Luther Reily Kelker.

History of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (Volume 1) online

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Copyright 1907
The Lewis Publishing Company

Publishers' Announcement.

The present work, "History of Dauphin County, Pennsyl-
vania," will, it is confidently believed, commend itself to the people
of that historic old region of Pennsylvania, and not only to them
but to various Libraries, Historical Societies, and also to many in-
dividual investigators throughout the Commonwealth and Nation.

These volumes contain much valuable information which has
hitherto lain inaccessible to the people at large. Of special import-
ance are the numerous lists of Taxables and Land Owners, the Mil-
itary Rolls of the Dauphin County Territory in the wars with the
French and Indians, of the Revolution, the Whiskey Insurrection,
the War with Great Britain in i8 12-14, the Mexican War, the War
of the Rebellion, and the Spanish-American War; also the early
Church Records of Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths.* These
compilations have been made with painstaking care, in large part by
Mr. Luther R. Kelker, and in their entirety under his immediate
supervision. To this monumental labor, as well as to directing the
compilation of the general history, that gentleman has brought the
highest qualifications — diligent study of local history for many years,
warm enthusiasm based upon reverence for the pioneers who here
planted the institutions of civilization, and a laudable pride of ances-
try. He was possessed of a love of historical and genealogical sub-
jects from his youth. During his convalescence following a serious
illness he began a systematic study of what had been gathered in
the Colonial Records and Pennsylvania Archives, and on recovering
his health procured permission to examine the unpublished records
in the basement and attic of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
While he was thus engaged the American Historical Association ap-
pointed a committee to examine into the condition of published and
unpublished archives in the various States of the Union. Dr. Her-
man V. Ames, Professor of American History in the University of
Pennsylvania, represented that body for investigations in Pennsyl-
vania, and, on reaching Harrisburg, consulted with the various

*The reader will understand that in all ancient lists the original orthography
and punctuation have been preserved.


heads of departments, by whom he was referred to Mr. Kelker on
account of his familiarity with the subjects in question, and, in his
report in iqoi to the American Elistorical Association, Dr. Ames
gave credit to Mr. Kelker "for generous services and valuable in-
formation." About this time Mr. Kelker took up historical and
genealogical research as a profession. On April 14, 1903, Gover-
nor Pennypacker approved a bill constituting a new department to
be called the Division of Public Records, and on June ist following
Mr. Kelker was appointed to organize it. This duty he successfully
performed, and it was his distinction that this department was the
first of its class in the United States, and of which he has had charge
from its inception, his official designation being Custodian of Divi-
sion of Public Records of Pennsylvania. He has performed dili-
gent labor upon the twenty-two volumes of the Pennsylvania Ar-
chives, the editor of which testified to Mr. Kelker's devotion by say-
ing that the prociuction of that series w^ould have been practically
impossible without the aid of one w^hose enthusiasm was so well
sustained. I\[r. Kelker's plans in the organization and conduct of
his department met the warm approval of leading historical students
throughout the country, and proved a great stimulus to the investi-
gation of original documents by students for univers'ties and colleges
throughout the country. In a letter to the publishers of this work,
John W. Jordan, LL.D., of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania,
says of Mr. Kelker: "He is an enthusiastic delver in the historical
mine, and in his knowledge of the German counties of the State, the
people and their history, he Is well considered. As Custodian of
Public Records he is efficient and energetic."

As a proper accompaniment to the narrative history contained
in this work, is presented a department of Genealogical Memoirs,
linking the active people of to-day with their honored forbears, in
the conviction that

"It is indeed a blessing when the virtues

Of noble races are hereditan*'.

And do derive themselves from the imitation

Of virtuous ancestors."

The pages of these genealogical and personal memoirs have
been prepared with all due care from such data as were accessible
from the hands of family representatives and from extant records. In
each case the sketch has been submitted to the immediate subject or
to his proper representative for correction and revision. It is be-
heved that the present work, in both its features — historical, and
genealogical and personal — will prove a real addition to the mass of


literature concerning the people of the historic region under consid-
eration, and that without it much valuable information therein con-
tained would be irretrievably lost, owing to the passing away of
many custodians of family records, and the disappearance of such


The Publishers.

Table of Contents.

Chapter I.


Indian Occupancy — The Susquehannas — Mohawks — Iroquois
— Algonquin Tribes — The Five Nations — Many Indians
Burned AHve — Treaty of 1683 — The Shawanese Stay of
a Qu.^''<-er of a Century on the Conestoga and Pequea
Creek — Indian Manners and Customs — Penn's Descrip- .
tion of them — Streams of the County l

Chapter II.

Early Settlement — Captain John Smith of Virginia Comes up
as Far as Great Falls — The French People First to Lo-
cate at Mouth of Paxtang Creek — The Appearance of
John Harris — The Quakers and French Papists — John
Harris the Trader — Trouble With Indian Bands — The
Scotch-Irish — William Penn's Visits — Persecution of the
Scotch-Irish — Original Letter of Harris — Penn's "Arti-
cles of Concession" — Produce Values in 1740 — Invasion
of the French and Indians — A Regiment of "Fighting
People" — Murder of John Armstrong by the Indians.. . 15

Chapter III.

Formation of the County — The Origin of the Name "Dau-
phin" — First County Officials — ^Courts — Original Town-
ships — Lebanon County Taken from Dauphin — Present
Townships — Recorded Plots 43,

Chapter IV.

Dates of First Events — Freemasonry Before County was
formed — Arrested for Sedition — Indian Visitors — In-\
dians at the Grave of Harris — Traveling a Century Ago ^
— Indian Council at Harris Ferry — First Courts — First
Newspapers — A Slave Advertised — Indians' Revenge —




Dauphin Against the Amendment — List of Slaves — To-
matoes First Used — The Last Slave in the County — Ma-
ple-Sugar Making in 1864 — The Centennial Anniversary
—Celebrated Mill Dam Case 84

Chapter V.

County Government — The Several Court Houses — Early
Court Cryers — The County Prisons — Alms Houses — Fi-
nances — National and State Representation — Judges —
Biographers of First judges — County Officials — -Biogra-
phy of Alexander Graydon, First Prothonotary 105

Chapter VL

Military Record — The French and Indian War — Whiskey In-
surrection — Revolutionary War — War of 18 12- 14 —
The "Buckshot War"— Mexican War— Civil War—
Spanish-American War 130

Chapter VII.

Forts of Dauphin County — Fort Harris — Fort Hunter — "In-
dian Fort Hunter" — Fort Halifax — Manada Fort and
Fort McKee 189

Chapter VHI.

Religious History — The First Church Founded — First Edifice
Built — Old Derry Church — Hanover Church — Paxtang
Church — Derry "Memorial Church" — Harrisburg
Churches — Middletown Churches — Lykens Churches — -
Upper Paxton Churches — Steelton Churches — Berrysburg
Churches — Lower Paxton Churches — Hill Church — Hal-
ifax Churches — Dauphin Churches — Hummelstown
Churches — Earliest Mennonite Church — "Parson Eld-
er's" Sermon Heads — Biographies of Pioneer Ministers
— Rev. William Bertram and Rev. John Elder — The Old
Conewago Church 224



Chapter IX.

Grant of the "Harris Ferry" Right — Navigation and Rail-
roads — Proposed Sloop and Steamboat Navigation— Con-
victs Executed at Harrisburg — Assessed Valuation of
County — School Statistics — Political — Postoffices— Pop-
ulation 1790 to 1900 — County's Development — Current
Prices in 1800 — Agriculture — Prices in 1903 — Coal
Mines — The Brownstone Quarries — Dauphin Historical
Society , 305

Chapter X.

The Newspapers — The Legal Profession — The Medical Pro-
fession 330

Chapter XI.
Townships: Derry — Londonderry — Paxtang — -Lower Paxton, 373

Chapter XII.

Townships: West Hanover — East Hanover — Middle Paxton

— Conewago ^ 4^5

Chapter XIII.

Townships: South Hanover — Hanover (Original) — Rush —

Jackson — Jefferson — Wayne — Reed — Upper Paxton. . . 419

Chapter XIV.

Townships : Wiconisco — Washington — Susquehanna — Lykens

Mifflin — Williams — ^Halifax — Lower Swatara — Swatara. 444
— Mifflin — Williams — Halifax — Lower Swatara — Swa-
tara 444

History of Dauphin County.


Indian Occupancy — The Susquehannas — Mohawks — Iro-
quois — Algonquin Tribes — The Five Nations — Many
Indians Burned Alive — Treaty of 1683 — The Shawa-
nese Stay of a Quarter of a Century on the Conestoga
AND Pequea Creek — Indian Manners and Customs —
Penn's Description of them — Streams of the County.

Prior to 1600, but how long before is not known, the Susque-
hanna Indians were seated upon the river of that name. By the
"Relations" we find that they had previously come into collision
with the Mohawks, then the most eastern of the Iroquois, by which,
in a war that lasted for ten years, the former nearly exterminated
the latter. According to Captain John Smith, who explored the
Chesapeake and its tributaries, the Susquehannas were then (in 1608)
still at war with the tribe referred to. In 1633 they were at war
with the Algonquin tribes on the Delaware, maintaining their
supremacy by butchery. They were friendly to the Dutch, and
when the Swedes arrived on the Delaware, in 1638, they renewed
the friendly intercourse begun by the former. According to Haz-
ard, they purchased lands of the ruling tribe, and thus secured their
friendship. Southward, also, they carried the terror of their arms,
and from 1634 to 1644 they waged war on the Yaomacoes, the
Piscataways, and Patuxents, and were so troublesome that in 1642
Governor Calvert, by proclamation, declared them public enemies.

When the Hurons, in Upper Canada, in 1647, began to sink
under the fearful blows dealt by the Five Nations, the Susquehannas
sent an embassy to offer them aid against the common enemy. Nor
was the offer one of little value, for the Susquehannas could put
into the field one thousand three hundred warriors, trained to the
use of fire-arms and European modes of war by three Swedish sol-
diers, whom they had obtained to instruct them. Before interposing,
however, they began a negotiation, and sent an embassy to Onon-
daga to urge the cantons to peace. The Iroquois refused, and the


Hurons, sunk in apathy, took no active steps to secure the aid of the
friendly Susquehannas. That tribe, however, maintained its friendly
intercourse with its European neighbors, and in 161; 2, Sawahegeh,
and other sachems, in presence of a Swedish deputy, ceded to Mary-
land all the territory from the Patuxent river to Palmer's island,
and from the Choptauk to the northeast branch north of Elk river.

Four years later, the Iroquois, grown insolent by their success
in almost annihilating their kindred tribes north and south of Lake
Erie, provoked a war with the Susquehannas, plundering their
hunters on Lake Ontario. During that year the smallpox, that
terrible scourge of the aborigines, broke out in their town, sweeping
off many, and seriously enfeebling the nation. War had now begun
in earnest with the Five Nations, and though the Susquehannas had
some of their people killed near their town, they in turn pressed
the Cayugas so hard that some of them retreated across Lake
Ontario to Canada. They also kept the Senecas in such alarm that
they no longer ventured to carry their peltries to New York, except
in caravans escorted by six hundred men, who even took a most
circuitous route. A law of Maryland, passed May i, 1661, author-
ized the Governor of that province to aid the Susquehannas —
{Egle's History of Pennsylvania.)

Smarting under constant defeat, the Five Nations solicited
French aid, but in April, 1663, the western cantons raised an army
of eight hundred men to invest and storm the fort of the Susque-
hannas. This fort was located about fifty miles from the mouth of
the river. The enemy embarked on Lake Ontario, according to the
French account, and then went overland to the Susquehanna. On
reaching the fort, however, they found it well defended on the
river side, and on the land side with two bastions in European
style, with cannon mounted and connected by a double curtain of
large trees. After some trifling skirmishes the Iroquois had recourse-
to stratagem.

They sent in a party of twenty-five men to treat of peace, and
ask provisions to enable them to return. The Susquehannas admit-
ted them, but immediately burned them all alive before the eyes of
their fellows. The force of the Iroquois numbered sixteen hundred
warriors, while that of the Susquehannas was only one thousand.
On the retreat of the Iroquois, the Susquehannas pursued them with
great slaughter.

After this the war was carried on in small parties, and Sus-
quehanna pioneers were from time to time burned at Oneida, Onon-
daga, Seneca and Cayuga. In the fall of 1669 the Susquehannas,
after defeating the Cayugas, offered peace, but the Cayugas put their


ambassador and his nephew to death, after retaining him six months
— the Oneidas having taken nine Susquehannas and sent some to
Cayuga, with forty wampum belts to maintain the war.

At this time the great war chief of the Susquehannas was one
styled Hochitagete (Barefoot), and raving women and crafty chief
medicine men deluded the Iroquois with promises of his capture and
execution at the stake, and a famous medicine man of Oneida
appeared after death to order his body to be taken up and interred
on the trail leading to the Susquehannas, as the only means of saving
that canton from ruin. Towards the summer of 1672 a body of
forty Cayugas descended the Susquehanna in canoes, and twenty
Senecas went by land to attack the enemy in their fields; but a band
of sixty Andaste, or Susquehanna boys, the oldest not over sixteen,
attacked the Senecas and routed them, killing one brave and taking
another. Flushed with victory, they pushed on to attack the Cayu-
gas, and defeated them also, killing eight, and wounding with arrow,
knife, and hatchet fifteen or sixteen more, losing, however, fifteen
or sixteen of their gallant band. At this time the Susquehannas
were so reduced by war and pestilence that they could muster only
three hundred warriors.

In 1675, according to the Relations Inedites and Colden, the
tribe was completely overthrown, but unfortunately we have no
details whatever as to the forces which effected it or the time or
manner of their utter defeat. The remnant, too proud to yield to
those with whom they had long contended as equals, and by holding
the land of their fathers by sufferance to acknowledge themselves
subdued, yet too weak to withstand the victorious Iroquois, forsook
the river bearing their name, taking up a position on the western
borders of Maryland, near the Piscataways. Shortly after they
were accused of the murder of some settlers, apparently slain by the
Senecas. They sent five of their chiefs to the Maryland and Vir-
ginia troops, under Colonel John Washington, great-grandfather of
General George Washington, and Major Thomas Truman, who
went out in pursuit. Although coming as deputies, and showing the
Baltimore medal and certificates of friendship, these chiefs were
cruelly put to death. The enraged Susquehannas, dwelling in their
ancient seat, all had disappeared. Some few vagabond families of
the Iroquois remained and occupied the deserted towns of their
conquered and expelled enemies. These were the individuals rep-
resenting themselves as Conestogas — not by blood, but simply by
occupation. They were Cayugas and Senecas. Whether by per-
suasion we know not, but certainly by permission of the Iroquois,
came the Shawanese to Pennsylvania. They originated in the South,


and doubtless belonged to the Algonquins, as they spoke the same
language. From the most authentic information it appears that
the basin of the Cumberland river was the home of the Shawanese
before the settlement of the Europeans on the continent, and that
they connected the various sections of the Algonquin families. At
the treaty of 1683 the Shawanese were a party to that covenant, and
they must have been considered a very prominent band from the
fact of their having preserved the treaty in their own possession or
keeping, as we are informed that at a conference held many years
after, that nation produced this treaty on parchment to the Governor
of the Province. It was the custom with the Indian tribes who made
a joint treaty with the whites to commit the preservation of the
papers containing the treaty, etc., to such of the bands as were con-
sidered most to be trusted. From the best authority, it appears
that as early as 1673 upwards of seventy families of that nation
removed from the Carolinas and occupied some of the deserted
posts of the Susquehannas. Others of the tribe soon followed.

In the year 1698, some Shawanese applied to the proprietary
government of Pennsylvania for permission to settle on the Cones-
toga and Pequea creeks, under Opessah, their principal chief. Here
they remained a quarter of a century, when, with other families
settled on the Swatara, Paxtang, and the Susquehanna streams on
the east, they branched off to the westward. As early as 1728 we
find the Shawanese as far west as the Ohio, and by the middle of the
eighteenth century the entire tribe had settled on the branches of
that river. In the year 1732 the number of fighting braves of that
nation in Pennsylvania amounted to seven hundred. The Shawanese,
says Colden, were the most restless of all the Indian tribes. In
1745, he says, one tribe of them had gone to New Spain. This
band of four hundred and fifty, who located themselves on the head-
waters of the Mobile River, probably never returned to Pennsyl-

The latter were merely residents on the Susquehanna by suf-
ferance, not only of the whites, but the Five Nations of New York,
and yet they became the most perfidious, and to them — their savage
brutality, their fiendish atrocity — are we indebted for most all the
bloody transactions of a later period.


While more recent days have caused the English speaking peo-
ple to not hold the highest regard for the once called "Noble Red
Man," it is of interest to note what William Penn thought of the


Indian, as he first found him. It is given in his letter addressed to
the Free Society of Traders in London, and bears date of "Phila-
delphia, the i6th of the 6th month, called August, 1683":

"The natives I shall consider in their persons, language, man-
ners, religion, and government, with my sense of their original. For
their persons, they are generally tall, straight, well-built, and of
singular proportion; they tread strong and clever, and mostly walk
with a lofty chin. Of complexion, black, but by design, as the Gyp-
sies in England. They grease themselves with bear's fat clarified,
and using no defense against sun or weather, their skin must needs
be swarthy. Their eye is little and black, not unlike a straight-
looked Jew. The thick lip and flat nose, so frequent with the East
Indians and blacks, are not common to them, for I have seen as
comely Europe afi-l'ike faces among them, of both, as on your side
the sea ; and truly an Italian complexion hath not much more of the
white, and the noses of several of them have as much of the Roman.

"Their language is lofty, yet narrow; but, like the Hebrezv, in
signification full; like short-hand, in writing, one word serveth in
the place of three, and the rest are supplied by the understanding of
the hearer; imperfect in their tenses, wanting in their moods, partici-
ples, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections. I have made it my busi-
ness to understand it, that I might not want an interpreter on any
occasion, and I must say that I know not a language spoken in En-
rope that hath words of more sweetness, or greatness in accent and
emphasis than theirs; for instance, Octocockon, Rancocas, Oricton,
Shak^ Marian, Poqiiesien; all which are names of places, and have
grandeur in them. Of words of sweetness, Anna, is mother; Issi-
7niis, a brother; Netcap, friend; Usqueoret, very good; Pane, bread;
Metsa, eat; Matta, no; Hatta, to have; Payo, to come; Sepassin,
Passijoii, the names of places; Tamane, Secane, Menanse, Secater-
eiis, are the names of persons; if one asks them for anything they
have not, they will answer Matta ne hatta; which to translate is, not
I have, instead of I have not.

"Of their customs and manners there is much to be said; I will
begin with children ; so soon as they are born they wash them in
water; and while very young, and in cold weather to chuse, they
plunge them in the rivers to harden and embolden them. Having
wrapt them in a clout, they lay them on a straight, thin board, a
little more than the length and breadth of the child, and swaddle it
fast upon the board to make it straight; wherefore all Indians have
flat heads; and thus they carry them at their backs. The children
will go, very young, at nine months commonly; they wear only a
small clout round their waist till they are big; if boys, they go a
fishing, till ripe for the woods; which is about fifteen; then they
hunt; and after having gi^en some proofs of their manhood, by a
good return of skins, they may marry; else it is a shame to think of


a wife. The girls stay with their mothers, and help to hoe the
ground, plant corn and carry burdens; and they do well to use them
to that young, which they must do when they are old ; for the wives
are the true servants of the husbands; otherwise the men are very
affectionate to them.

"When the young women are fit for marriage, they wear some-
thing upon their heads, for an advertisement, but so, as their faces
are hardly to be seen, but when they please. The age, they marry
at, if women, is about thirteen, and fourteen; if men, seventeen and
eighteen; they are rarely elder.

"Their houses are mats, or barks of trees, set on poles, in the
fashion of an EnglisJi barn, but out of the power of the winds; for
they are hardly higher than a man; they lie on reeds, or grass. In
travel they lodge in the woods, about a great fire, with the mantle of
duffils they wear by day wrapt about them, and a few boughs stuck
around them.

"Their diet is maize, or Indian corn, divers ways prepared;
sometimes roasted in the ashes; sometimes beaten and boiled with
water; which they call liomine; they also make cakes, not unpleasant
to eat. They have likewise several sorts of beans and pease, that
are good nourishment ; and the woods and rivers are their larder.

"If an European comes to see them, or calls for lodging at their
house, or wigwam, they give him the best place and first cut. If
they come to visit us, they salute us with an Itah; which is as much

Online LibraryLuther Reily KelkerHistory of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 48)