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intelligence and firmness the duties of a magistrate, he was appointed one of the associate judges.
Nathan Beach, of Beach Grove, for many years one of the most distinguished citizens of Luzerne, furnished Mr. Miner a brief sketch of his life. Mr. Beach was a magistrate for many years, and for a still longer time postmaster at Beach Grove. la 1807-8 Beach and Miner represented the county of Luzerne in the assembly, then sitting in Lancaster. Room-mates as well as colleagues, a friendly intimacy commenced, which never suffered the slightest interruption. Active, enterprising, having a mind quick to perceive, a memory extraordinarily retentive, and a faculty to communicate with remarkable clearness and spirit the incidents occurring in his eventful life, a more pleasant or instructive companion, in respect to ancient affairs, could rarely be met with. Even at the age of eighty-two (1845), his graphic account of the surrender of Cornwallis possessed more interest than any we have ever read or heard. Fortune has smiled on his exertions, and the poor exiled boy is now able to ride in his carriage and pair, abounding in wealth, still blessed with health, and buoyant in spirits, esteemed by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
"In the year 1769 my father removed with his family from the State of New York to the valley of Wyoming, now Luzerne county, where he continued to reside within the limits of said county, until the 4th day of July, 1778, the day after the Wyoming battle. When the inhabitants, to wit, all those who had escaped the tomahawk and scalping knife, fled in every direction to places of security, about the first of August following I returned with my father and Thomas Dodson, to secure our harvest which we had left in the fields. While we were thus engaged I was taken prisoner by the Indians and tories; made my escape the day following. In the fall of the same year, 1778, my father and family went to live at Fort Jenkins. I was there employed, with others of the citizens, and sent out on scouting parties by Capt. Swany, commander of the fort, and belonging to Col. Hartley's regiment of the Pennsylvania line, continued at said fort until about the first of June, 1779, during which time had a number of skirmishes with the Indians. In May, 1779, the Indians, thirty-five in number, made an attack on some families that lived one mile from the fort, and took three families, twenty-two in number, prisoners. Information having been received at the fort, Ensign Thornbury was sent out by the captain in pursuit of the Indians, with twenty soldiers; myself and three others of the citizens also went, making twenty-four. We came up with them —a sharp engagement took place, which lasted about thirty minutes, during which time we had four men killed and five wounded out of the twenty-four. As we were compelled to retreat to the fort, leaving our dead on the ground, the Indians took their scalps. During our engagement with the Indians the twenty-four prisoners before mentioned made their escape and got safe to the fort. The names of the heads of those families taken prisoners as aforesaid, were Bartlet Ramey, Christopher Forrow and Joseph Dewey; the first named, Bartlet Ramey, was killed by the Indians. Soon after the aforesaid engagement, in June, I entered the boat department. Boats having been built at Middletown, Dauphin county, called continental boats, made for the purpose of transporting the baggage, provisions, etc., of Gen. Sullivan's army—which was on its march to destroy the Indian towns in the lake country, in the State of New York. I steered one of those boats to Tioga Point, where we discharged our loading, and I returned to Fort Jenkins in August, where I found our family. The Indians still continued to be troublesome; my father thought it advisable to leave the country and go to a place of more safety; we left the Susquehanna, crossed the mountains to Northampton county, in the neighborhood of Bethlehem; this being in the fall of 1779. In May, 1780, the Indians paid a visit to that country, took and carried away Benjamin Gilbert and family, and several of his neighbors, amounting to eighteen or twenty in all. Said Gilbert was of the society called Quakers. It was then thought expedient to raise a certain number of militia men, and establish a line of block-houses north of the Blue mountain, from the Delaware river near Stroudsburg in Northampton county to the river Schuylkill in then Berks, now Schuylkill county, in which service I entered as substitute for Jacob Reedy. In May, 1780, was appointed orderly sergeant in Capt. Conrad Rather's company, in which situation I served that season six months, as follows: Two months under Capt. Rather; two months under Capt. Deal; during this two months the Indians made an attack upon our block-house, at which engagement some of the Indians were killed; and two months under Capt. Smeathers. During the winter it was considered unnecessary to continue the service. In May, 1781, the forces were reorganized at the block-houses, where I served four months. In September of the same year I entered the French service in Philadelphia as wagoner, with Capt. Gosho, wagon master, and was attached to the hospital department; arrived at Yorktown, Va., the last of September, about three weeks before the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. I remained with the army in the neighborhood of Yorktown until June, 1782, at which time the French army left Virginia for Boston; arrived at Providence, State of Rhode Island, about in November; remained there until the first of February, 1783, when the army marched to Boston, and embarked on board of their fleet. I then returned to Philadelphia, Pa., was discharged, and returned home after an absence of about eighteen months. I was born, says our family register, July, 1763, near a place now called Hudson, on the North river, in the State of New York. Have continued to reside within Luzerne county from September, 1769, to the present time, excepting five years as before stated.
The Inman8, a family conspicuous in the days that were so dark and troubled here for the number of its name that gave their lives as a sacrifice. Five brothers went to the battle of Wyoming—two lay dead on the ground, three escaped, but Richard, from overheat and swimming the river, returned home only to die in a few weeks from disease thereby contracted. There were seven brothers; two remained at home that day because they could not secure arms; one, Isaac, was nineteen and the other a mere lad, both of whom would have been at the bloody sacrifice except for the fact stated. The parents were aged at the time, and it was doubly necessary for the two youths to be with them, as the fates turned the battle and caused the following exodus. Elijah and Israel Inman were killed in the battle. Richard Inman saved the life of Rufus Bennett in the retreat by shooting the Indian that was in hot chase after him. Isaac Inman, the lad aged nineteen, spoken of above, was ambushed and killed by Indians the following winter. He was at home and thought he heard wild turkeys calling, and took his gun to find them. In a short time the family heard shots and the boy never returned. The family then knew that the "turkeys" were Indians, and they could only hope their boy was a prisoner and not dead. But when the spring melted away the snow, his mangled body was found where he had been murdered and scalped. Here were four of the seven brothers dead by the hands of the savages. Richard Inman had certainly killed one Indian, and it may be supposed that from first to last they had evened up with the savages in numbers slain, because they were not cowards. Col. Edward Inman in 1843 was a prominent and wealthy citizen on the old homestead south of Wilkes-Barre, where the father, Elijah Inman, had settled. The latter died in February, 1804, aged eighty-six, and his widow. Susan Inman, died in 1809, aged eighty-eight.
Shoemaker Family.—We give the verbatim account of the above family as we find it in Mr. Miner's publication in the Traveller:
"Let us tarry a moment before this beautiful mansion. A double house, set in from the avenue far enough to allow a spacious yard, lofty shade trees, fruits, flowers and shrubbery in exuberant profusion, yet nothing crowded! See that peacock spreading his golden honors as he moves upon the velvet lawn. Upon my word, this would-be thought handsome in New Haven itself. Yes, and possibly the pattern may have been taken from that fine city, for the owner was educated at Yale! And is he a descendant from an old Wyoming patriot? Ay, by both sides of the house. The Hon. Charles Denison Shoemaker, son of the late Elijah Shoemaker, formerly sheriff of Luzerne, who, it will be recollected, was the soul of Lieut. Benjamin Shoemaker, so treacherously slain by Windecker on the day of the massacre. Benjamin married the daughter of the good old Cameronian Scotchman, frequently spoken of in preceding pages. That the alliance is cherished as it should be is show by ' McDowal' being given as a middle name by Sheriff Shoemaker to one of his sons. Elijah Shoemaker had married a daughter of Col. Nathan Denison, whose name is itself an eulogy, and synonymous with every manly virtue.
"In respect to the two grandfathers, our annals are so full as to leave no details necessary here, further than to say that their plantation was the original allotment of Mr. Shoemaker when, as one of the forty, he came in on the first settlement of Wyoming. Elijah, the father, added to it several lots. Between the avenue and the mountain, he held a mile square, bounded on four sides by roads, and subject, when the crops became inviting, to the depredations of cattle. During those summer months, just at dawning of day, you might see him mounted, two strong and favorite dogs his companions, starting for a four-mile ride round that favorite portion of his place. The early and stirring activity of the master kept alive a similar spirit in all around him, and it required the abundant product of his large plantation to support his numerous family and meet.the demands which his hospitality and his too greatly obliging disposition made upon him. Every one who wanted a favor was sure of an obliging answer, and almost certain of aid from his purse, his granary, or his name.
"After finishing his studies and graduating at New Haven, C. D. Shoemaker returned, and was soon after appointed prothonotary of Luzerne, subsequently judge of the county, which he held several years. Among the active business men of the county, he has several brothers, all in prosperous circumstances."
Gen. William Ross.—Mr. Miner, in his Hazleton Travellers, points out this man's house as the " white house on the right," property that was once owned and occupied by Col. Pickering, the most prominent man sent here by the Pennsylvania proprietaries in the early settlements to save this land from the encroaching Yankees, the same man who was kidnapped by the people and carried off to the mountains in retaliation for the arrest and imprisonment of Col. John Franklin. Capt. Ross marched his company in pursuit to release Pickering, and, coming upon the guard of the prisoner, an engagement took place, in which Ross was wounded. The wound was so severe that for some time his life was considered in danger, but on his recovery the executive council of Philadelphia presented him an elegant sword. The inscription on the sword states that it is for his "gallant services of July 4, 1788."
When Pickering left the valley he sold his land to Col. Ross, on easy payments, and, during the lifetime of the purchaser, it became of immense value.
Two of Gen. Ross' brothers, Perrin and Jeremiah, were slain in the Wyoming battle. At the flight the family were scattered, passing through the wilderness in great privation and suffering, by different routes, young Ross, with his mother, taking the lower or Nescopeck way. Soon after the coming here of Spalding and his command, they returned. Having a taste for military affairs, he soon rose by regular gradation from major to brigade inspector, and then general in the militia. For twenty years he held the commission of a magistrate, and during the last war, 1812, was chosen to represent the district composed of Northumberland and Luzerne in the senate of the State. A strong-minded man, he had studied human nature in the school of active life to great advantage, and performed the duties of all the various stations to which he was called with intelligence and integrity. He was tall, straight, extremely active; he started early and he moved fast who ever got ahead of him. A zealous Democrat, of ardent temperament, he was among the most influential leaders of his party, and most feared by his opponents. In 1803 or 1804, having so far made his payment as to feel the full force of independence, Col. Ross resolved, with natural pride, and not an incommendable spirit, to visit his birthplace in Connecticut. Mounted on a high-spirited and elegant steed, black as jet, with holsters and pistols, his dress elegant, though unostentatious, he visited New London county, his native home.
William Sterling Ross, an only son, now (1845) occupies the seat of his father in the senate of the State. Gen. Ross had established a family burying-ground, in which he had erected a tablet of marble to the memory of his brothers. Having lived to the good old age of eighty-two years, on August 9, 1842, he closed his active and honorable life. Every fitting demonstration of respect was paid to his remains, the court adjourning to attend the funeral. One incident was too remarkable not to be noted. A thunder cloud arose above the Northeast mountain, a most unusual place, as the procession moved, and cast its dark shadow over the plains. For some time the repeated peals of thunder were regarded as minute guns from the cannon placed in some proper position. The cloud passed away without rain, and as the train arrived at the mansion house the sun came out again in all its brightness.
Rev. Benjamin Bidlack.—In 1846, Mr. Miner informs us, this gentleman, though past his four score years, was living in Kingston, erect and active, with dignity and much grace, moving among his people, beloved and respected by all; still full of energy, full of ardor, glowing with patriotism, much as in his youug days when he entered the army of liberty and fought for independence. He was at Boston when Washington assembled the first American army to oppose Gage; afterward at the lines before New York. A brother, taken prisoner at Log island, whom it was said was starved to death in chains.
When Benjamin Bidlack's term of service was out, he joined his father's family at Wyoming in 1777, and here at once was in active duty. He was with Capt. Asaph Whittlesey in his scout up the river. After this expedition he entered the regular service and was in the army till the close of the war. Besides other engagements, it was his good fortune to be present at Yorktown and the surrender of Cornwallis.
James Bidlack, Jr., another brother, commanded the Wilkes-Barre company, which he led into battle on the fatal 3d. He died where he stood, at the head of his men. Only eight of all his company escaped. They were of the true blood, the whole family of Bidlacks—-mild in private life, remarkably clever and obliging. The social virtues in the peaceful circle seemed to find in them their happiest illustrations; but called to arms and roused to action, they were, all and each, every inch the soldier.
The day that Capt. James Bidlack led his men into action, his father, James Bidlack, Sr., commanded a company of aged men and kept garrison in the fort at Plymouth. Father and sons—all of them were in the service, and two of them sealed with their lives their attachment to freedom. When the savages returned the following year in force to Wyoming, old Mr. Bidlack, the father, was surprised and taken prisoner, and carried into a deeply suffering captivity, from which he was only relieved by the return of peace. But he did return to the beloved valley, and lived to see his country rise into almost unhoped for prosperity, the fruit of the services of the patriots of the Revolution. It is nearly thirty years since (1845) the father was called, we trust, to a better world. The circumstances that occurred in many years of active life after the close of the war to Mr. Benjamin Bidlack, it does not belong to the purpose of these sketches to portray. Many years ago he became a preacher of the Methodist persuasion, and spoke as he had fought, with impressive earnestness and ardent sincerity. Indeed, the Bidlack family seem in their conduct to have kept the true end of life in view.
Mr. Miner adds this note:
"May 1845. The worthy old patriot still lives, blessed with abundance, and the evening of life is cheered by the well-merited fortune of his son, the Hon. Benjamin Alden Bidlack, who has been the past four years, member of congress from this district; and recently has been appointed minister to Grenada, carrying with him not only the approbation of his political friends, but the hearty good will of all his neighbors."
Noah Pettebone emigrated from Hartford county. He had three sons and four daughters; the names of the sons were Noah, Stephen and Oliver. When the independent companies of Durkee and Ransom were raised, Stephen, the second son, enlisted, and marched, near the close of 1776, to join the army of Gen. Washington, leaving Noah, the oldest brother, and Oliver, then a lad of fourteen, at home with their father.
When the alarm gun gave notice that the enemy was in the valley, Noah repaired promptly to the post of danger; was in the dreadful conflict that ensued, and was slain, leaving a young wife to mingle her tears with those of the aged father, for his Loss. (In after years the widow intermarried with Amariah Watson.)
Stephen, having come in with Capt. Spalding's company, was murdered the following spring by a band of savages on the flats, a little beyond where the western abutment of the bridge terminates. Mr. Williams and Mr. Buck fell at the same time, and Mr. Follet was shot, pierced through several times with a spear, scalped and left for dead, but recovered. His own account of the matter was, that knowing they would strike while signs of life remained, summoning his utmost power he lay perfectly still, notwithstanding repeated wounds, pretending to be dead. The bold and daring deed being perpetrated in plain sight of WilkesBarre, the Indians, having brief space to effect their purpose, did not strike him with the tomahawk.
Thus two of the old man's sons poured out their life blood, victims to Indian barbarity, martyrs in the holy cause of liberty and independence.
The younger brother, Oliver, was in Forty fort at the time of its surrender. On the decease of his father the care of the family and estate devolved on him.. He was tall, slender, but well made, of frank and agreeable manners. As commissioner of the county, a vigilant and faithful officer, and as a private gentleman liberal and kind, ever assiduous to please. He was a man of perfect integrity and honor. Having lived to the good old age of seventy, he died in March, 1832.
Such is the mingled, painful and pleasing record of one of the most patriotic families of Wyoming, and among the deepest sufferers.
The plantation is now (1846), owned by Noah (it is right to preserve the old family name) and his brother, the Hon. Henry Pettebone, in the possession of whose descendants we hope it may remain a thousand years. Judge H. Pettebone received that appointment in place of Judge Bennett, resigned.*
In the family sketch on another page is a full account of the Pettebone family.
It would appear that patriot blood ran warmly through the hearts of the whole Pettebone family, for our researches show us that those who remained in Connecticut, if less deeply sufferers, were not less active in the service of the country. In 1775 Col. Jonathan Pettebone assembled his regiment and addressed them. "The spirit was so generous," says the record, "that a number sufficient to form three companies, of sixty-eight men each, exclusive of officers, immediately enlisted, and were ready for any expedition on the shortest notice."
•Col. Erastus Hill, who owns that very handsome seat, next above William Swetlands, married a daughter of Oliver Pettebone, and residing near the spot took great interest In the erection of the monument. In his possession are a number of skulls and thigh bones taken from the pit, where they were first deposited. For several years not only the deep stroke of the tomahawk was visible, but marks of the accursed scalping knife were plain to be seen; while the rifle bullet hole in the thigh bone, smoothly cut, without the least splint or fracture, as with a sharp bit or gouge, excited mnch Interest. But they are fast crumbling on exposure to the air.