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chosen. But the place had not charm enough to induce the old soldier to contest the election, and Mr. Coolbaugh took the seat. The incident is mentioned to show the respect in which he was held, as well as to show the fact less than 400 votes chose a member of assembly. The old gentleman removed with a son to the Ohio, where, at a very advanced age, he died. Justus died May, 1830, aged seventy-three. Ambrose, who settled in Braintrim, married Eleanor Comstock, daughter of John Comstock, who came from Norwich west, farms. Mr. Gaylord died June 12, 1844, and had he lived to November, he would have been ninety-five. His country had not entirely forgotten him, for his old age was cheered by a pension of $80 His good wife Eleanor (June, 1845) is eighty-two years of age, of sound mind and memory. She states that her father and two brothers were in the battle, she living in Forty fort. Her two brothers, Kingsley and Robert, were killed. Her father, exhausted in the flight, threw himself beside a fallen tree. Presently two Indians sprang upon it, intent on those at a distance, and, on stepping down to pursue, bent the bushes so as to brush him. When night came, he found his way to the fort. Another branch of the name settled in the lower part of Wyoming. The father of the late Charles E. Gaylord, of Huntington, died while in the service, having been a member of Capt. Durkee's'company. Lieut. Aaron Gaylord, one of the officers who fell in the battle, was his brother.
Dr. Charles Gaylord studied medicine after the war with Dr. Henderson, a distinguished physician of Connecticut, in compliment to whom he gave that name to his son. Dr. Gaylord died in 1839, aged sixty-nine years. Four, therefore, bore arms for their country, one of whom died in the service and one fell in battle. Josiah Rogers removed with his family to Wyoming, and settled at Plymouth in 1776. After the massacre, with his family he fled, taking his course down the Susquehanna two days' journey; thence across the mountains toward Northampton of Berks. Exhausted by fatigue, and heart-stricken with terror, Mrs. Rogers fainted upon the journey; and notwithstanding the utmost aid was administered their pool means afforded, she died in the wilderness, many miles from any human habitation. This was July 9, 1778. Husband and children gathered round to look upon the pale face of one who in life they had loved so fondly. It was a scene of inexpressible sorrow. A broken piece of board that lay in the path was used for a spade, and in a hollow where a fallen tree had upturned its roots, a shallow grave was dug, and her remains were buried with all the care and respect their distressed condition would allow. On the board placed over the grave, this inscription was written with a piece of charcoal:
"Here rest the remains of Hannah, wife of Josiah Rogers, who died while fleeing from the Indians after the massacre at Wyoming."
Frail memorial of reverence and love! yet how slightly more endurable, having reference either to time or eternity, are the costliest monuments that ostentatious pride, or heartfelt grief, have ever erected, to perpetuate what the inexorable law of nature has prescribed shall be forgotten! The deceased was aged fifty-two years. Her maiden name was Hannah Ford.
Lieut. James Welles is on the record of the honored patriots who fell in that disastrous battle, which filled Wyoming with lamentation and woe. The family were the earliest settlers in Springfield, on the Wyalusing, from which on danger of the savages becoming imminent, they removed to the more densely settled part of the country in the valley. Resuming the occupation of their property on the restoration of peace, the family became prosperous, and among the most respectable and independent inhabitants of that beautiful place, formerly, it will be remembered the residence of the Moravian missionaries and Christian Indians.
Corey and Bullock.—Of the Corey and Bullock families, no longer residents of Wyoming, we have been able to learn much less than from their sacrifices and sufferings could have been wished. Amos and Asa Bullock were killed in the battle. One of the name, probably one of the brothers who fell, was a lawyer; the father resided at the meadows, six miles on the Easton road from Wilkes-Barre, where the night and day after the massacre, from the rushing in and departure of the fugitives, images of sorrow and despair, the dreadful uncertainty of the fate of his boys, the scene was inexpressibly distressing. Nathan Bullock, probably the father, was two years afterward taken by Indians a prisoner to Canada.
Three of the Corey family were among the victims of the rifle and tomahawk— Jenks, Rufus and Anson. The former was one of the original proprietors of Pittston. It may be noted as extraordinary that three of the younger branches of the name came by melancholy accident to untimely deaths. One being shot by a neighbor, mistaken for a deer; one lumbering some years ago on the Lehigh, the other in the far western country, to which the remainder of the family had emigrated. The father died long since in Kingston, and his remains are buried on or near the spot where the tavern stood on the northeast corner at New Troy.
The Church Family came from Kent, Litchfield county. "An abstract of the second independent company raised in the town of Westmoreland, commanded by Capt. Samuel Ransom," dated October 7, 1777, contains the names of Nathaniel Church, John Church and Gideon Church. The farm on the Kingston flats, opposite Mill Creek, was owned by, and the residence of Gideon, and the property belongs to his son, William Church. The reader familiar with old Indian wars will remember the gallant and successful Capt. Church, who was scarcely less distinguished than Mason, the hero of the Pequot conquest. There is no reason to doubt that the families were of the same original stock that in a very early day emigrated from England.
In the list of slain in the battle furnished by Col. Franklin is the name of Joel Church, who was also a brother of Gideon. With many other Wyoming people, attracted by alluring accounts of the richness of western lands, several of the family removed to Ohio. The Gere family was from Norwich, descended from one of the oldest families of that place. A Mr. Rezin Gere is named in its annals as living 200 years ago. Capt. Gere was aged forty years at the time of his death. Stephen Gere, of Brooklyn, Susquehanna county, is the only son living (June, 1845).
Capt. Rezin Gere commanded the Second or upper Wilkes-Barre company on the fatal M. He left three sons, the eldest only five years of age, to the care of his widow. Driven with her orphan children from the valley, their house and all their paper were consumed by fire. Too young to know their rights to return and repossess their farm, the title papers being destroyed, the land of course went into other hands. Capt. Jeremiah Gere, a highly respectable citizen of Susquehanna county, recently deceased, was one of the sons. The other brothers not long since visited Wyoming. "We are becoming old and poor," said they; "our father fell, a commissioned officer, fighting the enemies of liberty and his country—we lost everything, even the land. Is there no redress? Is there no aid to be obtained from the government of the country?" Their case seems one of great hardship. Is there one instance in a hundred in which Congress has granted lands or pensions where the claim was so strong as this?
Mrs. Lucy Carey, of Scott township, whose maiden name was McKay, was in Forty fort at the time of the massacre, and, if now (1865) living, is one hundred years of age. She was alive one year ago.
Gershom Prince, though but a humble negro here when this was more intensely slave territory than was ever Virginia, is entitled—well entitled—to take his place among the immortals whose lives were a noble sacrifice to the liberty of mankind. Prince went out in the line and, bravely fighting, fell, and was with the silent heroes whose bones were left so long to bleach on the spot thus consecrated by the blood of heroes. It is supposed Prince was born in New England about 1733, and became a soldier in Capt. Israel Putnam's company, where he came to know Capt. Durkee (a lieutenant then), and came with him to Wyoming. He was a soldier in the English army in 1762 in the war against Spain, and when the Revolution broke out he joined Col. Christopher Green's colored regiment, of Rhode Island. He was in the engagement at Red Bank in 1777, and soon after this came here with Durkee, it is supposed somewhat as a servant. He came post haste with Durkee, and at once went into the battle, and by his side died. On his body was found his powder horn, and his hand had carved carefully the following: "Prince negro his hornm." In another place, "Garshom Prince his hornm made at Crown Point Sept. ye 3rd day 1761." A caution is carved in a third place, "Steal not this hornm." He has, besides, given a view of six buildings on his horn, one of which hangs out the swinging sign. He has endeavored also to represent a water craft, but fearing it would not be recognized as such, has carved over it the word '' vesel."
Stephen Abbott.—[Mr. Miner, in 1845, thus wrote of this family:] "On the other side of the river, opposite Forty fort, lives Stephen Abbott, a respectable and independent farmer. His father, John Abbott, was an early settler in Wyoming. There was one cannon, a four-pounder, in the Wilkes-Barre fort, and it had been agreed upon that, when certain information came that the enemy was dangerously near, the gun should be fired as a signal. At work on the flats, with his son, a lad eight or nine years old, he heard the terrific sound come booming up. Where or how near the enemy might be, of course he could not tell, but loosening the oxen from the cart, he hastened to the place of rendezvous. He was in the battle and fought side by side with his fellows to defend their homes. It makes my heart bleed to recur, as in these sketches I am obliged to do so often, to the retreat of our people. Again and again I aver there was no dishouor in it. I do not believe a braver or more devoted set of men ever marched forth to battle; but remember a greater part of the fighting men, those first for war, raised for the defence of Wyoming, were away defending the country, to be sure, fighting in the thrice glorious cause of liberty and independence, most certainly, but leaving their own homes wholly exposed, so that our little army was made up of such of the settlement as was left who could carry a gun, however unfit to meet the practiced and warlike savages, and the well-trained rangers of the British Butler. Mr. Abbott took his place in the ranks. He had a wife and nine children (the eldest boy being only eleven) depending on his protection, labor and care. If a man so circumstanced had offered his services to Washington, the General would have said, 'My friend, I admire your spirit and patriotism, but your family can not dispense with your services without suffering; your duty to them is too imperious to permit you to leave them even to serve your country.' Such would have been the words of truth and soberness. But the emergency allowed no exemption. In the retreat Mr. Abbott fled to the river at Monocacy island, waded over to the main branch, and now being unable to swim, was aided by a friend and escaped. In the expulsion which followed, taking his family he went down the Susquehanna as far as Sun bury. What could he do? Home, harvest, cattle, all hope of provision for present and future use were at Wyoming. Like a brave man who meets danger and struggles to overcome it, like a faithful husband and fond father, he looked on his dependent family, and made his resolve. Mr. Abbott returned in hopes to secure a part of his excellent harvest which he left ripening in his fields. I am somewhat more particular in mentioning this my friend, for I wish, as you take an interest in this matter, to impress this important fact upon your mind—that our people, though sorely struck, though suffering under a most bloody and disastrous defeat, did not lie down idly in despair without an effort to sustain themselves. No; the same indomitable spirit which they had manifested in overcoming previous difficulties, still actuated them. Mr. Abbott came back, determined, if possible, to save from his growing abundance the means of subsistence. He went upon the flats to work with Isaac Williams."
"Mr. Abbott and Mr. Williams were ambushed by the savages, and both murdered and scalped. There is a ravine on the upper part of the plantation of Mr. Hollenback, above Mill creek, where they fell.
"All hope was now extinguished, and Mrs. Abbott (her maiden name was Alice Fuller), with a broken heart, set out with her nine children (judge ye how helpless and destitute!) to find their way to Hampton, an eastern town in Connecticut, from whence they had emigrated. Their loss was total. House burnt—barn burnt— harvests all devastated—cattle wholly lost—valuable title papers destroyed—nothing, nothing saved from the desolating hand of savage ruin and tory vengeance. 'God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.' They had between 200 and 300 miles to travel, through a country where patience and charity had been already exhausted by the great number of applicants for relief. But they were sustained; and arrived at their native place, the family was separated, and found homes and employment among the neighboring farmers, where they dwelt for several years, until the boys, grown up to manhood, were able to return, claim the patrimonial lands—again to raise the cottage and the byre, and once more to gather mother and children round the domestic hearth, tasting the charms of independence and the blessings of home.
"An interesting case, most certainly. Besides the deprivation of a father, the direct loss of property must have been considerable—more than $1,000, I should suppose. I confess it appears to me very plain, that the continental congress, having drawn away the men of war raised for the defence of Wyoming, thereby brought down the enemy on a defenceless place, and were the cause of the sufferings and losses, and that the national government is, therefore, by every consideration of justice and honor, though late postponed, bound to make good to the sufferers the losses sustained. Did you say that Mrs. Abbott, the widow, also returned?
"Yes—and long occupied the farm where her husband fell. She was afterward married to a man whose name was known widely as the extent of the settlement; a shrewd man—a great reader—very intelligent—distinguished far and near for the sharpness of his wit, the keenness of his sarcasm, the readiness of his repartees, and the cutting pungency of his satire; withal not unamiable—for in the domestic circle he was kind and clever, and they lived happily together; but his peculiar talent being known, for many years every wit and witling of the country round about thought he must break a lance with him. Constantly assailed— tempted daily 'to sharp encounter'—armed at all points like the 'fretful porcupine'—cut and thrust, he became expert from practice as he was gifted for that species of warfare, by nature. All the old people, in merry mood, can tell of onslaught and overthrow of many a hapless wight who had the temerity to provoke a shaft from the quiver of old Mr. Stephen Gardiner.
"You began by speaking of Mr. Stephen Abbott. Did he marry before he returned from Connecticut, or did he take a Wyoming girl to wife—a daughter, as he was the son, of one of the Revolutionary patriots?
"You shall hear. He married a Searle. Having resettled on the patrimonial property, a fruitful soil, industry and economy brought independence in their train. Could you look upon the expelled orphan boy of 1778, pattering along his little footsteps beside his widowed mother and the other orphan children, as they were flying from the savage, and contrast his then seemingly hopeless lot with the picture now presented, you would say, 'It is well.'"
The Finches were one of the notable pioneer families in this valley. On February 1, 1887, was held an interesting family reunion to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Mrs. Fanny Spencer, in the house where the dear old lady had passed sixtynine years of her life. She was a daughter of Isaac Finch, and was born in Pittston township, February 1, 1797, and married Leonard Spencer in 1818. They had eight children, six living, and at the time of the family reunion her grandchildren, thirty-six, of whom twenty-six were living; great grandchildren, fifty-four, living forty-five.
Isaac Finch was born in Plains township, February 25, 1763; married Sarah Tomkins, October 19, 1798; died March 10, 1848, aged eighty-five. They had ten children: Capt. Isaac Finch, born November 20, 1798, died April 14, 1860; Nathaniel, born February 3, 1792, died June 20, 1884; John G. Finch, born May 19, 1794, died January 16, 1886. There were many others of the Finch family, nearly every one living to great age.
The Wilcoxes, Isaac and Crandall, brothers, came to Wyoming soon after the year 1772. They escaped the Wyoming massacre and returned to their old home in Rhode Island. There Isaac married Nancy Newcomb, whose mother was a Gardner, when he returned to Wyoming and later to Dutchess county, N. Y., where he died in 1810. Crandall Wilcox returned to Wyoming in 1791. A sister married Daniel Rosenkrans and went to Ohio. In 1792 Amos Wilcox of Minisinke, conveyed to Isaac Wilcox, husbandman, and Crandall Wilcox, blacksmith, land in Wilkes-Barre township. Esen Wilcox occupied land in Pittston, in his father, Stephen's right. Esen was killed in the Wyoming battle. Elisha Wilcox sold to Ebeuezer Marcy, August 1, 1783, his land in Pittston. In 1778 Elisha was on his way down the river to warn the inhabitants of the enemy's approach and was captured, and his fate remains unknown. The name of Daniel Wilcox appears as a granter to the Indian purchase in 1754.
Wesley Johnson died at his home, in Wilkes-Barre, October 27, 1892. A word concerning his life is eminently proper here, as he was mainly instrumental in push ing to a successful completion the Wyoming Monument association, and the stone shaft reared above the heroes, as well as the great meeting dedicating the monument, and his careful history of the same in commemoration of those who died that we might live, and secretary of the association.
Mr. Johnson was born at old Laurel Run, now Parsons borough, December 20, 1819, and was consequently not yet seventy-three years of age. He was the son of Jehoida Pitt Johnson and a grandson of Rev. Jacob Johnson, the first settled minister in Wilkes-Barre, and who officiated over what is now the First Presbyterian church, from the time of his call from Connecticut, in 1772, to his death in 1797. Jacob was the son of Jacob, of Wallingford, Conn. (1674-1749), the son of William of New Haven, the son of Thomas of New Haven, who emigrated from Kingston-onHull, England, and was drowned in 1640, in New Haven harbor. Jacob drew up the articles of capitulation between the British and Americans in the battle and massacre of Wyoming in 1778.
Wesley was one of a large family of brothers and sisters, of whom there now survive only two—William P. Johnson, of Dallas township, in this county, and Sarah, widow of Henry C. Wilson, of Ohio, now residing at Columbus. Of his brothers, Ovid F. Johnson was a distinguished lawyer and was attorney-general of Pennsylvania under Gov. Porter from 1839 to 1845. Of the other brothers, Miles died in California within a few years, Jehoida died at the old homestead about twenty years ago, and Priestley R., a twin brother of Wesley, died 1878. Of the sisters, Diantha died in 1874 and Mary G. Reel in 1881.