- 
mon gaol of Philadelphia. In 1707, with Peter Bazalion, Martin Chartiers, 
and others, he embarked in prospecting for minerals "upon the branches of 
the Potomac, within this government," evidently the Cumberland valley, 
from which they were obliged to withdraw by order of the Governor. In 
1712 he was licensed as an Indian trader; at a treaty with the Six Nations 
at Philadelphia in July, 1727, their chiefs requested /' that none of the 
traders be allowed to carry any rum to the remoter parts where James Le Tort 
trades (that is, Allegheny, on the branches of Ohio)," from which some idea 
of the extent of his operations may be formed. It is highly probable that 
his journeys thither were made by way of the Susquehanna river; on the 
18th of April, 1728, having " lately come to town from Chenastry on the 
upper parts of the river Susquehanna," he was examined before Council at 
Philadelphia and stated that, intending to make a journey as far as the 
Miamis in the autumn of the previous year, he had considted Madame Mon- 
tour, who had formerly lived among them; she and her husband, Caronda- 
wana, agreed to accompany him, but, after waiting long at Chenastry for one 
who had engaged to go with them, the winter set in before they could pro- 
ceed, and when he again spoke to Madame Montour upon the subject she 
declined to go, having heard of impending hostilities on the part of the 
Indians. As further information was desired, Le Tort and John Scull were 
forthwith dispatched to Chenastry with messages and presents for Alluma- 
pees, Madame Montour, and Manawkyhickdn. On the 12th of May 
Le Tort wrote to the Governor from Catawissa, which shows that his travels 
embraced also the North Branch. He was concerned in Indian affairs for 
some years after this, but not with any degree of prominence in the terri- 
tory to which this work relates. 

The earliest recorded visit of Europeans to Shamokin occm-red in May, 
1728, although there can be no doubt that Le Tort, Madame Montour, and 
others passed through the place prior to that date. Taylor's map of 1701 
1-ocates " John Scull's store " on the east bank of the Susquehanna river, near 
the mouth of Mahanoy creek. Scull was thus the earliest resident English 
trader within the present limits of Northumberland county of whom there is 
authentic evidence; he was also the first English visitor to Shamokin of 
whom there is any record. As previously stated, he was associated with Le 
Tort as the bearer of presents to Madame Montour and the Indian chiefs; 
they were commissioned on the 18th of April, 1728, and on the 10th of May^ 
in a letter headed " Shahomaking " Allumapees informed the Governor that 
he had received his letter, and sent an answer by John Scull. Several weeks 
later it again became necessary to communicate with the chiefs; three 
friendly Indians having been killed at Cuscussea, Chester county, steps were 
at once taken for the apprehension of the murderers, and on the 15th of May, 


1728, Nicholas Scull, John Scull, and Anthony Zadowsky received instruc- 
tions to inform AUumapees, Opekasset, and Manawkyhickon of these pro- 
ceedings. The conference was held at Shamokin, and the answer of the 
chiefs, " delivered in Indian and interpreted by James Le Tort," was trans- 
mitted to the Governor under date of May 22, 1728. On the 7th of August, 

1729, a committee of Council recommended the payment of the following: — 
To Mcholas Scull, eleven pounds, for twenty-two days' service on a message to the 

Indians at Shamokin and other parts upon the unhappy murder of those at Cuscussea; 
and four pounds extraordinary to him, he being the person especially intrusted with 
the management thereof. 

To John Scull, fifteen pounds for thirty days' service on the said messages and 
other services performed; and three pounds extraordinary for interpreting at treaties. 

To Anthony Zadowsky, seven pounds, for fourteen days' service on the message 

In the autumn of the same year (1728) it became necessary to send a 
third message to the chiefs at Shamokin. Anthony Zadowsky, in a private 
letter to John Petty, another Indian trader, stated "that an Indian came to 
Oley to one Peter Kerwin and brought account that all the Indians were 
removed from Shamokin except AUumapees and Opekasset; that at the 
Shawanese town called Malson the Shawanese had hanged one Timothy 
Higgins, a servant of Henry Smith's, an Indian trader, upon a pole of their 
cabin; .... and that it was Jeared it might not be well with the rest of the 
Indian traders in those parts." Intelligence having also been received that 
a band of Shawanese had left Pecheoquealin (Durham, on the Delaware river), 
upon the receipt of a message from the Susquehanna, the Governor and 
Council, at a meeting on the 1st of September, 1728, decided to send Henry 
Smith and John Petty to Shamokin with a message to AUumapees, Ope- 
kasset, ShakatawHn, and Shikellimy. Having arrived at their destination, 
they wrote the Governor under date of September 3, 1728, informing him 
that Higgins had not been hanged as reported and that they were pursuing 
their journey in quest of further intelligence. Nothing of material impor- 
tance was discovered, however; the Shamokin chiefs met the provincial 
authorities in conference on the 10th and 11th of October, 1728, at the 
court house in Philadelphia, when expressions of the most friendly character 
were interchanged, and thus the war cloud that seemed to be gathering on 
the Susquehanna frontier was happily dissipated. 

John Fisher and John Hart are mentioned as "two of the Shamokin 
traders" in a letter from the Delaware chiefs "at Allegheny on the main 
road" under date of April 30, 1730. Some of their people, the chiefs state, 
formed a hunting party, to which Fisher and Hart attached themselves; 
when they had gone down the Allegheny river more than a hundred miles 
the Indians "proposed to fire hunt by making a ring; the white men would 
go along"; the Indians tried to dissuade them from it, "alleging that they 

♦Colonial Records, Vol. III. pp. 366-367. 



did not understand it and might receive some harm, but they still persisted in 
it, so all went together." John Hart was shot in the mouth; the bullet lodged 
in his neck, resulting in death. The letter also states that "at a friend's 
house about twenty miles distant from hence, Henry Smith being there with 
rum, the Indians got drunk," and in the melee which ensued an Englishman 
was wounded. This was doubtless the same Henry Smith who was associated 
with Petty two years previously as the bearer of the messages and presents 
to the chiefs at Shamokin. Anthony Zadowsky and John Fisher had been 
at Allegheny in 1729; Jonah Davenport, who had some dealings with Caron- 
dawana, the husband of Madame Montour, prior to 1728, had been at Alle- 
gheny as early as 1727; from which it is quite evident that the traders who 
frequented the regions of the upper Susquehanna extended their journeys to 
Allegheny by that route, while the expression, "Shamokin traders," clearly 
indicates that the town of that name was a rendezvous for the commercial 
itinerants of the entire northern and northwestern parts of the State. 

Regarding these adventurous spirits it is possible to speak only in gen- 
eral terms. Their ranks were not usually recruited from among the best 
classes of citizens, and much that has been preserved concerning them in 
of&cial records is not to their credit; but, while their dealings may have some- 
times shown a disposition to take advantage of the ignorance and credul- 
ity of the " red brother," this harmonized so well with the general usage of 
the first Proprietor and his successors that it ought, perhaps, to be regarded 
as commendable. Wherever there were Indians who would take guns and 
ammunition, rum, stroud match-coats, knickknacks, etc. in exchange for 
peltries, the ubiquitous traders found their way, and, while geographical 
knowledge was but an incidental acquisition, the information of this nature 
thus gained was of the first importance. In establishing commercial rela- 
tions with the Indian tribes they did much to attach them to the English 
interest. Not unfrequently, after a long absence in which their associations 
had been exclusively with the savage population of remote districts, they 
were summoned before the Governor and Council and the information thus 
elicited determined in large measure the policy of the government in Indian 
affairs. Correspondence with distant tribes was conducted entirely through 
them, while their knowledge of the Indian languages rendered their presence 
and assistance indispensable at treaties. In the latter functions they were 
succeeded by Conrad Weiser, who, as of&cial interpreter from 1732 until his 
death, was intimately connected with affairs in the territory to which this 
work relates during that period. 

Conrad Weiser was born at Afstadt, Wiirtemberg, November 2, 1696. 
His father, John Conrad Weiser, a local magistrate, immigrated to Living- ' 
stone manor. New York, in 1710, at the head of a colony of four thousand 
Palatinates. Their immediate neighbors were the Mohawk Indians, with 
whom, from his prominence among the membership of the German colony. 


the elder Weiser was frequently in communication. On one occasion a 
Mohawk chief visited him at his home, and, conceiving a fondness for Con- 
rad, who was then a youth of seventeen, sought and obtained permission to 
have him reside among his people. Accordingly, he spent eight months at a 
Mohawk town eight miles south of Schoharie, New York; during this period 
he acquired a thorough knowledge of their language and customs and was 
adopted as a member of the tribe. In 1720 he married, and from 1714 to 
1729 he resided within two miles of the town referred to, where, although 
engaged in farming, he was also employed as interpreter. Owing to litiga- 
tion affecting the title to their lands, m.any of the Palatinates removed to the 
Tulpehocken, Berks county, Pennsylvania; among this number was Conrad 
Weiser, who located near Womelsdorf in 1729. The first general confer- 
ence between the chiefs of the Six Nations and the provincial authorities 
after his settlement in the Province occurred in 1732, when it was mutually 
agreed that he should thereafter act as interpreter for that confederation. 
In this capacity he ofS.ciated at the treaties of 1736 and 1749 at Philadel- 
phia, the great council at Lancaster in 1744, the Albany conference of 1754, 
and on many minor occasions. He was also intrusted with important missions 
to the great council at Onondaga and to the Ohio tribes, and throughout his 
long career as agent and interpreter enjoyed the full confidence of both 
Indians and English. He died at Tulpehocken, July 13, 1760. Two of 
his descendants, each of whom bore the name of George Weiser, served as 
associate judges of Northumberland county. 

Weiser's first journey to Onondaga was made in 1737. Governor Gooch, 
of Virginia, having requested the Pennsylvania authorities to send a message 
to the Six Nations inviting them to a conference with the Cherokees and Ca- 
tawbas at Williamsburg, James Logan, president of Council, engaged Weiser 
to undertake the journey. He left Tulpehocken on the 27th of February, 
1737 ; that part of his journal which relates to the journey through North- 
umberland county is as follows: — 

1st Marcli, left Tollieo, whicli is the last place in the inhabited part of Pennsyl- 
vania. On the 4th we reached Shamokin, but did not find a living soul at home who 
could assist us in crossing the Susquehanna river. On the 5th we lay still; we had 
now made about eighty miles. 6th, we observed a smoke on the other side of the 
river and an Indian trader came over and took us across. We again lay still to-day. 
On the 7th we started along one branch of the river going to the northwest. An old 
Shawane, by name Jenoniawano, took us in his canoe across the creek at Chillisqua- 
que. On the 8th we reached the village where Shikellimy lives, who was appointed to 
be my companion and guide on the journey. He was, however, far from home on a 
hunt. Weather became bad and the waters high, and no Indian could be induced to 
seek Shikellimy until the 12th, when two young Indians agreed to go out in search 
of him. On the 16th they returned with word that Shikellimy would be back next 
day, which so happened. The Indians were out of provisions at this place. I saw a 
new\blanket given for about one third of a bushel of Indian corn. 

The party consisted of Conrad Weiser, a Dutchman, and three Indians. 


The journey was attended with great hardships, and it was not until the 12th 
of May, 1737, that Weiser's report was considered by Council. 

Weiser's first official visit to Shamokin was occasioned by the report of a 
skirmish in Virginia between the inhabitants and a party of Iroquois. It 
was feared that hostilities might ensue in which Pennsylvania would neces- 
sarily be involved, and on the 26th of January, 1743, the Governor wrote 
him to proceed at pnce to Shamokin, and, in concert with Shikellimy, devise 
measures for the adjustment of the difficulty. He received his instructions 
on the evening of January 30th, and, accompanied by Thomas McKee, an 
Indian trader, set out for Shamokin on the following morning. On the 
3d of February they overtook a party of Shawanese, each armed with gun 
and saber, at a trader's house twenty-five miles from Shamokin; as they 
alighted from their horses the trader's wife told them that the Indians, who 
had entered the house, were disposed to be unfriendly, but Weiser went in, 
shook hands, engaged them in conversation, and gained their confidence 
and good will. They then pursued their journey together, arriving at 
Shamokin on the evening of that day after sunset. On the 4th of February 
twenty-five Indians, including Shikellimy, Saghsidowa, Lapacpitton, and 
Andrew Montour, assembled in council at Shikellimy's house; as the latter 
was in mourning for a relative lately killed in Virginia, Weiser first pre- 
sented him with two strouds to wipe the tears from his eyes, an indispen- 
sable preliminary, as the Indians never transacted public business while in 
mourning. He then stated the object of his mission, to which AHumapees 
replied on behalf of the assembled company. On the following day AHum- 
apees held a council of the Delawares, at which Weiser, Shikellimy, and 
Saghsidowa were present. As a result of these conferences, ShikeUimy, his 
son, and Saghsidowa, who was a Tuscarora chief, immediately set out for 
Onondaga; and, having accomphshed the immediate object of his mission, 
Weiser left Shamokin on the 6th of February, arriving at Tulpehocken on 
the 9th. 

Governor Gooch having expressed his acceptance of the good offices of 
the Pennsylvania authorities, it became necessary to continue the negotiations 
thus begun by a second message to Shamokin, and on the 9th of April, 1743 
Weiser again arrived at that place in pursuance of instructions from the 
Governor. Shikellimy, his son, and Saghsidowa returned from Onondaga 
on the same day, and on the 10th a council was held at which the answer of 
the Six Nations was delivered. Shikelhmy's people then gave " a handsome 
Indian dinner " to aU that were present, after which Weiser made known the 
object of his visit and presented the company with two rolls of tobacco. On 
the 21st of April, accompanied by ShikeUimy and Saghsidowa, he arrived at 
Philadelphia. But the most important part of his connection with this 
affair remained to be performed. Governor Gooch wrote Governor Thomas 
on the 7th of May, 1743, requesting him to send a present amounting to one 


hundred pounds in value to the Six Nations at Onondaga and arrange for a 
treaty in the following year. This mission was intrusted to Weiser; he 
delivered his report to the Governor on the 1st of September, and, although 
no details are given regarding the journey, it was doubtless made by way of 
Shamokin and the West Branch of the Susquehanna. 

Weiser' s next visit to Shamokin in his official capacity was made in May, 
1745. In the Virginia affair the English had been the aggressors, and he 
represented the Governor of Pennsylvania as mediator between them and 
the Six Nations, but on this occasion he appeared to demand satisfaction 
for the murder of a trader and two of his servants on the Juniata by Dela- 
wares. Two of the murderers had been apprehended, tried before a council 
at Shamokin, and found guilty; they were then bound, and lay thus twenty- 
four hours before any one "would venture to conduct them down, because 
of the great division among the Delaware Indians; and Allumapees, in dan- 
ger of being killed, fled to Shikellimy and begged his protection. At last 
Shikellimy's son Jack went to the Delawares, most of them being drunk, 
as they had been for several days, and told them to deliver the prisoners to 
Alexander Armstrong, and if they were afraid to do it they might separate 
their heads from their bodies and lay them in the canoe and carry them to 
Alexander to roast and eat them; that would satisfy his revenge, as he 
wants to eat Indians. They prevailed with the said Jack to assist them, an^ 
accordingly he and his brother and some of the Delawares went with two 
canoes and carried, them off." They conducted the principal perpetrator to 
Lancaster, but allowed the other to escape on the way. Weiser was instructed 
to demand the apprehension of the two accessories who were yet at large 
and the restoration of the stolen goods. He met the Indians in council at 
Shamokin on the 2d of May, 1744, and delivered his m.essage, to which 
Allumapees responded. A feast was then prepared, at which more than a 
hundred persons were present, and after they had, "in great silence, devoured 
a fat bear, the eldest of the chiefs made a speech, in which he said: That, by 
a great misfortune, three of the brethren, the white men, had been killed by 
an Indian; that, nevertheless, the sun was not set [meaning there was no 
war] — it had only been darkened by a small cloud, which was now done 
away; he that had done evil was like to be punished, and the land to remain 
in peace. Therefore he exhorted his people to thankfulness to God, and 
therefore he began to sing with an awful solemnity, but without expressing 
any words. The others accompanied him with their voices. After they had 
done, the same Indian, with great earnestness of fervor, spoke these words: 
'Thanks, thanks to Thee, Thou great Lord of the world, in that Thou hast 
again caused the sun to shine and has dispersed the dark cloud. The Indi- 
ans are Thine.'" 

After this Weiser's visits to Shamokin were of a less formal character. 
In September, 1744, with eight young men of his "country people," he spent 


seventeen days there building a "lock-house" for Shikellimy. His journey 
to Onondaga in 1745 was probably made by way of Shamokin, as Shikel- 
limy, his son, and Andrew Montour accompanied him. On the 13th of June, 
1747, he set out for Shamokin by way of Paxtang, when he met Shikellimy 
at Chambers's mill, which rendered it unnecessary to proceed farther. On 
the 6th of October in the same year he again left Tulpehocken, arriving at 
Shamokin on the 9th about noon. It was on this occasion that he found 
Shikellimy and his family ill and administered medicine for their relief. 
He spent three days with them, leaving on the afternoon of the 12th and 
arriving at Tulpehocken at noon on the 15th (October, 1747). In a letter to 
the Governor under date of April 22, 1749, he says: "I returned from 
Shamokin on the 18th of this instant. I happened to meet the eldest and 
youngest sons of Shikellimy at the trading house of Thomas McKee, about 
twenty miles this side of Shamokin, by whom I was informed that all the 
Indians had left Shamokin for this present time because for want of pro- 
visions ; so I thought best to deliver my message there to the sons of Shikel- 
limy." His message was one of condolence from the Governor and Council 
to the children and grandchildren of the deceased viceroy and a request to 
Tachnechdorus to "take upon him the care of a chief." On the 17th of 
April, 1754, he set out "by the way of John Harris's and Thomas McKee's, 
l^ing afraid of the two high mountains," and reached Shamokin on the 20th. 
Thence he journeyed up the West Branch a distance of twenty miles, and sent 
his son, Samuel, to Wyoming; the latter was accompanied by Logan. 
They returned to Tulpehocken on the 1st of May. On the 11th of June, 
1755, he arrived at his home from Otstuacky, a town about forty-five miles 
above Shamokin on the West Branch, where he had been with ten hired 
men to fence a corn field for the Indians, agreeably to instructions from the 
Governor. He left two sacks of flour at Shamokin, where the supply of 
provisions was not very plentiful. Two of his sons visited Shamokin in the 
autumn of that year, to inform the Indians of Sir William Johnson's success 
against the French on Lake George. 

The first visit of Moravians to Shamokin occurred in 1742. The party, 
composed of Count Zinzendorf, his daughter Benigna, Conrad Weiser, Anna 
Nitschmann, John Martin Mack, and two Indians, David and Joshua, arrived 
on the 28th of September, 1742. Bishop Spangenberg, accompanied by 
David Zeisberger, John Joseph Schebosh, and Conrad Weiser and his sons, 
Philip and Frederick, arrived at Shamokin' on the 1st of June, 1745, and 
departed for Onondaga on the 7th. In September of the same year Mack 
and his wife were stationed at Shamokin as resident missionaries and 
remained four months. In April, 1747, he visited the scene of his former 
labors to confer with Shikellimy regarding the erection of a smith-shop. (This 
had been suggested as early as 1740 by AUumapees, who brought his ax to 
Philadelphia to have it mended). In the following June a house eighteen by 


thirty feet in dimensions was erected by John Hagen and Joseph Powell; it 
was first occupied on the 24th of the month. Blacksmith tools were obtained 
at Lancaster and transported by way of Harris's Ferry. Anton Schmidt, the 
smith, arrived on the 3d of August, accompanied by his wife and the wife of 
Hagen, who had been appointed resident missionary, but died in the autumn 
of 1747 and was succeeded by Mack. At a later date Schmidt was succeeded 
as blacksmith by Max Kieffer. Bishop Cammerhofl and Joseph PoweU visited 
the mission in January, 1748, and David Zeisberger in the following summer, 
while the missionary and smith were frequently in communication with the 
Brethren at Bethlehem. When the Penn's creek massacre occurred there 
were three of the Brethren at Shamokin, one smith and two missionaries ; the 
latter immediately fled to Bethlehem, but the smith, reluctant to leave without 
instructions from the directors of the society, remained, and finally effected 
his escape by way of Wyoming. 

The location of Shamokin is not indicated in contemporary accounts as 
definitely as might be desired. Spangenberg states in his journal of June 3, 
1745, (two days after his arrival at Shamokin) that "Joseph and Conrad 
crossed the river to visit the Indian king who lives there" (AUumapees), and 
on the previous day he mentions that "Brother Joseph also went over to the 
island to visit Madame Montour," from which it would appear that the town 
was situated on both sides of the river and on the island. On the 2d of 
June, 1757, one himdred Indians arrived at Fort Augusta, and, according to 
Colonel Buxd's journal, "encamped above the fort towards the old town." 
One of their number died of femaU-pox on the 8th and was interred "at the 
old town where the Indians were always buried." The Indian burial ground 
was situated on the old Hunter farm. In 1859-63 M. L. Hendricks exhumed 
a number of skeletons, among them one which there is good reason to suppose 
was that of the great Shikellimy. 




Pdbchase of the Susquehanna — Alienation of the Delawabe Indians — 
Hostilities Inaugubated — Bumobs of Feench Invasion — Defensive Measukes 
Adopted — The Augusta Regiment Oeqanized to Build a Fobt at Shamokin — 


Events of Colonel Clapham's Administration — Exteacts and Incidents 
FROM Major Bued's Journal — Subsequent Commanding Opficbes^The 3Iag- 
AziNE AND Indian Stoeb — Operations in 1763 — Strength of the G-areison and 
Armament — The Flag — Doctoes and Chaplains — Plan and Dbsceiption of 
THE Fobt — Close of the Feench and Indian Wab — Puechase of 1768 — Early 
Surveys — Lists of Pioneees — Fithian's Jouenal — The Yankee and Penn- 
AMiTB Wab. 

THE peaceful intercourse of the trader, the interpreter, and the mission- 
ary with the Lidians of Shamokin and the surrounding region, the 
narration of which forms so large a part of the preceding chapter, was 
abruptly terminated by the massacre of Penn's creek. This was but the be- 
ginning of a protracted Indian war, the causes of which are to be found 
principally in the policy of the provincial authorities in the purchase of 
Indian lands. 

The first Indian deed to William Penn was executed on the 15th of 
July, 1682, by certain chiefs of the Delaware Indians, and conveyed the 
southeastern part of Bucks county. This was negotiated by William Mark- 
ham, and when the Proprietor himself arrived the further acquisition of 
territory was energetically continued. Numerous deeds of varying impor- 
tance were executed by the Delawares during the following years ; and finally, 
on the 17th of September, 1718, a general release was signed by their king, 
Sassoonan, and six of their chiefs for all the territory between the Delaware 
and Susquehanna rivers " from Duck creek to the mountains on this side 
Leohay." In these negotiations the Delawares were treated with as an inde- 
pendent tribe, and the various transactions seem to have been mutually 

Ahnost before his Colony was firmly established upon the Delaware, 
Penn anticipated the extension of settlement to the westward by negotiating 
with the Iroquois for the Susquehanna valley. In this he secured the serv- 
ices of Thomas Dongan, Governor of New York and subsequently Earl of 
Limerick, who wrote him as follows regarding the contemplated purchase 
under date of October 10, 1683:— 


I have had an account from Albany of the Indians being there, and find they can 
not agree among themselves; I hope Mr.^Graham will find them there, and that my 
■orders have taken efEect, though I would not advise you to settle any people suddenly 
upon it before the Indians agree among themselves, two or three of the most powerful 
nations being debarred from any interest in it, as you will see by the inclosed. The 
Maquas have been here with me, and told ^me there was one about to purchase the 
land; I have ordered them to agree in a peaceable way about it and they have promised 
to send me word as soon as they do, of which I will immediately after acquaint you. 
They have also given me the land, and pretend that they have better interest than any 
■other. They have all of them agreed to give Susquehanna river to me and this gov- 
ernment, which I have under their hands to show for it.* 

From this it is evident that Graham was the agent by whom the original 
purchase -was made; that the Five Nations were not jointly interested, but 
that the Maquas (Mohawks), pretended to a " better interest than any other, " 
and that the council of the confederation was divided in sentiment regarding 
the matter. These differences were at length harmonized, and on the 2 2d of 
October, 1683, Dongan wrote: "The Susquehanna river is given me by the 
Indians by a second gift, about which you and I shall not fall out."f It was 
not until 1696, however, that the transfer was made to William Perm. On 
the 12th of January in that year Thomas Dongan granted to him " all that 
tract of land lying upon on both sides the river commonly called or known 
by the name of the Susquehanna " for one thousand years at an annual 
rental of one pepper corn; and on the following day (January 13, 1696), he 
conveyed the same to William Perm in fee simple at the consideration of one 
hundred pounds. 

The lower Susquehanna valley, the southern part of the lands in question, 
was occupied at that time by the Susquehannock Indians, and these transac- 
tions were naturally of vital interest to them. At a conference at Conestoga 
in 1721, Civility, "a descendant of the ancient Susquehannock Indians, the 
•old settlers of these parts," stated "that he had been informed by their old 
men that they were troubled when they heard that their lands had been 
given up to a place so far distant as New York, and that they were overjoyed 
"when they imderstood WiUiam Perm had bought them back again." On his 
second visit to the Province, the Proprietor, actuated doubtless by motives of 
policy no less than a sense of justice, further strengthened his title to the 
Susquehaima by securing from the Susquehaimocks a release even more abso- 
lute than that which he had obtained from their conquerors. By the terms 

*Pennsylvanla Archives, Vol. I. pp. 76-77. 

tPennsylvania Archives, Vol. I. p. 81. 

At a conference -with the Six Nations at Conestoga in July, 1721, " they were told it was now very 
near, viz., within one moon, of thirty-seven years since a great man of England. Governor of Vir- 
ginia, called the Lord Effingham, together ■with Colonel Dongan, Governor of New York, held a great 
treaty with them at Albany, of which we liad the writings to this day. Ghesaont answered they 
knew it well, and the subject of that treaty, it was, he said, about settling of lands. Being further 
told that in that treaty the Five Nations had given up all their right to all the lands on Susquehanna 
to the Duke of York, then brother to the King of England, he.acknowledgedthis to be so."— Golowial 
SaiorOjs, Vol. III. p. 1S3. 

From this it would seem that Dongan's purchase was not consummated until August, 1684. 


of this instrument, which was executed on the 13th of September, 1700, 
Widaagh alias Orytyagh and Andaggy Junkquah, "kings or sachems of the 
Susquehannock Indians and of the river under that name and lands lying on 
both sides thereof," granted and confirmed to William Penn " aU the said 
river Susquehanna and all the islands therein, and all the lands situate, lying, 
and being upon both sides of the said river and next adjoining to the same, 
extending to the utmost confines of the lands which are or formerly were the 
right of the people or nation called the Susquehannock Indians," with aU, 
the right, title, and interest therein that they or their ancestors " could, might, 
or ought to have had, held, or enjoyed." The bargain, and sale effected by 
Dongan were also distinctly ratified; and on the 23d of April, 1701, the 
Potomac and Shawanese Indians, with other chiefs of the Susquehannocks, 
entered into a treaty with Penn by which the purchase from Orytyagh and 
Andaggy Junkquah was approved and confirmed. 

While the Susquehannocks were apparently weU satisfied, the Six Nations 
were not. They acknowledged Dongan' s deed'at a conference with Governor 
Gookin at Conestoga in 1710, but several years later the Cayugas "had the 
boldness to assert that all the lands upon Susquehanna river belonged to 
them and that the English had no right to settle there;" and although the 
sale to Dongan was admitted and confirmed at the Conestoga conference of 
July, 1721, and at Albany in September, 1722, his transfer ta Penn seems to 
have been both incomprehensible and unsatisfactory. The reasons for this 
were thus stated by Canassatego, an Onondaga chief, at the Lancaster treaty 
in 1744:— 

Our brother Onas [Penn] a great while ago came to Albany to buy the Susque- 
hanna lands of us, but our brother, the Governor of New York, who, as we suppose, 
had not a good understanding with our brother ^Onas, advised us not to sell him any 
lands, for he would make an ill use of it; and, pretending to be our good friend, he^ 
advised us, in order to prevent Onas or any other persona imposing upon us, and that 
we might always have our land when we should want it, to put it into his hands, and 
told us he would keep it for our use and never open his hands but keep them close 
shut and not part with any of it but at our request. Accordingly, we trusted him and 
put our land into his hands and charged him to keep it safe for our use. But some 
time after he went away to England and carried our land with him, and there sold it 
to our brother Onas for a large sum of money; and when, at the instance of our 
brother Onas, we were minded to sell him some lands, he told us that we had sold the 
Susquehanna lands already to the Governor of New York and that he had bought them 
from him in England.* 

At length, in pursuance of a decision of the Onondaga council, a depu- 
tation was sent to Philadelphia in the autumn of 1736 for the purpose of 
terminating all disputes relating to the Susquehanna river and lands. A. 
conference was held, resulting in the execution'of a deed by which the Six 
Nations, on the 11th of October, 1736, released and confirmed to the Proprie- 
taries " all the said river Susquehaima, with the lands lying on both sides 
*Colonlal Records, Vol. IV. p. 708. " 


thereof, to extend eastward as far as the heads of the branches or springs 
which run into the said Susquehanna, and all the lands lying on the west 
side of the said river to the setting of the sun, and to extend from the mouth 
of the said river northward up the same to the hills or mountains called in 
the language of the said nations the Tyannuntasachta or Endless hills and by 
the Delaware Indians the Kekkachtananin hills." After the close of the 
conference the Indians set out on the return journey; at Tulpehocken, Octo- 
ber 25, 1736, they signed a supplementary document declaring that the "true 
intent and meaning " of their deed of the 11th instant was, to release all 
that part of the Province between the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers with 
the Endless hills as the northern boundary. The Kittatinny range thus 
became the line of the Province along the entire north and west frontier 
from the Delaware river to the Maryland border. 

The next purchase from the Six Nations was made in 1749. On this 
occasion they took the initiative; the conference began at Philadelphia on 
the 16th of August, 1749, when, after the usual preliminary exchange of 
courtesies, Canassatego reminded the Governor and Council of their agree- 
ment under previous treaties to remove all persons who should locate upon 
lands not yet purchased, and of their evident inability to carry this stipula- 
tion into efEect; but, as it would involve much trouble to remove the intrud- 
ers, the Six Nations were willing "to give up the land on the east side of Sus- 
quehanna from the Blue hills or Chambers's miU to where Thomas McKee, 
the Indian trader, lives," and leave the amount of the consideration for the 
Governor and Council to determine. The Governor replied that this propo- 
sition could not bp acceded to, as the lands offered were principally mount- 
ainous, but if they would make Shamokin the northern limit and the Dela- 
ware river the eastern boundary the Council and himself were ready to ofPer 
a fair price and bring the transaction to a close. After some further negoti- 
ations it was finally agreed that the northern line should begin on the Sus- 
quehanna river at "the first or nearest mountain to the north side of the 
mouth of the creek called in the language of the said Five Nation Indians 
Cantaguy and in the language of the Delaware Indians Mahanoy " and extend 
in a direct course to the Delaware river at the mouth of Lackawaxen creek. 
The amount paid was five hundred pounds, and the deed was executed on the 
22d of August, 1749. The course of the northern boundary of this purchase 
in Northumberland county coincided very nearly with the Little mountain. 

As settlers continued to encroach upon the Indian lands beyond the Kit- 
tatinny range and west of the Susquehanna, Tachnechdorus was sent to the 
Six Nations in the spring of 1754 to arrange the preliminaries for another 
purchase. In the following summer their chiefs were met at Albany by the 
Peimsylvania coromissioners, who at once opened negotiations for a release of 
all their lands as far west as the extent of the Province and as far north as 
they were willing to sell. At length they acquiesced in the proposed western 


boundary, but Hendriok, the great Mohawk chief, made the following signif- 
icant utterance in his reply to the commissioners: "We will never part with 
the land at Shamokin and Wyoming; our bones are scattered there, and on 
this land there has always been a great council fire." It was finally decided 
that the northern line should begin on the Susquehanna river a mile above 
Penn's creek (a point nearly opposite Sunbury), and extend "northwest by 
west" to the confines of the Province. The deed was signed on the 6th of 
July, 1754. 

Notwithstanding the comprehensive character of the release of 1718, the 
lands thus ceded by the Delawares were insufficient for the extension of 
settlements between the Delaware and Susquehanna. In 1732 the region 
drained by the Schuylkill and its tributaries was purchased, but while this 
quieted the Delawares regarding the Tulpehocken lands, they were stiU 
greatly dissatisfied with the settlement of the Minisink, their ancient council 
seat, which they were naturally reluctant to relinquish. At this juncture a 
deed, said to have been made in 1686, was produced; under its alleged pro- 
visions the " walking purchase " of 1737 was consxunmated, but in a manner 
highly unsatisfactory to the Delawares, who absolutely refused to acknowl- ■ 
edge its validity. The Six Nations had released the lands in question by 
the supplementary deed of 1736, and in 1742 the matter was brought to 
their consideration at a conference in Philadelphia. Canassatego, in 
announcing their decision, administered a terrible castigation to the unfor- 
tunate Delawares. " You ought to be taken by the hair of the head," said 

he, " and shaked severely till you recover your senses We conquered 

you, we made women of you, you know you are women, and can no more 
seU land than women. Nor is it fit you should have the power of selling 
lands, since you would abuse it. This land that you claim is gone through 

your guts Did you ever tell us that you had sold this land ? Did 

we ever receive any part, even the value of a pipe shank, from you for it ? 

You act a dishonest part, not only in this but in other matters 

And for all these reasons we charge you to remove instantly. We don't give 

you the liberty to think about it We therefore assign you two places 

to go, either to Wyoming or Shamokin. You may go to either of these 
places, and then we shall have you more under our eye and shall see how 
you behave Thip string of wampum serves to forbid you, your chil- 
dren and grandchildren to the latest posterity, forever meddling in land 
affairs." * The immediate object of the government in invoking the author- 
ity of the Six Nations was successfully accomplished. The remnant of the 
Delawares forthwith removed to the localities designated, and some con- 
tinued their journey to the Ohio; but they retained a deep resentment 
toward the provincial authorities, and contact with the French on the Ohio 
early served to alienate them entirely from the English interest. 

* Colonial Records, Vol. IV. pp. 579-580. 


The exploration of the Susquehanna valley by Etienne Brul6 has been 
related in the preceding chapter; and while it can not be positively stated 
that this formed the basis of the French pretensions, the Susquehanna river 
is given as the western boundary of Pennsylvania in a map of Louisiana 
pubHshed at Paris in 1721. It was not until 1753, ho-(srever, that the French 
accentuated their claims to Pennsylvania territory by military occupation, 
thus precipitating the long struggle known in colonial history as the French 
and Indian war. An expedition against Fort Duquesne, which, from its 
location at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, was the 
most important French post in the Ohio valley, was imdertaken in 1755 
under the joint auspices of the British and colonial governments. The 
command was intrusted to General Edward Braddock, an English officer, 
whose utter ignorance of the methods of Indian warfare resulted in the 
almost total annihilation of his army on the 9th of July, 1755. 

The influence of Braddock' s defeat was at once apparent in the changed 
attitude of the Delaware Indians. Tears of subjection to the dominant 
Iroquois, the injustice of the "walking purchase," the coercive measures of 
1742, and, finally, the treaty of 1754, by which the Six Nations had virtually 
sold their lands and those of the Shawanese "from under their feet," had 
given cumulative force to the ardor of their revenge. Their former attachment 
to the English had resulted largely from the expectation that the latter would 
enable them to recover their former standing as a nation; dissappointed in 
this they embraced with eagerness the promised assistance of the French, and, 
in conjunction with the Shawanese and other allied tribes, ravaged the Penn- 
sylvania frontier from the Delaware river to the Maryland line with tomahawk 
and firebrand. 

Hostilities were inaugurated in the Susquehanna vaUey on the 16th of 
October, 1755, when a band of fourteen Indians from the Allegheny attacked 
the settlements at Perm's creek, several miles south of Shamokin on the west 
side of the river, kiUed fifteen persons, and carried off ten prisoners. Two of 
Conrad Weiser's sons, Frederick and Peter, had been at Shamokin several 
days previously and stopped at the house of George Gabriel, who lived at the 
present site of Selinsgrove, on their return. While there a message arrived 
from Logan, one of ShikeUimy's sons, and Lapacpitton, a friendly Delaware 
chief, to the effect that a large body of French and Indians was approaching 
by way of the West Branch and that they would dispute their progress if 
re-enforced and supplied with arms. But the warning was too late. Intel- 
ligence of the massacre reached Harris's Ferry on the 19th instant, and on 
the 23d John Harris, Thomas Forster, Adam Terrence and others to the 
number of forty left Paxtang to bury the dead. Finding that this was already 
done they were about to return, when Tachnechdorus persuaded them to go 
on to Shamokin and confer with the Indians there. They arrived on the 24th 
and remained over night; on the following morning they crossed the river 


and started down on the west side, but were fired upon by Indians in ambush 
at the mouth of Penn's creek and suffered considerable loss. 

This outrage, with others of a similar character at different points on the 
frontier, produced the wildest consternation. In a letter to Governor Morris 
under date of October 26, 1755, Conrad Weiser wrote: "I suppose in a few 
days not one family will be seen on the other side of Kittatinny hills." Three 
days later John Harris wrote from Paxtang: "We expect the enemy upon us 

every day I had a certain account of about fifteen hundred Indians 

beside French being on their march against us and Virginia and now close 

on our borders I am informed that a French officer was expected at 

Shamokin this week with a party of Delawares and Shawanese, no doubt to 
take possession of our river." The extent to which this rumor gained cur- 
rency is apparent from a letter of Governor Morris to General Shirley in 
which the following statement occurs: "There is reason to apprehend that 
the French have designs upon Shamokin and are going to seize and fortify 
it, having, it is said, obtained the consent of the Delaware Indians to do it 
under the ensnaring pretense of putting them again into possession of their 
former country and rendering them independent of the Six Nations. These 
Indians we know are gone against us, and with the Shawanese .... are now 
in several parties killing our inhabitants in the country near Shamokin, with 
design no doubt to give the French time to build their fort and to hinder any 
obstruction from us." These reports were confirmed by Andrew Montour, 
who arrived at Paxtang from Shamokin on the 31st of October, 1755; he had 
been as far as the Great Island in the West Branch of Susquehanna, where 
a cotmcil was held at which two Delawares stated that fifteen hundred French 
and Indians had left Fort Duquesne twenty-one days previously to invade 
the English settlements, and that a French fort would be in course of con- 
struction at Shamokin within ten days. The Indians whom he met confidently 
expected to spend the approaching winter at Lancaster. 

Of the actual state of affairs at Shamokin there is but meager informa- 
tion. The attitude of the Indians toward Harris an/i his party was one of 
distrust, and warlike preparations were also in progress at the time of their 
visit. When John Schmick and Henry Fry arrived at Wyoming on the 10th 
of November, 1755, they were informed that Paxinos and Abraham, the two 
principal Shawanese chiefs at that place, "were sent for to Shamokin, and 
when they came there they found that the Indians there were convened to a 
treaty, where a Mohawk French Indian gave a string of wampum and 
addressed the other Indians in these terms: 'Your grandfather, i. e., the 
French king, sends you word that I intend to come down with fifteen hun- 
dred men with me; ' to whom the Indians made answer, ' If 

this is your intention, then come not through our land.'" From this it 
is apparent that the Shamokin Indians were not at that time committed to 
the French interest, conclusive evidence of which is found in the report of 


Scarroyady, an Oneida chief, who visited the Susquehanna cantons shortly 
after the inroad on Penn's creek. He absolutely denied that they had been 
concerned in any attacks upon the settlements, and declared that they hated 
Onontio (the Governor of Canada) as cordially as the English; but they must 
know whether the latter intended to fight; if they could not be safe where 
they were they would go somewhere else and take care of themselves. 
" They could not even stay at Shamokin," he said, " which might have been 
prevented if the government had paid a proper regard to their repeated 
solicitations for a supply of arms and ammunition for their warriors and of 
necessaries for their wives and children." That the town was abandoned in 
November, 1755, is further shown by the report of an Iroquois who was sent 
thither from Harris's Ferry and found no Indians there. On Saturday, 
June 5, 1756, six scouts arrived at Shamokin, " and not observing any enemy, 
went to the place where the town had been, the houses being burnt to the 

ground They continued there till ten o'clock the next day, and, 

seeing no appearance of an enemy except some old tracks of Indians 
and horses, they returned " to Fort Halifax. After abandoning the town 
the Indians retreated to Nescopec, Wyoming, Tioga, and other towns on the 
North Branch and to the French posts in the Northwest. The Delawares, 
who had been without a king since the death of Allumapees, elected Teedyus- 
cimg to that position. He was keenly sensible of the wrongs his people had 
suffered from their conquerors at the instance of the English, and, as the 
first measure for a restoration of their former tribal standing, inaugurated a 
series of hostile incursions against the frontier settlements. From the Six 
Nations this pohey secured a reluctant admission of the equality of the Dela- 
ware tribe; with the colonial government it was not so successful, however, 
and on the 14th of April, 1756, Grovernor Morris issued a proclamation 
declaring war against the Delawares and their allies. 

While the Province was thus in constant danger of Indian incursions and 
menaced by French invasion, divided coimsels prevented the authorities from 
adopting efficient measures of defense. The Governor refused his assent to 
the taxation of Proprietary estates, and the provincial Assembly, with equal 
obstinacy, declined to grant supplies upon any other basis. These differ- 
ences were at length temporarily adjusted, however, and in January, 1756, 
Governor Morris elaborated a comprehensive system of frontier defense. 
Four forts were erected west of the Susquehanna, viz. : Pomfret Castle, on 
Mahantango creek twelve miles from the river ; Fort Granville, on the Juni- 
ata at the mouth of Kishocoquillas creek; Fort Shirley, at Aughwick, and 
Fort Lyttleton, on the road to the Ohio. Between the Susquehanna and 
Delaware a chain of blockhouses was constructed along the Kittatinny range, 
with Fort Henry at Tolheo gap. Fort Lebanon on a branch of the Schuylkill, 
and Fort Allen on the Lehigh. 

The erection of a fort at Shamokin was repeatedly urged by friendly Indi- 


ans. It was probably first suggested by Andrew Montour and Monocatootha 
at Harris's Ferry on the Ist of November, 1755, and at once received the 
favorable consideration of the Governor, who wrote to General Johnson under 
date of November 15th: "I intend to build a fort at Shamokin this winter." 
On the 17th of January, 1756, it was again brought to the notice of the Gov- 
ernor at a conference at Carlisle. The fort would, the Indians said, "be a 
place of refuge in times of distress for us with our wives and children to fly 
to for our safety." The Governor replied that he would " make immediate 
provision for the building a strong house at Shamokin," and its construction 
would probably have begun at once if the season had permitted. This is 
evident from a letter of Governor Morris to Governor Sharpe, of Maryland, 
in which he says (February 1, 1756): "I also propose to build a fort at 
Shamokin at the forks of Susquehanna as soon as the season will admit a 
passage up that river, for the mountains north of the Kittatinny are quite 
impassable for carriages." The Indians became impatient at the delay, and 
at the conferences of February 22 and April 10, 1756, urgently requested the 
Governor to perform what he had promised. The location was inaccessible, 
except by water, and opposition from the enemy was not improbable; the 
appropriations made by the provincial Assembly were dispensed under the 
supervision of a board of commissioners, who were not in cordial sympathy 
with the Governor's plans, and it was not until April, 1756, that their con- 
sent to this project was obtained. 

The consent of the commissioners was coupled with a request that four 
hundred troops should be raised for the expedition. The Third battalion, 
knovm as the Augusta regiment, was accordingly recruited; the following is 
a roster of the officers, with the respective dates of their commissions: — * 

Lieutenant Colonel, William Clapham, March 29, 1756. 

Major, James Burd, April 24, 1756. 

Adjutant, Asher Clayton, May 24, 1756. 

Aide-de-Camp, Thomas Lloyd, April 2, 1756. 

Commissary of Provisions, Peter Bard. 

Wagon Master, Eobert Irwin, April 12, 1756. 

Captain, William Clapham, March 29, 1756;' lieutenant, Levi Trump, 
April 3, 1756; ensign, John Mears, April 20, 1756. 

Captain, Thomas Lloyd, April 2, 1756; lieutenant, Patrick Davis [Davies], 
April 4, 1756; ensign, Samuel J. Atlee, April 23, 1756. 

Captain, Joseph Shippen, April 3, 1756; lieutenant, Charles Garraway, 
April 15, 1756; ensign, Charles Brodhead, April 29, 1756. 

Captain, Patrick Work, April 22, 1756; lieutenant, Daniel Clark, May 1, 
1756; ensign, William Patterson, May 14, 1756. 

Captain, James Burd, April 24, 1756; lieutenant, William Anderson, 
May 1 0, 1756; ensign, John Morgan, May 24, 1756. 

♦Pennsylvania Archives (Second Series), Vol. II. pp. 537-538. ' ' 


Captain, Elisha Salter, May 11, 1756; lieutenant, Asher Clayton, May 
24, 1756; ensigns: Samuel Miles, May 24, 1756; Alexander MoKee, August 
17, 1756. 

Captain, David Jamison, May 19, 1756; lieutenant, William Clapham, 
Jr., August 20, 1756; ensign, Joseph Scott, May 24, 1756. 

Captain, John Hambright, June 12, 1756; lieutenant, WilUam Plunket; 
ensign, Patrick Allison, June 25, 1756. 

Captain, Nathaniel Miles; lieutenant, Bryan; ensign, ^ Johnson; 

sergeant, McCurdy. 

The battalion rendezvoused at Fort Hunter, a stockade on the east side of 
the Susquehanna river a short distance above Harris's Ferry. This point 
was selected by Governor Morris, v^ho, on the 12th of April, 1756, issued 
instructions to Robert Irwin, " wagon master and conductor of the boats and 
canoes." On the 25th of April he wrote to Governor Shirley: "Your dis- 
patches found me preparing to set out for the Susquehanna, where the pro- 
vincial forces are waiting for me." In a communication dated " Camp at 
Harris's Ferry, May 23, 1756," he refers to "the multiplicity and great 
variety of business in which I have been constantly employed ever since I 
came here," from which it is evident that the expedition was organized under 
his immediate supervision. 

After leaving the camp of rendezvous, the troops marched on the east 
side of the Susquehanna river as far as Fort Halifax. A stop appears 
to have been made at McKee's store (opposite the mouth of Sherman's creek) ; 
on the 11th of June, 1756, Colonel Clapham wrote: " On Saturday last [June 
5th] I marched from McKee's store with five companies and eighteen bat- 
teaux and canoes loaded, and arrived here [Fort Halifax] the next after- 
noon." He then proceeds to give an account of the progress of the expedi- 
tion. Detachments had been stationed as garrisons at Harris's Ferry, Fort 
Hunter, and McKee's store. Considerable difficulty was experienced in as- 
cending the Juniata rapids; many of the batteaux grounded, "though laden 
with no more than four barrels of pork and a few light things." It was 
Governor Morris's idea originally to use canoes only in the transportation 
service; the substitution of batteaux was due to the suggestion of John 
Harris. At the time Colonel Clapham wrote (June 11th) there were twenty- 
batteaux and two canoes in the service; they had made five trips to McKee's 
and two to the " Camp at Armstrong's " (Fort Halifax), and were then absent 
on a third. While the transportation of the stores was in progress the main 
body of the troops was employed in erecting Fort Halifax; this was not 
included in the original design of the expedition, but was undertaken by 
Colonel Clapham in the exercise of his discretionary powers. On the 10th 
of June ten "ship carpenters " arrived from Harris's Ferry; they were 
probably followed by others, and ten days later the Colonel. wrote : "The 
carpenters are still employed in building batteaux and carriages for the can- 


non." On the 1st of July he informed the Governor that "the ship car- 
penters have finished the carriages for the cannon, and, as soon as they have 
finished the batteaux in hand, which I expect will be done to-morrow, I 
shall give them a certificate of their services and discharge them aU except 
one, who will be absolutely necessary in the passage and without whose 
assistance we may probably lose more than his pay can cost the Province. 
None of my people are to be depended on in case of an accident on the water, 
and I can assure your Honor that I find fatigue and difaculties enough to 
conduct so amphibious an expedition with all the assistance I can possibly 
command lam at present extremely engaged in embarking the regi- 
ment's stores, etc. for Shamokin, expecting to march [in] time enough to 
encamp to-night on the west side of Susquehanna about five miles above 
Fort Halifax." From that place the march was continued on the west side of 
the river to a point opposite Sunbury, where the troops crossed in batteaux. 

On the 12th of June, 1756, the Governor sent Colonel Clapham detailed 
instructions regarding the conduct of the expedition; the following is a 
transcript of those portions relating to the construction of the fort: — , 

Herewith you will also receive two plans of forts, the one a pentagon, the other a 
square with one ravelin to protect the curtain where the gate is, with a ditch, covered 
way, and glacis. But as it is impossible to give any explicit directions [for] the particu- 
lar form of a fort without viewing and considering the ground on which it is to stand, 
I must leave it to you to build it in such form as will best answer for its own defense, 
the command of the river and of the country in its neighborhood, and the plans here- 
with will serve to show the proportion that the different parts of the work shall bear 
to each other. 

As to the place upon which this fort is to be erected, that must be in a great 
measure left to your judgment; but it is necessary to inform you that it must be on 
the east side of the Susquehanna, the lands on the west at the forks and between the 
branches not being purchased from the Indians, besides which it would be impossible 
to relieve and support a garrison on that side in the winter time. From all the 
information I have been able to collect, the land on the south side of the East Branch 
opposite the middle of the island is the highest of any of the low laud thereabout and 
the best place for a fort, as the guns you have will form a rampart of a moderate 
height [and] command the main river; but as these informations come from persons not 
acquainted with the nature of such things, I am fearful they are not much to be 
depended on, and your own judgment must therefore direct you. 

When you have completed the fort you will cause the ground to be cleared about 
it so to a convenient distance and openings to be made to the river, and you will erect 
such buildings within the fort and place them iu such a manner as you shall judge 

Without the fort at a convenient distance, under the command of the guns, it will 
be necessary to build some log houses for Indians, that they may have places to lodge 
in without being in the fort. 

As soon as you are iu possession of the ground at Shamokin you will secure your- 
self by a breastwork in the best manner you can, so that yovir men may work in safety.* 

Contemporary records contain but meager information regarding the 

•Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. II. pp. 6G7-668. 


progress of the -work. Captain Levi Trump and Ensign Samuel Miles (sub- 
sequently a colonel in the Revolutionary war and the founder of Milesburg, 
Centre county, Pennsylvania) had charge of the workmen. On the 18th of 
July Colonel Clapham wrote the Governor that he had but one team of 
draught horses, in consequence of which "the works must proceed very 
slowly and the expense in the end be proportionable." In his reply to this 
Governor Morris says: "I have your map of the forts and of the blockhouses 
and stoccado you have erected, which I much approve, as your people may 
under that cover work in safety." This doubtless referred to the tem- 
porary defenses mentioned in his instructions; for on the 14th of August 
Colonel Clapham wrote: "We have the walls of the fort now above half - 
finished and our other works in such situation that we can make a very 
good defense against any body of French and Indians that shall seat them- 
selves before us without cannon." On the 7th of September he gave a letter 
of recommendation to Michael McGuire, who had enlisted as a private 
soldier and was "particularly useful as an overseer and carpenter in the 

building of the fort If the government designs to strengthen this post 

by doubling the fort with another case of logs and filling up the interme- 
diate space with earth in order to render it cannon-proof, which I think 
ought to be done, such a man will be particularly serviceable." This letter 
was addressed to Benjamin Franklin, to whom, in a communication on the 
following day, he says: "This post, which is in my opinion of the utmost 
consequence to the Province, is already defensible against all the power of 
musketry, but as it is, from the nature of its situation, exposed to a more 
formidable descent from the West Branch, it ought, I think, to be rendered 
still stronger." Peter Bard, the local commissary, wrote to the Governor on 
the 4th of September: " The fort is now almost finished, and a fine one it is." 
Colonel Clapham transmitted a plan of the fort to Governor Denny on the 
23d of September, with the information that its construction had required 
"little better than the space of six weeks." This referred only to the works 
originally projected, which were probably constructed from the plans fur- 
nished by the Governor without any special engineering supervision. On 
the 17th of October, 1756, E. Meyer, an engineer in the provincial service, 
arrived at Harris's Ferry with James Young, the commissary general; thence 
they proceeded to Fort Augusta in company with Captain Lloyd. On the 
23d instant Colonel Clapham acknowledged the receipt of " Mr. Meyer's 
instructions relative to the additional works to be made at Augusta;" and on 
the 8th of November he wrote: — 

I have, since the departure of Mr. Meyer, been constantly employed on 

the works laid out agreeably to his instructions, but which mitst necessarily proceed 
more slowly for want of stronger teams and wheelbarrows, as we have at present no 
other method of removing the dirt but by hand-barrows and the tedious way of casting 
it with shovels from nmn to man. "What still increases the want of horses and car- 
riages is the necessity we lie under of conveying clay from other places for the construe- 


tion of tlie parapet, what comes out of the ditch being improper for that purpose as 
we find it a foot or two beneath the surface to grow sandy and not to be consolidated 
by any force or expedient in our power. The axes we have are, in general, extremely 
bad, and even the number of them insuflScient. Tomahawks with square, flat eyes, 
nails of several sorts, and especially spades are very much wanted, the wagon master s 
presence extremely necessary, and rum for the men employed on the works. 

In a letter evidently written several weeks later he says: " Two bushels 
of blue grass seed are necessary wlerewith to sow the slopes of the para- 
pet and glacis and the bants of the river. In eight or ten days more the 
ditch will be carped quite round the parapet, the barrier gates finished and 
erected, and the pickets of the glacis completed." 

Constant danger was apprehended from French and Indians. On the 
30th of July, 1756, Fort Granville was taken and burned, and an attack upon 
Fort Augusta was deemed highly probable. The fleet of batteaux ascended 
and descended the river under a strong guard, the necessity for which is appar- 
ent from the following statements in Commissary Bard's letter of September 
4th: "On the 23d past one of the soldiers was coming here from Harris's 
express, and fifteen miles from this fort was murdered and scalped. The 
party that went to escort Captain Lloyd found and buried him. And last 
Sunday morning one of our people who attended the cattle went to the 
spring, about half a mile from the fort, and while he was drinking was shot 
and afterwards scalped and tomahawked." This melancholy occurrence gave 
to the Bloody spring its sanguinary name. The boldness of the aggressors 
caused much alarm, which was greatly increased in the following month 
when Ogagradarisha, a friendly Iroquois chief, brought intelligence of the 
approach of a large force of French and Indians. Dispatches were at once 
transmitted to Colonel Clapham, who was then at Harris's Ferry, whence he im- 
mediately returned to Fort Augusta with the determination to defend it to 
the last extremity. The garrison was re-enforced and additional works were 
constructed, which so increased the strength of the post as to warrant offen- 
sive measures. Information having been received that the bands of Indians 
which harrassed the frontier rendezvoused at a town on the West Branch, 
fifty miles from the fort. Colonel Clapham dispatched a party composed of 
thirty-eight privates, two sergeants, and two corporals tmder command of 
Captain John Hambright with Montour as guide to attack and destroy it 
should he find it inhabited but leave no indications of his visit should he find 
it abandoned. His instructions, which were of the most specific character, 
were issued under date of November 4, 1756. The town, called Chingle- 
clamouse, was situated on the West Branch at the present site of Clearfield. 
"Captain Hambright entered the town, found the cabins all standing, but 
deserted by the Indians. Agreeably to his orders he did not touch anything 
nor destroy the town, in hopes the Indians would come to settle there again. 

* Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. III. p. 41. 


This was the only Indian town could be attacked."* No important results 
attended the expedition. 

Much difficulty was experienced in obtaining adequate supplies of provis- 
ions and ammunition. . On the 14th of August, 1756, at a time when there 
was believed to be imminent danger of an attack, there were but four half- 
barrels of powder in store; and so fearful was Colonel Clapham that the let- 
ter containing this information would fall into the hands of the enemy that 
he put it in the pad of the courier's pack-saddle. On this occasion, having 
found it utterly impossible to continue the batteau service owing to the low 
stage of water, he urgently requested that a number of pack-horses should 
be engaged, which would render it possible to transport sufficient provisions 
from Tulpehocken to keep the garrison through the winter. On the 1st of 
September the stock of provisions was reduced to forty-six barrels of beef 
and pork, nine of flour, five of peas, and one bullock — scarcely sufficient for 
three days' rations; at this critical juncture Captain Lloyd arrived with thirty- 
three cattle and a quantity of supplies, probably the first received by pack- 
horses. In a letter to Governor Denny on the 23d of September Colonel 
Clapham stated that the supply of flour had twice been reduced to two bar- 
rels, and suggested the appointment of a purchasing agent. 

In the following month he made' a visit to Lancaster and Cumberland 
counties, returning on the afternoon of Sunday, October 17th, with "seventy 
horse-loads of flour and a quantity of salt, and thirty head of cattle." Upon 
the approach of winter it became necessary to revert to the batteau service 
again, and in November the Colonel wrote: "The repairs of the batteaux are 
now near flnished; they wiU require one hundred thirteen men to work 
them, for which expense and the payment of arrears due on that service I 
have not in my hands one single shilling. The season advancing will not 
admit of the supplying this garrison by horses- but for a short time, when the 
depth of the creeks, the badness of the roads, the coldness of the weather, 
and the length of the way will render that method impracticable." 

Inadequate provision for the financial requirements of the expedition 
occasioned much dissatisfaction among its members. "Everybody seems dis- 
posed cheerfully to contribute their services toward the public good," says 
Colonel Clapham in a letter to Governor Morris on the 20th of June, 1756, 
"if there was ever a,ny prospect or assurance of being paid for it." At that 
time there were twenty-six b9,tteau-men in confinement for mutiny on 
account of the failure of the officers to pay them, and it was feared that oth- 
ers woidd desert if allowed to leave the camp. Nor was this discontent con- 
fined to the rank and file; the extremely parsimonious policy of the commis- 
sioners by whom the provincial appropriations were disbursed caused general 
dissatisfaction among the officers. The subalterns alleged that seven shill- 
ings six pence had been promised each lieutenant and five shillings six pence 

* Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. III. pp. 41-43, 116. 


to each ensign, while the former had received but five shillings six pence and 
the latter four shillings. A council was accordingly held at the camp at 
Shamokin on the 13th of July, 1756, at which all the officers of the regiment 
were present except Captain Miles, who was in command of the garrison at 
Fort Halifax; the reasons of the subalterns for expecting a larger rate of pay 
than they had received were recited in a memorial to the Governor, at the 
conclusion of which the officers joined in the following resignation: — 

The gentlemen ofacers beg leave to appeal to his Honor, the Governor, as an evi- 
dence that that opinion universally prevailed throughout the regiment, and, thinking 
themselves unjustly dealt with by the gentlemen commissioners, are unanimously 
determined not to serve longer on these terms; they therefore beg leave to return your 
Honor their most hearty and sincere thanks for the favors received, the grateful impres- 
sions of which they shall never forget, and at the [same time request a permission 
from your Honor to resign on the 30th day of August next, desiring to be relieved 

This was transmitted to the Governor by Colonel Clapham, who improved 
the opportunity to air his own grievances and those of the other field officers. 
The following is an extract from his letter: — 

I entered into this service at the solicitation of some of the gentlemen commis- 
sioners, in dependence on promises which they have never performed, and have acted 
ever since not only in two capacities but in twenty, having, besides the duties of my 
commissions as colonel and captain, been obliged to discharge those of an engineer 
and overseer at the same time, and undergone in the service incredible fatigues with- 
out materials and without thanks. But as I am to be paid only as a colonel I intend 
while I remain in this service only to fulfill the duties of that commission, which never 
was yet supposed to include building forts and ten thousand other services which I 
have performed; so that the gentlemen commissioners have only to send engineers, 
pioneers, and other laborers, with the necessary teams and utensils, while I, as colonel, 
preside over the works, see that your Honor's orders are punctually executed, and only 
defend the persons engaged in the execution of them. 

In pursuance of a resolution of your Honor and the gentlemen commissioners to 
allow me an aid-de-camp, who was to be paid as a supernumerary captain in the regi- 
ment, I accordingly appointed Captain Lloyd as my aid-de-camp on April 2, 1756, who 
has ever since acted as such in the most fatiguing and disagreeable service on earth, and 
received only captain's pay. 

Your Honor was pleased to appoint Lieutenant Clayton adjutant to the regiment 
under my command by a commission bearing date the 24th day of May, 1756, but the 
gentlemen commissioners have, in defiance of all known rules, resolved that an officer 
can discharge but one duty in a day, and have paid him only as a lieutenant. 

Impowered by your Honor's orders, and in compliance with the exigencies of the 
service, I hired a number of batteau-men at two shillings six pence per day, as will 
appear by the return made herewith to your Honor, and, upon demanding from the 
paymaster general money for the payment of the respective balances due to them, was 
surprised to find that the commissioners had by their instructions restrained him from 
paying any incidental charges whatever, as thinking them properly cognizable only b 

'Tis extremely cruel, Sir, and unjust to the last degree, that men who cheerfully 
ventured their lives in the most dangerous and fa tiguing services of their country, who 

♦Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. II. p. 701. ' 


have numerous families dependent on their labor, and who have many of them while 
they were engaged in that service suffered more from the neglect of their farms and 
crops at home than the value of their whole pay— in short, whose afEairs are ruined by 
the services done their country — should some of them receive no pay at all.* 

The provincial commissary general, James Young, whose visit to Sha- 
moMn developed such general dissatisfaction among the officers and men, 
arrived at that place on the 12th of July and remained four days. He left 
on Friday, the 16th instant, in a batteau with four oars, arrived at Harris's 
Perry before night, and on the following day proceeded to Carlisle, whence 
he transmitted an account of his transactions to the Governor. He had 
followed the instructions of the commissioners in paying the subalterns, 
who receipted for the amounts received but not for their full pay. He had 
been instructed to pay four hundred men, but found more than that number 
in the camp, beside the detachments at Fort Hunter and elsewhere. He 
was to pay the men to the 1st of July, deducting one half for clothing: 
against this they protested; the captains drew up a statement setting forth 
the manifest injustice of such an arrangement, and he was obliged to yield 
to their demands. He had no ^unds to meet Colonel Clapham's bill for one 
hundred sixteen batteau-men at two shillings six pence per day, but was 
credibly informed that the greater part of them were soldiers in the regiment 
and received pay as such. From this it would appear that the Colonel 
applied the same principle to them as to himself and his brother officers, 
viz., that a man should receive full pay in every capacity in which he served. 
He observed that the arbitrary disposition of the commanding officer had 
occasioned great dissatisfaction among the subordinate officers, all of whom 
except three or four had been placed in confinement by him and released at 
his pleasure without trial, f 

The straitened condition of provincial finances continued. On the 23d 
of September, 1756, Colonel Clapham informed Governor Denny that there 
was four months' pay due the regiment, and, as many of the soldiers had 
families to support, he was obliged to loan the greater part of his ovm salary 
among them, otherwise he feared they would have deserted or returned to 
their homes at the expiration of their terms of enlistment. J At length, " tired 
with the discouragements perpetually given to the service by the commis- 
sioners and with their particular treatment of him," he resigned his com- 
mission and was succeeded in command of the Augusta regiment by Major 
James Burd, the officer next in rank. 

Major Burd || arrived at Fort Augusta on Wednesday, December 8, 1756, 

*Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. II. pp. 706-707. 

tXhis statement does not harmonize with the Colonel's action on a subsequent occasion. On the 
14th of August he wrote : " I have put Lieutenant Plunket under an arrest tor mutiny, and only wait tor 
the return of Captain Lloyd, the judge advocate, to have him tried by a general court martial."— 
Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. II. p. 745. 

tPennsylvania Archives, Vol. II. pp. 779-780. 

IIMajor Burd kept a minute record of occurrences at Fort Augusta, and the facts relating to the 


with Captains Shippen and Jamison and a supply train. He found Captain 
Hambright in command: Colonel Clapham had departed at ten a. m. on the 
previous Monday; Captains Lloyd and Salter, Lieutenants Clapham, Trump, 
and Miles, and Ensign Patterson were also absent. On the following day 
he " inquired into the state of the garrison," and found two himdred eighty 
men, with nine officers, for duty. No work had been done for some time ; he 
found "the ditch unfinished; the pickets up; the beef cistern unfinished; 
the picket gates not done, and the beef aU in the store in bulk; no place pro- 
vided for the flour, and the salt in casks; — in the heads standing on the 
parade; the batteaux all frozen up in the river." The remainder of the day 
was occupied in disposing of the supplies of flour and rum he had brought 
up, and in dispatching a party to the camp at McKee's for another consign- 
ment. On Friday, December 10th, he " employed a party to build a smoke- 
house for the beef; one to haul the batteaux out of the ice upon the bank to 
preserve them from being destroyed by the ice when the river should break 
up; one to clean out the fort, which was full of heaps of nuisances; one to 
throw all the stone out of the pickets; one to ram the earth about the beef 
cistern; one to build a bakehouse, and one to build a chimney in Captain 
Hambright's barrack; and one to make beds in the guard house." The 
completion and renovation of the works, thus early begun, was energetically 

Some idea of the routine pursued at Fort Augusta under Major Burd's 
administration may be gained from the following transcript of his journal 
for February 7—20, 1757:— 

1th, Monday.— Thi^ day it snows a little in the morning. At work in the woods 
getting firewood, twenty-two; at the coal kiln, six; sawyers, two; making helves, one; 
getting stufE for helves, two; making wheelbarrows, two. Very cold, the ice driving 
but very little. 

8th, Tuesday.— Km-p\ojoA this day as follows: twenty-two men cutting pickets, one 
man pointing ditto, six men at the coal, two sawyers, two making tomahawk helves, 
two making wheelbarrows, nine putting beef in the smokehouse, two working at the 
bakehouse. A clear, cold day. 

9th, Wednesday.— E.mT^\ojfi^ as yesterday. Sent seventeen men out to hunt up any 
straggling horses that might be yet in the provincial service, but could only find four, 
which I have sent down to be discharged the service. The two Indians, AVilliam Sack 
and Indian Peter, applied to me for an escort to conduct them safely to the Conestoga 
town. I accordingly sent Volunteer Hughes and two soldiers and four horses, with 
orders to conduct them safely home. They set out from this at five p. >r. This evening 
it rains and blows prodigiously. 

10th, Thursday.— Could not work to-day; it rained and blew prodigiously all last 
mght and all this day. The saw-pit is full of water. The doctor made complaint this 
mornmgthat there was a great deal of under-water in the hospital; the doctor told me 
that he thought he had bad success in his cures, which he imputed to the want of 

H^hpH* rT ,'f '^'",'° """'"""^^ 1>'^™ "««° "lainly derived from this source. The journal is pub- 
llshed in the Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series-December 8, 175G, to October 14 1757 In Vol H 


fresh provisions and vegetables; I acquainted the doctor that I had some thoughts of 
removing the hospital to Fort Halifax or Fort Hunter as soon as the weather would 
permit; he told me if that was not done many would lose their lives. The river in a 
fine state for hatteauing. 

11th, Friday. — Employed this day as follows: twenty-nine men in the woods cut- 
ting pickets, two carpenters pointing ditto, two carpenters making tomahawk helves, 
two carpenters making wheelbarrows, two carpenters working at the bakehouse, saw- 
yers emptying the water out of the saw-pit, the smiths at work and colliers. This day 
it blew very hard and froze most severely. 

12th, Saturday. — Employed this day as yesterday. This day it freezes most 
intensely. The river is quite full of ice. Though the people are at work, yet they 
can't do much. 

13th, Sunday. — This morning I ordered a general parade of all the regiment present 
at ten A. M. and prayers at eleven A. M. if the weather would permit. Had the general 
parade accordingly, and found all the arms in good order, bright and quite clean. This 
day it freezes severely, and is so extremely cold that I omit prayers, the officers com- 
plaining it was too severe. 

14th, Monday. — Employed this day as follows: twenty-one men in the woods cutting 
pickets, two pointing ditto, six colliers, two men at the wheelbarrows, two making ax 
handles, two making the pork cistern, four sawyers, three bakers. This day it freezes 
a little; more moderate than it has done for some days past; the river is quite full of 
ice, driving thick cakes. 

15th, Tuesday. — This morning John Apelby, of Captain Salter's company, died; two 
men employed in making a coffin for ditto. Twenty-one men in the woods cutting 
pickets, one pointing ditto, six colliers, two making wheelbarrows, two making ax 
handles, two wagoners, four sawyers, two at the pork cistern, three bakers, four smiths. 
Buried John Apelby this evening. This day it snows a little; the river continues full 
of ice. Finished cutting pickets this evening; the adjutant reports they have out 
upwards of a thousand. 

16th, Wednesday. — This morning Christian Holtsaple, of Captain Salter's company, 
died. Seventeen men in the woods piling oil pickets and cutting firewood, one man 
pointing pickets, six colliers, four smiths, four sawyers, three bakers, two carpenters 
making a coffin, two jointing plank for the pork cistern, two making wheelbarrows, 
two making ax_ handles, two wagoners, four digging a grave. At eleven a. m. two men 
arrived here with rum for Mr. Trapnell and informed me that the batteaux were lying 
weather-boimd at Berry's place. At twelve m. d. Lieutenants Davis and Clapham 
arrived here with a party of thirteen men and brought my letters and confirmed the 
batteaux being at Berry's place under the command of Captain Trump. The above 
Christian Holtsaple was buried this. evening. This day I was taken so ill that I could 
not read my letters; should have answered Colonel Clapham's letter and Lieutenant 
•Colonel Armstrong's, but my indisposition would not permit. It thaws to-day much. 

nth, Thursday. — This day it rained so hard all day that the soldiers could not work 
■out of doors; the river clear of ice, and thaws much. The two men at work making 
wheelbarrows, one making ax handles, smiths and bakers at work. 

18th, Friday. — Fine, clear weather. Employed to-day as follows : twenty-one work- 
ing in the woods cutting pickets, and cutting and piling brush, three bakers, six coll- 
iers, four sawyers, two making wheelbarrows, two pointing pickets, two jointing 
plank for the pork cistern, two making ax helves, two making paddles, two carters. 
This day at one p. m. Captain Trump arrived here vsdth Ensigns Brodhead and Scott 
and the party, and batteaux with fifty-one barrels flour, three hogsheads of rum, one 
faggot steel, twelve barrels pork. At two p. m. it began to rain to-day. We have great 
difficulty in getting the batteaux unloaded. Sent Sergeant Lee to Carlisle express. 


19th, Saturday.— It rained all day to-day. No work done except emptying the 
batteaux of the remainder of their loading, which is now all in the store. Returned to 
the full allowauQe of provision, one pound two ounces of beef and one and one half 
pounds of flour. 

20tli, Sunday.— Had a general review of all the regiment; appointed the party to 
wait Lieutenant Colonel Armstrong's orders. The fort was so wet we could not have 
sermon nor prayers to-day. 

The summer routine was slightly different. The following is a tran- 
script of the journal from the 17th to the 31st of July, 1757: — 

17th, Sxmday.-'Ha.d the general review and church twice, at which the Indians 
attended. I had all the Indians to dinner with me to-day, which gave great satisfac- 

18th, Monday.— 'Employed fifty-eight parapet, twenty-seven with the wagon, four- 
teen cattle guard, ten carpenters, thirteen mauling rails for a hog pen, four sawyers, 
four smiths, two gardeners, two bakers, one chandler.This day at one p. ji. the Indians 
set off quite pleased, and said they would return in twenty days with all the chiefs of 
their nations. 

19th, Tuesday.— 'Employed sixty-three parapet, twenty-six with the wagon, seven- 
teen cattle guard, eleven carpenters, four smiths, four sawyers, two gardeners, two 
bakers, one chandler. Nothing material. 

20th, Wednesday.— Employed sixty-five at the parapet, twenty-seven with wagon, 
fifteen /cattle guard, eleven carpenters, four smiths, four sawyers, two bakers, two 
gardeners, two pin makers, one chandler. This day at three p. m. Captain Shippen 
arrived here with the fleet of batteaux and twenty-seven recruits. 

21st, TMtrsday. — Employed fifty-three at the parapet, twenty-six with the wagon, 
fourteen cattle guard, ten carpenters, four sawyers, four smiths, two bakers, two gar- 
deners, one chandler, two pin makers. Nothing material. 

22d, Friday. — Employed seventy-two at the parapet, twenty-seven with the wagon, 
fourteen cattle guard, ten carpenters, four sawyers, four smiths, two bakers, two gar- 
deners, two masons, two pin makers, one chandler. 

2.Sd, Saturday. — Employed seventy-two at the parapet, twenty-six with the wagon, 
fourteen cattle guard, ten carpenters, four sawyers, four smiths, two bakers, two gar- 
deners, one chandler, two pin makers. Ordered a general review to-morrow at four 
p. M. 

24th, Sunday. — This morning I sent out a reconnoitering party, one hundred men, 
with the following oflicers: Captains Hambright and Trump, Lieutenant Garraway, 
Ensigns Brodhead and Allison. Had a, general review to-day at four p. m. The 
reconnoitering party returned at nine p. m. and reported no signs of the enemy. 

25th, Monday. — Employed sixty-two at the parapet, twenty-seven with the wagon, 
fourteen cattle guard, four sawyers, four smiths, two gardeners, two pin makers, one 
chandler, eight sodders. Ordered the batteaux to be ready to sail to-morrow; I could 
not empty the flour sooner, having no place to put it iu. Captain Patterson and 
Ensign Miles go with the batteaux and a party of twent_v-flve soldiers; Lieutenant 
Garraway, Ensigns Scott and Allison go recruiting. Ordered Lieutenant Atlee on the 
recruiting service from Fort Halifax, and Lieutenant Miles to take post there. 

26th, Tuendiiy. — Employed fifty-four at the bank, twenty-six with the wagon, four- 
teen cattle guard, eight sodders of the bank, four sawyers, ten carpenters, four smiths, 
two gardeners, two bakers, two masons, two chandlers. This day at m. d. the fleet of 
batteaux sailed with the officers. Captain Patterson, Lieutenant Garraway, Ensigns 
Scott, Miles, and Allison, with a party of twenty-five men. 


57<A, Wednesday. — Employed seventy-four at the parapet, twenty-seven with the 
wagon, fourteen cattle guard, ten carpenters, four sawyers, four smiths, two bakers, 
two gardeners, one chandler, two masons. Nothing material. 

28tli, Thwiday. — Employed seventy at the parapet, twenty-seven with the wagon, 
fourteen with the cattle, fifteen carpenters, four sawyers, four smiths, two takers, two 
gardeners, two masons, one chandler. Nothing material. 

29th, Friday. — Employed sixty-one at the bank, twenty-seven with the wagon, 
fourteen cattle guard, four sawyers, four smiths, two bakers, two gardeners, two 
masons, one chandler. Nothing material. 

30th, Saturday. — Employed sixty-two at the parapet, thirty with the wagon, four- 
teen cattle guard, fifteen carpenters, four sawyers, four smiths, two gardeners, two 
bakers, two masons, one chandler. This morning at two a. m. John Cook, of C. 
Davis's company, deserted from his post as sentry on the lower bastion of the palisa- 
does. This evening I was walking on the platforms; at twelve p. m. I heard a gun 
fired about two miles down the river. Ordered a general review to-morrow at four 
p. M. An eclipse visible of the moon at seven p. m. 

Frequent visits were made by friendly Indians. Ogagradarisha, who suc- 
ceeded Tachnechdorus as the representative of the Six Nations upon the North 
Branch, held several conferences with the commanding officer, and William 
Sack, Indian Peter, and others are mentioned by name as visitors at the fort. 
On the 10th of March, 1757, five Indians "came down the North Branch in 
a canoe with English colors flying" to inform Major Burd that a large party 
would arrive ill a day or two; on Sunday, the 13th, at two p. m., "the Indian 
fleet hove in sight with two stand of English colors flying, consisting of fif- 
teen canoes and three batteaux; they fired two rounds," which were answered 
from the upper bastion of the pickets. "There were on board upwards of 
ninety Indians, many of which kings and chiefs of their people." The entire 
party was entertained at the fort until the following Thursday, when they 
left in batteaux for Harris's Eerry. On [^the same day thirty more arrived, 
among whom were Monocatootha and Seneca George. They left at noon on 
Friday, March 18th. 

Every precaution was taken to guai^d against hostile demonstrations. 
Scouting parties ranged the surrounding country on the north and west within 
a radius of twenty miles ; the batteau [fleet and supply trains were always 
accompanied by a strong escort; parties at work preparing timber, hauling 
materials, or herding cattle were protected_^by a strong detachment. Not- 
withstanding these measures, the enemy frequently approached on the oppo- 
site banks of the river and sometimes had the temerity to attack in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the fort. On. the 26th of February, 1757, Major Burd sent 
the carters "to the old house at the spring to bring in some stones," with a 
covering party consisting of a corporal and seven men. The sentries, three 
in number, were shot at by Indians, and, having heard the firing, Major 
Burd sent two ensigns with twenty men to their relief. As they approached 
the Indians gave a general huzza, to which the relief party replied; the 
Major thereupon sent Captain Trump with two sergeants and twenty men, 


who pursued the enemy more than an hour but without overtaking them; 
they then returned with the bodies of two of the sentries. Captain Trump was 
immediately dispatched with Ensigns Brodhead and Allison, two sergeants, 
two corporals, and fifty men to pursue the attacking party; they went as far 
as the summit of a high mountain on the North Branch fourteen miles from 
the fort, but returned on the following, day (Sunday, February 27th) without 
overtaking them. On the 9th of June, 1757, a party of Indians fired upon the 
sentries of the bullock guard, killing one of them, and in the skirmish that 
ensued sixteen shots were exchanged. Three detachments were sent out, but 
the bullock guard had put the enemy to flight before they arrived. Lieu- 
tenant Handshaw with Ensigns Brodhead and Patterson and thirty men 
started in pursuit at break of day on the following morning, but returned 
without overtaking them. At ten a. m. on the 23d of June, three parties 
of Indians surroixaded the cattle guard, killed four men, and wounded five ; 
two detachments were at once sent from the fort, and upon their approach 
the savages fled precipitately, leaving one gun, two tomahawks, and two 
match-coats upon the field. Their number was estimated at forty. 

The only aggressive m.ovement of importance during Major Burd's incum- 
bency was a second expedition to Chingleclamouse. On the evening of 
April 7, 1757, after dark. Captain Patterson set out with a party of ten men 
under instructions to proceed up the West Branch to that point, marching as 
close to the river as possible. When they reached their destination they 
found that the principal part of the town had been destroyed by fire, while 
the remainder had evidently been deserted for some time. Having exhausted 
their supply of provisions, the party descended the Susquehanna river on 
rafts and arrived at Fort Augusta on the 25th of January. For three days 
they had been obliged to subsist upon walnuts. 

The terms for which many of the soldiers had enlisted expired in the 
spring of 1757, and much firmness was required to induce them to con- 
tinue in the service. Having been informed by the adjutant that some 
had delivered up their arms and refused to do further duty. Major Burd 
addressed the garrison immediately after the general review on Sunday, 
March 6, 1757. His opening words were as follows: — 

Gentlemen and Fellow-Soldiehs: I must first put you in mind of the cause for 
which we were sent hither. Was it not for to maintain the honor and just rights of 
our glorious sovereign and the protection of our country? Did we not all, seemingly, 
cheerfully embrace this opportunity of serving our king and country? Have we not 
taken possession of this ground, which is allowed to be a place of great importance 
and have we not maintained it, and built a strong fort upon it, and have not these 
works been erected at a vast charge to the government, and would all this [have] been 
done with no further view than to make a parade to Shamokin? Surely this can't be 
the case; and would you, like a parcel of dastardly poltroons, abandon these works 
and leave the king's fort with its gates open to receive the enemies of the crown of 
Great Britain? Why? Merely because your times for which you were enlisted expired 
and you are not obligated, you think, to do the duty you owe by nature to your gracious 


sovereign and bleeding country. For shame! Forever shame! Everlasting infamy 
and just reproach, -will attend you and all your generations after you, were you to 
attempt to act such a base part — a part so unbecoming the character of a Protestant 
Briton — a part that would give just cause to the last of your seed to curse you. 

He informed them in the most positive terms of his determination not to 
"suffer the king's fort to be left without a garrison to defend it," and assured 
them upon his honor that as soon as the government should send other 
troops they would not be obliged to continue in the service after their terms 
had expired unless they should voluntarily re-enlist. With this promise, and 
the further assurance that should be paid until discharged, they consented to 
"stay and do duty." 

Shortly after this (March 18, 1757) information was received that eight 
hundred French and Indians had arrived at the headwaters of the West 
Branch, and were about to make a descent upon the fort. An express was 
forthwith dispatched with letters conveying this intelligence and also the fact 
"that the garrison refused to do duty for want of pay, aiad that there was a 
scarcity of provisions and ammunition." The letters were received by the 
Governor and Council on the 21st of March; the supply bill was under con- 
sideration at the time, and the dispute between the executive and legislative 
branches of the government relative to the taxation of Proprietary estates was 
again in progress. Lord Loudoun, commander-in-chief of his Majesty's 
forces in America, was then at Philadelphia, and the Governor consulted him 
regarding Major Burd's intelligence. He advised the immediate passage of 
the supply biU as prepared by the Assembly, which was accordingly done, 
and thus the condition and needs of the garrison at Fort Augusta effected 
the temporary settlement of an important colonial administrative question. 

With the batteau-men Major Burd was equally firm. On the 26th of May, 
1757, a number of batteaux arrived under the command of Lieutenant Hand- 
shaw; he reported gross insubordination on the part of the batteau-men, three 
of whom were placed in confinement. On the following day Major Burd 
was told that the others were coming to him to demand the reason for this, 
and thereupon informed them that if they had anything to say they should 
send two or three of their number, but if they came in a body he would shoot 
the first man that approached. Two of them accordingly informed him that 
they were employed for the batteau service only, to which the Major replied 
that they were part of his command, and that he should expect them to con- 
form to the directions of his officers in any manner that the exigencies of the 
service might require. The next day (May 28th) they informed him that 
they would do no other duty than work their respective batteaux, and that 
he might continue them in the service on those terms or give them their dis- 
charges. He replied that he would do neither, but was fully determined to 
make examples of all whom he found "guilty of this piece of mutiny;" and 
if they imagined he found any difficulty to get batteau-men they were much 


deceived. On the following morning they were paraded by the adjutant, 
acknowledged their fault, and promised to comply with the officers' orders in 

The completion of the works, although begun by Major Burd when he 
assumed command, was partially suspended during the winter months. The 
internal arrangements of the fort were improved, however; a bakehouse, 
smokehouse, beef cistern, pork cistern, etc. were provided, while pickets 
for the outer defenses were cut in the surrounding forests to the number of 
more than a thousand. As soon as the condition of the ground would per- 
mit, the completion of the earth-works was resumed; thirty men were em- 
ployed " at the ditch " on the 18th of March, twenty-seven on the 19th, 
fifty-six on the 20th (Sunday), and fifty-five on the 21st, including " all the 
cooks, servants, and guard." It was not until the 10th of August that the 
parapet was finished; the counterscarp and ditch, "glassee," platforms, etc. 
next received attention, but were yet in an unfinished condition at the time 
Major Burd's journal closes (October 14, 1757). A fish-dam and wharf 
were constructed, brick making and lime burning were carried on, and a 
garden was cleared and inclosed. 

Major Burd took his departure on the 18th of December, 1757, and, al- 
though he retained command of the Augusta regiment, the conduct of affairs 
at Fort Augusta devolved upon the subordinate officers at that post. Cap- 
tain Joseph Shippen succeeded to the command; on the 27th of March, 1758, 
he left the fort on leave of absence from Colonel Burd, and in the report for 
April 1st Major Thomas Lloyd appears as commandant. By a reorganiza- 
tion of the provincial forces the Augusta regiment had been incorporated in 
the second battalion of the Pennsylvania regiment, of which James Burd 
was lieutenant colonel and Thomas Lloyd major; subsequently the former 
became colonel and the latter lieutenant colonel. Nearly the whole of this 
battalion was attached to General Forbes's command and participated in the 
expedition against Fort Duquesne; Captain Trump was the only officer of 
his rank who remained at Fort Augusta and the command therefore devolved 
upon him, prior to June 2, 1758. He occupied this position until April, 
1759, and doubtless later. In September of that year Major Jacob Orndt, 
of the First battalion, was in command. Caleb Graydon, successively 
ensign, lieutenant, and captain, was in charge when Colonel Burd arrived at 
the fort on the 15th of February, 1760. It does not appear that the Colonel 
remained longer than several weeks, after which Lieutenant Graydon 
resumed command, and was in charge when Colonel Burd again arrived in 

The principal addition to the works during this period was the powder 
magazine. Its erection was first recommended by Harry Gordon (who 
styles himself "engineer and captain ") in the following terms: — 

A magazine ought to be built ia the south bastion, twelve by twenty feet in the 


clear, also a laboratory of the same dimensions in the east bastion: the wall of the 
magazine to be two and one half feet thick, with three buttresses, two feet thick at the 
bottom beveling to nine inches at top, in each side; the breadth of buttresses, three and 
one half feet; the magazine to have an arch of two and one half brick thick, and to be 
undergrovmd within one and one half feet of the top of the arch; the walls, seven feet 
high from the level of the floor, and to have a foundation two feet below the floor; 
great care takei^ to lay the joists and to fill up between with ruble stone and gravel, 
rammed; the joists to be covered with plank two and one half inches thick; an air hole 
one foot square to be practiced in the gable end, opposite the door; the passage to the 
magazine to have a zig-zag, and over the arch some fine plaster laid, then covered 
with fine gravel and four feet of earth a-top.* 

Captain Gordon's recommendation was transmitted under date of May 
6, 1758. Instructions were issued to Captain Trump, the commanding offi- 
cer, to undertake the work, which was begun under very discouraging cir- 
cumstances. "I have got but few tradesmen to carry on any building," he 
wrote Governor Denny on the>. 19th of July, 1758; "one carpenter, two 
masons, one smith are left here. I have begun to build a powder magazine, 
(as there has never been any other than the common provision store, an unfit 
place to hold powder,) and am obliged to leave it unfinished for want of lime 
and stone. The limestone is to fetch six miles and it is impossible to fetch 
them any other way than by water; and all the batteau-men are discharged, 
so it is impossible for me to carry it on any further without some more assist- 
ance." It does not appear that the garrison was materially re-enforced, 
although its effective strength was probably increased by employing batteau- 
men, and thus the magazine was finally constructed. Of all the military 
works that once constituted Fort Augusta the subterranean portion of this 
structure alone remains. From the highway on the bank of the river it pre- 
sents the appearance of a small mound of earth. A narrow stone stairway 
descends to the interior, which is ten by twelve feet in dimensions ; the walls 
are constructed of stone and the arched ceiling of brick, manufactured, in all 
probability, at the fort. Over this underground chamber a wooden building 
formerly stood; there is some reason to think that this was the magazine 
proper, for WiUiam Maclay refers to it as "this magazine, under which there 
is a small but complete dungeon, "f It was enlarged and strengthened, and 
served for a brief period as the first jail of Northumberland county. The 
"small but complete dungeon" is all that now remains of the only fortifica- 
tion erected within the present limits of Northumberland county during the 
colonial period. J 

* Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. III. pp. 388-389. 

+ Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. IV. p. 463. 

t" McKee's lort "' is located within the present limits of the county on the map published hy the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the editor of the Pennsylvania Archives makes the following 
statement concerning it (Vol. XII. p. 405) : " It is believed to have been named after Thomas McKee, 
an Indian trader who had a plantation on the Susquehanna near the falls which still bear his name. 
It is said to have been situated on the east branch [bank?] of the Susquehanna in Lower Mahanoy 
township, Northumberland county, at or about where Georgetown now stands at those falls." 


An Indian trading house was also built. This was done at the special 
request of the Indians living on the Susquehanna, who had been pacified and 
desired a convenient place for the exchange of peltries, etc. for clothing and 
supplies. The Governor and Assembly had some difficulty in agreeing upoa 
a plan for the regulation of this trade, and the delay in establishing stores 
caused much dissatisfaction among the Indians. At length these differences 
were adjusted; on the 20th of January, 1758, Captain Shippen informed 
Major Burd that several parties of Delawares had arrived "with skins to 
trade at the store," and in the list of supplies received he mentioned "a 
quantity for Mr. Carson's store." On the 1st of July, 1758, Captain Trump 
wrote: "Agreeably to your orders to me I have begun to dig the cellar for 
the store house for Indian goqds, but there is not carpenters' tools here suffi- 
cient to complete the building of the house." Temporary quarters were 
provided, however, regarding which he wrote on the 19th instant: "It is 
impossible for me to carry on the Indian store house for want of workmen 
and tools, and as this last draft has taken all the workmen from me save the 
few [I] have mentioned to your Honor; but I have for the present fitted up 
one of the barracks that is almost joining the present Indian store, which will 
hold a great quantity of skins." A trading house was eventually erected, 
however; it stood outside the fort, and was removed in 1763. The work of 
demolition was begun on the 16th of July; the materials were taken inside 

A careful comparison ot the evidence on tlie subject does not, in tlie opinion of tlie author, 
justify tliis conclusion. Thomas McKee was commissioned as a captain in the provincial service In 
1756, and on'the 26th of January was instructed to receive from the officer commanding the detach- 
ment at Hunter's mill the "arms, accouterments, blankets, tools, and stores" in his hands (Penn- 
sylvania Archives, Vol. II. p. 563) ; he was to march his company to Hunter's mill, and " either com- 
plete the fort already begun there or build another at such other convenient place as James Gal- 
braith, Esq. shall advise" (Ibid. p. 564). On the 5th of April, 1756, he wrote to Edward Shippen 
from the " fort at Hunter's mill," informing him that John Sliikellimy had arrived there (Ibid. p. 
615). In a letter to the Governor on the 19th instant Shippen wi-ote that he had been at ' ' Captain 
McKee's fort," where he had seen John Shikellimy; Hunter's house, he said, was "five or six hun- 
dred feet from the fort " (Ibid. pp. 634H335). From this it is quite evident that " lIcKee's fort " was 
the stockade generally known as Fort Hunter. 

That McKee had a trading house at the site of GeorgetoVn or in that vicinity there can be no 
doubt. It was there that Conrad Weiser met Shikellimy's sons in April, 1749 (Ibid. p. 23). Kishoco- 
quillas, the Shawane chief from whom the beautiful valley in Mifflin county derives its name, died 
there in 1754 (Colonial Keoords, Vol. VI. pp. 153-154). On the 3d of June, 1766, six scouts were sent by 
Colonel Clapham to ascertain the condition of the country between his camp and Shamokin; "they 
saw nothing till they came to McKee's and found his house burnt, where they discovered the tracks of 
an Indian moccasin." (Ibid. Vol. VII. p. 154). Five scouts were sent out two days later (Saturday, 
June 5th); on the following Monday they discovered "the fresh tracks of four Indians and four 
horses," which tliey followed about six miles to no purpose, " and then turned to the left and went 
across the mountain toward Mr. McKee's plantation; and, having got within two miles of that place, 
they came upon the same tracks," which they again followed about a mile. James Lowry, the leader 
of the party, then "followed up the triioks till he came witliin seventy yards of McKee's cleared 
iields, and plainly saw four Indians and as many horses hoppled in the meadows, upon which he 
immediately ran back a mile to acquaint liis companions with it; and upon their coming up they all 
perceived live more Indians walking up from the river (with water, as they supposed) towards the 
place where the house had stood." While they were deliberating upon the course to be pursued they 
heard the reports of three guns in quick succession on their right and left, and, fearing they might be 
surrounded, " retired all night and came in the morning to the camp at Armstrong's " (Ibid. p. 155). 
This certainly affords conclusive evidence that the fort Captain McKee was Instructed to build in 
January, 1766, was not located at his trading house near the mouth of Stone Valley creek. 


the fort and used for other purposes. The business had been conducted 
under the auspices of the government, with Nathaniel Holland as resident 
agent several years, and during this time the coming and going of parties of 
friendly Indians were the principal occurrences that varied the monotony of 
routine garrison Ufe. 

Fort Augusta again became the scene of active military operations in 
1763. A preconcerted attack had been made upon the western posts by the 
Indians under the direction of Pontiac and Guyasutha, and measures were 
at once taken to put Fort Augusta in a condition for defense. In the tem- 
porary absence of Lieutenant Graydon, Lieutenant Samuel Hunter was in 
command. On the 5th of June, 1763, he received a letter from John Harris 
informing him that Colonel Clapham and twelve men had been killed at 
Pittsburgh; on the following day he had a letter from Colonel Armstrong, 
stating that the post at Sandusky had been taken; he was also warned by a 
friendly Indian to be on his guard, as the fort was in danger of attack at any 
time. It was at once ordered that the reveille should beat at daybreak, when all 
the garrison were to proceed to the bastions under arms. Twelve men, with 
a sergeant and corporal, were detailed to mount guard, and a sentry was 
stationed in each bastion. The gates were ordered to be shut at dusk. 
Directions were given that all the small arms should be charged, "that each 
man might have two or three by him for present use." It was subsequently 
ordered that no soldier should have any dealings with the Indians upon any 
pretense whatever, or fire his piece except at the command of an officer or at 
an enemy; and the sentries were directed to let no "man, woman, or child 
go on the ramparts." On the 8th of June the entire garrison was employed 
"to put the fort in the best position" for immediate defense and continued at 
that work several weeks. Lieutenant Graydon arrived on the 15th and" 
Colonel Burd on the 18th instant; the latter at once assumed command. 
One week later a conference was held with more than a score of Indians, 
during which he took the precaution to have the garrison under arms. In 
order to insure a supply of water in case of siege the construction of a 
covered way to the river was begun on the 29th of June, when "three houses 
at the south end of the town" were pulled down. On the following day it 
was ordered, "That every one passing through either one of the barrier 
gates shut them after them to prevent cattle going into the covered way; 
also, to walk on the covered way as near the pickets as they can." On the 2d 
of July the " pickets in the covered way" were finished. The erection of a 
"new guard house over the back gate" was begun July 20th, probably with 
the former materials of the Indian trading house; it was completed and 
first occupied on the 4th of August. While these improvements were in 
progress a barricade was thrown up against the upper side of the redoubt 
and the defenses otherwise strengthened. 

Although the anticipated attack did not occur, military movements of 


some consequence were made on both branches of the Susquehanna. On 
Thursday, August 25, 1763, at twelve m., Captains Patterson and Bedford 
and George Allen arrived at Fort Augusta with one hundred fourteen 
men, and left on the same day to destroy several Indian towns sixty miles 
distant on the West Branch. They encountered the enemy thirty miles up 
the river, and in the skirmish that ensued four of their party were killed and 
four wounded. Captains Patterson and Bedford returned to the fort at noon 
on Saturday, the 27th instant; George Allen and John Wood, with the 
remainder of the party, arrived at five p. m. on the same day. On their 
retreat down the river the latter had intercepted three Indians from Bethle- 
hem, who, as they were suspected of carrying intelligence and supplies to 
the hostile Indians, were killed on the hill north of Northumberland. The 
entire party remained at Port Augusta until Sunday, August 28th, when 
they departed for the settlements whence they had come. A second expedi- 
tion against the Indian rendezvous at Great Island was made in the follow- 
ing October under the command of Colonel John Armstrong. After destroy- 
ing the Indian corn fields arid villages, the party retreated down the West 
Branch; Captains Patterson, Bedford, Sharp, Laughlin, and Crawford, 
with two hundred men, arrived at Port Augusta on the 11th of October, and 
Captains Piper and Lindsay, with fifty men, on the following day; Colonel 
Armstrong had left the latter party about seven miles from the fort, " intend- 
ing to go the nearest way to CarHsle." On the 13th of October Major 
Clayton reached the fort with eighty men, en route to Wyoming; they 
resumed their march on the 15th, accompanied by Lieutenant Hunter and 
twenty-four of the garrison. On the 20th instant they returned, having 
destroyed what provisions and implements they found. 

The journal kept at Port Augusta from June 5 to December 31, 1763, is 
not prolific in details. The arrival and departure of the batteaux and supply 
trains and their convoys are regularly noted; cattle and sheep were brought 
in herds, as formerly, and slaughtered upon the approach of winter, when 
the meat was cured and stored. These and other matters relating to the 
commissary department, the defensive operations and offensive movements 
noted, the holding of courts martial, intelligence brought by Indians, 
and the state of the weather, mainly constitute the subject matter of the 
journal. It was evidently begun by Lieutenant Hunter ; after Colonel Burd's 
arrival the entry for each day was signed by the officer of the guard, in which 
capacity the names of Lieutenants Graydon, Himter, Wiggins, Blyth, and 
Hendricks, Mr. Irvine, and Colonel Burd appear. The Colonel arrived on the 
18th of June and remained until the 20th of August; he again arrived on 
the 9th of November and remained several weeks. On the 23d qi February 
1764, he wrote Governor Penn that he had "sent out sundry parties [from 
Fort Augusta] to endeavor to discover and come up with the enemy to pre- 
vent their falling down upon the inhabitants, and, in case they should have 


gone past, to lay an ambush for them on their return," but without making 
any discoveries at all. Lieutenant Graydon was in command in November 
and December, 1764, and May, 1765. 

At this point it may be proper to summarize the numerical strength of 
the garrison at the various dates to which authentic information relates. 
James Young, the commissary general, visited Shamokin in July, 1756, with 
instructions to pay three hundred eighty-four privates and sixteen sergeants, 
but foimd more than that number in the camp, beside the detachments 
at McKee's and Port Hunter. "The garrison consists of three hundred 
twenty effective men," wrote Colonel Clapham on the 14th of October, 1756. 
On the 18th he informed the Governor that Captain Christian Buss6 arrived 
at the fort on the evening of that day with his company, which formed part 
of Lieutenant Colonel Conrad Weiser's battalion. He also transmitted a 
return of the regiment on the 18th of October; it shows seven companies, of 
which the respective strength was as follows: colonel's, forty-three; major's, 
forty-four; Captain Lloyd's, thirty -nine; Captain Shippen's, forty-four; Cap- 
tain Work's, forty-three; Captain Hambright's, forty-nine; Captain Salter's, 
forty-four — total, three hundred six, of whom one hundred sixty-four were 
"duty men." There were fourteen sergeants, fourteen corporals, and seven 
drummers; two bakers, three blacksmiths, one herdsman, fourteen cooks, 
thirty-seven carpenters, six masons, five sawyers, six coal burners, two clerks, 
two butchers, and four brickmakers; four were on furlough, four on provost 
duty, fourteen sick and lame, and three attending the sick; six deserters 
were reported. Captain Buss6's company was not included in this report; it 
was probably not regarded as part of the regular garrison, and on the 8th of 
November was ordered to return to its former station. When Major Burd 
arrived (December 8, 1756,) there were two hundred eighty men "doing duty" 
and nine ofiScers "for duty." The terms for which many of the men had 
enlisted expired in the following spring, and three companies of Lieutenant Col- 
onel Weiser's battahon — those of Captains Patterson, Wetterholt, and Morgan 
— were ordered to Port Augusta to take their places. Captain James Patterson 
arrived with his company on the 2d of April, 1757, and on the 6th more than 
a hundred men whose terms had expired took their departure. Captain 
John Nicholas Wetterholt and Lieutenant James Handshaw arrived on the 
27th of April with fifty men, and Captain Jacob Morgan and Lieutenant 
Andrew Engel on the 4th of May with thirty men. "A great many dis- 
charged men" left the fort on the 10th of May and others on the 15th. Their 
former officers thereupon engaged in recruiting, and in the course of a few 
months the companies that originally composed the garrison were strength- 
ened sufficiently to permit the withdrawal of the re -enforcement from Weiser's 

On the 1st of January, 1758, Captain Shippen reported eight companies, 
accredited, respectively, to Major James Burd and Captains Thomas Lloyd, 


Joseph Shippen, Patrick Work, David Jamison, John Hambright, and Levi 
Trump, and Lieutenant Patrick Davis. The total number of men was three 
hundred thirty-seven, of whom two hundred thirty-two were fit for duty. 
Adjutant Kern's return of February 5, 1758, states that there were twenty- 
five companies in the provincial service at that time, eight of which were 
stationed at Fort Augusta, from which the relative importance of that post 
may be inferred. These eight companies, according to Commissary Yoimg's 
report of February 9th, numbered three hundred sixty-two men. The 
"Return of the garrison at Fort Augusta, consisting of detachments from the 
First and Second battalions of the Pennsylvania regiment. Major Thomas 
Lloyd, commandant," April 1, 1758, shows a total of three hundred forty- 
eight men, two hundred five of whom were fit for duty; there were eight 
companies, accredited, respectively, to Lieutenant Colonel James Burd, Major 
Thomas Lloyd, and Captains Joseph Shippen, Patrick Work, David Jami- 
son, John Hambright, Levi Trump, and Asher Clayton. Shortly afterward 
nearly the entire effective force was detached for service in Forbes's expedi- 
tion against Fort Duquesne, and on the 2d of June but four men of Colonel 
Burd's company, fourteen of Major Lloyd's, thirteen of Major Shippen's, 
fifteen of Captain Work's, eighteen of Captain Jamison's, four of Captain 
Hambright's, forty of Captain Trump's, and thirteen of Captain Clayton's 
remained — a total of one hundred twenty-one, of whom ninety-nine were fit 
for duty. Captain Trump, the commandant at that time, wrote Governor 
Denny on the 1st of July that " Captain Robert Eastburn and Captain [Paul] 
Jackson arrived here on the 20th ultimo, with part of their companies. 
Thirty of their men, according to orders, they left at Hunter's fort, under 
the command of Ensign Price." In his report for July 1st he gives the total 
number of men as one hundred eighty -nine, of whom one hundred sixty were 
fit for duty. Peter Bard, the local commissary, accompanied the detachments 
of Captains Eastburn and Jackson, and in a letter to the Governor on the 1st 
of July says: "What were here before we came, one htmdred twenty odd, are 
the cuUings of the whole battahon, and several of them sick and lame, so 
that we have but a very weak garrison." The state of affairs on the 19th of 
July was thus described by Captain Tramp; — 

Captain Montgomery arrived here on the 16th instant with three subalterns and 
sixty-two private men, who were 'drafts out of several companies of the newly raised 
levies. General Forbes has ordered Captain Robert Eastburn and Captain Paul Jack- 
son and their subalterns with thirty-five of each company (which is more than they 
have here) to march and join him at Raystown; liliewise ordered me to draft forty of 
the best men belonging to Colonel Burd's battalion and send them to him with two 
officers, viz.: Lieutenant Brodhead and Ensign Haller. There is but one officer left 
here beside myself of Colonel Burd's battalion, which is Ensign Henry; I have no 
ensign; the above drafts march from this' place this day. There is only one hundred 
forty-three men left here, out of which number there's ten whose times are expired 
and will not enlist again, beside two men more that Major Lloyd has sent discharges 
for; and a great part of them that are left are blind, lame, sick, old, and decrepit, not 
fit to be intrusted with any charge. 


On the 1st of August and 1st of September, 1758, Captain Trump 
reported one hundred sixty-nine men, accredited to fifteen different com- 
panies, ranging in numerical strength from one to thirty; one hundred forty- 
one were fit for duty on the 1st of August and one hundred twenty -two on 
the 1st of September. When Colonel Burd, accompanied by Ensign Morgan 
and two companies, arrived on the 15th of February, 1760, the garrison 
numbered thirty-six men, who " marched off " four days later. Two com- 
panies, accredited to Colonel Burd and Captain Caleb Graydon, respectively, 
constituted the garrison on the 1st of October, 1763; the total number of 
men was eighty-eight, of whom sixty were fit for duty. On the 20th of 
July, 1764, the " Board of Commissioners for Defense " decided to maintain 
four companies between the Susquehanna and Delaware, " including thirty 
men to garrison Fort Augusta," who were to be "victualled by the crown." 
In the return of the muster of the First battalion at Lancaster, July 23-25, 
1764, forty-seven men are accredited to Captain Hunter's company and 
sixteen as a "detachment of Captain Graydon's;" they were detailed for 
service on Bouquet's expedition, leaving Captain Graydon in command of the 
thirty who remained in garrison at Fort Augusta. Some difficulty was 
experienced in providing funds for their pay, as evidenced by the following 
message from the Governor to the Assembly: — 

Gentlemen: From the great importance of Fort Augusta to the protection of this 
Province when engaged in a war with the Indians, I thought it absolutely necessary 
to keep a garrison in it the last year, and am of opinion that, till the final conclu- 
sion of a peace with the savages, it will be highly imprudent to abandon that post. 
The garrison has been paid up to the 1st of January last year out of the supplies 
granted to his Majesty last year, but as that fund is nearly exhausted, I recommend it 
to you to consider and provide ways and means for the future subsistence and support 
of the troops stationed there till it may be thought advisable either to reduce or 
disband them. John Penn.* 

February 9, 1765. 

The reply of the Assembly was as follows: — 

After due consideration of your message dated the 9th instant we are of opinion 
that, as the cannon and other military stores at Fort Augusta can not be at present 
removed from thence, it may be prudent to defer any resokition concerning the evacu- 
ation of that post until further certainty of peace being firmly established with the 
Indians ; yet, in the meantime, as the fund from which that garrison has been paid up 
to the 1st of last month is nearly exhausted, we should approve an immediate reduc- 
tion of the troops stationed there; although, in respect to disbanding the whole garrison 
we can only recommend to your Honor and the provincial commissioners, when more 
satisfied of the Indians' fidelity and conveniency offers for water carriage from Sha- 
mokin, to lose no time in removing the cannon and stores above mentioned and 
disbanding the remainder of the garrison, in order to ease the public of that burthen 
whenever it can be done with safety and prudence.^ 

Colonel Bouquet's expedition to the Muskingum in the autumn of 1764 
had been entirely successful; the Indians sued for peace, and gave hostages 

* Colonial Eecords, Vol. IX. pp. 244-245. 
t Colonial Eecords, Vol. IX.' p. 246. 


as security for the release of all their prisoners when a general treaty 
should be ratified. As soon as Governor Penn received intelligence that they 
had. fulfilled thdir promises to Colonel Bouquet in this and other respects he 
" gave orders that Fort Augusta should be evacuated and commissioned Col- 
onel Francis to settle the accounts of that garrison." It does not appear 
that his orders were immediately carried into execution, however; the follow- 
ing is the transcript of a letter, hitherto unpublished and now in the posses- 
sion of WiUiam T. Grant, of Sunbury, which affords some information regard- 
ing the subsequent military occupation of this post: — 

Philadelphia, April 21, 1768. 

Sik: Although Fort Augusta, which you were heretofore ordered to keep posses- 
sion of, may be within the words of an act of Assembly lately made for removing set- 
tlers from the lauds unpurchased of the Indians, yet I am persuaded it was not within 
the design of the law. You will, therefore, with the people that were left there with you, 
continue to keep possession of it as before the passing [of] the act. But I desire you 
will take special care that no new settlements are made there or in the neighborhood 
of it beyond the line of the purchase, for any such new settlements will be within the 
Intent of the act, and those who presume to settle in disobedience of it may depend upon 
being prosecuted in the most vigorous manner. I am. Sir, ^ 

Your most obedient humble servant, 

Joh::^ Pektst. 

Captain Samuel Hunter. 

From this it appears that a nominal garrison was sustained at Fort Augus- 
ta in 1768, with Captain Hunter as commandant, and that he was also 
intrusted with the duty of administering the law against intruders upon lands 
to which the Indian title had not yet been extinguished. 

The amount of stores, ammunition, and ordnance at the fort were fre- 
quently reported.* Six four-pound cannon, two swivels, and six blunder- 
busses constituted the armament on the 6th of October, 1756. On the 3d of 
November the commanding ofiicer at Fort Hunter was ordered " to weigh 
the two cannon which now lie in the water and place them on the bank at 
some convenient place for transportation;" and on the 19th of May, 1757, 
Major Burd made the following entry in his journal: "This day at eleven a. 
M. Captain Patterson arrived here with the batteaux and brought two four- 
pound cannon." Eight cannon, two swivels, and seven blunderbusses were 
reported by Captain Shippen on the 1st of March, 1758, and by Captain 
Trump on the 1st of June in the same year. On the 19th of July, 1758, 
Captain Trump wrote Governor Denny that " The four pieces of cannon are 
come up that were sent from Philadelphia, but there's not a person to make 
carriages for them, so they'll be useless till such time as there's a fit person 
sent here to make them." Twelve cannon, two swivels, and seven blunder- 

• These reports were usually made by the commissavy or commandant; the following are pub- 
lished in the Pennsylvania Archives : Septembers, 17BG, Vol.11, p. 711-,; October 6 1756 Vol III pp 4 
5; December 3, 17S6, Vol. III. p. 70; March 1, 1758, Vol. III. pp. 347-348; June 1, 17,'.S, Vol III pp 406- 
407; August 1, 17B8, Vol. III. p. 502; October 1, 1758, Vol. III. pp. 560-551; December 1, 17S8 Vol' III 
pp. 568-569; December 6, 1758, Vol. III. p. 674; October l, 1703, Vol. IV. p. 122. 


busses were reported by Commissary Bard on the 1st of August, 1st of Octo- 
ber, and 1st of December, 1758, and by Captain Gray don on the 1st of Octo- 
ber, 1763. 

One of these old cannon is now in the possession of Sunbury Steam Fire 
Company, No. 1; the following interesting facts in its history have been 
developed by the researches of Dr. E. H. Awl: From Fort Augusta it was 
taken to Muncy and not returned until 1774; it was thrown into the river, 
out of which it was taken by Jacob Mantz, Samuel Hahn, and George Shoop 
in 1798. It then remained at Sunbury until lS24, when it was surreptitiously 
removed to Selinsgrove and placed in the cellar of a Mr. Baker. In the fol- 
lowing year a party from Sunbury, composed of George Hileman, John Epley, 
John Weaver, John Pickering, James McCormick, Jacob Diehl, and others, 
succeeded in regaining possession and placed it under a bed in the attic of John 
Weaver's hotel (the old stone building at the southeast corner of Market a^d 
Third streets). It was brought into requisition at the next 4th of July cele- 
bration and then hidden in the cellar of Robins' s tannery on Market street, 
from which it was shortly afterward abstracted by Charles Awl, Samuel 
Kessler, Charles Baum, Elias Hummel, Michael Kleckner, Thomas Hala- 
bush, Samuel Winter, and Thomas Getgen, taken to New Berlin, and con- 
cealed in the cellar of a hotel. Intelligence of its hiding place having 
reached Sunbury, Charles Bradford, Jacob ELeefer, Ezekiel Follmer, and 
others went to New Berlin in the night for the purpose of recovering the 
stolen property. They entered the cellar by a side door; the cannon had 
been placed upon a raised platform, which collapsed under their weight when 
they attempted to lift it off. The noise wakened a woman, who came down the 
inside stairway with a candle; Bradford knocked it from her hand, and the 
entire party sought safety in flight. Selinsgrove next succeeded in securing 
possession of the cannon, and from that place it was brought to Sunbury in 
1834 by Dr. R. H. Awl, Charles Rhinehart, Henry V. Simpson, Thomas 
McEwen, Jeremiah Mantz, Jacob and John Richtstine, Isaac Zeigler> 
Edward Lyon, Peter Zimmerman, and George Mahan. Here it has since 
remained. In 1849 an attempt was made to remove it to DanviUe, but 
Captains Charles J. Bruner and Henry Wharton had been warned of the 
plot and the cannon was securely guarded at the house of Benjamin Krphn 
on Front street. When the Danville party arrived they found their designs 
effectually frustrated, and since that time Sunbury has enjoyed undisputed 
possession of this migratory piece of ordnance. It was chained to a five- 
hundred-pound stone in the " old barracks " on Front street for a time, and 
subsequently kept in Peter Weimer's cellar, Zeigler's tannery, the county 
jail, John Shissler's cellar, etc. For some years it was in the possession of 
Samuel Huey, from whom the present owners obtained it. 

Several allusions are made to the flag in the official papers relating to 
Fort Augusta. "We want a good, large flag to grace it," wrote Commissary 


Bard on the 4th of September, 1756. The want was evidently supplied, but 
on the 1st of July, 1758, it was again expressed by Captain Trump, in the 
following words: "Our colors are entirely worn out, and should be extremely 
glad of a new one; the staff is seventy feet high." Captain Graydon made 
the following entry in the journal under date of September 14, 1763: "This 
day got a new flag-staff placed and our flag hoisted." 

Reference is frequently made to the health of the garrison. There was a 
hospital at the fort, but it was not constructed with reference to sanitary 
requirements, and on the 10th of February, 1757, Dr. John Morgan, the post 
surgeon, made complaint to Major Burd regarding the amount of "under 
water " in it; he also attributed his lack of success in the treatment of patients 
to the want of fresh provisions and vegetables, and readily assented to a prop- 
osition for the removal of the sick to Fort Halifax or Hunter. The latter 
was selected; and "the hospital, consisting of twenty-four sick," was sent 
thither by batteaux on the 23d of February. "Forty of the hospital" left 
the fort by similar conveyance on the 6th of April; their destination, and 
possibly that of the others also, was probably Harris's Ferry, for Doctor 
Morgan is reported in the return of April 1st as absent since March 29th " visit- 
ing the sick at Harris's." "I desired Captain Young to acquaint your 
Honor that there was neither surgeon nor doctor here," wrote Commissary 
Bard from Fort Augusta on- the 1st of July, 1758, "since which he informs 
me there is one appointed for us; I hope he will be here soon, as several of 
our men are suffering for the want of one. I believe Doctor Morgan left us 
but few drugs, as the shop looks very thin." Dr. John Bond was commis- 
sioned as surgeon on the 11th of May, 1758, and his name appears in the 
returns of August 1, September 1, and December 1, 1758. On the 17th of 
October, 1763, Colonel Burd wrote that a surgeon and medicines were much 
needed, which is clearly evident from the following paragraph in his letter of 
November 25th: "The smallpox has been brought to this place, I believe by 
the volunteer parties; there is simdry of the soldiers down in them and a 
great number of the garrison has never had them, so that I expect they will 
be infected. I have no medicines, and therefore nature must do the whole." 
On the 10th of December he wrote: "I am glad a surgeon is allowed; 
Lieutenant Thomas Wiggins of my company is a surgeon, having served his 
apprenticeship with Doctor Thompson in Lancaster. He attended my family 
there; I always found him careful and I believe he understands his business, 
therefore would recommend him to your Honor for the double commission." 
He was accordingly appointed, and was the last resident surgeon at the fort. 

But meager provision was made for the spiritual interests of the garrison. 
Among the Sunday entries in Major Burd's journal are the following: De- 
cember 2, 1756 — "I have thought it my duty to-day to employ the carpen- 
ters in working at the beef cisterns. This day it rained so hard that we 
could not have sermon." March 19th— "This day we had two sermons, one 


forenoon and one afternoon, by Doctor Morgan." March 26th — "Had prayers 
and a sermon this forenoon and prayers in the afternoon by Doctor Morgan." 
January 2, 1757 — "The weather this day would not permit sermon nor 
prayers." January 9th — No reference to religious exercises. January 16th 
— "Doctor Morgan read prayers this morning." January 23d — "We had 
prayers to-day at eleven o'clock." January 30th — "This day it rained so 
hard all day that we could not have prayers." February 6th — "We could 
not have sermon nor prayers." February 13th — "So extremely cold that 
I omit prayers, the officers complaining it was too severe." February 
20th — "The fort was so wet we could not have sermon nor prayers to- 
day." February 27th — "No prayers on account of the severity of the 
weather." Parson Steele, the first regularly appointed chaplain, arrived on 
the 24th of March; on the following Sunday (the 27th) Major Burd wrote: 
"It snowed and rained so much to-day that we could not have sermon, but 
we had prayers toward evening in a general parade and the chaplain prayed 
in each of the barracks and the hospital." It is not probable that Parson 
Steele remained very long; he returned on the 10th of July, but again took 
his departure on the 11th of August. 

The accompanying plan of Fort Augusta is reproduced from that pub- 
lished in Voliune XII. of the Pennsylvania Archives, to which the following 
explanatory notes are appended: — 

The above plan was drawn from a copy of the original to which the following note 
is attached : Isaac Craig, engineer. " Faithfully copied by me for Richard Biddle, Esq., 
from the original deposited in the geographical and topographical collection attached 
to library of his late Majesty, George the Third, and presented by his Majesty, King 
George the Fourth, to the British Museum. 

London, March, 1830. William Osman." 

Fort Augusta stands at about forty yards distance from the river, on a bank twenty- 
four feet from the surface of the water; that side of the fort marked with single lines, 
which fronts the river, is a strong palisado, the bases of the logs being sunk four feet 
into the earth, the tops holed and spiked into strong ribbands, which run transversely 
and are mortised into several logs at twelve feet distance from each other, which are 
larger and higher than the rest, the joints between each palisado broke with firm logs 
well fitted on the inside and supported by the platform. The three sides represented by 
double lines are composed of logs laid horizontally, neatly done, dove-tailed, and trun- 
nelled down; they are squared — some of the lower ends three feet diameter, the least 
from two feet one half to eighteen inches diameter — and are mostly white oak. There 

are six four cannon mounted, one in the of each bastion fronting the river and 

one in the —^ , and one in the flank of each of the opposite bastions; the woods 

cleared to the distance of three hundred yards, and some progress made in cutting the 
bank of the river into a glacis. 

On the 23d* of September, 1756, Colonel Clapham transmitted a plan of 
the fort to Governor Denny — probably the original of which that in the Brit- 
ish Museum is a copy, as the foregoing description harmonizes fully with 
what is known of the fort at that date. The magazine, Indian trading house, 
etc. had not been erected at that time, nor are they indicated on this plan; 



moreover, six cannon constituted the armament until May 19, 1757, so that 
the plan must have been made prior to that date. 

The site of the fort was embraced in the manor of Pomfret, and con- 
tinued in possession of the Penn family until 1786. The demolition of the 

works probably began as soon as it became evident that they would be 
no longer required for military purposes. Colonel Samuel Hunter lived at 
the fort until his death in 1784; his residence and that of his family after 
his decease was the building originally erected as the colonel's quarters of 
which an engraving is herewith given. It is reproduced from a painting in 



the possession of Captain John Buyers, of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, which 
bears the following indorsement: "A view of the 'old house' at Fort 
Augusta, one mile above Sunbury, Pennsylvania, at the junction of the North 
and West Branches of the Susquehanna, in the year 1825. Painted by Mrs. 


AmeKa Donnel." This is believed to be the only picture of any part of the 
fort now extant, and is here published for the first time. If the author's 
inference regarding the date of the plan is correct, the building represented 
was erected in 1756, and was, until the time of its removal, the oldest house 
in the upper Susquehanna valley. It fronted toward the interior of the fort. 


That part of the porch north of the door was originally inclosed, and formed 
a small apartment with one window on the north; in this apartment reliable 
tradition asserts that the first court for Northumberland county was held. 

The close of the French and Indian war and the collapse of Pontiac's 
conspiracy were followed by the disbandment of the provincial forces and 
virtual evacuation of the frontier posts; a feeling of security pervaded the 
border communities, the conviction became general that a period of tran- 
quiHty was at hand, and the progress of settlement on the northern and west- 
ern confines of the Province early rendered further concessions of territory 
from the Indians necessary. One important result of the war was the reces- 
sion of much the larger part of the purchase of 1754; this was done at a 
treaty at Easton in October, 1758, when the chiefs of the Six Nations also 
executed a release for the territory east of the 'Allegheny mountains and south 
of a line northwest and west from a point on the Susquehanna river one mile 
above the mouth of Penn's creek. The next purchase, the last and most 
important under Proprietary auspices, was consummated at Fort Stan- 
wix, now Kome, New York, November 5, 1768; the territory ceded was 
bounded on the north and west by the North Branch of Susquehanna, To- 
wanda creek, Lycoming creek, the West Branch of Susquehanna, and the Alle- 
gheny and Ohio rivers from Kittanning to the line of the State. 

The first survey in Northumberland county within the boimds of the purchase 
of 1768 was the manor of Pomfret. The warrant was issued, October 29, 1768, 
and the survey was made on the 19th of December in the same year by 
William Scull, deputy surveyor. The manor was bounded as follows: 
Beginning at a sugar tree marked T. E. P. on the east bank of the Susque- 
hanna river at the south side of the mouth of Shamokin creek; thence up the 
east bank of the Susquehanna river and the North Branch thereof eleven hun- 
dred eighty-two perches to a beech marked T. E. P. eight perches northeast 
of a small run; thence south ten degrees east two hundred eighty perches to 
a small hickory marked T. E. P. ; thence north eighty degrees east eight 
hundred forty-four perches to a chestnut oak marked T. E. P. ; thence south 
ten degrees east four hundred perches to a pine marked T. E. P. ; thence 
south sixty-seven degrees west eight hundred sixty-five perches to a post; 
thence south eighty degrees west seven hundred perches to the place of 
beginning, embracing four thousand seven hundred sixty-six acres and allow- 
ance of six per cent. 

The officers' lands were next surveyed. The officers of the First and 
Second battalions of the Pennsylvania regiment who had served in Bouquet's 
expedition formed an association* at Carlisle in 1764 and entered into an 
agreement to " apply to the Proprietaries for a tract of land, sufficiently 
extensive and conveniently situated, whereon to erect a compact and defensi- 

*The minutes ot this association are published In the Collections of the Historical Society of 
Pennsylvania, Vol. I. ; extended treatment ot the subject Is given in Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, 
pp. 26-32. 


Me town." In pursuance of this agreement an application was made to the 
Proprietaries on the 30th of April, 1765; as stated therein, their object was, 
" to embody themselves in a compact settlement on some good land at some 
•distance from the inhabited part of the Province, where, by their industry 
they might procure a comfortable subsistence for themselves, and by their 
arms, union, and increase become a powerful barrier to the Province." They 
requested the Proprietaries to make a new purchase from the Indians, and 
apportion among them forty thousand acres of arable land on the West 
Branch of the Susquehanna. Four years elapsed before their plans were 
realized. On the 3d of February, 1769, it was ordered by the Board of 
Property " That Colonel Francis and the officers of the First and Second 
battahons of the Pennsylvania regiment be allowed to take up twenty-four 
thousand acres, to be divided among them m distinct surveys, on the waters 
of the West Branch of Susquehanna, to be seated with a family for each three 
iundred acres within two years from the time of survey, paying five pounds 
Sterling per hundred and one penny Sterling per acre." The officers acceded 
to the terms proposed at a meeting at Fort Augusta in the latter part of 
JFebruary, and appointed Captains Hunter and Irvine to accompany William 
Scull in making the surveys of their lands east of the West Branch. At a 
meeting of the officers at Harris's Ferry on the 16th of May he reported 
having surveyed six thousand* ninety-six acres, which were apportioned to 
Lieutenant Colonel Turbutt Francis, Ensign A. Stein, Captain Samuel Hun- 
ter, Captain Nicholas Houssegger, Lieutenant Daniel Hunsicker, Captain 
WiUiam Piper, and Lieutenant James Hays, all of whom were officers in the 
First battalion except Captain Piper, of the Second. Colonel Francis's 
tract embraced the site of Milton; Ensign Stein's, the mouth of Muddy 
run; Captain Hunter's, the mouth of Warrior run; Captain Houssegger's, 
the site of Watsontown, above which were those of Lieutenant Hunsicker, 
Captain Piper, and Lieutenant Hays. 

Applications for lands in the new purchase were first received at the pro- 
vincial land office on the 3d of April, 1769, agreeably to the following 
advertisement : — 

The land office will be opened on tlie 3d day of April next at ten o'clock in the 
morning to receive applications from all persons inclinable to take up lands in the new 
purchase, upon the terms of five pounds Sterling per hundred acres and one penny per 
acre per annum quit-rent. No person will be allowed to take up more than three hun- 
dred acres without the special license of the Proprietaries or Governor. The surveys 
upon all applications are to be made and returned within six months and the whole pur- 
chase money paid at one payment, and patent taken out within twelve months from the 
date of the application, with interest and quit-rent from six months after the applica- 
tion. If there be a failure on the side of the party applying, in either procuring his 
survey and return to be made or in paying the purchase money and obtaining the 
patent, the application and survey will be utterly void, and the Proprietaries will be at 
liberty to dispose of the land to any other person whatever. And, as these terms will 
be strictly adhered to by the Proprietaries, all persons are hereby warned and cautioned 


not to apply for more land than they -will he ahle to pay for in the time herehy given 

for that purpose. 

By order of the Governor, 

James Tilghmak, 

Secretary of the Land Office. 

Philadelphia Land Office, February 23, 1769. 

N. B. 8o long a day is fixed to give the back inhabitants time to repair to the 


As it was evident that several applications might be made for the same 
location, all were put together in a box or trunk and thoroughly mixed, after 
which they were drawn out, one by one, by a disinterested person. In this 
manner questions of priority were obviated. The land desired was usually 
described by natural boundaries or characteristics, proximity to streams or 
mountains, etc. Delaware run, Warrior run. Muddy run, Lim.estone run, 
and Chillisquaque creek were referred to by their present names, which had 
thus gained general currency prior to 1769. 

There was an immediate and rapid influx of population to the territory 
thus opened to purchase and settlement. Although that part of Northum- 
berland county south of Mahanoy mountain was included in the purchase of 
1749, it was not settled to any extent before the Indian war, during which 
the few inhabitants were compelled to seek safety beyond the Kittatinny 
range. After the restoration of peace the valleys of Mahanoy creek and its 
tributaries. Stone valley, and the Mahantango region early received a large 
German immigration, which also extended to the northern parts of the county 
and has since found a large element of its population. Between the North 
Branch of Susquehanna and the Muncy hiUs the pioneers were principally 
Scotch-Irish; this nationality was also represented in the valleys of Boyle's 
run, Hollowing run, and Shamokin creek, while many families of English or 
Welsh origin found their way into the territory now comprised in Rush, 
Shamokin, and the adjoining townships. The Germans were principally 
from Berks county, the Scotch-Irish from Lancaster, the English and Welsh 
from New Jersey. So rapid was the settlement of the region drained by the 
Susquehanna river, the North and West Branches, and their tributaries, that 
the county of Northumberland was erected on the 21st of March, 1772, 
less than three years after the purchase of 1768 was opened. Two townships, 
Augusta and Turbut, originally comprised its present area; the following 
hsts of pioneers have been compiled from the earliest assessment records of 
these townships now extant. 

Augusta township originally embraced that part of Northumberland 
county south of the North Branch of Susquehanna; the following is a list 
of taxable inhabitants in 1774: William Boyle, Sebastian Brosius, Edward 
Biddle, John Clark, Jacob Conrad, Robert Conn, Adam Conrad, Uriah 
Clark, Sebastian Crevous, George Cliver, Henry Cliver, William Clark, 

•"Smith's Laws, Vol. II. p. 16S. 


Frederick Dtuikelberger, Eobert Desha, William Davis, John Doane, George 
Ecole, Lawrence Eichinger, Martin Epley, Philip Everhart, David Eowler, 
John Fisher, William Forster, Peter Ferst, Henry Ferst, Anthony Fricker, 
David Fox, _3amuel Flowers, Valentine Geiger, Peter Gearhart, Charles 
Garment, Solomon Green, Stophel Gettig, Alexander Grant, Nicholas Gron- 
inger, Charles Gough, Ellis Hughes, Samuel Harris, Samuel Hunter, Max 
Haines, Jacob Haverliag, Charles Hufty, George Hymn, John Harrison, 
George Hawke, Adam Haverling, Anthony Hinkle, Thomas Hughes, Reuben 
Haines, Henry Hollier, Philip Johnston, Gaspe;r Kobel, Daniel Kobel, 
Samuel Krooks, Henry Kobel, Henry Kries, Peter Kobel, Henry Keller, 
Andrew Ketterley, Nicholas Kofield, Jacob Karron, James Logan, Martin 
Lister, Gottlieb Lefler, E. Lewis, John Liss, Jonathan Lodge, Benjamin 
Lightfoot, William Maclay, Joseph McCarrell, Eobert McBride, William 
Murdock, Arthur Moody, David Mead, Jacob Martin, John Moll, John Miller, 
Jacob Minium, Thomas McGahan, Patrick McCormick, Hugh McKinley, 
David McKinney, Nicholas Miller, Eli. Mead, James McNeill, James Mc- 
Clegg, Joseph McDonald, Isaac Meyer, John Moore, Christian Mowry, David 
McNear, John Musser, George Overmeier, John Peiffer, John Philips, Sam- 
uel Pearson, James Parr, Jacob Read, Frederick Reely, Zachariah Robins, 
Cornelius Row, Henry Reigert, John Ream (butcher), John Ream, Michael 
Redman, Robert Randall, Thomas Runyon, Valentine Rebuck, George Reitz, 
Gustavus Ross, Joseph Shippen, Matthias Slough, James Starr, John Simp- 
son, David Shakspeare, William Scull, Casper Suavely, Samuel Shakspeare, 
Stephen Sutton, Thomas Steinbach, John Sober, Daniel Smith, Gaspar 
Schneider, George Shellam, Michael Shaffer, John ShafEer, Nicholas Shuter, 
Peter Smith, Abraham Stein, Jacob Schertz, Conrad Schneider, John Spoon, 
Stophel Stump, John Titsal, Michael Troy, George Vaughan, Peter Whit- 
more, Samuel Weiser, Frederick Weiser, Stophel Whitmore, George Wolf, 
Jonas Weaver, Michael Weaver, Aaron Wilkerson, Frederick Wimbolt, John 
Weitzel, James Wild, John Wall, Peter Withington, Francis West, Mordecai 
Tamall, Francis Yamall, Ellis Youngman, Jonas Youghan, Jacob Zartman, 
Henry Zartman, Nicholas Zantzinger. 

The following were assessed as single men: John Barker, Nicholas 
Bierly, John BrentHnger, Adam Christy, James Chisnall, Charles Charter, 
Wilham Crooks, George Calhoon, Joseph Disberry, Michael De Armond,, 
John Elser, James Ellis, Bllerton Fowler, John Forsyth, John Feucher, 
Jacob Graff, Joseph Gray, James Gayley, Richard Grosvenor, William Gray, 
George Grant, Jacob Hill, David Harris, Henry Hide, Nicholas Harmer, 
James Hamilton, John Harris, Jr., William Harp, John Hardy, George 
Kiest, William Kennedy, David Johnston, Dennis Leary, Aaron Lane, Jesse 
Lukens, Charles McCann, John McCord, Abraham McGahan, George North, 
Casper Reigert, William Robins, Jacob Ribble, John Robinson, Richard 
Robinson, Lawrence Steinbach, James Silverwood, John Teel, Hugh Turner, 


William Trilmmer, Michael Tobin, Philip Valentine, William Wilsoji, Casper 
Weitzel, John Wiggins, Peter Yarnall, Ludwig the tar burner. 

Turbut township originally embraced all that part of the present area of 
Northumberland county north of the North Branch, with considerable adja- 
cent territory to the east. The following are the names of taxables at the 
first assessment of which there is any record; while the year is not given, it 
bears satisfactory intrinsic evidence of having been taken before the close of 
the colonial period and prior to the year 1775: John Blair, Frederick 
Blue, William Blue, James Biggar, Michael Baimart, Jamfes Brandon, 
Samuel Bailey, Thomas Batman, John Black, Garret Beriry, George Ben- 
nett, Hawkins Boone, Michael Bright, Dominick Bradley, John Brady, John 
Buyers, John Bullion, Michael Bradley, John Boyd, William Bailey, Will- 
iam Bonham, Isaac Coldron, John Curry, James Carscaddon, Adam Clark, 
Robert Curry, John Clark, James Cochran, Andrew Clark, Wilham 
Clark, Nathaniel Coltart, Joseph Carson, James Clark, John Comfort, John 
Cheney, John Clark, James Crawford, Anthony Carney, John Cochran, 
Michael Campbell, David Carson, Charles Cochran, William Cooke, William 
Caldwell, Abraham^ Carr, David Chambers, Matthew Cunningham, Cornelius 
Cox, George Calhoon, William Clark, John Cha,mbers, Johnson Cheney, 
John Carothers, John Chattam, Cain Callander, Philip Davis, John Denny, 
Peter Dougherty, Henry Dougherty, John Dixon, James Durham, Neal 
Davis, John Donald, David Davis, John Dunlap, Michael Dowdle, Henry 
Dougherty, Margaret Duncan, William Davis, John De France, Thomas 
Dean, John Dougherty, Adam Dean, Josiah Espy, James Espy, Thomas 
Egan, John Evison, John Emmitt, Alexander Emmons, John Eason, Robert 
Eason, Alexander FuUerton, Garret Freeland, William Fitzsimmons, Barna- 
bas Farran, Benjamin Fulton, Abraham Freeland, Jacob Follmer, Ephraim 
Fowler, Conrad Foutz, George Frederick, George Field, William Fisher, 
John Freeman, WiUiam Forster, Philip Frig, William Gillespie, John Gil- 
lespie, John Gilliland, Alexander Gibson, John Gray, Thomas GasMn, James 
Goudy, Samuel Gordon, Paul Geddis, Charles Gillespie, William George, 
Thomas Ginning, James Galloway, Alexander Grant, Robert Galbraith, Ber- 
tram Galbraith, John Gray, Robert GilfiUan, Reuben Haines, George Hamil- 
ton, Thomas Hughes, James Harrison, David Hays, John Hood, Henry Hoff- 
man, Marcus Hulings, Jacob Hammersley, Simon Hemrod, William Harrison 
James Hays, Michael Hendershott, William Hutchison, John Hambright, 
James Hunter, Thomas Hewitt, Caleb Horton, Samuel Hunter, Jacob Haines, 
Joseph Herbert, Samuel Harris, Hugh Hamilton, Benjamin Hemling, Will- 
iam Hannah, George Haines, William Hoffman, David Ireland, George Irwin, 
Richard Irwin, Francis Irwin, Archibald Irwin, George Irwin, Matthew 
Irwin, John Irwin, Owen Jury, Benjamin Jones, WiUiam Johnston, Henry 
Johnston, Thomas Jordan, Peter Jones, John Johnston, Benjamin Jordan, 
Patrick Kearney, Moses Kirk, Daniel Kelley, David Kennedy, Robert King,' 


William Kennersley, John Lytle, Robert Low, William Layton, Eobert ' 
Luckey, Eobert Luokey, Jr., James Luokey, Joseph Leech, Jonathan Lodge, 
Thomas Lemon, Charles Lomax, Hugh Logue, Cornelius Lamerson, 
Aaron Levy, Andrew Levy, Eobert Luckey, William Linton, Eobert Love, 
Charles Lamerson, Widow Lukens, Eichard Malone, John Montgomery, 
William McKnight, Jacob Miller, Eobert McCaUan, William Mc Williams, 
William Murray, Eobert McCandlish, Eobert McFarling, James McBrier, 
Judah Miller, John McHenry, John Martin, John Mc Williams, James Mur- 
phy, Eobert Mc Williams, John McClenaohan, Hugh Mc Williams, Thomas 
Mahaffey, Eobert Moodie, James Murray, John Murray, George McCandlish, 
James McClung, John McClintock, Alexander McMath, James McKnight, 
Gowan McConnell, Isaac Miller, John Minger, Samuel MoKee, James 
Mahaffey, John Miles, Darius Mead, James McMahan, Adam Mann, William 
Marshall, Eobert McCuUy, Hugh MoCormick, James McClenachan, WiUiam 
Montgomery, George Miller, Frederick Maus, John McFadden, WiUiam Mur- 
dock, Samuel Mann, William McKim, Eobert Martin, Peter Martin, Laughlin 
McCartney, John McAdams, John Moore, John McCuUoch, John McGufPy, 
John Martin, Alexander Murray, John Neilson, James Neely, Thomas Orr, 
Samuel Oaks, Joseph Ogden, William Piper, WiUiam Plunket, Barnabas 
Parson, Eobert Pedrick, Stephen Philips, Edmund Physick, John Pollock, 
William A. Patterson, William Patterson, Mr. Patton, Samuel Purviance, 
Eobert Poyles, Eobert Eeynolds, Isaac Eobison, Ellis Eeed, John Eichey, 
Matthew Eeese, Joseph Eeynolds, Andrew Eussell, Mungo Eeed, William 
Eoss, Alexander Eoddy, Eichey & Company, WiUiam Eeed, Andrew Eobi- 
son, Archibald Simpson, Benjamin Sterritt, Thomas Staddon, Samuel Shaw, 
Alexander Speer, James Semple, John Simpson. This list is evidently not 
quite complete. 

Thirty-two indentured servants and five slaves were reported; the latter 
were accredited as follows: William Maclay, one; Garret Freeland, one; ^ 
James Hays, one; David Ireland, one, and William Plunket, one. 

These were the pioneers of Northumberland county. With the imple- 
ments of peaceful industry they invaded its territory, took possession of its 
soil, removed the primeval forest, and initiated the development of its agri- 
cultural resources. The terms upon which the "New Purchase" was opened 
rendered it possible for men of limited means to buy land, improve it by 
their own labor, and acquire a home; the opportunity was eagerly embraced, 
and thus the early population of the county was composed almost entirely of 
people in humble circumstances. Contemporary assessment records show 
that a horse and cow and eight or ten acres of cultivated land constituted the 
taxable property of the great majority of the farmers of that period, and the 
man who brought with him several horses and cows and means enough to 
employ others to assist him in clearing his land was evidently regarded as 
rich by his neighbors. 


Many interesting characteristics of pioneer life in this county are reflected 
in the journal of Philip V. Fithian, a licentiate of the First Presbytery of 
Philadelphia, who made a journey through Delaware, Maryland, Pennsyl- 
vania, and Virginia in the summer of 1775. The journal, edited by John 
Blair Linn, was first published in 1883-84 in Dr. W. H. Egle's Historical 
Register. He traveled horseback; passing through the Cumberland valley he 
arrived at John Harris's on the Juniata on the 24th of June, 1775 (Saturday) ; 
on the following Monday he rode to Eckert's tavern, within the present limits 
of Snyder county, and thence to Sunbury. The journal is as foUows: — 

Tuesday, June 27. — Rode from the clever Dutchman's to Sunbury over the Susque- 
hanna, fifteen miles. I thiuk the river is a half a mile over, and so shallow that I 
forded it; the bottom is hard rock. Sunbury is ou the northeast bank. It is yet a 
small village, but seems to be growing rapidly. Then I rode on half a mile to one 
Hunter's, within the walls of Fort Augusta. Then I rode onward to Northumberland 
about a mile, but on the way crossed the river twice. 

Here are a number of boatmen employed in going up and down the river to Mid- 
dletown and back. With these and others from the country, this infant village seems 
busy and noisy as a Philadelphia ferry-house. I slept in a room with seven of them, 
and one for a bed-fellow. He was, however, clean and civil, and our bed good and 
neat. Some of them suspected me of being a clergyman, and used me with profound 
respect. " Your Reverence," was the preface of almost every sentence. One of them, 
a genuine Qiw-he, coaxed me by persuasion and complaints out of a sixpence as 

Wednesday June 38. — A very wet, rainy morning. About twelve o'clock marched 
into this town, from the Great Island or " Indian land " fifty miles up the river, thirty 
young fellows, all expert ritlemen, with a drum and fife, under Captain Lowdon. 
They passed on, however, soon to Sunbury, where they remained until Monday. 
Brave youth! go, through the kindness of the God of battles may you prosper and 
save your country. I made some small acquaintance with Mr. Doheda, a smart, 
agreeable Englishman, and one Mr. Chrystie, a dry, sensible, intelligent Scot. 

Thursday, June 29.— I rode up the West Branch two miles, to ]Mr. Andrew Gib- 
son's, on the way crossing the river twice, over a fine, rich island shaded with lofty, 
smooth beech trees; on one of these I carved my name. After dinner I went down 
the river with two of the Messrs. Gibson in a small boat, for exercise and recreation. 
The river is perfectly transparent— so clear that you can see, in the deepest parts, the 
smallest fish. In the evening came the Philadelphia papers. All things look dark 
and unsettled. The Irish regiments have arrived. Government is strengthening its 
forces; the Americans are obstinate in their opposition. The Virginians have differed 
highly with their Governor, and he has thought it necessary to go on board, with his 
family, of one of his Majesty's ships. The Continental Congress is sitting 'in Phila- 
delphia, and recommends Thursday, July 20th, as a day of public humiliation, fastinn', 
and prayer. '^' 

Saturday, July l.—l crossed the river and rode into town; my landlady received 
me kindly. Prom the room where I write this I have a loui^-, full, and beautiful 
prospect of Sunbury down the river. Now, going either up or down, are many boats 
canoes, etc. plying about. In short, this town in a few years, without doubt will be 
grand and busy. I find these two infant villages, like other rivals, are jealous of each 
other's improvements, and Mr. Haines, who is proprietor of this place is much 
annoyed. ' 


Sunday, July 2. — A rainy, damp morning; but little prospects of service. At 
eleven, some few came in; we iiave worship in Mr. McCartney's liouse. After we 
began, many came in from tlie town, and they gave me good attention. Between ser- 
mons several gentlemen kindly invited me to visit them: Mr. Cooke, the high sheriff; 
Mr. Martin, a gentleman who came lately from Jersey; Mr. Barker, a young gentle- 
man, a lawyer, from Ireland last fall. After one hour and a half intermission we had 
service again; many more were present than in the morning. Mr. Scull, the surveyor 
general's agreeable mate, was present at both sermons; Mrs. Hunter, Captain Hunter's 
lady, who lives on the other side of the water at Fort Augusta, and is burgess [lieu- 
tenant] for his county, and is with Mr. Scull now, down at Philadelphia, was also 
present at both sermons with her two small, neat daughters and a beautiful young 
lady, her niece. I was invited by Mrs. Scull to cofEee; present: Mrs. Hunter and the 
young ladies, Mrs. McCartney and her sister, and Mr. Barker. While we were at cof- 
fee the post came into town; we have in the papers accounts of the battle of Bunker 
Hill, near Boston, where the Provincials were worsted; accounts of General "Washing- 
ton and his aid-de-camp, Mr. Mifflin, leaving Philadelphia for the North American 
camp. Mrs. Scull very kindly invited me to make her house my home while I shall 
stay in town. She has a pleasant and valuable garden, the best by far in the town ; it 
has a neat and well designed summer-house. She has a well finished parlor, with 
many pieces of good painting, four, in special, which struck me much — large heads 
from ancient marbles of Hypocrates, Tully, Socrates, and Galen. 

Monday, July 3. — No paper to be had in town, and I have only five sheets. Mr. 
McCartney gave me one pound, five shillings, nine pence for the supply, for which he 
demanded a receipt, a custom here. Breakfasted with Mrs. Scull; I dined with Mr. 
Martin, in West Way street, on the river. After dinner Mr. Haines, the proprietor of 
the town, took me to see a lot he is about to give to the Presbyterian society. It is a 
fine, high spot on the North Way street, and near the river; also near it is a fine spring 
of good water. A number of the town gentlemen proposed, if my appointments will 
allow, to preach in this town on the day of the Continental fast. 

Tuesday, July 4. — Mrs. Scull entertained me with many good, agreeable songs. 
She moved my head toward my charming Laura when she sang the following: — 

Oh ! lovely Delia, virtuous, fair, 
Believe me now thy only dear, 
I'd not exchange ray happy state, 
For all the wealth of all the great, etc., etc. 

A rainy afternoon; I spent it with Mr. Barker in-doors. I was introduced to one Mr. 
Freeman, a young gentleman who has been a trader at Fort Pitt. Pie beats the drum 
and we had a good flfer, so we spent the evening in martial amusement. 

Wednesday, July 5. — A very wet morning. Last Sunday some Northumberland 
saint stole my surtout from my saddle. It was hid for security in a woodpile in the 
neighborhood, where it was found the next morning, advertised, and this day returned- 
If this be the " New Purchase " manners, I had rather chosen to own some other kind 
of impudence. I agreed to-day to preach in this town on the day of the public fast, 
and began, my sermon for that purpose. I had some proposals made me for staying in 
this town, but I can not yet answer them. I dined with the kind and entertaining Mrs. 
Scull. She took me, with Mr. Barker, into Mr. Scull's library. It is charming to see 
books in the infancy of this remote land. I borrowed," for iny amusement, the following 
from her: The Critical Review, No. 44. Our evening spent nightly tete-a-tete in honor 
and friendship; in bed by three — much too late. 

Thursday, July 6. — I opened my eyes, by the continued mercy of our Bountiful 


Overseer, at half an hour after eight, when a most serene, lovely morning, more so 
after so much dark and unharvestable weather. I was called in to see Mrs. Boyd, to 
visit and pray with a sick young man, Mr. Thompson. I found him lying very ill with 
an intermittent fever and a great uneasiness of mind. I conversed with him as well as 
my abilities would allow, and commended him to God in prayer and withdrew. Break- 
fasted with Mrs. Scull and Mr. Barker, and with great reluctance I took my leave of 
both. The young gentleman who has been preaching in the English church at Salem, 
New Jersey, is this Mr. Barker's brother. By ten I left town. The road lies along the 
river, and after leaving the town about a mile, such a fertile, level, goodly country I 
have perhaps never seen. Wheat and rye, thick and very tall; oats I saw in many 
places, yet green, and full as high in general through the field as a six-railed fence. 
Pokes and elders, higher than my head as I sat upon my horse, and the country is. 
thickly inhabited and grows to be a little open. All this pine tract on the north side 
of the West Branch belongs, I am told, to Colonel Francis, and is now leased for a term 
of years. After riding eight miles on the bank of the river I crossed over. The river 
is near a half-mile broad, and since the rain it has risen so that I had near been floated. 
Stopped at Captain William Gray's. 

Mr. Fithian remained in BufEalo valley until the following Wednesday; 
during this time he was principally engaged in preparing for his part in the 
observances of the "Solemn Continental Fast." The following is the text 
of the journal from the time he left Captain Gray's until his final departure 
from the present territory of this county: — 

Wednesday, July 12. — A violent thundergust last night. Soon after breakfast I left 
Mr. Gray's; rode to Mr. Fruit's, and must breakfast again. Mr. Fruit very civilly 
gallantfed me on my road. We forded the river and rode up the bank on the north 
side. The country on both sides of this water very inviting and admirably fertile. 
Mr. Fruit left me, and I jogged along alone. A narrow bridle road, logs fallen across 
it, bushes spread over it, but I came at last to Captain Piper's at Warrior run, twelve 
miles. The Captain was out reaping; Mrs. Piper received me very kindly. She is an 
amiable woman by character; she appears to be so by trial. At three after dinner the 
Captain came in. He stood at the door; "I am," said he, "William Piper. Now, sir, 
in my turn, who are you?" "My name is Fithian, sir." "What is it?" "Fithian, 
sir!" "Oh," says he, "Fiffen." "No, it is Fithian." "What, Pithin? Damn the 
name, let me have it in black and white. But who are you? Are you a regular orderly 
preacher? We are often imposed upon and curs& the man who imposes on us next." 
" I come, sir, by the appointment of Donegal Presbytery from an order of Synod." 
"Then God bless you, you are welcome to Warrior Bun— You are welcome to my 
house. But can you reap?" He was full "half seas over." He spoke to his wifer 
" Come, Sally, be kind and make a bowl of toddy." Poor, unhappy, hard-conditioned, 
patient woman! Like us neglected and forsaken " Sons of Levi," you should fix on a 
state of happiness beyond this world. " I was in the evening introduced to Captain 
Hays, a gentleman of civility and seriousness. He begged me to preach a week-day 
lecture before I leave the neighborhood. At Mr. Hays's I saw a large gourd; it 
held nine gallons. I saw in the bottom near the bank of the river a syc°amore or 
buttonwood tree, which measured, eighteen inches' from the ground, fifteen feet in 

Thursday, July «.— "There is not one in this society but my little wain," said the 
Captain to me quite full of whiskey, "not one of them all but my little wain that can 
tell you what is effectual calling." Indeed, his "wain" is a lovely girl. She is an 
only child, just now ten years old. She seems to be remarkably intelligent, reads very 



clear, attends well to the quantity of words, has a sweet, nervous quo-he accent. Indeed, 
I have not lately been so highly pleased as with this rosy-cheeked Miss Peggy Piper. 
Mrs. Piper keeps a clean house; well-fixed beds — here I have not seen a bug or a flea. 

Friday, July 14. — Last evening after sunset I walked with Mrs. Piper to four 
neighbors' houses, all within a half a mile. She was looking for harvest hands, while 
her ill-conditioned husband was asleep perspiring off the fumes of whiskey. It is now 
seven o'clock. There are two reapers. Miss Piper is out carrying drink to the reap- 
ers. Her father is yet asleep. Tim is about the house as a kind of waiting man. 
There is also a close-set young Irish widow who, on her passage, lost her husband and 
two children at sea. She came in Captain McCulloch's ship with six hundred pas- 
sengers, of which one hundred five died at sea, and many more on landing. Mrs. 
Piper is taken this morning after breakfast with a violent fever and palpitation of the 
heart, which continues very threatening. The young Irish widow is lame with a cold 
in her shoulder and has this morning scalded her hand most sorely. Dear Peggy went 
out early and is overheated, so that she is laid up with the headache. The Captain 
himself is ut semper full of whiskey. A house full of impotence. We are relieved, 
however, by a young woman of this neighborhood. Doctor Bprigg,a gentleman in the 
practice who is settling in the neighborhood, by accident came in, and made some 
application of some medicine to Mrs. Piper. Towards evening I took a ramble with 
Peggy to find and bring in the cows. She showed me their sugar tree bottom, out of 
which Mrs. Piper says she makes plenty of sugar for her family use. I am charmed 
with each calm evening. The people here are all cordial and inveterate enemies of 
the Yankees, who are settling about in this Province on the land in dispute between 
Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is said they are intending to come down into this 
neighborhood and fix down upon the unsettled land, which exasperates the people 

Saturday, July 15. — I had my horse belled to-day and put in a proper lawn. I 
would rather call it a park. He wears the bell, contrary to my expectation, with per- 
fect resignation. To-day Mrs. Piper is better, and walks the house. There came ten 
reapers before breakfast; the Captain was in bed, supinus stertieus. It was something 
remarkable — after he awaked he would drink no more, and before evening was per- 
fectly sober. I am told he is always sober and devout on Sabbath; There came on a 
great rain before ten, and reaping visas done. I took a walk after the rain on the bank 
of the river. My wonder ceases that the Indians fought for this happy valley. 

Sunday, July 16. — Warrior Run — this meeting house is on the bank of the river, 
eighteen miles from Northumberland. It is not yet covered. A large assembly gath- 
ered; I preached from a wagon, the only one ;present. The people sat upon a rising 
ground before me. It looked odd to see the people sitting among the bushes. All 
were attentive, and there were many present. I spoke the loudest and with more ease 
than I have ever done any day before. After service I rode down to Mr. Pruitt's, and 
spent the evening reading and examining Mr. Lusk's piece against the Seceders. 

Monday, July 17. — After breakfast and prayer I took my leave, crossed over the 
river, and rode down to town. The day was bright and very hot; the inhabitants yet 
busy with their harvest. 

Northumberland — in town by eleven, much fatigued. I spoke with Mr. Barker. 
He was busy but soon came in, and we spent an hour very pleasantly. I walked down 
to Mr. Martin's to see the newspapers. Doctor Plunket and three other gentlemen 
were in the next room. Mr. Carmichael's sermon, preached lately before the Carlisle 
company, was in contemplation. "Damn the sermons, Smith's and all," said one of 
them; " gunpowder and lead shall form text and sermon both.'' The Doctor, how- 
ever, gave him a severe reproof. The Honorable Conference is yet sitting, and have 



published to the world reasons for our taking up arms. By a letter lately from Prince- 
ton to a gentleman here, I am told that James Armstrong and John Witherspoon have 
gone to Boston with General Washington; I am told that Mr. Smith, our tutor, was 
lately married to Miss Ann Witherspoon. Probably in this conflict I may be called to 
the field, and such a connection would make me less willing to answer so responsible 
a call. I will not, therefore, marry until our American glory be fixed on a permanent 
foundation, or is entirely taken from us. An alarming report: eight horse-loads of 
powder went up the country this day, carried by a number of Indians; it is shrewdly 
guessed they have in view some infernal stratagem. 

Tuesday, July 18. — I rose by seven, studying at my sermon for the fast. There is a 
rupture in the other town [Hunbury]; they have two men in prison who were seized 
on suspicion of selling what they call the Yankee rights of land. They are apprehen- 
sive of a mob who may rise to release them, and keep every night a strict guard. Mr. 
Scnll, who is captain for this town, goes with a party for a guard from hence to-night. 
I am invited to a party this afternoon. South of this town the bank of the river is a 
high, stony precipice, three hundred fifty feet at least, and almost perpendicular. 
There is a way, by going a small distance up the river, of ascending to the top, which 
is level and covered with shrubby pines. Here I am invited by a number of ladies to 
gather huckleberries. The call of women is invincible, and I must gallant them over the 
river. Perhaps my Eliza is in the same exercise in the back parts of Deerfield [Cum- 
berland count}', New Jersey]. We dined and walked down to Mr. Martin's, on the 
West Way street. Ladies: Mrs. Boyd, a matron, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. McCartney, Miss 
Carothers, Miss Martin, Miss Lusk, and a strange young woman. Miss Manning, and my- 
self. Horrible, fearful! It is so high and so steep. Look at you man in his small canoe; 
how diminutive he seems groveling down there, paddling a tottering boat! The water 
itself looks to be very remote, just as I have often seen the sky in a still, clear brook. 

Wednesday July 19. — Mr. Barker called on me this morning to walk. We strolled 
up the North Branch of the river two miles. Good land, but less cultivated. I can not 
but much esteem this young gentlemen. He is not forward in conversation, not by 
any means dull, makes many just and pleasant remarks on the state of America. Two 
wagons, with goods, cattle, women, tools, etc., went through the tovra to-day from East 
Jersey, on their way to Fishing creek, up the river, where they are to settle. Rapid, 
most rapid, is the growth of this country. 

At the invitation of Mr. Scull and Mr. Barker I went, after dinner, over the river to 
Captain Hunter's. I was formally introduced by these gentlemen to him. He talks but 
little, yet with great authority. I felt little in his presence, from a consciousness of 
inferiority. We drank with him one bowl of toddy, and passed on to Sunbury. The 
town lies near a half-mile below the fort, on the east side of the main branch. It 
may contain an hundred houses. All the buildings are of logs but Mr. Maclay's, which 
is of stone and large and elegant. The ground is low and level, and on the back part 
moorish. Northumberland at the point has a good appearance from this town. The 
inhabitants were mustering arms — blood and death, how these go in a file ! As we 
were returning in our slim canoes I could not help thinking with myself how the sav- 
age tribes, while they were in possession of these enchanting wilds, have floated over 
this very spot. My heart feels for the wandering natives. I make no doubt but multi- 
tudes of them, when they were forced away, left these long possessed and delightsome 
banks with swimming eyes. Evening, between nine and ten, came into Mr. McCart- 
ney's Doctor Allison, Doctor Kearsley, Mr. Barker, and Mr. Freeman. " I am the very 
man and no other," said Doctor Allison, " who was appointed to carry on the building 
of our meeting house here, and I am for having it done with brick. Let us at once 
make a convenient place for worship and an ornament to the town." 


Thursday, July 20. — I rose by six; the town quiet; all seems dull and mournful; 
stores shut and all business laid aside. By ten many were in town from the country. 
Half after eleven we began. I preached in Mr. Chattam's house, in the North Way 
street. It is a new house, just covered, without partitions. It was thronged. Many 
were in the chamber; many in the cellar; man}^ were without the house. There were 
two Jews present — Mrs. Levy and her nephew. I spoke in great fear and dread. I 
was never before so nice an audience; I never spoke on so solemn a day. In spite of 
all my fortitude and practice, when I began my lips quivered; my flesh shrank; my 
hair rose up; my knees trembled. I was wholly confused until I had almost closed 
my sermon. Perhaps this feeling was caused by entirely fasting, as I had taken noth- 
ing. I was to-day, by Mr. Barker, introduced to Mr. Chambers, a young gentleman of 
Sunbury, a lawyer. He appears to be serious, civil, and sociable. I was also introduced 
to Mr. James Hunter, of Philadelphia. In the afternoon service felt much better, but 
was under the necessity of reading both sermons. Several in the neighborhood gave 
me warm invitations to call and see them, but I must now away up this long river, 
sixty miles higher, among quarrelsome Yankees, insidious Indians, and, at best, lonely 
wilds. Mrs. Boyd, an aged, motherly, religious, chatty neighbor, Mr. Barker's land- 
lady, drank coffee with us; Miss Nellie Carothers, also, and several strangers. Even- 
ing, two villains — runaways and thieves — were brought into town and committed to 
prison. One of them took my coat the other day. Justice, do thy ofl3ce ! 

Friday, July 21. — The weather these two days is extraordinary, so that I have 
slept under a sheet, blankets, coarse rug, and in my own clothes, and I am to-day wish- 
ing for a thicker coat than this sieve-like crape. I dined with Doctor Allison and Mr. 
Barker, at Mr. Scull's. Oh! we have had a most agreeable afternoon. It has been an 
entertainment worthy of royalty. If this pompous declaration is thought strange and 
a secret, too, I will explain its meaning. I have been in the company of gentlemen 
where there is no reserve. Books and literary improvement were the subjects. Every 
sentence was a sentiment. Mr. Chambers and Sheriff Cooke joined us. The gloomy, 
beavy thoughts of war were a while suspended. 

Saturday, July 22. — I slept but little last night; a sick Irish girl in the next room, 
by her continual moaning, kept me awake. Indeed, the poor Irish maid was extremely 
ill. I am to take my leave of acquaintances and soon leave this town. It is probable 
I shall never see it again. I wish, however, it may thrive and prosper in all its inter- 
ests. I left the town and took a long, narrow bridle road to Mr. James Morrow's 
[Murray's] at Chillisquaque. He lives on the creek, five miles from the mouth. I was 
more bewildered in finding this road — which for more than six miles, at least, was 
nothing more than a dull, brush-covered hog-road, with a log across it almost every 
TOd — ^than I have been before. I received of Mr. Gibson for my fast-day supply, seven 
shillings six pence. He lives in a small log hamlet; is, himself, a man of business. He 
was in the last war, and is very garrulous, and, indeed, intelligent, on military subjects. 
On the bank of this creek I walked among the white walnuts, ash, buttonwood, birch, 
hazels, etc., rambling along. At last I stopped, stripped ofl: my stockings, and waded 
up and down. One thing here I don't like. In almost all these rural cots I am under 
the necessity of sleeping in the same rojom with all the family. It seems indelicate, at 
least, for men to strip surrounded by different ages and sexes, and rise in the morning, 
in the blaze of day, with the eyes of at least one blushing Irish female searching out 
subjects for remark. 

Sunday, July 23.—W& have a ?till, dark, rainy morning. The people met at Mr. 
Morrow's [Murray's]. His little house was filled. Many came from a funeral, in all 
probably sixty. Three days ago, when one of the neighbors was carting in his rye, 
Ms young and only child, not yet four years old, drew into its mouth one of the beards. 


It Stopped in his throat, fixed, and soon inflamed, and yesterday, in spite of all help, 
about noon he died. 

Monday, July 24.— One. of the elders gave me for yesterday's supply fifteen shill- 
ings three pence. Yesterday and this morning we breakfasted on tea. It is boiled in 
a common dinner-pot of ten or fifteen gallons and poured out in tin cups. We have 
with it boiled potatoes and huckleberry pie, all in love, peace, and great welcome. 
My horse, however, now feeds upon the fat of the earth. He is in a large field of fine 
grass, generally timothy, high as his head. He has not fared so well since we left Mr. 
Gray's on the Juniata. Mrs. Morrow [Murray] wears three golden rings, two on her 
second finger of the left hand and one on the middle finger of the right. They are all 
plain. Her daughter Jenny, or, as they call her, Jensy, wears only two. Jensy is a 
name most common here; Mr. Fruit, Mr. Allen of Buffalo, Mr. Hays of Warrior run, 
and the women here all have daughters whom they call Jensy. Salt here is a great 
price, the best selling at ten shillings and ten shillings six pence, and the lowest at 
eight shillings. Half after nine I left Mr. Morrow's [Murray's] and rode to Mr. Mc- 
Candlish's on the river. Here I fed my horse with a sheaf of wheat. Thence to 
Freeland's mill, thence over Muncy's hills and Muncy's beautiful creek to Mr. Crown- 

The Connecticut claim, which received so large a share of public attention 
at the time of Mr. Pithian's visit, was based upon the royal charter granted 
to that Colony in 1662; this instrument described its territory as extending 
"to the South sea on the west," and under this clause all that part of Pennsyl- 
vania north of the forty-first parallel of north latitude was claimed to be 
within its jurisdiction. The Connecticut Susquehanna Company was formed 
in 1753, and at the Albaiiy conference in the following year purchased from 
certain chiefs of the Six Nations the territory between the forty-first and 
forty-second parallels of north latitude, bounded on the east by a line ten 
miles distant from the North Branch of Susquehanna and extending westward 
one hundred twenty miles. The forty-first parallel crosses Northumberland 
•county a short distance below Milton, and thus a large part of its original area 
was included in the territory purchased. A number of emigrants from Con- 
necticut arrived at Wyoming in 1762, but in the following year many of them 
were killed by the Indians; the settlement was abandoned, but in 1769 it was 
again established. In 1771 two townships, Charleston and Judea, were sur- 
veyed at Muncy on the West Branch and allotted to prospective settlers. In 
January, 1774, the Connecticut legislature passed an act erecting all the ter- 
ritory within its jurisdiction between the Delaware river and a line fifteen 
miles west of the North Branch into the " Town of Westmoreland," which 
was attached to Litchfield county; in May, 1775, its western limits were so 
extended as to include the townships on the West Branch, the actual settle- 
ment of which had been begun. The authorities of Northumberland county, 
unable to prevent the occupation of its territory by Connecticut claimants, 
joined in a petition to the Governor in which the foUowing statements occur:— 

Sorry we are to inform your Honor that our utmost endeavors are likely to fail of 
the desired effect, through the restless and ambitious designs and enterprises of the 
Colony of Connecticut; the intruders from that Colony settled at Wyoming are re-en- 


forced with fresh numbers; officers, civil and military, are appointed, not only among 
them but even among us, by the Governor of Connecticut, as well in direct violation 
of our laws as for the express purpose of overturning the jurisdiction of our courts. 
Swarms of emissaries from that Colony crowd among our people, seducing the ignor- 
ant, frightening the timorous; and denouncing the utmost vengeance against any who 

may be hardy enough to oppose them In fine, to such situation are we 

already reduced from the number of their adherents, spies, and emissaries, as to'be 
under the hard necessity of keeping constant guards, not only to prevent the destruc- 
tion of our jail, but for the security of our houses and persons.* 

John Vincent appears to have been the most active partisan of the Con- 
necticut interest who resided within the present limits of Northumberland 
county. In May, 1775, the Governor of Connecticut appointed him a justice 
of the peace for Litchfield county ; in the following August, accompanied by 
his son and several others, he went to Wyoming " and requested a number of 
people to go on the West Branch and make settlements, and extend the juris- 
diction and authority of Connecticut to that country, "f 

His mission was successful ; an armed force under the command of Major 
William Judd and Joseph Sluman marched from Wyoming and arrived at 
Warrior run on the 23d of September. Their purposes were thus set forth in 
the following letter to William Plunket: — 

Warrior Run, September 25, 1775. 
Sie: This acquaints you that we arrived at this place on Saturday evening last 
vpith a number of other men, purposing to view the vacant lands on this branch of the 
Susquehanna river and to make a settlement on the vacant lands if we find any place 
or places that shall be agreeable. And, as this may be a matter of much conversation 
among the present inhabitants, we are willing to acquaint you the principles on which 
we are come. In the first place, we intend no hostilities; we will not disturb, molest, 
or endeavor to dispossess any person of his property, or in any ways abuse his person 
by threats or any action that shall tend thereto. And, as we are commissioners of the 
peace from the Colony of Connecticut, we mean to be governed by the laws of that Col- 
ony, and shall not refuse the exercise of the law to those of the inhabitants that are 
now dwellers here on their request, as the Colony of Connecticut extended last May 
their jurisdiction over the land. Finally, as we are determined to govern ourselves as 
above mentioned, we expect that those who think the title of this land is not in this 
Colony will give us no uneasiness or disturbance in our proposed settlement. We are. 
Sir, with proper respects. 

Your humble servants, 

Joseph Sltjman, 
William Judd.J 

If Major Judd and his party really supposed that their movements would 
meet with no opposition, they were egregiously mistaken. It is quite evident, 
however, that they anticipated hostilities and prepared for defense. Accord- 
ing to the deposition of Peter Smith, one detachment was on guard at a 

* Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. II. p. 241. 

tMiner's History of Wyoming, p. 168. The quotation appears in an extract from the papers of 
Colonel John Franklin. 

^Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. IV. pp. G61-662. 


school house at Freeland's mill and another at John Vincent's house; the 
report reached Sunbury that they had brought intrenching and fortifying 
tools, which were put to use immediately upon their arrival. The mihtia of 
Northumberland county was at once called out, and at one o'clock on the 25th 
of September fifty men left Sunbury to join companies from other points and 
proceed to Warrior run. Colonel Franklin places the number of Major Judd's 
men at eighty and' of the militia at five hundred; he states that one man 
was killed and several wounded, all of the Connecticut party were taken pris- 
oners, three were detained at Sunbury, Judd and Sluman were sent to Phil- 
adelphia, and the others were dismissed. That the action of the authorities 
and militia was approved by the provincial Assembly is evident from the fol- 
lowing resolution, which was passed on the 27th of October, 1775 : — 

Besolmd, That the inhabitants of the county of Northumberland, settled under the 
jurisdiction of this Province, were justifiable and did their duty in repelling the said 
intruders and preventing the further extension of their settlements.* 

Not content with the expulsion of the Connecticut intruders from the 
valley of the West Branch, the authorities of Northumberland county next 
undertook the invasion of Wyoming. Seven hundred men, commanded by 
William Plunket, composed the Pennamite force; the supplies were trans- 
ported by boats, one of which carried a field piece. The expedition reached 
its destination on the 23d of December. The Yankees occupied an impreg- 
nable position, and, having failed to bring them to an engagement (in which 
superior numbers would doubtless have given him the victory), Plunket re- 
treated with his command on the 25th instant. The question of jurisdiction 
remained unsettled, but the animosities of Yankee and Pennamite were for 
the time forgotten in the Eevolutionary struggle that had already begun. 

♦Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. IV. p. 678. 




Close op the Peovinciai, Regime — The County's Representation in the Conti- 
nental Ahmy — Companies op Captains Lowdon, Pabk, and Weitzel — Twelfth 
Pennsylvania Regiment — Committee op Sapety — Militia Organization — 
Indian Outrages — Bepbnsive Measures Instituted by Colonel Hunter — 
" The Great Runaway '' — Colonel Brodhead Temporarily Stationed on the 
Frontier — Colonel Hartley's Military Administration — Pall op Fort 
Freeland — The German Regiment — General Potter's Expedition — Events 
of 1781-82 — CoLONEi, Hunter's Accounts. 

ALTHOUGH the early settlement of Northumberland county occurred 
during the period of tranquility following the close of the French and 
Indian war, the possibility of future hostilities was a constant incentive to 
military organization, while the circumstances of frontier life were eminently 
calculated to foster a spirit of independence; and thus her people, although 
deficient in the elements of wealth and comparatively few in numbers, were 
well prepared for the Eevolutionary struggle. In all the movements pre- 
liminary to the organization of the State government they were represented. 
The first of these was the "Meeting of the Provincial Deputies," July 15, 
1774; it was called by a committee of correspondence at Philadelphia, the 
chairman of which, Thomas Willing, addressed a letter to William Maclay, 
William Plunket, and Samuel Hunter on the 28th of June, 1774, in com- 
pliance with which the different townships elected committee-men who met 
at Eichard Malone's on the 11th of July and selected William Scull and 
Samuel Hunter to represent the county. The delegates to the Provincial 
Convention of January 23, 1775, were William Plunket and Casper Weitzel; 
to the Provincial Conference of June 18, 1776, William Cooke, Alexander 
Hunter, John Weitzel, Eobert Martin, and Matthew Brown, and to the Con- 
stitutional Convention of July 15, 1776, William Cooke, James Potter, 
Eobert Martin, Matthew Brown, Walter Clark, John Kelly, James Craw- 
ford, and John Weitzel. The latter were elected on the 8th of July at the 
house of George McCandlish near the mouth of Limestone run; Thomas 
Hewitt, William Shaw, and Joseph Green served as judges. The former 
justices of the county were superseded on the 3d of September by ordinance 
of the Constitutional Convention; the result of the first general election 
under its provisions were certified by John Brady, James McClenachan, 
John Gray, and Thomas Eobinson, judges of the different districts, Novem- 


ber 7, 1776, and thus the provincial regime in Northumberland county 

During the progress of these developments the county was well repre- 
sented at the front. A resolution was adopted by Congress, June 14, 1775, 
dii'ecting the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen — six in Pennsyl- 
vania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia — to be employed as light infantry 
and be paid the following sums per month : a captain, twenty dollars ; a lieu- 
tenant, thirteen and one third dollars ; a sergeant, eight dollars ; a corporal, 
seven and one third dollars; a drummer, seven and one third dollars, and a 
private, six and two thirds dollars — all "to find their own arms and clothes." 
One of these companies. Captain John Lowdon's, was recruited in Northum- 
berland county. The roster was as follows: — 

Captain, John Lowdon, June 25, 1775. 

First Lieutenant, James Parr, June 25, 1775. 

Second Lieutenants: James Wilson, June 25, 1775; William Wilson, 
from third lieutenant, January 4, 1776. 

Third Lieutenants: William Wilson, June 25, 1775; John Dougherty, 
from sergeant, January 4, 1776. 

Sergeants: John Dougherty, David Hammond, Alexander McCormick, 
William McMurray, Cornelius Dougherty. 

Corporals: Thomas Henry, William Edwards, John White, James Car- 
son, Charles Cochran. 

Drummer, Richard Grosvenor. 

Privates: William Adkins, Joseph All, John Benickler, Samuel Brady, 
William Briggs, George Butler, William Calhotm, Robert Carothers, James 
Carson, John Cassaday, Samuel Cealy, David Clements, Charles Cochran, 
Peter Condon, David Davis, John Dean, John Eicholtz, John Evans, Jacob 
Finkboner, Charles Ford, Philip Gintner, Thomas Giltson, John Hamilton 
[Hamberton], David Harris, Michael Hare, Thomas Hempington, Christo- 
pher Henning, William Humber, William Jamison, Samuel Johns, James 
Johnson, Lewis Jones, Thomas Kilday, Nicholas Kline, John Ladley, Sam- 
uel Landon, William Leek, Robert Lines, Jacob Lindy, Thomas Lobdon, 
Reuben Massaker, Moses Madock, John Malone, Charles Maloy, James Mc- 
Cleary, Cornelius McConnell, Martin McCoy [McAvery], Patrick McGoni- 
gal, Edward McMasters [Masterson], Alexander McMuUan, William Mor- 
gan, William Murray, John Murphy, Timothy Murphy, John Neely, Daniel 
Oakes, John Oliver, Michael Parker, Thomas Peltson, Peter Pence, John 
Ray, Robert Ritchie, Bartholomew Roach, John Robinson, George Sands, 
George Saltzman, Henry Silverthorn, John Shawnee (an Indian), John Smith! 
James Speddy, Arad Sutton, James Sweney, John Teel, Robert Tuft, Philip 
Valentine, Peter Ward, John Ward, Charles West, Joseph Whiteneck, Aaron 
Wright, John Youse, Robert Youjig.* 

* Pennsylvania Archives (Second Series), Vol. X. pp. 27-31. 


This company formed part of the battalion of riflemen commanded by 
Colonel William Thompson, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The men rendez- 
voused at Northumberland, where, according to Fithian's journal, thirty of them 
arrived from Great Island on Wednesday, June 28, 1775. The journal of 
Aaron Wright, a private, states that they formally enlisted on the following 
day; on the morning of July 8th, in pursuance of marching orders received 
the previous day, they boarded boats on the Susquehanna river (this means 
of conveyance was probably used as far as Harris's Ferry); they reached 
Reading on the "ISth of July, and there received knapsacks, blankets, etc., 
remaming until the 20th. On the 1st of August they were at Bethlehem, 
and thence pursued their march across northern New Jersey and southeastern 
New York, arriving at the North river, opposite New Windsor, Connecticut, 
August 20th. They marched through Litchfield on the 24th, crossed the 
Connecticut river near Hartford on the 26th, and arrived at Dudley, Massa- 
chusetts, August 30th. On the 31st they reached Weston, and thence 
passed through Framingham, Watertown, and Cambridge to Prospect Hill, 
Boston. The battahon became the Second regiment " of the Army of the 
United Colonies, commanded by his Excellency, General George Washing- 
ton," and, on the 1st of January, 1776, the First regiment of the Continental 

Two companies (those of Captains William Hendricks and Matthew 
Smith, the latter subsequently prothonotary of Northumberland county) were 
detailed for service in Arnold's expedition to Quebec in September, 1775; the 
remainder continued in camp at Prospect Hill, and performed guard and 
fatigue duty with the brigade to which they belonged. On the 24th of 
October Lieutenant Parr marched for Portsmouth with thirty men. Six of 
the regiment were stationed at Leohmere Point On the 9th of November, 
when, the tide having risen and separated it from the main land, a number 
of British regulars, under cover of their batteries on Bunker's, Copp's, and 
Breed's Hills, landed for the purpose of driving off cattle; the regiment was 
hastily ordered under arms, marched through the water to the Point, and 
divided into two parties, of which Captain Lowdon's company formed part of 
that on the right; a severe skirmish was anticipated, but before the enemy's 
position was reached the latter had withdrawn to their boats. For their 
courage and promptness on this occasion the regiment was publicly thanked 
by General Washington. On the 8th of March, 1776, Colonel Hand wrote: 
"I am stationed on Cobble's Hill with four companies of our regiment: two 
companies, Cluggage's and Chambers's, were ordered to Dorchester on Mon- 
day; Ross and Lowdon relieved them yesterday." On the 14th of March 
the regiment left Cambridge with five others under the command of General 
Sullivan; Hartford was reached on the 2l!st and New York on the 28th; it 
was shortly afterward detailed for duty on Long Island, and was so engaged 
at the expiration of the original term of enlistment, July 1, 1776. 


The First regiment (which thus became the First Pennsylvania regiment 
of the Continental Line) re-enlisted with practical unanimity, at first for the 
term of two years, but in October, 1776, the limit was extended to the close 
of the war. Lowdon, who became a member of Council, was succeeded as 
captain by James Parr; thirty- two of his company were enlisted out of the 
old battalion and fourteen from the flying camp. In August, 1776, it was 
composed of one captain, two lieutenants, four sergents, four corporals, one 
drum and fife, and fifty -two privates. The roster was as follows: — 

Captain, James Parr, promoted major, August 9, 1778. 

First Lieutenant, James Wilson, promoted captain, January 6, 1777. 

Second Lieutenant, William Wilson, promoted first lieutenant, September 
25, 1776; captain, March 2, 1777. 

Ensign, John Dougherty, promoted third lieutenant, September 25, 1776. 

Sergeants: David Hammond, afterward promoted second lieutenant; 
Alexander McCormick, William McMurray, Cornelius Dougherty. 

Privates: David Allen, Michael Bacher, John Bradley, Daniel Callahan, 
Daniel Campbell, James Chapman, Peter Condon, James Connor, Mansfield 
Coons, James Curry, David Davis, Eichard Deatevoise [Dubois], Cornelius 
Delling, Patrick Donahue, William Edwards, John Grifiin, Patrick Griffin, 
William Haggerty, John Hammond, Philip Henry, Aquila Hinson, John 
Hutchinson, Lewis Jones, William Leech, Michael Loughrey, James Lough- 
rey, James McCleary, Cornelius McConnell, Patrick McGonigal, Henry Mc- 
Cormick, Hugh McGaughey, John Malone, Charles Meloy, James Moore, 
WiUiam Moore, William Morgan, John Murphy, Timothy Murphy, Patrick 
Murray, John Noishen, George Norton, John Oliver, Thomas Paine, Thomas 
Peltson, Philip Peters, John Eankin, John Bay, William Eyan, George 
Saltman, Samuel Scott, William Scott, James Spigg, James Speddy, Thomas 
Stewart, Maurice Sullivan, Alexander Thompson, John Toner, George War- 
ren, Jonathan Washburn, Matthew Wilson, Samuel Wilson, Joseph White- 
neck, John Youse.* 

The company began its new term of enlistment in camp on the shores of 
Long Island. Some time in August the regiment, of which Edward Hand 
was colonel, took position at Delancey's Mills, and was in action in the battle 
of Long Island, August 27, 1776. On the night of the 29th it was posted 
" in a redoubt on the left and in the line on the right of the great road, 
below Brooklyn church " as part of Major General Mifflin's command, by 
which the retreat of the army was covered. Through somo mistake on the 
part of an aid-de-camp Mifflin's command was prematurely withdrawn, a 
movement highly prejudicial to the safety of the retreating army; General 
Washington learned of it through Colonel Hand, and the rear guard returned 
to its former position in time to avert serious consequences. On the 16th of 

♦Pennsylvania Archives (Second Series), Vol. X. pp. 342-344. 


November, 1776, four men of Colonel Parr's company were taken prisoners 
at Fort Washington. 

Colonel James Chambers (who succeeded General Hand in command of 
the First regiment) wrote as follows from "Mount Prospect camp," June 18, 
1777: " We have a partisan regiment — Colonel Morgan commands — chosen 
marksmen from the whole army compose it. Captain Parr, Lieutenants Lyon 
and Brady, and fifty men from my regiment are aiiiong the number." Cap- 
tain David Harris (subsequently prothonotary of Northumberland county) 
relates the following incident in a letter from " Cross Roads, about twenty 
miles from Philadelphia," August 13, 1777: "Captain Parr, with two subal- 
terns and about fifty privates, are detached in Morgan's partisan corps. 
Captain Parr has killed three or four men himself this summer. His expres- 
sions at the death of one I shall ever remember. Major Miller had the com- 
mand of a detachment, and had a skirmish at very close shot with a party 
of Highlanders. One of them being quite open, he motioned to Captain Parr 
to kill him, which he did in a trice, and, as he was falling. Parr said: ' I say, 
by Grod, sonny, I am in you.' I assure you Parr's bravery on every occasion 
does him great honor." Morgan's riflemen included many men from North- 
umberland coimty, drawn from the companies of Captain Parr, of the First 
Pennsylvania, and Captain Boone, of the Twelfth. They joined the northern 
army in August, 1777, and participated in the battles of Saratoga, Septem- 
ber 19th and October 7th; it is worthy of record that General Fraser was 
shot by Timothy Murphy, of Parr's company, at the express direction of Col- 
onel Morgan. In July, 1778, Captain Parr was placed in command of a 
detachment from Morgan's rifles and sent with the Fourth Pennsylvania to 
defend the frontiers of New York; they spent nearly a year in the Schoharie 
valley. His command united with the army of General Sullivan at Tioga 
on the 22d of August, 1779, and served in the expedition to the Genesee coun- 
try. It is frequently mentioned in Colonel Hubley's journal The march 
began on Thursday, August 26th; "Major Parr, with the riflemen, dispersed 
considerably in front of the whole, with orders to reconnoiter all mountains, 
defiles, and other suspicious places." The following reference is made to 
Murphy: "This Murphy is a noted marksman and a great soldier, he having 
killed and scalped that morning [September 13th], in the town they were at, 
an Indian, which makes the three and thirtieth man of the enemy he has killed, 
as is well known to his ofiicers, this war." He was from Northumberland 

William Wilson succeeded James Parr as captain when the latter was 
transferred to Morgan's command. Regarding the movements of the regiment 
in July and August, 1777, Colonel Chambers wrote: "We marched from 

Mount Prospect to Morristown, where we halted a few days 

We were then ordered to march to Pompton; here we halted one day. . . . 
Next day, 13th July, we were ordered to move to a place called 


SufEerance, at the mouth of the Clove; here we halted to the 19th, 
when we proceeded through the Clove towards New Windsor. We moved 
upwards of twenty miles this day; here we halted till the 22d, then marched 

across the ridge to a place called Chester We arrived the 

29th at Howell's Ferry; here we halted till the 1st of August, then crossed 
the river, and continued our march through Germantown to Schuykill Falls, 
where we halted to the 9th, then marched back to this place on our way to 
Coryell's.'' At the battle of Brandywine, September 11th, the regiment lost 
sis or seven killed and as many wounded; it was principally engaged in with- 
drawing the artillery. The division of which it formed part at the battle of 
Monmouth, June 28, 1778, was drawn in front of the artillery in a small hol- 
low; the enemy's artillery occupied an em^inence directly in front. " Of course 
we were in a right line of their fire," says Colonel Chambers, " both parties 
playing their cannon over our heads, and yet only killed two of our men 
and wounded four of my regiment with splinters of rails." This position 
was at the center of the American line, against which a determined charge 
was made by the flower of the British army under Colonel Monckton. He 
was killed, and the colors, which were near him, also went down. " Captain 
Wilson and his company, who were on the right of the First Pennsylvania, 
made a rush for the colors and tlje body of the Colonel. The Grenadiers 
fought desperately,"* but without avail. Captain Wilson secured his sword 
and the colors ; he gave the former to General Wayne, who presented it to 
Lafayette, by whom it was returned to the Wilson family on the occasion of 
his visit to America in 1824. Captain Wilson was not mustered out until 
November 3, 1783, from which it is fair to presume that his company partic- 
ipated with the Pennsylvania Line in its subsequent campaigns until the 
close of the war. 

Captain Casper Weitzel's company of the Pennsylvania Rifle regiment, 
commanded by Colonel Samuel Miles, was the second formed in Northum- 
berland county. The roster was as follows: — 

Captain, Casper Weitzel, appointed, March 9, 1776. 

First Lieutenant, William Gray, appointed, March 15, 1770. 

Second Lieutenant, John Robb, appointed, March 17, 1776. 

Third Lieutenant, George Grant, appointed, March 19, 177G. 

Sergeant Major, John Gordon. 

Sergeants: Jacob Snider, Thomas Price, William Orr, Thomas Shanks. 

Drummer, John Everard. 

Privates: William Allison, John Arthur, John Aumiller, William Barr, 
Peter Brady, Stout Brinson, John Burke, Samuel Carson, WiUiam Carson, 
William Carson, Jr., Andrew Carter, Charles Carter, Robert Carothers, James 
Chisnall, William Clark, James Clayton, Jeffrey Connell, John Cribs, David 
Curry, Peter Davis, Edward Doran, David Durell, Stephen Durell, James 

'Linn's Annals of Buffalo \'alley, p. 101. ~ ' " 


Elder, Christian Ewig, Henry Gass, Henry Gearhart, James Glover, John 
Hardy, William Harper, Thomas Hissom, Dennis Huggins, Elijah Hunt, 
James Irvine, Martin Kerstetter, Thomas Little, Joseph Madden, Charles 
McClean, William McCormick, John McDonald, Patrick Mclnnis, Patrick 
McManus, William McMath, Patrick McVey, Henry Miller, Eobert More- 
head, Eichard Newman, Michael Nolan, Andrew Ralston, James Eandolph, 
John Eice, John Sands, John Adam Shafer, Jacob Spiess, Samuel Staples, 
David Turner, James Watt, Eobert Wilson, Christian Winters, Silas Wolcot.* 

The Pennsylvania Rifle regiment was enlisted for the defense of the 
Province at the suggestion of the Committee of Safety. It rendezvoused at 
Marcus Hook, and was ordered to Philadelphia on the 2d of July, 1776; 
thence the First battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Brodhead's) proceeded by way 
of Bordentovm to Amboy, New Jersey, where the entire regiment shortly 
afterward arrived. Colonel Miles was ordered to New York on the 10th of 
August; he crossed to Long Island when the British began landing troops, 
and took position near Platbush. On the morning of August 27th, finding 
his com m and in danger of being surrounded, he made a retrograde movement 
with the expectation of reaching the Jamaica road in advanise of General 
Howe. In this he was disappointed; an effort was then made to break 
through the enemy's flank guards, but, finding it impossible to do this in a 
body, he directed the men to make their way as best they could and was 
taken prisoner with two thirds of his command. In a return of Captain 
Weitzel's company on the 1st of September the following are marked "miss- 
ing since the battle:" William Gray, John Gordon, Thomas Price, William 
Allison, Peter Brady, Andrew Carter, Eobert Carothers, Henry Gass, John 
Hardy, Dennis Huggins, Martin Kerstetter, Joseph Madden, William Mc- 
Cormick, Patrick McVey, Eobert Moorehead, Andrew Ralston, John Eice, 
Jacob Spiess, and James Watt. Captain Weitzel gives the following par- 
ticulars in a letter to his brother John, dated " Camp near Kingsbridge, six- 
teen miles above New York, September 6, 1776:" " My Lieutenant Gray, 
Sergeant Gordon, Sergeant Price, and sixteen privates are missing. I know 
of only one killed in my company. The poor fellow was wounded in the 
thigh and unable to walk; his name is Spiess; the damned savage Hessians 
and English light infantry ran their bayonets through him and two of 
Captain Albright's men, who were^ also badly wounded and murdered by 
them. I have this from one of my men, who was a prisoner and escaped to 
me, and imagine the rest are prisoners. James Watt is among them. I came 
off with whole bones, contrary to my expectations. I was in so much danger, 
that, by escaping that, I think it was impossible for ^them to kill me." In 
consequence of the great losses sustained on this occasion the company was 
consolidated with others in the following October and thus lost its individu- 
ality. Captain Weitzel and Lieutenant Gray returned to Sunbury, where 

*Peniisylvania Archives (Second Series), Vol. X. pp. 214-217. 


both died; Lieutenant Eobb was promoted captain in the Thirteenth Penn- 
sylvania, April 18, 1777; Lieutenant Grant was promoted captain in the 
Ninth Pennsylvania, May 3, 1777, and died on the North river, Connecticut, 
three miles above New Windsor, October 10, 1779. 

The Twelfth Pennsylvania regiment of the Continental Line* was raised 
in the counties of Northumberland and Northampton in pursuance of a reso- 
lution of Congress; the following field officers were appointed by the Con- 
stitutional Convention, September 28, 1776: William Cooke, delegate from 
Northumberland county, colonel; Neigal Gray, delegate from Northamp- 
ton county, lieutenant colonel, and James Crawford, delegate from North- 
umberland county, major. The following roster embraces only a small part 
of the regiment: — 

Colonel, William Cooke, September 28, 1776; rank, October 2, 1776; 
resigned, January 16, 1778. 

Lieutenant Colonel, Neigal Gray, September 28, 1776; rank, October 5, 
1776; cashiered, June 2, 1778. 

Major, James Crawford, September 28, 1776; rank, October 8, 1776; 
resigned October 12, 1777. 

Captains: Peter Withington, October 1, 1776; Nicholas Miller, October 
4, 1776; Hawkins Boone, October 4, 1776; John Brady, October 14, 1776; 
John Harris, October 14, 1776; Henry Makinley, October 16, 1776; Alex- 
ander Patterson, October 16, 1776; William Work, October 16, 1776; Stephen 
Chambers, from first lieutenant, 1777; John Eeilly, from first lieutenant, 
May 20, 1777: 

First Lieutenants: Thomas Brandon, October 4, 1776; Hananiah Lin- 
coln, October 4, 1776; Christopher Gettig, October 14, 1776; John Reilly, 
October 16, 1776; Stephen Chambers, October 16, 1776; WiUiam McElhat- 
ton, October 16, 1776; John Henderson, October 16, 1776; WiUiam Sayres, 
October 16, 1776; John Boyd, from second lieutenant; Benjamin Lodge, 
from second lieutenant, October 11, 1777; Stewart Herbert, from second 
lieutenant, January 9, 1778. 

Second Lieutenants: Robert King, October 4, 1776; James Williamson, 
October 4, 1776; Edward McCabe, October 16, 1776; John Hays, October 
16, 1776; Samuel Quin, October 16, 1776; John Boyd, October 16, 1776; 
William Bard, October 16, 1776; John Carothers, October 16, 3776; Benja- 
min Lodge, from ensign, October 16, 1776; Blackall William Ball, from 
ensign; William Boyd, from ensign; Stewart Herbert, from ensign. May, 
1777; Andrew Engle, from ensign; Robert Faulkner, from ensign; John 
Armstrong, from ensign, December 11, 1777. 

Ensigns: Benjamin Lodge, October 16, 1776; Thomas Hamilton, October 
16, 1776; Blackall William Ball, October 16, 1776; William Boyd, October 
16, 1776; John Stone, October 16, 1776; Stewart Herbert, October 16, 1776; 

•Pennsylvania Archives (Second Series), Vol. X. pp. 755-764. 


Andrew Engle, October 16, 1776;' Eobert Faulkner, January 8, 1777; John 
Seley, February 3, 1777; John Armstrong, from sergeant; John Cook, from 

Adjutant, Thomas Hanson, October 16, 1776. 

Paymasters: Eobert Levers, November 13, 1776; Thomas Dungan, April 
29, 1777. 

Quartermasters: Wilton Atkinson, January 11, 1777; George Vaughan. 

Surgeons: Francis Allison, October 14, 1776; Andrew Ledlie, Januaiy 
18, 1777. 

Surgeon's Mate, Aaron WoodrufE. 

Sergeants: John Armstrong, Charles Fleming, Eobert Kearns, Andrew 
Lorentz, Eobert Lyon, Joseph Lorentz. 

Privates: George Aldridge, Samuel Auchmuty, William Bedworth, 
Henry Bentley, James Brown, John Campbell, John Cochran, William Con- 
nor, John Cook, William Coram, John Cusick, James Dougherty, David 
Doyle, James English, Patrick Flanagan, James Gallant, Hugh Gowans, 
WiUiam Haines, Barney Hasson, Nathaniel Hiland, Eichard Hughes, Henry 
Lebo, John Lemmons, Matthew Little, Henry Lushbaugh, Samuel McClu- 
ghan, Archibald McCowan, Joseph McHarg, Thomas Mcllvaine, John Mcll- 
vaine, Angus McKeever, Daniel McMath, George Martin, James Newberry, 
Neal Peacock, Eobert Polston, Eichard Eeynolds, Nicholas Eheam, John 
Eice, John Eobinson, John Shreck, Joseph Silverthorn, John Teel, Eobert 
Wilson, WiUiam Woodrow. 

The active service of this regiment is thus summarized in the Pennsylvania 
Archives : — 

The greater portion of th'e regiment was recruited upon the West Branch of the Sus- 
quehanna, and on the 18th of December it left Bunbury in boats for the battle fields 
of New Jersey. Being composed of good riflemen and scouts, it was detailed on 
picket and skirmish duty. It (with the Third, Ninth, and Sixth Pennsylvania) was in 
Brigadier General Thomas Conway's brigade. Its headquarters were at the five cross- 
roads at Metuchen, between Quibbletown and Amboy. Its companies were engaged 
in the various skirmishes in that neighborhood: at Bound Brook, April 12, 1777; Pis- 
cataway, May 10th, where Joseph Lorentz and twenty-one others were made prisoners 
by the British, Wendell Lorentz making his escape by running in among a flock of 
sheep; at Short Hills, June 26th, and Bonamtown. In June Colonel Daniel Morgan's 
rifle command was formed, and a detachment from the Twelfth Pennsylvania, un- 
der the command of Captain Hawkins Boone, was placed in it In the battle of 

Brandywine the Twelfth was engaged under Sullivan at Birmingham church, losing 
heavily. Major Crawford, Captain Brady, and other officers were wounded. Lieuten- 
ant William Boyd, of Brady's company, killed. At Germantown Conway's brigade led 
the attack on the left wing of the British, being in front of the troops that composed 
the right wing of the American army, and the Twelfth was in the hottest of the fight, 
losing heavily in men, Second Lieutenant John Carothers of the officers, killed. The 
Twelfth wintered with the rest of the army at Valley Forge, and at Monmouth the 
remnant of it was nearly destroyed, as testified to in many of the statements made by 
the privates, on file in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Meanwhile, 


April 2, 1778, the General Assembly had appointed a committee to confer upon the best 
means of reducing three of the regiments, and it was ordered that the Twelfth be in- 
corporated with the Third, which arrangement went into eifect on the Ist of July, and 
Captains John Brady and Boone, Lieutenants Dougherty and Robert King were ordered 
home by General Washington to assist Colonel Hartley in protecting the West Branch 

Among those who were taken prisoners at Piscataway was Joseph Mc- 
Harg, of Chambers's company; how he was treated is shown by the following 
entry in the minutes of the court of Northumberland county, March 25, 1779 : — 

Came into court Joseph McHarg, who, being duly sworn upon the Holy Evangel- 
ists, deposeth and sayeth: that on the 10th day of May, A. D. 1777, he, with others be- 
longing to the Twelfth regiment of Pennsylvania troops, was taken prisoner in a skir- 
mish at Piscataway and carried to New York, where, through the excessive rigor with 
which he was treated during his confinement, and the decay of his health, he was in- 
duced to take an oath of allegiance to the king of Great Britain and also an oath that 
he (the deponent) would not bear arms against the said king durin'g the present con- 
test, in consequence of which oath deponent got liberty to work for a subsistence and 
was sent as a hand on board a vessel that carried General Howe's baggage to Philadel- 
phia, from whence, by the assistance of a friend, he made his escape in disguise. It 
also appears to this court that deponent, by the failure of his sight and bodily infirmi- 
ties, is rendered incapable of serving his country as a soldier. 

Among the officers in this regiment from Northumberland county were 
Colonel William Cooke, subsequently associate judge; Major James Craw- 
ford, who resigned, October 12, 1777, and died in 1817, having been justice 
of the peace in Wayne township, Clinton county, many years; Captain 
Nicholas Miller, who became supernumerary, July 1, 1778, and died in North- 
hampton county; Captain Hawkins Boone, who fell near Fort Freeland, July 
29, 1779; Captain John Brady, who was wounded at Brandywine, Septem- 
ber 11, 1777, and killed at Muncy, April 11, 1779; Captain John Harris; 
Captain Stephen Chambers, one of the first resident attorneys of the county; 
Lieutenant Christopher Gettig, subsequently a justice at Sunbury; Lieuten- 
ant Thomas Brandon; Lieutenant John Boyd, who was transferred to the 
Third Pennsylvania, rose to the rank of captain, retired from the regiment, 
January 1, 1781, and was for many years justice of the peace at Northumber- 
land; Lieutenant William Boyd, who was killed at the battle of Brandywine, 
September 11, 1777; Lieutenant John Carothers, who was kiUed at the bat- 
tle of Germantown, October 4, 1777; Lieutenant Robert King, who was 
transferred to the Third Pennsylvania, was with Colonel Hartley on the frontier 
in 1778, and resided in Lycoming county in 1840; Quartermasters Wilton 
Atkinson and George Vaughan; Dr. Francis Alhson, surgeon, who was trans- 
ferred to the general hospital, of which he was senior surgeon in 1781; Ser- 
geant Joseph Lorentz, who was transferred to the Third Pennsylvania, and 
died in Northumberland county, January 30, 1824; Sergeant Andrew 
Lorentz, who was transferred to the Third Pennsylvania, discharged at Smith's 
Cove, New Jersey, and kept hotel at Sunbury in 1813; Sergeant Robert 


Lyon, who was transferred to the Sixth Pennsylvania, rose to the rank of second 
lieutenant, and died in Northumberland county, August 19, 1823, aged 
seventy-seven, and Corporal Wendell Lorentz, who was transferred to the 
Third Pennsylvania, discharged, January 17, 1781, and died at Milton in 

Miller's, Boone's, Brady's, and Harris's companies were from Northumber- 
land county. No rosters have been preserved, and that of the regiment contains 
the names of but a small number of its members. " The hundreds who fell in 
all the battles of the Eevolution .... the wounded, who dragged their torn 
limbs home to die in their native valleys, are not here. The heaths of New 
Jersey, from Paramus to Freehold, by a line encircling Morristown and 
Bound Brook, were, in the summer of 1777, dotted with the graves of the 
Eighth and Twelfth Pennsylvania." Among the privates who returned to 
Northumberland county were Samuel Auchmuty, of Captain Chambers's com- 
pany, who was transferred to the Third Pennsylvania, discharged, January 
25, 1781, and resided in Lower Augusta township in 1835 at the age of 
eighty- two; John Campbell, who was wounded at Piscataway, discharged, and 
settled in Shamokin township; James English, of Captain Brady's company, 
who was transferred to the Third and then to the First Pennsylvania, dis- 
charged, August 13, 1783, and resided in Lycoming county irt 1835 at the 
age of ninety-nine; Henry Lebo, subsequently hotel keeper at Sunbury and 
sheriff of Northumberland county; Hugh Gowen, who was transferred to 
the Third Pennsylvania and resided in Northumberland county in 1820 at 
the age of sixty- six; Matthew Little, who was transferred to the Third Penn- 
sylvania and resided in Shamokin township in 1813; Henry Lushbaugh, of 
Harris's company, who resided in Lycoming county in 1835, aged eighty-four; 
Joseph McHarg, previously mentioned; Samuel McClughan, who was drafted 
into Morgan's rifles, wounded at Saratoga, and resided in Buffalo valley in 
1786; George Martin, who was drafted into Morgan's rifles, wounded at 
Saratoga, resided in Buffalo valley in 1786, and died, March 10, 1816 ; James 
Newberry, who died in Northumberland county, February 1, 1830, aged 
eighty-four, and Nicholas Eheam, who was transferred to the Third Penn- 
sylvania, discharged in 1781, and died in Union county in 1829. 

While the county thus contributed an ample quota to the regular army 
at the outbreak of the Eevolution, a local Committee of Safety* attended to 
the administration of internal affairs and the organization of the militia. 
The minutes of this Committee begin as follows: — 

February 8, 1776. 

Tlie following gentlemen, being previously nominated by the respective townships 
to serve in this Committee for the county of Northumberland for the space of six 
months, met at the house of Richard Malone, viz.:— 

*Tlie muster rolls and papers relating to the associators and militia of the county of Northum- 
berland, Including the minutes of the Committee of Safety, ai'e published in the Pennsylvania 
Archives (Second Series), Vol. XIV. pp. 313-367. 



Augusta Township. — John Weitzel, Alexander Hunter, Thomond Ball. 

Turbut Township. — Captain John Hambright, William McKnight, William Shaw. 

Bald Eagle Township. — William Dunn, Thomas Heweg, Alexander Hamilton. 

Wyoming Township. — James McClure, Thomas Clayton, Peter Melick. 

Mahanoy Township. — No return. 

Mahoning Township. — William Cooke, Benjamin Allison, Thomas Hewitt. 

Muncy Township. — Robert Bobb, William Watson, John Buckalew. 

Buffalo Township. — Walter Clark (removed to White Deer),WilUam Irwin, Joseph 

Penn's Township. — No return. 

Potter's Township. — John Livingston, Maurice Davis, John Hall. 

White Deer Township. — Walter Clark, Matthew Brown, Marcus Hulings. 

The Committee proceeded to elect a chairman and clerk, when Captain John 
Hambright was unanimously appointed chairman during the continuance of this Com- 
mittee and Thomond Ball, clerk. 

A return of field officers elected at Northumberland on the 7th instant by 
the battalion for the lower division of the county was presented, and the 
officers were forthwith recommended for commissions. Action was also taken 
for the organization of the battalion for the upper division of the cormty. 
Messrs. Weitzel, Hunter, and Ball were appointed to prepare a memorial to 
the Assembly regarding the murder of two of the sheriff's posse at Wyomiug. 
The Committee then adjourned to meet at Laughlin McCartney's in North- 
umberland on Monday, the 26th instant. 

Captain Hambright presided at all the meetings of this Committee of 
which the minutes have been preserved. On the 26th of February Messrs. 
Weitzel, Hunter, and Ball presented the draft of a petition to the Assembly, 
which was forthwith approved. Six captains in Colonel Hunter's battalion 
appeared and produced lists of their companies, whereupon a letter was 
transmitted to the provincial Committee of Safety (to which the county com- 
mittees were subsidiary), recommending the respective officers for commis- 
sions; the Committee then adjourned until the 13th proximo, aft«r authorizing 
the president and four members to receive and transmit any returns that 
might be received in the interim. The next meeting was held at the house 
of Frederick Stone in Northumberland, March 13th. Eeturns were received 
from seven companies of Colonel Plunket's battalion, the officers of which 
were recommended for commissions. A letter was transmitted to Colonel 
Hunter, who represented the county in the provincial Committee at that time, 
detailing at some length the objectionable proceedings of recmiting officers. 
At the next meeting, Monday, March 25th, it was resolved that no officer be 
allowed " to recruit men in this county except the officers who are or may be 
appointed therein." The grounds upon which this decisive action was based 
were thus set forth in a letter to the provincial Committee: — 

Our zeal for the cause of American liberty has hitherto prevented our taking any 
steps to hinder the raising of men for its service; but, finding the evil increasing so 
fast upon us as almost to threaten the depopulation of the county, we can not help 


appealing to the wisdom and justice of your Committee to know, whether the quota 
of men that may be demanded from this county under their own officers is not as 
much as can reasonably be expected from it; whether, at a time when we are uncertain 
of peace with the Indians, well knowing that our enemies are tampering with them, 
and a claim is set up to the greatest part of this Province by a neighboring Colony 
who have their hostile abettors at our very breasts as well as their emissaries among 
us, is it prudent to drain an infant frontier county of its strength of men? and 
whether the safety of the interior parts of the Province would not be better secured 
by adding strength to the frontiers; whether our Honorable Assembly, by disposing of 

commissions to gentlemen in different counties to raise companies did not 

intend that the respective captains should raise their companies where they [were] 
appointed, and not distress our county by taking from it all the men necessary for the 
business of agriculture as well as the defense of the same. 

The minutes of the next meeting, so far as concerns the organization of 
the Committee, are as follows: — " 

August 13, 1776. 

The following gentlemen, being unanimously chosen by their respective townships 
to serve in the Committee for the county of Northumberland for the space of six 
months, met at the school house in the town of Northumberland, viz : — 

Augusta Tovraship. — William Maclay, David McKinney, John Maclay. 

Turbut Township.— George McCandlish, William Shaw, Paul Geddis. 

Bald Eagle Township. — Robert Fleming, Thomas Kemplen, John Section. 

Wyoming Township.— Samuel McClure, Peter Melick, John Clingman. 

Mahanoy Township. — Sebastian Brosius, George Reitz, Peter Almang. 

Mahoning Township. — Laughlin McCartney, Thomas Robinson, John Boyd. 

Muncy Township. — Mordecai McKinney, James Giles, Andrew Culbertson. 

Buffalo Township. — Martin Traester, William Speddy, Philip Cole. 

Penn's Township. — Simeon Woodrow, Adam B., Mander, Paul Gemberling. 

Potter's Township. — [No return.] 

White Deer Township. — James McClenachan, Robert Fruit, William Gray. 

The Committee proceeded to elect a chairman and clerk, when Mr. Robert Fruit 
was unanimously appointed chairman during the time of six months* and John Boyd, 

At this meeting Andrew Culbertson, Mordecai McKinney, and James Giles 
"were appointed to request Colonel Plunket to divide the ammunition appor- 
tioned to the six comparlies of his battalion that were formed above Muncy. 
It was stored at the house of Laughlin McCartney; an additional supply had 
been forwarded to Harris's Ferry, and arrangements were made for its further 
transportation. The next meeting was held at Northumberland, September 
10th: complaint having been made that Aaron Levy and John Bullion had a 
quantity of salt which they refused to sell, the Committee directed William 
Sayres to take possession of it and sell it at fifteen shillings per bushel; 
WiUiam Parker and John Chattam were summoned upon a charge of un- 
friendliness to the cause of liberty, and, having confessed that they were 
British soldiers who had been taken as prisoners, they were ordered to Lan- 
caster under escort. At a meeting on the 12th the ammunition in the hands 

*Paul Geddis succeeded Robert Fruit as chairman in the following December. 


of the Committee was examined; half a pound of powder and one pound of 
lead were apportioned to each associator, with an additional quantity for the 
battalions on the frontiers. William Maclay and Mordecai MoKinney were 
appointed to go to Philadelphia for the salt allotted to the county; it appears, 
however, that Robert Fruit performed this service, as he wrote from Phila- 
delphia on the 23d of November that he had received seventy-seven bushels 
from the Council of Safety and delivered it to Marcus Hulings for transpor- 
tation. On the 12th of September the Committee addressed a memorial to 
the State Convention, expressing deep soHcitude at the probability of Indian 
hostilities (the prospect of which had been learned from intercepted letters), 
and deploring their inability "to keep the single and disengaged men in the 
county" as they chose "rather, under pay, to have to do with a humane 
enemy, than, at their own expense, to encounter merciless savages." The 
Convention was /asked to authorize the enlistment of men for the protection 
of the frontier or the expenditure of money in the erection of forts in wfiioh 
the inhabitants might take refuge. 

On the 14th of December the Committee met "by express from Captain 
John Brady upon sundry charges produced by said Brady against a certain 
Robert Robb." It was alleged that he had advised the acceptance of the 
terms of peace offered by Lord Howe, spoken disparagingly of the Conti- 
nental Congress and the State Convention, dissuaded others from entering 
the militia, etc. Numerous depositions were taken, and on the 17th of 
December the Committee decided " That said Robert Robb shall either take 
his gun and march immediately with the militia of this county into actual 
service for the defense of the United States in order to wipe off the present 
evil suspicions" or else be committed to the care of Colonel James Murray 
to be sent to some proper place of confinement. From this decision he ap- 
pealed to the Council of Safety, but was continued in the custody of Colonel 
Murray, who, "out of lenity to said Robb's family, saw fit to appoint the 
mansion house of the said Robb as a prison for him on a promise of his good 
behavior for the future." Three days later (December 20th) he "abused 

the lenity shown him by barbarously beating and much abusing a certain 

Peter Smith," and further contemned the constituted authorities by asserting 
that "he never thought to be tried by such men as some of the Committee; 
some of them had been tried for murder and some for horse-stealing," which 
was submitted in evidence at a meeting at the house of George McCandlish, 
January 14, 1777. On the following day Captain William Murray was 
desired to bring the offender before the Committee, which he positively 
declined to do, although notified three times, and finally surrendered his 
commission; Simon Hemrod and Buchanan Smith were then appointed to 
conduct Robb to the Council of Safety.* 

*Kobert Robb was subsequently Indicted by the grand jury of Northumberland county for mis- 
prision of treason, tried at November sessions, 1780, acquitted, and discharged upon payment of fees. 


The last Committee of which the proceedings are extant organized on the 
] 3th of February, 1777, as shovm by the following transcript from the min- 
utes: — 

Northumberland, February 13, 1777. 

Tbe following gentlemen, being unanimously chosen by their respective townships 
to serve in the Committee of this county for the ensuing six months, met at the house 
of Laughlin McCartney in Northumberland and gave in the following returns of their 
election, viz. : — 

Augusta Township. — No return. 

Potter's Township. — John Livingston, John McMillan. 

Turbut Township. — Thomas Jordan, John Nelson, Josiah Espy. 

Buffalo Township. — John Overhand, Thomas Sutherland, George Overmeier. 

Bald Eagle Township. — John Fleming, James Hughes, John Walker. 

Mahanoy Township. — G-eorge Yeakle, Henry Zartman, Henry Krebs. 

Penn's Township. — Andrew Moore, David Miller, Jacob Hosterman. 

White Deer Township. — William Blyth, James McCormick, William Reed. 

Muney Township. — John Coats, James Hampton, William Hammond. 

Mahoning Township. — No return. 

Wyoming Township. — James McClure, Peter Melick, John Clingman. 

The Committee, according to order, proceeded to elect their chairman and clerk, 
when Thomas Jordan was unanimously chosen c]jairman and John Coats, clerk. 

The second regular meeting of this Committee was held on the 11th of 
March at the house of Greorge McCandlish. Allis Read, of Wyoming town- 
ship entered complaint that a horse, strayed or stolen from him and replev- 
ined from John Drake, had been taken from his stable by Drake's widow; 
the case was referred to the local Committee for adjudication. The appeal of 
Jacob Links from the Committee of Buffalo township was then considered, 
and reserved for a future meeting. Captain Benjamin Weiser having com- 
plained of desertions from his company, it was ordered that a day of muster 
be assigned for the deserters to return, in default of which they should be 
placed under arrest. The Committee of Bald Eagle was authorized to pre- 
vent the purchase of grain by distillers and to compel its sale at the market 
price; report having been made "of a certain Henry Sterratt profaning the 
Sabbath in an unchristian and scandalous manner, causing his servants to 
maul rails, etc. on that day," the Bald Eagle Committee was " recommended 
to suppress such like practices to the utmost of their power." 

On the 15th of April, pursuant to adjournment, the Committee met at Mc- 
Candlish's and issued a special summons for Jacob Driesbach as a witness in 
the case of Jacob Links, charged with misappropriation of funds intrusted to 
him for the purchase of salt in Philadelphia; he appeared on the 17th, and 
his testimony was such as to vindicate the accused. The case of William 
Bead, who had declined to enter the militia, was then considered: he had 
been implicated in a riot in Ireland, he said, but was acquitted upon taking 
a solemn obligation never to bear arms against the British government, and 
basedrhis refusal upon a conscientious regard for that declaration; after tak- 
ing an oath of allegiance to the United States he was discharged. A letter 


from Nicholas Pickard, of Wyoming, to John Pickard, of Penn's township, in- 
forming him of an approaching Indian invasion, next received attention: John 
Pickard took the oath of allegiance; Nicholas acknowledged himself a British 
emissary, and was sent to Philadelphia under guard. The Committee then 
adjourned to meet at Laughlin McCartney's in Northumberland on the 10th 
of June, but no record of its subsequent proceedings has been preserved. 

The local militia was organized in four battalions and officered as fol- 
lows : — 

First Battalion. — Colonel, Samuel Hunter; lieutenant colonel, William 
Cooke; majors: Casper Weitzel, John Lee. 

First Company. — Captain, Nicholas Miller; first lieutenant, Christopher 
Gettig; second lieiitenant, Nehemiah Breese; ensigns: Gustavus Koss, Will- 
iam Sims. 

Second Company. — Captain, Hugh White; first lieutenant, John Forster; 
second lieutenant, Andrew Gibson; ensign, Samuel Young. 

Third Company. — Captain, John McMahan; first lieutenant, John Mur- 
ray; second lieutenant, William Fisher; ensign, William Bailey. 

Fourth Company. — Captain, Charles Gillespie; first lieutenant, Robert 
King; second lieutenant, Samuel Fulton; ensigns: William Boyd, John Wood- 

Fifth Company. — -tJaptain, William Scull; first lieutenant, Jonathan 
Lodge; second lieutenant, George Calhoon; ensigns: William Sawyer, George 

Sixth Company. — Captain, William Clark; first lieutenant, John Teitson; 
second lieutenant, William McDonald; ensign, John Moll. 

Seventh Company. — Captain, John Simpson; first lieutenant, Robert 
Curry; second lieutenant, John E wart; ehsigns: Thomas Gaskins, David Mead. 

Eighth Company. — Captain, Robert Crawford; first lieutenant, James 
McClure; second lieutenant, George Espy; ensign, Joseph Salmon. 

The field officers and all the company officers except those of the Seventh 
and Eighth were returned on the 8th of February, 1776; the officers of the 
Seventh company were returned on the 25th of March and those of the 
Eighth on the 12th of June. 

Second Battalion.— Colonel, James Potter; lieutenant colonel, Robert 
Moodie; majors: John Kelly, John Brady. 

First Company.— Captain, Arthur Taggart; first lieutenant, Cornelius 
Atkinson; second lieutenant, James McClung; ensign, James Wilson. 

Second Company.— Captain, William Gray; first lieutenant, William 
Clark; second lieutenant, James Murdock; ensign, William Thompson. 

Third Company.— Transferred to the Third battalion, in which it became 
the Seventh. 

Fourth Company.— Captain, Samuel Dale; first lieutenant, William 
Bennet; second lieutenant, Hawkins Boone; ensign, Jesse Weeks. 


Fifth Company. — Captain, Cookson Long; first lieutenant, William Mc- 
Elhatton; second lieutenant, Eobert Fleming; ensign, Robert Fleming, Jr. 

Sixth Company. — Transferred to the Third battalion, in which it became 
the Second. 

Seventh Company. — Captain, James Murray; first lieutenant, William 
Murray; second lieutenant, Thomas Plunket; ensign, Andrew Robinson. 
Probably transferred to the Third battalion. 

Eighth Company. — Transferred to the Third battalion, in which it became 
the First. 

Ninth Company. — Captain, John McMillen; first lieutenant, John Mc- 
Connell; second lieutenant, John McCormick; ensign, Charles Wilson. 

Tenth Company. — Captain, David Hays; first lieutenant, Charles Clark; 
ensign, Thomas Gray. 

Eleventh Company. — Captain, Philip Davis; first heutenant, James Espy; 
second lieutenant, John Nelson; ensign, Jacob FoUmer. 

All the officers of this battalion were returned on the 24th of January, 

Third Battalion. — Colonel, William Plunket; lieutenant colonel, James 
Murray; majors: John Brady, Cookson Long. 

First Company. — Captain, Henry Antes; first lieutenant, Thomas Brandon; 
second lieutenant, Alexander Hamilton; ensigns: John Morrison, James 

Second Company. — Captain, Samuel Wallis; first lieutenant, John Scud- 
der; second lieutenant, Peter Jones; ensign, James Hampton. 

Third Company. — Captain, John Robb; first lieutenant, William Watson; 
second lieutenant, Robert Nelson; ensign, James White. 

Fourth Company. — Captain, William McElhatton; first lieutenant, An- 
drew Boggs; second lieutenant, Thomas Nelson; ensign, John McCormick. 

Fifth Company. — Captain, William Murray; first lieutenant, Richard 
Irwin; second lieutenant, Thomas Phuiket; ensigns: Andrew Robinson, 
Benjamin Jordan. 

Sixth Company. — Captain, Simon Cole; first lieutenant, Thomas Kemp- 
len; second lieutenant, James Brandon; ensigns: William King, James 

Seventh Company. — Captain, David Berry; first lieutenant, WiUiam 
Hammond; second lieutenant, Joseph Bouser; ensign, Israel Pershel. 

All the officers of this battalion were returned on the 13th of March, 

Fourth Battalion. — Colonel, Philip Cole; lieutenant cqlonel, Thomas 
Sutherland; first major, Thomas Foster; second major, Casper Yost; adjutant, 
James McCoy; standard bearer, Dewalt Miller. 

First Company. — Captain, John Clark; first lieutenant, Henry Pontius; 
second lieutenant, James Moore; ensign, Patrick Watson. 


Second Company. — Captain, Michael Weaver. 

Third Company. — Captain, Jacob Links. 

Fourth Company. — Captain, William Weirick; first lieutenant, Jacob 
Sherred; second lieutenant, William Gill; ensign, Nathaniel Moon. 

Fifth Company. — Captain, George Wolf; first lieutenant, George Conrad; 
second lieutenant, Michael Wildgoose ; ensign, John Hessler. 

Sixth Company. — Captain, George Overmeier; first lieutenant, James 
McKelvy; second lieutenant, Peter Weirick; ensign, Michael Snyder. 

The local militia was first engaged in active service in the winter of 1776 
-77. On the 5th of December the Supreme Executive Council appointed 
Robert Martin " paymaster to the Northumberland county miliiia, now going 
into service;" on the 8th of January he was superseded by Alexander Hun- 
ter, " paymaster to the militia of Northumberland county, enrolled to serve 
to the 10th of March next." One detachment marched to Reading under 
Colonel Cole, of the Fourth battalion, and another to Philadelphia under 
Lieutenant Colonel Murray^ of the Third. Among the companies in 
Colonel Murray's command were Captains Benjamin Weiser's and John 
Lee's; ,the latter was composed of volunteers from the First battalion (Colonel 
Hunter's), who organized by electing the following ofiicers: Captain, John 
Lee; first lieutenant, Hugh White; second lieutenant, Thomas Gaskins, and 
ensign, Gustavus Ross. They marched on the 24th of December, 1776, and 
arrived at Philadelphia prior to the 11th of January. Captain Weiser's 
company was at Philadelphia on the 30th of January. Colonel Murray 
joined the army in New Jersey. 

On the 21st of March, 1777, Samuel Hunter* was appointed county lieu- 
tenant; in this capacity he assumed the general direction of the militia, 
which was divided into classes for convenience of management. The first 
requisition of troops that he received was as follows: — 

Philadelphia, Juue 14, 1777. 
Sir: By intelligence this moment received from Generals Sullivan and Arnold 
we are informed that the enemy are rapidly advancing through the Jerseys and had 
arrived at Rocky run, within four miles of Princeton. We do therefore entreat j-ou, by 
all the ties of virtue, honor, and love for your country, to call together immediately all 
the militia of your county you can possibly spare and hasten their march to this city 
with the utmost expedition. We are, in the greatest haste, Sir, 

Your most humble servants, 

Thomas JIcpflix, 
John Aemstiuixg, 

James Potteb. 

*Colonel Hunter's official correspondence Is published in the Pennsylvania Archives, as follows : 
1770- Vol. V. p. 133; mi-Xol. V. pp. 370-:i71, 377-378, 414, GlO-611, 615, 717-718, 737-738, 762; Vol. VI. p. 
S7; 1778-Vol. XL pp. 175-170, 191-1(12, 392, 47S, 490-500, 530-537, 552-553, 563-565, 570-572, 673, 599, 015, 024, 
«31-632, 630-637,711, 773; Vol. VII. pp. 116-118; 1779-A'ol. \-II. pp. 267-268, 316-318, 346-347, 375, 438, 
455, 510-512, 546-547, 574, 589, 594, 015, 019-620, 080; \i)\. \IU. pp. 29-30; 17S0-Vol. VIII. pp. 88-90, 157, 
160-168, 173, 189-190, 205-200, 369-370, 393-394, 567-508, 601 ; 1781-yol. VIII. p. 717; 1782-A'ol. IX. pp. 503- 

504, 028-529, 057-058. Original copies Of many ol' Colonel Hunter's letters are now in the possession 
of Captain John Buyers, of Selinsgrove^ Pennsylvania. 



Colonel Hunter received this on the 17th instant, and preparations were at 
once made to march the first and second classes on the 23d or 24th. On the 
16th Council directed that the first class only should be called out, which was 
accordingly done. An order countermanding the latter was issued on the 
19th; it did not reach Colonel Hunter until the 29th, and before the militia 
could be stopped one company had proceeded more than sixty miles and two 
others about thirty. , 

The next requisition was received by Colonel Hunter on the 10th of Sep- 
tember, 1777, and in compliance therewith he at once ordered the first class 
of the militia to march. A requisition for the second class was issued on the 
12th instant and for the third and fourth classes on the 23d of October. The 
latter reached Colonel Hunter on the 31st instant, but, owing to the difficulty 
of procuring arms and blankets, the classes designated did not march until 
November 11th. They were commanded by Colonel James Murray, whose 
regiment was attached to General James Potter's brigade and suffered some 
loss at the Guelph mills, near Philadelphia, December 11th. 

The following " Return of the Second battalion of Northumberland 
county militia, commanded by Colonel James Murray, May 1, 1778," on file in 
the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, shows its numerical strength 
at that date: — 











Captain John Wilson's Company 



Captain Arthur Taggart's Company 


Captain James McMahan's Company 


Captain John Chattam's Company 





I do certify the above return to be just and true as delivered me by tlie above 
captains. ■ Samuel Htjntbb, 


The fifth class was ordered out on the 5th of January, 1778; the requisi- 
tion reached Colonel Hunter on the 13th, and on the following day he wrote 
the president of Council expressing his extreme reluctance to comply with 
its terms, as organized frontier defense had become imperatively necessary. 
The order was accordingly rescinded. 

The hostile attitude of the Indians became a source of grave apprehension 
about this time. In a letter dated July 29, 1776, John Hairris stated, upon 
the authority of' two men from Sunbury, that two Senecas had come to the 


Great Island in the "West Branch three weeks preyiously; on the day after 
their arrival the Indians in that neighborhood cut down their com and 
removed their families, evidently with the intention of joining the Canada 
tribes in alliance with the English. Although the danger of invasion was 
represented to the State authorities by the county Committee no defensive 
measures were taken until the autumn of 1777, when, a report having been 
circulated tha^ two hundred Indians were on the West Branch forty miles 
above the Great Island, Colonel Cookson Long set out on the 6th of Septem- 
ber with a party of men to ascertain whether their intentions were hostile 
or friendly. Colonel Hunter wrote on the 27th of October that more than 
five hundred people had collected at Lycoming, Antes' s mill, and the mouth 
of Bald Eagle creek, in anticipation of an attack. Eifty men were stationed 
on the frontier at that time, under the command of Colonel John Kelly; after 
serving two months they were relieved by a detachment from Colonel Cook- 
son Long's battalion, three classes of which were ordered out. On the 28th 
of March, 1778, Colonel Hunter wrote that the fifth class was on the frontier 
under Lieutenant Colonel Henry Antes; at that time two rifles and sixty 
muskets constituted the public arms. In May he ordered the seventh class 
of Colonel John Kelly's battalion to relieve the sixth in Perm's valley, and 
the sixth and seventh classes of Colonel Cookson Long's battalion to scout 
along the frontiers. Great difficulty was experienced in procuring provisions ; 
the price of bacon was four shillings six pence per pound and of flour three 
pounds ten shillings per hundred-weight. Not more than half the militia 
was armed; the powder was very inferior in quality, and no flints could be 
bought. A consignment of seventy guns, thirty-one rifles, sixty-nine mus- 
kets, and a quantity of powder, lead, and flints was ordered sent to Colonel 
Hunter by the Supreme Executive Council on the 18th of May. 

Notwithstanding these defensive measures, Indian outrages became 
alarmingly frequent. On the 14th of January, 1778, Colonel Hunter re- 
ported two men killed at Pine creek on the 23d ultimo; May 14th, one man 
killed at Bald Eagle on the 8th instant and another in Penn's valley; May 
26th, three men killed at Bald Eagle on the 16th, three persons taken prison- 
ers at Pine creek on the 18th and nine at Lycoming on the 20th, and sixteen 
persons killed or taken prisoners at Loyalsocb on the 24th. On the 17th of 
Mqy Colonel Potter reported twenty persons killed on the North Branch. 
" The back inhabitants have all evacuated their habitations and assembled in 
different places," wrote Colonel Hunter on the 31st of May; " all above 
Muncy to Lycoming are come to Samuel Wallis's and the people of Muncy 
have gathered to Captain Brady's; all above Lycoming are at Antes' s mill 
and the mouth of Bald Eagle creek; all the inhabitants of Penn's valley 
are gathered to one place in Potter's township; the inhabitants of White 
Deer township are assembled at three different places, and the back settlers 
of Buffalo are come down to the river; all from Muncy hill to Chillisquaque 


have assembled at three different places ; Fishing creek and Mahoning settle- 
ments have all come to the river side." Eight persons were killed betv?een 
Loyalsock and Lycoming on the 10th of June, and Indians were encountered 
below Muncy hill a week or two later. On the 3d of July occurred the 
massacre of Wyoming, the intelligence of which produced a general panic 
among the inhabitants of Northumberland county and precipitated the 
" Great Eunaway." The flight of the settlers on the West Branch was thus 
described by Eobert Crownover, the well known scout: — 

I took my own family safely to Sunbury and came back in a keel-boat to secure my 
furniture. Just as I rounded a point above Derrstown, now Lewisburg, I met the whole 
convoy from all the forts above. Such a sight I never saw in my life. Boats, canoes, 
hog-troughs, rafts hastily made of dry sticks, every sort of floating article, had been put 
in requisition, and were crowded with women, children, and plunder. There were 
several hundred people in all. Whenever any obstruction occurred at any shoal or 
ripple, the women would leap out into the water and put their shoulders to the boat or 
raft and launch it again into deep water. The men of the settlement came down in 
single file on each side of the river to guard the women and children. The whole con- 
voy arrived safely at Sunbury, leaving the entire range of farms along the West Branch 
to the ravages of the Indians. 

The state of affairs was graphically described by William Maclay* in a 
letter to Council, dated Paxtang, July 12, 1778, of which the following is an 
extract: — 

I left Sunbury and almost my whole property on Wednesday last [July 8th]. I 
will not trouble you with a recital of the inconveniences I suffered while I brought my 
family by water to this place. I never in my life saw such scenes of distress. The 
river and the roads leading down it were covered with men, women, and children, flying 
for their lives, many without any property at all, and none who had not left the greatest 
part behind; in short, Northumberland county is broken up. Colonel Hunter only re- 
mained, using his utmost endeavors to rally some of the inhabitants and make a stand, 
however short, against the enemy. I left him with very few — I can not speak with 
certainty as to numbers — but am confident when I left him he had not one hundred 
men on whom he could depend. Wyoming ia totally abandoned; scarce a single family 
remained between that place and Sunbury when I came away. The panic and spirit 
of flight have reached even to this place; many have moved even out of this township, 
and almost every one is thinking of some place of greater security. You will scarce 
be able to give me credit when I inform you that if the same body which defeated 
Colonel Butler at Wyoming should follow up the blow, they may without difliculty 
penetrate to Carlisle .... For God's sake, for the sake of the country, let Colonel Hunter 
be re-enforced at Sunbury; send him but a single company if you can not do more. 
Mrs. Hunter came down with me; as he is now disinc umbered of his family, I am con- 
vinced he will do everything that can be expected from a brave and determined man. 
I must mention to you with freedom an opinion that has prevailed and done great hurt 
on the frontiers, viz., that no men or relief would be offered them. The miserable ex- 
ample of the Wyoming people, who have come down absolutely naked among us, has 
operated strongly, and the cry has been, " Let us move while we may, and let us carry 

*Wllliam Maclay's correspondence relating to affairs in Northumberland county is published in 
the Pennsylvania Archives, as follows: 1778— Vol. VI. pp. 634-635; 1779— Vol. VII. pp. 357, 586-587, 
593, 597-598, 623-624; 1780— Vol. VIII. pp. 156, 172-173. 


some of our efEects along with ub." It was to no purpose that Colonel Hunter issued 
orders for assembling the militia, and the whole county broke loose. 

At tea o'clock on the 12th of July Colonel Matthew Smith* wrote as fol- 
lows from Paxtang: "I am this moment arrived at Mr. Harris's ferry, and 
just now behold the greatest scenes of distress I ever saw. The numerous 

poor ran away from their habitations and left their all Northumberland 

coimty is evacuated." " This day," wrote Peter De Haven from Hummelstown 
July 12th, "there were twenty or thirty families passed through this town, 
some from Buffalo valley and some from Sunbury and some families from 
this side of Peter's mountain. Wyoming is taken, and most of our people 
have left Sunbury and are coming down; these people inform us that there 
are two hundred wagons on the road." On the 14th of July Colonel Bertram 
Galbraith, lieutenant of Lancaster county, informed the vice-president of 
Council that " On Sunday morning last the banks of the Susquehanna from 
Middletown up to the Blue mountain were entirely clad with the inhabit- 
ants of Northumberland county who had moved off, as well as many in the 
river in boats, canoes, rafts, etc." Captain Abraham Scott, who had been up 
at Garver's mill for his sister, the wife of Colonel Hunter, also informed him 
that the inhabitants of Wiconisco valley were preparing for flight.* 

On the 9th of July Colonel Hunter addressed a letter to the officers of 
the Berks county militia; there was then every reason to anticipate that 
Sunbury and Northumberland would be the frontier in less than twenty- 
four hours, but a few of the inhabitants had determined to make a stand 
and re-enforcements were urgently solicited. On the 12th he sent a com- 
munication to Council, in which the following passages occur: — 

The calamities so long dreaded, and which you have been more than once 
Informed must fall upon this coiinty if not assisted by Continental troops or the militia 
of the neighboring counties, now appear with all the horrors attendant on an Indian 
war; at this date the towns of Sunbury and Northumberland are the frontiers, where a 
few virtuous inhabitants and fugitives seem determined to stand, though doubtful 
whether to-morrow's sun will rise on them freemen, captives, or in eternity. Yet, 
relying on that Being who never forsakes the virtuous, and the timely assistance of the 
government which they have with zeal and vigor endeavored to support, they say the)- 
will remain as long as they can without incurring the censure of suicide. The carnage 
at Wyoming, the devastations and murders upon the West Branch of Susquehanna, on 
Bald Eagle creek, and, in short, throughout the whole county to within a few miles of 
these towns (the recital of which must be shocking), I suppose must before now have 
reached your ears. If not, you may figure yourselves men, women, and children, 
butchered and scalped, many of them after being promised quarter, and some scalped 
alive, of which we have miserable instances amongst us; people in crowds driven 
from their farms and habitations, man)' of whom have not money enough to purchase 

*Oolonel Smith's correspondence relating to affairs In Northumberland county is published In 
the Pennsylvania Archives, as follows: 1778— Vol. VI. pp. 632-G33; 1779— Vol. VII. pp. 606, 609-611, 614; 
Vol. VIII. p. 23; 1780— Vol. VIII. pp. 240, 417-419,513, 691-692. 

•The letters quoted are published In Vol. VI. of the Pennsylvania Archives— Colonel Smith's, p. 
632; De Haven's, p. 633; Galbraith's, p. 642. 


one day's provisions for their families, which must and alreadj^ has obliged many of 
them to plunder and lay waste the farms as they pass along. These calamities must, 
if not speedily remedied by a reinforcement of men from below, inevitably ruin the 
frontier and incumber the interior counties with such numbers of indigent fugitives 
unable to support themselves as will like locusts devour all before them. If we are 
assisted to stand and save our crops, we will have enough for ourselves and to spare; 
you need be under no apprehension of any troops you send here suffering for want of 
provisions if they come in time, before the few who yet remain are obliged to give 
way; with men it will be necessary to send arms and ammunition, as we are ill pro- 
vided with them. Gentlemen, you must all know that this county cannot be strong in 
men after the numbers it has furnished to serve the United States. Their applications 
to us for men were always complied with to the utmost of our abilities and with the 
greatest alacrity; should Our supplications now be rejected I think the survivors of us, 
if any, may safely say that virtue is not rewarded. 

The defense of the frontier having been considered by Congress and the 
State authorities, it was decided that the detachment of Colonel Hartley's 
regiment then at Philadelphia should march to Sunbury ; three hundred militia 
from Northumberland county, four hundred from Lancaster, and one hun- 
dred fifty from Berks were also ordered to that point, July 14, 1778. Colonel 
Daniel Brodhead's regiment, then on the march to Pittsburgh, had been 
directed to take position at Standing Stone (Huntingdon), but when General 
Lachlan Mcintosh, who commanded in that department, heard of the state of 
affairs on the northern frontier, he ordered it to proceed up the Susquehanna, 
a movement that received the hearty approval of the Board of War and 
Supreme Executive Council. On the 24th of July Colonel Brodhead wrote* 
that, having arrived at Sunbury too late to be of service to the inhabitants 
there, he had determined to fix upon two principal posts and maintain a line of 
scouts between them; accordingly, a major, two captains, one subaltern, and 
eighty men were stationed at Brier creek on the North Branch and one hun- 
dred twenty men tmder his personal command at Muncy, while a captain 
and twenty-five men were detached to General James Potter's in Penn's 
valley. General Potter reported that the arrival of this force had done 
much to restore confidence; the "Eunaway" had entailed a loss of forty 
thousand pounds, but the people were returning to reap their harvests and 
further waste would thus be prevented. He expressed his intention of 
directing the movements of the militia; this had been agreed upon by' 
Generals Armstrong and Mcintosh with the acquiescence of Colonel Brod- 
head, as General John Lacey, whom Council had designated for that service, 
was not regarded as eligible. It appears, however, that the militia which 
first arrived at Sunbury was commanded by General John P. De Haas, who 
had offered on~the 13th of July to lead a body of volunteers against the 
Indians; Council accepted his services, and in the organization of defensive 
measures he rendered valuable assistance. 

♦Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. VI. pp. 660-661. 


' Colonel Hartley* arrived at Sunbury with a detachment of his regiment in 
the last week of July, 1778, and in the early part of August Colonel Brod- 
head's command withdrew to Carlisle en route to Pittsburgh. Two hundred 
militia had collected at Sunbury, and parties had been sent to various points 
by General De Haas. Four fifths of the inhabitants had fled; many were 
returning, and for their protection Colonel Hartley deemed it necessary to 
establish a line of posts between Fishing creek and the Great Island. He sent 
a detachmept to garrison Fort Jenkins, at Brier creek on the North Branch, 
the erection of which had been begun by Brodhead's troops; another was 
stationed at Bossley's mills, in the forks of Chillisquaque, and a third at 
Muncy, on the West Branch. At the latter point, which he visited in per- 
son, accompanied by General De Haas, the erection of a fort was undertaken. 
William Maclay's residence at Sunbury was converted into a magazine and 
fortified by a stockade in the rear. The forces in Northumberland county, as 
summarized by Colonel Himter on the 20th of August, numbered six hun- 
dred fifty men, of whom one hundred were Continental troops in Colonel 
Hartley's regiment; four hundred ninety were militia — two hundred twenty 
from Lancaster county, one hundred seventy from Berks, and one hundred 
from Northumberland; and sixty were volunteers in Captain Mm-ray's com- 
pany. Pursuant to a resolution of Congress of June 8, 1778, and Council's 
instructions of the 10th, this company was recruited for six months under 
the direction of Colonel Hunter, by whom the following officers were ap- 
pointed: Captain, James Murray; captain lieutenant, Eobert Arthur; second 
lieutenant, Samuel Fulton; third lieutenant, William Eeed; ensign, Andrew 

Colonel Hartley's expedition against the Indian towns on the North 
Branch was the first offensive movement of importance on the northern 
frontier. On the 21st of September he left Muncy with two hundred men; 
the route selected was the Sheshequin path, and the march was rendered ex- 
tremely arduous by streams, swamps, and mountains. On the 20th the ad- 
vance guard of nineteen men encountered an equal number of Indians, who 
fled with the loss of their chief. Tioga, the town of Queen Esther, was 
burned. Crossing the .North Branch on the 28th, the expedition proceeded 
to Wyalusing, where the retreat was resumed on the following day. Seventy 
of the men descended the river in canoes; the main body marched in three 
divisions, of which Captain Murray's was the third, while five runners under 
Captain Kemplen formed part of the rear guard. The Indians made an 
attack on the afternoon of the 29th; Captains Boone and Brady and Lieu- 
tenant King landed from the canoes with a few brave fellows at a critical 
moment, and the enemy, after a brief resistance, fled with a loss of ten 

*Colonel Hartley's oorresponrtence relating to affairs in Northumberland county Is published in 
the rennsylvania Archives, as follows : 177S— Vol. VI. pp. G74. 6SS-090, GOO-694, 705, 729 ; Vol. VI t. pp. 3-9, 

10, 81-82, 86-87, 87-88, 778. 


killed. The expedition arrived at Sunbury on the 5th of October, after 
making a circuit of three hundred miles, having defeated the enemy when- 
ever encountered, destroyed all their towns between Wyoming and Tioga, 
and recovered about fifty cattle, twenty-eight canoes, and much other prop- 
erty of value. 

On the 9th of November Colonel Hartley wrote that the enemy had de- 
stroyed the settlements on the North Branch above Nescopeck, and was only 
deterred from advancing farther by the garrison at Fort Jenkins; seventy 
Indians were also advancing toward the forks of Chillisquaque, and he was 
collecting a force to attack them. Orders were issued for the inhabitants to 
assemble, to which they responded with alacrity. On the 14th he was at 
Fort Jenkins, whence, on the following day, his force advanced toward 
Wyoming; the enemy was compelled to abandon a number of cattle taken 
above Nescopec, and fled with the utmost precipitation. He was again at 
Sunbury on the 20th, but shortly afterward took his departure, leaving a 
detachment from his regiment in garrison at Fort Muncy and others at 
different points. The Berks and Lancaster militia had returned at the 
expiration of the period for which they were called out, and thus the protec- 
tion of the frontier devolved entirely upon the exertions of its inhabitants 
and a few companies of Continental troops. It does not appear, however, 
that any incursions of importance occurred during the winter of 1778-79. 

In March, 1779, General Edward Hand* was ordered to the frontier of 
Northampton and Northumberland counties with a detachment of Continental 
troops. " As the principal object of my command lies above Wyoming," he 
wrote President Eeed on the 16th of April, " I am apprehensive that I can't 
pay much attention to Sunbury or the contiguous settlements," and in pur- 
suance of this declaration he devoted his first efforts to the strengthening of 
the post at Wyoming. Three companies of forty men each were raised in 
Northumberland county and employed in scouting duty, but with such inad- 
equate protection its territory again became an inviting field for Indian in- 
cursions. On the 25th of April an attack was made upon the settlement near 
Fort Jenkins and several families were taken prisoners; the garrison effected 
their rescue, but was driven to the fort with some loss. On the 26th thirteen 
men were fired upon five miles from Fort Muncy, and all but one were killed 
or captured. On the same day thirty or forty Indians attacked a small party 
of militia near Fort Freeland; among those killed on this occasion was 
Michael Lepley, whose widow applied for a pension in 1786. The following 
certificate appears in the minutes of the orphans' court of Northumberland 
county as part of the evidence in her case: — 

I, the subscriber, do hereby certify that on the 36th of April, 1779, 1 was stationed 
at Freeland's fort with a party of militia whom I had the honor to have the command 

*General Hand's correspondence relating to affairs in Nortliumberland county is published in the 
Pennsylvania Archives, as follows : 1779— Vol. VII. pp. 321, 344, 408. 


of, and, at the request of Mr. McKnight*, I ordered a guard of six men to go with Mc- 
Knight to his plantation, as they were but a small distance from Freeland's fort. The 
party was attacked by a number of Indians, and Michael Lepley, one of my soldiers, 
was killed and scalped. Witness my hand this 37th day of June, 1786. 

Jacob Spbes, 


The depredations continued. " Almost every hour for three days past," 
wrote William Maclay on the 27th of April, " we have fresh alarms of the 
enemy. Massacres and depredations have been committed at Wyoming, Fort 
Jenkins, Fishing creek, Freeland's mill, Port Muncy, and Loyalsock, almost 
at one and the same time. We expect every moment to hear of their nearer 
approach. The whole force of the Six Nations seems to be poured down 
upon us." He thought that a single troop of light horse, attended by blood- 
hounds, would destroy more Indians than five thousand troops stationed in 
forts along the frontier. While it does not appear that Council adopted this 
suggestion. General Hand was at length brought to realize that Northumber- 
land county had some claim upon his protection, and on the 15th of May he 
reported a garrison of one hundred men at Fort Jenkins, one hundred at 
Fort Muncy, and seventy at Simbury, all Continental troops from the Elev- 
enth Peimsylvania regiment (formerly Colonel Hartley' s),while a local company 
of nine-months men under Captain John Kemplen was stationed at Bossley's 
mills and detachments of militia at Fort Freeland and other minor posts. 
During the months of May and June .the county enjoyed almost entire im- 
munity from Indian ravages, the prelude, unfortunately, to the most serious 
reverses experienced within her present limits during the Revolutionary 

In the latter part of June the Eleventh regiment was ordered to Wyom- 
ing for service in Sullivan's expedition, for which the supplies were trans- 
ported principally up the Susquehaima by boat, and in this work nearly aU 
the able-bodied men in the county engaged. On the 26th of June Colonel Hun- 
ter wrote that, exclusive of the militia at Fort Freeland and at General Potter's 
(in Penn's township), he had been able to collect only thirty men, who were 
stationed at Sunbury to guard the stores. The term for which the two- 
months companies enlisted had expired, thus leaving him with the entire 
frontier to defend and practically no forces at his command. The enemy 
was not slow to take advantage of the situation. Their movements were thus 
summarized by Colonel Hunter on the 23d of July: " Immediately after the 
evacuation of Fort Muncy the Indians began their cruel murders again; the 
3d instant they killed three men and took two prisoners at Lycoming; the 
8th instant they burned the Widow Smith's mill and killed one man; 17th 
instant they killed two men and took three prisoners from Fort Brady; the 

*James MoKnlght, memher of Assembly from this county at that time. Colonel Hunter states 
that he was taken prisoner; In Gift's narr.itlve (Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, p. 170) lie is repre- 
sented as having heen killed. 


same day they burned Starret's mill and all the principal houses in Muncy 
township; the 20th instant they killed three men at Freeland's fort and took 
two prisoners." " Stripped of the whole of the standing army," wrote Will- 
iam Maclay July 26th, " and without a single man save the militia of the 
county and fourteen men imder the command of a Captain Kemplen, and 
almost every young man on the frontier engaged in the boat service, they suf- 
fer more than ever from the savage depredations of a horrid enemy. Every- 
thing above Muncy Hill is abandoned; a large body of above forty savages 

had penetrated as far as Freeland's mills I have spoken to Colonel Hunter 

for a guard for the magazine, but in vain; he is not able to protect the flying 
inhabitants. The stores at Sunbury are deposited in my late dwelling house, 
which is large and conveniently situated, both for defense and the reception 
and delivery of stores. The back part of it was stockaded last year by 
Colonel Hartley; a small expense would complete the stockade and mount a. 

few swivels, several of which lie there dismounted I have had the charge. 

of the magazine at Sunbury for some time past." 

The party that devastated Muncy and appeared at Fort Freeland July 20th 
was somewhat in advance of the main body of the enemy, which was com- 
posed of one hundred British rangers under Captain John McDonald and 
two hundred Indians under Hiokoto, a Seneca chief. Their approach was 
reconnoitered by Eobert Crownover, and upon receiving his intelligence the 
people at Fort Muncy at once evacuated- that post. In their journey down 
the West Branch they were joined by the families at Fort Meminger, near 
the mouth of Warrior run, but, although warned of the impending danger,, 
the people at Fort Boone and Fort Freeland preferred to remain. The former 
was a small stockade at the mouth of Muddy run, constructed under the 
supervision of Captain Hawkins Boone; Mrs. Mary V. Derickson gives the 
following account of Fort Freeland in a letter dated Delaware Kun, December 
17, 1855:— 

The fort was situated on the Warrior run about four and one half miles above 
where it empties into the Susquehanna river. 

In the year 1772 Jacob Freeland, Samuel Gould, Peter Vincent, John Vincent and 
his son Cornelius Vincent, and Timothy Williams, with their respective families, cut. 
their way through and settled within some two miles of where the fort was after- 
ward built. They were from Essex county. New Jersey. Jacob Freeland brought the 
irons for a grist mill, and in the years 1773 and 1774 he built one on the Warrior run. 

There were several more families moved up from the same place, and they lived 
on friendly terms with the Indians until 1777, when they began to be troublesome and 
to remove their own families. In the summer of 1778 they had to leave the country, 
and when they returned in the fall they picketed around a large two-story log house 
which had been built by Jacob Freeland for his family, inclosing half an acre of 
ground. The timbers were set close and were about twelve feet high; the gate was 
fastened with bars inside. Into this fort or house the families of Jacob Freeland, Sr., 
Jacob Freeland, Jr., John Lytle, Michael Freeland, John Vincent, Peter Vincent, 
George Pack, Cornelius Vincent, Moses Kirk, James Durham, Samuel Gould, Isaac 



Vincent, and Daniel Vincent all gathered and lived that winter. In November, George 
Pack, son of George Pack, was born, and on the 10th of February, 1779, 1 was born. 
My father was Cornelius Vincent; and on the 20th of May, George, son of Isaac Vin- 
cent, was born. 

In the fall of 1778, as a company of the settlers was leaving the country on account 
of the Indians, they were fired at, and Mrs. Durham's infant was killed in her arms; 
she fell with it, and they came and tomahawked and scalped her, and when the men 
went to count the dead, she raised up and asked for a drink of water. Blias Williams, 
one of the men, ran to the river and brought his hat full of water and gave her a drink; 
they then put her in a canoe and took her to Northumberland, where Doctor Plunket 
dressed her head; she recovered and lived about fifty years. Her body was afterward 
laid in Warrior Run burying ground, about a half-mile off where the fort stood. 

In the spring of 1779 the men planted corn but were occasionally surprised by the 
Indians, but nothing serious occurred until the 21st day of July; as some of them were 
at work in a cornfield back of the fort they were attacked by a party of Indians about 
nine o'clock a. m., and Isaac Vincent, Elias Freeland, and Jacob Freeland, Jr., were 
killed, and Benjamin Vincent and Michael Freeland were taken prisoners. Daniel 
Vincent was chased by them, but he out-ran them, and escaped by leaping a very high 
log fence. "When the Indians surprised them, Benjamin Vincent (then ten years of 
age) hid himself in a furrow, but he thought he would be more secure by climbing a 
tree, as there was a woods near, but they saw him and took him prisoner; he was 
ignorant of the fate of the others until about two o'clock p. m., when an Indian thrust 
a bloody scalp in his face, and he knew' it was his (and my) brother Isaac's hair. 

At this point it is proper to mention the death of James Watt, to which 
Mrs. Deriokson does not refer. The deposition of his widow, Mrs. Ann Watt, 
entered in the minutes of the orphans' court of Northumberland county at 
October term, 1790, states, that he "was stationed at Freeland's fort in the 
county aforesaid and did actual duty as a sergeant in Captain Taggart's 
company in the battalion of Colonel James Murray, having served under the 
commands of Captain Taggart, Lieutenant Atkinson, Ensign Freeland, and 
Adjutant Lytle (the latter being commander at the time of the death of the 
said James), each in succession of the said Fort Freeland; that on the morn- 
ing of the 28th day of July, A. D. 1779, the said James Watt was set upon 
by the Indians at enmity with this Commonwealth, about one hundred yards 
from the said fort, and was then and there tomahawked and put to death." 
It is worthy of remark that the name of Lieutenant Spees is not given among 
the successive commanders of the fort; possibly he preceded those men- 

The remainder of Mrs. Derickson's narrative is as follows:— 
Nothing again occurred until the morning of the 29th; about daybreak, as Jacob 
Freeland, Sr., was going out of the gate, he was shot, and fell inside of the gate The 
fort was surrounded by about three hundred British and Indians, commanded by Cap- 
tarn McDonald; there were but twenty-one men in the fort, and but little ammunition- 
Mary Kirk and Phebe Vincent commenced immediately and ran all their spoons and 
plates mto bullets; about nine o'clock there was a flag of truce raised, and John Lvtle 
and John Vmcent went out to capitulate, but could not agree. They had half an hour 
given them to consult with those inside; at length they agreed that all who were able 
to bear arms should go as prisoners, and the old men and women and children set free 


and the fort given up to plunder; they all left the fort by twelve o'clock m., not one of 
them having eaten a bite that day, and not a child was heard to cry or ask for bread 
that day. They reached Northumberland, eighteen miles distant, that night, and there 
drew their rations, the first they had to eat that day. 

When Mrs. Kirk heard the terms on which they were set free she put female's 
clothes on her son "William, a lad of sixteen, and he escaped with the women. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Vincent was a cripple; she could not walk. Her husband, John 
Vincent, went to Captain McDonald and told him of her situation, and said if he had 
the horse that the Indians had taken from his son Peter the week before that she could 
ride, and about daylight the next morning the horse came to them; he had carried his 
wife to the lower end of the meadow where they lay and saw the fort burned, and it 
rained so hard that night that she lay mid-side in water; when the horse came he 
stripped the bark ofE a hickory tree and plaited a halter, set his wife on, and led it to 
Northumberland, where there were wagons pressed to take them on down the country.* 

The following copy of the articles of capitulation was transmitted to 
President Eeed by Colonel Matthew Smith: — 

Articles of Capitulation entered into between Captain John McDonald on Ms Majesty's 
pa/rt and John Lytle on that of the Congress. 

Article 1st. — The men in garrison to march out and ground their arms on the green 
in front of the fort, which is to be taken possession of immediately by his Majesty's 
troops. — ^Agreed to. 

2d. — All men bearing arms are to surrender themselves prisoners of war and to be 
sent to Niagara. — Agreed to. 

3d. — The women and children not to be stripped of their clothing nor molested by 
the Indians, and to be at liberty to move down the country where they please. — Agreed 

John McDonald, 

Ga/ptain of Rangers. 
John Lttlb. 

The first intelligence of the attack was received at Sunbury at twelve 
o'clock on the 28th day of July, when an express arrived from Boone's mill 
with the information that the fort was surrounded by a party of Indians. A 
party at once marched from Sunbury and Northumberland to the relief of 
( the garrison at Boone's. At Colonel Hunter's request Dr. Francis Allison 
wrote Colonel Elder "that Freeland's fort, the most advanced fort on the 
frontiers of the "West Branch, had on "Wednesday last [July 21st] three of 
the garrison killed and scalped (one only shot) within sixty yards of the 
fort, and two made prisoners; their number of Indians appeared to be up- 
wards of thirty in the open view of the garrison. Relief was sent imme- 
diately from Boone's fort and the two tovsois, and additional force was 
left behind to their assistance," notwithstanding which an attack was made 
on the morning of July 28th, of which intelligence was received by express 
from Major Smith and Captain Nelson. The following extracts from letters 
written at Sunbury on the 29th of July convey a graphic idea of the situa- 
tion : — 

* Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. XII. pp. 364-366.— It is to be observed that Mrs. Dericltson says tlie 
first attaclc occurred July 21st— Colonel Hunter, July 20th ; she also says the capitulation occurred 
July 29th, while contemporary wi-iters without exception give July 28th as the date, and the latter is 
undoubtedly correct. 


Yesterday morning early there was a party of Indians and regular troops attacked 
FortFreeland- the firing was heard at Boone's place, when a party of thirty men 
™?ot from that unler the command of Captain Boone, but before he arnved at 
FortFreeland the garrison had surrendered and the British troops and savages were 
paraded around the prisoners, and the fort and houses adjacent set on fire Cap- 
tain Boone and his party fired briskly on the enemy, but were soon surrounded by a 
large party of Indians; there were thirteen killed of our people and Captain Boone 
himself among the A&m.-Golmel Hunter to William Maday. ^ ^ ^ 

Yesterday morning Freeland's fort was attacked by not less than three hundred 
British troops and Indians; they acted on the defensive as long as they could well but 
found it impracticable to hold out any longer after the enemy had sent in three flags 
desiring them to surrender, the last mentioning if they did not they would put 

them to the sword, every one The whole killed in the fort was four men. 

Captain Boone, who went out for their relief, fell in with the enemy; Captain Kem- 
plen who observed the first Indian on guard, shot him dead on the spot; then a party 
rallied out of the mill and defeated Boone's company-killed Boone, Captain Dougherty, 

Captain Hamilton; Only thirteen escaped. Northumberland is now the 

frontier.— /oto Buyers to William Maday. 

We have received particular instructions from Fort Freeland by women who have 
been in the fort. They say the garrison surrendered after making a noble but short 

resistance, and after being thrice summoned Of the garrison four were killed, 

and thirteen scalps were brought into the fort in a pocket handkerchief, among whom 
were Captain Boone's and Captain Dougherty's, supposed to belong to the party from 
Boone's fort which attacked the British, Indians, etc., and even got in among the people 
who were prisoners with them, but were obliged to fly on account of superiority of 
numbers. Thirteen or fourteen of the party have come in; they and the women of 
Fort Freeland estimate the number of the enemy at between three and four hundred, 
one third of whom are regular troops. Boone's fort is evacuated, and Northumber- 
land-Town is already the frontier.— Dr. Francis Allison to Colonel Joshua Elder. 

On the 2d of August a party from Buffalo valley under Colonel John 
Kelly buried the dead and prepared a list of their names; they gave it to 
Colonel Matthew Smith, by whom it was transmitted to Council. Of the 
garrison, James Watt, John McClintock, William McClung, James Miles, and 
Henry GilfiUan were killed; of Captain Boone's party, Hawkins Boone, 
Samuel Dougherty, Jeremiah McLaughlin, Natt'e Smith, John Jones, Ed- 
ward Costigan, Ezra Green, Samuel Neill, Matthew McClintock, Hugh 
McGill, and Andrew Woods. Of the garrison, the following were taken 
prisoners:* Captain's company — John Neely, sergeant, George Bailey, George 
Armitage, Aaron Martin, Thomas Smith, Isaac Wilson, and John Forney; 
"of the militia that enrolled themselves for the defense of the garrison" — 
John Lytle, adjutant, Cornelius Vincent, quartermaster, Samuel Gould, ser- 
geant, Henry Townley, Peter Williams, Isaac Williams, Elias Williams, 
Henry GilfiUan, James Durham, Daniel Vincent, John Watt, William Miles, 
John Dough, Thomas Taggart, Francis Watt, and Peter Vincent; the two 
last named made their escape on the same day. All the women and chil- 
dren in the fort, fifty-two in number, according to Colonel Matthew Smith, 

•Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, p. 179. 


arrived safely at Sunbury. Four old men were also permitted to return, as 
the enemy did not think them strong enough to march to Niagara. 

On the 28th of July Colonel Hunter dispatched letters to General Sulli- 
Yan, whose army was yet at Wyoming, and Colonel Joshua Elder, of Pax- 
tang, sub -lieutenant of Lancaster county, urgently soliciting assistance. The 
former declined to comply with the request, as his entire force was deemed 
necessary for the success of the expedition, but the appeal to the latter was 
not made in vaia. On the 31st of July the inhabitants of Paxtang township 
held a meeting at which Colonel Elder, Colonel Matthew Smith, and William 
Maclay presented the situation in Northumberland county; an appeal was 
made for volunteers and eight o'clock Sunday morning fixed upon as the 
time to march. Colonel Smith arrived at Sunbury on Monday evening, 
August 2d, with sixty Paxtang boys; "Provisions are scarce, but we intend 
to follow the savages," he wrote on the 3d; " we hope to come at them, as 
the number of cattle is great they have taken from the country, and must 
make a slow progress on their return home .... The distress of the people 
here is great; you may have some conception, but scarcely can be told. The 
tovm now composes Northumberland county. The enemy have burnt every- 
where they have been; houses, bams, rice and wheat in the field, stacks of 
hay, etc. are all consumed. Such devastation I have not yet seen." The 
Paxtang boys were the first to arrive; every hour brought fresh accessions 
from Lancaster and Cumberland counties, and on the morning of Thursday, 
August 5th, five hundred militia marched from Sunbury under Colonel 
Smith. Their immediate destiaation was Muncy. It was thought that the 
enemy might be overtaken, but a week had elapsed since their departure and 
it is not probable that the pursuit was long continued. After about two 
weeks of active service, the volunteers disbanded. 

General Sullivan was advancing into the Indian country, and for a time 
the frontier was comparatively undisturbed. On the 28th of August Colonel 
Hunter wrote that no damage had been sustained since the fall of Freeland; 
below Muncy Hill many of the inhabitants had returned to their farms; 
thirty-four militia from Lancaster county had arrived at Sunbury, and he 
was about to station them in the Warrior run neighborhood. 

The disastrous consequences attending the withdrawal of the Eleventh 
regiment prompted Council to make an urgent application for Continental 
troops to protect Northumberland county, in compliance with which the 
German regiment, which had been stationed at Wyoming since its return 
from Sullivan's expedition, was ordered to Sunbury. This regiment num- 
bered one hundred twenty effective men, exclusive of officers, and was 
commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ludwig Weltner, who made his head- 
quarters at Sunbury and retained a detachment at that place to guard the 
stores. Twenty men were stationed at Fort Jenkins, and Captain Kemplen's 
rangers, a local company of fourteen men, at Fort Meminger, seventeen 


miles from Sunbury on the West Branch. As there was not sufficient force 
to rebuild and garrison Fort Muncy, it became necessary to select some other 
point equally well adapted for the protection of the frontier in that direction. 
"McClung's place" (presumably the improvements of a settler of that name 
near the West Branch above Milton) was accordingly chosen, and a detach- 
ment of the German regiment took position there on the 5th of November. 
It was represented that fortifications had been begun at that point, but this 
proved without foundation, and, as there was insufficient shelter and no 
timber convenient, the troops removed to " a place called Montgomery's," 
where barracks and other necessary defenses were erected. This post, 
variously referred to as Fort Montgomery, Fort Rice, and Fort Bunner, was 
situated in the extreme southeastern part of Lewis township at a large spring 
on a tract of land originally warranted under the name of Paradise, which 
ultimately gained popular currency and is now applied to a large part of 
Turbut and Lewis townships. The first resident owner of this land was 
John Montgomery, who built his cabin at the spring; it was fortified when 
the Indian troubles began, and thus acquired the name of Fort Montgomery. 
On the morning that Fort Freeland was invested, retreat having become 
wiser than resistance in view of a probable attack by greatly superior num- 
bers, Montgomery and his party withdrew in safety to Sunbuiy. There is 
reason to suppose that Weltner's troops found his improvements available 
for occupation, and that the additional works erected rendered this a place 
of comparative strength. It was given the names of Fort Rice and Fort 
Bunner in honor of Captains Frederick William Rice and Jacob Bunner, of 
the German regiment, who had command of the garrison at various times. 

During the ensuing winter the regiment appears to have been engaged 
principally in garrison duty. On the 13th of December, 1779, Colonel 
Weltner wrote that the detachments at Montgomery's and Jenkins's had 
left him only enough at Sunbury " to mount a couple of sentries." In a 
letter dated April 9, 1780, he stated that he had "manned three material 
outposts," Fort Jenkins, Fort Montgomeiy, and Bossley's miU, in addition 
to which a post on the West Branch near Boone's mill was reported on the 
8th of May.* 

On the 7th of April President Reed wrote Colonel Hunter authorizing 
the payment of fifteen hundred dollars for a prisoner and one thousand 
dollars for an Indian scalp; this furnished incentive for the organization of 
volunteer companies, and as spring opened the Continental troops also 
engaged in reconnoitering expeditions. On the 20th of June Colonel Welt- 
ner wrote that the entire frontier from the North to the West Branch had 

*It does not appear that the latter was sustained any length of time ; the following statements 
occur in a " Memorial of Inhahltants on the West Branch " dated June 20, 1780: " The German regi- 

t1iir?vthrpt'„rF''^r'!T' T"f' °' '"'°"' ""^'"""Ired men, and are posted nearly as follows: 
thirty-thiee a Fort Jenkins, thirty at Bossley's mill, twenty-four at Fort Bunner, and the residue at 
headquarters in Northuinberland-Town."-Pm,«si/Im«ta ArclUvc, (^Second Scries\ Vol III ™ 


been traversed to a distance of forty miles from Northumberland, and an 
officer witli five men had ascended the West Branch more than a hundred 
miles. Regarding his own excursions he said: "I often reconnoiter my 
outposts ;...... five or six gentlemen in this town and two of my officers are 

commonly my escorts It is highly discouraging for a man who has 

always been generous in his own house, and now when he serves his country 
with every nerve in his body, must, after a fatigue of two or three days, and 
those gentlemen who suffered the same, must then go home without any 
refreshment from me, as this place has not afforded a drop of good liquor 
since the beginning of March last." It does not appear that his command 
was engaged in any important movements during the summer, and in 
August, 1780, it was withdrawn. 

The enemy made frequent incursions during this period. On the 27th 
of November, 1779, Colonel Hunter wrota that a deep snow had fallen, 
which he hoped would prevent their inroads during the winter, and while 
this seems to have been the case, William Maclay stated in a letter written 
on the 2d of April, 1780, " They are with us before that snow is quite gone." 
The county was, he said, a " divided quarter," in which " Whig, Tory, 
Yankee, Pennamite, Dutch, Irish, and English influence " were strangely 
blended. On the 31st of March seven or eight prisoners were taken near 
Fort Jenkins. Three Indians attacked the house of a widow on the 8th of 
April, kUled two of her children, and took her prisoner, but she escaped. 
On the 13th, although three parties of the inhabitants were out scouting at 
the time and a detachment of militia was stationed two miles away, twenty 
Indians killed one man and wounded three at Peter Swartz's plantation on 
the West Branch twelve miles from Sunbury. Four men were killed at 
Grozong's mUl in Buffalo Valley May 16th. On the 12th of June Emanuel 
Lewis, second lieutenant in Captain Mull's company of the Third battalion, 
was killed at his house on the Reading road seven miles from Simbury, and 
on the same day an Indian was taken prisoner at Thomas Bowyer's on the 
North Branch ten miles from Northumberland. In the same vicinity and 
about the same time Robert Curry was killed while riding horseback and his 
wife taken prisoner, but she escaped. Two inroads were made on the 15th 
of August, in one of which the Middle creek settlement, eight miles from 
Sunbury, was attacked. 

After the withdrawal of the German regiment Colonel Hunter ordered 
the frontier companies of militia to embody and kept one fourth of the men 
constantly reconnoitering. Fort Jenkins, Fort Rice, and Fort Swartz were 
each garrisoned with twenty men; Captain McCay took position in Buffalo 
valley with thirty volunteers from Cumberland county, which also con- 
tributed two companies of militia numbering seventy or eighty men who 
arrived on the 10th of September. The re-enforcement was timely. A large 
body of the enemy appeared before Fort Rice about sundown on the 6th of 


September, killed one man, and wounded another, but the garrison returned 
the fire with such spirit that they withdrew and set fire to a number of 
houses and grain stacks during the night. The militia was immediately 
ordered out, and one hundred men under Colonel John Kelly reached the 
fort on the following day, but, having been informed that the enemy num- 
bered two hundred fifty, it was not deemed prudent to pursue. Colonel 
Hunter at once ordered the evacuation of Fort Jenkins (which was subse- 
quently burned) and sent an express to Colonel Purdy on the Juniata, who 
brought one hundred ten mihtia and eighty volunteers. General James 
Potter arrived at Sunbury on the 11th of September and took command; as 
the local militia had collected and the number of the enemy was found to be 
less than had been reported, he dismissed the volunteers; on the 12th he 
marched with one hundred seventy men to Fort Swartz on the West Branch. 
Leaving his command at that point he crossed the river to the mouth of 
"White Deer creek, where Colonel Kelly was encamped with eighty men, 
waiting for the return of three spies. It was decided to join forces and 
advance eastward along Muncy Hill, but, as the spies had not yet returned 
on the following morning and their continued absence strongly indicated 
that they had been killed or captured, it was deemed advisable to proceed up 
the "West Branch; General Potter marched on the east side and Colonel 
Kelly on the west side. At Muncy Hill they met the spies, who gave posi- 
tive assurance that the enemy had not retreated in that direction; Colonel 
Kelly thereupon crossed the river with his command and the combined 
forces set out for Huntington creek, the east branch of Fishing creek. On 
the night of the 13th, an express having arrived with intelligence of the 
enemy's appearance at Middle creek, Colonels Kelly and Purdy returned 
"with one hundred fifty men; General Potter proceeded with the remainder, 
numbering one hundred ten, but, finding it impossible to overtake the attack- 
ing party, he returned to Sunbury on the 17th. On the following day he 
transmitted an account of the expedition to President Reed, with the request 
that militia might be sent to the frontier; the letter was considered by 
Council on the 29th instant: one class of the Lancaster county militia was 
ordered to Northumberland, where it remained imtil December. 

Early in the spring of 1781 hostilities were again reported. On the 12th 
of April General Potter wrote that five distinct attacks had been made since 
the 22d of March (one not more than five miles from Sunbury), and distress 
was widely prevalent among the people; Captain Thomas Eobinson* had 
enlisted forty men, but there was not a blanket among them. On the 15th 
of June Captain Eobinson reported fifty-two men enlisted for the war and 
fourteen for seven months; Lieutenants Peter Grove and Samuel McGrady 

*Captain Robinson's correspondence relating to affairs In NorthwmHerland county during the 
Revolutionary period is published In the Pennsylvania Archives, as follows :— 1781— \"ol. IX. pp. 208-209, 
•237-238, 302; 1782— Vol. IX. p. 669. 


were also recruiting. The former had seventeen men and the latter twenty, 
all for seven months. Council experienced great difficulty in furnishing sup- 
plies, owing to the straitened condition of State finances, and it was not until 
the 1st of July that clothing and ammunition were forwarded from Philadel- 
phia. The wagon reached Lancaster on the 23d instant and Captain John 
Hambright sent it to Middletown the same day in care of Captain Abraham 
Scott; the receipt of its contents was acknowledged by Captain Robinson on 
the 8th of September. Referring to the Indians in a letter of that date he 
said: "The savages have been a long time quiet this summer. They have 
done no harm in this county since I have been able with men to go to the 
woods to scout. They made their appearance in harvest twice, but did no 

Robinson's company, which was withdrawn early in the winter of 1781, 
was again stationed on the frontier in 1782 and rebuilt Fort Muncy, which 
proved of material advantage as a rendezvous for scouting parties. Notwith- 
standing this the Indians succeeded in penetrating to the interior qf the 
county, and several tragedies were reported during the year. Major John 
Lee and family were killed at Winfield, three miles above Sunbury, in 
August; on the 14th of October John Martin and wife were killed at their 
house on Chillisquaque near Colonel James Murray's and three persons were 
taken prisoners; and on the 24th of the same month Sergeant Edward Lee 
of Captain Robinson's company was killed two miles from Fort Rice and 
Robert Carothers was taken prisoner. Happily for the distressed frontier, 
the independence of the United States was acknowledged by Great Britain, 
November 30, 1782, and on the 20th of January, 1783, a preliminary 
treaty of peace was signed. Thus assured of immunity from the harassing 
experiences of the preceding years the former inhabitants of Northumber- 
land county began to return, and the arts of peaceful industry were again 
resumed after the long interruption of the Revolutionary period. 

Colonel Hunter was appointed as county lieutenant, March 21, 1777, and 
reappointed on the 6th of April, 1780, with William Murray, Walter Clark, 
and John Wolf as sub-lieutenants. Thomas Jordan was appointed paymas- 
ter of the militia, March 15, 1777, and William Gray, June 23, 1781; John 
Kelly and Thomas Hewitt, commissioners to seize the personal effects of trai- 
tors, October 21, 1777; James McMahan, wagonmaster, January 9, 1778 
William Gray and John Lytle, purchasers of provisions, February 20, 1778 
John KeUy and Thomas Hewitt, agents for forfeited estates. May 6, 1778 
William Cooke, assistant forage master, April 5, 1780; John Weitzel, issuing 
commissary, July 7, 1780. 

The following statement, showing Colonel Hunter's receipts and disburse- 
ments for the support of the militia of Northumberland county during the 
Revolution, has been transcribed from the original, now in the possession of 
Captain John Buyers, of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. An asterisk (*) indi- 


cates State currency; a dagger (f), specie; sums to which no distinguishing 
mark is affixed were paid in Continental money. 

State of the Accounts of Samuel Hunter, Lieutenant of Northumberland County, from 
March, 1777, to March, 1784. 

Samuel Hunter, Dr. to Sundries. 

John W. Nesbit, Treasurer Council of Safety:— 

Received per Colonel William Cooke for paying the militia of North- £ s. d. 

umberland County, January 3, 1777 187 10 

Paid Colonel Philip Cole the balance of his account, January 9, 1777 . . 45 5 
Paid Colonel Murray for a like sum he paid to Colonel Hunter, Janu- 
ary 13, 1777 25 3 6 

Council of Safety: — 

Received per George Calhoon, December 39, 1776 788 15 6 

David Rittenhouse, Treasurer: — 

Received upon an order of Council per Francis Allison, July 13, 1777 300 

Per Joseph Green, January 1, 1778 1600 

Per Thomas Hewitt, September 33, 1777 750 

Per Matthias Slough, to be delivered to John Hambright and for- 
warded to said Hunter for purchasing provisions, January 31, 1778. . 937 10 

Per Jacob Reighard, to be forwarded as above, July 4, 1778 563 10 

By order of Council, April 14, 1779 1809 

Per Joseph Hart, May 3, 1779 3750 

Per John Hambright, on account, for raising a company of rangers, 

June 9, 1780 10000 

For raising a company of rangers for defense of the frontiers, Feb- 
ruary, 1781 *100 

For recruiting Captain Robinson's ranging company, December 8, 

1781 tl30 

John Hambright: — 

Received of him, which had been sent from the treasury, April 19, 

' 1779 3750 

Matthew Smith:— 

Received of Daniel Reese, supposed to be a part of the moneys paid to 

said Smith for the defense of the frontiers, June 8, 1779 1875 

George Wolf, sub-Lieutenant: — 

Received of him, being fines collected, March 6, 1778, £150 15s.; Janu- 
ary 39, 1779, £397 10s 548 5 

William Murray, sub-Lieutenant: — 

Received of him, being fines collected, April 15, 1778 303 

Militia Fines: — 

Received of Robert Martin, flues collected, April 30, 1778 326 15 

Received of Jonathan Lodge, sheriff 80 

Received the flne of Charles Gough 33 10 

Received the fine of John Parker 30 

Received of Sheriff Lodge Livingston's flne, April, 1779 50 

Received of Thomas Hewitt the fines of James McNeill and Thomas 

Barry 57 3 g 

Balance due to Colonel Hunter 3830 9 

t346 18 8 

Total — Continental money 31513 5 9 

State currency *100 

Specie IBGe 18 8 



Sundries, Br. to Samuel Hunter, 

United States: — 

For tlie following sums paid by Colonel Hunter out of a part of tlie 
$35,000 borrowed of Congress, December 26, 1776, advanced for the 
militia of Northumberland county and afterwards credited by them 
at settlement with the United States, viz.: Colonel Philip Cole, 
December 14, 1776, £108; December 19th, £76 lOs., per John M. 
Nesbit, January 9, 1777, £45 5s.; to Captain John Lee, December 13, 
1776, £108, December 19th, £35, December 20th, £40 15s., Decem- 
ber 24th, £84 10s.; to Colonel BenjaminWeiser, December 22, 1776, £ s. d. 
£53 10s.; Colonel James Potter, £261 706 5 

Joseph Green, quartermaster, for provisions furnished the militia on 
their march, July 21, 1777 61 19 3 

Joseph Green, for nine days' pay as quartermaster to Colonel Kelly's 
battalion, July 21, 1777 3 

Captain John Forster, for his own and the pay of his company of 
militia, July 28, 1777 37 6 6 

Doctor Bennett, for forage, July 38, 1777 14 6 

Captain Thomas Gasliins, for his own and the pay of his company of 
militia, July 8, 1777 33 19 

Colonel Cookson Long, pay of Captain Wilson and his company, July 
29,1777 - 45 7 

George Keiser, wagon hire carrying baggage, July 30, 1777 6 

Dr. Benjamin Allison, his pay as surgeon six days, August 1, 1777. . . 4 10 

Lieutenant Colonel Hugh White, of militia, six days' pay, September 
27, 1777 4 10 

Colonel John Kelly, six days' pay, October 10, 1777 5 13 6 

John Buyers, quartermaster, for provisions furnished the militia, 

October 3, 1777 10 6 

William Bonham, for 391 lbs. of beef furnished the militia, November 
4, 1777 14 11 

William Bailey, quartermaster, in part of his account of provisions 
furnished, November 10, 1777, £66; November 11th, £45 Ill 

Dr. Benjamin Allison, surgeon first class Colonel Kelly's battalion, two 
months' pay, November 18, 1777 41 5 

John Ream, for 64;ibs. of beef for the militia, December 11, 1777 3 4 

Captain Thomas Gaskins, for his own and the pay of his company of 
- Northumberland county militia from September 14 to November 8, 
1777; [paid,] January 13, 1778 315 15 8 

Colonel John Kelly, for his pay, September 14 to November 8, 1777; 
[paid,] January 10, 1778 50 13 

Captain Casper Eeed, for himself and company, September 14 to No- 
vember 8, 1777; [paid,] January 31, 1778 343 9 

Joseph Green, for his pay as quartermaster, September 14 to Novem- 
ber 8, 1777; [paid,] January 33, 1778 17 5 

Major Jonas Yocum, his pay for two months, February 17, 1778 37 10 

Captain John Mull, for military services, March 18, 1778 3 

John McMullin, surgeon's mate, his pay from September 14 to No- 
vember 8, 1777 37 

Captain Thomas Wilson, for his own and the pay of his company for 
said time, April 18, 1778 393 17 


Captain John Chattam, pay of a party after disaflected persons, July £ s. d. 
16,1778 3 7 6 

Robert Martin, for ferriage of the militia, January 25, 1779 11 8 9 

John Weitzel, for services as commissary of stores at Sunbury, May 
30, 1778 47 10 

"William Simms, for riding express, July 10, 1778, £11 5s.; April 35, 
1779, £7 10s ; 18 15 

John Bason, for pay of three persons employed as spies between 

Northumberland-Town and Wyoming, August 16, 1779 33 15 

John McMahan, for pay as spy between Muncy Hill and Lycoming, 
August 28, 1779 45 

John Eason, for reconnoitering between Muncy Hill and Lycoming, 
August 28, 1779, £45; September 6th, £26 5s '. 71 5 

William King, for reconnoitering between Muncy Hill and Lycoming, 

September 6, 1779 30 

Thomas Ferguson, for reconnoitering between Muncy Hill and Ly- 
coming, Septembers, 1779 71 5 

John Weitzel, in part pay as superintendent of the magazine at Sun- 
bury ,'October 14, 1779 285 

James Murray, for services reconnoitering, October 19, 1779 135 

Dr. Benjamin Allison, for six months' pay as surgeon from April 1, 
1779; [paid,] October 33, 1779 202 10 

Walter Clark, for services of three men as spies, November 35, 1779. 135 

Peter Gabriel, for bailing three hundred-weight of biscuit for a 
secret expedition against the Indians, July 21, 1780 33 15 

John Weitzel, in part pay as superintendent, September 11, 1780 187 10 

William Campbell, for his services as pilot on the Indian expedition, 

October 2, 1780 78 15 

James Hepburn, for purchasing provisions, being in part of his 

accounts settled, and the balance paid,'December 7, 1779 112 10 

Lieutenant Jacob Creamer, of the Rangers: — 

Paid him for the recruiting service and pay, March 8, 1781 *18 15 

Colonel James Murray: — 

Paid him out of the moneys sent by the Council of Safety, December 
10,1776 261 

Paid him as captain for recruiting his company, July 14, 1778 90 

Paid him for arms furnished his company of six months' men. May 

6,1779 1809 

Andrew Culbertson: — 

Paid him for the use of purchasing provisions, October 9, 1777 81 15 

Major Robert Arthur: — 

Paid him towards the pay of the militia on their march, November 

11. 1777 23 10 

Joseph Green, Quartermaster: — 

Paid him towards providing provisions for the first class on the fron- 
tiers, January 10, 1778 967 5 g 

Colonel William Cooke :— 

Paid him to purchase provisions for the militia, June 2, 1778 987 10 

Captain Thomas Kemplen: — 

Paid him for recruiting a camp of rangers, May 7, 1779, £75; May 

13th, £450; June 15th, £339 7s. 6d 864 7 6 

Paid him for the pay of his company, August 13, 1779 82 10 


Paid liim for John Carmady, sergeant, to pay for making shirts for £ s. d. 

Captain Kemplen's company, September 33, 1779 13 10 

Paid himself, October 8, 1779 83 10 

Paidhim for Thomas Moore for his company, November 19, 1779, £335; 

May 3, 1780, £113 10s 337 10 

Captain George Grant, of the Ninth regiment: — 

Paid him for the recruiting service, March 37, 1778, £157 3s. 6d.; April 

31st, £53 10s 309 13 6 

Captain William Wilson, of the First regiment: — 

Paid him for the recruiting service, April 16, 1778, £150; April 30th, 

£304 7s.6d 354 7 6 

Captain John Boyd, of the Twelfth regiment: — 

. Paid him for the recruiting service, April 16, 1778, £150; May 7th, 

£75 335 

Captain Thomas Robinson, of the Rangers : — 

Paid him for raising his company, July 11, 1780 : 3878 17 6 

Paid him for the recruiting service, January 7, 1781, £815 13s. 6d.; 

January 16th, £811 10s 1637 3 6 

Paid him for raising his company, October 3, 1781, £37 10s.; October 

15th, £18 15s U . *56 5 

Paid him for raising his company, December 31, 1781, £18; February 

33, 1783, £6; May 30th, £33 10s t^^ 10 

Paid him per Lieutenant Samuel McGrady for six-months men, May 

30,1783 tl3 3 6 

Military stores: — 

Paid sundry persons at sundry times for four rifles, one musket and 
bayonet, 236i^ lbs. of powder, 404J^ lbs. of lead, 574 flints, 3 powder 
kegs, and for repairing arms and for transporting same and ammuni- 
tion 914 10 10 

[On the same account] "|'5 11 3 

Militia expenses: — 

Paid sundry expenses on public business for the defense of the county, 
the families of poor militia men in the service, captains for making re- 
turns of male whites, ferriages, drummers and fif ers, stationery, £15 
for a substitute, expenses of conveying distressed families from Fort 

Freeland, and other contingent expenses, 1777-84 1551 8 9 

William Murray, for his services as sub-lieutenant 4 10 

William Watson, for his services as sub-lieutenant 33 4 

For his own pay as sub-lieutenant from March 33, 1777, to April 5, 
1779_667 days, at 23s. 6d.; from April 5, 1779, to October 10th— 160 
days, at 37s. 6d.; from October 10, 1779, to March 30, 1780— 118 days, 

at £6— in all 1758 7 6 

For his own pay as sub-lieutenant from March 30, 1780, to June 31, 

1781— employed 375 days at £30 per day 11350 

For his own pay as sub-lieutenant from June 31, 1781, to March, 1784 — 

403 days, of which 387 at 15s. and 16 at 13s. 6d. specie -1-300 5 

John Hambright: — 

For a deficiency of $4333^ in the £10000 he received at the treasury, 
June 9, 1780, to be sent to Colonel Hunter, and of which the sum 

of only $33433 only was delivered per voucher 1587 13 6 

Balance due the State *25 


£ S. d. 

Total— Continental money 31513 5 9 

State currency *100 

Specie t86618 8 

Colonel Samuel Himter, Dr. 

To balance of the foregoing account due to the State *25 

To funded debt, for sundry certificates issued agreeably to act passed, 

April 1, 1784 t2T8 14 3 

Contra Cr. 

By balance of the foregoing account in favor of Colonel Hunter, £3830 

9d. Continental money, equal to *25 

1278 14 3 
Examined and settled. 
Comptroller General's Office, John Nicholson. 

April 6, 1784. 



Ekection of Nokthumbebland County — Disintegration op Its Terbitokt — 
Present Boundaries — Internal Subdivision — Original Townships — Forma- 
tion OP Present Subdivisions — Statistics op Population — Public Build- 
ings — Early Fiscal Apfairs — Inauguration op the Public School System — 
Roster op County Oppicers — Representation in Constitutional Conten- 
tions, ETC. — Legislative Representation — Early Township Oppicers. 

THE three orginal cotmties of Pennsylvania were Chester, Philadelphia, 
and Bucks, formed in 1682 at the founding of the Province. Lancas- 
ter vFas erected in 1729 from the western part of Chester, York in 1749 from 
that part of Lancaster west of the Susquehanna, and Cumberland in 1750 
from the northwestern part of York. Northampton and Berks were formed 
in 1752, the former from the northern part of Bucks, the latter from the cor- 
responding portions of Philadelphia, Chester, and Lancaster. At that time 
the lines separating Berks from Northampton and Lancaster were run only 
so far as the settlements then extended, and in 1769 William Maclay, Will- 
iam Scull, and John Biddle, Jr., were appointed to continue them "as far as 
the lands lately purchased by the Honorable the Proprietaries of this Prov- 
ince from the Indians do extend." The western boundary of Berks county 
was accordingly surveyed beyond the Susquehanna, crossing that river near 
the mouth of Mahanoy creek and extending as far as the West Branch. 
That part of the present area of Northumberland county inclosed by this 


line, the Susquehanna river, and Mahantango creek thus remained in Lancas- 
ter county; west of the Susquehanna the western line of Berks separated its 
territory from that of Cumberland. 

The purchase of 1768 was followed by a rapid influx of population into 
the region about the confluence of the North and West Branches of the Sus- 
quehanna, and, with the seats of justice of Berks, Lancaster, and Cumber- 
land counties at Beading, Lancaster, and Carlisle, respectively, the conven- 
ience of the inhabitants early demanded better facilities of civil administra- 
tion. This desirable result was finally attained, March 21, 1772, by the pas- 
sage of an act erecting Northumberland county, with boundaries described as 
follows: — 

Beginning at tlie moutla of Mahantango creek, on the west side of the river Sus- 
quehanna; thence up the south side of said creek, by the several courses thereof, to 
the head at Robert Meteer's spring; thence west by north to the top of Tussey's mount- 
ain; thence southwesterly along the summit of the mountain to Little Juniata; thence 
up the northeasterly side of the main branch of Little Juniata to the head thereof; 
thence north to the line of Berks county; thence northwest along the said line to the 
extremity of the Province ; thence east along the north boundary to that part thereof 
which is due north from the most northern part of the great swamp; thence south to 
the most northern part of the swamp aforesaid; thence with a straight line to the head 
of the Lehigh or Middle creek; thence down the said creek so far that a line run west- 
southwest will strike the forks of Mahantango creek where Pine creek falls into the 
same, at the place called Spread Eagle, on the east side of Susquehanna; thence down 
the southerly side of said creek to the river aforesaid; thence down and across the 
river to the place of beginning. 

In order to render this intelligible to the general reader some explanation 
may be necessary. There are two streams known by the name of Mahan- 
tango : the one first mentioned flows into the Susquehanna from the west, form- 
ing the present boundary of Juniata and Snyder counties; the other sustains 
the same relation to Northumberland and Dauphin. It is probable the 
county line struck the Little Jimiata no great distance above its confluence 
with the Eaystown branch, and the West Branch near the mouth of Bald 
Eagle creek. The northwestern boimdary of the county was the line of the 
purchase of 1768. The " great swamp " is identified as the southwestern 
part of Wayne county and the adjoining part of Lackawanna; the line from 
the northern boundary of the State south to the " great swamp " and thence 
to the Lehigh is the present western boundary of Wayne county. Part of 
the southeast line between the Lehigh river and Mahantango creek still 
possesses geographical significance as the line of division between the counties 
of Carbon and Luzerne, Sohylkill and Columbia, and Northumberland and 
Schylkill, respectively. 

On the 21st of March, 1772, the Assembly passed an act defining the 
boundaries of Bedford county, which was erected in 1771 and adjoined 
Northumberland on the southwest; this act and the act passed the same 
day erecting Northumberland assigned to those counties different and incon- 


sistent boundary lines, and in order to rectify this discrepancy the line in 
question was again defined, September 30, 1779. As thus established, the 
southwest boundary of Northumberland, beginning on the Juniata at the 
terminus of a north line from the gap in Tuscarora mountain near Path val- 
ley, coincided with that river as far as Jack's Narrows, where it deflected to 
the north along the summit of the watershed between Kishocoquillas and 
Standing Stone creeks ; from the head of the latter it extended westward along 
the summit of Tussey's mountain, the ridge separating Bald Eagle and Little 
Juniata, and Chestnut ridge to the head of the southwest branch of Bald 
Eagle, thence a direct course to the head of Moshannon creek, and down 
that stream to its junction with -the West Branch. Considerable territory 
was thus added to this county. 

Although a large county as originally formed, it is problematical whether 
Northumberland was the largest in the State at that date. If not of equal 
or greater extent, Bedford was certainly scarcely inferior in size, but West- 
moreland was formed from the latter in 1773, and from that time until 1795 
the position of Northumberland as the most extensive subdivision of the State 
is unquestioned. Its greatest proportions were attained in 1785, when, by 
the act of April 9th, all that part of the purchase of 1784 east of the Cone- 
wango creek and Allegheny river was placed within its limits. The county 
thus extended along the northern line of the State from Conewango creek to 
the line of Wayne county and from the Lehigh river to the Allegheny, with 
a maximum breadth equal to nearly two thirds that of the State. The extent 
of this region exceeds that of several States of the Union. 

The first curtailment of this generous domain resulted from the erection 
of Luzerne county, September 25, 1786. West of the Susquehanna the first 
county to which Northumberland contributed was Mifflin, erected on the 19th 
of September, 1789, but the part taken from Northumberland, with additional 
territory from Northumberland and other counties, was erected into Centre, 
February 13, 1800. The formation of Lycoming county, April 13, 1795, 
deprived Northumberland of the large extent of territory acquired under the 
purchase of 1784, with a considerable part of its original area. The line of 

division was described as follows: — 


From the Mifflin county line, on tlie summit of Nittany mountain, thence running 
along the top or highest ridge of the said mountain to where tlie White Deer Hole 
creek runs through the same; and from thence by a direct line, crossing the "West 
Branch of Susquehanna at the mouth of Black Hole creek, to the end of Muncy hills; 
thence along the top of Muncy hills and the Bald mountain to the Luzerne county 

Northumberland was thus reduced to the position of an interior county, 
and with the opening of the present century its original boundaries remained 
undisturbed only on the south. Bounded on the east by Luzerne, on the 
west by Centre, on the north by Lycoming, and on the south by Mifflin, 


Dauphin, and Berks, its location with reference to the area of the State was 
nearly central. Although somewhat irregular in form, its proportions did not 
lack symmetry; its territory was nearly equally divided by the Susquehanna 
and the "West Branch, while the location of the county seat was central to 
the population and conveniently accessible from all parts of the county by 
the natural highways of the region. But in the first decade of the century 
there was a marked increase in population, and with the growth of settle- 
ments at the extremities of the county arose the desire and necessity for 
further territorial subdivision. A movement for the erection of a new 
county seems to have taken definite shape in the region west of the Susque- 
hanna first; the agitation in the valley of the North Branch for the accom- 
plishment of a similar object was begun a little later, and in the pursuit of 
interests so closely allied the promoters of the two projects rendered mutual 
assistance. At length the popular will found expression in the election of 
State representatives favorable to division, and with friends at court the ' 
desired end was consummated in the passage of two acts, erecting Columbia 
and Union counties, respectively, which were approved, March 22, 1813. To 
the former was assigned that part of the former area of Northumberland west 
of the Susquehanna and the West Branch ; the boundaries of the latter were 
described as follows: — 

Beginning at the nine-mile tree on the hank of the Northeast Branch of the Sus- 
quehanna, and from thence by the line of Point township to the line of Chillisquaque 
township; tjiesee-bj^^e line of Chillisquaque and Point townships to the "West Branch 
of the river Svisquehaiiii^; thence up the same to the line of Lycoming county; thence 
by the line of Lycoming csmnty to the line of Luzerne county; thence by the same to 
the line of Schuylkill county; thence along the same to the southwest corner of Cata- 
wissa township; thence by thA line of Catawissa and Shamokin townships to the river 
Susquehanna; and thence down said river to the place of beginning. 

The formation of two new counties had been effected, but not to the 
entire satisfaction of the dismembered territory. The townships of Chillis- 
quaque and Turbut had bee^ separated from the parent county in opposition 
to the wishes of nine tenths/ of their inhabitants, who remonstrated strongly 
and at length secured their re-annexation to Northumberland county, Feb- 
ruary 21, 1815. The question had not reached a final adjustment, however; 
the real issue involved was the separation of sufficient territory from North- 
umberland to render Danville eligible as the county seat of Columbia, and 
on the 22d of January, 1816, that part of Turbut and Chillisquaque west of 
the following line was again annexed to Northumberland: — 

Beginning at the comer of Point and Chillisquaque townships in the line of 
Columbia county; thence by the lines of said townships along the summit of Montour's 
mountain to where what is called " Strawbridge's road" crosses said mountain; thence 
by said road to where the road from Wilson's mills to Danville intersects said road; 
thence to the bridge over Chillisquaque creek at James Murray's; thence by what is 
called " Harrison's road" past Chillisquaque meeting-house to the corner of Turbut 
and Derry townships in the line of Lycoming county. 



This line constitutes the present eastern boundary of the county north of 
the river. A history of the roads mentioned is given in this work in the 
chapter on Internal Improvements. The location of these roads changed 
in course of time, and thus the line became a subject of dispute, greatly to 
the inconvenience of township officers in Northumberland and Montour 
counties. At length petitions were presented to the courts of both counties 
praying for a resurvey, in compliance with which a commission was ap- 
pointed, composed of George W. West, of Danville, A. J. Guffy, of Watson- 
town, and 0. D. Eldred, of Muncy, by whom the line was resurveyed, 
February 22-25 and August 22-25, 1881. Their report,* showing the 
courses and distances of the line from the southwest comer of Montour 
county on Montour ridge to the line of Lycoming county, received the con- 
current approval of the courts of the respective counties, and is the author- 
itative description of the line in question. 

The eastern boundary of the county south of the North Branch was run 
and marked in 1830 by Elias Hoyt and Joseph Whitacre, commissioners 
appointed in pursuance of the act of April 7, 1830, whose report gives the 
following as its courses and distances: — 

Beginning at the Susquehanna river at the mouth of Little Roaring creek; thence 
up said creek the several courses and distances thereof, establishing said creek as the 
boundary line, to a white oak tree by a spring at the head of said creek; thence east, 
following a ridge of land most of the way, seven hundred sixteen perches to a hemlock 
on Big Roaring creek; thence up said creek, the south branch thereof the several 
courses and distances thereof, establishing said creek as the division line, to Yarnall's 
path; and thence from a white oak on said path south twenty degrees east fourteen 
hundred perches to the line of Schuylkill county .| 

The line of separation from Lycoming was established in 1795 by the 
formation of that county. On the west Northumberland includes the 
channel of the river, as the townships originally formed on the eastern side 
extended to the western bank. The southern boundary, originally estab- 
lished in 1772, was again defined by legislative enactment, April 17, 1795, 
by which the Governor was directed to appoint three commissioners for 
running and marking a line " Beginning at the forks of Mahantango and 
Pine creeks at the place called the Spread Eagle, and from thence north 
fifty-six degrees east until the same shall intersect the line dividing the 
counties of Berks and Northampton, and from thence the same course to the 
Lehigh creek; thence along the east bank of the said Lehigh creek to the 
head thereof; from thence a due north course to the boundary of the State." 
Northumberland and Luzerne counties were north and west of this line; 
Dauphin, Berks, and Northampton, south and east of it. As commissioners 
the Governor appointed Philip Myer, John Eckman, and John Eeese; under 
date of June 1, 1796, they presented their account to the commissioners of 

'Quarter Sessions Docket of Northumberland County, No. 1, December Sessions, 1880. 
tQuarter Sessions Docket of Northumberland County, April Sessions, 1831. 


Northumberland county, from which it appears that the survey required 
forty days, at a total expense, including the services of the surveyors and 
their assistants, pack-horses, etc., of three hundred sixty-seven pounds, four 
shillings, nine and one half pence. 

The present area of the county, as given in SmuU's Legislative Handbook, 
is four hundred sixty-two square miles. 

The following is a list of counties situated wholly or in part within 
the limits of Northumberland in 1785: Armstrong, Bradford, Cameron, 
Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Elk, Forest, Indiana, Jeffer- 
son, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, 
Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, 
Warren, and Wyoming — a total of twenty-eight. It is with eminent pro- 
priety, therefore, that Northumberland has been called the " Mother of 


At the time of its erection the larger part of the present area of North- 
umberland county was included in Augusta township, Berks county, which 
extended eastward to the line of Northamptbn and embraced the incipient 
settlements about the confluence of the East and West Branches of the Sus- 
quehanna. The present line of Dauphin and Schuylkill, extended in a north- 
westerly direction, was the southwestern boundary of Augusta; and the tri- 
angular area inclosed by this line (then the line of division between Berks 
and Lancaster), Mahantango creek, and the Susquehanna river was part of 
Upper Paxtang township, Lancaster county. 

On the 0th of April, 1772, at a court of private sessions of the peace, the 
county was divided into seven townships, for which the following boundaries 
were respectively established: — 

Description of Penn's Township. — Beginning at the moutli of Mahantango on 
the west side of Susquehanna; thence with the county line up Mahantango creek to 
Meteer's spring; thence with the same line to the top of Tussey's mountain; thence 
along the top of the same easterly to Peun's creek and down Penn's creek to the mouth 
thereof at the head of the Isle of Que; thence down Susquehanna to the place of 

Description of Augusta Township. — Beginning at the mouth of Mahantango on the 
west side of Susquehanna; thence with' the county line crossing Susquehanna to the 
mouth of Mahantango on the east side; thence with the same county line up 
Mahantango to the Spread Eagle in the forks of said Mahantango; thence with the 
said county line east-northeast to the old line formerly run for a division between 
Berks and Northampton counties; thence by the same old line northwest to the East 
Branch of Susquehanna; thence down the same to Port Augusta; thence crossing Sus- 
quehanna and down the same to the place of beginning. 

Description of TurJrnt Township. — Beginning on the east side of Susquehanna at 
Port Augusta; thence 'up the easterly side of the Northeast Branch to the old line 
formerly run for a division between Berks and Northampton counties; thence by the 


same line northwest to the top of Muncy Hill; thence along the top of the same west- 
erly to the West Branch of Susquehanna, and crossing the same to the west side, and 
down the same to the junction of the branches, and crossing Susquehanna to the place 
of beginning so as to include the forks and island. 

Deaaription of Buffalo Township.— 'Begm' at the mouth of Penn's creek at the 
head of the Isle of Que; thence up the same to the forks; thence by a north line to the 
West Branch of Susquehanna; thence down the "West Branch of Susquehanna to the 
forks; thence down Susquehanna to the place of beginning. 

Description of Said Eagle Township. — Beginning at the forks of Penn's creek; 
thence by a north line to the West Branch of Susquehanna; thence up the same to 
where the county line crosses it; thence by the county line south to the head of Little 
.Juniata; thence down the same to the end of Tussey's mountain; thence along the top 
of the same easterly to the place of beginning. 

Description of Muncy Township. — Beginning on the west side of the West Branch 
of Susquehanna opposite the end of Muncy Hill; thence up the West Branch to oppo- 
site the mouth of Lycoming; thence crossing the Branch up Lycoming to the head 
thereof; thence by a southeast line to the Muncy Hill; thence along the top of the 
same to the West Branch, and crossing it to the beginning. 

Description of Wyoming Township. — Beginning at the heads of Lycoming; 
thence southeast to Muncy Hill; thence along the top of the same westerly to the old 
division line between Berks and Northampton;* thence southeast along the same line 
to the present county line; thence by the lines of the county to the bounds of the 
present purchase near Chenango; thence westerly by the bounds of the present pur- 
chase to the beginning at the heads of Lycoming aforesaid. 

The policy of the court in the formation of these subsidiary divisions 
was analagous to that of the legislature in the erection of the county. In 
both instances political autonomy was conferred upon territory vast in extent, 
comparatively unexplored or sparsely inhabited, and comprehended within 
vaguely defined boundaries. "Magnificent distances" were a characteristic 
of the various townships no less than of the county at large. Of the original 
townships east of the Susquehanna the smallest were Turbut and Muncy : 
Turbut included all of Northumberland and Montour counties north of the 
North Branch, with a portion of Columbia, while Muncy embraced that part of 
Lycoming between Lycoming creek and Muncy hills. Augusta, consisting of the 
present area of Northumberland and Montour south of the North Branch, 
with adjoining territory in Columbia and Schuylkill, ranked next in size. The 
most extensive was Wyoming, comprehending within its ample limits the 
whole of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, "Wyoming, and (probably) 
Sullivan counties, with portions of Bradford, Columbia, and Schuylkill. Of 
the three townships west of the Susquehanna, Penn's, embracing nearly the 
whole of Snyder county, with considerable adjacent territory, was the small- 
est; Buffalo included nearly the whole of "Union, with the contiguous por- 

*It Is problematical whether this line was ever regarded as the western boundary of Wyom- 
ing. When Mahoning was formed in 1775 Fishing creek was declared its eastern limit ; in 1785 Augusta 
is represented as extending "from the town of Sunbury till near the plains of "Wyoming-" and Fishing 
Creelc, formed in 1789 entirely from Wyoming, was bounded on the west by the stream of tliat name 
When Wyoming was restricted to that part of Its original territory north of the North Branch and east 
of Fishing creek can not be satisfactorily determined from existing county records 



tions of adjoining counties ; while Bald Eagle comprised the extensive region 
west of Buffalo and northwest of Penn's. 

The first change in the internal geography of the county was the forma- 
tion of Potter's township, May, 1774, from Penn's, BufEalo, and Bald Eagle. 
Sometimes it appears as "John Potter's township;" the name stiU retains 
political significance as applied to a township in Centre county. 

East of the Susquehanna the disintegration of the extensive townships 
originally formed began in 1775. In the territory south of the North Branch 
the new township of Mahanoy was formed at February sessions in that year 
from the southern part of Augusta, with Mahanoy mountain as the boundary 
line. A decade elapsed before Augusta was again curtailed; but when, at 
August sessions, 1785, Catawissa was erectbd, the parent township was 
reduced to a comparatively narrow area with Gravel run as its eastern limit. 
Three years later Ealpho was formed from Catawissa, receiving a year after- 
ward the name of Shamokin; but Catawissa was still thirty miles long and 
fifteen miles wide, and Miiflin was formed from the eastern part of its terri- 
tory before the close of the century. Sunbury borough was erected into a 
township in 1803, and Mahanoy was divided at August sessions, 1806. 

North of the North Branch the disintegrating process also began at Feb- 
ruary sessions, 1775, when Mahoning was erected from the southern part of 
Turbut, with ChiUisquaque creek and Fishing creek as its northern and 
eastern limits, respectively. At February sessions, 1786, Point was formed 
from the southwestern part of Mahoning, and has retained its original bound- 
aries substantially unimpaired longer than any other subdivision of the 
county. At May sessions following Turbut was further reduced by the 
erection of Derry and ChiUisquaque: the former was taken entirely from its 
territory, with "the road leading from Muncy Hill to Montgomery's mill" as 
the line of division; Mahoning contributed partly to the latter. The forma- 
tion of Luzerne county in 1786 divided the extensive township of Wyoming, 
and at August sessions, 1789, it was ordered that so much thereof as remained 
in Northumberland should receive the name of Pishing Creek. Green Brier 
Creek was formed from its southern part in 1797; in the following year a 
movement was made to divide Brier Creek, and Bloom was formed. At 
August sessions, 1799, Greenwood was erected from the northern part of 
Fishing Creek. In 1801 proceedings were instituted for the division of 
Mahoning, subsequently resulting in the formation of Hemlock. At April 
sessions, 1812, a third division of Fishing Creek was petitioned for; no 
decision was reached until January sessions, 1814, when Harrison was 
erected. This was the last case relating to the territory beyond the present 
limits of Northumberland county that was considered by her courts ; and it is 
worthy of mention that popular choice ultimately overruled the decision of 
the court in this instance, as the township in question, the most northerly in 
Columbia county, now bears the name of Sugar Loaf. 


In the meantime important developments were in progress west of the 
Susquehanna in the extensive region within the jurisdiction of the county 
courts. White Deer township was erected at February sessions, 1776, com- 
prising that part of the former area of Buffalo north of Buffalo and Spruce 
creeks. It thus extended along the West Branch from the mouth of Buffalo 
creek to Bald Eagle township; and within the next decade the population 
had increased sufficiently to warrant the inhabitants north of White Deer 
mountain in asking separate municipal privileges, which were accordingly 
conferred, the new township receiving the name of Washington at August 
sessions, 1785. At this time Bald Eagle extended through Clinton and Cen- 
tre counties a distance of seventy miles, and was, with the exception of 
Wyoming, the largest subdivision of the county. Three townships were 
formed from its original territory at May sessions, 1786, imder the respective 
names of Nippenose, Bald Eagle, and Upper Bald Eagle. Penn's was con- 
siderably curtailed by the erection of Beaver Dam and Mahantango, the for- 
mer at February sessions, 1787, the latter at April sessions, 1795, but this 
was partly compensated at February sessions, 1789, by the annexation of 
that part of Buffalo within the forks of Penn's creek and the Susquehanna. 
At the last mentioned term of court that part of Potter's remaining in North- 
umberland county after the formation of Mifflin received the name of Haines. 
West Buffalo was erected at August sessions, 1792; Centre, (from Perm's,) 
at August sessions, 1804; and Hartley, (from West Buffalo,) at April ses- 
sions, 1811. 

North of the West Branch the purchase of 1784 and subsequent legis- 
lation extended the administration of the county courts over a vast territory. 
At August sessions, 1785, a petition was presented setting forth the absolute 
necessity that this territory should be organized " for the purposes of order 
and a civil state of society," and praying the court " to erect that part 
between Lycoming and Pine creeks, being near fifteen miles, into one town- 
ship; and from Pine creek upwards into another township;" which was 
accordingly done, the former receiving the name of Lycoming, and the latter 
that of Pine Creek. In this same region Loyalsock was formed at Feb- 
ruary sessions, 1786, from that part of Muncy above Loyalsock creek. 

In 1786, when the county extended from the Lehigh river on the east to 
the Allegheny on the west, with the line of New York as its northern bound- 
ary, there were twenty-one townships within its comprehensive limits, the 
names of which were as follows : Augusta, Buffalo, Bald Eagle, Catawissa, 
ChiUisquaque, Derry, Loyalsock, Lycoming, Mahanoy, Mahoning, Muncy, 
Nippenose, Penn's, Pine Creek, Point, Potter's, Turbut, Upper Bald Eagle, 
Washington, White Deer, and Wyoming. The county was deprived of 
nearly the whole of Wyoming township by the erection of Luzerne in 1786; 
the whole of Upper Bald Eagle and half of Potter's were embraced in Mif- 
flin at its organization in 1789; and after the formation of Lycoming and 


Centre, in 1796 and 1800, respectively, Muncy, Loyalsock, Lycoming, Pine 
Creek, Nippenose, and Bald Eagle were also beyond its limits. 

The counties of Columbia and Union were organized in 1813: twelve 
townships — Bloom, Brier Creek, Catawissa, Chillisquaque, Derry, Fishing 
Creek, Greenwood, Hemlock, Mahoning, Mifflin, Sugar Loaf, and Turbut — 
were apportioned to Columbia; nine — Beaver, Buffalo, Centre, Hartley, Ma- 
hantango, Penn's, Washington, West Buffalo, and White Deer — to Union; 
leaving to the " Mother, of Coxinties " but six — Augusta, Lower Mahanoy, 
Point, Shamokin, Sunbury, and Upper Mahanoy. Turbut and Chillisquaque 
were reannexed to Northumberland in 1815, as previously stated in this chapter. 
In the political development of the county since the year 1813 that part 
of its territory south of the North Branch has been principally affected. 
Four large townships — Augusta, Shamokin, Upper and Lower Mahanoy — 
with the borough of Sunbury, comprised this territory at that date. Little 
Mahanoy was formed in August, 1813, from Augusta and Shamokin, extend- 
ing longitudinally across the county from near the Susquehanna to the 
Schuylkill line, with Upper and Lower Mahanoy on the south the entire dis- 
tance. In August, 1819, Eush was erected from the northern part of Sham- 
okin, receiving its name in compliment to Benjamin Rush, the distinguished 
physician, and Jacob Rush, first president judge in this county under the 
constitution of 1790. January 6, 1836, Jackson was formed from Upper and 
Lower Mahanoy, with Middle creek as part of its eastern limits. Its south- 
western boundary was identical with the present northeastern line of Lower 
Mahanoy. In November, 1837, Coal was formed from Shamokin and Little Ma- 
hanoy; the latter was thus restricted to its present area, while the new township 
became one of the most extensive in the county at that date. Cameron was 
formed from its territory in 1851; Zerbe, March 11, 1853, and Mt. Carmel, 
in 1855. Jordan was formed in August, 1852, from that part of Jackson 
and Upper Mahanoy south of Jacob's ridge; these two townships also con- 
tributed to the territory of Washington in 1856. After a long continued 
agitation, Augusta was divided in 1846; Limestone valley was transferred 
from the lower to the upper division, November 4, 1846, and Rockefeller was 
formed from the eastern part of Lower Augusta, May 7, 1880. Three years 
later (February 5, 1883), Shamokin was divided and Ralpho erected from 
that part of its former territory adjacent to Columbia county. Gearhart was 
erected from the northern part of Rush, September 10, 1890. 

Although reannexed to Northumberland county in 1815, the boundaries 
of Chillisquaque and Turbut were again disturbed in 1816 by the excision of 
a part of their area in favor of Columbia. This reduced Chillisquaque to its 
present limits ; and in 1843 Delaware and Lewis were formed from Turbut, 
thus bringing the northern part of the county to its present geographical status. 
The boroughs of the county have been incorporated in the following or- 
der: Sunbury, March 24, 1797; Milton, February 26, 1817; Northumber- 
land, January 16, 1828; McEwensville, November 7, 1857; Turbutville, 



January 3, 1859; Mt. Carmel, November 3, 1862; Shamokin, November, 
1864; Watsontown, November 4, 1867; Eiverside, May 4, 1871; Snydertown, 
May 26, 1871; East Sunbury, December 5, 1890. 


In 1800 the population of Northumberland county by townships and 
boroughs was as follows: — 




Beaver Creek . , 



Chillisquaque . , 


East BiiSalo . . , 
Fishing Creek., 
Greenwood . . . , 


















Mahantango . 
Mahoning ... 





Shamolfin . . . . 



Wasliington. . . 
West BufEalo. 
Wliite Deer . . 










The census of 1820 was the first after the county was reduced to its pres- 
ent limits. The following table exhibits the population by townships and 
boroughs at each decennial census since that date : — 







































1 034 






8 616 



1 046 











Little Mahanoy 




Lower Augusta 


Lower Mahanoy 




1 750 

McEwensville .... 







8 254 

Mt. Carmel* 

Mt. Carmel 























1 071 


































' 1,181 



Turbutville .... 

Upper Augusta 


Upper Mahanoy 











The aggregate population of the county at each decennial census has 
been as follows: — 



























Free Colored 














Section Vlth of the act erecting Northumberland county appointed Will- 
iam Maclay, Samuel Hunter, John Lowdon, Joseph Wallis, and Robert 
Moodie, or any three of them — 

To purchase and take assurance to them and their heirs of a piece of land, situate 
in some convenient place in the said county, to be approved hy the Governor, in trust, 
and for the use of the inhabitants of the said county, and thereupon to erect and build 
a court house and prison sufficient to accommodate the public service of the said county, 
and for the ease and convenience of the inhabitants. 

It is to be observed that the selection of the site was left almost entirely 
to the discretion of the commissioners; nor had the location of the county 
seat been definitely determined at the date of the act above quoted. While 
the interest of the Proprietaries, governed by the location of the manor of 
Pomfret, favored the selection of the site of Sunbury, there were other cir- 
cumstances that also claimed consideration and affected in a measure the 
ultimate result. The larger part of the area of the county was west of the 
Susquehanna and north of the North Branch. In the latter direction, par- 
ticularly, there was an aggressive and increasing population. That the site 
of Northumberland was seriously considered with reference to the location of 
the county town is evident from the following instructions of James Tilgh- 
man to William Maclay: — 

You are to treat with Mr. Lowdon, and if his title be good, and he will take a sum 
named in the instructions (two hundred pounds), the town is to be laid out in the forks; 
otherwise on the fort side. Wallis and Haines have said they had a right, and they 
must relinquish it. As Lowdon's application was in his wife's name, she must convey. 
As putting the town in the Forks is a concession against the interest of the Proprieta- 
ries to accommodate the people, if the place can not be clear of claims, the town must 
be on the other side. 

Subsequent developments can not be satisfactorily traced; but at a meet- 
ing of the Executive Council on the 16th of June, 1772, the surveyor general 
was directed to "lay out a town for the county of Northumberland, to be 
called by the name of Stinbury, at the most commodious place between the 
fort [Augusta] and the mouth of Shamokin creek," with a "commodious 
square in the most convenient place for public buildings." It is unneces- 
sary to add that the proceedings under this order disposed of the question at 


issue most effectually, and permanently fixed the seat of justice for the 
county at its present location. 

The act erecting the county directed that until a court house should be 
built the courts should be held at Fort Augusta; and there the first county 
court, a private sessions of the peace, was held on the 9th of April, 1772. 
How long the courts were held at the fort can not be definitely ascertained; 
it is evident from the minutes that the sessions were uniformly held there 
more than a year, and after that at occasional intervals. It is probable the 
residence of William Maclay did temporary duty as a court house, but this 
is largely matter of conjecture. It is entered of record at August sessions, 
1775, that "the common pleas adjourned to Tuesday, the 26th day of Sep- 
tember, to the house of Samuel Harris in Sunbury." After the jail was 
completed it became also the place of holding the courts, but this arrange- 
ment does not appear to have given entire satisfaction, and the public house 
of Christian Gettig was secured for this purpose. The ofiices of the 
recorder and prothonotary were kept at various places. Among the expendi- 
tures of the commissioners in providing facilities for the transaction of public 
business at this period were the following : — 

1793, January 28.— To Christian Gettig, for the use of his house for the £ s. d. 
January court, and for the room for the commissioners three weeks. .600 

1793, Fehruary 1.— To Christian Gettig, for the use of his house for No- 
vember and January courts last, and the room for the commissioners 6 

1794, March 14.— To Christian Gettig, for the last year's use of his house, 
fire and candles for the court, and for the room for the commis- 
sioners 7 10 

1795, May 1.— To Christian Gettig, for one year's use for his house, fire- 
wood and candles for the court and commissioners, ending the 14th 

day of March last 7 10 

1795, September 3.— To John Simpson, for rent for his office to this date 

i° full 30 

1796, January 8.— To John Simpson, for one year's rent for the recording 
office, commencing the 1st of January, 1795, and ending the 1st of 
January, 1796 7 10 o 

1796, February 27.— To Jacob Prisinger, for rent for the office of the 

prothonotary in full to the 15th day of May, 1795 $20 00 

A considerable period thus elapsed before the "commodious square" in 
the town of Sunbury appropriated for the public buildings of the county was 
improved in the manner designed. For this two principal reasons may be 
assigned: first, the Eevolutionary war had left the people in an impoverished 
condition, and precedence was naturally given to personal rather than pub- 
lic necessity; second, the county embraced a wide extent of territoiy, from 
which the formation of new counties was only a question of time, and in 
anticipation of this the inhabitants of the more remote districts were reluct- 
ant to contribute toward improvements in which they could not expect to 
have a permanent interest. But the necessity of providing better facilities 


for the courts and greater security for the public records at length became 
imperative, as evidenced by the following proclamation from the county 
treasurer which appeared in the Sunbury and Northumberland Gazette of 
January 1, 1794: — 

AVherbas, The county may shortly expect to be called upon to refund to the State 
the principal and interest of the eight hundred pounds borrowed from the State before 
the Revolution for the purpose of building a court house in Sunbury; and whereas 
the president and associate judges of this county have called upon the commissioners 
and threatened them with immediate prosecution in case they do not next summer 
proceed to build a new court house, gaol, and an oflSce to keep the county records in, 
as the gaol and court house is now become ruinous : I therefore call upon all delin- 
quent collectors in this county to come in and settle oft their respective duplicates. 
December 18, 1793. Fbbdbkick Antes. 

"Whether the county commissioners evinced a disposition to disregard the 
m.andate of the judges is not known, but legislative authority was next 
invoked, and by an act approved on the 18th of April, 1794, they were 
directed to levy a tax not exceeding five thousand three hundred thirty-three 
dollars, thirty -three cents, for the erection of a court house. For the expend- 
iture of this fund and the general supervision of the work of construction the 
act appointed three trustees, viz. : John Weitzel, Alexander Hunter, and 
William Gray, all of whom resided at Sunbury and were doubtless selected 
because of the local interest they would naturally feel in having the work 
done in the best manner possible. 

From " a list of vouchers of the trustees for building the court house in 
Sunbury," now in the possession of Captain John Buyers, of Selinsgrove, 
Pennsylvania, it is ascertained that the lime was furnished by Joseph Mc- 
Cleery, Isaac Stewart, Christian Miller, and William P. Brady; hewed stone, 
by Jacob Snyder; stone, by Robert Walker and Zachariah Robins; bricks, 
by John Lyon and John Young; scantling, by Hezekiah Boone, Jacob Gear- 
hart, Jacob Snyder, Robert Gray, William Dewart, and John Haas; shingles, 
by Henry Antes, Seth Stone, and W. Spring; boards, by Christian Ertle, 
Robert Gray, and Hughes & Higgins; nails, by Andrew Grove and Will- 
iam Wilson; glass, locks, etc., by Joseph Sinton, and flaxseed oil, by David 
Smith. The foundation was dug by Robert Walker; the mason work was 
done by George Seitz, the carpenter work by Conrad Beck, the plastering 
by George Seitz and Jacob Waters, and the hauling by Leonard Epley, Val- 
entine Bilhnan, William Gray, Frederick Myers, James Smith, Elijah Bar- 
rett, Henry Bucher, Allen & Cox, Thomas Giberson, Paul Weitzel, and Alex- 
ander Hunter. The well was dug by Zachariah Robins, and W. Hoffman 
furnished the pump. The vouchers aggregate seventeen hundred sixty-one 
pounds, two shillings, seven pence; the orders of the trustees, drawn upon 
Frederick Antes, county treasurer, amount to eighteen hundred three pounds, 
fifteen shillings, three pence half penny, beginning with October 1, 1795, and 
ending, November 28, 1798. It may fairly be presumed that the interval 


between these dates was the entire period of construction; there is also evi- 
dence that the internal arrangements of the building were completed in 1797. 

This building, the first erected in Northumberland county for the special 
purposes, of a court house, was situated at the western end of the public 
square in the bprough of Sunbury. It was a square brick structure, two 
stories high, with gables on the east and west. The entire lower floor was 
used as a court room; it was entered from the east, west, and south, the 
judges' bench being at the end opposite the southern entrance. In the 
southeast corner a stairway ascended to the second story, where there was a 
large jury room, while a smaller apartment in the northeast comer was occu- 
pied by the Masonic fraternity. At the center of the building a belfry 
surmounted the roof; on top of the belfry as originally built were a plow and 
cornstalk, probably emblematic of the agricultural character of the com- 
munity. On the 14:th of July, 1838, James Dieifenbacher was awarded the 
contract for the erection of a steeple, (so called in the commissioners' minutes ; 
perhaps better described as a belfry) ; on this the rustic ornaments of its pre- 
decessor were replaced by a conventional weather-vane. The court house 
bell is now the property of the Presbyterian church of Sunbury; it bears the 
legend, "George Hedderley, Philadelphia, 1794." An important accessory 
to the building was the public well, in front of the east entrance; of the im- 
provements once situated on the park this alone remains. 

The court room appears to have been practically unfurnished for a num- 
ber of years. At November sessions, 1820, the grand jury presented the 
necessity of procuring seats, urging that they knew "no good reason why 
suitors, witnesses, spectators, and jurymen should be treated as rabble," and 
stating that "persons compelled to attend the trial of a cause are now obliged 
to stand the whole day, or sit amidst the dirt of the steps in the back of the 
court house;" whereupon the court directed the commissioners to appropriate 
a sum not exceeding a hundred dollars to provide suitable accommodations. 
In 1845 the bar inclosure, formerly semi-circular, was made rectangular; 
benches were placed on either side for jurymen and various conveniences 
were provided for the lawyers, including tables, chairs, etc. Two wooden 
pillars, situated just within the railing of the bar inclosure, supported the 
floor above. The first stoves were placed in the court room in the winter of 
1801-02. There were two of them; they were brought from Beading by 
Matthias Persing and John Snyder, respectively, and placed in position by 
William Myers. They were purchased from Matthias Bobb, the considera- 
tion being one hundred three dollars, thirty-three cents. As early as 1815 
the use of "stone coal" was recommended by the grand jury, but it does not 
appear that this fuel was introduced until 1837, when the expenses of Fred- 
erick Lazarus in making a journey to Centre and Lewistown furnaces to pro- 
cure three coal stoves were paid by the board of commissioners, of which he 
was a member. 


Up to this time there was no regularly established place for the transac- 
tion of business though the offices of the prothonotary, register and recorder, 
and commissioners, and provision for the requirements of public convenience in 
this respect next received consideration. The first formal action of the com- 
missioners regarding this matter is the following resolution, which occurs in 
the minutes under date of February 14, 1798: — 

Resolved, That John Lyon forthwith erect and complete the public offices, as stipu- 
lated in the condition of his obligation of this day's date and filed in this office. 

The work of construction had already begun, however, as evidenced by 
an order for three hundred dollars in favor of Mr. Lyon for fifty thousand 
bricks, issued by the commissioners, January 3, 1798. The brickyard was 
situated at the southeast corner of Walnut and Awl streets, upon a lot of 
ground recently sold by Dr. E. H. Awl to the Philadelphia and Beading 
Railroad Company. No great degree of energy characterized the building 
trades at that period, and it was not until the autumn of the year 1800 that 
the " public offices " were completed. The following minute occurs in the 
records of the board under date of October 28, 1800: — 

The board proceeded to the settlement of John Lyon's account respecting the 
county offices on the report of William Montgomery, Samuel Maclay, Simon Snyder, 
and Samuel Dale, and finally settled the same, which amounts to £1915 15s. 6d. 

Mr. Lyon received a final payment of one hundred ninety-four dollars, 
fifty-two cents, November 12, 1800. His contract probably included only 
the main parts of the building; the shelves in the prothonotary' s office were 
constructed by Theodoras Kiehl, and those in the recorder's office by Abra- 
ham Kiehl; the smith work was done by John Hill; and John Alter furnished 
certain "necessary appurtenances" not enumerated in his account. 

This building was popularly known as the " state house," but the origin 
of the name or the period when it first acquired general currency can not be 
satisfactorily determined. It was a two-story brick structure, aligned with 
Market and Second streets, with its greatest length (sixty feet) from east to 
west. About two thirds the distance from the west end a hall extended 
through the building from north to south, opening upon Market street and 
into the yard at its opposite extremity. From this hall the stairway 
ascended to the second story on the west side. There were three rooms on 
the second floor — a large jury room and two smaller apartments. The build- 
ing was divided on the first story into three sections and the hall by heavy 
brick walls extending from the front on Market street to the rear or south 
wall; and each section was divided into a room, and a fire proof vault for the 
preservation of records and papers. The waUs of the vault were of brick, 
with the fioors and the ceilings brick arches; the doors of the vaults were 
made of heavy wrought iron, and there was a window to each, with an inside 
iron shutter. The office of the prothonotary had the same relative position 
as in the present court house, occupying the eastern end of the building; 


those of the recorder and commissioners were west of the hall, the former 
communicating with it, the latter entered only from the street. In the year 
1819 the words " Prothonotary's Office," " Eegister's and Eeoorder's Office," 
and " Commissioners' Office " were printed in large black letters over their 
respective doors. In the yard at the rear was a frame building in which the 
apparatus of the Washington and Good Will fire engine companies was kept. 

The gradual development of the county and the large increase in popu- 
lation and wealth incident to the discovery of its mineral resources aug- 
mented the volume of legal business to a corresponding degree, and the time at 
length arrived when the buildings erected at the close of the last century were 
found to be utterly inadequate. At January sessions, 1860, the grand jury 
recommended the sale of the "state house" and the application of the pro- 
ceeds to repairs for the court house. This could have proven but a tem- 
porary solution of the difficulty, however. The first measures officially 
suggested for the erection of a new court house emanated from the grand 
jury at January sessions, 1864, when the citizens of Sunbury were recom- 
mended to contribute five thousand dollars and the limit of the total amount 
to be expended was placed at forty-five thousand dollars. This action re- 
ceived the indorsement of the grand inquest at the following term of court; 
the borough council of Sunbury assumed the amount mentioned, and the 
preliminaries having been thus arranged, the board of commissioners, on 
the 30th of November, 1864, unanimously resolved to take imm.ediate meas- 
ures for carrying into execution the recommendation of the grand jury. To 
this end arrangements were made to visit the court houses recently erected 
in adjoining counties, in order that plans and specifications might be pre- 
pared before the close of the year. TDhis was accomplished, the court 
house of Lycoming county being taken as the model. On the 5th of Jan- 
uary, 1865, proposals ranging from ninety-seven to one hundred five thou- 
sand dollars were received, and the contract was awarded D. S. Risel at the 
amount first named. On the 21st of March apartments in the residence 
of Mrs. Donnel were rented for one year for the offices of the prothonotary 
and register and recorder, and Greorge Hill's office for the county commis- 
sioners. On the 24th of the same month the old court house was sold to 
Lodge No. 22, F. & A. M., for the sum of eight hundred dollars. The work 
of construction began in the early spring, and was pushed with energy. 
Within a year the new building was ready for occupancy; and on the 27th of 
March, 1866, the commissioners, prothonotary, treasurer, and register and 
recorder took possession of their respective offices. The aggregate cost con- 
siderably exceeded one hundred thousand dollars. 

The present court house of the county is a brick building with an ex- 
treme length of one hundred twenty-two feet eleven inches, and an extreme 
width of sixty-six feet two inches. At the northwest corner a tower ascends to 
the height of one hundred twenty -five feet ; it contains a clock with four dials. 


and a bell bearing the inscription: "Presented by the Hon. Simon Cameron 
to the citizens of Sunbury, Pa., June, 1866." The projecting corners of the 
building give to its exterior a symmetrical appearance. The main entrance 
is from Market street, from which a corridor extends the entire length of 
the first floor, communicating with the offices of the register and recorder, 
commissioners, and sheriff on the west, and those of the prothonotary and 
treasurer and the arbitration room on the east. A transverse hall crosses 
the center of the building. Two stairways in front and one on the east side 
in the rear ascend to the second floor. This is mainly occupied by the court 
room, a well furnished apartment of ample dimensions and good acoustics. 
Above the seat of justice is the figure of an eagle in bronze, and a portrait of 
Alexander Jordan, the first judge elected in Northumberland county. A 
large apartment in the rear of the court room and in the southwest corner 
of the second floor is devoted to the purposes of a law library; argument 
courts are usually held here in the interim between the regular terms. The 
corresponding space on the southeast is occupied by a jury room. Above 
the law library on the third floor is the grand jury room; there is also a jury 
room on this floor, and a waiting room for witnesses. The stairways in the 
front of the building are continued to the third landing, from which the 
ascent is made to the clock room. As a whole the court house is well adapted 
to its purposes, and will doubtless be sufficient for the requirements of the 
coimty for some years to come.* 

County Prisons. — The jail is the inevitable accessory of the court in the 
administration of justice, and the enforcement of law in a community com- 
posed largely of a class who had sought to escape the restraints of civilized 
society by retiring to the frontier early demanded a place of confinement for 
offenders against " the peace and dignity " of the State. It was a duty 
enjoined upon the trustees of the county to take measures for the erection of 
a prison, but a divergence of views seems to have prevented concert of action 
in this matter. The extent to which this was the case is shown by the fol- 
lowing extract from a letter of William Maclay, addressed to James Tilgh- 
man and dated April 2, 1773 : — 

I inclose you a letter from three of the trustees for 'the public buildings of this 
county respecting some measures which we have lately fallen on to rescue us from the 
scandal of living entirely without any place of confinement or punishment for villains. 
Captain Hunter has address enough to render abortive every attempt that was made 

*The location of the present court house was decicled upon by the commissioners, December 20, 
1864, when " the ' state house ' lot and lot No. 8, known as the Snyder lot " were selected. The former, 
No. 5, had been reserved for the Proprietaries; it was conveyed by John Penn, Jr., and JolmPenn, Sr., 
through Anthony Butler, their attorney, to Daniel Levy by deed of July 18, 1794; consideration, forty- 
flve pounds, with a quit rent of one pepper corn on the 1st of March, annually, if demanded, forever.— 
Eecorded in Deed Book K, p . 243. The conveyance from Daniel Levy to the commissioners was 
executed, April 5, 1798; consideration, tour hundred dollars. The commissioners to wliom the deed 
was made were Nathan Stockman, Charles Irwin, and John Lyon.— Eecorded in Deed Book K, p. 
244. Lot No. 8 was conveyed to Northumberland county by John A. Snyder and wife, December 20, 
1865; consideration, seven thousand dollars. Eecorded in Deed Book XX, p. 137. 


last summer for keeping a regular jail, even after I had been at considerable expense 
in fitting up this magazine, under which there is a small but complete dungeon. I am 
sorry to inform you that he has given our present measures the most obstinate resist- 
ance in his power, and impeded us with every embarrassment in the compass of his 
invention. We know nothing of the footing on which Captain Hunter has possession 
of these buildings, and only beg that the county may be accommodated with this old maga- 
zine, with the addition proposed to be made to it, and with the house in which I now 
live, to hold our courts in. I have repaired the house in which I now live, but expect 
to have an house ready to remove to in Sunbury before our November court. As the 
present repairs are done entirely by subscription, you will readily guess that Captain 
Hunter is not among the number of subscribers. As there are many pieces of old iron, 
etc., which formerly belonged to the fort, not of any use at present, the trustees pro- 
pose using any of them which can be converted to any advantage for grates, etc. for 
our temporary gaol, unless they receive contrary directions from Philadelphia.* 

James Tilghman was then secretary of the land office and a member of 
the Executive Council. As there is no record of the request of the trustees 
having been denied, it is presumed that the magazine, with the " small but 
complete dungeon " under it, were accordingly fitted up, thus removing from 
the newly formed county the "scandal" of being "without any place of 
confinement or punishment for villains." Of this first public prison in 
Northumberland county only the dungeon remains. The magazine, with 
whatever additions the trustees may have made to it, has entirely disap- 
peared. By whom and in what amounts the funds requisite for this object 
were contributed can not now be ascertained. In 1791 John Lowdon was 
paid the sum of six pounds by the commissioners "in full for money 
advanced by him for enlarging the jail, etc., in Fort Augusta in the year 
1773," from which it would seem probable that this was a loan rather than 
a subscription. 

The second county prison was built by Kobert McBride, presumably 
upon lot No. 41 or No. 42, on the north side of Market street above Fourth; 
on a map of the town plot showing the original lot owners it is stated that 
these lots were returned under date of September 7 and 13, respectively, 
1774, so that it is not probable the jail thereon, if built there, was erected 
prior to that year. All that is definitely known concerning this jail is con- 
tained in the following document, the original of which is still preserved in 
the county archives: — 

To the Worshipful the Justices of Northumberland County in Court of Quarter Sessions 
met for said County at Sunbury on Tuesday, November 28, 1175,— 
The petition of Robert McBride, of Sunbury aforesaid, humbly sheweth: That 
your petitioner, in compliance with the desire of some of the magistrates of said 
county, erected a house which he appropriated to a prison for the use of the county, 
which house was to have been finished in such a manner as to serve for a temporary 
gaol;^ that your petitioner has been active in the discharge of the duty of a gaoler; 
notwithstanding, several have made their escape from said prison, owing to the insuf- 
ficiency of the prison house. Your petitioner, being young in the office of gaoler, 

'Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. IV. pp. 462-463. 

^V- T-yF.GKerrwjniri 


prays if lie is longer continued therein your Worships will occasion the house to be 
strengthened, the fees for debtors and criminals to be adjusted, and also the allowance 
to be made for the sustenance of poor debtors and criminals, their fuel, etc. And 
your petitioner will, etc. 

Robert McBkidb. 
Indorsed: November sessions, 1775. Petition of Robert McBride respecting the 
gaol he built.^ Robert McBride's petition. To be read. This petition referred to. 
the commissioners. — Per ctinam. 

By the act providing for the organization of the county its cojnmission- 
ers were authorized to levy a tax not exceeding one thousand pounds, for the- 
erection of public buildings; but the resources of the county were found 
utterly inadequate to meet the demands such an expenditure would have 
entailed, and in 1774 the Assembly generously re- enforced local exertions, 
with an appropriation of eight hundred pounds. This imparted immediate 
vitality to the enterprise; harmony was restored among the trustees, who 
imited in selecting lot No. 13, at the comer of Market street and Center ' 
alley, and transmitted to the Council the result of their deliberations. The 
approval of the Proprietary was expressed in the following letter: — 

Philadelphia, September 6, 1774. 
Gentlemen: I do hereby approve of the lot No. 13 which you have fixed upon 
for the purpose of building a public gaol in the town of Sunbury. I am, gentlemen. 

Your very humble servant, 

John Penn. 
To Samuel Hunter, Bohert Moodie, William Maclay, Esquires, three of the trustees for 
erecting the public buildings in the county of Northumberland* 

Building operations were not, however, immediately begun, and at Novem- 
ber sessions of the following year (1775) the grand jury reported " having care- 
fully examined the gaol," and presented the same "as unfit to detain pris- 
oners in its present state." This evidently refers to the magazine and the 
dungeon beneath it. This presentment probably spurred the trustees to 
renewed activity, and 1776 is generally assigned as the year in which the jail 
was completed. Hunter, Maclay, and Moodie seem to have been charged 
with the responsibility of the undertaking, as is clearly shown by their orders, 
upon the treasurer in payment for work done and materials furnished. From 
these orders it has been ascertained that the stone was quarried by James 
Chisnall; the iron was furnished by John Harris, Sr., of Harris's Ferry, the 

* This important document appears to have been misplaced, and the title of the commissioners 
to the property received but little attention until its sale became probable. On the 20th of May, 1799, 
before Thomas McKean, chief justice of the State, John Simpson stated under oath that he was famil- 
iar with the chirography of John Penn, and verily believed the name attached to the letter given 
above to be his signature; it was thereupon recorded in Deed Book K, p. 402. February 14, 1803, 
John Penn and Eichard Penn, through John E. Coates, their attorney, executed a conveyance for the 
lot in question to Flavel Eoan, David Taggart, and Solomon Markley, county commissioners, for the 
nominal consideration of one dollar.— Eecorded in Deed Book M, p. 263. By act of April 1, 1803, 
the commissioners were authorized to sell this lot; it was exposed at public sale at the court house in 
Sunbury on the 9th of March, isor, and purchased by Thomas Eobins, to whom a deed was executed 
by Henry Vanderslice, Flavel Boan, and James Longhead, April 22, 1813, the consideration being 
eight himdred dollars.— Eecorded in Deed Book S., p. 128. Thus the lot passed out of possession of 
the county, and from that date it has experienced a number of changes in ownership. 


lime, by John Lee, the hinges, rivets, etc., by Frederick Weyman; John 
Buyers and John Maclay were employed as carpenters, William Atkinson as 
blacksmith, Henry Crawford and Eobert Lenet as masons, and Joseph Mc- 
Carrell, Zachariah Robins, and Conrad Platner, to haul the various materials, 
etc. This building stands at the corner of Market street and Center alley, 
and is one of the historic landmarks of the Susquehanna valley. The wall 
aligned with the street is built of brick; that adjoining the alley, of stone. 
From the immense thickness of the walls throughout it is evident that the 
projectors endeavored to make their work substantial and enduring. That 
they succeeded is amply attested by the present condition of the structure. 

For a time the jail thus erected was sufficient for all reasonable require- 
ments, and was probably creditable to the county at that period. But with 
increasing population at the close of the Revolution better facilities were 
demanded; and at May sessions, 1783, the following report was made by the 
grand jury: — 

We, tlie grand inquest for the body of the county of Northumberland, having 

duly examined the jail of the said county in the town of Sunbury at May term, 1783, 
are unanimously of opinion that the said jail ought to be condemned as not being suf- 
ficient for the purposes it was built for, and do agree that our foreman shall sign the 

May 29, 1783. James Crawford, 


In November, 1788, the jail and jail yard were presented by the grand 
jury as "insufficient to detain prisoners confined therein." It is probable that 
additional security was provided in compliance with these presentments; at 
all events, there is no record of any movement for the erection of a new 
prison until some years later. Various improvements were made in the 
intervening period, however, among the most important of which was the 
construction of a palisade around the yard in 1788. 

It is probable the largest number of persons ever incarcerated here at one 
time was thirty- six; an account for that number of prisoners from Wyoming 
was rendered to the commissioners imder date of August 30, 1784. Two 
prisoners — Edward Jones and William Armstrong — were taken from this 
jail to expiate the crime of murder; the former was hung by Martin With 
ington, the latter by Flavel Roan. In the case of Jones the expense was 
five pounds, fifteen shillings, six pence; in that of Armstrong, twenty-four 
dollars, eighty cents. Withington received payment, January 6, 1796, and 
Roan, January 27, 1797. These were the only judicial executions in the 
early history of the county. 

The agitation for the building of a court house naturally extended to the 
erection of a new jail; and as soon as the county offices were well advanced 
to completion, the jail received the attention of the authorities. On the 10th of 
March, 1801, the commissioners — John Metzgar, John Frick, and Abraham 
McKinney — met with John Weitzel, William Gray, and Alexander Hunter, 


trustees for the building of the court house, and definitely determined upon 
the erection of a new jail. An agreement was entered into with Frederick 
and Matthias Hawger to furnish two thousand bushels of lime; with Zacha- 
riah Robins, for five hundred perches of stone; with George Seitz, to exe- 
cute the mason work; with Andrew Grove and Jacob Durst, for all the smith 
work, large and small, at ten cents per pound; and with John Frick, to 
superintend the work and exercise an oversight over the materials, etc., at a 
reasonable percentage. Subsequently James and Michael Collins were em- 
ployed as plasterers, and Jacob Prisinger as carpenter; John Young fur- 
nished bricks, and Henry Bardshare lumber; the well was dug by John 
Epley, and WiUiam Hoffman constructed a pump for it; Henry Zimmerman 
built the stable. April 27, 1801, Evan E. Evans executed a conveyance for 
lots No. 149 and 150 on the plan of Sunbury, upon which the jail was then 
being built, the consideration being four hundred fifty dollars.* The grounds 
thus secured extend from Arch street to Center alley, fronting on Second street. 
Regarding the completion of the structure the following minute appears 
in the records of the court of quarter sessions under date of August, 1802 : — 

Information being made to the court that the new gaol is finished and in such a 
condition that the prisoners confined in the old gaol may be removed thereto with 
safety; whereupon the court order and direct the sherifl of Northumberland county to 
remove the prisoners aforesaid out of the old gaol into the new gaol. 

The settlement of the accounts of John Frick was effected through the 
intervention of arbitrators; their report was as follows: — 

We, the subscribers, by mutual consent chosen by the commissioners of the county 
of Northumberland for the time being of the one part, and John Frick of the other 
part, (who was superintendent for building the new gaol in the borough of Sunbury,) 
lor the purpose of adjusting the accounts of the said .John Frick with the county of 
Northumberland aforesaid with respect to the superintendence aforesaid, do report : 
that we have examined the accounts of the said John Frick and do find them regular 
and just in our opinion, and do hereby conceive that the said John Frick should have 
for his services aforesaid at the rate of six per cent, on the moneys by him paid over to 
the different workmen engaged at the building of the said gaol. 
Given under our hands this 4th day of November, 1802. 

Thomas Geant, 
SiMOK Snydbb, Jr., 
JoHK Hays. 

This jail was a stone structure, fronting on Second street and situated 
somewhat nearer Mulberry alley than Arch street. Attached on the north 
side and communicating with it was the sheriff's residence, a brick building 
two stories in height with frame addition. The jail was also two stories high. 
•It was entered from Second street by a narrow vestibule, on the south, side 
of which was the sheriff's office. The vestibule terminated at a wrought iron 

*Lot No. 149 was originally patented to Philip Bobbenmeyer, June 13, 1774; lot No. 150, to John 
lukens, October 26, 1776. Both subsequently came into possession ot Joseph Jacob Wallis ; by par- 
tition of his estate they were apportioned to Evan E. Evans and Grace his wife (nee Wallis), by whom 
they were transferred to John Metzgar, John Frick, and Abraham McKinney, April 27, 1801. 


door, popularly known as the " Ten of Diamonds," which was fastened on the 
outside by a chain and hook and also by a lock and key. This was the 
entrance to the prison proper. On the interior a passage led to the rear of 
the building, where a door opened to the yard. On either side of this pass- 
age was a room, and a stairway led to the upper story; there there were four 
rooms, occupying the entire floor, and making six apartments altogether. 
There was also a dungeon under the northwest comer. Throughout the 
building were rings in the floors at various places, and to these refractory 
criminals were frequently chained. Prisoners committed for minor offenses 
were given the liberty of the yard, which was also occasionally used as a ball 
ground by the denizens of the borough. This inclosure was entered from 
Second street by a gate large enough to admit a horse and wagon. It was 
partly bounded on the north and east by the jail, and elsewhere by a stone 
wall, upon which a brick addition was built after several informal jail deliv- 
eries had demonstrated that its original height was insufficient. The stable, 
a frame structure, stood at the comer of Second and Arch streets. 

There is reason to think that the jail, like the court house, was practically 
unfurnished for some years. This is evident from the following presentment 
of the grand jury at August sessions, 1813 : — 

The grand inquest of the county aforesaid present to the court that in compliance 
with the request of the court they have viewed the jail and the state of the prisoners, 
and find the rooms in the most cleanly state, but that there are no beds, bedsteads, or 
blankets for the use of the prisoners; that a grand inquest for August sessions, 1811, 
and another for January sessions, 1812, had directed to the attention of the court the 
necessity of providing, for the comfort of the unfortunate people within the prison 
walls, two stoves and six blankets. It appears that these salutary recommendations 
have been acted upon in no other manner than to be entered on the records, where they 
stand as memorials of the attention of the grand jury to the necessities of the unfortu- 
nate, and of the neglect of those whose duty it was to carry them into effect. The present 
grand jury therefore recommend that the court will be pleased to direct the present 
commissioners to provide immediately for the use of the prison two stoves, six bed- 
steads, suitable canvas to hold chaS for beds, twelve blankets, and six rugs. The grand 
jury further take the liberty to recommend that the court will be pleased to direct an 
inventory of the said articles to be kept in the jail, so that on the re-visitation of every 
succeeding grand jury they may see that the articles are kept in good order and remain 
in their proper places for the use of the prison. 

Leonard Rxipekt, 


This plain and unequivocal arraignment of the commissioners had the de- 
sired result, as shown by the reports of succeeding grand juries. That the 
ordinary comforts of life should have been withheld from the inmates of the 
prison to the extent stated in the foregoing presentment seems almost incredi- 
ble, but the era of prison reform had not yet begun and it is not probable 
any considerable number of persons were ever confined in the county jail at 
that date. 

It has been stated that the grounds occupied by the jail property were 


purchased from Evan R. Evans in 1801. It appears, however, that there was 
some defect in the title, and in August, 1819, in an action brought by Joseph 
Wallis for the use of George Grant, acting executor of Thomas Grant, 
deceased, against Samuel Hunter Scott, administrator of the estate of Grace 
Evans, late Grace Wallis, deceased, for the recovery of a debt of six hundred 
fifteen dollars, forty-six cents, the jail was levied upon by the sheriff. The 
commissioners consulted Charles Hall, their attorney, who gave as his opinion 
" that in a court of equity the commissioners might hold out against the 
claim; but in a jury trial the jury might be imposed upon, and we would lose 
it and pay the costs." This undecided expression from Mr. Hall divided the 
opinions of the board. John G. Youngman was willing the jail should be 
sold by the sheriff and bought for the proper use of the county, but Daniel 
R. Bright and John MiUer, his colleagues, were in favor of resisting the levy. 
When the jail was exposed at public sale by the sheriff, however, they had 
become less inclined to risk the uncertain issue of protracted litigation, and 
Mr. Youngman became the purchaser at his bid of seven hundred one dollars, 
fifty cents, January 19, 1820.* The extraordinary nature of this proceed- 
ing — the exposure of a county jail at sheriff's sale — excited much interest at 
the time. It is doubtful whether the history of the State furnishes a pre- 
cedent or a parallel. 

Although usually occupied, for there has never been a period in the his- 
tory of the county when the agencies that produce crime were not more or 
less active, the jail was occasionally empty so far as prisoners were concerned. 
An instance of this nature occurred in 1846, as shown from the following 
action of the grand jury at August sessions in that year: — 

Resolmd, That the grand inquest of this county are well pleased to find that under 
the influence of the present tarifl of '42 we have found the jail entirely empty. 

S. John, 

At August sessions, 1848, the grand jury reported the jail "without any 
inmates in the shape of prisoners except two bears in the back yard, which 
they recommend to be moved at the expiration of the present sheriff, or 

*The following abstract of these proceedings occurs in SlierifE's Deed Book A, p. 307 ; Be it 
remembered that on the 28th day of January, A. D. 1820, William Shannon, Esquire, high sheriff of 
Northumberland county, came into court and produced to the court a deed poll from him to John 
Miller, John G. Youngman, and Daniel E. Bright, commissioners of the county aforesaid, dated the 
27th day of January, A. D. 1820, for the jail of the county of Northumberland and the lot upon which 
the same is erected, seized and taken in execution as the property of Grace Evans, late Grace Wallis, 
deceased, by virtue of a certain writ of fic^ facias issued out of the court of common pleas of the 
county of Northumberland, tested at Sunbury the 28th day of August, A. D. 1819, at the suit of Joseph 
Wallis for the use of George Grant, and by virtue of a certain other writ of venditioni exponas Issued 
of the same court bearing date at Simbury the 27th day of November, A. D. 1819 ; exposed the prem- 
ises aforesaid to sale on the I7th day of January, 1820, and sold the same by adjournment on Wednes- 
day, the 19th day of January, In the year last aforesaid, to John Miller, John G. Youngman, and Dan- 
iel E. Bright, commissioners of Northumberland county aforesaid, to the only proper use and behoof 
of the aforesaid commissioners and their successors in offlce of the county aforesaid, for such public 
purposes and uses as tliey or their successors shall think fit, for the sum of seven hundred one dollars 
and fifty cents. 


chained." It would be interesting to know what relation the tarifip legisla- 
tion of the period sustained to this state of affairs. 

The project for the erection of the present jail first assumed definite pro- 
portions in the presentment of the grand juxj at November sessions, 1875, 
from which the following with reference to the old prison is an extract: — 

It was a creditable structure to our grandfathers, who in their poverty built it, but 
its usefulness has ceased, and it should give place to another. We deem it unsuitable 
in arrangement, insufficient in capacity, and unfit in other respects for the proper 

restraint and treatment of prisoners We believe that the prisoners who are not 

confirmed and hardened criminals should be treated with a view to their reformation 
and reclamation to the path of virtue, and that they ought not to be thrown into com- 
panionship with abandoned criminals. We therefore recommend the erection of a 
new jail, suitable for the separate accommodation of prisoners. 

In January, 1876, the grand jury characterized it as "the worst con- 
structed, illy ventilated, and most insecure jail in Pennsylvania, if not in the 
United States," and strongly indorsed the recommendation of their immedi- 
ate predecessors. In this the grand jury at March sessions concurred, and 
the matter was thus brought to the official cognizance of the commissioners. 
Architects were invited to submit plans and specifications, and on the 2Sth 
of March, 1876, those of C. S. "Wetzel were adopted. The financial responsi- 
bilities of the undertaking were next considered, and on the 1st of May the 
style of county bonds to be issued to cover the expenditure was decided upon. 
Proposals for the erection of the jail were advertised for, receivable until 
May 16, 1876; they were opened. May 22, 1876, and the contract was awarded 
to Ira T. Clement at his bid of ninety-one thousand six hundred thirty-six dol- 
lars. The old jail building was also sold to Mr. Clement, for the sum of 
three hundred eighty dollars, on the 22d of May. On the 29th of the 
same month the persons confined in the prison, twelve in number, were 
removed to the jail of Lycoming county at Williamsport, thenceforth the 
place of incarceration for criminals from this county until the completion of 
the present jail, in which the first occupant was placed on the 7th of August, 

The present county prison occupies the lots purchased in 1801. The 
main building fronts on Second street at the center of the lot; it is three 
stories high, and surmounted by a tower in the center. The main entrance 
opens into a vestibule, from which a haUway extends to the prison proper, 
crossed at the center of the main building by a transverse corridor, at either 
end of which stairways ascend to the second story. Here there is a large 
room for the accommodation of jurors, and in the third story are two large 
tanks from which the water supply of the entire establishment is distributed. 
The warden's office is situated on the first floor, and several rooms are used for 
storage purposes; except as otherwise indicated, the main building furnishes 
accommodations for the warden and his family. From the hallway extend- 
ing from the vestibule on the first floor two passages diverge, leading to the 



wings in which prisoners are confined. These are distinguished as the north 
and west or right and left corridors, respectively. Each has an extreme 
length of nearly one hundred feet. The cells are arranged in two tiers, there 
being twenty-three in each tier; iron stairways, and an iron platform extend- 
ing around the interior, furnish access to the second tier. Light is admitted 
from skylights, and into each cell by an aperture in the exterior wall. The 
west corridor is used for penitentiary purposes, and here is conducted the 
industrial* feature of the institution. Carpets are the principal product of 
this department; knit goods are also made, and the manufacture of paper 
bags also received some attention at one time. A partition divides the right 
corridor, part of which is appropriated exclusively for female prisoners. 
There is a basement under the entire building, part of which is utilized for 
culinary purposes; that under the prison corridors is divided into cells, not 
yet finished for occupancy, however, so that the present capacity of the jail 
is capable of being increased one half. A steam-heating plant provides for 
the requirements of the institution in this respect. The inclosure is sur- 
rounded by a substantial stone wall twenty-three feet high, and is entered by 
a wagon gate from Mulberry alley. A marble block in the center of the 
tower is inscribed with the names of J. G. Durham, D. S. Eeitz, H. Henrie, 
and P. Hile, commissioners; C. S. Wetzel, architect, and Ira T. Clement, 
contractor; and^the date, 1876. 

The wardens of the prison, elected at the respective dates given, have 
been as follows: John Peeler, 1879; James Dalton, 1882; William Kella- 
gher, 1886; P. M. Moore, 1888, and John Kehoe, 1891, present incumbent. 

A County Poorhouse was agitated in the decade ending 1850, and 
the project was received with some favor in the northern part of the 
county. On the 5th of April, 1849, an act was passed by the legislature 
submitting the question to a popular vote at the ensuing general election. 
The measure was overwhelmingly defeated, however, as shown by the follow- 
ing returns : 
















Little Mahanoy 






















Upper ]VIaliaiiioy 





Lower Mahoning 




The agitation has not been renewed, and the indigent classes are cared 

for under the supervision of the local authorities. Regular poor houses 

have been erected in several of the districts. 

*The erection of a workhouse for tlie employment of persons eonflned in the jail was recom- 
mended by the grand jury as early as 1810. 



Present methods of civil administration difper materially from those under 
•which the fiscal affairs of the county were conducted a century ago. While 
the relation of the county commissioners to the assessment and applica- 
tion of the revenues has always been that of immediate and direct responsi- 
bility, constitutional and statutory enactments have deprived the board of some 
•of its former important prerogatives. Of the public officers concerned in levy- 
ing and disbursing the county taxes, only the commissioners and assessors 
were elective when the Province became a Commonwealth: the county treas- 
urer was appointed by the commissioners; collectors were also selected by 
that board, from persons recommended by the respective assessors, and the 
duties now assigned to the county auditors were performed by the grand 
jury. That body made an inquiry into the condition of county finances in 
August, 1787; their report, the first on this subject of which there is any 
record, relates to the accounts of William Gray and John Buyers, county 
treasurers, and is purely statistical. The earliest report of county auditors 
extant is that of Abraham Scott, James Jenkins, and John Kidd, dated 
August 28, 1793. Balances were reported against Eobert Martin, treasurer 
of State taxes, 1777-80; William Gray, treasurer of State taxes, 1780; Will- 
iam Gray, county treasurer, 1777-81, and David Mead, county commis- 
sioner. Frederick Antes was treasurer of the county longer than any other 
incumbent of that position. He was first appointed in 1782, serving until 
December, 1784, and was reappointed in 1788, serving probably until his 
death in 1801. His accounts were audited on several occasions, but, owing 
to the fluctuating value of the currency and various other causes, there was a 
considerable discrepancy between them and those of the commissioners when 
his successor assumed office. The matter was referred to the courts for ad- 
judication, and after a period of litigation a final settlement was reached in 
the decision of Samuel Maclay, Daniel Montgomery, and Joseph Priestley, 
arbitrators, awarding to the county the sum of one thousand fifty-seven dol- 
lars, sixty-two cents. Their report was rendered, August 25, 1807. 

The minutes of the county commissioners reveal much that is of interest 
in connection with financial matters. Unfortunately, the early records have 
disappeared, and diligent search among the archives of the county has failed 
to discover any minutes of the board until near the close of the first decade 
after its organization. It is not probable that the revenues of the county 
were very considerable during the Eevolutionary period, and not improbable 
that the functions of the board were partially suspended during that time. 
This is sufficiently indicated by the following action of the commissioners, 
which appears in the minutes under date of October 19, 1781: — 

Resohed, That notices be sent to the several collectors of the year 1778 in order for 

BcsiiUei], That a letter be prepared and sent to his Excellency the President, set- 


ting forth our intention forthwith to procee* in settling all the tax books; that many of 
the books are lost, collectors dead or moved away, [and] no credit given in the books 
for taxes paid; and requesting advice respecting the taxes before the Revolution, and 
what the exchange since the Revolution; and also how delinquent treasurers may be 
dealt with. 

Resolved, That fair lists be made out of all the taxes on uncultivated land for the 
years 1773, 1774, and 1776, and have them advertised according to law. 

A letter was accordingly transmitted to President Reed on the 26th of 
October. It contains the following interesting paragraph: — 

The tax business we have in hand and are determined to proceed with dispatch as 
far as our circumstances and abiiities will possibly admit. Many of the county books 
and papers are yet in Paxtang, being removed thither on the break of Wyoming. 
We find by such as are in our hands that no credit hath been given in the books to any 
person since this was a county, but it appears by several settlements with sundry col- 
lectors since the year 1773 that divers sums remained in the hands of the treasurer, 
and that the inhabitants generally paid their taxes, and the non-residents none or but 
very little.* 

In pursuance of the action of the board the unpaid taxes for the years 1773, 
1774, and 1776 were advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1781. This was 
effectual in securing payment of delinquent taxes only in part, however, and on 
the 28th of May, 1782, the lands upon which taxes remained unpaid were 
offered at public sale at the court house in Sunbury. This was continued 
under the auspices of the commissioners on the 28th of August and the 26th 
of November in the'sam.e year, and on the 1st of January, 1783. These were 
the first commissioners' sales for taxes in the history of the- county. 

The opposition of the holders of unseated lands was at once aroused by 
these proceedings. It was urged that the State had not furnished adequate 
protection to the frontier; that its development had been thereby restricted, 
and that there had been practically no returns from the lands in question; 
and that taxation without protection to property was unjust. This seems to 
have resulted in a temporary suspension of the proceedings on the part of the 
commissioners, but in 1786, in compliance with instructions from the auditor 
general, lands subject to sale for arrears of taxes were advertised; the same 
opposition was again encountered, whereupon an address " to the landholders 
non-residents of Northumberland county " was published in the Philadelphia 
papers by the commissioners, who assured them that they "never had the 
most distant thought of defrauding any landholder of a single acre, much 
less of a plantation," at the same time expressing their determination to 
enforce the payment of taxes. Commissioners' deeds have since entered 
largely into the titles to land in many parts of the county, f 

*Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. IX. pp. 440-441. 

t A curious system of notatloa was devised in 1819 for the records relating to unseated lands. As 
" scribbling " throughout the books could not be permitted, the following private marks were estab- 
lished: A small triangular character— "improved;" the letter D— "no land;" the letter 0, with a 
period in the center,—" sold," and when followed by theletter C— " sold to commissioners ;" the letter 

O, crossed by a perpendicular Une,— "unsold;" the plus sign -\ "paid to collector;" the letter V 

Inverted, with a horizontal line crossing the apex.— "not advertised;" a small rectangular character— 
"part improved ;" the first letter of the treasurer s name indicated his receipt. A knowledge of tills 
key is almost indispensable in tracing titles that have been affected by commissioners' sales. 


At an early period in the history of the county, State and county taxes, 
although levied by the same commissioners, were disbursed through dif- 
ferent treasurers, and, in some instances, audited by different boards. An 
instance of the latter class occurred in the year 1799, when the auditing of 
State taxes was referred to a commission specially constituted for that pur- 
pose. The report, embodying the results of an investigation into the finan- 
cial relations of the county and State during nearly a score of years, with 
the intricate questions growing out of the formation of several counties from 
the territory of Northumberland during that period, is one of the most 
interesting documents extant relating to early county finances. The follow- 
ing is an extract: — 

The commissioners of accounts for the counties of Northumberland and Luzerne 
are of opinion that the dismemberment of Northumberland county by the erection of 
the northern part thereof into the county of Luzerne ought to disincumber the 
parent county of one third of the quotas charged upon it in the accounts submitted 
herewith to the comptroller general The inhabitants of the township of Wyom- 
ing, (which at one time nominally included all the present county of Luzerne, extend- 
ing as far down the Northeast Branch as Fishing creek,) were never assessed beyond 
the present limits of Northumberland county in that direction. Some of the unseated 
lands were returned, but, owing to the disturbances of the Connecticut claimants, they 
were not exacted. No formal assessment ever took place within their intrusions. 
The dismembered part, by the act of separation, was admitted to a third part of the 
representation in the General Assembly. 

The erection of Mifflin county in the year 1789 struck off from Northumberland 
about the half of Potter's and the whole of Upper Bald Eagle townships. We are 
therefore of opinion that Northumberland county should have credit on that amount 
proportionate to the dismembered territory. 

The report, signed by John Simpson and John Kidd, was transmitted to 
the comptroller general under date of November 2, 1799. 

Orders drawn by the commissioners at that early date were frequently 
lost by those in whose favor they were drawn, and instances are on record of 
counterfeit orders having been presented to the treasurer and cashed by him, 
thus producing confusion in the public accounts. To remedy this it was 
decided to number orders as they were issued, and the treasui-er was 
instructed to honor numbered orders only. Order No. 1 was issued, Janu- 
ary 27, 1798. This marks an important step in the evolution of systematic 

A disposition to keep within the literal meaning of the law in the dis-- 
bursement of county funds is noticeable in the proceedings of the early 
commissioners. In the year 1806 the construction of a stone bridge over 
Chillisquaque creek was authorized by the grand jury and undertaken by the 
board. It became apparent that the work could not be completed before the 
ensuing winter, and the contractor asked an allowance for the construction 
of a temporary roof, in order that the unfinished masonry might be protected 
from the inclemencies of the season. The commissioners presented a state- 


ment of these facts to the court and grand jury, giving their reasons for so 
doing in the following language: "Small as this expense in the estimation 
of the board may appear, yet they think themselves not justified to order this 
roof to be made without the intervention of that tribunal which holds the 
public purse." The tribunal in question was pleased to consider the matter 
favorably, and the proposed roof was accordingly provided at the expense of 
the county. 

This punctilious exactness occasionally brought the board into conflict with 
the court. In August, 1807, Joseph Harris presented an account for his 
services as court crier, amounting to more than a hundred dollars. The com- 
missioners refused to pay it, upon which he withdrew, but returned in a 
short time and again presented the account, to which was affixed the follow- 
ing note from the judges: — 

Tlie court can not proceed in tlie business of tlie county without a crier; such a 
person is absolutely necessary. No one can be procured for the common fees in the 
fee bill. The court therefore think that a dollar a day is not unreasonable pay, and 
that the commissioners ought to furnish the means of obtaining the attendance of a 
proper person as a crier. If the commissioners object we know not any other person 
bound to pay such a man, nor can we hold court without one. 

Thomas Coopek, 
J. Macphbkson.. 

The commissioners replied as follows: — 

In answer to the within note of the court the commissioners beg leave to state that 
they do not conceive it necessary to inquire whether the fees allowed by law to the 
crier of the court are sufficient or not, as they do not think themselves authorized in 
any case to add to them out of the county stock. 

C. Maclay, 
Samuel Awl, 
Samuel Bond, 

Commissioners' Office, August 30, 1807. 

At the same t«rm of court Andrew Kennedy presented a bill for publish- 
ing lists of causes, etc., amounting to upwards of eight pounds, to which was 
attached a note from the judges recommending its payment. To this the 
commissioners replied that they knew of no law which would authorize an 
appropriation for that purpose, that they had reason to believe there was 
none, and that they had strong doubts of the public utility of publishing lists 
of the causes. They therefore declined to pay the bill. What reply the 
judges made to this ultimatum does not appear, but the friction thus engen- 
dered doubtless contributed to the influences that finally resulted in Judge 
Cooper's deposition. 

There was also a divergence of views between the commissioners and 
Judge Chapman, but not so radical as that in which Judge Cooper was con- 
cerned. For two successive years the Judge declined to pay an occupation 
tax, justifying his refusal by the State constitution. In April, 1828, he 


agreed with the commissioners to refer the question to a committee of three 
members of the bar. John Lashells, Samuel Hepburn, and James Merrill 
were selected as arbitrators; they decided that the exemption claimed was 
untenable, and that the tax was legally assessed and payable. Thus again 
the civil administration demonstrated its s.uperior legal knowledge. ' 

The financial stringency of 1837 occasioned great inconvenience in paying 
jurors and settling other small accounts, silver coin having been practically 
withdrawn from circulation in this part of the State. In order to facilitate 
the transaction of business, the commissioners " entered into a resolution to 
issue small bills under five dollars.'' It is believed that this is the only 
instance in which the county in its corporate capacity has assumed the 
functions of a bank of issue. 


The act of 1834 inaugurated in Pennsylvania what is distinctively knovm 
as the public school system. Popular education had been a subject of legis- 
lative action since the founding of the Colony. It was stipulated in the con- 
stitution of 1790 that the legislature should " provide by law for the estab- 
lishment of schools throughout the State in such manner that the poor may 
be taught gratis." In 1802 an act was passed to provide for the mainte- 
nance of schools where elementary instruction might be received by all chil- 
dren. Those of the well-to-do were required to pay a small sum, but when 
the returns of the assessors showed that the parents were unable to bear this 
expense the county commissioners were authorized to do so. It does not 
appear that popular education in Northumberland county was materially 
advanced by the operation of this law.* Here the neighborhood school was 
the earliest result of educational effort. As a measure of convenience certaia 
communities established schools in which their children might receive a rudi- 
mentary education. The teacher derived his support from his patrons, and 
the affairs of the school were intrusted by common consent to the more ener- 
getic members of the community, who were usually men of intelligence. 
The law of 1802 was variously amended at different times, without, however, 
accomplishing its purpose. In 1827 a society for the promotion of education 
in the State was formed at Philadelphia, and, through a corresponding com- 
mittee, the opinions of leading , men in every county were ascertained and a 
union of the most progressive sentiment effected. The powerful influence 
thus generated resulted in the act of 1834. In this the former distinction 
between pay and pauper schools was abrogated; all property was made taxable 
for the support of the schotls, and their local management in each district 

♦Pursuant to circular of January 9, 1833, the clerk to the county commissioners transmitted the 
following statement to the Secretary of the Commonwealth :— 1829, number of poor children taught, 
123; amount expended, ¥299.86^; 1830, number of poor children taught, 126; amount expended, «1393.- 
1«; 1831, number of poor children taught, 178; amount expended, §570.39^; 1832, number of poor 
children taught, 240; amount expended, ¥713.10V4. 


placed in charge of a board of six directors. Some two hundred acts of the 
legislature had preceded that of 1834; but the latter, although amended in 
1836, is substantially unimpaired, and the growing efficiency of the system 
fully attests the wisdom of those who framed it. 

The first convention of delegates under this act, and in all probability 
the first public educational meeting in the county, was held at the court 
house in Sunbury, November 4, 1834. The following is a transcript of the 
minutes : — 

Agreeably to an act passed the 1st day of April, 1834, entitled " An act to estab- 
lish, a general system of education by common schools," a meeting of the commission- 
ers of the county and delegates from the difEerent school districts of the county of 
Northumberland met at the court house in the borough of Sunbury on Tuesday, the 
4th day of November, 1834. The meeting was organized by appointing John C. Boyd, 
of Bush township, chairman, and John Taggart, of Northumberland, secretary. The 
meeting then adjourned to the house of William Shannon, when the following per- 
sons appeared, produced their certificates of election, and took, their seats, viz. : Tur- 
but township, .lohn McKinney; Chillisquaque township, James P. Murray; Point 
township, Robert Curry; Augusta township, Samuel Lantz; Shamokin township, Rob- 
ert McAVilliams; Rush township, John C. Boyd; Upper Mahanoy township, Benjamin 
Markel; Lower Mahanoy township, Jacob Weiser, Sr.; Milton borough, Robert Mc- 
Guigan; Northumberland borough, John Taggart; Sunbury borough, John G. Young- 
man; Daniel Hilbush, William Shannon, and Prederick Burkenbine, commissioners of 
the county. 

The meeting then proceeded to take the vote on " making appropriation for com- 
mon schools," when it appeared that six delegates voted in the affirmative, viz. : 
Messrs. McKinney, McGuigan, Murray, Curry, Taggart, and Youngman; and that five 
delegates and three commissioners voted in the negative, viz. : Messrs. Lantz, Mc Will- 
iams, Boyd, Markel, Weiser, Hilbush, Shannon, and Burkenbine. 

The delegates and commissioners voting in the negative havingjretired, the dele- 
gates voting in the affirmative reorganized the meeting by appointing Robert McGuigan 
president and continuing John Taggart as secretary. 

The following resolutions were proposed and unanimously passed, viz: — 

Eesohed, That the commissioners be and they are hereby authorized to levy half 
the amount of the county tax for the use of common schools in the townships of Tur- 
but, Chillisquaque, and Point, and in the boroughs of Milton, Northumberland, and 
Sunbury for the ensuing year. 

Resolved, That the town meetings be held in all the districts accepting the law, at 
the usual places of holding their township elections, as the law directs, on Saturday, the 
29th of November, and that the school directors give notice in their respective districts 
of the meeting. 

The first appointment of school inspectors was made by the court of quarter 
sessions at April term, 1835, when the following persons were designated for 
that oifice in the respective townships and boroughs: Turbut, Isaac Vin- 
cent and William Laird; Milton, Samuel Pollock and John F. Wolfinger; 
Chillisquaque, Charles Gale and Isaac P. Sanders; Point, George Jennings 
and Jesse C. Horton; Northumberland, James Hepburn and John Cowden; 
Sunbury, Hugh Bellas and Alexander Jordan. 

The meeting for 1835 was held at the court house on the 4th of May; the 


districts accepting the law were represented ag follows: Sunbury, William 
N. Eobins; Northumberland, John Frick; Point, Eobert Curry; Chillisqua- 
que, Andrew McReynolds; Milton, Eobert McGuigan; Turbut, John McKin- 
ney. It was decided to levy a tax equal to one half the State and county 
tax. This tax, the first in the county for school purposes of which there is 
any record, was as follows: — 

Sunbury $ 360.644 Chillisquaque $ 493.92| 

Northumberland 300.971 Milton 470.43 

Point 389.08 Turbut 1,307.52^ 

Augusta and Shamokin accepted the system in 1836; in that year the 
number of taxables in the accepting districts was twenty-eight hundred 
sixty-four; in the non-accepting districts, one thousand sixty-nine. The sys- 
tem was discontinued in Shamokin in 1837, and not re-established until 1843 ; 
Eush first appears among the accepting districts in 1842; South Coal dis- 
trict appears as non-accepting in 1842, and North Coal district as accepting; 
Turbut discontinued the system in 1843, and in that year the taxables in the 
accepting districts (Milton, Chillisquaque, Point, Northumberland, Sunbury, 
Augusta, Rush, Shamokin, and North Coal) numbered twenty-seven hundred 
twenty-two; in the non-accepting districts (Turbut, Little Mahanoy, Upper 
Mahanoy, Lower Mahanoy, Jackson, and South Coal), seventeen hundred 
twenty-five. The system was re-established in Turbut in 1844, by which the 
number of taxables in the non- accepting districts were reduced to but little 
more than one-fifth of the entire number in the county (accepting districts, 
thirty-six hundred fourteen taxables ; non- accepting, nine hundred forty-four). 
Eush discontinued the system in 1846 but re-established it in 1847 ; public 
schools were thus introduced and maintained in the entire county except the 
Mahanoy region. The system was adopted in Lower Mahanoy and Jordan 
townships in 1865; in Upper Mahanoy in 1866; in Cameron and Jackson in 
1869; in Washington in 1870, and in Little Mahanoy in 1871. Further par- 
ticulars are given under the various townships. 

Teachers' Institutes. — The first convention of teachers in Northumberland 
county was held at Elysburg on the second Saturday in April, 1850, in pur- 
suance of a call issued by J. J. John, George W. West, and A. J. Madison. 
The topics discussed were, " How can the salaries of teachers be increased?", 
" How shall teachers improve themselves in the art of teaching ? ", and "What 
books shall we recommend?" About thirty teachers were in attendance, of 
whom W. W. Mc Williams was elected president and J. J. John secretary. 

The first county institute was held in the court house at Sunbury, De- 
cember 18-19, 1855. The county superintendent, Eev. John J. Eeimensny- 
der, presided; J. W. Weeks was secretary, and the executive committee was 
composed of W. P. Teitsworth, J. P. Shultz, S. S. Brittain, C. Kelchner, W. 
W. Mc Williams, J. Vincent, Jr., and W. B. Taggart. Methods of instruc- 


tion and school government were discussed; resolutions were passed in favor 
of the use of the Bible in the schools, increased compensation for the super- 
intendent, and in support of the Pennsylvania School Journal. 

County Superintendents of Public Schools. — This office was created in 
1854. Its incumbents, elected by the school directors of the county, have 
been as follows: John J. Eeimensnyder, 1854-60; Jacob TJlp, 1860-66; 
George W. Haupt, 1866-68 (resigned, September 1, 1868); William J. Wol- 
verton, 1868-69 (appointed by the State superintendent) ; Saul Shipman, 
1869-75; Harvey Bartholomew, 1875-78; William M. Boal, 1878-81; Will- 
iam J. Wolverton, 1881-87 ; William E. Bloom, 1887, present incumbent. 


Prothonotaries. — In Northumberland county one person is elected to the 
offices of prothonotary of the court of common pleas, clerk of the court of 
quarter Sessions, and clerk of the court of oyer and terminer and general jail 
delivery. After the offices of recorder of deeds arid register of wills were 
assigned to one individual in this county, the prothonotary continued to 
exercise the functions of clerk of the orphans' court until 1827 ; since that date 
the offices have been combined as at present. The incumbents were ap- 
pointed by the Governor and Council under the colonial regime, by the 
Supreme Executive Council under the constitution of 1776, and by the Gov- 
ernor under the constitution of 1790; the office became elective by the 
amendments of 1837-38, and under these various changes the succession of 
prothonotaries, with the dates of their commissions or the terms in which 
they served by election, has been as follows: William Ma6lay, prothonotary, 
March 24, 1772, clerk of the peace and quarter sessions of the peace, May 19, 
1772, recommissioned, March 22, 1777; David Harris, September 11, 1777; 
Matthew Smith, February 4, 1780; Laurence Keene, September 25, 1783; 
Jasper Ewing, July 28, 1789, August 17, 1791, and January 3, 1800; Daniel 
Levy, September 23, 1800; Hugh Bellas, January 3, 1809; George W. 
Brown, February 2, 1818; Andrew Albright, April 24, 1819; Martin Weaver, 
February 9, 1821; Samuel J. Packer, January 27, 1824; Martin Weaver, 
April 9, 1829; Edward Y. Bright, January 25, 1830, and January 21, 1833; 
Daniel Brautigam, January 29, 1836, and January 4, 1839; Samuel D. Jor- 
dan, February 5, 1839 — elected in the autumn of that year — 1839-45; John 
Farnsworth, 1845-51; James Beard, 1851-57; Daniel Beckley, 1857-63; 
John J. Eeimensnyder, 1863-6*9; William D. Haupt, 1869-72; Lloyd T. 
Eohrbach, 1872-79; Wesley Auten, 1879-85; H. F. Mann, 1885-91; S. P. 
Fausold, 1891, present incumbent. 

Registers and Recorders. — At the organization of Northumberland coun- 
ty one person was commissioned as register of wills, recorder of deeds, and 
clerk of the several courts. In 1777 one person was commissioned as regis- 
ter and recorder and another person as clerk of the several courts, and. 


although William Montgomery was commissioned as recorder only in 1785, 
it is highly probable that this arrangement continued until 1827, when the 
register and recorder was also commissioned as clerk of the orphans' court, 
and in this manner the offices have since been combined. The incumbents, 
with the dates of their coromissions or the terms in which they served by 
election, have been as follows : William Maclay, March 24, 1772, and March 
22, 1777; John Simpson, March 29, 1777; WiUiam Montgomery (recorder 
only), April 7, 1785; Jeremiah Simpson, July 24, 1798; John Boyd, Decem- 
ber, 1805; John Prick, January 18, 1809; John L. Pinney, April 3, 1811, 
and March 25, 1818; Martin Pries, February 9, 1821; John Oyster, October 
7, 1822; Eli Diemer, January 27, 1824; Samuel J. Packer, March 27, 1827; 
Eobert H. Hammond, April 29, 1829; Solomon ShafEer, January 25, 1830; 
and January 21, 1833; Jacob Bright, January 29, 1836, and January 4, 
1839; John Gr. Youngman, February 5, 1839 — elected in the autumn of that 
year— 1839-42; Edward Oyster, 1842-48; Martin Irwin, 1848^9; David 
Rockefeller, appointed, June 25, 1849, vice Irwin, deceased; John P. Pursel, 
1849-55; C. Boyd Pursel, 1855-58; Jacob B. Masser, 1858-61; John A. J. 
Cummings, 1861-67; Jacob Leisenring, 1867-73; Lemuel Shipman, 1873-80; 
George D. Bucher, 1880-86; Urias Bloom, 1886, present incumbent. 

Sheriffs are elected triennially. The first incumbent in Northumberland 
county was sheriff of Berks at the time of its organization, and was author- 
ized to officiate in Northumberland by the act providing for its erection in 
1772. The following is a list from-that date: 1772, George Nagel; 1772-75, 
William Cooke; 1775-77, WiUiam ScuU; 1777-79, Jonathan Lodge; 1779- 
82, James Crawford; 1782-85, Henry Antes; 1785-88, Thomas Grant; 
1788-91, Martin Withington; 1791-94, Flavel Roan; 1794-97, John Brady; 
1797-1800, Eobert Irwin; 1800-03, Henry VandersUce; 1803-06, Andrew 
Albright; 1806-09, Jared Irwin; 1809-12, Daniel Lebo; 1812-15, Thomas 
Painter; 1815-18, Walter Brady; 1818-21, William Shannon; 1821-24, 
James R. Shannon; 1824^27, Martin Weaver; 1827-30, Jacob McKinney; 
1830-33, Peter Lazarus; 1833-36, Henry Reader; 1836-39, George W. 
Kiehl; 1839-42, Henry Gossler; 1842-45, Felix Maurer; 1845-48, Thomas 
A. Billingtbn; 1848-51, James Covert; 1851-54, William B. Kipp; 1854-57, 
Henry Weise; 1857-60, James Vandyke; 1860-63, David Waldron; 1863-66, 
WilHam M. Weaver; 1866-69, Daniel Beckley; 1869-72, John B. Heller; 
1872-76, Samuel H. Eothermel; 1876-79, George W. Strine; 1879-82, 
William M. Weaver; 1882-85, John C. Morgan; 1885-88, Jacob Kremer; 
1888-91, Jacob G. Kramer; 1891, Robert Montgomery, present incumbent. 

District Attorneys.— Ihia office was known by the title of deputy attor- 
ney general until 1850, when it became elective and the name was changed 
to its present style. Prior to that date appointments were made by the at- 
torney general of the State. The following list is believed to be as complete 
as existing records permit: Edward Burd, 1772; Jonathan Walker, 1793 (he 




received pay for services in May, 1793, but whether regularly commissioned 
or not can not be positively stated); Samuel Eoberts, qualified, July 16, 
1800; Thomas Cooper, commissioned, July 16, 1803, qualified, August 22, 
1803; E. G. Bradford, 1809-20 (probably 1806-09 also); Eobert C. Hall, 
January, 1821, to November, 1828; E. G. Bradford, January to April, 1824; 
Alem Marr, qualified at August sessions, 1824; Daniel Scudder, qualified at 
August sessions, 1828; SamuelJ. Packer, qualified, April 20, 1829; Charles 
G. Donnel, qualified, November 16, 1829; John E. Wolfinger, appointed by 
the court, November sessions, 1833, and reappointed, January 4, 1836; James 
Pollock, qualified at April sessions, 1836; Henry B. Masser, qualified at April 
sessions, 1839; John B. Packer, qualified at April sessions, 1845; Charles W. 
Tharp, quahfied at November sessions, 1848; C. Augustus Kutz, elected, 
1850; Charles W. Tharp, elected, 1853; WiUiam L. Scott, elected, 1856; 
John Kay Clement, elected, 1859; Solomon P. Malick, elected, 1862; Jere- 
miah Snyder, elected, 1865, and re-elected, 1868; John Kay Clement, elected, 
1871; Thomas H. B. Kase, elected, 1874; L. H. Kase, appointed deputy dis- 
trict attorney by Thomas H. B. Kase — appointment approved by the court, 
August 7, 1876; John Kay Clement, appointed, vice L. H. Kase, resigned, 
qualified, January 30, 1877; Lewis Dewart, elected, 1877; C. R. Savidge, 
elected, 1880; Peter A. Mahon, elected, 1883, and re-elected, 1886; Voris 
Auten, elected, 1889, present incumbent. 

Coroners are elected triennially. Eor a number of years it does not 
appear that the persons elected to this ofiice had their commissions recorded,- 
hence the incompleteness of the following list, in which the date given is that 
of the commission or election: James Parr, October 9, 1772; James Murray, 
October 9, 1773; Samuel Harris, October 12, 1775; Thomas Eobinson, Decem- 
ber 8, 1778; John Foster, October 19, 1779; Christopher Gettig, October 20, 
1781; John Chattam, October 18, 1782; John Scott, November 22, 1783; 
Thomas Hamilton, November 2, 1787; Joseph Lorentz, October 21, 1789; 
William McAdams, 1796, October 8, 1797, October 18, 1799; Andrew 
Albright, November 5, 1800; Joseph Lorentz, October 21, 1803, October 28, 
1806, October 24, 1809, October 26, 1812; Jacob Albright, October 28, 1815; 
John Leisenring, October 28, 1818; Jacob Urban, October 22, 1821; Jacob 
Bright, November 4, 1824; Charles D. Wharton, October 15, 1827; Jacob 
Long, November 11, 1830; John Conrad, 1833; John Eisely, November 14, 
1836; John Smith, 1839; Charles Weaver, 1842-; Jacob Yordy, January 21, 
1846; FrankUn A. Clark, November 29, 1848; Aaron Kelly, 1851, November 
18, 1852; Cyrus Geasy, 1869; Frederick Hesser, 1872; John W. Taylor, 
1875; E. L. Wright, 1878, re-elected in 1881; D. T. Krebs, 1884; F. D. 
Eaker, 1887, re-elected, 1890, present incumbent. 

County Commissioners were elected annually for the term of three years 
until the adoption of the constitution of 1873, which provided for the trien- 
nial 'election of the entire board of three members. Diligent search has failed 


to discover any minutes of the board prior to 1781, and this list for the years 
1772-81 is based upon Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley. The roster is as 
follows: 1772, William Gray, Thomas Hewitt, John Weitzel, Casper Eeed 
(the latter qualified, November 23d); 1773, Casper Eeed; 1774, Eobert 
Truit and Thomas Hewitt, qualified, April 4th, and WiUiam Gray, elected in 
October; 1775, Casper Eeed, William Gray; 1776, Thomas Hewitt, WiUiam 
Gray, John Weitzel (the latter qualified, January 22d); 1778, William Gray, 
John Nelson, Thomas Sutherland, John Lytle; 1779, Walter Clark, William 
Mackey; 1780, Daniel Montgomery, WiUiam Clark, John White; 1781-82, 
WiUiam Antes, James Espy, Daniel Montgomery; 1782-83, James Espy, 
Daniel Montgomery, David Mead; 1783-84, Daniel Montgomery, David 
Mead, John Clark; 1784^85, David Mead, John Clark, Walter Clark; 1785- 
86, John Clark, Walter Clark, WiUiam .Gray; 1786-87, Walter Clark, WiU- 
iam Gray, John Lytle; 1787-88, William Gray, John Lytle, Peter Hoster- 
man; 1788-89, John Lytle, Peter Hosterman, William Hepburn; 1789-90, 
Peter Hosterman, WiUiam Hepburn, John Weitzel; 1790-91, William Hep- 
bum, John Weitzel, Daniel Montgomery; 1791-92, John Weitzel, Daniel 
Montgomery, Eobert Fleming; 1792-93, Daniel Montgomery, Eobert Flem- 
ing, Eichard Shearer; 1793—94, Eobert Fleming, Eichard Shearer, Christo- 
pher Dering; 1794-95, Eichard Shearer, Christopher Dering, Henry Van- 
derslice; 1795-96, Christopher Dering, Henry Vanderslice, Nathan Stock- 
man; 1796-97, Henry Vanderslice, Nathan Stockman, Charles Irwin; 
1797-98, Nathan Stockman, Charles Irwin, John Lyon; 1798-99, Charles 
Irwin, John Lyon, John Metzgar; 1799-1800, John Lyon, John Metz- 
gar, John Frick; 1800-01, John Metzgar, John Frick, Abraham McKin- 
ney; 1801-02, John Frick, Flavel Eoan, Solomon Markley (Markley 
qualified, November 25, 1801; he was appointed, vice McKinney, who re- 
signed, November 14, 1801); 1802-03, Solomon Markley, Flavel Eoan, David 
Taggart; 1803-04, Flavel Eoan, Solomon Markley, George Bright (Bright 
assumed office, December 1, 1803, and died in February, 1804; David Tag- 
gart was appointed by the commissioners with the concurrence of the court, 
and qualified, April 27, 1804.); 1804-05, Solomon Markley, David Taggart, 
Charles Maclay; 1805-06, David Taggart, Charles Maclay, Samuel Awl; 
1806-07, Charles Maclay, Samuel Awl, Samuel Bond; 1807-08, Samuel Awl, 
Samuel Bond, Andrew McClenachan; 1808-09, Samuel Bond, Andrew Mc- 
Clenachan, Henry Masser; 1809-10, Andrew McClenachan, Henry Masser, 
Joseph Gaston; 1810-11, Henry Masser, Joseph Gaston, Flavel Eoan; 
1811-12, Joseph Gaston, Flavel Eoan, Henry VandersUce; 1812-13, Flavel 
Eoan, Henry Vanderslice, James Longhead; 1813-14, Henry VandersUce, 
Samuel Bloom, Jonas Weaver; 1814-15, Samuel Bloom, Jonas Weaver, Isaac 
Wolverton; 1815-16, Jonas Weaver, Isaac Wolverton, WiUiam F. Buyers; 
1816-17, Isaac Wolverton, WiUiam F. Buyers, George Lesher; 1817-18, 
WiUiam F. Buyers, George Lesher, John MUler; 1818-19, George LeSher, 


John Miller, John G. Youngman; 1819-20, John Miller, John G. Young- 
man. Daniel E. Bright; 1820-21, John G. Youngman, Daniel E. Bright, 
Elisha Kline; 1821-22, Daniel E. Bright, Ehsha Kline, Christian Bower; 
1822-23, Elisha Kline, Christian Bower, James Lee; 1823-24, Christian 
Bower, James Lee, Samuel Lantz; 1824-25, James Lee, Samuel Lantz, John 
McKinney; 1825-26, Samuel Lantz, John McKinney, George Young; 1826- 
27, John McKinney, George Young, WiUiam H. Muench; 1827-28, George 
Young, William H. Muench, WiUiam Stewart; 1828-29, WiUiam H. Muench, 
William Stewart, Jacob Ehoads; 1829-30, William Stewart, Jacob Ehoads, 
Michael Lenker; 1830-31, Jacob Ehoads, Michael Lenker, Daniel Haas; 
1831-32, Michael Lenker, Daniel Haas, Joseph Bound; 1832-33, Daniel 
Haas, Joseph Bound, Daniel Hilbush; 1833-34, Joseph Bound, Daniel Hil- 
bush, William Shannon; 1834-35, Daniel Hilbush, William Shannon, Fred- 
erick Burkenbine; 1835-36, William Shannon, Frederick Burkenbine, Con- 
rad Eaker; 1836-37, Frederick Burkenbine, Conrad Eaker, Frederick Laza- 
rus; 1837-38, Conrad Eaker, Frederick Lazarus, Joseph Wallis; 1838-39, 
Frederick Lazarus, Joseph WaUis, Joseph Patton; 1839^0, Joseph Wallis, 
Joseph Patton, George Bright; 1840-41, Joseph Patton, George Bright, 
Jacob Ehoads; 1841-42, George Bright, Jacob Ehoads, Philip Weiser; 1842 
-43, Jacob Ehoads, Philip Weiser, John Young; 1843-44, Philip Weiser, 
John Young, James Buoy; 1844-45, John Young, James Buoy, David Martz; 
1845-46, James Buoy, Da-vid Martz, Peter Vandling; 1846-47, David Martz, 
Peter Vandling, William FoUmer; 1847-48, Peter Vandling, WiUiam FoU- 
mer, Jacob Hoffa; 1848-49, William FoUmer, Jacob HofPa, Charles Weaver; 
1849-50, Jacob Hoffa, Charles Weaver, William WUson; 1850-51, Charles 
Weaver, William Wilson, Christian Albert; 1851-52, William Wilson, Chris- 
tian Albert, Charles Weaver; 1852-53, Christian Albert, Charles Weaver, 
Joseph Nicely; 1853-54, Charles Weaver, Joseph Nicely, Simon Snyder; 
1854—55, Joseph Nicely, Philip Eenn, George C. Welker (Welker was 
appointed, vice Snyder, deceased); 1855-56, Philip Eenn, Charles Hotten- 
stein, Frederick Haas; 1856-57, Charles Hottenstein, Frederick Haas, Philip 
Eenn; 1857-58, Frederick Haas, Charles Hottenstein, Samuel Ent; 1858-59, 
Frederick Haas, Samuel Ent, Joseph Everett; 1859-60, Samuel Ent, Joseph 
Everett, Philip Clark; 1860-61, Joseph Everett, Philip Clark, Isaac D. 
Eaker; 1861-62, Philip Clark, Isaac D. Eaker, Samuel Stahlnecker; 1862- 
63, Isaac D. Eaker, Samuel Stahhaecker, James Eiland; 1863-64, Samuel 
Stahlnecker, James Eiland, Joseph Gass; 1864—65, James Eiland, Joseph 
Gass, Hugh Martin; 1865-66, Joseph Gass, Hugh Martin, John Eckman; 
1866-67, Hugh Martin, John Eckman, Solomon Billman; 1867-68, John 
Eckman, Solomon Billman, Jacob Hunsecker; 1868-69, Solomon Billman, 
Jacob Hunsecker, M. E. Bucher; 1869-70, Jacob Hunsecker, M. E. Bucher, 
Sebastian Stepp; 1870-71, M. E. Bucher, Sebastian Stepp, Jacob Hunsecker; 
1871-72, Sebastian Stepp, Jacob Hunsecker, Amos Vastine; 1872-73, Jacob 


Hunsecker, Amos Vastine, J. G. Durham; 1873-74, Amos Vastine, J. G. 
Durham, Daniel S. Eeitz (the term of this board expired on the 31st of 
December, 1874) ; 1875-76, J. G. Durham, Daniel S. Eeitz, Harrison Hen- 
rie; 1877, J. G. Durham, Daniel S. Eeitz, Harrison Henrie, Philip Hile 
(Hile was appointed, January 80, 1877, vice Henrie, deceased); 1878, J. G. 
Durham, Daniel S. Eeitz, Philip Hile; 1879-81, John Clark, Edward W. 
Chapin, John T. Albright; 1882-84, William P. Datesman, Michael Kel- 
lagher, George Brown; 1885-87, Michael Kellagher, Thomas L. Karchner, 
Adam M. Snyder; 1888-90, Adam M. Snyder, Charles Newhard, Daniel 
KaufEman; 1891, F. W. Lindner, John Eoney, Joseph Pardoe, present 

County Treasurers were elected by the commissioners until 1841, when 
the office became elective. Defective records preclude the preparation of a 
complete list from the organization of Northumberland county; the first was 
Alexander Hunter, who was probably the custodian of the county funds for 
some time, although this can not be positively stated. William Gray was 
treasurer of county taxes, 1777-81 inclusive, and in 1780 he was also treas- 
urer of State taxes, which office had been filled by Eobert Martin, 1777-79 
inclusive. Frederick Antes was elected county treasurer in February, 1782; 
October 20, 1788, he was appointed; John Buyers was elected, December 31, 
1784, and January 8, 1786. Buyers also held the office in 1787 and 1788. 
After this, Frederick Antes was treasurer for a number of years — ^probably 
from 1788 to 1801, certainly from June 1, 1789, to January], 1794, in 1797- 
98, and in 1800-01. He died in 1801, and on the 30th of September, 1801, 
Christopher Dering was appointed to the position. The succession since 
that date has been as follows: 1802, Christopher Dering; 1803-05, John 
Boyd; 1806-08, Simon Snyder; 1809-11, David Taggart; 1812-13, Andrew 
Albright; 1814, John G. Youngman; 1815-17, Henry Vanderslice; 1818- 
20, Isaac Zeigler; 1821, Henry Bucher; 1822-24, George Weiser; 1825- 
27, Frederick Haas; 1828-80, Peter Lazarus; 1881-33, George Weiser; 
1834-36, Samuel Bloom; 1837, Isaac Wolverton; 1838-40, John Bloom; 
1841, George C. Welker; 1842^3, George Weiser; 1844-45, John Farns- 
worth; 1846-47, WiUiam Gulick; 1848-49, Jesse M. M. Simpson; 1850-51, 
George B. Youngman; 1852-53, Jacob Young; 1854-55, Francis Bucher; 
1856-57, George Bright; 1858-59, Jesse M. M. Simpson; 1860-61, Jacob 
F. Eohrbach; 1862-63, William E. Irwin; 1864-65, E. H. Awl; 1866-67, 
John Farnsworth; 1868-69, John F. Fiedler; 1870-71, George McEliece; 
1872-73, Albert Cadwallader; 1874-75, John Haag; 1876-78, David C. 
Dissinger; 1879-81, J. Galen Smith; 1882-84, J. Frank Bucher; 1885-87, 
John J. W. Schwartz; 1888-90, Jacob Kremer; 1891, John Schabo, present 

Awditors.— Three county auditors are elected triennially. Prior to the 
adoption of the constitution of 1790 the accounts of the commissioners and 


treasurer were submitted to the grand jury. The first legislation introduc- 
ing the present system was an act passed, March 30, 1791, providing for the 
appointment of auditors annually by the county court. The office was made 
elective by the act of March 6, 1809, in which, however, the court of quarter 
sessions was authorized to fill any vacancies that might occur. On the 7th 
of February, 1814, an act was passed extending the term of office to three 
years: the person receiving the maximum number of votes at the first elec- 
tion thereafter was to serve the maximum period; the person receiving the 
next highest number, two years ; and the person receiving the next highest 
number, one year; while one niunber was to be elected annually thereafter. 
This arrangement continued until the adoption of the present system under 
the constitution of 1873. The following list is believed to be as complete as 
existing records permit. (The year given is that in which the board audited 
the accoxmts of the preceding year) : 1793-94, Abraham Scott, James Jen- 
Mns, John Kidd; 1798, Robert Hunter, Martin Kendig, Frederick Lazarus; 
1800, James Jenkins, Evan E. Evans, John Buyers; 1802, Evan R. Evans, 
John Buyers; 1808, John Buyers, Evan K. Evans, Daniel Montgomery; 
1804, John Buyers; 1805, Daniel Montgomery, John Buyers, Enoch Smith; 
1806, John Buyers, Enoch Smith, Daniel Montgomery; 1807, John Buyers, 
Andrew Albright; 1808, John Buyers, Michael Kutzner, Andrew Albright; 
1809-11, Charles Gale, Hugh Wilpon, Henry Vanderslice; 1812, Charles 
Gale, Hugh Wilson, Andrew Albright; 1813, Charles Gale, Hugh "Wilson, 
Henry Masser; 1814, Henry Masser, Henry Shaffer; 1815-16, Abia John, 
George Martin, Charles Gale; 1817, Abia John, Charles Gale, James Smith; 
1818, Abia John, James Smith, J. P. Sanderson; 1819, James Smith, J. P. 
Sanderson, Richard Barclay; 1820, J. P. Sanderson, Richard Barclay, Henry 
Masser; 1821, Richard Barclay, Henry Masser, Isaac Vincent; 1822, Henry 
Masser, Isaac Vincent, Henry Donnel; 1823, Isaac Vincent, Henry Donnel, 
Joseph Hays; 1824, Henry Donnel, John H. Brautigam, Joseph Hays; 
1825, Joseph Hays, John H. Brautigam, J. H. W. Baldy; 1826, John H. 
Brautigam, Michael DruckemiUer; 1827, Michael Druckemiller, Abraham 
Straub; 1828, Michael Druckemiller, Abraham Straub, Joseph Rhoads; 
1829, Abraham Straub, Joseph Rhoads, John Baker; 1830, Joseph Rhoads, 
John Baker, John Porter; 1831, John Baker, John Porter, Frederick Haas; 
1832, Frederick Haas, A. C. Barrett; 1833, Frederick Haas, A. C. Barrett, 
John McKinney; 1834, John McKinney, Samuel Awl; 1835, John McKinney, 
Samuel Awl, Jacob Rhoads; 1836, Samuel Awl, Jacob Rhoads, Peter Bixler; 
1837, Jacob Rhoads, Peter Bixler, James Eckman; 1838, James Eckman, 
Henry Reader; 1839, James Eckman, Henry Reader, William L. Cooke; 
1840, William L. Cooke, D. Hoffman; 1841, William L. Cooke, D. Hoffman, 
H. H. Teats; 1842, H. H. Teats, Hugh M. Davison; 1843,- H. H. Teats, 
Hugh M. Davison, William H. Kase; 1844, Hugh M. Davison, WiUiam H. 
Kase, Abraham Shipman; 1845, William H. Kase, Abraham Shipman; 1846, 


Abraham Shipman, Thomas Strine, Peter Bixler; 1847, Peter Bixler, Eman- 
uel Zimmerman; 1848, Emanuel Zimmerman, WiUiam Johnson; 1849, 
Emanuel Zimmerman, William Johnson, Daniel P. Caul; 1850, William 
Johnson, Daniel P. Caul, William L. Cooke; 1851, Daniel P. Caul, Wilham 
L. Cooke, Eeuben W. Zartman; 1852, WiUiam L. Cooke, Eeuben W. Zart- 
man, J. H. Zimmerman; 1853, Eeuben W. Zartman, J. H. Zimmerman, M. 
D. Withington; 1854, J. H. Zimmerman, M. D. Withington, Joseph Hoover; 
1855, M. D. Withington, Joseph Hoover, John Youngman; 1856, Joseph 
Hoover, John Youngman, William T. Forsyth; 1857, John Youngman, Will- 
iam T. Forsyth, Abraham Shipman; 1858, WiUiam T. Forsyth, Abraham 
Shipman, O. P. Patton; 1859, Abraham Shipman, O. P. Patton, C. F. Little; 
1860, O. P. Patton, 0. F. Little, Peter W. Gray; 1861, C. F. Little, Peter 
W. Gray, John HofPa; 1862, Peter W. Gray, John Hoffa, WeUington Hum- 
mel; 1863, John Hoffa, WeUington Hummel, Nathaniel C. Lytle; 1864, 
Wellington Hummel, Nathaniel C. Lytle, C. F. Little; 1865, C. F. Little, 
Peter W. Gray; 1866, C. F. Little, Peter W. Gray, H. K. Culp; 1867, Peter 
W. Gray, H. K. Culp, C. F. Little; 1868, H. K. Culp, C. F. Little, Joseph 
Eisely; 1869, C. F. Little, Joseph Eisely, A. J. GaUagher; 1870, Joseph 
Eisely, A. J. Gallagher, Jasper Haughav^out; 1871, A. J. Gallagher, Jasper 
Haughawout, Joseph Eisely; 1872, Jasper Haughawout, Joseph Eisely, J. 
M. FoUmer; 1873, Joseph Eisely, J. M. FoUmer, Jacob E. Muench; 1874, 
J. M. FoUmer, Jacob E. Muench, Joseph Eisely; 1875, Jacob E. Muench, 
Joseph Eisely; 1876, Charles Hottenstein, Samuel McNinch, John W. Bren- 
nan; 1877-78, Charles Hottenstein, Eichard Eyan, Samuel McNinch; 1879— 
81, John E. Colt, Edward L. Matchin, Wellington Hummel; 1882-84, 
Thomas Barr, S. P. Gaston, H. F. Mann; 1885-86, Moses S. Bond, E. Penn 
Smith, Jacob Shipman; 1887, Moses S. Bond, E. Penn Smith, Philip H. 
Moore; 1888, Philip M. Shindel, Thomas Swenk, Sr., Moses S. Bond; 1889- 
90, Thomas Swenk, Sr., Peter W. Gray, Moses S. Bond; 1891, Joseph Gass, 
Jr., John C. Forsyth, Thomas Swenk, Sr., present incumbents. 

County Surveyors. — The title of this officer was deputy surveyor until 
1850, when the office became elective; prior to that date its incumbents were 
appointed by the surveyor general of the State. Under the latter arrange- 
ment David Eockefeller held the office for a number of years. The foUow- 
ing is a list of county surveyors since the office became elective; the year is 
that in which elected: Samuel Young, 1850, re-elected in 1853; David Eocke- 
feUer, 1859; J. E. Hilbush, 1862; PhiHp Frederick, 1865; J. K Francis, 
1868; J. E. Hilbush (appointed, vice Francis, resigned); David J. Lewis, 
1871; Samuel G. Frey, 1874, re-elected in 1877; E. Miles Purdy, 1880; Ira 
Shipman (appointed, vice Purdy, who resigned in 1882); J. E. Hilbush, 1883, 
re-elected in 1880; P. S. Bergstresser, 1889, present incumbent. 

Jury Commissioners. — Two jury commissioners are elected triennially. 
The succession has been as foUows, the year given being that of election: 


1867, Hugh H. Teats, Isaac Martz; 1870, Philip McWilliams, Benjamin 
Bohner; 1873, William H. Leighou, Daniel M. Schwartz; 1876, Christian 
Enterline, Joseph Vankirk; 1879, William Grady, George W. Coble, Samuel 
H. Eothermel (Eothermel was appointed, January 17, 1880, vice Coble, de- 
ceased); 1882, M. D. Bastian, Isaac D. Eaker; 1885, B. F. Kelley, H. P. FoU- 
mer; 1888, J. W. Seal, E. E. Eeitz, present incumbents. 

The Clerk to the County Commissioners is elected by the board; in the 
management of the fiscal affairs of the county considerable responsibility at- 
taches to this position, and a list of its incumbents, so far as ascertainable 
from existing records, is herewith given: 1782, Daniel Montgomery; 1785, 
John Macpherson; 1786, Martin Withington; 1787, Henry Douty; 1790-91, 
John Weitzel; 1792, Henry Douty; 1793 (December) to 1802, Daniel Mont- 
gomery; 1802 (November 23) to 1809, John Frick; 1809 (January 21) to 
1813, Nathan Patton; 1811, Jeremiah Simpson; 1815-17, Andrew Callum; 
1818, William Withington; 1819, Jeremiah Simpson; 1819 (May 24) to 1821, 
John Baldy; 1822-2-4, Solomon Shaffer; 1825-28, John G. Youngman; 1829- 
35, George Haas; 1835 (November 3) to 1860, George Martin; 1860 (August 
1) to 1864, S. D. Jordan; 1864-67, Charles Weaver; 1867-72, John Farns- 
worth; 1872 (July 4) to 1873, Daniel M. Schwartz; 1873-74, Peter W. Gray; 
1875-81, Daniel M. Schwartz; 1882-84, Harley Datesman; 1885-91, Jona- 
than B. Wagner; 1891, T. A. Campbell, present incumbent. 

Mercantile Appraisers. — This office is likewise filled by appointment of 
the commissioners. In Northumberland county it was created in 1846 by 
act of the legislature ; prior to that date its duties were performed by a board 
composed of the commissioners and associate judges. William J. Martin, the 
first incumbent of this position, was appointed, November 25, 1846, but re- 
signed, and John P. Pursel was appointed in April, 1847 ; their successors 
have served in the following order: 1848, John P. Pursel; 1849-50, Daniel 
Caul; 1851-52, Eeuben Zartman; 1853-54, James D. Barr; 1855, James 
Covert; 1856, George Weise; 1857-58, James Lynn; 1859, Daniel Drucke- 
miller; 1860-61, William Savidge; 1862, Simon Bassler; 1863, William 
Hoover; 1864, George A. Wighoff; 1865, J. M. Simpson; 1866, Jacob Leisen- 
ring; 1867, Jacob Yordy; 1868, C. Lesher; 1869, Christian Gingerich; 1870, 
F. Bower; 1871, John Forsythe; 1872, Peter Keefe; 1873, J. B. Eeed; 1874, 
Daniel Druckemiller ; 1875, Cyrus O. Bachman; 1876, William K. Erdman; 
1877, J. E. Hilbush; 1878, C. K. Sober; 1879, George Hartline; 1880, E. H. 
McCormick; 1881, Elias Shaffer; 1882, John T. Albright; 1883, Eichard 
Doyle; 1884, David Cowell; 1885, Thomas Barr; 1886, Simon Vought; 1887, 
D. E. Shaffer; 1888, Calvin W. Gutelius; 1889, William F. King; 1890, 
Emanuel Wilvert; 1891, Charles Newhard, present incumbent. 


Meeting of Provincial Deputies, July 15, 1774. — William Scull, Samuel 


Provincial Convention, January 23, 1775. — William Plunket, Casper 

Provincial Conference, June 18, 1775. — William Cooke, Alexander 
Hunter, John Weitzel. 

Provincial Conference, Jime 18, 1776. — William Cooke, Alexander 
Hunter, John Weitzel, Eobert Martin, Matthew Brown. 

Constitutional Convention, July 15, 1776. — William Cooke, James Pot- 
ter, Eobert Martin, Matthew Brown, Walter Clark, John Kelly, James Craw- 
ford, John Weitzel. 

Council of Censors. — Section XLVIIth of the constitution of 1776 pro- 
vided for an election in 1783 and every seventh year thereafter of two per- 
sons from each county and the city of Philadelphia, said persons to comprise 
the Council of Censors, the duties of which included an inquiry into the 
manner in which the constitution was observed and enforced. Two different 
returns were made from Northumberland county to the first session of this 
CoulLoil, which convened on the 10th of November, 1783; on the 26th of the 
same month, William Montgomery and Samuel Hunter were declared elected. 
James Potter, elected vice Hunter, deceased, took his seat, July 7, 1784. 

Constitutional Convention, November 24, 1789. — Charles Smith, Simon 

Constitutional Convention, May 2, 1837. — Senatorial delegate, Eobert 
rieming — district: Northumberland, Centre, and Lycoming; Eepresentative 
delegate, William Gearhart. 

Constitutional Convention, November 12, 1872. — Senatorial Eepresenta- 
tives: Joseph Bailey, Levi Eooke, John P. Cronmiller — district; Northum- 
berland, Union, Snyder, and Perry. 


Members of Assembly. — Northumberland county was first represented in 
the Assembly that met at Philadelphia on the 14th of October, 1772. The 
following is a list of members from that time until the adoption of the con- 
stitution of 1790, with the year in which the members were respectively 
elected: 1772-75, Samuel Hunter; 1776, Thomas Hewitt, Samuel Dale, 
Jacob FoUmer, Eobert Fruit, David Eobb, Samuel Wallis; 1777, Samuel 
Dale, Eobert Fruit, James Murray, William Irwin, Simon Hemrod, Eobert 
Fleming; 1778, Samuel Dale, Simon Hemrod, James McKnight, Eobert Mar- 
tin, Eobert Fruit, James Crawford; 1779, Eobert Martin, Samuel Dale, Will- 
iam Montgomery; 1780, William Montgomery, David McKinney, John Kelly; 
1781-82, William Montgomery, William Maclay, William Cooke; 1783, 
James McClenachan, WiUiam Cooke, William Maclay; 1784, Frederick Antes, 
Daniel Montgomery, Samuel Dale; 1785, Frederick Antes, Samuel Dale, 
William Maclay; 1786, Frederick Antes, Samuel Dale; 1787-89, Samuel 
Maclay, John White. 


Member of the Committee of Safety. — Samuel Hunter, June 30, 1775, to 
July 22, 1776. 

Members of the Council of Safety. — John Weitzel, July 24, 1776, to 
March 13, 1777; John Hambright, October 17, 1777, to December 4, 1777. 

Members of Supreme Executive Council. — Under the constitution of 
1776, the general executive functions of the government devolved upon the 
president and Supreme Executive Council. This body was composed of one 
member from the city of Philadelphia and each of the counties of the State, i 
elected for the term of three years. The first members from Northumberland, 
Bedford, Northampton, and Westmoreland, hov?ever, served but one year, in 
order that a certain proportion of new members might be received each year 
thereafter. The representation of this county, with the year in which each 
member was elected, was as follows: 1776, John Lowdon; 1777, John Ham- 
. bright; 1780, James Potter; 1783, John Boyd; 1786, William Maclay; 1789, 
William Wilson. 

State Representatives. — The following is a list of members of the lower 
house of the legislature since the adoption of the constitution of 1790, with 
the year in which each member was elected: 1790-91, Samuel Maclay, John 
White; 1792, Samuel Dale, John White; 1793, Josiah Haines, James David- 
son; 1794, Flavel Eoan, George Hughes, Jacob FoUmer; 1795, Flavel Eoan, 
Hugh White, Eobert Martin; 1796, John White, Hugh White, Thomas 
Grant; 1797, Simon Snyder, Samuel Maclay; 1798-1800, Simon Snyder, 
Jacob Follmer; 1801, Simon Snyder, Jacob FoUmer, Jesse Moore, Samuel 
Dale; 1802, Jesse Moore, Jacob Folhner, Daniel Montgomery, Simon Sny- 
der; 1803, Simon Snyder, Eobert GifEen, Leonard Eupert, John Bull; 1804, 
Simon Snyder, Leonard Eupert, John Bull, Abraham McKinney; 1805, 
Eobert Smith, Leonard Eupert, John Bull, Abraham McKinney; 1806, 
Simon Snyder, Leonard Eupert, Abraham McKinney, Eobert Smith; 1807, 
Simon Snyder, Leonard Eupert, Abraham McKinney, John Murray; 1808, 
John Murray, Leonard Rupert, Frederick Evans, Andrew Albright; 1809, 
John Murray, Leonard Rupert, Abraham McKinney, Frederick Evans ; 1810, 
John Murray, Jared Irwin, Leonard Rupert, Frederick Evans; 1811, Samuel 
Bond, Jared Irwin, Andrew McClenachan, Frederick Evans; 1812, Samuel 
Bond, Andrew McClenachan, Leonard Eupert, George Kremer; 1813, Samuel 
Bond, Leonard Eupert, Thomas Murray, Jr., George Kremer — district: 
Northumberland, Union, and Columbia; 1814, David E. Owen, Eobert Wil- 
lett, Joseph Hutehinson, Henry Shaffer — district: Northumberland, Union, 
and Columbia; 1815, Henry Shaffer, Joseph Hutchinson — district: North- 
umberland; 1816, Lewis Dewart, Abraham McKinney; 1817, Lewis Dewart, 
Joseph Hutchinson; 1818, Lewis Dewart, John Miller; 1819-20, Lewis 
Dewart, John Haas; 1821, Daniel Scudder, Andrew Albright; 1822-23, 
Thomas Painter; 1824-27, Daniel Scudder; 1828-30, Henry Frick; 1831, 
E. Greenough; 1832, Peter Martz; 1833, Albe C. Barrett; 1834-37, Lewis 


Dewart; 1838-39, Charles W. Hegins; 1840, Jesse C. Horton; 1841, David 
B. Montgomery; 1842, Jacob Gearhart; 1843-45, Edward Y. Bright; 1846, 
Samuel Hunter; 1847-48, George A. Frick; 1849-50, John B. Packer; 1851, 
William FoUmer; 1852, Samuel A. Bergstresser; 1853, David B. Mont- 
gomery; 1854, G. M. Yorks; 1855-56, Jeremiah H. Zimmerman; 1857, 
Joseph C. Ehoads; 1858, Charles Hottenstein; 1859-60, Amos T. Beisel; 
1861-62, J. Woods Brown; 1863-64, Truman H. Purdy; 1865-66, C. W. 
Tharp; 1867-68, WilUam H. Kase; 1869-70, Kobert Montgomery; 1871, 
J. B. Newbaker, Dennis Bright — district: Northumberland and Montour; 
1872-73, A. T. De Witt, Jesse Ammerman; 1874, Jesse J. John, WiUiam P. 
Withington — district: Northumberland; 1876, Jeremiah Snyder, Daniel L. 
Sherwood; 1878, Daniel L. Sherwood, J. W. Scanlan; 1880, J. W. Scanlan, 
WiUiam Elliott; 1882, E. C. Mc Williams, James Eiland; 1884, James Eiland, 
WiUiam Gable; 1886, WiUiam A. Dean, H. T. Eckert; 1888, Jacob M. FoU- . 
mer, Daniel F. Gallagher; 1890, Peter J. Criste, Isaiah J. Eenn, present 

State Senators. — The State Senate was created by the constitution of 
1790, succeeding to some of the functions of the Supreme Executive Coun- 
cil. The following table exhibits the representation of Northumberland 
county, with the district from which each member was elected and year in 
which elected. (Where the counties composing the district are not indicated, 
it is understood that its boundaries were the same as in the preceding year) : 
1790, William Montgomery — district: Northumberland, Luzerne, and Hunt- 
ingdon; 1794, William Hepburn, elected January 8th, vice Montgomery, 
who resigned; 1794, George Wilson, William Hepburn — district: Northum- 
berland, Luzerne, and Mifflin; 1795, Samuel Dale, vdce Hepburn, who 
resigned, April 20, 1795; 1796, Samuel Dale — district: Northumber- 
land, Lujzerne, Lycoming, and Mifflin; 1798, Samuel Maelay; 1800, James 
Harris; 1802, Samuel Maelay — district: Northumberland; 1803, Jacob FoU- 
mer, vice Maelay, who resigned, September 2, 1803; 1806, James Laird; 
1808, Nathan Palmer — district: Northumberland and Luzerne; 1810, James 
Laird; 1812, WiUiam Eoss; 1814, Thomas Murray, Jr. — district: Northum- 
berland, Union, Columbia, Susquehanna, and Luzerne; 1816, Charles Fraser; 
1818, Simon Snyder; 1820, Eedmond Conyngham; 1822, Andrew Albright 
— district: Northumberland and Union; 1823, Lewis Dewart, vice Albright, 
deceased; 1826, John Eay; 1830, Samuel J. Packer; 1S34, Isaac Slenker; 
1839, Eobert Fleming — district: Northumberland, Lycoming, and Centre; 
1842, Jesse C. Horton; 1845, Benjamin Jordan — district: Northumberland 
and Dauphin; 1848, Eobert M. Frick; 1851, John C. Kunkel; 1854, David 
Taggart; 1857, Charles E. Buckalew — district: Northumberland, Snyder, 
Montour, and Columbia; 1858, Eeuben Keller, vice Buckalew, resigned; 
1860, Prank Bound; 1863, David B. Montgomery; 1866, George D. Jackson- 
district: Northumberland, Montour, Columbia, and Sullivan; 1869, Charles 


E. Buckalew; 1872, Andrew H. Dill — district: Northumberland, Union, Sny- 
der, and Perry, 1876, Andrew H. Dill — district: Northumberland, Union, and 
Snyder; 1878, Simon P. Wolverton, vice Dill, resigned; 1880-84, Simon P. 
Wolverton; 1888, S. D. Bates, present Senator. 


The administration of township affairs is usually intrusted to men of 
some prominence and influence in their respective neighborhoods, and a list of 
township of&cers includes, therefore, the names of many citizens whose con- 
nection with public life would otherwise be forgotten, and whose services, 
although purely local in their nature, are none the less essential to the com- 
munity at large. The following is a list, as complete as existing records 
permit, of township officers during the first twenty years after the organiza- 
tion of the county, when, owing to the extensiveness of the county and its 
subdivisions, a relatively greater degree of importance attached to the offices 
than at present. 

A list of justices commissioned under the provincial regime (1772-76) is 
given iu the chapter on the Bench and Bar. The following were commis- 
sioned from 1777 to 1785, some of whom resided beyond the present limits of 
the county: Andrew Culbertson, Mordecai McKinney, January 8, 1777; 
Samuel Hunter, Thomas Hewitt, Eobert Crawford, John Weitzel, Eobert 
Martin, Michael Troy, John Livingston, Samuel Allen, John Aurand, June 
10, 1777; Benjamin Weiser, January 21, 1778; Thomond BaU, David Mc- 
Kinney, Wilton Atkinson, July 8, 1778; Frederick Antes, July 13, 1779; 
John Heckert, May 9, 1780; John Buyers, Christian Gettig, September '28, 
1780; Alexander Patterson, John Seely, David Mead, John Martin, Septem- 
ber 10, 1783; Henry Shoemaker, February 7, 1784. 

The following were commissioned from 1785 to 1792 for districts situated 
wholly or in part within the present limits of the county: William Maclay, 
January 24, 1785 — Sunbury and Augusta; William Shaw, January 24, 1785 — 
Turbut; William Cooke, October 3, 1786 — Point; Samuel Weiser, October 
29, 1787 — Mahanoy; Christian Gettig, October 29, 1787 — Sunbury; Joseph 
Jacob WaUis, October 29, 1787 — Sunbury; George Hughes, February 28, 
1788 — Catawissa; John Weitzel, June 20, 1789 — Augusta; Eobert Smith, 
September 1, 1791 — Turbut and Derry; John Buyers, September 1, 1791 — 
Sunbury and Augusta; George Hughes, September 1, 1791 — Shamokin and 
Catawissa; Samuel Weiser, September 1, 1791 — Mahanoy; John Weitzel, 
September 1, 1791 — Sunbury and Augusta; William Cooke, October 26, 
1791 — ^Northumberland; David Hammond, October 26, 1791 — Chillisquaque 
and Turbut; Alexander Dixon, June 20, 1792 — Turbut and Derry; John 
Simpson, July 5, 1792 — Point and Northumberland. 


Augusta. — Constable, Alexander Grant. 


Turbut. — Constable, "William McMeen; supervisors: John Clark, Jr., 
James Murray. 


Augusta. — Constable, Adam Haverling; supervisors: Alexander Grant, 
John Tucker; overseers: Arthur Auchmuty, John Harrison. 

Turbut. — Constable, John Blair; supervisors: WiUiam Piper, Hugh Mc- 
Williams; overseers: James Murray, Adam Marr. 


Augusta. — Constables: William Boyle, John Tucker; supervisors: David 
Fowler, Eobert Durkee; overseers: John Weitzel, Jacob Haverling. 

Turbut. — Constable, John Blair; supervisors: John Simpson, Eichard 
Malone; overseers: James Murray, Adam Marr. 


Augusta. — Constables: Robert McBride, Stephen Sutton, Michael Brad- 
ley; supervisors: David McKinney, William Clark; overseers: Thomond Ball, 
Wilton Atkinson. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Sebastian Brosius; supervisors:- John Shaffer, 
Peter Almang; overseers: Samuel Weiser, John Fisher. 

Turbut. — Constable, John Blair; supervisors: Marcus Hulings, Jr., Ben- 
jamin Jones; overseers: John Cheney, William McKnight. 


Augusta. — Constables: Joseph Lorentz, Zachariah Robins; supervisors: 
Stophel Gettig, Samuel Lewis; overseers: John Maclay, John Buyers. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Abraham Schreyer; supervisors: Peter Smith, 
George Yagey; overseers: Samuel Weiser, John Fisher. 

Turbut. — Constable, William Johnson ; supervisors: John Dixon, Bartho- 
lomew Haines ; overseers : Samuel MoKee, Paul Geddis. 


Augusta. — Constables: William Dewart, Henry Richards; overseers: 
John Maclay, John Buyers. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Nicholas Brosius. 
Turbut. — Constable, Henry Vanderslice. 


Augusta. — Constable, William Dewart; supervisors: James McLees, 
Frederick Dunkelberger ; overseers: George Cliver, Elias Yoimgman. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Martin Kerstetter; supervisors: Christian Whit- 
more, Jacob Zai-tman; overseers: Martin Thomas, Daniel KaubeL 

Turbut. — Constable, George Frederick. 



Augusta. — Constables: William Robins, John Harrison; supervisors: 
John Black, John Buyers; overseers: John Behm, George Dougherty. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Maximilian Haines; supervisors: Abram Schnei- 
der, Gottlieb Lefler; overseers: Henry Krebs, Michael Lenker. 


Augusta. — Constable, Michael Eousher; supervisors: Henry Sterritt, 
Christian Gettig; overseers: Henry Richards, Conrad ShafEer, Zachariah 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Gottlieb Lefler. 


Augusta. — Constables: George Keyser, Joseph Lorentz; supervisors: 
Henry Sterritt, Ludvyig Gass; overseers: William Sims, Abram De Witt; 
fence viewers: Henry Sterritt, Philip 0pp. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, John Herter; supervisors: Peter Ferster, Nicholas 
Groninger; overseers: Peter Albert, George Kline. 

Turbut. — Constable, Simon Hemrod; supervisors: James Stedman, John 
Gamble; overseers: John Yost, George Teeples. 


Augusta. — Constables: Henry Sterritt, George Cliver; supervisors: Will- 
iam Sims, Joseph Lorentz; overseers: John Harrison, Bernard Eyregood; 
fence viewers: Nicholas RoUsher, Daniel Cruger. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, John Fisher; supervisors: William Ferster, 
Francis Shaffer; overseers: Valentine Rebuck, John Tobbs. 

Turbut. — Constable, James Stedman; supervisors: Jacob Links, John 
McHenry; overseers: Richard Malone, James Harrison. 


Augusta. — Constable, Jacob Gass; supervisors: Peter Hall, Frederick 
Weiss; overseers: Martin Epley, John Black; fence viewers: Paul Baldy 
Robert McBride. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Daniel Kobel. 

Turbut. — Constable, Paul Geddis. 


AM.7Msta.— Constables: Henry Lebo, Adam Gilger; supervisors: John 
Harrison, Christian Shissler; overseers: John Black, Peter Smith; fence 
viewers: Joseph Lorentz, William Dewart; auditors: John Snider, Martin 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Andrew Reitz; supervisors: John White, Yost 
Schockingast; overseers: John Herter, Peter Smith. 


Turbut. — Constable, John Nelson; supervisors: John Montgomery, David 
Ireland; overseers: Matthew Smith, James Harrison ; fence viewers : William 
McKnight, William Murray. 


Augusta. — Constables: John Tombe, Martin Epley; supervisors: John 
Weitzel, John Harrison; overseers: Ludwig Gass, Nicholas Eousher; fence 
viewers: Joseph Wallace, Paul Baldy; auditors: David Mead, Christian 
Gettig, Charles Gobin, Martin Withington. 

Point. — Constable, Joseph Torbett; supervisors: James Hepburn, James 
Jenkins; overseers: Laughlin McCartney, Bernard Hubley; fence viewers: 
Daniel Eeese, Daniel Kelly 

Turbut. — Supervisors: William Cook, Eobert Taggart; overseers: James 
Biggars, Robert Smith; fence viewers: Martin Keiser, John Dickson. 


Augusta. — Supervisors: John Clingman, Jacob Martz, Jr.; overseers: 
Jacob Conrad, Adam Eenn; fence viewers: Charles Gobin, William McAdams ; 
auditors: William Gray, David Mead, Martin Withington, Joseph Wallace. 

Chillisquaque. — Constable, John Cheney; supervisors: Thomas Straw- 
bridge, James Stedman; overseers: John Murray, John Gillespie; fence 
viewers, James Murray, Joseph Wilson; auditors: Thomas Hewitt, James 
McMahan, John Alexander, William Fisher. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, William Forster; supervisors: Peter Both, Ludwig 

Point. — Constable, Matthew Crozier; supervisors: Christian Dering, 
James Lemon; fence viewers: James Hepburn, Thomas Pollock. 

Turbut. — Constable, Philip Davis; supervisors: David Hammond, James 
Harrison; overseers: John Hood, Andrew Eussell; fence viewers : John Mont- 
gomery, Jacob FoUmer; auditors: William Shaw, Frederick Taylor, John 
Lytle, Matthew Smith. 


Augusta. — Constables: Paul Baldy, Zachariah Eobins; supervisors: 
Casper Snyder, Joseph Lorentz; overseers: Daniel Witmer, Charles Gobin; 
fence viewers: Jacob Yoner, Martin Epley. 

Chillisquaque. — Constable, James Carscaddon, Jr.; supervisors: William 
Fisher, Paul Geddis; overseers: Thomas Strawbridge, WiUiam Murray. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Nicholas Schneider; supervisors; Valentine Ee- 
buck, Michael Emerick; overseers: George PfeifEer, Christopher Whitmore. 

Powi.— Constable, John Allen; supervisors: Eobert Martin, John Boyd; 
overseers: William Wilson, Josiah Haines; fence viewers: William Sims 
Samuel Drake. 


RaVpho. — Constable, John Miller; supervisors: Abraham Brewer, John 
Kelley; overseers: John Clark, Obadiah Campbell; fence viewers: Samuel 
Eeeder, John McKenzie. 

Turbut. — Constable, Henry Lebo; supervisors: Daniel Vincent, Eobert 
Hood; overseers: Joseph Hutchison, David Ireland; fence viewers: Michael 
Follmer, Andrew Kussell. 


Augusta. — Constables: Daniel Hurley, Benjamin Patterson; supervisors: 
Martin Kendig, Zachariah Bobins; overseers: Alexander Hunter, William 
McAdams; fence viewers: Peter Smith, John Lyon. 

Chillisquaque. — Constable, John Donaldson; supervisors: Thomas Palmer, 
Joseph Wilson; overseers: John Wilson, Francis Eustis; fence viewers: 
James Stadden, Thomas Hewitt. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Michael Shaffer; supervisors: William Dobson, 
George BoreU; overseers: John Latsha, Sebastian Stonebraker; fence view- 
ers: Henry Zartman, Christian Heckendon. 

Point. — Supervisors: Daniel Montgomery, John McFarren; overseers: 
James Davidson, WiUiam Adams; fence viewers: John Maclay, Aaron Levy. 

Shamokin. — Constable, Casper Reed; supervisors: Samuel Reeder, 
Richard Robinson; overseers: John Kerr, Jacob Reed; fence viewers: John 
Williamson, William Becker. 

Turbut. — Constable, William McCormick; supervisors: David McGuire, 
Robert Montgomery; overseers: James McClung, David Ireland; fence 
viewers: James Harrison, William McKnight. 


Augusta. — Constables: Zachariah Robins, Peter Smith; supervisors: 
Daniel Witmer, Henry Bucher; overseers: William Gray, Nicholas Miller; 
fence viewers: Martin Epley; Jacob Haver ling. 

Chillisquaque. — Constable, James McMahan; supervisors: James Latti- 
more, Thomas Hewitt; overseers: Paul Geddis, Alexander Miller; fence 
viewers: William Reed, WiUiam Fisher. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Michael Lenhart; supervisors: Casper Gabel, An- 
drew Reitz; fence viewers: Daniel Brosius, Nicholas Hettrick; overseers: 
Henry Zartman, Jacob Oxreiter. 

Point. — Constable, William Mackey; supervisors: Robert Martin, Daniel 
Montgomery; overseers: James Davidson, William Bonham; fence viewers: 
John Bachenstozs, Robert Lyon. 

Shamokin. — Constable, WiUiam Clark; supervisors: WiUiam Schrach, John 
Carr; overseers: John Moore, George Daugherty; fence viewers: George 
Dibber, John Irwin. 

Turbut. — Constable, Garret Sickles; supervisors: William McCormick, 


Eobert Miles; overseers: Fleming Wilson, James McClimg; fence viewers: 
William Miles, John Vandyke. 


Augusta. — Constables: Zachariah Robins, Henry Boughner, Wendel Lo- 
rentz; supervisors: Martin Epley, John Arthur; overseers: Joseph Wallis, 
William Dewart, Martin Withington; fence viewers: Christian Gettig, Will- 
iam McAdams; auditors: John Weitzel, John Buyers, John Kidd, Plavel 

Chillisquaque. — Constable, John Gillespie; supervisors: William Reed, 
John Alexander; overseers: Robert McNeal, Hugh McBride; fence viewers: 
Robert Finney, John Donaldson. 

Mahanoy. — Constable, Michael Lenhart; supervisors; John Heckert, 
John Fisher; overseers: Philip Lefler, George Haines; fence viewers : Michael 
Neigh, Nicholas Popp. 

Point. — Constable, James Hepburn; supervisors: Josiah Haines, John 
Pollock; overseers: John Mackey, John Painter; fence viewers: John Cow- 
den, JohnMcJanan; auditors: Frederick Antes, Stephen Dering, John Mont- 
gomery, John Frick. 

Shamokin. — Constable, John Kan; supervisors: Michael Moore, Jacob 
Kanhart; overseers: Richard Robinson, Samuel Reeder; fence viewers: Rob- 
ert Kennedy, Samuel Moore; auditors: George Daugherty, John Kelly, 
Abram Brewer, Casper Reed. 

Turbut. — Constable, Garret Sickles ; supervisors: John McCormick, Will- 
iam Miles; overseers: Fleming Wilson, William Shaw; fence viewers: John 
Vandyke, William Miles; auditors: James McClung, Robert Hood, Joshua 
McGuire, John Itsworth. 




First Coukts ahd Cases — The Quartek Sessions — Early Administration of 
Penai, Justice — The Orphans' Court — The Common Pleas — Rules of Court — 
The Bench — Roster op Justices — Biographical Sketches of President 
Judges — Associate Jltjges — The Bar op the Past and Present — The Sutreme 

THE provincial judiciary act of March 22, 1722, the general provisions of 
which v?ere in force at the time Northumberland county was organized, 
established in each county a court styled the general quarter sessions of the 
peace and gaol delivery and a county court of common pleas, for each of which 
the Governor was authorized to commission a competent number of justices, 
three of whom should constitute a quorum. The orphans' court, as consti- 
tuted in 1772, was established in 1713. The constitution of 1776 provided 
for courts of sessions, common pleas, and orphans' courts, the organization 
and functions of which remained substantially as under the provincial regime. 
By the constitution of 1790 the judicial power of the Commonwealth was 
vested in a Supreme court, in a court of oyer and terminer and general jail 
delivery, common pleas, quarter sessions, orphans' court, and register's court 
for each county, and in justices of the peace. The judges of the Supreme 
court were, ex officio, justices of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery 
in fhe several coxmties. Provision was made for the division of the State 
into judicial circuits; the Governor was authorized to appoint a president of 
the courts for each circuit and not less than three nor more than four judges 
for each county, for whom a life tenure was established subject to the good 
behavior of the incumbent, who was removable by the Governor upon the 
address of two thirds of each branch of the legislature. The president and 
judges, any two of whom should constitute a quorum, were to compose the 
court of common pleas. They were also justices of ojrer and terminer and 
general jail delivery, any two of their number, the president being one, to 
constitute a quorum; but no session of this court was to be held in any county 
when the Supreme court should be sitting therein. The court of quarter 
sessions and the orphans' court were also to be composed of the judges of the 
common pleas, who, with the register of wills, were to constitute the regis- 
ter's court. The latter was abolished by the constitution of 1873. 




The act erecting Northumberland county passed the Assembly on the 21st 
of March, 1772; this action of the legislative body was certified to Council 
three days later, when it received favorable consideration, and justices for the 
new county were forthwith appointed. The seat of government for the Prov- 
ince was at Philadelphia, and communication with the frontier was attended 
with difficulty and delay; it is not probable, therefore, that much time 
elapsed after the commissions of the justices reached Fort Augusta before 
the judicial machinery was placed in motion. The first court, a private ses- 
sions of the peace, was held on the 9th of April, 1772. The following is a 
transcript of the minutes: — 

At a court of private sessions of the peace held at Port Augusta for the county of ■ 
ISTorthumberland on the 9th day of April in the twelfth year of the reign of our Sover- 
eign Lord George the Third, hy the grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland 
King, Defender of the Faith, etc., and in the year of our Lord God 1772, before "Will- 
iam Plunket, Esquire, and his associates, justices assigned, etc., etc., within the said 
county of Northumberland, viz.: — 

An act of [the] General Assembly of Pennsylvania entitled " An act for erecting a 
part of the coiinties of Lancaster, Cumberland, Berks, Northampton, and Bedford into 
a separate county," was published in court. 

A commission from his Honor the Governor, bearing date the 34th day of March, 
anno Domini 1773, appointing William Plunket, Turbutt Francis, Samuel Hunter, 
James Potter, William Maclay, Caleb Graydon, Benjamin Allison, Robert Moodie, 
John Lowdon, Thomas Lemon, Ellis Hughes, and Benjamin Weiser, Esquires, justices 
of the court of general quarter sessions of the peace and gaol delivery for the said 
county of Northumberland, was published in court. 

On motion made, the said county of Northumberland, or as much of the extent of 
the same as is now purchased from the Indians, is divided into the following to-mi- 
ships, to be hereafter called and known by the names of Penn's township, Augusta 
township, Turbut township, Buflalo township. Bald Eagle township, Muncy township, 
and Wyoming township. 

Then follows a description of the boundaries of each township, as given 
in the preceding chapter. Officers were also appointed for the respeclive 
townships at this session. 

The first court of general quarter sessions of the peace for Northumber- 
land county was held at Fort Augusta on Tuesday, the 26th of May, 1772, 
before William Plunket and his associates. As at the previous session, an 
exemplified copy of the act erecting the county " certified under the hand of 
William Parr, Esquire, master of the rolls for the Province," was "published 
in open court." The commissions of the justices were again read, and also 
"a deputation from Andrew Allen, Esquire, attorney general for the Province 
of Pennsylvania, to Edward Burd, for the prosecution of the pleas of the 
crown within the said county of Northumberland." As the first recorded 
proceedings it is stated that, — 

Upon petitions to the court, George Wolf, Martin Traester, William Wilson, Rich- 
ard Malone, Peter Hosterman, Henry Dougherty, Robert Martin, Casper Reed, and 


Prancis Yamall are recommended to his Honor the Governor for his license to sell 
spirituous liquors by small measure, and keep houses of public entertainment in the 
townships and places where they now respectively dwell in this county, for the ensu- 
ing year. 

Wolf, Traester, Hosterman, and Eeed resided in Penn's township; Malone, 
Dougherty, and Martin, in Tnrbut; Wilson and Yamall, in Augusta. Marcus 
Hulings and John Alexander, of Turbut; Adam Haverling, of Sunbury; 
Martin Kost, of Buffalo, and James Weiser, of Augusta, were added to this 
number before the close of the year. 

The first road petition considered was that of " sundry the inhabitants 
of the West Branch of Susquehanna and places adjacent," setting forth the 
great inconvenience they labor under for want of public highways, etc., and 
praying that proper persons should be appointed " to view and lay out a road 
from the end of the road lately opened from the head of Schuylkill to Fort 
Augusta, across the North Branch of the river Susquehanna to the main 
point opposite Fort Augusta, thence up the easterly side of the West Branch 
of said river to the line of the late Indian purchase at Lycoming." Richard 
Malone, Marcus Hulings, Jr., John Kobb, Alexander Stephens, Daniel Lay- 
ton, and Amariah Sutton were appointed to lay out the proposed road agree- 
ably to the terms of the petition if their judgment should so determine. 

" Sundry inhabitants of the North Branch of Susquehanna and of the 
"waters of Mahoning creek " also presented a petition " setting forth the great 
•conveniency of a public highway from Fort Augusta to the narrows of Ma- 
honing," and praying for the appointment of "suitable persons to view the 
ground. . . .in order to discover the nighest and best road;" to this service 
Thomas Hewitt, Robert McCulley, John Black, Hugh Mc Williams, Robert 
McBride, and John Clark, Jr., were appointed. 

Hitherto the entire attention of the court had been directed to the exercise 
of its administrative functions. Actions begun in the county prior to its erec- 
tion, criminal as well as civil, had been continued in the courts at Reading, 
Lancaster, or Carlisle, respectively, and, although the deputy attorney gener- 
al's commission was read at May sessions, 1772, no case requiring the atten- 
tion of that officer was tried imtil the following term. Until the first election 
of county officers should occur the sheriff of Berks county was authorized to 
perform the duties pertaining to that office; and on the fourth Tuesday in 
August, 1772, the first grand jury was impaneled, as shown by the following 
minute: — 

George Nagel, Esquire, high sheriff for the county aforesaid, returned the writ of 
mnire to him directed, with the panel annexed, which being called over after procla- 
mation made, the following persons appeared, who were accordingly sworn on the 
^rand inquest for our Sovereign Lord the King for the body of the county: John 
Brady, foreman, George Overmeier, John Rhorrick, Leonard Peter, Garret Free- 
land, John Yost, William Gray, Ludwig Derr, George Rau, Andreas Heffer, Hawkins 
3oone, George Wolf, William Cooke, John Kelly, James Poke, John Walker. 


The iCing 

No. 1. vs. 

John Willaims 
alias Thomas Adams. 

The record of the first case is as follows: — 

Bur indictment, felony; true hill. The defendant 
helng arraigned, plead non cul. et de hoc ponit, se etc., 
etc.; pro Rege, similiter, etc., etc. And now, a jury being 
called, come, to wit : William Piper, Isaac Miller, Robert 
Testes pro Rege .-1 Fruit, James Morrow, Thomas Hewitt, Richard Irvine, Robert Clark, 
William Scull, I Benjamin Fulton, Andrew Gibson, John Morrow, Francis Irvine, 
Samuel Hunter, [and Henry Dougherty, who on their oaths respectively do say, that 
Thomas Lemon. J the defendant is guilty in manner and form as is in the said Indict- 
ment set forth. 

Whereupon it is adjudged by the court that the said John Williams aZias Thomas 
Adams do make restitution of the goods stolen; and pay a fine of five pounds to his 
Honor the Governor for support of government; and receive on his bare back at the 
common whipping post on the 3d of October next twenty-one lashes, and stand com- 
mitted until this sentence is executed. 

At the same term of court Williams alias Adams was also convicted upon 
a second and third indictment for felony. Upon the second indictment he 
was fined five pounds, seven shillings, six pence, and sentenced to receive 
twenty-one lashes on the 30th of September; upon the third the fine was 
three pounds, five shillings, and he was sentenced to receive twenty-one lashes 
on the 1st of October. These three indictments were the only cases tried at 
this term of court, and constitute the first recorded proceedings in the crim- 
inal annals of the county. In each instance conviction followed arraignment, 
and the amount of the cumulative sentence — a fine aggregating more than 
thirteen pounds, a relatively large sum of money at that period, and the 
infliction of twenty-one lashes upon three consecutive days — was certainly 
equal to the requirements of justice. 

In the punishment of penal ofEenses the whipping-post, stocks, and pil- 
lory were frequently brought into requisition. The whipping-post, which 
stood in the public square in front of the old jail building at the corner of 
Market street and Center alley, was a stout piece of timber firmly planted in 
the ground, with a horizontal crosspiece above the head; to this the hands of 
the culprit were tied, while the sheriff administered the flagellation on his 
bare back. The pillory was erected under a walaut tree on the river bank ia 
front of the Maclay house, where a slight depression in the ground still 
marks the site; this consisted of an upright frame with openings through 
which the head and hands of the offender protruded, and a low platform 
upon which he stood. Custom, and also the common law, permitted every 
passer-by to throw one stone at the culprit's head. In the stocks the offender 
sat upon a platform with his hands and feet projecting through a framework 
in front. No regular facilities of this nature having been provided, the 
stocks were improvised by thrusting the legs of the culprit between the rails 
of a fence above the Maclay house. This seems to have served the purpose 
under Plunket's administration. 

The first instance in which these instrumentahties were resorted to in the 


administration of penal justice occurred at August sessions 1772, in the case 
of Williams alias Adams. At May sessions, 1776, Daniel Pettit was convicted 
of altering a five-dollar bill and sentenced to " stand in the public pillory in 
the town of Sunbury on the 31st of May instant from eight until nine o'clock 
in the forenoon, and be imprisoned for one month, and stand committed until 
this judgment be complied with." In November, 1778, Esar Curtis was con- 
victed of larceny; his sentence was, to "pay a fine of forty pounds to his 
Excellency the Governor for the support of government, forty pounds by way 
of restitution for the horse stolen, and receive seventeen lashes well laid on, 
and stand committed until fine, fees, etc., are paid." This seems to have 
been the first conviction for horse-stealing. Alexander Craig was also con- 
victed of larceny at the same term of court; he was amerced in the sum of 
eighty pounds, and sentenced to receive " twenty-seven lashes on his bare 
back well laid on." In February, 1779, Elijah Higgins was arraigned upon 
an indictment for larceny, and found guilty; it was adjudged that he " return 
the hog or the value of the same, pay a fine of three pounds, and be whipped 
next Saturday with twenty lashes." The lash seems to have been used 
without regard to color or sex. In February, 1781, Negro Ann, convicted of 
larceny, was sentenced to " be publicly whipped at the public whipping post 
at Sunbury on Saturday, the 10th day of March, with twenty lashes on her 
bare back well laid on, at ten o'clock of that day; restore the goods or the 
value thereof to the owner, Eleanor Green, and pay a fine equal to the value 
of the things stolen; pay the costs of prosecution, and stand committed till the 
above sentence be complied with." The goods purloined amounted in value 
to three pounds, three shillings. State currency. In February, 1785, Patrick 
Quinn was found guilty of stealing a " tow linen shirt to the value of ten 
shillings;" it was directed that he should restore the same or an equivalent 
in money, pay a fine equal to the value thereof, and " receive on his bare back 
at the common whipping post on Friday, the 25th day of February instant, 
at nine o'clock in the morning, twenty-one lashes." For the theft of eighty- 
three shilhngs, four pence, John Miller, was found guilty of felony in Novem- 
ber, 1785; it was ordered that he should make restitution, pay a fine equal 
to the amount stolen, " and on Friday, the 25th instant, receive on his bare 
back twenty-one lashes well laid on." 

The maximum of physical punishment inflicted by judicial process in the 
early history of the county was probably the sentence imposed upon Joseph 
Disberry at August sessions, 1784, upon conviction of felony. It reads as 
f oUows : — 

Judgment: that the said Joseph Disberry receive thirty-nine lashes between the 
hours of eigh); and nine o'clock to-morrow; stand in the pillory one hour; have his ears 
cut off and nailed to the post; return the property stolen, or the value thereof; remain 
in prison three months; pay a fine of thirty pounds to the Honorable the President of 
-this State for the support of government, and stand committed imtil fines, fees, etc., 
are paid. 


But Disberry's moral delinquencies were not rendered less frequent in 
occurence or reprehensible in character by the radical measures just described, 
and he continued to the end of his career a troublesome member of society. 
Even at this late date the number and variety of his exploits, his versatile 
and ingenious manner of evading arrest, and the air of perfect nonchalance 
with which he asserted his innocence when confronted with the most incon- 
trovertible evidence of guilt, retain a place in the traditions of this part of 
the State. In August, 1 798, he was arraigned on three indictments for bur- 
glary, to each of which, with characteristic sang froid, he plead not guilty. 
A longer period of immunity than usual had made him more than ordinarily 
bold; he had entered the houses of Philip Bower, Peter Jones, and Isaiah 
Willits, taking scarcely any precautions whatever to avoid detection, and the 
result of the trial was conviction on the three indictments. It was the sen- 
tence of the court "that the defendant forfeit all and singular his goods and 
chattels, lands and tenements, to and for the use of the Commonwealth; and 
be conveyed to the gaol and penitentiary house of the city of Phila- 
delphia, there to undergo the servitude aforesaid for the term of twenty-one 
years," of which term two years were to be spent in solitary confinement. 
Tradition asserts that he survived this long incarceration, and died a violent 

The first case of fornication and bastardy as shown by existing records 
was tried at November sessions, 1774. The defendant was Peter Weiser, 
and it was adjudged that he should pay " a fine of ten pounds to the Gov- 
ernor, and pay to Margaret Kessler the sum of seven pounds, ten shillings, 
for her lying-in expenses and maintaining the child to this time, and give 
bond with sufficient security for the maintaining of the child and securing 
or indemnifying Penn's township against any charges by reason or means of 
the said child." Cases of this nature are of frequent occurrence in the early 
records. It is worthy of remark, however, that they were principally brought 
against indentured servants. The man was usually required to contribute 
to the support of the child, while the woman was obliged to serve a year 
or longer beyond the time when her term of service would regularly have 

The first cases of assault and battery were tried at May sessions, 1773, 
resulting in conviction in each instance. The fine imposed was two shillings, 
six pence, and the offender was required to give his recognizance for future 
good behavior. Cases of this nature contributed largely to the, business of 
the quarter sessions. 

There is reason to think that ignorance of the law, if not an excuse for 
its infraction, was at least a palliation in the eyes of the early justices. A 
case in point occurred at November sessions, 1778. Joseph Sprague plead 
guilty to an indictment for keeping a tippling house; he was sentenced to 
pay the costs, but the fine was remitted, "the crime appearing to be the 
effects of ignorance." 


It was the duty of the constables to attend the sessions of the court, 
where their presence assisted in sustaining the majesty of the law and the 
dignity of the bench. The attendance of all the constables of the county 
was required until August sessions, 1789, when the following regulation 
was established: — 

It is agreed by the court that after the constables appear at each term and make 
their returns tiat they will be all dismissed but those who are reserved to attend the 
business of the court agreeable to the following distribution; and those of them who 
make default may rely on it that the court will strictly exact the fine. 

Division of the constables to serve in rotation, viz.: — 

First Class. — The constables of Augusta, Bald Eagle, Beaver Dam, Buffalo, Cata- 
wissa, to serve at November sessions. 

Second Class. — The constables of Nippenose, Penn's, Pine Creek, Point, Potter's, 
Turbut, at February Tcssions. 

Third Class. — The constables of Derry, Loyalsock, Lycoming, Mahoning, Maha- 
noy, Muncy, at May sessions. 

Fourth Class. — The constables of Chillisquaque, Washington, White Deer, Fish- 
ing Creek, Shamokin, at August sessions. 

The Orphans' Court was organized on the 9th of April, 1772. The min- 
utes of the first session are as follows: — 

At an orphans' court held at Fort Augusta the 9th day of April, in the twelfth 
year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, by the grace of God of 
Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc., and in the year 
of our Lord God 1772, before William Plunket, Samuel Hunter, Caleb Gra3'don, 
Robert Moodie, and Thomas Lemon, Esquires, justices of the same court, etc., for the 
coimty of Northumberland; 

Came into court William Maclay, Esquire, and produced a commission from his 
Honor the Governor, bearing date the 24th day of March last past, appointing him, 
the said William Maclay, clerk or register of this court; and likewise a deputation 
from Benjamin Chew, Esquire, register general for the probates of wills and granting 
letters of administration for the Province of Pennsylvania, constituting and appointing 
him, the said William Maclay, deputy register for the probate of wills and granting- 
letters of administration for the county of Northumberland, both which were read and 
published in court, and the said William Maclay took the oath for the faithful dis- 
charge of the said oflBces, respectively. 

The first proceedings are recorded under date of August 13, 1773, Jus- 
tices William Maclay, Samuel Hunter, and Michael Troy, presiding. Alex- 
ander McKee, administrator of the estate of Thomas McKee, deceased, of 
Augusta township, presented a statement of the indebtedness, etc. of said 
decedent, and was authorized to sell a tract of land called " New Provi- 
dence," situated in Augusta township, formerly Upper Paxtang township, 
Lancaster county. The proceedings in this case were begun at Lancaster. 

Among the cases that appeared for consideration at January term, 1779, 
was one that affords a melancholy illustration of the hardships of those 
troublous times. In the preceding summer a number of refugees from 
Muncy, driven from that locality by the Indians, had been cared for by the 
people of Augusta township. Albert and Catharine Polhemus were among 


these unfortunates; both died and were buried at the public expense, leaving 
seven children, whose support was temporarily assumed by the overseers of 
the poor. It became necessary to levy an extra tax for their maintenance, 
and at January sessions, 1779, the overseers were authorized to indenture 
them, the conditions prescribed being similar to the following: — 

To Elias Youngman, Magdalena Polhemus, until she be eighteen years of age, he 
accommodating her according to the custom of the country during her servitude; to 
teach or cause her to be taught to read and write English; bring her up in the Presby- 
terian religion; and at the expiration [of her servitude give her decent freedoms, with 
twenty pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania. 

The sequel would seem to show that those to whom unfortunate and des- 
titute children were indentured were not always faithful to the obligations 
thus assumed. At November sessions, 1786, of the court of quarter sessions, 
Magdalena Polhemus presented a petition to the court setting forth that she 
had " faithfully and honestly " served Elias Youngman the full term of seven 
years for which she had been indentured; but that he had not "performed 
the covenants in the said indenture mentioned by furnishing her with her 
freedom dues at the expiration of her servitude." At the following term of 
court it was adjudged that she should be paid eight pounds, in default of 
which an attachment should issue to compel payment. In this summary 
manner did the court enforce just treatment for its wards. 

At August sessions, 1779, " a certain Sarah Silverthorn, aged seven years," 
was indentured to William Huburn; as part of the obligation assumed he 
agreed " to teach or cause her to be taught to read and write English, bring 
her up in the Presbyterian reUgion, and at the expiration of her servitude 
give her the usual freedoms, with a good spinning wheel." The question may 
arise whether Presbyterianism sustained to the county administration the re- 
lation of an established chirrch. It is probable, however, that the only object 
of the court was to insure for its wards proper religious training, and that in 
designating a particular church the religious preferences of the child's parents 
were considered. 

Orphans' courts were held very irregularly for some years after the organ- 
ization of the cotmty. That this might be remedied the following action was 
taken by the justices at May term, 1783: — 

Whekeas, Hitherto there has been no stated or fixed time for holding orphans' 
courts in said county; 

It is therefore unanimously agreed and determined by the said justices [Frederick 
Antes and his associates] at this present sessions that from and after this present ses- 
sions that orphans' courts in or for this county shall be held at Sunbury the fourth 
Tuesday in June, the fourth Tuesday in September, the fourth Tuesday in December, 
•and the fourth Tuesday in March, statedly and forever thereafter. 

The first will recorded is that of Joseph Rotten, of Buffalo township, 
which was certified to the deputy register„August 24, 1774. It was drawn 
on the 16th of May previously, in the presence of William Moore, James 


McCoy, and Samuel Mather. The testator bequeathed "to Mary, my dearly 
beloved wife, my best bed and furniture, also a black cow, as also one full 
third part of all my personal estate, either in cash, goods, or chattels ;" the 
remainder was devised in equal portions to his three children, Thomas, Eoger, 
and Elizabeth. 

In June, 1779, James Jenkins and Morgan Jenkins, executors of the 
nimcupative will of Thomond Ball, transacted certain business with the 
court under its provisions. Among the personality mentioned is a gold watch, 
which the court directed should be " sold by public vendue in the city of 
Philadelphia or town of Lancaster." Ball had been a justice of the court 
and served for a time as its deputy clerk. This is the first nuncupative wiU 
mentioned in the records of the court, and one of the very few instruments 
of that character that have received the consideration of the judiciary in this 
county. It is presumed that the decedent was too much occupied with busi- 
ness relating to other people's wills to find time to write his own. 

The Court of Common Pleas. — The first session of this court began on 
the fourth Tuesday in May, 1772. The proceedings are thus set forth in 
the minutes: — 

Northumberland County, ss. 

At a county court of common pleas held at Port Augusta for Northumberland county 
the fourth Tuesday in May in the twelfth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George 
the Third, by the grace of God King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender 
of the Faith, etc., annoque Domini MDCCLXXII, and continued by adjournments; 

Present — ^William Plunket, Samuel Hunter, Caleb Graydon, Thomas Lemon, 
Robert Moodie, and Benjamin Weiser, Esquires, justices of the county court of com- 
mon pleas for the said county of Northumberland, viz.: — 

An exemplified copy of the act of General Assembly of the Province of Pennsyl- 
vania, entitled " An act for erecting a part of the counties of Lancaster, Cumberland, 
Berks, Northampton, and Bedford into a separate county," certified under the hand of 
William Parr, Esquire, master of the rolls for the said Province, and seal of his office, 
was read and published in open court. 

A commission from his Honor the Governor, dated the 24th day of March, 1773, 
was read and published in open court, appointing William Plimket, Turbutt Francis, 
Samuel Hunter, James Potter, William Maclay, Caleb Graydon, Benjamin Allison, 
Robert Moodie, John Lowdon, Thomas Lemon, Ellis Hughes, and Benjamin Weiser 
justices of the county court of common pleas for Northumberland county. 

A commission from his Honor the Governor, dated the 24th day of March, 1772, 
appointing William Maclay, Esquire, prothonotary of the county court of common 
pleas for Northumberland county, was read and published in open court, whereupon 
he took an oath for the faithful discharge of his office. 

On motion made, the following gentlemen were admitted and sworn attorneys of 
this court, viz.: James Wilson, Robert Magaw, Edward Burd, George North, and Chris- 
tism Huck. 

On motion, Mr. James Potts, after examination, was admitted and sworn an attor- 
ney of this court. 

On motion, Mr. Andrew Robison was admitted and sworn an attorney of this 
court, after having been duly examined. 


On motion, Mr. Charles Stedman, after being examined, was admitted and sworn 
an attorney of this court. 

The record of the first cases is as follows: — 

John Simpson ■) Debt sans breoe. Defendant in this action confesses judg-. 
1. TO. [ ment to the plaintiif for the sum of sixteen pounds, 

Burd. Hawkins Boone. ) sixteen shillings. 

\ Debt and interest £^ 13b. 6d. 

Acknowledged the 36th day / J^^^, ^^^ ^^^^^ j^gg 3 ij g 

of May, 1772, before me, ) 

Wm. Maclay. £10 4 

August 33d, rece'd by 

Wm. Maclay. 

Eece'd principal and interest of the debt in this action £1 13s. 6d. 

and my fee 1 10 

£9 3 6 
Edward Burd. 
Robert Sample ^ Debt sans hrme. Defendant in this action confesses judg- 
3. m. \ ment to the plaintifE for the sum of twenty-five pounds 

Wils[on] William McCall. ) and three shillings. 
Acknowledged the 27th 
day of May, 1773, before me, 

Wm. Maclay. 
Jasper Scull -s Debt sans breve. The defendant in this action, (by Ed- 
3. vs. i ward Burd, his att'y,) confesses judgment to the plaintiff 

Burd. Daniel Rees. ) for the sum of forty-three pounds, fourteen shillings. 

Acknowledged this 13th day 
of July, anno Dom. 1773, 
before Wm. Maclay. 

The second term opened on the fourth Tuesday in August, Justices 
Plunket, Hunter, Lemon, Moodie, and Potter, presiding. The first entry on 
the docket is the case of James Patton vs. James Gaily, Magaw for plaintifE, 
Wilson and North for defendant. The second case is an action for eject- 
ment brought by the lessee of Samuel McCroskey against Robert King, 
Wilson for plaintifE and Burd for defendant. The first application of the 
arbitration system occurs in the case of Michael Eega vs. William Blyth, 
Huck for plaintiff and Wilson for defendant, in which aU matters at variance 
were referred to John Brady, Samuel Maclay, and George Wolf, who found 
for the plaintifE a balance of five pounds, eleven shillings, eleven pence half- 
penny. The causes entered upon the docket at this term are nitmbered to 
thirty-three, but it does not appear that many of them came to trial. In 
several instances no proceedings whatever are recorded, and a majority of 
the causes were continued to the following term. The names of Magaw, 
Wilson, Burd, Huck, North, Hartley, Weitzel, Robison, and Stedman appear 
as attorneys in connection with the caiises entered at this term. Thomas 
Hartley, Casper Weitzel, Andrew Ross, and James Whitehead were admitted 
to the bar. The minutes are entered in a book; those of the preceding term 
were recorded on detached sheets of papef, and never transcribed to a more 


permanent receptacle. The minutes appear to have been somwhat neglected 
during the following years, but the appearance and continuance dockets are 
practically complete from the organization of the county. 

But meager information is afforded regarding the early procedure of the 
common pleas court. Although the judges were not learned in the law, they 
were doubtless familiar with the practice in England and in the older coun- 
ties, while the presence of a respectable number of attorneys supplied what- 
ever deficiency of legal erudition may have been apparent in the bench. The 
prothonotary was evidently well qualified for the duties of his position, to 
which a relatively greater degree of importance attached at that early date 
than at a later period. It is not probable that the business of the court 
required any special rules for some years after the organization of the county; 
if any such were formulated it is not mentioned in the records. 

At May term, 1789, in order to remedy the " manifest delays " and " great 

injustice done to suitors by reason of the uncertainty of levies made upon 

writs oi fieri facias," it was made a standing rule that in making return of 
an execution the sheriff should annex thereto a schedule of the property levied 
upon. At August term, 1789, " for the better regulating the practice of the 
court of common pleas in the county of Northumberland," the following rules 
were adopted: — 

It is ordered by the court that for the future upon all judgments entered up, when 
the defendant shall not come forward at the return day of the writ of execution to 
complain of any irregularity in the judgment and execution, or to suggest any defense 
he may have, such judgment shall remain, and not be thereafter stirred. 

And in all cases where there has been an appearance, and judgment has been 
entered by consent of defendant's attorney, or in cases of judgment by default, and 
such judgments have remained four terms, no motion shall be received in order to open 
such judgment. 

And in order that the defendants may not be surprised, the sheriff, in all cases of 
a levy by virtue of any writ of fieri facias shall give notice to the defendant, or if ab- 
sent, leave notice at the last usual place of his residence, with a schedule of the iDrop- 
erty levied under penalty of an attachment. 

The court further order and direct that an issue list be formed of the causes in- 
tended to be tried of a precedent term to the trial, and that the causes so put down for 
trial shall have a preference of all other causes, and shall not be put off but for some 
legal reason; and that the issue list so made shall be affixed in some public place in the 
prothonotary's office for the inspection of the parties concerned, in order to prevent a 
surprise; and that the causes so marked for trial in the issue list shall be considered 
in the same point of view as a cause ordered up by &'sirmg'c»8 at rejsj'prms, and be subject 
to the same rules and regulations, except as to serving written notice on the attorney; 
and in order to prevent any unnecessary expense in attending suits, the party, plaintiff 
or defendant, who so puts down his cause for trial, shall, if he does not bring on his 
cause for trial, pay all costs of the term. 

Provision for an argument court was first made at November term, 1799, 
when the prothonotary was directed to prepare an argument list as well as a 
trial list, and Saturday of each court week was set apart " for hearing and 
determining arguments." 


The earliest printed code of rules applying to the courts of this county 
that has come to the knowledge of the writer was published at Philadelphia 
in 1801 by William Young. The rules of the Supreme court, circuit courts, 
and courts of common pleas are published in the same volume; the "rules 
and orders for regulating the practice of the courts of common pleas " were 
established by the presidents of the several districts, but by what means this 
concert of action was secured is not stated. The various subdivisions relate 
to attorneys, s'ecurity for costs, bail, certiorari, jury, judgm.ent, declaration — 
plea, trial, witnesses, and arguments. Judge Rush was then president of the 
Third district, in which this county was embraced, and this code was proba- 
bly in force throughout his administration and that of his successor. Judge 

Judge Chapman instituted several changes immediately after his acces- 
sion. Perhaps the most important was that relating to the preparation of the 
trial list. The following minute occurs under date of August 31, 1811: — 

On consultation with, the bar, the following regulations are established respecting 
the trial of causes, viz.: — 

First. — That the remnants of the trial list, together with the additional causes or- 
dered for trial, be placed upon the list hereafter according to their seniority, subject, 
however, to the second regulation; 

Second. — That fifteen causes be selected by the gentlemen of the bar, which fifteen 
are to be ready for trial on the Thursday of the first week. 

A new code of rules, the first relating specially to the Eighth district, 
was compiled under Judge Chapman's supervision and printed by Andrew 
Kennedy & Son at Northumberland prior to April, '1814. This is a small 
pamphlet of twenty-six pages, and elaborates somewhat upon its predecessor 
of 1801. 

A considerable period elapsed before the rules of court were again com- 
piled and published. On the 16th of April, 1836, upon petition from the bar 
of Northumberland county, Messrs. Bellas, Jordan, and McDonald were 
appointed a committee to revise and collate the rules of court for the Eighth 
district. "Whether they acted in conjunction with similar committees from the 
other counties of the district or performed the work independently can not be 
satisfactorily ascertained, but in the following year a new edition of the rules 
was pubHshed at Williamsport by Eck & Eldred. This was done under 
Judge Lewis's auspices, and, with subsequent emendations and additions, 
this compilation was the authoritative manual of practice during his incum- 
bency and that of his successors, Judges Donnel, Anthony, and Pollock. 
A new code was formulated upon the accession of Judge Jordan; it was pub- 
lished in 1852. A revised edition, embodying the modifications and additions 
of the intervening period, -Was printed in 1867. The present "Eules of prac- 
tice in the several courts of Northumberland county," compiled by Charles 
M. Clement under the direction of the court, were adopted, January 21, 1878, 
six years after Judge Eockefeller's elevation to the bench. 




Justices from 1772 to 1790.— The following justices were commissioned 
for NortJnimberland county under the provincial regime: — 

William Plunket, March 24, 1772. 
Turbutt Francis, March 24, 1772. 
Samuel Hunter, March 24, 1772. 
James Potter, March 24, 1772. 
William Maclay, March 24, 1772. 
Caleb Graydon, March 24, 1772. 
Benjamin Alhson, March 24, 1772. 
Eobert Moodie, March 24, 1772. 
John Lowdon, March 24, 1772. 
Thomas Lemon, March 24, 1772. 

Benjamin Weiser, March 24, 1772. 
William Patterson, 1773. 
Michael Troy, 1773. 
John Fleming, 1773. 
Samuel Maclay, July 29, 1775. 
John Simpson, July 29, 1775. 
Eobert Eobb, July 29, 1775. 
Evan Owen, July 29, 1775. 
John Weitzel, July 29, 1775. 
Henry Antes, July 29, 1775. 

Ellis Hughes, March 24, 1772. 

The following justices were appointed by the Provincial Convention of 
1776, which exercised the function of a provisional State government; (as 
there is a hiatus in the minutes of the court from May, 1776, to November, 
1777,* it can not be positively stated that they transacted any legal busi- 
ness) : — 

Samuel Hunter, September 3, 1776. 
James Potter, September 3, 1776. 
WiUiam Maclay, September 3, 1776. 
Eobert Moodi«, September 3, 1776. 
John Lowdon, September 3, 1776. 

Under the constitution of 1776 the following justices were commissioned 
for the term of seven years: — 

Benjamin Weiser, September 3, 1776. 
John Fleming, September 3, 1776. 
Henry Antes, September 3, 1776. 
John Simpson, September 3, 1776. 

Thomas Hewitt (President), June 9, 

Samuel Hunter, June 9, 1777. 
Eobert Crawford, June 9, 1777. 
John Weitzel, June 9, 1777. 
Eobert Martin, June 9, 1777. 
Michael Troy, June 9, 1777. 
Samuel Allen, June 9, 1777. 
John Aurand, Jime 9, 1777. 
William Shaw, June 9, 1777. 

John Livingston, June 9, 1777. 
William Maclay, June 11, 1777. 
David Harris, September 14, 1777. 
Frederick Antes (President), Novem- 
ber 18, 1780. 
Laurence Keene, January 19, 1784. 
Alexander Patterson, May 24, 1784. 
WiUiam Maclay, January 24, 1785. 
WiUiam Shaw, January 24, 1785. 
William Irwin, January 27, 1785. 

*0n the 2Bth of Aiigust, 1778, the justices addressed a memorial to the Supreme Executive 
Council, representing "That this being the second court at which no State's attorney appeared, 

many persons liave been admitted to bail who ought to have been tried ; that the long 

suspension of justice in this county from February, 1776, to November, 1777, had rendered the people 
licentious enough, and a further delay of executing the laws must lead them to lengths perhaps too 
difficult to be recalled; that even tippling houses, the notorious promoters of vice and immorality 
and audacious opponents to law and order, remain unpunished," etc.— Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. 
VII. pp. 72-73. 


Simon Snyder, January 27, 1785. John Simpson, March 10, 1787. 

Samuel Wallis, March 1, 1785. Samuel Weiser, October 30, 1787. 

Eobert Fleming, March 1, 1785. Christian Gettig, November 2, 1787. 

William Montgomery (President), Joseph Jacob WaUis, November 2, 

April 7, 1785. 1787. 

John Kelly, August 2, 1785. George Hughes, February 26, 1788. 

Abraham Piatt, January 21, 1786. John Weitzel, June 19, 1789. 

Eli Mead, July 14, 1786. William Hepburn, July 2, 1789. 

William Cooke, October 3, 1786. Jasper Ewing, July 29, 1789. 

The foregoing list is based principally upon that given in Volume Illd of 
the Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series. It is not entirely complete, how- 
ever, as the local records show that David McKinney and Matthew Smith 
officiated as justices in 1780 and John Buyers in 1783-86; the latter fre- 
quently presided in the quarter sessions. 

President Judges. — During the colonial period the presiding justice was 
chosen by his colleagues, and does not appear to have enjoyed any particular 
distinguishing title. Section Vlth of a law passed on the 28th of January, 
1777, for the organization of the courts under the constitution of 1776, pro- 
vided " That the president and Council shall appoint one of the justices in each 
respective county to preside in the respective courts, and in his absence the 
justices who shall attend the court shall choose one of themselves president 
for the time being." 

The title of " president of the courts " appears in the constitution of 
1790; it was superseded in popular usage by that of "president judge" 
within a comparatively brief period, and the latter occurs in the constitution 
of 1873. Under these various titles the succession in Northumberland 
county has been as follows: — 

William Plunket, 1772-76. Ellis Lewis, 1833-43. 

Thomas Hewitt, 1777-80. Charles G. Donnel, 1843-44. 

Frederick Antes, 1780-85. Joseph B. Anthony, 1844-51. 

William Montgomery, 1785-91. James Pollock, 1851. 

Jacob Rush, 1791-1806. Alexander Jordan, 1851-71. 

Thomas Cooper, 1806-11. WiUiam M. Eockefeller, 1871, present 

Seth Chapman, 1811-33. incumbent. 

Though not required to be learned in the law, the presiding justice during 
the colonial period and under the constitution of 1776 was usually a man of 
larger intelligence than his colleagues, and was expected to be present at 
every session of the court, while attendance on their part was largely optional. 
In the transactions of the early courts of this county there was little oppor- 
tunity for the exercise of legal acumen or the application of forensic erudi- 
tion, and a bench of this kind, composed entirely of laymen, was well adapted 
to the people and the times. Deliberative judgment, fairness of purpose, and 
integrity of action were sufficient qualifications in the members of the court 


at the period -vvhen local litigation did not yet embrace the perplexing ques- 
tions relating to land tenure, corporations, and kindred matters that engage 
the attention of the courts so largely at the present day. 

William Plunket presided over the county courts under the colonial 
regime. He was a physician by education and profession, and a biograph- 
ical sketch occurs in the chapter on the Medical Profession in this work. Of 
the twelve justices commissioned on the 24th of March, 1772, he was proba- 
bly the only one who had personal knowledge of the methods of procedure 
in the English courts, and on that account was probably chosen to preside. 
In administering the criminal law, his sentences were characterized by great 
severity. He presided over the courts for the last time at May sessions, 1776. 

Thomas Hewitt, the first president of the courts under the constitution of 
1776, resided in ChiUisquaque township, where a tract of three hundred 
eight acres was surveyed to him in pursuance of warrant dated June 12, 
1773. It is probable that he continued to reside there for some years; in 
1789 he was assessed with three hundred acres of land and a grist and saw 
miU, and was, with a single exception, the largest tax-payer in the township. 
In 1772 he was one of the first county commissioners, and held that ofiice 
several years; in 1776 he was elected to the Assembly; on the 8th of July 
in that year he was one of the judges at an election held at George McCand- 
lish's for members of the Constitutional Convention; he was a member of the 
Committee of Safety in 1776-77; and on the 9th of June, 1777, he was 
appointed a justice of the courts, over which he presided from November in 
that year until 1780. 

Frederick Antes was from Philadelphia county, which he represented in 
the Provincial Conferences of June, 1775, and June, 1776. The date and 
circumstances of his settlement in Northumberland county are not known, 
but on the 18th of November, 1780, he was commissioned as president of the 
courts, and it is fair to presume that he had resided in the county for some 
time prior to that date. In the same year he was appointed commissioner 
to receive forage and suppHes at Sunbury and Wyoming. In February, 
1782, he became treasurer of the county, which ofiice he filled almost contin- 
uously until 1801. He was elected to the Assembly in 1784, 1785, and 1786. 
His residence was at Northumberland; Priestley mentions him in his "Mem- 
oirs," referring especially to his mechanical ingenuity in assisting him to 
devise apparatus for his chemical experiments. He died at Lancaster, Penn- 
sylvania, September 20, 1801.* 

* The following obituary appeared in Kennedy's Gazette -. " Died at Lancaster on Sunday, the 
20th of September, in the seventy-third year of his age, Fredericli Antes, treasurer of this county, and 
on Monday his remains were interred in the Presbyterian biu-ial ground of that place. In hira his 
wife has lost a good liusband, his children an indulgent parent, and the public a very useful member 
of society. Previous to his decease he was one of the two persons who had undertaken to clear the 
river Susquehanna." 

On the 12th of June, 1796, as ascertained from the same paper. Miss Catherine, daughter of Colo- 
nel Fredeiick Antes, married Simon Snyder, of Seliusgrove, who was Governor of Pennsylvania from 
1808 to 1817. 


William Montgomery was one of the most prominent citizens of old 
Northumberland county, whether his military, political, or business career be 
considered. Born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, August 3, 1736, he 
entered public life as a delegate to the Provincial Conventions of January 
and June, 177-"3, serving also in the Conference of June, 1776. He was col- 
onel of the Fourth battalion of Chester county militia, which he commanded 
at the battle of Long Island in 1770 and during the march across New Jer- 
sey, after which it became part of the "flying camp." In 1774 he purchased 
a tract of land at the mouth of Mahoning creek, embracing the site of 
Danville, Montour county, Pennsylvania, and removed thereto in 1777. He 
was elected to the Assembly in 1779, 1780, 1781, and 1782, and became a 
member of the Council of Censors in 1783. In 1784 the Assembly elected 
him to Congress, but he resigned in the following year, and on the 7th of 
April, 1785, was commissioned as president of the courts of Northumberland 
county, retiring from this office in 1791. September 27, 1785, he was 
appointed one of two commissioners to lay off part of the purchase of 1784 
into districts; June 24, 1785, member of a commission for the improvement 
of the Susquehanna; April 18, 1785, deputy surveyor; July 23, 1787, mem- 
ber of a commission for adjusting the claims of Connecticut settlers in Penn- 
sylvania, and, July 18, 1801, associate judge of Northumberland county, 
serving until the erection of Columbia in 1813. In 1790 he was elected to 
the first Senate of Pennsylvania. He was a pioneer in the establishment of 
miUs and factories and the opening of roads, and was identified with nearly 
every project of his day for the development of central Pennsylvania. He 
died at DanviUe, May 1, 1816, and is buried in the cemetery at that place. 

Jacob Rush was the first judge for Northumberland county, " learned in 
the law." He was bom in Byberry township, Philadelphia county, Penn- 
sylvania, in 1746, and was a descendant of John Rush, a captain in Crom- 
well's army, who immigrated to America in 1683. The death of his father 
in 1753 left him an orphan at the age of seven years, but a moderate 
inheritance enabled him to obta;in a hberal education; in 1765 he graduated 
at Princeton, where he was a classmate of the Rev. James WaddeU, the 
blind clergyman to whose eloquence Attorney General Wirt renders such a 
flattering tribute in his " British Spy." He was in active service in several 
campaigns of the Revolutionary war. In September, 1777, he was admitted 
to the bar at Philadelphia, where he rose rapidly in his profession and early 
reached the favorable notice of leading men of the day through the influ- 
ence of his brother. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. He was a member of the Provincial Convention held at Phila- 
delphia in January, 1775, and represented Philadelphia county in the Assem- 
bly in 1770-80. On the 26th of February, 17S4, he was commissioned a 
justice of the Supreme court of Pennsylvania; he also served as a member 
of the high court of errors and appeals prior to the adoption of the consti- 


tution of 1790. In 1791 he was appointed president of the courts of the 
Third judicial district (composed of the counties of Northumberland, 
Northampton, Berks, and Luzerne as erected by the act of April 13, 1791), 
and presided over the quarter sessions at Sunbury for the first time, November 
21, 1791. To this position he brought a judicial experience probably 
unequaled by that of any of his successors upon their accession to the bench. 
He continued to perform the duties of his extensive district (which, in 1801, 
embraced Lycoming and Wayne counties in addition to those mentioned) 
until January 1, 1806, when he was commissioned president judge of the 
court of common pleas for Philadelphia county. In this position he remained 
until his death, January 5, 1820. 

David Paul Brown, a practicing attorney of Philadelphia county forty 
years and author of " The Forum," gives his estimate of Judge Eush in the 
following language: — 

He was a man of great ability, and great firmness and decision of character. He 
was also an eloquent man. Perhaps there are few specimens of judicial eloquence 
more impressive than those which he delivered during his occupation of the bench. 
An accurate idea of his style may readily be formed from an extract from his charge 
to the grand jury in 1808, and his sentence pronounced upon Richard Smith for the 
murder of Corson in 1816. We refer as much to the high moral tone of his productions 

as to their literary and intellectual power Some of his early literary essays 

were ascribed to Franklin, and for their terseness and clearness were worthy of him. 

Judge Rush's charges to the jury generally and his legal decisions were 

marked by soundness of principle and closeness of reason. Having been a judge of 
the Supreme court and of the high court of errors and appeals, he never appeared to 
be satisfied with his position in the common pleas; yet, his uprightness of conduct and 
unquestionable abilities always secured to him the respect and confidence, if not the 
attachment, of his associates, the members of the bar, and the entire community. He 
was one of the gentlemen of the old school, plain in his attire, unobtrusive in his de- 
portment, but, while observant of his duties toward others, never forgetful of the re- 
spect to which be himself was justly entitled. 

As an author his works include: "Resolves in Comiriittee Chamber, De- 
cember 6, 1774 " (Philadelphia, 1774); "Charges on Moral and Eeligious 
Subjects" (1803); "Character of Christ" (1806); and " Christian Baptism " 
(1819). In Reed and Dickinson's controversy regarding the character of 
Benedict Arnold, he espoused the cause of the latter. A novel, " Kelroy," 
was written by his daughter, Rebecca (Philadelphia, 1812). His name is 
perpetuated in local geographical nomenclature as the designation of one of 
the most important townships of Northumberland county. 

Thomas Cooper was commissioned president judge of the Eighth district 
(to which Northumberland, Luzerne, and Lycoming counties were assigned 
by the act of February 24, 1806), March 1, 1806. He was a native of Eng- 
land, born at London in 1759 and educated at the University of Oxford. He 
also studied medicine and law, and, as evidenced by his after pursuits, made 
chemistry a subject of special attention. In this his investigations doubtless 


derived inspiration from his acquaintance with Doctor Priestley. Cooper was 
a resident of Manchester, England, in 1789, when, according to Binns's 
" Eecollections," he went to Paris as the colleague of Watts, the inventor of 
the steam engine, to represent the Manchester Philosophical Society in the 
Prench Convention. His reply to Burke's " Reflections on the French Revo- 
lution" brought him into collision with the authorities; considerations of 
personal safety led him to seek a residence in America, and, with others sim- 
ilarly circumstanced, among whom was the son of Doctor Priestley, he planned 
" a large settlement for the friends of liberty in general near the head of the 
Susquehanna in Pennsylvania."* In 1793 he removed to the United States;f 
although the proposed settlement was abandoned, the project brought him to 
Northumberland, and there he resided during his subsequent connection with 
affairs in this county. At November sessions, 1795, on motion of Daniel 
Smith, he was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county. Stewart 
Pearoe says that he was a man of learning, and " in advance of the age in 
his knowledge of minerals and geology. He carried with him a hammer and 
acids, breaking rocks and testing their mineral qualities, and was supposed 
by some ignorant persons to be, on that account, impaired in intellect. He 
was the firm friend of freedom, and his bold pen caused his imprisonment 
under the Alien and Sedition laws. After his liberation Governor McKean 
appointed him one of the commissioners to carry into effect the Compromising 
law of 1799 and its supplements. To his energetic action were due the quiet 
and harmony that speedily ensued in this long troubled and unhappy coun- 
try. "J His personal appearance and professional characteristics were thus 
described by Charles Miner in 1800: " Short, rotund figure, stooping for- 
-ward; has a florid, high, English countenance and complexion. His forte is, 
to seize two or three strong points and present them forcibly to the court and 
jury. He never wearies by long speeches; never uses a word, or an illustra- 
tion, or an argument that is not to the purpose; a man of extraordinary en- 
dowments and of most distinguished genius. "§ 

On the 16th of July, 1803, he was commissioned deputy attorney general 
for Northumberland county, and took the oath of office on the following 22d 
of August. Less than three years later, a change in the boundaries of the 
district having resulted in the transfer of Judge Rush to Philadelphia, he 
was elevated to the bench, and presided at Sunbury for the first time at April 
sessions, 1806. Although ultra-democratic in his views and thoroughly in 
sympathy with the institutions of this country, he had been accustomed to 
the severe formahty of the English courts, and, unfortunately for himself, 

* Vide Priestley's " Memoirs," quoted In the history of Northumberland in this work. 

tTliomas Cooper was naturalized as an American citizen before Judge Rush at Sunbury In No- 
bember, 1795, when he stated under oath that he had resided in the United States two years and in 
the State of Pennsylvania one year. Vide Appearance docket of Northumberland county, No. 84 
November sessions, 1705, and No. 1 July sessions, 1818. 

ifAnnals of Luzerne County, p. 248. 

ILlnn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, p. 324. 


attempted to introduce and enforce regulations of which the public senti- 
ment of that day did not approve. Doubtless there were ample grounds for 
a movement in the direction of better order in the court room. Judge Eush 
is represented as a man of mild disposition, naturally disposed to regard dis- 
orderly conduct as the result of ignorance rather than the expression of willful 
contumacy, moreover he suffered from an affection which, on one occasion, 
prevented him from occupying the bench for some months, and afterward 
affected his hearing, so that he was not cognizant of much of the disorder 
that may have occurred in the court room. Judge Cooper inaugurated his 
administration by requiring a better observance of order during the sessions 
of the court, and a more prompt performance of duty on the part of its serv- 
ants. In this he encountered opposition which it was not the part of a man 
of his temperament to allay; the feeling thus engendered found expression 
in a number of memorials to the legislature, charging him with official mis- 
conduct and praying for an investigation. Ten memorials of this character 
were presented in the House of Eepresentatives on the 21st of February, 
1811, by Samuel Satterlee, the member from Lycoming, and a score or more 
by the members from Northumberland and Luzerne within the following 
m^onth. They were referred to a committee of nine members, among whom 
were Messrs. Satterlee, of Lycoming; Irwin, of Northumberland, and Gibson, 
of Cumberland, afterward chief justice of the State. B. Greenough, of Sun- 
bury, appeared as counsel for the petitioners, and Thomas Duncan, of Carlisle, 
afterward a justice of the Supreme court, represented Judge Cooper. Thir- 
teen days were required in taking testimony; a large number of witnesses 
were examined, among whom were many leading citizens and prominent attor- 
neys for the Commonwealth; Judge Cooper's three associates in Northumber- 
land county — Montgomery, Macpherson, and Wilson — appeared in his behalf, 
and uniformly testified to his efficiency and impartiality. The committee sub- 
mitted the following report on the 23d of March, 1811 : — 

Fully impressed with the importance of the duty assigned them, they have dili- 
gently attended to the evidence adduced in support of the accusations and in vindica- 
tion of the accused, keeping at once in view the propriety of aifording no countenance 
to unfounded suggestions and the solemn obligation of the legislature as the constitu- 
tional guardian of the rights and liberties of the people to repel every invasion of those 
rights; keeping in view the necessity of protecting those who faithfully discharge the 
trust confided to them in the exercise of just and legal authority, and of defending the 
citizens from those approaches toward arbitrary power which the ofRcial situation of 
president judge of a court of justice affords such facility in making, your committee 
have deduced from the evidence the following conclusions, to wit: — 

^irst.—Tha,t he fined and imprisoned John Hannah for wearing his hat in the court 
house of Northumberland county — ^the said Hannah then standing outside of the bar 
and jury box and making no disturbance— and this without any inquiry into Hannah's 
conscientious objections. 

Second.— Th&t he fined and imprisoned three respectable citizens, viz. : William 
Hartman, Matthias Heller, and John Brown, hastily, arbitrarily, without any inquiry, 
and without sufficient cause. 


Third.— That lie fined Jolin Dreisbach unjustly and arbitrarily. 

FourtJi.— That he fined Nehemiali Hutton, hastily, without sufficient cause or 

Fifth. — That he arbitrarily and precipitately fined and imprisoned Stephen HoUis- 
ter for a mere whisper, and in an insulting and overbearing manner refused to hear 
his defense. 

Sixth. — That he improperly exercised the powers of a justice of the peace under 
the law respecting roads and bridges, and fined Anderson Dana, a supervisor of the 
highways, fifteen dollars in an arbitrary and passionate manner, after which he ordered 
the fine to be deposited in the hands of a third person, with orders to restore the same 
on certain conditions. 

Seventh. — That he sentenced a boy between fourteen and seventeen years of age 
to one year's imprisonment for horse stealing, and afterward added two years to the 
term of his imprisonment without any evidence, on the suggestion and pretense of 
teaching the boy a trade. 

Eighth. — Your committee also report, that it appears that prior to the 17th of 
November, 1807, he entered into an agreement with the then prothonotary and other 
officers of the court of common pleas of Northumberland county and with George 
Langs to purchase at sheriff's sale a tract of land called Limestone Lick, the property 
of Josiah Galbraith, levied upon by an execution issued out of the said court; and that 
the said tract was accordingly purchased on the day last mentioned by the said George 
Langs for their joint benefit, part of which tract is now held by the said Thomas 
Cooper under that sale. This conduct your committee do not assert to be a violation of 
any positive statute; but they do consider, that if the president of a court be suffered 
to make himself interested in a matter depending before him, he must either deprive 
the public of those services which he is bound to render, or adjudicate in his own 
cause, and the danger to the pure and impartial administration of justice is immediate 
and alarming. 

Your committee from the premises are of opinion, that the official conduct of the 
said president judge has been arbitrary, unjust, and precipitate, contrary to sound pol- 
ity, and dangerous to the pure administration of justice. They therefore submit the 
following resolution : — 

Resolmd, That a committee be appointed to draft an address to the Governor for 
the removal of Thomas Cooper, Esquire, from the office of president judge of the 
courts in the Eighth judicial district of Pennsylvania. 

The Judge and his counsel appeared before the House during the consid 
eration of the report, March 26, 1811; on the following day the question 
was put to a vote, when the resolution accompanying the report was carried 
by a majority of fifty-three in a total vote of ninety-three. The four mem- 
bers from Northumberland: John Murray, Jared Irwin, Frederick Evans, and 
Leonard Eupert, with John Forster and Samuel Satterlee of Lycoming, voted 
in the affirmative; Thomas Graham and Benjamin Dorrance, from Luzerne, 
the remaining county in the district, voted in the negative. An address to 
the Governer was reported on the same day (March 27, 1811); it states that 
the Judge had " in several instances arbitrarily, precipitately, and unjustly 
fined and imprisoned individuals for causes trivial and insufficient, without 
affording them an opportunity of being heard, and has committed many 
other acts of official misconduct and abuse of authority." The following 
significant utterance reflects the judgment of the legislature upon the whole 


matter: "Although charity forbids us to declare that the acts aforesaid have 
been committed from motives or intention willfully corrupt and criminal, yet, 
such has been his official conduct as to destroy public confidence in his decis- 
ions, and by v?hich his usefulness is (if not totally) very much diminished in 
the district in vyhich he presides, and affords sufficient cause of his removal." 

On the 28th of March, 1811, the address to the Governor was transmitted 
to the Senate for concurrence. Cooper wrote a letter to the Speaker, strongly 
protesting against its consideration. He took the ground that the offenses 
charged were either "capable of being explained or justified, where the facts 
are admitted, or of being contradicted by testimony where the facts are 
denied." Such charges might, he averred, furnish ground for impeachment 
under the constitution, but not for removal by address, being of a class "per- 
fectly distinguishable from those reasonable causes of removal contemplated 
by the constitution which are not impeachable because they imply no mis- 
conduct." It does not appear that any action whatever was taken on this 
letter, and on the 30th of March, 1811, the Speaker signed the address. It 
was at once presented to the Governor, who, on the 2d of April, 1811, 
informed the Senate that he had issued a supersedeas deposing the Judge 
from his office. He subsequently wrote a pamphlet in vindication of his cause, 
but no copy has come to the knowledge of the writer; the defense made 
before the legislative committee is given in Linn's Annals of Buffalo VaUey, 
pp. 393-396. 

It does not appear that Mr. Cooper continued to reside in Northumber- 
land county any length of time after this. Within a brief period he accepted 
the professorship of chemistry in Dickinson CoUege, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; 
in 1816 was elected to a similar position in the University of Pennsylvania 
and took up his residence at Philadelphia, of which Binns speaks at some 
length in his "EecoUections." His next position was that of professor of 
chemistry in the College of South Carolina, at Columbia, of which institution 
he became president. After his retirement he collated and revised the stat- 
ute laws of the State under the auspices of the legislature; he was also the 
author of a translation of Justinian's "Institutes." His talents and the im- 
portant position he occupied commanded considerable influence at the South, 
and he is generally credited with having originated and encouraged some of 
the political dogmas which entered into the doctrine of secession. His death 
occurred in May, 1840. 

Seth Chapman, the next president judge of the courts of Northumberland 
county, filled that position longer than any other of its incumbents. He was 
born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, January 23, 1771, a descendant of John 
Chapman, who emigrated from Yorkshire, England, in 1684, and built the 
first house in Wrightstown township, then the northern limit of the lands 
purchased by Markham from the Indians. Nothing is known of his educa- 
tion or legal preparation. He was admitted to the bar of Bucks county in 


1791, and was therefore a lawyer of twenty years' experience at the time of 
his elevation to the bench. On the 11th of July, 1811, he was commissioned 
president judge of the Eighth judicial district, then composed of the counties 
of Northumberland, Luzerne, and Lycoming, and on the 25th of the same 
month took the affirmation necessary to a due performance of his duties. As 
the law required a judge to reside within the limits of his district, he re- 
moved to Northumberland and made that place his residence the remainder 
of his Hfe. The house he occupied was originally erected by Dr. Joseph 
Priestley and still stands on North Way, one of the most interesting land- 
marks of the county. 

In temperament Judge Chapman was the antipodes of his predecessor; 
and, if the authoritative manner of the latter was the source of his unpopu- 
larity, the individual who succeeded him ought to have been one of the most 
popular jurists in Pennsylvania. For a time there is reason to believe that 
he was popular. Cautious and deliberate in speech and action, deferential 
and courteous in intercourse with his lay associates, and evidently desirous of 
obtaining the good will of his constituents, he gave attorneys and litigants 
the widest latitude in the presentation of causes, a policy which coincided 
well with his disposition and seems to have commanded general approbation 
at first. Although his abilities were not of the highest order,* his legal 
qualifications were sufficient for the requirements of the position at that 
period, and had he adopted a more energetic policy in the discharge of his 
duties his retirement from the bench might have occurred under circrun- 
stances more creditable to his reputation than the event ultimately proved. 
A large number of cases awaiting trial accumulated on the dockets of the 
several counties and increase in population resulted in a corresponding addi- 
tion to the volume of legal business, notwithstanding which, the Judge became 
even more dilatory with advancing years, and at length popular discontent 
culminated in his impeachment by the Hoiase of Eepresentatives at the ses- 
sion of 1826. 

The charges specified in the articles of impeachment were, that he had 
directed Jacob Farrow to be arrested and imprisoned without any complaint 
against him and without lawful cause, at Sunbury, in August, 1824; that, con- 
trary to the express provisions of the law, he had reversed a judgment of Chris- 
tian Miller, a justice of the peace, and set aside an execution issued thereon al- 
though the required period, twenty days, had expired; that, in a case tried 
in Northumberland coimty at June term, 1813, he had filed in writing his 
opinion and charge to the jury, which differed from that orally delivered; 
and that he had manifested an undue partiality and favoritism to suitors. 
In answer to these allegations the respondent replied, that Farrow had made 

♦Stewart Pearce (Annals of Luzerne county, p. 249) says of lilm: " He could not be reckoned 
a talented man, and was a judge ot interior abilities." By a change In the composition of the dis- 
tricts, Chapman was succeeded on the bench of Luzerne county by John Bannister Gibson In 1813. 
Possibly his abilities were under-estimated by comparison with those of his distinguished successor. 


an assault upon the prothonotary, which was both breach of the peace and 
contempt of court, and was accordingly committed; that in the reversal of 
Justice Miller's decision the defendant was a minor, and hence the judgment 
was not valid in the first instance ; that the written charge and opinion in 
the case specified harmonized with the notes of his verbal charge; while the 
charge of impartiality was met with a general denial, and a voluminous ex- 
planation of the instances cited. The trial before the Senate began on the 
7th of February, 1826, the Judge being represented by Samuel Douglas and 
George Fisher as counsel. Many witnesses were examined, and after eleven 
days' proceedings the respondent was acquitted, February 18, 1826, on all 
the articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Eepre- 

He continued upon the bench seven years after this. Unfortunately, his 
administration was still distinguished by vacillation and delay, and in 1833 
petitions from various parts of the district were presented to the Senate, 
praying for his removal or the appointment of an additional law judge. These 
were referred to a committee composed of Messrs. Hopkins, of Columbia; 
Packer, of Northumberland; Petrikin, of Lycoming; Livingston, and 
Miller. An investigation was instituted, the Judge being represented by 
James Merrill and Alexander Jordan and the Commonwealth by E. Greenough 
and James Armstrong. The complaints, in the language of the committee, 
"may be comprehended in a general allegation of want of sufficient energy 
and capacity to discharge his duties with reasonable dispatch, promptitude, 
and accuracy." Regarding the character of the Judge, the report states that 
"no evidence was given in any manner to impeach his character for integrity, 
either as a man or judge; but, on the contrary, many witnesses concurred in 
expressing their opinions that he is an honest man. His character, therefore, 
in this point of view, appears unexceptionable." Their conclusion, however, 
was, that "for some years past age and bodily infimities, and as a natural 
consequence the failure in some degree of his mental powers, have rendered 
him unable to discharge his official duties with reasonable facility, accuracy, 
and promptitude." At this stage in the investigation the committee deemed 
proper to intimate their conclusions to the Judge, which elicited the follow- 
ing communication: — 

Harrisburg, March 11, 1833. 

Gentlemen: I have for some time past had an intention to resign my office as 
soon as I could make such pecuniary arrangements as would be necessary to enable 
me to do justice to my family; these arrangements can not conveniently be made before 
October next. I now inform the committee that I have fulfilled that intention, and 
have deposited my resignation with the Governor, to take effect from the 10th day of 
October next. This course might have been taken sooner; but it could not be thought 
of while it was believed any charge of want of integrity could be brought against me. 


To tlie Honorable 

The Committee of the Senate. 


The investigation was forthwith suspended, and the Judge retired to pri- 
vate life. He continued to reside at Northumberland until his death, Decem- 
ber 4, 1835, and is buried in the cemetery at that place. 

Ellis Lewis was commissioned president judge of the counties of North- 
umberland, Lycoming, Union, and Columbia, which then composed the 
Eighth judicial district, October 14, 1833, and took the oath of office on the 
following 4th of November. He was bom at Lewisberry, a borough of New- 
berry township, York county, Pennsylvania, situated near the center of Eed- 
land vaUey and about ten miles south of Harrisburg. This locality was early 
settled by Welsh Friends from Chester county, among whom were the Lewis . 
family, a descendant of which, Major Eli Lewis, founded the borough that 
bears his name in 1798. He was a man of enterprise and consequence; in 1783 
he owned nearly a thousand acres in Eedland valley, and in 1791 he estab- 
lished the first newspaper at the present State capitol, the Harrisburg Adver- 
tiser. Ellis Lewis was his son, and was born, May 16, 1798. His father 
died in 1807, and the son seems to have been left with but limited means. 
He was apprenticed to John Wyeth, publisher of the Oracle of Dauphin and 
Harrisburg Advertiser (successor to the paper founded by his father), but 
found his position so unpleasant that he ran away and was advertised by 
Wyeth, in the usual manner. His further . acquisition of the printing trade 
was pursued at New York and Baltimore; and, having completed his appren- 
ticeship, he published the Lycoming Gazette at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 
in 1819-20 in partnership with I. K. Torbert. There he read law with Espy 
Vanhorn, and in September, 1822, was admitted to the bar. Two years later 
he was admitted at Harrisburg, but the extent of his professional work at 
that place can not be accurately stated. About this time he held the office of 
district attorney in Tioga county, residing at Wellsboro. Thence he removed 
to Towanda, Bradford coiuity, from which he was elected to the legislature 
in 1832. In this position his ability and talents attracted the attention of 
Governor Wolf, by whom he was commissioned attorney general of the State, 
January 29, 1833. In the autumn of the same year he succeeded Judge 
Chapman as president of the Eighth judicial district, continuing in this office 
until 1843, when he was appointed to a similar position in the Second dis- 
trict (Lancaster county). In October, 1851, he was elected judge of the 
Supreme court of Pennsylvania, and in November, 1854, became chief justice. 
In 1857 he declined the unanimous nomination of the Democratic party for 
re-election to the Supreme bench, and retired to private life. He was ap- 
pointed a member of the commission for the revision of the criminal code of 
Pennsylvania in the following- year. In the interim of his employment as a 
printer at New York and Baltimore he had studied medicine at Lewisberry, 
and the knowledge of medical jurisprudence thus derived secured for him the 
honorary degree of M. D. from the Philadelphia College of Medicine. He 
also received the degree of LL. D. from Transylvania University, Lexington, 


Kentucky, and Jefferson College, Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. He was the 
author of an " Abridgment of the Criminal Law of the United States," and a 
frequent contributor to the periodical literature of the day. His death 
occurred at Philadelphia, March 19, 1871. 

Judge Lewis's long judicial career of twenty-four years was begun in 
the courts of the Eighth district. He came to the bench at an earlier age 
than any other president judge of Northumberland county; and, while this 
placed him in sympathy with the younger members of the bar, his character 
and bearing as a lawyer were such as to command the respect of all. A 
close student and a profound logician, he was not influenced much by mere 
oratory ; he was quick to detect the introduction of irrelevant testimony, and 
equally resolute in requiring promptness and brevity on the part of witnesses 
and attorneys. As a judge his manner was firm, decisive, courteous, and 
dignified. His temperament was ambitious and aspiring, and this led him 
to seek the highest measure of success in everything he undertook; but his 
abihty was equal to his ambition, and in every position to which he attained 
his services were alike honorable to himself and valuable to the public. 

Charles G. Donnel was commissioned president judge of the Eighth dis- 
trict (then composed of the counties of Northumberland, Lycoming, and 
Columbia), January 14, 1843, and took the oath of office two days later. 
He was bom, March 14, 1801 , at WiUiamsport, Pennsylvania, son of Henry 
and Margaret (Gobin) Donnel; his education was obtained at the Northum- 
berland Academy, then under the principalship of Robert Cooper Grier, 
subsequently a justice of the United States Supreme court, after which he 
read law with Ebenezer Greenough, and was admitted to the bar of North- 
umberland county at April sessions, 1822. He became deputy attorney 
general in 1829, serving four years, and in this position, as well as in his 
general practice as an attorney, gave evidence of legal knowledge and abili- 
ties of a high order. His judicial incumbency was terminated but little more 
than a year after his appointment by his death, March 16, 1844. He resided 
at Sunbury, and his widow is now living in that borough at an advanced age. 

Joseph B. Anthony was born at Philadelphia, June 19, 1795, and edu- 
cated at Princeton, New Jersey. While engaged in teaching in the academy 
at Milton, he read law with Samuel Hepburn and was admitted to the bar 
of Northumberland county, November 26, 1817. After spending a year in 
Ohio he located at WiUiamsport, Pennsylvania, where he was admitted to 
practice in 1818 and resided until his death. He was elected to the State 
Senate in 1830, and four years later to Congress, to which he was re-elected 
in 1836 by a large majority. In 1843 he was appointed one of the judges 
of the court for the adjustment of the Nicholson land claims in Pennsylvania, 
and in the following year succeeded Judge Donnel as president judge of the 
Eighth district, performing the judicial functions with general acceptability 
until his death, January 10, 1851. He was a man of fine mental endow- 


ments, not the least of which was a remarkable mathematical faculty. His 
perceptive faculties, no less than his reasoning powers, were also of a high 
order, and enabled him to grasp the difficulties of a complicated question 
and present it lucidly and succinctly. In social intercourse his conversation 
was enlivened by brilliant flashes of wit and a profusion of humorous anec- 
dotes and observations, which made him a general favorite among those with 
whom he came in contact. These qualities also entered into his professional 
work as an attorney, and after he became judge a witty or humorous remark 
from the bench frequently relieved the tedium of the session. His judicial 
opinions and decisions were generally regarded as sound and impartial. 

James Pollock, who probably reached higher political position than any 
other native of Northumberland county, was the last judge to preside over 
her courts by appointment of the Governor. He was born at Milton, Sep ■ 
tember 11, 1810, son of William and Sarah (Wilson) Pollock, natives of 
Chester county, Pennsylvania, and of Irish extraction. His education was 
begun at the common schools of Milton with Joseph B. Anthony as his first 
teacher, and continued at the academy of the Rev. David Kirkpatrick, where 
he prepared for the Junior year at Princeton, from which he graduated in 
1831 with the highest honors of his class. He then began the study of law 
under Samuel Hepburn, of Milton, and was admitted to the bar of North- 
umberland county on the 5th of November, 1833. He opened an office at 
Milton in April, 1834; two years later he was appointed deputy attorney 
general for the county, serving in this position until 1839. In 1844 he was 
elected to Congress from the Thirteenth Pennsylvania district as the Whig 
candidate; he was twice re-elected, serving in the XXVIIIth Congress on 
the committee on claims, in the XXIXth on the committee on territories, and 
in the XXXth as a member of the ways and means committee. On the 23d 
of Jime, 1848, he introduced a resolution for the appointment of a committee 
to report upon the advisability and feasibility of building a trans-continental 
railway, and, as chairman of the committee so appointed, made the first 
favorable official report on this subject. On the 16th of January, 1851, 
within a brief period after the conclusion of his third congressional term, he 
was commissioned as president judge of the Eighth judicial district (then 
composed of the counties of Northumberland, Lycoming, Columbia, Sullivan, 
and Montour), his judicial incumbency expiring, by the terms of his commis- 
sion, on the 1st of December, 1851, after which he resumed the practice of 
law. In 1854 he was the candidate of the Whig and " Know-Nothing " 
parties for Governor, and was elected by a majority of thirty-seven thousand 
over his principal competitor, William Bigler, the Democratic candidate. He 
was inducted into office in January, 1855, and served the term of three years; 
among the measures of importance during his administration were the inaugu- 
ration of a policy of retenchment in the fiscal affairs of the Commonwealth, 
the sale of the main line of the public works, the passage of laws designed to 


promote the efficiency of the public school system, and the adoption of meas- 
ures by which the suspension of specie payments by banks chartered in the 
State was legalized during the crisis of 1857. In 1861 he was a member of 
the Peace Conference which assembled at Washington and presented the 
Crittenden compromise measures to the consideration of Congress; and in 
May of that year he was appointed by President Lincoln director of the 
United States mint at Philadelphia. He retired from this office in 1866, but 
was reinstated by President Grant in 1869, and in 1873 became superintend- 
ent of that institution. The legend, " In God we trust," was originally sug- 
gested by him for the national currency. In 1879 he was appointed naval 
officer at Philadelphia, and held that office four years; his last official posi- 
tion was that of Federal chief supervisor of elections, to which he was ap- 
pointed in 1886. He died at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, April 19, 1890, and 
his remains were interrpd in the Milton cemetery. 

In personal appearance Governor Pollock was of commanding figure and 
somewhat above the average height, with dark eyes and hair, smooth-shaven 
face, and a countenance expressive of intelligence and benignity. In relig- 
ious affiliation he was a Presbyterian, and was for some years president 
of the board of trustees of the College of New Jersey at Princeton, by which 
the honorary degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him in 1855. As an 
attorney he was a better advocate than counselor; he was in regular 
practice in the courts of Northumberland county from 1833 until 1844, and at 
intervals in his official career after that date. "While his judicial incum- 
bency was the shortest in the history of the county, it was long enough to 
secure for his abilities in this position an ample recognition. He was an 
eloquent speaker, graceful, persuasive, and convincing, and possessed 
remarkable tact in gaining the sympathy and approval of his hearers. Strong 
conscientiousness was a prominent element in his character, and, while his 
official acts were at times subjected to violent criticism, the honesty of his 
intentions was conceded even by his most determined opponents. 

Alexander Jordan was elected in October, 1851, as president judge in the 
counties of Northumberland, Lycoming, Centre, and Clinton, then corapos- 
ing the Eighth judicial district. Judge Jordan was born at Jaysburg, 
Lycoming county, Pennsylvania (now a part of the city of Williamsport), 
May 19, 1798, son of Samuel and Eosanna (McClester) Jordan. His father 
was a boatman and pilot by occupation, and is mentioned by Tunison Cor- 
yell as one of the first to introduce sails in the navigation of the Susque- 
hanna. About the year 1802 the family removed to Milton, where the future 
judge was brought up and enjoyed such educational advantages as the local 
schools afforded. During the war of 1812 he accompanied the militia in 
their march across the State to Meadville, Crawford county, as deputy com- 
missary, and was absent several weeks. After a clerkship of several years in 
a store at Milton, he entered the employ of Hugh Bellas, prothonotary of 


the coimty, as deputy clerk. During this connection he began the study of 
law under Mr. Bellas, but, having a natural inclination for mechanical pur- 
suits and but limited time to devote to his studies, they were continued 
rather irregularly for some time. He served as deputy prothonotary under 
George W. Brown and Andrew Albright, Mr. Bellas's successors, and was at 
length admitted to the bar, April 19, 1820, after an examination by Messrs. 
Hepburn, Hall, and Bradford. He immediately opened an office at Sunbury, 
and rose rapidly in his profession, for which his preparation had been excep- 
tionally thorough. He was a dilligent student, and much of his success was 
due to the careful manner in which his cases were invariably prepared. When 
addressing the court or jury his language was concise and to the point, and, 
while not ornate in style, his arguments were often eloquent. In 1826 he 
was commissioned prothonotary of the Supreme court for the Middle district, 
a position which brought him into contact with the leading jurists of the 
State and doubtless had a strong influence in determining his future career. 
When the judiciary became elective in Pennsylvania and the choice of judges 
was transferred from the executive to the people, his high professional stand- 
ing and recognized qualifications for the bench, no less than the fact that he 
was nominated by the dominant political party (the Democratic) in the dis- 
trict secured his election by a large popular majority. He took the oath of 
office on the 28th of November, 1851 ; at the expiration of his first term he 
was re-elected,* and served mitil 1871, a period of twenty years. 

Many complicated questions affecting large personal and property inter- 
ests, and involving principles not theretofore considered, arose during Judge 
Jordan's incumbency; in these important cases his decisions have stood the 
severest scrutiny and will be an enduring evidence of his ability as a jurist. 
He was endowed in a remarkable degree with the logical faculty, while his 
analytical powers — keen, incisive, and accurate — grasped at once the essential 
points in an argument, dismembered of all irrelevant matter. To him the 
law was an intricate science, and its study was quite as much a source of 
intellectual gratification as a professional duty. His intercourse with members 
of the bar was characterized by uniform courtesy, and his ruhngs were so 
given as to leave no Tinpleasant feelings ; to the younger members his man- 
ner and words were kind, considerate, and encouraging. 

" A professor of the Christian religion, seeking to regulate his public and 
private conduct in strict conformity with the Christian faith, and to exemplify, 
by justice and diligence, the harmony of religious principles and professions 
with the diversified, important, and dignified duties of a citizen, a lawyer, 
and a judge," he was for many years an elder in the Presbyterian church of 
Sunbury and superintendent of its Sunday school. Judge Jordan was twice 
married — in 1820 to Mary, daughter of Daniel Hurley, and after her death to 
Hannah Eittenhouse, formerly of Philadelphia, now residing in Sunbury at 

*Tlie counties of Northumberland, Moutour, and Lycoming constituted the district In 1861. 


an advanced age. He died on the 5th of October, 1878, and is buried in 
the Snnbury cemetery. 

William M. Rockefeller, who succeeded Judge Jordan in 1871, was born 
at Sunbury, August 18, 1830. His great-grandfather, Godfrey Eockefeller, 
emigrated from New Jersey to the site of Snydertown in this county in 1789; 
his father, David Eockefeller, a native of Eush township and a surveyor by 
profession, was engaged in the active duties of that occupation throughout 
Northumberland and adjoining counties for a period of nearly half a century. 
The Judge was brought up in his native county, attended the public schools 
and the academy at Sunbury, and before attaining his majority was succes- 
sively employed at school teaching, surveying, and clerking. His professional 
preparation was begun in the office of John B. Packer and continued under 
Alexander Jordan when Mr. Packer's election to the legislature rendered his 
transfer to another preceptor necessary. On the 6th of August, 1850, twelve 
days in advance of his twentieth birthday, he was admitted to the bar of 
Northumberland county; he began the practice of his profession at Miners- 
ville, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, whence he returned to Sunbury within 
a brief period, and has since resided at that borough. On the 9th of Sep- 
tember, 1871, he was nominated for thue judgeship by conferrees from the 
two counties composing the Eighth judicial district, John B. Packer and 
William C. Lawson representing Northumberland and Joshua W. Comly and 
Isaac X. Grier, Montour. He was elected m the following October by a decisive 
popular majority, and took the oath of office on the 4th of December, 1871. 
In 1881 he was re-elected from the Eighth district (composed of the 
county of Northumberland individually), and his second term is now (1891) 
approaching its termination. 

As a lawyer. Judge Eockefeller was painstaking and laborious; in the 
presentation of a case to the court or jury his style was closely logical and 
argumentative, evidencing thorough research and earnest investigation. The 
judgeship was, therefore, a position for which he was abundantly qualified 
by natural endowments and unremitting application to the duties of his 
profession. Eor a score of years he had been actively engaged in the prac- 
tice of law, and was thoroughly familiar with the class of litigation peculiar 
to the courts of Northumberland county, particularly the trial of actions of 
ejectment brought for the settlement and location of the disputed boundaries 
of conflicting surveys, and in a large number of the cases of this kind 
adjudicated in the county he had been professionally concerned. Thoroughly 
familiar with the fundamental principles of jurisprudence, his legal learning 
and personal integrity commanded the confidence no less than the respect of 
his colleagues at the bar and his constituents throughout the district, and 
he came to the bench with the disposition as well as the ability to "hold 
the scales of justice with an even hand." Of the manner in which the 
people of the county have regarded his administration, his re-election is 
sufficient indication. 


In the criminal calendar the most important cases tried by Judge Eocke- 
feller have been the homicides committed during the MoUie Maguire con- 
spiracy. In the civil list ejectment cases resulting from disputed land titles 
have been the most important. As a member of the commission by which 
the Metzger-Bentley contest for the judgeship in Lycoming county was 
recently decided, the Judge has also been concerned in the solution of intri- 
cate legal questions outside the ordinary field of judicial cognizance. 

Associate Judges. — Article Vth of the constitution of 1790 provided for 
the appointment by the Governor of "not fewer than three nor more than 
four judges" in each county, who, during their continuance in office, should 
reside therein. An act was passed by the legislature, April 13, 1791, to 
carry this article into effect and organize the judiciary under its require- 
ments; by the terms of this act, the new system went into operation on the 
31st of August, 1791. The first legislation affecting the number of associate 
judges was the act of April 1, 1803, which provided that in any county 
thereafter organized and in case of vacancy in any existing county, "the 
number of the judges in the said county where such vacancy shall happen 
shall be reduced, and there shall be no more than three associate judges in 
the said county, and the office so become vacant shall hereafter be abolished." 
The number was still further reduced by the act of February 24, 1806, 
providing that " if any vacancy should hereafter happen in any county at 

present organized, the Governor shall not supply the same, unless 

the number of associates be thereby reduced to less than two." There were 
four associate judges in Northumberland county from 1792 to 1804,. three 
from 1804 to 1813, and two after the latter date. They were appointed for 
life under the constitution of 1790; the amendments of 1838 reduced the 
term of office to five years, and made the concurrence of the Senate necessary 
to the nomination of the Governor; in 1850 amendments were adopted by 
which the judiciary became elective; and the constitution of 1873 declares 
that, "the office of associate judge, not learned in the law, is abolished in 
counties forming separate districts; but the several associate judges in office 
when this constitution shall be adopted shall serve for their unexpired terms." 

The following is a list of associate judges*: — 

John Macpherson, 1791-1813. Andrew Albright, 1813-18. 

Thomas Strawbridge, 1791-98. Jacob Gearhart, 1814-39. 

William Wilson, 1792-1818. Henry Shaffer, 1818-33. 

Samuel Maclay, 1792-95. Peter Martz, 1833-34. 

William Cooke, 1796-1804. George Weiser, 1834-42. 

James Strawbridge, 1799. John Montgomery, 1839-50. 

William Montgomery, 1801-13. George C. Welker, 1842-51. 

*Willlam Montgomery and Joseph WalUs were commissioned as associate judges, August 17, 
1701 ; Ijut as botli resigned witliout entering upon tlie duties of tlie ofBce (so far as sliown by tlie court 
minutes), it lias not been deemed proper to Include their names in this hst. 


John P. Dentler, 1851-56. Abraham Shipman, 1861-71. 

George Wgiser, 1851-56. Isaac Beidelspach, 1866-69. 

WiUiam Turner, 1856-66. George 0. Welker, 1871-74. 

Casper SchoU, 1856-61. Joseph Nicely, 1869-75. 

John Macpherson resided in that part of the original territory of North- 
ximberland county now embraced in Union township. Union county. Noth- 
ing is known concerning his early life and education. He served in the American 
navy during the early years of the Revolution as a midshipman on the frigate 
Randolph, commanded by Captain Nicholas Biddle, and was wounded in 
action with the True Briton, a twenty-gun ship, which was captured and 
taken into Charleston harbor. On the 10th of September, 1777, Captain 
Biddle granted him a permit to leave the Randolph, on account of incapacity 
for further service, and he joined the Northampton Privateer, ultimately 
returning to Northumberland county, where he purchased property at Win- 
field, Union county. In consideration of his services he was granted a monthly 
pension of seventeen shillings, six pence, from the date of his discharge, by 
the orphans' court at Jime sessions, 1786. In 1785 he filled the position of 
clerk to the county commissioners. He was commissioned as associate judge, 
August 17, 1791, and served in that capacity until the erection of Union 
coimty in 1813 placed him beyond the limits of Northumberland. The rec- 
ords show that he attended the sessions of the court with almost undeviating 
regularity, and, with other associates, frequently conducted the sessions in 
the absence of the president judge. His death occurred on the 2d of August, 

Thomas Strawbridge was a native of Chester county, Pennsylvania, where 
he was reared and learned the trade of tanner. He entered public life in 
1776 as a delegate from Chester county to the convention which framed the 
first constitution of the State. His military career began in May of that 
year, when the Committee of Safety for his native county appointed him 
captain. He received a commission as sub-lieutenant, October 16, 1777, sub- 
sequently rising to the rank of colonel, and was detailed to superintend the 
manufacture of arms during the closing years of the war. He married Mar- 
garet Montgomery, a sister of General "William Montgomery, and, doubtless 
through the influence of the latter, removed to that part of the original area 
of Chillisquaque township, Northumberland coimty, now embraced in Liberty 
township, Montour county, about the year 1784. There he established a tan- 
nery, one of the first north of Harrisburg, and engaged extensively in farm- 
ing; for some years he was the largest tax-payer in Chillisquaque township. 
On the 17th of August, 1791, he was commissioned as associate judge for 
Northumberland county, serving continuously until his retirement in 1798. 
He died at the age of eighty-two, September 18, 1818. The name of James 
Strawbridge appears as an associate judge at several terms in the year 1799, 
but nothing definite concerning his appointment or personal history has been 


William Wilson was a native of the North of Ireland and immigrated to 
Northumberland county at an early period in her history. When the Revo- 
lutionary struggle became imminent, it was resolved by Congress to enlist six 
companies of riflemen in Pennsylvania for one year's service; in one of these 
companies, Captain John Lowdon's, which formed part of Colonel William 
Thompson's Rifle Battalion, William Wilson enlisted as third lieutenant, and 
was promoted to second Heutenant, January 4, 1776. He re-enlisted in Cap- 
tain James Parr's company of the First regiment (commanded by Colonel 
Edward Hand); of this company he was second lieutenant imtil September 
25, 1776, when he became first lieutenant; on the 2d of March, 1777, he was 
promoted to captain, and was in active service with his command until 1783. 
At the battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778, he captured the colors of the 
Royal Grenadiers and the sword of Colonel Monckton; the former was fre- 
quently brought into requisition in patriotic demonstrations in Northumber- 
land county in subsequent years; the sword was presented by Captain Wil- 
son to General Wayne and by the latter to the Marquis Lafayette, by whom 
it was borne through the French Revolution and his imprisonment at Olmutz, 
and, on the occasion of his visit to the United States in 1824, returned to a 
son of Judge Wilson through Captain Hunter.* At the close of the war he 
engaged in business at Northumberland in partnership with Captain John 
Boyd; they also erected Chillisquaque mills, to which reference is made in 
the history of the township of that name. On the 20th of May, 1784, he 
was commissioned as county lieutenant; in 1787 he was chosen as a delegate 
from Northumberland county in the convention by which Pennsylvania ratified 
the Federal constitution; in 1789 he represented the county in the Supreme 
Executive Council of the State; and on the 13th of January, 1792, he was 
commissioned as associate judge, serving, in that capacity imtil his death in 
1813. A Federalist in politics and an ardent supporter of the ijational ad- 
ministration during the Whiskey insurrection, he did not, perhaps, enjoy the 
popularity to which his public services justly entitled him, but posterity will 
honor him none the less because his convictions did not harmonize with the 
general trend of public sentiment in this locality at that time. 

Samuel Maclay was born in Lurgan township, Franklin county, Pennsyl- 
vania, June 17, 1741, son of Charles Maclay, a native of County Antrim, 
Ireland, and descendant of Charles Maclay, Baron Fingal. His first active 
work in life was performed in 1767-68 as assistant deputy surveyor to his 
brother, William Maclay, whom he also assisted in 1769 in surveying the 
lands iji Buffalo valley appropriated to the officers in the French and Indian 
war. He also did considerable surveying in Mifflin county. As a result of 
his experience on the frontier he became an expert marksman, and on one 
occasion demonstrated his superior skill in rifle practice in a contest with 
Logan, the Mingo. He made his residence in Buffalo valley as early as 

*Llnn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, pp. 161-162. 



1775, when his name appears upon the assessment list as the owner of 
twenty-iive acres of land, two horses, two cows, one slave, and one servant, 
and in that year he was com missioned a justice of the peace for Northumber- 
land cotmty. As lieutenant colonel of a battallion of associators he attended 
the Lancaster convention, July 4, 1776, and participated in the organization 
of the State militia. He was commissioned as associate judge, February 23, 
1792, and served until his resignation, December 17, 1795. His legislative 
services began in 1787, when he was elected member of Assembly from 
Northumberland county; he was re-elected in 1788 and 1789, and also 
returned to the House of Eepresentatives in 1790, 1791, and 1797. In 1798 
he was elected to the State Senate, and re-elected in 1802 upon the expira- 
tion of his term ; he was Speaker of that body from December 2, 1801, to 
March 16, 1803, and resigned his seat on the 2d of September, 1803, hav- 
ing been elected United States Senator from Pennsylvania, December 14, 1802- 
He continued in the latter position until January 4, 1809, when he resigned. 
In 1795-96 he was a member of the national House of Representatives. A 
man of large intelligence, sound judgment, and fine social qualities, he en- 
joyed unbounded personal popularity, and received the almost unanimous 
endorsement of his fellow citizens whenever he ■ appeared as a candidate for 
office. He filled important public positions continuously during a period of 
nearly a quarter of a century, and is justly regarded as one of the most 
important characters in the political history of the county. He died on the 
5th of October, 1811, and is buried in BufEalo valley. 

William Cooke was bom in Donegal township, Lancaster county, Penn- 
sylvania. He was among the pioneers of Northumberland county, of which 
he was the first elected sheriff, serving in that ofi&ce from 1772 to 1775. He 
represented Mahoning towpship in the Committee of Safety which organized 
at the house of Richard Malone on the 8th of February, 1776. On the pre- 
ceding day, at a meeting of the officers and committee-men of the lower 
division of the county, he had been elected lieutenant colonel of the battalion, 
and thus early in the Revolutionary struggle was called upon to assume the 
responsibilities of military leadership. He was a delegate to the Provincial 
Conferences of June, 1775, and June, 1776, and to the Constitutional Conven- 
tion of 1776. On the 2d of October, 1776, he was commissioned colonel of 
the Twelfth Pennsylvania regiment of the Continental Line, which was so 
reduced in numbers at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown that its 
officers and men were assigned to other commands or mustered out of the 
service. In 1781, 1782, and 1783 Colonel Cooke was elected to the Assembly; 
on the 3d of October, 1786, he was commissioned a justice of the courts of 
Northumberland county, and on the 19th of January, 1796, he became asso- 
ciate judge, serving in that office until his death in April, 1804. Howell's 
map of 1792 locates his residence in Point township near the North Branch 
above Northumberland. 


Andrew Albright was born on the 28th of February, 1770; in 1798 he 
engaged in hotel keeping at Lewisburg, Union county, Pennsylvania (then 
Northumberland), where he at once became popular and entered into politics. 
He was sheriff of the county, 1803-06; member of the House of Eepresenta- 
tives, 1809-10; county treasurer, 1812-13; associate judge (commissioned, 
September 7, 1813; qualified, October 12, 1813), 1813-18; prothonotary, 
1819-21 ; he was elected to the State, Senate from the district composed of 
Northumberland and Union counties in 1822, and died on the 26th of No- 
vember in that year. After his election as sheriff he resided at Sunbury the 
remainder of his life. 

Jacob Gearhart was of German origin, a son of Jacob Gearhart, who emi- 
grated from New Jersey in 1790 and purchased large tracts of land in Eush 
township, Northumberland county; part of this land is now the residence of 
Mrs. I. H. Torrence, granddaughter of Judge Gearhart. The Judge was a 
farmer by occupation, but possessed intelligence and education far above the 
average in that calling. In politics he was a Jacksonian Democrat; a meet- 
ing was once held at his house by Simon Cameron, whom Jackson had 
requested to secure the Pennsylvania influence in favor of the nomination of 
Martin Van Buren. He was a pioneer Methodist, and frequently entertained 
Eev. Francis Asbury, the first bishop of that church in the United States. 
He was commissioned as associate judge, January 10, 1814, as successor to 
Judge Montgomery, and served until 1839, when he resigned, his official 
incumbency having continued longer than that of any other associate judge 
in this county. He died, August 2, 1841, and is buried in Mount Vernon 
cemetery. Gearhart township is so named in honor of this family. 

Henry Shaffer succeeded Andrew Albright; he was commissioned, March 
25, 1818, qualified, April 3, 1818, and served until his death, March 1, 1833. 
He was for many years proprietor of a hotel that occupied the site of the 
Neff House in Stmbury. His son, Solomon Shaffer, was register and 
recorder of the county, 1830-36. 

Peter Martz succeeded Judge Shaffer. He was commissioned, April 12, 
1833, qualified on the following day, and served a little more than a year. 

George Weiser was born at Tulpehooken, Berks county, Pennsylvania; he 
was reared in Union county, whither his parents removed in his childhood, 
and learned the trade of tanner, which he pursued for many years at Sunbujy. 
He was county treasurer several terms; July 8, 1834, he was commissioned 
as associate judge, succeeding Peter Martz, and served until 1842 ; he died on 
the 2d of July, 1857. 

John Montgomery succeeded Judge Gearhart. He was first commis- 
sioned, July 19, 1839, and took the oath of ofEce, August 5, 1839; on the 
20th of March, 1840, he was recommissioned, and served until the office 
became elective under the amendment of 1850. He was a member of the 
well known Montgomery family of Paradise, born on the 26th of July, 1792, 
and died, March 17, 1866. 


George C. Welker was twice associate judge; he was first commissioned, 
March 5, 1842, and again in 1847, serving until 1851; in 1871 he was elected, 
succeeding Judge Shipman, and served until his death, March 18, 1874. 
Judge Welker was a merchant tailor at Sunbury for many years, and in the 
latter part of his life general agent for the Lycoming Insurance Company. 
He was the only one of the later associate judges who presided in the absence 
of the president judge. 

John F. Dentler was elected in 1851 as successor to Judge Montgomery, 
and served one term (five years). He was born at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 
came to the northern part of Northumberland county when a young man, 
and engaged in farming, but later in life entered mercantile pursuits at Mc- 
Ewensville, where he died, January 5, 1859, at the age of fifty-four. 

George Weiser was born at Fisher's Ferry, Lower Augusta township, 
Northumberland county, in 1792, great-grandson of Conrad Weiser, a prom- 
inent character in the early history of this county. He was elected in 1851, 
succeeding Judge Welker, and served five years. He also held the ofiice of 
county treasurer and was justice of the peace at Sunbury many years. Dur- 
ing the war of 1812 he was a private in Captain Snyder's company, and later 
in life became colonel of militia. He died in 1877. 

William Turner was elected in 1856, re-elected in 1861, and served ten 
years. He was a farmer of Lewis township in the extreme northeastern part 
■of the county. • 

Casper Scholl was a resident of Shamokin, where he died, November 8, 
1874, at the age of sixty-five. He was elected in 1856 and served one term. 

Abraham Shipman was born in Lower Augusta township, March 6, 1810, 
and was successively employed as lumberman, surveyor, farmer, and miller. 
He also held the positions of justice of the peace, county auditor, county 
surveyor, and associate judge; to the last named he was elected in 1861, re- 
elected in 1866, and served ten years. He died on the 8th of August, 1878. 

Isaac Beidelspach was bom at Mohringen, Wurtemberg, Germany,October 
21, 1822, and came to America in 1832. He was a farmer, and resided in 
Point township. In 1866 he was elected associate judge, serving until his 
death, July 15, 1869. 

Joseph Nicely, the last associate judge of Northumberland coimty, was 
commissioned, August 4, 1869, to the vacancy occasioned by the death of 
Judge Beidelspach, and appeared upon the bench for the first time on the 9th 
of the same month. He was recommissioned, December 15, 1869, to serve until 
the first Monday in December, 1870; having been elected he was again com- 
missioned, November 9, 1870, and continued in office until the 30th of 
November, 1875. He was a farmer, residing in Delaware township, where he 
■died, December 11, 1877, at the age of seventy. 



The judiciary act of 1722 provided that " a competent number of persons 
of an honest disposition and learned in the law " should be admitted by the 
justices of the respective counties to practice as attorneys. It does not 
appear that any special regulations were formulated in Northumberland 
county until May sessions, 1783, when the following " Rules for the Admis- 
sion of Attorneys in this Court" were adopted: — 

That no person be hereafter admitted to practice as an attorney or counselor in 
this court unless he shall have served a regular clerkship to some practicing attorney or 
counselor of known abilities for the term of three years, and be of full age at the 
time of his admission; nor even then, unless he be certified by two gentlemen of the 
bar, to be appointed by the court for that purpose, that on a full and impartial exam- 
ination such person appears to be well grounded in the principles of the law and 
acquainted with the practice; and if he has regularly studied as aforesaid in any other 
county in this State, he shall not be admittted to practice in this court as an attorney 
or counselor unless he be first admitted in such county where he so studied, [and] 
produces to the court a certificate under the seal of the said court of his admission, or 
certified by some attorney who was present at Ms admission. Provided always, that in 
case of a person applying to be admitted who shall not have engaged in the study of 
the law till after his coming to the age of twenty-one years, if it shall appear that 
such person has applied himself closely to his studies under the direction of some 
gentleman of the bar for the term of two years, and is a person of fair character, and 
certified to be well qualified as aforesaid, he may be admitted. 

It is further ruled that no person now residing and inhabiting within the United 
States of America shall be admitted an attorney of .this court who has not taken the 
oath or aflirmation of allegiance and fidelity to some one of the said States within the 
time and in the manner prescribed by the laws of the said States respectively, and that 
no person coming into this State from and after the first day of March next (except 
attorneys originally admitted and sworn in one of the United States of America, 
having resided there for two years after such admission and examination here) shall 
be admitted to practice as an attorney or counselor within this court until he shall 
have taken the oath or affirmation of allegiance and fidelity to this Commonwealth, 
and produced an authentic certificate of his having been admitted as such in the 
country from whence he came, and undergone a regular examination here as aforesaid, 
and also resided two years within this State next before his application for admission. 

The requirements for admission have changed materially from those pre- 
scribed in 1783; the applicant is now subjected to a preliminary and a final 
examination under a regularly constituted board of examiners, and admission 
here usually insures the successful candidate creditable standing in any other 
county of the State. 

The practice of the law was attended with many disadvantages in the 
interior counties of Pennsylvania for some years after the organization of 
Northumberland county. The country was sparsely settled, the people were 
poor, and fees correspondingly small, so that lawyers were almost compelled 
to practice in a number of counties in order to derive a livelihood from the 
profession. A number of attorneys usually rode together from one county 
seat to another, carrying their legal papers and a few necessary law books in a 


sack across the saddle. Q-eorge A. Snyder thus describes this itineracy and 
the nature of the early litigation: — 

Each lawyer kept his saddle horse. The Lancaster, York, and Carlisle lawyers 
met at Harrisburg; when that court terminated, they came to Sunhury; then to 
Williamsport and Wilkesharre. As their numbers were recruited at each county 
town, they formed a considerable troop of cavalry on entering the two last places. 

The nature and character of the law business were then different from what they 
are at present. Almost all the important actions were ejectments upon disputed 
original titles. The number of witnesses was very great, the means of traveling 
scanty, the district large, so that much allowance had to be made for failure of attend- 
ance. The causes were, therefore, frequently continued, so that they usually stood 
upon the trial list several years before they could be acted upon; this, added to the 
dilatory habits always prevalent in frontier settlements, produced that leisurely, time- 
wasting habit of doing business, which, until lately, characterized our county courts.* 

The following attorneys were admitted to the bar of Northumberland 
county from its organization in 1772 to the year 1800: James Wilson, May, 
1772; Kobert Magaw, May, 1772; Edward Burd, May, 1772; George North, 
May, 1772; Christian Huck, May, 1772; James Potts, May, 1772; Andrew 
Jiobison,' May, 1772; Charles Stedman, May, 1772; Thomas Hartley, 
August, 1772; Casper Weitzel, August, 1772; Andrew Eoss, August, 1772; 
James "Whitehead, August, 1772 ; James A. Wilson, November, 1773 ; Francis 
Johnson, May, 1774; David Grier, May, 1774; William Prince Gibbs, May, 
1776; WiUiam Lawrence Blair, 1776; Stephen Chambers, August, 1778; 
Collinson Bead, November, 1778; John Vannost, November, 1778;, John 
Hubley, November, 1780; James Hamilton, May, 1781; Thomas Duncan, 
May, 1783; Jasper Yeates, August, 1784; John Clark, 1785; John W. 
Kittera, 1785; John Eeily, 1785; John Andre Hanna, February, 1786; 
Charles Smith, February, 1786; John Joseph Henry, May, 1786; Jacob 
Hubley, May, 1786; William Eichardson Atlee, November, 1786; George 
Eckert, February, 1787: WiUiam Graydon, May, 1787; James Scull, May, 
1787; Galbreath Patterson, August, 1787; David M. Keechan, November, 
1789; Marks John Biddle, November, 1789; Jonathan Walker, May, 1790; 
David Watts, November, 1790; Samuel Young, Jr., February, 1791; Eobert 
Duncan, May, 1791; Daniel Levy, May, 1791; Charles Hall, May, 1791; 
John Kidd, August, 1791; Thomas B. Dick, August, 1795; Putnam Catlin, 
August, 1795; Eobert Whitehill, August, 1795; John Price, August, 1795; 
Thomas Cooper, November, 1795; Jesse Moore, August, 1796; Charles Hart- 
ley, November, 1796; James Gilchrist, January, 1797; John W. Hunter, 
January, 1798; E. W. Hale, April, 1798; Eobert Irwin, August, 1798; Enoch 
Smith, August, 1798; John Wallis, August, 1798; Frederick Smith, Novem- 
ber, 1798; William Wilson Laird, August, 1799. 

Of the itinerant lawyers who practiced at Sunbury during the early 
years of the county's history the most distinguished was James Wilson, 
whose name appears first among the attorneys admitted at May term, 1772. 

♦Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, pp. 363-364. 


He was a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration 
of Independence, one of the first justices of the United States Supreme 
court, and the incumbent of various other positions of honor and responsi- 
bility. Robert Magaw, whose name appears second, was colonel of the Sixth 
Pennsylvania regiment during the JRevolution. Edward Burd appeared as 
deputy attorney general, and probably acted in that capacity until the close 
of the colonial period. He was subsequently prothonotary to the Supreme 
court. Of George North no personal data have been obtained. Christian 
Huck was tJbe Tory Captain Huck mentioned in the memoirs of Alexander 
Graydon and Eichard Henry Lee. The three other attorneys present at the 
first court of common pleas — James Potts, Andrew Bobison, and Charles 
Stedman — were admitted after examination. 

Casper Weitzel was the first resident practicing attorney of Northum- 
berland county. Born at Lancaster in 1748, he was admitted to the bar of 
that county in 1769, and in August, 1772, at Sunbury, where the early rec- 
ords show that he received a large share of the legal business. His talents 
and patriotism were early recognized: he was a member of the Provincial 
Convention of January, 1775, from Northumberland county; on the 7th of 
February, 1776, he was elected first major of the battalion of the lower 
division of the county; on the 9th of March, 1776, he was appointed captain 
of a company recruited by himself at Sunbury, which was attached to 
Colonel Samuel Miles's regiment and suffered serious loss at the battle of 
Long Island in August, 1776. He died at Sunbury in 1782. 

Stephen Chambers is mentioned by Pithian in his journal of July 20, 
1775, as " a lawyer — serious, civil, and sociable." His name appears on the 
continuance docket of the common pleas as early as February, 1774, but no 
record of his formal admission at that date has been discovered. He was admit- 
ted at August sessions, 1778, but this was not necessarily the first time, as 
attorneys who had been admitted under the colonial dispensation were 
usually required to take the oath necessary to the performance of profes- 
sional duties under the State government. Chambers was born in the North 
of Ireland and came to Pennsylvania at an early age. As he was admitted 
to the bar in Lancaster, Philadelphia, York, and Carlisle later than at Sun- 
bury, it is reasonable to presume that his professional career was begun at 
the latter place and that it was also his residence. If this inference is cor- 
rect, he was one of the first resident attorneys in the county. He was the 
first Worshipful Master of Lodge No. 22, F. & A. M., of Sunbury, at its 
institution in 1779. It is probable that he removed to Lancaster shortly after 
this, as he was elected a member of the Council of Censors from that county 
in 1783. He was also a delegate to the Pennsylvania convention by which 
the Federal constitution was ratified. He died at Lancaster on the 16th of 
May,, from wounds received in a duel with Dr. Jacob Rieger on Mon- 
day, the 11th of that month. In the early years of the Revolution he was 


captain in the Twelfth Pennsylyania regiment of the Continental Line, pro- 
moted from first lieutenant in 1777. 

Charles Smith, well known to the legal fraternity of Pennsylvania as the 
compiler of "Smith's Laws," was born at Philadelphia, March 4, 1765, son 
of the Eev. William Smith, D. D., founder and provost of Washington Col- 
lege, Charleston, Maryland, from which the son received the degree of A. 
B. at its first commencement, March 14, 1783. He studied law with his 
brother, William M. Smith, at Easton, Pennsylvania, and was admitted to 
the bar of Northumberland county at February sessions, 1786, on motion of 
Thomas Duncan and after examination by him and Stephen Chambers. He 
forthwith opened an office at Sunbury, where his industry and talents at 
once gained him a place in the confidence of the public. As the colleague 
of Simon Snyder he represented Northumberland county in the convention 
by which the constitution of 1790 was prepared. As was customary in those 
days, he accompanied the president judges of central and western Pennsyl- 
vania on their circuits, and, as cases involving the principles of land tenure 
constituted the most important class of litigation at that time, his opportuni- 
ties for the study of this important subject were exceptional. That his 
knowledge was comprehensive and accurate is evident from the note which 
comprises several hundred pages of one of the volumes of his " Laws " — 
virtually a treatise on the land laws of the State — while similarly exhaust- 
ive annotations on the subject of criminal law, etc. show that his proficiency 
was not confined to any particular department of legal knowledge. He mar- 
ried a daughter of Jasper Yeates, associate justice of the Supreme court of 
Pennsylvania; shortly after this event he removed from Sunbury to Lancas- 
ter, and was elected to both branches of the legislature from that county. 
In 1819 he was appointed president judge of the Cumberland-Franklin- 
Adams district, from which he resigned in the following year to accept the 
president judgeship in the Lancaster district court. In 1824 he removed to 
Philadelphia, where he died in 1840. 

Thomas Duncan and David Watts — the former admitted at Sunbury at 
May sessions, 1783, the latter at November sessions, 1790 — were from Car- 
lisle. " Mr. Watts was of rough exterior, careless of his dress, and by no 
means choice in his language. He seemed generally to be not at all reluct- 
ant to say what he thought, without regard to the feelings of the objects of 
his remarks. Mr. Duncan, on the contrary, was a man of polished manner, 
neat and careful in dress, and never rude or wantonly disrespectful to 
others. They were the rival practitioners at Carlisle. I have heard of an 
anecdote which somewhat illustrates their respective characters. On one 
occasion in court, when Mr. Watts was annoyed by a remark of Mr. Duncan, 
he said: 'You little (using some Offensive expression), I could put you in 
my pocket.' 'Then,' said Mr. Duncan, 'you would have more law in your 
pocket than ever you had in your head.' "* Justice Hugh Henry Bracken- 
George W. Harris's Eemlniscences of the Dauphin County Bar. 


ridge says of Watts that he " was possessed of a powerful mind, and was 
the most vehement speaker I ever heard. He seized his subject with an 
Herculean grasp, at the same time throwing his Herculean body and limbs 
into attitudes which would have delighted a painter or sculptor. He was 
a singular instance of the union of great strength of mind with bodily 
powers equally wonderful." He describes DuAcan as "a very small man, 
with a large but well formed head," who "perused Coke upon Littleton as a 
recreation, and read more books of reports than a young lady reads new 
novels." "Mr. Duncan reasoned with admirable clearness and method on 
all legal subjects, and at the same time displayed great knowledge of human 
nature in examination of witnesses and in his addresses to the jury. Mr. 
Watts selected merely the strong points of his case, and labored them with 
an earnestness and zeal approaching to fury; and perhaps his forcible man- 
ner soinetimes produced a more certain effect than that of the subtle and 
wily advocate opposed to him." There was scarcely a case of importance at 
Sunbury during the period that these gentlemen "rode the circuit" upon 
which they were not retained upon opposite sides, either independently or in 
connection with members of the local bar, and the collision of such anti- 
thetical characters produced a mass of curious incidents, some of which 
are still preserved, and circulate at the bar in the hours of forensic leisure. 
Mr. Duncan was appointed a justice of the Supreme court in 1817; Mr. 
Watts was the father of Frederick Watts, president judge in Cumberland 
county from 1848 to 1851. 

Jonathan Hoge Walker, probably the earliest resident attorney of North- 
umberland, was born in East Pennsboro township, Cumberland county, Penn- 
sylvania, in 1756. He was of English descent; William Walker, his grandfa- 
ther, was a captain under the Duke of Marlborough in the wars of Queen Anne, 
and John Hoge, his mother's father, was the founder of Hogestown, Cumber- 
land county. Graduating at Dickinson College, Carlisle, in the class of 1787 
(which also numbered David Watts and the Eev. John Bryson among its 
members), he studied law under Stephen Duncan, and at May sessions, 1790, 
was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county. Here he was one of the 
few resident attorneys, and within a few years secured a fairly lucrative 
practice. He was appointed president judge of the Fourth judicial district 
in April, 1806, and removed to Belief onte, Centre county; his judicial admin- 
istration was such as to command the confidence and approval of the public 
generally, and when, in 1806, Governor Snyder suggested his transfer to the 
Eighth district, the people protested en masse and induced him to remain. 
In 1818 he was appointed by President Monroe as judge of the United States 
court for the Western district of Pennsylvania, created by act of Congress in 
May of that year, and occupied this position until his death in 1824. His 
distinguished soii, Eobert J. Walker, United States Senator from Mississippi, 
elected in 1835, and Secretary of the Treasury under President Polk, was born 


at Northumberland in 1801, and probably rose to as high political position 
as any other native of Northumberland county. 

Daniel Levy was admitted at May term, 1791. He v?as a son of Aaron 
Levy, founder of Aaronsburg, Centre county, Pennsylvania, and a great land 
speculator. It is probable that the care of his father's estate received a large 
share of his professional attention. George A. Snyder says that he "outlived 
all the old lawyers, as they were popularly called, except Mr. Bellas. He was 
a conceited man, active as a cat, an insatiable dancer, and a hard fighter. 
He had considerable science as a boxer, and, although not large or strong, his 
skill, joined to his prodigious activity, made him quite formidable. His vanity 
and fondness for dress made him a capital butt and subject of jokes for his 
fellow members of the bar."* He was prothonotary of Northumberland 
county from 1800 to 1809. After a residence of more than half a century at 
Sunbury and a connection with the bar of the county extending over a simi- 
lar period, he died on the 12th of May, 1844. 

Charles HaU was born in 1767 and read law with Thomas Hartley at 
York, Pennsylvania; he was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county 
at May sessions, 1791. " He was rather above the common height, stout in 
person, of ruddy complexion, smooth, handsome face, of gentlemanly appear- 
ance and manners, of a highly reputable character, and of considerable abili- 
ty in his profession, "f He married Elizabeth Coleman, daughter of the 
wealthy iron manufacturer of Cornwall, Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, who 
presented her with extensive and valuable lands at Muncy, Lycoming county, 
still knov?n as " Hall's Farms." Mr. Hall erected the large and substantial 
brick building at the northeast corner of Market and Front streets, Sunbury, 
the most imposing private residence of that borough at the time it was built. 
He died at Philadelphia in January, 1821, at the age of fifty-three. 

Evan Rice Evans was a practicing attorney at Sunbury prior to 1800, but 
the date of his admission has not been ascertained. Charles Miner describes 
him as " a heavy, stout gentleman, with a large head and florid complexion. 
His delivery, rapid; his words crowd upon each other as sometimes to choke 
utterance. He talks good sense — why should he not ? His head has more 
law in it than half a modern library. He is a powerful advocate, with a 
good fee and an intricate case."| His death occurred in 1811. 

Jesse Moore was admitted at August sessions, 1796. He was a native of 
Montgomery county; while practicing law at Sunbury he was appointed 
president judge of the Sixth judicial district, composed of a group of counties 
in the northwestern part of the State, and performed the duties of that posi- 
tion until his death, December 21, 1824, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. 
He is described as a well educated man, a diligent student, and a good law- 
yer, discreet, upright, and impartial in his judicial opinions and decisions. 

*Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, p. 385. 

tGeorge W. Harris's Keminiscences of the Dauphin County Rar. 

t Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, pp. 323-324. 


He was elected to the legislature from Northumberland county in 1801 and 
re-elected in the following year. 

Daniel Smith, a native of New Jersey and a graduate of Princeton 
in the class of 1787, studied law in that State and began the practice of his 
profession in Northumberland county about the year 1795. He resided upon 
a fine farm on the southern limits of Milton, and may properly be regarded 
as the pioneer lawyer of that borough. It is the uniform testimony of those 
who have written about him that he was an eloquent speaker. George A. 
Snyder pronounced him " the only lawyer of the district who could be called 
eloquent in a high sense."* Charles Miner describes him as " a tall, deli- 
cate looking gentleman, always elegantly dressed. He turns pale and 
actually trembles as he rises to speak. You are interested by such exceeding^ 
modesty, and half fear he will not be able to go on. His voice breaks sweetly 
on the ear, and words of persuasive wisdom begin to flow, and now pour 
along in a rapid torrent. "f Tunison Coryell says that "he was eminent as 
a lawyer, was considered one of the most eloquent speakers at the bar, and 
was engaged in all important cases then in the counties of Northumberland, 
Lycoming, and Luzerne. "J Coryell states that Smith delivered the address 
in the old German church at Sunbury in 1799 on the occasion of the memor- 
ial exercises in honor of President Washington, when the entire audience was 
moved to tears by the power of his eloquence. His death occurred at Mil- 
ton on the 6th of April, 1810; he was then in the forty-fifth year of his age 
and the full vigor of his powers. 

Enoch Smith was a brother to Daniel, though not his equal in profes- 
sional ability. He was admitted to the bar at August sessions, 1798, and 
practiced at Sunbury until his death, February 9, 1817. 

Samuel Roberts, who qualified as deputy attorney general for Northum- 
berland county, July 16, 1800, resided at Sunbury, and practiced in the 
courts to some extent prior to that date, was born in Philadelphia, Septem- 
ber 8, 1763, and admitted to the bar of that city in 1793. On the 30th of 
April, 1803, he was commissioned president judge of the Fifth district, 
composed of the counties of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Wash- 
ington, and held the office until his death in 1820. 

Samuel Hepburn was a son of James Hepbui-n, an early and prominent 

merchant of Northumberland. After obtaining a classical education at 

Princeton College and graduating from that institution he studied law under 

Jonathan Hoge Walker at Northumberland, and was admitted to the bar 

about 1800. He then located at Milton, where he was the second resident 

lawyer; in 1856 he removed to Lock Haven, where he died at the advanced 

age of eighty-four, October 10, 1865. He was a man of small stature and 

spare physique, pleasant and genial in society, and highly esteemed where- 

* Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, p. 365. 

t Ihid. p. 323. 

t Keminiscences of Early Times and Events, pp. 32-33. 


ever known. He was a close student, and prepared his cases thoroughly. 
As a public speaker his manner was agreeable, and in addressing the court or 
jury he could state a case with such clearness as to carry conviction without 
the acid of rhetorical embellishment. 

Hugh Bellas was born near Belfast, Ireland, April 26, 1780, and came to 
America at the age of nine years with his father, George Bellas, who settled 
in Fishing Creek township, Northumberland county, Pennsylvania. There 
he grew to manhood, and, as the family was in straitened circumstances, 
enjoyed but meager educational advantages. At the age of sixteen, having 
evinced a disposition to engage in other pursuits than farming, he entered 
the store of his uncle at Philadelphia. On the 12th of September, 1796, he 
was indentured to Eobert Irwin, merchant, of Northumberland, with whom 
he was employed until he attained his majority. During this period he 
formed the acquaintance of the Eev. Joseph Priestley, whose writings he 
transcribed for the press, receiving in return for his services the loan of books 
for a prescribed course of reading. As a clerk he so far enjoyed the confi- 
dence of his employer as to be placed in charge of a branch store at Dan- 
ville ; and at the close of his apprenticeship he engaged in merchandising at 
Northumberland several years. His legal studies were begun under Jona- 
than Walker, and continued in the intervals of his employment as clerk and 
merchant. About the year 1803 he appHed at Bellefonte for admission to 
the bar, but encountered the most determined opposition from the lawyers of 
the district, who were almost unanimously Federalists while the young appli- 
cant was an active Democrat. They based their objection upon the fact that 
he had not actually studied in the office of Mr. Walker, but in a store; by 
the advice of his preceptor, Mr. Bellas renewed his application at Sunbury, 
retaining Daniel Smith in his interest. The examination was of the most 
rigid character, but he passed the ordeal Successfully and was duly admitted. 
Simon Snyder was present on this occasion, and the bearing of the young 
lawyer, as well as his evident ability, impressed him most favorably.* 

Thus embarked upon his professional career, he brought to his work the 
same unflagging energy and indomitable spirit that characterized his early 
struggles. He was appointed prothonotary of Northumberland county in 
1809, and served until 1818. In the course of his long career at the bar he 
was connected with some of the most protracted litigation in this part of the 
State. Governor Snyder retained him in the famous Isle of Que cases, begun 
at Sunbury in 1804 and ended at New Berlin in 1824; the case of Mann vs. 
Wilson, in which proceedings were first instituted at May term, 1814, and 
which was not finally adjudicated by the Supreme Court until 1850, was also 
continued during this long period by his persistence and tact. Although the 
active participant in many an acrimonious legal and political contest he 
enjoyed in his old age the universal esteem and respect of his colleagues at 

*Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley, pp. 365-367. 


the bar, and died at Sunbury, October 26, 1863, one of the last survivors of 
the bar of Northumberland county in the first decade of the present century. 

E. G. Bradford, "from all accounts, a lawyer of very considerable abihty," 
v^as "a tall, heavy, portly man of a commanding appearance," as described 
by John F. Wolfinger.* He was prosecuting attorney for Northumberland 
county from April, 1809, to'January, 1821, from January to April, 1824, and 
probably also from 1806 to 1809, from which it is evident that his profes- 
sional career in this county began early in the present century. He resided 
at Sunbury in the substantial brick building on Market street that is now 
the residence of Samuel J. Packer, 2d. After leaving this county he re- 
moved to York, Pennsylvania, and died of apoplexy at Pottsville, May 17, 
1836, in the sixty-second year of his age. 

Ebenezer Greenough was born in Massachusetts, December 11, 1783. 
He graduated from Harvard University in 1804, and came to Pennsylvania 
within a short time thereafter; immediately upon his arrival at Wilkesbarre 
he accepted the principalship of the academy at that place, and during his 
connection with this institution began the study of law with Ebenezer Bow- 
man. In the latter part of 1806 he came to Sunbury, completed his profes- 
sional preparation under Charles Hall, and was admitted to the bar of 
Northumberland county, January 19, 1808. Endowed with intellectual 
qualities of a high order, his educational advantages had been superior to 
those of the generality of lawyers at that day, and his ability in the profession 
placed him within a few years at the head of the local bar, a position which 
was successfully maintained until his death, December 25, 1847. Thoroughly 
familiar with the land laws of Pennsylvania, he particularly excelled in the 
trial of ejectment cases for the determination of titles under conflicting sur- 
veys; and, while he was concerned in nearly every important case of this 
nature in Northumberland and the adjoining counties of Pennsylvania dur- 
ing the period of his professional career, he did not confine himself to this 
particular class of litigation, but was as frequently employed and equally 
successful in civil and criminal cases of a general character. In argument 
he was clear, logical, and forcible, and in the later years of his life frequently 
assisted attorneys from other counties in the Northern district in the presen- 
tation of their cases before the Supreme court. His self-possession was 
remarkable; in the most exciting controversy he remained calm and collected, 
and never permitted his attention to be distracted from what he reo-arded as 
the essential principles involved in a cause. He possessed great skill in 
cross examination, and seldom failed to elicit the testimony desired from the 
most obstinate and recalcitrant witnesses. In addressing a jury he invariably 
appealed to the judgment rather then the feelings, and so simple, plain, and 
methodical was his manner of presenting a case that his position c6uld 
scarcely be misapprehe nded. He was a Whig in politics, and was elected to 

♦Northumberland County Legal News, Volume I. No. 3. 


the legislature in 1831 ; with this exception he never occupied official position, 
but devoted his entire attention to the duties of his profession, in which he 
attained conspicuous and deserved success. 

Daniel Scudder was a native of New Jersey; in 1815 he came to Milton, 
read law with Samuel Hepburn at the same time as Joseph B. Anthony, and 
was admitted to the bar at Sunbury on the 26th of November, 1817. He 
married the daughter of Daniel Smith, who inherited the fine farm of her 
father just below Milton, and there they resided some years. In 1821 he was 
elected to the legislature; in 1824-27 inclusive he was again returned, and 
was active in advocating the construction of canals in central Pennsylvania. 
He assumed office as deputy attorney general for Northumberland county at 
August sessions, 1828, and filled that position until his death in January of 
the following year. 

James Hepburn was a son of one]^of the early merchants of Northumber- 
land and brother to Samuel Hepburn, of Milton. He was admitted to the 
bar at Sunbury on the 19th of August, 1819, and began the practice of law 
at Northumberland, where he was president of the bank and bridge company 
and otherwise prominent in business affairs. Thence he removed success- 
ively to Baltimore and Philadelphia; at the former city he was president of 
the Tidewater Canal Company, and during his residence at the latter he 
seems to have given more attention to his profession than at any time during 
his previous career. Governor Pollock appointed him State reporter, and 
the first one hundred eighty -two pages of I Casey (Pennsylvania State Ee- 
ports, Volume XXV) were compiled by him, with the exception of three 
cases. Not long after his appointment to this position he died at Philadel- 
phia, December 25, 1855. 

Samuel J. Packer was born in Howard township. Centre county, Penn- 
sylvania, March 23, 1799. He received his education at a local school of the 
Society of Friends, under the superintendence of his father, and learned the 
trade of printer at Belief onte. Subsequently he was engaged in a journalistic 
capacity at Harrisburg, where he reported the proceedings of the legislature 
and formed the acquaintance of Simon Cameron, between whom and himself 
a warm friendship always thereafter existed. In 1820 he came to Sunbury 
and established the Publick Inquirer, which advocated the re-election of Gov- 
ernor Findlay and was continued several years. During this period he en- 
gaged in the study of the law under Hugh Bellas, and was admitted to the 
bar of Northumberland county on the 23d of August, 1823. He at once 
entered upon the practice of his profession at Sunbury, and by assiduous 
attention to its duties early attained a leading position among the members 
of the bar. Thoroughness and care in the preparation of his causes and a 
closely argumentative style uniformly characterized his work. As a public 
speaker, particularly upon political occasions, he attained considerable dis- 
tinction, and possessed in large measure the faculty of converting others to 
his views. 


From the time he came to Northumberland county until his death, Mr. 
Packer was a prominent figure in her political history. On the 27th of Janu- 
ary, 1824, he was commissioned as prothonotary, holding that office until 
1821), and on the 20th of April in the latter year he was inducted into office 
as deputy attorney general, serving until the following November. In 1830 
he was elected to the State Senate for the term of four years, and, although 
one of the youngest members of that body, he took a leading part in the dis- 
cussion of many of the public measures which received its consideration. His 
legislative incumbency was marked by great activity, especially in supporting 
enterprises designed to promote the development of the material resources of 
the State, of which the Danville and Pottsville railroad was the most impor- 
tant in the district he represented. Its construction from Sunbury to the 
Shamokin coal field was the direct result of measures introduced by him in 
the Senate and passed by the legislature through his influence. As chair- 
man of a special committee on the coal fields of Pennsylvania, he prepared 
the first legislative report ever promulgated upon that subject. This report 
is able and exhaustive, and relates to both the anthracite and bituminous 
regions. It treats of the origin and development of the mining industry and 
its vital relation to manufacturing and commercial interests in general, the 
location and extent of the different coal fields, the facilities of transportation 
enjoyed by each, and the limitations and restrictions which the legislature 
might with propriety irapose upon the corporate powers and privileges of 
railroad, mining, and navigation companies. The report possesses great 
value, not only as a compilation of facts relating to the history and condition 
of the coal trade and of the inexhaustible mineral resources of the State, but 
also as an expression of conclusions and convictions derived from a thorough 
study of the great legal and economic questions involved. 

In 1834 Mr. Packer was the Whig candidate for Congress from the dis- 
trict embracing Northumberland county, but died on the 20th of October in 
that year at the early age of thirty-five. 

Joshua Wright Comly, who was admitted to the bar of Northumberland 
county on the 17th of November, 1830, and has survived all the officers of the 
court and attorneys of this bar at that date, was born at Philadelphia, Pennsyl- 
vania, November 16, 1810, son of Charles and Sarah (Wright) Comly, and a 
descendant of Henry Comly, an English Friend, who immigrated to Bucks 
county, Pennsylvania, in 1682. He was reared in the Quaker faith, 
attended the local schools and the College of New Jersey at Princeton and 
in 1827 began the study of law at Milton under Samuel Hepbtim. After 
his admission to the bar he located at Orwigsburg, Schuylkill county, but 
subsequently removed to Danville, where he has since resided, although his 
practice for some years embraced many of the most important cases in North- 
umberland county. In 1851 he was the Whig candidate for judge of the 
Supreme court. 


James Pleasants, born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 11, 
1809, received his education principally under the Rev. David Kirkpatrick 
at Milton, read law with Hugh Bellas, and was admitted to the bar of North- 
umberland county, April 21, 1831. He located at Catawissa, Columbia 
county, Pennsylvania, within a short time thereafter, but was frequently 
concerned in important cases in Northumberland county, either individually 
or as assistant to his brother, Charles Pleasants; about the year 1850 he located 
at Sunbury, but removed to Radnor, Delaware county, Pennsylvania, some 
six years later, and there he died, September 5, 1874. In Mr. Wolfinger's 
" Reminiscences," he is described as " a tall, slim man, of a very pleasant 
countenance and social disposition," who " spoke and argued his cases before 
the court and jury with considerable ability."* Defective hearing interfered 
greatly with the discharge of his professional duties. 

Charles Pleasants, brother to James, was born at Philadelphia, Pennsyl- 
vania, March 31, 1807; he also attended Kirkpatrick's academy at Milton, 
but read law under James Hepburn, of Northumberland, and was admitted 
to the bar at Sunbury on the 16th of April, 1832. He married a daughter 
of Hugh Bellas, with whom he was frequently associated in professional 
work. On the 2d of February, 1836, he was commissioned as prothonotary 
of the Supreme court for the Northern district, then composed of the coun- 
ties of Northumberland, Luzerne, Lycoming, Bradford, McKean, Potter, 
Tioga, Susquehanna, Columbia, and Union, and held that position until his 
resignation twenty-nine years later. He died at Radnor, Delaware county, 
Pennsylvania, May 24, 1865. 

John F. Wolfinger was born at Frosty Valley, Montour county, Pennsyl- 
vania, and educated under the Rev. David Kirkpatrick at Milton. He studied 
law at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with Joseph B. Anthony as his preceptor, 
and was admitted to the bar of Lycoming county, August 31, 1830. In 
April 1832, he opened an office at Milton, and on the 20th of August in that 
year was admitted to practice in the several courts of Northumberland county, 
on motion of Samuel Hepburn. In 1833 he was appointed prosecuting at- 
torney for this county by George M. Dallas, attorney general of the State, 
and at the expiration of his term the court continued him in that office until 
his successor was regularly appointed. With the exception of the criminal 
cases in which he was concerned as deputy attorney general, Mr. Wolfinger 
confined his attention exclusively to civil actions, collections, and orphans' 
court business, in which he enjoyed a fairly lucrative practice until the out- 
break of the civil war; at that time he virtually retired from the active duties 
of the profession, devoting his time to local historical research and literary 
pursuits. His contributions to the Miltonian on various subjects connected 
with local history, and his " Recollections of the Bar of the Counties of 
Northumberland, Lycoming, Union, and Columbia," published in the North- 

*Northumberlancl County Legal News, Vol. I. No. 6. 


umberland County Legal News, are among the more important of his pro- 
ductions. He died at Milton, January 13, 1891. 

Henry B. Masser was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county, 
November 5, 1833, and is the oldest resident lawyer of Sunbury. He was 
born at that place, August 17, 1809, educated at the local schools, and 
studied law with Alexander Jordan. In 1839 he was appointed deputy at- 
torney general for the county, and served in that office six years with credit 
and ability. In September, 1840, he established the Sunbury American, and 
as editor and publisher of this paper he was prominently identified -^rith the 
public affairs of the county during a period of twenty- nine years. Mr. Masser 
has also been interested in various business enterprises; he now lives in re- 
tirement at Sunbury at an advanced age. 

Charles W. Hegins was born at Sunbury, August 15, 1812. He received 
his education at the Northumberland Academy, studied law under Charles 
G. Donnel, and was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county, Novem- 
ber 5, 1833. At that date and for some time previously he had been em- 
ployed in the office of the prothonotary at Sunbury; there he opened an office 
and continued in successful practice until 1851, when he was elected president 
judge of Schuylkill county. He was re-elected at the expiration of his first 
term, and served until his death, July 2, 1862. A man of fine discriminating 
mind and judicial temperament, he was an excellent lawyer and an able judge. 
In 1838 he was elected to the legislature from Northumberland county and 
re-elected in the following year. 

William I. Greenough was bom at Sunbury, May 27, 1821, son of Eben- 
ezer Greenough. After attending the academy of his native town and 
similar institutions at Danville and Wilkesbarre he entered Princeton Col- 
lege, graduating in 1839; his father was his law preceptor, and on the 2d of 
August, 1842, he was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county. Mr. 
Greenough has been concerned in the trial of many of the most important 
cases at this bar. In presenting a cause to the court he follows closely in the 
footsteps of his father ; his arguments are terse and logical, confined entirely 
to the matter at issue, and calculated to convince rather than persuade. He 
is, however, a better counselor than advocate; for some years past he has 
been selected as master in chancery in many of the leading cases of this 
county, a recognition of his judicial qualifications no less than a compliment 
to his sound deliberative judgment. 

Charles J. Bruner was educated at Lancaster, Penn^lvania, studied law 
under Alexander Jordan, and was admitted to the bar of Northumberland 
county, January 3, 1843. He at once opened an office at Sunbury, where he 
was associated with William L. Dewart for a time. As captain of Company 
F, Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, he led the first detachment of troops 
from Northumberland county at the outbreak of the civil war. Subsequently 
he was appointed internal revenue collector for the Fourteenth Pennsylvania 





district by President Grant, and retained that office fourteen years. Captain 
Bruner was born at Sunbury, November 17, 1820, and died on the loth of 
March, 1885. 

WiUiam L. Dewart was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county, 
January 3, 1843 ; his law preceptor was Charles G. Donnel. He was born 
at Sunbury, June 21, 1820, educated at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn- 
sylvania, and the College of New Jersey at Princeton, graduating from the 
latter in 1839. He was a prominent figure in political affairs, and was sev- 
eral times a member of Democratic national conventions; in 1856 he was 
elected to Congress. His death occurred on the 19th of April, 1888. 

Charles W. Tharp was born at Milton, December 25, 1818, son of James 
and Phebe (Vincent) Tharp. He was educated at the schools of his native 
town and at Lewisburg, read law at Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, with Curtin & 
Blanchard, and was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county, Novem- 
ber 7, 1843. He resides at Milton. He was the last deputy attorney general 
appointed for Northumberland county, serving in that office from 1848 to 
1850; in 1853 he was elected district attorney and served until 1856. He 
was elected to the legislature in 1865 and 1866. 

David Taggart read law with Ebenezer Greenough and was admitted to 
the bar of Northumberland county, November 7, 1843. In 1854 he was 
elected to the State Senate, and served as Speaker of that body; he was also 
president of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society at one time. Dur- 
ing the civil war he entered the service of the war department of the national 
government as paymaster, and was stationed in this capacity at different points 
throughout the country for some years thereafter. He possessed rare 
gifts as a public speaker, and was frequently called upon to deliver addresses 
on the occasion of patriotic or anniversary celebrations. He was born. May 
28, 1822, and died on the 30th of June, 1888. 

William C. Lawson was born in Union county, Pennsylvania, December 
3, 1817. He was educated under the Rev. David Kirkpatrick at Milton and 
at Delaware College, Newark, Delaware, graduating from the latter institu- 
tion in 1838, after which he began the study of law under J. P. Linn at 
Lewisburg, Union county, completing his professional preparation with Judge 
John Reed, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he was admitted to the bar in 
1840. He began the practice of his profession in Greenville, Mercer county, 
Pennsylvania, but removed to Milton in 1843 and was admitted to the bar 
of Northumberland county, April 1, 1844. He has since resided at Milton, 
and was in active practice until 1880. Mr. Lawson has been president of 
the Milton National Bank and of the institution from which it evolved since 
July 1860. 

John B. Packer was born at Sunbury, March 21, 1824, a son of Samuel 
J. Packer. His education was obtained principally at the Sunbury Academy, 
then recently established and under the charge of Cale Pelton and Frederick 



Lebrun, both classical scholars of thorough culture and great ability as 
teachers. Prom 1839 to 1842 he was a member of a corps of engineers em- 
ployed by the State in the survey and construction of her public improve- 
ments. In 1842 he entered upon the sttidy of the law with Ebenezer Green- 
ough, and was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county on the 6th of 
August, 1844. In the following year he was appointed deputy attorney 
general, serving in that of&ce three years, and from the commencement of 
his professional career he has occupied a prominent position at the bar, not 
only of his native county, but elsewhere throughout the State and before 
the Supreme court. In addressing the court or jury his style is lucid, logical, 
and argumentative, and as a public speaker he is forcible and eloquent. In 
the litigation resulting from contested land titles and in railroad and other 
causes there has scarcely been a case of any importance in this county with 
which he has not been professionally connected. In 1851 he was one of the 
organizers of the Susquehanna Railroad Company (since merged into the 
Northern Central), and has ever since been counsel for that corporation; for 
some ye^s past he has acted in a similar capacity for the Philadelphia and 
Erie, Pennsylvania, Lackawanna and Bloomsburg, and other railroad com- 
panies, and has also been concerned as counsel in the sale and reorganization 
of the Zerbe Valley, Shamokin Valley and Pottsville, and other railroad 

Mr. Packer was elected to the legislature in 1849, re-elected in 1850, and 
served upon important committees in both sessions. He was a tariff Demo- 
crat at that time, but has been actively identified with the Republican party 
since 1856. In 1868 he was elected to Congress from the Fourteenth Penn- 
sylvania district (in which Northumberland county was embraced), and 
served by re-election from 1869 to 1877, having been returned on each occa- 
sion by a majority largely in excess of his party vote in the several coimties 
composing the district. In the XLIst Congress he was a member of the 
committee on banking and currency; in the XLIId, chairman of the com- 
mittee on railways and canals; in the XLIIId, chairman of the committee on 
postoffices and post-roads, and in the XLIVth, member of the committee on 
foreign affairs. 

As president of the Bank of Northumberland from 1857 until it was 
merged into the First National Bank of Sunbury, and of the latter institu- 
tion since its organization, Mr. Packer has sustained an important relation to 
local financial affairs ; this connection has not, however, been permitted to 
withdraw his attention from the practice of his profession, and it is upon his 
services in public life, his eminent legal attainments, and marked success as 
a lawyer that his reputation is principally founded. • 

George Hill was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county, January 
1, 1849, and has been a resident practicing attorney of Sunbury since 1858. 
He was born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, August 3, 1821, and 


received an academic education at a classical academy taught by the Eev. 
Samuel S. Shedden. His professional preparation was begun at Milton under 
James Pollock and completed in Union county, Pennsylvania, under Absa- 
lom Swinef ord. He was admitted to the bar at New Berlin, then the county 
seat of Union county, in August, 1848, and was in active practice at Selins- 
grove, Pennsylvania, from 1849 to 1858, when he removed to Sunbury.- Mr. 
HiU has enjoyed an extensive and lucrative practice. 

Andrew J. Guffy was born near Turbutville in this county. May 31, 1823, 
son of Andrew and Eleanor (Armstrong) Guffy, and grandson of Alexander 
GufEy, who settled upon the site of McEwensville at an early date in the 
histpry of this county and died, July 15, 1816, the father of seven children, 
of whom Andrew was bom on the 13th of August, 1792, and died on the 
28th of June, 1879. Mr. Guffy studied law with James Pollock of Milton 
and attended the law school of Washington McCartney at Easton, Pennsyl- 
vania, where he was the classmate of Henry Green, a justice of the Supreme 
court of Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the bar of Northumberland 
county, August 6, 1849, and has since resided at McEwensville and Watson- 
town. He is a proficient surveyor and is probably better known as such 
than as a lawyer. 

The foregoing biographical sketches relate to members of the bar of North- 
umberland county who were admitted prior to 1850. The following is a list 
of resident attorneys in that year, with residences and dates of admission in 
this county: Samuel Hepburn, Milton; Hugh Bellas, Sunbury, 1803; James 
Pleasants, Sunbury, April 21, 1831; Charles Pleasants, Sunbury, April 16, 
1832; John F. Wolfinger, Milton, August 20, 1832; James Pollock, Milton, 
November 5, 1833; Henry B. Masser, Sunbury, November 5, 1833; John 
Porter, Milton, April 9, 1840; William I. Greenough, Sunbury, August 2, 
1842; Charles J. Bruner, Srm^bury, January 3, 1843; William L. Dewart, 
Sunbury, January 3, 1843; Charles W. Tharp, Milton, November 7, 1843; 
David Taggart, Northumberland, November 7, 1843; William C. Lawson, 
Milton, April 1, 1844; John B. Packer, Sunbury, August 6, 1844; Henry 
Donnel, Sunbury, January 4, 1848 ; Andrew J. Guffy, McEwensville, August 
6, 1849; Charles Augustus Kutz, Milton; William M. Eockefeller, Sunbury, 
August 6, 1850; M. L. Shindel, Sunbury, August 6, 1850. 

The present number of resident attorneys is seventy-three. In the follow- 
ing list the date given is that of admission to the local bar: — 

Sunbury. — Henry B. Masser, November 5, 1833 ; William I. Greenough, 
August 2, 1842; John B. Packer, August 6, 1844; George HiU, January 1, 
1849; Solomon B. Boyer, August 5, 1858; Samuel J. Packer, 2d, April 4, 
1860 i Simon P. Wolverton, April 8, 1862; Lloyd T. Eohrbach, March 10, 
1863; George W. Zeigler, January 5, 1864; J. W. Cake, January 3, 1866; 
Truman H. Purdy, 1866; William A. Sober, August, 1867; Andrew N. Brice, 
January, 1870; J. A. Cake, 1870; James H. McDevitt, August 5, 1873; Lewis 


Dewart, August 11, 1874; John J. Keimensnyder, March 14, 1876; Clinton 
K. Savidge, January 15, 1877; George B. Eeimensnyder, August 6, 1877 
E. W. Greenough, March 11, 1878; Charles M. Clement, March 11, 1878 
J. Nevin Hill, March 11, 1878; Martin L. Snyder, September 17, 1880 
Harold M. McClure, June 28, 1881; George H. Neff, June 28, 1881; Charles 
W. Eockefeller, May 15, 1884; William P. Hilbush, October 6, 1884; Walter 
Shipman, December 4, 1884; Charles B. Witmer, February 19, 1887; J. 
Howard Eockefeller, June 27, 1887; James C. Packer, September 5, 1887; 
William C. Parnsworth, September 5, 1887; Charles D. Gibson, September 

2, 1889; J. E. KaufEman, Jr., September 2, 1889; William J. Sanders, Sep- 
tember 3, 1890. 

Milton. — Charles W. Tharp, November 7, 1843; William C. Lawson, 
April 1, 1844; Frank Bound, 1853; P. L. Hackenberg, 1861; John McCleery, 
January 5, 1864; Edmund Davis; Thomas Swenk, Jr., March 14, 1876; 
William C. Miller, March 14, 1876; O. B. Nagle, March 13, 1877; Clarence 
G. Voris, October 3, 1877; Frank Chamberlin, December 15, 1880; W. H. 
Hackenberg, February 9, 1881 ; A. S. Hottenstein, June 28, 1881 ; Samuel 
T. Swartz, September 6, 1881. 

Shamokin.— U. F. John, August 4, 1863 ; W. H. M. Oram, August 7, 1865 ; 
Addison G. Marr, August, 1867; George W. Eyon, March 26, 1869; Samuel 
Heckert, March 11, 1874; Peter A. Mahon; August 10, 1874; William W. 
Eyon, March 11, 1878; John P. Helfenstein, July 14, 1883; J. W. Gillespie, 
July 12, 1886; J. Q. Adams, November 27, 1886; W. E. Zimmerman, No- 
vember 27, 1886; Clarence P. Huth, November 27, 1886; D. W. Shipman, 
April 14, 1890; W. H. Unger, September 2, 1890. 

Watsontown. — Andrev? J. Guffy, August 6, 1849; W. Field Shay, August 

3, 1875; Lorenzo Everett. 

Mt. Carmel. — W. B. Faust, June 8, 1877; Voris Auten, September 6, 
1881; L. S. Walter, September 2, 1889. 

Turbutville. — George W. Hower. 

Montandon. — Eobert M. Cummings, August 3, 1859. 

Eiverside. — H. M. Hinckley, August 4, 1875. 

Northumberland. — J. H. Vincent. 
Biographies of many of the present resident attorneys of the county are 
given in the biographical department of this work. 

In addition to those mentioned, the following attorneys have also resided 
in Northumberland county prior to their death or removal therefrom: John 
Barker, mentioned in Fithian's journal as a resident of Northumberland in 
1775; John W. Hunter, Sunbury, admitted, January, 1798; Charles Maus, 
Sunbury, April, 1800; Owen Foulk, Sunbury; William G. Forrest, Sunbury, 
November 25, 1801; Alem Marr, Milton, November 23, 1809; William Irwin, 
Sunbury, November 29, 1810; John S. Haines, Northumberland, August 
29, 1815; Eobert C. Hall, Sunbury, August 25, 1820; Charles A. Bradford, 


Sunbury, June 15, 1824; John B. Boyd, Northumberland, April 20, 1825; 
George W. Lathey, Northumberland, August 17, 1831; Eobert McGuigan, Mil- 
ton, November 10, 1837 ; Hopewell Cox, Northumberland, August 7, 1838 ; Will- 
iam J. Martin, Sunbury, August 3, 1841 ; George A. Prick, Northumberland, 
January 2, 1844; J. Woods Brown, Milton, April 7, 1851; James Cameron, 
Milton, August 4, 1851; James W. NaiUe, Sunbury, August 4, 1851; John 
Youngman, Sunbury, August 0, 1851; Horatio J. Wolverton, Sunbury, Jan- 
uary 6, 1852; Spencer M. Kase, Shamokin, January 2, 1854; William L. 
Scott, Shamokin; John Kay Clement, Sunbury; Paul Cornyn, Sunbury; A. 
Jordan Rockefeller, Sunbury, November 3, 1857; S. P. Malick, Sunbury, 
February 23, 1858; Harris Painter, Sunbury, April 4, 1860; LefEert H. 
Kase, Sunbury, March 7, 1865 ; Cornelius A. Reimensnyder, Sunbury, March 
19, 1867; James K. Davis, Jr., Sunbury, August 6, 1867; Thomas H. B. 
Kase, Sunbury, June 12, 1871; William C. Packer, Stmbury, November 5, 
1872; Jefferson M. John, Mt. Carmel, January 6, 1874; William P. With- 
ington, Shamokin, August 4, 1874; Marks B. Priestley, Northumberland, Jan- 
uary 2, 1877; E. H. Painter, Turbutville, December 4, 1882; E. Sherman 
Follmer, Watsontown, September 6, 1886. 


In 1806, " for the more convenient establishment of the Supreme court," 
the State was divided into two districts, the Eastern and the Western, North- 
umberland county being included in the former. The Middle district, com- 
posed of the counties of York, Adams, Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, 
Huntingdon, Mifflin, Northumberland, Luzerne, Lycoming, Centre, Clear- 
field, McKean, Potter, and Tioga as originally constituted, was erected by 
the act of April 10, 1807. By the terms of this act, the justices were 
required to hold one term annually at Sunbury for the Middle district, com- 
mencing on the first Monday in July and continuing two weeks if necessary; 
and it was made the duty of the prothonotaries of the Eastern and Western 
districts to make out a docket of causes entered from the territory embraced 
in the new district, such causes pending and undetermined after the 1st of 
May, 1808, to be removed thereto and continued in the same manner as if 
they had originated therein. The first session of the Supreme court for the 
Middle district of Pennsylvania was accordingly held at the court house on 
the public square in Sunbuiy on the first Monday in July, 1808, Chief Justice 
Tilghman presiding. 

The Northern district, to which the counties of Northumberland, Luzerne, 
Lycoming, Bradford, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Susquehanna, Columbia, and 
Union were originally assigned, was erected by the act of April 14, 1834. 
Sunbury continued to be the place at which the sessions of the court were 
held, but the composition of the district frequently changed, at first by the 
addition of new territory but latterly by the transfer of one coimty after 


another to other districts, until only Northumberland, Montour, and Colum- 
bia remained in the Northern. The justices were strongly in favor of hold- 
ing the sessions of the court at Philadelphia for the whole State, but meas- 
ures with that object in view, although frequently introduced in the 
legislature, were invariably defeated by the combined opposition of the 
western and middle counties. The influence of the justices was not entirely 
unavailing, however, as is shown by the gradual dismemberment of the 
Northern district and the acquiescence with which attorneys and litigants 
usually permitted an adjournment of their causes to Philadelphia or Harris- 
burg at the suggestion of the court. Finally, at the term for 1863, all the 
causes were adjourned to other points, with the concurrence of counsel; and, 
while it is not probable that this was deliberately planned by the justices as 
a final adjournment of the court for the Northern district, such it ultimately 
proved. This action of the court received legislative confirmation in the act 
of May 5, 1871, providing that " causes from said Northern district shall be 
heard at such time and place as the judges of the Supreme court may assign." 
Under this arrangement the district continued to sustain a nominal existence 
for some years. By a subsequent extension of its discretionary powers, the 
court was authorized to designate the district from which writs should issue 
for the different counties, and by virtue of this power the counties of the 
Northern district were transferred to the Eastern, thus abolishing the former 
in every essential respect. 

The chief justices who presided over the sessions of the Supreme court at 
Sunbury were William Tilghman, John Bannister Gibson, Jeremiah S. 
Black, Ellis Lewis, and Walter H. Lowrie. Among the prothonotaries were 
George A. Prick, commissioned, October 6, 1812; John L. Finney, commis- 
sioned, January 11, 1813; Alexander Jordan, commissioned, December 22, 
1826, January 25, 1830, and January 21, 1833; Charles Pleasants, who was 
commissioned on the 2d of February, 1836, and held the office many years, 
and J. A. J. Cummings, the last incumbent, who was appointed in 1865. 
Many cases involving important legal principles were here tried and deter- 
mined; distinguished lawyers from all parts of the State attended the sessions, 
which thus became occasions of far more than local interest and importance. 




List of Stjnbuey Physicians, by De. R. H. Aavl— Biogh-4phical Sketches op Physi- 
cians Throughout the County— Medical Societibs — Roster op the Medicai. 

THE following is a list of Simbury physicians, furnished by Dr. E. H. 
Awl and arranged as nearly as possible in the order in which they began 
to practice in this community: WiUiam Plunket, Francis Allison, James 
Davidson, Solompn Markley, Joseph Thomson, Peter Kraut, William West- 
hoven, John Philip Jacob Becker, C. H. Bailey, Isaac Cushman, George 
Slough, John Y. Kennedy, Peter Grahl, "William T. Morris, John B. Price, 
William A. Eobins, Joseph Eobins, Edmund O'Neill, Bonham E. Gearhart, 
James Teas, Doctor Eobinson, M. A. Eodrigue, John W. Peale, Doctor John- 
son, David T. Trites, Landis Price, Eobert H. Awl, Jacob B. Masser, D. W. 
Shindel, George B. Weiser, Charles Weiser, Doctor Hughes, Doctor Dodge, 
Doctor Arthur, Doctor Sechler, Doctor Cameron, Hiram Long, John G. 
Markle, Joseph Eyster, John S. Angle, John Updegraff, John F. Caslow, A. 
C. Wheat, H. M. Essick, William P. Smith, F. L. Haupt, A. C. Clark, H. H. 
Malick, A. K. Savidge, W. W. Moody, Charles M. Martin, G. W. Furey, F. 
B. Masser, Albert S. Cummings, P. H. Eenn, D. E. Lenker, F. B. Eichtstine, 
F. E. Drum heller, Elijah Orser, and Doctor Walters. Much of the informa- 
tion embodied in the following sketches of Sunbury physicians has also been 
obtained, directly or indirectly, through Doctor Awl. 

WiUiam Plunket, the first resident doctor of Northumberland county,* 
was a native of Ireland. In personal appearance he is described as a man 
of large stature, great muscular development, and powerful strength, while 
an imperious disposition was among his distinguishing mental traits. This 
is attested by several occurrences in his career which yet retain a place in 
the traditions of this locality. On one occasion, with several boon compan- 
ions, he was engaged in some hilarious proceedings at an Irish inn; the 
adjoining room was occupied by an English nobleman, who had a curious 
and valuable watch, which he sent to Plunket with a wager that he could 
not tell the time by it; that gentleman coolly put it in his pocket, and sent a 

* This statement Is, perhaps, susceptible of some modllicatlon. as Doctors John Morgan, John 
Bond, and Thomas Wiggins were successively stationed at Fort Augusta as surgeons to the garrison. 
Plunket was an officer in the Augusta regiment and prohahly arrived at Shamokin as early as Doctor 
Morgan, although it does not appear that he was employed in a professional capacity. 


message to the Englishman to the effect that he should call upon him in 
person if he wished to know the time. This he never did, evidently out of 
respect to Plunket's well known physicial prowess, and the latter, it is said, 
retained the watch to the end of his life. At a later date he became involved 
in an assault upon an English officer, in which the latter sustained severe 
bodily injuries; although disguised, Plunket was recognized by his stature, 
and, in imminent danger of arrest, was smuggled on board a vessel in a bar- 
rel or hogshead. Thus he came to America, and located at Carlisle, Cum- 
berland county, Pennsylvania, then the western limit of civilization. There 
he resided during the French and Indian war, in which he served as lieuten- 
ant and surgeon, receiving for his services a grant of several hundred acres 
on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, to which he gave the name of 
" Soldier's Ketreat;" it was situated along the river above Chillisquaque creek; 
he was residing thereon as early as 1772, as evidenced by the fact that his 
improvements are mentioned in the return of a road in that year. He was 
commissioned a justice for Northumberland county on the 24th of March, 
1772, and officiated as presiding justice throughout the colonial period. In 
January, 1775, he was a representative from Northumberland county in the 
Provincial Convention at Philadelphia, and in December of that year he led 
an expedition to Wyoming. During the struggle for American independ- 
ence he remained neutral (through fear of forfeiting his title to Irish estates, 
it is said), and does not thereafter appear in the public affairs of the coimty. 

While a resident of Carlisle Doctor Plunket married Esther, daughter of 
John Harris, of Harris's Ferry, father of John Harris, the founder of Harris- 
burg. They were the parents of four daughters, of whom Elizabeth, bom in 
1755, married Samuel Maclay, associate judge of Northumberland cougity and 
United States Senator; Isabella, born in 1760, married William Bell, of 
Elizabeth town. New Jersey; Margaret, who became the wife of Isaac Rich- 
ardson, removed to Wayne county, New York; and Esther, who married 
Colonel Robert Baxter, a British officer, died about a year after marriage. 
The Doctor resided for some years in the Maclay house at Sunbury, where, 
after the death of his wife, Betty Wiley was his housekeeper. His office, 
subsequently occupied by E. Greenough and David Rockefeller, occupied the 
site of E. W. Greenough's residence on Front street, Sunbury. He became 
totally blind in the later years of his life, when a rope was stretched from 
his residence to his office so that he could still go back and forth without aid. 
As shown by his will, which is dated, January 3, 1791, and proved, May 25, 
1791, he died in the spring of that year, and is buried in an unmarked grave 
in the Sunbury cemetery. Dr. R. H. Awl is in possession of one of his med- 
ical works, " Synopsis Medicinae, or a Summary View of the whole Practice 
of Physick," by John Allen, M. D., F. E. S,, printed at London in 1749. 

Solomon Markloy was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he obtained 
a limited literary education and read medicine with Doctor Luther. His 


further professional studies were pursued at Philadelphia, and his practice was 
begun at Sunbury, where he resided at the brick house on Front street now 
occupied by Miss Kate Black; as early as 1795 he started a drug store in the 
hallway of this building. In 1801 he was appointed county commissioner to 
fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Abraham MoKinney; he was 
elected to this office in 180'2, and served'three years. He remained at Sun- 
buiy until his death, January 1, 1813, in the forty-third year of his age, and 
is buried in the old Northumberland cemetery. Doctor Markley married 
Margaret Hinderliter, of Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, and they were the 
parents of six children. 

John Philip Jacob Becker was born at Bornich, (Eheinfels), Germany. 
By the financial assistance of his oldest brother he was enabled to obtain a 
thorough medical education, and after completing his professional prepara- 
tion he entered the German army as field surgeon under General Munchau- 
sen, from whom he received an honorable discharge at the expiration of 
seven years and six months' continuous service. Subsequently he sailed for 
America, landing at Brooklyn, New York, in 1783. He practiced at Allen- 
town, Lehigh county, and Kutztown, Berks county, Pennsylvania, until May, 
1807, when he removed to Upper Augusta township, Northumberland coun- 
ty, and located on the farm now (1890) occupied by Alfred Beckley, two 
miles east of Sunbury. Here he resumed the practice of his profession, 
and is remembered as a successful physician, widely known and well liked. 
He died on the 80th of April, 1813, at the age of sixty-four years, and was 
buried with Masonic honors in the old Sunbury cemetery. He married 
Elizabeth Dimmick of the vicinity of Philadelphia in 1795 and they were 
the parents of eight children, three sons and five daughters; two of the latter 
stiU survive: Mrs. Harriet Martin, one of the oldest residents of Sunbury, 
and Miss Louisa Becker, of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. 

0. H. Bailey was a Virginian by birth, highly educated and considered 
a first-class physician. He located at Sunbury early in his professional 
career, but the length of his stay is not known. Thence he removed succes- 
sively to Troy, Lincoln coimty, Missouri, and Smithland, Kentucky, after 
which he entered the United States Army as surgeon, and was stationed at 
Pensacola, Florida, in 1852 ; nothing is known regarding his personal his- 
tory after that date. 

John Kennedy was bom at Northumberland, Pennsylvania, and practiced 
at Sunbury until 1828, when he removed to Shelbyville, Shelby county, 
Indiana, where he resided the remainder of his life. 

William Thomas Morris practiced at Sunbury many years. He had 
previously served as surgeon in the United States Navy, and was a physi- 
cian of experience and ability. Doctor Morris was born at Frederick, Mary- 
land, January 8, 1783, and died at that place in December, 1834. He mar- 
ried Mary, daughter of Thomas and Deborah Grant, of Sunbury; she died 


on the 2d of April, 1842, leaving two children: Ann C, who was born at 
Sunbury, January 14, 1810, married Albert G. Bradford, of Elmira, New 
York, and died at Philadelphia, September 24, 1886; and Dr. Thomas G., 
who was born on the 11th of January, 1818, practiced medicine at Liver- 
pool, Perry county, Pennsylvania, many years, and died at that place, March 
28, 1887. As Doctor Morris's marriage occurred at Sunbury on the 27th of 
November, 1807, it is evident that his practice began at that place early in 
the present century. 

John Beatty Price was born in Hunterdon county. New Jersey, in 1801, 
and died in 1843. He was educated at Princeton College, read medicine 
with Doctor Johnston at Whitehouse, New Jersey, and began practice at 
Pepack, a small village in his native county, having attended a course of 
lectures at the University of Pennsylvania and obtained a diploma from the 
New Jersey board of medical examiners. In 1824 he removed to Sunbury, 
where he was in active practice until his death. Doctor Price married Re- 
becca, daughter of Reuben Guild, who was murdered near Bellefonte, Penn- 
sylvania, and was the father of five children, one of whom is Nathan Leander 
Price, M. D., of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania. 

William Robins was born at Sunbury in 1804, eldest son of Aaron and 
Rebecca (Richardson) Robins, and received an academic education at North- 
umberland under Robert Cooper Grier. At the age of eighteen years he 
began the study of medicine with Dr. John Kennedy, and subsequently 
attended the University of Pennsylvania. He began practice at Sunbury 
shortly after attaining his majority, and continued in successful practice at 
that place eighteen years. The remainder of his life was passed at Miners- 
ville, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, where he died in December, 1863. 
Doctor Robins was three times married, and was the father of seven children. 

Bonham R. Gearhart was born in Rush township, Northumberland 
county, Pennsylvania, March 18, 1811, son of George and Achsah (Runyan) 
Gearhart. He was educated at an academy at Danville, read medicine with 
Dr. Harmon Gearhart, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, graduated from Jeffer- 
son Medical College in 1834, and began practice at Sunbury immediately 
thereafter, remaining two years. After this he was successively located at 
several points in Montour and Columbia counties, and was at Turbutville, 
Northumberland county, from 1839 to 1844, when he removed to Danville; 
there he was a leading physician until his death. May 9, 1855. His widow 
and six sons survive him and reside at Danville. 

David Tranor Trites was born in Ridley township, Delaware county, 
Pennsylvania, March 8, 1812. In his early manhood he taught school at 
Sunbury, where he began the study of medicine with Dr. J. W. Peale in 
1839, graduating from Jefferson Medical College in 1842. He returned to 
Sunbury and began the practice of his profession, but remained only a few 
years. Subsequently he was located at Georgetown, Northumberland county, 


Pennsylvania, Chesapeake City, Cecil county, Maryland, Surrey county, Vir- 
ginia, Philadelphia, and Manayunk, Pennsylvania, dying at the latter place 
in 1887. Two children survived him, one of whom was the late W. B. Trites, 
M. D., of Manayunk. 

Eobert Harris Awl was born in Augusta township, Northumberland 
county, Pennsylvania, December 27, 1819, son of Samuel and Mary (Maclay) 
Awl. He was educated at the common schools, read medicine with Dr. J. 
W. Peale, graduated from Pennsylvania Medical College in 1842, and imme- 
diately entered upon the practice of his profession. He was located at Gratz- 
town and Halifax, Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, until 1845, when he re- 
moved to Columbus, Ohio; there he was soon afterward appointed assistant 
physician to the State lunatic asylum and retained that position three years, 
resigning on account of ill health. He located at Sunbury in 1849, and con- 
tinued in the steady enjoyment of a lucrative practice until his retirement 
from the active duties of the profession. Between 1855 and 1888 inclusive 
he was for fourteen years the regular physician to the Northumberland 
county prison. 

Jacob B. Masser was born at Sunbury, July 17, 1820, son of Henry Mas- 
ser. He obtained his literary education under private tuition, graduated 
from Jefferson Medical CoUege in 1841, and at once began practice at Sun- 
bury, where he was one of its most prominent and worthy physicians until 
his death, September 10, 1876. 

George B. Weiser was bom at Sunbury in 1820, a son of Judge George 
Weiser and a descendant of Conrad Weiser, the famous Indian agent and 
interpreter. He read medicine with Dr. William H. Magill, of Danville, and 
graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1842 with high honors. He 
practiced at Spring Mills, Georgetown, Selinsgrove, Sunbury, and Millers- 
burg, Pennsylvania, successively, and died at Millersburg on the 7th of Octo- 
ber, 1887. 

Several doctors are mentioned in Fithian's journal of 1775. At Warrior 
run was " Doctor Sprigg, a gentleman in the practice who is settling in this 
neighborhood," and at Northumberland he met Doctors Kearsley and Fran- 
cis Allison. The latter was subsequently surgeon to the Twelfth Pennsylva- 
nia regiment. 

Benjamin F. Young was one of the first physicians at Northumberland 
after the Eevolution. He resided there as early as 1794, and died on the 
23d of March, 1803, in the thirty-fourth year of his age. "In life universally 
beloved — in death universally lamented. The suavity of his teinper, the 
urbanity of his manners, the perfection of his professional skill, and the liber- 
ality of his professional assistance have insured to him (what few can aspire 
to) the lasting regret of aU who knew him." — Kennedy's Gazette. 

Dr. William Kent Lathey probably succeeded Young, or may have been 
contemporaneous with him. He died on the 28th of July, 1809, and is bur- 


ied in the old Presbyterian cemetery; the inscription on his tombstone states 
that he was born at Exeter, England, January 29, 1772. 

Samuel Jackson and M. Aristide Eodrigue were among the leading phy- 
sicians at a later date. Doctor Jackson built the brick house at the north- 
west corner of Market square now owned by Henry L. Cake; he afterward 
removed to Philadelphia, where he became prominent in the profession. 
Doctor Rodrigue resided in a brick house on North Way between Queen and 
Market; on the 4th of February, 1835, he married Ann Caroline, daughter 
of Hugh Bellas, and afterward located for a time at Sunbury. 

Joseph Priestley was born in Point township, Northumberland county, 
Pennsylvania, September 22, 1819; he was a great-grandson of the Rev. 
Joseph Priestley, the eminent philosopher and theologian. After receiving 
suitable preparatory education under the Rev. David Kirkpatrick at Milton, 
he read medicine with Dr. James Dougal of that place and entered the med- 
ical department of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating from that 
institution in March, 1844. He imanediately located at Northumberland, where 
he continued in active practice until his death, March 10, 1883. He served as 
president of the county medical society, and was a member of the State and 
national medical associations. In politics he was an ardent Republican from 
the organization of that party until his death. In the community where his 
professional work of nearly forty years was done he was universally respected 
and beloved. 

James Teas was a son of Samuel Teas, a prominent resident of Milton. 
He married Jane, daughter of Ellis Walton, the second prothonotary of Lyco- 
ming county; she was a niece of Justice Charles Huston, of the Supreme court 
of Pennsylvania. Doctor Teas was in active practice at Northumberland at the 
time of his death. 

William S. Bright was born at Sunbury in 1812, son of Jacob Bright, and 
read medicine with Doctor Rush, of Philadelphia, graduating from Jefferson 
Medical College in 1842. He began the practice of medicine at Northumber- 
land, where he remained until 1849; he was then successively located at Phila- 
delphia, at Jackson, Mississippi, at New Orleans, and at Galveston, Texas, 
where he died, August 2, 1890. 

James Faulkner, the first resident physician at Milton, was from New Jer- 
sey. He began his practice at Milton in 1794, and, it is. said, afterward 
removed to Erie, Pennsylvania. 

James Dougal, the first physician who located permanently at Milton, was 
born at Londonderry, Ireland, June 4, 1769. He first came to America to look 
after the landed interests of his father in Pennsylvania, but his ship was 
wrecked on the coast of New Jersey, and after spending some time as tutor in 
a private family, he returned to Ireland. His literary and professional educa- 
tion was obtained at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; he began the 
practice of medicine at Coxtown, Ireland, but became prominent in the patriotic 


uprising of 1798 under Robert Emmet, the leader of the United Irishmen, and 
again came to America, locating at Milton, where he built the substantial stone 
residence at the corner of Front and Mahoning streets in 1803. His practice 
extended over a large part of the territory now embraced in Northumberland, 
Montour, Columbia, Lycoming, Union, and Clinton counties. He died on the 
18th of July, 1818, from injuries sustained by a fall from his horse. 

James S. Dougal was born at Coxtown, Ireland, October 7, 1794, son 
of James Dougal. He was educated at the schools of Milton and under 
the private tuition of the Rev. Thomas Hood, read medicine with his father, 
and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1817. He at once 
located at Milton, where he succeeded to the extensive practice of his father, 
and continued in the active discharge of professional duties until his death. 
May 23, 1878. Two sons, James S. and Charles H, also became doctors; 
the former died at Milton, February 20, 1847, and the latter is now a lead- 
ing physician of that borough. 

William McCleery was born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, July 31, 
1803. He was educated at Washington CoUege, Washington, Pennsylvania, 
and at Jefferson Medical CoUege, Philadelphia, graduating from the latter 
in 1827. His preceptor was Dr. James S. Dougal, of Milton, with whom 
he was associated several years after graduation. He continued in active 
and successful practice until his retirement in 1857, and died on the 4th of 
December, 1867. His son. Dr. J. P. McCleery, is one of the leading physi- 
cians of Milton. 

John Meekly was bom in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, March 16, 1807. 
He received the degree of M. D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and 
about the year 1835 located at Milton, where he was in continuous practice 
until his death, April 3, 1871. 

Da^ad Waldron was bom in Turbut . township, Northumberland county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1820. He ranked high in his profession and enjoyed a 
large practice, although somewhat erratic. He was a Democrat in politics, 
and served as sheriff from 1860 to 1863. He resided at Milton from the 
commencement of his practice until within a few years of his death, and died 
in Turbut township, April 22, 1885. 

U. Q. Davis was bom at Limestoneville, Montour county, Pennsylvania, 
July 16, 1821, read medicine with Doctor .Ludwig of that place, and grad- 
uated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1848. His practice was begun 
at Lewisburg, Union county, Pennsylvania, whence, in 1856, he removed to 
Milton, where he resided until his death, October 5, 1887. During the civil 
war he served as surgeon to the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania 
Volunteers. His son, Sidney Davis, has succeeded to the practice of his 

Tobias Piper was born near Philadelphia and located in Lewis township 
in 1820. He resided at Turbutville and upon a farm in the vicinity until 


1856, when lie located at McBwensville, and continued the practice of his 
profession until his retirement in 1867. His death occurred on the 20th of 
February, 1873. 

Joseph C. Eobins, the first physician to locate permanently at Elysburg, 
was born at Sunbury, Pennsylvania, June 1, 1806. He attended the common 
schools of his native town and the academy at Northumberland, then in 
charge of Eobert C. Grier, read medicine with his brother, Dr. William 
Eobins, of Sunbury, and completed his professional studies at the University 
of Pennsylvania. In 1828 he began the practice of medicine at Sunbury, 
whence he removed to Elysburg in the following year, and was actively 
engaged in professional work at that place forty-two years. His practice 
extended over the entire eastern part of Northumberland county and into the 
adjoining portions of Montour, Columbia, and Schuylkill Three of his sons 
became physicians: Galen S., who practiced at Elysburg one year and at 
Shamokin four years, dying in 1856 at the age of twenty-six; Edwin S., 
who read medicine with his father, graduated from Jefferson Medical College 
in 1854, and has been in continuous practice at Shamokin longer than any 
other of its present physicians; and Lorenzo D., who began practice with his 
father at Elysburg, served as surgeon during the civil war, returned to Elys- 
burg at its close, and resided there until his death in 1875. The senior Doc- 
tor Eobins is still living at an advanced age, and is the last survivor of the 
profession in Northumberland comity at the time his practice began. 

Eobert Phillips was the first doctor at Shamokin. He resided " at the 
Gap " about the time the town was laid out, but was employed in a business 
rather than a professional capacity. Nothing has been learned regarding 
his personal history. 

John K. Eobins, the first resident physician at Shamokin after that place 
had assumed the proportions of a village, was born at Sunbury, Pennsyl- 
vania, April 14, 1820. At the age of twenty years he began the study of 
medicine, graduating from Jefferson Medical College in 1842, and in April 
of the same year began his professional career at Shamokin; there he re- 
mained nearly four years, removing to Catawissa, Columbia county, Penn- 
sylvania, in January, 1846. There he has since resided, and is one of the 
oldest physicians of his adopted county. 

Galen S. Eobins was born on the 4th of October, 1830, son of Dr. 
Joseph C. Eobins. He read medicine with his father, attended the Pennsyl- 
vania College of Medicine and graduated from that institution, practiced at 
Elysburg one year, and located at Shamokin in 1852. Here he was in active 
and successful practice until his death, October 9, 1856. Dr. J. J. John 
was associated with him in practice for a time, and afterward Dr. E. S. Eob- 
ins, his brother, who is now the senior member of the profession at Shamokin. 



Pursuant to a call, a number of the physicians of Northumberland 
county, met in Sunbury, July 10, 1869, for the purpose of forming a medical 
association. A temporary organization was effected by the election of Dr. 
Joseph Priestley, of Northumberland, president, and Dr. John S. Angle, of 
Sunbury, secretary. After the object of the meeting had been fully stated 
and discussed. Dr. D. W. Shindel, of Sunbury, moved the appointment of a 
committee for the purpose of drafting a constitution and by-laws, which reso- 
lution was ixnanimously adopted. The committee was constituted as follows : 
Dr. D. W. Shindel, chairman; Dr. J. B. Newbaker, of Trevorton; Dr. J. P. 
McCleery, of Milton; Doctor McCay, of Northumberland; Doctors Eobins 
and Weaver, of Shamokin; Doctor Hunter, of Watsontown; Dr. W. W. Eob- 
ins, of Hickory Corners; Doctors Haupt and Angle, of Sunbury; and on 
■ motion Doctor Priestley was added to this number. The committee was re- 
quested to meet at Sunbury on the first Monday in August, and to appoint a 
time for the next meeting of the association. After an interchange of pro- 
fessional views and experiences, formal and informal, the meeting adjourned. 
How long this association existed has not been ascertained. 

The Northumberland County Medical Society was organized at North- 
umberland, April 18, 1876, with Joseph Priestley, president; U. Q. Davis 
and Jacob Ehoads, vice-presidents ; J. J. Leiser, recording secretary; E. H. 
Horner, corresponding secretary; F. L. Haupt, treasurer, and a board of 
censors composed of Doctors Eobins, Newbaker, Priestley, Miles, and Life. 
The society sustained an intermittent existence of about five years. It was 
reorganized at Milton, July 12, 1886, with A. S. Cummings, president; J. Hun- 
ter Miles, secretary; Hiram Long and E. H. Horner, vice-presidents; P. L. 
Haupt, J. W. Sheetz, and G. W. Purey, censors, but again disbanded after 
some two years of active existence. 

The Sunbury Medical Association was organized, October 18, 1888, 
with Hiram Long, president, P. H. Eenn, secretary, and A. 0. Clark, treas- 
urer. Doctors at Sunbury and Northumberland are included in its member- 

The Northumberland County Medical Society was organized at the court 
house in Sunbury on the 2d of December, 1890, with the following officers : 
President, C. W. Weaver, of Shamokin; vice-president, Charles M. Martin, 
of Sunbury; recording secretary, G. W. Purey, of Sunbury; corresponding 
secretary, J. M. Maurer, of Shamokin; treasurer, E. H. Horner, of Turbut- 
ville; censors: Hiram Long, of Sunbury, P. L. Haupt, of Sunbury, and E. 
A. Kennedy, of Shamokin, elected for one, two, and three years, respectively. 


The following is a list of physicians who registered in the ofiice of the 
prothonotary of Northumberland county in compliance with the law from 


June, 1881, to February, 1891 (the names are given in the order of registra- 
tation) : George W. Furey, William P. Smith, Joseph Eyster, John H. Har- 
ley, Alfred C. Clark, Elijah F. Orser, Jacob Eitter, Frederick L. Haupt, 
John F. McClure, Henry Life, Joseph Priestley, Edwin S. Eobins, Charles 
W. Weaver, Robert A. Kennedy, Hiram Long, Frank B. Masser, Frank A. 
Clark, Oscar M. Robins, William W. Moody, Samuel G. Mengle, Henry M. 
Emerick, Charles M. Martin, Philip H. Renn, Rufus Thayer, Jacob S. Hol- 
lenback, Albert S. Cummings, Frank B. Richtstine, Albert D. Thomas, Will- 
iam B. Stoner, Walter Van Fleet, Richard L. Wright, Marcus H. Harpel, 
George W. Winterstein, Shepherd L. Van Valzah, Robert H. Awl, Ralph W. 
Montelius, Edmund W. Samuel, William J. Haas, Daniel W. Shindel, John 

F. Bigler, Howard M. Essiok, John W. Bealor, David S. HoUenback, John 

B. Newbaker, Joseph Hunter, Benjamin L. Kerchner, Nathaniel C. Purdy, 
Abraham T. Dewitt, Charles Schneider, Reuben H. Muth, Henry M. Raker, . 
John H. Heinsling, Uriah Q. Davis, Joseph Haas, George Treon, Nathaniel 

C. Giddings, John A. Elliott, Charles H. Dougal, James P. McCleery, 
James A. Osborn, John Walsh, Sanderson Lazarus, Thomas J. Ritter, J. 
Hunter Miles, Hiram H. Malick, Horace W. Burg, Thomas R. Hull, David 
P. Engle, William T. Williams, Richard R. Breisch, Andrew Tenbrook, 
Edward H. Horner, Edwin M. Emerick, Samuel F. Gilbert, William G. 
Marsh, Jacob Rhoads, James A. Hoffman, John S. Folhner, Horatio T. Seas- 
holtz, David G. Schive, Isaac Huff, Henry B. Woodside, James F. Adams, 
Rufus Thayer, Frederick D. Raker, Jeremiah K. Bowers, John W. Fritz, 
Daniel H. Dornsife, Joel Whary, Irvin Seitz, Henry P. Lorman, William H. 
Follmer, Nelson M. Smith, David J. Reese, Daniel McDonnell, John R. 
Duffield, Joseph E. Robins, Frank W. Johnson, Albert RusseU, Annis H. 
Crawford, Lewis Wolverton, B. P. Backus, Samuel L. Schreiber, Henry J. 
Smith, William M. Robins, James L. Lowrie, Michael B. Garman, John 
W. Sheets, Monroe D. Lehr, Evan J. Longshore, Joel G. Ressler, 
Charles H. Lane, Wladyslauw Dangielawicz, Fuller S. Derr, Kimber C. 
Mc Williams, Sherman E. Ayars, Jacob S. Krebs, Jacob K. Bricker, James 
M. Peebles, Robert G. Van Valzah, Peter N. K. Schwenk, Simon Hub- 
ler, Joseph L. Bauer, William J. McDowell, Peter S. Wykoff, David T. 
Krebs, Philip E. Palm, Frederick M. Strouse, William Darman, Edwin 
Heiser, Oscar L. Mufifiy, Francis E. Drumheller, Joseph B. Morris, Tobias 
Campbell, E. H. S. Hutchinson, Hugh G. Turley, George W. Dreher, Lewis 
W. Hensyl, Robert H. Blakslee, Mary A. McCay, Benjamin F. Bartho, Henry 
R. Hummel, James M. Maurer, Samuel A. Gibson, Robert A. Simpson, 
Abraham K. Ackerman, William H. Purman, George W. McNamara, Joseph 

G. Church, Charles M. Blakeslee, Augustus A. Bancroft, Marks P. Hine 
William S. Ruch, George W. Harpel, John S. Mengel, Charles D. Shum- 
way, Calvin L. Johnstonbaugh, Sidney Davis, Tolbert W. Blakeslee, Martin 
L. Emrick, Wilson S. Groninger, Alfred G. Shissler, David D. Davis, Will- 



iam H. Lewis, Henry S. George, David H. Coover, John N. Lenker, John J. 
Keller, Emanuel A. Alleman, William D. Karterman, J. 0. Eeifsnyder. 

In this chapter biographical mention has been appropriately made of 
those physicians only whom death, retirement, or other circumstance has 
removed from the active duties of the profession. Sketches of many of the 
present doctors of the county appear in the biographical department of this 



Journalism at Noethu>ibbkland — Sunbukt Papers — The Press op Milton — 
Shamokin Newspapers — Journals op Mt. Carmel — McEwbnsville and 
Locust Gap Papers. 

THE newspapers of Philadelphia were the first to circulate in central 
Pennsylvania; and, although a score of years elapsed after the organ- 
ization of Northumberland county before a paper was published within its 
limits, this first journalistic effort was one of the earliest in the interior of 
the State. Nearly a century has since passed away, and during this period 
the public press has been an important agency in the social, political, and 
material development of the county. 

journalism at noethumbeeland. 

The Sunbury and Northumberland Gazette, the pioneer newspaper of 
Northumberland county, was established in 1792 by Andrew Kennedy. The 
earliest issue examined by the writer is that of Wednesday, October 9, 1793, 
(Volume II, No. 71). This number is a three-column folio, eighteen inches 
long and eleven inches wide ; the contents consist principally of foreign news, 
including advices from London, Brussels, Turin, Florence, and Metz, and 
intelligence from New England and the South. Editorials and local matter 
are confined to a column, the only item of special interest being an accoiuit 
of a " fiery ball " which appeared in the heavens to the west of Northumber- 
land on the night of September 22, 1792. The publisher of the Gazette in 
1801 was John Schusler; at that date it was a four-column paper, several 
inches longer and wider than in 1793, and was printed " at the moderate 
price of two dollars per annum." Andrew Kennedy resumed control of the 
establishment on the 20th of June, 1801, and about that time the title became 
"Kennedy's Sunbury and Northumberland Gazette." The publishers in 
1805 were Andrew and James Kennedy; James was the nephew of Andrew, 


but the length of time they continued in partnership is not known. In 1813 
the paper, of which the full title was " The Sunbury and Northumberland 
Gazette and Republican Advertiser" was published by Andrew Kennedy and 
G. Sweney, as evidenced by the issue of Tuesday, February 9, 1813 (Volume 
XXI, No. 30), a folio seventeen and one half inches long and eleven inches 
wide. The office of publication in 1793 is described as " opposite Messrs. 
Hepburn & Cowden's store, Northumberland-Town;" in the issue of June 
26, 1802, it is given for the first time as " Franklin's Head, Queen street," 
but whether this implies a change in the location can not be definitely ascer- 
tained. Local tradition asserts that Kennedy resided at a frame house still 
standing on Duke street near its intersection with Front in the borough of 
Northumberland, and that the Gazette was conducted at the comer of Front 
and Queen in the building now occupied by Wenck's pharmacy. A notice in 
the issue of April 30, 1794, requesting delinquent subscribers to make pay- 
ment, states that the second year of the Gazette would close on the 28th of 
May, 1794, from which it is evident that the paper was established, May 28, 
1792. The date of its final discontinuance can not be so satisfactorily deter- 
mined. Kennedy was an ardent Federalist, and was obliged to suspend 
temporarily during the war of 1812; but he was engaged in the printing 
business at Northumberland as late as 1816, when Simon Cameron was in- 
dentured to him as an apprentice. The original article is in the possession 
of John B. Packer, of Sunbury, and reads as follows: — 

This indenture witnesseth that Simon Cameron, the son of Charles Cameron, de- 
ceased, of Pennsylvania, (by and with the advice and consent of his guardian, Colin 
Cameron, testified by his signing as a witness hereto,) hath bound and put himself, and 
by these presents doth bind and put himself, apprentice to Andrew Kennedy, printer, 
of the town of Northumberland, after the manner of an apprentice, to dwell with and 
serve the said Andrew Kennedy, his executors, administrators, and assigns, from the 
day of the date hereof, for and during and until the full end and term of three years 
and ten months thence next ensuing, and fully to be complete and ended; during all 
which term the said apprentice his said master faithfully shall serve, and that honestly 
and obediently in all things, as a dutiful apprentice ought to do : and the said Andrew 
Kennedy, his executors, administrators, or assigns, shall teach, or cause to be tavight 
and instructed, the said apprentice in the art, trade, and mystery of a printer; and shall 
find and provide for the said apprentice sufficient meat, drink, washing, and lodging 
during the said term; and at the expiration of every year shall and will give his said 
apprentice twenty dollars to provide said apprentice witli clothing. 

Si.MON Cameron, Seal. 
Colin Camekon, 
Andrew Kennedy, Seal. 

Bound before me, one of the justices for the county of Korthum.{)erland. 
May 14, 1816. Jkq. LBiGnou. 


Republican Argus was the title of the second paper at Northumberland. 
It was founded by. John Binns, who was born at Dublin, Ireland, December 
22, 1772, and, after experiencing confinement in the Tower of London, came 
to America to escape further undesirable consequences of his connection 
with political disturbances. In his autobiography (pp. 176-177) he gives 
the following interesting account of the inception of the Argus: — 

On the 4th of July, 1802, a number of the inhabitants of Northumberland agreed 
to dine together in the large room over the market house. At the request of a com- 
mittee of that company I agreed to deliver, and did deliver, an oration. That was the 
first time I addressed a public meeting in the United States. The room was crowded, 
and I had the gratification to hear the discourse favorably spoken of by many whose 
good opinion was valued and valuable. The only newspaper at that time published in 
the county of Northumberland was called the Northumberland Gazette; of that paper 
Mr. Andrew Kennedy was the proprietor and publisher. At his request I wrote occa- 
sional articles for it. Political parties were then and long after known as Republicans 
and Federalists. The politics of the Gazette were those of the Federal party, of which 
party there were many bitter partisans in the towns of Sunbury and Northumberland 
and throughout the country. He (Mr. ICennedy) called on me, and said that if I would 
occasionally write for his paper my contributions should be published without any 
alteration. I did as he requested; and on this same 4th of July, 1803, a long and 
what I thought an appropriate address for the birthday of Independence was written 
by me and published in the Gazette. In the next week's Gazette were published some 
angry animadversions on my article, to which, in the next Gazette, I made answer. 
This controversy continued for some weeks, when the editor of the Gazette told me 
that what I had written had given offense to his political friends, and that he could not 
publish any more of my writings on politics. I thought this unfair and unjust, and 
soon after issued proposals to print in Northumberland a weekly paper under the title 
of the Sepublican Argus with the motto, "Equal and exact justice to all men of what- 
ever sect or persuasion, religious or political." The proposals were circulated and the 
establishment of the paper advocated by the most influential Republicans in the 
county. The subscription and general patronage extended to the Argus were beyond 
my expectation. I soon got types and printing material, and issued the first number 
of the paper early in 1803.* In a short time I acquired the confidence of the Repub- 
lican party, not only of Northumberland, but of the neighboring counties. 

Binns also states in his autobiography that the paper upon which the 
Argus was printed was obtained at Beaver Dam, Pennsylvania, and in order- 
ing his supplies he was obliged to make a journey of sixty miles. In 1807 
he removed to Philadelphia, and on the 27th of March in that year estab- 
lished The Democratic Press, for many years the leading organ of its party 
in the city and State. The word "Democratic" as applied to a political party 
first appeared in the title of this paper, and it has been claimed with some 
plausibility that one of the great political organizations of the nation received 
its name in this manner. In 1822 Binns was appointed an alderman of Phil- 
adelphia by Governor Hiester, and was the incumbent of this position some 
years. He wrote a book popularly known as "Binn's Justice," widely used 

♦This date Is not strictly accurate, as the first Issue of the Argus appeared on the IBth of Deoem- 
her, 1802. This part of Blnns's autobiography was evidently based entirely upon his recollection, 
■which was doubtless correct as to the general current of events. 


by justices of the peace throughout the State at one time, and was perhaps as 
well known as the author of this work as from his connection with journal- 
ism. He died in Philadelphia at an advanced age. 

Matthew Huston became proprietor of the Argus in 1807 and published 
it until his death, August 10, 1809. The paper was continued after that 
date by his son, Andrew C. Huston, and when it was finally discontinued is 
not known; but, as Republican Advertiser appears as part of the caption of 
the Gazette, it is highly probable that the Republican Argus was ultimately 
merged into Kennedy's paper, although such a conclusion is only matter of 
inference. The issue of Wednesday, April 24, 1811, the latest copy exam- 
ined by the writer, is a four-column folio, seventeen inches long and eleven 
inches wide, and bears intrinsic evidence of having been "printed and pub- 
lished by Andrew C. Huston at the book and stationery store in Queen street 
opposite Mr. Taggart's inn." Andrew C. Huston was bom in Woolwich 
township, Gloucester county. New Jersey, March 27, 1787, and died at North- 
umberland on the 10th of January, 1876, one of the oldest printers in Penn- 
sylvania at the time of his death. 

The Columbia Gazette was published by George Sweney, a former part- 
ner of Andrew Kennedy, and supported the national administration in the 
war of 1812. The first number was issued on the 2d of November, 1813, but 
the length of time it continued is not known. 

The Religious Museum, edited by Rev. Robert F. N. Smith, of North- 
umberland, and devoted to general missionary and religious intelligence, was 
published in 1818. The writer has examined the issue of August 5, 1818 
(Volume I, No. 4), a three-column folio ten by thirteen inches in dimensions; 
the only contents of local interest is a notice of the Susquehanna Bible 

The Northumberland Union was published by Alexander Hughes about 
five years, beginning, it is supposed, in 1832. It was a Democratic organ. 
The proprietor married Miss M. E. Burkenbine, daughter of Frederick Bur- 
kenbine, of Northumberland, October 22, 1833. 

Public Press, a seven-column folio, was established in 1872 by 0. W. 
Gutelius and W. E. Taylor; the latter subsequently retired, and Mr. Gutelius 
has since conducted the paper individually. 


Der Freiheitsvogel was the first newspaper published at Sunbuiy. From 
a comparison of the best evidence it is believed that it was established in 1800 
and continued several years. Jacob D. Breyvogel was proprietor, editor, and 
publisher; nothing is known regarding his personal history beyond the fact 
that he married Miss Susanna, daughter of Colonel Christopher Baldy, of 
Buffalo valley (Union county), Pennsylvania, on Sunday, September 27, 1801. 
The ceremony was performed by William Irwin, justice of the peace. In the 


notice of this occurrence in Kennedy's Gazette, Breyvogel is referred to as 
the " printer at Sunbury." As indicated by the title, Der Freiheitsvogel was 
a German paper. 

The Times was established in 1812 by William F. Buyers, and was the 
second paper at Sunbury. Mr. Buyers was born at that town, January 12, 
1782, son of John Buyers, a prominent merchant and early resident of the 
county seat. He learned the printing business with Breyrogel; in Ken- 
nedy's Gazette of October 26, 1801, the statement is made that " William 
Buyers has now established a printing office at Williamsport," from which it 
is evident that he entered upon his career as a newspaper publisher immedi- 
ately after completing his apprenticeship. This was the Williamsport Ga- 
zette, the pioneer journal of Lycoming county, Pennsylvania; he published 
it, under many difficulties and often irregularly, until 1808. Returning to 
Sunbury, which had been without a local paper since the suspension of Der 
Freiheitsvogel, he began the publication of the Times in the summer of 1812. 
The statement has been made that he retired at the expiration of three years, 
but this seems improbable, as the paper was certainly published by him in 
1816 and 1817. He commanded a company in the Seventy-seventh regiment 
of Peimsylvania militia in the war of 1812; on the 13th of December, 1815, 
he married Miss Martha, daughter of Alexander Hunter, of Sunbury; in 
1815-18 he served as commissioner of Northumberland county; and on the 
27th of June, 1821, he died at the age of thirty-nine. In 1816 he was a 
Federal Republican candidate for Congress, but was defeated. The issue of 
the Times for September 26, 1816 (Volume V, No. 13), is a four-column folio, 
eighteen inches long and eleven inches wide; the congressional election 
occurred in the following month, and this number is correspondingly replete 
with political articles. It is probable that Captain Buyers published the 
Times throughout its continuance under that name. His printing office was 
in the second story of the " state house," which occupied the site of the 
present court house, and at a small frame building on the west side of Second 
street at the corner of Barberry alley, where the Neff House stable now 

Puhlick Inquirer was the caption of a paper started in January, 1820, by 
Samuel J. Packer. He acquired his knowledge of the " art preservative " at 
Bellefonte, whence he came to Sunbury and purchased the plant of the 
Times, of which the Inquirer was virtually a continuation. It was estab- 
lished with the immediate object of advocating the re-election of Governor 
Findlay, and the issue of October 5, 1820 (Volume I, No. 39), a four-column 
folio perhaps twenty inches in length and the only one that has been exam- 
ined by the writer, is devoted almost entirely to reports from various parts of 
the State regarding the progress and prospects of the campaign. Among the 
apprentices in the office was William F. Packer, a kinsman of the proprietor, 
then in his thirteenth year and subsequently member of the board of canal 


commissioners and of both branches of the legislature, auditor general, and 
Governor of Pennsylvania, 1858-61. During Mr. Packer's ownership the 
Inquirer was published at a two-story frame building which formerly stood 
at the southeast corner of Chestnut street and Center alley. It is supposed 
that it was subsequently published by Jacob W. Seitzinger, a Mr. Vander- 
slice, and Francis P. Schwartz, all of whom are known to have been con- 
nected with newspapers at Sunbury. Seitzinger was a man of much native 
ability but little education; he subsequently removed to SchuylkiU county 
and became wealthy through fortunate investments in coal lands. Vander- 
slice was a member of the family of that name which was prominent at Sun- 
bury at the beginning of this century. Schwartz had been employed in one 
of the departments at Washington when a young man; in the war of 1812 
he served as ensign in Captain Jacob Hummel's company from Northumber- 
land county; he taught school at Sunbury and in the vicinity, and served as 
town clerk at an early date in the history of the borough. He was the father 
of John J. W. Schwartz, of the Shamokin Herald, ex-treasurer of Northum- 
berland county. Of Samuel J. Packer, the founder of the Inquirer, extended 
mention is made in this work in the chapter on the Bench and Bar. 

The Gazetteer was the third and last paper in the line of direct succes- 
sion from the Times. The earliest number examined by the writer is the 
issue of March 24, 1825 (Volume I, No. 21), a five-column folio. It contains a 
notice from Peter Martz, dated February 24, 1825, stating that he had " sold 
the establishment of the Gazetteer to James E. Shannon;" it is quite evi- 
dent, therefore, that the paper was established by Martz. He was a mill- 
wright by occupation, but attained some prominence in local political affairs 
as member of Assembly and associate judge. It is thought that William 
Shannon also published the Gazetteer; he kept a hotel in the old jail build- 
ing at the southeast corner of Market street and Center alley, and the 
Gazetteer was printed in a large room on the second floor in the rear end of 
this building. His son, James E. Shannon, was the publisher in 1832, and 
the issue of Saturday, February 25th of that year (Volume II, No. 28, New 
Series), is the latest that has been examined by the writer. This number is 
a five-column folio, twenty-one inches long and fourteen inches wide, printed 
on quite heavy paper. The only matter of local interest it contains is an 
account of a celebration at Sunbuiy on the 22d of February, 1832, in honor 
of the centennial anniversary of the birth of Washington. The day was 
ushered in with the firing of guns and ringing of bells, and, after a parade, 
the Sunbury Grays and many leading citizens sat down to a sumptuous re- 
past at one of the leading hotels. Peter Lazarus was chosen chairman and 
H. B. Masser, secretary; thirteen regular and many volunteer toasts were 
responded to. The town was illuminated in the evening and a large con- 
course of people moved in procession through the streets, preceded by a 
splendid transparency of Washington. As a whole it was not, the paper 


states, surpassed by any similar demonstration since the celebration of the 
peace in 1815. It is not probable that the publication of the Gazetteer weis 
continued more than a year after this date. William Shannon was sheriff of 
Northumberland county, 1818-21, and James E. Shannon, 1821-24. 

Der Northumberland Republikaner was issued for the first time on the 
12th of August, 1812, and was the third paper at Sunbury. It was foimded by 
John G. Youngman, and, as indicated by the name, was a German paper. Mr. 
Youngman was born near Hummelstown, Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, 
January 6, 1786, and was descended from a Moravian family that emigrated 
from Lusatia, Prussia, to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1740. His father, Jacob 
Youngman, was a blacksmith and farmer, and his grandfather. Rev. John 
George Youngman, who died at Bethlehem in 1808 at the age of eighty-eight, 
was a Moravian missionary to the Indians. At the age of eight years he was 
adopted by his uncle, Gottlieb Youngman, a soldier of the Eevolution, who 
established the first German paper in Berks county, Pennsylvania, " The im- 
partial Eeading Newspaper," on the 18th of February, 1789, continued its 
publication until 1816, and died at Louisville, Kentucky, June 10, 1833, at the 
age of seventy- six. Under his tuition he acquired a thorough knowledge of 
the printing business. In 1802 he left his uncle on account of some misunder- 
standing, walked to Somerset county, and was employed at his trade by a Mr. 
Ogle. Pour years later he secured employment on the Hornet at Frederick, 
Maryland; in 1807 he was connected with the Times, one of the first daily 
papers of Baltimore, and from that city he went to Hagerstown, Maryland, 
where he secured a situation under John Gruber, the well known almanac pub- 
lisher. In 1812 he returned to Eeading, procured the necessary materials 
from his uncle, and forthwith established the Amerikaner at Sunbury. The 
files of this paper are still extant for 1815-18, beginning with the issue of 
August 11th of the former year and ending with January of the latter. It 
is a three-column folio, fourteen inches long and nine inches wide, and credit- 
able in typography and composition. In 1818 the name was changed to 
Nordivestliche Post, which espoused the cause of Findlay in the gubernatorial 
contest of 1820, thereby alienating the large body of the German population 
among whom it circulated, who were almost a unit in support of Hiester. In 
consequence of this disaffection among his subscribers Mr. Youngman sus- 
pended the publication of the paper (subsequent to July, 1827, however), 
and for several years devoted his attention to the printing of books and 

Shamokin Canalboot was the caption of Mr. Youngman's next venture. 
A great popular agitation in favor of internal improvements was in progress 
throughout the State, and it was with the idea of promoting local enterprises 
of this nature that the paper was established and supported. The only copy 
examined by the writer is the issue of Saturday, March 5, 1831 (No. 162) ; 
this is a folio fifteen and one half inches long and eleven inches wide, embel- 


lished with the representation of a canal boat on the head-line of the first 
page. The paper was published under this name until 1833. 

The Workingmen' s Advocate, a four-column folio eleven by sixteen inches 
in dimensions, was first issued by John G. Youngman on Monday, April 29, 
1833 ; it was the first English paper published by him, and was the immediate 
chronological successor of the Canalboot. In his salutatory the editor stated 
that his paper would be Democratic in politics, reserving to himself, however, 
the right of differing from party conventions as to what platforms or candidates 
were really Democratic should occasion require. The Advocate was continued 
with success and profit until 1838, and the popularity of the editor is shown by 
the fact that several rival papers at Sunbury and Northumberland suspended 
during that period. 

The Sunbury Gazette was established in 1838. The earliest issue exam- 
ined by the writer is that of Saturday, January 7, 1843 (Volume V — No. 240), 
which is a five-column folio twenty-one and one half by thirteen inches ; the full 
title at that time was "The Sunbury Gazette and Miners' Eegister." The 
publishers were John G. Youngman & Son. The senior m.ember of this firm 
was actively connected with the press of Sunbury almost continuously from the 
time he established the Amerikaner in 1812 until his retirement from the 
Gazette in 1867, a period of fifty-five years. He was also prominent in the 
public affairs of the county, and was the incumbent of several important pub- 
lic offices. In 1814 he served as county treasurer, and in 1818—21 as county 
commissioner; on the 5th of February, 1839, he was commissioned as register 
and recorder, and in the autumn of that year he was elected to those offices, to 
which he was thus the last person appointed and the first person elected in this 
county. He took great delight in type-setting, arid worked at this in the com- 
posing room of the Gazette until within a few months of his death, which 
occurred on the 13th of September, 1871. 

The Gazette was published by John G. Youngman & Son from its in- 
ception in 1838 until 1867. George B. Youngman was the junior member 
of this firm from 1838 until 1855. He learned the printing trade with his 
father, and it was principally through his influence that the Gazette was 
started. In 1850-51 he served as treasurer of Northumberland county. 
After his retirement from the paper he engaged in fruit and grape culture 
on a farm several miles east of Sunbury, and continued this business success- 
fully until his death, April 9, 1880, at the age of sixty-six years. He was 
succeeded as junior member of the firm in 1855 by his brother, Andrew A. 
Youngman, upon whom much of the responsibility in connection with the 
paper devolved until the retirement of his father in 1868. The style of the 
firm then became A. A. & John Youngman, by whom the paper was contin- 
ued until the 11th of April, 1S79, when it was consolidated with the Ameri- 
can under the name of the Gazette-American. A year later the publication 
of the Gazette individually was resumed by A. A. & John Youngman and 


continued until March 16, 1883, when it was issued for the last time after 
forty-five years' continuous publication. The last number gives a review of 
the political policy of the paper, in which it is stated that the Gazette was 
one of the four Democratic organs in Pennsylvania " that came oiit boldly in 
favor of the national administration as against the rebel cause " in 1861, and 
although it was constrained " to protest against certain tendencies and meth- 
ods in the management of the Eepublican party " on several occasions, it 
could not be said " that the Gazette ever went back on the principles of that 
great political organization." Andrew A. Youngman still resides at Sunbury, 
at the former residence of his father on the southwest corner of Third and 
Arch streets. John Youngman, who was editor of the Gazette from 1855 until 
its final suspension, now fills a similar position upon the staff of the Belle- 
fonte (Pennsylvania) Watchman. 

The Amerikaner was originally established at a small frame building on 
the north side of Market street at the present site of Kippel's photograph 
gallery. When the elder Youngman purchased the property at Third and 
Arch he removed the printing office to a frame structure adjoining his resi- 
dence and fronting Arch street. The next location was a wooden building at 
the site of the Dewart block, corner of Market and Third, occupied in 1847- 
50, when the office was removed to the north side of Market street nearly op- 
posite the City Hotel; the Gazette was published there at the time of its sus- 
pension in 1883, but had occupied several different places in the meantime, 
the principal of which was the second story of the Geyer block, northeast 
corner of Market square, to which it was removed in 1868. 

Susquehanna Emporium was the caption of a paper established at Sun- 
bury by Ezra Grossman, a native of New Berlin, Pennsylvania, who married 
Eleanor M., daughter of Samuel Awl and sister to Dr. E. H. Awl, of Sunbury. 
He published the paper about a year and a half and then disposed of it to 
Hamlet A. Kerr; the only copy examined by the writer is the issue of Mon- 
day, August 10, 18'29 (New Series, Volume I, No. 10— Whole No. 88), a five- 
column folio about as large as its contemporary, the Gazetteer. If published 
without interruption, it is evident that the paper first appeared in December, 
1827. It was first published at a small frame building which occupied the 
site of P. P. Smith's store on the south side of Market street between Front 
and Second; after his marriage Grossman resided at a house that stood upon 
the present site of Dr. E. H. Awl's, and printed his paper in an adjoining 
building at the quarters subsequently occupied by the Youngmans. He was 
afterward engaged in the publishing business at New York on an extensive 
scale. 'Mr. Kerr continued the Emporium a few years, and afterward estab- 
lished a paper at Milton. 

Der General Staats Zeitung was originally established at Wilkesbarre, 
Pennsylvania. The discontinuance of the Canalboot in 1833 left Sunbury 
without a German newspaper, and the favorable opening thus presented was 


embraced by the proprietors of the Zeitung ; the materials of their establish- 
ment arrived at Sunbury on the 17th of February, 1835, and the office was 
opened on Market street next door to the Jackson Inn. On the 13th of April 
following Bartholomew Hauck retired from the Zeitung, which thus became 
the property of his former partner, Henry Zuppinger. The paper supported 
Van Buren for President and Muhlenberg for Governor, but it is not known 
how long it was continued. 

The Sunbury American was established by Henry B. Masser in 1840, 
and has now been continuously published longer than any other paper at 
Sunbury. Its inception was, however, the outgrowth of unexpected political 
developments rather than the result of deliberate purpose. At that time 
Northumberland county was overwhelmingly Democratic, and a nomination 
by the dominant party was virtually equivalent to an election ; it was in the 
nominating convention, therefore, that the principal battles of the local cam- 
paign were fought. In 1888 and 1889 Charles W. Hegins was elected to the 
legislature from this county, but when he appeared for renomination in 1840 
the candidate from the northern part of the county, Jesse C. Horton, defeated 
him; the methods employed by Horton' s supporters were regarded as irreg- 
ular by the friends of Hegins, who thereupon withdrew in a body and organ- 
ized another convention, which placed Hegins in nomination. The Democratic 
papers in the county at that time were the Sunbury Gazette and Milton 
Ledger; the latter naturally supported Horton, but when the Gazette also 
recognized him as the regular Democratic candidate it was a great surprise 
to the friends of Hegins, whose cause was thus left without an organ. In 
this emergency Henry B. Masser, Charles G. Donnel, and others resolved 
upon the establishment of a new paper; the execution of the project was 
intrusted to Mr. Masser, and within ten days after the convention the first 
number of the American was printed at Sunbury, September 12, 1840. Its 
publication was begun without a subscription list, but large editions were 
distributed gratuitously, notwithstanding which Horton was elected by a 
small popular majority. Although the immediate purpose of its inception 
was thus defeated, the American early became one of the most influential 
journals in central Pennsylvania. In politics it was Democratic, although its 
support was not infrequently given to the opposition candidates, and under 
Mr. Masser's editorship it was particularly active in its advocacy of a pro- 
tective tariff and the internal development of the State. Early in Buchanan's 
administration it became identified with the "free soil" movement in the 
Democratic party ; its support was transferred to President Lincoln shortly 
after his election in 1860, and from that time it has been a stanch Eepublican 

The American was published by Masser & Eisely from September, 1840, 
until April, 1 848, when Joseph Eisely, who had had charge of the mechanical 
department but no proprietary interest, retired. Henry B. Masser then con- 


ducted the paper individually until September 19, 1864, when Emanuel Wil- 
vert secured an interest. N. S. Engle became a member of the firm on the 
1st of April, 1866, but his interest was acquired on the 1st of January, 1869, 
by Mr. Wilvert, who became sole proprietor on the 28th of April in the same 
year by the retirement of Mr. Masser. Wilvert continued the publication 
individually until April 11, 1879, when the Gazette &n6. American were 
merged into the Oazette- American, in which the former proprietors of both 
were jointly interested. One year later this connection was dissolved, and 
the American reappeared on the 9th of April, 1880, with Emanuel Wilvert 
& Son as publishers. Austin Wilvert, the junior member, retired several 
months later, after which Emanuel Wilvert was individual proprietor until 
August 15, 1887. Hudson Withington and Thomas J. Silvius next published 
the paper xuider the firm name of Withington & Silvius; the former with- 
drew on the 5th of December, 1889, and the present (189D) editor and pub- 
lisher is Thomas J. Silvius. The American was originally a six-column folio 
twenty-two inches long and sixteen inches wide ; it is now an eight-column 

Der Deutsche Amerikaner was published from 1843 to 1864, and was 
identical in ownership and management with the Sunbury American, of 
which it was virtually the German edition. It was a five-column folio, four- 
teen by twenty-one inches, and circulated extensively in the southern part of 
the county. 

The Daily American was established by Emanuel Wilvert on the 30th of 
November, 1877, and continued thirteen months. It wasi a five-column 
folio, seventeen inches long and eleven inches wide, and appeared as an 
evening paper. 

Der Deutsche Demokrat was first issued on the 1st of January, 1856, by 
Cyrus O. Bachman. In 1861 it became an adjunct of the Northumberland 
County Democrat, and was discontinued several years later. 

Th§ Northumberland County Democrat was established in 1861. The 
first movement in this direction was made in 1859, when a coterie of local 
party leaders, prominent among whom were Dr. E. H. Awl, William H. 
Kase, Dr. David Waldron (then sheriff of the county). Colonel Wright, and 
others, jointly raised a fund for the purpose of enlarging the plant of the 
Milton Democrat and removing it to Sunbury; although the idea was never 
consummated under these auspices. Doctor Awl subsequently purchased the 
materials of the Democrat at sheriff's sale, removed them to Sunbury, and 
permitted Cyrus O. Bachman to use the press, type, etc. in the publication 
of his German paper gratis, thereby materially strengthening that journal. 
Theretofore both the Gazette and American had been Democratic, but both 
adopted the principles of the Eepublican party after the election of Lincoln 
in 1860, thus leaving the Deutsche Demokrat the only organ of its party in 
this county. It soon became apparent that an English paper was necessary 


for the support of party interests, and, upon the representations of promi- 
nent Democratic leaders, Truman H. Purdy, formerly editor of the Argus at 
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, agreed to take charge of the journal it was pro- 
posed to establish, if preliminary support to the extent of eight hundred 
subsoTibers should be obtained. Measures were accordingly inaugurated to 
meet this requirement, principally through the efforts of Dr. E. H. Awl and 
Jesse Simpson, who made a thorough canvass of the county, and with the 
assurance of sufficient support Mr. Purdy was induced to begin; in addition 
to the materials that then constituted the Demokrat office he purchased new 
type, press, etc., and on the 8th of March, 1861, the first number of "The 
Northumberland County Democrat" was issued by Truman H. Purdy and 
Cyrus O. Baohman. For some time the publication of the paper was 
attended with may difficulties, owing to the violent partisan feeling which 
pervaded political discussion at that period. An extreme instance of the 
hostility with which it was regarded occurred on the night of January 18, 
1864, when the office (which then occupied the third story of a brick build- 
ing on the south side of Market street between Third and Center alley) was 
mobbed by the Ninth New York Volunteers while passing through Sunbury 
en route to their homes. An outrage such as this strengthened the paper 
with its party in this coimty, however, and within a few years the Democrat 
became an influential and lucrative journal. ' 

The partnership of Messrs. Purdy and Bachman was dissolved several 
years later; after its dissolution Mr. Purdy continued the paper individually 
until January 1, 1867, when the establishment was leased by J. E. Eichholtz 
and John J. Auten. The latter retired several months later, and on the 1st of 
July, 1868, the paper was purchased by J. E. Eichholtz and Alvin E. Day. In 
June, 1871, Mr. Eichholtz bought Mr. Day's interest, and thus acquired indi- 
vidual ownership. D. L. SoUenberger secured a proprietary interest, July 
1, 1877, when the style of the firm became Eichholtz & Company. Mr. 
Eichholtz again conducted the paper individually in 1879; on the 1st of 
January, 1880, W. L. Dewart and George C. Frysinger acquired proprietary 
interests, and since that date the style of the firm has been Eichholtz & Com- 
pany. Mr. Frysinger retired on the 1st of January, 1881, and from that 
time to the present Messr^. Eichholtz and Dewart have constituted the firm. 

The Sunbury Daily was first issued on the 7th of December, 1872, by 
J. E. Eichholtz. The original size was a four-column folio ten by fourteen 
inches in dimensions. From the autumn of 1875 until the latter part of 
March, 1876, the paper was published by Walsmith & Silvius. It was 
afterward discontinued for some time; the publication was resumed in 1879, 
and since that date the paper has been under the same ownership and man- 
agement as the Democrat. 

The Sunbury Independent was established by John J. Auten, February 
27, 1868. In the following December it was purchased by Cornelius A. 


Eeimensnyder, who changed the name to Democratic Guard. After experi- 
encing various vicissitudes the paper was finally discontinued some two 
years later. A German edition was also published for a time. 

The Sunbury Enterprise was first issued on the 25th of May, 1870, by 
J. K. Keefer, and probably published until the following year. 

The Weekly Independent, J. A. Cake and Thomas J. Silvius, proprie- 
tors, Thomas J. Silvius, editor, made its debut, April 26, 1875, and was pub- 
lished about four months. It was a six-column folio. Mr. Cake also pub- 
lished the Morning Express. 

The Sunbury Weekly News was established on the ].7th of June, 1881, 
by A. N. Brice, at the west side of Third street between Market and Chest- 
nut. It was originally a five-column folio, and has been successively enlarged 
to a five-column quarto, a nine-column folio twenty-nine by forty-two inches, 
and a nine-column folio thirty-one by forty-four inches, the present size. 
The Sunbury Gazette was absorbed in 1883. The present office of publica- 
tion, a three-story brick building on Chestnut street, was first occupied in 
1888. The News is a stanch Republican pa^er, one of the largest in size and 
circulation in the county. 

The Evening News was started on the 1st of April, 1890, and is published 
by A. N. Brice & Son, with Max Kauffman as reporter. Prior to the removal 
of the establishment to its present quarters the Daily News was published on 
Third street about six months. 

The Northumberland County Legal News, " a weekly publication devoted 
to legal doings in county and State," was first issued on the 25th of August, 
1888, by A. N. Brice & Sons. The late John F. Wolfinger's " EecoUections 
of the Bar of the Counties of Northumberland, Lycoming, Union, and 
Columbia," reports of cases, and opinions and decisions of the court in North- 
umberland and the surrounding counties constitute the principal features of 
this pubhcation. 


The Miltonian has been continuously published longer than any other 
newspaper of Northumberland county. It was the first newspaper at Milton, 
and its founder, Henry Frick, was one of the first natives of the county to 
engage in the printing business within its limits. His honorable connection 
with the press, and the high positions in public life to which he subsequently 
attained, entitle Mr. Frick to a more than passing notice. 

Henry Frick was born at Northumberland, Northumberland county, Penn- 
sylvania, in 1795, son of John Frick, a prominent figure in the political his- 
tory of the county at that period. As evidenced by the original indenture, 
now in the possession of his son, E. M. Frick, cashier of the Milton National 
Bank, he was apprenticed to John Binns on the 27th of January, 1806, for 
the term of ten years, one month, and — days. The following were among 
the stipulations of this indenture: — 


He [Henry Frick] shall not play at cards, dice, or any other unlawful game where- 
by his said master may have damage; with his own goods or the goods of others with- 
out license from his said master he shall neither buy nor sell; he shall not absent him- 
self day nor night from his said master's service without leave; he shall regularly at- 
tend every Sunday at some place of divine worship; he shall not haunt ale houses or 
taverns, but in all things behave himself as a faithful and diligent apprentice ought to 
do during the said term. 

And the said John Binns, his heirs, executors, or administrators, shall teach or cause 
to be instructed the said apprentice in the art, trade, or mystery of a printer, and shall, 
during the said term, give to the said apprentice two quarters' night schooling (one 
quarter's day schooling to count and be equal to two quarters' night schooling), and 
shall find and provide for the said apprentice sufficient meat, drink, apparel, washing, 
and lodging during the said term, and at the expiration thereof shall and will give 
his said apprentice the sum of fifty dollars, good and lawful money of the Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania. 

The apprenticeship was accordingly begun at Northumberland, but within 
a few years Binns removed to Philadelphia ; his young assistant accompanied 
him and completed the period of his indenture in that city. The "art, trade, 
or mystery of a printer" was thoroughly mastered by him, and in after 
years he sustained in his own office a high reputation for rapid and accurate 
composition. While yet in his minority he joined a company at Philadel- 
phia for service in the war of 1812, participating in the movements about 
Marcus Hook. His apprenticeship expired, March 18, 1816; returning to 
Northumberland county, he was attracted to the growing town of Milton, and 
issued the first number of The Miltonian on Saturday, the 21st of Septem- 
ber, 1816. For more than ten years he conducted the paper individually, 
and then for thirteen years he continued its publication in partnership with 
others. In 1828 he was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, and 
re-elected in 1829 and 1830. After his retirement from the Miltonian 
he acted as justice of the peace, and at the time of his death, March 1, 1844, 
he was a member of Congress from the Thirteenth Pennsylvania district. 
Eloquent eulogies'were delivered, in the Senate by James Buchanan, and in 
the House by J. E. IngersoU. In the language of Mr. Buchanan: "It is the 
history of a man (forttmately so common in this country), who, from a humble 
beginning, has, by industry, ability, and perseverance, gradually surmounted 
every intervening obstacle, and at last attained the high distinction of a seat in 
Congress, under circumstances which clearly evince that he enjoyed uncommon 
personal popularity among those who knew him best." 

Henry Frick published the Miltonian individually from September 21, 
1816, to April 21, 1827; it was continued by Henry Frick and Montgomery 
Sweney from April 21, 1827, to April 16, 1831; by Henry Frick, Eobert 
Bennett, and John W. Correy, from April 16, 1831, to April 20, 1833; by 
Henry Frick and Eobert Bennett, from April 20, 1833, to October 18, 1834; 
by Henry Frick, individually, from October 18, 1834, to June 3, 1837; by 
Henry Frick and John H. Brown, from June 3, 1837, to June 3, 1840; by 


John H. Brown, individually, from June 3, 1840, to January 1, 1842; by 
John Frick and Edward B. Hunter, from January 1, 1842, to May 5, 1843; 
by John Frick, individually, from May 12, 1843, to July 14, 1843; by John 
and Kobert M. Frick, from July 14, 1843, to December 31, 1852; by Eobert 
M. and Henry Frick, Jr., from January 7, 1858, to August 26, 1853; by 
Henry Prick, Jr., individually, from September 2, 1853, to January 1, 1854; 
by John Eobins, from January 1, 1854, to January 1, 1857; by L. H. Funk, 
from 1858 to 1863; by L. H. Funk and Lee M. Morton, from 1863 to 1867; 
by Lee M. Morton and Frank Bound, from 1867 to 1869; by Lee M. 
Morton and WiUiam M. Mervine, in 1869; by Lee M. Morton, William M. 
Mervine, and D. C. John, from 1870 to 1875; by P. L. Hackenberg, indi- 
vidually, in 1875; by Lee M. Morton, individually, from 1875 to 1877; by 
Lee M. Morton and L. V. Housel, from the spring of 1877 to the autumn of 
1878 ; by L. V. Housel, individually, from the autumn of 1878 to October, 
1880; by Thomas Strine and Joe A. Logan, from October, 1880, to August, 
1883, and from that time by Joe A. Logan, individually. The paper is a 
stanch Republican organ, and is justly regarded as one of the leading jour- 
nals of that party in the county. A daily edition, the first in the borough, was 
started, October 26, 1877, and has since been published on several occasions 
for a brief period. The office files of the weekly edition, unfortunately for 
the interests of local historical research, were entirely destroyed in the fire 
of May 14, 1880. 

The States Advocate, the second newspaper published at Milton, first 
appeared, February 26, 1826. From that date until August 13, 1829, the 
proprietors were William Tweed and Elim H. Kincaid, followed by William 
Tweed, individually, until August 15, 1833; William Tweed and Jonas 
Kelchner, from August 15, 1833, to November 13, 1834, and Jonas Kelchner, 
individually, from November 13, 1834, to November, 1838, when he removed 
the plant to Lewisburg. This paper advocated the principles and policy of 
the Whig party. 

The West Branch Farmer and True Democrat was established, September 
3, 1834, by Montgomery Sweney. At that time the Miltonian was also 
avowedly Democratic, but not sufficiently active in the party interest to 
meet the approval of Mr. Sweney, hence the emphatic adjective in the 
caption of his paper, which was meant to distinguish the Democracy it sup- 
ported from that advocated by its contemporary. The venture was not a 
success, however, and in 1837 the editor removed to the Spoon river, Hlinois, 
when he engaged in farming and passed the remainder of his life. 

The Northumbrian first appeared on the 20th of November, 1837, under 
the proprietorship of Hamlet A. Kerr, a man of fine intellectual capacity and 
an exceptionally competent printer. In its typographical, appearance it was 
superior to any paper theretofore published at Milton, while the character of 
its contents and the style of its editorials also evinced ability and discrimina- 


tion. It expired within a few years; Mr. Kerr continued to reside at Milton 
until his death. 

The Milton Ledger was established in 1838 by John McGee and Stephen 
Wilson; it was successively published by McGee & Collins, Henry L. Dief- 
fenbach, John Porter, Brewer & Armstrong, and L. P. Prank, and finally 
suspended in 1844 from lack of patronage. It was strongly Democratic in 
its editorial utterances. 

The Advocate and Day-Spring, a temperance paper, first appeared in 
December, 1844. The publisher and editor was Rev. W. H. T. Barnes, a 
young clergyman of fine oratorical ability, but not specially adapted to the 
work of conducting a country newspaper. He also engaged in merchandis- 
ing, but his enterprises were not successful, and the plant of the Advocate 
was seized by his creditors. Barnes enlisted for service in the Mexican war, 
and was killed in the operations against Vera Cruz. 

The Milton Democrat made its debut, April 17, 1852, with John E. Eck 
as editor and publisher. He was a good practical printer, a man of fine 
social qualities, and possessed more talent as a writer than is ordinarily 
bestowed upon a country newspaper. In 1859 the paper shared in the wan- 
ing fortimes of its party in this State, and after disposing of the plant Eck 
went to Philadelphia, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. He died in 
that city, July 30, 1880, in the seventieth year of his age. 

The Northumberland County Herald, a temperance paper, was started in 
1868 by Rev. E. W. Kirby and J. W. Speddy. Their partnership terminated 
in the following year, when Speddy removed the outfit to Mifilintown, Juniata 
county, Pennsylvania. The Herald was neutral in politics. 

The Milton Record was first published under its present name, March 
23, 1889, and is the result of a consolidation of the Argus and Economist. 
In 1872 W. H. Smith established the Independent Weekly at Benton, Colum- 
bia county, Pennsylvania; it was removed to Milton in 1876, became the 
Argus, and was first issued under that name, September 15, 1878. In 1880 
the office was entirely destroyed by fire, and with no part of the former out- 
fit except the subscription list, publication was resumed. May 21, 1880, i:. 
two box-cars at the corner of Broadway and Filbert streets. These quarteu 
were occupied four months. The establishment was then removed to Buoy's 
block on Broadway, the first brick building completed after the fire, where; it 
remained until the spring of 1883, when a frame building at the site of .he 
present publishing office was occupied. In 1884 the Economist was st ied 
by Schuyler & Keister; its successive proprietors were Schuyler Brothers, A. 
S. Hottenstein, The Economist Publishing Company, and W. P. Hastings. 
Like the Argus, it was Democratic in politics. On the 23d of March. 1889, 
both papers were transferred to The Record Publishing Company, of which 
J. Woods Brown is president and W. H. Smith, treasurer and general man- 
ager. Ground was broken for the present three-stoiy brick publishing house 


on Broadway, September 3, 1889. With the exception of four months in 
1881-82, Mr. Smith has been the editor of the Argus and the Record since 
their first inception; he continues to fill that position, and the present pros- 
perity of the paper is principally due to his individual efforts. The Record 
IS Democratic in politics, and is a valuable adjunct to the party organization 
in Northumberland county. 

A flourishing daily was published in connection with the weekly Argus at 
the time of the fire. It has since been twice resuscitated, but without per- 
manent results on either occasion. 

The Standard was started, February 7, 1890, by W. P. Hastings. Two 
months later it became a tri-weekly, and is so continued. It is a Prohibition 


The first effort to establish a paper at Shamokin was made in 1853. At 
that period the town received an impetus from railroad improvement, and it 
was thought by the more enterprising members of the community that a local 
journal could be supported with profit to the publisher and advantage to the 
place. The movement was without direct results, however. 

To John Robins belongs the honor of starting the first paper at Shamo- 
kin. He gave to the new venture the name of Shamokin Journal and 
Farmers' and Miners' Advocate, the first number of which appeared on Sat- 
urday, May 1, 1858. It was a six-column folio, with a variety of miscella- 
neous matter, several columns of local news, and an elaborate prospectus, in 
which the projector expressed his intention to pubHsh a paper independent 
in politics, moral in sentiment, and devoted to the interests of its constituency. 
The office of publication was " the red house," a landmark of the town, the 
site of which is now occupied by the Reading railroad. But the venture was 
premature; the business of the place was in the midst of a period of finan- 
cial stringency, and the Journal expired from lack of pecuniary support be- 
fore the completion of its first volume. 

The materials of the Journal office were purchased by Samuel John, but 
for more than a year the town was without a local paper. On the 8th of 
March, 1860, the Shamokin Register made its debut under Mr. John's pro- 
prietorship and editorial management. He announced that the paper would 
be independent in politics, but favorable to a protective tariff, and promised 
an agricultural department " of vast interest to every one who cultivates the 
soil, from a garden patch to a five-hundred-acre farm, as the editor has been 
for thirty years a practical and scientific farmer." Beginning as a six-col- 
umn page, the Register was enlarged with the nineteenth number, July 19, 
1860, and in the following campaign entered vigorously into the support of 
the Republican party. On the 28th of March, 1861, Mr. John published a 
valedictory, having had " glory enough for one campaign," but two weeks 
later, not having been successful in finding a competent person to whom he 



might intrust the paper, he resumed the publication, which was again dis- 
continued after the appearance of a single number. The paper next ap- 
peared on the 6th of June, 1861, with Daniel Bower as editor. Mr. Bower 
had previously been connected with the Williamsport Times ; he brought to 
the enterprise considerable experience and ability, but for some reason the 
paper did not prosper, and on the 29th of April, 1862, it was finally discon- 
tinued. The plant reverted to Mr. John; it was subsequently removed to 
Sunbury and used in the publication of the Democratic Guard at that place. 

After severing his connection with the Register, Mr. Bower proceeded to 
enlist the efforts and means of various citizens in the establishment of a new 
paper, which made its first appearance, June 10, 1862, under the name of 
the Shamokin Herald, edited by Daniel Bower and Dr. J. J. John. Twelve 
numbers were issued under this regime, when Mr. Bower entered the military 
service as recruiting of&cer at Camp Curtin. Subsequently he became lieu- 
tenant in a company of volunteers, and died from wounds received at Chan- 

The first number of a new series of the Herald was issued on Thursday, 
December 25, 1862, by J. Stewart McEwen, who continued the paper until 
July 2d of the following year. The foreman of the ofiice, Samuel B. Sisty, 
then took charge, and published one number, when his administration was 
peremptorily suspended by the stockholders. During McEwen's incimibency, 
while professedly independent in politics, the editorial utterances of the 
paper had been uniformly favorable to the Eepubliean national and State 
authorities; the one number issued by Mr. Sisty was Democratic in a corres- 
ponding degree, which at once aroused the opposition of the stockholders, 
and hence his untimely withdrawal. 

Hitherto the efforts made to establish a paper at Shamokin had not been 
crovm.ed with the most gratifying success. While this was largely attribut- 
able to lack of encouragement, it was also doubtless due to the absence of 
those qualities of patience, persistence, and energy so necessary in the pro- 
jectors of journalistic ventures. But with the next change of proprietorship 
the Herald passed into the hands of Owen M. Fowler, and he took charge of 
it with the determination and the ability to make it a success. Born at Brier 
Creek, Columbia county, Pennsylvania, July 18, 1842, he obtained his educa- 
tion at the common schools, and, having indicated a preference for the print- 
ing business at an early age, was apprenticed to his uncle, Levi L. Tate, 
editor of a Bloomsburg paper. After completing his trade he went to Phila- 
delphia in 1861 and secured employment upon the Ladies' Monthly Magazine. 
There he enlisted in a three months' regiment, and after a brief military 
experience came to Shamokin with the object of starting a paper. Failing 
to make satisfactory arrangements he again enlisted, in Company C One 
Hundred and Thirty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, holding the rank of 
sergeant. For valorous conduct at Fredericksburg and ChancellorsviUe he 


was promoted to the second lieutenancy of his company. Returning to 
Shamokin at the expiration of his term of enlistment, he took charge of the 
Herald on the 23d of July, 1863. With this journal he was connected with- 
out intermission until his death, excepting a few months (March to July, 
1865,) when he was again in the service as second lieutenant of a company 
in the One Hundred and Third regiment. Others had failed, but he assumed 
control of the Herald with the firm purpose and undaunted resolution that 
overcome all difficulties, and in the course of a few years it had become one 
of the leading papers of the county, an established institution at Shamokin, 
and a potent influence in promoting the growth of that borough. A depart- 
ment of the paper was devoted especially to intelligence relating to the coal 
trade; this was under the able management of Dr. J. J. John, and consti- 
tuted an interesting and valuable feature. The paper was Republican in 
politics, but confined its attention more particularly to local afPairs. Mr. 
Fowler's journalistic career, honorable to himself and valuable to the com- 
munity, was terminated by his death. May 9, 1874 

Prom the latter date until July 1, 1874, the Herald was conducted by 
Dr. J. J. John; it was then purchased by Heifelfinger & Coder. Both of the 
constituent members of this firm had previously been in Mr. Fowler's employ, 
and they were therefore well qualified by an acquaintance with the . com- 
munity to continue the paper in its former usefulness. Its appearance was 
improved, its circulation extended, and from the fullness and reliability of its 
coal reports it became the recognized organ of the coal trade in Northum- 
berland county. After a time Mr. Coder retired, and Mr. HefEelfinger con- 
tinued the pubhcation individually until February 9, 1889, when the paper 
was transferred to the present proprietors, John J. W. Schwartz and R. F. 

The Daily Herald was started by Elmer HefEelfinger, October 22, 1888, 
and passed to Schwartz & Howdrd at the same time as the weekly. It was 
originally a six-column page, but was enlarged in November, 1889, when the 
name was changed to its present style by the substitution of " Daily " for 
" Evening " in the caption. 

The Shamokin Times had its inception in the Advertiser, a folio of 
diminutive proportions published in January, 1872, by J. A. Gilger, and dis- 
tributed gratuitously. It was gradually enlarged, and on the 13th of July, 
1872, became a regular newspaper under the name of the Times with J. L. 
Gilger & Son, proprietors, and J. A. Gilger, local editor. J. L. Gilger with- 
drew in 1874, and for several months in that year the paper was published 
by Gilger & Fagely. Upon the retirement of Mr. Fagely the Shamokin 
Times Company was formed, and from the 1st of January, 1875, the paper 
was edited by D. D. Domer. In November, 1879, D. L. Sollenberger & 
Company succeeded the Shamokin Times Company, and have since been the 
proprietors of the Times. D. D. Domer was associated in the publication 


until April, 1881 ; R. F. Howard and W. S. Guiterman became members of 
the company in 1886, and the latter continues to retain a proprietary- 

The Daily Times, the first daily paper in the Northumberland county 
coal regions, was first issued, October 17, 1883. It was at first printed on a 
hand press, but this having been foimd too tedious and laborious, the publi- 
cation was suspended for several weeks until better facilities could be pro- 
vided. The active existence of the paper was then resumed, but it was 
finally discontinued on the 14th of October, 1884j. 

The Daily Dispatch was first issued, November 21, 1886, and from a 
comparatively modest beginning it has become one of the leading journals in 
this part of the anthracite coal region. This is under the same proprietor- 
ship and editorial m.anagement as the Times. 

The National Greenback was started in May, 1877, by John J. Auten, 
who was succeeded in the following October by Samuel Martin. The publi- 
cation was finally discontinued in 1878. 

The Shamokin Sentinel made its first appearance on the 6th of May, 
1882, under the proprietorship of 0. L. Gilger & Company. It was pub- 
lished for advertising purposes and distributed gratuitously for a time, but 
eventually developed into a regular weekly newspaper with C. L. Gilger and 
W. S. Guiterman as editors and publishers. Mr. Gilger was succeeded by 
A. D. B. McKenzie and Mr. Guiterman retired; the paper was finally absorbed 
by the Herald. 

Talk of the Day, H. M. Kurtz & Brother, publishers, J. C. J. Kurtz, 
editor, was established in 1878 and published several years. Local news 
and advertising were the principal features. 


The Mt. Carmel Progress, the pioneer newspaper of that borough, was 
established in December, 1877, by Owen Fowler. It was printed on a Co- 
lumbia lever press, and was in form a folio an eighth-sheet in size, making 
its appearance semi-monthly. In March, 1878, the name became Home News, 
and the paper was published weekly. In 1879 M. K. Watkins became pro- 
prietor; he changed the name to Mt. Carmel News, and enlarged the dimen- 
sions of the sheet. E. E. White became editor in 1881, when the size was 
further increased. In the following year the entire outfit of the Gloucester 
City Tribune was removed from Gloucester, New Jersey, by Mr. "Watldns, 
thus increasing the facilities of the office to an appreciable extent. Mr. White 
acquired a proprietary interest in 1883, and during the following four years 
the paper was published by the firm of Watkins & White. In April, 1887, 
Mr. Watkins retired in favor of E. J. Wilson, and the paper was published 
by White & Wilson until February 1, 1891, when Professor White disposed 
of his interest to Mr. Wilson, who has since continued the publication indi- 


vidually. The News is now an eight-column folio, and has been published 
semi-weekly since August, 1889. It is Republican in politics. 

The Weekly Itein, an advertising medium for gratuitous distribution, was 
first issued on the 7th of January, 1888, by L. W. Gheen, who was succeeded 
on the 7th of December, 1889, by Will B. Wilson, the present proprietor. It 
is a five-column folio, and is published weekly. 

The ML Carmel American made its first appearance on the 30th of 
August, 1890, as a five-column folio for gratuitous distribution. On the 1st 
of January, 1891, "Mt. Carmel" was substituted for "Weekly" in the caption, 
the paper was enlarged to its present size (a seven-column folio), and brought 
to a subscription basis. Burke & Sterner established the paper, but Sterner 
withdrew after the issue of the second number; Thomas N. Burke then con- 
tinued the paper individually until January 1, 1891, when William J. Thomas 
became associated with him, and the present publishers are Burke & Thomas. 
The American is independent in politics with Democratic proclivities. 

The Tri-Weekly American, first issued on the 2d of January, 1891, by 
Curtis Sterner, suspended three weeks later. 


The Watsontown Record was founded in 1870 by a local company known 
as the Watsontown Printing Association, of which A. J. Gruffy, Joseph Hollo- 
peter, and Oscar Foust were the leading members. The par value of the 
shares was ten dollars and a sufiicient amount was realized from their sale 
and by subscriptions from public spirited citizens to secure a printing outfit. 
P. H. Coup, now a clergyman, was the first editor and manager. In this po- 
sition he evinced considerable ability, but, like many other enterprises in the 
incipient stage, the paper was not a financial success. The plant was sold at 
judicial foreclosure and purchased by John J. Auten, under whose adminis- 
tration a fair degree of prosperity was attained. April 1, 1877, he was suc- 
ceeded by D. L. Sollenberger, now of the Shamokin Dispatch. On the 1st 
of February, 1878, he disposed of the plant to the Eecord Publishing Com- 
pany, of which G. W. Hess was president, with Oscar Foust and S. M. Miller 
as constituent members. The editorial and business management was in- 
trusted to L. C. Fosnot, who had been an attache of the office since Mr. Sol- 
lenberger took charge. In 1881 J. A. Everitt succeeded the Record Pub- 
lishing Company; during the following three years the publication was suc- 
cessively conducted by no less than thirteen different individuals or firms, 
each change resulting in a less degree of prosperity, and the paper was finally 
consolidated with the Star, in January, 1884. 

The West Branch Star made its debut, April 1, 1882, as a five-column 
quarto, under the proprietorship of L. C. Fosnot and W. W. Fisher. The 
latter retired in October, 1883, in favor of Theodore Burr, whose interest was 
acquired by Mr. Fosnot in March, 1890. In January, 1884, a consolidation 


was efEected imder the name of the Record and Star, when the page was en- 
larged to six columns. The present form, that of a seven-column quarto, was 
adopted in April, 1888. The Star was originally Democratic in politics, but 
the paper is now independent. Mr. Fosnot is the editor and publisher. 

The Agricultural Epitomist was established as a semi-monthly in 1882 
by J. A. Everitt, an extensive seedsman, and the paper was a useful adver- 
tising adjunct to his business, although considerable attention was also de- 
voted to general agricultural topics. John A. Woodward was editor until 
1884, when the paper became a monthly, and since that date it has been 
edited by J. A. Everitt, who was succeeded in 1889 by the Epitomist Pub- 
lishing Company. The size of the sheet is twenty-four by thirty-four inches, 
folded to sixteen pages. The highest circulation of any single number was 
two hundred thousand copies; the present average circulation is seventy -five 
thousand copies. In 1886 the Epitomist was removed to Indianapolis, In- 
diana. It has a larger circulation than any other paper published in that 
State, and, according to Rowell's Directory, is one of twenty-four papers in 
the United States that regularly issue over fifty thousand copies. 

The Blade was established by J. Ward Diehl, May 13, 1889, and is one 
of the most recent as well as one of the most sprightly journals started in the 
county. It is a six-column quarto, and is independent in politics. 


" About 1849 or 1850 a paper called the West Branch Intelligencer was 
started in McEwensville by a gentleman named Case. It lived about eighteen 
months, and then expired." — History of the West Branch Valley. 

The Locust Gap Local, the initial journalistic venture at that point, is a 
five-column folio, independent in politics, and was established on the 6th of 
December, 1890, by Frederick W. Magrady, the present editor and proprie- 





Relation or Highways of Teavel to Civilization — Public Boads — The Tdlpe- 
HOCKEN Road — The old Reading Road — Early County Roads — Tuknpikbs— 
RiTEii Navigation — Canals — Railkoads — Pennsylvania — Danville and 
Pottsvili.e — Phii,adelphia and Erie — Northern Central — Sunbury-, Hazel- 

Philadelphia .and Reading — Mine Hill and Schuykill Haven — Mahanoy 


Delaware, Lackawanna and "Western — Lehigh Valley — Wilkesbarre and 

THE relation that highways of travel sustain to material and intellectual 
progress has been frequently discussed in learned dissertations upon 
the philosophy of civilization. It has been shown that maritime nations were 
the first to advance in the arts ; that every great river is a highway by which 
civilizing influences penetrate to the interior of continents, and that national 
insulation, as illustrated in the case of certain Oriental peoples, results in a 
condition of utter stagnation. The various agencies by which intercommuni- 
cation is usually facilitated in an inland community — public roads, navigable 
rivers, canals, and railroads — the result as well as the cause of internal 
development and progress, are properly comprehended under the generaliza- 
tion which appears at the head of this chapter. 


Two well defined routes of travel lead from the frontier settlements to 
the Indian town at the forks of Susquehanna. That pursued by the Indian 
traders and early explorers followed the course of the river; the other, 
which may with some degree of propriety be called the overland route, began 
at the settlements on the Tulpehocken, crossed the various mountains and 
streams in a northwesterly direction, and probably intersected the river some 
distance below Shamokin. 

Internal improvements in Northumberland county first received attention 
during the construction of Fort Augusta. The following entry appears in 
Major Burd's diary of January 15,1757: "This day I went with Captain 
Shippen and a party and laid out a straight road round Shamokin Hill for the 
benefit of transporting our provisions hither, finding it impracticable to pass 
over the mountain." On the 17th he went himself with a party and began 


to open the road. On the 20th instant he wrote: " This day I sent Captain 
Shippen and the adjutant with a small party to extend the road from the 
larst rise over the gut to the forks of the road on the top of the moimtain, 

with orders to blaze it. Captain Shippen returns and reports 

he had found a very good road with an easy ascent over the mountain that 
■could be traveled at all times, and had blazed it well. This day the party 
clearing the road to the first rise and making the bridge over the gut reports 
the same finished." This was the first road regularly laid out in the 

While a regularly opened highway would doubtless have greatly facili- 
tated military operations, the first effort to open a road through the present 
territory of the county resulted principally from commercial considerations. 
At a meeting of the provincial Council on the 30th of January, 1768,f a 
petition was presented from " a very considerable number of the inhabitants 
of Berks county," setting forth that if a road were opened from Reading to 
Fort Augusta " it would greatly tend to advance the trade and commerce 
with the Indians who are settled at the heads of the Susquehaima river, and 
to preserve the friendship and peace with them, and would also save great 
charge and expense in transporting skins and furs from thence, as the dis- 
tance from that fort to Philadelphia by way of Reading is much shorter than 
any other." Upon taking the matter into consideration the board coincided 
with the petitioners regarding the public utility of the road, but, as part of 
the country through which it would pass to Fort Augusta had not yet been 
relinquished by the Indians, it was not deemed advisable to open it beyond 
the line of the purchase of 1749. An order was forthwith issued directing 
Jonas Seely, John Patton, Henry Christ, James Scull, Frederick Weiser, 
Benjamin Spycker, Mark Bird, Christian Laur, and Thomas Jones, Jr. to 
lay out a road by the most direct course from Reading toward Fort Augusta 
as far as the line of the purchase of 1749 or to some point on the Susque- 
hanna river between the mouth of Mahanoy creek and Mahanoy mountain. 
The road was accordingly laid out and a return thereof made to Council. + 
Beginning at Reading it extended in a general northwesterly course — fourteen 
miles ninety-one perches, to the Tulpehocken; thence eight miles ninety- 
four perches, to the Swatara; thence twenty-eight miles two hundred forty 
perches, to the Spread Eagle in the forks of Mahantango; thence four miles 
two hundred fifty-seven perches, to Sohwaben creek; thence five miles one 
hundred sixty-four perches, " to a white-oak on the bank of Susquehanna 
river and south side of the Mahanoy mountain" — a total length of sixty-one 
miles two hundred six perches. As thus returned the road was confirmed 
by Council on the 19th of January, 1769, and an order forthwith issued that 

*Pennsylvania Arcliives (Second Series), \'ol. II. pp. 754-' 
tColoalal Kecortls, Xo\. TX. p. 440. 
tColonlal Records, Vol. IX. pp. 660-561. 


it shoald be opened and cleared, ''and rendered commodious for public serv- 
ice." Its course had evidently been a traveled route before, as mention is 
made of "the lower end of the dug road," "the old feeding place," "the old 
path to Lykens' valley," "a noted spring by the old path," etc. This was 
the old Tulpehooken road, the first public highway legally opened in North- 
umberland county. 

On the 16th of January, 1770, a petition* was prepared, setting forth the 
advantages to be derived from the opening of a road "from Port Augusta to 
Ellis Hughes's saw mill, on the navigable part of Schuylkill about thirty 
miles above Reading." It was considered by Council on the 9th of February, 
when George Webb, Jonathan Lodge, Henry Miller, Henry Shoemaker, John 
Webb, Isaac WiUits, and Job Hughes were appointed to lay out the road, 
in which service all of them participated except Henry Miller. The report 
was returned to Council under date of April 14, 1770; it received the consid- 
eration of that body on the 23d of the same month, when an order was issued 
confirming the road as laid out and directing that it should be "opened and 
rendered commodious for public service." It was declared to be a "King's 
highway." From a point on the Schuylkill three fourths of a mile below 
Hughes's saw mill to "the bank of the river Susquehanna by the northwest 
comer of Fort Augusta " the length was " thirty-nine miles and one quarter 
and nineteen perches." The general course coincided with that of the Centre 
turnpike, crossing Broad mountain, Mahanoy creek and mountain, and 
Shamokin creek. This highway has been popularly known in Northumber- 
land county as the old Reading road,f and, with the Tulpehocken road, con- 
stituted the facilities of overland communication in this part of the State at 
the organization of the county. 

Public roads became a subject of judicial consideration in May, 1772, at 
the first court of quarter sessions after the formation of the county, when 
"sundry the inhabitants of the West Branch of Susquehanna and parts 
adjacent" petitioned for the opening of a public road from Fort Augusta up 
the east side of the West Branch to Lycoming. Richard Malone, Marcus 
Hulings, Jr., John Robb, Alexander Stephens, Daniel Layton, and Amariah 
Sutton, to whom the petition was referred, submitted their report at August 
sessions, 1772; it was forthwith confirmed and an order of court issued 
declaring the road " a public highway of the breadth of thirty-three feet, to 
be cleared, maintained, and remain free and open for the public or persons 
using the same agreeably to the laws of this Province forever." As thus laid 
out it crossed the North Branch half a mile above Fort Augusta "to a marked 
hickory near the bank in the main point," thence passing the houses of John 
Alexander, William Plunket (above Chillisquaque), John Dougherty, and 
Marcus Hulings between the North Branch and the gap in Muncy Hill. 

* Pennsylvania, Archives, Vol. IV. pp. 362-363. 
t Colonial Records, Vol. IX. pp. 651-666. 


Although this road was thus nominally established, it does not appear that 
the order of court requiring it to be opened was fully complied with, as sub- 
sequent proceedings abundantly testify. 

" The petition of sundry inhabitants of the North Branch of Susquehanna 
and of the waters of Mahoning creek in Turbut township" was also consid- 
ered at May sessions, 1772. They asked the "worshipful justices" to take 
measures for the opening of a road from Fort Augusta to the narrows of 
Mahoning, urging as reasons for immediate action that "the earlier such a road 
is laid out and opened, the fewer inconveniences will arise to the inhabitants, 
as they will then know better how to regulate their fences and carry on their 
improvements." Thomas Hewitt, Eobert McCuUey, John Black, Hugh Mc- 
Williams, Eobert McBride, and John Clark, Jr., were appointed as viewers; 
their report was returned and confirmed at May sessions, 1773. The road 
thus laid out crossed the North Branch a half-mile above Fort Augusta, co- 
incided with Water street in Northumberland, crossed McCulley's run, 
Miller's run at the forks, and continued, at no great distance from the river, 
to Mahoning creek. It was the first public road in the valley of the North 

The first road down the Susquehanna was confirmed in May, 1773. The 
petition was presented at August sessions, 1772, and referred to William 
Patterson, Samuel Hunter, Sr., George Wolf, Peter Hosterman, Casper Eeed, 
and Sebastian Kerstetter. They laid out a road "beginning at the end of 
Market street in the town of Sunbury, thence down the Broadway and along 
the bank of the river south twenty -five degrees west ninety-four perches and 
nine feet, thence across the river," following the bank on the western side 
"to a stone in the middle of Mahantango creek," where the road to Carlisle 
was intersected. 

A road from Mahantango to Sunbury on the east side of the Susque- 
hanna was petitioned for at August sessions, 1774. John Clark, Peter Al- 
maug, Leonard Kerstetter, Jonas Yocum, Michael Shaver, and John Shaver 
were appointed viewers. Their report was confirmed at the corresponding 
term of court in the following year; it provided for a bridle road twenty-one 
feet wide, "beginning at John Heckert's on Manhantango creek," thence 
passing in order Peter Yocum, Casper Snively, Fiddler's run, Anthony Fid- 
dler, Peter Weiser, Samuel Weiser, Mahanoy creek, Hugh McKinley, Will- 
iam Biles at Biles's creek, Auchmuty's, Adam Christ, Christian Ferst, Hol- 
lowing run, and Shamokin creek, "to William Baker's house on the road 
already laid out and confirmed from Sunbury to Eeading." This was the 
first road leading from Sunbury to the southern part of the county. It was 
twenty miles one hundred thirty -nine perches in length, and 'did not deviate 
from the bank of the river to any extent in any part of its course. 

At February sessions, 1774, a petition was presented for a road "from 
the town of Sunbury, betwixt the East Branch of Susquehanna and 


Shamokin creek, to where it may fall on said branch a little above the mouth 
of Mahoning creek, where a ferry will be erected." It was represented that 
such a road would be of great advantage, not only to the inhabitants of Au- 
gusta township, but also to those of Wyoming and Fishing creek; and that 
"from the heads of Chillisquaque and Mahoning a level road can be had 
through Montour's hiU down Mahoning creek the best and nearest way to 
the proposed ferry, and about two miles nearer from the said ferry to the 
town of Sunbury than any other way can be found." As viewers David Mc- 
Kinney, William Clark, David Fowler, Robert McBride, Samuel Crooks, and 
John Teitsworth were appointed. At November sessions, 1 774, they reported 
having laid out a road "beginning at a black oak on the bank of theEastBranch 
of Susquehanna opposite to John Simpson's," thence by various courses to 
"the Sunbury road at the bridge east of the said town." It was forthwith 
confirmed, and was the first road opened south of the North Branch from 
Sunbury to the site of Danville. The course was evidently quite direct, as 
the distance between the termini was reported as ten miles one hundred fifty- 
one perches. 

An unsuccessful effort was made to have this road extended to Catawissa 
in 1778, but this was not accomplished until 1784. How tardy was the 
development of the country at this period is shown by the fact that at the 
latter date, ten years after this road from Sunbury to Danville had been laid 
out, it was opened but five miles from Sunbury. 

The first proceedings for the opening of a road from Simbury up Sha- 
mokin creek were instituted at February sessions, 1775. Geiger's mill was 
the only one in the valley at that date; and the petitioners state that "to 
come to the only mill in their neighborhood, as well as to the town of Sun- 
bury" they were obliged to pass through "low or level lands" upon which 
"a number of people" were "daily making improvements and fencing in the 
level lands." They therefore prayed the court to have a road laid out "from 
William Winter's land the most convenient way to Geiger's mill and from 
thence to the town of Sunbury." Aaron Wilkerson, Eobert Fitzrandolph, 
WiUiam Baker, Thomas Runyon, Valentine Geiger, and Anthony Hinkle 
were appointed as viewers; at May sessions they reported having laid out a 
road "beginning at a white-oak marked N. B. on William Winter's land," 
thence by Geiger's mill to Sunbury, which was ordered to be opened the 
breadth of fifty feet. As the usual breadth was thirty-three feet, this was 
evidently regarded as an important highway. 

As previously stated, a road from Sunbury to Lycoming was ordered laid 
out at the second court of general quarter sessions after the organization 
of the county. A considerable period elapsed before the order of court was 
carried into execution, however. Under date of May 29, 1776, Samuel Wal- 
lis, an early settler at Muncy and one of the most prominent and influential 
citizens of the West Branch valley, informed the court that "the inhabitants 


of this county in general have for a long time past labored imder great incon- 
veniences by having the common way frequently stopped up at the will and 
pleasure of those who are settled along it;" and at February sessions, 1778, 
a petition was read, stating that "by accidents and other delays no road has 
yet been opened, to the manifest and great inconvenience of the inhabit- 
ants." Joseph Wallis, George Silverthom, Andrew EusseU, James Harri- 
son, John Scott, and James McMahan were appointed as viewers, but there 
is no record of their proceedings. The "Great Eunaway" and the harassing 
experiences of the following years obviated any necessity for pubhc highways 
in the West Branch valley for some time afterward. At August sessions, 
1785, a petition numerously signed was submitted to the court, praying that 
a road might be laid out from SamueJ WaUis's by Henry Shoemaker's mills 
to Northumberland; it was referred to James McMahan, James Carscaddon, 
William Mc Williams, Jacob FoUmer, Jacob HiU, and John Eobb, who 
reported at February sessions, 1786, that "notwithstanding the many advan- 
tages the said road would be to the inhabitants in the forks, yet the same 
was retarded at the first by the order not being issued until the November 
court following, since which time the inclemency of the weather and other 
incumbrances disabled us to fully comply with the said order." There was 
evidently some lack of harmony (perhaps this was one of the "incum- 
brances"), and Henry Billeigh and John Alexander were substituted for 
John Eobb and James McMahan, respectively. But this did not entirely 
obviate disagreements; their order was continued and they proceeded there- 
on "unanimously from the place of beginning to Mr. James Harrison's, but 
disputes there arising which was the nearest and best way to proceed, and 
much time being spent in determining the same without coming to any con- 
clusion, the viewers declined proceeding to finish the business." A new 
board, composed of William Fisher, Daniel Montgomery, Eichard Martin, 
Eobert Eeynolds, William Eeed, and James McClung, was thereupon 
appointed. Under date of August 19, 1786, they presented a report, show- 
ing the courses and distances from Wolf's run near WaUis's to Northumber- 
land, a distance of twenty-two and three fourths miles. That part between 
Wolf's run and James Harrison's and from Chillisquaque meeting house to 
Northumberland was forthwith confirmed; for the remainder a review was 
ordered, but not acted upon, and the whole was confirmed at November ses- 
sions, 1788. In course of time the northern end of this highway acquired 
the name of "Harrison's road," and its southern end that of " Strawbridge's 

• John Smitli, John Allen, John Fruit, Samuel Eussell, iind Thomas Pollock, appointed by the 
court to lay out a road from the county line to Chillisquaque through Harrison's gap (virtually a 
review of "Harrison's road"), made report at August sessions, 1S12, "That the old road from the 
county line to the house of James I.ogau will answer, and thence running from the house of said 
Logan south forty-nine degrees east forty perches to a small branch of Chillisquaque creek through 
lands of said Logan; thence south twenty-nine degrees east twenty perches through lands of said 
Logan and to the line of the Widow Watts's land; thence south three degrees east fifty-two perches 


A propensity to obstruct the highways was not confined to the West 
Branch, as is evident from a petition from Mahanoy township considered at 
March sessions, 1779. In the informal manner with which the necessities of 
public conveniences were provided, a road had been opened from Stone- 
braker's mill to the Gap church, which, the petition recites, " John Chob hath 

fenced up, so that the neighbors can not go to the mills or to the church, 

which is no advantage to him but a great disadvantage to many of the neigh- 
bors." Martin Kerstetter, Dietrick Eough, Michael Lenker, John Wolf, Martin 
Thomas, and Michael Shaffer were appointed to lay out a road for public use, 
" upon condition that the petitioners open, fence, clear, survey, and support 
said road at their own expense." Under date of April 6, 1779, they reported 
having laid out a road from the mouth of Mahantango to Stonebraker's mill, 
which was confirmed, June 21, 1779. This was the first road in the valley of 
that creek on the Northumberland county side. 

As opened in 1769, the Tulpehocken road extended to the Susquehanna 
at Samuel Weiser's near the mouth of Mahanoy creek. No effort appears 
to have been made to continue it to Sunbury until 1782; in a petition pre- 
sented to the court at February sessions in that year the following interesting 
paragraph occurs : — 

TVe are informed by good authority that Eobert Martin, of Northumberland-Town, 
and Ennion Williams, of the city of Philadelphia, have lately set on foot subscriptions 
in said city and other places in order to raise a sum of money to be applied toward 
opening said road; which subscriptions have met the approbation of a great number of 
gentlemen, who have generously subscribed thereto to the amount of two hundred 

Among those who indorsed this petition were Matthew Smith, prothono- 
tary of the county; Stephen Chambers and John Vannost, attorneys; Samuel 
Himter, William Cooke, Daniel Montgomery, Robert Martin, Joseph Lorentz, 
William Gray, George Wolf, and Abraham Dewitt. They suggested a high- 
way to intersect the Tulpehocken road four or five miles above its terminus 
on the Susquehanna and continue thence to Mahantango creek. As viewers 
were appointed John Eckert, Peter Ferst, Henry Crips, George Wolf, Peter 
Hall, Jacob Conrad, and Matthew Smith, with Jonathan Lodge as surveyor. 
Their report, dated March 14, 1782, was confirmed at May sessions following, 
so far as the road from Sunbury to the Tulpehocken road was concerned; 
against that part between the Tulpehocken road and Mahantango creek the 
inhabitants of Mahanoy township remonstrated, and it was not confirmed 
until May sessions, 1785. The road thus opened became the principal route of 
travel between Sunbury and the southern part of the county, Lancaster, and 

through lands of the said Widow Watts to her house ; thence due south one hundred perches to the 
hue of Widow Harrison's land through the lands of Widow Watts; from thence the old road to Chil- 
lisquaque creek." The court approved the report, and on the 28th of January, 1813, issued an order 
to open the road. This road throughout a large part of its course became the eastern boxmdary of 
the county by the act of January 22, 1816, the particulars of which are given in the chapter on Organi- 
zation and Administration iu this work. 


Harrisburg. The name of the old Tulpehocken road was gradually transferred 
to it, and at the present day it almost monopolizes that designation. 

The road originally laid out from Sunbury to the mouth of Mahantango 
was merely a bridle road, and little more than a legalized path. At Feb- 
ruary sessions, 1782, the court was petitioned to open a public highway of 
the regular width, and viewers were accordingly appointed. Nothing what- 
ever was done under this order, and at February term, 1785, John White, 
Casper Snider, Adam Miller, Sebastian Brosius, Samuel Moodie, and Samuel 
Weiser were substituted for the persons originally selected, and Samuel 
Auohmuty seems to have officiated in place of Moodie. Their report was 
confirmed at May sessions, 1785, and the road ordered opened thirty-three 
feet wide. At a later date this road was widened at various places at con- 
siderable expense, and was a much traveled route until the construction of 
the railroad. 

The road opened in 1786-88 from Northumberland to Wolf's run was too 
far distant from the river to confer much substantial benefit upon the inhab- 
itants in the immediate vicinity of the West Branch. This was early antici- 
pated, and at February sessions, 1786, three petitions were presented for a 
road from Sunbury to Lycoming, in which the citizens of Turbut, Mahoning, 
and Muncy appear to have given a general concurrence. A view was ordered, 
but no proceedings under it are known to have occurred. A year later the 
case was reopened; John Boyd, Abraham Scott, Thomas Palmer, Samuel 
Harris, Henry Shoemaker, and William Hepburn, viewers appointed, made 
return at May term, 1787, which was confirmed and the road ordered to be 
" maintained, deemed, and taken thenceforth for an open highway of the 
breadth of fifty feet forever." As thus described the road began " at a post 
on the westerly side of the East Branch of Susquehanna river in the middle 
of Market street in the town of Northumberland " continuing at no great dis- 
tance from the channel of the West Branch to " a post in the end of Amariah 
Sutton's lane and on the easterly bank of Lycoming creek." 

A road crossing diagonally from Muncy creek to the mouth of Mahoning 
creek and thence in a southeasterly direction to the Reading and Sunbury 
road was projected at an early, period in the history of the county, and prob- 
ably originated with the Montgomerys, the enterprising founders of Danville. 
That part from the West Branch of Susquehanna to the North Branch was 
confirmed at August term, 1785. At February sessions, 1786, the court was 
petitioned to continue it to the Reading road, but the persons appointed to 
that service " through hurry of business " neglected to attend to it, and the 
petition was again presented at May term. John Irwin, William McLees 
John Teitsworth, Michael Weaver, Alexander Ewing, and Richard Robinson 
were appointed as viewers; they reported at August term following the 
courses and distances from the Reading road to the top of Shamokin Hill 
near Robert Randolph's plantation, a distance of five miles, which was con- 


firmed; regarding the remaining distance they were not fully agreed, and 
evidently failed to agree, for at the same term of court a different set of 
viewers was constituted. In August, 1790, another effort was made to have 
this road opened, from the top of Shamokin Hill to the North Branch, but, 
owing to irregularities in the proceedings of the viewers, their report was set 
aside. The object desired was finally attained at November sessions, 1791, 
when the report of James Finney, John Bogart, Isaac Coldron, Thomas Wil- 
lits, Nehemiah Hutton, and Jacob Faust, Jr., providing for a road from Gen- 
eral Montgomery's house at the site of Danville to " a pine tree in the end of 
the old road on the top of Shamokin Hill" received confirmation at the hands 
of the court. This was the most important road opeined in the eastern part 
of the county at an early date. 

The first public road in the valley of Little Shamokin creek was petitioned 
for at August term, 1787. The projectors represented " that a number of 
people who have settled, and others who are wanting to settle, in Little 
Shamokin creek valley labor under many inconveniences for want of a road 
to begin at the Reading road at Lewis's run and to extend up said run 
through Lightfoot's and Starr's land, [in] the said valley, Jacob Miller's 
land, and to meet the Reading road at John Miller's tavern," and, with com- 
mendable public spirit, expressed their willingness to "open and maintain such 
a road at their own expense, providing the court will empower them to do 
so." As viewers the court appointed Jacob Conrad, Adam Miller, William 
Gray, Thomas Reece, John Weitzel, and John Miller, who made report at the 
following term. 

A legally authorized highway was first opened through the valley of 
Greenbrier or Schwaben creek in 1788. It was laid out by Andrew Reitz, 
John Nicholas Hettrick, John Nicholas Snyder, George Pfeiffer, Michael 
Roth, and Frederick Kobel, and extended from the Sunbury and Paxtang 
(Tulpehocken) road ten miles in a general easterly direction. The viewers 
were appointed at November sessions, 1787, and their report was confirmed 
at May term, 1788. 


In 1799 Jacob D. Breyvogel collected certain sums of money aggregat- 
ing two hundred sixty-seven dollars, forty-nine cents, for the improve- 
ment of the Reading road between John Teitsworth's and Jeremiah Reed's. 
Thomas Grant was treasurer of the fund, and Colonel John Bull superin- 
tended its expenditure. The labor bestowed upon the road was entirely in- 
adequate, however, and it presented a favorable opportunity for improvement 
under corporate auspices. 

The Centre Turnpike Company was incorporated by act of the legis- 
lature, March 25, 1805, the corporators being Joseph Priestley and John 
Cowden, of Northumberland; Charles Hall, of Sunbury; Dr. James Dougal, 


of Milton; Daniel Montgomery, of Danville; Jacob Toppel, of Hamburg; 
Joseph Heister and James May, of Reading; Samuel Morris, Thomas Leiper, 
William Tilghman, and James Gibson, of Philadelphia, and William Hep- 
burn, of Lycoming county, who were authorized to construct a road by the 
nearest and best way from Sunbury to Reading, the road to be opened sixty 
feet wide and the width of the part artificially constructed to be eighteen 
feet. Milestones were to be erected, and bridges were authorized wherever 
the company should deem neocessary or expedient. 

As with the majority of internal improvements in progress at that date, 
the work of construction did not advance rapidly. A supplement to the act 
of incorporation was secured on the 17th of March, 1806, by which John 
Dorsey, Samuel Meeker, Thomas Fitzsimmons, and Peter Robison were 
added to the corporators, and the company was granted the privilege of con- 
structing a section thirty miles in length beginning at Teitsworth's tavern, 
thirteen miles east of Sunbury. By the act of March 21, 1808, the Governor 
was authorized to subscribe for six hundred shares of stock in the company, 
which amount was increased to nine himdred in 1812. Under this appropri- 
ation the road was at length completed; but the company had secured 
advances from the Bank of Pennsylvania, the adjudication of which involved 
protracted and expensive litigation, and in 1821 an appropriation of thirty 
thousand dollars was made by the legislature to be applied by the managers 
towards paying the judgment obtained at the suit of the bank against the 
former managers, Daniel De B. Keim, John Adams, and others. The aggre- 
gate capitalization was one hundred forty thousand dollars; the road was 
seventy-six miles in length, extending from Sunbury in a general easterly 
direction to Bear Gap, on the extreme eastern limit of the county, and thence 
southeast across the mountains to Reading. It was never a paying property; 
on the other hand, it proved to be a drain upon the treasury of the State, 
which ultimately sold its interest at much less than the par value. It was 
purchased principally by the Messrs. Taggart and Priestley, of Northumber- 
land, and their families had a controlling interest in the property for many 
years. That part of the road between Sunbury and Pottsville was very 
unprofitable to the stockholders ; consequently it received but little improve- 
ment, and public sentiment at length compelled its abandonment. The 
section between Pottsville and Reading was operated until a few years 
since; when the Pennsylvania Schuylkill Valley railroad was constructed it 
became necessary to use the road bed of the pike as the line of that railroad, 
and a controlling interest was accordingly purchased by J. C. Bright, of 
Pottsville, for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. The turnpike thus 
ceased to be a Northumberland county institution in proprietary control, as 
it had ceased to be in fact some years previously. Originally projected by resi- 
dents of this county principally, the turnpike was an enterprise in every way 
creditable to local financiering. Aside from business considerations, its man- 


agement was distinguished by certain social features well worthy of mention. 
Semi-annual banquets were regularly held, usually at Pottsville or Beading, 
but sometimes in Philadelphia or elsewhere. These were attended by the 
officers and managers, many of the stockholders, and invited guests, among 
whom were ex-Governors Curtin and Pollock on one occasion, with other 
prominent public men. These will be remembered when the turnpike itself — 
the difSculties of its early history, the perplexities of its management, and 
the circumstances of its final abandonment — have passed out of the tradi- 
tions of the community. 

The Danville Turnpike Road Company was incorporated by act of the 
legislature, January 21, 1813, with the following corporators: Lewis Eeese 
and James May, of Reading; Daniel Montgomery, Jr., and William Mont- 
gomery, Jr., of Danville; Jacob Gearhart and John Jones, of Shamokin 
township; Bethuel Vincent and Seth Iredell, of Milton*, John Funston and 
John Pruit, of Derry; Jacob Shoemaker and George Webb, of Pennsborough ; 
and Joseph Eves and Richard Demott, of Fishing Creek. The course of 
the road ]ed from Danville to Bear Gap by way of Elysburg. It was in- 
tended by tl is to render the trade of Danville tributary to the Centre turn- 
pike, as well as to deflect a share of the travel over that thoroughfare to 
Danville, and both objects were subserved to an equal extent. But it does 
not appear that a great amount of money was ever expended on the improve- 
ment of the road, while the tolls, which were the same as those charged on 
the Centre turnpike, were deemed excessive and exorbitant in proportion to 
the benefits conferred. This at length resulted in the forfeiture of the char- 
ter, which was repealed by act of the legislature, April 8, 1848. The road 
thus reverted to the townships through which it passes, and has since re"ceived 
only the amount of attention usually bestowed upon public roads. 


The Susquehanna river was declared a public highway by act of Assem- 
bly, March 9, 1771, and James Wright, George Ross, Thomas Minshall, 
John Lowdon, Alexander Lowry, William Maclay, Samuel Hunter, Jr., Will- 
iam Patterson, Robert Callender, Charles Steward, Reuben Haines, Thomas 
Holt, and William Richardson were appointed commissioners to expend any 
moneys that might be subscribed or appropriated for the improvement of 
that river or of the Juniata, Conestoga, Bald Eagle, Mahanoy, Penn's creek, 
the Swatara, Conodoguinet, and Kiskiminetas. It is not probable that the 
duties of the commission were onerous, although their labors were doubtless 
attended with beneficial results. 

While the varieties of river craft used in the transportation of the 
products of the upper Susquehanna valley included rafts, arks, flat-boats, 
etc., the Durham boat was most widely and generally known. This craft 
derived its name from Durham, in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, not far below 


Easton, where it was first made, and used by the proprietors of the furnace 
at that place in shipping their product to Philadelphia. Sixty feet in length, 
eight feet wide, and two feet deep, a Durham boat drew twenty inches of 
water under fifteen tons burthen, and was therefore peculiarly adapted to the 
navigation of shallow streams. It floated with the current on the down- 
ward voyage; when a swift riffle was reached, a light cable attached to a 
windlass in the stern or prow was made fast to a tree or rock on shore, thus 
assisting in steadying the boat and restraining its progress. When manned 
by four men with " setting " poles, the boat progressed at the rate of two 
miles an hour against the current; this method of locomotion was called 
"poling" or " cordelling, " and was extremely laborious. It frequently 
occurred, however, that the boat was sold with its cargo when the destina- 
tion was reached, in which case the boatmen returned on foot. 

The introduction of sails occurred in 1805-06, when the first experiments 
in utilizing the force of the winds in river navigation were made by Captains 
Jordan and Blair; the irm^ovation was at once received with favor, and gener- 
ally adopted. A further improvement was the introduction of horse-power 
in ascending the stream in a calm. The horse was hitched to the boat by a 
light tow line, and was usually driven near the bank by a boy; when not 
needed the animal was taken on board. 

Steamboat navigation on the Susqueharma was first attempted in 1826. 
Largely through the instrumentality of Peter A. Karthaus, who owned a 
large body of land on the headwaters of the West Branch, and Tunison 
CoryeU, of WiUiamsport, two steamboats, the Codorus and Susquehanna, were 
built, the former under Baltimore and the latter under Philadelphia auspices. 
The Codorus was commanded by Captain Elger, who experienced great difii- 
culty in ascending the river, but WiUiamsport and Parrandsville were at 
length reached, after which the boat returned to Northumberland and as- 
cended the North Branch as far as Wilkesbarre and Binghampton. The 
Susquehanna was a boat of larger dimensions than the Codorus, and in at- 
tempting to pass the Nescopec rapids in the North Branch on the 3d of May, 
1826, the boiler exploded, resulting in the complete wreck of the boat and 
injury or death to many of the passengers and crew. This disaster conclu- 
sively demonstrated the impracticability of navigating the river by steam. After 
the construction of the Shamokin dam at Sunbury a sufficient depth of water 
was created to permit the use of small steamers between Shamokin Dam, 
Sunbury, Northumberland, and adjacent points. 

The construction of canals was at once agitated as the only feasible means 
of transporting the increasing products of the interior of the State to the 
seaboard. On the 24th of March, 1828, an act was passed by the legislature 
by which the board of canal commissioners was " authorized and required, on 
behalf of this Commonwealth, as speedily as may be, to locate and contract 
for making canals, locks, and other works necessary thereto," from North- 


Timberland to Bald Eagle on the West Branch, and from Northumberland to 
the State line on the North Branch. A survey and exploration by an engi- 
neer was directed to be made on the west side of the West Branch, and, after 
taking into consideration " the relative advantages, facility, cost of construc- 
tion, and interests of the Commonwealth," the board was to decide which 
side of the river was the more eligible. Contracts were to be let in that year 
for the construction of not more than twenty-five nor less than twenty miles 
on the West Branch, and of not more than forty-five nor less than fifteen on the 
North Branch. It i? needless to state that the eastern side of the West Branch 
was selected by the commissioners; and, if the injunction of the legislature 
was fully carried out, nearly the entire length of both canals in this county 
was placed under construction in 1828. Delays occurred to interfere with 
the progress of the work, however, and it was not imtil 1830 that the North 
and West Branch canals were opened a sufficient distance to secure an ap- 
preciable amount of traf&c. The construction of the Lewisburg cross-cut was 
authorized by act of May 27, 1830. 

Two packet boats, the George Denison and Gertrude, were launched by 
MiUer Horton and A. O. Gaboon, respectively, in 1835, for the transportation 
of passengers between Northumberland and Wilkesbarre. Similar facilities 
were provided on the West Branch, and also on the division between North- 
umberland and Harrisburg, and during the season of navigation they were a 
great public convenience, partially taking the place of the stage coach. Dur- 
ing the prosperous days of the canal, Northumberland was an important 
point upon this system of internal communication. Here the outlet lock of 
both the North and West Branch divisions was located; several hundred 
thousand dollars were collected annually from tolls, and the amount of traffic 
was considerable. But the public works of the State were never remunera- 
tive; a heavy indebtedness was incurred in their construction, and when a 
comparison of receipts with operating expenses revealed an annual deficit to 
increase the original indebtedness, with the prospect of decreasing revenue as 
the result of railway competition, popular sentiment and public policy alike 
demanded such a disposition of the property as would relieve the State from 
further expense in connection with it. The "main line," between Philadel- 
phia and Pittsburgh, was sold to the Pennsylvania Eailroad Company in 
1857 ; the West Branch division is now the property of the Philadelphia and 
Erie Railroad Company, but has been abandoned above Muncy dam and is 
used to a very limited extent between that point and Northumberland ; the 
North Branch division is owned by the Pennsylvania Canal Company, and is 
principally used in the transportation of coal from the Wyoming basin. 


While canals or slackwater navigation entered almost exclusively into the 
system of internal improvements designed by the State, and the discussion 


of projects for the construction of artificial waterways received a large share 
of public attention, there were also those who regarded railroads as most 
likely to confer permanent advantages and result in benefits commensurate 
with their cost. This was attributable in some measure to the natural feat- 
ures of the State. It had not yet been demonstrated that canal construction 
was feasible except in immediate proximity to a river or other source of water 
supply, and hence railroads received consideration as a means of communi- 
cation between the valleys of the Schuylkill and Susquehanna. Legislative 
provision was made for the incorporation of three companies in 1826, one of 
which was the Danville and Pottsville Railroad Company. As ultimately 
constructed, the line of this road is located entirely in Northumberland 
county, of which it was for some years the only railroad. It is now a part 
of the Pennsylvania railroad system, a brief history of which may properly 
precede that of its lines in this county. 

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was chartered, April 13, 1846; 
the original line of its road extended from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, a dis- 
tance of two hundred forty-eight miles, and was opened throughout its en- 
tire length on the 15th of February, 1854. The line from Harrisburg to 
Philadelphia is made up of the old Philadelphia and Columbia railroad, 
originally a State work, and the Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mt. Joy and 
Lancaster railroad, chartered in 1832, opened in 1838, and leased in 1849. 
The Pennsylvania Eailroad Company has a large if not a controlling inter- 
est in the Northern Central railway, and is the lessee of the Philadelphia 
and Erie, the Sunbury, Hazelton and Wilkesbarre, the Sunbury and Lewis- 
town, and the Lewisburg and Tyrone railroads, all of which are partly sit- 
uated in Northumberland county. 

The Danville and Pottsville Railroad Company was authorized by act 
of the legislature approved on the 8th of April, 1826, by which the follow- 
ing persons were appointed as commissioners for its organization: Daniel 
Montgomery and George A. Frick, of Danville; Andrew McEeynolds, of 
Columbia county; John C. Boyd, of Northumberland county; Benjamin 
Potts, Francis B. Nichols, George Taylor, and John C. OfEerman, of Schuyl- 
kill county; Daniel GraefE and Edward B. Hubley, of Berks county, and 
George W. Smith and Mark Eichards, of ^Philadelphia. A capital of one 
hundred thousand dollars was authorized, in shares of fifty dollars each. The 
route of the proposed road was described as follows: "Beginning at or near 
the ferry house on the south side of the Susquehanna, opposite the town of 
Danville, in the township of Eush in Northumberland county, and extending 
to the Schuylkill canal at Pottsville." 

Over this line a railroad was to be constructed, with a grade not to exceed 
an inch to the foot. Causeways were to be erected over the railway where- 
ever it was intersected by a public road or turnpike, and also for the con- 
venience of private owners through whose lands it passed. It was declared 


to be a public highway upon completion of any section five miles in length; 
persons using it were required to provide such vehicles as should be pre- 
scribed by the company, and in the transportation of commodities the fol- 
lowing rates of toll were established: coal, salt, gypsum, and lime, one and 
one half cents per ton per mile; lumber, squared or round, two cents per 
mile per hundred feet solid; boards, plank, scantling, or other sawed stuff 
reduced to inch stuff, two cents per mile per thousand feet; staves and head- 
ings for pipes and hogsheads, two cents per thousand per mile; all other 
articles not enumerated, four cents per ton per mile; and twenty per cent. 
additional for single and detached articles weighing less than a ton. The 
character of these provisions is sufficient evidence that the railroad industry 
was in its incipiency. The erection of causeways at every intersection with 
a public road indicates an exaggerated idea of the danger of a railroad 
crossing to public travel ; the articles enumerated — coal and lumber — show 
from what sources the revenue was expected to be derived; and the 
railroad was popularly regarded as differing from the turnpike principally 
in construction and motive power, individuals furnishing their own vehicles 
for transportation on one as well as the other. It was not imtil 1831 that 
the company was authorized "to purchase, with the funds of the said com- 
pany, and place on the railroad constructed by them under this act, all ma- 
chines, wagons, vehicles, carriages, and teams, of any kind whatsoever that 
they may deem necessary or proper for the purposes of transportation," the 
rates charged to be twice as great as those originally provided for, and 
the goods to be transported in the order of receipt at the depot. This 
marks an important advance in the ideas of railroad management at that 

It does not appear that any definite progress was made under the original 
act of incorporation. A supplement, which received executive sanction on the 
14th of April, 1828, authorized an increase of the capital stock to one million 
dollars and the construction of branches to Catawissa and Sunbury; the 
number of commissioners was increased, among the additional names being 
those of Joseph R. Priestley, William A. Lloyd, and John Taggart, of North- 
umberland, and Hugh Bellas, Ebenezer Greenough, Martin Weaver, and 
Alexander Jordan, of Sunbury, with others from Catawissa, Philadelphia, and 
Pottsville. New vitality was infused into the enterprise; it obtained the 
active support of Stephen Girard, of Philadelphia, and Burd Patterson, of 
Pottsville, while General Daniel Montgomery, of Danville, had been an active 
promoter from its first inception. A survey was made, the route was deter- 
mined upon, and twelve miles of the eastern division had been completed, 
when the death of Girard deprived the project of its principal financial sup- 
porter. In this emergency recourse was had to the State legislature, and on 
the 8th of April, 1834, an act, pledging the faith of the State to the payment 
annually of five per cent, interest for twenty-seven years upon the bonds of 


the company to any individuals or corporations that should advance the sum 
of three hundred thousand dollars or any part of it to the Danville and Potts- 
ville Railroad Company, became a law. Bonds were sold at auction in Phila- 
delphia, and the entire amount authorized by the bill was placed without 
difficulty. In July, 1834, construction was begun on the section between 
Sunbury and Shamokin, the grading of which for a distance of twenty miles 
was completed in the summer of 1835. The formal opening to Stambach's 
tavern (Paxinos), a point thirteen and one half miles from Sunbury, occurred 
on Thursday, the 26th of November, 1835; the Sunbury Workingmen' s Advo- 
cate gives the following account of this event: — 

The two elegant and commodious passenger cars lately built at Pottsville [the 
"Shamokin" and "Mahanoy"], large enough to convey, inside and outside, about 
thirty persons each, having been placed on the road upon the bank of the Susquehanna, 
the ringing of bells at twelve o'clock and the joyful cheers of the traveling party and 
spectators announced their departure for the engineers' quarters at the eastern end of 
this completed division. Two of Mr. Weaver's mail-coach horses drew each car, if 
drawing it can be called, when drawing there was none. 

The party in the cars were met by other citizens at the eastern end, where a dinner 
had been prepared in such profusion and excellence as showed that various modes of 
internal improvement were perfectly understood. The oldest citizen of Sunbury, and 
oldest member of the bar attending, Daniel Levy, was appointed president of the fes- 
tivity, Lewis Dewart and Charles G. Donnel, vice-presidents, Peter Lazarus and Daniel 
Brautigam, secretaries, and Hugh Bellas was requested to deliver an address. 

Toasts were proposed and drank, to the memory of Girard and Mont- 
gomery, "the founders of the railroad," and in honor of its president and 
managers, Moncure Robinson, chief engineer, William S. Campbell and G. 
M. Totten, first assistant engineers, and their corps of assistants, Hugh 
Bellas, the orator of the occasion, Mr. and Mrs. Day, the host and hostess, 
etc. Many interesting circumstances in the history of the enterprise up to 
that time are embraced in the following extracts from Mr. Bellas's address: — 

The origin and honor of the project of connecting the Susquehanna and Schuyl- 
kill by railway are due to General Daniel Montgomery. During the summer of 1838, 
General Montgomery, then a canal commissioner, obtained the services of , Moncure 
Robinson in running various experimental lines and exploring the woods and waters 
between Danville and Sunbury, and Pottsville, to ascertain whether it were practicable 
to connect the rivers by railroad; Together they traversed the woods and climbed the 
hills, and searched the valleys for favorable routes. With great labor and exposure, 
and with greater ardor and resolution, they persevered, until finally satisfied that a 
superior road to that at first contemplated ought to be constructed; and that a location 
could be made, saving a rise and fall of three hundred fifty-four feet from the first 
proposed route in passing the Broad mountain, beside shortening the road and dispens- 
ing with three inclined planes. These important facts were stated in Mr. Robinson's 
report in October, 1831, with an estimate of the cost at six hundred seventy-five thou- 
sand dollars. This was predicated upon grading the road from Sunbury to Pottsville 
for a double track, with a single track and the necessary turn-outs laid down, until 
increasing business should render the second track necessary. This report was adopted 
and sanctioned by the company; but the great loss sustained in the falling of the two 
main pillars of the structure, Girard and Montgomery, chilled the ardent hopes of our 


friends. It is well known that the sudden illness and death of Mr. Grirard prevented 
his appropriation of three hundred thousand dollars to the completion of this work, 
besides his original subscription of two hundred thousand dollars. 

In the summer of 1832 the road .formation of the eastern division of the road was 
commenced, in conformity to the desire of Mr. Grirard and to the decision of a general 
meeting of the stockholders, and more than half was done before the close of the 
year. In his desire to prosecute the work vigorously, he ordered at once from England 
the iron to plate the rails for the whole road. More fully to enjoy its advantages, he 
effected arrangements and compromises with those who held conflicting claims to his 
large estate in the Mahanoy coal field. This portion of the road, extending from the 
Mount Carbon road, north of Pottsville, to Girardville, was completed about the close 
of the j'ear 1833, with all its superstructure, machinery, planes, fixtures, and tunnel of 
eight hundred feet, at the estimated expense of one hundred ninety thousand dollars, 
forming a railway from Gtirardville to Mount Carbon of about twelve miles. The 
formation of the road has been extended westward from Girardville two miles and a 

In 1834 the formation of this western portion was commenced, and finished early 
last summer; in August last, contracts were made for laying down the superstructure 
of thirteen miles and three eighths from the margin of the river at Sunbury to this 
place; and now, at the end of three months, it is finished and traveled, and well finished. 
Eastward of this point, running into the coal field some distance, six and a half miles 
of road are formed and ready for the superstructure. The sills and rails are all on the 
spot, and will be laid whenever the coal harbor is completed at Sunbury, with its lock 
to pass the coal boats into the great basin of the Pennsylvania canal. 

The proceeds arising from the sale of the bonds appear to have been ex- 
hausted with the finishing of the road to Paxinos. No facilities had yet been 
completed at Sunbury for trans-shipment to the canal, and Mr. Robinson, the 
engineer, suggested a cessation of active construction until connection should 
be established with the Susquehanna river and Pennsylvania canal. This 
was duly granted; and in the general appropriation for internal improve- 
ments in 1838, the Danville and Pottsville Railroad Company received fifty 
thousand dollars, to be expended in making the necessary improvements upon 
the western section and in extending it to a point twenty and one half miles 
east of Sunbury. It was the evident purpose of this latter provision to in- 
sure the completion of the western section in order that it might prove a 
feeder to the canal, a State work, and also place the road in a position to 
yield a revenue for the payment of the interest upon its bonded debt. In Au- 
gust, 1838, the road was opened to Shamokin. This event was duly cele- 
brated by a dinner at Kram's Hotel, at which Burd Patterson, Hugh Bel- 
las, John C. Boyd, and others were present and delivered addresses. On this 
occasion the locomotive was first introduced; it was the " North Star," built 
by Eastwick & Harrison, of Philadelphia, transported thence by canal to 
Sunbury, and engineered by Mr. Eastwick himself. The first passenger train 
from Shamokin to Sunbury consisted of the " North Star," the " Shamokin " 
and " Mahanoy " — the cars previously mentioned — and a few other cars. 

The road was now regularly opened for traffic and travel between Sunbury 
and Shamokin. A second engine, the "Mountaineer," was added shortly 


afterward; Charles Gill and Lewis Garretson were the first engineers of the 
"North Star" and "Mountaineer," respectively, but retained their positions 
only about five months, when the former was succeeded by Benjamin Kater- 
man and the latter by George Shipe. Two trips were regularly made each 
day during the season of navigation on the canal, the trains consisting of 
forty loaded coal cars containing two and one half tons, while the empty 
cars constituted the train on the return trip from Sunbury. But the opera- 
tion of the road was attended with many difiiculties and discouragements. 
The track consisted of wooden cross-ties laid upon the ground at intervals of 
several feet; on these oak stringers were fastened with wooden wedges, and the 
stringers, or rails, were covered with bar iron two and one half inches vride 
and one half of an inch thick. The weight of the engines was dispropor- 
tionate to the strength of this structure, and as a consequence the train was 
frequently off the track, and the track was frequently off the rail, causing 
vexations and expensive delays and ultimately resulting in the substitution of 
horse-power for the locomotives. Then the revenue from the road was insuffi- 
cient to enable the company to meet the interest on its obligations, and after 
several years of unprofitable operation the property was placed in the hands 
of Samuel R. Wood as sequestrator. Mr. Wood was the second superin- 
tendent; he was preceded by Thomas Sharpe, with whom were associated 
Patrick Reilly as master mechanic and Messrs. Robinson, Totten, and 
Cleaver, civil engineers. Mr. Wood had charge of the property as seques- 
trator for some years. The rolling stock was sold at sheriff's sale. The road 
was leased to William and Reuben Fagely in 1842, and during the ten years 
following they used it for the transportation of coal to Sunbury by horse- 
power. For this purpose one hundred horses were required; the round trip 
to Sunbury was made in two days, four or five horses hauling a train of ten 

During all this time, the annual interest on three hundred thousand dol- 
lars at five per cent, was regularly paid by appropriations from the State 
treasury; and, as the company seemed to have abandoned all hope of improv- 
ing the earning power of their road, strenuous efforts were made in the 
legislature to secure some disposition of the property that would obviate the 
payment of the annual interest, or at least reduce it in amount. Overtures 
were several times made to the holders of the bonds, but without arriving at 
any basis of adjustment; at length, on the 2d of April, 1850, an act was 
passed, the preamble of which defined the position of the State in the follow- 
ing language: — 

Whereas, By an act of Assembly passed the 8th day of March, 1834, the faith of 
the State was pledged for the payment of the interest at the rate of five per cent, per 
annum for twenty-seven years upon a loan of three hundred thousand dollars to the 
Danville and Pottsville Railroad Company; tind the said railroad, with other prop- 
erty of the said company, was mortgaged for the re-payment of the said loan; and the 
said company, having constructed a portion of their road extending ten miles from the 


eastern terminus, and another portion, twenty miles in length, extending from Sunbury 
into the Shamokin coal fields, have permitted the former to go to ruin, and have prac- 
tically abandoned all care of the latter portion; and the said company are insolvent, 
and there is no reasonable prospect that they will ever complete the said railroad, and 
relieve the State from the annual drain of fifteen thousand dollars from her treasury; 

Whebeas, The State has already paid the sum of two hundred twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars and will be called upon to pay the further sum of one hundred eighty 
thousand dollars interest to the holders of the said loan during the next twelve years; 
and the said railroad is yearly decreasing in value, and will in a year or two become 
useless for all purposes of transportation; and it is manifest that the holders of the 
said loan will realize a much greater sum towards the repayment thereof by an imme- 
diate sale of the said railroad, and the State will be relieved from the payment of the 
interest on the sum thus realized by the sale thereof. 

The auditor general was thereupon instructed to obtain, if possible, the 
assent of the holders of the loan to a sale of the property under the provisions 
of the acts of April 21, 1846, and March 16, 1847, the proceeds to be applied 
to extinguishing the loan, any part thereof remaining unpaid to bear interest 
until the termination of the period of twenty-seven years originally specified. 
This consent was accordingly obtained, and, agreeably to the wishes of 
the legislature, the property of the company, its franchises, appurten- 
ances, etc. were sold at sheriff's sale on the 16th of January, 1851, and 
purchased on behalf of the holders of the loan for the sum of one hundred 
thirty thousand and fifty dollars — fifty dollars more than the minimum 
amount required by the legislature. Deducting the fees of the sheriff, 
amounting to four hundred dollars, there remained the sum of one hundred 
seventy thousand three hundred fifty dollars for the interest upon which the 
State was stiU liable under the act of 1834. 

The new purchasers proceeded to reorganize the company, electing 
Nathaniel Chauncey president, and at a meeting held on the fourth Monday of 
April, 1851, at the Franklin House, Philadelphia, the name was changed to 
the Philadelphia and Sunbury Eailroad Company. The rehabilitation of the 
property was an immediate and imperative necessity. In 1853 the track be- 
tween Sunbury and Shamokin was relaid with iron rails; new locomotives, 
known, respectively, as the " David Longenecker," " A. R. Fiske," " Green 
Eidge," " Carbon Run," " Thomas Baumgardner," and " Lancaster," were 
procured; and on the 25th of August, 1853, the formal reopening occurred. 
In the following year the road was extended to Mt. Carmel, and under the 
superintendency of A. R. Fiske the company's prospects improved. But in 
1858, the line of the road from Sunbury to its intersection with the Mine 
Hill and Schuylkill Haven railroad having been sold under foreclosure, a 
second reorganization occurred under the name of the Shamokin Valley and 
Pottsville Railroad Company, which was invested with all the franchises of 
the former companies by an act of the legislature approved, March 25, 1858. 
The road was operated by the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company and 


independently until the 27th of February, 1863, when it was leased for nine 
hundred ninety-nine years to the Northern Central Kailway Company; it 
may thus be regarded as a part of the great Pennsylvania system, and, after 
having experienced many of the vicissitudes incident to railroad construction 
in the experimental stage, this line has been, since its lease to the Northern 
Central, a valuable and productive property. 

The Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company was chartered as the 
Sunbury and Erie Eailroad Company on the 3d of April, 1837, and received 
its present name by act of Assembly, March 7, 1861. Among the original 
corporators were Henry Eeader, David Watson, Montgomery Sweney, E. H. 
Hammond, Samuel Hepburn, Henry Frick, James Hepburn, Joseph E. 
Priestley, Hugh Bellas, Charles G. Donnel, Alexander Jordan, E. Greenough, 
Edward Gobin, John C. Boyd, Daniel Levy, Henry Yoxtheimer, Henry Mas- 
ser, William Forsyth, James Dougal, and Frederick Lazarus, of Northumber- 
land county. The period allotted for its completion was extended from time 
to time, and finally, on the 12th of February, 1846, the company was allowed 
until the 1st of June, 1851, to begin construction. The road was opened be- 
tween Williamsport and Milton, December 18, 1854, and between Milton and 
Northumberland, September 24, 1855. It was at first operated by the Cata- 
wissa Eailroad Company, which ran its rolling stock over the line for some 
time, paying to the Sunbury and Erie Eailroad Company a percentage of 
the net receipts as rental for the use of the roadway. The railway bridges 
over the North Branch at Northumberland were completed in December, 
1855, and on the 7th of January, 1856, the road was opened to Sunbury, its 
eastern terminus. The length of the line, extending from this point to Erie, 
is two hundred eighty-seven and fifty-six hundredths miles, and it was opened 
the entire distance, October 17, 1864, having been previously leased to the 
Pennsylvania Eailroad Company for nine hundred ninety-nine years from the 
1st of January, 1862. The line in Northumberland county begins at the 
northeast corner of Market square and Third street in Sunbury, crosses the 
North Branch to Northumberland, and continues on the east bank of the 
West Branch through the townships of Point, Chillisquaque, Turbut, and 
Delaware, with stations at Sunbury, Northumberland, Kapp's, Montandon, 
Milton, Watsontown, and Dewart. 

The Northern Central Railway Company was formed on the 9th of 
December, 1854, by the consolidation of the Baltimore and Susquehanna 
Eailroad Company, the York and Maryland Line Eailroad Company, the 
York and Cumberland Eailroad Company, and the Susquehanna Eailroad 
Company. The main line extends from ^Baltimore, Maryland, to Sunbury, 
Pennsylvania, a distance of one hundred thirty-six and eighty-two hun- 
dredths miles. The line through this county formed part of the Susque- 
hanna Eailroad Company's authorized route prior to the consolidation. 

A railroad from Harrisburg to Sunbury was first projected in 1837, and 


on the 3d of April in that year an act was passed by the legislature provid- 
ing for the incorporation of the Harrisburg and Sunbury Eailroad Company, 
the line to extend from the terminus of the Harrisburg, Portsmouth,' Mt. 
Joy, and Lancaster railroad at Harrisburg to the terminus of the Danville 
and Pottsville railroad at Sunbury. Among the commissioners were Alex-^ 
ander Jordan, Charles G. Donnel, E. Greenough, Hugh Bellas, Edward 
Gobin, John C. Boyd, Mr. Backhouse, Peter Lazarus, George Brosius, and 
James Hepburn, of Northumberland county. Ten years' time was granted 
for the completion of the road, in default of which the charter was forfeited. 

The Susquehanna Railroad Company was incorporated on the 14th of 
April, ] 851, with power to construct a railroad connecting with the York and 
Cumberland, or with the Pennsylvania railroad on either side of the Susque- 
hanna or on the Juniata, thence extending through Halifax and Millersburg 
to Sunbury, with the privilege of continuing the line to Williamsport. John 
B. Packer, Charles W. Hegins, Alexander Jordan, H. B. Masser, George B. 
Youngman, William L. Dewart, Edward Y. Bright, Joseph R. Priestley, 
"William Forsyth, Amos E. Kapp, James Pollock, Robert M. Prick, and 
Reuben Fagely, of Northumberland county, were among the projectors. 
On the 24th of November, 1852, a contract for the grading and masonry of 
the entire line between Sunbury and Bridgeport was awarded to Dougherty 
& Lauman; under this contract construction was begun, but not completed 
until after the formation of the Northern Central Railway Company. The 
formal opening of a part of the line occurred on the 24th of July, 1857, 
when the first passenger train from Harrisburg arrived at Trevorton bridge, 
proceeding thence to Trevorton, where the company partook of a sumptuous 
banquet at the hotel of Henry B. Weaver, Mr. Beebe, of New York, presi- 
dent of the Trevorton Coal and Railroad Company, presiding; addresses 
were made by President Barnum, of the Northern Central, J. Pinckney 
Whyte, a prominent member of the Baltimore bar, David Taggart, of North- 
umberland, John B. Packer, of Sunbury, and others. 

Oh the 26th of August, 1857, Messrs. Paries and Morrison and Warford 
and Wright, chief engineer and assistant of the Sunbury and Erie and North- 
ern Central railroads, respectively, were engaged in making a preliminary sur- 
vey for the purpose of establishing the connection of their respective roads in 
Sunbury. The council of that borough, at a meeting on the following day, 
authorized the Northern Central to locate its road "in or through any street, 
lane, or alley in said borough the said company may deem expedient," which 
action was unanimously ratified at a public meeting held in the court house 
on the 2d of September. Third street was accordingly selected, and on 
the 8th of February, 1858, the work of grading through the borough was 
begun. The formal opening of the road to Sunbury occurred on the 28th of 
June, 1858. At nine a. m. a train left Sunbury for Harrisburg, and among 
the passengers was Governor William F. Packer, one of the earliest and 


most persistent promoters of the enterprise. The first train north arrived 
at half past three in the afternoon, bringing Mr. Barnnm, the president of 
the company, Mr. Magraw, one of the directors, A. B. Warford, chief 
engineer, and other prominent railroad magnates. 

The Sunbury, Hazelton and Wilkesbarre Railroad extends from Sun- 
bury to Tomhicken, Pennsylvania, a distance of forty-three and forty-four 
hundredths miles. The company was originally chartered as the Wilkesbarre 
and Pittston, April 15, 1859, for the construction of a railroad along the 
Susquehanna river from Pittston to Danville or Sunbury. April 10, 1867, 
the name was changed to the Danville, Hazelton and Wilkesbarre Eaikoad 
Company. The survey of the route was begun by F. C. Arms on the 22d of 
April, 1867. On the 10th of October following the contract for its construc- 
tion was awarded J. V. Creswell and W. M. Wiley, and the grading of three 
miles between Sunbury and Danville was finished in the same year. The 
progress of construction was attended with protracted interruptions, and it 
was not until March, 1869, that the laying of the track was begun. The 
line was formally opened from Sunbury to Danville on Thursday, November 4, 
1869. A train left Sunbury for Danville in the morning, returning with a 
numerous company, who joined those already assembled for the occasion at that 
point. The officers at that date were as follows : president, Thomas Woods, 
of Philadelphia ; vice-president and superintendent, Simon P. Kase, of Dan- 
ville; treasurer, S. P. Wolverton, of Sunbury; secretary, George Hill, of 
Sunbury; directors: Robert B. Sterling, S. P. Wolverton, George Hill, Ben- 
jamin Hendricks, Simon P. Kase, A. P. Russell, and H. W. McReynolds. 
The road was sold under foreclosure, March 20, 1878, and the company 
reorganized under its present title. May 1, 1878 ; it was leased by the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad Company for fifty years from the latter date, and has since 
been operated as a branch of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad. The line 
in this county passes through Upper Augusta, Gearhart, and Rush townships, 
with stations at Sunbury, Klinesgrove, Wolverton, Kipp's Run, Riverside, 
and Boyd. 

The Sunbury and Lewistown Railway has its eastern terminus at 
Selinsgrove Jimction, upon the east bank of the Susquehanna river in Lower 
Augusta township, Northumberland county, where it forms a connection with 
the Northern Central railway; thence it crosses the Susquehanna river to 
Selinsgrove, and extends through Snyder and Mifflin counties to Lewistovm, 
upon the Juniata river, where it forms a connection with the main line of 
the Pennsylvania railroad. The line is forty-three and fifty-seven hundredths 
miles in length. It was opened in 1871, sold under foreclosure in 1874, 
and leased to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. 

The Lemsburg and Tyrone Railroad was originally chartered, April 12, 
1853, as the Lewisburg, Centre and Spence Creek, and reorganized under 
existing title, December 31, 1879. It has its eastern terminus at Montan- 


don, on the east bank of the West Branch in Chillisquaque township, North- 
umberland county, where it forms a connection with the Philadelphia alid 
Erie railroad; thence the line crosses the West Branch to Lewisburg and 
extends to Tyrone, upon the main line of the Pennsylvania railroad. It was 
opened in 1872, and is operated as a branch of the Philadelphia and Erie 
railroad under lease to the Pennsylvania Eailroad Company. 

The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company was chartered, April 
4, 1833, and the first through trains between Philadelphia and PottsviUe 
were run in January, 1842. The chief business of the company is the trans- 
portation of coal from the first and second anthracite coal fields of Pennsyl- 
vania to Port Richmond, Philadelphia; it owns all the stock in the Philadel- 
phia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, and thus controls the production 
as well as the transportation of coal from the properties with which the rail- 
road is connected, of which several of considerable importance are located in 
Northumberland county. The Reading lines in this county are the Mine 
Hill and Schuylkill Haven, Mahanoy and Shamokin, Catawissa, and Shamo- 
kin, Sunbury and Lewisburg railroads. 

The Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven Railroad was chartered, March 24, 
1828, and opened on the 8th of October, 1831, but not extended to Locust 
Gap until some years later. The main line extends from Schuylkill Haven 
to Locust Gap. 

On the 18th of October, 1860, an excursion train of six coaches formally 
opened a through route from Philadelphia to Sunbury by way of the Mine 
HiU and Schuylkill Haven road. It was confidently expected that the Phila- 
delphia and Erie would bring to Philadelphia an immense and valuable lake 
trade, to accomodate which two routes were in operation — the Philadelphia 
and Reading railroad to Port Clinton, and the Catawissa railroad thence to 
WiUiamsport; and the Northern Central to Harrisburg, with the Pennsyl- 
vania railroad thence to Philadelphia. A favorable opportunity for the 
opening of a third route was presented when the Mine Hill and Schuylkill 
Haven railroad was constructed to a point within four miles of the terminus 
of the Shamokin Valley and PottsviUe railroad. In the autumn of 1860 
this link was supplied, thus placing the Shamokin coal region in direct rail 
communication with Philadelphia. The excursion by which this route was 
formally opened was arranged by J. Dutton Steele and G. A. NichoUs, vice- 
president and superintendent, respectively, of the Philadelphia and Reading 
railroad. At the junction with the Shamokin Valley railroad the train was 
taken in charge by A. R. Fiske, superintendent of that hue. Sunbury was 
reached in the evening; a band of music escorted the party to the Central 
Hotel, where a banquet was held and addresses were delivered by Frederick 
Frailey, president of the Schuylkill Navigation Company,. ex-Chief Justice 
Ellis Lewis, Philip F. Price, a director in the Sunbury and Erie Railroad 
Company, and others. Among the four hundred members of the party was 


A. M. Eastwick, of Philadelphia, a member of the firm that built the first 
locomotive used on the Danville and Pottsville railroad twenty-two years 
previously. This excursion gave rise to a variety of newspaper discussion, 
in which the possibility of a through line to Erie via Sunbury, composed of 
the Philadelphia and Eeading, Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven, Shamokin 
Yalley and Pottsville, and Sunbury and Erie, was regarded as a highly prob- 
able consummation. The Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven railroad was 
leased by the Eeading on the 12th of May, 1864, for a period of nine hun- 
dred ninety-nine years, but beyond this the apparent indications of railroad 
consolidation in 1860 have not been realized. 

The Mahanoy and Shamokin Railroad, formed by the merger and consoli- 
dation of the Mahanoy and Broad Mountain, the Mahanoy Valley, the Enter- 
prise, the Shamokin and Trevorton, and the Zerbe VaUey railroads, was 
merged into the Philadelphia and Eeading system on the 25th of March, 
1871, in pursuance of an act of Assembly passed on the 18th of February 
previously. Of these various roads the Enterprise, the Shamokin and Tre- 
vorton, and Zerbe Valley are in this county. 

The Enterprise Railroad Company was incorporated, March 21, 1865, 
for the construction of a road not to exceed nine miles in length, with its 
termini equal distances east and west of the lands of the Fulton Coal Com- 
pany, intersecting with the Locust Gap, or the Mahanoy and Broad Mountain, 
or any other railroad on the east, and the Carbon Eun railroad on the west. 
The corporators were Thomas Baumgardner, John B. Douty, John W. Hub- 
ley, Henry Baumgardner, David M. Lebkichler, Benjamin F. Shenk, and 
William H. Douty. Construction was begun in 1866; on the 3d of August, 
1868, the road was opened for passenger travel from Locust Gap Junction to 
Greenback colliery, and thence to Shamokin later in the same year. It is 
now operated as part of the Williamsport division of the Eeading system, 
with stations at Locust Gap, Alaska, Enterprise, Excelsior, Greenback, and 
Shamokin, and a branch from Alaska to Mt. Carmel. 

The Shamokin and Trevorton Railroad, extending from Shamokin to 
Trevorton, a distance of eight miles, was opened to travel on the 2d of Au- 
gust, 1869, when the running of through trains from Shamokin to Herndon 
was inaugurated. It is now operated as part of the Herndon branch of the 
Williamsport division, with stations at Shamokin, Water Station, Kulp's, and 

The Trevorton, Mahanoy, and Susquehanna Railroad Company was in- 
corporated on the 22d of March, 1850, by act of Assembly, for the construc- 
tion of a railroad from the mouth of Zerbe' s run, in Northumberland county, 
to the Susquehanna river at the mouth of Mahanoy creek. The corporators 
were Felix Lerch, William Deppen, Jacob Eaker, D. M. Boyd, Alexander 
Jordan, Joseph W. Cake, Eobert M. Ludlow, John P. Hobart, Henry Donnel, 
Bertram H. Howell, Charles W. Hegins, Simon Cameron, William L. Helf- 


enstein, and Kimber Cleaver. On the 80th of April, 1850, Christian Albert, 
Peter Bixler, Edward Y. Bright, Alexander Jordan, Jacob Eaker, D. M. 
Boyd, William H. Marshall, William L. Dewart, John B. Trevor, William 
L. Helfenstein, and Bertram H. Hovcell were authorized to organize the Sus- 
quehanna and Union Bridge Company, with a capital of two hundred thou- 
sand dollars, for the erection of a bridge across the Susquehanna river at any 
point within five miles below the mouth of Mahanoy creek These two com- 
panies — the Trevorton, Mahanoy, and Susquehanna Railroad Company and 
the Susquehanna and Union Bridge Company — were consolidated under the 
name of the Trevorton and Susquehanna Railroad Company on the 25th of 
April, 1854. A railroad fourteen and one half miles in length was con- 
structed from Trevorton to the Susquehanna river; a wooden bridge thirty- 
six hundred feet in length, with approaches fourteen hundred feet in length, 
connected the terminus of the railroad with the Pennsylvania canal on the 
opposite side of the river, where extensive wharves, a basin sufficient to ac- 
commodate the canal boats used in transportation to distant points, and other 
necessary appliances and facilities were provided. This was the nucleus of 
a village of some proportions, to which the name of Port Trevorton was 

An affiliated corporation, the Mahanoy and Shamokin Improvement Com- 
pany, was incorporated on the 25th of February, 1850; the original con- 
stituent members were Kimber Cleaver, D. M. Boyd, David Thompson, 
WiUiam L. Helfenstein, and William H. Marshall. This company and the 
Trevorton and Susquehanna Railroad Company were consolidated in pursu- 
ance of an act of the legislature which became a law on the 24th of March, 
1856, and the resulting corporation received the name of the Trevorton Coal 
and Railroad Company. For several years its affairs were prosperous, and 
the development of the Trevorton coal region effected through its agency was 
justly regarded as most beneficial to the county. But like many other enter- 
prises of this character it had been floated principally on credit, and on the 
8th of December, 1860, the property was sold under foreclosure of mortgage 
at sheriff's sale. 

Litigation enters largely into the history of the railroad from this time 
until it became part of the Reading system. The purchasers in 1860 were 
Hezron A. Johnson, Matthew Morgan, and James I. Day, who were consti- 
tuted the Trevorton Coal Company by act of the legislature approved on the 
28th of March, 1860. May 7, 1861, a mortgage for nine hundred thousand 
doUars was executed by the company in favor of William C. Pickersgill, an 
Englishman. Suit was brought by Robert Q. Reiman in 1867 on unpaid 
coupons of bonds secured by this mortgage under an act of Assembly then in 
force; judgment was obtained, and on the 3d of August, 1867, the railroad, 
coal lands, and other property of the company were sold at sheriff's sale 
to John B. Packer and W. I. Greenough for one thousand dollars. A con- 


test was had in the Supreme court over the validity of this sale, ultimately- 
resulting in a compromise. Messrs. Packer and Greenough conveyed to 
Robert G. Reiman, John W. Hall, and Henry Thomas; they conveyed to 
the Zerbe Valley Railroad Company, the organization of which was con- 
firmed by the legislature, April 13, 1868. It was at this time that the Phila- 
delphia and Reading Railroad Company acquired control, and began its 
administration by the erection of new bridges along the entire line. It was 
the original idea of the Reading management to construct a line from Port 
Trevortofi through Snyder county to the bituminous coal regions of Clear- 
field county, and had this project materialized the Trevorton railroad would 
have become a link in a through line from that locality to Philadelphia. It 
was relinquished, however, and the importance of the line is principally of a 
local character. The Zerbe Valley Railroad Company was merged into the 
Mahanoy and Shamokin Railroad Company, September 7, 1870, and, with 
the latter company, was formally consolidated with the Philadelphia and 
Reading Railroad Company, March 25, 1871. "What was originally the 
Trevorton, Mahanoy and Susquehanna railroad thus became an integral part 
of the great Reading system, and forms part of the Herndon branch, with 
its western terminus at Herndon, on the line of the Northern . Central rail- 
way, and stations at Trevorton, Zerbe, Dunkelberger's, Hunter, Domsife, 
Otto, Kneass, and Herndon. The river bridge, which was adapted to wagon 
traffic as weU as railway uses, became unsafe for travel through decay and 
was removed about ten years ago. 

The Cataivissa Railroad Company was originally incorporated on the 
21st of March, 1831, under the name of the Little Schuylkill and Susque- 
hanna Railroad Company, with authority to construct a road from the termina- 
tion of the Little SchuylkiU Navigation Railroad and Coal Company's rail- 
road to the North Branch of the Susquehanna at Catawissa. Portions 
of the road were constructed within a few years thereafter, but financial 
embarrassments ensued and operations were abandoned. The project was 
at length revived, however, and on the 20th of March, 1849, legislative 
authority having been granted for an extension to Williamsport, the name 
was changed to the Catawissa, Williamsport and Erie railroad. It was 
opened to Milton in 1834. The company having defaulted in the payment 
of interest on its bonds, its property was sold at judicial sale, and the pur- 
chasers reorganized with 'the name of the Catawissa Railroad Company 
under legislative authority secured on the 21st of March, 1860. The line 
enters Chillisquaque township a short distance east of Pottsgrove and passes 
through the county to Milton, where the West Branch is crossed; thence the 
route continues through Union and Lycoming counties to Williamsport, to 
which it was opened in 1871. This road has been operated by the Phila- 
delphia and Reading Railroad Company since the 1st of November, 1872. 

The Shamokin, Sunbury and Lewisburg Railroad Company was 


chartered, February 16, 1882; the corporators were S. P. Wolverton, H. E. 
Davis, Ira T. Clement, John Haas, Levi Eook, A. H. Dill, and John Smith, 
of whom S. P. Wolverton was the first president and has filled that position 
continuously from the organization of the company. On the 4th of Febru- 
ary, 1882, an agreement was entered into between the New York Central 
and Hudson Eiver Eailroad Company, the Fall Brook Coal Company, the 
Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Eailroad Company, and other com- 
panies, on the one part, and the Philadelphia and Beading Eailroad Com- 
pany on the other, to build a railroad from Shamokin to some point on the 
Catawissa railroad at or near Danville. April 1, 1882, through the influence 
of S. P. Wolverton, a supplemental contract ,was made by the companies at 
interest, by which West Milton, on the line of the Catawissa railroad, was 
substituted for Danville as the northern or western terminus. The route 
was surveyed in the spring of 1882, construction was immediately begun, 
and in July, 1883, the line was opened. Its course coincides in general with 
that of Shamokin creek from Shamokin to Sunbury; at the latter point the 
Susquehanna is crossed by a substantial iron bridge, and from its western 
terminus to West Milton the west bank of the Susquehanna through Union 
and Snyder counties is followed, Lewisburg being the principal intermediate 
point. The entire length is thirty-one and one tenth miles, of which dis- 
tance nearly two thirds are in Northumberland county, with stations at 
Arter's, Snydertown, Deibler's, Vastine, Eeed, Paxinos and Weigh Scales 
between Sunbury and Shamokin. The road was leased to the Philadelphia 
and Eeading Eailroad Company for nine hundred ninety-nine years from 
July 2, 1883, and is operated by that company as part of its Williamsport 
division, which extends from Newberry Junction to Port Clinton, the Cata- 
wissa railroad forming its western section, from West Milton to Newberry, 
and the Mine HiU and Schuylkill Haven and Mahanoy and Shamokin the 
eastern section, from Shamokin to Port Clinton. It is thus apparent that 
the construction of the Shamokin, Sunbury and Lewisburg railroad supplies 
an important link in the Eeading system, placing the mines and railroads of 
that company in the Mahanoy and Shamokin regions in direct communication 
with its northern and western connections. It also forms part of the Bead- 
ing's line to the bituminous coal regions of Clearfield county, through its 
connection with the Beech Creek road. This branch of the Eeading gives 
to a large part of Northumberland county the advantage of a competing 
line to the seaboard, and has therefore been productive of great local benefit. 
The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad was formed, De- 
cember 10, 1853, by the consolidation of the Lackawanna and Western (char- 
tered, March 14, 1849) and the Delaware and Cobb's Gap (chartered, De- 
cember 22, 1850), and has since, by lease and consolidation, become one of 
the great trunk lines of the country. What is known as the Bloomsburg 
branch extends from Scranton to Northumberland, Pennsylvania, a distance 


of eighty miles, and was originally chartered as the Lackawanna and Bloonis- 
burg railroad, April 5, 1852. It was the design of the projectors to estab- 
lish a line from the Wyoming and Lackawanna coal fields to Philadelphia 
by connecting this road with the Catawissa, Williamsport and Erie, and this 
object was satisfactorily accomplished by its construction from Scranton to 
Eupert. March 3, 1853, the company was authorized to extend its road to 
a connection with the Sunbury and Erie or Northern Central, with a wide 
latitude in the choice of routes. The north bank of the North Branch was 
finally selected, and on the 31st of May, 1860, the formal opening of the 
road to passenger travel from Danville to Northumberland occurred. The 
consolidation of thp Delaware, Lackawanna and Western and Lackawanna 
and Bloomsburg railroad companies was efllected in 1873. The line in this 
county passes through Point township a distance of about nine miles. 

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Company was chartered as the Delaware, 
Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Eailroad Company, September 20, 
1847, and under existing title, January 7, 1853. The main line in Pennsyl- 
vania was completed in October, 1855. The Mahanoy branch, extending 
from Black Creek Junction to Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, and originally 
known as the Lehigh and Mahanoy railroad, was acquired in Jim.e, 1866. 
Under traffic agreement with the Northern Central Railway Com.pany, 
the passenger trains of the Lehigh Valley enter Shamokin over the tracks of 
the Shamokin Valley and Pottsville railroad. 

The Wilkesbarre and Western Railway Company was chartered, Jan- 
uary 22, 1886 ; the Milton and North Mountain Eailroad Company, chartered 
in November, 1885, and the MiUville and North Mountain Eailroad Com- 
pany, chartered in January, 1886, were m.erged into this company, Decem- 
ber 25, 1886. The projected road extends from Watsontown to Shick- 
shinny, Pennsylvania, a distance of forty-six miles. The main line is con- 
structed as far as Eyer's Grove, a distance of twenty-one and one tenth 
miles, and from that point a branch extends to MiUville, one and one tenth 
miles. Twenty-two miles of this road were opened to travel, December 13, 
1886; the MiUville extension was opened, April 7, 1887. Seven and six 
tenths miles are in this county, with stations at Watsontovm, McEwensviUe, 
Warrior Eun, and Turbutville. The road passes through a rich agricultural 
region in the northern part of Northumberland, Montour, and Columbia 




Pkepaeation of Soils the Restot of Remote Rather than Immediate Agency- 
Geological Structube— Anticlinals and Synclinals— Subdivisions of the 
Paleozoic System— Location and Characteristics of Each Stratum— De- 
velopment OF the Farming Industry- Condition of the Farming Interests 
in 1845 — Agricultural Societies. 

ALTHOUGH agriculture is pre-eminently a calling in which results rep- 
resent the labor of hand and brain, the preparation and fertihzation 
of the soil, and therefore the success with which this avocation is attended, 
are dependent far more upon remote than immediate agency. No amount 
of care and skill in tilling the soil can compensate entirely for lack of natural 
fertihty and adaptiveness ; the fair presentation of a county's agricultural 
resources involves, therefore, the consideration of its 


The external relief of the greater part of the country is caused by the 
erosive action of the elements and the slow chemical influence of the atmos- 
phere upon a series of vast parallel undulations in the strata that form the 
earth's outer crust. In geological nomenclature, these strata are defined as 
anticlinal, synclinal, and monoclinal — anticlinal, when the strata are bent 
convexly upward; synclinal, when the strata are bent concavely upward; and 
monoclinal, when the strata dip in one direction only. Many interesting 
examples occur in Northumberland county, where the rocks are thrown so 
high as to expose the Medina sandstone, the base of the Upper Silurian sys- 
tem, and into troughs deep enough to preserve nearly the highest coal meas- 
ures. In passing across the county from north to south, the following anti- 
clinals and synclinals succeed each other: — 

The White Deer (Watsontown) anticlinal has its origin in the mountains 
of western Union and Snyder counties; it crosses the West Branch in the 
Ticinity of Watsontown and passes through the southern part of Delaware 
and Lewis townships. 

The Milton anticlinal, another of the great Buffalo mountain anticlinals 
of Union and Clinton counties, crosses the West Branch at the town of Mil- 
ton and passes eastward through Washingtonville, Montour county, just west 

*The facts presented in the treatment of this topic have heen derived from Report G' of the 
Second Geological Survey of Pennsylvania, by I. C. White. 


of which if elevates the Oriskany sandstone and Lower Helderberg limestone 
into the long, regular elevation known as Limestone ridge, which begins at 
Chillisquaqne creek in Montour county and extends through Northumber- 
land to the West Branch below Milton. 

The Lackawanna synclinal, which, at its maximum development' in the 
vicinity of Wilkesbarre, retains the entire coal measure series, changes in 
extent and geological character to the westward, and, about the center of 
Liberty township, Montour county, the Hamilton beds appear, occupying the 
trough from that point westward through Pottsgrove to the West Branch 
about one mile above Montandon. The westward ascent of this syncHnal 
axis may be appreciated when it is stated that a shaft in the vicinity of 
Wilkesbarre would have to be sunk ten thousand feet to reach the Lower 
Hamilton rocks exposed at Montandon. 

The Berwick (Montour) anticlinal, virtually a prolongation eastward of 
that of Jack's mountain in Mifflin and Huntingdon counties, follows closely 
the northern line of Point township through Northumberland county under 
the local name of Montour ridge. The axis crosses the North Branch about 
midway between Big and Little Wapwallopen creeks; Fishing creek, one 
half mile above Bloomsburg; Mahoning, just north of DanviUe, and the 
West Branch, at the mouth of Chillisquaque creek. Its structure is very 
nearly symmetrical. Bordered on either side by materials which yield read- 
ily to attrition, the low valleys thus formed increase the height of the ridge 
by contrast. Between Mahoning creek and the West Branch it reaches an 
altitude of one thousand feet above tide. 

The Northumberland synclinal is one of the most remarkable basins 
which traverse Pennsylvania; it extends from Bedford county through Hunt- 
ingdon, Juniata, Snyder, Northumberland, Columbia, and Luzerne counties 
nearly to the Lehigh river, a total length of one hundred fifty miles. 
Part of this distance it forms the valley of the Juniata; Middleburg is on its 
southern border and New Berlin on the northern. As it approaches the Sus- 
quehanna from the west it begins to widen and deepen gradually. Crossing 
at the confluence of the North and West Branches, the general center line of 
the trough through Northumberland county may be said to run near Klines - 
grove and Rushtown. 

The Shade Mountain (Selinsgrove) anticlinal crosses the Susquehanna 
two miles below Selinsgrove, one hundred fifty yards south from the one 
hundred thirty-fifth mile post of the Northern Central railway. Traced east- 
ward, the main arch enters Shamokin township, continuing about a mile south 
of Shamokin creek; it crosses that stream about half-way between Reed's 
and Paxinos stations and passes through Ralpho under the village of Elys- 
burg. Several subordinate folds occur on its northern slope and one on the 

The Shamokin synclinal reaches its fullest development in the great 


Shamokin coal basin. The center of this trough crosses the Susquehanna 
two miles above Herndon, five miles in an air line from the crest of the main 
Selinsgrove anticlinal. The basal members of the Pocono beds make the sum- 
mit of the mountain which is formed by the united rims of that formation, 
and, from an abrupt beginning at the river, continue eastward as the Little 
and Line mountains. 

The Tuscarora Mountain (Georgetown) anticlinal has a double crest, there 
being a sharp, narrow, synclinal fold running along the center of the main 
arch from Georgetown eastward to the western line of Jordan township, 
where it flattens out. A subordinate fold of considerable extent, crossing 
the measures two miles and a half below Georgetown, completes the succes- 
'sion of anticlinals and synclinals in Northumberland county. 

The Paleozoic system and its three general subdivisions — the Silurian, 
Devonian, and Carboniferous — embrace the various strata of this region. 
Pennsylvania geologists recognize thirteen distinct formations in this system, 
numbered from I to XIII in order from the lowest. Nos. I, II, and III 
are included in the Lower Silurian. The lowest bed exposed in this county 
is the Medina sandstone (No. IV), which occurs in the Upper Silurian, of 
which the remaining portions open to observation are the Clinton Shales 
(No. V); Lower Helderberg limestone (No. VI), and Oriskany sandstone 
(No. VII). Above these in order occur the rocks of the Devonian system — 
the Hamilton and Chemung slates (No. VIII), and the Catskill group 
(No. IX) ; and the basal formations of the Carboniferous system — the Pocono 
sandstone (No. X) and Mauch Chunk red shale (No. XI). As this chapter 
relates only to the agricultural portion of the county, the rocks of the Car- 
boniferous system are here treated only incidentally. 

The Medina sandstone (No. IV) is exposed to view but once in North- 
umberland county. This occurs in the extreme eastern part of Point town- 
ship, about two miles below Danville, where the North Branch, veering 
northward, cuts a great hole from the southern face of Montour ridge, expos- 
ing a massive sandstone, greenish-gray and red in color, and filled with small 
quartz pebbles. 

The Clinton shales (No. V) make a single belt across the county, being 
thrown into a great arch along the line of the Berwick anticlinal (Montour 

The Lower Helderberg limestone (No. VI), though not among the geolog- 
ical factors of greatest prominence in the county, occurs at various points 
and almost invariably denotes exceptional fertility. This formation is ele- 
vated in Delaware township by the Watsontown anticlinal; the line of its 
basal outcrop is just north from the east and west road which runs from the 
mouth of Delaware run to the Warrior Run Presbyterian church at the east- 
ern line of the township. Southward from Delaware run it is obscured by 
boulders and surface debris, and passes into the air unobserved. Its course 


through Lewis is somewhat irregular, the line of outcrop passing just south 
of TurbutviUe and crossing the eastern boundary of the county near the 
southeastern corner of the township. Quarries show their streaks of calcite, 
probably representing the Bossardville beds. The dark shales of the Storm- 
ville beds also occur. 

Limestone ridge, the boundary of Turbut and Chillisquaque, begins 
at Chillisquaque creek, just west of Washingtonville, Montour county, and 
extends westward to the West Branch. This elevation is produced by the 
Milton anticlinal. The Loiver Helderberg, which forms the summit of the 
ridge, reaches , an altitude of six hundred fifty or seven hundred feet 
above tide. It is the massive upper portion or Stormville limestone that 
makes the crest of the ridge, while the Bossardville limestone makes the 
steep northern slope in Turbut. The latter has been quarried and burned 
at several localities. 

Limestone appears at two other localities in that part of Northumberland 
county above the North Branch. Lower Helderberg crops out in ChiUisqua- 
que township along the east and west road leading through Montandon and 
Sodom ; it has been quarried to some extent, and presents many characteris- 
tics of the Bossardville beds. A Stromatopora bed (so called from the nature 
of its fossils), is exposed in the vicinity of this outcrop. The other outcrop 
of Lower Helderberg referred to crosses Point township from east to west at 
the base of Montour ridge. Both the Bossardville and Bastard varieties are 
here represented. 

Limestone valley, on the Susquehanna river in Upper Augusta township, 
derives its name from the predominating feature of its geological composi- 
tion, the Lower Helderberg strata of the Selinsgrove anticlinal. These 
incline at an angle of forty degrees on the northern slope and twenty degrees 
on the southern. What is here denominated Selinsgrove hmestone is a light 
gray rock, with dull, irregular fracture, interstratified with much shale. The 
corresponding shales are represented in this section by a series of light gray 
beds. The Stormville shale contains some impure, cherty limestone. The 
Lower Helderberg begins with a bed of bluish-gray, impure limestone. The 
Bossardville is most valuable for commercial purposes. 

The Georgetown anticlinal brings the Lower Helderberg to the surface in 
Lower Mahanoy and Jordan townships; it has a double crest, of which the 
northern only elevates the limestone within the limits of Jordan. The rock 
is quarried and burned extensively for agricultural uses. 

The pure limestones of the Bossardville group are everywhere abruptly 
terminated below by a succession of, pale green, magnesian, and 
otherwise impure limestones which have generally been considered as part of 
the Lower Helderberg series, but which,' from the fact that they are immedi- 
ately succeeded by other beds which characterize the Salina series in New 
York, have been classified under that name by Pennsylvania geologists. 


Three groups are recognized: the Upper Salina, consisting of the pale green 
limestones and limy shales which invariably appear at the base of the Bos- 
sardville beds; the Middle Salina, which consists of alternating red and 
greenish shales, limestones, etc. ; and the Loiver Salina, a thick mass of red 
rocks, usually rather sandy, and often found in steep bluffs, especially where 
it is cut by streams. The latter variety is very fully represented in the 
bluffs of Fishing creek at Bloomsburg, and from this circumstance is known 
as Bloomsburg red shale. In Northumberland county the Salina beds bor- 
der upon Montour ridge, making a continuous valley on either side, that on 
the north in Chillisquaque township and that on the south in Point; the 
variety in both instances is the Lower Salina, or Bloomsburg red shale. The 
Upper Salina is brought to the surface in Upper Augusta township by the 
Selinsgrove anticlinal, and in Lower Mahanoy by the Georgetown anticlinal, 
but in both cases it is restricted to an exceedingly narrow area. The pale 
green, impure magnesian limestone, calcareous shales, and interstratified red 
beds of the Upper and Middle Salina occupy the southwestern corner of 
Lewis and a corresponding area in Delaware, brought to the surface by the 
Watsontown anticlinal. The same formation is elevated in Turbut by the 
Milton and Watsontown anticlinals and intermediate folds, which also 
bring up the Bloomsburg red shale of the Lower Salina in a series of semi- 
ellipses in Delaware and Turbut. The soil made by these beds, especially 
the Upper and Middle groups, is exceptionally fertile; the topography is 
distinguished by a prevailing softness of contour, and a large quantity of 
lime, as well as other elements of fertility, are set free as the rocks decom- 
pose. The broad, triangular area of the Salina beds, which, beginning just 
north of the Milton anticlinal at the western line of Montour county, rapidly 
widens westward, embracing Turbut and the southern portions of Lewis and 
Delaware townships, is the richest agricultural territory of Northumberland 

The Oriskany sandstone (No. VII), a formation of the Upper Silurian 
system, is elevated by each of the five anticlinals that cross the county. In 
Delaware and Lewis townships it is brought up by the Watsontown anticlinal, 
and passes from the West Branch to the county line in a general southeast- 
erly direction, just north of the Lower Helderberg outcrop and parallel with 
it. It makes the long southern slope of Limestone ridge at the northern 
line of Chillisquaque township; it is also found at the bases of Montour 
ridge, making a low ridge through Point township, where its small, hard 
boulders occur in many localities. The crest of the Selinsgrove anticlinal is 
formed of Oriskany from the point where the Lower Helderberg subsides to 
Little Shamokin creek; exposure to atmospheric influences has changed the 
character of the rock quite perceptibly, bleaching it to a grayish-white color 
and depriving it of its iron and lime components. The Oriskany of the 
Georgetown anticlinal is quite massive, exhibiting much less of the cherty 
character which distinguishes it farther north. 


Of the Devonian formations that occur in this county the most widely- 
diffused are the Hamilton and Chemung (No. VIII). Three types of the Ham- 
ilton are recognized, distinguished as the Northern, Middle, and Southern, 
corresponding to their relative geographical positions. The first mentioned 
extends across Delaware and Lewis townships as part of the elevation of the 
Watsontown and Milton anticlinals. In Lewis the shales of the Hamilton 
are described as dark brown in color and nearly horizontal; Marcellus black 
slates, a cognate variety, also occur. ' In Delaware the Hamilton bottom 
rocks trend westward in the valley of Delaware run from the township line 
to the forks of that stream, where they veer northwestward into the valley of 
the West Branch. North of this line the Hamilton beds stretch out into a 
broad valley varying in width from one and one half to two miles, the north- 
ern margin of which is identical with the northern line of the township for 
some distance east of the river. The Hamilton rocks occiipy a belt about 
two miles wide across the central portion of Chillisquaque township, and are 
quite well exposed in the vicinity of Pitzer's school house and the Evangelical 
church, where dark brown shales crop out along the road. The Marcellus 
black shale is also exposed. The formation is here the westward extension 
of the Lackawanna synclinal. A belt also extends through Point township 
and crosses the North Branch into Push, from which it emerges opposite Dan- 
ville. In the latter township an exposure of the Tully limestone of this 
stratum occurs ; it has a dull gray or buff color throughout on weathered sur- 
faces, but in some of the layers a dark blue is revealed on fresh fracture. 

The Middle type of Hamilton rocks may be seen on either side of the 
Selinsgrove anticlinal. It differs from the Northern both in thickness and 
composition, several new members being intercalated; of these the most im- 
portant is a sandstone which makes its appearance in the middle of the Ham- 
ilton group, so thick and massive as to change entirely the topography. In- 
stead of the valleys that distinguish the Hamilton in Chillisquaque and in 
Delaware and Lewis there is here a high ridge with a belt of Hamilton on 
either slope and upon its crest, comprising the larger part of Upper and 
Lower Augusta, Rockefeller, Shamokin, and Ralpho townships, terminating 
at the county line. Shamokin creek passes through this formation from a 
point near Paxinos to its mouth. The wide valley of this stream is excavated 
inthe Marcellus black slates and the lower portion of the Hamilton. The 
Southern type is reached after passing south from the Georgetown anticlinal, 
and extends into every township in the county south of Line mountain. 

The Hamilton beds, particularly as displayed in their Northern type, are 
eminently a valley maker, since all of their components — Genesee, Tully, 
Hamilton, and Marcellus — readily break dovm and disintegrate into soil, the 
quality of which is excellent, some of the best farms of the county being 
situated upon this formation. 

The Chemung (No. VIII) beds cover a belt about two miles broad in the 


northern part of Delaware and Lewis townships, extending northward in an 
undulating plateau far into Lycoming county. A second belt is distinguished 
in Point, Upper Augusta, and Kush. The range of hills which incloses the 
valley of Shamokin creek on the north, extending through Upper Augusta 
and the southern part of Eush, is of Chemung formation; it is elevated by 
the Selinsgrove anticlinal, and has a counterpart on the southern slope of that 
axis in the watershed that separates Boile's run and Hollowing run. A con- 
tinuation of the latter ridge may be seen in the great cliffs of rock along the 
west bank of Shamokin creek between Paxinos and the mouth of Miller's 
run. Chemung beds, brought to the surface by the Georgetown anticlinal, 
cover the southern portion of Jackson and Washington, and a considerable 
part of Upper and Lower Mahanoy and Jordon. This formation consists of 
olive-green shale, which readily disintegrates when exposed to atmospheric 
influences, crumbling into small chips and splinters which soon decompose; 
or of dark gray, dark olive green, and brown sandstones, sufficiently hard to 
make high ridges and a succession of ragged cliffs wherever cut by streams. 
The base of the series rises abruptly from the Hamilton beds, which always 
border it, and usually makes a high ridge of rocky, barren land, deficient in 
many desirable agricultural components. 

The Catskill (No. IX) formation occurs in that part of the county above 
the North Branch only at the site of Northumberland. At the northern line 
of Upper Augusta these beds make lofty cliffs, dipping rapidly into the 
Northumberland synclinal, which occupies the bed of the river at this point. 
This synclinal spreads a comparatively narrow belt of Catskill across Upper 
Augusta and Eush; the Shamokin synclinal causes two narrow strips to cross 
the southern part of the county, one at the northern base of Little mountain 
and one at the southern base of Line mountain; while a narrow border 
fringes the extreme south boundary. The character of the rooks composing 
this stratum is very changeable; in one locality more than two thirds of the 
whole series may be massive looking, greenish sandstones, with only thin beds 
of red shale interstratified; while only a few miles distant the green sand- 
stones disappear and in their stead are found very thick red beds. When 
shaly and weathered down into a rolling topography, the Catskill beds make 
a very good soil, which produces excellent crops of oats, grass, and corn, and, 
when enriched with lime, very fair crops of wheat. Where the beds become 
very sandy, however, and massive green sandstones predominate,- the country 
is barren. 

The PoGono sandstone (No. X) is the material component of Little and 
Line mountains, the western rim of the Western Middle coal field. This 
formation is pre-eminently the mountain maker of this region. It usually 
begins at the top with a very hard grayish or yellowish sandstone, in layers 
from one to three feet thick, which sometimes contain small pebbles. Beneath 
this he gray and green sandstones, interstratified with occasional beds of 


shale. It is terminated below by a massive gray and yellowish white con- 
glomerate, and between this and the Catskill is a group of rocks to which the 
name of Pocono-Catskill has been applied. The series is exposed at three 
points in Northumberland county: once in Line mountain, at the gap of Ma- 
hanoy creek; and twice in Little mountain, at the gaps of Shamokin and 
Eoaring creeks. At the latter exposures the combined thickness of the 
Pocono and Pocono-Catskill beds is twelve hundred feet, of which about 
seven hundred should be considered as belonging to the former. 

The Mauch Chunk red shale (No. XI) forms the valley between Little 
and Big mountains, drained in this county by the south branch of Roaring 
creek. Trout run, Shamokin creek, and Zerbe run; and the valley of 
Mahanoy creek, between the Shamokin coal basin and Line mountain, em- 
braced in Camerpn and Little Mahanoy townships. In the latter it possesses 
fair agricultural qualities. 

Besides the regular formations described, terraces occur at several points 
on the rivers of Northumberland county, in which the soils of several strata 
are combined. A vast deposit of water-worn boulders is found along the 
bank of the ■ West Branch near the northern line of Delaware township, 
forming a series of terraces, three in number, the first of which is a narrow 
shelf along the present channel, of which it is the flood plain; the second, 
covered with sand and coarse gravel, rises abruptly from the inner margin of 
the first to the height of forty feet above the river, and extends eastward in 
a nearly level plain a quarter of a mile; the third rises with an almost pre- 
cipitous escarpment from the summit of the second to the height of one 
hundred seventy-five feet above the river, spreading eastward in a gently 
rising plain, and covered with a mass of boulders. This vast deposit of Pocono, 
Catskill, Chemung, and Hamilton debris, piled up in a broad terrace along 
the Susquehanna just where it emerges from the Chemung highlands, is 
supposed to have been dropped in the eddy formed at the junction of the 
West Branch with a great river flowing westward along the Hamilton valley 
during the Flooded River epoch. The corresponding area in Lewis also 
gives evidence of submersion; a thick deposit of transported boulders occurs 
all over the Hamilton, Salina, and Lower Helderberg formations, upon the 
tops of the highest hills^s well as in the valleys, usually resting in an 
admixture of clay or sand, and may possibly have been dropped from float- 
ing ice, which, breaking off from the northeastern glacier, carried the material 
of the terminal moraine over the areas submerged by the Flooded River 
epoch. Terraces occur at Northumberland, at the respective altitudes of 
twenty-five, fifty-five, eighty, and one hundred seventy-five feet above the 
river. Two broad terraces are seen along the North Branch in Point town- 
ship, both covered with sand and transported boulders, one at an altitude of 
four hundred fifty-five feet above tide, the other thirty feet higher. ■ A wide 
terrace spreads out in the vicinity of Sunbury at an elevation of four hun- 


dred fifty feet above tide; from the top of this a second slopes rapidly 
upward; both are covered with small rounded boulders and have evidently 
been the flood plains of the Susquehanna. In the vicinity of Georgetown a 
broad, level terrace is seen at an altitude of one hundred twenty-five feet 
above the level of the river, covered with sand and loam. 


Whether the aggregate of capital invested, the amount of labor employed, 
or the value of its products be considered, agriculture is unquestionably a 
most important industry; and, from the period when its pursuit was practi- 
cally universal to the present, it has sustained to every community the rela- 
tion of a primary and ultimate source of wealth. The dignity of the call- 
ing has been recognized in all ages; its quiet amenities have been celebrated 
by the poet and artist since the dawn of literature and art; men of ability 
and eminence in the cabinet or on the field, at the bar or in the pulpit, and in 
every department of hmnan activity have been drawn from its ranks. And 
yet the history of agriculture, although marked by a gradual and certain 
progress, is singularly deficient in brilliant passages. 

Pioneer farming involved as a necessary preliminary the removal of the 
forest. This was principally the accomplishment of physical force. The 
trees were felled together in double windrows, and after being exposed to the 
sun and wind several months became so dry that a fire applied at one end 
would be driven by a proper breeze with incredible rapidity, consuming the 
interlaced branches and leaving nothing but charred and blackened trunks. 
These were usually brought together in great heaps and submitted to the 
burning process until scarcely a vestige remained. Another method was to 
fell the trees and after lopping off the branches for firewood, drag the logs 
together and pile them in huge pyramids, in which condition they were con- 
signed to the flames. Where the growth of timber was not particularly 
dense, much of the labor was obviated by removing the underbrush and 
"girdling" the larger trees. The bark was cut from the trunk of the tree 
in a section about a foot wide, thus depriving the limbs and leaves of sap 
entirely, and as a result the tree was dead within a brief period. The bark 
and smaller branches fell to the ground, affording a valuable fertilizer, but 
the trunk, white and ghastly by exposure to the weather, was allowed to re- 
main for years in many instances, until wood had acquired some commercial 
value or the farmer was moved by a desire to improve his land. Farming 
operations in a field where the trees had been girdled were sometimes 
attended with distressing fatalities; rotten branches were liable to fall at any 
time, and the close proximity of the plowman and his team could not arrest 
the action of the force of gravitation. 

But if the work of clearing the land was protracted and laborious, the 
virgin soil responded to the first effort at cultivation with a profusion and 


liberality that compensated largely. The methods of cultivation in vogue 
at that day were crude in the extreme. The principal implement used in 
preparing the ground was a "drag" or triangular harrow formed of two 
pieces of timber united in the form of the letter V; each piece had a number 
of wooden teeth intended to grub up the soil so as to afEord a lodging place 
for the grain, but stones and stumps occurred with such frequency that this 
purpose was only accomplished to a very limited extent. The first crops 
consisted of corn, oats, wheat, and potatoes. Corn was planted in hiUs and 
potatoes in rows, while wheat and oats were sown broadcast aiid covered by 
dragging a tree-top over the field. Of the different cereals com was most 
readily prepared for consumption or sale and received a corresponding degree 
of attention. Husking was sometimes done in the field but more frequently 
at the barn, and the combined energies of the community were often brought 
to bear upon this work. Grain was cut with a sickle. Harvest time was a 
season of severe and protracted labor, and it would have been considered 
impossible to withstand its requirements without resorting to a neighboring 
distillery for assistance. The threshing and cleaning of wheat involved an 
amount of labor utterly incommensurate with its marketable value. Sheaves 
of grain were placed in order on a floor of puncheon or hard clay, where the 
grain was tramped out by horses or threshed with a flail. This was but one 
part of the work, however; it still remained to separate the wheat from the 
chaff, and with no machinery save a riddle or sieve of home construction, 
this was an almost endless task. Threshing frequently required the farmer's 
time nearly the whole winter. 

As already remarked, the transition to present methods was gradual. It 
would be impossible to indicate definitely the time when the sickle was 
replaced by the grain cradle, or when the latter was superseded by the reap- 
ing machine and binder. The plow, originally a ponderous instrument 
requiring great strength in its manipulation and constructed almost entirely 
of wood, received ^n succession an iron point, coulter, and mould-board, the 
first stage in the evolution of the latter being a sheet-iron sheath for the 
wooden mould-board. The windmill was the first innovation for winnowing 
wheat; the next was a revolving cylinder to take the place of the flail, and 
afforded an opportunity to utilize horse power; the combination of these two 
machines, with such modifications as experience has suggested and ingenuity 
devised, has resulted in the modern threshing machine. The grain drill, at 
first clumsily provided with an apparatus to regulate the amount of seed 
sown, was introduced almost as soon as the general condition of the land 
would permit its use. The mowing machine has taken the place of the 
scythe, while the hay-rake, tedder, and hay-fork relegate much of the hardest 
labor in connection with this department of farm work to the past. The 
application of manure as a measure of restoring and sustaining the fertility 
of the soil has been continued, but commercial fertilizers have also come into 



general use as a means of further accomplishing this purpose. Eotation of 
crops, scientific methods of drainage, and other departures of a similar 
nature have followed as the natural result of careful and intelligent experi- 
ment, placing the :^arming community of Northumberland county in a posi- 
tion to compare favorably with any other in this part of the State. 

The introduction of domestic animals into the region that now comprises 
Northumberland county occurred before its settlement began. Horses were 
first brought by Indian traders, and subsequently owned by Shikellimy, his 
sons, and other Indians at ShamoMn. After the erection of Fort Augusta, 
cattle, sheep, and hogs were brought thither in herds from the lower counties 
for the use of the garrison. The first settlers usually brought only a few 
domestic animals with them. The number of acres of improved land, and 
of horses, cows, sheep, indentured servants, and slaves assessed in Augusta 
and Turbut townships — in the former, 1774; in the latter, prior to 1775 — 
which then comprised the present area of the county, was as follows: — 

























The largest improved farms in Augusta township were those of Ellis 
Hughes — forty acres, three horses, and eight cows; Charles Gough — thirty 
acres, two horses, four cows, and ten sheep; John Clark — thirty acres, two 
horses, three cows, and one servant; Samuel Weiser — thirty acres, two horses, 
and three cows ; John Shaffer — twenty-five acres, two horses, and two cows ; 
and Henry Cliver — twenty-five acres, one horse, and two cows. The follow- 
ing is a similar exhibit for Turbut township: William Plunket — one hundred 
fifty acres, four horses, eight cows, six sheep, two servants, and one slave; 
Matthew Cunningham — fifty acres, one horse, and two cows; Alexander Ful- 
lerton — fifty acres, two horses, and two cows; Eichard Malone — fifty acres, 
two horses, four cows, three sheep, and one servant; John Neilson — fifty 
acres, three horses, two cows, and one servant; James McMahan — fifty acres, 
three horses, three cows, and one servant; John Murray — fifty acres, two 
horses, and two cows; Charles Lomax — forty-three acres, one horse, and one 
cow; Paul Geddis — forty acres, three horses, and four cows; Thomas Hewitt 
— forty acres, three horses, three cows, and one servant; Robert Moodie — 
thirty-four acres, two horses, three cows, and one servant; Richard Irwin — 
thirty acres, two horses, and two cows; David Chambers — thirty acres, one 
horse, and one qow; David Carson — ^thirty acres, one horse, and one cow; 
Thomas Jordan — thirty acres, one horse, and two cows; Thomas Lemon — 
thirty acres, two horses, and three cows; John Montgomery— thirty acres, 
two horses, four cows, and six sheep; Robert McCuUy— thirty acres, two 



horses, and three cows; Barnabas Parson — thirty acres and one servant; Philip 
Davis — twenty-six acres, two horses, and two cows, and Adam Mann — 
twenty-five acres, two horses, three cows, and six sheep. In the foregoing 
list the number of acres, horses, cows, sheep, servants, aijd slaves accredited 
to each improved farm of twenty-five or more acres is given. 

The First Nurseries in Northumberland county for the propagation of 
improved varieties of fruit trees were established early in the present cent- 
ury. In an advertisement in the Northumberland Gazette of October 26, 
1801, Eobert Caldwell, of Limestone run, Turbut township, states that he 
has " a nursery of yoimg apple trees now fit for planting out, of excellent 
kinds, both summer and winter fruit. The said plants are but three years 
old and from seven to eight feet high. There have been one hundred of 
them planted out last spring and aU grow well. They wiU be sold at six 
pence each plant." In the issue of the same paper for October 23, 1802, 
Joseph Priestley, Jr. advertises a collection of the best kind of apple, pear, 
plum, cherry, nectarine, apricot, peach, and other varieties of fruit trees, 
procured from different parts of the United States and propagated at his 
nursery in Northumberland. 

Condition of the Farming Interests in 1845. — The following extracts 
from a report of the county commissioners to the State board of revenue 
commissioners, transmitted under date of February 28, 1845, contain some 
interesting particulars regarding the condition of the farming industry at 
that time: — 

" We have made the following division of the lands in said county, as 
follows : — 

Good, 11,730 acres, valued at |50 per acre $ 586,500.00 

Middling, 41,062 " " " 30 " " 1,231,860.00 

Poor, 109,970 " " " 15 " " 1,649,550.00 

Worthless, 51,310 " " " 4 " " 205,340.00 

Total, 214,072 " " " 13,673,150.00 

" The whole amount of acres of seated and unseated lands in said county is: 

Seated .' 214,073 Acres, 

Unseated 73,945 Acres. 

" The above is as near as can be ascertained from the books. 

" We believe that the lands in said county have been assessed about ten 
per cent, below their real values. 

" We believe that the price of lands in said county has declined at least 
twenty per cent, in value within the last five years. 

" We do not believe that the canals and railroads of the Commonwealth 
have advanced or lowered the price of lands materially in said county. 

" There has been no reduction made in the assessed value of the lands in 
the several townships and boroughs in said county generally; but the value 
has been reduced in some individual instances and raised in others — with the 
exception of Turbut township being reduced one fifth in 1842. 


" We believe there has been no increase in value of the unseated lands in 
general by clearing and improvements; but on seated lands there has been 
an increase of value by clearing and improvements, to what extent v?e can 
not say. 

" Baltimore and Philadelphia are considered the principal markets for the 
coal and produce of our county. 

" The average yield in our county is perhaps from ten to fifteen bushels of 
wheat; rye, ten; oats, thirty; corn, thirty bushels, per acre. 

"The price for agricultural produce in our county is as follows: wheat, 
seventy -five cents; rye, forty cents; corn, thirty- three cents; and oats, twenty 
cents, per bushel. 

"We have no cash market for the produce in our county; generally the 
cost for taking our produce to a cash market is from fourteen to sixteen cents 
per bushel. 

" The average price for stock is as follows: for horses, forty dollars; cattle, 
ten dollars; sheep, one dollar and a half per head; and hogs, three cents per 

" The price of lumber in our county is about from seven to eight dollars 
per thousand; iron, none; limestone and salt, none; coal at the pit's mouth 
is worth about one dollar and a quarter to send to market. 

" The lands in our county will yield a rent of about five and one half per 
cent, on the assessed value, and on the selling value five per cent." 


The Northumberland County Agricultural Society (the first of that 
name and the first in the county) was organized on the 24th of May, 1851 ; 
the following is a transcript of the minutes, the original of which is yet in 
possession of W. I. Greenough, the first secretary: — 

Pursuant to public notice, a large number of farmers and others assembled at the 
court house in Sunbury on Saturday, the 24th instant, at two o'clock p. m., for the pur- 
pose of organizing an agricultural society for the county of Northumberland. On 
motion of the Hon. George C. Welker, Samuel Hunter was appointed president, and 
on motion of William L. Dewart, the meeting was organized by the appointment of the 
following officers: — 

President, Samuel Hunter. 

Vice-Presidents: George C. Welker, Peter Oberdorf, Jacob Seasholtz, J. W. 
Leighou, Jacob Hilbush, Amos E. Kapp. 

Secretaries: W. I. Greenough, William B. Kipp, David Taggart. 

The president, on taking his seat, returned his thanks for the honor conferred 
upon him, and briefly stated the object of the meeting. 

On motion of David Taggart, a committee of five persons was appointed to prepare 
and report a constitution for an agricultural society for Northumberland county; the 
president appointed the following: David Taggart, William B. KiiDp, James Cameron, 
Samuel John, and Alexander Jordan. The committee, after some delay, reported the 
following constitution, which was read and unanimously adopted. 

The constitution was then signed by the following members: M. Barnhart, David 


Taggart, William B. Kipp, W. I. Greenough, James Cameron, Alexander Jordan, Jacob 
Seasholtz, Jesse C. Horton, Peter Oberdorf, Amos E. Kapp, Samuel Hunter, Samuel 
John, George C. Welker, Jacob Hilbush, J. B. Masser, J. W. Leighou, William McCarty, 
Joseph Weitzel, William L. Dewart, Hugh Bellas, William D. Gearhart, Martin Gass, 
Philip Kenn, George Conrad, Charles Weaver, Eobert Campbell, Joseph R. Priestley, 
Elida John, C. Bower, Thomas H. Watts, Elias Brosius, John B. Pleller, Charles Gobin, 
G. M. Yorks, James Covert, John P. Pursel, Francis Gibson, and William H. Leighou. 

On motion, it was resolved that all the editors of newspapers published in the 
county be members of this society. 

The society then proceeded to an election of officers for the ensuing year, and the 
following persons were elected: — 

President, Samuel Hunter, of Upper Augusta. 

Vice-Presidents: James Cameron, of Chillisquaque; Joseph K. Priestley, of North- 
umberland; George C. Welker, of Sunbury; Jacob Seasholtz, of Upper Augusta; Will- 
iam B. Kipp, of Rush; Jacob Hilbush, of Jackson; John Montgomerj^, of Lewis. 

Recording secretary, W. I. Greenough; corresponding secretary, David Taggart; 
treasurer, William L. Dewart; librarian, William McCarty. 

On motion, committees for each township in the county were appointed to obtain 
members for the society; the chair appointed the several committees as follows: — 

Lewis. — John Montgomery, William Tweed, Kerr Reepert, Michael Reader. 

Delaware. — Jacob Stiltzel, John Kase, John McCormick, John F. Dentler, Elijah 

Chillisquaque. — John H. Vincent, William Nesbit, Reuben Troxel, John Voris, 
.James Cameron. 

Tnrbut. — William FoUmer, Charles Riddle, Anthony Armstrong, Philip Billmyer. 

Milton.— James Pollock, Samuel Binn, Thomas Mackey, William McCleery, Sam- 
uel Hepburn. 

Point— Joseph Van Kirk, Jesse C. Horton, Anthony Watson, W. H. Leighou, Thomas 
H. Watts. 

Northumberland.— Amos E. Kapp, Joseph R. Priestley, David Taggart, Charles 

Sunbury.— George Weiser, William McCarty, Alexander Jordan, William L. Dew- 
art, Benjamin Hendricks. 

Upper Augusta.— James Funston, Elisha Kline, Jacob Eckman, Jacob Seasholtz. 

Lower Augusta.— George Conrad, Samuel Lantz, John Yordy, Thomas Snyder, Jo- 
seph Weitzel. 

Rush.— William D. Gearhart, William H. Kase, William G. Scott, James Eckman, 
Charles Kase. 

Coal.— William Fagely, Daniel Evert, William M. Weaver. 

Little Mahanoy.— George Peifer, Jacob Raker, Daniel Dornsife, Peter Sholly. 

Jackson.— Jacob Hilbush, William Deppen, William Zartman, Daniel Hilbush, 
John Wert. 

Upper Mahanoy.— Daniel Hine, Felix Maurer, Peter Beisel, Peter Brosius. 

Lower Mahanoy.— George Brosius, Michael Lenker, Jacob Spatz, Adam Binge- 

Shamokin.— Jacob Leisenring, William H. Muensch, H. H. Teats, Samuel John, 
David Martz, George Mills. 

Cameron.— George Long, David Billman, John Hine. 

The society then proceeded to an election of managers for the ensuing year, and 
the following persons were duly elected; Rush, James Eckman; Shamokin, Samuel 
John; Upper Augusta, Peter Oberdorf; Lower Augusta, George Conrad; Coal, William 



Fagely; Jackson, William Deppen; Upper Mahanoy, Bonneville Holshue; Lower Ma- 
hanoy, Michael Lenker; Little Mahanoy, Isaac Raker; Cameron, George Long; Sun- 
bury, Alexander Jordan; Northumberland, Amos E. Kapp; Point, Jesse C. Horton; 
Chillisquaque, John B. Heller; Delaware, Henry J. Reader; Turbut, Charles Riddle;. 
Lewis, Samuel Sherman; Milton, James Pollock. 

On motion, it was resolved that the proceedings be published in the several papers. 
of the county. 

On motion, it was resolved that the recording secretary send to each member of 
the township committees a paper containing these proceedings. 

On motion, the society adjourned to meet again at the court house on the first 
Monday of August next at two o'clock p. m. 

W. I. Gbebnotjgh, 


The first fair* was held on the 17th of October, 1851, on land of W. L 
Greenough at the upper end of Second street north of Eace. The grounds 
embraced about four acres, and were surrounded by a post fence; by the terms 
of the constitution, only members were permitted to make exhibits, which 
were required to be produced or manufactured in the county; each exhibitor 
was charged for the privilege of making such exhibit, and from the funds 
thus accruing and annual membership dues the premiums were paid. The 
grand jury room in the "state house" was used for the exhibit of needle work, 
fancy goods, and similar articles. The first fair was largely attended, and 
was regarded as a complete success; but the exhibits were principally from 
the northern part of the county, and the payment of bridge toll caused many 
citizens of that section to refrain from attending after the first enthusiasm 
had abated, and although fairs were held in 1852, 1853, 1854, and 1855, the 
enterprise languished, and in 1856 the place of holding the exhibitions was 
changed to Milton, where a local organization of some strength was developed, 
and fairs were held annually for some years; in 1868 the exhibition was re- 
moved to TurbutviUe, but the length of time it was continued there has 
not been ascertained. 

The Augustaville Farmers' and Mechanics' Association was organized on 
the 1st of January, 1870, with Elias Emerick, president; S. H. Zimmerman, 
vice-president, and W. H. Homing, secretary. The word " Horticultural " 
also appears in the title a short time later. It has not been ascertained how 
long the association sustained an active existence. 

The Northumberland County Agricultural Society was incorporated, No- 
vember 17, 3871, with the following officers: Joseph Bird, president; John 
McParland, vice-president; G. W. Armstrong, secretary; Lemuel Shipman, 
corresponding secretary; J. H. McCormick, treasurer, and John H. Vincent, 

*In 1802 a supplement to the charter of the borough of Sunbury was secured, authorizing the 
holding of annual fairs, and Theodoras Kiehl, chief burgess, advertized in the Northumberland Ga- 
zette that the first fair would be held on the 2d and 3d of November in that year, when " persons 
wLshing to dispose of horses, cattle, wagons, carts, or farming utensils of any kind " were assured of 
sufficient accommodations. Tills was, in the sense in which the word was then used, the first fair in 
the county. 


assistant recording secretary. Grounds were leased from the Northern 
Central Eailway Company at Sunbury and buildings erected thereon, but the 
enterprise does not appear to have been a success. 

The Union Park and Agricultural Association was organized, April 7, 
1873, with Solomon Malick, president; Isaac Campbell, vice-president; 
Philip H. Moore, recording secretary; Lemuel Shipman, corresponding sec- 
retary; George B. Cadwallader, treasurer, and William A. Sober, librarian. 
The buildings erected at Sunbury by the Northumberland County Agricult- 
ural Society (the second of that name) were secured, and the first fair was 
held in October, 1873, when the gross receipts amounted to twenty -three 
hundred dollars, of which thirteen hundred were paid out in premiums. The 
fairs were continued as late as 1878, and perhaps longer. 

The Milton Driving Park and Fair Association was organized in 1885 
with the following officers: president, W. Kramer; vice-president, Samuel 
HofEa; secretary, W. B. Chamberlin, and treasurer, W. A. Heinen. The 
grounds comprise twenty -five acres, of which seven are owned by the society. 
The first fair was held, October 14-17, 1885; the exhibitions have since been 
continued annually. The constitution prohibits any form of gambling what- 
ever, and the fairs of this society have maintained a high moral character 
throughout. It is recognized by the State Department of Agriculture as the 
county fair for Northumberland county, and receives the annual appropria- 
tion provided by law. 

The Shamokin Agricultural and Driving Park Association was organized 
on the 1st of April, 1889, with George S. Fisher, president; M. H. Kulp, 
secretary, and John Schabo, treasurer, who, with John Mullen, Edwin Lud- 
low, WilHam Beury, John P. Helfenstein, Joseph Wolf, and Darlington E. 
Kulp, (elected April 5th), constituted the first directory. The association 
was incorporated. May 6, 1889, with an authorized capital of ten thousand 
dollars. The first races occurred on the 8th of August, 1889, and the first 
fair, September 10-14, 1889. The grounds are situated in Ralpho township, 
two miles from Shamokin; the improvements include a half-mile track, stables, 
and a road- house. 




Impobtancb op Coal — Its Location — Names of the Veins — Their Position and 
Chabaotbk — A Walk from the Weigh Scales to the Cameron Colliery — 
Ascent of the Great Culm Bank — A Talk with the Inside Foreman About 
THE Coal Formation — Fdrthbb Description of the Sixteen Veins Found 
IN This Region — A Section of the Measdiies — Depth of the Shamokin Coal 
Basin — A Short Description of the Districts and Basins.— Production of 
THE Three Districts — The Question, "How Long AVill Our Coal Sutply 
Last?" Answered. 

by dr. j. j. john. 

A LTHOUGH the United States is noted for the great variety and abun- 
/~\ dance of its productions, yet without the aid of this valuable fuel, 
how could these products be converted into the means of comfort and wealth ? 
Without the use of coal how could we now carry on our business in all its 
varied departments ? How could we put to work the thousands of our people 
in manufacturing the many articles and implements that we need in extend- 
ing our dominion over our wide domain ? How could we furnish the neces- 
sary power to aid skill, enterprise, and capital in its efforts, were it not 
for the "black diamonds" that lay hidden beneath our soil? 

Coal is indeed the foundation of our prosperity and civilization. It is 
the most important factor that we possess to furnish power. Its value to the 
country is beyond all calculation. Its sudden loss would be irreparable. It 
is said that three hundred pounds of coal will produce power equal to the 
labor of one man for one year. By the census of 1880 we are informed that 
the annual production of coal at that time was seventy million tons. Apply 
forty million tons of this to heating and lighting and the smelting of metals, 
and the balance to furnishing motor power, and we will have the work of 
two billions of men performed without the tax of food and clothing. 

The wealth and prosperity of a country depend largely upon the abun- 
dance of coal. Pennsylvania with her large supply of mineral fuel is far 
more wealthy than those countries that abound in the precious metals. Pro- 
fessor Newberry says: — 

By the power developed from coal all the wheels of industry are kept in motion, 
commerce is carried with rapidity and certainty over all portions of the earth's surface, 
the useful metals are brought from the deep caves in which they have hidden them- 
selves, and are purified and wrought to serve the purposes of man. By coal, night is 
converted into day, winter into summer, and the life of man, measured by its fruits. 


greatly prolonged. Wealth, with all the comforts, the luxuries, and the triumphs it 
brings, is its gift. Though black, sooty, and often repulsive in its aspects, it is the 
embodiment of a power more potent than that attributed to the genii. Its possession 
is, therefore, the highest material boon that can be craved by a community or nation. 

" Dark anthracite ! that reddenest on my hearth, 

Thou in those inland mines didst slumher long. 
But now thou art come forth to move the earth, 

And put to shame the men that mean thee wrong; 
Thou Shalt be coals of fire to those that hate thee 
And warm the shins of all that under-rate thee. 

" Yea, they did wrong thee foully— they, who moek'd 

Thy honest face and said thou wouldst not burn, 
Of hewing thee to chimney-pieces talked. 

And grew profane— and swore, in bitter scorn, 
That men might to thy inner caves retire, 
And there, unsinged, abide the day of fire. 

" Yet is thy greatness nigh. Thou too shalt be 

Great in thy turn— and wide shall spread thy fame 
And swiftly— farthest Maine shall hear of thee, 

And cold New Brunswick gladden at thy name. 
And, faintly through its sleets, the weeping isle, 
That sends the Boston folks their cod, shall smile. 

" For thou Shalt forge vast railways, and shalt heat 
The hissing rivers into steam, and drive 
Huge masses from thy mines, on iron feet 

Walking their steady way, as if alive. 
Northward, till everlasting ice besets thee, 
And south, as far as the grim Spaniard lets thee. 

" Thou Shalt make mighty engines swim the sea, 
Like its own monsters— boats that for a guinea, 
Will take a man to Havre— and shall be 

The moving soul of many a spinning jenny. 
And ply thy shuttles, till a bard can wear 
As good a suit of broadcloth as the may'r." 

Nearly all the anthracite coal of America, of which over thirty-five mill- 
ion tons are now annually mined and shipped, comes from one small district 
in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. The several coal fields that constitute 
this district and furnish the enormous tonnage just named, if brought closely 
together would represent a small space on the map of our State. It would 
only be a little section of mountainous territory, about twenty miles wide and 
twenty-five miles long, giving an area of five hundred square miles. This ter- 
ritory represents about one ninety- secondth part of the entire area of the State, 
and is not much larger than our own county, which contains four hundred 
sixty square miles. This anthracite territory lies between the Susquehanna 
and Delaware rivers and is principally included in the counties of Northum- 
berland, Schuylkill, Dauphin, Columbia, Carbon, Luzerne, and Lackawanna. 
The reader, on first reflection, will hardly believe that such vast wealth and 
such large annual outputs can possibly be drawn from so small a section of 
country, with an acreage barely sufi&cient to form a county of moderate size. 
But on careful reference to maps and reports he will find the statements 
are correct and will soon come to the conclusion that the anthracite coal region, 


though barren and forbidding in appearance, is really the richest section of our 

Different authorities have given different divisions of the anthracite region, 
but they are practically the same in results. 

The following division in five distinct coal fields, with square miles and ton- 
nage, is thought to be as satisfactory as any: — 

1st, or Southern coal field, 140 sq. mi., 10^ of production. 
2d, or Northern coal field, 200 sq. mi., 50^ of production. 
3d, or Western Middle coal field, 90 sq. mi., 25^ of production. 
4th, or Eastern Middle coal field, 40 sq. mi., 15^ of production. 
5th, or "Western Northern coal field, 80 sq. mi. 
Total 500 sq. mi. 100^. 

The third, or Western Middle 'coal field, is composed of two parts, the 
Mahanoy or Eastern district of forty square miles and the Shamokin or West- 
ern district of fifty square miles. The Shamokin district, the part that is 
treated of in this chapter, embraces that portion of the Western Middle coal 
field that is in Northumberland county, and represents about one tenth of the 
entire anthracite region. This territory is contained in Coal, Mt. Carmel, 
and Zerbe townships, with outcrops of the Buck Mountain and Lykens Val- 
ley veins in Cameron township. The greater part of this district is drained 
by Shamokin creek and its tributaries. This district is divided by several 
anticlinals into a number of basins, of which more will be said in another 
part of the article. The Shamokin coal district is bounded on the north by 
the Big mountain, and on the south by the Locust and Mahanoy mountains. 
It is about two and one half miles in width and twenty miles in length, ex- 
tending from the county line on the east to a point about two miles west of 
Trevorton, where the basin terminates and the underlying Mauch Chunk red 
shale comes to the surface. There are some sixteen veins found in this dis- 
trict, the average total thickness of which is said to exceed sixty feet. 


It is thought proper at this point to give the names of the coal seams 
that are found in our region. Professor Lesley states that it is useless and 
impossible, until we are better acquainted with the subject, to prepare a 
nomenclature that will satisfactorily apply to all the anthracite coal fields. 
The writer has adopted the plan used by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal 
and Iron Company, believing it to be the best adapted for the present pur- 
pose. In this plan the seams are designated by numbers, to which are added 
the local names given to them in Schuylkill county and Shamokin. 

Beginning at the top of the coal formation in our region and descending 
to and into the conglomerate the nomenclature will appear as follows: — 


No. 17, Little Tracy. No. 8, Mammotli-Lower Split or Daniel. 
16, Tracy. " T, Skidmore or Tape Vein. 

15, Little Diamond. " 6, Seven Feet. 

14, Diamond. " 5, Buck Mountain. 

13, Little Orcliard. " 3 and 4, Lykens Valley— Upper. 

12, Orchard. " 1 and 3, Lykens Valley— Lower. 

11, Primrose. Pottsville Conglomerate. 

10, Holmes or Church or Black Heath. Mauch Chunk Bed Shale. 

9, Mammoth-Upper Split or Crosby. Pocono Sandstone. 
Mammoth-Middle Split or Lelar. 


In order to obtain a clear idea of this subject, suppose we start at the 
Weigh Scales, located in the gap of the Little mountain. This mountain 
represents the No. X or Pocono sandstone formation, the outermost rim of the 
Shamokin coal basin, which at this point is about six hundred feet in thick- 
ness. Crossing over to the roadbed of the Reading railroad, we will leis- 
urely pursue our course towards the city of Shamokin. In so doing we will 
cross diagonally a narrow valley (Brush valley), which lies between Little and 
Big mountains. This represents No. XI or the Mauch Chunk red shale, and is 
the filling between the outer and inner rims of the coal basin. The thick- 
ness of this red shale filling is supposed to be two thousand feet. Proceed- 
ing on towards Shamokin, We leave this valley and enter the gap of the Big 
mountain. One of the finest opportunities for the study of geology of the 
coal formations is now presented to us. The Shamokin creek, which has its 
source in the eastern part of the basin, and in its course thus far has fol- 
lowed the great trough of coal, here suddenly deflects to the north and breaks 
through the two rocky barriers of the coal basin and makes its way through 
older formations to the Susquehanna. At this point we have the east and 
west walls of the Big mountain to study. Here, as we leave the red shale, 
we meet No. XII, the Pottsville conglomerate, the inner rim of the basia, 
which here measures about six himdred feet in thickness. At this point the 
measures are so well exposed by the grading of the Reading railroad and 
the improvements of the Cameron colliery located here, that but little diffi- 
culty is met in studying their general character. We here find that the rocks 
have a south pitch from forty to fifty degrees. 

While standing at this point we will notice that the veins at Shamokin 
may be divided into three series, as follows: — 

1st. — The underlying veins of Lykens Valley and Buck Mountain repre- 
sented by Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 imbedded in the Pottsville conglomerate. 

2d. — The middle veins, consisting of the Seven Feet, Skidmore, and Mam- 
moth, being 6, 7, 8, and 9, lying between the Pottsville conglomerate and an 
upper small pebble conglomerate. 

3d. — The upper lying veins, consisting of the Holmes, Primrose, Orchard, 


etc., lying between the small conglomerate, and the slates and shales for 

The first and third series are principally red and pink ash, and the 
second series white or gray ash. 

While standing here we notice that the northern outcrop of the Lykens 
Valley takes place on the crest of the Big mountain, and a short distance 
down on the south side the Buck Mountain comes to the surface and disap- 
pears. Lower down the mountain the outcrops of the Skidmore, Mammoth, 
Holmes, Primrose, and Orchard will successively appear in regular order. 

A few hours spent at this interesting geological point, in company with 
some intelligent miner, will afford the student a better and more practical 
knowledge of our coal formation than days spent in poring over works that 
treat learnedly upon the subject, but often only to confuse the reader. Mr. 
WiUiam H. Marshall, a prominent practical geologist of this region some 
forty years ago, remarked to the writer, that the best lessons he ever had on 
the coal measures were obtained in a similar manner. 

The lowest depth of coal formation in the Shamokin district is said to be 
at or near the gap, in Shamokin, though some experienced miners contend 
it is at the Henry Clay basin. The depth of the coal basin at Shamokin is 
supposed to exceed one thousand seven hundred feet below water level, to 
which add the vertical height of Big mountain of eight hundred feet more 
will give clear run of two thousand five hundred feet. The level of the 
creek at the Cameron colUery is six hundred ninety feet above tide, and the 
top of Big mountain at this point is eight hundred ten feet above the creek. 

The reader now, in company with the experienced inside foreman, will 
be asked to ascend the great culm bank that stands at the Cameron colliery, 
and which so well represents the enormous wastage that is connected with 
mining. This towering pile of fine coal, slate, and dirt is of itself a curi- 
osity, an object that never fails to attract the attention of strangers on their 
first visit to our city. The ascent is steep, but, by gradual stages of walking 
and rest, the summit is reached. But what a scene is spread before his eyes 1 
Surprise and pleasure will greet him at one and the same time. A large 
section of the Shamokin coal field will lay spread out before him, divided 
into basins and sub-basins, showing surface and contour, elevation and 
depression, dips and saddles, as fully in many respects as if drawn from 
maps and books. The view will be a perfect object lesson in geology. His 
miner teacher will now commence his instruction to an interested pupil with 
only the book of Nature to study from. Only a brief abstract of this lesson 
can be given in this article. 

His attention will be first called to notice the many breakers that can be 
seen from this point, made prominent in the distance by the ascending 
columns of steam from their works. Here at the base of the bank is the 
Cameron, one of the finest breakers in the region. Looking southward and 


"westward, the Neilson, Bear Valley, Burnside, and others are to be seen. 
Turning more to the east, the Henry Clay and Buck Kidge are to be seen in 
the distance, and still further eastward, the Luke Fidler, Enterprise, and 
other collieries may be partly discerned. 

The story of the coal formation of this region will then be told, illus- 
trated by objects that meet the vision on every side. Looking to the south, 
the entire basin will be seen spread out as a panorama, and turning east and 
west a large portion of the great coal trough can be examined by the eye. 
Shamokin as a town, with its fine churches and school houses, will be lost 
sight of, and only referred to occasionally as a reference of location, while 
the great work of Nature in her wonderful storage of fuel, will be talked 
about. Again he will be reminded that he is in a great trough or basin 
in which are stored away some sixteen layers of coal, of various thickness, at 
different depths, with the lowest seam far down in the solid rock at least two 
thousand five hundred feet from the present point. 

He will be told that this storage of fuel is protected on its sides and 
bottom by a massive rim of conglomerate of some six hundred feet in thick- 
ness, and extending down in the earth about seven hundred feet below the 
sea level. His attention will then be called to a hill south of the Shamokin 
cemetery, on the Bellas tract, now occupied by the Philadelphia and Beading 
Coal and Iron Company. 'His companion will state that this hill is one of the 
highest points in the State, though not more than one thousand two hun- 
dred feet above tide. He will wonder at this, as the elevation is not 
greater than at the point he stands on, and considerably lower than some of 
the moxmtains around him, and he will question the correctness of the state- 
ment. He will be answered that the height is meant in a geological sense 
and not a physical one. The mountains at Hazelton have a much greater 
elevation above the level of the ocean, but in the coal formation are much 
lower than this hill and do not possess the upper coal measures. Here on 
this hill all the coal seams from No. 17 down to No. 1 of the Lykens Valley 
are found, which is possibly one of the few spots in the Middle coal field of 
which this can be said. At this stage in the lesson course the reader asks 
how can the veins be distinguished from each other? They are all coal, and 
all anthracite has a common appearance no matter from what seam it is 
taken. , Every chunk of coal from any of the breakers possesses the same com- 
mon properties, black in color, metallic luster, vitreous fracture, and con- 
choidal shape. Their chemical properties are practically alike— the same 
percentage of carbon and vola,tile matter. How then do you know how or 
when to call a vein Skidmore at the Cameron, and another at the Henry 
Clay the Mammoth? 

Upon a few moments of reflection the experienced inside foreman 
answered that this was sometimes a very difficult matter, and had been the 
occasion of many disputes. Operators have been known to misname an infe- 


rior coal for some popular one that is asked for in the market. But in our 
region the locations of the veins are pretty well established. In the first 
place, the qualities and position of the Mammoth, the Buck Mountain, and 
Xiykens Valley are so prominent and well known that they serve as guides 
in placing the others. Suppose a vein is found between the Mammoth and 
the Lykens Valley. If the conglomerate on which it rests is composed of 
small pebbles we know it is the Buck Mountain. If immediately below the 
Mammoth it is the Skidmore, if below the Skidmore it is the Seven Feet. 
Above the Mammoth, which is the principal seam of all coal fields, a vein 
may be determined by its number from it — if the vein is the next above, it is 
the Holmes. Again, the vein may be determined by its size, ash, and the 
slates or coverings, principally the last. 

Some years ago, Kimber Cleaver, the eminent engineer of our region, 
conceived the idea that the veins might be distinguished by the fossils on the 
slates covering such veins. There may be something in this but it would 
require some study to know how to utilize it. A few of the veins may be 
recognized by the iron ore seams that follow them. 

As before stated, there are some seventeen coal veins found in the Sha- 
mokin coal field, besides several coal leaders, one or two of which are largely 
enough developed at places to be worked. 


The following is a brief description of each vein, commencing with the 
surface and descending regularly to the bottom measures: — 

No. 17 — Little Tracy. — ^A red ash vein, the uppermost one found in the 
Shamokin region. It is only found in a small basin on the Bellas tract, on a 
hiU immediately south of the Shamokin cemetery. The vein is about five 
feet thick, but has not been worked anywhere in our region on account of 
insufficient top. 

No. 16 — Tracy. — A red ash vein, underlying the Little Tracy, about five 
feet in thickness. It is a fair coal and has been worked at the Eoyal Oak, 
Franklin Gowen, and Clinton collieries. 

No. 15 — Little Diamond. — A red ash vein, of small size and only worked 
in a few places where it reaches the thickness of five 'feet. It was worked at 
the Lambert, and at the Luke Pidler colliery by John Eosser in 1852. 

No. 14 — Diamond. — Another red ash vein, running from five to seven 
feet of coal in places. It was opened and worked at the Clinton, Alpha, 
Marshall, and Lambert collieries. A medium coal. 

No. 13 — Little Orchard. — A pink ash coal, worked at Peerless, Lambert, 
and Royal Oak collieries. Faulty in places. About six feet thick. 

No. 12 — Orchard. — A red ash coal of about six feet thickness. Worked 
at Peerless, Luke Fidler, Cameron, Garfield, and the old Lambert coUiery. 

No. 11 — Primrose. — A celebrated red ash coal, highly valued in the 


markets. This was the first vein opened and worked in the Shamokin region, 
and was named the Boyd vein. It was first worked in the bed of the 
Shamokin creek between Spurzheim and Webster streets, where the coal was 
exposed by the action of the water. It was called John Boyd's stone coal 
quarry. For many years this coal was quarried out of the creek and bank 
by farmers of the vicinity. The vein opened at the old furnace by the 
Shamokin Coal and Iron Company in 1839 is said by some practical miners 
to be the famous Primrose, but others contend that this coal belongs to a 
higher numbered vein which was afterward worked out by the Tillets. It 
was used by the Shamokin furnace in 1841 in smelting iron, being the third 
or fourth anthracite furnace erected in this country. The vein was in 1853 
reported to be sixty feet thick and was called the famous Boyd vein. This 
vein was worked by the Daniel Webster, Luke Fidler, and Cameron collieries, 
and was the main dependence of the George Fales, Lambert, and Peerless 
collieries. Average thickness, from six to eight feet. 

No. 10 — Holmes. — A reddish gray ash coal, of five feet in thickness. It 
is largely worked at the Cameron and Peerless collieries. 

Nos. 9 and 8 — Mammoth. — This is the principal coal seam of the anthra- 
cite coal regions and is of general distribution. In some places the seams are 
united in one vein as at Locust Gap, measuring as high as sixty feet in thick- 
ness. In our region the vein is divided in three splits. No. 9 being the upper 
split. No. 8 the lower split, and the middle split between them. No. 8 is the 
most reliable vein. Nos. 8 and 9 run about eight feet each and the middle 
split about two feet. A white ash coal of superior value. 

No. 7 — Skidmore. — A white ash coal, five feet thick — not reliable, princi- 
pally worked at the Cameron, where it is called the Tape vein. Produces a 
good coal at the Cameron, Alaska shaft, and Mt. Carmel collieries. It is 
well adapted for furnace use. 

No. 6 — Seven Feet. — A white ash coal of six feet, worked at the Cameron 

No. 5 — Buck Mountain. — A red ash coal, from five to ten feet in thick- 
ness. A good coal. Worked at the Cameron and Corbin collieries. 

Lykens Valley Veins. — A red ash coal from six to nine feet in thickness, 
being the bottom veins of the coal measures. Worked at the Cameron, 
Enterprise, Ben Franklin, and Trevorton collieries. Not fully developed in 
our region. At Trevorton twelve feet thick and fully developed. 


To illustrate this subject more fully and show the nature of the Shamokin 
coal basin, we give the following table, as taken from Eeports of Second 
Geological Survey, showing the thickness of coal veins and intervening strata 
from vein No. 16 to No. 2 of Lykens Valley: — 


No. 16 Vein 5 feet Strata 21 feet 

Strata 63 feet Middle Split 8 feet 

" 15 Vein 5 feet Strata 13 feet 

Strata 79 feet No. 8 Lower Split 5 feet 

" 14 Vein 8 feet Strata 59 feet 

7 Vein 4 feet 

Strata 30 feet 

Coal Leader 1 foot 

Strata 55 feet 

18 Vein 6 feet 

Strata 70 feet 

13 Vein ; 4 feet 

Strata 226 feet 

11 Vein 7 feet 

Strata 186 feet 

10 Vein 6 feet 

Strata 166 feet Total 1557 feet 

9 Upper Split 8 feet 

Recapitulation : Coal 79 feet 

Strata 1478 feet 

Strata 34 feet 

6 Vein 3 feet 

Strata 53 feet 

5 Vein 3 feet 

Strata 81 feet 

4 Vein 3 feet 

Strata 342 feet 

2 Vein 3 feet 

Total 1557 feet 

The veins differ in thickness at various collieries and the above will prob- 
ably give a fair average of thickness in our region. 

The Mammoth generally occurs in two splits, but at Bear Valley, Enter- 
prise, and a few other places it appears in three splits. The average thick- 
ness of the Mammoth in this section is about nineteen feet of coal in our 
region, though it is reported in places farther east to have reached the enor- 
mous thickness of ninety feet. 

The bottom of the Shamokin coal basin is said to be about one thousand 
feet below the level of the sea. Add to this the height of the Shamokin 
mountain, which is one thousand five hundred feet above tide, and we have a 
perpendicular depth of two thousand five hundred feet for the Lykens Valley 

The shaft at the Neilson colliery is down about one thousand two hundred 
twenty feet, reaching the Mammoth veins, or about five hundred feet below the 
sea level. By the above table they will yet probably descend five hundred 
eighty-five feet to reach the Lykens Valley veins, or about five hundred feet 
to reach the one thousand feet below the level of the ocean, the bottom of the 
basin. Standing at the corner of Shamokin and Sunbury streets at Eohr- 
heimer's clothing store, which is seven hundred fifty-seven feet above tide, 
and adding one thousand feet to it and we will have one thousand seven hun- 
dred fiity-seven feet to the bottom of the basin. Adding to this seven hun- 
dred forty-three feet, the elevation of Big mountain at this point, and w© 
will have a grand total of two thousand five hundred feet. 

The Shamokin coal field is a term used in this article to represent all the 
coal territory contained in Northumberland county, and for the sake of con- 


venience rather than geological exactness, it is divided into three districts 
representing the townships in which they are chiefly located. They will be 
termed the Mt. Carmel, Shamokin, and Trevorton (Zerbe) districts. 

The great trough of coal in this coal field is divided into several longi- 
tudinal divisions by a few prominent anticlinals forming the northern and 
southern boundaries of the local basins, while the rising and falling of the 
measures to and from the surface make their eastern and western limits. 
Notable among these anticlinals is that of the Locust mountain, which divides 
the Locust Gap and Mt. Carmel basins. Standing in the gap of this mountain, 
the Pottsville conglomerate can be plainly seen rising up through the coal 
measures and dividing the coal trough. Another very prominent anticlinal is 
that of Eed ridge, north of the town of Mt. Carmel, which divides the Mt. 
Carmel and Black Diamond basins. To fully comprehend this subject, the 
reader should be on the ground and have these upheavals of the lower coal 
measures pointed out. The districts of Mt. Carmel and Shamokin are 
divided into a number of basins, increasing in depth until the town of Shamo- 
kin is reached, when from that point westward they gradually come nearer 
the surface. 

Another point to be noticed is the change in the character of the coal as 
we proceed westward. At Mt. Carmel, and more especially at Locust Gap, 
the coal may be classed as a grade between hard and freebuming white ash; 
coming westward towards Shamokin, the coal my be divided into two grades 
of freebuming and Shamokin white ash, the latter being a little softer but 
specially adapted for domestic uses. Passing farther westward we reach the 
Trevorton district, where we will find the coal very pure but so soft as to be 
termed semi -anthracite. This is called the North Franklin coal.' 

The present production of the three districts will be given by dividing the 
total tonnage of 1889. 


Mt. Carmel district 9 collieries, 1,090,791. 

Shamokin district 18 collieries, 1,541,354. 

Trevorton district 1 colliery, 62,406. 

Total 38 collieries, 2,694,551. 

The exhaustion of our coal supply has become a very important question 
and received much consideration of late years. With the present enormous 
output of over thirty-five million tons per year, the question naturally arises, 
how long can such shipments be kept up ? Eminent engineers and geologists 
who have given this subject their careful attention have presented estimates 
which vary from one hundred fifty to two hundred years. It is asserted 
by them, that by improved plans of mining and better methods of prepara- 
tion, the coal wastage may be greatly reduced and the time extended. Pro- 
fessor Sheafer, a most excellent authority, declares that only one third of the 
coal in the ground gets to market, the other two parts being lost in various 


ways. Superintendent Holden Chester and other experienced coal men of 
our region think that at least forty per cent, may be named as the output 
from the Shamokin coal field. Professor Sheafer further states that in the 
smaller veins of eight and ten feet, one half of the coal is mined, while in the 
very large seams not more than one quarter is taken out. The following is 
his estimate of the coal supply in the anthracite region: — 


Original amount of anthracite 25,000,000,000. 

Extracted up to 1883 1,500,000,000. 

Leaving untouched 23,500,000,000. 

Deduct two thirds for wastage 15,500,000,000. 

Leaving for future use 8,000,000,000. 

With annual shipments of forty million tons this supply will last two 
hundred years. 

But the question that more immediately concerns the people of our lo- 
cality is, how long will our supply last ? Is it likely to be exhausted in a 
few years ? Our annual shipments now exceed two and one half million 
tons with a fair prospect that our maximum tonnage may reach four millions. 
The writer believes that an approximate answer may be given by basing 
estimates on results reported by Eckley B. Coxe, one of the largest and most 
intelligent coal operators in the State. He says that " upon excavation of a 
little less than two hundred acres, with the vein not over ten feet thick on 
the average, the shipments are over two million tons." At this operation he 
states that the vein is not all worked out, some breasts unfinished, and some 
parts unopened, and much coal to be robbed. Now there are about fifty 
square miles of coal lands in Northumberland county. Taking one half of 
this sum for fully productive territory and we will have sixteen thousand 
acres. Upon the basis of Mr. Coxe, that one acre with a vein of ten feet 
will yield ten thousand tons, sixteen thousand acres will furnish one hun- 
dred sixty million tons, and, with an average thickness of forty feet of coal, 
will produce four times that quantity or the enormous tonnage of six hun- 
dred forty million tons, the original amount stored away. Deducting from 
this forty-six and one half million tons, the amount that has been taken out, 
and there will remain for future use and shipment five hundred ninety- three 
million five hundred thousand tons. Shipping at the rate of four million 
tons a year we have a sufficient supply of coal to last us for one hundred 
forty-eight years. 

Is there a more wealthy section in the United States than our anthracite 
coal fields ? 




DiscovBET OP Anthracite in This Region — Piust Application to Genekal Uses — 
First Shamokin Coal Taken to Market — Openikg of the First Mines at 
Shamokin, Coal Kun, and Trevorton — First Coal Shipments Down the Sus- 
quehanna — Speculation in Coal Lands — The Danville and Pottsville Rail- 
road — Pioneer Coal Operations — The Disastrous Year op 1842 — Revival op 
1850 — Judge Helfenstein's Developments — Original Coal Breakers — Mar- 
shall's Letter — New Collieries and Outlets — Coal Shipments to Elmira 
in 1855 — Other Collieries Started and Breakers Erected — Tonnage op 
This Region for the Years 1857 and 1889 — Total Production foe the Past 
Fifty-one Years. 


THE present article will be devoted to the rise and progress of the an- 
thracite coal trade in Northumberland county. It will begin with its 
humble origin, near a century ago, when stone coal was rejected as a 
worthless article and its use to the wants and necessities of life was laughed 
at, and follow its history down to the present time, when its great value is 
fully understood and the work of mining and shipping it has created two of 
the leading industries of the country. 

Anthracite coal was known to exist in the Shamokin region at a very 
early date, but none of its uses were then known. Its first discovery was 
made at Wyoming in 1766, and fourteen years later, or 1780, anthracite coal 
was observed by Mr. Cherry, the first settler of these parts. He picked up 
some pieces from the Shamokin creek, his attention having been attracted by 
their shining black appearance. To him they were only objects of curiosity 
and were put aside to exhibit when parties should chance to call on him. 

In 1790 Nicho Allen is said to have discovered coal near Pottsville and 
tested its burning qualities at the time he found it, and in 1791 Philip Gin- 
ter, the hunter, made his "famous find" at Mauch Chunk, the one hundredth 
anniversary of which is now proposed to be celebrated at Summit Hill in 
September, 1891, with a view of erecting a monument to his memory. At 
about the same time coal was discovered at Shamokin and applied to use. 
Isaac Tomlinson was the discoverer. He was a former resident of Maiden 
Creek, Berks county, and had but lately moved on his tract of land, lying 
between Shamokin and Mt. Carmel, and long afterwards known as the "half- 
way house." One day in 1790 as he was crossing over his farm his atten- 


tion was called to some black stones lying in the bed of Quaker run, a stream 
that ran through his place and was so called because he was a member of 
the Society of Friends. He picked up some of them, and, feeling confident 
that they were coal, he took them down to a blacksmith at his former home 
and had them tried in his fire. To his great delight he found that they made 
a splendid fire. 

Thus we see that the three discoverers of anthracite coal in the Southern 
and Middle coal fields were Allen, Ginter, and Tomlinson, and, what is 
remarkable, all these discoveries were made about the same time. Little did 
these three men think then, just one hundred years ago, how valuable this 
stone coal would become at a later period. And what would Mr. Tomlinson 
have said, if he had been told on that occasion as he was carrying these black 
stones from Quaker run across his wild domain, that a century later this 
new farm of his would be held by a great corporation and valued more highly 
per acre, several times over, than the most fertile and best improved properties 
of Berks or Lancaster county ? He would, doubtless, have regarded the in- 
formant as insane. 

The coal of the Shamokin region was more readily introduced to various 
uses than that of other regions. It was softer, more easily ignited, and more 
closely allied to the bituminous varieties, about which the people had some 
little knowledge. 

The first practical use of Shamokin coal in our county was made in 1810 
by the same Mr. Tomlinson, the discoverer. His farm was on the famous 
old Beading road, the highway between Beading and Sunbury. Mr. Tom- 
linson was a practical smith and could work in the shop as well as on the 
farm. For the accommodation of himself and his few neighbors he put 
up a shop on his farm. On one occasion this year, being out of the coal 
commonly used at that time, he resorted to his Quaker run mine again, 
obtained a small supply, tried it over again, and was so successful that there- 
after he continued its use. 

About this period Jesse Fell, of Wilkesbarre, made the important discovery 
that stone coal could be used in houses as a fuel, by burning it in rudely 
constructed grates. These grates were improved from time to time, and 
soon afterward stoves were invented that would burn anthracite coal. These 
improvements greatly increased the demand for the new fuel. 

During the war of 1812 iron manufacturers who had theretofore used 
soft coal from Virginia were unable to procure their supplies from this 
source, and were at a loss what to use as a substitute. After great persua- 
sion and repeated experiments, they found that the much abused anthracite 
would answer their purpose if properly treated. The common instruction 
to those who proposed to use it was, "put on the coal, shut the door, and let 
it alone." At this time the use of coal was fairly commenced in some parts 
of our county where it could be readily procured. 


In 1814 the first Shamokin coal was taken to market. Mr. John Thomp- 
son, during his later years an old and respected citizen of our town and now 
deceased, was the first coal operator. When a boy of fifteen years of age he 
lived on hjs father's place a few miles east of Shamokin. At that time he 
mined a two-horse load of coal from the bed of Quaker run, hauled it to 
Sunbury, and sold it to a shoemaker for five dollars. 

About 1825 Shamokin coal seems to have come into some demand by the 
neighboring blacksmiths and farmers, and mines at Furnace run, Coal run, 
and Shamokin creek were opened from time to time for their accommodation. 
The first coal mined in the Shamokin region was from the bed of streams 
where the veins had been exposed by the action of the water. In Schuylkill 
county, where mining had commenced some years earlier, a very primitive 
method was adopted. A small shaft would be sunk on a crop of the vein, on 
or near the top of a hill, and by the means of a windlass and bucket the coal 
would be hoisted out. When the shaft would reach the depth of twenty -five 
or thirty feet it would be abandoned and a new one would be started. The 
coal thus mined would be sold on the bank at twenty-five cents per bushel. 
Coal mining was then a new thing and very simple in its operation. The 
miners were principally Scotch and Welsh. In the course of a few years 
horse-power was attached to the gin, which was then regarded as a wonder- 
ful improvement. But this method was far from satisfactory, as water 
would gather in the small shaft and drown the miners out. But the ingenuity 
of man finally overcame this drawback by a new device. A drift was driven 
on the vein at the bottom of the hill and the coal above was mined, and as it 
was loosened, it slid down into the wheelbarrow, which when full was wheeled 
out to the bank at the drift mouth. These drifts drained themselves. In 
the course of time some of these drifts were enlarged and more substantially 
constructed; they were then called gangways. The next improvement made 
about this time was the construction of railroads in gangways upon which 
were put small cars, holding about three bushels of coal, which were pushed 
out by hand. As these gangways were further enlarged the cars were built 
of greater dimensions, and finally mules were introduced to draw them in 
and out. At a later date slopes and shafts were sunk to reach the deeper 
veins, and powerful steam engines and pumps had to be provided to carry on 
these large mining operations. But the early methods of the Shamokin coal 
field differed somewhat from these. The first plan of mining was to take the 
coal out of the beds of the streams where it was exposed. When this supply 
was exhausted, the next move was to uncover the coal on the banks and hill- 
sides and quarry it the same as stone. 

The first mining of any account in our county was probably done on vein 
No. 11 in Shamokin creek, opposite Yost's planing mill. This was on the 
Primrose, a famous red ash coal, long known as John Boyd's stone coal 
quarry. The first regular shipment of coal from the Shamokin region was 


made from this place in 1826. The late Joseph Bird, one of the first settlers 
of Shamokin and afterward a large coal operator, reported to the writer the 
following account of this transaction : — 

In 1826, John 0. Boyd and my father, Ziba Bird, built a dam in Shamokin creek 
north of Webster street and opened a coal mine. The coal was mined out of the bot- 
tom of the creek. The vein had been discovered some years before, being exposed by 
the action of the water. My father was the miner and John Runkle wheeled the coal 
to the bank on a plank, assisted by myself, who was then a small boy. Casper Reed 
and Samuel Startzel were hired to haul this coal from Shamokin to Boyd's place, two 
miles above Danville. They were several months at the job. The coal was then put 
in arks and floated down the river to Columbia. This was the first Shamokin coal that 
was mined and sent to market. 

A small drift was next opened here of which more will be said further 
on. About 1828, Daniel Derk, from Mahanoy, moved in the old log house 
known as Irich's and opened a small mine on Coal run where it was crossed 
by the public road. . While working here he had his leg broken by a fall of 
rock. He was the first miner hurt in Northumberland county. 

At near the same time, Mr. Weiss, a son of Colonel Jacob Weiss, who 
opened the Mauch Chunk mines, came to our county in the interests of some 
land holders and opened a mine at Zerbe gap, now Trevorton. He followed 
the plan of his father in uncovering the coal and quarrying it like stone. A 
writer who visited these openings in 1829 and communicated his observations 
to the States Advocate says: — 

But the most extensive vein of coal yet discovered is on Zerbe run, a branch of the 
Little Mahanoy. The land is here considerably elevated and the ravine formed by the 
stream passing through it is convenient, the banks rising abruptly, exposing to view 
a coal formation which in abundance or quality is not surpassed, if equaled in the 
State. There are six or eight miners here at work. The coal is something like fifty 
feet deep. Visitors are received at the shanty with a hearty welcome by the enterpris- 
ing manager, Mr. Weiss, to whom much credit is due. He is the son of Mr. Weiss, 
who made the discovery of coal at Mauch Chunk. The speculator in coal land has 
already arrived, and I doubt not but in a few years this hitherto neglected section of 
our country will show us a Pottsville or Mauch Chunk. 

A correspondent of the Susquehanna Emporium under date of August, 
1829, writes as foUows concerning Shamokin and Mahanoy coal: — 

I lately visited the coal mines on these streams, and was really astonished that, in 
the present coal excitement and rage for speculation in coal lands, these valuable beds 
should be so little attended to. The quality of the coal is very superior, and it is my 
opinion, very easy of excavation. The coal lies near the surface, and, instead of mining 
by propping, etc., as is done at Pottsville, the earth here could be thrown ofE and the 
coal exposed at a trifling cost. The greatest body of this coal, I am told, is confined to 
what is called Bear valley, extending from the head waters of Shamokin to the forks 
of Mahanoy creek, a distance of about nine mileB and in width from three to five miles. 
It is also found in considerable quantities higher up these streams to the base of the 
Broad mountain in a direction towards Pottsville and Mauch Chunk. Several of these 
mines have been partially opened, and the coal hauled in wagons to Sunbury to sup- 
ply the neighboring blacksmiths. It is preferred by them who have used it, either to 



the Wilkesbarre or Schuylkill coal, though to me it appears to partake more of the 
quality of the Schuylkill than the Wilkesharre coal. It is light and inflammable 
and what is very singular, there appears to run through it streaks or lines resembling 
the growth of wood. 

This coal might be brought to market either by the Shamokin or Mahanoy creek 
to the Susquehanna. The distance by Shamokin creek would be about sixteen miles, 
and by the Mahanoy about ten miles. These streams could be canalled, or railways 
might be constructed from the mines by the route of these creeks to the river. Balti- 
more and the Susquehanna country below the confluence of the two branches would 
afford an abundant market for this mineral. 

The period from 1824 to 1829 in Schuylkill county was noted for the 
great speculation in coal lands. Coal tracts changed hands quite rapidly, 
and prices advanced enormously. Pottsville became the great Mecca for 
speculators and every one expected to grow rich in a very short time. The 
excitement gradually extended to the Middle coal field, but never reached so 
high a pitch as at Pottsville. Large tracts of land, heavily timbered and 
abounding with the best grades of coal, heretofore regarded as of little or 
no value, passed into the hands of certain parties who knew their worth and 
foresaw the great future of the coal trade. 

Stephen Girard made large purchases in the Mahanoy region and Burd 
Patterson, of Pottsville, one of the greatest men of his day, bought up large 
tracts in the Shamokin coal field extending from Mt. Carmel to Trevorton. 
On these tracts he employed a number of men to prove and open coal veins. 
Other parties from Sunbury and Danville became interested in the enterprise 
and bought up some of the most valuable tracts. 

What further stimulated this movement was the prospect of a great rail- 
road being opened through the Middle coal field to connect the Delaware and 
Susquehanna at Sunbury and thus divert the trade from Baltimore to Phila- 
delphia. This movement was headed by such able men as Stephen Girard, 
of Philadelphia, Burd Patterson, of Pottsville, Daniel Montgomery, of Dan- 
ville, and Samuel J. Packer, of Sunbury. The road was chartered in 1826 
under the title of the Danville and Pottsville railroad, and afterwards 
amended with many supplements. This was the greatest and most formid- 
able enterprise that had to that time been undertaken in our county, and 
with all the energy and ability that supported it, it required some seven 
years before the road was commenced. Some of the parties in the Shamokin 
region, thinking this enterprise was too great to be carried out, secured a 
charter for the Shamokin Canal Company with powers to construct a canal, 
build a railroad, or deepen the channel of the Shamokin creek. This work 
was never commenced. 

During the year 1832, through the strenuous efforts of Stephen Girard, 
who had ordered all the iron from England, the eastern end of the railroad 
was commenced and twelve miles of it, extending to Girardville, with numer- 
ous inclined planes, were completed in 1833 at a cost of one himdred ninety 


thousand dollars. Coal shipments were made over this portion of the road 
for two or three years, but it was abandoned on account of the planes failing 
to do their work. In 1834 twenty miles of the Danville and Pottsville rail- 
road between Sunbury and John Boyd's coal mine (Shamokin) were placed 
under contract for grading, which was all completed the next year. The 
track between Sunbury and Paxinos was all laid and completed in 1835, and 
the opening ceremonies in honor of this great event were held at Paxinos 
on November 26th of this year. The principal feature of this meeting was 
the able address of Hugh Bellas, who gave a full history of this great 
undertaking, and predicted the wonderful future that awaited our coal trade. 

Mr. Moncure Robinson, the famous engineer, in his report to the board 
of directors at this time, suggested "that it seems almost unnecessairy to lay 
down the superstructure between the crossing of the Centre turnpike (Pax- 
inos) and the coal mines (Shamokin) until accommodations shall be obtained 
for the coal trade at Sunbury." As there was no communication with the 
Pennsylvania canal at Sunbury by means of basins or guard locks, no ship- 
ments of coal could be made. The board acted on this suggestion and post- 
poned laying the track between Paxinos and Shamokin for the present. 

The town of Shamokin was laid out this year (1835) by John C. Boyd 
and three houses were erected. Coal drifts continued to be opened at sev- 
eral places and the veins were proved. About this time John and Thomas 
English opened a drift near the turnpike at Mt. Carmel for the use of farm- 
ers. In 1836 coal was mined at several drifts at Shamokin in small quan- 
tities, hauled in wagons to Paxinos, dumped in coal cars, and taken to Sun- 
bury by horse-power for local use. This trade was continued in this manner 
until the road was completed to Shamokin and locomotives placed on the 
track. During 1838, the track having been laid some months before to Sha- 
mokin, two small locomotives, built by Eastwick & Harrison, were placed on 
the road with some small cars brought from Girardville that held from two 
and a half to three tons each. No regular shipments took place this year, 
but great preparations were made for the coming season. Sidings and later- 
als were put dovm and the mines were put in order to do a large business 
for that time. 

The year 1839 begins the Shamokin coal trade. The tonnage for this sea- 
son was eleven thousand nine hundred thirty tons, which was mined from 
some four different operations, which, being pioneer mines, we will briefly 
describe. About 1835 George Heckert, an attorney from liancaster, in com- 
pany with another lawyer of that place, visited the coal regions with a view 
of making an investment. They commenced their investigations at Trevor- 
ton and examined the mines there, then under the charge of James Eenney, 
who had succeeded Mr. Weiss. From Trevorton they came to Shamokin 
and spent several days in this vicinity looking at the coal lands, when they 
proceeded on to Mt. Carmel and finally to Pottsville. At the latter place 


they met Burd Patterson, the Nestor of the coal business, who urged them 
to invest in Schuylkill coimty. But their observations at ShamoMn led them 
to prefer our region and they purchased the celebrated Buck Eidge tract, 
containing eight hundred forty-eight acres — one of the best coal tracts in 
the entire coal field. A company was soon afterwards formed, consisting of 
Heckert, Lane, and Park, called the "Lancaster Company." They proceeded 
in 1836 to improve their lands. In 1837 they employed Jacob Mowry of 
our town to open a drift, near where the Big Mountain breaker afterwards 
stood. They erected several tenement houses, and at considerable expense 
built a lateral railroad of over a quarter of a mile, connecting their mines 
with the Danville and Pottsville railroad. They leased their works to Cowan, 
Brannigan & Company, who were one of the first shippers of coaL A few 
years afterwards these mines were worked by Samuel John & Company. 

Messrs. Dewart & Donnel were the owners of valuable coal lands on 
the east side of the water gap. They opened up several drifts in the gap 
on the line of the railroad and leased them to Yoxtheimer & Snyder of Sim- 
bury, who carried on these mines for a year or so until they failed. These 
mines were destined in after years to become one of the most famous 
collieries in the State, known as the Cameron colliery. They have been 
worked continuously for over fifty years and promise to b© a productive coll- 
iery for fifty years to come. 

On the west side of the gap, the lands were held by J. H. Purdy & Com- 
pany, who opened up their coal works at about the same time and carried on 
mining in their own name. They were among the heaviest shippers in these 
early times and produced a very fine coal for the market. Their mines eventu- 
ally were united to those of the east side to form part of the Cameron