Josiah Rhinehart Sypher.

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9. In It 69, a party of Pennsylvanians, under a grant from
the proprietary government, proceeded to Wyoming, and
formed a settlement on the deserted fields of the Connecticut
people ; and about the same time, forty uew emigrants from
Connecticut arrived, but were driven away, or arrested by
the Pennsylvanians. Soon after this, two hundred more
came from Connecticut, built a fort, and determined to de-
fend themselves against the authority of the Penns.

10. Serious disputes arose, which resulted in open war
between the rival parties. A company of militia was sent
up by the proprietary government to dispossess the intruders.
The military was resisted by force, and several persons on
both sides were killed. The settlers from the east main-
tained their hold in the valley, at a point near where Wilkes-
barre now stands ; the strife continued, with alternate success
and defeat, and loss of life to both parties, until the begin-
ning of the Revolutionary war, when all were called to join
hands against a common enemy.

11. The population of Wyoming, in 1776, numbered about
5000, with a military force of 1100 men; of these nearly 300
enlisted in the Continental army. In the spring of 1778, a
party of British, tories, and Indians, from Canada, numbering
about 800, invaded the valley of Wyoming, under the com-
mand of Colonel John Butler. The enemy took possession
of an old fort at the upper end of the valley, and there pre-
pared to attack the settlers. The inhabitants immediately

9. When did Pennsylvanians first attempt to settle in Wyoming,
and what followed ?

10. What was the condition of the community? What ended the
disputes ?

11. What was the population of this settlement? When and how
did the enemy approach the valley? What did the inhabitants do?


flew to arms; and, in a few days, a force of about 350 men
was organized to resist the invaders.

12. In the winter of lTt6, when Washington retreated
across the Delaware into Pennsylvania, there were two organ-
ized military companies in Wyoming. These were ordered
to join the Continental army opposite Trenton, and thus the
"town of Westmoreland," as the settlement in this valley
was called, w^as left comparatively defenseless. This the
notorious John Butler and his tory associates well knew, and
hence marched down the Susquehanna from the State of
New York in full confidence of an easy victory.

13. The enemy reached Fort Wintermoot, at the northern
end of the valley, without opposition, on the last day of June,
nt8. Colonel Zebulon Butler, a Continental officer, knowing
the defenseless condition of the inhabitants, had obtained
leave to visit the settlement, and was, by common consent,
made commander of the soldiers and people, who had taken
refuge in an old fort that had been built by the early settlers.

14. ''Indian Butler," as the cruel leader of the enemy was
called, summoned the inhabitants to surrender. A council of
war was called on the 3d of July, which resolved that the
troops should march out and give battle to the invaders.
Colonel ZebuloQ Butler and two of his ablest associates
thought it best to wait a few days, in the hope that rein-
forcements would arrive; but the council of war decided
upon immediate action. Accordingly, at about three o'clock
in the afternoon of the same day the devoted little band of
defenders marched up the valley, with the Susquehanna on

12. What did the notorious tory leader know ?

13. Where did the enemy go? Who commanded the inhabit-
ants ?

14. What was done ?


its right and a marsh on the left, until the head of their
column reached Fort Wintermoot, which had been abandoned
and set on fire in order to lead the inhabitants into the
belief that the enemy was retreating from the valley.

15. Colonel Butler, however, was not so easily deceived, and
soon discovered the position of the invaders; he therefore
formed his line of battle, stretching from the river to the
marsh. In a few patriotic words to his men, he said: "We
have come out to fight, not only for liberty, but for life itself,
and, what is dearer, to preserve our homes from conflagration,
and women and children from the tomahawk. Stand firm,
the first shock, and the Indians will give way. Every man
to his duty." The little army advanced rather incautiously,
and soon found itself entrapped and nearly surrounded by the

16. The battle began at four o'clock in the afternoon.
Colonel Zebulon Butler ordered his men to fire, and at each
discharge to advance a step. Along the whole line the firing
was rapid and steady. It was evident that on the more open
ground the patriots were doing most execution. For fully
half an hour a vigorous assault had been sustained, when
the superior numbers of the enemy began to be developed.
The Indians had thrown a strong force into the swamp,
which now completely outflanked the left wing, and the little
band of defenders was speedily overwhelmed and put to flight.

It. Every one now looked to his own safety. Some fled
to the mountains, some swam the river, and others retreated

15. How did Zebulon Butler prepare for battle? What did he say
to his men ?

16. How did the battle begin ? How did it end?

17. What followed the defeat? When and on what conditions
was the fort surrendered?


in haste and confusion to the fort. Many were struck down
with the tomahawk, and others were taken prisoners and car-
ried away into savage captivity. Colonel Zebulon Butler and
Colonel Denison were the first to reach the fort, where the
women and children of the settlement had assembled. The
news of the terrible defeat was soon told. Many of the
people at once fled down the river toward Sunbury, and
across the mountains to Stroudsburg. On the 5th of July,
the second day after the battle, the fort was surrendered to
"■ Indian Butler," on condition that the inhabitants should not
be molested in their persons or property.

18. These conditions were partly observed for one day,
but on the second day after the surrender the Indians began
to steal and plunder. The miserable inhabitants were soon
stripped of provisions and clothing, and a week later their
dwellings were reduced to ashes. Men, women, and children
fled to the mountains, and struggled through the thick forests
to reach the settlements on the Delaware. Many perished
in the wilderness, and others, after passing several days and
nights without food or shelter, found safety among the gen-
erous inhabitants of Northampton county.

19. In 1833, the corner-stone of a monument, commemora-
tive of this terrible event, was laid; the superstructure was
raised chiefly through the efforts of the ladies of Wyoming

* Upon the front slab of this monument is the following inscription :
"Near this spot was fought, on the afternoon of the 3d of July, 1778,
the battle of Wyoming ; in which a small band of patriotic Amer-
icans, chiefly the undisciplined, the youthful, and the aged, spared


18. How were these conditions observed? What became of the

19. How is this event commemorated?


20. After the destruction of the Wyoming settlement,
marauding parties of savages threatened the entire northern
and western frontiers of the State ; exposed settlements were
broken up, buildings were burned, and the people forced to
flee for safety. Military expeditions were organized and sent
against the Indians and tories on the borders. Colonel
Thomas Hartley marched up the west branch of the Sus-
quehanna and destroyed the Indian villages at Wyalusing,
Sheshequin, and Tioga. General Mcintosh w^as sent against
the enemy's forces in the West, and penetrated the Indian
country as far as the Scioto river, in Ohio ; another expe-
dition destroyed the Indian posts on the Alleghany.

21. General Sullivan, with an army of 3000 men, collected
on the deserted fields of -Wyoming, marched against the
savage hordes of Indians, British, and tories, who were

by inefficiency from the distant ranks of the republic, led by Colonel
Zebulon Butler and Colonel Natlian Denison, with a courage that
deserved success, boldly met and bravely fought the combined British,
tory, and Indian force of thrice their number. Numerical superiority
alone gave success to the invader, and widespread havoc, desolation,
and ruin marked his savage and bloody footsteps through the valley.
This monument, commemorative of these events, and in memory of
the actors in them, has been erected over the bones of the slain by
their descendants and others, who greatly appreciate the services and
sacrifices of their patriotic ancestors."
Another slab bears the following :

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."*

■ The third contains the names of those who were slain in the en-

* " It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country."

20. What followed the destruction of Wyoming

21. What was General Sullivan's expedition?


strongly intrenched at Elmira, and on the 29th of August,
ltt9, captured the fort and dispersed the enemy. Pressing
forward with irresistible energy, General Sullivan entered
the great settlements of the Six Nations, on the Genessee
river, and in three weeks destroyed forty villages and vast
stores of provisions: houses were burned, orchards were
cut down, gardens and fields laid waste, and the terrified in-
habitants were driven into the forests.

22. This fearful retaliation did not crush the desperate
hearts of the savages. . The Six Nations had been so success-
fully plied by the tories and British agents, that they still
hoped to be able to drive the white man from their hunting-
grounds. Therefore every effort to punish their barbarities
but kindled the fires of deeper hatred, and thus while the war
continued, and even ten years longer, the Indians on the
borders of the lakes and along the western rivers sent their
war parties • to plunder and kill the inhabitants beyond the
Alleghanies. Finally, after several unsuccessful expeditions
and disastrous battles, in repeated attempts to subdue the
enemy, General Wayne marched into the western country
with an army too powerful to be overcome, and forced the
Indians to sue for peace. A treaty was signed at Greenville,
in 1795, which ended the war in this State against the native
owners of the soil.

22. How did this fearful retaliation affect the Indians? How were
they finally subdued?




The Close of the Revolutionary War.

1. After the battle of Monmouth, active military opera-
tions were transferred to the South. Georgia and the
Carolinas became the battle-fields of the nation, and during

nearly four years, beginning in
November, 1178, the fearful strug-
gle pressed upon the inhabitants
of those States. In the North,
Washington kept the enemy close-
ly locked up in the city of New-
York, until, by a masterly strata^
gem, h.e deceived General Clinton
into the belief that he was about
to attack the city, and then sud-
denly turned southward to Vir-
ginia, and, by a forced march,
joined the French under La Fayette. The combined armies
defeated and captured General Cornwallis and 7000 British
troops at Yorktown, on the 19th of October, 1781.

•* This bell was brought from England, in 1752; it was cracked at
the trial ringing. The metal was recast, and the following inscrip-
tion was placed on the new bell: "Proclaim Liberty throughout


this bell first rang out the joyful tidings of the adoption of the Decla-
ration of Independence.


Chapter XXYII. — 1. "Where was the military campaign carried
on ? What did Washington do ? What great victory was won ?



2. The victory at Yorktown was the last great blow that
crushed the British power in America. Praise and thanks-
giving went up to the Lord Omnipotent from every family-
altar where love of liberty dwelt; in churches, in legislative
halls, in the array, and in Congress, the voice ot the people
was heard in prayer. The clouds of war began to break
away, peace dawned on the nation with the splendor of a
bright morning after a night of storm.

3. The year 1181, which closed in glorious triumph, had
opened with many gloomy prospects and disheartening cir-
cumstances. The soldiers had served their country in many
severe campaigns, almost without pay; often without suffi-
cient clothing to cover their shivermg bodies, or food to stay
their hunger. Congress had sent promise after promise,
that relief would be afforded speedily, but the promises were
unfulfilled. The soldiers became dissatisfied, and finally, on
the 1st of January, a body of Pennsylvania troops in the
camp at Morristown resolved to march to Philadelphia and
demand immediate justice from their Representativ s.

4. General Wayne was in command of these troops, and
every one of the 1300 who had entered upon this desperate
purpose dearly loved his general. He followed the men,
and by persuasion and threats endeavored to bring them
back to his camp. They would not listen to his entreaties.
Finally he threw himself in front of the column, drew his
pistol, and threatened to shoot the leaders if they did not
face about and return to Morristown. The men instantly
surrounded Wayne with their fixed bayonets, and, pointing
their muskets at his heart, cried out: "General, we love and

2. How did the battle of Yorktown atfect the cause and the people?

3. What discouraging event opened the year 1781?

4. Who commanded these troops, and how did he endeavor to
bring them back to camp?


respect you ; often have you led us into the field of battle,
but we warn you to be on your guard; if you fire your pistol,
or attempt to enforce your commands, we shall put you in-
stantly to death. " Brave Anthony Wayne still stood firm, not
fearing harm at the hands of his own men. He appealed to
their patriotism; reminded them of toils and sufi'erings al-
ready endured for the cause of American liberty, and begged
them not to sacrifice, in one rash moment, the honor and ad-
vantage they had gained by years of weary marches and ter-
rible battles. He recited to them how the enemy would
rejoice, and how their friends would grieve over their conduct.

5. The men replied by exhibiting their tattered garments,
and relating the story of their sufferings for want of food,
and then repeated their determination to march to Philadel-
phia and demand from Congress immediate redress. Finding
himself unable to restrain the troops, Wayne resolved to
accompany them; and at the same time sent orders to his
quartermaster to send supplies after him, for he knew the
men would soon need them.

6. At Princeton the party was met by a committee from
Congress, who promised that the just demands of the sol-
diers should be granted. The men, wiiose enlistment had
expired, were allowed to go home, and those whose term of
service had not yet ended agreed to return to their camps.

7. When intelligence of this revolt reached the British
commander in New York, he dispatched agents to Princeton
to bribe the soldiers, and persuade them to desert and join
the enemy. These Pennsylvanians, however, were not
traitors — but patriots, every one of them.

5. How did the soldiers reply to Wayne, and what was done?

6. How did the revolt terminate?

7. What did the British commander do? What were these Penn-
sylvania soldiers ?


8. They immediately seized the emissaries and delivered
them to General Wayne. A military commission tried, con-
demned, and huDg them as spies. A large reward had been
offered for their arrest ; but the soldiers nobly refused to ac-
cept it, saying : "Necessity wrung from us the act of demand-
ing justice from Congress, but we desire no reward for doing
our duty to our bleeding country." The men who had been
allowed to spend the winter at home with their familes,
promptly re-enlisted at the opening of the summer campaign,
and nobly bore their part in the cheering events that closed
the year.

9. The enemy held out in the South, one year after the
capture of Cornwallis, and kept their headquarters in the
city of New York, until the 25th of November, It 83. Mean-
while, however, the preliminary treaty of peace had arrived
from England, and, on the 19th of April, 1183, the eighth
anniversary of the battle of Lexington, a proclamation, de-
claring the cessation of hostilities, was read to the troops ;
and on the 3d of November, the army was disbanded.

10. After taking leave of his associate ofiBcers in New
York, Washington proceeded to Annapolis, Maryland, and,
on the 3d of December, surrendered to Congress his commis-
sion as commander-in-chief of the Continental army, and
then quietly retired to private life.

11. The whole number of men furnished to the army by
Pennsylvania during the eight years of the war, from 1775
to 1783, was 29,555; of these 7357 were militia, and 22,198
were regular Continental troops.

8. How did they treat the British spies? What did they say about
accepting a reward ?

9. How long did the war continue? How and when did it end?

10. What did Washington do?

^ 11. How many troops did this State furnish ?




The Constitution of the United States adopted.

1. The war for independence had closed : the work of the
soldier was finished. With peace came the labor of laying
the foundation of a new nation. The toils of the statesman
began where those of the soldier had ended. The efforts of
the army closed in triumph, it was now the duty of states-
men to preserve, in constitutional law, the principles of per-
sonal and national liberty, wrenched from the monarchies of
Europe, and successfully defended by the swords of the pa-
triots. The establishment of a government to be adminis-
tered by the people and for the people, was the task imposed
by the victory of our arms.

2. At the beginning of the war, necessity had forced a

Chapter XXYIII. — 1. What had the patriots accomplished, and
what was yet to he achieved?

2. What had heen done at the heginning of the war? What had
not heen undertaken?



hasty union of the colonies; they banded themselves together,
because in union there was strength. Their regiments and
brigades were united into an army, commanded by Con-
tinental officers, and were led against the common enemy;
but the great work of constructing a Nation, that should
have power over the several colonies, which, by the success-
ful issue of the struggle had become independent States,
bad not yet been undertaken.

3. The limited authority of Congress became still more
insignificant upon the establishment of peace. There was
nowhere a guiding power to lead the people up to the full
realization of the fruits of their victory, nor to direct them in
the construction of a Representative government, under
whose supreme control the States might become free repub-
lics, bound by a uniform system into a Great Nation, strong
to develop the resources of the continent, and powerful to
defend the rights of its people in all parts of the world.

4. The wisdom that had prevailed in council and tri-
umphed in the field, was again brought into harmonious
action. A convention was called to meet at Annapolis,
Maryland, and afterward in Philadelphia, for the purpose of
considering what changes should be made in the Articles
of Confederation, adopted in lYYG, for the government of the
States during the war. The representatives for Pennsyl-
vania in this Convention were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas
Mifflin, Robert Morris,* George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsim-

* Kobert Morris was born in England in 1733. He came to Amer-
ica in 1744, and was a merchant's clerk in Philadelphia. By his
energy, industry, and good character, he became one of the most
wealthy and respected men of his time. He was a true patriot, and

3. What was needed?

4. "What was done to organize the government?


mons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, and Gouverneur

5. The Convention assembled on May 10th, ITSt, and sat
in the room which had been occupied by Congress when
the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Delegates
were present from all the States except New Hampshire and
Rhode Island. Washington was chosen President of the
Convention ; he was surrounded by many great and good
men, who desired nothing so much as the glory of their
country and the welfare of the people. The delegates soon
discovered that the Articles of Confederation were so de-
fective and limited in their power, that it would be useless to
endeavor to adapt them to the wants of the nation. They
resolved therefore to enter at once upon the work of framing
a new constitution.

6. Several plans of government were presented by the
delegates from the different States, and there was great di-
versity of opinion among the best and wisest men in the
Convention. A number of days had been spent in fruitless
discussion, and many began to fear that the members would
separate without accomplishing anything. Finally, some
one proposed an adjournment; but at this crisis, Benjamin
Franklin rose, and said: "Mr. President: How has it hap-
pened, sir, that, while groping so long in the dark, divided in

one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was the
chief financial agent for the government during the Revolution, and
borrowed millions of dollars on his own credit, to sustain the army,
when Congress could not procure a dollar. He lost his fortune by
land speculations, and died in comparative poverty in 1806.

5. When and where did the Convention assemble? What was
discovered ?

6. How did the work progress? AVhat did Franklin propose?


our opinions, and now about to separate without accomplish-
ing" the great object of our meeting here, we have hitherto
not once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights
to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of our
contest with Great Britain, when all were sensible of danger,
we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our
prayers, sir, were heard, and graciously answered." He then
offered a resolution that, "henceforth, prayers, imploring the
assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations,
be held in this assembly every morning, before we proceed to

t. The resolution was adopted, and the clergy of the city
were invited to officiate. From that day there was greater
harmony in the Convention; and, guided by Divine Wisdom,
the delegates soon agreed upon articles of government,
which were adopted on the 15th of September, and subse-
quently, having been ratified by the people, became the Con-
stitution of the Nation.

8. The Articles of Confederation, and with them the Con-
tinental Congress,* expired on Wednesday, the 4th of March,

* The Continental Congress held its sessions as follows:
In Philadelphia, from Sept. 5tli, 1774, to November, 1774.
'' " " May 10th, 1775, to Dec. 12th, 1776.

" Baltimore, " Dec. 18th, 1776, to January, 1777.

" Philadelphia, '' March 4th, 1777 to Sept. 18th, 1777.

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Online LibraryJosiah Rhinehart SypherSchool history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time → online text (page 13 of 24)