James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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bridge. Some time previous to the Revolutionary war
a battle was fought on the Pennsylvania side of the
river between a band of Indians who came from the
north and the Delawares residing on the Jersey side.'
The name ' Belvidere' was given to the village by
Maj. Robert Hoops because of the beauty of its situa-
tion. It was made the county-seat of Warren County
when the latter was set off from Sussex, in 1824.*

" Henry Hairlocker, a Hollander, about the year
1750, settled near the present site of Newton. It was
then a wilderness, there being not another cabin for
miles around.

"The Greens, Armstrongs, Pettits, Van Horns,
Simes, Hazens, Dyers, Cooks, Shaws, and others,
settled in and around the present village of Jolm-
sonsburg, formerly called the ' Log Jail,' where the
county-seat of Sussex County was first located and the
first jail built.

" In 1769 the Moravian Brethren, from Bethlehem,
Pa., purchased fifteen hundred acres of land of
Samuel Green for the sum of five hundred and sixty-
three pounds, or about two thousand five hundred
dollars, and founded the village of Hope. This
Samuel Green was a deputy surveyor for the West
Jersey proprietors, and owned several tracts of land
in ancient Hardvvick and Greenwich. The Mora-
vians remained at Hope some thirty-five years, when

* See history of Belvidere, in tliia work.



they commenced selling tlioir property ami returned
to liethlehem. Sampson Howell, who settled at tin-
foot of the Jenny Jump Mountain, near Sope, a year
or two before the Moravians arrived, erected a saw-
mill ami supplied tin- lumber for the construction of
the vi-ry substantial buildings erected by the Dinted
Brel bren."

We have thus glanced in a brief ami general man-
ner at the fir-l settlements in the principal pari-..!'
Sussex and Warren Counties. They were made for
the most part within a period of about fifty years, em-
bracing the first half of the eighteenth century, — that
is, by the year 1 750 permanent settlements bad been
made in most of the important parts of the two coun-
ties. When Morris County was set off, in 1733, North-
ern New Jersey began to attract attention. It was
then ascertained that, although this section bad at a
remote period evidently been a favorite resilience of
the Indians, most of them had departed ami occupied

hunting-grounds farther to the north and west.
Little danger was therefore to be apprehended from

the red men by those who settled in the central por-
tions of the territory; for, even if they should be-
come hostile, the line of settlements on the Delaware
from the Musconetcong to the Neversink would be
most apt to bear the brunt. Hence immigrants
flowed in, and by L750 they had heeome so numerous,
ami bad experienced so much inconvenience from
being compelled to go to Morristown to attend to
public business, that they very generally petitioned
the Provincial Assembly to "divide the county" and

allow them " the liberty of building a COUlt-hoUSe

ami gaol," This request was granted, resulting in
the erection and organization of Sussex County in

17."i.'?.* As to the nationalities ( StitUting the base

of population, Mr. Edsall made as complete a list as
practicable from the public records for the first six
years of i be existence of the county. " This list con-
tains four hundred and two names, of which those in-
dicating an English and Scotch origin are the most
numerous; those pertaining to Holland and Ger-
many Follow next, and the residue arc derived from
Prance, Ireland, Wales, and Norway."

One thing which stood very much in the way of
the prosperity of the early settler- was the appropria-
tion by the proprietor* <>f many portions ,,(' the best
land in the COUnty. As early as 1 7 I ■ "> . when as yet

but two or three points in the wide territory had

been settled, the sagacious proprietors of West Jersey,
foreseeing that these lamb would ultimately become

very valuable, sent their surveyors, who penetrated
the heart of the country, establishing "butts ami

bounds" of many of the most desirable tract-, |

others, William I'eiin 1. .cited three tracts of land,

containing tea thousand or twelve thousand acres, in

and around the vicinity of Newton. "In this way
the best 1, .cations were generally entered before any

• Seo etiuntor on organization, court*, etc.

immigrants had arrived in the central portions of the

county, and they had to cultivate the Boil, when they

did come, as tenants or trespassers."

' II \ I'TER VI.

Tin: border troubles begun by the Indians in 1765

were not induce,! in retaliation tor :nn injustice done

them by the people of New Jersey. The citizens of
this province had never shed the blood of any of their
race, nor had they cheated them out of any of their

land-. Why. then, were they obliged to defend them-
selves by a line of forts along the whole frontier of
Susses ami Warren Counties, and to call out their
militia to protect the settlements from the m<
tomahawk and scalpiiig-knife ? Why was the border
ie of savage attack and massacre from 17-V. to
17">N, inclusive? The causes which led to this lay

entirely beyond the bounds of Sussex and Warren

Counties, and even of New Jersey, and were induced
by agencies over which the people of the province
bad no control. In the tir*t place, it was a period
when England and France were at war, and when
their respective colonies in North America bad se-
cured the alliance of the various Indian tribes of the

country, on one side Or tl ther. in the great

then pending, and which was decided a I'vw years
after by the downfall of Canada and the surrender of
all the French possessions in North America to the
English. The Iroquois, or Six Nations, of New York,

— the hereditary enemies of the Delaware and Sus-

qnehanna Indians, — were the firm allies of the Eng-
lish and the most powerful agents in turuiicj the

scale against their French adversaries. At this time
the French were largely in possession of the great

water-basins of the interior of the country accessible
by the St. Lawrence and the great chain of Western
lake- and rivers, and had forts extending from Que-
bec to Mobile Bay, and their agent-, trailers, and mis-
sionaries were widely disseminated among the Indians
of all that region id' country. Lake t'haiuplain, Ni-
agara, ami Pittsburgh were at that time the nearest
points to \cu Ji raey fortified by the French, but her
frontier was ace, jsible by o few days' march along the
great trails hading to the Susquehanna and Delaware
Rivers. These avenues were then peculiarly exposed,
as the Iroquois were lighting for the English in other
ii the country. There can be no doubt that the

Indian- who raided upon these borders during the

French war were French allies, and that they were

incited, and even sometimes led, to their work of
pillage and slaughter by French agents and military


Moreover, there was a local Cause which embittered



the strife. The agents of William Perm had procured
the lands of the Minsies in the Pennsylvania portion
of the Minisink valley by what has been known as
the famous " walking purchase" of 1737.* From the
time of this transaction the discontent of the Indians
seemed manifest, and distrust and jealousy took the
place of the confidence and friendship which had
hitherto characterized their intercourse with the
whites. For eighteen years, until 1755, they smoth-
ered their resentment at the wrong and perfidy which
had deprived them of their fairest possessions; and at
last, driven to desperation, they resolved, under Tee-
dyuscung, the king of the tribe, to reclaim by force
what had been taken from them by fraud and treach-
ery. Had none but the guilty suffered in the storm of
blood and carnage which swept over the valley dur-
ing those terrible years of war, we might now derive
a melancholy satisfaction from the belief that the
tomahawk of avenging justice had done its work well.
But scores of innocent settlers who had acquired their
lands by honest purchase, and who had never wronged
the Indians, were also compelled to suffer, as the in-
discriminate vengeance of the savage in the height of
his fury seldom pauses to judge between friend and
enemy so long as the scalp to be taken belongs to the
pale-face and brings him prestige and profit in war.
The troubles at first were confined to the Pennsyl-
vania side of the valley, but New Jersey was also des-
tined to feel somewhat the shock of the conflict.

Jonathan Belcher was then His Majesty's Governor
of the province, and he was duly advised of the threat-
ening aspect of affairs by Col. Abraham Van Cam pen,
of Walpack. On Nov. 11, 1755, the Governor sent
Col. Van Campen the following instructions :

" Sir, — I just now received your good tetter of the 7th inst., as I hope
you have before now my order of the 6th of the same month. I will
approve of what you propose, of marching with your regiment into the
next Province, in order to meet and repel the enemy before they enter
into the Jerseys. In this matter I desire yon to be very vigilent and
dilligent in giving me notice of all your proceedings, and per express if

" I am, Sir, Your Assured Friend,

" J. Belcher.
"Elizabeth Town, Nov. 11, 1755.
" Cot-. Van Campen."

One day later the Governor wrote to Col. Van
Campen :

"Sir, — Since I sent you my order for a speedy muster of your Regiment
I have received repeated accounts of the approach of the savage French
and Indiana to the borders of Pennsylvania and to those of this province,
committing the moBt barbarous outrages on His Majesty's good subjects,
in slaughter, blood, and fire, wherever they come.

* See the relations of Thomas Fumiss and Joseph Knowlos " Concern-
ing the walk made between the Proprietors of Pennsylvania and the
Delaware Indians by James Yates and Edward Marshall," in " An En-
quiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the Delaware and Shawaneso
Indians from the British Interest." Written by Charles Thomson, the
American patriot, who in 1774 was elected secretary to Congress, and
whose laBt literary work was a translation of tho Septuagint, which was
published in four volumes In 180J.

" These are therefore to command you, in His Majesty's name, to have
your regiment in best readiness to march to tho borders of this Province,
or that of Pennsylvania, upon the most sudden notice of distress by the
enemy, for the aid and relief of His Majesty's subjects. I shall not
doubt the good courage and spirit of yourself, the officers and men of
your Regiment, to proceed where it shall be necessary, and would have
you publish this order at the head of your regiment upon their muster.

"Given under my hand and Seal of Arms at the Borough of Elizabeth,
this 12th day of November, iu the twenty-ninth year of His Majesty's
reign, Anno Domini, 1755.

"J. Belcher.

"To Coll. Van Campen."

In reply to Col. Van Campen's report of the 17th
of the same month, the Governor wrote as follows:

" Sir,— I have duly received yours of the 17th of this month, and am
well pleased with your dilligence in giving me information how things
are circumstanced in tile county of Sussex with respect to the enemy,
etc. 1 have given notice to the several colonels to muster their regi-
ments and repel the enemy over in Pennsylvania Province, and so to
prevent their passing the river Delaware, and which I think would he
better than to let them enter on the frontiers of tins Province. I pray
Almighty God to have you and your people iu his good protection, and

"Sir, Your Assured Friend,

Town, Nov. 24, 1755.
" Coll. Van Campen."


On the 27th of December the Legislature passed an
act authorizing the erection of four block-houses at
suitable distances from one another on the Delaware
River, in the county of Sussex. The persons ap-
pointed to superintend their erection were John Ste-
vens and John Johnson, Esqs., who had "volunta-
rily offered themselves for that service gratis." The
act ordered the enlistment of two hundred and fifty
men "to garrison said block -houses, and provided for
the issuing of bills of credit to the amount of ten
thousand pounds to pay the expenses of protecting the
frontiers. Jonathan Hampton was appointed com-
missioner of supplies for the troops, and John Weth-
erill commissary and paymaster. These troops were
to serve one month and until their places could be
supplied by others. To encourage enlistments, ex-
emptions from arrest upon civil processes for debts of
less than fifteen pounds, as well as the protection of
property from execution, was guaranteed. The pay
of the soldiers, too, was increased beyond the ordi-
nary average, being for the commander-in-chief of a
block-house six shillings per day; captain, four shil-
lings ; lieutenant, three shillings ; sergeant, corporal,
and drummer, two shillings sixpence each; private,
two shillings per man.

These block-houses were erected and numbered
from 1 to 4, and are sometimes referred to by their
numbers in the early documents. They were also gar-
risoned as speedily as practicable ; yet the Indians
continued to make incursions into the settlements,
often forming ambuscades so near the forts that par-
ties going out hunting were surprised and killed. In
view of several occurrences of this kind, it became
necessary to issue an order that the officers and sol-
diers should keep within their garrisons. In times of



general alarm whole neighborhoods would retreat
within the inclosurea for safety.

The [ndians would sometimes elnde the vigilance
of these garrisons, gel into the interior, and there per-
petrate their bloody work. Such was the ease when
ill. penetrated into Hardwick, the ray hearl of the
county, and captured the Hunts and Swartwout.
Prom the different accounts given of this tragical af-
fair we condense the following statement : A party of
five Indians who had formerlj resided in the neigh-

l».i! I, lint had removed to Pennsylvania, deter-
mined i" capture three men, — Richard Hunt, Marker,
ami Swartwout, — having become disaffected towards
them because of the part they had taken in the colo-
nial service. They accordingly crossed the Delaware
near ulnae Dingman's bridge now is, and in the even-
ing reached the 1":-' house of Richard Hunt, having

traveled about fifteen miles on the Jersey side of the
river. Richard Hunt was absent from home, and the
only occupants of the house at the time were Thomas
Hunt, a y on Hirer In-other, and a neirrn servant. The

latter was engaged in amusing himself and hi- com-
panion by playing on a violin, when their entertain-
ment was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of
the Indian-. Quick as thought the boys sprang to the
door and closed and bolted it. Their fun was at an

end. and the neirro, in his terror, "threw his fiddle
into the lire and awaited in trembling stispensi the
result of the unwelcome visit." The Indian- disap
peared and were -join- about an hour, when they re-
turned. It was discovered, by their footprints in a
newly-plowed piece of ground, thai during their
absence they had reconnoitred the house of Mr. 1'il-
iline, where Richard Hunt happened to be at the
time, Km 1 1 1 1 \ evidently dared not make an attack at
that place. Returning to Hunt's house, they n
movement to set ii on fire, threatening to burn the

inmates alive if they did not surrender. The boys

yielded, and were forced to accompany the savages,
who proceeded towards the Delaware by the waj of

the southerly end of Great Pond, and s came to

the house of Swartwout, who lived on the tract now
occupied bj the village of New Paterson. Mrs,
Swartwout, Boon after their approach to the house,
without a thought of danger, went out to tin- milk-
bouse, ami was instantly -hot down. They then at-
tempted to enter tin- house, but Swartwout seized Ins
rifle and held them in cheek, finally In- agreed to

lii- if they would spare his life and the lives of

hi- -on and daughter. Thej consented to this propo-
sition, hut they either themselves violated their

pledge or, what was Worse, procured a white man to
do it, for Swartwout was murdered, and a man named

Springer was arrested, convicted, and hung tor the
tnurder. We -hall give the details of the trial and

execution farther on ; meantime, we proceed with our

Swartwout'- two children were taken to an Indian

town on tin- Susquehanna, while Hunt and the negro
were conveyed to Canada. " Hunt was -old by his
captor- to a French military officer, and accompanied

him as his servant. Hi- mother, anxious for hi- de-
liverance if ali\e. attended tin general conference at
Gaston, in October, 1758, where a treaty was made

with the Sis Nations, and, finding a Bavage there who
knew her Son, she nave him sixty | ids to procure

hi- freedom and return him to hi- friend-. This
proved money wasted. Hunt was soon after lib
under that provision of ihe treaty of Easton which
mad. a restoration of prisoners obligatory upon the

Indian-, and leached home in 1759, after a servi-
lu. le of three year- and nine months. Swartwoiit's
children must have been freed about a year after their
capture, for we find his Bon in New Jersey in 1757,

active iii causing the arrest Of a white man named

Benjamin Springer, whom he charged with being the

murderer of his father.

Sprinirer was arrested and confined in the jail of
Essex County. An act was passed by the Assembly
of New Jersey on Oct. 22, 1757, authorizing his trial
placi in the county of Morris, "because the
Indian disturbances in Sussex rendered it difficult, if
not dangerous, to hold a Court of Oyer ami Terminer
there." The act also ordered thai the expenses of the
prosecution should he borne by tin- province. "Pur-
-naiii to this act," says Allison, "Sprinirer, on tin-
positive testimony of SwartWOUt's son and the contra-
dictions in tin- prisoner's own story, after a full and
fair hearing, at which an eminent councilor attended
in he behali was convicted to the .-ati'iu n of
most all present, and was executed in Morris. II.

declared himself in lent of the crime, and on the

return of Thomas Hunt ami a negro who had been

taken a (rw miles distant by the -ame party that cap-
tivated Swartwoiit's family with which parly il was

proved at the trial Springer was, and that he killed
Swartwout . it appearing by their declarations that

they did not Bee Sprinirer unlil they got to the Indian

town, - e inclined to believe thai he might not have

been guilty. Thus the question Beemed obscured. It.
i-, however, agreed that his trial was deliberate and

impartial, and many still think that his life wa- for-
feited to the laws of hi- country."

Sprinirer declared on the sealfohl that Thomas Hunt
km-w hi in to he innocent, a ml hi- parent-, after Hunt's

return, cam i from Virginia to learn if their son

was really guilty. "Hunt assured them, as he did

every One else to the mid of hi- day-, that I 0U-

him innocent, Hedid not Bee Springer until

In- arrived at the Susquehanna flats, where he found

him, like himself, a- he believed, a prisoner. Neither

did he see Swartwout murdered, hut lie wa- confident
that the deed was done alioiit one mile northwest
from hi- own house; In- and the QegTO at the lime

. - Un," p. 21 .



were guarded by two Indians, the others being busy
not a great way off dispatching Swartwout. He
heard his cries, — heard him beg for his life and
promise to go with them peaceably if they would spare
him. He was an athletic, resolute man and the In-
dians were afraid of him, and therefore, as Hunt
always declared, murdered him. They tied him to a
tree, tomahawked him, and left his body to the wolves
and birds of prey." The Indians doubtless murdered
him to gratify an old grudge: putting him out of the
way was the surest revenge, as well as an indemnity
against any personal violence which they might have
apprehended from him, and the danger of the arrest
of the party by the scouts from some one of the block-

During these troubles with the Indians the courts
of Sussex County were held at Wolverton's, in Hard-
wick. In February, 1756, the grand jury appeared,
but were not sworn, "by reason," as the record says,
"of troublesome times with the Indians." The term
of May, 1756, found the condition of affairs in the
county equally alarming, and the "Grand Inquest"
was again dispensed with.


Upon the first breaking out of hostilities, in 1755,
most of the settlers upon the southeastern and north-
western slopes of the Blue Mountains fortified their
houses by building stockades around them ; Casper
Shafer, in Stillwater valley, was one who took this pre-
caution. There were at that time a few Indians living
in the neighborhood, and, though not previously hos-
tile, it was not known that their conduct would con-
tinue to be pacific. At Mr. Shafer's house it was
common for the neighbors to assemble upon each
recurring alarm. One night, however, when Mr.
Shafer was alone, the Indians showed signs of hos-
tility by yelling around his house and threatening
violence. He thereupon fastened up the house and
started across the fields to procure assistance from his
neighbors. " Soon he found himself hotly pursued
by one of the enemy, and likely to be overtaken;
whereupon he turned upon his pursuer, and, being an
athletic man, he seized, threw, and with his garters
bound him hand and foot, leaving him prostrate, while
he went on his way and procured the desired assistance.
Mr. Depue, in Walpack, had also a narrow escape
from the tomahawk and scalping-knife. A party of
Indians broke into his house at midnight with mur-
derous intent, and he, being aroused from slumber,
seized his loaded gun and leveled it at the foremost
aggressor, who, realizing his danger, uttered the pecu-
liar Indian 'Ughl' dodged away, and fled. So acted
the next, and another, and another; and thus, with-
out firing his gun, he succeeded in driving the whole
gang from his dwelling."


On June 3, 1757, the General Assembly of New
Jersey, after reciting that " the savage Indian enemy
have lately perpetrated cruel murders on the frontiers
of this colony, and the inhabitants there have, by
their petitions, set forth their distresses and suplicated
a number of troops for their assistance and protec-
tion," enacted that one hundred and twenty men be
immediately raised, with the proper number of offi-
cers ; that Jonathan Hampton be appointed paymas-
ter and victualer for the company, and that he pro-
vide and allow each officer and soldier the following
provisions every week, — viz., " seven pounds of Bread,
seven pounds of Beef, or, in lieu thereof, four pounds
of Pork, six ounces of Butter, three pints of Peas, and
half a pound of Rice." As tea, coffee, and sugar were
luxuries in those days, they were not provided in the
rations. All prisoners for debt were to be released,
because they might " in this time of common danger
suffer for want of persons to look after them." The
act, however, allowed the sheriff to reincarcerate them
after six months of liberty.

In 1758, when the frontier was supposed to be well
protected, the family of Nicholas Cole, of Walpack,
was attacked by Indians, most of them murdered, and
the rest carried into captivity. Several other murders
were committed, and the people again petitioned the
Legislature for further protection and defense against
the hostile attacks of the Indians. On the 12th of
August of that year the Legislature ordered an addi-
tional levy of one hundred and fifty men, none of
whom, with the exception of the officers, should be
recruited from the militia of the county of Sussex, as
" the whole of that militia might be wanted in case
of any formidable attack." A new block-house was
ordered to be erected " below Pehoqualin Mountain,
near the mouth of the Paulinskill, or between that
and the said Mountain." Twenty guides well ac-
quainted with the country were to be hired by the
commanding officer to conduct the troops through the
wilds and fastnesses of Sussex; and it was further
provided " that inasmuch as the Indians are a very

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 8 of 190)