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

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condition of the Indians, in this section of
Pennsylvania, who, when free from liquo^.
were inoffensive, faithful and hospitable. 4'
The Quakers treated them in an honorable
manner. TVith the frontier settlers, the
case was otherwise, when traders came among
them, cheating them. Some of thes^ were of
a vile class, as will be seen by an act of
Assembly of 1754. All sorts of people found
their way into the province, and the Indians

were subjected to the distresses^fso feelingly
described in the journal of the great inter-
preter, Conrad Weiser.

These treaties serve an important histori-
cal purpose in showing the names of the
tribes or nations who inhabited the country
anywhere in this vicinity. There were no other
tribes than those mentioned, else they would
necessarily have been obliged, for their own
protection, to join with the others in treaties.7
Even from a distance, from Maryland and'
New York, there appear the Nantikokes and
the Six Nations, and there is mention of Vir-
ginia Indians. At one conference, there was
present the King of the Couewagoes. As
there is the stream of that name, we may guess
either that the tribe took its name from that
creek, or gave their name to it, and presum-
ably they were resident near it. A letter
from Thomas Cookson to Richard Peters,
April 23, 17-i6, writing concerning a tract
of land about three miles from York, says:
"The land was settled by Adam Dickenson,
who, it is said, has an entry on your books, by
the proprietor's order, for settling the same
on his obtaining license, from the Indians
who lived there about."

Yet it was the Indians at Conestogoe who
complained of the settlement of John Grist, *
and of whatever tribes were those who inhab-
ited here, they were represented before the
Provincial Council by the Conestogoes. It
appears, however, from all we can ascertain,
that the Indians did not inhabit to any large
extent the territory now comprising the
county of York. It was, as it appears from
the Indian complaints, preceding its settle-
ment, a hunting ground, or in the way to
hunting grounds, nearly all woods, and
claimed by the Indians to have been expressly
reserved for them by William Penn. The
original settlers here found immense tracts
of land entirely denuded of timber by the
annual fires kindled by the Indians, for the
purpose of improving their hunting grounds.
Yet there is room for the exercise of the skill
of the arohfeologist, from rude and scanty
remains of the aborigines, such as weapons
of stone found near the river in many local-
ities, especially near the mouth of Cone-
daghly Creek and Cabin Creek, in Windsor
Township. About the Devil's Cave in that
locality tradition fixes one of their haunts.
Eelics have been found about Wrightsville. t

tSome Indian relics were found here in 1.S35. "A brass
medal has been left at this office " — says the editor of the Colum-
bia Spy— "which, together with several other articles, and a
human skull, was dug up a few days since, in Wrightsville, York
Co., Penn. It bears on one side a head, with the inscription,

" George, King of Gre - . - -.

with his bow and arroi
to have been worn as ;


The Indians and the English moved along
ioTiarmony, subject only to those occasional
disorders and crimes incident to any commu-
nity, especially in the intercourse between
opposite races, or induced by a free supply
of rum. The Indians at Conestogoe contin-
ued there until the settlement was abandoned
in 1763, when the race in that section was
virtually exterminated.


'^jnHE first deed that appears iu the chain
-L of Indian title is dated J anuary 3, 1696,
in the eighth year of the reign of William I
III. " Thomas Dongan, late Governor of New
York, and now of London, Esq., to 'William
Penn, Governor of the province of Pennsyl- \
vania in America; for and in consideration
of the sum of one hundred pounds, for all
that tract of land, lying upon both sides of
the river, commonly called or known by the
name of the Susquehanna, and the lakes ad-
jacent, in or near the province of Pennsyl-
vania in America, beginning at the moun-
tains or head of the said river, and running
as far as and into the bay of Chesapeake,
which the said Thomas Dongan lately pur-
chased of or had given him by the Seneca-
Susquehanna Indians: With warranty from
the Seneca- Susquehanna Indians." This
sale was effected by deeds of lease and re-
lease, on succeeding days, according to the
approved English forms of conveyancing
under the statute of uses. The Indian deed
to Col. Dongan is not known now to exist, nor
is there any trace of it in the public offices.
It is known, however, that he was the agenl
of William Penn to make the purchaseiS/
The time of the purchase of Col. Dongan is
fixed by the relation of it, given in the treaty
of July, 1721, at the council at Conestogoe, j
already referred to, with Sir William Keith,
from which the following extract is made:
"The discourse being continued they were
told that it was now very near, viz. : within
one moon of thirty -seven years since a great
man of England, Governor of Virginia, called
the Lord Effingham, together with Col. Don-
gan, Governor of New York, held a great

were fouDd also two others of similar description — a brass ket-
tle, a string of white heads one yard and a half in length,
some red paint, and twenty-live rings, one of which was dated
ni6."—Riipps Hist, of York County, page 72i
*II Smith's Laws HI n.

treaty with them at Albany, of which we
have the writings to this day. Ghesaont an-
swered, they knew it well, and the subject of
that treaty; it was, he baid, about settling of
lands. Being furthered told that in that
treaty tlie Five Nations had given up all their
right to all the lands of Susquehanna to the
Duke of York, then brother to the King of
England, he acknowledged this to be so
and that William Penn since had the right to
these lands. To which Civility, a descendant
of the ancient Susquehanna Indians, the old
settlers of these parts, but now reputed as of
an Iroquois descent, added that he had been
informed by their old men that they were
troubled when they heard that their lands
had been given up to a place so far distant
as New York, and that they were overjoyed
when they understood William Penn had
brought them back again, and that they had
confirmed all their right to him."* This
would make the date of the Dongan deed in
July, 1684. It was confirmed in 1700 by
the following deed:

We, Widaagh, alias Orytyagh, and Andaggy-
junkquagh, Kings or Sachems of the Susquehan-
nagh Indians, and of the river under that name,
and lands lying on both sides thereof, doe declare
that for and in consideration of a parcel of English
Goods unto us given, by our friend and brother,
William Penn, Proprietary and Governour of Pen-
silvania, and also in Consideration of the former
much greater costs and Charges, the said William
Penn hath been at intreating about and purchasing
the Same ; We doe hereby Give, Grant and Con-
firm unto the said William Penn, all of the said
River Susquehannagh, and all the Islands therin
and all the Lands, Situate, lying and being upon
both sides of the said River, and adjoyning to ye
same, extending to the utmost confines of the
Lands which are, or formerly were, the Right of
the People or Nation called the Susquehannagh
Indians, or by what name soever they were called
or known thereof, and also all Lakes, Rivers, Riv-
ulets, Fountains, Streams, Trees, Woods, Under-
woods, Mines, Royalties, and other Mines, Min-
erals, Quarries, Hawkings, Huntings, fishings,
fowlings, and other Royalties, Privileges and Pow-
ers, whatsoever to them or any of them belonging,
or by them enjoyed, as fully and amply in all re-
spects as we or any of our Ancestors have, could,
might or ought to have had, held, or enjoyed ; And
also all the Right, Title, Interest, Possession, Claim
and Demand, which we or any of us, or the said
Nation or any, in Right of the same, have, or here-
after can or may claim, to have in the same ; And
we do hereby ratifie and confirm unto ihe said
William Penn, ye bargain and sale of the Said
Lauds, made unto Coll. Thomas Dongan. now Earl
of Limerick, and formerly Govern'r of New York,
whose Deed of sale to the sd. Govern'r Penn we
have seen, To have and to hold the sd Rivers,
Lands and Pr'misses, hereby granted and confirmed
with their and every of their Rights, Members &
Appurtenances unto ye sd Will. Penn, his heirs
and assigns, to the only proper Use and behoof of
the said Will. Penn, his Heirs and Assignees for-

«III Col. Rec. 129.


In Witness we' of. we have, for our Selves & \
Nation, hereunto set our Hands & Seals, the _thir
teenth day of September, 17007'^''
Sealed and delivered in presence of Ed. Antitt,
Hen. Tregeny, Esq., Edward Singleton, David Pow- ,
ell^James Logan.*

"'The ConestogoG Indians complained of
this- deed at the treaty with Sir William
Keith in 1722, alleging that William Penn,
forty years before, got some person at New ^
York to purchase the lands on Susquehanna I
from the Five Nations, who pretended a
right to them, having conquered the people
formerly settled there; and when the Cones-
. togoes understood it. they were sorry ; and
that William Penn took the parchment, and j
laid it upon the ground, saying to them: "It
should be common amongst them, viz. : the
English and Indians." The Governor an-
swered: "I am very glad to find that you
remember so perfectly the wise and kind ex-
pressions of the great and good William Penn
toward you; and I know that the purchase
wiich be made of the lands, on both sides of
Susquehanna, is exactly true as you tell it,
only I have heard further, that when he was
so good to tell your people, that notwith-
standing that purchase, the lands should still
be in common between his people and them,
you answered, that a very little land would
serve you; and thereupon you fully confirmed
his right, by your own consent and good
will."t -,, ' ^- '' •; 1 ■'

" It is remarkable that the Indian deed to
Col. Dongan was not produced, and it
seemed to have been conceded that his pur-
chase was from the Five Nations, who pre-
tended right to the lands by conquest. The
words "'adjoining to ye same, extending to
the utmost confines of the lands which are, or
formerly were the Right of the People or
Nation, called the Susquehannagh Indians
by what name soever they were called or
known thereof," were intended to embrace
and confirm the title however derived, but did
not include any extent of land and is left in-
definite. The object of William Penn was to
secure the river through the whole extent of
the province, and although it was not de-
signed for immediate settlement it was to
secure the whole of the Susquehanna from
the claims of adjoining colonies, as the char-

■-*rol. Thomas Dougan was appointed Governor of New York
by the Huke of York, September, 1682, and arrived in the prov-
ince August 26, 1683. He returned to Ireland in 1689, and suc-
ceeded to the Earldom of UmeTici-.— Smith's Bist. of Ntw York,
published 1756.

til Smith's Laws, 112 note, el sea.

ter bounds were not distinctly known. ' ' Ac-
cordingly by the articles of agreement of the
23d of April, 1701, already mentioned, be-
tween William Penn and Connodagtah, King
of the Indians inhabiting upon and about ,
the river Susquehanna, and .chiefs of the (■
same, and kings and chiefs of the Shawanese '■
and Ganawese Indians, and an erubassador ;
of the Five Nations, the deed of the 13th of |
September, 1700, above set forth, was rati- I
fied in the following clause: -'Item, the In- j
dians of Conestogoe, and upon and about the
Eiver Susquehannah, and more especially 1
the said Connodaghtah their king, doth fully 1
agree to. And by these presents absolutely !
Ratifie the Bargain and Sale of Lands lying !
near and about the said Eiver formerly made ,
to the said William Penn his heirs & Sucr '
cessors, and since by Orytyagh & Andaggy-
junquah, parties to these presents confirmed
to the sd William Penn. his heirs & Suc-
cessors by a Deed, bearing Date the 13th day ■
of September, last, under the hands & Seals
j duly executed, and the said Connodaghtah
\ doth for himself and his nation covenant and
agree, that he will at all times be ready fur-
ther to confirm and make good the said Sale,
according to the tenure of the same."*
I Some years afterward, in 1720, at a con-
! ference held with the Indians at Conestogoe,
by James Logan, Secretary of the Provincial
Council, Civility informed him'that some of
the Five Nations, especially the Cayugas, had
I at divers times expressed a dissatisfaction at
j the large settlements made by the English
on the Susquehanna, and that they seemed
I to claim a property or right to those lands.
The Secretary answered that he, Civility, and
[ all the Indians were sensible of the contrary,
; and that the Five Nations had long since
made over all their right to/ Susquehanna to
the government of New York, and that
Gov. Penn had purchased that right, with
which they had been fully acquainted. Civ-
ility acknowledged the truth of this, but
proceeded to say, " he thought it his duty to
inform us of it, that we might the better
■prevent all misunderstanding." The Gov-
ernor, when the Secretary had made his
report, said that there was ground to appre-
hend that the Five Nations, and especially
the Cayugas, did entertain some secret
grudges against the advancing of our settle-
ments upon the Susquehanna River, and he
suspected they were spirited up by French
agents from Canada or Mississippi to make
those new and groundless claims, f After
this report of Secretary Logan, Gov. Keith


on the 19th of July, 1720, wrote to the
President of New York that some of the
nation called Cayugas asserted that all the
lands upon the Susquehanna River belonged
to them, and that the English had no right to
settle there, and intended to come down with
their people in order to demand possession
of those lands. He then writes: " When
Gov. Penn first settled this country, he
made it his chief care to cultivate a strict
alliance and/ friendship with all the Indians,
and condescended so far as to purchase his
lands from them, but when he came to treat
with the Indiana on the Susquehanna, find-
ing they accounted themselves a branch of
the Mingoes or Five Nations, he prevailed
with Col. Dongan, then Governor of New
York, to treat with those nations in his be
half, and to purchase from them all their
claims of right to the lands on both sides of
the Susquehanna, which Col. Dongan did
accordingly, and for a valuable consideration
paid in sterling money, Col. Dongan by good
deeds transferred or conveyed his said right
purchased from the Five Nations to Gov.
Penn and his heirs in due form of law.
Upon Gov. Penn' 8 last arrival here, about
twenty years ago, he held a treaty with
the Mingoes or Conestogoe Indians settled
on. Susquehanna, and their chiefs did not
then only acknowledge the sale of, those
lands made to Col. Dongan as above, but as
. much as in them lay, did also renew and
confirm the same to William Penn. Lastly,
about nine or ten years ago, a considerable
"number of the Five Nations, not less than
fifty, came to Conestogoe, and meeting there
with Col. Gookin, late governor of this
province, attended by several members of his
council. Col. Dongan's purchase was men-
tioned to them, and they not only appeared
to be fully satisfied therewith, but proceeded
in a formal manner, without any hesitation,
to confirm a]l of our treaties of friendship

with them.'


During the administration of Sir William
Keith, who was Lieutenant-Governor of the
province from 1717 to 1726, those settlements
began on the west side of the Susquehanna
River that occasioned the complaints of the
Indians, and those Maryland intrusions that
led to authorized settlements on the part of

John Gristf had, in 1721, with other per-

Tilll Col. Eec. 101.
,,^tThe following note is from Rupp's History : " The stream
(Kfeutz Creek) has its name from George Kreiss, an early settler
on that creek, near the Susquehanna. Others calling to aid
the union of the two streams, lorming a cross, or Kreutz, in

sons settled himself and family and taken up
lands on the west side of the river, without
any warrant from the commissioners of prop-
erty or any other leg;J right, and continued
in the possession of them in contempt and de-
fiance of the repeated orders of the Secretary
of the Province. Complaint was made by
the Indians at Conestogoe to the Governor,
in July, of abuses they had received from
him. The Governor, with the advice of the
Commissioners, judged it necessary, for the
quiet of the Indians, and to prevent suCh
audacious behavior for the time to come, by
a warrant under his hand and seal directed
to John Cartlidge, Esq,, one of his Majesty's
Justices of the Peace, residing at Conestogoe,
to warn and admonish John Grist and his
accomplices forthwith to relinquish the lands
whereof they had taken possession. In case of
their refusal the warrant required the Justice
to raise the posse comitatus and to burn
and destroy their dwelling houses and habita-
tions. Notice was given, and they refused to
remove themselves from off the lands, where-
upon the Indians destroyed some of their
cattle. John Grist came to complain to the
Governor at Philadelphia, where, behaving
himself in a very insolent and seditious man-
ner, he was committed to gaol. The Council
in compassion for his poor family, ordered
that leave be given him to carry off his corn
then in the ground. On the 21st of August,
1721, he entered into a recognizance in
the sum of 200£ to be of good behavior
for twelve months, and to remove himself
and family from his late settlement
within the space of one month, and being
Beverly reprehended by the Governor for his
past contumacy and admonished to behave
civilly for the future, he was discharged upon
paying his fees.*

In April, 1722, Gov. Keith informed
the Council that the Indians were like to be
disturbed by secret and underhand practices
of persons, both from Maryland and Philadel-
phia, who, under the pretense of finding a
copper mine, were about to survey and take
up lands on the other side of the river, con-
trary to a former order of the government.
He had gone to the upper parts of Chester
County, himself, in order to locate a small
quantity of land, to which he had purchased
an original proprietary right. He under-
stood upon the road that some persons were

German ; hence Kreutz Creek, by which i
has been known since 1739. The
Glossbrenner. May thes

the settlement
•s of Carter aud

.__^ , not have derived its name from

John Grist, who with drrers other persons, settled himself and
family, and hadHaken up land, as early as 1718, on the west side
of the Susquehanna, as shown before? In a report ot 17J9,
touching the location of a road from Wright's Ferry toward the



actually come with a Maryland right to sur-
vey lands tifteen miles above Conestogoe, and
he arrived in time to prevent the execution
of their design. The Surveyor-General was
along with him, and part of his right was
located and surveyed, namely, 500 acres
upon that spot on the other side of the
Susquehanna, which was like to prove a bone
of contention and breed so much mischief.
This survey was made April 14, 1722, and
became known as Sir William Keith's tract
of Newberry. On his way back the Governor
learned that the young men of Conestogoe
had made a famous war dance the night
before, and that they were all going out to
war immediately, and thereupon he appointed
a council to be held with the Indians, the
next morning in Civility's cabin. On the
15th of June, 1722, the Governor spoke as
follows: " L'asttimel was with you at Cones-
togoe you showed me a parchment, which
you had received from William Penn, con-
taining many articles of friendship between
him and you and between his children and
your children. You then told me he desired
you to remember it well for three genera-
tions, but I hope you and your children will
never forget it. That parchment fully
declared your consent to William Penn's
purchase and right to the lands on both sides
of the Susquehanna. But I find both you
and we are likely to be disturbed by idle
people from Maryland, and also by others
who have presumed to survey lands on the
banks of the Susquehanna, without any
powers from William Penn, or his children,
to whom they belong, and without so much
as asking your consent." There had been
certain stipulations between the governors
and councils of Maryland and Pennsylvania,
that no surveys or settlements should be
made by any private persons whatever on the
west sidenf the Susquehanna by rights from
either province, and a commission was then
issued to make diligent inquiry, and search
after any person, who, under the pretense of
land rights from either Maryland or Penn-
sylvania, should presume to survey or settle
any lands within ten miles distauce of Sus-
quehanna to the westward and not only to
forbid all persons to survey as aforesaid, but
by force to restrain them.*

Commissioners of property had been ap-
pointed by William Penn from amongst his
intimate friends here to superintend his
landed concerns, who had authority to pur-
chase lands and grant them for such sums
and quit rents as to them, or any three of
them, should seem just and reasonable, or as

*I1I Col. Eec. 161. '

should be respectively agreed for. And
whatever usages grew up in later times, in
respect to acquiring lands by settlement, it
would seem that no title was at first per-
mitted without an otBce right.* It seems,
however, that the manager of the land of-
fice had orders from the proprietary agents
or commissioners of property to make a sur-
vey beyond the Susquehanna. This, the
Governor complained of as contempt of his
authority, and that it might be of unhappy
consequences with the Indians, as being con-
trary to what the Governor in his treaty two
or three days before had stipulated with
them. But being an affair of property, the
council took no cognizance of the matter.f

On the 2Sth of May, 1722, Philip Syng, a
silversmith, was committed to prison for
surveying, under a Maryland warrant, on the
west side of the Susquehanna. He said that
the tract of land surveyed by William Keith,
Governor, belonged to him, Philip Syng &
Co , by a Maryland title, and was surveyed
by his order and for his use by a surveyor
from Maryland. He was charged with en-
deavoring to defraud the proprietor of Penn-
sylvania of his just rights, and to create a
misunderstanding between the government
and its good neighbors of Maryland, and to
disturb the'lndians settled upon the Susque-
hanna River, under this government, at
that juncture, when it was requisite to give
them all possible satisfaction. The Sheriff
being ordered to attend with his prisoner,
he was called in, and being examined upon
the matters alleged against him, he; made
answer to the several interrogatories put to
him as follows:

" Have you surveyed any lands by virtue
of a Maryland right upon the west bank of
the Susquehanna, viz. : That place known by
the name of the Mine? "

" I have."

"How much land did you then survey? "

" Two hundred aci-es."

"By what surveyor?"

"John Dussey, a surveyor of Maryland."

"How came you to think that place was in
Maryland? "

"I was informed so."

" When the Governor met you on the 4th
of April, at Pattison's, had you then made
this survey?"

: "No."

"Did not the Governor then acquaint yon
that that place was not within the limits of
Maryland, and that if you presumed to make
any survey, then he would commit you?"

*Sergeant'8 Land Laws, p. 35.
! till Col. Rec. 161 .



"I do remember that the Govei'nor said if
he had found us there it would have
amounted to a severe fine, but as for the rest
I have forgot."

He was committed for prosecution.*
foil the 18th of July, 1722, Gov. Keith in-
formed the council by letter from Conestogoe,
that the Indians were very much alarmed
with the noise of an intended survey from
Maryland upon the banks of the Susque-
hanna, and proposed to them to, cause a large

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 7 of 218)