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

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tract of land to be surveyed on the other side
of the river for the proprietors, to begin
from the upper line of his new settlement,
six miles back and extending downward upon
the river as far as over against the mouth of
the Conestogoe Creek. The Indians were ex-
ceedingly pleased with the proposition, and
the Governor having heard that the Mary-
landers were to set out that day, proposed to
begin the survey the next morning. He also
directed a company of militia from Newcastle
to march out and wait his orders, fully de-
termined to run the old Octoraroe line as far
west as the branches of the Potomac. The
Governor considered this survey as the only
effective method of preserving the peace.
The Council, however, replied to the Governor
on the 20th of June, 1722, that undoubtedly
it would be of service to keep the nations of
Indians right in relation to any encroach-
ments made or intended by Maryland, but
that it did not lie before them as a council of
state to concern themselves with surveys of
the proprietaries' lands. As to running a line
line from the mouth of the Octoraroe westward
to the Potomac, as it was a matter concern-
ing the peace of the public, they must say,
that could it be done by consent between the
governors of both provinces, and fixed as a
boundary by consent, not to be passed until
such time as the division line would be set-
tled by either side, it would contribute to the
tranquility of the whole, but if that could
not be done they apprehended the attempt
would occasion further disturbances. But if
that government should forcibly proceed to
make such surveys, they ought to be diverted
from it by all the methods justifiable among
subjects to the same sovereign, but not oth-
er, f Three nations of Indians entered into
this plan, the Conestogoes, the Shawanese,
and the Ganawese. They were unwilling,
however, to discourse particularly on the bus-
iness of land, lest the Five Nations might

during 170'


repi'oach or blame them, and though the Five
Nations had no right to these lands, they said
and four do not pretend to any, yet the fifth,
the Cayugas, were always claiming some right,
and they suggested to the Governor to go to
Albany and settle with the Cayugas. But
they requested Ihe Governor to cause the
surveyor to come and lay out the land for Mr.
Penn's grandson, to secure them.* Thus
originated the warrant for the survey of the
manor of Springetsbury.f Col. French, to
whom the warrant of survey was directed, in
which the true reasons and motives for such
a procedure were amply and satisfactorily set
forth, expressed " the opinion that the Gov-
ernor had acted with great prudence and cau-
tion in pressing the only effectual measTire
which the present situation of affairs would
allow, for quieting the minds of the Indians
and preserving the public jaeace. And since
the Honorable Springet Penn was, in his
opinion, the late proprietor's heir at law,
whatsoever turn the affairs of that family
might take in order to resettle the property
and dominion of this province, he did not
see or comprehend how the Governor's hav-
ing caused the lands to be surveyed, after the
manner which is here returned, could be in-
terjjreted or deemed to the prejudice of a
family for whose service it was so plainly
meant and intended. "J

In the meanwhile, according to reports,
the proprietor of Maryland was not idle on
his part in making surveys of manors. In
a letter from Gov. Keith to the Governor
of Maryland, dated Newberry, on Susque-
hanna, June 23, 1722, he wrote that he had
been informed that a warrant was issued for
surveying a manor to my Lord Baltimore
ujjon the banks of the Susquehanna above
Conestogoe, including the settlement from
whence he then wrote, and that an order had
been issued by the Governor of Maryland to
press men and horses for their service, and
that they were to set out from Baltimore on
Monday, viz. : next day, under the command
of Capt. Dorsey. He says: "Knowing the
weakness and former attempts of some of
your people, of whom I have formerly com-
plained to yourself, who justly bear the
character of land pyrates, I was resolved to
put it out of their power, upon this occasion,
to embroil us by their ridiculous projects, and
returning immediately to Conestogoe, where I
indeed h ad left the Indians but two days before,
much alarmed with general reports that the
Marylanders were coming to smwey the lands,

*III Col.Rec.lS3.
tSee chap. VII.
tin Col. Eeo. 184.



which no reasonable man could then believe, I \
now did at the earnest request of the Indians,
order a survey to be forthwith made upon the
banks of Susquehanna, right against our
Indian towns. And you will find the reasons
I had for it more fully set forth in a copy of
the Warrant of the Survey here enclosed.
As I found this absolutely necessary to be
done for quieting the Indians, as well as to
prevent the mischief which might happen
upon any of your people's presuming to en-
croach upon what these Heathens call their
own property; so likewise it appeared to me
the only method I could take at this juncture
for preventing our own people from taking up
or settling lands on this side,* to disturla or
hamper the Indians, unto whom this Province
is bound by old treaties to give them a full
scope and liberty in their settlements from
the Christian inhabitants." He further said
that the survey is twelve miles north of Phil-
adelphia, and within the limits of this
province without dispute.f

On the 29th of July, 1723, Charles Calvert,
Governor of Maryland, wrote that he had
received instructions from Kight Honorable
Charles, Lord Baltimore, absolute lord and
proprietary of the Province of Maiyland,
forthwith to return to him the true limits and
boundaries of the said province, in pursuance
of a letter from the Right Honorable the
Lord Commissioner for trade and plantations.
That he, in obedience to his lordship's com-
mands, intended on the 10th, 11th and 12th
days of September next, on the west side of
the SuBquehanna, to take the fortieth degree
of northerly latitude from the equinoctial,
the better toward enabling him to answer
the ends of His Majesty's service expressed
in his lordship's letter. And that the Lord
Baltimore had thought proper thus to make
known the same to the Governor of Pennsyl-
vania, lest he or some of the Pennsylvanians,
our neighbors, might take umbrage or miscon-
strue their transactions. Gov. Keith in reply
said, among other things, that if, under
the pretense of executing any orders from my
Lord Baltimore, or from the Lord Commis-
sioners of Trade and Plantations, which have
not been communicated to the Proprietor and
Governor of this province, for the time being,
it is in tended or designed to take any obser-
vation or run out any line whereby the pro-
prietor of Pennsylvania may be hereafter
excluded from, or in the least prejudiced in
what will on a fair inquiry appear to be his
just right, or if under any pretense whatso-
ever it be proposed that the officers of Mary-

land by themselves, and without the concur-
rence of the proprietor of this province, or
of such as are lawfully empowered by him,
shall take upon them to extend by any obser-
vation or survey the northern boundary of
Maryland beyond the Octoraroe line estab-
lished (as he was ready to prove by incontest-
able evidence) above forty years ago by
Charles, then Lord Baltimore, and second
proprietor of that Province, who certainly
was well acquainted with the measuring and
construction of his own patent or grant from
the crown, that in either of these cases his
duty indispensably obliged him strenuously
to oppose all observations or surveys made
with any such inequitable and partial intent.
That in the year 1719 he had received a
letter from the Lords Commissioners of Trade
and Plantations, which is believed to be much
the same as that received of the part of Mary-
land, and that there was nothing there to
direct or countenance them to discover the
bounds of Maryland by astronomical rules
and uncertain observations. "But if Mr.
Secretary Lloyd, whom I know to be a very
ingenious and inquisitive gentleman, must
needs improve his skill in observations of
that nature, he will do it to better purpose
and more safely by consulting my Lord Bal-
timore's original patent or grant, which
coniines the province of Maryland on this
side, in these words: To that part of Dela-
ware Bay which lieth under the fortieth
degree of northerly latitude," than by running
up into the woods on the west side of Susque-
hanna River, without a sufficient authority
and proper direction for that purpose."

To this Gov. Calvert responded: "That
Gov. Keith's letter had been laid be-
fore the Council, and they were of opin-
ion that he should strictly observe his
lordship's instructions to take an observation
on the west side of the Susquehanna, on
the 10th, 11th, and 12th of September next,
so that it is not a project or concert of Mr.
Secretary Lloyd's."* He then gave notice
by postscript that he intended to be upon the
plantation of Robert West, called Maiden's
Mount, in Baltimore County, but commonly
known by the name of Bald Fryar, on Mon-
day, the 9th day of September, in order there
to iDegiu to take observations. Gov. Keith
then acquainted the Council at a meet-
ing held on the 4th of September, 1723, that
he proposed on the morrow to go to Conesto-
goe, whereupon they requested him to meet
I Col. Calvert upon Susquehanna, if he
could conveniently. In the meantime, how-
ever, an agreement had been made in En-


gland between Lord Baltimore and the widow
of William Penn, and others interested, to
the eifect that until a boundary line was
agreed upon, no land should be surveyed,
taken up or granted near the boundaries
claimed on either side. This had been made
on the 17th of February, 1723.* And for
the time the dispute was ended.


Delegations from the Five Nations fre-
quently visited Conestogoe and Philadelphia,
and in council had renewed and strengthened
the leagues of friendship with the English
by gifts of wampum and skins and receipt
of merchandise in exchange. Gov. Keith
visited Albany officially, in 1722, with
some of the Provincial Council, taking with
him presents of clothing, powder and lead,
"to encourage their hunting, that they may
grow rich and strong." The Governor re-
ceived at his chamber ten chiefs of the Five
Nations, being two from each, together with
two others, said to be of the Tuscaroroes.
In their language, the word for pen was
"onas," hence that was the name by which
they called William Penn, and they were
accustomed to address each of the Governors
of this province as such. On this occasion
they spoke as follows: "Brother Onas: We
here now freely surrender to you all those
lands about Conestogoe, which the Five
Nations have claimed, and it is our desire
that the same may be settled with the Chris-
tians. In token whereof we give this string
of wampum." To which Gov. Keith re-
sponded: "Brethren: You know very well
that the lands about Conestogoe, upon the
river Susquehanna, belong to your old friend
and kind brother, William Penn; neverthe-
less, I do here, in his name, kindly accept ,
of the offer and surrender which you have
made to me, because it will put an end to all
other claims and disputes, if any should be
made hereafter, "f

Still later, on the 4th of July, 1727
Gov. Gordon was obliged to reiterate to
the Indians, chiefly Cayugas, that Gov.
Penn, that is Onas, took away none of their
lands without purchasing them and paying
for them, and that they had the deeds for all
the lands on Susquehanna ; that the Five
Nations never since claimed these lands,
though they had many visits from them
hither for brightening the chain of friend-
ship. "And live years since, when Sir Will-
iam Keith and four gentlemen of the Council
were at Albany, at a general meeting of all

the Five Nations, the chiefs of
confirmed the former grant and absolutely
released all pretentions to those lands. Our
records show this, and those people who are
now here cannot but be sensible of it."*

At a council held at Philadelphia, in the
Great Meeting house, June 5, 1728, Mr.
Logan spoke to the Indians to this effect:
That their great friend, William Penn, had
made it his constant rule never to suffer any
lands to be settled by any of his people until
they were first duly purchased from the In-
dians, and his commissioners, who acted for
him during his absence, had as carefully used
the same method, they never agreed to the
settlement of any lands till the Indians were
duly satisfied for them. That it was stipu-
lated at the first settlement of this province,
between the proprietor, William Penn, and
the Indians that they should sell no lands to
private persons or to any besides himself, or
his commissioners, and afterward a law was
enacted to the same purpose, that all of the
purchases made of the Indians by any other
than the proprietor or his agents should be
entirely void, which law, he said, is still in
force. That the commissioners had been
strictly careful to avoid granting any lands
that had not been first duly purchased of the
Indians, and the Indians were not put offbut
suffered voluntarily to remove, f

In 1730 Capt. Civility wrote to Gov. Gor-
don, from Conestogoe, that at Lancaster he
heard much talk that both Dutch and English
were going to settle on the other side of the
Susquehanna. That Mr. Wright and Mr.
Blunston had surveyed a great deal of land
and designed to dispose of it. That it was
in their road to hunting and their young men
might break the chain of friendship. That
Mr. Wright had often said, when he first
came to those parts, that no person should
settle on that side of the river without the
Indians' consent; that the Governor had de-
sired, when with them at Conestogoe, that
they should not hurt any of his people,
which they carefully observed, and likewise
that Edward Parnell, who was settled there,
should go off, which he did. That they
heard that one of William Penn's family was
coming to this country and they would be
glad to see any of his family. That they
were then going out to hunt, and desired the
Governor to suppress his people from settling
there until they returned from their hunting,
and then some of their chiefs would come
down to him and have some further treaty
about the matter. J Thomas Penn, one of the

«III Col. Eec. 273.
till Col. Eec. 320.
XI Arch 271.




proprietaries, arrived on the 11th of August,
and took control of the province.

At a meeting of the Provincial Council at
Philadelphia, in 1735, representatives of the
Conestogoes, Shawanese and Ganawese being
present. Thomas Penn read over to the In-
dians the former treaties, reciting the deed
of agreement of 1701, and the Indians pres-
ent fully ratified and confirmed all the same
between the government and the several na-
tions in whose name and behalf they had
come. At this council Civility said: "That
when William Penn first came into this coun-
try, he called many of the Indians together
and told them that the great king of England
had given unto him a large tract of land, on
which several nations of Indians were set-
tled; that it was his desire to live in peace
and good friendship with all those Indians,
and therefore he would make purchases from
them of those lands, before they should be
possessed by the white people. That William
Penn and the Indians agreed on other arti-
cles, of all which two papers were written;
one of them their brother William Penn had,
and the other they have brought with them to
show that thoy preserve all these things
carefully. That William Penn told the In-
dians this agreement was to continue for
three generations."*

On the 11th of October, 1736, in the tenth
year of the reign of King George the Sec-
ond, a deed was executed by the Sachems or
Chiefs of the nations of the Onondagoes, Sen-
ecas, Cayugas, Oneidas and the Tusearoroes,
to John, Thomas and Richard Penn, after
reciting in the preamble as follows:

Whereas, the late Proprietary of the Province
of Pennsylvania, AVm. Penn, Esqr., soon after his
first arrival in his said province, took measures to
have the River Susquehanna, with all the Lands ly-
ing on both sides of the same, purchased for him
and his heirs of those Indians of the fflve Nations,
* * * and accordingly did purchase them of Coll.
Thomas Dongan. & pay for the same. Notwith-
standing which the Indians of the five Nations
aforesaid, have continued to claim a Right in & to
the said River and Land; nor have these claims been
hitherto adjusted; whereupon the Sachems of Chiefs
having with all the others of the said Nations met
the last Summer at their great Council, held in ye
Country of the said Onondagoes, did Resolve &
Conclude that afinal Period and Conclusion should
be put to all disputes that might possibly arise on
that Occasion."

And having appointed the aforesaid sa-
chems or chiefs as plenipotentiaries of all
those nations to repair to Philadelphia, in
order to confirm the several treaties of peace
which have hitherto been concluded between

*III Col. Rec. 598-9.

them and the said province, and also to settle
and adjust all demands and claims that have
been heretofore made touching or concerning
the aforesaid Susquehanna and the lands ly-
ing on both sides thereof: In consideration
of the premises and " 500 lbs. powder, 600
lbs. lead, 45 guns, 60 strouds water match
coats, 100 blankets, 100 duffle match coats,
200 yds. of half thick, 100 shirts, 40 hats,
40 prs. of shoes and buckles, 40 prs. stock-
ings, 100 hatchets, 500 knives, 100 houghs
(hoes), 60 kettles, 100 tobacco tongs, 100 scis-
sors, 500 awl blades, 120 combs, 2,000 need-
les, 1,000 flints, 24 looking-glasses, 2 lbs. Ver-
million, 100 tin pots, 200 lbs. tobacco, 25
glls. rum, 1,000 pipes, 24 dozen of gartering."

Conveyed to the said proprietaries, " all the
said river Susquehanna, with the lands lying
on both sides thereof, to extend eastwardly as
far as the head of the branches or springs
which run into the said Susquehanna, and
all the lands lying on the west side of the
said river to the setting of the sun, and to
extend from the mouth of the said river
northward, up the same to the hills or moun-
tains called in the language of the said na-
tions, the Tyannuntasacta, or endless hills,
and by the Delaware Indians, the Kekkachta-
nanin Hills."*

On the 25th of October, 1736, a release
was executed by the several chiefs on behalf
of the same nations, and also of the Mo-
hawks, of the lands conveyed by the preced-
ing deed, described more particularly as fol-
lows: Lands on both sides of the river Sus-
quehanna, from the mottth thereof as far
northward or up the said river as the ridge of
hills called the Tyoninhasachta, or Endless
Mountains, westward to the setting' sun, and
eastward to the furthest springs of the waters
running into the said river. Releasing all
right, claim and pretensions to all the lands
lying within the bounds and limits of the
government of Pennsylvania, beginning
eastward on the river Delaware, as far north-
ward as the said ridge or chain of endless
mountains as they cross the country of Penn-
sylvania from, eastward to the west. That
neither they nor any in authority in their na-
tions, would sell to any jDerson, white men or
Indians, other than the children of William
Penn, or persons authorized by them, any
lands within the limits of Pennsylvania. On
this deed of release there is an endorsement
of ratification, dated the 9th oO July, 1754,
signed by nine Indians. f



''T^HE European nations claimed the right
X by discovery to own and possess all
countries inhabited by savages. It was a
right they assumed to be inherent in them as
Christians, for the conversion of the heathen,
and between themselves the right was deter-
mined by prior discovery. A newly discovered
country belonged to the nation whose people
first discovered it. The grants by the Popes
to'the Spaniards were never doubted, and no
other Christian prince intruded into the
countries made theirs by discovery and con-
quest. The English acquired the title of lirst
discoverers through Cabot's voyage along our
coast in 1498. Yet, as the Delaware River
was discovered by Henry Hudson, the right
to the land upon it was claimed by the Dutch,
because, at the time of discovery, he was in
their service and under their Hag. Cape May
was named after a merchant of Amsterdam,
Capt. Cornelius Jacobson May. The English,
however, maintained their right, on the
ground that Hudson was an Englishman by
birth, and because Lord De La War entered
the bay in 1610, giving his name to it; but
the discovery made by Hudson was in 1609.
There was enmity existing between the gov-
ernments of New England and New Nether-
lands. Oliver Cromwell had been applied to
by the NewEnglanders for aid, and after his
death, Charles II, restored to the throne, de-
termined to drive the Hollanders away. He
granted to his brother, the Duke of York, in
1664. the territory possessed by the Dutch,
namely, New York and New Jersey, and the
land now comprised in the State of Delaware.
War vessels were sent over and Newcastle re-
duced by an armed force. The whole prov-
ince of New Netherlands was surrendered,
and thus an English title was acquired by
actual conquest. The Swedes, who had set-
tled upon the Delaware, had come over under
a charter from Gustavus Adolphus, but they
came only as colonists, about the year 1626.

Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, obtained
his grant to Maryland from Charles I, in 16^32,
and the tirst settlement under it was at. St.
Mary's in 1634. He claimed, under his grant,
the lands on the west side of the Delaware
River included in the whole of the fortieth
degree of latitude. This grant to Cecil Cal-
vert was of land promised to his father,
George Calvert, Secretary of State, and
which had been named by the king, Mary-
land, in honor of his queen, Henrietta Maria.
It was to the unoccupied part of Virginia,

from the Potomac River northward, including
lands both on the east and west side of Ches-
apeake Bay. Charles, the son of Cecil, pro-
cured a confirmation of the patent in 1661.
The words of the grant are: "All that part
of a Peninsula lying between the ocean on
the east and the bay of Chesapeake on the
west, and divided from the other part by a
right line, drawn from the Cape, called Wat-
kins Point, situated in the aforesaid bay near
the river Wigbee on the west, unto the main
ocean on the east, and between that bound on
the south unto that part of Delaware Bay on
the north, which lieth under the fortieth de-
gree of north latitude from the equinoctial,
and all that tract of land, from the aforesaid
bay of Delaware, in a right line by the de-
gree aforesaid, to the true meridian of the
first fountain of the river Potomack, and from
thence tending toward the south, to the fur-
ther bank of the aforesaid river, and follow-
ing the west and south side of it, to a certain
place called Cinquach, situated near the
mouth of said river, where it falls into the
bay of Chesapeake, and from thence by a
straight line to the aforesaid cape, called
Watkins Point."

The extent of land contained in the fortieth
degree of latitude, thus mentioned as the
northern boundary of Maryland, was claimed
by the proprietors of both provinces as lying
entirely within their respective grants. That
part of the peninsula bordering on Delaware
Bay had been settled and was occupied by
the Dutch and Swedes, over whom the Duke
of York claimed sovereignty. The grant to
Lord Baltimore was only of such lands as
were "unplanted by any civilized nation",
and hence the settled part would be excluded
from his charter. The grant to the Duke of
York was of all lands occupied by the Dutch
from the west side of Connecticut River to
the east side of Delaware Bay. Before the
grant to the Duke of York, Lord Baltimore
had claimed all the lands between the 38th
and 40th degrees of latitude from sea to sea.
The charters of both Virginia and New En-
gland had no certain boundaries, and the
geographical position of the degrees of lati-
tude mentioned were equally uncertain.
Therefore, when William Penn conceived the\
idea of securing a tract of land in America]
for his purposes, he made his application for]

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 8 of 218)