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one-third of their force. It will be remembered how this affair
aroused the colonists to the highest pitch of indignation, and at
once brought on the war. It will also be remembered how a Brit-
ish force of three thousand men, about two months later, under-
took to disperse the Americans from Bunker's Hill and were
twice repulsed, and then how General Clinton came up with a rein-
forcement, and how — the powder of the Am.ericans having become
exhausted — the redoubt was finally carried, though at great cost
to the British. Vigorous measures were now taken by both sides
to fight it out, and an era of gloom, uncertainty, destitution, car-
nage and suffering followed that put the valor and patriotism of
the colonists to the severest test. A A f^A "^Qf^

The immigration of the Germans to Pennsylvania had been
so great, that at the period of the Revolution their number made
them an important element in the cause of independence. When
the revolt of the colonies came they were at once all on the side
of freedom. Four days after Independence was declared at Phil-
adelphia the citizens of Easton and the country surrounding
hailed the news by a great street demonstration, after which they
marched to the Court House and heard the Declaration of Inde-
pendence read. Capt. Nagel's company of "Berks County Dutch-
men" was part of the first contingent of outside colonists who
came to the support of the New Englanders after the battle of
Bunker's Hill. Our humble ancestor up the Lehigh, near the foot
of the Blue Mountain, doubtless soon heard the soul-stirring news,
and was at once in sympathy with the spirit and aim of the Revo-
lution, though he probably never carried a musket even as a mili-
tiaman or "Associator." He had a wife and several small chil-
dren to care for, and his circumstances were such that he may
have thought he could do his adopted country the best service by
helping to raise food for the army. And perhaps he feared to
leave his family on account of the Indians, who seemed ready

36 The Gcrnhardt Family History.

any hour to rush down upon the for the most part unprotected
inhabitants. Not every man could nor did leave his farm, or
workshop, or mill. Among the contingent of supplies at one
time assessed by the Supreme Executive Council to Northampton
County was 500 barrels of flour and 1,000 bushels of forage
everv month, and this, of course, required an effective force to
serve in the quiet fields at home. We would all be glad to know
just how Heinrich and Rosine felt, and just what they said and
did as they from time to time heard of Indian atrocities, and of
the fearful struggle for freedom against a despotism that, as
the Declaration of Independence declared, "has plundered our
seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives
of our people." and was guilty of other "repeated injuries and
usurpations." but we can only surmise how they were aft'ected
by transpiring events and what they did and thought.

In the description of his land in the deed our Northampton
forefather gave to George Ensle, in April, 1795, some of the con-
tiguous tracts were in the names of Conrad Laufer, Jacob Walp,
Conrad Kreider, Philip Heiney, Henry Piegle and Adam Dieter.
Several or most of these land-owners may have resided else-
where. Conrad Kreider, it appears, was not one of his nearest
neighbors, as he lived a few miles south of him, in Allen, Town-
ship. By reference to Vol. VIII of the Pennsylvania Archives
we find that Conrad Kreider was the Wagon Master General of
Northampton County during the war* Northampton was at that
time still a large territory, having as yet only contributed (with
Berks, Lancaster, Cumberland, and Bedford), to the erection of
one county, viz., Northumberland in 1772. Its. area was after-
wards greatly reduced by further concessions of territory in the

* After writing the above I learned (from the letter of John Arndt, on page
421 of Vol. 5 of the Penn'a Archives) that Conrad Kreider was appointed
"Waggon Master General" by the Justices of Northampton County, assembled
at the town of Northampton (now the city of Allentowu), on the 26th day of
June, 1777, in pursuance of a plan recommended by the Supreme Executive
Council of the State. At a meeting of the Justices on the 5th day of July fol-
lowing W. M. General Kreider reported that the number of wagons then in the
county was five hundred and fifty. The wagons were then divided into
brigades, and lots were ordered to be cast to decide which brigades should
answer General Kreider's call first.

The Gcrnhardt Family History. 37


formation of Wayne in 1798, of'Schuylkill in 181 1, of Lehigh in
181 2, of Monroe in 1836, and Carbon in 1843. ^^^e here re-
produce from the Archives two of W. M. General Kreider's let-
ters addressed to His Excellency, Joseph Reed, President of the
Supreme Executive Council of the State of Pennsylvania, which
are of special interest, because showing the distressed state of the
country at the time Heinrich was cutting down forest trees, grub-
bing out roots, burning brush, plowing" around stumps, chasing
away crows and blackbirds, cutting grain with a sickle, threshing
grain with a flail, and perhaps sometimes, when bad news came,
feeling discouraged, and wondering if he really had come to a land
of peace and safety and independence :

Allen Township, Northampton County, July the 22d, 1780.
May it please your Worship :

I Received the orders from the 24th of June last, to make up
thirty Teams in this County of Northampton, to send to our
Army, which Teams I Expected to make up in a short time but
finding myself very much disappointed by the utmost of my
Exertion and taking all Methods in my Power Viz. first I sent
all my Deputies to make up such a Number of Teams according
to the strength of their Districts -without fail and to bring in a true
account of all those who had not taken the Oath of Alegiance,
but they got only three Teams in the whole County by that
Method, Secondly I send to all my Deputies again to Warn the
Farmers all in their Districts to meet on a certain day and each
Township to make up so many Teams recj[uired to make up the
above Mentioned Number but getting none. Thirdly I send to
all those who had not taken the Oath to take their Horses Wag-
gons and gears by force saving two Horses on each Plantation,
and got but eight Teams in all by that Method, for on the most
Plantations Especially of Disaffected People is only two Horses,
and with the said eight Teams I had very much Trouble and Cost,
for I was oblidged to have their Waggons repaired all their Horses
shot and fodder found for all from the beginning and was oblidged
to inlist Drivers for said 8 Teams, and to pay each one Month
Wages down and to Promise the Residue as soon as they retturn
and was oblidged to furnish the Waggon Master \yith Money to
supply the wants of said Teams on the Road, which I did with
my Money, and send the Teams off last week Eleven in Number,

38 The Gernhardt Family History.

likewise ihe Militia which Assisted by taking said Eight Teams I
was oblidged to Promise Reasonable Wages and did pay some.

Further I must acquaint the Honorable the Council about the
Deputies under me that I can get none in my District to act any
more for me in such Business, Their Excuse and Complain is of
their service they have done last year, and having not received as
yet their Wages and what they had due was too little and will not
serve any more without having first Received what they had due,
and then to know a certainty what Wages is to be after, so like-
wise all the Farmers have the same Excuse and Complain. I
hope you will take this into Consideration and furnish me with
Monev so as I may Perform my promise for it is not Possible for
me to get any Teams to go without Money,

I am your most Obedient

Humble Servant,

Conrad Kryder,

W. M. Gen'l.
To the Honorable the President and Council in the State of

At the meeting of the President and Council, three days after
the date of the above letter of complaints, the following item — see
Colonial Records, Vol. 12, page 431 — was entered in the minutes
of the proceedings :

"An order was drawn on the Treasurer in favor of Mr. Con-
rad Kreider, Waggon Master of the county of Northampton, for
the sum of two thousand pounds Continental money, and also the
amount of other two thousand pounds, to be paid in State money,
at the rate of sixty for one, for expences in calling out waggons
from said county, agreeable to a late order of this Board."

At the same session of the Executive Council it was resolved
to forward further orders to the Wagon Masters of the then eight
counties of the State, and urge them to act in the most vigorous
manner in the performance of their duties. The following, one
of the resolutions, shows how necessary it must have been that
the army be furnished with teams :

"Resolved, That in case of difficulty or delay in making up
the said teams, the said Waggon Masters and their Deputies do

TJic Gernhardt Family History. 39

apply to the magistrates and officers of the miHtia for their assist-
ance, and that they impress any horses, waggons and gears, dis-
tinguishing between such as have taken the oaths or affirmations
of allegiance, and those wdio have not, and saving always to every
plantation at least two working horses ; That the said horses,
waggons and gears, be appraised on oath by two persons, to be
appointed as the Waggon Law directs, and a certificate given;
That the Waggon Masters do, within one month, make a true re-
turn to this "Board of all horses, waggons and gears so taken, and
also the prices affixed."

In response to this the following letter was sent, by Kreider,
directed to the "Honorable the President & Council in Philadel-
phia :"

Allen Township. Northampton County,

Aug'st 6, 1780.

May it please your W^orships,

When I Received your orders to me from the 25th of July
last for making up the Teams required in the orders of this County,
and for Buying the one Hundred Horses, I began to Execute the
orders immediately, but soon found that I could not get any by the
directions I had, for the owners of Horses would set their own
price. I then Notified all the Justices of the County to meet on
the 5th of this month to Assist me. At the same time in Notfying
the Justices a new demand came from his Excellency General
Washington by Major Lee with a party of the light Dragoons, for
one Hundred four Horse Teams and twenty-four Horses more,
either to make them Voluntarily in a short time in this County,
or, according to his orders, to Impress. He likewise (the said
Major Lee) came to our meeting, and all the Justices of each
Township in the County so notified met on the day appointed at
the very hour, and unanimously undertook to make up the said
one Hundred Teams and twenty-four Horses, laid a Quota on
each Township for the same, and likewise for the one Hundred
Horses above mentioned, and to have all the Teams to go this
Week, and the twenty-four Horses. But to acquaint the Hon-
ourable the President and Council about the Conductors which I
must have to each Brigade of Waggons and likewise to all the
said Horses ; none will undertake to go without knowing a cer-
tainty of wages what to have, and will not go without good wages.
So likewise the drivers, of which the most part I shall be obliged
to inlist and to pay one month advance : and none of the Conduc-

40 The Gernhardt Family History.

tors will nor can go without some Money for the Supply them-
selves and the Teams in Necessary articles on the Road, and as I
was acquainted that forrage was very scarce, and in the most
places none to be had in the Jersey, I ordered each Team to take
forrage for eight or ten days from home, for which they will have
ready money paid down. Which Conductors, Drivers, forrage.
Expresses will require a large sum of Money, for which the Sum
I received last is too small, and for the order I receive4 for Money
at the Treasury at Easton 1 can get none yet as there is none
there. I hope you will send me a good sum of Money as soon as
may be, as I cannot act without, for which I will honastly account
in my Settlement. And to let me know what hire the Conductors
and drivers is to have or I must undertake to set a price. Further
would I be very glad to know whether our County is now ex-
cused from giving the Teams required in the orders of the 25th of
July last b}' sending ofif so many now ; further do I want fifty ser-
tificates more at least, as I have received only fifty and shall want
one Hundred.

I am your most

obedient Humble servant,

Conrad Kreider, W. M.
for Northampton County.

Heinrich at the date of these w^ar requisitions was hardly yet
fairly started in life. That is, it is not to be supposed that he was
in as comfortable circumstances as many of his German country-
men who had already been on the road to fortune ten to forty or
more years before him. He was young, but he may have felt that
he could neither go into the service as a soldier or as a teamster.
He now had four small children — the fifth, John, my grandfather,
was born only a few weeks after the date of Kreider's last of the
above letters — and for these helpless ones affection claimed that
he must remain with and provide for them. He had no child yet
that could help him on the farm. Like the poorer and more re-
cent of the settlers, he probably had but one horse ; if he had two
he was more fortunate, yet even then he was not subject to the
order of the Executive Council, which considerately spared "to
every plantation at least two working horses." And may he not
for some years have done his work with a yoke of patient oxen ?

The Gernhardt Family History. 41

The great difficulty of getting teams ; the fact that, as Kreider
says, the teamsters had "no money to supply themselves with
necessities," and the condition of the horses, which had to be
shot ( !) and of the wagons, that had first to be made fit for ser-
vice, shows how poorly many of the farmers were prepared for
what was required of them. But it is a pleasure to note that when
His Excellency, General George Washington, made a personal re-
quisition for "one Hundred four Horse Teams and twenty-four
Horses more," and sent Major Lee with a party of light dragoons
to convince them of the urgent need of the army, then the one
hundred four-horse teams and twenty-four horses more were
ready to go tJic same iccck yet, and without the disagreeable neces-
sity of impressment. In these days of abundance and luxury, of
marvelous improvements, and of the blessings of peace, we can-
not easily realize how the inhabitants must have felt, what they
endured, and what sacrifices they had to make in the dark and
dubious days of the Revolution. But at least the Germans of
Northampton seemed to have responded promptly, though it
seems that the people of some sections did not, as three weeks
after Kreider's second letter His Excellency, General Washing-
ton, was obliged to write a very doleful letter from his head-
quarters in Bergen County, N. J., to President Reed of the Execu-
tive Council (See Penn'a Archives, Vol. 8, page 525), concerning
the "extremity of distress" to which the army was then again re-
duced. After stating how sadly destitute his men were, and that
it had been no inconsiderable support to their cause that they had
so far respected the personal rights of the inhabitants, while the
British troops had wantonly violated the same, the noble Com-
mander-in-Chief proceeds to say :

"From the above state of facts it may be foreseen that this army
cannot possibly remain much longer together, unless very vigor-
ous and immediate measures are taken by the States to comply
with the requisitions made upon them. The Commissary Gen-
eral has neither the means nor the power of procuring supplies.
He is only to receive them from the several agents. Without a
speedy change of circumstances, this dilemma must be involved;
either the army must disband, or what is, if possible, worse, sub-

42 The Gernhardt Family History.

sist upon the plunder of the People. I would fain flatter myself
that a knowledge of our situation will produce the desired relief' —
not a relief of a few days, as has generally heretofore been the
case, but a supply equal to the establishment of magazines for the
Winter. If these are not formed before the Roads are broken up by
the Weather, we shall certainly experience the same difficulties
and distress the ensuing Winter which we did the last. Altho'
the troops have, upon every occasion hitherto, borne their wants
with unparalleled patience, it will be dangerous to trust too often
to a repetition of the causes of discontent."

Such was the disheartening condition of the country during
the early years of Heinrich's and Rosine's domestic life, when
they were toiling hard and rearing their children in the lonely
backwoods near the base of the Blue Mountain, with wild and un-
occupied lands still nearly all around them. Fifteen years later,
when they sold their place to George Ensle, two of its boundary
lines were still along unseated lands. But the reader is now left
to imagine by himself what life meant to them in their humble and
solitary pioneer home, during the long and determined struggle
for honor and independence.

It may be well to add here that the greater portion of the most
densely populated and the best improved section of Northampton
County at this critical period lay south of the Lehigh River, and
comprises what is now known as Lehigh County. A letter dated
Allentown, Aug. 24, 1780, from David Deshler, Commissioner
for Northampton County, to President Reed of the Executive
Council, (See Penn'a Archives, Vol. 8, page 517,) says: "Be
pleased to send me Fifty thousand pounds for the use of purchas-
ing supplies for the army, without that article it is impossible for
me to carry on the Business in the manner I could wish. I can
purchase one hundred head of cattle in one week's time, if I was
supplied with money for that purpose. I have the offer of five
hundred Bushels of Wheat from one person, but cannot have it
for want of money." Two days later, Aug. 26th, (See Colonial
Records, Vol. 12, page 460,) the Council directed that an order be
drawn for the sum of £1,000, to Colonel David Deshler, for pur-
chasing supplies for the army. Uncle Sam's credit and resources

The Gernhardt Family History. 43

have improved mightily since th^n, and also his facilities for doing


Heinrich's land was located just within or along the border
of what is now known in history as "The Indian Walk," or
"Walking Purchase of 1737." The purchase of 1682 made by
William Markham, the agent of William Penn, was to extend as
far as a man could walk in three days'. After walking one day
and a half Penn thought that he had land enough (enough then
at least), and thereupon a line was agreed upon. But ere long
the land-covetous white settlers began to encroach more and more
on the Indian domain, which made the aboriginal proprietors feel
uneasy, and realize that they must take some steps to protect them-
selves. They reasonably insisted on a limit being fixed to the
extension of settlement. Accordingly several treaties were held
— one in 1734, one in 1735, and the final one in August, 1737 — ^by
which it was at last agreed that the purchase of 1682 be confirmed.
' It was then assented that the question of territoiy should be de~
cided by another "walk;" that the walk should take place in Sep-
tember, 1737; that the starting point was to be at a certain chest-
nut tree close to the northern border of the 1682 purchase, and
near the sight of what is now Wrightstown, Bucks County ; that
the start should be made at sunrise, and the finish be made at noon
on the following day. To make all that was possible of the bar-
gain, the Proprietary government chose three strong men, — Ed-
ward Marshall, James Yeates, and Solomon Jennings, — who were
all famous as great walkers, and incited them to do their utmost
by agreeing to give them five pounds in money and five hundred
acres of land for their service. Sometime before the actual test
an experimental walk had been made, to see how much land could
thus be secured, and the trees along the route were blazed, to give
the walkers the benefit of a chosen course.

The walk was not fast at first, but ere long the walkers began
to warm up and quickened their pace so much that the Indians
who were with them as witnesses found it hard work to keep up,
and from time to time insisted that the walkers should "zvalk and

44 Tiic Gcni/iardt Family History.

not run." There was no use of their remonstrating, however, as
there was no stipulation that the walk should be slow. The famous
walkers had their reputations at stake, and this was still another
incentive to make extraordinary effort. There was also consid-
erable betting on them — it is said mostly in favor of Yeates — and
probably they were also stimulated by ofifers from the bettors.
People gathered at some points along the route to see them pass.
So it was of course predetermined to have a "heap walk," and
get out of the bargain all that there was in it. Most of the In-
dians became thoroughly disgusted, declared they were cheated,
and walked away from the scene in sullen anger. A number of
persons followed on horseback. We have not the space to repeat
all the incidents we have found on record relating to this question-
able feat of diplomacy, about which so much has been said and
written. It was as unprofitable for two of the walkers as it was
unsatisfactory to the outwitted Red Men. Jennings broke down
the first day, and so injured himself by his severe exertion that
he is said to have died from the effects several years after. Yeates
gave out the next morning near the foot of the Blue Mountain
(not far from the spot where Heinrich and Rosine afterward
lived), and had so overtaxed himself that he was blind when
picked up, and lived only three days. Marshall was in the rear
for some time at the start, but at the noon hour when the walk
ended he was the champion walker and had reached a point be-
yond the mountain nearly sixty-four miles from the place of start-
ing< — some have estimated the distance as high as eighty-six miles
— and was doubtless very tired, but was evidently not injured, as
he appears to have lived to a great age ; one writer says he died
at seventy-nine, and another says he lived to be ninety years old.

But after the walk came the most exasperating part of the
transaction to the aggrieved Indians. From the northern termi-
nus of the walk a line was to be drawn eastward to the Delaware
River, and all the land south of this line, and between it and the
river, was to be added to the former purchase and forever belong
to the insatiable whites. The precise eastward course of this line
was not specified in the deed, or contract, and therefore, instead

The Gcrnhardt Fauiily History. 45

of running it direct to the river, as the less artful Indians had
expected, it was so deflected to the north as to embrace almost
twice as much land as they had calculated to convey. They at
once saw the advantage that was taken of them, and fearlessly
denounced the proceeding as an outrage. And they never forgot
it. Nineteen years later (in 1756) it was the leading question at
a council held in Easton, when they again insisted that the walk
was not fairly conducted, that the Proprietaries had not dealt hon-
estly with them, and that the line from the end of the walk should
have been run to the nearest point on the river. This walk, the
astute historian. Dr. William H. Egle, says, in his valuable His-
tory of Pennsylvania, "was the cause of jealousies and heart-
burnings among the Indians, which eventually broke out in loud
complaints of injustice and atrocious acts of savage vengeance.
The very first murder committed by them after this transaction
was on the very land they believed themselves cheated out of."

The troubles with the Indians within the domain of the Walk-
ing Purchase, of so large a portion of which they regarded them-
selves as having been deliberately cheated, were, as already
stated, about at an end when Heinrich commenced making a home
in the wilderness within the line of the first day's walk ; but the
settlers were still at times uneasy, as they knew the Indians had
not ceased to lament the transaction of thirty years before, and
they trembled for their families when they heard of the fearful

Online LibraryJeremiah Meitzler Mohr GernerdHeinrich Gernhardt and his descendants ... → online text (page 4 of 27)