Contributed by Nancy Piper
ESTABLISHMENT AND GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES
Armstrong County derived its name, from Gen. John Armstrong, who commanded the expedition against the Indians at Kittanning, in 1756. The county was taken from Lycoming, Westmoreland, and Allegheny, by the act of 12th March, 1800. In 1802, commissioners were appointed to fix the county seat, and upon their report, in 1804, the present site was laid out; in 1805, the county was fully organized for judicial purposes. James Sloan, James Matthews, and Alexander Walker, were appointed the first commissioners for locating the county seat and organizing the county; but Alexander Walker declined serving. The county has recently been curtailed by the separation of Clarion. Average length, 25 ms.; breadth, 25; area, about 625 sq. miles. The population, in 1800, 2,399; in 1810, 6,143; in 1820, 10,324; in 1830, 17,625; in 1840, 28,365, of which about 9,500 should be deducted, being now in Clarion co. A great portion of the population is of German descent, having emigrated from Northampton and Lehigh counties.
The most important feature in the county is that noble river, the Allegheny, which traverses its entire length. The general features of the Allegheny are peculiar, and in some respects remarkable, particularly as regards its connection with great channels of internal communication in other sections of the country. By means of French creek, and Le Boeuf lake, and Conewango creek, and Chautauqua lake, on the northwest, it almost touches Lake Erie; on the northeast it stretches out its long arms towards the Genesee river, in New York, and the west branch of the Susquehanna; on the east, through its branches, the Kiskiminetas and Conemaugh, it is chained by an iron tie over the Allegheny mountains to the sources of the Juniata; while on the south it pours its waters into the Ohio. On all these routes great public improvements have been projected, and on several completed. For the greater part of its course this river flows, not through a broad valley, like most others, but through a great ravine, from 100 to 400 feet below the common level of the adjacent country. From about the middle of Armstrong county, downwards, it is true, there are many fine bodies of alluvial land, (on one of which Kittanning is located,) but from that upwards precipitous hills, for the most part, jut close to the water's edge on both sides of the river. The scenery is in some places wild and rugged, but more generally picturesque and beautiful. The hills, though steep, are clothed with a dense forest, presenting the appearance of a vast verdant wall, washed at its base, on either hand, by the limped water of the river, alternately purling over ripples, or sleeping in deep intervening pools. This regular succession of alternate pebbly ripples and deep pools is another peculiarity of this river; there are no rocks, strictly so called, in the channel. This circumstance renders the navigation in its natural state very safe at full water; and on this account, also, no river is better adapted for improvement by artificial means. Mineral wealth is scattered along its banks in great profusion. Bituminous coal in exhaustless quantities is found as far up as Franklin; iron ore is also abundant, and limestone beds frequently alternate with the coal measures. Salt is obtained by boring from 400 to 700 feet.
In addition to the Allegheny, the Kiskirninetas forms the southwestern boundary of the co., with the main line of the Pennsylvania canal along its margin. The other streams are Red Bank, the northern boundary, formerly called Sandy Lick cr., Mahoning, formerly called by the Indians Mohulbucteetam, Pine cr., Crooked cr., and a few smaller streams, all tributary to the Allegheny. Red Bank and Mahoning drain a vast extent of pine lands, and annually bear upon their waters innumerable rafts of lumber. Water power is most abundant.
The soil of the county, though various, averages well: much of it is very good. The whole face of the country, where unimproved, is covered with a very heavy growth of timber of every description known to this section of the Union. As an article of trade, the white pine, which abounds chiefly in the northeastern portion of the county, stands foremost.
Salt-wells are numerous, both along the Allegheny and the Kiskiminetas: there have been in operation between 25 and 30 in the whole county ; but many have ceased operations with the change in the times. To obtain a supply of salt water, the earth is perforated to the depth of from 400 to 700 feet. In this operation the auger is driven by steam, horse, or hand power, at a price per foot varying with the depth, from 92 to $3. The fuel used for evaporation is generally coal; and in many cases it may be thrown from the mouth of the mine into the furnace.
There are several iron furnaces in the county, of which the most prominent are the Bear Creek furnace on Bear creek, and the Great Western on the Allegheny, at the mouth of Sugar creek, both in the northwest corner of the county; the Allegheny furnace, near Kittanning, on the west side of the river; and one on the Kiskiminetas.
The Great Western Iron Works is one of the most extensive establishments in Pennsylvania. It was commenced some four or five years since, under the management of Philander Raymond, Esq., in connection with several wealthy gentlemen of New York City. The lands of the company, which before selection were carefully explored by Mr. Raymond, comprise every material and facility for prosecuting the iron business. There are rich deposits of ore, bituminous coal of the finest quality, limestone, forests of timber, water power, and sufficient land for agricultural purposes. The whole process of making the iron is carried on with bituminous coal and coke, in the manner practiced in Wales; and although the article resulting from this process possesses some peculiar qualities in working with which our western blacksmiths are not yet familiarized, yet it is growing in favor with them as they learn how to manage it. The company has in operation one or more furnaces, a rolling-mill, nail factory, foundry, store, &c.; and a beautiful busy little village has sprung up around the works, as if by the effect of magic. A large quantity of railroad iron has been made by this establishment.
Kittanning, the seat of justice, is situated upon a broad flat of alluvial soil, on the left bank* of the Allegheny river, near the centre of the county, It was formerly the site of an old Indian town of the same name; and a great trail called the Kittanning path went over the mountains to Black Log valley, Standing-stone, (now Huntingdon,) &c. &c, by which the Indians communicated with the Susquehanna country. There was also another Indian town at the mouth of Mohulbucteetam, or Mahoning creek. Kittanning was a prominent point in the northwestern boundary of the last great purchase made by the Proprietary government, in 1768, at Fort Stanwix. The line stretched across from Kittanning to the southwestern source, or "the canoe place," of the West Branch of Susquehanna, thence by that branch to the mouth of Pine creek, &c. The country north and west of the Ohio and Allegheny rivers was purchased by the commonwealth, at Fort Stanwix, in 1784.
The present town was laid out in 1804, and incorporated as a borough in 1821. Four streets run parallel with the river, crossed at right angles by eight others. Population in 1840, 702. It contains the usual county buildings, an academy, a very flourishing female seminary, and Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches. The Lutherans and Associate Presbyterians have no edifice of their own, although they worship regularly in the town. Kittanning is said to be very healthy, and the water pure and wholesome.
The place is well situated for manufacturing purposes. The hills which environ the town are rich in coal-one bed of which is 4 1-2 feet thick-and some of them in iron ore: a fine productive country surrounds it. The Allegheny affords ready access to market at all times by keelboats, and often by steam. A turnpike road leads 16 miles west, to Butler, and another 24 miles southeast, to Indiana. The river is crossed here by a ferry-boat driven by the force of the current. It is said to have been invented by Mr. Cunningham, the ferryman of the opposite shore, in 1834; though (as the writer thinks) the plan has long been known to French military engineers, under the name of Pont Volant, or flying bridge. About 400 yards above the landing on the west side, a strong wire is attached to a tree on the bank of the river ; the other end is attached to the boat by means of stay-ropes, with which it can be brought to any desired angle with the current. By bringing that end of the boat intended to go foremost a little up the stream, it immediately sets off like a thing of life, impelled solely by the oblique action of the water against its side. The trip is performed in about five minutes. The wire is kept out of the water by means of several small boats of peculiar construction, which cross simultaneously with the large boat, like so many goslings swimming with their mother.
* In the topographical descriptions in this work, the terms right and left bank of a river, in common use among civil and military engineers, arc used in preference to north, touth, runt, or wfsl bank. It is understood when these terms are used, that a person is going down the river. This method defines the petition of a town far more correctly than the other;-for instance, Wheeling, Va., is on the east side of the Ohio; so is Economy, Pa. Yet they are not on the Mm side; Wheeling being on the left bank, and Economy on the right bank, to a person going down the river.
DESTRUCTION OF THE INDIAN TOWN OF KITTANNING
The following account of the destruction of the old Indian town of Kittanning, is from the Pennsylvania Gazette of Sept- 23, 1756. Dr. Maese, in a note in the N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., endorses the accuracy of this statement, which he had compared with the original letter of Col. Armstrong to the governor of Pennsylvania. The letter alluded to is among the archives of the state at Harrisburg, and is said to be very long and minute in detailing the occurrences of the expedition.
Saturday last, (Sept. 1756,) arrived an express from Col. Armstrong, of Cumberland county, with advice that he marched from Fort Shirley on the 30th past, with about 300 of our provincial forces, on an expedition against Kittanning, a town of our Indian enemies on the Ohio, about 25 miles above Fort Duquesne, (Pittsburg.) On the 3d instant, he joined the advanced party at the Beaver dams, near Frankstown; and on the 7th, in the evening, being within six miles of Kittanning, the scouts discovered a fire in the road, and reported that there were but three, or at most four Indians at it. It was not thought proper to attempt surprising those Indians at that time, lest if one should escape the town might be alarmed ; so Lieut. Hogg with twelve men was left to watch them, with orders not to fall upon them till daybreak, and our forces turned out of the path, to pass by their fire without disturbing them. About three in the morning, having been guided by the whooping of the Indian warriors at a dance in the town, they reached the river, 100 perches below the body of the town, near a corn-field, in which a number of the enemy lodged out of their cabins, as it was a warm night. As soon as day appeared and the town could be seen, the attack began in the corn-field, through which our people charged, killing several of the enemy, and entered the town. Captain Jacobs, the chief of the Indians, gave the war whoop, and defended his house bravely through loop-holes in the logs, and the Indians generally refused quarters which were offered them, declaring they were men and would not be prisoners. Col. Armstrong (who had received a wound in his shoulder by a musket ball) ordered their houses to be set on fire over their heads, which was immediately done. When the Indians were told that they would be burned to death if they did not surrender, one of them replied, " he did not care, as be could kill four or five before he died;" and as the heat approached, some began to sing. Some, however, burst out of their houses, and attempted to reach the river, but were instantly shot down. Capt. Jacobs, in getting out of a window, was shot, as also his squaw, and a lad called the king's son. The Indians had a number of spare arms in their houses, loaded, which went off in quick succession as the fire came to them; and quantities of gunpowder, which had been stored in every house, blew up from time to time, throwing some of their bodies a great height in the air. A body of the enemy on the opposite side of the river fired on our people, and were seen to cross the river at a distance, as if to surround our men: they collected some Indian horses that were near the town to carry off the wounded, and then retreated, without going back to the cornfield to pick up those killed there at the beginning of the action.
Several of the enemy were killed in the river as they attempted to escape by fording it, and it was computed that in all between 30 and 40 were destroyed. Eleven English prisoners were released and brought away, who informed the colonel, that besides the powder, (of which the Indians boasted they had enough for ten years' war with the English,) there was a great quantity of goods burnt, which the French had made them a present of but ten days before. The prisoners also informed, that that very day two bateaux of French Indians were to join Capt. Jacobs, to march and take Fort Shirley; and that 24 warriors had set out before them the preceding evening,-which proved to be the party that kindled the fire the night before-for our people returning, found Lieut. Hogg wounded in three places, and learned that he had in the morning attacked the supposed party of three or four, at the fire-place, according to orders, but found them too numerous for him. He killed three of them, however, at the first fire, and fought them an hour-when, having lost three of his best men, the rest, as he lay wounded, abandoned him and fled, the enemy pursuing. Captain Mercer* being wounded in the action, was carried off by his ensign and eleven men, who left the main body, in their return, to take another road. On the whole it is allowed to be the greatest blow the Indians have received since the war began. The conduct of Col. Armstrong in marching so large a body through the enemy's country and coming so close to the town without being discovered, is deservedly admired and applauded-as well as the bravery of both officers and men in the action.
* Believed to be Gen. Mercer of the United States army, who died near Princeton, of the effects of the wounds received in the battle at that town in 1777, Jan. 12.
It is proper to observe that the current tradition among the aged men of the town now is, that no one but old Jacobs was burned in the house; that all the other Indians had gone off. Yet it would seem that Col. Armstrong's official report ought to be true. The site of this house was near where Dr. John Gilpin's now stands; and in excavating his cellar, the bones of old Jacobs were dug up.
Armstrong's men had quite a skirmish with the Indians out at Blanket hill, 5 miles east of Kittanning, the place at which the detachment of 14 remained. A silver medal was presented to Col. Armstrong by the city of Philadelphia, for his conduct in this expedition-a representation of which is given in the memoirs of the Penn. Hist. Society, vol. 2.
After the destruction of the Indian town, the location remained unimproved by white people, until near the close of the last century. The land remained in possession of the Armstrong family; and when the establishment of the county was proposed, Dr. Armstrong of Carlisle, a son of the general, made a donation of the site of the town to the county, on condition of receiving one half the proceeds of the sales of lots.
Mr. Robert Brown, still residing near town, and David Reynolds, were among the first who erected dwellings in the place. Mr. Brown came here first in 1798, with several hunters. He first settled on the opposite bank of the river. At that time there were very few settlers in the region. Jeremiah Loughery, an old frontier-man, who had been in Armstrong's expedition, lingered around the place for many years. He had no family, and wandered from house to house, staying all night with people, and repaying their hospitality with anecdotes of his adventures. The early settlers of that day found it necessary to be always prepared for Indian warfare, and for hunting the beasts of the forest: indeed, their character generally throughout the surrounding region, was a mixture of the frontier-man, the hunter, and the agriculturist. Not long after coming here, Mr. Brown remembers attending a military review at which there was neither a coat nor a shoe : all wore hunting shirts, and went barefoot, or wore moccasins.
In the winter of 1837-8, a remarkable gorge occurred in the Allegheny river opposite Kittanning. The ice first gorged about H miles above town, and caused considerable alarm. It broke, however, and passed the town freely,-but again gorged below. The water thus checked, instantly fell back upon the town, and deluged the whole flat quite to the base of the hills. Many fears were expressed that the whole town would be swept away. The ferry-boat passed quite up to the high grounds,-and all the inhabitants had escaped to the hills. Providentially the gorge broke after about 20 or 30 minutes, and the frightened inhabitants returned with lightened hearts to their homes.
The following biographical sketch is abridged from an article in the Kittanning Gazette of Sept. 1833 :
Died, at his residence in this borough, on the 4th inst., in the 89th year of his age, the Venerable Robert Orr, one of the associate judges of this county. Judge Orr was born in the county of Derry, Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in the year 1766, and from that time until the year 1773, resided east of the mountains, in which year he married a young lady by the name of Culbertson, of respectable family, in the (then) county of Cumberland, (now Mifflin.) In the same year, he settled with his wife at Hannahstown, in Westmoreland co. Immediately on the declaration of Independence, Mr. Orr took a very active part in favor of his adopted country, and as the frontier was at that time unprotected from the excursions, depredations, and cruelties of the savages by any regular force, he was always found foremost in volunteering his services, and in encouraging others to do so.
In the summer of 1781, Gen. Clarke, of Virginia, having determined to make an excursion against the hostile Indians, down the Ohio river, requested Archibald Laughrey to raise in Westmoreland co. 100 volunteers, and on communicating this request to Mr. Orr, he immediately raised a company of volunteers, principally at his own expense, furnishing to those who were unable to do so, out of his own funds, all the necessaries for the intended expedition.
Early in the engagement Capt. Orr received a shot which broke his left arm. Of the whole detachment not one escaped; the wounded who were unable to travel, were all tomahawked on the ground; the remaining few, (among whom was Capt. Orr,) were brutally dragged through the wilderness to Lower Sandusky, regardless of their wounds and sufferings, where he was kept for several months; and the Indians finding that they could not effect a cure, took him to Detroit, where he remained in the hospital until the ensuing spring, when he was transferred to Montreal, and was exchanged early in the spring of 1783, when the few that remained of Col. Laughrey's regiment returned to their homes. On the 13th July, 1782, (during the imprisonment of the deceased,) Hannahstown was attacked and burnt down by the Indians, and Capt Orr's house and all his property destroyed. On his return to Westmoreland co., in the summer of 1783, Capt. Orr raised another company for the defence of the frontier, to serve two months; marched them to the mouth of Bull cr., N. W. of the Allegheny River, built a block-house there, and served out the necessary tour.
In the fall of the same year, 1783, he was elected sheriff of Westmoreland co.
In 1805, when Armstrong co. was organized for judicial purposes, Capt. Orr was appointed one of the associate judges of the co., which situation he continued to nil with honor to himself, and satisfaction to the community, until his death.
[Source: Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania, by Sherman Day, Philadelphia, 1843, Page 94-98]
Freeport, a flourishing village on the right bank of the Allegheny river and Pa. canal, at the lower corner of the county, was laid out by David Todd about the year 1800. A few settlers had already occupied the ground previous to that time. The mouth of Buffalo creek, and the island, created a fine eddy opposite the village ; and it was probably anticipated that it would become a popular rendezvous for boatmen and lumbermen during the season of floods. This circumstance raised great expectations in the minds of the proprietors. The lots were eagerly purchased, but before long became of little or no value : many were abandoned or sold for taxes ; and the village made but slow progress, until the construction of the canal. This work crosses the Allegheny about a mile above, passes through the centre of the village, and then crosses Buffalo creek on an aqueduct a short distance below. The erection of two aqueducts and a lock, and the facilities offered by the canal, gave an impetus to enterprise ; and the resources of the surrounding country began to be developed. Many salt wells were bored at the base of the river hills south of the village, which are now in active operation. There is a steam saw-mill, a steam grist-mill, and the usual branches of manufacture for the supply of the contiguous agricultural population. The population of Freeport in 1840, was 727.
Warren is a small village in Kiskiminetas township on the river of that name, about 20 miles south of Kittanning. It contains some 20 or 30 dwellings. The Pennsylvania canal passes the village.
Leechburg is a flourishing village on the canal at dam No. 1 on the Kiskiminetas, about 13 miles south of Kittanning. It was started at the time of the construction of the canal, under the auspices of Mr. Leech, a distinguished forwarding merchant. The business of building canal boats has been extensively carried on here. It contains some 30 or 40 dwellings.
Lawrenceburg is a small village in the northwest corner of the county, in Perry township, about 20 miles from Kittanning, containing about 20 houses, stores, &c.
EXPLOITS OF CAPTAIN SAMUEL BRADY
Several of the exploits of Capt. Samuel Brady, the captain of the spies, occurred within the limits of Armstrong county. The extract given below is from the sketches of Brady's adventures published in the Blairsville Record in 1832. These sketches were written by Mr. M'Cabe, of Indiana, and the facts were principally derived from the brother of Capt. Brady, who still lives in Indiana county.
Capt. Samuel Brady was born in Shippensburg, in Cumberland co., in 1758, but soon after removed with his father to the West Branch of Susquehanna, a few miles above Northumberland. Cradled amid the alarms and excitements of a frontier exposed to savage warfare, Brady's military propensities were very early developed. He eagerly sought a post in the revolutionary army; was at the siege of Boston; a lieutenant at the massacre of the Paoli; and in 1779 was ordered to Fort Pitt with the regiment under Gen. Broadhead. A short time previous to this, both his father and brother had fallen by the hands of Indians; and from that moment Brady took a solemn oath of vengeance against all Indians. And his future life was devoted to the fulfillment of his vow. While Gen. Broadhead held command at Fort Pitt, (1780-81,) Brady was often selected to command small scouting parties sent into the Indian country north and west of the fort, to watch the movements of the savages; a charge which Brady always fulfilled with his characteristic courage and sagacity.
Brady's success as a partisan had acquired for him its usual results-approbation with some, and envy with others. Some of his brother officers censured the commandant for affording him such frequent opportunities for honorable distinction. At length open complaint was made, accompanied by a request, in the nature of a demand, that others should be permitted to share with Brady the perils and honors of the service, abroad from the fort. The general apprised Brady of what had passed, who readily acquiesced in the propriety of the proposed arrangements; and an opportunity was not long wanting for testing its efficiency.
The Indian* made an inroad into the Sewickly settlement, committing the most barbarous murders, of men, women, and children; stealing such property as was portable, und destroying all else. The alarm was brought to Pittsburg, and a party of soldiers, under the command of the emulous officers, despatched for the protection of the settlements, and chastisement of the foe. From this expedition Brady was of course excluded; but the restraint was irksome to his feelings.
The day after the detachment had marched, Brady solicited permission from his commander to take a small party for the purpose of "catching the Indians;" but was refused. By dint of importunity, however, he at length wrung from him a reluctant consent, and the command of Jive men; to this he added his pet Indian, and made hasty preparation.
Instead of moving towards Sewickly, as the first detachment had done, he crossed the Allegheny at Pittsburg, and proceeded up the river. Conjecturing that the Indians had descended that stream in canoes, till near the settlement, he was careful to examine the mouths of all creeks coming into it, particularly from the southeast. At the mouth of Big Mahoning, about six miles above Kittanning, the canoes were seen drawn up to its western bank. He instantly retreated down the river, and-waited for night. As soon as it was dark, he made a raft, and crossed to the Kittanning side. He then proceeded up to the creek, and found that the Indiana had, in the mean time, crossed the creek, as their canoes were now drawn to its upper or northeastern bank.
The country on both sides of Mahoning, at its mouth, is rough and mountainous; and the stream, which was then high, very rapid. Several ineffectual attempts were made to wade it, which they at length succeeded in doing, three or four miles above the canoes. Next a fire was made, their clothing dried, and arms inspected ; and the party moved towards the Indian camp, which was pitched on the second bank of the river. Brady placed his men at some distance, on the lower or first bank.
The Indians had brought from Sewickly a stallion, which they had fettered and turned to pasture on the lower bank. An Indian, probably the owner, under the law of arms, came frequently down to him, and occasioned the party no little trouble. The horse, too, seemed willing to keep their company, and it required considerable circumspection to avoid all intercourse with cither. Brady became so provoked that he had a strong inclination to tomahawk the Indian, but his calmer judgment repudiated the act, as likely to put to hazard a more decisive and important achievement.
At length the Indians seemed quiet, and the captain determined to pay them a closer visit. He had got quite near their fires; his pet Indian had caught him by the hair and gave it a pluck, intimating the advice to retire, which he would not venture to whisper; but finding Brady regardless of it, had crawled off-when the captain, who was scanning their numbers, and the position of their guns, observed one throw off his blanket and rise to his feet. It was altogether impracticable for Brady to move without being seen. He instantly decided to remain where he was, and risk what might happen. He drew his head slowly beneath the brow of the bank, putting his forehead to the earth for concealment. His next sensation was that of warm water poured into the hollow of his neck, as from the spout of a teapot, which, trickling down his back over the chilled skin, produced a feeling that even his iron nerves could scarce master. He felt quietly for his tomahawk, and had it been about him he probably would have used it; but he had divested himself even of that when preparing to approach the fires, lest by striking against the stones or gravel, it might give alarm. He was compelled, therefore, "nolens volens," to submit to this very unpleasant operation, until it should please his warriorship to refrain; which he soon did, and returning to his place wrapped himself up in his blanket, and composed himself for sleep aa if nothing had happened.
Brady returned to and posted his men, and in the deepest silence all awaited the break of day. When it appeared, the Indians arose and stood around their fires; exulting, doubtless, in the plunder they had acquired and the injury they had afflicted on their enemies. Precarious joy - short-lived triumph! The avenger of blood was beside them! At a signal given, seven rifles cracked and five Indians were dead ere they fell. Brady's well-known war-cry was heard, his party was among them, and their guns (mostly empty) were all secured. The remaining Indians instantly fled and disappeared. One was pursued by the trace of his blood, which he seems to have succeeded in stanching. The pet Indian then imitated the cry of a young wolf, which was answered by the wounded man, and the pursuit again renewed. A second time the wolf-cry was given and answered, and the pursuit continued into a windfall. Here he must have espied his pursuers, for he answered no more. Brady found his remains there three weeks afterwards, being led to the place by ravens that were preying on the carcass. The horse was unfettered, the plunder gathered, and the party commenced their return to Pittsburg, most of them descending in the Indian canoes. Three days after their return, the first detachment came in. They reported that they had followed the Indians closely, but that the latter had got into their canoes and made their escape.
Brady's affair at Brady's Bend is given under the head of Clarion co.
The honor of having invented the "Independent Treasury" is generally awarded to Martin Van Buren, Amos Kendall, or some other statesman of Washington city; and yet, according to the annexed extract from the Pittsburg Daily American, of Sept.' 16, 1842, the plan would seem to have been carried into successful operation in Armstrong co. long before it was ever thought of at Washington:-
THE WIDOW S____
The Widow S******-If not among the most extraordinary, this lady was, or we may say is, among flu: most original within I hi: range of our acquaintance, excepting perhaps the more lofty and renowned Madame Mitchell of Mackinaw, of whom we have spoken on several occasions. The widow S , at the time of our first acquaintance with that lady, owned and resided on one of the best farms on ____creek, in ___Co., Pa. In person she was large and masculine, and being of German descent, spoke English but badly. Her farm was in the finest order; no one had better crops, or more generally had sure ones. The labor was performed principally by her sons, herself, and her daughters, with occasional assistance which she hired. But this conducting of farms is common with many other Pennsylvania widows. Some little time after our first acquaintance commenced with Mrs. S , she married [in 1825] a man named D____ .
But notwithstanding this event, she neither took his name, nor did they reside together. D____ owned and lived upon a farm some few miles distant; each occupied their separate premises and fanned their own land-sold their own produce in their own name, and enjoyed their separate profits. To be sure D ____ would sometimes act as his wife's agent, and in making a market for his own produce would bargain at the same time for that of his wife; but always, in this case, in the name of the widow S____ . It was the habit of D___ to visit his wife every Saturday evening, and remain at her house until Monday morning. This separation during the week was from no disagreement, but formally arranged for in their marriage settlement, which provided for this; with an addition deemed necessary by the frugal and thrifty bride, which was that D____ should pay annually so many hundred weight of flour for his own board and the keeping of his horse for the one day and two nights of every week which brought him to the comfortable mansion (a large brick house with double bank bam to match) of the loving widow S ____ . The parties continued in this conjugal state for several years, when D___ died.
Her family had now grown up-her sons and daughters had become husbands and wives; but all resided upon and worked the same farm. She was still the widow, not D___ , but S___ ,and by this name still announced herself, and made all her contracts and kept all her accounts. About a year after the death of D___ , she repaired to her factor and confidential merchant in the county town of , to take his counsel. An audience being granted, she stated to him that she had some intention to marry again, and advised with him on the subject, as an ordinary matter of business. " I should suppose that one so happily situated as you are, with everything rich and comfortable about you, and your sons and daughters grown up, would not think of such a thing at your time of life. I would advise you by no means to entangle yourself again in any marriage alliance." " You tink not, Mr. H____ ." " Why, it is very sincerely the advice I would give you, if that is what you want," said Mr. H___ . " Well, dat may be all very well and very goot; but see here-a man I want, and a man I will have." " O, that is a very different thing altogether, and in that case I would advise you by all means to marry," said Mr. H____ . The ice being now broken, she stated to him that she had made up her mind to marry J. K____ , a substantial widower and farmer in the neighborhood-German like herself, and nearly of the same rotundity of form and feature. The same bargain was made, and the same arrangement as with D____ , and which exists, we believe, to this day. She still resides on her own place, enjoying undisturbed its control and its profits ; and though the wife of K ____ , retains her name of widow S___ . K____ makes his appearance, with his well-known light wagon, every Saturday evening, and takes his departure every Monday morning, and knows no more of what is doing at the farm of the widow S____ during the week, than on that of any other in the neighborhood. No two in the settlement have better horses, houses, or farms, or have them in better order, than K____ and the widow S____ , and no two enjoy more of the good things of this world; to which they both add that perfect contentment of mind arising from having all that they wish and paying all that they owe, even to the annual stipend of flour, which is regularly put in the mill to the credit of widow S____ , by her affectionate and punctual spouse.
It may be added, as a remarkable fact, that this happy couple have no worldly property which they regard as being owned between them in common. We believe the widow S___ has had no children by either of her two last husbands. It is a singular instance of conjugal life, and without its parallel within the range of our knowledge. The facts are well known to many residing in the county of, by whom the originals of this story will be readily recognised.*
* The article above is copied precisely as it appeared in the paper, but in reply to our inquiries the editor has obligingly given us in full all the names left in blank above (for an obvious reason,) and has stated a number of other particulars concerning the family and characters of the parties concerned. Among other things he says: " All the particulars may be relied on as true to the letter, not having drawn upon fancy for a single fact there stated. The parties living all reside, and have done for many years, on Crooked creek, in Armstrong county; are wealthy and highly respected among their acquaintances. I certainly regarded Mrs. S as no common woman, and her presence indicates this. She is large and her bearing lofty, bold, and confident, (though no way immodest;) but rather as one unconscious of error, and competent to the management of her own affairs, and unconscious of any impropriety in their details. No one ever imputed ought against her honor, or fairness in dealing. She has little or no disguise, and what she wants ibe asks for." In a more recent letter he informs us that her last husband died this spring, (1843); It remains to be seen whether she will marry again-and why not?
[Source: Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania, by Sherman Day, Philadelphia, 1843, Page 93-102]
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