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

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the return of a survey made in 1722, it is called the " White Oak
Branch." It had, however, no certain name until about
year 1736, when numerous German settlements were made or



the country for the purpose of increasing the i
facilities of hunting.

"Most of the German emigrants settled in
the neighborhood of Kreutz Creek, while
the English located themselves in the neigh-
borhood of the Pigeon Hills. In the whole
of what was called the 'Kruetz Creek Settle-
ment,' (if we except Wrightsville) there was
but one English family, that of William

"The early inhabitants of the Kreutz Creek
region were clothed, for some years, alto-
gether in tow cloth, as wool was an article
not to be obtained. Their dress was simple,
consisting of a shirt, trowsers and a frock.
During the heat of summer, a shirt and
trowsers of tow formed the only raiment of
the inhabitants. In the fall the tow frock
was superadded. "When the cold of winter
was before the door, and Boreas came rush-
ing from the north, the dress was adapted to
the season by increasing the number of frocks,
so that in the coldest part of the winter some
of the sturdy settlers were wrapped in four,
five or even more frocks, which were bound
closely about their loins, usually with a
string of the same material as the garments.

" But man ever progresses, and when sheep
were introduced, a mixture of tow and wool
was considered an article of luxury. But
tow was shortly afterward succeeded by cot-
ton, and then linsey-woolsey was a piece of
the wildest extravagance. If these simple,
plain and honest worthies could look down
upon their descendants of the present day,
they would wonder and weep at the change
of men and things. If a party of them could
be spectators at a ball of these times in the
borough of York and see silks and crapes,
and jewels, and gold, in lieu of tow frocks
and linsey-woolsey finery, they would
scarcely recognize their descendants in the
costly and splendid dresses before them; but
would, no doubt, be ready to imagine that
the nobles and princes of the earth were
assembled at a royal bridal. But these
honest progenitors of ours have passed away,
and left many of us, we fear, with nothing
but the names they bore to mark us their

"But all of good did not die with them. If
they would find cause of regret at the depart-
ure from their simplicity and frugality, they
would find much to admire in the improved
aspect of the country, the rapid march of
improvement in the soil of their adoption.
Where they left unoccupied land, they would
find valuable plantations, and thriving vil-
lages, and temples dedicated to the worship of
the God of the Christians. Where they left a

field covered with brushwood, they would find
a flourishing and populous town. The Codorus,
whose power was scantily used to propel a
few inconsiderable mills, they would see with
its banks lined with large and valuable grist-
mills, saw-mills and fulling-mills; they would
find the power of its water used in the man-
ufacture of paper and wire, and they would
find immense arks of lumber and coal floating
on its bosom from the Susquehanna to the
very doors of the citizens of a town whose
existence commenced after their departure
from toil and from the earth.

" But to return to the situation of these early
settlers. For some time after these early set-
tlements were made, there was neither a shoe-
maker nor a tanner, in any part of what
is now York County. A supply of shoes for
family use was annually obtained from Phil •
adelphia; itinerant cobblers, traveling from
one farm-hoase to another, earned a liveli-
hood by mending shoes. These cobblers car-
ried with them such a quantity of leather as
they thought would be wanted in the district
of their temporary visit. The first settled and
established shoe-maker in the county was
Samuel Landys, who had his shop somewhere
on Kreutz Creek. The first, and for a long
time the only tailor, was Valentine Heyer,
who made clothes for men and women. The
first blacksmith was Peter Gardner. The
first schoolmaster was known by no other
name than that of ' Der Dicke Sohulmeister.'
The first dwelling houses of the earliest set-
tlers were of wood; and for some years no
other material was used in the construction.
But about the year 1735 John and Martin
Shultz each built a stone dwelling house ou
Kreutz Creek, and in a few years the example
was numerously followed." Glossbrenner's
History gives us the further information of
the time it was written, in regard to the early

" Settlements of 'The Barrens.'— For sev-
eral years after the settlements were made in
the neighborhood of Pigeon Hills, and on
Kreutz Creek, the inhabitants of those regions
were the only whites in the county. But
about the years 1734, 1735, 1736, a number of
families from Ireland and Scotland settled
in the southeastern part of the county, in
what is now known as the ' York Bai-rens. '
These families consisted principally of the
better order of peasantry — were a sober,
industrious, moral, and intelligent people —
and were for the most part rigid Presby-
terians. Their manner partook of that sim-
plicity, kindness and hospitality which is so
characteristic of the class to which they
belonged in their native countries.



"The descendants of these people still retain
the lands which their respectable progenitors
chose upon their arrival in York County.
And we are happy to add, that the present
inhabitants of the inappropriately named
'Barrens' inherited, with the lands of their
forefathers, the sobriety, industry, intelligence,
morality and hospitable kindness of their

" The townships comprised in the ' Barrens '
are Chanceford, Fawn, Peach Bottom, Hope- ;
well, and part of Windsor, and from the ]
improvements which have of late years been I
made in the agriculture of these townships,
the soil is beginning to present an appear- |
ance which is entirely at variance with the
idea a stranger would be induced to form of
a section of country bearing the unpromising j
name of ' Barrens. '

" Before the commencement of the improve- I
ments in farming recently introduced, the '
mode of tilling which generally prevailed
was ruinous. Having abundance of wood-
land, the practice was to clear a field every
season. Wheat was uniformly the first crop,
of which the yield was from eighteen to
twenty bushels per acre. The second crop was
rye, then corn, then oats. After going through
this course, it was left for a year or two, and
then the course began again; this was contin-
ued until the soil would produce nothing. But
most of the farmers have, as we have said,
much ameliorated the condition of their lands,
by the adoption of a better system of culture.

" Having introduced the first settlers of the
'Barrens,' we shall defer further remark
upon this section of country, while we return
to ' olden time,' and look after the early set-
tlers of other parts of the county. We have
now settled the eastern, southeastern and
southwestern parts of the county, and leave
the settlers 'hard at it,' while we take a
view of the north and northwest.


"About the same time that the 'Barrens'
were settled by Irish and Scottish emigrants,
Newberry Township and the circumjacent
region was settled by a number of families
from Chester County, who, under the auspi-
cious influence of that spirit of peace and
amity which had been spread abroad by the
wise and excellent proprietary of Pennsylva-
nia, sate themselves down here and there in
a few rudely constructed cabins, surrounded
on all sides by the still more rude wigwams
of their aboriginal neighbors. Thomas Hall,
John McFesson, Joseph Bennet, John Ran-
kin and Ellis Lewis were the first persons to

visit this section of the county; and having
selected the valley in which the borough of
Lewisberry is situated, they gave it the name
of the 'Red Lands,' from the color of the
soil, and 'red rock,' on which it is based.
By this name it was principally known to
them and their eastern friends for many
years. It was by a descendant of Ellis Lewis
that Lewisberry was laid out — and it is from
Joseph Bennet that the main stream which
winds its devious way through the valley
derives its name of ' Bennet's Run.'

"An anecdote is related of Bennet, Ran-
kin and Lewis, connected with their first visit
to the 'Red Lands.' Having arrived at the
eastern bank of the Susquehanna River, and
there being no other kind of craft than
canoes to cross in, they fastened two together
and. placing their horses with their hinder
feet in one and their fore feet in the other,
thus paddled to the shore, at the imminent
peril of their lives.

"This section of the country, naturally
productive, had suffered a material deterio-
ration of quality, and was indeed almost
' worn out ' by a hard system of tillage, when
the introduction of clover and plaster, in the
year 1800, established a new era in the hus-
bandry of the neighborhood, and gradually
produced a considerable amelioration of the
soil. At present the spirit of ' liming ' is
gaining ground rapidly in Newberry and the
adjoining townships, and promises very fairly
to effect a material increase of productive-
ness. There is also a great change of sys-
tem in the husbandry of this section which
is doing much for the land. Formerly the
farmer depended mainly upon keeping a
large stock, and enriching his land by the
manure which he would be thus enabled to
make, at the expense of all the hay and grass
on the farm. At present he keeps a compar-
atively small stock, except where there are
extensive meadows, and depends more upon
plowing down a clover lay and liming. It
is to be remarked also that this quantity of
manure is not lessened by this curtailment of
the stock of his farm ; but with care may in
fact thus be increased, and his land greatly
benefited. For instead of putting all his
hay and straw into them, he turns some
under with the plow, leaves some to shade
the ground, and saves a goodly portion to
put under them.

' ' We have now fairly settled those parts
of the county which were, the first to be in-
habited by the whites. Those parts of
which we have made no mention in noticing
the early settlements were not in fact taken
up by the immigrants to York County; but be-



came populated from the stock which we
have introduced to our readers. In the
course of time the Kreutz Greek settlement
increased in population, and gave inhabitants
to a large tract of country surrounding it,
including parts of Hellam, Spring Garden,
York and Shrewsbury Townships. The few
early settlers of the region in which Han-
over stands gave population to several town-
ships in that quarter of the county. The
number of families in the 'Red Lands' and
thereabout was for some time annually aug-
mented by fresh emigrants from Chester
County, the small portion of territory at first
chosen became too small for the increased
population, and the whole northern division
of the county, comprising Newberry, Fair-
view, Monaghan, AVarrington, Franklin and
Washington Townships, were partially set-
tled as early as 1740-50."*

"Mills there were none for the first few years
— the people being obliged to cross the Sus-
quehanna for their flour and meal. Even
from the Conowago settlement, Digges' choice
(now Hanover) the long journey was made.
Andrew Schriver, an early settler in that
neighborhood, (whose first dwelling in this
county, by the way, was a haystack), used to
relate to wondering auditors, in his old age,
how he tied his clothes on the top of his head,
lighted his pipe and forded the Susquehanna.
Roads being almost unknown, wagons and
carriages were not much used, journeys be-
ing made on horse-back. While the Indians
were generally peaceable, great caution was
used to avoid injmy from the drunken or
vicious among the sons of the forest, while
away from home on these journeys, "f

"It did not take long to build a house in
those days. Logs were felled and hewed of
the pi'oper length, and arranged with a
friendly aid into the frame work of a one-
roomed log-cabin. A roof of puncheons rudely
shaped with the broad axe was placed upon
it, and an outside chimney of stone and
sticks, filled in with clay, adorned one end
of the edifice. The interstices between the.
logs were then plastered up with mud and
moss, a door, and an aperture for a window
added, and, if the building were a luxurious
one, a puncheon floor, and the house was
done. A block or two served for stools; a
broad slab of timber for a table; a rude frame
work for a couch. Here in one chamber
would sleep all the family; here was their
kitchen; here did they eat. In some more
elegant e.stablishments, a double cabin or
even a loft was to be found. A few wooden

bowls and trenchers, some spoons carved from
a horn, a calabash and an iron pot, with two
or three forks and knives, completed the sim-
ple furniture, China or even ordinary delf
ware was unknown in those times; a few pack
horses in their annual journey were the only
means of communication with the seaboard.
For food, the chief reliance was upon the
product of the chase, the corn, pumpkins and
potatoes which were cultivated upon the little
farm and the invariable dish of pork. No settler
was without his drove of swine, and ' hog and
hominy' is still a proverbial expression for
Western fare. Their cows yielded them milk;
and corn meal either ground by hand or
pounded in a wooden mortar, furnished their
only bread."*

' ' The most important feature of a new set-
tlement, was, however, its fort. This was
simply a place of resort for the people when
the Indians were expected, and consisted of
a range of contiguous log-cabins, protected
by a stockade and perhaps a block-house or
two. It was chiefly in the summer and fall
that the approach of the savage was to be
dreaded. Families would move into the-i
fort. Panics would crowd the inland towns, "f /


rvTTHEN William Penn visited the province
<S/\ in 1682, the great treaty of amity and
peace was made with the nations of the Lenni
Lenape Indians, at Shakamaxon, under the
historic elm, marked now by a monument
within the limits of the city of Philadelphia.
In the spring of 1683, he visited the interior
of the province, going as far west as the Sus-
quehanna, where he contemplated founding a
great city. This conception was almost re-
alized when Wright's Ferry was- nearly deter-
mined upon as the site for the National
Capital, and possibly it has been fully real-
izeil in the opinion of the present inhabitants
of the State Capital. During the period of
his second visit to the province, he formed a
treaty of amity and trade with the tribes on
the Susquehanna, from whom he had already
obtained grants of land, through Col. Don-
gan, of New York. This treaty, which
opened the way for settlements as far as the
Susquehanna, was made by William Penn in
person, at Philadelphia, on the 23d of April,
1701, with the Indians inhabiting upon and

*Introductory Memoir to Braddock's Expeditiou. ^"^



about that river, and an ambassador from the
Five Nations. By this last mentioned treaty,
the parties were to be hereafter " as one head
and heart, and live in true friendship and
amity as one laeople." The articles confirmed
the friendship of the parties, and a firm and
lasting peace between them, and bound each
never to injure the other. The kings and
chiefs were to be subject to the laws of the
government of the province, and not to aid
or abet its enemies; to give notice of all
designs of hostile Indians, and not to admit
strange Indians to settle in the prov-
ince. William Penn, for himself and his
successors, agreed not to permit any per-
son to trade or converse with any of the
Indians, except upon approval under his
hand and seal. No skins or furs were to be
sold out of the province, and the treaty oth-
erwise regulated their trade. The Indians
confirmed the sales, already made, of lands
lying near and about the Susquehanna. In
confirmation of these articles, the parties
made mutual presents to each other of skins,
on the part of the Indians, and of articles of
merchandise, on the part of the English, " as
a binding pledge of the promises never to be
broken or violated."*

The treaty of Shakamaxon is altogether
traditional, and though the theme of art and
story, is, by many, deemed mythical, but this
treaty with the Susquehanna tribes is in writ-
ing, under hand and seal, and is lodged among
the archives of the province. The record states
that the kings and chiefs had arrived in town
two days ago, with their great men and In-
dian Harry as their interpreter, with some of
their young people, women and children, to the
number of about forty, and that after a treaty
and several speeches, the articles were sol-
emnly agreed on.-f At the time of the treaty
of April 23, 1701, according to the minutes
of/the Provincial Council, the representatives
present of the several tribes are named as
follows: Connodaghtoh, King of the Susque-
hanna, Minguay or Conestogoe Indians;
Wopaththa (alias Opessah),King of the Shaw-
anese; Weewhinjough, chief of the Gan-
awese, inhabiting at the head of the Patow-
meck; also, Ahoakassough, brother to the
Emperor or Great King of the Onondagoes
of the Five Nations. The first named are
further described in the articles of agreement
" as Indians inhabiting upon and about the
River Susquehanna. There was a tribe
known to the early colonists as Susquehan-
nas, who occupied the territory along that
river to its source, for some hundreds of

years. They are said to have been a power-
ful nation and considerably advanced in the
arts of civilization and war, which is evi-
denced by the mounds and fortifications
existing where they inhabited.^ They had
terrible wars with the Five Nations, and
were not only conquered by the latter, but,
according to the authorities, utterly exter-
minatedi'T",: The lands along the river fell
under the control of the Five Nations just
about the time of the first visit of William
Penn to his province. The Five Nations
consisted of the Mohawks, the Oueidas, the
Onondagoes, the Cayugas and the Senecas,
and afterward became the Six Nations, by the
addition of the Tuscaroroes. These nations
were sometimes called Mengwes, otherwise
spelled Minguays. Hence, as in the treaty,
the name Miuguay-Susquehanna Indians. In
documents of the period we also find those
settled at Conestogoe styled Seneca-Susque-
hanna Indians.^ At this same treaty of
1701, an ambassador of the Emperor of the
Five Nations, a king of the Onondagos, was
present. Therefore, the settlement at Cones-
togoe was evidently planted by the Five Na-
tions after their conquest of the Susquehan-
nas. The names of all the tribes of that
confederacy are mentioned, more or less, by
contemporaries, as applying to the Indians
settled there, but they were known in a body
as the Conestogoe Indians.

The Shawanese mentioned in the treaty were
some three or four score of families, who
came from Carolina in 1698, and applied
for leave of the Conestogoe Indians and of
William Penn to settle in Pennsylvania, and
leave was granted them. They promised to
live in peace and friendship, and the Cones-
togoes became sureties for their good behav-
ior to the Government.§ Others of this
people subsequently settled at Conestogoe
and some about Wyoming. About 1738 they
were estimated at 700 fighting braves, and
turned out to be among the fiercest of those
tribes whose savage treachery is so well
known in the sad history of that valley. The
Ganawese, as is mentioned in the treaty, in-
haEHedTTn'and about the northern part of the
river Potomac. They had come into the
province by leave and were once known as
Piscataway Indians. Having been reduced
to a small number by sickness they applied
for leave to settle at Conestogoe, with the
proprietary's consent, and for them also the
Conestogoes became guarantees in a treaty
of friendship. 11 The tribe of Shawanese is

»History of WyomiDg.


JDougaD's Deed, infra.


mentioned some years subsequently in a
letter of Gov. Gordon, as consisting of a
thousand fierce fellows, and had become a
source of apprehension.* A tribe called the
Conojs_had settled in the same vicinity, who
"afterward removed to the Juniata, and whose
name became a terror. There were also some
of the Delaware Indians settled at Conesto-
goe. All of these tribes, except the Cones-
togoes, became in after years formidable
enemies of the English, but during the period
now treated they were all friendly and dis-
posed to maintain a permanent jjeace.

"William Penn's great treaty at Shakamaxon
was made with the Delaware Indians, who are
named the Lenni Lenape, and the several
tribes of Indians already mentioned, other
than the Five Nations, were branches of that
people. Lenni Lenapi means original people,
but this race were not the original occupants
of the country where they were found. Their
own accounts brought them from the land of
the setting sun. They were named Delawares
by the colonists, from their settlements being
in proximity to the river of that name. The
name is not Indian, but was given to the bay
and river in honor of Lord De la "War, who
is said to have first entered it with a fleet.
The Delawares were once a warlike people,
and came in conflict with the Five Nations,
who were also called the Iroquois. History
relates that they were conquered and were
compelled to put on petticoats and acknowl-
edge themselves women.* They frequently
admitted their feebleness. As late as 1742,
in the presence of the Provincial Council at
Philadelphia, a chief of the Six Nations,
Cannasatego, turning to the Delawares,
holding a belt of wampum in his hand, spoke
to them after this fashion: ''Let this belt of
wampum serve to chastise you; you ought to
be taken by the hair of the head and shaken
severely till you recover your senses and be-
come sober; you don't know what ground you
stand on. "We have seen with our eyes a deed
signed by nine of your ancestors about fifty
years ago for this very land, and release
signed not many years since by some of your-
selves and chiefs now living to the number
of fifteen or upward. But how came you to
take upon you to sell land at all ? "We con-
quered you, we made women of you, you
know you are women, and can no more sell
land than women. We charge yoii to re-
move instantly. 'We don't give you the lib-
erty to think about it. This string of wam-
pum serves to forbid you, your children and

grandchildren to the latest posterity, forever
meddling in land affairs."*

An explanation is given by the Delawares
for this sincjular subjugation. The women
were the peacemakers among the Indians, as
the warriors would not deign even to propose
peace, and the prayers and appeals of the
weaker sex led to the burj'ing of the toma-
hawk. In order to effect reconciliation it
was necessary that one of the powerful tribes
should act the part of the peacemaker and
assume the garb of the woman. Confiding
in the sincerity of the Iroquois, in an unfor-
tunate moment, the Delawares yielded and
assumed the petticoat. They were disarmed,
and the Iroquois took such absolute control
over them, that, as in the instance just relat-
ed, when European adventurers had fraudu-
lently deprived them of their land, by cun-
ning leagues made with the chiefs of their
conquerors, they were obliged to relinquish
their claims and were silenced by the com-
mand not to speak, as they were women.f,
But the Delawares did not rest under the ban
imposed upon them. Though they were pre-
vented for many years from recovering by
force of arms and numbers their original su-
periority, on account of the rapid settlements
of the Europeans encroaching upon them,
they did at length throw oft' the yoke, and at
Tioga, in 1756, Tledyuscung extorted from
the Iroquois chiefs an acknowledgment of
their independeneaj The Delawares be-
came the most formidable of the hostile In-
dian tribes, and appeared in a terrible attitude
in those dreadful incursions that made the
settlements on our frontiers scenes of devasta-
tion and massacre. At the period of the set-
tlement of this county they had largely de-
serted the eastern parts of Pennsylvania and

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 4 of 218)