Morton L. (Morton Luther) Montgomery.

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. online

. (page 30 of 227)
Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 30 of 227)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Cause of War. — Whilst, the Penns were endeav-
oring to locate a town on the eastern bank of the
Schuylkill river at the "Ford" (now Reading), war
was being carried on between England and France,
and the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was formed be-
tween them in the same year in which the town was
laid out (1748). But this treaty of peace did not
settle the controversy between them in respect to
territory on the American continent. The English
Colonies were originally planted along the sea-
coast, but they advanced westwardly, and therefore
the English claimed the right to extend their set-
'tlements across the continent from ocean to ocean.
The French, however, had possessed Canada to the
north, and Louisiana to the south, and they too
claimed the intervening territory which lay along
the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Both parties hav-
ing claimed the same country, they, in order to
maintain their respective rights, rushed into a fierce
and bloody war for lands which belonged to neither
of them, and which after the termination of hos-
tilities passed away from both, and became vested
in a new power whose national existence grew' out
of their contentions. It was accelerated by a grant
of six hundred thousand acres of land in that dis-
puted territory by the English to certain persons
who associated under the title of the "Ohio Com-
pany," and the company having agitated a scheme
for its settlement, the French became alarmed. Re-
monstrances and complaints were fruitless and each
party seized and plundered the subjects of the other,
ending in hostilities which resulted in the defeat of
Braddock in the western section of Pennsylvania
in 1755.

The Indians, having united with the French
through misrepresentation and finding the frontier
open, proceeded eastwardly* to repossess the terri-
tory which had formerly been theirs and out of
which they believed they had been swindled. On
their way, they committed depredations and cruel-
ties which resulted in a great loss of life and prop-
erty; and notwithstanding forts were erected by
the provincial government along the Blue Mountain,
from the Delaware river to the Susquehanna river
to afford protection to the settlers in the vicinity,
and garrisoned with twenty-five companies, com-
prising 1,400 men, they crossed the mountain and

carried their arson and murder into the counties
adjoining. Berks county was entered, and numer-
ous persons (including men, women and children)
were killed, and many dwellings and barns burned.
This naturally spread consternation throughout the
county, and the settlers along the mountain aban-
doned home and property. The enemy soon extend-
ed their incursions to a point near Reading, alarm-
ing' the inhabitants of the town for their safety. In
consequence of this, they armed and organized them-
selves to defend the town, and marched to the
mountain to assist in driving the cruel foe out of
the county. Many letters have been published which
describe the wretched state of the people who lived
in the townships to the north and northwest of the

The cruelties of the Indians and the unsettled
condition of the inhabitants of the upper section
of the county continued during 1755, 1756 and 1757.
During that time, the English were unsuccessful in
their campaigns against the French and Indians, and
their affairs here were in an awful situation. Their
efforts had produced only expense and disappoint-
ment. But in -1758, the tide turned in their favor
through the vigorous administration of ;a new leader,
William Pitt. The Indians retreated and victory
crowned the British armies everywhere during the
succeeding years until 1760, when the French were
dispossessed of all territories in dispute and forced
to surrender Canada. Peace was declared in 1763.

The town of Reading had just been fairly started
when this terrible shock fell upon the inhabitants.
Though discouraged they did not abandon their
new settlement and its bright prospects, as the set-
tlers were forced to do along the mountain. It
is probable that the unsettled condition of affairs
there during that period contributed much toward
the rapid growth of the town.

Troops in County. — The provincial military offi-
cers of the county in 1754 were: Lieutenant-Colo-
nel, Conrad Weiser; Captains, Christian Busse (at
Fort Henry), Frederick Smith, Jacob Orndt, and
Jacob Morgan (at Fort Lebanon) ; Lieutenant,
Philip Weiser; Ensigns, ^Harry (at Fort Leban-
on) and Edward Biddle; Sergeant, Peter Smith;
Corporal, Schaeffer.


Weiser was lieutenant-colonel of the 2d Battalion habitants when danger was imminent. They were
of the Pennsylvania Regiment, which consisted of erected hastily to serve a temporary purpose. Un-
nine companies. This was a portion of the troops fortunately for the people, they were too few in
ordered by the Governor to be raised for the pur- number and too far apart to serve the purpose for
pose of repelling the invasion. The total force was vvhich they were intended, especially to those who
to comprise twenty-five companies, numbering 1,400 ^^^ere somewhat removed. The Indians did not
men. Of the nine companies under Weiser, one y^cii-ch over the mountain in large numbers together,
and one-half companies were at Fort Henry, and ^^^j ^^^^ ^j^ ^^t^^l^ ^1^^ f^^^g^ They came quietly,
one company was at Fort Williams. j^^ 3^.,^^^ ^^.^jg ^^^^ without warning they fell up-

In March, IToG, an independent company of on the unprotected families like a tlnmderbolt ; and
grenadiers m General Shirley s regiment, was sta- ^^^^^ niurdering men, women and children indis-
tioned at Reading on duty. Upon receiving orders ■ • , , j ..^- /: ^ , n- , t,

to march to New York, 25 men, under the cSmmand cnminately and setting fire to dwellings and barns,
of a Heutenant, were ordered to Reading, to remain ^^^Y departed like a flash Their success in these
on guard until further orders. In June, the town ^^"'^ked incursions was truly wonderful,
was occupied by a company of men, under the I" I'^^S, the location of the forts and distances
command of Conrad Weiser. It was composed of apart were reported as follows :
two sergeants and 28 privates. The ammunition ^^.j^^

at Reading then consisted of 25 good muskets, 25 From Wind Gap to Doll's Blockhouse 20

muskets out of repair, 11 broken muskets, 9 cart- Thence to Fort Lehigh 8

ridge-boxes, 240 pounds of powder, (100 .pounds of ^^^"'^^ \° b?'"'i.^"^" ^°

lead. In August, 1y5i, oO men from Cumru and Thence to Fort Everit .. .. lo

other townships near Reading- set out in expecta- Thence to Fort WiUiams 12

tion of bringing in some Indian scalps. Thence to Fort Henry 22

In February, 1758, Fort ^^'illiams was garrisoned JJ?^"" 1° ^o" Swatara 14

1. /^ 4. • -\/r 1 "■-> 1 r- i TT J hence to rort Hunter, on Susquehanna 24

by Captain Morgan and o3 men; and Fort Henry ^

by Captain Busse with 89 men, and Captain Weiser Total distance 140

with 105 men ; and Fort Augusta with eight com-
panies, numbering 362 men. The whole number Forts in County. — The following forts were
of men then receiving pay in the province was erected in the territory which was embraced in
li^'^4. Berks countv, the first five having been along the

In June, 1758, Berks county had in the service Blue Mountain, and the last at Shamokin (now

56 good and strong wagons, each wagon furnished Sunbury) : Fort Henry, Fort Dietrich Snyder Fort

with four horses and an expert driver. These wag- Northkill, Fort Lebanon, Fort Franklin and' Fort

ons' were formed in two divisions, the first division A^o-usta

containing 26 wagons, and the second 30. A depu- X j^^ h^.^^^ was built within the stockades,

ty wagon-master was over each division. Their ^^^, -^ ^^.^^ ^^^^^^ uncomfortably by th^

names were John Lesher and Jacob Weaver, able „^- t,K^ • ■ i u-^ ^ ■ ..• r , ^ ^ ^I

to speak the English and German languages and "fghbonng inhabitants in times of danger. The

they understood smith and wheelwright work. stockades were logs about eighteen feet long, cut

In the limits of Berks county, in 1758, there were !" ^^}^ ^^°°<^'s where the forts were built, and planted

at Fort Henry two companies, comprising 105 men ; !" '"^, ground as closely as possible. They were

at Fort William (Forks of Schuylkill), one com- '"tended to protect the_ house and prevent the

pany of 53 men; and at Fort Augusta, eight com- Indians from shooting its occupants when they

panies with 3G2 men. stepped outside.

In 1761, the inhabitants of Tulpehocken and ^'"'^ Hcm-y was situated in Bethel township, in

Heidelberg townships raised 159 men as rangers ^^^lat was, and still is, commonly known as "The

to guard the county lines of Berks and Lancaster Hollow," about three miles north of the present

counties. village of Millersburg, fifty yards to the east of

Colonial Forts.— NA'hen the officials of the ^he "Old Shamokin Road," which leads over the
provincial government learned that the In- mountain. The spot was elevated, to enable the
dians and French had united for the pur- .?"ard to look out some distance in every direction,
pose of cooperating against the English There_ is no particular mention of this fort in the
on this continent, they decided to afford Colonial records, and this omission induces the
protection to the settlements near the fron- belief that it was a fort erected by the people of
tiers by the erection of forts ; and the number that vicinity for their protection. ' It was some-
of settlers who had gone beyond the Blue Moun- times called "Dietrich Six's," doubtless because it
tain till this time having been small, they deter- stood on the land of Dietrich Six. The records
mined to locate these forts along this natural mention several times that the people fled to Diet-
boundary line from the Delaware on the east to rich Six's, but the place was not indicated as a
the Susquehanna on the west. The object of these military post. The field where it was situated has
forts was simply for refuge— a retreat for the in- been under cultivation for many years, and not



a single mark remains to indicate where it stood.
It was erected some time before June, 1754. In
the beginning of June, 1757, the Governor visited
Fort Henry, having been escorted thither by sixty
substantial freeholders of the county on horse-
back, completely armed. They presented a very
dutiful address to his honor, in which they ex-
pressed the warmest loyalty to the King and the
greatest zeal and alacrity to serve His Majesty in
defense of their country.

Fort Dietrich Snyder. — A fort was situated on
the top of the mountain, north of Fort Northkill.
It occupied one of the most prominent spots, and
being within two miles of Fort Northkill, it is sup-
posed that it was designed for an observatory or

Fort Northkill was in Upper Tulpehocken town-
ship, near the Northkill (a branch of the Tulpe-
hocken creek) about two miles east of Strauss-
town and a rnile south from the base of the Blue
Mountain. It was built in the early part of 1754.
As to the dimensions of the fort Commissary Young
says, June 20, 1756 : "The fort is about nine miles
to the westward of the Schuylkill, and stands in
a very thick wood, on a small rising ground, half
a mile from the middle of Northkill creek. It is
intended for a square about thirty-two feet each
way ; at each corner is a half-bastion of very little
service to flank the curtains. The stockades were
ill fixed in the ground, and open in many places.
Within is a very bad log-house for the people; it
has no chimney and can afford but little shelter in
bad weather."

There was an attack in the neighborhood of this
fort on Oct. 1, 1757. Application was made to
Conrad Weiser (then at Reading) for immediate
assistance, and Captain Oswald (who commanded
the guards about Reading) sent two lieutenants
with forty men to the relief.

Fort Lebanon was situated about six miles be-
yond the Blue Mountain, a short distance east of
the Schuylkill river. It was erected in the begin-
ning of 1754. In 1758, it was known as "Fort
Williams," and called sometimes "Fort Schuylkill."
It is frequently mentioned in the Pennsylvania
Archives. Two years after its erection, it was des-
cribed as follows: "Fort Lebanon, about twenty-
four miles from Gnadenhutten, in the line to
Shamokin. — Fort, 100 feet square. Stockades, 14
feet high. House within, built 30 by 20, with a
large store-room. A spring within, and a maga-
zine, 12 feet square. On a barren, not much timber
on it; 100 families protected by it within the new
purchase. No township. Built in three weeks.
Something considered given by the neighbors to-
wards it."

Fort Franklin. — The fifth fort on the frontier
of the county was several miles above the Blue
Mountain, on Lizard creek. It was built about
two years later than the other forts. It was some-
times called Fort Allemaengel ("all wants").

Fort Augusta. — The first allusion to this fort is
in a letter by Governor Morris, on Feb. 1, 1756, in
which he -states that he proposed to build a fort
at Shamokin, at the forks of the Susquehanna, a.5
soon as the season would admit a passage of that
river. And in a letter dated July 30th following,
he stated that a fort was then building at Shamokin
(where a camp was stationed for some time) by
Colonel Clapham, who had five hundred men with
him. Shortly afterward (Aug. 14) the Colonel ad-
dressed a letter to the Governor dated at "Fort
Augusta," in reference to a necessary supply of
military stores. This fort was therefore built dur -
ing July and August, 1756. No dimensions are
given. But it was large and commodious, affording
room for many men and a large quantity of military
stores. Frequent reports of the supplies on hand
and of the forces stationed there appear in the
Records and Archives; and cruelties by the Indians
were committed in the vicinity.

Premium for Scalps. — In pursuance of a resolu-
tion for carrying on active measures against the
Indians, the Board of Commissioners decided on
April 9, 1756, to recommend to the Governor that
bounties, or premiuins, be paid for prisoners and
scalps :

For every male Indian prisoner above ten years old,
that shall be delivered at any of the government
forts or towns $150

For every female Indian prisoner or male prisoner,
of ten years old and under, delivered as above 130

For the scalp of every male Indian above ten years
old 130

For the scalp of every Indian woman, 50

Peace Declared. — After the French had receded
into Canada before the advancing army of English
soldiers, the Indians naturally followed their allies.
Hence the cruelties ■ here ceased after 1758 ; and
when Canada was surrendered in 1760, the peace
and safety of our community were assured. The
declaration of peace was delayed for three years,
and when it was published in 1763, only a few In-
dians remained in the eastern section of Pennsyl-
vania. A small settlement of them (who were
friendly to the government and the inhabitants) re-
mained at Shamokin ; and some families were scat-
tered in different parts of the county, where they
remained for many years afterward.

Before the war, considerable trade had been car-
ried on successfully between the settlers and the
Indians, continuing without interruption from the
time of the first settlements until 1744, and even a
decade afterward. The relations had become so
pleasant and firm that certain Indians remained
in the county unmolested during the war, and car-
ried on their peaceful vocations, such as basket-
making, bead-work, etc., and after the war, travel-
ing parties of them frequently visited the county
and sold articles of their handiwork.

Murdered and Captured. — During this war, the
Indians killed about one hundred and fifty, and cap-
tured thirty inhabitants of the county. Several of



those who were taken captive returned after the
war. Many persons were wounded and some of
them died from their wounds. But, during these
eight years, only four of the Indians were killed in
the county, so far as ascertained.

June, 1754 — Peter Geisinger, Tulpehocken.
June, 1754 — Fred. Myers and wife. Tulpehocken.
June, 1754 — Young girl, Tulpehocken.
June, 1754 — Hostetter familj', Bern.
June, 1754 — Sebastian Brosius, Bethel.
October, 1755 — ^Henry Hartman, Bethel.
October, 1755 — Two men (unknown). Bethel.
October, 1755 — Odwaller and another unknown,' Bethel.
November, 1755 — Thirteen persons, unknown. Bethel.
November, 1755 — Child eight years old, daughter of a
man named Cola, Bethel.

November, 1755 — Cola's wife and two children older.



-Philip , a shoemaker,

-Casper Spring, Bethel.
Beslinger,' Bethel.



-Child of Jacob Wolf, Bethel.
1755 — John Leinberger, Bethel.
1755 — Rudolph Candel, Bethel.
1755 — Sebastian Brosius, Bethel.
1755 — Six men killed,' Bethel.
1755 — Unknown man, a shoemaker
Brown's house, Bethel.

November, 1755 — A child scalped and died,' Bethel.

November, 1755 — A woman° and male child, Bethel.

November, 1755 — Fifteen persons (excluding five pre-
ceding), Bethel.

November, 1755 — Christopher Ury, Bethel.

November, 1755 Youngman, Bethel.

November, 1755 — Wife of Kobel." Bethel.

February, 1756 — Two children of Frederick Reichelder-
fer, Albany.

February, 1756 — One man, two women and si.x children,'

February, 1756 — George Zeisloff and wife, two boys and
a girl, Albany.

February, 1756 — Wife of Balser Neyfong, Albany.

March, 1756 — Peter Kluck and family. Albany.

March, 1756 — A woman at Linderman's house, xA.lban.y.

March, 1756 — William Yeth, Hereford.

March, 1756 — Wife of John Krausher, Hereford.

October, 1756 — Two married women and two boys,'

November, 1756 — Wife, daughter and son-in-law of
Philip Culmore, .Albany.

November, 1756 — Martin Fell, Albany.

November, 1756 — Two old men,° Bethel.

November, 1756 Stonebrook, Albany.

June, 1757 — Man unknown, near Fort Henry, Bethel.

June, 1757 — Two persons near Fort Northkill, Tulpe-

June, 1757 — Adam Trump,"" Albany.

June, 1757 — Peter Gersinger, Bethel.

July, 1757— Three men and four children, " Bethel.

I Possibly these two and the two immediately before are the same.
^ Near by an Indian — of Delaware tribe — was found dead anrl

scalped — «scalped by Frederick Weiser. .\nother was shot and
scal]ied several weeks afterward.

3 Supposed to have been soldiers.

4 Two others also scalped.

''» Under this woman, her babe onlj^ fourteen days old was found.
It was alive, wrapped up in a little cushion.

C Four of their children were scalped at the same time. They
had eight children with them. Two probably died. The father
was wounded^.

"^ All killed at house of Jacob Gerliart, situate in the upper section
ot the township, commonly known as the "Eck" (corner). Eight
of them were burned.

5 One of them reported as likely to die from scalping.

Ten women and children were rescued at this place from the
cellar of a burning building.

10 Found with a knife and a spear (fixed to a pole four feet
long) in bis body.

II All murdered and scalped in one house.

July, 1757 — Two children near Bickel's.

July, 1757 — Martin Jaeger and wife,'" Greenwich.

July, 1757 — Two children of John Krausher, Greenwich.

July, 1757 — One child of A. Sechler, Greenwich.

July, 1757 — One child of Philip Eshton, Greenwich.

July, 1757 — Ten people."

September, 1757 — A man shot in bed whilst sick.

September. 1757 — Two families."

April, 1758 — Jacob Lebenguth and Margaret his wife,

April, 1758 — Wife and two children of Nicholas Geiger,

April, 1758 — Wife of Michael Ditzeler, Tulpehocken.

June, 1758 — Wife of John Frantz. Tulpehocken.

June, 1758 — Son of John Snabele, Tulpehocken.

October, 1758— A man. Bethel.

September, 1763 — John Fincher, wife and two sons,

September, 1763 — Four children at house of Nicholas
Miller,'" Albany.

September, 1763 — Two children of Frantz Hubler, Bern.

November, 1763 — Three men near forks of Schuylkill."


June, 1754 — Daughter of Balser Schmidt (fifteen years
old), Tulpehocken. '

June, 1754 — Three children of Frederick Myers (two
boys, 10 and 6 years old. and a girl 8 years old), Tulpe-

June, 1754 — Son of Reichard (eight years old),


February, 1756' — Son of Balser Neyfong, Albany.

March, 1756 — Son of William Yeth, Hereford.

November, 1756 — Girl named Stonebrook, Albany.

June, 1757 — Son of Adam Trump, Albany.

June, 1757 — Young woman from near Fort Henry,

July, 1757 — Three children from near Bickel's.

July, 1757 — Two children at same time.

September, 1757 — Five children.

June, 1758 — Three children of John Frantz, Tulpe-

September, 1763 — Wife and three children of Frantz
Hubler, Bern.

November, 1756 — Wife and child of Martin Fell, Al-

November, 1756 — A boy seven years old, Albany.
October, irss — Three men missing. Bethel.
September, 1763 — Daughter of John Fincher, Albany.
September, 1763— Wife of Nicholas Miller, .Albanv.'

Cause. — The Parliament of Great Britain passed
an Act on j\Iarch 2-3, 176.5, which required all in-
struments of writing, such as deeds, bonds and
promissory notes, to be written on parchment or
paper stamped with a specific duty, otherwise they
were to have no legal effect; but this measure met
with such general opposition in Great Britain and
throughout the American Colonies, and was found
to be so unpopular, that the Act was repealed in

^ John Krausher's wife and child, Abraham Sechler's w-ife, and
a child of .\dam Clauss were scalped at the same time and badly

13 Alluded to in Weiser's letter. Probably he referred to party
killed in Greenwich.

i-t No number mentioned.
■um' ^^™ °^ Miller's children were prisoners, but were rescued.
When rescued they were tied together, in which manner they had
been driven along.

1" These are supposed to have been the last persons killed by
the Indians at this time. But during the Rvolutionarv war, in
August, 1780, John Negman ■and his two young children were
cruelly murdered by the Indians thirty-three miles from Reading
on road to Shamokin; and at the same time a little girl was carried



the following year. The cheapest stamp was of the
value of one shilling. The stamps on documents
increased in value according to their importance.
All the colonists manifested unbounded joy over
the repeal of this odious law.

This opposition, however, led Parliament to pass
a declaratory Act (which accompanied the repeal-
ing Act) asserting their power over the Colonies
in all cases whatsoever. And in 1767, an Act was
passed imposing certain duties on tea, glass, paper,
and painters' colors that were imported into the
Colonies. There was no representation in Parlia-
ment from the several Colonies; and they, regard-
ing taxation of this kind as unjust and tyrannical,
held public meetings, formed associations to dis-
courage, and even to prevent, the importation of
British goods, and passed appropriate resolutions;
which they forwarded to the King. His ministers,
believing that a reduction of the tax would restore
tranquility, ordered this law also to be repealed,
saving only a tax of three pence per pound on tea ;
and in 1770 an Act was passed accordingly. But
even this was not satisfactory to them, and their
recommendations to one another not to receive any
tea were strictly carried out.

In the meantime, the East India Company had
accumulated seventeen million pounds of this article
on hand, and fearing great losses, they led Parlia-
ment to authorize the exportation of tea to any
part of the world free of duty. With such encour-
agement, the company in 1774 loaded several ships
with tea and sent them to the American Colonies ;
but the colonists were firm in their resolution and
determined to obstruct the sale of it and to refuse
to pay even so slight a tax as three pence per pound.
When the ships arrived near Philadelphia and New

Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 30 of 227)