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

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caster " that some gentlemen of credit and
authority should be sent up into that coun-
ty, by whose encouragement and counte-
nance a greater furtherance might be given
to such measures as should be found
necessary to be concerted for the preservation
of his Majesty's peace and the protection of
the inhabitants from those outrages to which
they have of late been exposed." On the

* IV Col. Eec, 150-1.

25th of January, 1737, two members of the
Council, Messrs. Laurence and Assheton,
were prevailed upon to take that trouble.
It was recommended to them " to use their
best endeavors and give such orders as they
should judge most conducive for carrying
those measures into execution."

Mr. Laurence and Mr. Assheton, on their
return from Lancaster, on the Sth of Febru-
ary, reported that they met the Justices and
Sheriff of that county, and that fifteen men
had been got together to observe the motions
of Higginbotham and his party, and to pre-
vent their further attempts on the inhabit-
ants. That he had gone toward Annapolis
with his prisoners, and the others kept them-
selves shut up in their guard house or for- ^
tress. That their whole force consisted of (
about twenty-live men. The number of men
to assist the Sheriff had been increased to
twenty-eight, and Solomon Jennings was
made deputy, and he and his men were so
stationed as to be able to prevent any further
violences. They said the country had con-
ceived such a resentment that many had
offered their services to march directly to
their fortress and take them.*

At a meeting of the Council on the 1st of
March, 1737, a letter from Samuel Blunston
set forth that Higginbotham's garrison was
then about the number of thirty. That Hig-
ginbotham had offered to purchase some of
the Dutch people's improvements, by order,
as he gave out, of the Governor of Mary-
land, and that he had also told some of
them if they would stand neuter and not
hold by either government, they should
remain unmolested. That many having been
obliged to leave their houses, it was not with-
out the utmost difficulty their families had
been able to subsist themselves that winter,
and if on the approaching season, they should
be prevented by a continuance of such vio-
lences from putting in a spring crop, they
must either perish, remove, or submit to
Maryland. That jDrovisions were extremely
scarce, and the keeping of the Sheriff's as-
sistants together on the west side of the Sus-
quehanna very expensive. They had few or
no opjDortunities of falling in with Higgin-
botham's gang, who for the most part kept
within their guard house, where the Sheriff
would not consent that they should be at-
tacked. By a letter a few days before to
Thomas Penn, it appeared Higginbotham's
party broke into the house of Joshua Min-
shall early in the morning of the 12th of
February, surprised him in bed, and carried
him off prisoner. They were pursued by

1 »IV Col. Eec, 1B3.


some of the Sheriff of Lancaster's people,
who had no notice of this action till some
hours after it had happened, bnt the gang
had got to their guard house before they could
be overtaken, and there it was not thought
proper to attack them.* On the 17th of
March, 1737, some of the people from the
garrison went to the house of Martin Shultz
and took by force a cask of eighty gallons of
rum and two of his horses and conveyed
them to their place. f A letter written about
this time by Mr. Blunston gives a graphic
picture of the unfortunate state of affaiis in
this portion of the province. J He says:
"We bad given repeated orders to the Dutch
to keep together and stand on their defense,"
He then relates the incidents of six men get-
ting a grave ready for a child. Higgin-
botham and his company came upon them,
and seized and carried them through the
woods, and it was said that they were to be
conveyed to Annapolis. The persons taken
were Michael Tanner, Conrade Strickler,
Henry Bacon, Jacob Welshans, Charles Jones
and Joseph Evans. He says: "This unhappy
accident has so terrified the rest that they
have all left their homes and are come over
the river, so that there is none left on that
side but women and children, except Joshua
Minshall and John Wright, Jr. ; at the house
of the latter they keep garrison, expecting
every day and night to be attacked. This is
the present state of affairs over the river, to
which, if we add that the ice is in continual
danger of breaking, so as to render the river
impassable for some weeks, make things look
with but an indifferent prospect. Before this
happened, if the sheriff had gone over, he
might have had thirty or forty Dutch to assist
hinj, but now he has none but what he takes
with him if he can go over."

At a meeting of the Council on the 4th of
April. 1737. the President acquainted the
Board that several of the Germans who had
suffered outrages from the Maryland gang
from the west of Susquehanna had come
hither to represent their great distress. Hig-
ginbotham and those under his command had
continued to carry on their violences, and
would neither suffer the people themselves,
their children, nor those hired to plow the
grounds, to raise corn for the sustenance of
their families. They took away the horses
employed in this necessary work, and said the
Governor of Maryland ordered it. They car-
ried off several young lads from plowing, and
detained them in their garrison to give secur-

« IV Col. Eec, 156.
t Archives, .534, Affidavit.
i I Arclilves, 316. This letter i
date of 1732.— IV Col. Eec, 149.

ity to work no more or be sent to gaol. Some
of the people carried to Annapolis, let out on
bail, were told if they did not work for
others they forfeited their recognizance. No-
tice was given to the women that three days
would be allowed them to carry their goods
out of their houses, otherwise they would be
turned out. The number of the rioters had
increased, and infested the neighborhood in
small detachments. Their insolence and
cruelties were so great that the inhabitants
were reduced to deplorable circumstances, it
being evident that notwithstanding the nego-
tiations of peace now on foot between the
two provinces, Higginbotham and those
with him were resolved to distress the poor
people to such a degree as to oblige them to
quit their places that others may enter upon
them according to the promise and expecta-
tions given them by the Governor of Mary-
land. The number of those whom the Sheriff
of Lancaster had kept on the west side of
the Susquehanna for a restraint on Higgin-
botham's gang had lessened, and had not
been of the service that was expected. The
Council observed that as both governments
were then treating on measures for establish-
ing peace, and the Governor of Maryland
continuing in his several late letters, to make
ample professions of his sincere inclination
to that end, it could scarcely be supposed,
without highly reflecting on that gentleman's
honor and candor, that those late violences
were carried on by his authority or with his
knowledge. His letter was again read, and
the essential parts • of it, particularly that
where he seems to insist that the Germans.
without any proviso or stipulation for them,
should be left to his government to be taxed
or dealt with as they should think proper,
being largely spoken to, the Pre.sident was
desired to prepare a draught of an answer to
Mr. Ogle.* This answer of Mr. Logan reca-
pitulated the correspondence on the subject,
and made the proposal that a preliminary,
namely, the appointment of persons to adjust
the matter, be at once put in execution, and
that Commissioners meet on the spot, and de-
termine by the strictest and most just inquiry,
who of those inhabitants entered on their
possessions under the one or under the othei'
government. It noted the fact that he had
made no answer to the complaints about
Higginbotham, and that since the receipt of
his last letter accounts had been received of
shocking barbarities committed upon that
unhappy people. I'pon considering what
was represented by Mr. Blunston. the Council
were of the opinion that the people ought hv

* IV Col. Rec, 1S9.


all means to maintain possession of their
houses and plantations. That a proper num-
ber of people should be lodged in the house
late of John Hendricks to defend it against
any attack, and the Sheriff be called upon to
give all legal assistance. On the 8th of
April, 1737, as to those Germans who had
come there to pray advice in their present dis-
tress, the Council were of opinion that as they
came tirst into this province to settle, they were
highly to blame in going over to the other side
of the Susquehanna, and there, in contempt of
this government, taking up land under Mary-
land and acknowledging themselves subjects
or tenants under it ; that some of them had not
only enlisted under Cressap, but had assisted
him on all occasions when called on, and par-
ticularly that the party who took Mr. Bu-
chanan, the late Sheriff of Lancaster, was
mostly made of their people ; that when they
thought of returning to their obedience under
this government, if Gov. Ogle's word is to
be taken for it, who expressly charges them
with it, and as for encimraging them in it,
their only inducement was their hopes of
living more easily under us, in being freed
from the forty per cent, poll and other
Maryland tases. That instead of defending
themselves against the force which had been
sent to apprehend them, they had thrown that
charge wholly upon this government, who
had been put to great expense on that account.
That if the Marylanders should proceed to
turn them off their plantations, as there is
now no possibility of opposing but by open
^Yar and bloodshed, their families must be
sure no otherwise to give way to it than as
they are forced, and if that should prove the
case, as it is hoped it will not, care will be
taken to order other places for their settle-
ment, on theirpaying a reasonable considera-
tion for the same, and that we must wait for
a suitable redress from the wisdom and jus-
tice of our Gracious Sovereign, whose orders
for putting an end to all these disturbances
have been long since humbly applied for,
and may now in a short time be expected.*

On the 15th of April, 1737, a letter from
Gov. Ogle retaliates as to violences, by
charges of cruelty to Cressap and others: "I
shall put into immediate execution every-
thing that lies in my power to prevent the
renewing of your hostilities. I shall leave
wholly to yourselves, such as first settled un-
der your government, and shall only look up-
on such to be Marylanders at present, as set-
tled and held under this govei'nment."t

Throughout this curious and voluminous

discussion, there was, on either side, a plain
determination to maintain the German element
of the contention as peculiarly subject to
their own control. Pennsylvania was willing
to have an investigation into the settlements
of each individual, believing that the excep-
tions were as to an original settlement under
any other title. Maryland, on the other hand,
would persist on claiming the whole body of
the revolted Germans as their tenants and
subject to taxation as such. Consequently
the reply to the letter of Gov. Ogle, of the
15th of April, proposed the appointment of a
commissioner by each province to ascertain
who of the settlers ''first entered on their
lands under the one, and who under the other
government," when the commotions began,
before August, 1736.


On the 29th of April. 1737, the Council
considered it advisable lo send to Annapolis
two persons, who should, in a personal con-
ference with the Governor, press him to an
explicit and determined answer to the pro-
posals that accompanied the concession made
on the part of this province and accejated by
him. Two members, Mr. Preston and Mr.
Kinsey, were appointed for the occasion.
Another letter was prepared and sent to Gov.
Ogle. It was proposed that the levying of
taxes be deferred and that the forces on
either side be withdrawn and that commis-
sioners be appointed. The House of Repre-
sentatives was called together and a message
delivered to them from the President and
Council, that notwithstanding all legal
means in their power, and those at a very con-
siderable expense, had been used to put a
stop to the violences on the west side of the
Susquehanna, yet there was a continued
series of those abuses. The House hoped
that it would not be long before the King's
pleasure would be known, and that they
should always be read}' to do what is neces-
sary for supporting the government, while
the measures taken are consistent with the
peaceable principles of the people they rep-

A letter of instructions was prepared for
Samuel Preston and John Kinsey, Esqs., the
commissioners. A recapitulation of the mat-
ters in controversy is unnecessary. Accord-
ing to the report made by Mr. Preston on
their return, they were received civilly and
dined with the Governor, and had a personal
conference with him. They were called before
the Council and had reduced their offer to
writing. After correspondence between them,
articles were acceded to by both governments.



Objection was made to the appointment of
commissioners. It was contended, on the '
part of Pennsylvania, that this was nec-
essary to determine who settled under each
government, but on the part of Maryland
that it might "be determined by them and
Messrs. Preston and Kinsey, as by com-
missioners. The former also contended that
it was necessary to examine those who were
settled and others. In the personal confer-
ence touching the manner of determining
who settled on the lands in dispute under !
each government, Gov. Ogle told them that
he thought it would be easy to distinguish
them by name in the articles. He said an
answer to two or three plain questions would
determine it, as to whose they took the land !
to be at the time of their first entry? To
whom had they paid their taxes? He further j
said that the Germans entered on the land
on which they are under them, but were pre-
vailed upon by threats and persuasions of
some of the magistrates of Lancaster to re-
nounce their government. "He was answered,
that matter was very differently represented
to ns; that one of ns had an opportunity since
our coming there of enquiring of one of
those Germans, who declared that on their
first entry on the lands in question, they
looked upon them as belonging to the pro-
prietors of Pennsylvania, but that Cressap,
pretending an authority from the govern-
ment of Maryland, threatened to dispossess
them unless they would suffer their plan- !
tations to be surveyed by him as belong-
ing to Maryland. That being strangers, I
who had the right to avoid being dispossessed,
they permitted him to make surveys, expect- |
ing a confirmation of their possessions from
the government of Maryland. And we un-
derstood that they,- having been disappointed
in this respect by the government of Mary-
land, and their havirg afterward been fully
assured the lands belonged to our proprietors, j
occasioned their voluntary application to our i
magistrates for protection from our govern- [
ment, and that they were not induced thereto
by any threats or persuasions whatsoever. "
Messrs. Preston and Kinsey proposed that if
there was difficulty as to the appointment of
commissioners they might agree upon other
articles. This Gov. Ogle declined, urging ^
that it was necessary first to distinguish the \
persons who settled under each government.
They were called no more to confer with the
Maryland Council. They dined with Ben-
jamin Tasker. one of the ("ouneil and Lord
Baltimore's agent, and on their return to
their lodging, found a paper for them, and
being informed the Governor was gone out

of town, the Council separated, and they left

As in the former treaties, so in this, the
Governor of Maryland insisted that the fail
ure of the negotiations was owing to the
want of power or information in the com-
missioners, and that when his just oifers
would be communicated to the Government
of Pennsylvania, it would give proper
powers and instructions for perfecting the


THE line which was provided for in the
agreement of 1732, was not run on
account of the objections of Lord Baltimore,
and the consequent suit in equity. The active
and acrimonious correspondence between the
Governors of the two provinces went on, as we
have seen, and overtures for fixing a boundary
were made by Pennsylvania, without effect.
Gov. Gordon and President Logan, by advice
of the Council, proposed to have a provisional
line run, but it was rejected by the Maryland
authorities. There were mutual appeals to
the King. The matter was referred to the
Lords of Committee of Council on Plantation
Affairs, and before them the proprietors and
their counsel came to an agreement that the
peace and tranquility of the province might
l3e preserved until such time as the bound-
aries could be finally settled. This agi-ee-
ment was approved by the King, and His
Majesty was pleased to order that the respect-
ive proprietors do cause the said agreement
to be carried into execution.


At the court at Kensington, on the 2.5th dav of
May, 1738.


The King's Most Excellent Majestj'.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Earl of Selkirk,
Lord President, Earl of Islay,

Lord Steward Earl FitzWalter,

Lord Chamberlain, Viscount Lonsdale,

Duke of Bolton, .Viscount Torrington.

Duke of Devonshire, Lord Harrington,

Duke of Newcastle, Mr. Chancellor of the

Earl of Scarborough, Sir Charles Wills.

Earl of Grantham, Henry Pelham, Esq..

Earl of Cholmondeley, Sir Charles Wager.

Upon reading at the Board a report from the
Ri"-ht Honorable the Lords of the Committee of
Council for Plantation Affairs. Dated the -ith of this
Instant in tlie words following. Viz.:


Your Majesty having been pleased by your orders
in Council of tiie 17lh of March, 1736, 1737, and the
21st of July, 1737, to refer unto this Committee
several petitions from the President. Council and
General Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania,
and likewise from the Governor and Council, and
the commissary and clergy of the Province of Mary-
land, which petitions represent (among other things)
that great Disorders and Outrages have been com- :
mitted upon the Borders of the said respective
Provinces, and humbly Praying your Majesty's
most Gracious Interposition and commands, for the
preservation of the Peace, on the said Borders until
the Boundaries of the said Province shall be finally
settled and adjusted. The Lords of the Committee
of Council did, on the 29th of the said Month of
July, take the matter of the said complaints into
their consideration. And, therefore. Reported to
vour Majesty what they thought most advisable
for your Majesty to Do. in Order to Prevent the
further Continuance of the said Disorders and to
preserve Peace and Tranquility on the said Borders, ,
until the Boundaries should be finally settled. And
Your Majesty having approved of what was Pro-
posed by the said Report was Pleased, by your order 1
in Council of the 8th of August, 1737, to" direct as
follows. Viz.: "That the governors of the respect-
ive provinces of Maryland and Pennsylvania, for
the time being, Do not, upon pain of incurring His
Majesty's Highest Displeastsre, permit or suffer any
tumult's, riots, or other Outrageous Disorders to be
committed on the Borders of their respective prov-
inces. But that they do immediately put a stop
thereto, and use their utmost endeavours to preserve
Peace and Good Order amongst all His Majesty's
subjects under their Government inhabiting the said
borders. And as a means to preserve peace and
Tranquility on the said Borders, His Majesty doth
hereby enjoin the said Governors that they do not
make Grants of any part of the Lands in Contest
between the Propi-ietors respectively, nor any part
of the Three Lower Counties commonly called New-
castle, Kent and Sussex, nor permit any Person to
settle there, or even to a'ttempt to make a settle-
ment thereon, till His Majesty's Pleasure shall be
further signified. And His Majesty is further
pleased to Direct that this Order, together with
Duplicates thereof, be delivered to the proprietors of
the said Provinces, who are hereby required to
transmit the same forthwith to the governors of the
said respective Provinces accordingly. That since
the issuing of the said order Your Majesty hath been
plciised to refer unto this Committee an address of
the Deputy Governor, and of the Upper and Luwer
Houses of Assembly of the Province of Maryland,
relating to a Continuance of the said Disorders, and
also two Petitions, the one in the name of John,
Thomas and Richard Penn, Esqrs., Proprietors of
the Province of Pennsylvania, Praying Your
Majesty's further pleasure may be signified relating
to your Majesty's afore recited Order in Council of
the 18th of August, 17.37, and the other in the name
of the Agent of the said Province of Pennsylvania,
Complaining of fresh Disorders committed by the
Inhabitants'of Maryland against those of Pennsyl-
vania, Wherefore the Lords of the Committee did.
on the 23rd of February last, proceed to take all
the papers relating to the complaints made by each
of the said Provinces into their consideration and
were attended by Counsel on both sides, and likewise
by the Proprietors of the said Provinces, And the
Counsel desiring' that some reasonable time might
be allowed the Proprietors to confer together, in
Order to come to some Agreement amongst them-
selves, that so the Peace and Tranquility of both
Provinces may be preserved until such time as the
Boundarys can be finally settled. The Lords of the
Committee thought proper to comply with such,

their request. And being again this day Attended
by allPartys, the counsel acquainted the'Committee
that the proprietors of each Province had accord-
ingly met and agreed to the following propositions,
viz. : '■ 1st that so mucli of His ^Majesty's Order in
Council of the INth of Au-u-^t, IT:!?, as Onlcis the
Governors of the rc-iiiMiivr I'mviiiM'^ ..!' M:ii-\i:ind
& Pennsylvania for il.r tiniolMiim. ,1.. nm/upon
pain of incurring His Miiji ^ly'slliglirst nispluavure,
Permit or Suffer any Tumult, Riots or any other
Outrageous Disorders, to be committed "on the
Borders of their respective Provinces, but that they
do immediately put a stop thereto, and use their
utmost endeavors to preserve Peace and Good Order
among all his Majesty's Subjects under their Gov-
ernment, Inhabiting the said Borders, Do stand in
force and be Observed. 2nd, That there being no
riots that appear to have been committed within
the Three Lower Counties of Newcastle, Kent and
Sussex, on Deleware. It is therefore not thouyht
necessary to continue the latter part of the said
Order in Council, as to the said three lower Coun-
ties, but that the same former Order in Council, so
far as relates to the said three Lower Counties, be
discharged without prejudice to either of the Pro-
prietors, as if the same had never been made.

3d, That all other lands in contest between the
said proprietors now possessed by or under either
of them shall remain in the possession as thoy now
are (although beyond the temporary limits" here-
after mentioned); and also the jurisdiction of the
respective proprietors shall continue over such
lands until the boundarys shall ln' (inallv .'.ciilcd;
and that the tenants of either sid(' ^liall nni allorn
to the other, nor shall either of llic |.r(>|M ii l.ns nr
their officers receive or accept of aflnrnnunls ('rom
the tenants of the other proprietors.

4th, That, as to all vacant lands in contest be-
tween the proprietors, not lying within the three
lower counties and not now possessed by or under
either of them, on the east side of the River Susque-
hanna, down so far as fifteen miles and one ipuirter
quarter of a mile south of the latitude of the most
southern part of the City of Philadelphia, and on the
west side of the said River Susquehanna, down so far
south as fourteen miles and three-quarters south of
the latitude of the most southern part of the City
of Philadelphia, the temporary jurisdiction over
the same is agreed to be exercised by the proprietors
of Pennsylvania, and their Governor, courts and

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 15 of 218)