History of Scranton, Penn. with full outline of the natural advantages, accounts of the Indian tribes, early settlements, Connecticut's claim to the Wyoming Valley, the Trenton decree, manufacturing, mining, and transportation interests, the press, churches, societies, etc., etc., down to the present time.. Dayton, Ohio: For H.W. Crew by the United Brethren Pub. House, 1891. Written by David Craft, W.A. Wilcox, Alfred Hand, and J. Wooldridge. Cf. pref.
Transcribed by Nancy Piper
Early Surveys and Settlements 1768-1778
The Early Survey and Settlement of Cappows Meadows
The Drawing of Township Lots
Early Life of the Original Settlers in 1776
The Delaware Company and the Opening of the First Highway
Protection of the Settlements
The Early Survey and Settlement of Cappows Meadows
Next to the "broad plains" of Wyoming, the "Cappows Meadows" were the most attractive portion of the Susquehanna Purchase to the early settlers, and efforts were soon made for their possession. It will be remembered that Pennsylvania purchases the Indian title to this land by the treaty of Fort Stanwix, November 5, 1768. In the following spring, two lots aggregating more than seven hundred acres were surveyed, one to Philip Johnson, the other to Samuel Johnson, the former of which is described as a "tract of land called Cappows Meadows, situate about eight miles from the northeast branch of the Susquehanna River, including part of an old Indian field on Lahawanack in the county of Northampton, containing three hundred and eighty-one acres and fifty-six perches, besides the usual allowance of six per cent for roads, etc., surveyed the 16th day of August, 1769, by Charles Stewart, Deputy Surveyor, to John Lukens, Esq., Surveyor General."
The next day another lot was surveyed to Samuel Johnson (1) on the south of the former survey, under an order of the same date. The upper line of these surveys was a little above the upper line of the city limits, and covered the lowlands for a mile and a quarter down the river, having a narrow belt from twenty to fifty rods in width on the east side of the stream.
The Indian path, as delineated on the draft of these lots is about half a mile west of the river, and running nearly parallel to it. Though surveyed thus early, no serious attempt was made to effect a settlement under the direction of the proprietary government, and not until some years later were additional surveys made under authority of Pennsylvania. A meeting of the Susquehanna Company was held on the 2d of June, 1773, at which it was resolved to prosecute the settlement of Wyoming with vigor, and on the 9th of June, warrants of survey were issued in the name of William Wilson, next below Samuel Johnson, and Caspar Weitsell, which extended to the lower line of Old Providence, and Samuel Maclay on the east side of the river, and on both sides of Roaring Brook.(2) These however, were not surveyed until November, 1774. They were held under the usual leases, and, at the time titles were adjusted, were claimed by Joseph Scudder and James Moore, by whom they were released to the State.
The year 1771 was one of constant turmoil at Wyoming. It was Ogen against Stewart - "Greek against Greek" - each in turn besieger and besieged. The year before, in September, Ogden had succeeded in driving the settlers out of Wyoming and destroying their crops. At their meeting held in Norwich, Connecticut, April 1, 1772, the company for the further encouragement of the settlers, determined to make some compensation to those who had suffered most from the Pennsylvanians, and among other things passed the following resolution:
"Voted, that there be a committee of five men appointed, who shall be empowered to receive in settlers who have been sufferers by reason of their being drove off their settling rights, or by being imprisoned, or that have been hindered from repairing to or holding their said rights by act of Providence, to fill up the five townships that are already laid out, provided that no person or persons that now are admitted and that are now on or in said townships, holding the same according to the former votes of this company, or are now imprisoned or absent by leave from the committee, who return according to the license from said committee, shall be liable to or be removed from or out of any of said townships. (3)
"Voted; that the committee now appointed are hereby empowered to lay out one or more townships at Capouse Meadows, five miles square to forty settlers, divided into forty-three shares, three for public use, as in the other townships, in order to supply said suffers, respect being had to the time and nature of their sufferings, provided the said sufferers shall apply to the committee any time before the first day of July next, and then go onto the said township and hold and improve the same upon the same terms as the other settlers hold the other townships." (4)
In June the required number, twenty, made application for the township, which the committee granted, and it was surveyed with the following bounds:
"Beginning at the northwest corner of Pittston Township, thence north thirty-five degrees, east five miles; [this is the present northeasterly line of Ransom Township]; thence south fifty-five degrees, east five miles; [this is the southerly line of Blakely Township]; thence south thirty-five degrees, west five miles; [this line cuts nearly the center of Dunmore, and is the westerly line of Roaring Brook Township]; thence north fifty-five degrees (5), west five miles to the beginning."
It was intended that the lower line should coincide with the upper line of Pittston but this would not allow an advantageous allotment of the new township, and a triangular gore was left between the two. The Lackawanna River cuts the upper and lower lines nearly in the middle, dividing the township into two nearly equal parts. The portion of the township lying on the west or right bank of the river, was divided into twenty-three shares, the other portion into twenty, the line running parallel with those of the township. The average size of the lots was three hundred and seventy acres, but varied with the quality of the land. The original surveys were exceedingly crude and imperfect, while in many cases the lines were not closed until the resurvey by Thomas Sanbourne for the commissioners under the compensation law of 1799. The present city limits include the greater part of this township, the courthouse being nearly in its geographical center. As some of the active settlers of this township were from Rhode Island, it was subsequently called "New Providence," and later still simply "Providence." The river, which in the earlier deeds and records is uniformly "Capouse River," was designated by its still earlier name, the "Lackawanna."
The Drawing of Township Lots
As the records of the township are not now accessible, the time of the drawing for the lots cannot be exactly given, but it was probably about the middle or latter part of May, 1772, as rights were sold for this township in April, and deeds for sale of lots are given dated in June of that year. From the records of the commissioners under the law of 1799, we find the lots were drawn as follows:
" Ebenezer Searle (6) of Sharon, Connecticut, "an old sufferer," who was one of those who came on to Wyoming in 1763, drew No. 1, one half of which May 20, 1773, he conveyed to William Stark, who sold it to Moses Dolph of Providence, May 24, 1794.
" Rev. Gainsey (Gurnsey? (7)) by C. Worden, drew No. 3, but for some reason the right was forfeited and it was subsequently drawn by Thomas Picket.
" Christopher Avery drew No. 4, which with No. 3, included "Picket's Pitch," as Picket has a hundred acres for manning the right of Avery, who was killed in the battle and massacre of Wyoming, July 3, 1778. (8)
" Timothy Keys drew No. 5, on a right bought of Ezra Knapp of Providence, Rhode Island.
" Captain Ludovick Updike or Ojidirk, as it is sometimes spelled of North Kingston, Rhode Island, has a right on which Jonathan Slocum drew No. 6, which was subsequently conveyed to Slocum "for manning and settling the same."
" Captain John Howard, of Windham, Connecticut, drew No. 7,
" John Murphy, No. 8 and
" Matthias Taylor, No. 11.
" Silas Park was among the first two hundred who came to Wyoming "a sufferer," and drew as his "suffering right" No. 12 and No. 21. Under date of March 8, 1775, he conveyed to William Park his lot in Capouse in consideration of William "having held the right for him."
" Isaac Tripp drew No. 13, and
" Samuel Slater, Slaughter, of Sheffield, Massachusetts, No. 14;
" Henry D. Tripp, No. 15,
" Gideon Roberts, No. 16,
" Ezra Dean, by Asa Upson, No. 17;
" Philip Wintermute, No. 18;
" Solomon Johnson, No. 19;
" John Staples drew No. 20, on Abraham Stanton's right;
" John Pennsyl drew No. 22 on the right of Samuel Pelton;
" Ebenezer Parks, "an old sufferer," drew No. 23;
" Preserved Cooley, for John Corey, drew No. 24; Joseph Morse, "a sufferer," sold his right to No. 24, in Capouse, to Preserved Cooley, September 15, 1772.
" Jacob Anguish drew No. 25, (9);
" Allen Whiteman, No. 26;
" Solomon Avery, of Norwich, Connecticut, No. 27, of which one hundred acres "were conveyed to the man [Henry Bush, of Kingston, who was killed July 3, 1778,] who manned the right for me." Bush sold it to Dr. Matthew Covell, of Wilkes-Barre, whose heirs obtained the title under the act of 1799.
" Samuel Mervin drew No. 28. This lot seems to have been drawn on the right of Moses Hibbard, who agreed to give Daniel Marvin half the lot for manning the right for him.
" Captain Joseph Hurlbut, of New London, drew No. 29, described as "near a place called Capouse, in ye district of Providence on ye east side of Capouse river," and dev'sed it to his son, William;
" John McDole [McDowell], No. 30,
" Colonel Zebulon Butler, No. 31;
" Samuel Staples, No. 32. This was subsequently forfeited, and redrawn by Oliver Drinker.
" Timothy Gaylord drew No. 33;
" Captain David Bidwell, No. 34;
" Stephen Gardner, No. 35;
" Phineas Nash, for Samuel Messenger, No. 37;
" Deacon Ichabod Hopkins, No. 38;
" Isaac Tripp, No. 39;
" Stephen Jenkins, No. 40; and
" Ebenezer Hibbard, No. 43.
Besides these, lots Nos. 2, (10), 41 and 42 were not drawn, and were subsequently assigned to the proprietors of the township for the benefit of the school fund in Providence; and Nos. 9,10, and 36 were drawn as public lots, of which about four hundred acres of No.s 9 and 10 were set off to the Reverend William Bishop, under the rule of the Susquehanna Company, as the first settled minister in the township, whose claim was certified to by Constant Searle, James Abbott, and Daniel Taylor, the committee for the proprietors of the township.
From the purpose expressed in the grant of the township, as well as the fact that no "pitches' are noted in the survey, it is almost certain that no settlements had been attempted within its limits prior to June, 1772. Who was the first settler within the city limits is uncertain, but as Jonathan Slocum, William Park, Thomas Picket, Henry Brush and Daniel Mervin each received land for manning the rights of proprietors, that is, going upon the lots, remaining on them, and defending them, by force if need by, against all intruders and claimants, it is safe to infer that these were among the first.
In the records of the commissioners, under the compensating law, is the following entry: "Nathan Waller, examined on oath, says Silas Benedict was settled on this lot, [No.3] in the year 1775, and built a house upon it, and that he was killed in the Indian battle." John Murphy who was also killed in the battle, had made some improvements upon his lot, No. 8, but whether he ever lived there is uncertain. Isaac Tripp and Henry Dow Tripp were among the first to cast their lot in the new town. Timothy Keyes was also among the active settlers on the Capouse River at this early date. Some others of the original proprietors may have settled within the town prior to the Indian battle. Of these, Samuel Slater, Philip Wintermute, Jacob Anguish, John Pennsyl and John Staples can be named. Wintermute, Anguish, and Pennsyl went off to the enemy in the Revolution, and were with the British and Indians in the battle. Rev. William Bishop, an Englishman by birth and a Baptist minister, was also one of this company of hardy pioneers. There were probably others, but their names do not appear on the early records.
From the records of the Slocum family we learn that Jonathan, the sixth (11) generation from the first emigrant, was born in East Greenwich, Kent County, Rhode Island, May 1, 1733, and married Ruth, daughter of Isaac Tripp, Esq., February 23, 1757. After their marriage they resided in Warwick, Rhode Island, where he was styled a blacksmith. Joseph Slocum, the father of Jonathan, and Isaac Tripp came to Wyoming in 1769. Jonathan sold his land in Warwick in February, 1771, and followed his father and father-in-law to Wyoming, where he did "ye duty of a settler" for Ojidirk [Opdyke] "in ye township called Capouse Meadows. Jonathan returned to Warwick, but again came on to Wyoming in the spring of 1774. He received from Jonathan Fitch a deed dated November 6, 1775, for a lot in Wilkes-Barre, and lived within a hundred yards of Wilkes-Barre Fort, where he resided at the time of the Revolutionary War.
He was a member of the Society of Friends and kindly disposed toward the Indians, who frequently enjoyed the hospitality of his house. Being, as well as known, from principle a non-combatant, he considered himself and family comparatively safe, but his son Giles was in the far-farmed battle, and the family were marked as objects of Indian vengeance. November 2, 1778, two boys, sons of Nathan Kingsley who was a prisoner among the savages, and his family inmates of the Slocum home, were grinding a knife, when a rifle shot and cry of distress brought Mrs. Slocum to the door, where he beheld an Indian scalping Nathan, the eldest Kingsley boy, a lad of about fifteen, with the knife he had been sharpening. Waving her back the Indian entered the house, and took up Ebenezer Slocum, a little boy. The mother stepped up to the savage, and reaching for the child, said: "He can do you no good; see, he is lame." Giving up the boy, he took Frances, her little sandy-haired, five-year-old daughter, gently in his arms, and seizing the younger Kingsley boy by the hand hurried away to the mountains. (12). An alarm was given, but the Indians eluded pursuit, taking their captives with them. About forty days after, December 16th, Mr. Slocum, Isaac Tripp, Esq., his aged father-in-law, with William Slocum, a lad of nineteen or twenty, were foddering cattle from a stack in the meadow, in sight of the fort, when they were fired upon by Indians; Mr. Slocum was shot dead, Mr. Tripp wounded, speared, and tomahawked; both were scalped and the swift-footed enemy escaped. William was wounded slightly by a spent ball, made his escape and gave the alarm, but no trace of the foe could be found.
The story of the capture of Frances Slocum, her adoption into a Indian family, her marriage, her almost complete transformation into the habits and life of a born daughter of the forest, the long and expensive journeys undertaken by her brothers in their fruitless search for her, her subsequent discovery sixty years after her capture, and the visits of her relatives to her Western home so vividly told by Miner, and recently with great particularity by Meginnis, forms one of the most thrilling episodes of Wyoming history. While connected with the family most intimately associated with the early history of this city and the incipient development of its industries, yet having occurred while they were living in Wilkes-Barre, and its full and interesting details being so accessible, their repetition seems hardly called for here.
Isaac Tripp, Esq., (13) also of Warwick, Rhode Island, was early interested in the operations of the Susquehanna Company. At a meeting of the company held at Hartford, May 18, 1763, at which plans were adopted for the settlement of their purchase, Isaac Tripp, Job Randall, and Ezra Dean were the committee from Rhode Island to approve ad admit the first two hundred who should offer themselves, and also "that Isaac Tripp, Benjamin Follet, John Jenkins, William Burk and Mr. Benjamin Shoemaker, be, and they are hereby appointed a committee to approve, and admit, oversee, superintend, manage, and order the affairs of the first forty settlers," etc. While his name is not on the list of those who came on to Wyoming in 1762, yet the fact that the names of all the members of the committee except his are on the list which does not claim to be complete, it is probable that he was among them. On the resumption of the settlement in 1769, he was one of the first forty, and was selected with Benjamin Follet and Vine Elderkin to negotiate with Ogden for the possession of the fort, was treacherously arrested and sent to Easton jail, where all were bailed out and immediately returned to Wyoming. He was one of the original proprietors, "an old sufferer," of Capouse, his lot, No. 12, including part of the Indian clearings; a purchaser of lot No. 14, he also owned parts of lots No. 30 and 33. As has been said, he was killed by the Indians in 1779. Dr. Hollister thus relates the incident.
"In the Revolutionary War, the British for the purpose of inciting the Indians to more murderous activity along the frontier and exposed settlements, offered large rewards for the scalps of Americans. As Tripp was a man of more than ordinary efficiency and prominence in the colony, the Indians were often asked by the British why he was not slain. The unvarying answer was that Tripp was a good man.
He was a Quaker in his religious notions, and in all his intercourse with the Indians his manner had been so kind and conciliatory that when he fell into their hands as a prisoner the year previous at Capouse, they dismissed him unharmed, and covered him with paint, as it was their custom to do with those they did not wish to harm.
Rendering himself inimical to the Tories by the energy with which he assailed them afterward in his efforts to protect the interests of the Wyoming Colony at Hartford, whither he had been sent to represent its grievances, a double reward was offered for his scalp, and as he had forfeited their protection by the removal of the war-paint, and incurred their hostility by his loyal struggles for the life of the republic, he was shot and scalped the first time he was seen." (14)
Thomas Picket was from Brookfield, Connecticut, by profession a land surveyor, and held one hundred acres for services rendered. At a meeting of the Susquehanna Company, held at Hartford, Connecticut, June 2, 1773, a plan for the government of the settlements, called "Articles of Agreement," was adopted, in which, after giving a history of their purchase and settlement, professing loyalty to the King of Great Britain and to the laws of Connecticut, they provide: "For the due enforcing of such laws, as well as such other orders and regulations as shall from time to time be found necessary to be come into by said settlers and company, we will immediately with each town already settled, and immediately after the settlement of those that may be hereafter settled, choose three able and judicious men among such settlers to take upon them, under the general directions of the company, the direction of the settlement of such town, and the well ordering and governing of the same; to suppress vice of every kind, preserve the peace of God and the king therein, to whom each inhabitant shall pay such and the same submission as is paid to the civil authority in the several towns of this colony. Such inhabitants shall also choose in each of their respective towns, one person of trust to be their peace officer, who shall be vested with the same power and authority as a constable by the laws of this colony is, for preserving the peace and apprehending offenders of a criminal or civil nature."
The directors for the town of New Providence were Isaac Tripp, Esq., Timothy Keyes, and Gideon Baldwin. Of Timothy Keyes, one of the "able and judicious men" of Providence, but little seems to be known. He was married. Miner calls him a young man, but he was probably one of the most active in the township, since he not only held the office of director, but the office of constable and of collector in the Westmoreland Township. He had sold part of the lot he drew, and on which he was living in 1774, No. 5, as appears from a deed dated March 5, 1790, in which Joseph Washburn, of Providence, conveys to Daniel Taylor "a lot obtained from Samuel Slaughter, beginning on the southwest side of Jedediah Hoyt's land, which he obtained from Timothy Keyes, deceased, where the road now crosses, and running across the lot to Thomas Picket's line at an old bridge." Miner says:
"About this time [August, 1778], three Indians took prisoners on the Lackawanna - Isaac Tripp, Esq.; the elder, Isaac Tripp; his grandson, and two young men by the name of Keyes and Hosksey (15). The old gentleman they painted and dismissed, but hurried the others into the forest, now Abington, above Leggett's Gap, on the warriors' path to Oquago. Resting one night they rose next morning and traveled about two miles, when they stopped at a little stream of water. The two young Indians then took Keyes and Hocksey some distance from the path, and were absent about half an hour, the old Indian looking anxiously the way they had gone. Presently the death whoop was heard, and the Indians returned, brandishing bloody tomahawks and exhibiting the scalps of their victims. Tripp's hat was taken from his head and his scalp examined twice, the savages speaking earnestly hurt and carried him off as prisoner."
Hollister says: "In the spring of 1803 two skulls, white as snow and some human bones, porous and weather-beaten by the storms of a quarter of a century, were found in Abington, by Deacon Clark, upon the edge of a little brook passing through Clark's Green, and were at this time supposed to be, as they probably were, the remains of Tripp's tomahawked companions." (16)
Among the hard pioneers more or less intimately connected with the early settlement of Providence Township, was Gideon Baldwin, from Voluntown, Connecticut, who subsequently moved to Hanover, where probably he died, as his widow and son Gideon were living in Wyalusing in 1793, which was probably about the time of the death of the elder Gideon; for on January 20, 1793, he sold a lot in Hanover to his son. He was chosen lister (assessor) for Westmoreland in 1774, and was in the battle on July 3d, but fortunately escaped.
John Staples, probably from Warwick, occupied lot No. 11. His sons Joseph and Reuben were killed in the Wyoming battle. Under date of October 9, 1789, he conveyed one half of this lot to Isaac Tripp, which he designated as his settling right in the town of Providence, bought from Captain John Howard.
"John Taylor, with no companions but his ax, his rifle, and his faithful dog, early made a pitch in Providence on the elevation below Hyde Park, . Known throughout the valley as the "Uncle Jo Griffin Farm." Mr. Taylor subsequently became a man of more than ordinary usefulness in the colony. He was a prominent member of a number of committees, . And took an active part in the social and political organizations of the day." (17) He claimed lot No. 3 before the commissioners in 1802, on account of intermarriage with Sarah, daughter of Silas Benedict, and conveyances from the other heirs of Benedict who was killed in the Wyoming battle, and probably came in company with his father-in-law.
John Murphy, who had married a daughter of the elder Obadiah Gore, and had emigrated with the family from Massachusetts, drew No. 8 and made some improvement on it, although it is doubtful it he ever resided on it. He sold the lot, "with the appurtenances thereof," to Jonathan Cook, of Harrington, Connecticut, for 50 pounds ($167.00), the deed bearing date of May 15, 1773. Murphy was killed at the massacre five years later.
The Delaware Company and the Opening of the First Highway
Prior to the erection of Westmoreland Township, January, 1774, the improvements in Providence Township had been small. The Indian clearings at Capouse, as formerly those at Wyoming, were made available for the first crops for these pioneers in the wilderness. Between this point and Pittston the settlers had begun to plant themselves.
Soon after the organization of the Susquehanna Company, another of similar character, called the Delaware Company, was organized, which purchased of the natives the territory within the chartered limits of the Colony of Connecticut westward from the Delaware River, unto a line run parallel with the Susquehanna and ten miles eastward of it. This company made settlements at several points, the most important of which was at Coshutunk, in 1757, and which in 1760, contained thirty houses, a blockhouse, a sawmill, and a gristmill. Among the first questions discussed at the Wyoming town meetings was the necessity and feasibility of opening a road from the Susquehanna to the Delaware settlements, and so to the Connecticut River. It was to aid this enterprise that the settlements on the Lackawanna were encouraged, and the probability of its early construction was a strong inducement for settlers to go in that direction.
"At a meeting of the Proprietors and Settlers Belonging to ye Susquehanna Purchase Legally warned and held in Wilkes-Barre, December 7, 1772, Captain Butler was chosen moderator for ye work of ye Day." Among other things, it was voted: "That there shall be a Tax Granted upon each Settling Right on ye East Branch of ye Susquehanna Purchase in order to make and finish a Rode from Dilleware River to this place," etc.
"Voted, That Mr. Asa Stevens is appointed collector for ye town of Wilkes-Barre." Captain Benjamin Follett was appointed the collector for Kingston; Deacon Hopkins, for Plymouth; Mr. William Stewart, for Hanover; Mr. Lemuel harding, for Pittson, and "Mr. Samuel Johnson is appointed collector for ye town of Providence."
"Voted, That there shall be a committee of five men to appoint houses of public entertainiment, but they shall not appoint more than two persons within this Fort. Voted, That Captain Follett, Asa Stevens, Mr. Avery, Esquire Trypp, and Mr. Dana are appointed a committee for the above said work."
At another meeting legally warned and held December 28, 1772, Timothy Keyes was appointed constable for the town of Providence. At a meeting legally warned, held October 2, 1773, Keyes was chosen collector in the place of Samuel Johnson. From these appointments it is quite certain that Johnson and Keyes were living in the town in 1772.
The construction of this highway was a matter of deep interest to the early settlers as it opened communication between these remote settlements and the more thickly settled parts of the colony with which they were so closely identified, and of which they were a part; and it was a subject of earnest discussion at many of the meetings of the inhabitants. Isaac Tripp was appointed to oversee the work at a compensation of five shillings or about eighty-three cents per day, and the price for laborers on that aprt, from the Delaware to the Great Swamp, was three shillings per day, and from the Great Swamp westward to the settlements, one shilling and sixpence.
Protection of the Settlements
The New Englander had learned from bitter experience that if he wished to retain his possessions he must be able to defend them and be watchful to protect them. While all seemed to be peaceful, he knew not from what quarter, or at what time, a descent would be made upon his family and home. In 1772, by a vote of the inhabitants, each settler was required to provide himself with a serviceable musket, ammunition, and a blanket; and no matter how pressing the work, the trainings, details for guarding the roads leading to Wyoming, and sentry duty at the forts were diligently maintained. At a town meeting held March 2, 1774, the township of Westmoreland was divided into eight districts; "Exeter, Providence, and all the lands west and north to ye town line, be one district, by ye name North District;" and at a meeting held June 27th, the freemen in each district were organized into a military company, properly officered, which companies subsequently were combined into a regiment, and regimental, as well as company training, were of frequent occurrence.
Not only were all breaches of peace vigorously prosecuted and punished, and acts of injustice rebuked, but the people were anxious to maintain a standard of public morals as high as in the older settled portions of New England. At a meeting of the proprietoers and settlers held December 8, 1773, Christopher Avery, Samuel Slaughter, Captain Stewart, Solomon Strong, and Esquire Tripp were appointed a committee to devise a plan for the better government of the town, and "the suppression of vice and immorality which unhappily prevails in some parts."
Early Life of the Original Settlers in 1776
In the uncultivated condition of the country the settlers were compelled to allow their stock to roam at large, and each settler was required to register his "ear mark" for public information. In the records we find the following: "Job Trypp's, ye 2d, his ear mark, a smooth cross of ye left ear and a half penne ye fore side of each ear. Entered April 2d 1776." "Samuel Slater, his ear mark, a cross on ye left ear. Entered March ye 15th, 1774." These are attested by Ezekial Pierce, clerk.
These old records of deeds, town meetings; votes, etc., from which such frequent extracts have been made, may seem trivial to the thoughtless reader, yet their quaint script as well as quaint expressions tell the story of the daily life of these heroic pioneers in the wilderness, with its joys and hopes, it anxieties and cares, its burdens and sorrows, its pleasures and its toils. It is the picture of themselves in their every-day working clothes, and in their every-day social and political life, and which more accurately delineates that life than the most studied phrase.
To a traveler passing from Pittson to Providence in the spring of 1776, the path along the Lackawanna must have afforded many views of great beauty, and the settlements have been a veritable picture of peace. The clearings from Asarockney, extending five miles up the river, had nearly or quite all been cut up into farms, which were homes of the enterprising settlers. John Depew had made a pitch at the Falling Spring. Augustien Hunt was next to him, and Isaiah Halstead, next, where they had been since 1772, and must have made quite considerable improvements. Reaching the town line of Providence, Thomas Picket had a log house and several acres cleared on lot No. 4, while a little below and on the opposite side of the river, on No. 43, Captain Elijah Simons, who had manned the right for Ebenezer Hibbard, had made some improvements, although he probably never lived on the lot long at a time. Next above Picket, on the west side of the river, was Timothy Keyes, who must have made some clearing, since he was gathering his crops when captured by the Indians; Hocksey, who was captured at the same time, seems to have been living near or with him, with Andrew Hickman, whose wife was, in 1772, one of the five white women in Wyoming (18), Silas Benedict and his son-in-law, John Taylor, and others, were in the same neighborhood. Hickman and his wife and child were murdered and his log cabin burned to the ground by a band of Indians, who at the same time shot and scalped two men by the names of Leach and St. John, who were escaping with their families. Further up the river were the Tripps and Slocums. Benjamin Bailey, formerly of Wilkes-Barre, bougth of Solomon Johnson a part of No. 19, in August, 1775, and lived there a year, when his purchase passed into the hands of Charles Knapp.
On account of the very few women in the township, most of the lot owners were temporary residents, or several of them lived together in their huts in the very plainest manner, while making their clearings and preparing for more permanent habitations.
But this picture of rural beauty, this dream of peace, was soon rudely broken up by the dire tocsin of war whose distant echoes soon told of danger, and called to the central settlements these far away pioneers, for the better protection of themselves and their families. Without the protection of a fort, the nearest one being at Pittston, on the path from the Indian towns of the Upper Susquehanna to Wyoming, these pioneers were peculiarly exposed, and on the first alarm most of them hastened to Pittston, Wilkes-Barre, or Kingston. Hollister says after the Indian battle not a single house was left standing in the township. The devastation was complete and no attempt was made to renew the settlements until the conclusion of peace.
(1)Philip and Samuel Johnson, Jr., are on the Wyoming list of Pennsylvania claimants under the Penns.
(2)The following deed is recorded at Wilkes-Barre: "Hart's Meadows, on Roaring Brook, granted to John Hart by the Commonwealth. Beginning at a pine, thence by lands of Agnes Hart, south forty-six degrees, east four hundred and fourteen perches to a post; thence by land of Mary Branham, north forty-four degrees, east one hundred and eighty perches to a post; thence by land of Henry Branham, north forty-six degrees, west four hundred and fourteen perches to a red oak; thence by land of Jacob Hart, south forty-four degrees, west one hundred and eighty perches, to the beginning. Which said tract was surveyed in pursuance of a warrant dated August 22, 1794."
(3)These were called "Suffering Rights."
(4)This township has been sometimes erroneously taken for "Lackawanna," "Lackawoena". At a meeting of the Susquehanna Company, held at Hartford June 6, 1770, it was voted "as our Paxton friends have come on to settle with us have agreed to take the township called Nanticoke Township, we now grant the same to them according to the number of them that have complied with the proposal made to them by the Standing Committee; the remainder of said township to be filled up out of the two hundred settlers under the same regulations and with the same reserves made in the other townships granted to the settlers, in fulfillment of the engagements of the committee of this company with our said Paxton friends, in their letter to them, by Captain Bulter and Mr. Ebenezer Backus, [this township was afterward called Hanover] and that a township six miles square be laid out at a place called Lackawanna on the south of the said Naticoke Township and adjoining thereto, in lieu of said Nanticoke for the fifty settlers which the said Naticoke Township would have belong to." This latter township was subsequently called "Newport" or "The Six Mile Township." The town at "Capouse Meadows" was not known as "Lackawanna" on the Susquehanna Company's records. The "Lachnawanack" mentioned in the deposition of John Jennings, June 1, 1769, and the "Lamawanak" of Thos. Bennet, where the New England people built their block house, was within the present limits of Wilkes-Barre. (Pennsylvania Archives 1760-1776, pp. 343, 391; Miner's History of Wyoming, p. 108.) There seems to be some uncertainty in the minds of the early settlers which stream was the Lackawanna.
(5)There was a half degree variation from this course in 1802.
(6)"Wyoming, September ye 15th Day, 1763, Know ye that I, Daniel Baulding, formerly of Sharon in Connecticut, Do for & in consideration of ten pound in Hand paid to me by Ebenezer Searle of this place," do sell, etc., to him one right or share in the Susquehanna Purchase.
(7)Lieutenant Peter Guernsey was one of the proprietors of Judea, a township laid out on the West Branch.
(8)At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Wyoming people organized two companies for their own defense, which in the exigencies of the patriot army were ordered to join the army of Washington. Those who remained, "the old men and the boys," were organized into several companies of militia for the defense of the settlement. In June, 1778, John Butler, a British colonel, with his regiment of rangers, and as many more Tory refugees, the greater part of whom had formerly lived at Wyoming but who had been driven out for their opposition to Congress, and a band of Indians, numbering in all about eight hundred, made a descent until Wyoming, entering the valley the last day of the month. The militia was immediately assembled to repel the invasion, and on the 3d of July, 1778, under command of Colonel Zebulon Butler, of the Continental forces, marched up the valley on the west side of the river and found the enemy occupying a favorable position a little below the present West Pittston. The battle, begun about the middle of the afternoon, was of short duration. The patriot army was flanked by a band of Indians secreted in the wood, a panic ensued, and the militia were routed, leaving nearly half their number in the hands of the enemy. Those who were not killed outright were tortured to death during the night. The surviving inhabitants at once fled from the valley to the more protected settlements east or south, while the invaders destroyed their crops, burned their houses, and drove off their cattle. A few of the inhabitants returned, but were in constant danger, and several were captured or slain by predatory bands of Indians and Tories, who continued to roam through the valley until the close of the war.
(9)As an illustration of the phraseology of the deeds of conveyance of the early settlers, and as confirming what has been said in the text of the time of granting the town, the following is given at length:
"To all people to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: - Know ye that I, Jacob Anguish, of Pittstown, In ye Susquehanna Purchase, do for and in consideration of ye sum of eight pounds, ten shillings, Lawful money of the Province of Pennsylvania, to me in hand all ready Received of David Pixley of Stockbridge, In ye county of Berkshire and province of ye Massachusetts Bay in New England, and one Settling Right in ye township of Capouse Meadows, so called, which township of land was granted by ye Susquehanna Company of Settlers and Proprietors at their meeting Holden at Norwich, April ye first, 1772, and ordered to be laid out by ye committee of Settlers, Now on said purchase, & which is to my full content and satisfaction, whereupon, I, ye said Jacob Anguish, Do for and in Consideration Above said, Give, Grant, Bargain, Sell, Make over and Quit all my Right, Title, Interest, Claim and Demand unto one Settling Right of Land in ye township of Pittstown, in ye Susquehanna Purchase, & meadow lott in Pittston Records, Reference thereto being had, Together will all ye after Divisions that shall at any time be laid out, said 14th lott to Have & to hold until him ye said David Pixley, to his Heirs, Executors and Administrators and Assigns forever hereafter, free and clear from me, ye said Jacob Anguish, or from my Heirs, Executors or Administrators or Assigns, &c., & I, ye said Jacob Anguish am one of ye Proprietors in said town which Right of Land was Granted to me, ye said Anguish, by ye committee of Settlers, &c. Therefore, I, ye said Anguish, Do, by these presents, Warrant, Secure, and forever Defend ye above Granted premises that shall be Drawn on said Right in said Township to himself, ye said Pixley, or from any other Person or Persons from or under me. In witness, whereof, I, ye said Jacob Anguish, Have Hereunto set my Hand & Seal this 7th Day of July, 1772
[Signed.] Jacob Anguish, L.S."
Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of
(10) The commissioners reported no claimant for No. 2, but in the Westmoreland Records is a deed of October 13, 1773, from John Stephens, of Wilkes-Barre, to Mason Fitch Alden, also of Wilkes-Barre, for No. 2; Alden to John Wilson, of Goshen, New York, August 28, 1774. Whether Stevens was a proprietor does not appear.
(11) The order is Anthony, Giles, Samuel, Giles, Joseph, and Jonathan
(12)Miner's History of Wyoming, pp. 247 et seq.
(13) Job Tripp was the deputy from North Kingston, Rhode Island, to the Assembly in 1742, 1746, and from Exeter in 1745, 1748 and 1752. John Tripp as admitted freeman of Providence in 1746.
(14) History of Lackawanna Valley, p. 129
(15) Hollister calls him Solomon. Zebulon Hawksey or Hocksey, or Hoxsie, of Dutchess County, New York is among the first 240 settlers.
(16) Dr. Hollister, History of Lackawanna Valley p. 127, quotes the following note from Rev. E. L. Baily's History of the Abington Baptist Association. "This Isaac Tripp was, in early life, a resident of Capouse Meadows, in the Lackawanna Valley. In the eighteenth year of his age, and soon after the Wyoming massacre, he was taken captive by the Indians, and with other marched to Canada. On the way he experienced the most excruciating sufferings from the gnawing of hunger and the cruel treatment of the savages, who bound his hands behind him and compelled him to run the gauntlet. At Niagra he met his cousin, Miss Frances Slocum, who as also a captive from the Wyoming Valley. They planned their escape, but their intentions being discovered by their captors they were separated never more to meet on earth and young Tripp was sold to the English and compelled to enter their service, in which he reluctantly continued until the close of the Revolutionary War. He now returned to his early home and resumed the peaceful pursuits of the farm. He moved to Scott, Luzerne [now Lackawanna] County, and finally settled in the Elk Woods, in Susquehanna County. His wife died in Clifford, May 10, 1816, aged sixty-seven years. He followed her to the grave April 15, 1820, aged sixty years. The remains of both now repose in the burying ground near Clifford Corners."
(17) It is noticeable that the conveyances to Taylor are not made earlier than 1800.
(18) Miner, p. 138. He names Mrs. James McClure, Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Jabez Sill, Mrs. Thomas Bennett, and Mrs. Hickman. Mrs. Benjamin Budd was also in the Wyoming Valley at that time, and was the mother of the first child of New England parentage born there, whom she called Susquehann Budd. - History of Bradford county, pg. 58.
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