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HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY 

PENNSYLVANIA 

Sponsored by the Columbia County Historical Society 

and 
Commissioners of Columbia County 

Prepared by Edwin W. Barton, 
Historian of the Columbia County Historical Society, 

1958 

Copyright 1958, by Edwin M. Barton 



Tentative Edition for use In the Columbia County High Schools 
Second Issue, 1964 

All rights reserved. 



r 

CONTENTS ,C'7 

Page 
Preface I i i 

Relief Map, Columbia County ^7vuSS LIBRAA . 

and Region ' •■•*'« »'-'*'^ fv 

Political Map, Columbia County 

with Neighboring Districts V 

Suggestions to Teachers and Students; 

Acknowledgements v! 

Chapter [, THE COLUMBIA COUNTY REGION 

WHEN IT WAS INDIAN COUNTRY 1 

Chapter II, PIONEERS, PATRIOTS, AND 

TORIES IN THE SUSQUEHANNA VALLEYS 10 

Chapter III, P I ONEER SETTLEMENTS IN 

THE "NEW PURCHASE" 29 

Chapter IV, TRANSFORMING THE FRONTIER 

INTO CIVILIZED COMMUNITIES 38 

Chapter V, CANALS, RAILROADS, AND INDUSTRIES 55 

Chapter VI, SOME MID-CENTURY CONFLICTS 69 

Outline Map of Columbia County 78 



Bibliography of useful reference 
books following p. 67 



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II 



PREFACE TO SECOND PRINTIN' 



Herewith is submitted to the general public of Columbia Counry, a 
printing of the first six chapters of a history of this county, designe". 
also for school use and prepared under the aeqis of the Columbia County 
Historical Society. It is still In tentative form. A number of our county's 
high schools have found the first printing useful and expressed the desire 
that it continue to be available for school use. 

Rather than being an excursion Into narrow provincialism and pettiness 
the history of one's locality and region touches the broader history of one's 
commonwealth and country In many places and in many ways. 

in some occasional Instances these contacts are at critical and decisive 
points. At others such contacts are representative manifestations of our 
larger history, clarifying and sharpening it by Instances In the reader's own 
home land. in addition the heritage of the advantages and achievements of 
the leaders and others and, - yes, let us face them - also the heritage of 
tensions and scars, - make up our region. We live here. Knowing our own 
community the better, we can become better community builders and more 
loyally attached to it. 

These objectives and points of view have guided the author. 

The standard sources have been combed, and diligent effort has been 
exerted to uncover new sources. Are there persons who have reliable 
traditions, letters, diaries, manuscripts, which would be helpful? Pictures, 
newspapers, clippings, catalogues, anything that will contribute to a more 
effective account of our cherished region, are requested. It Is hoped that 
such sources may be made known for a more nearly definitive work to be 
attempted In the future. These are requested both for the period prior to 
1870, and also for the period 1870 to the present. To be more soeciflc; 
items dealing with mining, lumber! Ing, quarrylnq, farming. Industry, 
religion, education, any significant aspect or detail. 

Careful efforts have been made to avoid errors, errors of omissions, of 
misstatements, or of any other type. Friendly criticism Is welcomed. 
Responses to this request will be utilized fully to improve a final edition 
planned for Issue In standard book form. 

May we have your help? 

Send responses to the author. 



Edwin M. Barton 
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania 



in 







Pel If F Map of COLUMBIA COUNTY, Pennsylvania 
Surrounding arhas are acSo incluoeo. Reproduced from Armit Map Service 
Maps. Used *ith permission. Boundaries of Columbia County, otmek than 
streams, mavf. been emphasized by additional ink lines supt r «m posed . 



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Arthur S. Clay Hap. ic^io. Revised and ^ 

publxshed i960 by ColunMa Ccninty -^^' O 
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SUGGESTIONS TO STUDENTS AND TEACHERS 

The attempt has been made, in preparing this HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNT' 
to keep in mind the relation of our local conditions and deve lopments to thos 
of the United States as a whole. For this reason, marginal dates and notes 
have been inserted. Time diagrams have also been made in form so that the 
folded-in bottom sections of certain extra lonq pages may be turned down 
thus revealing the background of general events which thus can always be 
kept in view while our local developments are being read about. In some cas 
these special sheets are on colored paper in order to make it easier to loce 
them. 

Students, especially should make use of these aids. 

The class teacher of Pennsylvania history will find at the end of each 
chapter, teaching aids and learning suggestions to aid him in his guidance c 
his pupils, so that in studying this modest work, his students also will be I 
led to a more thorough understanding of the history of their Commonwealth 

of Pennsylvania and of the United States as a whole. 

*♦*♦*♦*♦***♦*******♦♦*«♦*♦*♦ 

The author, gratefully acknowledges the helpful criticisms and 
suggestions from many persons in the preparation of this Second Issue of 
1964. Special appreciation is recorded for the critical reading of the 
revised manuscript by his wife, Anna Paddock Barton. Donna D. Zeisloft, 
as secretary, gave skillful attention to the typing and aid in general. 
The author accepts responsibility for any errors. 

>Hl* ****** t-ff*** ***** ^ic^ * 



MIMEOGRAPHING BY THE EDWIN M. BARTON DUPLICATING SERVICE 



Chapter I 
Copy no. 



HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY 

Sponsored by the Columbia County Historical Society 

and 
Commissioners of Columbia County 



Prepared by Edwin M, Barton, 
Historian of the Columbia County Historical Socieiyj 

1958 



Tentative Edition for use in the Columbia County High Schools for year 1958-1959 

All rights reserved. 

Schools agree to make reasonable efforts to 
return all copies to the Columbia County 
Historical Society on or about 
June 30, 1959. 



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THE C0LUI4BIA COUNTY REGION VJHEN IT WAS INDIAN COUNTRY^^ 



Evidences of Indians 

Dwellers in Columbia County are reminded in many ways that our 
beautiful region was at one time ths home of people different from 
Europeans, The main river flowing through our county is called ths 
Susquehanna. Both the name and the river are considered, respectively, 
among the most beautiful in the United States. The name is Indian. 
We are not sure whether it meant river where-the-water-makes-the-rocks- 
Indian grind-on- the-banks, or the long and crooked river, or pven the muddy 
Times river. Fishing Creek is a translation of the Indian name, Namescesepong, 
meaning stream-of-fish, or merely that its water smells fishy, 
Catawissa may have meant growing-fa t-from-food or the place of pure 
water. Roaring Creek is probably a translation of the Indian, 
Popemetunk. Briar Creek' was known to the Indians Kawanishoning, 

Not only names but stone implements and crockery, usually 
fragments, have been found in our region in large numbers. These 
are evidences that people were living here before the coming of the 
Europeans, Such things are still being found. Many persons have 
large collections of such things, we call them artifacts,*'"^ 

Such articles were found at or near sites of Indian villages. 
These were at places where hills with a southern exposure would give 
protection from the cold north winds of winter j or on high ground 
overlooking streams, high enough to be beyond flooding but close to the 
stream for fishing and canoe travelj or on level meadows where crops 
could be planted and cultivated with the crude wooden and stone tools. 
Such places have yielded many evidences of Indian life of long ago. 
These evidences may be human bones associated with animal bones, 
stone tools, spear points, arrow points, grinding stones, scrapers, 
boring stones, and pieces of crockery. They may be jumbled together, 
but are often in layers with charred embers of fires, long, long since 
gone out and grown cold. Some places may have a number of layers, 
others only a few. The oldest layers, it can be argued, were on 
the bottom, the least old on top. The record that one deposit may 
show may be carried further by another deposit at another place. 
Some of the oldest deposits yield bones of animals that have not 
existed here for many centuries, although they were plentiful at one 
time . 
*Turn down folded part of page 9 so that you can refer to diagram as you read, 

-!H^An especially fine collection is at the museum of the Columbia 
County Historical Society where school students and others may view 
them. If any one should find Indian relics, he should note carefully 
where the find took place and then report it to the Secretary of the 
County Society in Bloomsburg, Much that is known has been learned by 
giving careful study to the location of Indian finds and how they lie. 
The authorities at the Pennsylvania State Historical and Museum 
Commission will almost surely wish to know more about any important 
discoveries of Indian artifacts. 



- 2 - 

The stone implements in the layers that are not so deep are 
of definitely better workmanship, 'fhey have finer points and 
keener edges. The earlier, or older deposits and burials indicate 
that those Indians had not yet invented bows and arrows. 
The Indians had been in America for many Centuries . 

Just recently "the scientific principle of radio activity has 
been discovered. Your science teacher vjill explain this more fully 
if you ask him. By this means, scientists are able to take arti- 
cles containing carbon, examine them ;-ri.th a geiger counter, and 
then tell fairly accurately how old they are. Very old things that 
were once alive, contain some carbon. This is true of the bones of 
animals or human beings, and also of the charred remains of partly 
burned wood or roasted grain. Using this discovery, scientists are 
able to tell us that human beings have been in North America, and 
possibly in the Susquehanna valley, thousands of years, possibly 
eighteen thousand years. 

This conclusion confirms the knowledge gained from the examina- 
tion of Indian village sites and deposits in certain overhanging 
rock shelters. 
Where did the Indians come from? 

The chain of islands, the Aleutian Islands, extending from 
Alaska westward to a point close to Asia, sviggests that primitive 
people made their May by stages from one island to another, until 
they reached the mainland of North America in modern Alaska, From 
here, they spread throughout North and South America, Different 
groups i-dth different languages almost surely came at times centuries 
apart. The skin color of the Indians resembles that of the mongolians 
and suggests that the Indians originally carae from regions close to 
China, There are^ and have been, many different kinds of Indians, 
These Red Men differed from each other much as Europeans from England, 
Italy, Greece, and Poland, as examples, differ from each other, and 
from other liuropeans. Different groups of Indians could not under- 
stand each other's language any more than a Frenchman can understand 
a Dane, unless he has studied the Danish language. More than this 
we know that the Indian groups have been here for an enormously long 
time, some groups much longer than others. Such groups naturally 
must have differed in languages and customs. 
Why study Indians ? 

It is interesting to know about the people who lived here before 
the Europeans, Furthermore, the IxLstorj of our country, and county, 
too, would undoubtedly have been far different if it had not been 
for the Indians, The whites, too, had a very great effect on the 
life of the Indians, With the exception of a small number, the 
Indians no longer live in Pennsylvania at all, 
li;92 In the century or so following the discovery of America by 
Columbus in lh92, Europeans sent expeditions to the New VJorld for 
exploration, for conquest, and finally for settlement. 



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Tlie first explorer who has left a xwitten account of the Indians 
Smith in the valley of the Susquehanna was John Smith. There are evidences, 
1608 however, that the Indians had already been receiving the white man's 
goods before this time. Smith wrote: "Such great and well propor- 
tioned men are seldom seen for they seemed like giants to the 
English, yea, and to the neighbors, yet soemed of an honest and 
simple disposition..." He also said that when speaking they sounded 
"as a voyce in the vault..." Others also recorded what fine people 

these Su3quehr.nnocks were. 

We need to learn about this "mighty people" once in our valley, 
their neighbor tribes, and what became of them all. We vdll find 
that they had an important influence on our early history. 

The earliest white nan of whom we have any knowledge to visit 
Brule the North Branch valley of the Susquehanna was a Frenchman, Etienne 

1617 Brule (Broo-lay), in I6l7 and I6I8. Brule , a yoxing and powerful 

1618 man, had already lived with the Indians north of Lake Erie. He had 
learned their language and had become skilled in woodcraft. We can 
piece together from several very brief account of Indians at that 
time, and our knowledge of the river, what Brule must have seen 
and experienced. 

The Susquehanna Valley 

He had the Susquehannock Indians as companions and guides. They 
travelled either in elm bark canoes or dugouts. They started from 
Carantouan, a strong stockaded fort of these Indians near the modern 
town of Athens, Pa, Paddling and floating doim the river, they passed 
through deep gorges which were forest covered at all places except 
the steepest ones. Here the bare rock was visible. Below one of 
such precipices, Council Bluff, just before reaching Wapwallopen, 
the valley widens. On the north, over the tree tops they would be 
able to catch a glimpse of the mountain we call Lee, ending at Knob 
Mountain. To the south through the openings in the forested river 
bluffs another mountain could be seen, ifescopeck Mountain. Following 
the river as it cut south through idia.t we call the Catawissa Narrows, 
the western end of Catawissa Mountain would have loomed impressively 
on their left. The stream would have then borne them past alternating 
bluffs and more open country, mostly forested, to the site of 
modern Danville. Then farther down they would reach the great forks 
of the Susquehanna where the West Branch, only slightly smaller than 
the North, would have been seen joining its flow to make a great 
river. The Indians called this place of joining of the two branches, 
Shamokin, where both modem Sunbury and Northumberland are located. 
From there the trip of many days took the travelers to the Cheasapeake, 
Following they would then have had the return trip, this time 
paddling or poling against the current. 
The Susquehannocks 

Here and there where the tanks t'jere slightly higher than ordinary, 
usually near a branch stream, irould have been a clearing, the site 
of an Indian village. Such were to be found at or near the present 
locations of ^ 'apwallopen, Nescopeck, Bervack, Mifflinville, Bloomsburg, 



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CataTfdssa, and probably other places, too. Curious and watchful 
Indians must have paddled out to learn about the strange boatmen. 
They vrould have been assured that the travelers were friends, in fact, 
"brothers" of the same tribe, with Brule as their guest, 

Indian hospitality vrould have been offered and accepted. Not 
to accept would have been an affront, leading to unfriendliness and 
even actual attack. Shelter would have been provided for the night. 
It is probably true that the travelers had counted on securing such 
shelter along the way. 

Their huts were probably oblong, made by forcing saplings in 
the ground, benc'ing them to come together at the top in the center 
and lashed into position. These were covered with large mats of 
bark, lashed to the upright sapplings, sides and overhead. Smoke 
from their fires escaped through a hole in the roof. The Indians 
themselves were not very clean, and their dogs were less so. 
These habitations, it can be guessed, could be smelled by an 
approaching traveller before they could be seen. 

Crowded, eyes often smarting from smoke, skin red from bites 
of fleas and lice, end also mosquitoes in surmier, the discomforts 
must have been great. We can understand why, when the Indians 
were exposed to new diseases of the T'^Ihite Men, they died off in 
large nijmbers. But the Indians of this time knew no better and 
Brule seems to have become hardened. In fact, most of his later 
life was spent with the Indians, 

From John Smith and others we learn further about the 
Susquehannocks, They were gracious and friendly to those who 
were friendly to them, but fierce and corageous against their enemies. 
They were respected and feared by all their neighbors. They once 
controlled the whole valley of the Susquehanna and its tributaries, 
extending north to its headwaters. The Susquehannocks belonged to a 
large group of tribes called Iroquois, The Susquehannocks were at 
this time one of the strongest of these tribes. 
The Iroquois Confederation of Five (Six) Nations 

The northern headwaters of the Susquehanna, in modern New York, 
were close to the tributaries of the Mohawk river, A canoe traveler 
could cany a canoe from one river system to the other. The Mohawk 
river flows from west central New York into the Hudson river at the 
east. Five nations of the Iroquois, united in a loose, but strong 
confederacy occupied this Mohawk valley. At the time our history of 
Pennsylvania is opening up, this confederacy was making itself the 
strongest Indian power in North America, It called itself the Long 
House, This diagram shows the members and their arrangement. 

THE IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY OF FIVE NATIONS (After 1711, Six Nations) 
West LONG HOUSE East 

; Senecas: Cayungas : Onandagas ;Oneidas : Mohawks : 
Mohawk Riv,:Keepers tYounger tTenders of :Younger :Keepers o£:Hudson 



Headwaters: of the : Brother :the Central: Brother :the Eastern 
: Western : : Council : : Gate 
:Gate : : Fire ; : 

After 1711, at the south. The Tuscaroras, on the Cradle Board 



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White Men and Indians carry on trade 

Trade between the Indians and European started very early, in 
many cases, the earliest explorers found that these traders had been 
here before thera. In I6O8, for instance, John Smith stated that the 
Susquehannocks had hatchets, knives, pieces of iron and brass. 
Certainly European traders were actively trading with the Indians 
before the first settlements were made. This trade continued to be 
of great importance throughout our colonial period, and for many 
years after. 

As soon as the Indians saw the white man's materials and goods 
for trade, he realized how much superior they were to his own. 
Steel axes, hatchets, and knives were better than those of stone. 
Brass and iron pots and kettles were better than fragile earthenware 
pots, better shaped, with better handles. Sewing with steel needles 
and awls was far easier than using crude flint, bone, or horn awls. 
Woven blankets were much desired by the Indians even though the 
Indians prepared soft and comfortable deer skins. Brightly colored 
cloth was much in demand. The white traders also brought porcelain 
and glass beads to take the place of the shell beads, wampum, of the 
Indians. The white man's fire arms were eagerly sought, also. The 
Indians, or at least many of them, quickly developed an uncontrollable 
appetite for intoxicating drinks, which they called fire wrter. 
Usually this was in the form of rum or wMskey. 

The Europeans early discovered that trade could be highly 
profitable in securing the pelts of fur bearing animals, which would 
bring a high price in Europe. The goods the Indian wanted, were not 
nearly so expensive, some of them, such as the beads and some kinds 
of cloth, were cheap. The Indians on their part found that what the 
white traders wanted was, at first, very plentiful and cheap to them, 
the pelts of the fur bearing animals. Thus there actually was a basis 
for valuable trade, each had things of great value to the other. 
In many cases, however, the white traders were scoundrels, and 
cheated the Indians in many ways. There vjere also scoundrelly Indians, 
There were also upright traders who dealt fairly with the Indians, but 
they seem to have been in the minority. 

Very quickly this trade reached enormous amounts. We have a few 
records to show this. In just one year, 1683^ the Swedish traders 
located on the lower Delaware sent to the home land 50^000 pelts. 
These must have been secured from the Indians in the Delaware and 
Susquehanna valleys. The English at the south, the Dutch in the 
Hudson valley, the English in New England, and the French of New 
France, were also engaged in this trade, I'te can be sure that this 
trade year after year from all of these regions must have been 
enormous. Of course it xjss valuable to both tlie Indians and the 
whites. Largely on account of rivalry for the fur trade, the Dutch 
conquered the Swedish settlements in 1655. Then in 1661; the English 
conquered the Dutch and New Amsterdam became New York, This left the 
English and French as sole rivals. This rivalry between the English 
and French resulted in wars lasting, off and on, for over half a 
century. As you have probably learned, the English were finally 
victorious. This victory has a good deal to do with the history of our 
region. The Indians played an important part in these wars. Let us 
see how tMs came about. 



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The Susquehannocks Destroyed 

The fiir trade also brought rivalry to the Indians, How many 
tnousands of hatchets, knives, hoes, needles and gxins, and blankets, 
how much woven goods and firewater must have been exchanged for 
these thousands of fur pelts? Naturally, the Indian became dependent 
on the white man's goods. In order to secure them, he hunted and 
trapped the woodlands so closely that iiiith the passage of yeers 
the eastt;rn woodlands no longer were able to supply enough. The 
Indians farther west were brought into this trade. Now the Indians 
north of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence river became rivals of 
the Five Nations, T^Jhen the Susquehannocks as rivals of the Five 
Nations, also sided with the St. Lawrence Indians, the Hurons, bitter 
and long continued warefare started between the Susquehannocks and 
the Five Nations, At first the Susquehannocks were victorious but 
the English turned against them. Their numbers were not as great as 
those of the Five Nations, They were seriously weakened when la.rge 
numbers of them died from disease, probably small pox. Long 
continued attacks wore them down. Finally, their last stronghold 
was captured in 1675. The few survivors either fled south or were 
adopted into the Five Nations, The result was that there viere few 
if any Indians living in our valley for many years after this conquest. 

Pennsylvania Founded 

Just seven years later, 1682, William Perm started the Quaker 
settlement at Philadelphia, He found the Delaware Indians* dwelling 
in the Delaware valley and, trj'ing to be especially fair, he 
purchased land from them. It was to be revealed later that the 
Delawares had been held subject to the Susquehannocks , Then after 
the Five Nations had conquered the Susquehannocks, the Delawares 
were compelled to accept the Five Nations as their rulers. This 
fact is important in understanding Indian troubles in our region at 
a later time. 

As we know, settlers came to Penn's Holy Experiment, the colony 
of Pennsylvania, in large numbers and for many years. William Penn 
and, after his death, his sons and heirs purchased land again end 
again, Altiiough at first the Delawares were friendly, they gradually 
became embittered. After each purchase the Indian was required to 
leave and go farther west, V^lliam Penn was always very fair, but 
this cannot be said of his heirs in later purchases. The Indians 
were often made drunk in order to make an unfair bargain. Thus they 
were often cheated out of a fair price. By 1750 the settlers were 
advancing to the mountains. 

Land Frauds 

An especially unfair transection was the so-called Walking 
Purchase in 1737, According to previous treaty, it had been agreed 
that the Pennsylvania authorities would be able to purchase a 
section of land to be determined by the distance a man could walk in 
a day and a half. This was to be measured from Wrightstown, 

•«-In their ovm language, the Delawares called themselves Lenni 
Lenape (Len-ni Le-na-p&y), meaning in their language, the real men, 

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- 7 - 

The Indians, however, were tricked in several ways: Instead of a 
leisurely walk, as the Indians had anticipated, trained athletes 
were hires who, as the Indians said: "No eat, no smoke, no sleep, 
no walk, just lunl lunl lunl" Instead of measuring the distance 
parallel to the Delaware River, the line was marked out more 
westerly, so as to include a greater amovint of land. The distance 
covered was sixty miles, more than twice the distance anticipated 
by the Indians. Finally, instead of dra:d.ng the far boundary due 
east to the Delaware river, the line was turned at right angles so 
as to make it go much farther ncrth and thus include still more 
land than the Indians had expected. 

In 17ii2 the Six Nations, rulers of the unsold territory in 
Pennsylvania demanded that Pennsylvania drive back the squatters 
from the unsold western lands. This the Pennsylvania authorities 
agreed to do. In turn, Pennsylvania asked the Six Nations to 
require the Delawares to leave the area of the walking purchase. 
This scene then took place in council in Philadelphia between 
the Pennsylvania authorities and Indian Chiefs, Canassetego, a 
Seneca chief, spokesman for Lhe Six Natj.ons, addressed Nutimus, 
Delaware chieftain in the disputed lands: 

"VJe conquered you, we made women of you, you know you 
are women and can no more sell land than women. This land 
you claim is gone,,., We therefore assign you to Wyoming of 
Shamokin, This Wampum is to forbid you, your children and 
grandcMldren to the latest posterity, from ever meddling 
in land affairs, neither you, nor any, who descend from you 
are hereafter to presume to sell any land," 

At the conculsion of this speech, Conassetego seized Nutimus by 
his hair and ejected him from the Council, The Delawares shortly after 
departed from their loved homelands near modern Stroudsburg for the 
North Branch re£,ions. i^nd there was bitterness in their hearts 
Further purchases were to follow. The Six Nations secured the purchase 
money. Often there was bribery. The Delawares, and other groups who 
had come into the Susquehanna valley were the ones compelled to move. 
The once friendly Delawares finally became bitter enemies of the VJhite 
man. 
Six Nations Control the Susquehanna Valleys 

Besides compelling- the Delawares to go to Shamokin or Vfyoraing, 
the Six Nations had a policy of compelling other defeated and dis- 
possessed groups of Indians to take up lands in the Susquehanna 
valley, after the destruction of the Susquehannocks , This was to 
keep the white settlers from coming into unoccupied lands. The 
Tuscaroras, referred to above, who made up the Sixth Iroquois Nation, 
were settled at the headwaters of the Susquehanna, The Nanticokes, 
gave their name to m>-dern Nanticoke, as did a Delaware group, the 
Munsees to Muncy, Other Delawares were settled for a time at 
Nescopeck and probably Vapwallopen, Conoy or Gangawese were at 
Catawissa, The Shawnees gave their name to Shawnee flats below Wilkes - 
Barre, They may have dwelt in the Columbia County region for a while. 
As the lands came to be successively sold, the tribes gradually moved 
farther west and eventually out of the State, although some of them 
were involved in later wars. 



- T - 



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The Six Nations sent a representative, Shikellainy into the 
Susquehanna valley to control these subject groups and to deal vnth 
the VMte ^'en, traders, and others. He made his home at Shamokin, 
Here, at the jiinction of the North and West Branches of the 
Susquehanna River, he exercised control for the Six Nations over 
all the subject Indians in the valley. 

The bitterness of the Delawares was shared by other subject 
groups. Land purchases brought enrichment in money and goods to 
the Six Nations, often with bribes besides, but the subject Indians 
always had to move west. 

The last of the intercolonial wars between the French and 
English broke out in 175^. As you know, this is called the French 
and Indian Far, Just previously, in nh9 a purchase was made that 
brought the frontier of the purchased lands through the southern 
part of our present Columbia County, In 1755 another purchase was 
made. This was west of the Susquehanna including modern Selinsgrove, 
In this year also occurred Braddock's defeat in the vicinity of 
Fort Duquesne. Thj-S was the signal for the embittered Indians to 
wreak their vengeance on the white settlers, the ones \iho were to 
be made to pay with their blood and suffering for the fraudulent 
practices of the Penn's sons and heirs. Four months after Braddock's 
defeat a war party of Delawares attacked -vdiites at the mouth of 
Penn's Creek, near modern Selinsgrove, killed fifteen, and carried 
ten into captivity. This massacre was merely a small sample of what 
was talang place all along the frontier. In 1763 Indians attacked 
settlers in the Iffyoming valley, near modern Wilkes-Barre, Fifteen 
or more were killed here, and others carried into captivity, Ihese 
outrages did not touch the region of our county at this time for the 
reason that there were probably no settlers here then. 

In 1763 the French and Indian war was bro\ight to a successful 
conclusion by the complete defeat of France, The following year 
marked tlie complete and overwhelming defeat of the Indians who had 
participated in Pontiac's bloody uprising. 
New Purchase 

Then in 1768 a very important council of English and Colonial 
authorities with the Indian chiefs vjas held at Fort Stanwix, near 
modern Rome, New York, For us, this meeting is especially important 
because an extensive tract of land in Pennsylvania was purchased by 
the Penns from the Six Nations, This was an irregular strip of 
land extending from the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania to the 
southwestern corner of the state. It included all of Columbia 
County's future area, not previously purchased in 1714-9, and also the 
neighboring regions. It was called the "Nex'j Pxirchase", 



TO FIND OUT HOW EFFECTIVELY YOU HAVE READ 

1, How do we know about the Indians of our region after the time of Columbus? 

2, How long have Indians been in North America? How do we know? 

3 , Where did the Indians come from? How do we knoi-j? 



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k. How did the Indians help the Europeans? How did the Europeans help the 
Indians? Have you learned of these helps from other history study? 

5. Explain the Indian situation in Pennsylvania when VJilliam Penn came. 

6. Why did the Pennsylvania Indians change from friends to enemies? 

7. Identify or connect with our history: 

"Long House", Walking Purchase. 



Etienne Brule, John Smith, Shlkellaror, 



10. 



INTERESTING THINGS TO DO 
, This chapter introduced you to certain Indians. List them, 
list all the Indian place names of our region. Locate them on a map. 
Reproduce the diagram of the "Long House". Show on a map where it was. 
If you learn of a new site of Indian artifacts write a letter reporting it 

to the Columbia County Historical Society. 
Volunteers should bring Indian artifacts to class, and explain where they 

were found. Perhaps the reports of students jiray show where there are 

hitherto unknown sites of Indian villages or camp grounds. Report such a 

find in a letter to tlie Secretary, Columbia County Historical Society. 

Bloomsburg . •" 

Excursions: to an Indian site near your school, to the museum at the 

Columbia Couhty Historical Society, or to an expert on Indian lore in 

your neighborhood. 

^°m''*^i>,**'\^''^(; ^™ ^" southern Columbia County. Locate the area of the 
"Mew rTiTcnase", 

For the whole class: on a long sheet of paper, wrapping paper vdll do, make 
a time chart similar to that on the bottom of this page, only about four 
:lll^^^"l^ .t i"'' i"=*'e = - Now you have room for many more entries of 

tlln 1^^" . ^^ '™^^ ^" *^^ ^°°^- " ""^'i help your understanding 
l?,i,cM ir ! ^''°'° *^ ''''°^^^'' American History. Settlement of St. 
2 t^ '.V-""""^' '"«''* ^^ °"^- ^"=^= additional entries and then 
other oha ters ^^™ "°>-th"hile. Similar time charts will be suggested for 

^i°n vlt ?Z^f t""*'^'* " P*'°*°g'-^Ph= °f Indian village sites in your 
on eS::u^^a;s! "'""' ^=P^"^^^ '"y '■«-"*^ discovered and not noted 

^°J,^^l^ K^f ^ reports: dwelUngs of the Susauehannock Indians, their boats 
warfare between the Susquehannocks and the Five Nations: description of the 
St^l"^t^*^'"-' "'^ ^'""'^ ^^^^"^ Massacre; the Wyondr^ M^ssa^re of 1763 
defiS?eLT :5^?- "''°°' ^^^''^ °^ ^ pubUc UbrLy shoSld have ve;y 
"f rstps ^tSTn ^"deTto^Tnd u" "^ "^^= *^ ^^ ~- "^ 
that"!Jou itHt"^ ^•^•'' '■^P°''*' y°" """^^ *> »<»•« than prove to the teacher 
f^m Zt'^o'u p^e'senO^'"' ^' *'"°"^''- ^^ ^^^^ " « *°1« •"-* leSn" 



Check your vocabulary: 

artifacts 

implement, 

precipice 

awl 

scoundrel 

posterity 
Score : 

16 - 18 excellent 

12 - IS good 



site 

primitive 

impressive 

squatters 

fraudulent 

junction 



fragTnent 

mongolian 

habitations 

vengeance 

heir 

wreak 



Time Chart For Chapter I 



Undisturbed 
Indian life 



lip; 



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James- 
toim 
1600 1607 



Intercolonial 
wars ending in 



1700 



Penna. 
chartered 
1681 



1763 



1768 

New 

PurchFise 



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PIONEERS, PATRIOTS, AND TORIES IN THE SUSQUEHANNA VALLEYS 

Chapter II. 

Conflicts and Their Causes 

The New Purchase at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768 marks 
the end of our region as Indian country, although the Indians did 

1768 not all leave it immediately. The lands of the North and West 

Branches had been purchased and the French rivals defeated. The 
fur traders were to move farther x^est, following the Indians and 
seeking areas v;here fur animals and game had not been so nearly 
killed off. The area was definitely open to Pennsylvania settlers, 
or so it seemed at that time. But actually, terrible events were 
in the maldng. The colony of Connecticut laid clsiim to the north- 
ern part of Pennsylvania and endeavored to settle it with Connecticut 
people, Vfithin seven years, also, the war of the Revolution was 
to break out. These two conflicts were interr.iingled and both 
involved our region in bitter struggles. And many Indians, reluctant 
to leave these lands, joined against the settlers to bring destruc- 
tion and bloodshed to the people of these valleys. These struggles 
will now be explained. 
Early Explorations in the North Branch Country 

Long before 1768, information about the Susquehanna lands 
had been groid.ng. Fur traders journeyed deep into Indian country, 

1728 They reached the Forks of the Susquehanna at an early date. In 1728 
one of these traders, James LeTort wrote from Catawissa about a 
fight between the Shawnees and "some back inhabts" , This is the 

1737 first written mention of Catawissa, In 1737 Conrad Weiser, the 

great Indian interpreter, came down the North Branch from a journey 
to the Six Nations, He reported traders in the Wyoming Valley, and 
also three men, Germans, from the Delaware region, who were hunting 
land . The following years, missionaries vxsited the Indians and 
endeavored to convert them to Christianity, This they failed to do. 
However, their trips increased the knowledj^e of the region. Soon 
one of these travelers was to write that the river at Catawissa was 
the "most beautiful he ever saw" . Friendly Indian guides and the 

1756 several hundred soldiers sent to garrison Fort Augusta, during the 
French and Indian War, were able to tell about these lands. 
Conflict with Connecticut 

From all these reports people learned that there were rich 
lands beyond the first mountains in the upper valleys of the 
Susquehanna, These stories were carried far and x^de in 
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even to Comiecticut, In Connecticut, 
there was not much land to expand into. People were seeking other 
areas to settle. Its boundaries as ori&inally granted had extended 
to the "Sou'th Sea", which meant the Pacific Ocean, But since that 
grant of 16^2, other charters had granted land due west of 
Connecticut's settled boundaries to New York, to New Jersey, and 
to William Penn, By the middle of the 1700's these sections in 
New York and New Jersey were well advanced in settlement and were 
in the control of strong provincial governments. But in the upper 



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- 2 - 



valleys of the Susquehanna there were no settlements at all. 
These Pennsylvania lands were almost as far away from Philadelphia 
as they were from Connecticut. The Quaker government at 
Philadelphia had given such weak support in the French and 
Indian \mr that the Connecticut people may very well have thought 
that they could take possession of this land without much diffi- 
culty from Pennsylvania, even though this meant reviving claims 
that had not been asserted for alraost a century and also "leap- 
frogging", as it might be termed, over the parts of New York and 
New Jersey between, A land comparer for the settling of this 
region was formed. Settlers were induced to migrate to the Vtyoming 
Valley, first in 1762. 
Connecticut People Settle in Wyoming 

This was in the region of modern Wilkes-Barre , The first 
result was to anger the Indians. In 1762 this land had not yet 
Pontiac's been bought from the Indians and the Pennsylvania government had 
War 1763 promised the Indians that they would not be disturbed. In 176.3 an 
embittered group of Indians, Delawares mostly, attacked the 
settlers, killing a number, and taking other prisoners. The 
remainder fled back to Connecticut, 

In 1769 the Connecticut settlers tried again. Land wa.s 
cleared. Towns were laid out. Forts, houses, and barns were built, 
and also grist mills. The Pennsylvania authorities ordered them to 
leave, Wlien not obeyed, Pennsylvania repeatedly tried to eject the 
Connecticut settlers by force, but xdthout success. However, there 
were armed conflicts viith some loss of Ij-fe on the part of both the 
Yankees or Connecticut settlers, and the Pennamites, as the 
Pennsylvania ns were called. After the outbreak of the Revolution 
in 1775j both contenders were instructed by the United States 
government to devote their entire efforts to xdnning independence. 
This they both did, but not without some friction and suspicion 
on the part of both, as we shall see later. 

Looking ahead of our story, we may note here that the conflict 
was finally decided in favor of Pennsylvania by a special coiort, 
convened at Trenton, in 1781, But further friction, and even 
conflict arose. These conditions grew out of land holdings which 
were disputed between claimants who bought from Connecticut and 
those based on Pennsylvania grants. After years of bitterness and 
more armed conflicts some of these settlers ^rere given money damages 
for lands that they were required to vacate, usually the Pennsylvania 
holders, vlhlle the other claimants, mostly those from Connecticut, 
were allowed to stay in possession of the lands, if they could show 
a valid grant from Connecticut, 
Connecticut's Claim Included Part of Columbia County 

This contest was centered in the IJyoming Valley and northwards 
as far as the New York State line , The southern line of the 
Connecticut claim was the forty-first parallel of latitu'*^, which 
extends east and west through the mouth of Fishing Creek, Thus if 
Connecticut had been successful, Berwick and Bloomsburg as well as 
the larger part of Columbia County, the northern part, would now be 
part of Connecticut, Two of the towns organized by Connecticut were 



First 

Wyoming 

Massacre 

1769 



First 
Pennamite 
VJar 



Trenton 
Decree 
1781 

Later 
Pennamite 
Wars 



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- 3 - 

Huntington and Salem. The boundary of Salera Township adjoining 
Columbia County in Bermck and Briar Creek Tovmship is the old 
boundary of the former Connecticut Tovm of Salem. The name 
Huntington is derived from Samuel Huntington, one-time governor 
of Connecticut and one of her signers of the Declaration of 
Independence, His name is also attached to the tributary of 
Fishing O'ceek joining it at Forks, and the mountain along whose 
northern slope it flows. 

This whole Connecticut effort at settlement brought four 
or five thousand settlers to the upper Susquehanna, some of 
whom were to help build up our county, once the violence of the 
conflicts had been settled. These settlers xxere mostly Connecti- 
cut people, but considerable numbers from New York and New Jersey, 
and even from Pennsylvania, had bought Isjid from Connecticut's 
Susquehanna Land Company. Probably the most important result from 
the Yankee-Pennamite conflicts was that it made the Pennsylvania 
authorities bestir themselves to bring about settlement of our 
region more rapidly, if they were not to lose it to the Connecti- 
cut claimants. Now we can return to other conditions after the 
" New Purchase I! 
Locating the Desirable Land 

The Proprietors of Pennsylvania;, the sons of William Penn, had 
sent exploring parties into the region of the Mew Purchase, even 
before the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, Trips were made with canoes: 
along the river, up Fishing Creek as far as Huntington Creek, and 
probably up the other considerable streams . Locations for surveys 
were made at the mouths of the several streams: Green Briar Creek, 
Catawissa Creek, probably Roaring and Nescopeck Creeks. Early in 
1769 1769 parties of surveyors were on the ground. For instance, land 
on both sides of Nescopeck Creek at its mouth had been surveyed 
by February, 1769. Other surveys were extended rapidly. These 
early surveys followed the bank of a stream as one boundary, with 
the foot of the hills as the opposite boundary, the other boundaries 
adjusted so as to make the grant contain about 300 acres. These 
surveys before the Ptevolution extended well up the streams. For 
instance, those in the Fishing Creek Valley were carried beyond 
Knob Mountain up both the main stream and also Huntington Creek, 
The Surveyors 

These early surveyors usually went out in the spring and 
stayed all summer in the valds. The party consisted of the head 
surveyor, who carried the sighting instruraent, called Jacob's 
Staff, and two chainmen for measuring distances. One of the 
chainmen carried a small ax for marking boundaries on trees; the 
other a rifle for defence against the wild animals and also in 
order to shoot game for food. They might find rude bark huts or 
rock shelters, or they might need to construct their own shelters 
for warmth and as places to prepare their notes and records. We 
in our day cannot realize the trials and hardships of the surveyors 
in their work in the unmapped woodlands. There were no roads and 
few paths, the settlements were few and far between. They had to 
travel great distances through the idldorness. 



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Who VJovild Want to Take up Land in the Back VToods? 

Cheap lands, new lands, even if uncleared of their dense 
covering of trees, attracted hundreds of Pennsylvanians, in 
greater numbers, probably, than those from Connecticut, The 
area around Philadelphia, northwestwardly to the mountains, was 
getting crowded and land prices higher,* The large families of 
those days meant that many younger sons could not be provided 
with an inheritance of extensive acres. Mechanics and other 
craftsraen in the towns in the vicinity of the Delaware valley 
had saved enough money to buy lands. They were used to hard 
work. They knew, too, that if they cleared their newly purchased 
lands, built a house and barn, they would increase their vjealth 
very much, Pennsylvania was still attracting immigrants, chiefly 
from Great Britain and Germany, Some, ha^dLng come as indentured 
servants, wished to strike out for the wilderness and cheap lands 
as soon as their terms of service were completed. Often they and 
others would mark out a few hundred acres of land and occupy it 
without paying anything for it. They were squatters. They 
cleared the land as best they could, a small portion at a time, 
built a log shelter for their family. They might later pay for 
it, or they might be able to sell their improvements to the 
rightful owner before they moved on to try the sajtne process 
further into the wilds. Some settlers bought their land in the 
regular way from the Pennsylvania land office. Much of our 
frontier land in Pennsylvania was settled by former laborers 
and craftsmen, as well as by farmers, ""(additional: I'Aich land farmed f«r 

The Speculators a century was less productive.) 

There were many actual settlers, hoirever, who bought from 
land speculators, or land jobbers, as they were called then. 
These were wealthy persons who had gained riches in the prosperous 
city of Philadelphia, or similar places. It may have been from 
trade with the Indians, or by importing and exporting over seas. 
Certain manufacturers had been prosperous. Also business and 
professional men in many cases had grown rich, and had money to 
invest. Frontier lands that could be bought cheaply and sold 
at a marked advance in price seemed attractive investments when 
there were many actual settlers who vjished to b-uy lands. Handsome 
profits might be made. The Susquehanna Land Company of Connecti- 
cut was largely organized by such speculators. We have seen how 
this company was important in bringiiig in hundreds of settlers 
to the Wyoming Valley. 

How to Purchase Land 

Pennsylvania speculators were also influential in bringing 
settlers to the frontier lands. The speculators actively sought 
out the best lands by getting information from travelers, soldiers, 
traders, surveyors, and also special explorers in their employ, 
"spotters" as they were called. Such persons had to be paid for 
their xrork. For information gathered in these various ways, the 
speculator would learn that there was land at the mouth of one or 
another of the creeks. An old Indian village, conspicuous trees, 
or other natural features were noted. Ax marks, called blazes. 



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- 5 - 

were slashed on trees to mark boundaries. The old deeds recorded 
in the Register and Recorder's office in the Court House at 
Bloomsburg, mention these early landmarks. On the basis of these 
landmarks persons desiring to secure land would make an application 
to the Land Office to have it surveyed. This office would then 
issue a warrant to the official surveyor to survey the land applied 
for. After the survey had been completed, a patent would be issued. 
This gave the applicant full possession of the land. An individual 
applicant was expected to apply for three hundred acres of land. 
This amount would necessarily be approximr.te, because the exact 
amount could not be specified until the survey had been made. The 
purchaser would be charged about five pounds per hundred acres, or 
fifteen pounds for the regulation amount of three hundred acres. 
This would be equivalent to twenty-five cents an acre,^ Under the 
proprietors there was also an annual quitrent of one penny per acre. 
Speculation in Land - Opportunities and Risks 

Speculators, however, by various means would secure possession 
of thousands of acres of land. In some cases it might be for special 
services, as in the cases of soldiers on the frontier during the 
French and Indian war. In other cases, favoritism or trickery was 
used. As an instance of trickery: A speculator would persuade 
friends or relatives to make applications. Then after the patents 
had been issued, such lands would be sold to the speculator for 
the amount of money expended. Undoubtedly, the speculator fiurnished 
this expense money. Various speculators by such means secured 
thousands of acres which they hoped to sell at profit, some times 
at exorbitant profits. But the speculators also had risks. 
Although the land prices were low, when thousands of acres were 
seciired, large amounts of money would be necessary, money that was 
borrowed in some cases. Expenses in holding it were not great 
for a single plot. Rents for immense holdings, the taxes, and the 
interest on borrowed money would become high. But when thousands 
of acres were owned, the quit rents would mount up. There were 
also the charges of surveyors, spotters, and forms of advertising 
to secure buyers, all of which added up to burdensome expenses. 
Where the land could be sold vathout undue delay, large fortunes 
were made. This was not always the case, Robert Morris and James 
VJilson, both revered statesmen in winning the War of Independence 
and securing our Constitution speculated in frontier lands, some 
of them in our region, 2 They became deeply involved. They could 
not meet their debts. They both died in financial ruin. 



IThere were chang;es in the prices charged at various times. 
Date Price Quit rents Amount allowable 

1765 5 pounds per 100 acres 2^ per acre 300 acres custoinariiy 

25^ per acre 
1779 1789 Pennsylvania Cancelled ownership mf the 

Penns with liberal compensation 
1784 30 pounds per 100 acre abolished 1,000 acres 
114,50 per acre 
2james -vilson at one time owned the land where Fort Jenking was 
build. Robert Morris owned land in the Catawissa Valley. 



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Effects of Speculation - Go o d and Bad 

There were cases of sharp dealing and in some cases there was 
outright cheating^. Not all speculators by any means were scoundrels 
or persons endeavoring to gain undue profits. Their efforts in many 
cases, probably a majority of cases, woxild class them as community 
builders. By learning where the good lands were, having them explored, 
paying the initial costs, and spreading the knowledge of them, 
settlers x-mre induced to come. Some of these services were necessary 
and deserved compensation, to some extent, at least. Many of the 
early settlers bought land from such speculators, some of vrfiom will 
be mentioned later. Speculation with all of its good and bad aspects 
seems to have been a necessary part in bringing about the settlement 
of frontier lands. 

The First Settlers 

Who were the first settlers in our region? Very probably they 
were squatters, although this has not been definitely proved. There 
is a family tradition that a William Hartman, coming direct from 
Germany, settled on a farm near Catawissa about 1760, Note that 
this date was before the area was open to settlement by Indian pur- 
chase. Tradition states further that he was a tanner by trade, 
and that he tanned hides for the Indians, We have no sure records 
to prove this. In August, 1770, a traveler reported several settle- 
ments along the river above Fishing Creek, "chiefly German", This 
same traveler noted many sections of land marked on trees with 
numbers, taken to be the numbers of "Lotts", In the available 
records of the next few years there are references to families near 
Catawissa, Nescopeck, Knob Mountain, varying distances up Fishing 
Creek, across the river from Fort Jenkins, in one case referred to 
as a compact settlement. The numbers of settlers to be inferred 
from such references in reports of military commanders and other 
statements must have been considerably larger than the recorded land 
holders. We do not know the names. Such people were almost surely 
squatters , 

The Scotch-Irish 

Jaraes McClure is known to have been at the mouth of Fishing 
Creek on VJednesday, May 10, 1769. At this place he notified a 
representative of Governor Penn, then traveling up the river, that 
he and fonr others were an advance group of a hundred going to 
join the New England men in settling' and defending the Wyoming 
Valley, ThJ-s shows that James McClure was to some degree joining 
with the "Paxtang Boys", These "Paxtang Boys" were not boys at 
all, but Scotch-Irish men from Lancaster County, near Harrisburg, 
They had become openly rebellious against the Permsylvania govern- 
ing class in Philadelphia because the government had not given 
the settlements along the frontier adequate defense against the 
Indians dui-ing the previous wars. These "Paxtang Boys" had 
murdered peaceful Conestoga Indians, in defiance of the government, 
on suspicion that these Indians had been guilty of certain outrages 
against the white settlers. Many of these Scotch- Irish were glad 
to join the Connecticut settlers. Under their leader, Lazarus 
Stewart, they took a leading part in defending the Connecticut set- 
tlements against the Pennsylvania authorities. 



•^See page 8 for reference to Samuel Wallis 



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Lazarus Stewart had married a daughter of Josiah Espy residing 
in Lebanon county and James McClure had married another daughter, 
McClure had acquired an extensive tract of lajid near the mouth of 
Fishing Creek under the authority of Connecticut, 
Northumberland County 

On March 21, 1772, the county of Northumberland was set up 
with Sxinbury, formerly named Shamokin, as the county seat. This 
county then comprised a vast extent of land north and west of 
the junction of the two great branches of the Susquehanna river. 
The increasing population of the frontier regions required a 
co\mty seat closer than Reading or Easton, the previous county 
seats for this area. The governing authorities probably also 
reasoned that the attempts of the Connecticut settlers could be 
resisted better at a base of operations nearer to the area in 
dispute, McCliire must have been impressed with this change for 
he then re-purchased his land under Pennsj'-lvania authority in 
1772, This tract first called "Beauchamp" (beautiful field) was 
renamed "McClure 's Choice", McClure immediately built a log cabin 
for his wife and family. Here in 1772 was born James McClure, Jr,, 
the first known white person to have been born in our county as 
established by records.^ Pioneer life seemed to be too harsh, for 
McCliire, Sr, died only a few years after his settlement. 
The Quakers, Little Fishing Creek 

The Quakers were a second most influential group in settling 
our region. There were three especially important leaders in the 
Quaker settlements. 

The first of these Quakers was John Eves, A Quaker, born in 
John Eves Ireland, he emigrated to America in 1738 and settled at Mill Creek, 
on Little near Newcastle, in Delaware, He early won respect of his neighbors 
Fishing and xiras chosen for several offices in which he showed great ability. 
Creek According to faiiiily traditions, he journeyed to Little Fishing Creek 
in 1769, Having come up the Vfest Branch to a small settlement near 
the present site of Milton, no one was able to direct him to land 
of the McMeans, for which he was looking. Finally two Indians 
guided him along the trail between Great Island, on the VJest Branch, 
and Nescopeck on the North Branch, through the valley of the 
Chillisquaque, T^Jhen he reached the high hill overlooking modern 
Millville, now called Fairview, Eves recognized the land that had 
been described to him. After examining the timber and soil, he 
returned to his Delaware home. The next summer he returned with 
1772 his oldest son and built a log cabin. In the third summer, 1772, 
he brought his family. At this time he did not own the land and 
would therefore have been considered a squatter. We can surmise, 
however, that there was some understanding with the owners about 
his intentions to buy the land. This is borne out by the fact 
that in mhy according to a deed on record in the Court House, 
he purchased 1200 acres. These acres took in the present site of 
Millville, as well as a very considerable area around it. This pur- 
chase was made from Reuboi Haines, a prosperous Philadelphia brewer 
and manufacturer who went into land specula tion,^ 

'^The site of the McClure homestead and the later fort is maintained 
as a park and museum by the Fort McClure Chapter, Daughters of the 
American Revolution, River Road, west of To-vm Park, Bloomsburg, 

Haines bought up thousands of acres of land. At one time he owned 
all of what is now the borough of Northumberland , 



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Haines was a Quaker, This may explain how Eves came 
to purchase from liim, Haines had bought four tracts of about 
300 acres each f ro i' four different persons, one of them being 
McMeans, just mentioned. The costs for the 1200 acres from 
these persons coinbined, at five pounds sterling per hundred 
acres, can I'e assumed to have been sixty pounds. Eves paid 
lii5 pounds sterling. The difference between these amounts, 
making due allowances for other expenses should, give some 
idea of the amovmt of profit that a land speculator mi'ght 
be able to secure in these frontier lane's. 
The Quakers at Gatawissa 

A second of the important Quakers in settling our region 
was ^bsos Roberts. Land speculation had hiuch to do with his 
coming. Samuel Wallis was a speculator in the lands up the 
West Branch, altliough he dealt somewhat with lands in our 
region also. He was one of the less honest speculators. He 
secured, or tried to secure, lands in the vicinity of modern 
Muncy, These were lands the Proprietors, the Penns, claimed 
for themselves. Weeding some representative to investigate 
the situation, the Proprietors selectee', a young Quaker of 
Exeter who had attracted attention as an able man, as a 
speaker in Quaker Meeting, and in other ways. This man was 
Moses Roberts. He journeyed to the disputed lands in 1772. 
He reported that Wallis had no right to the lands. What is 
of most interest to us is that he went by the way of Gatawissa, 
He wrote in his journal in part: 

"I went with the sheriff and others to view the 
Moses land at Muncy. And when we came among the inhabitants 
Roberts of the New Purchase, I lamented the loose and unreligious 
lives end conversation of the people. Yet there was 

sometMng that attracted my mind to that country 

and some time after I returned home, I felt the 
drawings of love in my heart to visit some friendly 
people about Catawesey and to have a meeting amongst 
them for the worship of God...." ^ 

Permission to have a weekly meeting was granted in 1775 • 

After Ro'ierts had made several additional visits, 
he purchased land from Ellis Hughes and bun.lt his log house 
Ellis in 177ii. But he was not the first because in his journal, 
Hiighes quoted above, he observed people already settled there in 
1772. 

The Ellis Hughes, from whom Roberts bought his land, 
had purchased a large tract around the mouth of Catamssa Greek 
from Edward and Joseph Shippen, who were engaged in very 
extensive land speculations in other sections of Pennsylvania, 
as well as in our own region. Since Hughes bought land which 
he planned to sell to others, he was also a speculator. 
Hughes and Roberts persuaded other Quricers from the vicinity 
of Oley, Exeter, and Maiden Creek, all near Reading, to migrate 
to Gatnd-ssa. Most of these settlors purchased their land 
from Hughes, There is no record tinat Hughes, although a 
speculator, secured unreasonably high prices for the land, 
Quakers at Other Places 

A third important Quaker can merely be introduced at this 
Evan Owen pi^ce, Evan Ox-jen in 1771 vras living in a dwelling house, 
almost surely of logs, on the point of la.nd at the mouth of 
Fisliing Greek, 

Permission to hold monthly meetings ims not granted until 1795* 



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This lend he had purchased from the County Cominissioners , 
It vras celled McClure's Retreat. At about the saine time, 
two other Quekerf^, Samuel Boone and Jonn Doan joined Ovien, 
taking out lane in the ssrae vicinity, iJoone at the "point" 
and Doan on a tract up a smsll streen later to be called 
Snyder's Run, Both adjoined ?IcClure's land. Here thus 
were tiiree neig.iboring farajlj.es mth strong indication of 
others nearby, Gerraans enC Scotcsh-lrj-sh, 

Boone starred, giving his name to the important Fisliinfi 
Creek dam, constructed later. Owen, presi^xiably fearing 
floods in the swrrapy land, exjjlored farther up the river and 
probPbly at tuis time chose txie ra.',h lane opposite the mouth 
of the Nescopeck Creek as a Letter site for a settlement and 
town. lie returned to PhiladelpMa abort 1771.!.. The original 
idea of Doan, Eoone, and Owen seems to have been to form 
a Quaker co;a;-iiunit3^ at the mouth of Fis^iing Creek. 

The Americ~n'"Revolutron Occurs, 

1765 Stanp Act passed by Parliament of Great Britain, quarrel vjith Mother 

Country started 

April 19, 1775, the Battles of Leidnfeton and Concord marked the openiiTg of 

our Revolutionary War for Independence 

July h, 1776, our Declaration of Independence 

1783 Peace was S'lCured and our independence acl-aiowledg© ^' 

At First,~Re'v'olutron Ha"^ Li ttTe"'ErrecT on~the""Fr'ontrers7 

During the first years of the Revolution, speculators 
and ii.inigrants to the frontier seem to have mid little attention 
to it. 7 Famlies definitely named in records and other records 
definitely referring to individuals aix". faiir.lies but not 
nardng then, show that settlers continued to come during these 
early years of the war for Independence, Bjr 1778 the previously 
untamed ref.ion of forests and streams, swamps witn fox/ meadovis, 
hills and mountains, still supported a few scattered bands of 
Indians. But Little settle:rients and individual clearinLS of 
pioneers, squatters, and legal purc.if.sers, wer to be found at 
a number of places. At tiie mouth of the CataTJissr Creek 
thers must have been a dozen fa.; lilies or iiiore. Still others 
were to be found as far up as Beaver and Scotch va.lleys. 
Settlers were above the mouth of Fisliing Creek on the river, 
extending , mth long gaps of unoccupied [l^.nd, probably up as 
far a.s laodem Espj and beyond. Other settlertients extended up 
Fishing Creek with sindlar interruptions as far as Knob 
Mountain, A fairly compact settlem.ont seems to nave been 
just below modern Light Street, Cn botn sicies of the river 
at modern idff linvii lie there were settlers^ vjith still others 
back in the M-lls, around Cabin Run, There \ieb interest also 
in settlements on both sides of tiie river at Nescopeck falls, 
and quite a scttlument on the river flats nearby. The John 
Eves fajiD.ly vras settled up IJ.tt?.o Fishing Creek mth throe or 
possibly more fariiilies near modern JorsoytOTin for neighbors, 
Otliors were farther west in the Chillisquaqvc valley. There 
are indications of fariiilies in the Roar?.ng Creek valley at this 
early date. 



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' Not entirely truc^ for a declr ration of independence was 

issued by a group of settlers in the K.:'ie Creek re^.ion. 



- V - 



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- 10 - 

War comes to the Frontier 

Forces were at work WiU-ch were to bri:jg fighting and 
bloodshed to the whole American frontier viille some special 
causes made tlie situation especially dangerous in the upper 
valleys of the Susquehanna. 
Which side would the Indians take ? 

At the outbreak of the Revolution the Americana had endeavored 
to persuade the powerful Iroquois Confederation of the Six 
Nations to remain neutral. However, these Indians had been 
accustomed to the leadership of British agents. These agents 
remained loyal to the mother country and continued to have great 
influence with the Indians, The British authorities early 
planned with the help and leadership of Tories to enlist the 
help of the Indians in order to quell their rebellious coloniss. 
This meant savage warfare on the frontiers, north and south, 
VJhat we can learn in detail about this WBifare should help us 
Saratoga understand better what was happening elsewhere in Pennsylvania 
1777 and on the Indian frontiers in the rest of the country. But 
our region, along with that of New York, ires among those 
most exposed. The Iroquois, and especially the Senecas, 
joined the Bidtish in the fighting of 1777 in the Valley of 
the Hohawk River and with them suffered severe defeats at 
French Herkimer and Fort Stanvrix, Their hostility increased vjhen 
Alliance the Americans allied themselves x^dth the French, enemies 
1777 of the Iroquois for a long time, 
Wyoming 

The majority of Connecticut's settlers in the Wyoming 
Valley were strong supporters of the Revolution, But there 
were Tories here vrho joined with Tories in New York to plan 
attacks on Wyoming, Shaxmees, and especially Dela wares, 
remembered how they had been tricked out of their lands and 
compelled to leave. For these reasons, the situation of our 
region was one of the most critic si aiic dangerous on the 
whole frontier. 
Forts Are Built 

The western part of the State, and then the West Branch 
sett]cimentfl received the first blows. These came in the forms 
of ambushes; attacks on isolated homesteadsj i.iurdersj scalpingsj 
burnings of buildings; and devastation of crops. The years 
1775, 1776, and 1777 passed with no attacks on the North 
Branch," But the disasters elsewhere led the authorities to 
strengthen the frontier viith a rim of forts. Fort Augusta, 
built twenty years before became the headquarters for the 
frontier defense. Forts in our immediate region were Forty 
Fort and others in VJyoming; Bosley's Mils at the forks of the 
Chillisquaque, modern Washing to nvi lie; Fort Rice near modern 
Montgomery; and Freehand fort near modern Watsontown, 
Fort Jenkins 

Late in 1777 or early in 1778 the hoiTie of a settler named 
Jenkins across, and a little down-river, from the Mfflin 
flats was stockaded and thus became Fort Jenlans.9 The 
garrison ranged from fifty to a hundred men at various times, 

n 

A man, Harger, had been captured on Cctawissa Creek in 
1777, and escaped, after having been carried into New York, 
9a marker now indicates the site. 



- 11 - 

Moses Van Cajnpen and Fort VJheeler . 

The building of our next fort introduces to us a distinguished 
Revolutionary fighter, Moses Van Campen, He had been brought 
xd-th his parents to their settlement along Cabin Run, probably 
in 1773, Moses Van Campen took part in an expedition of 
Pennamites to expel the Connecticut settlers in 1775. The 
expedition was defeated, but Van Campen was not hurt. In 
the Revolution he first served under Washington and then 
had been on frontier duty on the West Branch, Promoted to a 
Lieutenant, e?rly in 1778, he was ordered with his command of 
twenty men, to build a fort on Fishing Creek about tEiiree miles 
above its mouth, at the Wheeler farm, Tliis was in order to 
protect a compact settlement in that vicinity. The site of 
this fort was some little distance below modern Light Street, 
This fort, as were many others, was a framework of logs, 
probably upright, to form a stockade. It is recorded that 
it was covered over with mud and was called the "mud fort". 
This may mean that it was chinked uith mud. In Bsy, before 
the fort iiTas completed, a scout warned of an approaching band 
of Indians, All took refuge in the fort, but their homes 
and buildings were ransacked and then burned, including those 
of the Van Campens. The fort was hastily strengthened by 
surrounding it with a barrier of intenroven brush and 
sharpened sticks pointed outi-jard, at about sjjrty feet distance. 
The Indians soon opened up with fire arms and such a brisk 
fire was carried on that the powder and bullets of the garrison 
wes almost all used. After nightfall, two soldiers volunteered 
to sneak through the besiegers to Fort JenkLna, eight miles 
across country to secure more powder and lead. They were 
successful. Returning before daybreak, tiie lead was melted 
into bullets and the garrison was reader fa- fresh attacks. 
But the Indians having had enough withdrew without any traces 
except bloodstains. 

In June there was another attack. The cows recovered 
from the previous attack were sheltered in a special stockade. 
The women were milking them at the close of day, A watchman 
discovered a stealthy party of Indians advancing to surprise 
the milkers. Van Campen quickly organized a counter attack. 
The Indians were the ones surprised. Van Canpen shot and 
killed the leader, A volley from the remaining soldiers 
drove them off. The milkers, not knox-dng of the threat, were 
also severely frightened at the sudden noise of fire arms. 
In a wild scramble, milk pails rolling hither and yon, they 
ran at top speed to the fort. 

Battle of Wyomng 

These attacks, it is thought, may have been to distract 
attention from an attack gathering up river in New York and 
thus prevent the forts lower down from sending assistance. 
Early in 1778 friendly Indians and scouts brought disquieting 
news. Outrages, attacks, killings, and scalpings occurred far 
up the river. Six hundred or more Seneca Indians, with liOO 
1778 or more Tories, with British officers, were reported to be 
advancing on Wyoming , Many were Tories from Pennsylvania 
and New Y ork. Early in July outlying points had been attacked 
and Forty Fort with its hundreds of refugees also faced attack. 



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HeEp tms sxinimoned from dovn the river: from Captain Clingaman 
at Fort Jenkins, from settlers in Salem and Huntington, and 
firom an advancing company of soldiers for strengthening the 
forces. This was in the morning of July 3. In the afternoon 
it Was all over before any but slight help could come. Under 
the rash insistence of Lazarus Stewart, the defenders made up ^^i" 300 
of militia and briefly trained old men and boys marched out 
to meet the attackers, not realizing that they were heavily 
outnumbered. The Americans were quickly out-maneuvered and 
thrown into confusion. In the massacre that followed almost 
all were killed or captured. The officers died bravely 
leading their men* That night most of the soldiers taken 
Wyoming prisoner were tortured and killed by the Indians, The 
Msssacre failure of the British and Itories to prevent these outrages 
helped to embitter feelings for the remaining years of the 
war, and after. 

The remaining forts were surrendered. The non-combatants, 
women, cliildren, survi\ting men, what few there were, were to 
be protected, according to agireement. But the Indians could 
not be prevented from further plundering and some further 
killings. The survivors fled their homes in terror. Some 
made their way on foot overland throxogh rugged mountain and 
swampy where an estimated two hundred perished. Others took 
the river route, some by the rough road along the river. 
The The widow of Captain Stewart gathered her belongings and 
Siirvivors floated doim river on a raft supported by two canoes. She 
Flee reached tte home of vadow McClure, her sister. The accounts 
of this catastrophe at Vfyoming led Mrs, McClure to entrust 
her family and hesdiily gathered belongings to a similar 
craft. They both then floated down the river to the shelter 
of Fort Augusta, A friendly Indian warned John Eves the 
day after the battle . He loaded what he could on a wagon 
and had mp de his way with his family to Bosley's Mills by night- 
fall that same day. From there he returned to his old Delaware 
home. 
The "Gireat Runaway " 

The nows of the battle and massacre spread far and wide 
through the entire frontier. The settlers were panic-stricken. 
They deserted their fields and houses to take refuge at Sunbury, 
H arrisburg, or even at points farther away. This was the 
"Great Runaway", We have an eyewitness account, -^^ 

"I left Sunbtiry, and almost my i-jhole property on 
Wednesday last, I never in my life saw such scenes 
of distress. The river and the roads leading down 
were covered vdth men, women and children, fleeing 
for their lives, many without any property at all, 
and none who had not left the greater part behind. 
In short, Northumberland county is broken up. Colonel 
Hunter alone remained using his utmost endeavors to 
rally some of the inhabitants, and to make a stand, 
however short, against the enemy, I left him vdth very 
few, probably not more than a hundred men on •vdiom he can 
depend, Wyoming is totally abandoned. 



This was written by William McClay, a distinguished 
man in the history of Pennsylvania, then at Sunbury. 



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Scarce a family remained between that place and Sunbury, 
when I came away. The panic and flj.ght has reached to this 
place, (Paxtang), Many have moved even out of this township,,,, 
For God's sake, for the sake of the county, let Colonel 
Hunter be re-inforced at Sunbury, Send him but a single 

company, if you cannot do more The miserable example 

of the VJyoming people, who have come doxm absolutely 
naked among us, has operated strongly and the cry has been, 
'Let us move while we may, and let us carry some of our 

effects along with us' Something ought to be done 

for the many miserable objects that crowd the banks of 
the river, especially those who fled frcm Wyoming, They 
are the people you know, I did net use to love, but now I 
most sincerely pity their distress,.,," 
Another word picture, although from tlie VJest Branch, gives 
an idea of the panic conditions over the entire Susquehanna frontier: 
(History of the Juniata and Susquehanna valleys, vol, 1, p. 108), 
"I took my family srfcly to Sunbur-y, and ccjnc brck 
in a keel-boat to secure my furniture. Just as I rounded 
a point above Derrstown (Lewisburg), I met a whole convoy 
from 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 icLth women, children 
and plunder, 11 Whenever any obstruction occurred at a 
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 ca^ue down in single file 
on each side of the river, to guard trie women and children. 
The whole convoy arrived safely at Sunbury, leaving the 
entire range of farms on the West Branch to ravages of 
the Indians." 
The Amer ican F jghts Back; Hartley's Expedition 

Upvjards of a thousand Continental line troops and militia 
were immediately ordered to our frontier, Wyoming wae re-occupied 
and some of the settlers returned in August, The frontier was 
patrolled. Early in September a force of tx-jo hundred men under 
Colonel Thomas Hartley proceeded from iiuncy, up Lycoming Creek, 
across the divide into the North Branch valley. They twice 
encountered Indians, killing ten or more. Four men of the expedition 
were killed. Queen Esther's Town and neighboring villages of the 
Indians were destroyed, in the region of Tioga Point, just south 
of the New York line. Returning a brief stop was made at Wyoming, 
the victims of the July Massacre were buried. Half of the force 
was left as a garrison. The return to Sunbury with the remnant of 
the force was accomplished October 5» 



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Three hundred miles of frontier country- had been traveled in two 
weeks ! This brought a measure of security to the frontier and 
allowed some crops to be harvested, 

Indian Warfare Continues 

There had been much devastation on the frontier farms but 
there were still crops remaining to be harvested. In spite of 
dangers settlers endeavored to return and salvage what they could 
of crops and cattle and rebuild their homes. With the widespread 
destruction of crops there was also grave danger of famine. Near 
famine conditions are recorded for families near modern Light 
Street and Espy. 

Indian War Parties a Threat 

Hoving bands of Indians were a constant menace. Patrols were 
sent out from Fort Augusta, but the country was too idld and the 
area too great for the patrols to be effective. Tories acquainted 
with the region were often the guides. The Peter Melick family 
fled from their home in September of this year, taking refuge 
at Fort T/Jheeler, Their house was burned. In plundering this 
house before setting fire to it, a feather bed tick was tied to a 
pony, also stolen. The pony became frightened, escaped from his 
captors, and ran to the fort, thus restoring the prized tick to 
its rightful owners, Wyoming vras again under threat that autumn. 
In November a roving band of seventy Indians was seen advancing toward 
Chillisquaque, Later in the same month a band was seen between Fort 
Jenkins and Wyoming, 

Continuation of Frontier Warfare 

In April, 1779, "two or three" families were taken prisoner 
near Fort Jenkins, A rescuing force was sent out and the prisoners 
were recovered after a sharp battle with the Indians but only with 
1779 the loss of three soldiers killed and four wounded. Several 

houses were biorned and several horses taken. Fort Freeland was 
attacked the next day, probably by the same band. 

A few weeks later in May, across the river from Fort Jenkins 
but concealed from it by a heavily wooded island, a family 
of six lived. Two children had been sent to Catawissa for supplies. 
They thus escaped when a band of Indians killed and scalped all 
the rest of the family and burned the house. 

A General Frontier Plan 1778-9 

1, Helped by George Rogers Clark's victories in Ohio-Illinois Country 1778-9 

2, East: Sullivan's advance up Susquehanna Valley against Seneca-Iroquois 

3, Western Pennsylvania: 3rcahead's expedition up Allegheny River also 
devastated Seneca Country 

Sullivan's Expedition 

In July news of an expedition into the Indian Country must 
have been carried to the frontier, A little later a flotilla 'of 
13ii boats, heavily laden with provisions and military supplies w^s 
dragged and polod up the river past the settlement in our area. 



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A strong expedition was being gathered at Wilkes-Barre, Men and 
supplies also arrived over the mountains frora Easton, This was the 
expedition, ordered by General Washington and placed under General 
Sullivan, 

While this force was gathering, Fort Freeland was attacked. 
It is thought that this was in order to tv-rn the Wilkes-Barre force 
away from attack ud the river. After several men of the garrison 
Fort had been killed, the remaining twenty-one men were captured. The 
Freeland women and chj.ldren were allowed to go free to Siinbury. The mother 
Destroyed of one sixteen year old boy, as yet unbearded, hastily clothed 
him in a woman's clothes. He thus escaped also. Shortly after 
the capture of the fort, a relieving force of men coming to the 
rescue was suprisod, half of them killed and the rest added 
to the number of prisoners. 

General Sullivan, was not to be turned aside. With an 
overwhelming force he advanced up the North Branch and then on into 
the Seneca country. He carefully avoided being ambushed. The 
Indians aided by Tories and British were attacked near Wellsburg, 
Battle N. Y. , and soundly beaten, 
of Then the expedition advanced to the Indian villages, in the Seneca 
Newtown country. These had been deserted. These villages wore made up of 
August well constructed houses and barns, fine fields and orchards, 
29, 1779 remarkably rich and productive. Buildings were burned, crops 

were destroyed, orchards were cut down. The destruction was 
Iroquois complete. The survivors were compelled to flee to the British 
Seneca at Fort Niagara, The power of the Six Nations was destroyed. 
Country although this was not immediately evident. On the return trip there 
De"va8tated were some skirmishes and some small losses. The expedition was 
back in Wilkes-Barre early in October, 
Limited Success 

Stdlivan's expedition, although highly successful, did not 
immediately end the pattern of Indian attacks: the stealthy 
attack on isolated families; killings and scalpings; burning of 
buildings; destruction of crops. The Indians were seeking revenge, 
and also bounties for the scalps that they could bring in. 
Frontier Difficulties 

Let us review the difficulties of frontier war. Settlers 
cabins were far apart. Settlers themselves were rash in going into 
the unprotected frontier but we must remember that in most cases 
such cabins were their only homes an, that the pioneers had 
already invested hard work and savings in their location. They 
felt that they must work their fields or face famine. They were 
slow to seek protection of the forts, forts x-rhich were inadequate 
st the best. The troops could not patrol the widely extended 
frontier. Often they would arrive at a threatened location only 
to see the burning embers of a one-time habitation, and bury the 
mutilated bodies of the victims. The troops were too few. Many 
of them were Siiort term militia without sufficient training. 
Sentinels, guards, and scouts were neglected or inadequate. 
Soldiers' Pay 

The pay of the soldiers, vAiether in tho militia or regular 
Continental troops was poor in comparison idth the earning of 
craftsmen making guns or other needed equipment. It was poor also 
in comparison with the prices which could be obtain^ by farmers 



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and others for needed supplies. This was especially true when such 
supplies were sold to the British armies for gold in comparison with 
the almost worthless Continental raoney*-'-^ 
Pennsylvania's Burdens 

Moreover, Pennsylvania had special difficulties greater than 
those of many of the other States, The ca;;ital of the country was 
in Pennsylvania, either at Philadelphia or, when it was occupied by the 
British, at one of our other cities. Both the British and the American 
armies were in Pennsylvania for much of tlie time. As the war progressed, 
the Americans came to have growing numbers of prisoners of war to care 
for. In various ways, all these circiL.istances placed heavy burdens 
on the Pennsylvania government, 
Pennsylvania Factions 

In Pennsylvania there was danger from the Tories, as we have seen. 
In some ways this fact made o\ir War for Independence resemble a civil 
war. This was true in all the States, On account of this bitterness, 
the Quakers were open to suspicion as being Tories, They were 
molested by Indians less frequently, or not at all. VJas this because 
they were not on the frontier, and therefore were indifferent to the 
outrages suffered by the pioneers? The Scotch-Irish, as we have 
seen, were bitter against the Quakers on account of these alleged 
reasons. None of these suggested reasons was completely true but 
there was undoubtedly some degree of truth in all of them. But 
many believed taein true and this explains the difficulties in securing 
full cooperation among the people ,13 

The hostile feelings between the Yaiilceos and the Pennamites had by 
no means ended. This made full cooperation difficult,-'-*^ It is 
probably true that certain persons interested in securing land from 
Pennsylvania were willing to have the Connecticut settlement destroyed, 
even if it should by means of the cruel Indians. President Reed of the 
Pennsj'-lvania government ordered that supplies going up the river for 
the Wyoming region should be stopped at Sunbury, He vias over- 
ruled. So great did tliis friction beco:,ie thst Coi-gress ordered that the 
Wyoriiing garrison should be made up of troops from outside of the 
State, When German troops were used, they seemed unwilling to leave 
the forts, Scoviting vras left to militia and volunteers. 
Frontier Dangers 

In lyyo, one of the darkest periods of the whole war, Indian 
1780 attacks were renewed. As previously they came from the New York 

region ±n large parties. Vjhen thej-- reached the tributary waters of the 
Susquehanna, thej broke into smaller parties to attack the isolated 
settlements. Early tliis year Salmon was held prisoner, to be 
released a year later. 



12]ytilitia soldiers were under urgent need to get back home to 
protect their families and get in their crops to prevent famine. 
Is it any wonder that it v/as difficult to keep the ranks of the armed 
forces fully enrolled? 

•^Recall Lazarus Stewart and his defiant conduct. The Quaker 
population seems never to have left Catawissa during the entire period 
of the Revolution, However, we recall thct the Eves family fled. 
Also, the John family, up Cataidssa Creek, although Quakers, had to 
flee on two occasions, 

■^Why did Captain Clingaman, although asked on the day of the 
battle. 



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This same party of Indians, it seems, killed a family of two or 
more at the foot of Knob Mountain, In March, the VJhitmoyer 
family wcs murdered near modern Jerseytown, Only a son, absent 
at a sugar camp escaped. 

Van Campen Family 

The men of the Van Campen family, late in March ventured to 
return to their burnt homesite and resume their life there. They 
were surprised by a raiding party of Indians on the thirtieth. 
Tomahawk, knife, and spear quickly snviffed out the lives of father 
and one son, Moses, who was with them, barely escaped the same 
fate. This was because the Indians were able to over-power him 
and take him prisoner, A younger brother, and a man named Pence 
were also taken prisoner. On their return trip, a sugar camp was 
attacked in the Huntington region, but the four men there defended 
themselves in their cabin, so the Indians passed on. At the 
headx'jaters of the Hunlock, they captured Abraham Pike, but let 
his wife and child go free. The Indians had now accumulated as 
prisoners, three men end two boys, a Rogers boy having been taken 
prisoner previous to the Van Campen attack. As they journeyed 
northward. Van Campen feared that they were destined for torture 
and death. Opportunity for conversation was offered when they 
were collecting firewood for their captors. At such times Van Campen 
persuaded his companions to try to kill their captors and escape. 
The attempt was made near the mouth of the Tunkhannock ^reek. 
Using a knife inadvertantly dropped by an Indian, the prisoners in 
turn vTere able to cut each other's bonds at night when the captors 
were asleep. Guns and tomahawks were used to kill nine of the 
ten captors, A tenth engaged Van Campen in a desparate struggle 
in which the Indian was badly wounded, but was able to escape, 
A raft was built as soon as it was daim and loaded with the three 
men, two boys, and much of the plunder which the Indians had 
gathered. Their raft gave way and they saved little else but 
themselves and the guns. They were able to seize another raft 
from a party of Indians who had left it unguarded while they were 
hunting. With this they made their way to Vlyoming and eventually 
to Fort Jenkins, 

Fr>rt Jenkins Destroyed 

In September, Fort Rice on the Chilli squaque was attacked by 
a party of 300 or more Tories and Indians, It was beaten off, 
A relieving force from Sunbury pursued the Indians through the 
Fishing Creek valleys and up Huntington creek, where the invaders 
divided into small parties and made their escape. One band went 
around Knob Mountain and then across country. They burned the 
Aikman house at Cabin Run and continued to Fort Jenkins, This 
fort had been abandoned by its garrison to go to the relief of 
Fort Rice, The fort and the neighboring houses and other buildings 
were burned, 

Sugarloaf Massacre 

The attackers left hurriedly. It is thought that this was 
because they heard of an advancing compan,i of American soldiers in 
the Nescopeck valley. This American force had been sent to 
investigate reports of a Tory Settlement in Scotch Valley. 



to send help from Fort Jenkins, fail to try? By the time 
the request came, it was too late, VJas it also on account of the 
Yankee-Pennamite friction? Was it because he felt he had too few 
soldiers to guard his own fort? 



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Who were the first settlers of our region. Tell the interesting facts about 

then. 

Give a summary account of the V'ar of the Revolution in our North Branch area, 

year by year. 

8, Considering tlie adventures of Moses Van Campen: Are they representative of 
a frontier Revolutionary soldier? 

9, Vlhy was the frontier warfare in Pennsylvania especially difficult? 

^0, Inc'ians in Revolution: VJere they friendly? hostile? neutral? some of one and 
seme of another attitude and conduct? Explain, 

INTERESTING TICNOS TO DO AND INVESTIGATE 
1, Using the tiiae chart on this page, make it larger and more complete with more 
items to be included, pattern after no, 8 of Interesting Dilngs To Do, Chap. I, 
p. 8. 

Can you form some idea of the profits and risks of the land speculator. Have 
there been land rushes at other places and other times in oxir country's history? 
Construct a model or drawing of the probable appearance of a frontier fort of 
our region, (Reference, Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania, one of the text books 
on Pennsylvania History.) 

Compare the Fine Creek Declaration of Independence mth the Nation's Declara- 
tion of Independence, Is it probable that these declarations reflected the 
views of our settlers? (Reference, Meginness, Otzinachson.) 
Distinguish different kinds of Revolutionary soldiers: militia, rangers, 
continental troops. 

Is a student able to bring to class an old deed going back to the times of 
the Penn's. Other old documents ore also possible for displays: maps of 
original surveys, first patents. Some help may be secured at the County 
Historical Society or at the public library. 

Further information about seme of the great land speculators would increase 
your knoviledge of one part of local and national history: Robert Morris, 
James Wilson, Reuben Haines, the Shippens, Samuel Wallis. 
To what extent were Tories active in our region. 

Full accounts of Moses VanCampen's life have been in^itten. Such accoimts 
make very interesting reading. 

Detail accounts of the early settlements in the tovmships and borough are to 
be found in two standard lorks. Students may lish to read further about 
their own regions. Battle, History of Columbia and Montour Counties; Beers, 
History of Coluinbia and Montour Counties, 2 vols, (Hereafter these will 
be referred to as Battle's History end Beers' History,) Each has sections 
devoted to general accounts and to biogrcpliies of important persons of each 
district. 

Items to identify: Great Runaway, Hartley e^:pedition, Sullivan expedition, 
Huntington, Yankee, Pennamite, forty-first parallel, Jacob's staff, Sunbury, 
yohn Eves, Scotch-Irish, Pennsylvania German 

Map study: certain rivers end their tributaries j North and West Branches of 
Uhe Susquehanna and the >fohawk river of New York, Note how close three main 
jrvalloys come to each other. Where was the Iroquois country? The I'fyoning Valley 
and Wilkes-Barre? 

Locate the frontier forts in our region from the West Branch to the North 
Branch, including Fort Augusta, 

CHECK YOUR VOCABULARY: survey, frontier, speculator, a blaze (not a flame) 
'Monthly Meeting" of Quakers, stockade, faction, quit ront, land spotter, deed, 
'Stent, warrant, non-combatent, requisition, devastatior^ salvage, flotilla 

TIME CHART FOR CHAPTER II 
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PIONEER SETTLEMENTS IN THE "NEW PURCHASE" 
Chapter III 



Obstructions to Settlements Removed 

We recall that migration to the lands of the "New Purchase" 
probably never stopped completely during the entire years of the 
Revolution, IJhen peace viith Great Britain finally came in 1783, 
this migration increased to verj/ large araounts. It resembled the 
surging waters of a broken dam. In this case, the dam which had 
obstructed the migration had been the war. The fear of Tory and 
Indian attacks, actually carried out in roar^y cases in our region, 
held back would-be settlers. Moreover, England had tried to 
prevent expansion into the western lands. This, in fact, had been 
one of the causes of the Revolution, 

When these obstructions were removed, lands occupj ed before 
the war were reoccupied. New settlements vrere pushed farther and 
farther into the unoccupied lands up and down the whole American 
frontier. From now on lands of the "Wew Purchase" in Pennsylvania 
rapidly filled up. 
Travel Route; River Route from Harrisburg to Sunbury up the North Branch 

There were certain main groups of settlers who came by 
certain routes of travel. It will be helpful to learn about 
these groups and their routes. Several groups of settlers came 
generally from the south-east, from the vicinity of Philadelphia, 
Reading, and Lancaster, As far as Harrisburg, they could journey 
through countrj' well advanced in settlement with passable roads. 
From Harrisburg to Sunbury the Indian trails along the river 
had been improvec! to provide for groicLng trafiic, especially 
during the last two wars, the French and Indian, and the Revolution, 
These roadways had also been improved to some extent as far as 
Loyalsock and Lycoming Creeks on the West Branch, and on the North 
Branch, past Fishing and Nescopeck Greeks, to l;yoming. 
North Branch Bottom Lands occupied early from Sunbury 

Before the Revolution, as we have already learned, Germans, 
Scotch-Irish, and Quakers had made settleraents along the river. 
They had probably come from Sunbury and Harrisburg, either tiy boat 
or by land. These lands to which they caiiic were a belt of flat 
lands a mile or so, often less, fron the river bank to the line of 
hills. They are called bottom lands, ibre accurately they are 
flood plains, built up by the deposit of river sediments during 
floods from ages past. At places thej were swampy, as seems to 
have been the case near the mouth of Fislx ng Creek and on up the 
river. Malaria was known to be prevalent in such regions. It 
was attributed to the damp air. Miasmas, rather than mosquitoes as 
we know now. Furthermore, swampy lands could not be cultivated 
until drained. At other places they might be very sanc^ and stony. 
For the most part these alluvial flood plains were made up of 
rich, deep soils. These lands were the first sia-veyed and usually 
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Such alluvial flood plains are to be found at other places 
along the river and up the various tributary streams: some 
distance below Catamssa on both sides of the river, at Light 
Street, above Orangeville, at Benton, Central, at IViillville and 
lola, at I^Iainville, Slabtovm, at Mifflinville, and at other 
places also. Usually such lands were highly desired. 
Travel Route; West Branch - Chillisquaque - Warrior Run Route to Little 
Fishing Cree k 

As we already know, Quakers vrere among the earliest of settlers, 
John Eves, in his various journeys and also flight from Indian 
danger at the time of the Great Runaviay had used the West Branch 
route. Coming up from Sunbury, which was probably reached 
overland, a fairly well-traveled route led up tliis branch beyond 
Montour Ridge, Here a broad valley opens up, watered by 
several streams. Eves followed up the valley of the Chillisquaque 
Creek to its headwaters. Here one can reach the region of Mllville 
by crossing some low hi. lis or Little Fishing Creek could be 
reached readily through Spruce run. 
Valley Lands; Greenwood Valley 

Once in the valley of Little Fishing Creek, another broad 
valley opens up. It is almost a continuation of the valley of the 
Chillisquaque and V'arrior Run, This is the Greenwood valley. It 
is composed of gentle slopes, with much of the land almost level. 
Being higher than the flood plains, the soils are derived from 
the decay through long a^^es of the underlying rock. The soils 
have made fine farming lands. Quakers folloiang John Eves, 
using largely his route for their journeys, were the settlers 
who mainly built up this valley. 
Extension to the North Branch 

Before taking up another section of the region, it is 
convenient to notice that at the east, through gaps in the hills, 
access could be had to Big Fishing Creek at the foot of Knob 
Mountain, From thj.s point Indian trails and later travel routes 
led farther along either side of the mountain. North of Lee 
Mountain, through Shickshinny gap the North Branch was reached. 
From here one could then proceed to Wyoming, To the south 
another route led to the headwaters of tlie Briar Creek and to the 
North Branch opposite the Nescopeck Criek, These interconnecting 
valleys were much used by Indians and whites in travelling between 
the North and West Branches, 
Quakers at Catawissa and Roaring Creek; North Branch Route 

The second large settlement of Quakers vjas at Catawissa and 
nearby regions. We have already told ?bout Moses Roberts and 
Ellis Hughesj and also the Johns near modern Mainville, 
It seems that the Quakers of the Catawissa rec,ion never left during 
the troubled years of the Revolution. Shortly after the Revolution- 
1787, Hughes laid out a town in building lots and persuaded other 
Friends to buy and settle there. The toim wes first named Hughesburg, 
but the name was changed later to Catawissa, 



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Roaring Creek Valley 

These Quakers journeyed up the river from Harrisburg, either 
by boat or by the riverside roads. Others follovdng the same 
route, did not stop at Catawissa, but turned southwards over a 
mild elevation where a valley, somewhat sinri-lar to the Greenwood 
Valley opens up. It was, and is, sirailar in soils and in its up- 
land fields of gently rolling or level laiid. But wnere the 
Greenwood valley had easy access at both the east and west end, the 
Roaring Creek valley was rimmed at north, east, and south, by 
a mountain formation in the shape of a horseshoe. At the 
north, it is Catawissa Mountain, which as it continues to the 
east bends soutiiward to join Little Mountain which forms the 
southern part of the horseshoe. Although Catairdssa iiountain comes 
to an abrupt end, the northern line of the "horseshoe" is continued 
by a range of steep liills. At the western and open end of the 
"horseshoe" access could also be obtained from the region of 
modern Danville, and at the southwest, at a break in Little 
Mountain, Bear Gap, 

Quakers Come Early to Roaring Creek Valley 

This Roailng Creek Valley, see;ningly less accessible than 
many other parts of the county, was, however, one of the first to 
be settled. Records point to settlements there before the 
Revolution, Both at Catawissa and in Roaring Creek valley Quakers 
continued to arrive in the 1780 's and 1790's, Their meeting 
houses, the one at Catawiss^ built probably shortly after the 
Revolution, and the one in Roaring Creek in 1796, were probably 
the first religious buildings in the county, and the oldest ones 
still standing. Both are log structures, 

Quakers Move Away from Catavrissa - Roaring Creek 

But the Quakers in the Catawissa aJid Roaring Creek regions did 
not stay long. Apparently prospering tlirough the 1780 's and 
1790's, shortly after 1800 most of them sold their holdings, and 
left for Ohio or sections of Canada north of Lake Erie, As has 
often been trie cese with pioneers, these Quakers probably thought 
they could gain advantage by selling their improved land and tsicrg 
up cheap land farther uest on the developing frontier. 

There are many persons in ovr county todaj- who trace their 
ancestry from the Millville and Greenwood Quakers, Only a few 
families of the Catawissa and i^oaring Creek settlers have left descendants 
in our region, 

Pennsylvania Germans - Overland Route 

Although some Germans seem to have been among the earliest 
settlers, the larger number came after the Quakers, In seme cases 
the Quaker holdings were bought, in others, the Germans came as 
pioneers. The Germans, at first came across the mountainous country 
to Sunbury, The Indians had a well developed path, the Tulpehocken 
trail, -idiich avoided some of the mountains by making use of gaps. 
Later, a way was developed to Bear Gap, The Germans spread th'^ough 
the Roaring Creek valley so that it became predominantly a region 
of Pennsylvania German people. 



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Settlements Opposite tte Nescopeck Creek - Overland Route from the East 

Evan Owen, after givirig up his first plans of a settlement near 
the mouth of Fishing Creek, turned his interests to the high land 
opposite the Nescopeck Creek, He explored the region about 178O, He 
finally returned about 1783 and laid out a towi which he first named 
Owensburg, Later it was named Berwick for Berwick-Upon-Tweed. He 
gave land for a Quaker meeting house. He actively worked to bring 
about the sale of his land. Many of the Berwick settlers came from the 
region of Easton along the Delaware River, These journeyed up the 
Lehigh River valley, continued through Beaver i'leadows and on to the 
valley of the Nescopeck Creek, Berwick was the first of the towns 
of Colimibia County to be laid out, although not, apparently, the first 
town site to be settled for a number of others, it seems, had settlers 
at an earlier time. 

While certain routes seem to be favored by the earlier immigrants, 
different groups used different routes at different times. In later 
years certain routes were no longer to be associated with certain 
groups of settlers. 

Thus by 1790 or I8OO, the region's settled sections had recovered 
from the disasters and losses of the frontier wars. Furthermore, new 
areas were constantly being settled and opened up. They extended 
farther up the valleys and into the uplands of hilltop regions. This 
is a process that was largely completed by 1850, However, it is true, 
that there are woodlots and mountain sections that have been 
lumbered but never been converted to farm .lands. In fact, in 1958 
there were two, possibly more, small plots, that have never been 
lumbered. 
Earliest Pioneer Hardships 

The later pioneers had the experience of the first ones to aid 
them. The first pioneers in loneliness and danger, carved out of the 
wild frontier their homestead and laid iiie first foundations of the 
communities which were to develop later. Let us learn about their 
hardships and dangers. We have no complete account of any pioneer. 
From various incidents and accounts we can put together what the 
life must have been like during the first critical year. We shall 
picture a coriiparatively young man and wife, he already an experienced 
farmer, she well trained in the duties of a farm wife. Both were 
strong and hardy, the frontier was no place for weaklings. 
The Pioneers Journey to the Frontier 

The pioneer viiom we shall try to picture had saved enough money to 
secure three pack horses. They have carefully reduced their baggage 
to the very smallest amount possible. On one horse rode the wife 
carrying a small infant in her arms, A baii containing cooking utensils 
and table ware was attached to the saddle. The second horse carried 
a store of provisions and the essentials of farm implements, plough 
irons and other things that could not well be fashioned out of wood 
later. Balanced on a third, on either side, was a hamper type of crate, 
made of hickory xd.thes. These hampers contained bedding, with a small 
child tucked safe and secure in each, with only its head showing. 
Two cows were led or driven along for mlk. The father strode ahead 
carrying gun and ax. The wife could advise him if the pack train, 
the second and third horse, each tethered to the one in front, was 
advancing properly. When the trails had been widened to rough roads, 
carts, or even wagons, drawn by oxen, would have been used. 



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On the frontier, the slow but powerful ox vras superior to the 
horse for much work. In the settled sections the advance would be 
rapid. Soon the region of no roads was reeched. Narrow trails of the 
Indian and fvr trader would be encounterec. The pioneer's ax had to 
be ready to cnop the trail clear of fallen trees or branches. 1 One 
or more mountains had to be crossed. The trail at places was steep 
and narrow. It was dangerous where steep drops were to be passed. 
There were no bridges, the streams had to he forded} swampy places 
might make other difficulties. Five or ten miles might be a day's 
journey. If conditions were favorable, possibly more might be 
accomplished. 
Shelter at Night 

At the end of the day, animals had to ■:« tethered so that they 
could feed, the cows milked, and an evening meal prepared from food 
supplies carried. Firewood must be gathered for cooking, for warmth, 
and for protectr'.on aga:nst wild animcls. Boughs must be gathered to 
make a crude bed rnder the stars. This was for fair weather. If it 
rained, a crude shelter mj^ght be found left by some previous traveler 
or one might be fashioned from bark and saplings. Shelter at times 
was available in an owner's cabin along the vey. If so, the 
accommodations probably included sleeping on a dirt floor, so crowded 
with the owner's famjly and the guests, that -tliere was a minimum of 
privacy and barely room on the floor for all to stretch out. The 
fatigues of the day probably brought sleep to all despite the almost 
universal presence of fleas and bugs. 
Need for Haste 

After five or ten days of such travel, the destination would be 
reached, barring accidents or disasters on the way. There could 
be no tarrying. The family must reach their new homesite as early 
in the spring as possible, after the end of severe weatner. Before 
the coming of autumn, there were urgent tasks to be completed. Land 
must be cleared and crops planted to carry the family over the wintea 
After a teraporarj'- shelter had been provided for the mild weather, a 
house miTst be constructed that would shelter the family through the 
bitter w:.nter that was to be expected in cur region. 

Some pioneer families had sons and daughters old enough to assist 
their parents. They may have been able to driive orcn to help in the 
work, Cliickens and pigs may also have been broiight. At the other 
extreme we have records of man and vjife alone, advancsng barefoot 
along the trails, carrying all their possessions on their backs I 
Choosing Land; Signs of Good Soil 

If our pioneer had been careful^ he had already inspected the lie 
of the land and the soil. He would choose a homesite near a spring 
in order to have a secure source of water. There were signs of soil 
fertility which he would note. Black walnut trees were taken as signs 
of limestone soils, the most desirable ,3 



iHe had to be ready with gun to protect from wild animals or 
replenish food supply, 

2Compare John Eves, ch. , p. 

3we in Columbia County have only narrow bands of limestone soils, 
and those mostly on two rather steep ridges, one on either side of 
Montour Ridge, See ch, p. 



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White oaks were signs of deep, ricii soils. Big, well grovm trees 
generally meant deep and fertile soil. This was especially true of 
hardwood trees, Hardxjood trees were more difficult to cut down and 
to fasMon into useful articles. Some pioneers preferred the areas 
supporting the soft woods, such as the pine and hemlock, but 
especially the pine. The pines were strai:,ht and tall. Their logs 
were most easily transformed into log cabins. Their logs were most 
easily split to make the first boards and planks. In pine and 
hemlock forests there vias less underbrush to get rid of in opening up 
plots for crops. 

However, the Mifflin flats, over grown with pines, were at first 
considered pine barrens. Later, they were proved to be among the 
most fertile of lands. 

It was also important to find a location that promised a plentiful 
supply of id-ld game. This was especially true for the first few years. 
The rich game resources of the Sugarloaf township region probably 
accounts for settlement there at an early date. These early settlers, 
about 1792, passed by unsettled richer sections in order to take up 
land in one of the less promising sections. They also foiind trees 
of splendid size. 
The First Shelter 

Having come in the spring, brrk wcs easily pea led in order to moke 
a crude imitation of the Indian hut for the first shelter. Saplings 
stuck into the ground and bent together at the top would support the 
bark roofing. The work might be reduced qy building imder an over- 
hanging cliff or into a steep bank. The front might be left open, 
to be heated by the camp fire. 
Planting 

Quickly, a clearing must be provided so that grain and garden seeds 
could be planted. The quickest way was to girdle the trees by 
removing the bark for a considerable height clear around the trunk. 
The trees died, then the sun light could get to the groiond beneath. 
Other trees were felled to provide logs for the cabin. Small 
roots and underbrush would be grubbed out. Seeds would have to be 
planted and cultivated in spaces between the dead trees and stumps. 
The untilled soil was so rich, that usually a good crop could be 
expected, in spite of the limited cultivation that was possible the 
first year. Much underbrush and branches irould be burned. The 
ashes helped further to enrich the soil. 
Fish and Game for Food 

While crops were maturing, additional food had to be provided. 
Usually there was much wild game, and the streams were teeming with fish. 
The father, and any older boys, were under the necessity of eking 
out the food supplies by these sources from the wilds. The vdfe, 
besides her other housewifely duties, cultivated the garden and 
gathered its produce as it matured. 
The Cabin 

A more durable shelter had to be built. The logs would be cut 
into proper lengths, notched at the ends. If only the man and his 
wife were available, they could use only the shortest and lightest 
logs to provide a cabin of minimum size. This type of log cabin 
was learned from the Swedes who introduced it into Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey, The logs would be piled on each other with the notches 
making them stable. 



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The first roof was probably merely long strips of bark, held in place 
from a ridge pole by stones or heavier timbers. Chinks in the log 
sides, and possibly in the roof were filled with mud, possibly 
mud mixed with moss, A hole might be left in the roof for smoke, 
or the chimney of logs chinked with clay, with also a clay facing 
on the inside, would be provided for the open fire. The first door 
was a deer or bear skin hung in the door opening , An opening for a 
window might be provided. If so, it tras covered with greased paper 
which let in some light. At best tlus cabin was dark. The first 
floor was the dirt, trampled hard. Hooks were pegs driven in the 
chinks of the logs. After tnere had been tiiiie to split logs for 
crude boards, some slight advance toward cornfort could be made, A 
door, on wooden hinges could be privided. It would have a latch 
with the catch on the inside. To enable it to be opened from the 
outside, a string was provided, extendini^ tin:ough a hole to the out- 
side. Pull the string, the latch would be raised, and the person 
could enter. When visitors were not desired, the latch string was 
pulled inside,^ 

Tradition has handed down many of the hardships which the pioneers 
in our own region experienced. 

In 1772 Isaac John and wife built their log cabin along the 
Catawissa Creek in what is now Main Township, Its entrance x-ias 
through the roof which was reached by a ladder. They apparently 
never built another. According to tradition they raised their 
large family in this cabin. 

About 1780 or shortly after, Henry Long with wife and children 
descended the river from New York by canoe, having stopped over at 
Wilkes-Barre for a time awaiting the end of the Indian dangers. They 
occupied a deserted log cabin within the liinits of modern Light 
Street, They planted a cleared acre of ground to potatoes but were 
compelled to dig out the seed for food. According to this story, 
they kept alive searchj.ng out wild potatoes in the swamps. These 
finds wore roasted for welcome food. 

Nearby, Levi Aitanan about this time, gathered a bag of grain, his 
first harvest. He sent his son in a canoe to Sunbury to have it 
ground there at the mill. On the return trip, young Aikman consumed 
his last crust of bread. His journey was ended at the Webb River- 
landing at nightfall, i^irs, Webb would gladly have given frontier 
hospitality to the young man, but there was no food in their house. 
As a result, yoving Aikman dipped into his bag of {^ round grain to help 
out the Webbs, and also certain others, according to tlds tradition. 

In 1782, Zarbcth Brittain, on a trip to examine Susquehanna 
lands, perished from small pox. The same misfortune happened to 
the son of John Bright, journeying from Northampton county in search 
of land here. 

The Berwick region affords another frontier experience, John 
and Robert Brown, with their families, were pursuaded by Evan Owen 
to purchase land from his holdings, Comng overland to Catawissa, 
the Browns there transferred their belongings to canoes for the 
journey to the falls of the Nescopeck, Here they landed, toilsomely 
carried their goods to the top of the bluff when rain started in 
before they could make any shelter. This hardship added to the 
others was more than the mothers could endi^rej they broke dovm and wept. 



%fe hpve the expression still, when we wish to indicate welcome, 
to tell our friend, the latch string hangs out for you. 



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- 8 - 

Down the river at MJ.fflin flata Peter Yohe settled at an early date. 
Before his first crop matured he had to journey by canoe to Wilkes- 
Barre for a bushel of corn to escape starvation. 

Abram Kline, about 1785 led a party fro,i New Jersey across 
Broad Mountain to the mouth of the Nescopeck, thence to Fishing 
Creek. Finally journeying up this streain, cutting their way through 
the unbroken forest, they reached the foot of Knob Mountain. The 
party consisted of Kline, his wife, and cliildren, some of whom were 
grown and acconpanied with txieir own families. The first summer, 
they lived in their wagons and a tent. They subsisted on milk from 
the cows they had brought as well as the usual game and fish from 
the wilds. By the second and third suianers a considerable amount 
of land had bean cleared by their united eiicrts and a sizeable crop 
of grain was raised. This was transported to the river by pack train, 
where it was loaded on flat boats to be floated to a grist mill at 
Sunbury, thirty five miles distant from their home. 

Elisha Barton, came to Hemlock about I78I, He lived with his 
family in their wagon until their cabin was constructed. 

About 1898, near Bear Gap, some silver buttons and Spanish dollars 
vrere found. These were connected with Alexander McCauley who had 
disappeared in 1783 after having journeyed from Beaver Valley 
in search of strayed horses. McCauley was known to have had both^ 
silver buttons and to have used Spanish dollars. Was he the victim 
of Indians or mid beasts? 

A number of traditions relate dangerous conflicts of our 
frontier hunters with panthers, 

VJhen the Leonard Rupert family came to the mouth of Fishing Creek 
about 1788, they used the route across the mountains to Catawissa, 
From here their goods were taken across the river in canoes. The 
wagons were supported each by two canoes. The pair of wheels on 
either side were placed in a canoe, ono pair to each canoe. The rowers 
were under the wagon, presumably on some land of crude seats and 
bracing. A landing, two miles up ri-ver was affected, just below the 
mouth of Fishing Creek. 

As late as 1788, according to a tradition, Peter Brugler had 
an adventure with an Indian. Having followed a circuitous route 
in hunting, he ceme upon liis own previous tracks in the snow, with 
those of an Indian stalking him. Thjs forewarned, he was able to 
hide in a tree trunk and kill the Indian instead of being killed 
himself. 

Success or Failure 

With such expedients and make-shift devices, our pioneers made 
themselves ready for the first winter. If they were not successful 
in getting these first tasks completed, at best they might merely 
have to journey back to civilization and in some way make a fresh 
start there or somewhere else. At worst, they were confronted with 
death from starvation or freezing. Probably many cases of one or 
the other were disguised by sickness anc. ceath brought on by such 
hardships. But thousands of such pioneers in our region and on 
other frontiers, did succeed in establisii-ing themselves through the 
first critical year. Only persons of great physical vigcr and high 
courage cot Id undergo such hardsiiLps and dangers. A fuller account 
of the dangers and hardships will be given in the next chapter 
where we shall leain how the pioneers tamed the frontier. 



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- 9 - Ch. Ill 

TO FIND OUT HOW EFFECTIVELY TOU HAVE READ 

1. What were the main routes used by pioneer settlers in migrating to 
the North Branch regions? 

2. Describe the chief areas of settlements in the fifteen or twenty years 
after the Revolution. 

3. What were the main groups of settlers before 1800, To what extent 
can they be associated m.th definite areas? 

k» VJhat live stock were most valuable for the pioneers? VJhy? 

5. What were the signs the pioneers looked for in choosing a place to 
settle? 

6. Why was haste very important after the pioneers started their journeys 
to the frontier? 

INTERESTING THINGS TO DO 

1, Using a road map, try to identify modern autoMObile route numbers 
with routes used by (a) Indians, (b) pioneer settlers, Vhat natural 
features (mountains, valleys, streams) aided or obstructed the modern 

routes as well as historic routes? 

2, Are there any additional traditions of early pioneer experiences in 
your family? You are requested to write a report to the Columbia 
County Historical Society about them. Read your report first to 
your class, 

3, Students who live on one of the original farms mf-ght tell about it and any 

interesting evidences of early and long continued occupations. 
Requested: students report new facts to the Secretary of the Columbia 
County Historical Society, 
ij. Similarly, any students should report unlumbered areas in the county; 
an original log cabin still in existence, any implements of pioneers, 

5, Requested by County Historical Society; 

Photographs and picture collections to be offered or lent to Society 
shoxdng big trees in an unlumbered section. 

6, Compare a modern camping trip with the pioneer journey and first lodging, 

7, In Battle and Beers, investigate detailed experiences, not included 
in this text, that occurred in your town or township, 

CHECK YOUR VOCABULARY: 

alluvial hamper (noun) 

flood plains withe 

sediments distination 

pioneer to eke 

gap chinlc 



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TRANSFORMING THE FRONTIER INTO ClflLIZED COMMUNITEES 

Chapter IV 



This chapter deals vdth gradual developments. They all were going 
on at much the same time, with no exact beginning or ending. Such 
developments were earlier some places, later at others, but the general 
conditions they reflect were common to the American frontier. 

For ovir region these conditions were from the close of the Revolution 
to about 1825, or about forty or fifty years. 






Time Chart for Chapter IV 



IS 00 






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Early Conditlons^ ^^ ^^ (T 

The pioneer life for man, woman, and child was lonely, dangerous, 
hard. 

Recalling Some First Steps 

We have already looked at the pioneer traveling with his family and 
few belongings to their new wilderness home. We shall want to look further 
at the dangers and hardships for the many years neecfcd to change this 
wilderness to a more civilized life. As neighbors came, loneliness was 
reduced. To secure the needed supplies anc comforts, more would have to 
be produced - more for home consumption and more products to be sold or 
exchanged for the things needed. It was not enough to produce more, means 
to transport the products to places where they could be sold or traded, 
markets were necessary. These improvements will be studied in this chapter, 

A garden patch and the first small field would need to be enlarged to 
a real farm and adequate garden. Clearing tlie land might be by chopping, 
or the trees might be girdled. After they had died they might be burned 
down by building a fire around the base. In this the wife might help. 
Actually* a woman could burn d0T^^rl more in a day than a man could chop dox-m 
in several days. The resulting logs needed to be piled. Before neighbors 
had become plentiful, man and wife had to do the best they could to make 
these piles. 

Flour was produced in the Indian fashion, by placing sinall amounts of 
grain in a basin-like hollow of a large stone or stump as a mortajr and then 
using a cylindrical stone, a pestle, to pound and grind it. Often an 



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- 2 - Ch. IV 

especially heavy pestle stone would be tied to a bent-over sapling to 
lighten the Isbor. VThen a stump was used, the clump, clump, clump of the 
pestle on the mortar could be heard a long distance, A course, gritty flour 
could be produced in this way, suitable for porridge or flat bread baked 
on the heated hearth. 

Kettles of several sizes, were stood in the fireplace. Stews and 
porridge might be prepared in them. The farmer's livestock included for 
food, chickens, cattle, and pigs. The breeds were quite scrubby. Pigs 
were especially valued because they would largely support themselves from 
acorns and other forage from the forest. If attacked and killed by bears, 
a trap might be attached to the mutilated cai-r?.ss with the result that 
the family might have bear meat instead of pork for the bear usually 
returned for a second meal from the carcass. From cattle milk coiild be 
secured. The ox was slow, unexcitable, and very powerful. It was preferred 
to the horse as a work animal on the early farm. For riding and the pack 
train, of course, the horse was the better. Cattle also supplied meat from 
time to time • 
Food From the Wilds 

The profusion of game is referred to in all accounts of pioneer life. 
At times there might be more than could be eaten, and at other times 
settlers might be near starvation. In Bend.ck, Evan Owen as Justice of the 
Peace, required that every bear killed should be brought before him to be 
divided equally among the different families. 

Most of the wild game animals and birds known to the pioneers are still 
with us, but there are some exceptions. Panthers, which were at one time a 
serious threat to the farmer's live stock, have been exterminated. Seldom 
did they attack human beings, although there are traditions of adventures 
and a few tragedies, usually involving children. 

Besides garae^ settlers learned very early from the Indians to make 
maple syrup and maple sugar, 1 Maple sugar sold from six to ten cents a 
pound. A tree mj-ght yield five poun s, a hundred" tree grove, 500 pounds, ^.00 
barrels of sap had to be boiled down to yield this amount. 

Bees were to be found in hollow trees and large stores of honey were 
often secured by chopping down such a tree. These two products were the 
main sources of sweetening and they might also be sold or bartered at the 
growing villages. 

Nuts and berries were to be found in proper season, valued as a tasty 
addition to food supplied, and useful also for sale or barter. 
Wild Pigeons 

Wild pigeons came at certain seasons of the year, especially nesting 
time, in flocks so large that we of a later day can scarcely believe this 
to have been possible. An eye-witness from the nearby Wilkes-Barre region 
ha'^ this record: "The whole heavens were dark with them, the cloud on wing 
continuing to pass for over an hour or more and cloud succeeding cloud. 
There were not millions bui myra ids,,, Towns were built by them i"or five 
or six miles in length along the Meshoppen every branch or bough of every 

1 Recall the Indian outrage at Jerseytown, 1700, when a settler escaped 
because he was at maple sugar grove. 



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- 3 - Ch. IV 

tree holding a rude nest," In a Berwick newspaper item in l8iiO we can 
read: "We have never seen such a quantity of pigeons as were flying 
about our place. The greater portion of our townsmen were engaged in 
pursuit of them, none returned without their hands full, Mr, F, Nicely 
succeeded in shooting 80, He fired twice into one flock and killed 37. 
Beat that you who can," At a later time the e:: termination of the 
passenger pigeon was completed by market hunters slaughtering them in 
wholesale manner and sending them to city markets by the ton. Often the 
masses were so thick on the branches that they could be clubbed to death. 
For the pioneer such plentiful and easily secured food was a welcome 
addition to their diet and a resource for barter in a nearby town, 
Ghad and Other Fish 

In the earlier days, great masses of shad swam up the Susquehanna, 
and other north-east coast rivers also. They sought the small headwaters 
to spawn. From the very first the pioneers learned from the Indians to 
net shad. Early in the spring it has been told that watchers reported 
the coming of the shad in great masses like a sparkling wave crest 
advancing up the river. Soon nets were placed. Special fisheries were 
located near Catamssa, nine or more places above the mouth of Fishing 
Creek up to Mifflin rapids. At least two were in the vicinity of Berwick, 
After the Berwick bridge had been built, in iSlii, the fish seemed to shun 
the shadow of the bridge and jammed into what seemed a solid mass of fish 
that could be shoveled out. Nets were placed, Nuraerous reports like the 
following are recorded: Hauls at the Boone fishery above Bloomsburg were 
so immense that great quantities could not be disposed of and the surplus 
was scattered on the fields for fertilizer. At a Luzerne county fishery, 
farther up the river, and therefore not so good as those in Columbia, 
10,000 shad were taken in a single haul. People came to the river from 
all points to buy fish, bringing in exchange produce of every description- 
corn, meat, peach cider, whiskey, mead, and other produce. From the 
tenth of April to the tenth of June almost every man, woman, and child 
within twenty miles of the Susquehanna feested and fattened on fresh shad, 
and every family salted down from one to tlu-ee baTrels for use during the 
remainder of the year. In IBOO a price of $18.00 per hundred weight was 
quoted. Of course prices f luctuated^ but gradually became higher as the 
fish became scarcer. At Catawissa in the early l800's shad were bartered 
for salt at the rate of six cents each. Seining was forbidden on 
Thursdays, in order to allow some fish to get through to spawn. There 
were other types of fish that were also of great value, sturgeon, and 
others, but not to compare with great quantities of shad. Dams in the 
river, and later various forms of river pollution have destroyed this 
valuable food fish for our river. If modern principles of conservation 
of resources had been applied, pigeons might still be important. The 
earlier shad would have remained as a resource as valuable, probably, as 
the salmon of the west coast rivers, adding every ye?r to the wealth of 
Pennsylvania, 

Although there might be plentiful food at times, in general, 
conditions were hard. This was true for -ihe labor on the part of all but 
the very youngest. It was gruelling, at times, literally killing. 



VI ,.an 

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- i; - Ch. IV 

Ingenuity Fostered 

The pioneers had very little— very little in the way of furnishings, 
tools and irapleriients, and help. It was necesssi-y to make the best with 
what they hed, Ilussel shells might serve as spoons, Hollowednout gourd 
shells served as cups and possibly other uses. Wooden implements, whittled 
and fashioned around the winter fireplace, served for various utensils, 
especially rakes, and hay forks. Dishes viere wooden, A plain board, 
possibly hollowed out slightly, served perhaps as a common dish. It was 
called a "trencher", A hearty feeder at the table is still called a good 
trenchen-.ian. Of course, living in a cabin iiiade of logs and getting i-Jhat 
food they could from forest and stream, was also getting along with what 
they had. 

This lack of tools and implements and the scarcity of labor led the 
pioneer to contrive and invent. The pioneer passed down a tendency of 
the American to be inventive and ingenious, 
Basic Needs 

Certain things the pioneer had to have, but could not provide for 
himself: metal implements and tools, not foi-getting his gunj salt2, 
not only for its savor but as a preservative^ gun powder and lead for 
bullets; suggest such needs. These and others could not be provided 
until two advances had been made: (l) more products which the pioneer 
farmer could sell or trade and (2) means by which the goods could be 
transported back and forth from or to distant markets. These improvements 
also came little by little. We will find out first about the increases 
in products for trrde or sale. We can realize better how great this 
need must have been if we recall that in many cases the pioneer had 
used most of any money he had in the purchase of Ms land and in getting 
himself and family with their few belongings transported to the frontier. 
Securing Commodities for Trade; Pot Ash 

The very first work provided an article for sale or exchange. The 
great amounts logs burned in clearing the land resulted in large amounts 
of wood ashes, A container such as a barrel or a hollowed tree trunk in 
about the size of a barrel was secured. An opening must be provided at 
the bottom, if not already there, which was covered over ;d.th a plentiful 
matting of straw. The whole outfit was placed over a sloping trough. 
The container was filled with wood rshes. Water was poured over it 
repeatedly. The result was that an alkaline solution vjas leached out. 
This solution drj.pping into the trough was led to another container. 
This solution produced lye, useful in making soap. If the solution was 
evaporated, a greyish powder resulted, called pot ash. If dissolved and 
filtered, and then evaporated again, a better grade, called pearl ash 
resulted. Both of these products were in demand in the cities and in 
foreign trade, as well as in the home comravmities. From every ten acres 
of forest land cleared, a ton of pot ash mi^ht bo secured, worth about 
two hundred dollars. This alone was enough to pay for clearing the land. 
Pot ash was an important frontier product for many years. 



^The' lick Runs of Pine and Locust Tovrnships suggest that there were 
some traces of salt at certain locations. 



VI .flO - u - 

r 

.... . ..: :Looi 

b'OJO.^ iua-bswolLoK .sroxia as ov'i?>a itlsim aXIerls Is^sj. l Ysf'-^ cterlw 

beld'J-J ' : nofao- ' 'i 

t?n ■ . . •. w ^o:i. ^ •. , ^5 

^bisocf rtxslq A .asboow s^csi/ aoriet'-l ,;• ,39>Ibi Y-T ■- 

ap.w JI .ria.cb rsonutfoo <; ■ " ' :a jjjo" ■? 

fcoca G bsllsa IIxjS &i; ■ _ _ , .. A ,'.''x-. o 

J-srh-jT anxJ-j-sg bns 830I 'yo sioiu nlciso 3 ni gnxvcl j5aix;oo./iC . -!:..id- 

d'erlv? rlJ-J:vr §nolB 30^^-93 oaX.? asw tmr-fi'iia bns d-asiox mo'i'l'bij.oo x'.-ij bcid 

,br.rl X3dt 
3rio &9l lodsl xo -^iio^csoa sad" ons ed-n^Kalqrnx bns alccJ' lo jir-sl axriT 
lo -lionabnsi g fRwOb boSK-^q -xaenoxq srlT .drevnx bac avr.iJnoo o& losnoxq 

. a' -v^ b"'-.- :;■-■- h.-.-^ ->vxd'n9vn f" ■^■' '.'■ : . ■. "•r-^^'i^ -^rW 

oxa sg. 
'ici sbr/c'iq cfon bluoo S/jo -^^^.a,^ ci ^: ■ ■'"...' 

^5j-Xs3 i_nu^ sxxi §fix,vJ9^r;-xox Jon ^alc.. _. . ..:.;..._.. . ._:.-c.Tixri 

10I bs9l bns isbwoq rurg; jevxcfsviaas'tq b as J-z/d iov«a aix zol vino Jon 
■iq 9d . bus sssfiT . ■. "■'} 

'; ^ ariJ- ri-: :.,_.. . . :;, (l) . tsbsm .• .. . .: . . w 

bIi/00 aboog srU fio-ixfw. vcl aassiii (S) bns sbeia ; bIx;oo 'lormsl 

a>i • 'b oj- -lo mot'i ricl"ro7i 

. ,' -. .... .- -; — :. ...,: ..:xl XIxw oW »oLiil.:. . ., .. . . .^: 

axrii oGSig worf loJ-dao' esxX.<5si nso sW .sX.'ss lo 6b "li 10I ajoubo'io hi 
b',ri losrcoxq erli ao^so ■^^nsr.i nx j-f.rit irs.'-.ei ow li: n. : 

?"'-^' : iix bHi^ bitsX axfl 'io sa.srioiuq 9iiJ nx ':-r! sd ^tonor. .^,. . -. ; J 

.• il sriJ" Ovt bsiioqcri 3'xJ a^iignoXod wsl ixsrii jii.for vXxiif?"! bn>'. 

of{T .aansrir^xp 10 olsf; tdJ. sloxiis hb .. ■, . .; ...... 

adrcxronio s^igX nx botXirasi bfi.-;! exlj-' ^xtsaXo nx bentud agoX a:>-n:;cas j^gi^ 

ni: Mnuid" eaij bev/O-CXori q 10 X3'n:?>ri n as riowa • ■^o A :• 

:<■ 1 bebxvo iq ■ ' ':■:'■ ■v■;^.■:.-. ■ -■ r;A' .bifi-iuoda -v- • ;■ n lo ...... .... ..:^ 

X;:.JvjnyXq s rl.- z^y.-r lio.oiv' ^e-; ? J:on 'ix ,fl■l.^J•.t^\':f -orii 

.Ji3^;o^.^ .■;b jj iovo bLOsXq asv.' d-xld-w>.) ; i 

•tx 16- >. . .,;oq a-3'r lodslv .aoris-? boow ri«t-:- ... ;. . - . .. . ■ .? 

.d'ye hidosal Sisvr nol&sjL'.ra onxXsjUs ns ^ba'* asw d-Iuar>i nrlT , l 

. .lanisJ'noo t^i.^lons ocf b3.r J>ro^::^ ortt otnL .i' 

r.sw noxJ-jjXoa orid "il ,- ■ ■ ^.^ ;xx Xutcvarr ^■{,1 . ? 

bri.'5 bevXoeaxb 'tl .rlar, . > ^be-i^Xuas'i i^h'^'ivr ■ ; 

rTa.o Iiseq beXXso tS. ■ b ^nift^Jic h- . .'1 

ai bnc^ aoxox.-n rAt nx .... 1: otovr aiowbo; . ^ ■.^.. .■. .. ..: • . . 

aoTos noi Y'l-'Va riO'i'i ,80-. '^0 siiod ot'J nx as XX^v; 3.g job'-.T..-{ 1 

dT.c'n fici-iow tbrj^o.3a od d-nrj-i^. ^se ioq lo aoJ s t_bL^riry.::Lo \ xo 

.brisl arid' siiX'issXo .10"' •' "^ ■ ^ '• '■^■■- •■ ' 7 ■■-"■ ; rwJ- 

.BT'J.r ; Jo"! 



G'isvr otsfiJ" iorij- aqidan-vKiT cfauobJ, bm, enH lo .anuJi. >f3.&I edO"'-^ 

.'anoxJ-so^X rrx3c}''i^b •d'Sd'XBS .lo aeoaiJ 9fiTOB 



- 5 - Ch, IV 

Grain and VThiskey 

As more and more land was cleared and crops produced, there was a 
surplus of grain over and above what the fajTiily needed. The grain crops 
were usually wheat, corn, and rye. Large crops were secured from the 
virgin land. Rye and com vsrefed to the live stock and when ground up, 
was used for food for the fajnily in the form of coarse bread, cakes, or 
porridge. The wheat was saved to be sold. 

Grain was bullcy for transport for any great c^istance. It might sell 
for fifty cents a bushel and only a bushel or two could be transported by 
a pack horse, ¥iskey sold for $^1.90 to $2,50 per gallon and a bushel of 
grain would malce three gallons. Peach brandy, apple "jack", and mead 
might also be made for sale. 
Salt Meat 

As the aj'aounts of livestock increased, especially hogs, there would 
be meat that could be smoked or salted do\ra. This surplus made a trade 
item. Hides from slaughtered live stock and larger game, deer and bear, 
and the pelts from fur bearing animals also provided trade articles. 
Grist Mills and Flour 

Improved means for production meant that there would be more goods 
for trade. Mot for long did the pioneer put up with gritty flour ground 
or pounded from crude mortars and pestles in Indian fashion, nor vrith the 
tedious labor required in such production. Trips to Sunbury or Wilkes- 
Barre were long and time consuming by canoe or pack horse and the amounts 
that could be transported too small. Experienced and skillfiil millwrights 
soon arrived and "harnessed" the water power of our numerous streams to 
the heavy grinding stones, "buhr" stones, he\%'n from native rock found in 
our region. The machinery needed to be especially designed in each case 
to the amount of the stream's flow and the fall or "head" available at 
each mill site. 

As early as mh a crude mill seems to have been constructed at 
Catawissa, It was often out of repair,-^ By 1800, one or more mills 
were constructed on each of our creeks and their more important tributaries. 
The lower reaches of our largest creek, Fislij.ng Greek, were not "harnessed" 
until later. Being the largest, the difficulties of constructing a dam 
and the other mill works were greater. 

In 1827 Samuel Boone, U built the Aqueduct Mill and the locally famous 
Boone's dam to provide the necessfiry water power. At one time or another 
there were an estimated forty- three mills in opera-bion in the county. 



Streams or main 


Mills known to 


Tributaries 


have been 




constructed 


Roaring Greek 


11 


Briar Creek 


12 


Catawissa 


8 


Ten ffile Run 


h 


Fishing Greek & Branches 


35 




^B 



Largest number 


Operating 


operating 


at 


in 


one time 




1958 


8 




3 


h 




2 


$ 




2 


3 







27 




12 


i»3 




17 



-5 Levi Aikman about I78O had to send his son past Catawissa to Sunbury 
to have a bag of grain ground, Ch, III, p, 7, 

^Samuel Boone was a Quaker, and also a nephew of Daniel Boone, the 
famous frontier pioneer and scout of Kentucjcy, 



J. m^tc 


' ■ /' 


'lU 




^U'i'^ {!>< 


■■'tJ 



VI ;^0 ^ 5 - 



tqii 1^. . ;:., nsriw bnc. jicojo oviE sriJ- jj i. . iiioo bufj s^h .fanal nigixv 

Id tSSJiiha ^bns'id ez-i'^oo lo iirxo"x srid ni ylims"! 9fi* lol boo'i '^lol boar; 331/ 

,bLo?. 3d -3 SGV.' c^ssfiw fii'T .egbxiToq 

1X93 .■^'■l'r■: M „ ,,. ^j:b '-■<■:■ ;r'r; lol ;r ' '■■■-" ■ '"'•■'r t- -; aJcGiD 

\>f b; 9d bluoc >.u(i B vAli'l 10I 

lo Li::^:SJ>i s, bf£B xioIIjs§ jIik^ O^.^i). ocI" O'^.Iij -lOi LIog \ife>if;£'.' . ; >lasq k 

bijoiiT bns ^''>b5(," aXqq.s ^-/.bir^f f • ';'>S' .^noils^ ss'xclJ- sM; , . . ......at nxsig 

,9X65 rtol 9bRi« 00 og.Cg jfig.bi 

f-.r'--'--'- "-"..'^^t ^8§orf ■y;-I^X.cxr:-.-.:3e 4l:>sa6o*ioni; >!o' '-- ■■^ ■'■ "?" ■ :• ■• - «iij- 3A 

■e:iT sxfIqix/3 SLrrr ,rn;ob bc-.J-l6a i iJ- J-som 9cf 

j-iBsd bne "I69b tsma ; '" bns oiooi?, i^vil. .''.-<. in-j-xl at-'bxH .ifisJ-i: 

,89XoJ:.i"is obeT;>t . iq oaLu el"''''- x m^t'!: • ■ •" .^.f bnr. 

!^boo§ 01 om 9d b'' J-sriJ i'nsem rtoic 

brnfo'in 'lifoXI \;>}-ci.i. ' ir/q loarr)' • "■ 

9fid- rioX''.'- -ioa ^ci!:^t, nc eaXJ'r.: 

"aojtixW TO Y'ltf'^ntfti aj suxtT i,nox«toijbo 
'3''^;- ■• ■ ' ■ '^ ■- oaiofi jir- ■ ^ - -o x*^ V 

o.T •ii" bi:.:- ; 

■r ' ■ . ... '-XTX?;;'^' i 

&3 olaaixovs "bsoh" 10 XXsx arij ba!3 woxi a'p/iS'ios sri.J- lo jraii-in-; ;yi>^ od' 

,. -■■'; XXxiii • : ' ■ 
j'S ' v?,noo norjcf -v?r{ oj- mesF; .rrf-m abi/io g ili'Vj 59 bA 

si.' TO .ono , Si' ■' tuo n-.-Kflo 8;iv; &x ,s, 

'; . . ■' i-oa. atm ^jfesiO griiriax'i 4>{!; , , , ' 

m.^ B gnMou'iit'cnoo lo eox.tXuo.rllxb erlJ- ^o .1 , 

aU'^T'-'j vrx .■-,;>'•.!: .-,;ij- bnc XXxM •i^ojsboupX erit .tJ ••!."^ ... iT 

1 sno d-A -.lovroq 100 &v abx-vc' 

, ^. :.;:■., ■ " ; ■■■ ' - "■ .i. - ^; h./.l bsi.sffiX. 

§nxd-r;ioqO 1 . ._ ; elXxi"; 

ni Js ^nxJnioqo nsod ever' Hexi<ijx;dxTi' 

Or,"! " " bsioinlanoo 

1; ^ rt • ■> 

£ :l u. , •■ 

, SI yc aorionsiS :S jloai:.' anxrlaiH 

\'U!c(niiZ od ■'^- 3xd bn'-:'3 <\r ^i^ 

*. T -.q vl'i'I ••--' ' •■ 
"sH"* \&no6f3 -X^jxnaQ lo w.oflqran .3 oylr. bnr: -ji . 

-.-•fHauda^JI lo v'.teooB bns looaoxq ".toia-n-iia ■aifomo'^t 



- 6 - Ch. IV 

Most of the mills now operating have been changed to use some other 
kind of power, steam or electricity. Some still use water power in part, 
although the stream flow is not as dependable noij. In the summer, especially 
the reduced flow caused the closing of many riiills. 

But going back to the early days to learn how the grist mills helped 
to "lift" the early settlers out of pioneer life: More and larger farms 
meant more fann products to sell. It was not siany years until large amounts 
of flour were being sent to the southern and eastern markets. 
Logs into Lumber 

Water power was soon utilized to save another type of labor. The 
early carpenter squared logs with broad ax and adze, both heavy tools. 
The adze, idth its hoe-like form and operated lath strokes toward the 
worker was extremely dangerous and resulted too frequently in painful and 
maiming accidents. Boards were sawed out by two men using a two-man saw. 
One man worked above the logj the other in a pit underneath the log. It 
was hard work, and especially dirty for the man that had to work -with the saw^ 
dust falling on him. Many grist mills were also saw mills, some were prob- 
ably established in that form. James Masters may have built the first 
savmill in the county on Spruce run in modern Madison Township, The date 
given is 1788, The following early mills were both grist mills and saw- 
mills; John Cleaver near the mouth of Roaring Creek, 178? j Thomas Linville 
in modern Slabtown,^ 1789; William Rittenhouse built a mill a mile or so 
up the Briar Creek, 1800, These early saw mills consisted merely of an 
up-and-down saw operated by a simple meclia.nism attached to the water wheel. 
There was a device to advance the log after each stroke. Several saws 
might be arranged in a "gang" so that two, three, or more planks could be 
sawed at one time , With saw lumber becoming plentif uJ, there was now 
lumber that could be sold. 
Lumber Floated Itself to Market, and Cargoes too 

The lumber of the forest surrounding the pioneer was of great value, 
if it could only be gotten to the markets where it could be sold. Soon 
the North Branch settler adopted the plan that had been used before on the 
Delaware and other eastern rivers, and was to be used for many years to 
come on the rivers to the west. Thi.s plan was to float the lumber dovm 
the rivers and have the floating lumber carry frontier products as cargo. 
Canoes 

In 1771 the Provincial Assembly of Pennsj'^lvanir passed a law 
requiring that the Susquehanna should be considered a navigable stream. 
This meant that no dams or obstructions co\ild be placed in it. The first 
navigation was by canoes. In 1772 Ellis Hughes at Catawissa contracted to 
make a dugout canoe forty feet long, three and one-half feet wide and 
eighteen inches deep. For this he was to receive five pounds and ten 
shillings, a jpb that was to take about forty da.ys of work. Such a canoe 
could carry seventy-five, a hundred, even a hundred and fifty bushels of 
grain. Birch bark canoes were lighter and not much used in the southern 
and central parts of the state. Soon rafts and larger boats replaced the 
canoes, raJting being the earlier. 



i>The slabs resulting from the operations of this mill have given one 
of the names used by the pretty village that developed here, 

"Circular saws were not invented until 1805, were not in general use 
until much la.ter. 



VI .i-ffi - 6 - 

•/■;:iT sraoe oai; c^ bn^-'.'j-irj need ovqri gnxJ-siaqo won zLIitu srfcf lo *aoM 

t '•■•■■-'■ " ' ■- aao XJ ' -.->_. ..u.. ■ r .-_,.._-_ , . J 

XXI"- .tro!-, i 

.^^ii:/; woll booabeT ©rid' 

zntr/t togi2.1 : n.^4 1o cfjjo i . vIib-: '■ oi 

aJ-ni/a'-t:-, 33';6i lir.tn'j 3i: a; • .: &.%' il .IIos oi ^ t nriiil eiom cfm-m 

.a-tsiiism nxoj'j.;: jh's morivtj/oe Qilt oi j.ij:-. ;3.iX3cf o' • ■ '".t to 

c-ri'J .lodcl "io ocn;ci' • ovbs o^ besilid-tr nooa srw 'iowoq •/=J'.'v' 

one nl ^IdTfoi/poil ooJ- .•jo^^-lfjsai bns scoiagnsb ^iLQmat&xe zq.\4 •iG>fiow 

,'■■' ' ■ -■ iirO ' ' . . ■ ■ ■ ■ ■.T 
•'.VGS «r'ct- rid-rw jIiom oi bBxI d-'srfd- asjrr srii ^ol v,, ? hnn ^jficw bTsri acw 
-dr' ■ *■ ■ • ■ ' ■ - .fflift r: - ■ - Tj 
■ - . .. ^- _■_■■-■■ ... __;■■: iTx b- ■ 
3&5b 9f{T .qxxlsnwoT no3J±)'U'l a-^sbom nx nui eoi/icrS 
~U!vR b:: - ■ . . ■ • ^ . . ^ 

•jllxvniJ. ■: .■;:.. . :. '. 

oz 10 rjLhn A LLhn s jLJujil asiforinsd-d-xH mr-rllxW i^6TI -t; .:ii iii: 

ns 'lo xio'ion t^-- T' • sasrfT ," ;; 

,J"--':rfiM- 'lodiiw srij" C.+ .., ...■-...,. ..TitB 5 Y.d - .. , . . .; 

,:=;na IsievsR . rJoos 'xso'-ls sol srii sonnvbB o-t sr)XV9b s asw •:->^■^:IT 

ad t . . ■ ' ""-> -jid +ji§xr'i 

A..: : ;.: , :. . . _ .;.... . . .: . . ... no S-i bxri^s 

.bio 3 9d biwoa J'l^fld' t^d':iJl 

.^uliiv J-ssia lo 3<3W isenoxq _ . ,. .,. .... .., . . . , . ' 

noo2 ,bIos ed bltioo &1 s'tarM e, ■ rifld" oi neiio^ sd yXno i-.Itroo ii It 

c.;lt no niol- j.q t<iu' ' ■ 

.jI srij ci-'^jolj o,! .Jsevr erit od sisvxi erit no ednoo 

.o^'tSQ Hi. aioisho'-iq 1 %'i-iino aa-jiitji. ^tinoLI ^rli avsrl bnr, stavii adi 

geoflsO 
wgI « b,'^a?i'^a "^ixt-iv'' • lo y-C'^wosrA Inxnnivoi'5 etH IVVI nl 

.mr.r.fis sld- ;;8noo c-d bluoiia .1 odJ v t 

ic-xxl an'f . '^ r-. •.,.-...,.,,, ^j, q^ j,,.,, .^ .; 

od' bstO'-Ttr,'.- . fsl .R-^ortRi vd eqw nc ' .! 

^fJiV^>i iryjl y T 

I,;-... ^:. ;. ^ -.; .^ . v ;."* - ' ''' ■• tllvt IO \ ... ' l^-).:.- U • ' '-' 

00n'=3 ~ d-'.i:n .vl'fOW lo ;: ;• OCf RRW .t Mii dof R <2 3 

: ■ • , •■ - , 

.••;..^.:..- :r ..;., .; , .,, 

f -ej-lfi'i nooS .sj'aiE bns 



sino nsvxa svfjrf Ii lo ar: • 

.^au Ir.'fsnos nl J-o;? &. ._ . ':. ion 9i9vr av; /r 



_ 7 - Ch. IV 

Rafts 

We do not know when the first rafts were floated down the North 
Branch, but in 1796 thirty rafts passed VJilkes-Barre. The first rafts 
were probably entirely of logs fastened together. The timbers were 
pine logs, sixty or eighty feet long, in great demand for spars and masts 
for sailing shj.ps. Timbers squared by hand or by early mills were fastened 
together in a squared raft. On such rafts a shanty might be constructed 
as a shelter for the raftsmen and a considerable cargo of frontier produce 
carried. Often they might be hitched end to end and two side by side. 
Plank rafts, tx^relve or sixteen feet square with each course or layer of 
planks laid side by side and the whole raft consisted of eight or ten of 
such courses criss-crossed on top of each other. These also might be 
combined to make a longer raft in "single" file, or two-by-two. Large 
two-man oars were placed, one each, at front and back, for steering. 

Arks 

The next improvement was to construct flat boats of heavy planks. 
Sometimes called arks, they might be fifty or more feet long, about 
fifteen feet ^^ade and would probably draw from eighteen inches to two 
feet vihen loaded. It was guided as it floated down current by two great 
oars, one each at front and back, each oar worked by two men. Arks 
seventy feet long seem to have been built in the 1820' s or earlier, "at 
the deep hole" in Fishing Creek at the western end of Bloomsburg, from 
which the completed boats could be floated to the river. Costing $60,00 
or more when completed, such a boat contained 6,000 board feet or more of 
two-inch planks. An ark might carry 1600 to 2000 bushels of wheat, $l600j 
I4OO to I450 barrels of flour, |2000; or 100 to 120 barrels of whiskey, $3000, 

Durham Boats 

It was not long until the traders of the Susquehanna adopted the 
Durham boat, designed first for the Delaware river traffic and first 
constructed at Durham on that river. Sixty feet long, eight feet wide, 
and two feet deep, when loaded with fifteen tons of cargo, it drew only 
twenty inches of water, A boat for the Susquehanna was necessarily of 
shallow draft. Guided by oars, it floated down river. Occasionally 
sails were fitted, especially for up-current, for tliis boat was designed 
to come back upstream. Its main form of propulsion was polers, who set 
iron pointed poles in the river bottom and pushed as they walked from 
bow to Btern, Walking ledges were built along the gunwales. Besides 
using sails or poles, they might be "bushwixaclcgd", which meant that the men on 
the boat grabbed branches along the bank and pulled on them as they walked 
toward the stern. Or long towing ropes were usee" by men on shore hauling 
the boat. Again, a long rope was fastened to a tree several hundred feet 
up stream. Then those on board would haul in the rope either by hand or 
by windlass. Are we surprised to learn that rivermen needed to be strong 
and hardy I 

Down river thirty or forty miles might be made with the current. Up 
river, six or eight miles mj-ght be made in a favorable day. It might be 
only two. However, like rafts and flat boats, Durham boats might be 
broken up at their do\m river destination for the lumber that they 
contained. 



TL .flO 



BjIs'J: J-STj'.x 9.': 



i«,,^ :-1 r-,— '■*- -rT-.-^- 



vtct 






3bx2 owJ til's br?: 



9cf cfTigim o:. 



:>:t:A 



owj o& Sodoax 
•t Yd ■■ 
. lA .n . .. ,.- . . 



ori.5 



.OOj^:- ^xo-AeMv lo sX../x^,v. ...... c4 001 T ^.^. ,, ^ ,. .-i 'io C.L.. . ,. 



Xxno wtib , Ji:' tO§Too 1>' 

''- •■"■■■■■ ■'^r>:i E6\? • 
,30 ' ,'. . 

■> 3r.V(- ^r,oo' s.c 
• tnoij. b&'.. 



-■cJxxQ .lovxi j-sdi no ji. . 
'ixl fi>tr.r bftb?oI uc-dx-i ^v 



Too-qu loi 



•ix;0 



x.^ 



j-t 



XI 31 SW 



:iolx 



iSaXxur^ri c-iorici no :; 



,.■ 'qU.. , ^dTf-r'Tir 



-» .-, I r. 



. ^ nx 



fe? 9W Sl.A _, , . 

■- fnv'r _ 



.-H 



- 8 - Ch, IV 

The River Traffic 

Rapidly melting snows hastened by rain, meant rising waters in the 
spring. Mow the rafts, or boats that had been labored over by farmers and 
boat builders up the little tributaries, were readied on high banks and in 
back eddies. Barrels of flour, grain, whiskey, pot ash, salt meat, 
lumber, especially in the forms of barrel staves snd headings, and also 
shingles were loaded. Hay was sometimes shipped. The experienced "skippers" 
waited until the freshet has passed its ci'est, Tlais meant that water was 
flowing back into the channel from the flooded lowlands and tended to keep 
the floating cargo carrier in the channel, For a week or ten days, at 
freshet time only, therefore, for fifty or sixty years, the watchers on the 
banks would see continuously large numbers of these craft floating down the 
river, coming in from the many creeks. Rafts predominated at first. Soon 
large numbers of flat boats were to be seen. Towards the middle of the 
century, only a broader type of Durham boat was used for cargo, although 
rafting on the Susquehanna as a means of transporting logs and large timbers 
continued for a number of years after 18^0, There might be a summer freshet. 
A fall freshet vias usually counted on. Accidents from the hazardous rapids 
on the river resulted in a loss of boat or raft and its cargo in about one 
out of every twenty ventures. Lives were lost, too. Arks seem to have been 
more of a hazard than other types for one out of three of these craft might 
be lost, 

A record fi-om 1826 indicates the extent and value of this trade: 
1037 arks, value, $1,037,000 

l6it keel bofts, (somewhat lighter 
than Durham boats, provided 
, idth a keel. Also speedier 
than Durham boats) I61i,000 

1090 rafts of lumber 32 7,000 

"P7^,000 
Columbia County Participates 

There are records to show that our region joined heavily in this traffic, 
William McKelvey ?nd John Barton were the largest dealers in grain at 
Bloomsburg and usually shipped the ark and its cargo. Both were sold at 
the down river destination. Wharves of dealers and wholesalers were located 
at Berwick, From a Danville newspaper of l32li., vjhen Danville was in Columbia 
County, we learn that 100,000 bushels of wheat, 3,000 bushels of clover seed, 
3,000 barrels ox whiskey, 2^0 tons of pork, and a small amount of lumber 
were sent down the river by means of arks and rafts. 
Land TraffU; First Roads 

The rough Indian trails, improved here and there by the occasional 
efforts of imiiiig rating settlers, were soon to be made over by organized 
work, Bend.ck and Catawissa took the lead. In 178? Evan Owen secured the 
contract for the construction of a road from the Lehigh region to Nescopeck, 
This was completed in tvo years. Sixteen years later heavy expenditure was 
incurred in grading and leveling it. The Tioga Turnpike was undertaken in 
1806 and was completed north across Lee and Huntington mountains through 
Jonestown to Towanda by l8l8. The first bridge across the river in our 
vicinity, and one of the first on any part of the Susquehanna, was completed 
at Berwick in iBlIi , 



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- 9 - Ch. IV 

Diiring the same years roads were being constructed south from 
Cataidssa: The Old Reading Road was built along the southern side of 
Catawissa Mountain in 1789. In l80i| and I805 other roads connected 
Catawissa with Slabtown and from there across the southern mountain 
ridges. Another branch led to Bear Gap and thence southeast. Other 
improved roads, and especially those north of the river were slower in 
coming, for the most part. However, roads developed here too. In 1778 
there was a road of some sort from Northumberland to Wilkes-Barre , 
Traffic was sufficient on this road to warrant the establishment of a 
hotel midway between Berwick and Bloomsburg, By I8OI there was a road 
from Buckhorn through Frosty Valley. At an esrly date there were roads 
from Berwick to Mlton and from Bloomsburg to Muncy, possibly as early as 
1820, The iron ore of Hemlock, discovered in 1822, was hauled to the 
Roaring Creek furnace for over twenty years. There must have been a road 
for such use, A rosd across the Mount Pleasant liills from Bloomsburg 
to the Greenwood valley had been surveyed as early as 1798, This was the 
only road to those' portions of the county until I856, That year 
the Legislature made appropriations for a road from Bloomsburg north 
through the valley of Little Fishing Creek, Previously the Klines at 
Orangeville had opened a road from Light Street, This vras gradually 
extended by the settlers up the valley of the bigger creek, although exact 
dates are not known, Bloomsburg and Berwj.ck both became jtxnction points 
for stage lines, Jerseytown and Buckhorn were points of importance on 
the Muncy line, while Jonestown was important on the Towanda line. Such 
roads were passable in the summer; in the winter and spring they became 
almost impassible, "The wheels of the vehicle san]< in the mire to the 
hubs, Vlhen further progress became impossible, the impatient passengers 
alighted unceremoniously.. ..and assisted the team in surmounting the 
obstacle.,., Sometimes a fence rail was hastily improvised. ,. .to pry the 
wheels from the mud," Vlith what effect on the clothing of the passengers, 
we can only guess. We can also imagine the jolting of coaches lacking any 
but the most primitive of springs. 

With tlaese changes, the settlers could get their products to market 
in ever increasing amounts. They had, therefore, the means to secure many 
more needed supplies by bujdng or exchange. 'I'he tilings they could buy in 
turn, improved household implements and farm tools, made them more 
productive , 
Continued Flow of Settl ers to Columbia County 

These improved roads meant also that it was easier for new settlers 
to come. The rei;,ion continued to build up with new settlers in the years 
immediately following the Revolution, 1783 to I8OO, and for the thirty 
or forty years following in the nineteenth centvry. 

Routes from the south converged at Bear Gap, From this point meixy 
additional settlers of German origin settled in tlie Roaring Creek Valley. 
These came largely from the vicinity of Reading and Lancaster. Other 
Germans from the lovxer valley of the Lehigh River came to the Nescopeck- 
Bervack terminus and spread from there into the Beaver valley. These two 
valleys were settled predominately by Germans, German descendants are 
widely distributed in the county, more so south of the river than north. 



_ 10 - Ch. IV 

However_, Dutch vallej'- is appropriately named, undoubtedly being a corruption 
of "Deutsch" (Doich), meaning German, and applied because so many German 
(Deutsch) were settled there. Frosty Valley also received many of this 
industrious people. Many settlers from Mew Jersey came to Madison township, 
a fact perpetuated by the name of its principal comiiiunity, Jerseytown. The 
Scotch Irish idth their first representatives in the McClures of Bloomsburg 
also contributed importantly, especially in the northern section as repre- .■ 
sented by the iicHenry fainily. English settlers also contributed, although 
in smaller numbers. Revolutionary soldiers caiue, some veterans of the 
patriot forces, some former members of tlie English forces. Some fomier 
prisoners of war captured by the patriots, botii Hessian and English, 
settled here. For instance, Benjamin Fowler, a British soldier, captured 
when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, was a settler who gave his name 
to Fowlersville, Settlers from New York, Ohio, and Virginia also built 
up our county. On account of the conflict \d.th Connecticut a considerable 
number of settlers were brought to the Bermck and the eastern border 
regions of the County in Briar Creek, Fisliing Creek, Benton and Sugarloaf 
townships. The up-the-river route and the Chillisquaque-Spruce Run route 
also continued to give access to the settled reji,ions and as means of 
travel for incoming settlers. 

More settlers meant that the region would provide buyers for merchants 
and patrons who vjould employ all manner of craftsmen. In fact, in our 
region, as elsewhere certain persons bought land because they believed 
that they could sell it to such merchants and tradesmen. Should we call 
them speculators or community builders? 
The Town Planners - Evan Owen 

Evan Owen is an especially good example of such far-sighted men who 
risked considerable money and were especially energetic and industrious. 
After being discouraged x^dth the swampy appearance of the land in the 
vicinity of the mouth of Fishing Creek j Owen chose high land near the 
"falls", really rapids, above the mouth of the Nescopeck^ Creek, at the 
terminus of a route from the south. In I786 by his own efforts he laid 
out the main streets. He marked out the lots mthin the blocks thus formed. 
He presented building lots to the first churches. Being a trained surveyor, 
he did not need to hire someone else to do tlxis work. In the following 
years he went to the region of the lower Lehigh and Delaware rivers and 
tried to sell his lots. We can be fairly sure vrhat his sales talks were 
like, althoiAgh vre actually have no record of them. They must have gone 
something like this: ''The North Branch country is rapidly being taken up. 
All kinds of artisans are needed. Any skilled industrious workman will 
soon have all the -work he can do, Owensburg is splendidly located on 
high ground just at the end of the irell traveled road from the Lehigh 
river across Broad Mountain to the valley of the Nescopeck, Vie have a 
ferry now and will have a bridge before lor^ , Traffic up and dovm the 
river will also stop to transfer for trade at our splendid place." Can 
we not aL'iiost hear him saying, "There is not a better place on the whole 
North Branch, than right there at Nescopeck Falls." IJhatever he may have 
said as a salesman, he was successful in inducing numbers of people to 
settle and lay the foundations for modern Ber:iick, 



VI ,rlO - VI 

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- 11 - 



Ch. IV 



William Hughes 

VJiliiam Hughes at Catavissa laid out tl.at tovm in 1787. We can be 
fairly sure that he spoke about the splendid water power available from 
the Catawissa Creek and how his town of Hughesburg had splendid advantages 
of a ferry in the river ad access to the valleys of Roaring Creek and 
Catawissa Creek, 

Although Bloomsburg region was sriong the first, if not the very first, 
to be settledjit built up slowly. The swampy flats along the river may 
have been the cause, Ludwig Oyer' , it is thought, was disturbed to see that 
his property was not building up as fast as Ben-ack and Catawissa, He thought 
he could sell Iiis land faster if he laid it out. He laid out Bloomsburg in 
1802. 



Date 
1786 
1787 
179a 



Columbia County Toi-ms Icic. cut; 



Town Planner 

Evan Owen 

William Hughes 

Christian Kunchel & William 

Rittenhouse 
Liberty, 



Name first given 
Owensburg 
Huf^hesburg 
I'iLfflinsburg 



Present 'Name 
Berid-ck 
Catawissa 
Mifflinville 



Espytown 

Bloomsburg'7 

Williamsburg 

Orangeville 

Nev: Media 

Centerville 



Espy 

Bloomsburg 
Light Street 
Orangeville 
Numidia 
Centre lia 



1800 George Espy 

1802 Ludviig Oyer 

1817 Philip Seidle 

1822 Clement Ricketts 

1835 Elijah Price Leestown, 

1855 Survey of Streets by 

Alexander Rea 

Other towns seem to have grown without any toim plan, at least, at 
first. The owners of land merely selling off building lots from time to 
time. 
Town Plans 

Since towns were invariably planned at places of special advantage - 
junction points on travel routes^ stoppages m river traffic, fords or 
ferrying places - these features almost alwajs e:rplaln the basic street 
pattern that was to be followed to the present, Ber^^ck's north and south 
route gives Market Street while the east and vjest route determined Front 
Street, CatavJissa's main street leads back from the river until it comes to 
the three way "fork" vrhere streets mark routes to Roaring Creek, hainville, 
and Bloomsburg, Bloorasbiarg ' s main east and west street follows vrtiat must have 
once been the main river road, but well back from the river to avoid 
swampy land. It was the time of horses for travel. Thus many town plans 
provided for alleys so that easy access coulc. De had for a horse stable 
placed on the rear, without an entrance necessary at the front of the lot. 
This is especially true of Catawissa and Bloomsburg, William Penn's plcn of 
square blocks with streets at right angles is followed in most of our towns. 
His plan provided for all^s, and also a central square, as in Philadelphia, 

Bloomsburg,, is the only town in the countj. to have a central square 
similar to that of Philadelphia, but much S3nallex',of course, Bervdck does 
not have the system of alleys. This is probably because Evan Owon provided 



VA map, apparently the original map, uses the name Bloomsburg, 
Traditions give the najne Eyerstaedtel and inoicatc this name following 
18(32 was used. All deeds after 1802 use the name Bloomsburg, 



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- 12 - Ch. IV 

a system of in-lots for residence, of 1;9.5' x l8l', and out-lots of much 
larger size 2ii7«5' x 1|12.5' where extensive gardening might be done, or 
small scale farming. It is probable that his plan was that horses would 
be kept there. It is interesting to note that both Bloomsburg and Catawissa 
have streets with the name "Ferry", 
Craftsmen and Artisans 

By bringing in various trades, the pioneers out on the clearings were 
benefited. Needed tilings could be made and bought in the growing neighbor- 
hood villages. The first settlers included many such skilled workers and 
tradesmen, Berwick is a good example because of a complete record there. 
At an early date, although we do not know exactly when, the following trades 
are listed: a tailor, a chairmaker, a tin smith, a tanner, carpenters", 
a cooper, a blacksmith, a cloth dyer, a butcher (probably a dealer in fresh 
meat) , a weaver, a cabinet maker, a saddler, a wheel-wright, a miller, a 
gun smith, and a silver smith, 

Catawissa, Bloorasbxirg, and to some degree the crossroads villages at 
other places must have resembled Beridck in these early days: little 
country settlements vdth shops near the humble houses, log cabins for the 
most part at first. The shops were mostly one-man affairs. The owner 
cultivated his land when he did not have jobs to keep him busy at his 
trade. Some of these trades have disappeared. Others have been transferred 
to large factories, here or elsevriiere. Inns and hotels were neecfed 
established very early at the smaller villages as well as the larger tovms, 
A record of Catawissaj also fairly typical, indicates that it had forty- 
five houses mostly log, but one of stone, Berwick was probably no larger, 
but other towns were not to achieve this size for years. Let us look more 
closely at certain examples of the work in these villages. 
The Cooper and Cooperage 

Containers were needed by the pioneer - spoons, cups, dishes, pots, 
kettles, caldrons, kegs, barrels, measures, A few would have been brought. 
As they were lost, broken, worn out, how were others provided" How were 
they to get additional ones needed? Wood was used for buckets, kegs, and 
barrels. Here is where the work of the cooper was very important on the 
frontier. Wooden pieces, staves, were accuxately beveled and steam-bent 
to proper size and shape, grooved on the inside to take ends, a bottom if 
a bucket, both ends, headings, if to be a keg or barrel. The cooper needed 
to be a skillful worker in wood. His products were in the greatest demand. 
He could also be sure of a ready market if he sMpped his headings and 
staves in "knocked down" form for use in the distant cities. Large numbers 
of barrels were needed for flour, whiskey, and grain, which soon were 
shipped in great quantities to the cities. 

A century and more ago, rubber and other plastics were unavailable. 
Leather^ still a preferred item for certain articles such as shoes and gloves 
was at that time put to many other uses also: coats, leggings, boots, belts, 
belting for machinery. Harness for horses and oxen required heavy leather 
of the finest sort. 



^The first settlers, the Browns, were carpenters. 



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- 13 - Ch. IV 

The Tanner and Leather 

After the first season, the pioneer fariaers begin to accumulate hides 
from game animals and from livestock butchered for meat, A solution of lye 
was used to loosen the hair after any of the flesh adhering had been 
scraped off. For the actual tanning, tannic acid was needed. This was to 
be secured from the groujid-up bark of oak and hemlock trees, especially 
hemlock. A series of soakings in stronger and stronger solutions of tannic 
acid then followed. Fine leather resulted when the process was carried 
out by experienced and skilled craftsmen. All the ingredients were found 
on the frontier. 

Harness makers and shoemakers were able early to make a living. At 
first they might go from farm to farm. At each stop they would use the 
leather of the owner. The owner might have tanned it himself, or he might 
have had it tanned at the early tannery in the neighborhood, paying for it 
by leaving a portion of his raw hides or pelts. Now the traveling crafts- 
men, if harness maker, repaired the harness or made a new set or sets as 
might be needed. If a shoemaker, he made and fitted shoes to the family 
feet as needed and repaired others. His pay in part would be "putting 
him up" for the time he was there. He might also take leather in part pay. 
The rest would have to come from money. This was hard to come by, but 
supplies were gradually increasing as the pioneers were able to sell more 
and more of their products. 

Is it any wonder that the whole family might go barefoot much of the 
time in mild weather? We also learn that, by common frontier practice, 
maidens on their way to church, walked barefoot until they came in sight 
of the church, when they put their shoes on. After church, the practice 
was reversed. We don't learn about the swains, maybe they did the samel 

Tanneries also produced leather that could be sold if shipped to the 
cities. Harness makers might also produce goods for sale at a distance. 
Shoes were sold directly from maker to user. 

Certain examples reflect vividly frontier conditions. 
Actual Experiences of Barly Tradesmen 

John Snyder completed an apprenticesliip as a saddler in Allentown, 
After follo^^dng his trade briefly in several cities, he settled in Berwick 
in 1808, and later became prominent in the lii'e of Berwick, He served in 
the VJar of I8l2, reaching the rank of major, 

Daniel Snyder, no relative of John just noted, became dissatisfied 
with farm life in Northampton County after he and his older brother had 
taken up the family farm on the early death of their father. He took up 
work in a tannery in order to learn the trade. In I8IO, at the age of 
twenty-seven, he came to Bloomsburg and bought twenty-six acres east of 
Catherine and North Streets, then just beyond the town limits. He paid 
550 English pounds, equivalent to $2,673. A day laborer might be paid 
30 to 50 cents for a day's work, A skilled worker might get 75 cents a 
day. These figm-es suggest the burden of such an investment for a young 
man trying to get a start in his trade. He retiirned to his former home 
for his eighteen year old bride, when rumors had it that the brook running 
through his newly bought property occasionally would run dry. This meant 
disaster for his tanning project. Squire Hutchison passing throi;igh with a 
load of wheat for Easton, assured Snyder that the stream was a never-failing 



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- U, - Ch. IV 

one. With this assurance, Snyder arranged vjith the Squire to haul hin, his 
young bride, and their possessions back to Blooias'.wrg. According to later 
incidents, a young heifer must have been led also, the bride's dowery,^ 
Arriving at Nescopeck after dark, it was deemed best to make the crossing 
that night, VJhen the young woman saw the svjollen condition of the river 
the next morning, she vowed that she would never have risked the cow if she 
had known how dangerous it was. The heifer wa.s forced to swin behind the 
ferry. 

The Snyders took up residence in a log cabin at the corner of vjhat was 
later East and Second Streets, But their troubles vrere not over. After 
the tannery had been erected, Snyder had only a hundred dollars left. 
The leather he had bought he could only sell on tn.ist, but to secure hides 
for his business he was required to pay money. His industry and pluck 
inspired confidence end money was lent him witli wliich he established him- 
self as a fine business man and community leader. We shall hear more about 
him. His wife was a loyal and industrious helper. She made several rolls 
of butter each week from the milk supplied by the heifer. The butter was 
sold or bartered. One of the items bartered was the shovel with which 
Snyder dug his tan vats. 

Sometime in I8I6 a stranger, by the name of James Wells, ''put up" for 
the night at a Bloomsburg hotel. He said that he vjas a Yankee wagon maker. 
On suggestion, he stayed to make a wagon for the landlord. But V7ells had 
difficulty in borrowing tools because there was still animosity for New 
Englanders on account of the Connecticut troubles of fifteen or twenty years 
previous, William Sloan lent him tools and work bench. Seasoned wood was 
secured from old fences on Sloan's farm, l-Jhen completed, it was the town's 
first one-house vehicle, and the first to heve been constructed here. It 
is stated further that the wagon industry of Sloan and Hendershott resulted. 

Towns also early had merchants. But even before merchants, there were 
the peddlers. They made their appearance at an early day and were part of 
the farm scene for many years, even into the twentieth century. In fact, 
certain kinds of "merchandising" in door to door canvassing are still to be 
found. At first the peddler may have come by canoe, later by pack horse. 
At one time he may have carried his meagre stock of goods on his back. When 
roads developed he would have a peddler's wagon wi.th an ever-widening stock 
in trade. Included were articles of necessity: woven cloth, tin or iron 
cooking utensils, needles, tools. Trinkets vrould also tempt the lonely 
pioneer wife. Always he carried with him a stock distributed free, the 
latest news and savory gossip to lighten the loneliness of the "back woods." 
He had to be willing to take frontier goods in trade, especially pelts, 
rags saved up for the paper maker, and other articles, for money was scarce, 
Paul Thomson, an early Berwick maker of pottery, sold his products of 
crocks, jugs, and other course utensils, from his flat boat along the river. 

The stores came very early. There was possibly one at Catawissa before 
the Revolution, ° Merchants, for example, are mentioned in Berwick shortly 
after I786 and at Bloomsburg, before I8IO, In 1791 John Funs ton in modern 



^Chapter II, page lli, "children had been sent to Catawissa for 
supplies," 



9C 



- 15 - ch. IV 

Madison Township, sent his son to Reading -with grain for sale. The son 
bought six wool hats and sold them so quickly on his return that the older 
Funston began to supply the neighbors with goods. This wax the start of 
the Funston store. Around it grew up the toxm of Jerseytown on the 
Bloomsburg-Muncy road. 

While the settlers were trying to produce articles for sale or trade 
and while they vere working to improve the means of transportation, they 
also learned that they could exchange each other's labor, that is they 
could join in sharing viork. 
Sharing in Work 

In clearing- land, numerous logs resulted too large to be piled by one 
man, or by man and wife. As soon as there were neighbors within convenient 
distance, they would be told that on such and such a day there would be a 
log rolling. On the appointed day all families \-d.tliin reach of the call 
gathered together at the designated farm. The men chose two captains, and 
these men alternately chose their sides. When the teams were completed, 
both went to work with a will to see which team could pile up the most. 
There was much coarse fun spiced with the danger of handling big logs with 
heavy log hooks. 

Meanwhile the women were having equally jolly times, preparing the 
food partly brought and partly supplied. Older children helped or took 
care of the younger ones. After a day of jolly companionship and hard work, 
the owner saw his fields well cleared with piles of logs that he could burn 
at his convenience. The Germans called such jolly work parties froehlich , 
meaning happiness or jollity. We have the siniilEr word, •♦frolic". English 
speaking people noted how busy like bees everybody was. Their name often 
given to such neighborly work parties was "bee"' , 
Cabins, Houses, and Barns 

The next frolic or bee would probably be the raising of a house or 
barn. Building the second shelter, better thaji the first required help. 
The logs used were longer and heavier. On the house rsiising day teams 
would be chosen, some were to notch the logs so that a four square house 
could be built, VJilling hands and strong made the walls rise. At the 
gable ends, stout wooden sticks or pins kept these logs in place, A 
ridge-pole supported the roof timbers on which bark was laid and weighted 
with stones or other timbers. Or home split shingles might be used later, 
Windows and doorway were cut and a door was h\mg viith wooden hinges. No 
known cabins of round logs as they came from the trees are known to the 
writer to be in existence in our County, Usually the second shelter was a 
log house, rather than a cabin of crude round logs. For the house, the 
logs were squared with broad ax and adze, botli operations requiring strong, 
skilled men. Such squared logs, notched one-quarter of the thickness at 
each end would fit together to make a solid building id.th a minimum of 
chinking necessary. There are at least three splendid examples of this 
better type of construction existing in our coimtj'-j the Quaker Meeting 
Houses in Catawissa and on the hill road from Slabtown to Newlin in Locust 
Township, The barn on the Howard Esler property in Montour Township, a 
short distance north of the old Route 11, is an especially fine example of 
such construction. 



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- 16 - Ch. IV 

The first log cabin probably became a live stock shelter when the 
better house had been biiilt. Still another tj^se of building required the 
help of a bee or a frolic. For this type, the ovmer, or his carpenter, had 
put together •with careful joints well braced the heavy squared beams for 
each side and end of the building, laying them on the ground, next to their 
place-to-be in the completed building. Such a set of timbers could only be 
raised into place by the combined help of the neighborhood in a frolic or a 
bee. If the carpentry was good, these sides would fit exactly into the 
joints prepared previously, holes would be bored, and stout wooden pins 
inserted which would hold the whole heavy framework together. There are 
still many old houses and barns around the coionty that must have been con- 
structed in this way, 10 

There were also corn-husking bees, bees or frolics for butchering, and 
possibly pther types of work. The women often got together to share the 
essentially women's work: quilting, spinning and weaving, and possibly others. 

By 1830 or l8itO the older sections of the county had been fairly well 
settled. Some settlers could look back to fifty or sixty years of develop- 
ment, especially in the bigger river towns, at mllville. Light Street, and 
the more open valleys. Neighbors were fairly close by in the country as 
well as in the villages. Loneliness was largely overcome. The dangers of 
Indians were no more. Wild animals were no serious menace, at least in the 
settled sections. The settler had an improved house and livestock, especially 
horses and oxen. Various crafts and trades were established in the nearby 
tovms. Transportation was still hard and dangerous and undependable, but 
still it was greatly improved over the first days. Life was still hard for 
farmer, housewife and craftsman, because a great deal of work still had to 
be done by manual labor. But conditions were much improved. 

In the raore distant and out-of-the-way places, the life of the pioneer 
still confronted the new settler, but even for them towns and villages, and 
neighbors were not at such great distances. They did not have the loneliness, 
danger, and hardship of the first pioneer. 



This skill will be referred to when we tell about early bridges. 



TO FIND OUT HOW EFFECTIVELY YOU HAVE READ 

1, What three words describe pioneer life at first? 

2, How did the pioneers secure food? Tell some of the ways their food differed 
from ours. Especially recall differences in food secured from the wilde, 

3« Tell about the different kinds of shelters and how they were made, 

I4. What were the articles or commodities which the pioneer had to secure from 

others? 

5, If a day laborer was paid 35^ a day, what could be said about the prices 
paid for various commodities mentioned in this chapter. Or, putting it 
another way, how many hours or days of work v/oro necessary to buy one or 
another of such items? 

6, What were articles which the pioneer could secure or make; articles which 
they could trade or barter? 



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7. What were the first kinds of jidlls that vrcrc constructed? Can you explain 
why? Where were they located? Why importrnt? At what kind of site? 

8. Vlhat did these mills produce or make? How were products disposed of? 

9. Consult the encyclopedia for pictures of river craft, rafts, arks, 
Durham boats, 

10. What important roads and stage routes vcve established in these early 
years? Trace them on an outline map or road map, 

11. Tell about the settlers who arrived in these years and where they settled, 

12. Tell important facts about the Town planners, who they were and what were 
the towns they planned, 

13. Using time line on page 1 as model, maice a larger one showing items and 
details that had to be omitted on this small one, both our state and national 
history above the line and our local history below. This might be a comrlttee 
project. 

lit. How did the village dwellers help the pioneer farmers? In turn, how did 
these farmers help the village dwellers? 

15, Why were the cooper's and the tanner's trades especially important? 

16. How do the experiences of Vac. and Mrs. Daniel Snyder, of James Wells, 
of John Funston reveal pioneer conditions and exiseriences in our region? 

17, Describe frolic or a bee (work bee) and why were such gatherings important? 

18. I'^Fhat is the difference between a log cabin and a log house? 

INTERESTING THINGS TO DO 

1, The basic reference books, which your teacher knows about, probably 
contain additional interesting details about the particular borough, town, 
or township, in which you live. Read about your own district. You may find 
interesting points to report to the class on the topics of this chapter, and 
on the topics of later chapters, 

2, An excursion to a grist mill, or saw mill, A visit to one with early 
machinery would be especially interesting, 

3, Interview a miller and bring to class an accouBt of early milling and 
modern milling, 

h» Prepare an exhibit of early articles and utensils: of the housekeeper, 
farmer, perhaps craftsmen's tools. Even one or two lent to your class 
would prove interesting, 

5, Try to bring pictures for class exhibit of life, activities, utensils of 
the times, 

6, Write letter to County Historical Society tolling about any interesting 
items or pictures, 

7, Some such items may be seen at the Columbia County Historical Society, 
arrange a trip to the Society's museum. 

8, We are not sure our list of towns as they were laid out is correct, A 
letter telling us of errors or omissions are requested, 

9, Letters calling our attention to any items for correction are requested. 

Check your vocabulary: 

ingenuity, forage, spawn, barter, mead, pollution, conservation, alkaline, 

solution, porridge, buhr stone, a stream's head, to bushwhack, ingredients 



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Chapter V 

CANALS, KAILROAr^S, AND INDUST^ilES 

C^ristiap Probst. 5 Co-r^ur 1 ty Leader 

Christian orotst <^f Catawisse was an irr")ortent leader in brinrinr 
irrorover' t ransoor t at ion to the North BrF.nch of the Susquehanna. Born in 
Peri'^ county, he settled at Catawisso in 1795, at the ane of twent y-e ioht . 
He hs" accepter? conttn'rntal rnon«?y as his share of inheritance frcr" his 
father. Like all continp-ntal oaper money, this becan^e worthless. 

Brobst early sho//ed his enterprise and enerqy. The owner of the first 
qrist nil! seems to have been unobliginq, aooarently thinkinn that he had 
a monopoly. As Brobst exoressed it, he becarre "..too sassy." He borrc/ved 
a lamp sunn of money and built a second mill in 1801. This mill was a 
substantial buildino and equiDoed to produce flour, feed, ano plaster. 
Transportation Needs 

In the three or four years beoinninc about IS^^O, Catawissa sent Tore than 
15,6^0 barrels of flour to Read inc. /Vore would have been sent if the roads 
had been better. There seems to have been some form of boat transoort at ion 
on the Susquehanna at thjs time for communities in the redion and on the 
Vest Branch, but none for the distant commiuni t ies. TransDort at ion overland 
tv horses and waoons was slow and exoensive. A ton, possioly a ton and third, 
mioht make un a wacon load. The river traffic was aractically all down 
stream, and then only at freshet times, two or occaslonclly three t ir-es a 
year. 
'.'/hy not us«^ j'''oamhocts on the Susquehanna ? 

Steamboats had been ooeratina on the Hudson river since 1P07 and on the 
Ohio since 1611. Several attempts were made to establish steamboat transpor- 
tation on the Susquehanna, but all in vain. It was at Berwick that it .vas 
finally oroved to be imoract icab le. A steamboat, "The Susquehanna" was 
built at Paltlmore. After triss to Danville andA'ilton in 1S?5, Ber.vick was 
approached on a trio planned for the uooer reaches of the North Branch. 
Several orominent men, includino Christian Broh?, t , were on bopro. A full 
head of steam had been built up by means of o ; ne loos as the Ber\vic'<' raoids 
were aDorrached. The hoat's prrnress was stopned by the current. It turnod, 
strikino a rock. Th^n the boiler exoloded. It is thout^ht that someone had 
held down a safety valve. Col. Joseoh Paxton of Ruoert , one of the 
passonoers, has Irft this description; "I stood on the forward deck with s 
lono pole in my hand, and was in the act of d I ac i no it in the water boo i no 
to steady her, when the exDJosion took placa. Two vouno men standinq near 
were blown hinh in the air, arid I was i~uried several varrs into the water. 
I thouQht a carrion had been fired, and shot my head off." Two oer<^ons vjere 
killed outricht, end others burned bv escaoino steam. Brobst and ^axton 
were not seriot.slv iniured. 

This disaster turned attention away from steam navloation in the river, 
excpot fo^ local navicalion on shorter stretches of quiet or slack water, as 
in thf? vicinity of Sunbury and Northumberland. 



Time Chart of .Related Events 




Suggestton - Construct a similar chart on a large* scale wi 
to i/iow further Hou our history is related to other events 



- 56 - 



Will Canals Meet the Need for Better Transportation? Brobst's Plan 

The Erie canal had been but recently constructed In New York. It 
had proved to be a great success. As a result many canal schemes 
originated in Pennsylvania to overcome its many transportation diffi- 
culties. Christian Brobst came up with an original and daring scheme. 
This was to follow the valley of the Catawissa Creek to its headwaters, 
where by crossing a three mile divide the upper reaches of the Schuylkill 
river valley would be reached, giving access down that valley to the 
rich and populous southeast. His full plan would have continued the 
route by river to Northumberland, up the West Branch, and beyond that 
river by means of another canal to Erie. This plan, after having given 
much study, was given up. 
The North Branch Canal 

But canals were not given up. Pennsylvania, about 1828, started to 
build what eventually became a system of canals on all the major streams 
of the Commonwea I th. The canal on theN^rth Branch might have been delayed 
or emitted If It had not been for Brobst. The "down-state" men wishedthe 
main stem canal at the south to be constructed first. Brobst, as a mem- 
ber of the State legislature to which he had been elected, was 
Influential in securing the early construction of the North Branch 
canal. In fact, Brobst, along with other up-state representatives, 
blocked action in the legislature until the branch lines also were 
assured. 

A humorous bit of dialogue has been preserved: A down-state 
representative, learning that Brobst was a carpenter, asked if he had 
ever built a house by constructing the roof first. To which Brobst 
responded by asking his opponent if he had ever dug a well by diaqing 
the bottom first! 

Construction of the North Branch canal was started at Berwick In 1828. 
It was ooened along the river as far as Pittston in 18'^4. The whole 
North Branch system wes not in full operation to New York until 1856. 
The cost was $1,598,379.35. Soon the canals were carrying a very large 
amount of traffic. Our North Branch canal was finally abandoned In 
1901. This was at about the same time that the other parts of 
Pennsylvania's vast canal system were given up. The state never aot back 
more than a mere fraction of the millions of dollars it put into Its 
canal system. 
Importance of the Canal 

While the canals were at their height of patronage, they carried an 
Immense amount of traffic. For our region, they helped get our farm produce 
to market. 

Almost immediately after the canals were begun, conditions throughout our 
region became more prosperous. Work was provided for farmers and teamsters 
and hundreds of workmen were brought in to dig the channel and pile up the 
embankments, to construct the locks, to build the bridges to carry roads 
across the canal, and to build other special types of bridges, aqueducts . 
to carry the canal Itself across streams.^ 

When the canal was finished, many of the workmen became workers on it, 
boatmen, lock-keepers, and repairmen. Besides making our farm produce more 
valuable by helping It to oet to market more readily, the products of our 
early industries, tanneries, sawmills, and others, also could be marketed 



lOne of the largest was the aqueduct which carried our canal across 
Fishing Creek, at Rupert. 



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- 57 - 

more readily. New Industries were started, especially, boat bulldinq. A 
number of canal boats were built at the "ark buildinq site" at the westerly 
part of Bloomsburg In the early days of the canal. But Espy early became 
the location of a number of firms for the building of canal boats of 
excellent design and construction. These works continued as long as the 
canal system lasted. 2 
The Canal at its Height of Importance 

About 1850, if we could have gone down Market Street in Bloomsburg, 
we would have come to the high bridge crossing the canal. If instead of 
crossing the bridge, we would have gone a little west we would have come 
to a widening of the canal with wharves and berthing docks for canal boats. 
This was Port Noble. Let us reconstruct the scene in imagination aided by 
various hints, traditions, and records. Here is a boat covered with a deck, 
from the hold of which a mixed cargo Is being taken: salt, dry goods and 
groceries for the various stores In town and the region. At another wharf 
a boat Is taking on reddish rocks, iron ore, for shipment to Berwick for the 
Nescopeck Forge. Billets, or blocks, of pig iron from the Bloomsburg furnaces- 
are loaded. At another location, several boats are unloading anthracite 
coal, some for the Bloomsburg furnaces, some for local dealers who will retail 
it to householders for heating and cooking. We also see quite frequently the 
passage of other boats in twos, one behind the other, pulled by teams of 
two or three mules, hitched one behind the other. If these large boats 
moved too fa^t, their wash damaged the banks of the canal, so any speed 
greater than four miles an h'^ur was forbidden under penalty of a fine. 
Down the canal, that is with the current, many of the boats are carrying 
coal for the Danville iron furnaces and for markets as far away as Harrisburg 
or Columbia. Up current boats are apparently carrying mixed cargoes similar 
to those being delivered in Bloomsburg, 

While we are watching, a packet boat from Wi Ikes-Barre comes in. This 
Is pulled by six horses and goes much faster, about six miles an hour, it 
draws up at the dock. While some passengers leave, others embark. The 
horses c^re changed in order to maintain its tight schedule and reach 
Northumberland In about three and a half hours, so that passenners for 
Harrisburg and Philadelphia can make connections with the Wi I I i amsport-to- 
Philadelphia packet boat. We hear one passenger, who must make a lengthy 
stay In Philadelphia, complaining that he wi I I need to return by stage 
coach because the canal will be closed for the winter before he can return. ^ 

It Is not difficult to realize the similar scenes of activity taking 
place at the canal ports of Berwick and Danville and also at the hundreds of 
other places served by the great canal system, then at its height of 
Importance. 



^See below for further references to the Espy boat, 
^Being much lighter and narrower than the big freighters, a packet 
boat could go faster without damage to the canal banks. 



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- 58 - 



We strike up a conversct- ion with en old man, obviously too feeble 
to work. He tells us thathe came ^o Bioomsburg as part of the pick-and- 
shovel and wheelbarrow gang that constructed the canal In this section. 
When the canal was finished, he secured a job as boatman. Many are the 
tales that he can tell: Of the trip In which his outfit traveled with two 
boat loads of coal which were being towed across the Nantlcoke dam, how the 
strong current carried them so close to the dam that the steamboat cut them 
loose and the boats were carried over the dam, but were saved by the skillful 
steering of the pilot. Another time he was on an outfit that was being 
towed across the Chesapeake bay, loaded with anthracite coal from Luzerne 
county. A storm came up. Other boats In the convoy collided with each 
other and some were sunk. His boat was driven aground at the shore. When 
the storm abated, the crew dug a channel, floated their boat, and were able 
eventually to enter It Into the Delaware river and by canal transport it 
across New Jersey for delivery on the Atlantic coast. Other adventures he 
also told: The time a gang of robbers jumped on the boat from an overhead 
bridge, but were beaten off by the pilot who had kept a gun handy. The pilot 
had heard how another boat had been held up and the crew robbed just recently 
at the same place. He told of the hardships of the mule boys on the cold 
days late In the fall when drizzle turned to sleet and one of the men had 
to relieve the little fellow until they could find a place to tie up for the 
night. Our "old-timer's" account is interrupted as an especially trim outfit 
comes Into view. We can Imagine him saying something like this: "See t/hat 
outfit. That's an Espytown outfit, just about the best In the whole country. 
See the pointed ends, see the big chains holding the two boats together. 
When the steersman turns that big wheel, it turns the rear boat just ?^s if 
it was a rudder. I tell you them's about the best boats anywhere, and 
they're made right here in Espytown." 

Or aoain, "Oh! I remember about one outfit. It was late at nioht, 
coming Into the down-river locks. The boatman missed the snubbing post with 
his hawser. The boat smashed Into the lock walls and the gates. They were 
smashed end the lock tender was shook right out of bed. He thought there 
had been an earthquake. The c?nal was blocked unti I the qates and masonry 
walls could be repaired. That outfit had to pay damages and a heavy fine." 

Resuming his stories, the "old-timer" goes on: "Those there packet boats 
is too stuck up. They are given the right of way over the freighters. 
Why, one time we were In a lock, and they hitched up their horses to our 
boats and pulled them rlqht out and went through the lock first. The 
freighters bring more tolls to the canal, but all the men passengers, eight 
or ten, jumped out and told us we had better not or we would be the ones 
knocked into the canal. They looked touah, too, and we were only two and a 
boy. All we could do was swear, which you can believe we did." 

Lots of times In the summer, boys would drop on the boat from an over- 
head bridge, and ride along to the next one where they would swing off. When 
food got monotonous, we would sometimes drop off a boat and sneak some 
roastino ears or apples. It was too bad If a duck or chicken wandered too 
close to the canal, it might find Itself In the stewing pot. 



ne l9\' 



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- 59 - 

It isn't as much fun now. Many of the outfits have a woman cook. 
It's a family affair. The boy drives the mules. When a boy is old enouoh, 
he becomes a boatman. I know of one outfit that started up in Lockhaven, 
went down to Duncannon, from there up the Juniata canal, across the incline 
railroad and finally into the Ohio. That boat ended up In New Orleans. 

I've been told our canal has so much business that It can't carry It 
all. Just last year the tol Is on our division from WI Ikes-Barre to 
Northumberland took in over $100,000.00 and it has been increasing every 
year since the canal was built." 

Such were the scenes and conversation that might have been experienced 
about 1850, every detail of which is recorded at some place or other. If 
we had really been living back In the 1850's, we would have had to break off 
our conversation and make our long way back up to town through weeds at the 
side of the road, dodging as best we could the clouds of dust which the 
lumbering dray wagons made hauling their loads to and from Port Noble. 
Apparently the peak of prosperity for the canals was in 1864 during the 
last year of the Civil War when the amount of $181,408.00 in tolls was 
reached for the North Branch section. "I hear they're planning a railroad 
down the river from Scranton to Bloomsburg," might have been an old timer's 
remark . 

The canal followed the north and west bank of the river. Catawlssa, 
Ml f f I tnvi I le, and other towns on the east and south bank did not have 
ready access. Where bridges had not already been constructed, people began 
to demand them In place of rope ferries. A bridge at Berwick for the 
highway from the Lehigh Section to Tioga had been completed In 1814. This 
will be referred to again. With no other bridge above Sunbury and below 
WI Ikes-Barre, many leading men In the county and others wishing better 
communications with the down-state regions became active In advocatlna a 
bridge at Catawlssa. Christian Brobst aaain was one of the leaders. This 
bridge was constructed and opened for traffic In 1833. A bridge at Danville, 
agitation for which had been started at about the same time, was completed 
In 1829. 

Stock Companies and Toll Bridges In Place of Ferries 

The state government aided In many public improvements at that time. 
The procedures In the construction of the Catawlssa bridge afford an 
excellent example. The legislature appropriated ten thousand dollars to 
purchase bridge company stock on condition that private individuals wdu 1 d 
secure the necessary additional funds to complete the bridge. The entire 
cost eventually was $26,000. The subscribers. Including the State, held 
stock, that is shares. Tolls were charged and the shareholders received 
dividends from the Income after necessary expenses had been met. The state 
later sold its stock and used the Income to construct a wagon road along 
what is now called the Catawlssa narrows. 

Covered Bridges as Engineering Achievements 

These bridges were of wood, as were most bridges constructed at that 
time when labor for stone bridges was scarce and wood was plentiful. Gradu- 
ally the carpenters who had learned to use heavy timbers in barn construct lor) 
learned how to make longer and longer and longer bridges. Eventually, some 
of the longest came to be remarkable feats of engineering. Columbia county, 
at one time or another, had some of the more remarkable of these wooden 
bridges, although never a "record breaker." 



60 - 





1 The first orioqe would be a stout set of 
fceens beT'^rveen the banks of the stream. When 
the load becsme areater, or the span wider, 
or both, a damerous sen w^u I d inciicete the 
need of strengthen i nc. 

2 This mioht be by diagonal braces underneath, 
but they would obstruct the /.ater vvh^n the 
strean was at flood. Not shown. 

3 This was overcome ty a kino oost and braces, 
or a kinq-Dost truss. This would enable the 
bridqe to sofin a greater distance with 
Qr6?ter strength. 

4 Still orecter lenqth was secured by a queen- 
post truss. Tf^is is a queen-oost truss. 

5 A series of queen-post trusses minht carry 
the bridoe over a still wider span, but there 
were limits to the length cf such a span. 
Theodore Purr, a fon-us enqineer, who built 
many famous bridges of great length and strength, 
orininated the Burr kino-post arch truss. -^ 

6 One of his first bridoes and one of the first *N^^ 
on the Susquehanna anywhere was the noted bridqe 
at perwick constructed in 1874, of this Purr 
arch truss. 

Our bridges were roofed over to orotect the 

timbers from rotting. These bridoes, testimony 

to the ability of our forebears, are gradually 

disappearino under the stress of automobile and 

auto-truck traffic. (Pennsylvania still has a 

laroe numter of f-em and Columbia County is amono 

the Pennsylvania counties that still have the 

larQPSt number. 

Covered Br i d^e A'emcr '. .-. I _ 

The County Com.miss ioners some years ago aoreed to preserve the covered 
tridoe at Stillwater as a memorial to these splendi'^ structures. All 
vehicular traffic is blocked off, now, but it is onen to oedestrians livino 
across the creek. it is the second longest soan wooden bridge ever constructed 
in the County, 1840. Below Bloomsburg, a bridge now gone slice the late 192"*s , 
was unusual in that it had two passaoes, separated by heavy structural timbers 
in the center, it was called the "Double-track Bridae" and was a very Ion" single 
sp?>n. This bridge was built in 1840 at a cost of S2,150. The three-span reinforced 
concrete structure to replace it in 1023, cost more than ten times as much. The 
lonnest single span bridqe in the county, and the longest span r^vs' any strearr,s 
other than the river, is the bridoe across the creek at Ruoert, 185 feet ^ inches 
long. The-^e last three bridoes mentioned are or 'nere all of the Burr src^ and 
kim-post type of bridge. 

It is considered that the inventor's skill shown in thpse bridoes led 
later to the construction of truss bridoes usinc structural steiM instead of 
wooden Trembers. ^•^ny other ty:^es of trusses wei-e also developed. 




61 - 



Railroads in Our County: The Catawissa Railroad 

Despite the greet benefit of canals, there were many regions that did 
not have ready access to them. Mines for coal and iron and quarries for 
stone, to be told about below, were In especial need for better transporta- 
tion. The first railroad to be completed In Pennsylvania, and on^ of the 
first In America was from Mauch Chunk to Summit Hill, in 1827. Christian 
Brobst, five years before, was advocating a railroad, again planning it 
for the route up the valley of the Catawlssa Creek, and then reaching the 
upper Schuylkill valley by means of a tunnel. He devised home-made 
surveying instruments by which he took levels and marked out routes in the 
rugged terrain along the Catawlssa Creek. Later, trained surveyors were 
to marvel to find that the levels as Brobst had marked them out were never 
out of true by more than six feet. Brobst was able to interest other men 
both in the region and In Philadelphia. Money was raised and construction 
work started in 1835 and continued for several years. Then a Philadelphia 
bank, which had been giving financial aid, failed. Other financial 
difficulties at the time of the great panic of 1837 caused the work to be 
given up, not to be resumed until 1853 by a new company* The road was 
pushed through to completion and extended from Catawlssa and thence to 
Rupert and Danville, Col. Paxton was active In securing this extension, 
planned oriqinally to reach WI I I I amsport , but never carried farther than 
Milton. Col. Paxton was also instrumental in having the charter for this 
extension In 1850 contain the provision that the road should not "diverge 
more than one mile from the mouth of Fishing Creek." This required the 
route to pass his property and continue through Dutch valley rather than to 
follow the river to Danville. By 1854 trains were running from the head of 
the Schuylkill valley to Milton on the West Branch. 

Besides being the first railroad built serving our county and region, 
this Catawlssa Railroad was noted formerly for the beauty of the scenery 
afforded In the wild country in the upper Catawlssa valley as It carried 
the passengers over bridges of breath-taking height until the terminus in 
the Schuylkill valley was reached. It is now part of the Philadelphia and 
Reading railroad system. 
Other Rai I roads 

In but a few years, citizens of WIlkes-Barre joined with those from 
our region in raising money to finance a road from Lackawanna "Creek" to 
Bloomsburg. The road was constructed as far as Rupert In 1858 and extended 
to Northumberland in 1859. 

Berwick, Bloomsburg, Danville as well as Catawlssa were all benefited 
greatly by these Improvements. As in the case of the canal, the construction 
workers brought prosperous conditions, and many stayed to Increase the 
population. Rupert especially became an Important Junction point and frelaht 
depot with facilities of canal and two railroads. This Is what Col. Paxton 
I ntended. 






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- 62 - 



Although It takes us a little ahead of our story, it will be convenient 
to list the other railroad ventures in our county region. 

1870. The Sunbury, Hazleton, and Wilkes-Barre was constructed up the river 
to Catawlsse, thence up the creek valley through Main and Beaver townships 
to the coal regions of Hazleton. The section from Catawlssa to Hazleton 
was later abandoned. 
1881. This road was extended on the south side of the river to WI Ikes-Barre. 
Both of the last two enterprises came under the control of the Pennsyl- 
vania system. The Sunbury to Wilkes-Barre continues to be an Important 
segment of that system. 
1888. The Bloomsburg end Sullivan railroad was constructed up the valley of 
Fishing Creek primarily as a means of getting out the lumber of the North 
Mountain region. The section from Benton to Jamison City was abandoned 
when the lumber was exhausted. The remainder is now controlled by the 
Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. 
1891. The Susguehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick (S.B. & B.), now part of the 
Pennsylvania system, connects the West Branch at Watsontown with Mill- ' 
vllle, Bloomsburg, and Berwick through the valleys of Cabin Run, Big and 
Little Fishing Creek, Spruce Run, and Chi I I I sguaque. A branch formerly 
reaching Orangeville was soon abandoned. 
Importance of Railroads 

At the turn of the century, 1890, 1900, 1910, whet scenes of activity 
were to be noted at the railroad Junction points! At Bloomsburg four times 
a day passengers patronizing the Lackawanna facilities up and down the river 
would change to and from those using the Bloomsburg and Sullivan from "up 
the creek", meaning Big Fishing Creek. At Paper Mill, now the location of 
the Bloomsburg Sand and Gravel, it was possible to take the S. B. & B. train 
for points between Berwick and Watsontown, Mlllvllle, and WashI ngtonvi I le. 
At Rupert the Lackawanna made junction with the Reading. This Reading branch 
brought passengers to or took them from Danville and Milton and points 
between and also to Catawlssa, Malnvllle, Ringtown and on to Pottsville. At 
Catawlssa also, the Pennsylvania lines exchanged passengers down the river 
with its own branches to Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton. Up at Nescopeck, still 
another line of the Pennsylvania took the passengers up the Nescopeck 
Creek Valley to re?ch eventually into the Schuylkill Valley. Local and 
distant passengers gathering in the waiting rooms, exchanging the latest 
gossip, meeting some acauaintance unexpectedly, the unfamiliar passenger 
nervously consulting his time table in fear that he might take the wrong 
train — all of these made the stations at Rupert and Catawlssa as well as 
at Bloomsburg, scenes of colorful activity th?t hardly can be imagined in 
this day of neglect of the railroads. At the same time, over in the freight 
stations, there was also much heavy work as the freight cars were loaded and 
unloaded or shifted from one road to another. With five railroads, 
Bloomsburg, It was prophesied, would become an Important railroad point, and 
Catawlssa, with its extensive railroad repair shoos, would not be far behind. 
Car shops were started at Bloomsburg, but the largest Industry of the region, 
the American Car and Foundry Company, dependent on railroads, developed at 
Berwick. Other Industries were aided in almost all the towns also. 



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- 64 - 



Jjcan 



Iron v^as needed by the pioneer settlers. It was indispensable. Horses 
and oxen needed to be shod and re-shod as their shoes wore out. The 
implerrents, whether for household or for farm, esDecially plouoh shares 
would wear out, would oet lor?t, would be broken. The blacksmith was one 
of the first craftsman to establish hitiself. But ne had to have material 
to work with. Trsnspor t i ni^ heavy iron stock or imolemtnts by pack horse 
or horse-drawn vehicles — the only transportation at first — was extremely 
expensive and inadequate for the needs. Even after the comino of the canals 
and railroads, the expense was such that the early settler hoped for a 
source of iron near at hand. 
Iron Ore anc; /v'^kino Iron 

Our county, similar to other sections of central Pennsylvania, had 
qenerous supplies of the materials for the first establishment of the one- 
time important iron industry. .V'tat are these materials? 
First: Earths or rocks which will yield iron in oayinc quantities, i.e. 

iron ore. 
Second: Fuel to melt the ore and separate the Iron from its impurities. 
Charcoal was needed for this purpose, a I thouch it was later found that 
anthracite coal or coke could be used. 
Third: Certain types of impurities Fn the ore need a substance called a 

flux in order tnat the ore may be separated from them. Lime stone orovides 
such ci f lux. 

The early iron industry In older parts of the State nave experience to 
persons who //ere able to provide beginnings in our reaion. 



Lead Hiir<t 



Charcoal Furnaces and B09S 

In 1815 John Hauck built ?nd operated a char- 
coal furnace on Furnace Run near Catawissa Q-eek . 
At this site was the water nower needed for the 
blast and an abundance of w-^od for charcoal. (See 
diaorarr) He built a cordumy road across the swamp 
in EsDy and secured bon Iron ore from the north 
I de of the F.spy swamp. It was haul^^d by horse 
teams and waQons over this road. The river was 
crossed at this place hy mo^ns of a rone ferry, 
&nri thence to the /Vainville furnace.^ The 
^^■i ooerat ion of this fu'nace leads to the 
n ^ Inference that th^ quarryino of limestone must 
J ri have been started at such early date in Scott 

'""^ "^ '"■'• and that it was also hauled acr'^ss 

the ferry at Espv. The completion 
of the R^adinq Road from 
Catawissa and the 
"//■ construction of //Ine Gap 
Road led to the haul inn 
of boq iron ore from the 
'^n Swamos on the sumrrit of 

Locust A/'^untain near 
modern Central! a. The 
teamsters, it Is relatec*, habitually added water to their already damo oroduct 
when close to Malnville in order to Increase Its weioht and thus secure a 
hioher fee. 




'°^ d^. 



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There are references to ores found near Bloomshuro, but these Are 
Inconsistent with the statement that the firs? discovery was In 1822 in 
Hemlock, see below. 



09fc«'9n rtsxo Dr.: 



no-1 ' 



- 64 - 



Such a furnace oroduced pig iron, which was sent to Reading to be forged 
Into usable products. The Malnville forge for the seme purpose was con- 
structed nearby fn 1826, Although Mainviije was later to have the benefit 
of two railroads, these early Iron enterprises ?fter lasting about sixty 
years, both were given up about 1880, the furnace earlier than the forge. 
The construction of the Reading Road (1817) led also to the opening 
of Esther Furnace prob?bly In 1822. (If opened before 1822, it would have 
used available bog ore.). This was a charcoal furnace and its product was 
exclusively pig iron. The abundance of wood for charcoal as well as 
Roaring Creek for power led to this location. During the Civil War days, 
a shipment of pig iron sent to New Jersey and thence south, was captured. 
This event combined with a location distant from railroad and canal both 
for raw materials and for markets led to its abandonment. Its ore and 
limestone had t'-> be hauled from the region of Bioomsburg. 

Discovery of Rock Ores 

Iron ore was discovered by a farm helper plouahinq in a field near 
Fishing Creek in Hemlock Township in 1822. Mines were speedily opened here 
and et other places west on Montour Ridge. Similar rock formations in the 
hills north and east of Bioomsburg led to further mining ventures. 
These hills east and west of Fishing Creek and far west beyond Hemlock Creek 
were soon to be pock marked with drift and pit ooeninqs. In the fifty years 
fo I lowing , wh i je t he access lb I e ores were mined, mi II ions of tons were 
secured. Similar discoveries In the Danville reqion led to the opening of a 
number of furnaces, the fir=t in 1837. In the Bioomsburg region the ores 
were at first shipned to the furnaces already opened south of the river, and 
to others at a distance. Why was this the case? We can infer that wood was 
gettino scarce In the Immediate vicinity. Power was necessary for be I lows 
to create a forced draft In a furnace, and for forqinq machinery. The 
smaller streams seem to have been "harnessed" earlier than the larger ones 
to provide this power. 

Columbia Furnace at Foundrvville 

In 1825 George Mack established a small foundry on a branch of Briar 
Creek, a site soon named Foundryvi I le . It was called the Columbia Furnace. 
It changed hands a number of times and finally failed about 1845. Incom- 
plete records show that thousands of tons of ore were secured from mines In 
the neighborhood of Bioomsburg and smelted. Not only was pig iron produced 
for shipment to other foundry's but iron stoves and various utensils were 
cast. Large orders of plates were sent to the Lancaster and Columbia 
Railroad, then building. The rails rested on these plates. 



g . 

'It is interesting to note that a few years later, the Danville 

furnaces originated the Improved "T" rail, so called because in cross 

section It resembled the letter "T". This type of rail has become standard, 

and our neighboring town equipped hundreds of miles of the new railroads 

then being built with these rails made from i ron ore In the Danville region, 

one of the same type and from the same rock formation as ours. 



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- 65 - 



An Iron Plantation 

Foundryvllle became a fine example of the "iron plantation", less well 
represented at "Morgantown" in Bloomsburg, at Buckhorn, "Wedgetown", and at 
Danville.^ The est ab I i shment s were called "i ron p I ant at ions", because, 
like southern cotton or tobacco plantations they became largely self- 
sufficient. This Columbia Furnace had 2400 acres of land, two furnaces of 
different types, but both charcoal users, at least one foundry, extensive 
woodlands from which lA'ood for charcoal was secured, charcoal storage house, 
a store, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, and a common bake oven. Our 
records do not tell us if Foundryvllle was typical of an Iron plantation 
In all respects. If It had been typical, some workers would have been out 
In the woodlands cutting timber. The larger sizes would have been marketed. 
Their chief objective was to secure cordwood. Other workers would have been 
"burning" the wood for charcoal.^ Farm workers were cultivating and 
harvesting field and garden crops for food. There was heavy hauling to and 
from the canal, ore one way, the finished products the other. Limestone 
for flux also had to be brought from canal or quarry. Foundryvllle had its 
store. Teachers and a minister, possibly more than one, were secured. 
The owner lived In a superior house, "the mansion house", 8 

Bloomsburg Furnaces 

With ail Its riches of iron ore, Bloomsburg f i na I I y est ab 1 ished two 
furnaces. The first was at Irondale, completed In 1845. Water power was 
secured by damming Fishing Creek at Arbutus Park. It used charcoal. It 
was Immensely profitable during Civil War days when the government needed 
great quantities of iron and steel for guns and other equipment. Its 
prosperity declined with the exhaustion of the Iron mines beginning about 
1875. It finally closed In 1890. 

To produce a ton of pig Iron, 400 bushels of charcoal were required. 
To secure this much charcoal the wood from an acre of woodland was needed. 
Hardwood, especially oak and hickory, was best.^ 



^The rows of similar houses In AAorgantown and on Mill Street, Danville 
continue as reminders of the one time flourishing iron industry. The piles 
of slag drawn off from the furnaces, called cinder tips, were at one time 
accumulated In huge piles near the furnaces. Only a small part of the two 
such cinder tips still remain at Bloomsburg. But the remaining part is 
still Impressive as testimony to the large Industry at Bloomsburg. The 
material has been largely used in road-making. The new Danville High School 
has been built on the site of Its once immense cinder tip. Impressive 
accumulations of slag at other furnaces, Esther, Hauck, and Foundryvllle 
testify also to this former Iron Industry. 

^To m?ke charcoal, this cordwood was piled on end in the form of a 
cone. The sides and top were covered with earth, except a vent hole at the 
top, and small draft holes at the bottom, so as to provide just enough air 
for the wood to smoulder and char but not to burn to ash. The charcoal burner 
had to be both skillful and watchful. He lived in a hut nearby, and for days 
and weeks must watch each batch . "around the clock" until the batch was 
complete. His job was lonely. 

®5uch an owner's house still stands and is occupied at Irondale, in 
Bloomsburg. 

^The production of such great amounts of charcoal, year after year, 
used up timber supplies. Cutting of timber for charcoal, more than the 
clearing of land for farms, was responsible for the exhaustion of the nearby 
wood I ands. 
Blacksmiths, and other metal workers, required charcoal, until coal or coke 
came to be used. 



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- 61 - 



Anthracit-e Coal for Iron Furnaces 

As '^otf becene scarcer, efforts were early made to use anthracite coel. 
These efforts were finally successful. The first anthracite furnace in our 
region ^ts built near the mouth of Roarim Creek, on the A'ontour County sine 
in 1839. Such a furnace in Bloomsburo, named the Bloorr., started production 
in 185^) on the canal, near F^rry Road. In the first fifteen years, including 
Civil ^ar years, its oronuct amounted to almost 16,000 tons. It was much 
increased later, but with the exhaustion of the readily accessible ore, it 
followed the irondele Furnace Into decline and stooDaoe about 1890. 

I moortanoe of B loomsburc ' s Iron Production 

.Ve have daily records of the Irondale furnaces showing production of 
thirty tons of pia iron a day at its heioht of orosperity. this meant 97. '^ 
tons of ore, sixty tons of coal, almost fifty tons of limestone had to be 
hauled to the furnace. The tons of finished product added to the traffic. 
Old timers' stories recall the continuous traffic of creakino wagons hauling 
ore or limestone; or others haulino the finished products. A narrow gauge 
railroad from ^ort Noble helpod carry the traffic. The Bl^om furnace, of 
course added oreatlv to the activity in and around Bloomsburo. 

t; '5 G T OWts'S IN 1P4 0^ DO u I a t i o n etc 

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1 tnch = 5Q,O0Q busneis 



3),/9i erected 1845:12-13 iron- 
making establishments 
Catawissa:800; 200 houses, 

paoer mill, tanneries 
Bloomsburci:550; 100 houses 
- -t - - • .»M f f I Insburg : 30 houses; 

several mills, tanneries 
. I ^ Jersevtown: 50 houses 
1650 'Vi M iamsburgfpart of mod- 
ern UiGht Street) 12 houses 
Cran-pvi I !e, ^^ houses 
Espytovvn, 2^ houses 
Berwick, 800; 100 houses 
Production also i"nc luded:woo| , 
30,000 lbs.;hay,14,000 tons; 
f lax, 8 tons. 
Livestock:sheep, 22, 184; swine 
19,474;catt le,13,525; A'ules 
and horses, '^,?'^5 



Value of Certain Prooucts; 1P40 
Machinery $ 57.895 

Breweries & Ci st i I ler ies 43,100 

Finished Leather 27,865 

Dairy Products 25,700 

Bricks i Lime 23,600 

Homemade Goods 18,710 

Carriages ^ Vsoons 13,65'^ 

Hats & Caps 15,500 

Orchards 6,600 

Paper {partial list) 4,000 

Fullin-j A Woolens 3,600 

Poultry 5,394 

Pottery 1,900 



Miscellaneous: 2 furnaces orocuced 
13,^00 tons of cast iron, usino 2,or>o 
tons of fuel, orotably charcoal, 
121,000 oallons of whiskey end 14,000 
gallons of bppr; 710 bbls. of flour 
from 8 mills. There were tO grist mills 
74 sawmills. 



- 67 - 



If we look behind these bare statistics we see a rich agricultural 
county producing bountifully. We understand Its need for ever Improved 
transport. We see also the many small craft shops then still existing, 
but, in addition, more substantial enterprises, forerunners of the mammoth 
Industries to come at a later date. The wealth that these figures also 
show explain how better buildings were replacing the jog cabins and houses 
of the earlier decades. Some of the older business buildings may go back 
to this period. Many of the substantial brick houses with their simple 
and beautiful lines can be traced back to the periods of business and farm 
prosperity of the forties and fifties of the last century, 

Immlorat ion 

Immigration to the farms had been steady, as the figures above Indicate. 
The character of the Immigration continued to be much the same as that of 
the earlier decades; Pennsylvania German, Scotch- I rl sh, English. The 
older states, especially New Jersey, contributed Important numbers. The 
Iron Industry in the vicinity of Bioomsburg and in Hemlock Township attracted 
experienced miners from Wales. 

It Was Farm Life For Most People 

The farm population, as can be Inferred from the above figures, was far 
larger than that of the little towns. The farmer had a busy life the year 
round, ploughing, seeding, harvesting, stowing Into barns, caring for his 
live stock. Between times he could gain additional Income from hauling ore, 
chopping trees for lumber of cord wood, "* butchering, sugaring from maple 
groves, hunting, fishing on the large scale then possible, provided 
variations In kind of work, but It was mostly all hard. 

The homemaker not only had the house to keep In order, the children to 
care for. Including often the rudiments of their education, and the meals 
to prepare. The garden was usually her task. She also helped at butchering 
and sugaring. Further, she spun the flax and wool, she wove the linsey- 
woolsey, her needle and scissors prepared the clothing In I aroe part. 
(See pane66 , value of goods made at home) Well might she recall the couplet 

Man works from sun to sun 
Woman's work Is never done. 



"•Olhe Influence of other construction and enterprises were noted 
previous I y. 

''"'Wood for a long time continued to be the chief fuel for homestead, 
shop, and kiln. 



TO FIND OUT HOW EFFECTIVELY YOU H/iVE READ 

1. What different enterprises or activities did Christian Brobst engage In 
or attempt? 

2. Why were better forms of transportation needed? 

3. What influenced leaders to advocate c?nals for transportation? 






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laemort to^ ; o;.. • HI do 9d1 od of beunHnoo ymtt gnoi s 

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_ 68 



4. Describe canal boat traffic, kind, amount, and Interesting aspects. How 
Important was It for our region? 

5. Why were our covered bridges Important? Consider them from stand point 

of transportation, engineering, and lumber resources. Why were they 
covered, roof and sides? 

6. Why were railroads needed after the canals h?d been built? Show by map, 
or otherwise, our network of railroads. 

7. Locate the earliest furnaces and forges, then the later ones. Why 
were these locations used? 

8. Locate the sources of Iron ore. What were the kinds? (A science student 
may wish to re?d further.) 

9. What were the Importance and extent of our local furnaces and foundries? 
Note a distinctive product from Danville. Why was Danville in some 
respects similar to Bloomsburg? 

10. What are your Impressions of the county's production about 1840; amounts, 
variety (think of home, factory, and shop, farm, ouarry and mine)? How 
does farm production compare with a current year? 

11. Summarize or describe farm life of the 1840's and 1850's. 

12. Did the Panic of 1837 have any effects In Columbia County? 

INTERESTING THINGS TO 00 

1. On outline map, preferably the one you used for Indian trails, mark first 
wagon roads or turnpikes, then the railroads and/or canals. 

2. Are there other obstacles to boat traffic, natural or man-made, on the 
Susquehanna besides the Berwick falls? 

3. Leprn how a rope ferry operated without an engine. 

4. The Columbia County Historical Society wishes scale models of our 
disappearing covered bridges. We suggest scale of 1/4":1', This equals 
1:48, approximately 1:50. 

5. Compare conflicts over railway and canal routes with our current conflict 
over automobile highways. 

6. Bring to your class, or lend to the Columbia County Historical Society, 
some of the Ingenious contrivances of the early blacksmiths of our 
region. The Society has several such Interesting Implements on 

disp lay. 

7. Excursions to one of our present Foundries: Harrington or S. & B. or the 
Berwick Industries, 

8. We desire pictures for loan: canal operations, locks. Espy boat building, 
unpublished pictures of packet boats, canal bridges, Rupert aqueduct, 

the Espy boat, canal boats or arks built at the Bloomsbura "Ark 
bul Iding site", old rai Iroad eng Ines, trains, bridges, especial ly on 
Reading (old Catawlssa) Railroad, a rope ferry, of iron works at the 
various places mentioned, an ore wagon, accounts or descriptions of the 
scenes and operations, newspapers or clippings, letters, diaries. 



Check your vocabulary: 
turnpike 

divide (of drainage) 
lock (cana I ) 
aqueducts 
packet boat 
pla Iron 
to sme It (verb) 



rudder 

to snub 

stock company 

truss 

diverge 

pit 

ki In 



terrain 

Junct ion 

corduroy (road) 

p 1 antat Ion 

gauge 

drift 



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vt-rit 3iy, .a90iuoe9T Tedmu! bne ,pn!n9. ' it ♦o 

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yrlW ,.:-r,v ■ -1^1 j[\i neril ,s9pTo) brve esD ' ' ''- 

invi^.t^ gonciDC .* ) TribPiM 9f1t 9T9w terlV.' .9no noti tc 

Tiibnuo? bn« seosmu) IsdoI luo ^o tns'txs bnr- '^' 

9fiioe n! yllivnsQ esw ydW .sMivneQ mo-^} i 9V!"tonii?ib 6 9 low 

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r bns < ■ 9(i+ ^o 9^ 1 I ' 

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9(1t no ^9bsm-nfim ^o leiutsn ,oii^6i1 tsod ot seloelaao Tsrito 9i.. 

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no 8'tn9m9l qm! pn 1 te's-i^. n i n:..'iJ3 i e - 'Ve.". ' ' ' ' ''^ ''''' . " " ' ">'S"i 

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SOWE MID-CENTURY CONFLICTS 
Chapter VI 

1. County Divfsion: Northumberland County 

When Northumberland County was established back In 1772, there was only 
a sprinkling of European settlers In the region of the county seat, Sunbury. 
There were fewer and fewer as one might have gone up the two main branches 
of the SusQuehanna. The extent of Northumberland County at Its greatest 
was vast. Including in part or In whole, the territory of thirteen present 
counties. It was larger than a number of oresent states. The necessity to 
travel many miles to care for county business at the county seat, soon 
aroused Insistent demands that new counties should be erected. Luzerne was 
carved out of Northumberland In 1786, and Lycomlna in 1795, 

New Counties Needed 

The regions west from Lewlsburg and Sellnsgrove, and east from Dan- 
ville, were soon demanding a more convenient division and a county seat 
closer at hand. Sunbury Interests were opposed to further division, and were 
able to block it for a number of years. The towns in the new county or coun- 
ties to be created, could not agree among themselves where the county seat 
or county seats were to be located. This conflict prevented further division 
until the groups which were later to constitute Union County, west of the 
West Branch, and those to be In the later Columbia County, joined forces and 
succeeded In establishing new counties, ^ 

Advantages to a Town Made a County Seat 

In the case of Columbia County, we have already noted that Danville 
was very definitely forging ahead of all the towns between Sunbury and 
WI Ikes-Barre. To become a county seat of a county was a most attractive 
possibility for any town. The Judge and other county officers would live 
there or use hotel accommodations. Lawyers would take up their residence 
there. Owners of real estate, the town founders such as Evan Owen, Ludwig 
Oyer, William Hughes, George Espy, Christian Kunchel and William RIttenhouse, 
or their heirs and followers, could anticipate selling lots and at higher 
prices. In fact, Kunchel and RIttenhouse In 1794, noting that their property 
was midway between two county seats already established, Wi Ikes-Barre and 
Sunbury, thought It was almost a sure thing that their town, MI f f I I nv I I le , 
would become a county seat. So the plan for their town provided the widest 
and handsomest street widths of any town In the region. How many of our 
larger towns now wfshthat they had streets planned on something like these 
generous widths. William and Daniel Montgomery^^were among leaders In 
securing the creation of Union and Columbia Counties, along with Leonard 
Rupert and others from both sections. These persons worked for the two new 
counties and also to bring one of the two county seats to his own town. 
Where Should the County Seat Be ' 

Berwick, Bloomsburg, and Danville were not so obviously the choices 
In 1813 as they would seem to usmore than a century later. Catawissa, 
MI f f I Invl I le, Washington ( Wash i ngtonvi I I e ) , Jerseytown, also came In for 
attention. In 1813 the act creating the new county was passed, along with 
the creation of the companion county. Union, to the west. Patriotic fervor 



^Lebanon County was also created In this year, 1813. 
latfenville Is named for the letter meaning Dan's vllle. 



- 69 - 



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.n, ^noiaivib nsrttTuI of besoqqc ....... ., 

"10 ytnuoD wsin erlt ni anwo+ ^rlT .eieev ^o 
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- 70 - 



of the war times led to the names of Union for one, and of Columbia, Inspired 
by the then very popular song, "Hail Columbia", for the other. The 
boundaries of Columbia extended on the north and west to the West Branch of 
the Susquehanna, excluding, however, the region near the town of Northumber- 
land (Point Township). Otherwise the area was much the same as the present 
combined territories of Columbia and Montour counties. 

Three "discreet and disinterested persons, not resident in the counties 
of Northumberland, Union, or Columbia," were appointed to fix the site of 
the county seat of Columbia County, "as near the geographical center as the 
situation will admit." At the meeting called for this purpose, one of the 
three was absent, who, tradition states, favored Bloomsburq. The two 
members present qave the decision to Danville. 

Why were the Boundary Lines Shifted Back and Forth ? 

The act which asslaned substantially the territories of Turbot and 
Ch I I I I squaque Townships to the new county met with great opposition from 
their residents, and shortly after, the townships were reassigned to 
Northumberland County. The effect of this was that Danville, far from the 
geographical center of the county when created, was now more conspicuously 
than ever, at one edge rather than at the center of the county. But by 
1816 what are now substantially Limestone and Liberty Townships were 
restored to Columbia, reducing in some measure the charge that Danville was 
not central . 

Opposition from Central and Eastern Sections 

The action of the County Seat Committee aroused strong opposition In 
the central and eastern portions of the new county. Numerous and strongly 
supported petitions to allow a preference vote were brought before the 
legislature. These requests and petitions were looked upon with favor, but 
by being referred to committees or "laid on the table" for future action, 
which never came, the influential leaders from Danville were able to prevent 
referring a matter to the voters where, it is presumed, they feared that they 
would lose. After repeated failures for ten or fifteen years, the 
dissatisfaction subsided, but never died out. Berwick became a possible 
factor with a project of combining the eastern section of Columbia along 
with western parts of Luzerne, naturally in close and convenient social and 
trade association with her, into a new county. 

New Support for Bloomsburq 

About 184-0, the weary workers for the removal to Bloomsburq, were 
given new encouragement by a young Presbyterian clergyman who came to the 
Bloomsburg charge of these churches, the Reverend D. J. Waller, Sr. The 
State Senatorial district, which Included Luzerne along with Columbia, was 
represented by William A, Ross from Luzerne. It is to be Inferred that he 
saw that he could protect Luzerne from the loss of territory to Berwick by 
giving his support to the Bloomsburg cause. 

Bloomsburq's Arquments 

At the same time, the Bloomsburg Interests were put before the public 
In an especially strong statement, it showed that: 1,200 taxables (taxpayers) 
were more conveniently served at Danville, while over 3,000 were more 
conveniently served at Bloomsburg. Of some of the more distant taxables, 
more than 1800 must travel fourteen to thirty-five miles to reach Danville, 
and must pass through Bloomsburg to do so. Being far from the center of 
business, far more of the county's business was transacted In Bloomsburg than 
at Danville. Whether these arguments, or the backing of Influential men 



- ov - 



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- 71 



like Senator Ross, was the more Important, it is hard to say. But in 1845 
the matter was again before the legislature, and the Danville partisans, as 
a last ditch argument, noted the costs of building new buildings and acaulr- 
i ng land for them In Bloomsburq. Bjoomsburg citizens met this araument by 
agreeing to provide both at no cost to the tax payers. With these promises, 
the law was passed which provided for a preference vote, and. In case the 
decision was favorable to Bloomsburg, the citizens of Bloomsburg should 
erect "at their own proper expense" suitable bulldinos and secure the 
necessary land for them at no cost to the public. 
Election and Removal of County Seat to Bloomsburq 

The election was held in the fall of 1845. The result was over- 
whelmingly in favor of Bloomsburq, 2,91 3; aga I ns t 1,571 for Danville; and 
seventeen townships for Bloomsburg against six for Danville. Bloomsburg citi- 
zens immediately proceeded to redeem their promises. Land was donated. This 
included the land now occupied by the county Court House, and also the 
present playground property of the Bloomsburg Junior High School, which was 
utilized for the first county jail. It Is a tradition that Daniel Snyder, 
one of the active workers for the removal of the county seat, had been taunted 
by Danville people that Bloomsburg didn't have any bricks, to which 
Snyder rejoined that he would make the bricks himself. The record states 
that the court house was built with bricks burned by Daniel Snyder. The 
necessary buildings were built, the records were transferred from Danville 
In 1847, and the first court was held In Bloomsburg In 1848. 

Valentine Best Pledges Support for the new County 

In 1847 delegates of the Democratic Party for Columbia County met in 
Bloomsburq in order to nominate a candidate for State Senator from the 
senatorial district. Valentine Best, a prominent leader and newspaper 
publisher In Danville, as a candidate for this nomination, published a 
statement to the effect that,. .."as it Is now the wish of all well disposed 
members of the Democratic party to lay aside local feeling and sectional 
je a lousy. ... I am opposed to any alteration of the remova 1 I aw (the law chang- 
I ng the county seat) and also to any division or dismemberment of the 
county." It is to be Inferred from this that already certain persons were 
considerinq a division of the county, an Inference supported by Danville 
authority. However, Best's statement was accepted as sincere. He was 
nominated and subsequently elected, presumably because the major portions of 
the county were glad to offer a peace tribute to the defeated western section. 

The Petition for Division 

In 1849 a petition was presented to legislature to set off the County 
of Montour. This petition alleged that certain townships and Danville were 
inconvenienced by the newly located county seat and that Bloomsburg residents 
had not met the full costs of the new bulldinos as required. At the same time, 
those opposed, filed a remonstrance citing that the county was already small, 
and denyinq the charge of failure to pay the proper costs. The legislature 
was opposed to dividing the already small county. Here the matter would 
probably have come to rest had not a peculiar situation developed. 



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- 72 - 

" Log Rolling" In the Lenls I ature: Montour County Erected 

In 1850 the V/hlgs were defeated In the State elections. The House of 
Representatives was overwhelmingly Democratic and the Senate had sixteen 
Whigs to seventeen Democrats. The term of Governor Johnston, a Whig, had 
another year to run. This situation gave Best an opoortunlty, althounh It 
meant the violation of his pledge as given previously at his nomination. 
To enable the VVhIgs to control legislation, probably redistr let ing the 
State and matters of Budget, Best, a Democrat, promised his supoort to 
their measures If the Whigs would secure his election as Speaker (presiding 
officer) of the Senate and aid him to secure the creation of the proposed 
Montour County. These bargains were kept, although with great difficulty. 
Montour County thus came into existence In 1850. With a few further 
changes, the boundaries of the two counties became permanent. Best remained 
popular in the Danville region, but nowhere else. The bitterness created 
by this long contest gradually subsided. Certain adjustments of county and 
township boundaries were made to bring them to those established at present. 
Certain obvious Injustices and Inconveniences still remained by Including In 
the several counties of Schuylkill, Northumberland, Montour, Columbia, and 
Luzerne, territories that would better have been Included In a neighboring 
county. 
II Civil War Brought Local Problems: Earlier Wars 

The War of 1812 and the Mexican >Var , 1846-48, did not seem to have 
much effect on the growth and development of Columbia County. However, the 
Columbia Guards, recruited at Danville from the whole county before its 
division, rendered important and excellent service In the Mexican War. 
Civil War - Columbia County Played Honorable Part 

The bitter sectional controversies leading up to the Civil War did not seem 
to affect seriously the County's development, until the actual armed 
conflict broke out following the attack on Fort Sumpter In 1861. W. W. 
RIcketts, later to become a colonel, a former cadet of West Point, speedily 
raised a company of volunteers at Orangeville. The final summary of the part 
that Columbia County took in the war to preserve the Union shows that it was 
a worthy and honorable one. As the first wave of enthusiasm subsided, how- 
ever, draft quotas became harder and harder to fill In all parts of the 
country, as well as In our county. Coturrtla County had been decidedly 
Democratic in all the elections since Its creation. Loyal supporters of 
the national Union, here as elsewhere, volunteered for the armed services 
or cheerfully acceoted the draft. 



Opposition Developed 

As the fearful costs and loss of life mounted, hope waned. 
Some Democrats in the country at large, as well as In Columbia County, 
disapproved of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and argued that the 
character of the war had been changed to one to free the slaves rather then 
to preserve the Union. The partisan criticism by those Democrats opposed to 
the war, called Peace Democrats, became so extreme, that in the light of 
later history, a reader could not but wonder if volunteering and the draft 
had not beem made more difficult. It was maintained by one newspaper that 
Lincoln could have preserved the Union in "one month" if he had given up 






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- 73 - 

freedom for the Negro. Such newspapers Insistently urged, "..vote out 
the Lincoln government." 
OpDOsttion to the Draft 

There was draft evasion and obstruction in other parts of the 
country and in other counties of Pennsylvania. In some cases this 
opposition was terrible and alarming with rioting and loss of life, 
as in New York City. A considerable number of men In the northern 
townships and in the nearby portions of Luzerne refused to report for 
duty. Groups, possibly informal meetings, seem to have considered 
resisting, evading, or avoiding the draft. As part of conditions 
generally known, the draft was not always fairly or honestly 
administered. 
Evidences of Opposition 

In the spring of 1864, the enrolling officer in Mifflin Township 
encountered what seemed a threat of resistance, but after a conference, the 
enrollment was allowed to proceed. Military authorities were led by 
official reports to believe that there were large bands of deserters and 
delinauent drafted men, armed and organized for resistance. These reports 
were given greater weight, when In August a lieutenant with a sauad of 
eight men was on patrol near Raven Creek after midnight. A group of 
unknown men was encountered and ordered to halt. Firing broke out. 
Accounts are conflicting as to which side fired the first shot. The 
lieutenant was killed. The civilians were able to make good an escape. 
Another Incident associated with these bitter times, although the exact 
timing is not known: The barn of a farmer who was fully loyal to the war 
effort was burned and a coffin left on the house porch. 
Troops to Columbia County 

Such developments here and elsewhere led government leaders In 
Pennsylvania to feel that all draft resistance must be checked. The first 
of several counties In which resistance was to be over-awed was Columbia, 
On August 13 a detachment of United States troops arrived In Bloomsburg. 
Leaders In Bloomsburg assured the military commander that there was no 
organized resistance. J.G. Freeze, a prominent Democrat, consented to 
inform the delinquent conscripted men that the charge of desertion would 
be dropped if they reported within five days. The conscripts did not report. 
Arrests and Tr ia I s 

The soldiers then marched to the Benton region^ and after a few days 
of quiet, some hundred men were arrested at their homes. About foety-four 
were later marched to Bloomsburg, and finally transferred to Fort Mifflin 
in Philadelphia. These prisoners, some of them elderly, were treated with 
Insufficient consideration. All suffered from long marches, poor and scanty 
food, and filthy and unhealthy conditions of Imprisonment. They were 



The student needs to compare this statement with the authenticated 
policy of Lincoln and the rest of the government as it developed. 

^Consult histories of the county and of Pennsylvania, also p. 75, this Ch, 
^Freeze had been appointed aid to the Governor with the rank of colonel. 
He Is frequently referred to with this title, 

^A group of persons in carriages, followed from Bloomsburg, presumably 
to witness the outcome. 



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- 74 - 



charged with conspiracy to obstruct the draft and were tried by military 
courts. Only seven were convicted. One paid a fine of $500.00. The 
remaining six were later pardoned by the President. Numbers had been 
discharged on account of sickness, almost surely Incurred from the harsh 
conditions of transportation and imprisonment. One died, probably as a 
result of such conditions. Others were discharged, presumably for lack of 
evidence aqainst them. The persons arrested, in general, were persons 
esteemed in their communities and looked up to as leaders. Many had 
endeavored by persuasion and personal subscription for bounties," to help 
fill the draft Quotas of the county. They came to be known as the Fishing 
Creek Martyrs. 
The Mi I I lean Case 

Here is where our local hist-^ry touches further that of the country 
as a whole. In Indiana, one, Milllgan, had been arrested and convicted 
by military authorities of traitorous conduct. Milllqan's case wasappeated 
and came before the Supreme Court of the United States. Charles R. 
Buckalew, then a United States Senator, one of our county's famous leaders 
and a Democrat, was familiar with the whole situation here. He advised 
with the attorney for the prisoner in this case. This attorney has stated 
that Buckalew's advice was very helpful to him in winning the case. The 
decision In this case is part of the established law of the land, it Is 
that where the civil courts are open and functioning and not in the 
Immediate area of military operations, military arrests and trials of 
civilians are unconstitutional. This decision was rendered In 1867. 



Wild Rumors and Probable Facts 

Certain additional events must be recounted back In our county. Search 
was made for a fort with mounted cannon, which, according to wild rumors, 
had been constructed in the fastness of North Mountain. The soldiers, after 
weary searches through the difficult terrain, came to the same conclusion 
that we reach: There was no such fort. But this is not to say that there 
were no plans and no wild talk for resistance along with some plans, more or 
less matured, to support them. On the contrary, it should also be recalled 
that at a meeting In the Benton region, after the soldiers had arrived in 
Bloomsburg, the so-called Rantz meeting, certain persons indulged in wild 
talk of resistance. Wiser heads, however, advised all to return to their 
homes, go about their peaceful occupations, and offer no resistance, 
persons giving such counsel of prudence and non-resi stance were later 
arrested, as noted above. 



Some 



Abuses 

In carrying out the search for draft evaders, the soldiers, all too 
frequently, were harsh and cruel. One teen-age boy, Leonard Cole, was 
suspended briefly by means of a rope around his neck. In order to make him 
confess where his father was. This the boy refused to do, even though he 
was suspended until he lost consci-^usness . His loss of vision with early 
death was attributed to this experience. It Is also alleged, probably trul^ 
that the soldiers raided the farms for chickens, hay, oios, and sheep; 
that they cut sugar trees and robbed fences for firewood; that they even 
commandeered pies and cakes from kitchens. 



"It was legal and proper to pay for a substitute for one who was 
drafted or to help fill out a cuote. 



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- 75 - 

Soldiers at Elections 

Although there was a law forbidding the presence of troops at elections, 
detachments of soldiers appeared at polling places In most of the townships 
of the northern and central parts of the county. This action seems to have 
been solely on the responsibility of the local commander. It was contrary 
to assurances and orders given by the superior officers that there would be 
no such Interference, Democrats Interpreted this action as an effort to 
intimidate them. The numbers, both of Republicans and Democrats, voting In 
this election were sharply reduced, although the Democrats carried the 
election locally. The possibility of guarding the Republicans against 
Intimidation by the Democrats, must also bet'kept In mind, although we have 
no direct evidence to that effect. The action was clearly Illegal and a 
case of exceeding his authority on the part of the local commander. To give 
further details: The only remaining ejection officer In Benton, after the 
previous arrests, was arrested. Certain persons, a few, were arrested on the 
way to vote. Election returns were demanded by soldiers In two cases, 
being refused In at least one case. Even the Sheriff and Clerk of the County 
Commissioners were arrested and taken to Harrlsburg, until they were 
released within a few days, after forceful protests. 
Summary 

By December 1, 1864, the last of the soldiers left, most being transferred 
to other locations where resistance was feared. The so-called FIshina Creek 
Confederacy never existed. That there were draft evasion and bitter 
opposition to government policies is undoubted. This was fomented by 
partisan newspaoers and almost surely exaggerated by government supporters. 
That the government was justified In doing something is a fair conclusion 
to draw. The troops were sent to over-awe resistance and to "remain until 
every deserter, delinquent drafted man and abettor of rebellion be arrested 
or run out of the county." In performing such service, soldiers and 
subordinate officers were guilty of unnecessary harshness, ruth lessness, 
and cruelties, and of grossly exceeding their authority. The whole 
procedure was at a cost of half a million dollars. The scars of this 
whole episode were long In healing. 
III. Disturbances In the Coal Regions 

Beaver and Conyngham Townships at the southeast and south, respectively, 
were discovered to contain coal measures, a continuation of the more 
extensive deposits of the nelahboring Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties. 
These will be referred to later. Certain disorders which broke out In these 
coal regions In the years following the Civil War created serious 
disturbances In Conyngham Township also. These were all associated with 
some Irish Immigrants In the coal regions. This Is no more a reflection 
on all Irish, than the outrages associated with the draft disturbances of 
the County, just previously described, are a reflection on well balanced and 
law abiding persons, whether Democrats or Republicans. 
AAol 1 ie AAaou 1 res 

Among Irish Immigrants before the Civil War were numbers who had become 
accustomed to violent resistance of the exorbitant rents charged by their 
English landlords In Ireland. Carrying this tradition of violence to 
America, an organization grew up called the Mollle Magulres, a name brought 
over from their home land. During the Civil War, the opposition to the 
draft In Cass Township, Schuylkill County, was so extreme, that the draft 
could not be properly enforced there without bloodshed, which the 
authorities did not wish to Incur. ^^ 



^^These Incidents should be associated with the draft resistance In 
our own county previously described p. 73, 



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- 76 - 

Labor Troubles and Reloh of Terr or 

After the war, the Mollle Wagulres joined In resistance on the part of 
laborers to low wages and dangerous working conditions. For a time such 
resistance centered around the "/Vol lies". Their procedure was to Intimidate 
by threats followed up with murder of mine officials, and especially of 
mine supervisors. In the late sixties and early seventies, practically 
a reiqn of terror developed, especially In the regions of Schuylkill and 
Northumberland Counties adjoining our County. Murder was organized. Men 
of high standing and respect were slain in cold blood. Passenger trains 
were given special guards. Juries were Intimidated, so that when persons 
were brought to trial they could not be convicted. The "Mollies" boasted 
that they so controlled the general government that even If convicted they 
would be released by pardon or otherwise. 
Rea Murdered 

On Sunday, October 8, 1868, Alexander Ree, agent for the Locust 
Mountain Coal and Iron Company of Central ia, was murdered near the road to 
Mt. Carmel. The motive was to rob the victim of pay he was thought to be 
carrying to the workers. This brought the violence into the territory of 
Columbia County. After certain arrests were made and trials held at 
Bloomsburg, the persons accused were acquitted. This result resembled the 
pattern all too common In other counties. 
New Arrests and Trials 

Years passed. Then a new series of arrests were made and accused 
persons were brought to trial In Pottsville and Mauch Chunk, now Jim Thorpe, 
the county seats, respectively of Schuylkill and Carbon Counties. This time 
the results were different. A quiet looking witness was called to the 
stand. The accused "Mollies" were dumbfounded. They recognized him as James 
McKenna, one of the loudest boasters and threateners of their group, who 
had spent considerable time endeavoring to "float" counterfeit money. If 
they had searched their memories carefully, they would have been able to 
recall that this McKenna had actually never participated in any murder, and 
that in some of their seemingly carefully laid plots, the Intended victim 
seemed to have been warned or had been able to escape. 

Their McKenna, on the witness, stand revealed that he was John 
McParlan, that he had been able to become a member and actual secretary of 
one of the "Mollie" branches, that he had feigned lawlessness and counter- 
felting, and that he had given regular reports to the Pinkerton detective 
forces from whom he had accepted this highly dangerous mission. His 
testimony. In large measure, brought about conviction and sentencing of many 
of the "Atollles" with prison terms and death. The condemned were confident 
that they would be reprieved or that judges or the Governor would liberate 
them. No such action took place. Armed soldiers prevented any attempt at 
violent liberation. In due time six were hanged at Pottsville, and four at 
Mauch Chunk. 
New Trials at Bloomsburg 

Apparently these events led one of the desparadoes, a certain Daniel 
Kelly, who was serving sentence of Imprisonment for larceny, to fear for his 
life. Suspicion pointed to him as Implicated In the Rea murder. He offered 
to turn state's evidence In return for a promise of Immunity. In order to 
secure evidence, he was given this promise. -At a result three men were 
arrested and tried in one of the most sensational trials ever held in Blooms- 
burg. Largely on the basis of Kelly's evidence,^ the accused were found 
guilty and hanged by means of gallows borrowed from Carbon County for the 
purpose and set up on what Is now the playground of the Bloomsburg Junior 
Hlqh School. This took place in 1877. With the Bloomsburg trials and 
executions, the terrible power of the Mollle Maqulres was broken forever. 



'One of the convicted men later confessed that Kelly's testimony was 
substantially correct. 



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TO FIND CUT HO'V EFFECT I VFLY YOU HAVE READ 

1. What was the one-time size of Northumberland County? Why were new 
counties needed? 

2. Why was It an advantage to a town to be a county seat? 

3. Recount the strivings and contests for the county seat of Columbia 
County, 

4. Explain the erection of Montour County. 

5. What reasons can be given to account for the sending of troops Into our 
County during the Civil War? Give an account of the Incidents 
connected with the presence of soldiers in Columbia County durlna 1864. 

6. Who were the Mollle Magulres? Explain how events In Columbia County 
aided In suppressing them, 

INTERESTING THINGS TO DO 

1. What counties have been formed from old Northumberland, sometimes called 

Mother of Counties? 

2. What was the approximate territory Included In original Columbia County? 

Describe It In terms of stream valleys. 

3. In what ways might boundary lines of Columbia and her neighboring 

counties be improved? 

4. Using Battle, History of Columbia and Montour Counties - mark out on a 

map changes In townships along the western border of present and former 
Col umbi a County, 

5. Discuss the possible Influence of exaggerated statements and unjustified 

criticism of persons, Government officers and public policies. Should - 
wartime conditions be treated differently from peace time conditions? 

6. Discuss legality of the action of soldiers sent into our county under 

(a) state law; (b) elections; (c) policy of U. S. Government; (d) 
Ml I I igan decl s ion, 

7. Give report on PInkerton Detective Agency. 



Check your vocabulary: 

county seat petitions remonstrance 

partisans civilians Whigs 

conspiracy Intimidated acquitted 

feigned fervor discreet 

taxables dismemberment log-rolling 

emancipation dellnauent presumably 

fastness deserter exorbitant 

dumbfounded The phrase, "turn state's evidence" 



ANDRoSS ITJ 



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BIBLIOGRAPHY 



Battle, J. H., ed. History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania. 
Chicago: A. Warner, 1887. Part I, History of Pennsylvania Part II, 
History of Columbia County (1) History of county In general, with specific 
chapters on the townships. (2) Biographical sketches. Part III, History of 
Montour County (1) Townships In detail (2) Biographical sketches. (3) 
Portraits. Out of print. 

Freeze, John C. A History of Columbia County, Pennsylvania Bloomsburg, Pa. 
Elwell and BI t tenbender , 1885. This history does not treat all matters with 
equal thoroughness. On certain topics. It contains much factual information. 
It gives considerable attention to county and township division and very 
extensive attention to the topic of draft resistance In the county during 
the Civil War. Out of print. 

Godcharles, Frederic A. Chronicles of Central Pennsylvania Lewis Historical 
Publishing Co., New York, 1944 4 vols. Vol. II contains historical chapters, 
aspects of which apply to Columbia County. Vol, III contains a chapter on 
Columbia County. 

Godcharles, Frederic A. Pennsylvania, The American Historical Society, New 
York, 1933. 4 vols. Vol. I contains section on Columbia County. 

Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and AAontour Counties, 

Pennsylvania. Chicago: J. H. Beers, 1915. 2 vols. The history of the 
two counties Is given separately, largely drawn from the J. H. Battle work, 
but condensed. Some new material is also added, especially covering years 
1887-1915. A biographical section is given. Tables of contents, historical 
Index and biographical Index. As In the case of the J, H. Battle reference, 
there is much that is useful and Interesting. Out of print. 

Columbia County Guide . 24 pp.;, photographs, tables, graphic diagrams, maps, 
and current Information covering government, economy, population, social 
agencies, and historical Information, up to date 1961. 

■THE PAMPHLET SERIES THE COLUMBIAN 

Vol. I, No. 1, "The Susquehanna Shad," 1960, 

Vol. I, No. 2, "The North Branch Canal," 1960. 

Vol. I, No. 3, "Columbia County's Covered Bridges," August, 1962. 

Bevllacqua, Howard P. The Story of Berwick. Written and compiled for the 

Berwick Sesqulcentennia I Celebration. 1936. 
Bloomsburg : 
Ouy, A.W., Jr. 1791-1951. Atlas and Directory of the Town of Bloomsburg, 

Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Maps with Indexes. Town-Fax, Bloomsburg, Pa, 

Especially fine collection of pictures and maps, many of county-wide 

Interest. 



BLOOMSBURG UNIVERSITY 



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