Welcome to Pennsylvania Genealogy Trails!

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.

MANUFACTURING

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.

POPULATION ORGINS

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

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

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.

FIRST SETTLEMENTS

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.

In May, 1755, the province of Pennsylvania agreed to send out 300 men, in order to cut a wagon road from Fort Loudon, to join Braddock's road, near the Turkey-foot, or three forks of Youghiogheny. My brother-in-law, William Smith, Esq., of Conococheague, was appointed commissioner, to have the oversight of these road-cutters. Though I was at that time only eighteen years of age. I had fallen violently in love with a young lady, whom I apprehended was possessed of a large share of both beauty and virtue; but being born between Venus and Mars, I concluded I must also leave my dear fair one, and go out with this company of road-cutters, to see the event of this campaign-but still expecting that some time in the course of the summer, I should again return to the arms of my beloved.

We went on with the road, without interruption, until near the Allegheny mountain; when I was sent back, in order to hurry up some provision wagons that were on the way after us. I proceeded down the road as far as the crossings of Juniata, where, finding the wagons were coming on as fast as possible, I returned up the road again towards the Allegheny mountain, in company with one Arnold Vigoras. About four or five miles above Bedford, three Indians had made a blind of bushes, stuck in the ground as though they grew naturally, where they concealed themselves, about fifteen yards from the road.

When we came opposite to them, they fired upon us, at this short distance, and killed my fellow-traveller; yet their bullets did not touch me. But my horse, making a violent start, threw me; and the Indians immediately ran up and took me prisoner. The one that laid hold on me was a Conestauga; the other two were Delawares. One of them could speak English, and asked me if there were any more white men coming after. I told them, Not any near, that I knew of. Two of these Indians stood by me while the other scalped my comrade. They then set off, and ran at a smart rate through the woods, for about fifteen miles; and that night we slept on the Allegheny mountain, without fire.

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-

"Shortly after this the Indians stole horses, and killed some people on the frontiers. The king's proclamation was then circulating and set up in various public places, prohibiting any person from trading with the Indians until further orders.

Notwithstanding all this, about the 1st of March, 1765, a number of wagons, loaded with Indian goods and warlike stores, were sent from Philadelphia to Henry Pollens, Conococheague ; and from thence seventy pack-horses were loaded with these goods, in order to carry them to Fort Pitt. This alarmed the country, and Mr. William Duffield raised about fifty armed men, and met the pack-horses at the place where Mercersburg now stands. Mr. DufGeld desired the employers to store up their goods and not proceed until further orders. They made light of this, and went over the North mountain, where they lodged in a small valley called the Great Cove. Mr. Duffield and his party followed after, and came to their lodging, and again urged them to store up their goods. He reasoned with them on the impropriety of their proceedings, and the great danger the frontier inhabitants would be exposed to if the Indians should now get a supply: he said, as it was well known that they had scarcely any ammunition, and were almost naked, to supply them now would be a kind of murder, and would be illegally trading at the expense of the blood and treasure of the frontiers. Notwithstanding his powerful reasoning, these traders made game of what he said, and would only answer him by ludicrous burlesque.

When I beheld this, and found that Mr. Duffield would not compel them to store up their goods, I collected ten of my old warriors, that I had formerly disciplined in the Indian way, went off privately after night, and encamped in the woods. The next day, as usual, we blacked and painted, and waylaid them near Sidelong hill. I scattered my men about forty rods along the side of the road, and ordered every two to take a tree, and about eight or ten rods between each couple, with orders to keep a reserved fire-one not to fire until his comrade had loaded his gun : by this means we kept up a constant slow fire upon them, from front to rear. We then heard nothing of these traders' merriment or burlesque. When they saw their pack-horses falling close by them, they called out, " Pray, gentlemen, what would you have us to do ?" The reply was, " Collect all your loads to the front, and unload them in one place ; take your private property, and immediately retire." When they were gone, we burnt what they left, which consisted of blankets, shirts, vermilion, lead, beads, wampum, tomahawks, scalping-knives, &c.

The traders went back to Fort Loudon, and applied to the commanding officer there, and got a party of Highland soldiers, and went with them in quest of the robbers, as they called us; and without applying to a magistrate, or obtaining any civil authority, but barely upon suspicion, they took a number of creditable persons, (who were chiefly not any way concerned in this action,) and confined them in the guard-house in Fort Loudon. I then raised three hundred rifle, men, marched to Fort Loudon, and encamped on a hill in sight of the fort We were not long there, until we had more than double as many of the British troops prisoners in our camp, as they had of our people in the guard-house. Capt. Grant, a Highland officer, who commanded Fort Loudon, then sent a flag of truce to our camp, where we settled a cartel, and gave them above two for one, which enabled us to redeem all our men from the guard-house, without further difficulty.

After this, Capt. Grant kept a number of rifle guns, which the Highlanders had taken from the country people, and refused to give them up. As he was riding out one day, we took him prisoner, and detained him until he delivered up the arms; we also destroyed a large quantity of gunpowder that the traders had stored up, lest it might be conveyed privately to the Indians. The king's troops, and our party, had now got entirely out of the channel of the civil law, and many unjustifiable things were done by both parties. This convinced me more than ever I had been before, of the absolute necessity of the civil law in order to govern mankind."

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-

"In the year 1769, the Indians again made incursions on the frontiers; yet the traders continued carrying goods and warlike stores to them. The frontiers took the alarm, and a number of persons collected, destroyed and plundered a quantity of their powder, lead, &c., in Bedford county. Shortly after this some of these persons, with others, were apprehended and laid in irons in the guard-house in Fort Bedford, on suspicion of being the perpetrators of this crime.

Though I did not altogether approve of the conduct of this new club of black boys, yet I concluded that they should not lie in irons in the guard-house, or remain in confinement, by arbitrary or military power. I resolved, therefore, if possible, to release them, if they even should be tried by the civil law afterwards. I collected eighteen of my old black boys that I had seen tried in the Indian war, &.C. I did not desire a large party, lest they should be too much alarmed at Bedford, and accordingly be prepared for us. We marched along the public road in daylight, and made no secret of our design : we told those whom we met, that we were going to take Fort Bedford, which appeared to them a very unlikely story. Before this, I made it known to one William Thompson, a man whom I could trust, and who lived there : him I employed as a spy, and sent him along on horseback before, with orders to meet me at a certain place near Bedford, one hour before day. The next day, a little before sunset, we encamped near the crossings of Juniata, about fourteen miles from Bedford, and erected tents, as though we intended staying all night; and not a man in my company knew to the contrary, save myself. Knowing that they would hear this in Bedford, and wishing it to be the case, I thought to surprise them by stealing a march.

As the moon rose about 11 o'clock, I ordered my boys to march, and we went on at the rate of fire miles an hour, until we met Thompson at the place appointed. He told us that the commanding officer had frequently heard of us by travelers, and had ordered thirty men upon guard. He said they knew our number, and only made game of the notion of eighteen men coming to rescue the prisoners ; but they did not expect us until towards the middle of the day. I asked him if the gate was open? He said it was then shut, but he expected they would open it, as usual, at daylight, as they apprehended no danger. I then moved my men privately up under the banks of the Juniata, where we lay concealed about one hundred yards from the fort gate. I had ordered the men to keep a profound silence until we got into it. I then sent off Thompson again to spy.

At daylight he returned and told us that the gate was open, and three sentinels were standing upon the wall-that the guards were taking a morning dram, and the arms standing together in one place. I then concluded to rush into the fort, and told Thompson to run before me to the arms. We ran with all our might, and as it was a misty morning, the sentinels scarcely saw us, until we were within the gate, and took possession of the arms. Just as we were entering, two of them discharged their guns, though I do not believe they aimed at us. We then raised a shout, which surprised the town, though some of them were well pleased with the news. We compelled a blacksmith to take the irons off the prisoners, and then we left the place. This, I believe, was the first British fort in America that was taken by what they call American rebels."

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

The following incidents in the history of Bedford county were kindly collected from traditionary sources, and transmitted to the compiler by the Hon. George Burd, and John Mower, Esq., of Bedford.

The co. contained within its present limits, at a very early day, a number of forts, erected by the inhabitants for their protection. The first, and principal, was Fort Bedford, although that name was only given it when it began to assume the appearance of a settlement. The others were Fort Littleton, Martin's fort, Piper's fort, and Wingawn's, with several other unimportant ones. Bedford was the only one ever occupied by British troops ; and about 1770, the earliest period of which we have any traditionary account, the walls of the fort were nearly demolished, so that it must have been erected many years before.

The first settlement, it is conjectured, must have been made prior to the year 1750, how long before, cannot be stated with anything like accuracy; but I not long since conversed with a very old man, named John Lane, who told me that he was born within the present limits of the co. His age fixed his birth about 1751, and from the account he gave, settlements must have been made several years previous to that. It was also before that time that the Indians had made complaints of the encroachments of the whites upon their hunting grounds, and particularly in the neighborhood of the Juniata.

As early as 1770, the whites had made considerable settlements at a distance from the fort at Bedford, as far as twelve and fifteen miles, particularly on Dunning's cr., and on the Shawanee run, near the Allegheny mountains, where the tribe of Indians of that name once had a town.

The principal building at Bedford, at that day, of which there is any account, was a two-story log-house, called the " King's House." It was occupied by the officers of the fort until the marching of the English troops at the breaking out of the revolution. It is still standing, and is now, with two additions, one of stone, the other brick, occupied as a public house. At the time Bedford co. was erected, the only building in which the court could sit was a one-storied rough log-house. It was for some time also occupied as a jail. It stood until a few years since.

The town of Bedford was laid out, by order of the governor, in June, 1766, by the surveyor, general, John Lukens. The settlement was originally called Raystown, but at the time of laying it out, it was called Bedford. This, Mr. Vickroy says, was in consequence of some similarity in its location to a place of the same name in England. [But more probably derived from the name of the fort, which was supposed to be named in honor of the Duke of Bedford.-D.]

For a considerable time after the town was laid out, the inhabitants had to go upwards of 40 miles to mill. It was then an undertaking that occupied sometimes two weeks, those taking grain having to wait until others before them were accommodated. The first mill was built near the town by an enterprising man named Frederick Naugle, a merchant, doing what was, at that day, called a large business.

For many years Bedford was the principal stopping place for all persons, and particularly packers going from the east to Fort Pitt. All government stores, as well as groceries and goods of every description, were for a long time carried west on pack-horses. One man would sometimes have under his control as many as a hundred horses. For the protection of these, guards had always to be supplied, who accompanied them from one fort to another. Bedford always furnished its guards out of that class of the militia in service at the time they were required. These guards travelled with the packers, guarded their encampments at night, and conducted them safely across the Alleghenies to Fort Ligonier, west of Laurel hill.

At the commencement of the revolution, the co. of Bedford furnished two companies, who marched to Boston; and although but a frontier co., at a distance from the principal scenes of excitement and points of information, contained as much of the patriotic spirit of the day as could be found anywhere. A meeting was held, composed of fanners and the most substantial citizens, who, entering fully into the spirit of the revolution, passed a number of resolutions, prohibiting the introduction and use of every article of foreign manufacture.

The prominent men of that day who lived at and about Bedford, were Thomas Smith, who held several appointments under the government, and was afterwards a judge of the supreme court, Gen. Arthur St. Clair, who was the first prothonotary of the county, George Woods, county surveyor, under whose instructions the city of Pittsburg was laid out, Thomas Coulter, Col. Davidson, and Thomas Vickroy, who afterwards, in 1783, laid out the city of Pittsburg. He is still living.

Although the inhabitants were from the time of the first settlements constantly on their guard against the Indians, yet the principal troubles commenced at the breaking out of the revolutionary war. A frontier life at that time was one constant scene of strife and danger. Bedford co. was at that time the Allegheny frontier, and her inhabitants were, consequently, exposed to the full force of savage fury, and severely did it often fall upon them. The following incidents of those times arc well authenticated.

In the year 1777, a family named Tull resided about six miles west of Bedford, on a hill to which the name of the family was given. There were ten children, nine daughters and a son; but at the time referred to, the son was absent, leaving at home his aged parents and nine sisters. At that time the Indians were particularly troublesome, and the inhabitants had to abandon their improvements and take refuge at the fort ; but Tull's family disregarded the danger and remain, cd on their improvement One Williams, who had made a settlement about three miles west of Tull's, and near where the town of Schellsburg now stands, had returned to his farm to sow some flax. He had a son with him, and remained out about a week. The road to his improvement passed Tull's house. On their return, as they approached Tull's, they saw a smoke; and coming nearer, discovered that it arose from the burning ruins of Tull's house. Upon a nearer approach, the son saw an object in the garden which by a slight movement had attracted his attention, and looking more closely, they found it was the old man just expiring. At the same moment the son discovered on the ground near him an Indian paint bag. They at once understood the whole matter, and knowing that the Indians were still near, fled at once to the fort. Next day a force went out from the fort to examine, and after some search found the mother with an infant in her arms, both scalped. A short distance further in the same direction, they found the eldest daughter, also scalped. A short distance from her the next daughter in the same situation, and scattered about at intervals the rest of the children but one, who, from some circumstances, they supposed had been burned. They all appeared to have been overtaken in flight, and murdered and scalped where they were found. It seems the family were surprised early in the morning when all were in the house, and thus became an easy prey to the savages.

About Dec. of the same year, a number of families came into the fort from the neighborhood of Johnstown. Amongst them were Samuel Adams, a man named Thornton, and one Bridges. After their alarm had somewhat subsided, they agreed to return for their property. A party started with pack-horses, reached the place, and not seeing any Indians, collected their property and commenced their return. After proceeding some distance, a dog belonging to one of the party showed signs of uneasiness, and ran back. Bridges and Thornton desired the others to wait whilst they would go back for him. They went back, and had proceeded but 200 or 300 yards, when a body of Indians, who had been lying in wait on each side of the way, but who had been afraid to fire on account of the numbers of the whites, suddenly rose up and surrounded them and took them prisoners. The others, not knowing what detained their companions, went back after them ; when they arrived near the spot, the Indians fired on them, but without doing any injury. The whites instantly turned and fled, excepting Samuel Adams, who took a tree and began to fight in the Indian style. In a few minutes, however, he was killed, but not without doing the same fearful service for his adversary. He and one of the Indians shot at and killed each other at the same moment. When the news reached the fort, a party volunteered to visit the ground. When they reached it, although the snow had fallen ankle deep, they readily found the bodies of Adams and the Indian; the face of the latter having been covered by his companions with Adams's hunting shirt.

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:

"The furniture for the table, for several years after the settlement of this country, consisted of a few pewter dishes, plates, and spoons; but mostly of wooden bowls, trenchers, and noggins. If these last were scarce, gourds and hard-shelled squashes made up the deficiency. The iron pots, knives, and forks, were brought from the cast side of the mountains, along with the salt and iron, on pack-horses.

These articles of furniture corresponded very well with the articles of diet on which they were employed. "Hog and hominy" were proverbial for the dish of which they were the component parts. Jonny cake and pone were, at the outset of the settlements of the country, the only forms of bread in use for breakfast and dinner. At supper, milk and mush were the standard dish.

In our whole display of furniture, the delft, china, and silver were unknown. It did not then, as now, require contributions from the four quarters of the globe to furnish the breakfast table viz., the silver from Mexico, the coffee from the West Indies, the tea from China, and the delft and porcelain from Europe or Asia ;-yet our homely fare, and unsightly cabins, and furniture, produced a hardy veteran race, who planted the first footsteps of society and civilization in the immense regions of the west.

I well recollect the first time I ever saw a tea-cup and saucer, and tasted coffee. My mother died when I was about six or seven years of age. My father then sent me to Maryland with a brother of my grandfather, Mr. Alexander Wells, to school.

At Col. Brown's in the mountains, at Stoney creek glades, I for the first time saw tame geese; and by bantering a pet gander, I got a severe biting by his bill and beating by his wings. I wondered very much that birds so large and strong should be so much tamer than the wild turkeys; at this place, however, all was right, excepting the large birds which they called geese. The cabin and its furniture were such as I had been accustomed to see in the backwoods, as my country was then called.

"At Bedford everything was changed. The tavern at which my uncle put up was a stone house, and to make the change still more complete, it was plastered on the inside, both as to the walls and ceiling. On going into the dining room, I was struck with astonishment at the appearance of the house. I had no idea that there was any house in the world which was not built of logs ; but here I looked round the house and could see no logs, and above I could see no joists. Whether such a thing had been made by the hands of man, or had grown so of itself, I could not conjecture. I bad not the courage to inquire anything about it. When supper came on, " my confusion was worse confounded. A little cup stood in a bigger one with some brownish looking stuff in it, which was neither milk, hominy, nor broth : what to do with these little cups, and the little spoon belonging to them, I could not tell; and I was afraid to ask any thing concerning the use of them.

It was in the time of the war, and the company were giving accounts of catching, whipping, and hanging the tones. The word jail frequently occurred : this word I had never heard before, but I soon discovered, and was much terrified at its meaning, and supposed that we were in ' of the fate of the lories ; for I thought, as we had come from the backwoods, it was altogether likely that we must be tories too. For fear of being discovered, I durst not utter a single word. I therefore watched attentively to see what the big folks would do with their little cups and spoons. I imitated them, and found the taste of the coffee nauseous beyond anything I ever had tasted in my life. I continued to drink, as the rest of the company did, with the tears streaming from my eyes ; but when it was to end I was at a loss to know, as the little cups were filled immediately after being emptied. This circumstance distressed me very much, as I durst not say I had enough. Looking attentively at the grown persons, I saw one man turn his little cup bottom upwards and put his little spoon across it. I observed that after this his cup was not filled again. I followed his example, and to my great satisfaction, the result as. to my cup was the same.

The introduction of delft ware, was considered by many of the backwoods people as a culpable innovation. It was too easily broken, and the plates of that ware dulled their scalping and clasp knives. Tea ware was too small for men;-it might do for women and children. Tea and coffee were only slops which, in the adage of the day, " did not stick by the ribs." The idea was, they were designed only for people of quality, who do not labor, or the sick. A genuine backwoodsman would have thought himself disgraced by showing a fondness for those slops. Indeed, many of them have to this day very little respect for them."

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.


Back to Bedford County Pennsylvania

Back to Pennsylvania Genealogy Trails

Back to Genealogy Trails

2015 Genealogy Trails