ROUTE OF ARNOLD S CAMPAIGN.
AND OF THE
HARDSHIPS AND SUFFERINGS OF THAT BAND OF HEROES
TEA VERSED THE WILDERNESS OF MAINE
CAMBRIDGE TO THE ST. LAWRENCE,
AUTUMN OF 1775.
BY JOHN JOSEPH HENRY,
One of the Survivors.
JOHN JOSEPH HENRY,
BY HIS GRANDSON.
John Joseph Henry, the author of the Campaign against Quebec, was
born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on the 4th of November A.D. 1758.
His ancestors came to Pennsylvania with the first great wave of Scotch-
Irish immigration. His father, William Henry, in a brief memoir of him
self, written in the German tongue a few weeks before his death, says :
"I was born May 1 9th, 1729. My grandparents on my father s side
came from Scotland, and on my mother s side were descendants of French
refugees. My parents on both sides came from Ireland to Pennsylvania
and were married in this country. My father was a Presbyterian and my
mother a member of the Church of England, but as there was then no>
Anglican church in Pennsylvania the whole family felt drawn to join the
Robert Henry, the Scottish grandfather, with his wife Mary and their
three sons John, Robert and James, arrived in the Delaware in ijzz. He
settled in the pleasant valley of Doe Run in the wide county of Chester
and there, in 1735, ^ e an< ^ his w ^ e en ded their pilgrimages on the same
day and were buried together at the historic Octorara Meeting House.
Of the three sons James died early leaving a single child who did not
survive infancy, and Robert, following the current of Scotch-Irish emigra
tion went into the valley of Virginia where he left many sons and daughters
and they many descendants.
John Henry married the daughter of Hugh De Vinney, one of the Hu
guenots of the Pequea valley. He remained upon and added to the lands
1 This statement is not strictly accurate. There was more than one Anglican church
in the vicinity of Philadelphia previously to lyzz.
of his father, but dying in middle life his family, consisting of five sons and
several daughters, was in the language of the memoir " entirely scattered."
William Henry, the eldest of the sons, then in his fifteenth year, was
sent to Lancaster to learn the trade of gunsmith with Matthew Roeser.
Lancaster county had been set off from the vast county of Chester in
1729 and itself included "all and singular the lands within the province of
Pennsylvania lying to the northward of Octorara creek and to the westward
of a line of marked trees running from the north branch of Octorara creek
northeasterly to the river Schuylkill." Lancaster, the county seat, was laid
out by James Hamilton, afterwards governor of Pennsylvania, in 1728,
and was in 1745 an active and prosperous town with about two thousand
Emigrants in large numbers and in some cases in organized bodies, from
Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and Switzerland, had poured into the
fertile wilderness of southern Pennsylvania. Flying for the most part from
oppressive land laws or from religious persecution they brought with them
their clergy, their school masters and their books and that intensity of faith
and purpose which had sent them forth to found new homes across the sea.
Lancaster, situated in the midst of a great valley of unsurpassed fertility
soon became not only the seat of an active commerce and manufacture
connected with the Indian trade but the home of many men well culti
vated in the learning of the day, especially in its theological departments.
William Henry possessed in full measure the perfervid imagination of his
face, and at early age turned his thoughts upon those great religious ques
tions which are so seldom solved by ratiocination. He tells the story of
his spiritual experiences at length in his memoir, but it is enough to say
that he did not find the peace he sought, till middle life, when in 1763
he and his wife joined themselves to the Moravians, then known only as
the Church of the United Brethren.
His work in worldly matters prospered, however, for like many of his
race he was prudent in action, though speculative in thought. He became
early the head of a large establishment for the manufacture of arms and
equipments for the Indian trade. In 1754 he was appointed armorer for
the troops collecting in Virginia for Braddock s expedition, and in 1757
he was, with apparent reluctance, called again to go to Virginia as " gun
contractor for the whole army."
From this time forward he was much engaged in public affairs, especially
in those which related to the Indian tribes. Possessing the confidence both
of the whites and the Indians, he was able to render essential service in the
settlement of many of the questions which arose between the races. The
Delaware hero, Koquethagachron or White Eyes, and his successor Gelele-
mend or Leader called Killbuck by the whites, were among his friends.
Between him and the latter the tie of friendship was so strong that in
1784, after the Delaware custom, they agreed to exchange names. Gelele-
mend, a few years later, was baptized by the Moravians as William Henry
and his descendants in Fairfield, Canada, still bear the name and claim
kinship with the posterity of their ancestor s friend.
When the disputes between the colonies and the crown grew serious,
William Henry, though a magistrate under the proprietary government,
gave his support with characteristic ardor to the cause of the patriots. His
activity and vigor were conspicuous during the war of the revolution. His
factory was busy in the making of arms and he himself as deputy
commissary general, exercised freely the almost unlimited authority
given him by Washington, in the matter of raising supplies for the
army. After the termination of the war he was called to fill a number of
posts of honor and responsibility. It will seem strange to us, when the
holding of a plurality of offices is deemed an abuse, that at the time of his
death in 1786, he was a judge of the court of common pleas, a member
of the general congress, and the treasurer of Lancaster county j and what
may seem stranger still his wife, Anne Henry, succeeded him in the last
office and continued to fill it with entire acceptation for many years and
nearly up to the time of her own decease.
John Joseph Henry grew up in troublous times. In early childhood he
and his elder brother William Henry, the younger, were witnesses of the
Paxtang massacre. His own recollection was only of the hurrying and
shouts of men, the firing of guns and the retreat at a gallop of those who
had slain the helpless prisoners. His brother, two years his senior, was
able, however, in later years to give a vivid account of the slaughter (Hecke-
welder sNarrati ve^ p. 7 8). Strenuous efforts were made to bring the murderers
to trial by William Henry and others, but the state of feeling on what was
then the frontier, was such that no success followed their efforts. Even
the detachment of Highlanders quartered in the town at the time would do
nothing to stay the carnage or arrest the perpetrators of it.
Judge Henry was accustomed to say, late in life, that he had watched the
careers of all of those lawless men who had murdered the Conestogas, and
that the retribution which man denied had been awarded by Providence,
for that nearly all of them died violent deaths. Tradition tells that the
last of them broke his neck by falling from a loaded wagon near his own
As young Henry grew towards manhood the mutterings of the revolution
ary storm were in the air. He drank in the passions of the time with
eager spirit and with parental precept and example to justify him, gave up
his whole heart to the strife. He had been sent in 1772,, with his uncle
John Henry, who was a gunsmith and Indian trader, to the remote frontier
post "of Detroit. Returning the next year on foot with a single guide, who
died in the wilderness, he found his way after much suffering to the house
of his relative General John Gibson, who dwelt at Logstown on the Ohio.
He was kindly received by General Gibson and when restored to health
was sent forward by him to his home in Lancaster.
General Gibson was himself one of the leading men of the frontier. He
it was to whom the Mengwe chief, Logan, addressed the speech which Jeffer
son, in his Notes on Virginia^ has made immortal. He was a brother
of Colonel George Gibson, who was mortally wounded at St. Glair s de
feat. Col. Gibson was the father of the late Hon. John Bannister Gibson,
chief justice of Pennsylvania.
The Gibsons were all men of force of character combined with a gay
humor. The story is told of Colonel Gibson that a couple of days after
the defeat, whilst the army was still in great peril, as he lay in his rough
shelter in the forest, his nephew, Lieutenant Slough of Lancaster, who had
been slightly wounded in the arm, but had lent his blanket to his uncle, came
to demand its return, saying that he had leave to go home to see his father
and mother. The dying man turned to him with a smile and said " take
it Jake, and go home and honor your father and mother that your days
may be long in the land."
William Henry had designed that his sons William and John Joseph
should follow his own avocation. The former acceded to his father s wishes
and was the second in a line of prosperous makers of arms extending to the
present day. But when the command was laid on the younger son to
enter the factory he so far disobeyed it as to incur the serious displeasure of
his father. Not long after the question between them was settled by the
outbreak of the war. In 1774 the quarrel between the colonies and Eng
land was probably past cure. Both sides were making ready for the conflict.
In southern Pennsylvania the dour frontiersmen might differ as to the
murder of Indian prisoners but they were of one mind as to fighting the
British. They or their ancestors had fled across the ocean from the tyran-
nical land and church laws of England and they would resist to the death
a new oppression in America.
In the spring of 1775 two companies of riflemen were enlisted at the
first tap of the drum for the army before Boston one from the county
of Cumberland under Captain William Hendricks, the other from Lancaster
county under Captain Matthew Smith. Young Henry, by this time a tall
and hardy youth, well skilled in the use of the rifle and the ways of the
forest, joined the latter without the knowledge of his father. His good
mother, however, whose patriotism may have been a shade less prudent
than that of her husband, was made the confidante of his intention and
gave her consent to an act which was but the natural corollary of her
own teaching. She made with her own hands in secret his rifleman s
uniform, if such it could be called, consisting as he himself tells of leggings,
moccasins and a deep ash colored hunting shirt.
When the day of departure came and the company was drawn up for
inspection before starting, his father passed along the line but did not recog
nize his own son in the tall rifleman on its right.
The story of the campaign so well told by himself needs not to be re
hearsed here. It is enough to say that he came home in the fall of 1776,
apparently in health but with the seeds of disease deeply planted in his
constitution. In a few weeks after this, he tells us, " a slight cold caught
while skating on the Susquehannah or hunting the wild turkey among the
Kittatinny mountains, put an end to all his visionary schemes of ambition."
The scurvy, from which he suffered in the prison at Quebec, attacked with
terrible force the knee which had been injured at the assault. The joint
became the seat of violent inflammation, disease of the bone followed and
when two years afterwards he left his couch it was only to walk with a
crutch through life. Some good, however, came out of So much evil. The
house of William Henry had long been the resort of the educated men of
the Lancaster community and of such strangers as visited the place. Dur
ing the revolution the leading men of the day found quarters there. Franklin,
Rittenhouse, Paine and others were among his guests. (Marshall s Diary
passim.) The Juliana library founded in 1750, so called from Lady Juliana
Penn, wife of Thomas Penn and daughter of the Earl of Pomfret, was kept
there. Constant access to books with abundant leisure to read them and
the society of the foremost men of the time made up for a somewhat de
sultory early training and probably determined his ultimate choice of the
law as his profession.
The memoir of his life by his daughter, the mother of the present writer,
tells us all that is known of him till he came to the bar. His preceptor,
Colonel Stephen Chambers, whose youngest sister he afterwards married,
was an Irishman by birth. He had come to Pennsylvania with his father,
mother and sisters in the great Scotch-Irish immigration of 1772, and 1773-
The father being a man of property had educated his son at Trinity college,
Dublin, intending him for the bar. He had the misfortune, however, at
an early age to kill his antagonist in a duel, whereupon the whole family
came to America. He also entered the army and did good service for
some years but resigned his commission and came to the bar of Lancaster
county in 1780 where he attained a large practice. He was a delegate to
the Pennsylvania convention which ratified the federal constitution. He
fell in a duel with Dr. Reger in 1789.
Mr. Henry, after several years of assiduous study, was admitted to practice
in 1785. He too was soon largely employed. But the conditions of suc
cess in the law at that time, were very different from those which com
mand it now. Beyond the statutes of the states there were practically
no books on the law written or printed in America, no text-books,
no digests, no reports. The first volume of Dallas * Reports was pub
lished in 1790, the second in 1798, and the third in 1799. With
these exceptions no regular series of reports had been published in
America up to the year 1800. The entire vast array of American reports,
both state and federal, has come into existence since that day. The lawyers
of that time were thrown for aid wholly on English resources, and English
law books exclusively composed their modest libraries. It is perhaps a
fortunate thing for the jurisprudence of the country that such was the case.
Where all sound learning in the law was drawn from one source, it was
but natural that the several jurisprudences established on that basis should
have a substantial uniformity though the peculiar political institutions of
the country might seem to disfavor such a result. Many men of great
ability and profound learning were trained in this early school. They
sought their knowledge at the very fountain heads of the law and grew
strong in the mastery of its principles by tracing them to their foundation.
Among these George and James Ross, Duncan, Charles Hall, Yeates,
Watts and Charles Smith were among the associates and friends of Judge
In 1793 Mr. Henry was appointed by Governor Mifflin, the president of
the second judicial district of Pennsylvania. His commission, bearing date
the l8th day of December, 1793, appoints him "President of the Several
Courts of Common Pleas in the Circuit consisting of the Counties of
Chester, Lancaster, York and Dauphin," a vast territory whose features were
fertile valleys and rugged hills with the hard wood forests every where pre
Of his work as a judge but little remains. It may be said of him, as has
been said of his kinsman and youthful friend, the late Chief Justice Gibson,
who at one time presided over another Pennsylvanian circuit, that so far as
his work in that circuit was concerned * he has left no monument of his
labors. Like the fruits of much of the best ability of the state, displayed
in the same sphere, they perished on the spot without a record to perpetu
ate their worth." (Essay on the Life and Writings of John B. Gibson,
LL.D., by William A. Porter.) The words of Judge Porter have a sad
aptitude to many cases.
The only case tried by Judge Henry, which is known to have been fully
reported, is that of the Commonwealth vs. Hauer, et als., 2, Chandlers Criminal
Trials, 353. The case in Chandler is but a feeble abridgment of a remark
able pamphlet printed at Harrisburg in 1798, giving a full account of the
trials of the seven persons charged with complicity in the murder. It has
been said that " few events ever caused more excitement and alarm amongst
the German population than the murder of Francis Shitz in 1797. The
trials of the parties implicated in this singular transaction are interesting as
exhibiting the low state of public morals at that day in the interior of the
state, especially amongst the foreign population, and also as involving some
legal points of great importance in criminal law." (Prefatory note to the
.Report in Chandler.)
The counsel on both sides were of great ability and the many questions
of law and of fact were argued with much learning and fullness. The
rulings of Judge Henry throughout the case were briefly and clearly made,
and his charge to the jury correctly stated the principles of the law applica
ble to it.
Two of the prisoners were found guilty of murder in the first degree and
expiated their crime upon the gallows.
The pamphlet report, by an anonymous author, is a model of completeness.
It gives a statement of the case, the pleadings, the evidence in full, the
motions made at the several stages of the very complex proceedings, the
rulings of the court on the points raised, the arguments of the counsel and
the charge of the judge. It is a conscientious history by a fully competent
hand of a celebrated case, from the perusal of which a lawyer may derive
greater profit than by reading volumes of such reports as slip-shod indolence
too often imposes on the profession.
About the year 1804, the constitution of Judge Henry, so severely tried
in youth, began to give way under repeated attacks of the gout, which in a
letter written to his brother William in 1807, he speaks of as an inherit
ance from his mother. That it is transmissible by descent many others
have grievous reason to testify.
In succeeding years the severity of his attacks increased so greatly that
he was unable longer to fill the arduous duties of his office. He therefore,
in the latter part of the year 1810, tendered his resignation to the governor
of the state. Four months later, on the I5th April, i8n,he rested finally
from his labors. His remains lie in the burial ground of the Moravian
church at Lancaster.
Judge Henry was a man of great stature and strength, and of grave and
leonine aspect yet he was of jovial temper and quick and warm sensibilities.
His religious faith was cast in the antique mold which would not admit of
a doubt and somewhat scorned the doubter. By the testimony of all who
knew him he was a brave, just and honorable gentleman.
The Campaign against Quebec was dictated to his daughter, Anne Mary,
the mother of the writer, with the aid of casual notes and memoranda from
his bed of sickness in his latest years. The manuscript received no revision
at his hands, for he was called away very shortly after its last pages were
written. His widow gave it to the press in 1812, and it was printed with
out even the correction of verbal and typographical errors.
He left two sons, Dr. Stephen Chambers Henry, late of Detroit, and
Dr. Julien Henry of St. Louis, also deceased, and several daughters, one
only of whom, Anne Mary, the wife of the late Honorable Thomas Smith,
of Delaware county, has left issue.
A portrait of Judge Henry in the stately dress of a gentleman of the old
time, from the hand of his youngest brother, Benjamin West Henry, a
pupil of Gilbert Stuart, represents him as a man of massive features, broad
shoulders and grave yet kindly expression, and is in full harmony with what
is remembered of him.
AUBREY H. SMITH.
Philadelphia, May Z5th, 1877.
LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
WRITTEN BY HIS DAUGHTER.
There is an observation trite, true, and universally admitted, that the
lives of those who have not embraced a wide sphere of action, are un
interesting and perfectly devoid of any incitements to attention. Biogra
phies of warriors and statesmen are perused with avidity ; but it is not
merely their own history, but that of the times in which they lived, at
least partially so. But descending to the quieter walks of life, when we
trace the history of a good and unfortunate man, through all the varied
evolutions that peculiarly mark his fate, and prevent him from being en
rolled in the list of those beings who have found the path divested of thorns,
it is, to some, still interesting ; and although the incidents are not of a
nature to excite wonder or astonishment, they may still possess the power
to call forth the sympathy of minds of feeling minds that have been
taught to feel another s woe.
John Joseph Henry, the author of the following pages, was born Novem
ber 4th, 1758, at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His father, William Henry,
was a man whose memory is still revered by those who possessed any know
ledge of him, his strict honesty and known probity rendering it sacred to
such as claimed him as their friend. He was possessed of a mechanical
genius in a strong degree. He it was who invented the well known
Warmly addicted to this his favorite passion, he wished to instil into
the minds of his children, a taste for mechanics. With some of them he
succeeded. As soon as his son John Joseph had attained the age of fourteen,
he bound him an apprentice to an uncle, who was a gunsmith, then a
resident at Lancaster, but after sometime removed to Detroit, taking his
nephew with him. At that place, his stay was but short, on account of
scarcity of business. He returned on foot with a single guide, who died in
the wilderness which lay between Detroit and his home. It was here that
hardships and misfortune first were felt, his future companions during a
length of years devoted to God and his country. Young Henry returned
to his parents and home, dissatisfied with the employment a judicious father
had pointed out for him, as the means by which he wished him to gain a
future subsistence. His ardent mind panted after military glory. The
troubles of his country, which was then making vigorous, and ultimately
successful struggles for a total emancipation from slavery, wrought strongly
upon one, the acme of whose hopes and wishes was, to be one of those
who contended most for freedom. In the fall of 1775, he clandestinely
joined a regiment of men raised in Lancaster county, for the purpose of
joining Arnold, who at that time was stationed at Boston. His father
was commissary to the troops, which office obliged him to attend them to
Reading. It was at this time, under circumstances which rendered him
most liable to detection from his parent, he left his home to wander, at
the age of sixteen, in a strange land. Thus a thirst for glory inflamed his
youthful breast, and superseded every other passion and affection of his
heart. After enduring all the fatigues of a veteran soldier, they entered
Canada on his birthday an eventful one to him. He endured hard
ships here, which, in his own simple style, he fully enumerates. It was
in prison, where he lay for nine months, that he contracted a disease (the
scurvy), which at that time did not make its appearance, but six weeks
afterwards, on his return home, at a time when least expected, it made its
appearance under its most malignant form. It was at a time when it
became a duty incumbent on him to continue in the army. A captaincy
had been procured for him in the Virginia line, and a lieutenancy in that
of Pennsylvania. He had designed to accept of the command under the
hero Morgan, which was that of captain, but the disposer of all events
arrested his career, and instead of his fond expectations being accomplished,
all his hopes were blasted, his high prospects faded, and became a dreary
void, by the order of that Omnipotence, who furnished him with that
fortitude which enabled him, through all his misery, to kiss the rod that
chastised him. It was after two years continuance on the couch of sick
ness, his leg, which was the unfortunate cause of all his illness, began to
heal, and renovated health to give hopes that peace yet remained for him.