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The question of the success of the American Revolution, little as it was known by our great forefathers, was the very soul and being of the advance of the human race in liberty, in thought, and the higher civilization. We can now know the liberty gained by the Americans in its reflected influence spread over the world, even to the remotest corner of the British empire itself, after its long seven years of cruel war of attempted subjugation crowned even England with an aureole of liberty. The American tories—even these mistaken men, so fierce in opposing their own neighbors, and sometimes members of their own families—were among the beneficiaries of the heroic struggles of the noble sons of liberty. Until the hour of the conception of the Sullivan and the Clark expeditions, there was no thought among the fathers other than that of independence for the little fringe of territory that ran along our Atlantic shore. It was hardly more than individual liberty in their ideas, but these two expeditions were the beginning of our present wide empire: these numerous stars set in azure blue, now glinting upon 63,000,000 of freemen, marching ever onward. These then were vastly more than local events. In results they were not only continental but world-wide and as enduring as the hills. They have touched the whole human race, and made millions of freemen where otherwise would yet have been bred only galley slaves—men, women and children yoked to the cruelest servitude.
Sullivan's army took up its line of march from Easton June 18, 1779, reached Wilkes-Barre on the 23d, and spent three days here looking over the battle-field and fitting out, of which the journalists of the expedition gave many blood chilling accounts of the sights that here met their gaze; repeating all the wild stories that the poor flying people had told at the dreadful moment. The story of the killing of Henry Pensil by his brother is given in all its horrid details. From one of the several diaries is the following under date of July 2,1779:
Rode out this morning with Gen. Poor and Col. Dearbon about four miles, to view the ground where the battle was fought between the Savages and the people of Wyoming under Col. Butler, we saw a Stockade fort with a Covert Way to a fountain which our guide told us was built for a show by some of the disaffected Inhabitants & given up to the Enemy immediately upon their approach; we examined the Trees where the line of Battle was formed, but found very few marks of an Obstinate Engagement; it appears indeed that the Enemy were superior in numbers to the Militia and soon after the Commencement of the Action turned their left Flank, this brought on a retreat, in which the savages massacred upwards of 200 Men— We saw more or less bones scattered over the ground for near two miles & several Sculls brought in at different times, that had been Scalped and inhumanly mangled with the Hatchet. A captain's commission with 17 Continental Dollars was found in the pocket of the Skeleton of it man, who had laid above ground 12 months—Our guide showed us where 73 Bodies had been buried in one hole, this place may with propriety be called Golgotha—All the houses along this river have been burnt; and the Gardens and fields, the most fertile I ever beheld, grown over with weeds and Bushes, exhibit a melancholy picture of Savage rage and Desolation.
This entry in the diary was made exactly one year after the battle. It conflicts in an immaterial point with Steuben Jenkins' account of the burial of the dead, as well as adding another enigma to the many accounts of the battle.
At this point Gen. Sullivan's army, 3,500 strong, had a fleet of boats to be ready for them, and the expedition was divided and part by land and the other on boats proceeded up the Susquehanna river to Tioga (Athens). Here a junction of the two armies was effected, Fort Sullivan was built and the army marched up to Newton (near Elmira), met the enemy in force, and gained a signal victory. Sullivan's entire force as he moved out from Tioga was 5,000 men. The defeated Indians fled to Canada; Sullivan divided his force and proceeded to devastate the Indian country.
The Pennsylvania troops in Sullivan's army were under Gen. Hand, including the regiments of Col. Richard Butler, Col. Hubley and Col. Hartley and the German battalion; Capt. Spalding's independent company; Capt. Schott's riflemen; Capt. John Franklin's county militia, and several sharpshooters in Morgan's rifle corps. Lieut. John Jenkins was the chief guide of the expedition. The Eleventh Pennsylvania and Capt. Spalding's company constituted the advance force that marched by land.
The purpose of Gen. Sullivan's expedition was completely successful; the blow to the Iroquois was fatal, from which, as a people or tribe, they never recovered. The immediate results of the action of that people was the awful calamity to the community of this beautiful valley, to be followed by the stern retaliation of the Hartley and Sullivan expeditions. The ultimate and permanent results are now before us, blooming in all the splendors of this present wealth, universal prosperity, of a people of gentle blood, culture and refinement. Their rich and wide domains were the unequaled forfeit paid by stupid barbarians for their cruel folly. Their sins were grievous, and so were their sufferings. The bloody work of the savage at the Wyoming and Cherry valleys was the beginning of the end of the Indians on this continent.
In the rush of significant events in the Revolutionary times, it is most remarkable that the important feat of Sullivan and his army almost escaped attention; and in time from the chronicles of our Union, it hardly received a passing notice; if mentioned at all it was by some carping critic who denounced it, perhaps, as a useless foray and slaughter of "Lo, the poor Indian." At best to simply mention it as an incident, with no regard whatever to the tremendous results to follow, has been much the rule of writers on the subject of our independence.
By act of congress, 1876, the several counties of the United States were asked to gather and publish their local histories. The historian of the locality of Newtown, with much of the patience of love, wrote well of the Sullivan expedition and the battle of Newtown, and his publication called general attention to the subject. Under the auspices of the State of New York a centennial celebration of the battle of Newtown was held on the battle-field, August 29, 1879. It was the grandest celebration of that time of centennials. The day was hot and dry; the people assembled to the sum of 50,000, and most of the leading officials of the nation, together with other eminent men, were present. The elegant monument, standing so conspicuously on Sullivan Hill, on the battle-field, commanding a wide view of the surrounding country, was unveiled with imposing ceremonies, and from two stands addresses were delivered.
Indian Marauders. —Comparative peace followed the brilliant exploits of Sullivan and Hartley. But the snake, though scotched, was not killed.
March, 1780, a party of fifty or more Indians came down the river, and when near Wyoming they divided into bands for the purpose of striking the isolated settlers. One of these parties captured Thomas Bennett and his son, near Kingston, and added Libbeus Hammond to their capture, and started to Tioga and camped near Meshoppen. During the night the prisoners rose upon their captors, killed four, wounded another, and one fled, and seizing all the rifles of the slain returned home, March 27; another of these bands suddenly appeared at Hanover and shot and killed Asa Upson. Two days after they captured a boy, Jonah Rogers, and the next day Moses Van Campen; they killed and scalped Van Campeu's father, brother and uncle; the same day they captured a lad named Pence. They then passed to Huntington and fell in with Col. Franklin and four of his men, two of whom were wounded but all escaped. They found in Lehman township, this county, Abraham Pike and his wife making sugar. They stayed all night with them and took the man and wife prisoners the next morning, having bundled the baby and thrown it on the cabin roof; during the day they released the woman, and she returned in all haste to her baby, which she found, and with it in her arms fled to the settlement. Pike was a deserter from the British army—a gallant Irishman, and made up his mind that it would be decidedly unpleasant to be carried into the British lines. The party with their captives, on the night of April 3, camped at the mouth of Wysox creek. Supposing they were now out of danger, they relaxed somewhat their vigilance. Jonah Rogers, the boy mentioned above, afterward told this narrative:
"In the afternoon of the day before we reached the place of encampment we came to a stream. I was tired and fatigued with the journey; my feet were sore and I was just able to proceed. Pike told the chief of the gang that he would carry me over on his shoulders. The old chief, in a gruff voice, said: 'Well.' Pike whispered in my ear as we were crossing the stream: 'Jonah, don't close your eyes to-night. When they sleep take the knife from the chief and cut the cords with which I am bound.' I was the only one of the prisoners who was not bound every night—the old chief took me under his blanket. The nights were raw and cold, and though protected in this way I thought I should perish. This much of the project was communicated by Pike to the other prisoners. Toward nightfall they halted, kindled a fire, partook of their evening meal, and were soon stretched on the ground. In a few minutes the old chief was asleep, and in the course of half an hour the savages were all snoring; but Pike knew his friends were awake, from the occasional half-suppressed cough.
"Pike was the nearest to me and not over two feet in distance. It was a terrifio effort for me to make up my mind to perform my part of the business, for I knew that instant death would be the penalty in case of failure. But, as time passed on, and the snoring of the savages grew louder and louder, my courage seemed to gather new strength. I had noticed where the old chief lay down; the knife in the belt was on the side next to me. I peered out from under the blanket, and I saw the embers of the fire still aglow and a partial light of the moon. I also saw the hands of Pike elevated; I thought the time had come, and these two hours of suspense I had passed were more terrible than all the rest of my life put together. I cautiously drew the knife from the scabbard in the chief's belt, and, creeping noiselessly out from under the blanket, I passed over to Pike and severed the cords from his hands.
"All was the silence of death save the gurgling noise made by the savages in their sleep. Pike cut the cords that bound the other prisoners. We were all now upon our feet. The first thing was to remove the guns of the Indians—the work for us to do was to be done with tomahawks and knives. The guns were carefully removed out of sight, and each of us had a tomahawk. Van Campen placed himself over the chief and Pike over another. I was too young for the encounter and stood aloof. I saw the tomahawks of Pike and Van Campen flash in the dim light of the halfsmoldering flames; the next moment the crash of two terrible blows followed in quick succession, when seven of the ten arose in a state of momentary stupefaction and bewilderment, and then came the hand-to-hand conflict in the contest for life. Though our enemy were without arms, they were not disposed to yield. Pence now seized one of the guns, fired and brought one down; four were now killed and two dangerously wounded, when the others, with terrific yells, fled at the report of the gun. As they ran, Van Campen threw his tomahawk and buried it in the shoulder of one of them. This Indian, with a terrible scar on his shoulder-blade, I saw years after, when he acknowledged how it came there." ,
Mrs. Jane (Strope) Whitaker told that Pike had visited her father often after the war, and she had heard him relate over and over again every detail of the episode.
In June, 1780, Col. Franklin, and Sergt. Baldwin with four men had trailed a party from near Tunkhannock to Wysox, near where is the Laning farm. They discovered the camp smoke and crept upon them and captured four white men, bearers of dispatches to the British forces. One of them got away, and the others were taken to headquarters; they were Jacob and his son, Adam, and Henry Hoover. Among other trophies found on the prisoners was a beautiful spy glass, now the property of Maj. W. H. H. Gore, of Sheshequin; it had been purchased by his father, Judge Gore. And Burr Ridgeway when a very old man said that he had heard Col. Franklin say, on pulling out a silver watch, "I took that from one of the prisoners."
Fight.—A battle with the redskins in Luzerne (now Bradford county) took place at the Frenchtown mountain, opposite Asylum, April 10, 1782. A band of marauders had captured Roswell Franklin's family of Hanover. For some unknown cause this family was the especial object of attack of the Indians. A year before they had captured Franklin's son, Roswell, and his nephew, Arnold Franklin, whose father had been killed in the Wyoming battle, and they had burned his grain and driven off his stock. April 7, while Roswell Franklin was away, a band of eight savages rushed into the cabin and captured Mrs. Franklin and her children: Olive, aged thirteen; Susanna; Stephen, aged four, and Ichabod, aged eighteen months, and hurried away with them, going north toward Tioga. The second day they were joined by five other Indians, making thirteen. In a few hours after they had gone, Franklin returned, and divining the affair hastened to WilkesBarre and the alarm guns were fired. The captives heard the gun and knew what it meant. Soon a party was in pursuit under Sergt. Thomas Baldwin, seconded by Joseph Elliott. The others of this party were: John Swift (afterward a general, and killed on the Niagara frontier, 1812), Oliver Bennett, Watson Baldwin, Gideon Dudley, Mr. Cook and a Mr. Taylor—eight men. The pursuers struck straight across the country to Wyalusing and reached that point ahead of the Indians, but, for the purpose of a more eligible place for a stand, they passed on to the Frenchtown mountain, and erected a kind of defence works by felling some trees and placing brush in front of them. The Indians had proceeded so slowly that they awaited them two days and when on the point of concluding that they had gone by some other route they finally appeared and halted, and began to peer about with great caution. Mrs. Franklin thought they were looking for deer, as they were out of provision. As soon as one of the bucks came iu range he was fired upon, and then a regular battle commenced. The women and children were compelled to lie flat on the ground, as they were between the combatants and the bullets whistling close above them. A savage fell at Dudley's first shot, but when loading Dudley was wounded in the arm. A desperate fight now raged—each party behind trees. The next execution was Taylor's shot that killed their medicine man; he rushed up to scalp him and broke his knife, when two Indians started for him, but he cut off the Indian's head and ran with it and escaped. The fight raged several hours. Mrs. Franklin, anxious to know whether her husband was in the rescuing party, raised on her elbow to look; her daughter, Susanna, seeing an Indian approach, urged her to lie down; the next moment the Indian fired and killed Mrs. Franklin. Joseph Elliott saw the murder of the woman from his place, and creeping along the trunk of a fallen tree got an opportunity and shot the Indian dead. The children, now supposing all were to be murdered, jumped up and ran. They heard some one shout to them, and thought at first it was an Indian pursuing to murder them. Again they heard the voice saying: "Run, you dear souls, run!" And the poor, frightened children rushed into the arms of Elliott. The Indians now fled in terror. The whites remained behind their ambush until near sunset, lest it was a trap to get them out and murder them all. Mr. Swift had joined the party about the close of the fight and was hardly on the ground when he was favored by the opportunity and shot an Indian dead. Mrs. Franklin was buried near where killed, and years after the daughter, Olive, wrote the following: "Our friends having found the tomahawks of the Indian along with their packs, cut dry poles to make a raft on which to float, and we dropped silently down the river, and at the dawn came to Wyalusing island. It was just a week since we were taken prisoners. Here we lay a whole day, fearing to go forward lest we should be discovered by the enemy, probably lurking near the shore, and could single us out and shoot us down at their leisure. We were sixty miles from safety, and starving, and our friends gave the one remaining biscuit to the children, and fears were entertained that the little ones would die of hunger. The party reached Wilkes Barre the Wednesday following. The youngest child of Mrs. Franklin was caught up by an Indian at the moment they fled, and carried off, and was never again heard of."
In March, 1778, as soon as the ice was clear of the river, Lieut. -Col. Dorrance with 150 men made his second trip up the river for the purpose of aiding the remaining whites to get out of the country. A raft was made of the old Moravian church, at Wyalusing, and the people and some of their effects loaded thereon; among others the families of York, Kinsley, Benjamin Eaton, Fitzgerald, Jonathan Terry and Christopher Hurlbut.
Old man Van Valkenberg and three daughters and his two sons-in-law's families and the Strobe family had not been molested, but had been assured by the Indians of their continued friendship and protection. But in time they became alarmed and Strope set out for Wyoming for aid to take his family down the river. Hardly had he left his family, May 20, when thirteen Indians rushed in and captured the inmates, burned the house and drove off the stock. The men captured at this time were sent to Niagara, but the women and children were kept until the war ended. Thus piecemeal the settlement was swept away. Seven in the Van Valkenburg family were captured; seven were killed by the enemy; one died in captivity, and another soon after his release; the total property of these people was destroyed, the cabins all burned, and the gloom and desolation brooded over the fair and once happy land, as if the angel of destruction had spread its wings and covered it in the shadow of death and utter ruin.
C. F. Hill writes of the noted Indians: "Joseph Nutimus was a Delaware Indian and chief of the tribe known as the Fork Indians, and later in life was known as Old King Nutimus, who for many years was at the mouth of the Nescopeck creek, where the town of Nescopeck now stands. The term of his occupation of Nescopeck was between the years of 1742 and 1763. The earliest reference to him is made by James Logan, Esq., in a letter bearing date, Stenton, August 4, 1733, to Thomas Penn, Esq, in which he speaks of an unexpected visit from Nutimus and his company, with a present, and apprehends trouble, and closes by stating, "that they left a bag of bulletts last year." In a later letter, August 22, 1733, Logan acknowledges that Nutimus had lands in the forks of the Delaware and Lehigh river above Durham. The Lehigh river at that time was also known as the western branch of the Delaware river, and the tribes located on the lands between these two streams and where Easton now stands, were known as the Fork Indians.
This was the original dominion of King Nutimus, where he held undisputed sway, subject only to such allegiance as he owed to the Six Nations, until the famous walking purchase took place in 1837, the history of which is too long for the purposes of this notice, and which, contrary to the expectations of the Fork Indians, extended far beyond their meaning of a day and a half walk and included the fork lands. Edward Marshall, a trained pedestrian, did the walking. Nutimus and his people were disappointed, chagrined and angry and were ready for retaliation. Settlers at once flocked in upon his lands and settled among his people, while they obstinately and with much insolence held their ground.
After five years of unhappy dispute as to who should occupy these lands, complaint was made by the people of Pennsylvania to the Six Nations, which resulted in a council being called at Philadelphia July 12, 1842, at which Cannassatego, a sachem of the Six Nations, delivered his famous speech to the complaining Delawares, and cites to them deeds made by their fathers more than fifty years ago for these same lands and later deeds and releases made by themselves, several of which, in fact, were signed by Nutimus himself. Cannassatego was thoroughly disgusted with their action and told them they "should be taken by the hair of their heads and