Friday, September 27, 2013

Back When Americans Settled Things Traditionally - With Guns

Donna Bingham Munger. Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony”, 1754-1810, Susquehanna Company Proprietors, and Claimants, Volume 1: The Proprietors. Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, Inc., 2007.

page ii. From 1762 to 1800, many settlers from Connecticut, and some also from Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, settled in northeastern Pennsylvania. They have disappeared from written records.
Most of these bought shares from the Susquehanna Company, a Connecticut based land company that believed it had bought and thus could divide the east branch of the Susquehanna River in the Wyoming Valley, Pa.
Each of the shares purchased form the Susquehanna Company was recorded by this privately owned company. These records remained in private hands for years until they were donated to the Connecticut Historical Society.

p.1-1. About 250 people met in Windham, Ct. on July 18, 1743 and made pledges of 2 Spanish milled dollars each for a journeying committee to evaluate land on the Susquehanna River.
Several people petitioned the Connecticut Colonial General Assembly to obtain legal titles to tracts of land at this location.
This area had already been named Wyoming, or Wyomock, Wyomnka. (It was in what is now northeastern Pennsylvania.)
There were 306 subscribers to purchase land tracts. 49 paid the $2 for their land ahare by the end of 1753. Most paid for their land by 1760.
Additional subscribers fro Colchester, Ct were admitted for the $2 subscription fee and other required terms. Half shares were then offered for $1.

page 1-2. The journeying committee informed residents already in Wyoming that the Connecticut grant to this land proceeded the Pennsylvania grant.
The Pennsylvanians then living there had not purchased the land from the Indians The Pennsylvania Land Office now of the Susquehanna Company interest yet appears to have not provided it much concern.

In January 1754, 240 more subscribed to the Susquehana Company in addition to the 306 original subscribers.

pages 1-2. New subscribers were charged for pounds and were taxed one pound for every two pounds of shares held.

page 1-3. John Henry Lydius negotiated with the Six Nations. There was an agreement that the land from 10 miles east of the Susquehanna River between the 41st and 42nd parallels and 120 miles west of the west from the east line was land sold to the Susquehanna Company. This extended to what is present day Clearfield, Pa. The deed was dated July 11, 1954. Four Chiefs placed their symbols on the deed on March 4, 1755.

The deed states that 2,000 pounds was the payment for the land. It is note in the papers of Sir William Johnson that 200 pounds in current was paid. Ludios testified he paid 1,704 Spanish milled dollars directly to the Sachems. Most of the money was paid after the deed date. On November 20, 1754, the company voted to send Lydon with 1,000 pounds to complete the purchase.

Around this same time, representatives from Pennsylvania negotiated their Purchase of 1754 with these same Native American Sachems. The transaction involved the west side of the the Susquehanna River one mile north of Penn’s Clark (today Snyder County) northwest to the provincial border.
None of this land overlapped with what was sold to the Susquehanna Company.
The Six Nations were unhappy with he boundaries. The borders were redrawn in 1758 with shorter Western and Northern boundaries for the Pennsylvania purchasers.

The Susquehanna Company offered 300 more shares at seven pounds per share or a total of nine pounds per share including the two pounds tax

The Delaware Company, another Connecticut company, negotiated three different purchases from the Delaware Native Americans in December 1754 and May 1755. There were two companies formed, the First Delaware Company and the Second Delaware Company. There were later known as the Delaware and Lackawack Companies. They held the deeds to all land west of the Delaware River and east of the Susquehanna Company deeds between the 41st and 42nd parallels.

page 1-4. The Connecticut General Assembly received a petition from Susquehanna Company proprietors during the Assembly’s May 1755 session. They requested help in created a settlement on the land they purchased from the Six Nations. The Assembly approved this so long as the British King granted the lands.

page 1-5. The fighting of the war agains the French and the Indians placed most of the plans for the Susquehanna properties on hold. A surveyor was the only person who went to the Wyoming territory from the Susquehanna Company during wartime. There were no company meetings until March 12, 1760.

At the March 1760 meeting, it was approved to see if the Delaware Company would agreed to a joint application for land grants from England.
While the Susquehanna Company made their purchases first, Delaware Company settlers arrived before any Susquehanna Company purchasers did.
The first Delaware Company settlers surveyed Cushietunck (now Cochecton) besides the Delaware River. They constructed cabins, a saw mill, and a grist mill.

page 1-6. The Susquehanna Company proprietors, on April 9, 1761, named Eliphalet Dyer to travel to England representing their land grant request. The Susquehanna Company paid for two thirds of Dyer’s 150 pound salary while the Delaware Company paid for the other third.
Dyer wound up not going to England. The Company instead decided to save expenses by hiring an agent already living in England to represent their interests.

The prospective settlers hired about 100 men to travel to Wyoming “to prepare the minds of the Indians”, in other words, to intimidate them, in preparation for the arrival of settlers. Even though several Sachems of the Six Nations declared they had sold the disputed land. The Delaware Indians were protesting they were not involved in the deed sale and they opposed white settlers.
The Susquehanna Company changed their minds and decided not to send the 100 men ahead. Instead, they requested Rep. Timothy Woodbridge of the Stockbridge Indian School to contact the Indians He had the deed confirmed and urge the Indians to not attack when 100 white families would settle in 1762.

Pennsylvania Governor James Hamilton made good use of the dispute. He came out in September 1761 against any settlements on lands that had not been purchased.

The Susquehanna Company voted to allow an additional 640 acres be me available. The settler would have to arrive on the land within four months (which was then by September 1762) and to get the land had to stay there for five years.

Connecticut Governor Thomas Fitch was worried these settlements would be met with Indian attacks. He had strong doubts as to whether they should occur. As many of the leaders of the Susquehanna Company were socially prominent Connecticut leaders, the Connecticut General Assembly did not wish to upset these leaders. The General Assembly tried to take a delicate balance by issuing a proclamation that allowed the settlements yet failed to support them.

page 1-7. On September 17,1762, 93 armed settlers from Connecticut along with 16 from Cushetunk brought some farm implements and began the first settlements. Several Indians went to Pennsylvania authorities complaining about these arrivals. Deputy Surveyor Daniel Brodhead was sent to analyze the situation. Broadhead warned of problems and convinced the settlers to leave.

The Susquehanna Company meanwhile offered up to 100 more shares at 15 pounds each. They sold 51 shares.

There were plans to have a meeting between the Six Nations and the Susquehanna Company in 1763. The meeting never materialized.

page 1-7. The Six Nations demanded a hearing with the Connecticut General Assembly, which was granted. The Indian Chiefs were inoffensive in their statements and Assembly members responded in kind. There was a general agreement that the Chiefs who had signed the deed agreements had done so without approval from their tribal governments.

page 1-8. Some settlers from Connecticut made another settlement attempt in May 1763.
Shortly afterwards, Connecticut Governor Thomas Fitch received a letter from the British government advising against these settlements until the King in Command could review and decide upon the matter. Unfortunately, the settlers had already left.
There were 150 settlers in total throughout the summer, although never that many at any one time, according to a deposition Parshall Terry gave in 1794.

The King’s Official Order in Council issued a prohibition against the settlements on June 15, 1763, It ordered that the lands belonged to the Six Nations and the Delaware Indians. Governor Fitch received this order in September. Fitch had already sent Dyer to England. Dyer unsuccessfully spent a year trying to change this order.

Indians attacked settlers in this Wyoming territory on October 15, 1763. About 20 settlers were killed and several were taken prisoner.

The Susquehanna Company hired John Gardiner of the Inner Temple located in London to represent their interests in England. This was paid for with loans from several wealthy supporters of the Susquehanna Company.

page 1-9. The Susquehanna Company hired a new agent, Samuel Johnson, on January 6, 1768.

England agreed to new Indian boundaries in 1768. The Iroquois relinquished their claims on all land east of Fort Stanwix, located in Rome, New York.

The Connecticut settlers in Wyoming continued with the desires to create townships. They laid out plans for what today is where Wilkes Barre, Kingston, and Plymouth are.

pages 9-10. Pennsylvania Proprietary Governor John Penn granted to Amos Ogdon, John Jennings, and Charles Steward 100 acres in the Manor of Stoke in Wyoming. They went sent to construct a trading post and to guard the area against all intruders, such as Connecticut settlers.

The Susquehanna Company requested the Connecticut General Assembly to officially confirm their ownership of the entire lands they had purchased from the Six Nations. They sought an official Colonial deed to the land. It was known that the British government did not wish to create any inland colonies. The Upper House supported the Susquehanna Company het the Lower House voted against them.

In February 1769, 40 Connecticut settlers arrived at Mill Creek in Wyoming. There were met upon arriving by Northampton County (Pa.) Sheriff John Jennings. He arrested three of the Connecticut settlers, Isaac Tripp, Benjamin Follet, and Jebediah Eldorkin). Those arrested spent four days in an Easton jail. The others were warned they would be arrested if they didn’t go back. They stayed.
On March 13, 1769, Sheriff Jennings with a large posse contingency arrested 31 of the settlers.  11 of those arrested escaped while being transported to the Easton jail. The 20 that made it to the jail were arranged and were bailed out.
Most of the Connecticut settlers left by the first week in April.

The Susquehanna Company responded by voting to send 300 settlers,

page 1-11. It was hoped that a large number of settlers would allow for the establishment of a protective barrier to allow the settlements to flourish. Funds for this protection was raised by placing a two pound per share assessment. In addition, 100 additional shares were offered at 12 pounds per share.

The 100 Connecticut settlers were led by Major John Durkee. They arrived at the Susquehanna on May 12. They were joined a few days later by another 150 settlers with provisions, cattle, and horses. They build Fort Durkee.

On May 24, the Sheriff read to the settlers a proclamation issued by Governor Penn telling them to leave. On May 25 the Sheriff spoke to 150 Connecticut settlers and announced there were violating the law and should leave immediately. The settlers responded by firing gun shots over the the Sheriff’s head. The Sheriff left.

The trial in Easton for the 20 arrested earlier was delayed until September. The bail was posted as 4000 pounds, which was a huge amount.

page 1-11. A military array led by Colonel Turbot Francis arrived in Wyoming. They demanded the surrender of Fort Durkee. Despite making several threats Colonel Francis decided to avoid a confrontation and his men withdrew.

page 1-12. The 20 men on trial were convicted 8 made required judicial payments. 12 were jailed. Officials arranged for 8 of those imprisoned to escape with the Sheriff waiting until after they left to post a reward for their capture.

The settlers remained. They surveyed Wilkesbare.

Colonel Francis returned on November 8 with 20 men and a small cannon, On November 11 they captured Fort Durkee. On November 12, Sheriff Jennings arrived with 200 Pennsylvanians. The Connecticut settlers surrendered and agreed to leave within three days. Major Durkee was captured and imprisoned for about 11 days until bail was posed and he returned to Norwich, Ct. The Pennsylvanians agreed to let 14 Connecticut settlers remain to protect the crops and cattle.

The Susquehanna Company obtained assistance from the Paxtang Boys from Lancaster, Pa. in 1770. The Paxtang Boys, led by Lazarus Stewart, captured Fort Durkee on behalf of the Connecticut settlers who were in the midst of returning to Connecticut. The settlers awarded the Paxtang Boys a six mile square township in Wyoming.

page 1-13. The Susquehanna Company had Captain Zebulon Butler assumed command of Fort Durkee. He arrived on February 12, 1770.

Skirmishes between Pennsylvanians and Connecticut settlers resulted with increasing intensity. Both sides would take prisoners from the other side and then release them.

On April 23, 1770, the Connecticut settlers took over Amos Ogdon’s Fort. His Fort had previously been known as the Pennsylvania Trading House in the Manor of Stoke. Ogden withdrew from the Connecticut force who then burned it down.

Pennsylvania Governor John Penn issued a proclamation that those he considered as intruders, meaning the Connecticut settlers, were to vacate Pennsylvania land.

Nathan Ogdon, presumably upset over the burning of his Fort, was deputized by Sheriff Jenning. Ogdon was given arrest warrants for anyone who burned down his Fort.

140 Pennsylvanians attacked the Connecticut settlers. Several were arrested and held in the Easton jail for three weeks. A Judge released all those jailed except for Durkee, Butler, and Major Simeon Draper. Most of the Connecticut settlers returned to Connecticut.

page 1-14. The Paxtang Boys lead by Lazarus Stewart easily re-captured Fort Durkee. The Susquehanna Company demanded the 240 settlers return to the Wyoming Valley or their settling rights would be forfeited. The Company paid each man five pounds to be armed.

The Susquehanna Company gave Lazarum Stewart the deed to Nanticoke Township. The Paxtang Boys renamed it Hanover.

Twelve days after the Paxtang Boys took Fort Durkee, 140 Pennsylvanians took Fort Durkee back. Nathan Ogdon was killed, probably by Lazarum Stewart. Stewart fled to Connecticut.

page 1-15. The Susquehanna Company decided on April 4 to send Lazarus Stewart along with 240 settlers back to the Wyoming Valley. Each returnee received five pounds.

In 1771, the Connecticut General Assembly made official vague statements on the property claims. The Susquehanna Company interpreted this as statements supporting their claim. They voted to send all 540 settlers to Wyoming.
Captain Zebulon Butler met with an advance group of 50 with Lazarus Stewart and the Paxtang Boys in northern New Jersey. Butler this force attacked the Pennsylvanians in Wyoming. After five days of fighting the Pennsylvanians withdreww. This was considered the end of what was later named the First Yankee - Pennamite War. Pennamite was a derogatory term that the Connecticut settlers used to call the Pennsylvania forces.

page 1-16. Pennsylvania formally created Northumberland County in March 1772. The Connecticut settlers were never assessed county taxes yet they were not allowed on county services such as deed recording and probate proceedings.

In April 1772, the Connecticut settlers requested the Connecticut General Assembly to establish a civil government for them.

Settlements continued at an increasing rate through the rest of 1772. There were no troubles between Connecticut proprietors and Pennsylvanians. From May to December of 1772, 328 Connecticut settlers arrived. A new township, Exeter was named.

page 1-17. The Connecticut General Assembly created the Town of Westmoreland under which served the Connecticut settlers. It include all the settlers’ lands and had the town border as 15 miles from Wilkesbarre. The Town of Westmoreland was made a part of Litchfield County, Ct.

The Connecticut Assembly created a tax for the settlers of 12 shillings plus 24 shillings per whole share to provide for their defense. Those who did not pay the tax would forfeit their shares.

The Connecticut Assembly created the 24th Regiment. Zebulon Butler was appointed its Colonel. Every settler between the ages of 16 and 50 were part of the Regiment.

page 1-18. The settlers on the West Bank formed an association that pledged to seek peaceable means to disputes. This was created despite objections from the Susquehanna Company. These association members arrived in Warrior’s Run from Wilkesbarre on september 23, 1775.

On September 28, 1775, Colonel William Plunket led a large group of Northumberland County forces in an attack on West Bank Connecticut settlers. One settler was killer and several settlers were wounded in the attack. The settlers surrendered. The Pennsylvanians tok all horses and furniture. Three Connecticut leaders were jailed in Sunburg and two Connecticut leaders were jailed in Philadelphia. The rest of the Connecticut settlers were released.

Colonel Plunket then attempted to drive off East Bank Connecticut settlers. In December 1775, the Connecticut 24th Regiment soundly defeated Plunket’smen. This victory was seen as the end of the second Yankee - Pennamite War.

In 1776, the new Continental Congress asked Pennsylvania to establish six military companies. Pennsylvania announced that two companies would come from the town of Westmoreland. It is not certain if the Pennsylvania leaders what point they were trying to make in passing along this responsibility to residents who did not believe they were a part of Pennsylvania.
The Connecticut residents, to legally avoid serving under Pennsylvania’s authority, petitioned the Connecticut Assembly to be granted Connecticut county status. The Connecticut Assembly did so later in 1776.
The Continental Congress avoided the issue by assigning the two Westmoreland military company independent status not assigned to any state.

Major John Butler, in 1777, led Iroquois and British troops in attacking the Wyoming Valley setters. The settlers had weak military protection as most of those who could fight have joined the Continental Army. 78 male villagers were killed and almost every cabin was burned,

113 settlers made their way back to the Wyoming Valley by August 1780.

page 1-19. The new Pennsylvania state legislature sought a trail on the issue of in which state was the Wyoming Valley. A trail was held in Trenton, N.J. It lasted several weeks with a verdict reached in on December 30. It was decided the entire Susquehanna Purchase went to Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania state legislature decided to use military force to get the settlers to abide by the Trenton Decree. These was much violence through the end of 1784 until the Pennsylvania militia withdrew. This became known as the end of the Third Yankee- Pennamite War.

A new trial was requested by Zebulon Butler in November 1783.
page 1-20. Congress denied Butler’s petition in October.

page 1-21. The Wyoming Valley settlers petition Pennsylvania to create their own county. The Pennsylvania state legislature responded by creating Luzerne County in September, 1786.

It was decided that bona fide settlers could legally record their lots. It is noted that many deeds found in the Accounts Book were recorded years after they were actually written.

The now Luzerne County settlers elected John Franklin to the Pennsylvania legislature, unaware that Franklin would refuse to accept the office.

page 1-22. Pennsylvania decided it would recognize the rights of those Connecticut settlers who bought or occupied their lots prior to December 30, 1782. That date was selected as that was the date of the Trenton Decree.

John Franklin became a militant leader of the existing settlers. They became upset with newly arriving settlers. Pennsylvania arrested Franklin.
Franklin’s group was called “Wild Yankees”. The Wild Yankees kidnapped Timothy Pickering with the goal of exchanging Pickering for bail for Franklin. That exchange was not approved. The Wild Yankees let Pickering go.
There were several skirmishes between the Wild Yankees and the Pennsylvania militia.
Franklin was in and out of jail over a wo year period until he was released for good. Franklin settled down into farming life Pennsylvania Governr Thomas Mifflin pardoned him in 1792.
Franklin was elected Luzerne County Sheiff in 1793. Governr Mifflin appointed Franklin a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia.

TImothy Pickering became Postmaster General of the U.S. in 1791.

page 1-23. The Pennsylvania Attorney General, using the Intrusion Law, began investigating people with pretend titles. There was a verdict in the case which the author stated “gave no one satisfaction”. Seven cents in damages were assessed with no decision being made on the validity of land titles.

page 1-23. The Connecticut General Assembly agreed that only proprietors with recorded deeds in one of the Account Books should be eligible to have a property share.

Colonel Butler died. The Connecticut General Assembly repaced with with Chester Bingham.

In 1796, the Connecticut General Assembly was petitioned and requested to resolve the land titles issue. The Upper House refused the petition.

page 1-24. In April 1799, the Pennsylvania legislature created the Compromise Act. The required settlers who were there before the Trenton Decree to prove a chain of title from before that day and to pay for other land according to quality and quantity. These provisions were more stringent to the settlers than the earlier Confirming Act. The Compromise Act resulted in removed ore of the remaining Pennsylvania landowners.

The approximately 300 settlers authorized after 1782 had no hope of security land titles due to the Compromise Act of 1799.

page 1-25. Land dispute problems remained. In 1802, the Townships of Bedford and Ulster were removed from a list of 17 certified townships.

In 1810, the legislation became law allowing the settlers an opportunity to obtain legal title to their lands.

In 1811, the vast majority of conflicting land claims had been resolved.

Individual claims continued after 1827 and even afterwards.

The above was written with similar information in the following book:

Donna Bingham Munger. Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony””, 1754-1810. Susquehanna Proprietors, Settlers, and Claimants. Volume 11: The Settlers. Westminster, Md: Heritage Books, Inc., 2007.


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