Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

. (page 39 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 39 of 193)
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the commissioners on the part of the Union in their
letter dated the 22d day of August last ; the total
number of those who attended on that occasion being
only seven hundred and twenty-one, — that is to say,
something less than one-third of the number of citi-
zens of the said three districts. And we do further
certify that from our previous knowledge of the
disposition of the general body "of the people, and
from the anxiety since discovered by many (who
either from not having had notice, or from not hiv-
ing understood the importance of the question, did
not attend) to give similar assurances of submis-
sion, we are of opinion that the great majority of


those citizens who did not

have peaceably and with >

"Albert G.vllatin

" William Robeiits

"James White.

"George Dieuth [Dearth?]."
But notwithstanding the ftivorable report of the
judges of election, it appears that the United States
comniissiimrrs !CL';ir(UMl the lirucccdings in Favette

^posed to be-
r >ubiiii>sion to the laws.
John Jacicjox.
Andrew Rabb.
Thomas Pattersox.


iliarlv u!i<;iti-liictory. In their
report t<. tlir I'n-idmt- thc.v said, "The county of
Fayi-tir njcted tin- mode of ascertaining the sense
"f Uiv ]H'..|.lr wliirh had been settled between the
undrr>i_nni-(l niid llir hi-t committee of conference at
Pittsburgh ( l>ti. 'I'hr ^ianding committee
of that county dinctid th..-. y// ,/,,/,,/ /,,/ f/ie laics of
thr Stnte\foi- voting „i vl.rf,,,,,. to assemble in their
election districts* and vote by ballot whether they
would accede to the proposals made by the commis-
sioners of the United States on the 22d of August
or not. The superintendents of these election districts
report that five hundred and sixty of the people thus
convened had voted for submission, and that one hun-
dred and sixty-one had voted against it ; that no judge

= Tiipers Reciting to tlie Wliiskey Insurrection ; Pa. Archives, Scrit
2, vol. iv. rp. 237, 25S.

3 Tlie agrftnicnt i.f tlio committee with the commissioners was, nc
tliat qmihjifl mfn-s hij tU' hnr (.f P>?}iiis!ilcfinia alone should vote on th

proposili.m. In' tl, .t ll,. p;. -i..^. _-l M l,e snUmitted to " (lie ciCaem o

t.'ie ndut "III ' ■ I ''■'■', I ^ 'ittil ttpicards"

< It w:\- ill ', I. jh. MX I . 1^ 1 ,1 iM (liiit llio agreement with the com



or member of their committee liad attended from the
Fourth District of the couuty to report the state of the
votes there, and that they are of opinion that a great
majority of the citizens who did not attend are dis-
posed to live peac(iably and witli due submission to
the laws. But it is proper to mention that credible
and certain information has been received that in the
Fourth District of that county (composed of the town-
ships of Tyrone and BuUskin), of which the standing
commitlrc have i;iven no account, si.x-sevenths of
those whn vntiMJ ucie for re.-^istancc. . . . The written
assnraner- nC >uliiiii<siua Avliich have been received
by the cnniiiiis^ininis urc not liiinicious, nor were they
given liyull thn-cwli.. rx|in-^-.(l a willingness to obey
the laws. In Favittc (.'uuiity, a ilitfereut plan being
pursued, no wrilfcn ansuntnce-i were ijiccn in the manner

In regard to the non-compliance with the methods
prescrilicd by tlic ci.niiiiissioner*, the failure in Fay-
ette County t(i -igiiiiy the suliniis<ii)n of the people
by individual sub<ci-ipti..n to the terms, and the very
light vote cast here,' Mr. Oallutiii. in a letter t.. (;..v-
ernor Mifflin,' dated Uni..iitowii,Se;ileiiil.eil 7th, >ai>l,
"It was an cftWrt tno -reat, [.erliap-. t.i he ixpe'ted

a test ot al)soUite Mil. 111!
giving active support I., t
be operatetl only by ileg'
vineed the unilei-tamlini;^
was not so easy a ta-k to
dices were more ilieply lo.. e'l and n
tion less extensive. The great Ihh
which consists of moderate men, we
from a want of knowledge of their ow
to discover tlieir sentiments, and wi:
awe by a tew violent men. Tiiis wa
cipal reasons which prevented sii ii
ing the general meeting on the day ■
of the jjeople was taken, to whieh

crate nieii", who. havin- r,,llow,.l ,„.


i, Tlie change would
nd alter having con-
nioi-e enlightened, it
le tln.^e whose pivju-

|S ,,l

1 1

t kept in
the prin-
n attend-


all the wannest per-nns attended, we had a very
large and decided majority anioiig-t tlie voter>, and a
great many of those w ho had eonje with an intention
of testilVing their intention to resist, were convinced
by the aigunients niaile use of, though their pride
W(juhl not suller them to make a public retraction on
tlie moment, and they went off without giving any

•' A very favorable and decisive change taken
place since, and has indeed been the re.sult of the
event of that day. The general disposition now seems

to be to submit, and a great many are now signing the
proposals of the commissioners, not only in the
neighboring counties, but even in this, where we had
not thought it necessary. We have therefore thought
the moment was come for the people to act with more
vigor, and to show something more than mere passive
obedience to the laws, and we have in consequence
(by the resolutions of this day herein inclosed, and
which, we hope, will be attended with salutary eft'ects)
recommended associations for the purpose of preserv-
ing order, and of supporting the civil authority, as
whatever heat existed in this county was chiefly
owing to what had passed in the neighboring coun-

•The resolutions referred to in the letter were those
passed at a meeting of the township committees of
Fayette County, held on the 17th of Septendier, at
Uniontown, and of which Edward Cook was cliair-
man. As stated by Mr. Gallatin, they recommended
township associations in this and adjoining counties
to promote submission to the law, and in their pre-
anihle recited that "It is necessary to shew our fel-
low-eitizens throughout the United States that the
eliaraeter of the inhabitants of the western country
is not sueh as may have been represented to them,
hut that on the contrary they are disposed to live in
a peaceable manner, and can preserve good order
among themselves without the a.ssistance of a military
force." Evidently the opponents of the law had at
last begun to realize that successful resistance to the
government was hopeless, and that voluntary submis-
sion was better than that enforced by infantry, cav-
alry, and artillery. But the knowledge came too late
to prevent the exercise, or at least the menace, of the
military power. Upon a full knowledge of the result
of the meetings held on the 11th of September in the
townships and election districts of the disaffected
counties, the United States commissioners reported to
the President, narrating the events connected with
their mission, and concluded by saying that although
they firmly believed that a considerable majority of
the inhabitants of the four counties were disposed to
-uhiuittothc execution of the laws, "at the same time
they [the commissioners] conceive it their duty ex-
plicitly to declare their opinion that such is the state
ol' things in that survey that there is no probability'
that the act for raising a revenue on distilled spirits
and >;ills eau at present be enforced by the usual
eour-e ot eivil authority, and that some more compe-
tent tbrce is necessary to cause the laws to be duly
executed, and to insure to the officers and well-dis-
posed citizens that protection which it is the duty of
government to afford. This opinion is founded on the
tiicts already stated [the accounts of the unsatisfactory
result of the township and district nieetingsj, and it
is confirmed by that which is entertained by many
intelligent and influential persons, officers of justice
and others, resident in the western counties, who have
latclv informed one of the commissioners that what-



ever assurances might be given, it was in tlieir judg-
ment absolutely necessary that the civil authority i
should be aided by a military force in order to secure ;
a duo execution of the laws." I

The commissioners' report caused the President }
to decide, unhesitatingly, to use the military power^ ]
and to extinguish the last vestige of insurrection at
whatever cost. In taking this course he had (as he
afterwards said to a committee from these counties)
two great objects in view : first, to show, not only to the
inhabitants of the western country, but to the entire
Union and to foreign nations, that. a republican gov-
ernment could and would exert its physical power to
enforce the execution of the laws where opposed, and
also that American citizens were ready to make every
sacrifice and encounter every difficulty and danger for
the sake of supporting that fundamental principle of
government; and, second, to effect a full and com-
plete restoration of order and submission to the laws
in the insurrectionary district. In pursuance of this
determination the forces were promptly put in motion,
and on the 25th of September the President issued a
proclamation, which, after a preamble, setting forth
that the measures taken by government to suppress
the lawless combinations in the western counties had
foiled to have full effect; that "the moment is now
come where the overtures of forgiveness, with no
other condition than a submission to law, have been
only partially accepted ; when every form of concilia-
tion not inconsistent with the well-being of govern-
ment has been adopted without effect," proceeds, —

" Now, therefore, I, George Washington, President
of the United States, in obedience to that high and
irresistible duty consigned to me by the Constitution,
' to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,' de-
ploring that the American name should be sullied by
the outrages of citizens on their own government,
commiserating such as remain obstinate from delu-
sion, but resolved, in perfect reliance on that gracious
Providence which so signally displays its goodness
towards this country, to reduce the refractory to a
due subordination to the law : Do hereby declare and
make known that, with a satisfaction which can be
equaled only by the merits of the militia summoned
into service from the States of New Jersey, Pennsyl-
vania, Maryland, and Virginia, I have received in-
telligence of their patriotic alacrity in obeying the
call of the present though painful yet commanding
necessity; that a force which, according to every rea-
sonable expectation, is adequate to the exigency is
already in motion to the scene of disaffection ; that
those who have confided or shall confide in the pro-
tection of government shall meet full succor under
the standard and from the arms of the United States;
that those who, having oft'ended against the laws,
have since entitled themselves to indemnity, will be
treated with the most liberal good fiiith, if they shall
not have forfeited their claim by any subsequent con-
duct, and that instructions are given accordingly. . . ."

The forces called out for the exigency amounted to
about fifteen thousand men, in four divisions, one
division from each of the States of Virginia, Maryland,
Penu.sylvania, and New Jersey, as before mentioned.
The .Virginia and Maryland troops (commanded
respectively by Gen. Daniel Morgan, of the former
State, and Brig.-Gen. Samuel Smith, of Baltimore)
formed the left wing, which rendezvoused at Cumber-
land, Md. The right wing (which was rendezvoused
at Carlisle, Pa.) was composed of the Pennsylvania
troops, commanded by Governor Mifflin, and those of
New Jersey, under Governor Richard Howell, of that
State. The commander-in-chief of the whole army
was Gen. Henry Lee, Governor of Virginia, the
" Light-Horse Harry" of Revolutionary fame, and
father of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Confederate com-
mander in the war of 1861-65.

In his instructions from the President, the com-
mander-in-chief was directed to " proceed as speedily
as may be with the army under your command into
the insurgent counties, to attack and as -far as shall be
in your power to subdue all persons whom you may
find in arms in opposition to the laws. You will
march your army in two columns from the places
where they are now assembled, by the most convenient
routes, having regard to the nature of the roads, the
convenience of supply, and the facility of co-opera-
tion and union, and bearing in mind that you ought
to act, until the contrary shall be fully developed, on
the general principle of having to contend with the
whole forceof the countius (if Fayt'ttu, Westmoreland,
Washington, and All.-hrny, :ni<l , if that part of Bed-
ford which lies westward of tlie town of Bedford, and
that you are to put as little as possible to hazard.
j The approximation, therefore, of your columns is to
j be sought, and the subdivisiim of them <o as to place
the parts out of mutual siippurtin^' distance to be
avoided as far as local circumstaiucs will permit.
Parkinson's Ferry appears to be a proper point
towards which to direct the march of the columns for
the purpose of ulterior measures.

" When arrived within the insurgent country, if an
armed oppdsitinn a|)pear, it may be proper to publish
a prochunatiiin inviting all good citizens, friends to
the constitution and laws, to join the standard of the
United States. If no armed opposition exist it may
still be proper to publish a proclamation exhorting to
a peaceful and dutiful demeanor, and giving assu-
rances of performing with good faith and liberality
whatsoever may have been promised by the commis-
sioners to those who have complied with the condi-
tions prescribed by them, and who have not forfeited
their title by subsequent misdemeanor. Of those
persons in arms, if any, whom you may make prisoners,
leaders, including all persons in command, are to be
delivered to the civil magistrates, the rest to be dis-
armed, admonished, and sent home (except such as
may have been particularly violent and also influen-
tial), causing their own recognizances for their good



behaviour to be taken in the cases which it may be
deemed expedient. . . . When the insurrection is
subdued, and the requisite means have been put in
execution to secure obedience to the laws, so as to
render it proper for the army to retire (an event which
you will accelerate as much as shall be consistent with
the object), you will endeavor to make an arrangement
for attaching such a force as you may deem adequate,
to be stationed within the disafl'ected counties in such
a manner as best to afford protection to well-disposed
riii/cns and tlie officers of the revenue, and to sup-
press, by their presence, the spirit of riot and opposi-
tion to the laws. But before you withdraw the army
you shall promise, on behalf of the President, a gen-
eral pardon to all such as shall not have been arrested,
with such exceptions as you shall deem proper. . . .
You are to exert yourself by all possible means to
preserve discipline among the troops, particularly a
scrupulous regard to the riglits of persons and prop-
erty, and a respect for the authority of the civil mag-
istrates, taking especial care to inculcate and cause
to be observed this principle,— that the duties of the
armyare confined to attacl;in,u and suliduing of armed
opponents of the laws, and to the supporting and aid-
ing of the civil officers in tlie execution of their func-

" It has been settled that the Governor of Pennsyl-
vania will be second, and the Governor of New Jersey
third in command, and that the troops of the several
States in line on the man-h and upon ilctachmeut are
to be posted according tn the rule whieh inevailed in
the army during the late war. namely, in moving
towards the seaboard the nujst southern troops will
take the right, in moving towards the north the most
northern troojis will take the right. . . ."

In addition to his military duties as commanding
officer of the expeditionary forces, Gen. Lee was also
charged to give countenance and support to the civil
officers in the execution of the law, in bringing
offenders to justice, and enforcing penalties on de-
linquent distillers, and "the better to effect these
purposes" the judge of the United States District
Court, Kichard Peters, Ks(i., and the attorney of the
district, William Eawle, Kscj., accompanying the

President Washington, with Gen. .Henry Knox, Sec-
retary of War, and Gen. Alexander Hamilton, Secre-
tary of the Treasury, left Pliiladelpliia on the 1st of
October, and proceeded l.y way of Harrishurg to the
headquarters of the right wing of the army at Car-
lisle. From that ].laee, on the lltli he went to Cham-
bersburg, and thenee by way of Williamsport to Fort
Cumberland, where hearrive.l on the Utli, and where
he reviewed the Maryland and Virginia troops, com-
posing the lelt wing; alter whieh he jiroeeeded to
Bedford, Pa. (which was then Gen. Lee's headquar-
ters), reaching it on the 10th, and remaining there
two or three days, then returning east, and arriving
at Philadelphia on the 28th.

In the mean time, after the departure of the Hon.
James Ross, United States commissioner, from Pitts-
burgh and Uniontown, carrying with him to Phila-
delphia the reports of the elections of the 11th of
September, the people of the four counties began to
realize that the results of those elections might very
probably be regarded as unsatisfactory by the govern-
ment, and that very unpleasant consequences might
ensue by the ordering of the military forces into this
region. Upon this a general feeling of alarm became
apparent, and spread rapidly. A meeting of the Com-
mittee of Sixty (otherwise termed the Committee of
Safety) was called and held at Parkinson's Ferry on the
2d of October, Judge Alexander Addison being their
secretary. At this meeting William Findley, of West-
moreland, and David Redick, of Washington County,
were appointed a committee to wait on the President of
the United States and to assure him that submission
and order could be restored wdthout the aid of military
force. They found the President on the 10th of Oc-
tober at Carlisle, where he had come to review the
troops of the right wing of the army, as before men-
tioned. Tliey there had several interviews with him,
in which they informed him of the great change that
had taken place; " that the great body of the people
who had no concern in the di-sorders but remained
quietly at home and attended to their business had
become convinced that the violence used would ruin
the country ; that they had formed themselves into
associations to suppress disorder, and to promote sub-
mission to the laws." In reply to this, the President
said that as the army was already on its way to the
western counties, the orders could not be counter-
manded, yet: he assured the delegates that no vio-
lence would be used, and that all that was desired
was to have the inhabitants of the disaffected region
come back to their allegiance.

This reply was final and ended the mission of the
committee. They returned and made their report at
another meeting of the Committee of Safety, which
was held at Parkinson's on the 24th of October, and
of which Judge James Edgar was chairman. At this
" meeting of the committees of townships of the four
western counties of Pennsylvania and of sundry other
citizens" it was resolved, " First, — Tliat in our opinion
the civil authority is now fully competent to enforce
the laws and punish both past and future offenses, in-
asmuch as the people at large are determined to sup-
port every description of civil officers in the legal dis-
charge of their duty.

"Second, — That in our opinion all persons who
may be charged or suspected of having committed any
offense against the United States or the State during
the late disturbances, and who have not entitled
themselves to the benefits of the act of oblivion, ought
immediately to surrender themselves to the civil au-
thority, in order to stand their trial ; that if there
be any such persons among us they are ready to
surrender themselves to the civil authoritv accord-



ingly, and that we will unite in giving our assistance i
to bring to justice such offenders as shall not sur-

"Third, — That in our opinion offices of inspection
may he immediately opened in the respective coun- i
ties of this survey, without any danger of violence |
being offered to any of the officers, and that the dis- j
tillers are willing and ready to enter their stills.

" Fourth,— That William Findley, David Rediclc,
Ephraim Douglass, and Thomas Morton do wait on i
the President with the foregoing resolutions."

The four committee-men appointed by the meeting |
to carry the renewed assurances to the President met
at Greensburg pieparatory to setting out on tlieir
mission, but at that place they received intelligence
that the President had already left Bedford for Phila-
delphia, and that the army was moving towards the
Monongahela, and thereupon they decided to await
the arrival of the forces, and to report the action of
the meeting to the commander-in chief, as the Presi-
dent's representative.

There was no delay in the movement of the army.
The New Jersey and Pennsylvania troops, composing
the right wing, marched from Carlisle on the 22d of
October, and proceeded by way of Bedford, across that
county and Somerset, and along the road skirting the
northeastern part of Fayette, to what is now Mount
Pleasant, in Westmoreland, at which place the ad-
vance brigade arrived and encamped on the 29th. The
centre corps (of this wing) encamped on the farm of
Col. Bonnett, in Westmoreland, near the line of
Fayette County, and the rear went into camp at Lo-
bengier's Mills on the 30th. At these places they re-
ined encamped about one week. Following is an
extract from a letter' written from the rear brigade,
dated Jones' Mill (in Westmoreland, near the north-
east line of Fayette County), Oct. 29, 1784: " I am
distressed at the ridiculous accounts sometimes pub-
lished in our papers. I assure you that there has not
been a single shot fired at our troops to my knowl-
edge. The whole country trembles. The most tur-
bulent characters, as we advance, turn out to assist us,
supply forage, cattle, etc. From Washington we hear
of little but fear and flight; a contrary account as to
one neighborhood (Pidgeon Creek) has been sent
down, but no appearance of an armed opposition, and
this the only part of the country where the friends of
government are not triumphant. Our army is healthy
and happy ; the men exhibit unexpected fortitude in
supporting the continued fatigues of bad roads and
bad weather."

The left wing of the army moved from Fort Cum-
berland on the 22d of October, and took the route
marched over by Gen. Braddock thirty-nine years be-
fore, to the Great Meadows, and from there to Union-

2d Series, vol. iv. p. 433.

town, at which place Gen. Lee arrived on the last
day of October, and the main body of the left wing
came up and encamped there the same evening.

The committee-men, Findley, Rcdick, Douglass,
and Morton, who, as before mentioned, had been met
at Greensburg with the intelligence of the departure
of the President from Bedford, which decided them
to wait the arrival of the army, went to the head-
quarters of the right wing at Bonnett's farm on the
30th of October, and presented the resolutions of as-
surance to Secretary Hamilton, who accompanied the
division of Governor Miffiin. The secretary examined
them and returned them to the committee, with the re-
mark that, " for the sake of decorum, it would be best to
present them to the commander-in-chief." This was
what the committee had intended to do, and learning
that Gen. Lee was then at or near Uniontown they
immediately left for that place, and arriving there on
the 31st of October, laid the business of their mission
before him, he having full power to act in the name
of the President. Secretary Hamilton also came over
from the right wing, and arrived at Uniontown on
the same evening.

Gen. Lee received the committee with great polite-
ness,^ and requested them to call on him on the follow-
ing morning. At the appointed time he gave them
his reply, which they embodied in their report, dated

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 39 of 193)