1843 History of Bedford County, Pennsylvania
Contributed by Nancy Piper
[Source: Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania, by Sherman Day, Philadelphia, 1843, Page 1114-126]
|ESTABLISHMENT AND GEOGRAPHY
Bedford County, originally part of Cumberland co., was established 9th March, 1771. It then included the whole southwestern part of the state. The establishment of Westmoreland in 1773, of Huntingdon in '87, and Somerset in '95, reduced it to its present limits. Length, 44 m., breadth, 34; area, 1,520 sq. mile*. The population in 1790 was 13,124, then including Somerset; in 1800, 12,039; in 1810, 15,746; in 1820, 20,248; in 1830, 24,502 ; in 1840, 29,335.
The following very correct description of this county was given by a writer in the Democratic Enquirer, in 1829.
The county of Bedford is mountainous and hilly, much of the land stony and broken, and in some places the soil yields but a niggardly return for the labor bestowed on it Yet the rich burgher from the city who lounges in his carriage along the turnpike, or is transported with rapidity in one of our public stages, makes a thousand mistakes in his calculations about the sterility of our soil, and the shortness of our crops. While he is dreaming in his carriage of famine and cold water, could he be translated in a moment to some of our delightful valleys, he would there find large and extensive farms, abundant crops, comfortable houses, prolific and healthy families, and a greater abundance of everything, than, perhaps, he himself is in the habit of enjoying at home. In many of our valleys there is fine limestone land, which is well cultivated, which affords oar farmers an opportunity every year of taking a great quantity of surplus produce to Market. The valleys near McConnellstown, Friend's Cove, and Morrison's Cove, are particularly rich and fertile. The latter place, more especially in the vicinity of Martinsburg, I hesitate not to say, is one of the richest districts of country in the state of Pennsylvania.
Iron ore is found of the best quality in many places, particularly in Morrison's Cove, and its vicinity. Several extensive iron works have been carried on for some years past. Near the northeastern boundary of the county, on Broad-top mountain, is situated a small isolated coal basin, affording several seams of bituminous coal, from one to four feet thick ; the only deposit of bituminous coal, it is thought, east of the Allegheny mountains, in Pennsylvania. It is said that some of the specimens of this coal possess an intermediate quality between the bituminous and anthracite.
The manufacture of maple sugar was formerly a prominent branch of family industry in this county.
ROADS AND RIVERS
The Chambersburg and Pittsburg turnpike passes across the centre of the county. In going westward on this road, the traveler passes successively Cove mountain, Scrub ridge, Sideling hill, Ray's hill, Clear ridge, Tussey's mountain, Evitt's or Dunning's mountain, Will's mountain, Chestnut ridge, and the great Allegheny mountain.
The Raystown branch of the Juniata is the large central stream of the co. The sources of the Aughwick and Frankstown branches also rise in this co. On the south are Licking cr., Conolloway's cr., Will's cr., and a few smaller streams.
The original population of the co. was composed of the Scotch-Irish traders and frontier-men from the Kittatinny valley ; but of late years the German farmers have purchased the rich limestone lands, and now form an important proportion of the population.Annexed is a view of the public square in Bedford. The courthouse is seen on the right, and a part of the Presbyterian church on the left.
Bedford, the county seat, is a nourishing borough, on the Chambersburg and Pittsburg turnpike, 200 miles from Philadelphia, and 100 from Pittsburg. The population in 1840 was 1,022. The buildings are mostly either stone or brick: the streets are spacious and airy, and generally present the appearance of activity and business. Its liberal-minded and intelligent citizens have done much to beautify the town by erecting several elegant public structures. The Catholic, the German Reformed and Lutheran, and the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, combine neatness with comfort. The new courthouse, fronting the public square, is a splendid edifice of the Tuscan order. The town is situated in a luxuriant limestone valley, and enjoys every advantage that pure mountain air and water, and picturesque scenery can impart. The Raystown branch of the Juniata flows along the northern border of the town. There is an excellent classical and mathematical school here, under the charge of Professor Ramsay; and the Bedford Female Collegiate Institution, an excellent school for young ladies, superintended by Rev. B. R. Hall.
Bedford Springs.-This celebrated watering-place is situated about one and a half miles S. of Bedford, in the narrow, romantic valley of Shover's creek, between Constitution hill, on the east, and Federal hill, on the west.
The annexed view shows the magnificent hotel, recently constructed, on the right, and the spring-house beyond the bridge, on the left. In the centre of the yard stands the goddess of health. Anderson's, or the principal spring, issues from a limestone rock on the left of the spring-house, as seen in the view. The water is clear, lively and sparkling. When analyzed by Dr. Church, of Pittsburg, in 1825, the temperature was 58° of Fahrenheit, while the surrounding atmosphere was 70°-specific gravity 1029. It has a peculiar saline taste, resembling a weak solution of Epsom salts in water, impregnated with carbonic acid, and is inodorous. A quart of it evaporated, contained eighteen and a half cub. in. carbonic acid gas; the residuum gave of sulph. magnesia, or Epsom salts, 20 gr., sulphate of lime 3.75, muriate of soda 2.50, muriate of lime 0.75, carbonate of iron 1.25, carbonate of lime 2; loss 0.75. Limestone, iron ore, calcareous and silicious substances abound about the spring. Another spring of the same general qualities issues, a little further south, from the same rock. On the west side of the creek is a sulphur spring, the water of which has a peculiarly unpleasant hepatic taste and exhales a strong odor of sulphureted hydrogen. Northeast of Bedford one and a half miles is a chalybeate spring, not very copious, surrounded with bog iron ore. A part of the skeleton of a mammoth was found when digging out this spring.
Houses for cold, shower, and warm baths are erected at " the springs," with every appropriate accommodation. To describe the beautiful serpentine walks up Constitution hill, the artificial lake, on which small boats can pleasantly sail, and the other attractions of this romantic spot, would exceed our limits.
The first settlements in Bedford co. appear to have been made by the traders and adventurers of the Conococheague and Conedoguinet settlements. Contrary to the treaties with the Six Nations and the Shawanees, and to the express injunctions of the governor, these men intruded upon the Indian lands beyond the Blue mountains; and by this intrusion were continually exasperating the Indians, who, to expel the whites, resorted to sanguinary attacks, which in their turn aroused the pugnacity of the Cumberland valley people.
On the 25th of May, 1750, Gov. Hamilton informed the council that Mr. Peters, the secretary, and Mr. Weber, the Indian interpreter, were then in Cumberland county, in order to take proper measures with the magistrates to remove the settlers over the hills, who hail presumed to stay there notwithstanding his proclamation ; and laid before them the minutes of a conference held at Mr. Croghan's, in Pennsborough township, as well as with Mr. Montour, and with some Shamokin and Conestogoc Indians. The Indians expressed themselves pleased to see them on that occasion, and as the council at Onondaga had this matter exceedingly at heart, they desired to accompany diem; but, said they, notwithstanding the care of the governor, we are afraid that this may prove like many former attempts : the people will be put off now, and come next year again. And if so, the Six Nations will no longer bear it, but do themselves justice.
Then follows the report of Mr. Peters, entered at large, and also printed in the votes of assembly, (vol. iv., p. 137 :) by which it appears that, on the 22d of May, they proceeded to a place on Big Juniata, about 25 miles from its mouth, where there were five cabins, or log houses-one possessed by William White, another by George Cahoon, the others by men of the names of Hiddleston, Galloway, and Lycon. These men, except Lycon, were convicted by the magistrates upon view, in pursuance of the act of Feb. 14th, 1729-30, (chap. 312,) and the cabins were burnt. A number of cabins were also burnt at Sherman's creek, and Little Juniata. On the 30th of May they proceeded into the Tuscarora path, or Path valley, and burnt eleven cabins. At Aughwick, they burnt the cabin of one Carlton, and another unfinished one; and three were burnt in the Big Cove. The settlers, who were numerous, were recognized to appear at the following court.
|COL. JAMES SMITH
Col. James Smith, whose interesting narrative of his captivity among the Indians is well known, thus describes the first opening of a road through Bedford county. It would appear, however, from the proceedings of assembly that one Ray had already built a few cabins where Bedford now is, since Raystown is mentioned in the proceedings as being a point in the road.
Smith was carried by the Indians to Fort Duquesne, where he was compelled to run the gauntlet through two long lines of Indians, beating him with clubs, throwing sand in his face, and scarcely leaving the breath in his body. He was there at the time of Braddock's defeat, and witnessed the horrid cruelties inflicted by the Indians upon the prisoners taken at that time. He was afterwards taken into the Indian country west of the Ohio, and there, with a grand ceremony of painting, hair pulling, and washing in the river by the hands of copper-colored nymphs more kind than gentle, he was adopted as one of the Caughnewago nation. He remained with them in all their wanderings for several years, until, by way of Montreal, he was exchanged with other prisoners, and returned home in 1760. He afterwards was conspicuous in the history of Bedford county, as will presently be seen.
Three years after Braddock's defeat, under the vigorous administration of William Pitt, in 1758, it was determined to send a formidable force to expel the French from the valley of the Ohio. Lord Amherst appointed Gen. John Forbes to the command of the forces from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, against Fort Duquesne. There were brisk times that summer along the Raystown valley. Washington was appointed to the command of a regiment of Virginia troops, with the rank of colonel. He strenuously urged upon Gen. Forbes, through Col. Bouquet, the importance of taking Braddock's road, which was already opened, and would save the delay and dangers attendant on cutting out a new road through the wilderness; he feared that if they wasted the summer in making the road, the only laurels they might gather would be those that covered the mountain.
The Pennsylvanians, however, jealous of the claims of Virginia upon the region on the Monongahela, were determined not to lose this opportunity of opening a communication exclusively through their own province. Their counsels, backed by those of Bouquet, prevailed with Gen. Forbes. The whole force amounted to 7,850 men, of whom there were 350 royal Americans, 1,200 Highlanders, 2,600 Virginians, 2,700 Pennsylvanians, 1,000 wagoners, sutlers, &c. &c. Col. Bouquet, with a part of the forces, was posted at Raystown for some time, waiting for the main body to arrive under Gen. Forbes, who had been detained by illness at Carlisle. On his arrival at Raystown, about the middle of September, Bouquet was advanced with a force of 2,500 men, to cut out the road. The main body of the army was detained at Raystown, until near the end of October, when it marched to Loyalhanna.
Gen. Forbes, more wise than his predecessor, Braddock, better appreciated the talents and experience of Washington, and did not fail to seek his counsel, together with that of the other colonels, in regard to the movements of the army. Washington, on the other hand, although he had been chagrined at the choice of a route, still took a lively interest in the campaign; and drew up an able plan, illustrated with a diagram of his own drawing, for the proper disposition of the troops in line of march. Washington was also careful to solicit an advanced position for his own corps, in cutting out the road beyond the Loyalhanna; which was assigned him, with the temporary rank of brigadier.
The movements of the army were closely watched by the Indians, and two skirmishes occurred on the route. Col. Bouquet was attacked in his camp by the French and Indians, at Loyalhanna, but repulsed them after a warm combat. The lessons learned at Braddock's defeat were successfully practiced. The provincial practice of fighting Indians, when in the woods, from behind trees, was adhered to; and from the testimony of Capt. Smith, there is good reason to believe that this practice not only foiled the enemy in their skirmishes, but also induced the Indians to abandon all hopes of success, and quit their French allies. They could contend, they said, successfully with regular troops, but could not conquer the Long-knives, as they termed the Virginians. Thus deserted, the French could do no otherwise than abandon and destroy the fort, and escape down the river; leaving to Gen. Forbes an almost bloodless conquest.
In 1763, Col. Bouquet again passed along the Raystown road, with two regiments of regulars and a large convoy of stores and provisions, to relieve the beleaguered garrison at Fort Pitt. It appears that the fort at Raystown had already received its name of Fort Bedford-probably soon after Gen. Forbes' expedition. This fort, then the principal deposit of military stores between Fort Pitt and Carlisle, was still in a ruinous condition, and weakly garrisoned, although the two small intermediate posts at the crossing of the Juniata and of Stoney creek had been abandoned to strengthen it Capt. Ourry commanded the garrison here at that time.
Here the distressed families, scattered for twelve or fifteen miles round, fled for protection, leaving most of their effects a prey to the savages. All the necessary precautions were taken by the commanding officer to prevent surprise, and repel open force, as also to render ineffectual the enemy's fire-arrows. He armed all the fighting men, who formed two companies of volunteers, and did duty with the garrison till the arrival of two companies of light infantry, detached as soon u possible from Col. Bouquet's little army.
These two magazines being secured, the colonel advanced to the remotest verge of our settlements, where he could receive no sort of intelligence of the number, position, or motions of the enemy-not even at Fort Bedford, where he arrived with his whole convoy on the 25th of July ; for though the Indians did not attempt to attack the fort, they had by this time killed, scalped, and taken eighteen persons in that neighborhood-and their skulking parties were so spread, that at last no express could escape them. * * * In this uncertainty of intelligence under which the colonel labored, he marched from Fort Bedford the 28th of July, and as soon as he reached Fort Ligonier he determined, prudently, to leave his wagons at that post, and to proceed only with the pack-horses.
(See the further details of this march under Westmoreland county.)
|In the ensuing year Col. Bouquet commanded another
expedition against the Indians on the Muskingum, by which
he concluded a treaty of peace, and restored a great
number of prisoners, who had been carried away by the
Indians, to their homes. Col. James Smith was in that
expedition, and after his return home, he says-
|This is probably the affair that gave name to Bloody
run. The account of it published at the time in London,
says, " the convoy of 80 horses loaded with goods, chiefly
on his majesty's account as presents to the Indians, and
part on account of Indian traders, were surprised in a
narrow and dangerous defile in the mountains by a body of
armed men. A number of horses were killed, and the whole
of the goods were carried away by the plunderers. The
rivulet was dyed with blood, and ran into the settlement
below carrying with it the stain of crime upon its
surface." The extract from Capt. Smith is a graphic
picture of the lawless usages on the frontier at that
period. Col. Smith says again-
Smith was arrested for this affair; and in the scuffle attending the arrest, a man was accidentally shot. Smith was charged with murder, and tried for his life at Carlisle, but very justly acquitted. He afterwards became a representative in the assembly, a colonel in the revolutionary army, and, after the peace, a commissioner of Westmoreland county. He emigrated to Kentucky, where he passed the later years of his life. His interesting narrative, originally published by himself or his friends, is copied at large in the " Incidents of Border Life." While connected with the army he fought in the Jerseys; and was afterwards engaged with Gen. McIntosh in 1778, against his old friends the Ohio Indians. He much preferred the adventurous career of a frontier ranger to the stricter discipline of the army.
|INCIDENTS IN BEDFORD COUNTY HISTORY
|A singular circumstance also occurred about that time in
the neighborhood of the Allegheny mountain. A man named
Wells had made a very considerable improvement, and was
esteemed rather wealthy for that region. He, like others,
had been forced with his family from his home, and had
gone for protection to the fort. In the fall of the year,
he concluded to return to his place and dig his crop of
potatoes. For that purpose he took with him six or seven
men, an Irish servant girl to cook, and an old
plough-horse. After they had finished their job, they made
preparations to return to the fort next day.
During the night Wells dreamed that on his way to his family he had been attacked and gored by a bull; and so strong an impression did the dream make, that he mentioned it to his companions, and told them that he was sure some danger awaited them- He slept again, and dreamed that he was about to shoot a deer, and when cocking his gun the main-spring broke. In his dream he thought he heard distinctly the crack of toe spring when it broke. He again awoke, and his fears were confirmed; and he immediately urged his friends to rise and get ready to start. Directly after he arose he went to his gun to examine if it was all right, and in cocking it the main-spring snapped off. This circumstance alarmed them, and they soon had breakfast and were ready to leave. To prevent delay, the girl was put on the horse and started off. and as soon as it was light enough, the rest followed. Before they had gone far, a young dog belonging to Wells manifested much alarm, and ran back to the house. Wells called him; but after coming a short distance, he invariably ran back. Not wishing to leave him, as he was valuable, he went after him, but had gone but a short distance towards the house, when five Indians rose from behind a large tree that had fallen, and approached him with extended hands.
The men who were with him fled instantly, and he would have followed, but the Indians were so close he thought it useless. As they approached him, however, he fancied the looks of a very powerful Indian who was nearest him boded no good; and being a very swift runner, and thinking it " neck or nothing" at any rate, determined to attempt an escape. As the Indian approached, he threw at him his useless rifle, and dashed off towards the woods in the direction his companions had gone. Instead of firing, the Indians commenced a pursuit for the purpose of making him a prisoner, but he outran them. After running some distance, and when they thought he would escape, they all stopped and fired at once, and every bullet struck him, but without doing him much injury or retarding his flight. Soon after this he saw where his companions had concealed themselves; and as he passed, begged them to fire on the Indians and save him ; but they were afraid and kept quiet. He continued his flight, and after a short time overtook the girl with the horse. She quickly understood his danger and dismounted instantly, urging him to take her place, while she would save herself by concealment. He mounted, but without a whip, and for want of one could not get the old horse out of a trot. This delay brought the Indians upon him again directly, and as soon as they were near enough they fired; and this time with more effect, as one of the balls struck him in the hip and lodged in his groin. But this saved his life-it frightened the horse into a gallop, and he escaped, although he suffered severely for several months afterwards.
The Indians were afterwards pursued and surprised at their morning meal; and when fired on four of them were killed, but the other, though wounded, made his escape. Bridges, who was taken prisoner near Johnstown when Adams was murdered, saw him come in to his people, and describes him as having been shot through the chest, with leaves stuffed in the bullet holes the bleeding.
The Indians were most troublesome during their predatory incursions, which were frequent after the commencement of the revolution. They cut off a party of whites under command of Capt. Dorsey, at "the Harbor," a deep cove formed by Ray's hill, and a spur from it.
John Lane, to whom I have before referred, was out at one time as a spy and scout, under the command of a Capt Philips. He left the scout once for two days, on a visit home, and when he returned to the fort the scout had been out some time. Fears were entertained for their safety. A party went in search ; and within a mile or two of the fort, found Capt. Philips and the whole of his men, 15 in number, killed and scalped. When found they were all tied to saplings ; and, to use the language of the narrator, who was an eye-witness, " their bodies were completely riddled with arrows."
|The oldest native of the county living [in 1843] is Wm.
Fraser. His father left Fort Cumberland about 1758, and
came to the fort at Bedford. He built the first house
outside the fort, and Wm. was the first white child born
outside the fort. He was born in 1759, and is now about 84
years of age. He was in my office a few days since. He had
come about 14 miles that morning, and intended returning
home the same day; this he frequently does."
Several distinguished men of the olden time have been mentioned by Mr. Burd above. Hon. Mr. Walker, lately a U. S. Senator from Mississippi, was a native of Bedford county. The following is abridged from a Connecticut newspaper, under the head of " Letters from Luzerne."
"Yankee talent and virtue are appreciated and rewarded in Pennsylvania. John Todd, some years since deceased, was a native of Suffield, Connecticut. Having finished his law studies, he took his pack, literally, on his back, and came out to Bedford co., seeking his fortune. A close student, he wus pale; but a bright eye animated his countenance. Of middle size, he seemed formed rather for activity than strength. When he first entered the Pennsylvania senate, then at Lancaster, at about 27 or 28 years of age, Senator Palmer remarked, " My life on't that fellow is a fool, or possesses uncommon talents ; I suspect the latter-mark my word-you will hear from him."
We did. Awkward beyond conception, he would grasp a pen in his hand, bite and twist and chew it, as he rose to speak-his head a little on one side-but presently the house would be startled by some bold proposition. He would shake the bitten quill, and pour forth a torrent-not of words-but of correct principles and sound argument, with a spirit and power most effective. In two or three sessions behold him speaker of the house, presiding with great and just popularity. On the floor of Congress next, chairman of the committee on manufactures, he sustains a judicious protective tariff. Attacked by Gov. Hamilton of S. Carolina, that hot spur of the south, he prepared to reply. " You'll get it, Hamilton-Todd won't spare yon."
Willing to escape, Mr. H. said, in the lobby, next morning, " he meant nothing personal, no offence," &c. " I took it as a political attack, not a personal affront, although extremely personal in its bearing; but say on the floor what you say here, and I will omit my reply." " Can't do that." " Then you shall have it." And Todd gave him one of the cleverest retorts known in congressional story. An associate on the bench of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, Mr. Todd next holds a seat, and no one commanded more confidence and respect. But disease brought him to a too early grave-27th March, 1830, aged 51 years-in the midst of honor and usefulness. He was in his day the Brougham of Pennsylvania. Long will she cherish, with pride and affection, the memory of the pale Yankee."
|It would appear from Rev. Mr. Doddridge's statement that
Bedford, as compared with the more remote settlements, had
during the revolution become in a degree civilized. His
description of the primeval furniture of a cabin related
to the new settlements in the Monongahela country, but, as
the almanac-makers say, will answer nearly as well for
other places in the same latitude:
|VILLAGES AND BOROUGHS
There are three incorporated boroughs in Bedford co. besides the county seat,-Martinsburg, Mcconnellstown, and Schellsburg,-each taking its name from the person who laid it out and sold the lots. Besides these, there are Warfordsburg, Rainsburg, St. Clair, and Bloody Run. The latter takes its name from a run which flows through it. Some traditions state that the Indians had here murdered a party of whites, with their cattle, and the mingling of the blood with the water had suggested the name ; but see a different version in Capt. Smith's adventure, above.
Mcconnellstown is pleasantly situated in a luxuriant limestone valley, between Cove mountain and Scrub ridge, on the turnpike, 28 miles east of Bedford, and 19 west of Chambersburg. A turnpike also runs from here to Mercersburg. There are at this place two Presbyterian churches. Population in 1840, 486. It was incorporated 26th March, 1814.
Martinsburg is a large flourishing borough, about 23 miles north of Bedford. It is situated in a broad and fertile limestone valley, called Morrison's Cove, bounded by Dunning's and Lock mountains on the west, and Tussey's mountain on the east. The valley abounds in iron ore of excellent quality, and the manufacture of iron is extensively carried on. Population in 1840, 422. A considerable number of Quakers settled in this region about the year 1793.
Morrison's Cove was settled at a very early date by a Mr. Morris from Washington county, Maryland. From him the valley took its proper name of Morris's Cove. Afterwards several set tiers came in from the Conococheague settlements, among whom was John Martin, from whom Martinsburg took its name-although the place was laid out by Jacob Entriken, who bought it from John Brumbach. Jacob Nave built the first grist-mill in Morris's Cove. At that time the fort was at Holliday's, where most of the neighboring pioneers were in the habit of farting. While all were gone to the fort but himself, he had been delayed for some cause about his null, and on leaving it he espied a large Indian and a small one just emerging from the bushes, each with a rifle : they pointed their rifles at him several times, and he at them ; but neither fired. At length he shot the big Indian through the heart, and ran. The young Indian gaveckase, but Nave found time to load, and fired at him ; but the fellow fell to the ground, and missed the ball. This farce was repeated several times, when Nave waited until he had fallen before he fired, and then killed him. He threw their bodies into the creek, and escaped to the fort. The next day the Indians burnt his mill and his dwelling.
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