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History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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mitted within the reputed and known bounds i
of Pennsylvania; and consequently not cogniz- '
able by him. Lord Baltimore, in a letter of
the 15th of February, 1733, says " that it is
the first instance in His Majesty's plantations,
when rioters and people levying war against
any of his subjects, have been denied
to be delivered up to the government in
which the offense was committed, on proper
application, and such I make no doubt
mine will appear to have been indue time."
These facts appear upon the records of the
Provincial Council, and are of no importance '
historically, except so far as they bear upon
the conduct of the government in relation to
them. The excited state of the parties im-
mediately concerned in these quarrels is man-
ifested by their violence of language. Con-
sequently we find the depositions on either
side laying stress on words used. Several >
witnesses deposed that they heard Cressap
say, that if the sheriff of Pennsylvania or

any other officer from thence, came to take
any person on the west side of the Susque-
hanna Eiver he would shoot them, for they
had pistols and guns and would use them in
their own defense. And with regard to a
higher person in authority it was deposed,
that Cressap said he had been at Annapolis,
and in council Lord Baltimore assured
him that as hehad received money for the land
on which Cressap lived, he would defend him
from the proprietor of Pennsylvania, although
Lord Baltimore did believe that when the di-
vision line between the provinces was run,
Cressap's lands would fall in Pennsylvania.
But until that line was run, he would protect
him, and thereuj)on gave him a commission
of the peace, as a magistrate for the county
of Baltimore, and with it gave him a strict
charge to apprehend any person coming out
of Pennsylvania, bearing arms, or commit-
ting the least offense whatsoever, and be sure
to take no security of them but such as were
freeholders in Maryland. *

On another occasion Cressap said he had
been at Annapolis since the arrival of Lord
Baltimore, had been very kindly received
by his Lordship, and had got his com-
mission to be a Justice of the Peace, and
added that his Lordship would never
execute the agreement made between him
and the proprietors of Pennsylvania, be-
cause they had cheated his Lordship by im-
posing a false map of the country upon him,
and that his Lordship would rather choose
to pay the £5,000 forfeiture, mentioned in
the agreement, than comply with the terms
of it. And that he, Cressap, had heard this
at Annapolis from gentlemen of note there. f

At a meeting of the Provincial Council,
held at Philadelphia on the 14th of Febru-
ary, 1733, the Governor informed the Board
that he had received a letter from the Lieu-
tenant-Governor of Maryland, enclosing one
from Lord Baltimore, by which it appeared
that his Lordship, notwithstanding what
had been written to him, continued to insist
on the demands made in his former letter, of
delivering up those persons concerned in the
execution of the warrant issued against the
sons of John Lowe. In this commmiioation
Gov. Ogle says : " His Lordship cannot but
be surprised to find your magistrates are jus-
itfied in issuing warrants for the apprehen-
sion of persons in his Lordship's province,
before the lines are run and bounds settled,
which are stipulated by the articles to lie
done, and that probably such may fall with-
in the government of Maryland, when the



lines are run. If this is the case, his Lord-
ship thinks it should not be so useful and
necessary to name commissioners or to run
the line intended by the articles, since every
magistrate may, on the one hand, take upon
them, though no lines are run, to distinguish
the bounds and each government protect

The Council expressing their surprise that
Lord Baltimore should, without taking the
least notice of what the Governor had writ-
ten to him, have thought tit to insist on the
former demands in so peremptory a manner,
came to the unanimous resolution that for the
reasons contained in the said letter, his
Lordship's demand is by no means to be com-
plied with, and that the same should be sig- ^
nified to his Lordship in very plain terms. |
And they directed, among other things, the
Governor to say, in his letter to Lord Balti-
more, that the offense was only cognizable in
Pennsylvania, the place where it was done,
and that his Lordship may be assured that
this government shall have such a strict
regard to do impartial justice between all its
inhabitants, that John Lowe, if the case be
as he represents it, on a proper application,
may depend on being redressed in due course
of law. That the demand of his Lordship
was not a sufficient reason for delivering up
a freeman of Pennsylvania to be tried in
Maryland. That those persons were as inde-
pendent of Maryland as were his of Pennsyl-
vania, and though his principles and those of
the greatest part of the inhabitants of Penn-
sylvania, allowed of no force, except that of
the civil magistrates, yet, being protected by
his Majesty's wisdom and justice, we appre-
hend no danger from the different principles
and superior strength of Mary land. f
'"" We have now come to a tragic incident, in
these unfortunate disturbances, which had
the effect of prolonging the unpleasant atti-
tude of the rulers of the rival provinces to-
ward each other, and after a continued
voluminous and acrimonious correspondence,
and further distui-bances, resulted in the
arrest of Cressap and his being held for trial.
According to a letter from Mr. Blunston to
Thomas Penn, proprietary, on the 30th of
January, 1734, on information that Cressap
and several hands were to be at John Hend-
ricks' to square logs for a house and build a
float for the ferry, John Wright, with Sheriff
Emei'son and others, went over the river with
intent to proceed against Cressap and his
party for forcible entry. The workmen were
arrested and committed to jail. An attempt

was made to arrest Cressap at his house, and
one of the Sheriff's men was shot in the leg,
from the effects of which wound he died.
The unfortunate man who was shot was
Knowles Daunt, and it appeared from the
affidavits that he was killed by Cressap. Mr.
Blunston wrote that they were extremely con-
cerned at this rash and indiscreet procedure,
and not knowing what use might be made
of it, for they heard that Cressap had
set out for Maryland, and would doubtless
give a relation far beyond the truth, and that
it was possible the government of Maryland
might write to our government about it.
"Pray don't fail to let us hear from thee at
our court, for we seem to be much at loss
^ how to proceed against them we have taken,
j as well as what to say oE the madness of the
other." * A letter came from the government
of Maryland, as was expected, and some
extracts may not be uninteresting from the
ensuing correspondence, bearing on the con-
troversy. Governor Ogle, February 2-1,
1734: "It has always been my constant aim
and view to prevent all disturbances as much
as possible, having always hopes that the
quiet and peaceable behaviour of our people,
would, at least, induce those under your
government to follow their example, and for
this reason, notwithstanding the repeated
violences committed against his Lordship's
tenants on the borders, I have given them
frequent orders not to offer the least injury
to any person whatsoever, but when defending
themselves against any unjust attack, which
I may be made upon them. What gives me
I the greatest concern is that these people
were headed when they came over the river
by two persons acting as magistrates under
your commission, Mr. Wright and Mr. Smout.
For now that things are come to that pass
that magistrates, at the head of a parcel of
desperate fellows, come out of one jsrovince
and attack in the night time a magistrate in
another, where blood is shed. Nobody can
tell what dismal consequences may follow it,
if not prevented in time. Therefore, I hoj^e
you will show that discountenance to your
magistrates which may effectually discourage
others from committing the like offenses. I
do assure you I have ordered Mr. Cressap,
(by whose hand the death of the person is
supposed to have happened) into the custody
of the Sheriff of Baltimoi-e County, that he
may be forthcoming at the next assizes to be
held for that county, on the 1st Tuesday of
next April, in order for his trial, and I hope
,for the satisfaction of justice you will give
ofiScial orders to compel any witnesses under

*I Archives, 410.



your protection to be at the assizes for the
discovery of truth. . . I am afraid we should
but ill answer His Majesty's gracious appro-
bation of us, if we neglect to take the most
proper steps in laying before His .Majesty the
unsettled condition of our confines — making
application to our proprietors on this head,
and pressing them to procure His Majesty's
directions herein." *

Gov. Gordon, March 8, 1734 : "It is with
a very deep concern that I observe complaints
arising and multiplying, and that you seem
to charge this province with a prevailing

humor to rioting John Hendricks

had for several years past, and I think for
some years before any settlement was
attempted in these parts by any parties from
Maryland, been seated on the west side of
the Susquehanna,^ about four or five miles
higher up the river above those since made
by Cressap and his associates, and had ob-
tained a grant and survey for the land on
which he now dwells, and where he has lived
peaceably until Cressap took it into his head,
with divers others, to enter upon the posses-
sion of Hendricks, and when they were
desired to leave the place, and desist from
their unlawful attempts, the owner of the
lands was insulted and menaced by Cressap,
and such as he thought fit from time to time
to encourage in their proceedings. This oc-
casioned complaint to our magistrates, who
took care to have the best council and advice
how to proceed. . . . Accordingly, the
magistrates went over, and when they came
to Hendricks' land, they found eight men at
work, whom I am sorry you call his Lord-
ship's tenants, felling and squaring his tim-
ber, and building a house within 100 yards of
Hendricks' door. ... I am really troubled
to find you saying in your letter that I know
that Cressap is one of your magistrates. I
assure you, sir, that I did not. I know that
he has generally been said to be. From our
knowledge of him we have no reason to con-
sider him other than an incendiary or public
disturber of the peace of both governments,
and the main cause and prompter of all late
contentions that have happened between us,
and indeed the first placing of him there has
always appeared to us not easy to be ac-
counted for. I cannot comprehend in what
sense their (the magistrates) going out of
one province into another is to be understood,
for I never yet heard it alleged that Susque-
hanna Kiver was a boundary between Mary-
land and Pennsylvania. Nothing can be
more certain than that their boundary on the
north of the one and south of the other,

must be a due east and west line, and there-
fore the opposite parts of the shore of that
river must necessarily be both in the same

"To my great trouble I am to observe that
I received a melancholy letter from John
Hendricks and Joshua Minshall, dated from
the gaol at Annapolis, with copies signed by
your Sheriff of their commitment by yourself
and some members of your Council, dated the
second day of last month, that is three daj's
before the date of your letter, and in this
commitment I find the true allegations
against them are for having disparaged his
Lordship's title, that is, in other terms, as
may well be supposed, that they assertet
their right to their own settlement under
Pennsylvania, about ten miles by our compu-
tation more northerly than Philadelphia,
where neither his Lordship nor any for him
then made, unless it be now done, any claim
whatsoever. We have also heard of the
manner of taking them, viz. : that the Sheriff
o£ Baltimore County, with above twenty
men, armed with guns, pistols, swords and
cutlasses, traveled up thither to apprehend
two men, who were quietly following their
business on their plantations. 'Tis said also,
that this is done by way of reprisal, and to
intimidate, that is because our magistrates,
in a most peaceable and legal manner, re-
moved a forced and most unjust entry, you
must make a prisoner of the man lapon whom
that force was committed, and over whom you
can claim no manner of right. . . . There
must be some certain known limits for the
exercise of powers of governmeat, without
which his Majesty's subjects cannot possibly
be secured in their persons or estates, such
known limits as we always had till now with-
in these two years, for the proprietors had
by mutual agreement concluded an absolute
determination of all disputes and differences
on these heads, without any regard to which
one Cressap has been authorized, or at least
countenanced, with a pocket dial, as divers
persons of credit have affirmed, to scatter
and plant pieces of Maryland and his Lord-
ship's tenants, as they are called, where he
and they please, and the removal of these
abuses, in a legal wa}^ is called rioting. His
Majesty's peaceable subjects are hurried off
their rightful settlements into distant pris-
ons to the danger of their health and lives,
and now in the springtime, to the irreparable
injury of their families, who depend for
their bread on their labor and care. This fur-
ther shows the absolute necessity of applying
to his Majesty, without any delay. ... In
the first place calling for a reparation of this


last injury to Hendricks and Minshall, and
that Cressap may be delivered to receive his
trial in this province, in which he perpe-
trated the murder. I must earnestly beseech
you that we may concert some certain, just
and equitable measures for preserving peace
between his Majesty's subjects in both gov-


Thomas Penu, proprietary, on the 14th of
May, 1734, informed the Council that the
business then to be considered by them re-
lated to some very unneighborly proceedings
of the province of Maryland, in not only
harrassing some of the inhabitants of this
province who live on the border, but likewise
extending their claims much fiu-ther than
had heretofore been pretended to be Mary-
land, and carrying off several persons and
imprisoning them. That some time since
they carried off John Hendricks and Joshua
Minshall from their settlements on Susque-
hanna, and still detain them in the goal
at Annapolis. The proprietor said he in-
tended to make use of the opportu-
nity of Mr. Hamilton's going to Annapo-
lis, (Andrew Hamilton, Esq., who was
to appear for the prisoners), to press the Lieu-
tenant-Governor of Maryland to enter into
such measures as should be most advisable
for preventing such irregular proceedings for
the future, and as he designed that his secre-.
tary, Mr. John Georges, should accompany
Mr. Hamilton, he had drawn up instructions
for them. Whereupon the Council desired
that credentials be granted for the purpose
mentioned, f

Messrs. Hamilton and Georges made their
visit to Maryland, and on their return made
a full report to the proprietor.]: Mr. Hamil-
ton attended the Council, and made a narra-
tive verbally of the proceedings had in the
Provincial Coui-t of Maryland against those
who were carried off j^risoners from this gov-
ernment, and the arguments he had advanced
for obtaining their discharge. Messrs. Ham-
ilton and Georges reported that they arrived
at Annapolis on the 20th of May about sun-
set. Soon after coming to their lodgings
they went to speak with John Hendricks and
Joshua Minshall in prison, but were not suf-
fered to see them until the next morning,
when, going again, they were after some time
admitted to the speech of the prisoners, who
gave an account of their uneasiness in a most
unwholesome prison; as likewise the best ac-

*r Archives, 417.
tin Col. Bee, 542.
tin Col. Eeo., 547.

i count they could of the several charges al-
leged against them. They waited upon Gov.
Ogle, and delivered him a letter from
the Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania,
and acquainted him that they were sent to

* concert proper measures for the peace and
good neighborhood between the two govern-
ments, and to desire a discharge of four of

! our inhabitants who were imprisoned at An-

, napolis. To which he was pleased to answer
that he was mighty ready to cultivate any
measures with the government of Pennsyl-
vania which would answer that purpose; and
at the same time took occasion to say that our

i inhabitants were imprisoned for much greater

I offenses than probably they were aware of.
To which they answered that they had' no

I other way of coming at the knowledge of the

^ cause of their imprisonment but by their sev-
eral commitments, and by those, as they con-
ceived, there seemed scarce a color for such

I proceedings as had been taken against them.

; They added, further, that supposing the of-
fenses were really committed, and as great as
his Excellency was pleased to allege, yet the
place where they were committed, as well as
the place where the men were taken, was
clearly beyond all the former claims of Mary-
land, and therefore it was their opinion the
men were very hardly dealt by. Gov. Ogle
began to enumerate the many abuses the in-
habitants of Maryland had suffered from

; those of Pennsylvania, and that since his ac-
cession to the government of Maryland, he
had taken all possible care to be entirely on
the defensive side, and was resolved to con-
tinue 80, but at the same time he could not suf-

j fer Lord Baltimore's right to be so violently
encroached upon, and his character so pub-
licly affronted within his Lordship's own gov-
ernment. "For," added he, "we claim no
bounds but what are given to his Lordship by
the express words of his charter." However,
he expressed his willingness to enter into
any reasonable measures for preserving the
imaoe; and to show his readiness, proposed

' their meeting him in council, the next day,
about ten of the clock, at his own house, to
which they readily agreed. And then he was
pleased to invite them to dine with him,
which they did accordingly. They reduced
to writing the heads of what they were to
propose, and on the day appointed they met
Gov. Ogle, and he said to them that he was
glad to find our government seemed at last

I to agree to what he had long ago proposed in
his letters to the Governor of Pennsylvania,
to lay their unhappy misunderstandings be-
fore his Majesty, and in the meantime for-
bear making any encroachments upon one


another, which he thought was the most like- ;
ly way for preserving peace among the peo- i
pie; yet he fixed upon nothing certain by
which the jurisdiction of the respective gov-
ernments could be known. The Governor
proposed that tbey ought to join without de-
lay in representing to the King the unsettled !
state of the two provinces, and the necessity j
of his Majesty's interposition. !

They finding this method of treaty was not
likely to produce any certain conclusion, de- '
livered to his Excellency a written represen-
tation, which set out the complaints on the
part of Pennsylvania : That under the agree-
ment of 1724: and that made in 1732, most
careful provision was made for the ease and
quiet of all his Majesty's subjects, whose es-
tates or possessions should be affected by the
same, and that the description of the south-
ern boundaries of Pennsylvania might be
very nearly discovered without new actual
surveys, notwithstanding which two of his
Majesty's subjects, to wit, John Hendricks
and Joshua Minshall, inhabitants of Lancas-
ter County, settled upon lands legally sur-
veyed and patented to them under the pro-
prietors of Pennsylvania, on the west side of
the river Susquehanna, had been taken at
their homes, which were at least eight miles
to the northward of Philadelphia, and about
twenty-three miles to the northward of the
line agreed upon by the aforesaid articles to
be the northern bounds of Maryland, which
line runs near the mouth of Octoraroe Creek,
to the northward of which Maryland has never
exercised any jurisdiction, except over thir-
teen families, that is known to Pennsylvania,
till within two or three years, about the time
when an absolute boundary was agreed upon
by the proprietors, though Pennsylvania has
maintained its government as far southward
as the mouth of the said creek for above
these thirty years.

In the afternoon they endeavored to
speak privately with Hendricks and Min-
shall and the two Rothwells, who were
in prison. The jail was so noisome they
could not go near it, but taking with them
gentlemen of Maryland, they prevailed
with the Sheriff to speak with them at his
own house. They inquired particularly into
the manner and cause of their commitment.
They all gave the greatest assurances that
they had never spoken any time of Lord
Baltimore or his government that they could
remember ; that they never had any conver-
sation with any one about Lord Baltimore or
his government but upon their own planta-
tions, and Hendricks and Minshall insisted
that no person could swear any such thing

against them, unless Cressap should be so
wicked, who had threatened to ruin tbem.
They applied themselves how they should get
Hendricks and Minshall into court, who had
been committed by the government and Coun-
cil. They attempted to get a habeas corpus
and consulted on the law Mr. Calder, who
gave his opinion of the difficulties he appre-
hended they might meet with in the defense
of the prisoners, which led them into thoughts
of employing some other eminent gentleman
of the law, who by his credit with the people
and acquaintance with the practice of the
court might be able to do the prisoners some
service. But to their great disappointment
they found them all engaged on the side of
Lord Baltimore. At least there was none
could be prevailed on against him. When
their paper was presented, Gov. Ogle went
on to enumerate all the differences that had
happened upon the' borders of the two govern-
ments since his coming to Maryland. He
alluded to the affair of Patterson 'and Lowe,
and the great abuses he said had been com-
mitted in manifest contempt of Lord Balti-
more'-s government upon Crejssap. All these
he aggravated in such manner as if he had
been speaking to men who had never heard
of them before. They thought it necessary
to show that they were no strangers to these
facts, and were not to be imposed upon by
such a representation, and answered him as
had been represented by Gov. Gordon.

Gov. Ogle declared that Hendricks and
Minshall were under prosecution in the Pro
vincial Court, which was then sitting, and
that he would not interpose but let the law
take its course. So they parted that day,
after which time Gov. Ogle troubled himself
no more about the formality of a Council.
The Governor delivered to them an answer
in writing to their representations, in which
he desired them immediately to join with
him in an application to his most gracious
Majesty. In considering this paper they
were not satisfied that it was proper for
them to agree to join in such representa-
tion, but rather that the proprietors them-
selves or their lieutenant-governor should
do so, and they concluded upon a paper
which they delivered Gov. Ogle at his own
ho'ise on the 24th of May. The Governor
received them without any form and with
civility, as if nothing had passed the day be
fore, and promised them an answer by the
next morning. In this paper they said they
were now ready to agree upon any bounds
that should be judged reasonable for limiting
the present jurisdiction of the two govern-
without prejudice to the rights of the


proprietor thereof, and that proclamation
should be issued to forbid all persons within
the respective governments from making any
new settlements near the borders under the
severest penalties. And that they were ready
further to agree to remove any new settle-
ments that had been made upon such bounds
as should be agreed upon, lest the same
may disturb the quiet of their governments,
until the boundaries be actually settled be-

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 11 of 218)