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

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to be some lands laid out in Maryland, asked
him to go with him to Annapolis, to which
be agreed, wanting to take up some land for
himself and others. Thej' with others set
out for Maryland. They went up the east
side of the Susquehanna to the ferry, late
John Emmerson's, over against Thomas Cres-
sap's house on the west, and, crossing the
river, went to his house. In the morning
they took a view of the lands in the neigh-
borhood of Cressap's, and five of them, with
one Lowe, went to view the lands where the
Dutch people were settled who were said to
have revolted from Maryland. They came
to Annapolis on Saturday, the 30th of Octo-
ber, and went to Gov. Ogle with Cressap.
The Governor said he intended to dispossess
the Dutch who were settled there, and for
that end he was sending up arms, and would
very soon give the necessary orders to the
Sheriff. H'e would give 200 acres to each
and defend them therein. He gave the names
of Blunston and Wright, for the apprehen-
sion of whom the Governor offered a reward
of £100 for one and £50 for the other. Hig-
ginbotham said ho knew one of them, and
made no doubt he could apprehend him.
Cressap received on board a sloop a consid-
erable quantity of fire-arms, powder, and
ball, which were to be carried to Baltimore
Coianty to be used in dispossessing the Dutch,
who had revolted from Maryland. Three
drums and two trumpets were sent by land
by certaiD Dutch men who were with them.
When Munday came he appeared to be dis-
satisfied with Higginbotham for being there
beforehand. The Governor said, in a month's
time, he would cause possession to be given.
Leet, apprehending difficulty, laid aside, he
said, all thoughts about the matter.*

In this matter, John Coats deposed that
Henry Munday invited him to go OTOr the
Susquehanna about seven miles to settle on
800 acres of land taken up by Maryland, on
which eight Dutch families were settled.


whom the Blarylandet's would dispossess if
they did not sell their interest and be gone.
And that Maryland would give arms to all
such members of the Church of England as
would settle the said land to defend them-
selves against the inhabitants of Pennsylva-
nia. That the land would cost the survey
only, and Munday was to have a gratuity.
JereQiiah Starr deposed that Thomas Thomp-
son told him that Jacob Henderson, Commis
sary of Maryland, had by letter recommend-
ed him to Thomas Cressap, to be shown land
on the west side of the Susquehanna, and
Thomas Thompson, John Starr and William
Downer went and were shown the land which
was settled by Dutch people, and Thompson
chose for himself a certain piece whereon was
a settlement and a corn-mill, and that John
Starr told him that he went with Cressap to
the G-overnor of Maryland, who granted him
and his friends the laud, and if they would
be true subjects to Lord Baltimore, he would
defend them, and patent the land at four
shillings an acre, they paying only survey
fees. Henry Munday proposed a way of
gaining the lands, and it was resolved that
the militia of the government should be
ready about the end of the month to take and
give the possession to Munday and his friends.
William Miller deposed that Jacob Hender-
son and Benjamin Tasker were at his house
and advised him where persons should settle
on land west of the Susquehanna which was
settled by the Dutch, and invited persons in
Chester County to come and live in Mary-

On the 29th of November, 1736, a letter
was addressed to the magistrates of Chester
County, in behalf of tlie Council:

'' The seasonable discovery of the late
wicked design, which from the encourage-
ment of our unkind neighbors of Maryland
was sot on foot and upon the point of being
carried into execution, for ousting by force
of arms those Dutch families settled on the
west side of Susquehanna within the un-
questionable bounds of this province, and
the apprehending of some of the persons
who were principally concerned in promoting
within your county the association for this
purpose, having for the present, we hope, de-
feated the evil intentions of those who by
such practices would have introduced the ut-
most confusion and disorder among his Maj-
esty's subjects of this government, we have
had it under consideration in what manner
those disturbers of the public peace ought to
be proceeded against." Thereupon the mag-
istrates of Chester County were directed by

the Council to call before them as many of
the associators as they could, and to take
their examinations apart, and such as were
disposed to live for the future in due obedi-
ence to this government, might, on submis-
sion, and on being bound by recognizance, be
discharged without prosecution.*


On the 25th of September, 1736, the Jus-
tices of the Supreme Court issued their
warrant to the Sheriff of the county of Lan-
caster for the apprehension of Thomas Cres-
sap, for the murder of Knowles Daunt, and
divers other high crimes and misdemeanors,
and under safe conduct convey the said
Thomas before them, to be dealt with accord-
ing to law.f

At a meeting of the Council, held on the
27th of November, 1736, the President laid
before the Board a letter from Lancaster
County, brought by messengers, who gave an
account, that in pursuance of the warrant
issued by the provincial Judges for appre-
hending Thomas Cressap, he had been taken
with four others who abetted him in resisting
the Sheriff. One of them was committed to
the gaol of Lancaster County for a crime
charged against him there, and Ci-essap and
the three others were brought to Philadel-
phia. The letter stated that the magistrates,
upon considering the danger wherewith those
parts of that county lying on the west of
Susquehanna near to Thomas Cressap's set-
tlement were threatened, if he should be
joined by those who had lately entered into
a combination for dispossessing the Dutch
settled there, and having likewise understood
that he had applied to Col. Eigby, a Justice
of Maryland, for more arms and ammiinition,
they judged it absolutely necessary to appre
hend Cressap. The Sheriff of Ijancaster had
called to his assistance twenty-four persons,
and had gone over the river on Tuesday
night, the '23d of November, in order to have
Cressap taken by surprise early the next
morning. But Cressap, with six men, secured
himself in his house, and stood on his de-
fense. He fired on the Sheriff and his com-
pany. The Sheriff set tire to his house, and
Cressap, still refusing to surrender, at length
rushed out, and after some firing, in which
one of his own men was killed, he was appre-
hended. The magistrates reported "thatnoth-
ing but absolute necessity and the preserva-
tion of so many innocent families, whose
ruin seemed to be determined on, could have
obliged the jaeople to proceed to such extrem-


ities in taking this wicked man; that his be-
havior has since showed that be will stick at
nothing to gratify his resentments, and there-
fore, unless strict care is taken, it may justly
be apprehended that he will atteiapt either
firing the prison or any other desperate
action, that he can find means to compass." *

[Note. George Aston, of the county of Ches-
ter, in the province of Pennsylvania, saddler, aged
about fifty years, being one of the people called
Quakers, upon his solemn affirmation, according to
law, did declare and affirm that, upon some conver-
sation happening between Thomas Cressap, Robert
Buchanan, and this affirmant on the road, in sight
of the city of Philadelphia, upon bringing the said
Cressap down from the county of Lancaster, the
said Cressap said, " Damn it, Aston, this is one of
llie prettiest towns in Maryland. I have been a
troublesome fellow, but by this last job I have made
a present of the two provinces to the King, and that
if they found themselves in a better condition by
the change, they might thank Cressap for it," or
words to that effect. f

Philadelphta, December 3, 1736, taken before
me. Clem Plurasted, Ma3'or.

On the representations of the magistrates
the Council ordered that Cressap should be
put in irons and closely confined in the most
sectire place, but supplied with what was
necessary. J It was left to the Judges to pro-
ceed against him and the others taken with
him agreeably to law. On the 8th of Decem-
ber, 1736, a message was brought from the
Assembly, that finding that the government
of Maryland had not shown any real dispo-
sition on their part to enter into amicable
measirres for preventing further differences
between the two governments, the House had
come to a resolution, that an humble address
should be prepared and transmitted to the
King, praying his royal interposition for put-
ting a stop to these disorders. The petition
of the President and Council, and of the
General Assembly of the province of Penn-
sylvania, together with sundry affidavits about
the apprehending of Cressap and the Asso-
ciation for dispossessing the Dutch on Sus-
quehanna, were transmitted to the King,
after the meeting of the Council on the 11th
of December, 1736. §


At a meeting of the Council held at Phil-
adelphia on the 6th of December, 1736, Mr.
Bordley, a gentleman of Maryland, attending
without with a message for the President
and Council, was called on and acquainted
the President that he was sent by Mr. Jen-
nings and Mr. Dulaney, who were just come
to town from Annapolis with their compli-

"IV Col. Bee, 109.
tl Archives, 510.
:ibi.l, 111.
bibid, 125.

to the President and Council, and to
acquaint them, that, having received some
commands from the Governor of Maryland.
they desired to know when they might have
an opportunity of waiting on the President
and Council.* Messrs. Jennings and
Dulaney, on the next day, attending, deliv-
ered an open letter from the Governor of
Maryland. This mission was occasioned by
the burning of Cressap's house, and his arrest
with other parties, on the "^ith of November,
as the letter of Gov. Ogle alleged, in Balti-
more County. Mr. Jennings was the Secre-
tary and Mr. Dulaney was the Commissary
and Attorney- General of JIaryland. The
letter represented the transaction as cruel
and barbarous, and requested the assistance
of the government of Pennsylvania to bring
the actors to punishment. A paper was
drawn up by them and delivered to the
Council to the same effect, and demanding
that Cressap should be released. The answer
to Messrs. Jennings and Dulaney stated that
the government of Pennsylvania never
acknowledged the place of Cressap's settle
ment to be in Maryland, and recited the
attempts to oust the Germans; that Cressap
was arrested on a charge of murder, and that
unless the government of Maryland thought tit
to enter into some effectual specific measures
with them, it be re2:)resented to his Majesty
to interpose his royal authority. To this
Messrs. Jennings and Dulaney replied that
the right and title of Mr. Cressap was founded
on a grant from Lord Baltimore many years
before the agreement; that the agreement
was never carried into execution and the
validity of it was under the consideration of
tne High Court of Chancery. They discuss
the act of the Germans in disowning the
jurisdiction of the Lord Baltimore, and
alleged that Cressap acted in self-defense,
and that to two gentlemen sent from hence
offers were made which were rejected.

In consideration of the paper of Messrs.
Jennings and Dulaney, which referred to
former pacific overtures on the jiartof Mary-
land, the Council recurred to the transactions
at Annapolis with Messrs. Hamilton and
Georges in May. 1734, by which it
appeared that, though the Governor of Mai-y-
land often used the expression of pacific
measures, what was proposed was dilatory and
impracticable, and the proposal of this gov-
ernment of agreeing on some limits, to which.
for the preservation of peace, jurisdiction
should extend with a salvo to the right of
either proprietor, till the dispute between
them should be fuUv ended, was evaded and


declined. The answer to the deputies was
based on this view, December 14, 1736: "If
your Governor will agree upon some certain
boundaries to limit the jurisdiction to the
respective provinces, without prejudice to the
right of either proprietor, until the whole
dispute shall be ended, or upon any other
reasonable measures by which his Majesty's
subjects may enjoy peace and no longer be
harassed in their persons and possessions, I
we shall cheerfully come into any methods
that can be proposed, consistent with the laws
and common justice." It was also said !
" that the Germans, who yearly arrive here
in great numbers, wholly ignorant of the
English language and constitution, were
obliged, on account of our too near northern
neighbors, the French, whose language many
of them understand, not only to swear allegi-
ance to our Sovereign but as a further tie
upon' them promised fidelity to our proprie-
tors and this government, a practice only
used with them and no others." There
resulted a very voluminous correspondence,
but there is in it merely a recapitulation of
mutual claims and complaints. Messrs. Jen-
nings and Dulaney informed the President,
on the 16th of December, that they were just
setting out on their return and delivered a
paper to him, in which, in reference to the
preceding claims, they say: " You are pleased
to mention that this government obliged the
Germans only to enter into an engagement
of fidelity to yom- proprietors; we apprehend
the allegiance they swear to our Sovereign
cannot need the force of an engagement to
your ])roprietors to prevent their desertion
to the French, and therefore we are at a loss
to comprehend why the Germans are distin-
guished from all other nations by the remark-
able distrust your government has of their
fidelity." The Maryland Commissioners had
also charged, President Logan with having
promised that Cressap's accomplices should
be bailed, and then not performing it. The
Council, in considering the last paper deliv-
ered to the President by Messrs. Jennings
and Dulaney, were some of them of the
opinion that the unmannerly and malicious
reflections in it should receive a proper
answer, but the nest day, December 21, they
concluded that what ought to be said should
be represented to the Governor of Maryland.
In regard to the question of bail, it appeared
that it had been referred to the Judges, who
held them not bailable.* The reply of the
Council to the letter of Gov. Ogle, crediting
the mission of Messrs. Jennings and Dulaney,
after referring to the papers, proposed a

joinder in effectual measures to preserve the
peace until the royal pleasure could be
known. In the meantime, on December 11,
1736, by the concurring action of the Assem-
bly, a petition was drawn in the name of the
President and Council and the General
Assembly to the King.

On the 1st of March, 1787, there came a
letter from the Governor of Maryland, dated
24th of December, 1736, requesting the Gov-
ernor of Pennsylvania to state precisely what
were the concessions they were willing to
come into. This letter was not received for
ten weeks after its date. The Postmaster, on
being examined, said "that the letter had
been received last night, and that three mails
had come from Annapolis since Christmas."
The Council were of the opinion that what
ever reason the Governor had for antedating
his letter or keeping it back, as he declined
making any proposals, it was proper on this
call from Maryland to. make proposals of
peace.* A letter was, therefore, written to
Gov. Ogle on the 5th of March, 1737, in
which reference is made to the committing of
hostilities since the date of his letter, and since
continued by his new Captain, Higgenbo-
tham, and his crew, reciting the injuries, and
proposing that all those in arms should im-
mediately retire as a preliminary.! The fix-
ing of certain limits was proposed for the
purposes of jurisdiction, and no new settle-
ments were to be suffered, save by the same
families that wej'e then in possession on the
lands they held or claimed before, and no
person whatever in or near those parts should
on either side be molested on any cause or
pretense arising frohi their disputes or the
proprietary claims. On the 11th of March,
1737, Gov. Ogle wrote that "the point is.
which of the two governments is in the wrong
by refusing to come into reasonable measures,
to prevent disorders on the border. That
the proposal to Hamilton and Georges was,
that the application be made to the King to
fix the boundaries and new settlements be
prevented. You seem willing not to oppose;
•but that all those who first took up their
lands under this province may be allowed to
acknowledge this government, only those
coming into your province to inhabit it, and
going over Susquehanna to seek for settle-
ments, were either forced or decoyed by
Thomas Cressap, or others, to submit to this
government, ought certainly to be left to those
to which they first belonged ' . . . . I am
persuaded you did not intend to include
within that exception the Germans, who set-



tied under this government on Susquehanna,
and who, by a most extraordinary method,
pretended to become Pennsylvanians."* He
proposed to meet Mr. Logan anywhere half
way between Annapolis and Philadelphia.
In reply to thia a letter was written to Gov.
Ogle, March 22, 1737, by President Logan,
under the advice of the Council, showing the
impracticability of his proposal. Those in-
habitants who at first entered on their pos-
sessions undfir Maryland, should, till the
boundaries were settled, be allowed to ac-
knowledge that government. And all saoh
as entered on their possessions under this
government, should, in the same manner, be
allowed to acknowledge it. And all the inhab-
itants subject to the late dispute, should be
exempt from taxes. Taxes to be assessed
and acf!ount kept of them, and no further set-
tlements be made in those parts.f To this
letter, Gov. Ogle responded on the 29th of
March, 1737: "You say you will now, in
full terms, express your meaning, which is,
that those inhabitants who at first entered
on their possessions under the government of
Maryland, should, till such time as the
boundaries should be settled, or till we shall
receive orders and directions from a superior
authority for establishing peace, be allowed
to acknowledge this government; and all
such others as entered on their possessions
nnder your government, should, in the same
manner, be allowed to acknowledge it. In
answer to which I can truly say, that I al-
ways thought this JQst and reasonable, that
all my endeavors and proposals tended to
nothing else but to get your government to
come into this very agreement, which, if you
had done, I am covinced it would effectually
have prevented all the mischief that has hap-
pened since that ineffectual conference we
had with Messrs. Hamilton and Georges
.... But, besides that, such an agreement
as this for the public good can never be too
plainly and clearly expressed, or disputes
about it too carefully avoided; let us consid-
er the persons you propose to be excepted,
and the reason for so doing.

" The persons are those who have been the
subject of the late contentions and disputes
begun some time in August last, and the only
reason that I can conceive for- it must be that
these same persons, not liking our 40%
poll and other taxes, took it into their heads
to renounce all obedience to this government
in a formal mannor by a paper under their
hands. If they had not made this revolt, as
they themselves call it, I presume their being

excepted more than others would not have
been mentioned; so that this being the (mly
reason, the best way for you to judge of the
goodness of it v?ill be to turn the tables, and
suppose the same case should happen to
youi'selves. Suppose a number of your in-
habitants, touched with a tender regard for
the Church of England and the support of
its ministers, should all of a sudden re-
nounce your government in the same formal
manner that these people did ours for con-
trary reasons, pray what would your govern-
ment do in such a case? Would you think
such a renunciation of any validity, or would
you proceed against them according to the
laws of your province? Whatever you would
think reasonable for yourselves to do in that
case, we only desire you to grant us the same
indulgence. To do as one would be done by
is a maxim so very just and reasonable that
it is to be presumed that nobody can dispute
it. And this is all we desire of you in the
case before us."*

Reference was made in the letter ot Pres-
ident Logan to the committing of hostilities
by Higginbotham and his crew, pending the
negotiations and correspondence between the
provinces, but to these Gov. Ogle made no
response. The letters of Samuel Blunston
to the Provincial Council contain a full state-
ment of these transactions, and, therefore,
must be cited in order to obtain a full un-
derstanding of the trials of the German set-
tlers here.

Charles Higginbotham, one of the ring-
leaders in the ejectment plot above related,
having escaped, became more formidable than
his predecessor, Cressap, in acts of violence.
He was appointed by Gov. Ogle, a .Justice of
the Peace and a Captain of Militia. At the
head of about twenty men he came up to the
settlements of the Germans, and it appears
by the letters of Samuel Blunston in Decem-
ber and January, 1737, "being daily
strengthened by runaway servants and others
of desperate circumstances, they threatened
to attack some of the Dutch people seated

there," and many outrages were comm


and forcible arrests made, and they plainly
intended to oust every person who refused
to acknowledge the authority of Maryland.
They broke open the Germans' doors with
axes and carried persons off. On account of
these outrages the wives and children of the
Germans taken and several other families.
went over the Susqirehanna for refuge, and
according to Mr. Blunston, all the settle-
ments on°the west side would be speedily de-
serted unlessji^&uffioien^Jorcejvou^^

« IV Col. Kec, I.?6.


on foot to protect them and to apprehend
Higginbotham and his party. So grievous
were the complaints of injury that he asked
the advice of the Council on the 9th of Jan-
uary, 1737, whether it would be more eligible
to order the removal of all those who were
seated under Pennsylvania on the west side
of the Susquehanna, than to use further en-
deavors for their defense, since it was ap-
parent these could not be effectual without
coming to blows, and bloodshed in all prob-
ability would ensue. The Council, consider-
ing the distresses and hardships to which
the Germans, by the cruelty of the Governor
of Maryland, were at that severe season ex-
posed, were of opinion that it was not con-
sistent either with the honor or safety of this
province to remove those of its inhabitants
who were seated within its unquestionable
bounds, since such an act might be construed
a cession of those parts to Maryland, who
would not fail thereupon to take possession
of them; and in all probability, from such
an encouragement, would endeavor at further
encroachments in pursuance to their late ex-
orbitant claims. On the contrarj', it became
the government, in support of its authority
and in the just defense of his Majesty's
peaceable subjects in it, to raise and support
a force sufficient to oppose those violators of
the peace and of his people's rights, and to
seize and secure them that they may be
brought to justice, the conducting of which
force ought to be in the sheriff of the county
and his officers. And on the 20th of Janu-
ary it was ordered thai the Sheriff of Lan-
caster be called upon to raise a sufficient num-
ber of men of his county lo be disposed in
such places on the west side of the Susque-
hanna, under proper officers to be by him
deputed, as may prevent further disorders,
and that the Sheriff with his officers and as-
sistants exert their utmost endeavors for pre-
serving the peace, protecting the inhabitants,
and use all legal means in their power for
apprehending Higginbotham and his asso-
ciates, and all others who have been or here-
after shall be guilty of committing any acts
of violence within the said county." * It
was repeatedly pressed in advices from Lan-

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 14 of 218)