Emanuel Swedenborg.

History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

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a Eoman Catholic cross, six-eighths of an inch high, is engraved on the plate, having
its base on the center of the bar of the letter H. The candle stick is in two pieces.
The base is rectangular, and is two and one-half by two and three-fourths inches
square, and three-fourths of an inch high. This is surmounted by the upright part,
which rises one and one-half inches from the base, in a rectangular form, and at this
point changes to cylindrical shapes. The total height is five and one-fourth inches.
Pour dowels of native lead project upward from the base and fit into corresponding
holes in the upright. The bore in the top to receive the candle is one and three-
fourths inches deep by three-fourths of an inch in diameter.

As no excavation was made outside of the pit in which these were found, it is
probable that other similar relics are under the surface near the same spot. These
candle sticks and the silver plate doubtless formed a part of a Catholic service set,
and belonged to the furniture of an altar erected in the wilderness by some early
missionary priest on which to celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass. To what catas-
trophy their presence in the debris deposited by the Cowanesque river is to be
attributed, is beyond even conjecture. They may have washed down from a point
higher up the stream, or may have been hidden by some missionary, who paid with his
life for his zeal and devotion to his holy faith.


The line of the purchase of 1768, which ascended Towanda creek, skirted along
Burnett's Eidge — now in Lycoming county — and then bore westward until it inter-
sected Pine creek, down which it passed to the West Branch of the Susquehanna

river, near Jersey Shore. It then followed the river westward to Canoe Place now

known as Cherry Tree — in Indiana county; thence it passed westward until it struck
the Allegheny river at Kittanning. At Canoe Place the counties of Clearfield,
Cambria and Indiana corner. The place was deemed of such historic importance
that the legislature of 1893 passed a bill appropriating $1,500 for the erectito of a
monument to mark the spot where the famous cherry tree stood. The monument,
bearing a suitable inscription, was completed and dedicated in November, 1894. It
is somewhat imposing, is thirty-five feet in height from the water level of the stream,
and bears the names in conspicuously-carved letters, "Clearfield," "Cambria " and


After crossing the second fork of Pine creek, from the east, the line proceeded
west until it intersected what was termed in the treaty, "Yamall's Creek,"* which it
followed down to Pine creek. There has always heen some doubt regarding what was
termed "Yamall's Creek." The conclusion is that it is what is now known as
Babb's creek, which empties into Pine creek at Blackwells. Down this stream was
an Indian path, and it would therefore be a natural route for a boundary line.

There is another curious, if not mysterious, feature connected with this bound-
ary line, which has never been satisfactorily explained. After the treaty of 1768,
the Indians set up a claim that Lycoming creek was what they meant by the name
Tiadaghton. The whites demurred, of course, but the Indians insisted. There is
nothing in existence to show that this title was ever applied to Lycoming creek.
Moravian travelers often ascended it on their way to Onondaga, but in all their wTit-
ings — and they kept copious journals — there is no reference to any name that can
be tortured into Tiadaghton. ICvidcntly the Indians set up the claim fnr the purpose
of retaining this section for hunting grf)unds, as it covered a fine territory for that


By the treaty of 1768 the territory afterward covered by Tioga county re-
mained as Indian land. When Berks county was organized, March 11, IT.'i'i, its ter-
ritory only extended on the north to the purchase line of 1T1I», which included what
are now the counties of Dauphin, Schuylkill, Carbon, Monroe, and Pike. The
purehiiso line touched the river a few miles below Sunbury. By the purchase of
1758 the line crossed the river into what is now Snyder county and took in a
great extent of territory on the west and south side of the West Branch, passed the
famous Cherry Tree — or what was sometimes designated as ('anoe Place — and then
continued to Kittanning on the Allegheny. Canoe Place was so named because it
was stipulated in the treaty that the line should cross the West ikanch at the hi^'iiest
point to which a canoe could lie pushed. As the river flows from the west after
Muncy hills are passed, it can readily be seen why the land was designated as lying
to the south. The primary object of this treaty was to acquire lands to reward the
ullieers for their services in the Bouquet expedition. E.xtensive surveys and allot-
ments for this purpose were made in what is now Union county, and in Bald Ea;:le
valley, Clinton county.

By the treaty of 17ilS the territory lying east and north of the river, as far
westward as Lycoming creek, and northward to Burnett's Bidge and Towanda creek,
belonged to Berks county until ^Mareh '21, 1772, when Northumberland county was
erected. It then fell to the latter, and was under its jurisdiction until the organiza-
tion of Lycoming county, April 13, IT!)"), when it was embraced in that county.

From 1768 to 178 1, a pej-iod of sixteen vears. the disjmte as to the true boundary
line of 1768 was continued between the whites and the Indians. At the treaty and
purchase of 1784 — when the Indians sold all their land lyin^' west of Lycoming
cicik for $in,()(i() — they frankly admitted that Tiadaghton was what was known

• Oil the tlran(!lit of the State Road (built in tn^), preserved io the land office at Harriaburg, the cabin of
Janieii Vamall i» iiut.rd, alao that of Sainton Babb. Yamall afterwards aettlcd on the Cowanesque. nnd gave his
name to a piraalt "tream in that valley. Some of his descendants siill live there.


by the whites as Pine creek. As the line ran, very little of the territory of Tioga
ever belonged to Berks county. The Indian line shows a curve, bearing northward,
in what is now Morris township, which probably took in a portion of its territory.
After 1784 all this disputed territory fell to Northumberland county. After April
13, 1795, Lycoming covered the following wide domain: Its southern line, com-
mencing near the mouth of White Deer creek, followed the Indian boundary line
of 1768, via Canoe Place (Cherry Tree) to Kittanning, on the Allegheny river;
thence up that stream to the mouth of Conewango creek, at Warren, which it
ascended to the New York State line; thence along that line until it intersected the
line of Luzerne county (erected September 25, 1786), which it followed in a south-
easterly direction, until it connected with the northern line of Northumberland
county, which it followed westwardly, crossing the Muney Hills and the river near
the present railroad bridge at Montgomery; thence down the river to the place of
beginning. The immense territory contained within these boundary lines comprised
over 12,000 square miles. Such was the extent of the parent county of Tioga.


This affair, which created a great deal of excitement at that time, and agitated
the Senecas to the verge of war, was caused by an Indian boasting, while under the
influence of liquor, at a public gathering at a tavern near the mouth of Pine creek,
that he had tomahawked and scalped John Walker during a raid near what is now
the village of Winfield, Union county, in August, 1780. Walker was an old man
and had several sons, the oldest of whom was named Benjamin. The elder Walker
had warranted a tract of land lying north of the river and on the east side of Pine
creek, but during the Indian troubles he and his family had fled to the house of a
friend at Winfield, where they were surprised by a war party and the old man and
several others cruelly murdered. Not content with boasting to Benjamin Walker
and two of his brothers that he had killed their father, he made grimaces and con-
torted his body to show how their father acted when he was in the act of scalping
him. This fiendish as well as imprudent act so enraged the Walker boys that they re-
solved on revenge. Accordingly they secured the assistance of a man named Sam
Doyle, who had seen much service during the Indian troubles, and going to the
camp of the Indian that night slew him. He was accompanied by a young Indian,
who protested his innocence, but the enragedparty refused to listen to his appeals
for mercy, and killed him also. They then threw the dead bodies into Pine creek,
at a point about a quarter of a mile west of the junction of the Fall Brook with the
Beech Creek railroad, where they remained until a rise of the water soon afterward
deposited them on a sand bar and they were discovered.

When the news of the killing of the Indians reached their friends in the
"Genesee Country," they became greatly enraged and threatened vengeance. This
so alarmed the white settlers on Pine creek and the river that they petitioned the
State authorities for protection. The latter sent commissioners to treat with the
Indians, and straightway offered a reward for the arrest of the guilty parties.
Doyle was apprehended, tried and acquitted, but the Walkers escaped from the
country and became fugitives. The sympathies of the whites were really with the
Walkers, but the threat of an Indian invasion so frightened them that they made


a pretext of arresting the culprits to allay the wrath of their red neighbors. The fact
that Doyle was found not guilty showed the prevailing sentiment of the people —
that the Indians richly merited the punishment they received for their atrocious
crimes, even if it was meted out to them in time of peace and was murder in the
eyes of the law.

Soon after his acquittal, Doyle became interested with Charles Williamson and
assisted him in building his famous road through Tioga eoxmty, and in lajing out
the city of Bath. It may seem strange that after his experiences with the Senecas
he shf)uld locate so near to them. He lived about three miles below Bath, and
died there in the early twenties.

Benjamin Walker and his two brothers were never arrested. Friends kept
them concealed until they had an opportunity to escape from the coimtry. Two
of them, Benjamin and Henry, made their way to Xorth Bend, on the Ohio river,
and when Indiana became a State they settled in Dearborn eoimty. In course of
time Benjamin was joined by his wife, Ann C'ra\vf(irJ, who was a daughter of
Major Crawford, of I'ine Creek township, Clinton coimty. He raised a family of
ten children and died in 1848, aged nearly ninety years. The other brother, Joseph,
disappeared from notice, but there is a tradition that he followed the Indians into
the Genesee country, and probably perished at their hands.


It is remarkable what an accurate information the aborigines possessed of the
geography and topography of the country. With no knowledge of th'' cnMlpa^s and
destitute of means for accurate measurement, they seemed to possess an intuitive
knowledge of places, however remote they might be. and how to reach them Ijy the
most direct route. Their mode of life frequently led them hundreds of miles into
a strange country, either in pursuit of game or of an enemy. Yet they never seemed
to have any fear about finding their way back. This knowledge came from ex-
perience and keenness of observation, acquireil by leading a nomadic life in a
country which was in every respect a "howling wilderness." In a wnnl. they were
compelled to depend on the signs of nature — to observe closely and quickly, and
remember accurately every minute detail, either in the configuration of the country,
or the trees, rocks and streams. Their paths, therefore, were always laid out by the
most available routes and by excellent springs of water; but they were only of
sufficient width for one, for they always traveled in single file — one behiml the
other. They knew the best fording ]ilaees on rivers and ereeks, and thither their
main paths were directed. From their great thoroughfares numerous smaller trails
branched, which were used as "cut oSs" in shortening distances when they did not
want to visit important points, but were desirous of being as expeditious as pos-
sible in making long journeys. In exercising their natural engineering abilities,
they were guided by the stars and the moss on the bark of trees, as to the points of
the comjiass, whilst their intuitive knowledge of location enabled them to penetrate
tlie thickest and gloomiest of forests and reach their destination with safety.
Nature furnished them unerring signs as guides, which they never mistook in their
movements. Consequently it was rare for an Indian to lose his luarinLTs in the


depth of the forest. So advantageously were their paths located that the whites,
when they came to build roads, generally followed them.

Peculiar as a race — lost to their ancient people — ^they seemed destined to fulfill
their mission and slowly fade away. Possessing many noble qualities, yet the great
wrongs they suffered goaded them to commit deeds of violence and blood. They
knew no guile until they came in contact with civilization; they possessed the
attributes of purity until contaminated by the vices of a race claiming to be their
superiors; they were temperate until taught by white men how to degrade them-
selves by the use of "fire water." Some writers have styled them the Eomans of the
Kew "World; but like the Eomans of the Old World, they drank of the bitter cup and
passed away.



Purchase of 1784— Fair Play System— Lycoming Township Formed— Its Bound-
aries AND Area— Old Tioga Township Erected— A Valuable Document
Discovered— Boundaries Defined— Other Becord Evidence— Tioga Town-
ship Taxables of 1800— Additional Extracts Prom Early Records— Panther
and Wolf Scalp Bounties.

WHEN the purchase of 1784 was made from the Indians, at the treaty of Fort
Stanwix, the newly-acquired territory was attached to Northumberland county.
It was a vast domain. The settlers — of whom there were many along the north side
of the West Branch of the Susquehanna — were squatters on the Indian lands before
the purchase. Settlements in this territory had been made as early as 1770, and
being outside the limits of the Province, its laws could afford the settlers no protec-
tion. Owing to this fact, when they became numerous, they were obliged to organize
some kind of a government for their own protection. What is known in history as the
"Fair Play System" was the result of their deliberations. Three commissioners or
judges were elected annually, who sat in judgment upon offenders against the peace
and dignity of the settlement, when they were brought before them, and from their
decisions there was no appeal. Tradition says that they dispensed justice with
wisdom, fairness and dignity. In a word, "Fair Play" was accorded to all. Those
who made themselves obnoxious to the settlers by the commission of crime or at-
tempted to interfere with the pre-emption rights of squatters, were banished from
the settlement. The sentence, in extreme cases, was carried out by placing the
offenders in a canoe at the mouth of Lycoming creek and sending them adrift down
the river into the Province. The leading "Fair Play" man was the celebrated


Brattan Caldwell. A grandson afterwards settled at Covington, Tioga county, and
his descendants still live in the county. Xearly all these early settlers were Scotch-
Irish. They were a sturdy race of men, noted for their daring during times of
danger and for their patriotism in the Eevolution. On this accoimt they were
nearly all granted pre-emption lands when the purchase was made from the Indians,
and received patents from the State.


The settlements along the river had increased to such an extent that immedi-
ately after the purchase of 178-1 the inhabitants began to discuss the propriety of hav-
ing a new township formed. Accordingly, at the August session, lT.s.5, of the North-
umberland county court, a petition was presented setting forth the absolute nfcossity
for this territory to be organized "for the purposes of order and a civil state of
society," and praying the court "to erect that part between Lycoming and Pine
creeks, being near fifteen milts, into one township; and from Pine creek upwards
into another township," which was accordingly done, the former receiving the name
of Lycoming, and the latter that of Pine Creek.

Lycoming township, therefore, was bounded on the south by the Susquehanna
river; on the east by Lycoming creek; on the west by Pine creek, and i>ii the north
by the State of New York. The territdiv was very extensive, and included all of
what is now Tioga county, except that portion lyin^ west and south of Pine creek;
that part of Bradford county lying west of the old Luzerne county line, and the
portion of Potter edunly lying east of the I'.'oth mile-stone — five miles west of the
present boundary line — and north of Pine creek, besides the following territory in
Lycoming county: Old Lyeomiiif,', Lycoming, Mclntyre, Jackson, Cogan House,
Anthony, Woodward, Piatt, Miillin, and I'ine townshi]is, and parts of Lewis, Watson,
Cummings, Mellonry and Brown townships, embracing an area about one-third
larger than Rhode Island.

When Lycoming county was organized, April 13, 170."). this territory was in-
cluded within its boundaries, and the township of Lyeoming was not curtailed until
Sepleinher, 1797, when tlie township of Tio^^a was taken from it. In the meantime
settlements had been made in the northern part of the township, in the Cowanesque
valley and along the Tioj^a river, but they were far removed from the haunts of


As the number of settlers along the Tioga and Cowanesque rivers increased,
it Soon became apparent that the township of Lycoming must be divided, for the
convenience of the inhabitants, and more especially the township oflicers. Until
recently all efforts to trace the origin of the movement, which finally resulted in
thi' erection of Tioga township, proved fruitless, owing to the destruction in the
flood of IScSti of many of the records of Lycoming county. A few months ago,
hcweviT, the missing document was found, by the publi.shers of this history, among
a bundle of dust-covered papers in the prothonotary's office at Williainsport, where
it had lain unnoticed for nearly one hundred years. It is well jireserved. though


bearing evidences of age, and is of great historical value, as the following verbatim
copy of it will show:

To the Honorable, the Judges of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the
Peace for Lycoming- county:

The petition of the subscribers most humbly showeth: That the settlements upon
the Tioga and Cowanesque are separated by a very considerable wilderness from the set-
tlements upon the West Branch of the Susquehanna, and are so remote that it is not
certain to what township, if any, they at present belong. That it is necessary for the
administration of justice, so far as it is committed to the distribution of township oM-
cers, to have the country that they inhabit erected into a new township.

Therefore, the petitioners pray your honor to erect the country contained vsdthin the
following limits into a new township, viz : Beginning at the State line of Pennsylvania
and New York where the line of Luzerne strikes it on the west; thence along the State
line to the one hundred and twentieth mile-stone ; thence a south line until it strikes
Pine creek ; thence down the same to where Brier Hill crosses it ; thence along the sum-
mit of Brier Hill to the line of Luzerne county ; thence with the same to the beginning.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.
Samuel Paterson, Gad Lamb,

Reuben Cook, Nathan Niles,

Barit My. Engasole, Peter Roberts,

John Ives, Bennajah Ives,

Uriah Spencer, Gideon Salisbury, Jr.,

Titus Ives, John Holiday,

Richard Mitchell, John Roberts,

Benjamin Cole, Thomas Willson,

Timothy Ives, Benjamin Corey.

On the back of the foregoing petition appears two indorsements, one of which
is as follows:

Granted. Name of the township. Submission.

The court appoints for submission township: Overseers of the Poor— Isaac Adams,
Jesse Losey. Supervisors of roads— Timothy Ives, Titus Ives. Constable— Stephen

The following is the other indorsement:
September session, 1797. Petition for a new township on Tioga. Granted. Name,

Such is the record that lies at the foundation of the history of Tioga as a county
From the indorsements quoted it would appear that the name first given to the new
township was "Submission," but that it was afterward changed by the court to
"Tioga." This is a reasonable surmise, although there is nothing in the document
itself to indicate which of the indorsements was first written. The names of the peti-
tioners for the most part are those of men prominent in the early affairs of the

Until the discovery of this valuable document, the only record in existence to
show when the name of the township of Tioga first appeared, was a little book not
much larger than an ordinary pass book of the present day. It was found a few years
ago, half buried in the mud, in a vault in the basement of the court house at Williams
port. There a large quantity of papers, relating to the first courts of Lycoming county



had been stored, but the great flood of 1889 came and engulfed them. When taken
out they were not only water-soaked, but covered with a thin, slimy mud, and to save
them they had to be dried in the sun. In this mass of water-soaked papers was the
little book spoken of. On examination it was found to be the quarter sessions
docket for 1798, and although much faded and stained by the action of the water,
nearly all the writing was plain and easily read. Turning to the record of September
term, 1798, it opens with a list of the townships and constables, just as they are
recorded in the proceedings of such courts to-day. At the bottom Tioga appears
as the eleventh township in Lycoming county, with this note: '"Job Stiles appointed
constable of Tioga township and sworn."

Tioga township, as thus created, in response to the petition heretofore quoted,
embraced all that part of the present area of Tioga county lying north of the summit
of Brier Hill and east and north of Pine creek. It also included all of Bradford
county lying west of the old line of Luzerne county, and that portion of Potter
coxmty lying north of Pine creek and east of the 120th mile-stone on the New York
State line.


With the beginning of the Nineteenth century the legislature deemed it proper
to have an enumeration made of the taxable inhabitants of Lycoming county, and
an act to that effect was passed March 8, 1800. The requirements of the law w.Te
promptly complied with by Commissioners Thomas l-'orster, Charles Stewart, and
James McClure. The original report for each township, as forwarded to the
secretary of the commonwealth, was recently found among the archives at Harris-
burg. It is time-stained and faded, but legible. Amonp the townships apjiears an
enumeration of the taxables of Tioga township. The names, occupation and ages
are as follows:

lUisha Alderman, farmer. 50; Ephraim Alderman, farmer, 14: .Tulm Allington,
farmer, 2t; Isaac Adams, farmer, 55; Kufus Adams, farmer, 24; Merwin Ammisey,
farmer, 22; Moses Ammisoy, farmer, 50; Ralph Brevear, farmer, 2'>; Iiorman Blnss,
millwright, 29; Lewis Bigelow, farmer, 38; Peres Bardwell, cooper, 33; Samuel
Bartles, farmer, 38; Jonathan Bonney, farmer, 2."); Joseph Bidin^^s, farmer, 25;
William Bulkley, farmer, 40; Abnor Blanchard, cooper, 63; Charles Blanchard,
farmer, 32; Ezekiel Blanchard, farmer, 23; Abner Blanchard, farmer, 21; William
Burlinganie, farmer, 5(1; John Bobster, farmer, 50; Pegpy Boher, widow, 31; Thomas
Berry, innkeeper; Hopestill Beecher, farmer, 24; Peter Cady, farmer, 23; l-]lijah
Cady, farmer, 52; Philip Cady, farmer, 2G; Zebulon Cady, farmer, 46; John Cady,
farmer, 25; Manasseh Cady, farmer, 69; Abel Cady, farmer, 25; Amasa Culver,

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 4 of 163)