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To Mr. John Dorrance, Constable of Westmoreland, and Collector of the State Tax for said Town, for the
Year 1778, GREETING.
JOHN LAWRENCE, Treasurer.
£20,322 178. Od., a 2s. £2,032 5s. 8d.
It will be observed that the tax may be collected in Continental money, but at whatever depreciation, the sum must be made equal to “two thousand and thirty-two pounds, five shillings, lawful money (of Connecticut) that is, $6,667.
Without a remark from our pen, surprise, we are sure, will be excited, that a sum so considerable, or indeed any sum, should be demanded of Wyoming, for the general purposes of the State treasury at Hartford.
The whole assessment of the State amounted to £1,929,000, say, in round numbers, two millions. The assessment of Westmoreland to £20,332; say 20,000—so that the proportion of the town to the whole State was just about as 1 to 100. So too the population. Connecticut was estimated to contain two hundred and thirty thousand inhabitants. Westmoreland about two thousand three hundred, or again, as 1 to 100. The quota of troops demanded of Connecticut was three thousand two hundred and twenty-eight—the proportion then of Wyoming should have been the one hundredth part, (if indeed a frontier so exposed should have spared a man,) that would have been thirty-two. But the Wyoming companies still mustered one hundred and twenty-four-Gore and Strong's men thirty-six-making one hundred and sixty, five times the just proportion, admitting the State's quota to have been complete. But, from the urgent requisitions of Congress and the complaints of His Excellency, Gen. Washington, it appears none of the quotas of the States were kept much more than half full. Allow that of Connecticut to have been two thirds filled, then the number would have been two thousand one hundred and fifty-two. Wyoming, to have sent in proportion, should have had twenty-one men in service—but she had about one hundred and sixty, so that in fact the settlement sent eight times its just number. Admitting the thirteen colonies to have had a population of about three millions, then as Wyoming was nearly a thousandth part of the whole, the whole should have furnished to the army a thousand times as many men, that is 160,000.
While these calculations exhibit the great efforts made by Wyoming, they also show the powerful motives operating on the Government of Connecticut, to detain the two companies in the army. The relief to her was exceeding great and manifest. Accordingly they were numbered as a part of her quota, and their return, notwithstanding the solemn pledge at their enlistment, could not be complied with
A brief recapitulation may give distinctness to the reader's view. As the three years of war, from 1769 to '71, should not be counted, the colony was now in the sixth year of its age. Nearly all their able bodied men were away in the service. The remaining population in dread of the Savages were building six forts, or stockades requiring great labour, and without fee, or reward.” All the aged men, out of the train bands, exempt by law from duty, were formed into companies to garrison the forts, one of the Captains being also Chief Physician to the people, and Surgeon to the military. Of the militia, the whole were in constant requisition to go on the scout, and guard against surprise. The small pox pestilence was in every district. A tax to go to Hartford was levied on the assessment of the year, of two thousand pounds!!
Such is the picture of Wyoming for 1777; but before we close the view, allow us to copy a heart touching resolve from the proceedings of a town meeting “ legally warned,” holden December 30.
John Jenkins, Esq., was chosen moderator for the work of the day.
“ Voted by this town, that the committee of inspection be empowered to supply the Sogers' wives, and the Sogers' widows, and their families, with the necessaries of life.”
Let it be engraved on plates of silver! Let it be printed in letters of gold! Challenge Rome in her Rebublican glory, or Greece in her Democratic pride, to produce, the circumstances considered, an act more generous and noble.
1778. —Sketch-New oath of allegiance– Established prices, (curious)— Women of Wyo
ming-Scene darkens—Meditated invasion-Alarm-Congress orders a third company to be raised—Wm. Crooks murdered-Miner Robins shot-Indian spy-Inexplicable delay of Congress—Independent companies with held—Wyoming defenceless—Vote of CongressReorganization of independent company—The four pounder-Bold and impudent treachery and deception of Congress by the Indians—Invasion-Murder of the Hardings, and Hadsells-Col. Z. Butler called to the command-Wintermoot's Fort surrendered --Fort Jenkins surrendered—Summons of Forty Fort-Array-Battle-Defeat-Dreadful massacre-Bloody ring-Soul stirring incidents-Cruel torture.
The first bright beams of a January sun, leading up the new year, lighted a scene at Wyoming of white and cold and placid beauty. Hill and valley were clad in virgin snow. Smoke rose, curling to the skies from hundreds of cottages. Barns surrounded by stacks of wheat showed that the staff of life was abundant. Cattle and sheep foddered from stacks in the meadow, or sheltered in rude sheds, sleek and thriving, gave evidence that they shared in the super-abounding plenty of these fertile plains. The deep mouthed watch-dog barked fiercely as the sled, drawn by a smart span of horses, with gingling bells and its merry load of girls and lads, going to some quilting, singing meeting, wedding, or other merry-making, passed swiftly by. The “sogers' wives, and the sogers' widows" were well provided for. Coffee was little known, but the fragrant and exhilarating cup of tea graced the table, on which smoked the buck-wheat cake, and the luscious honey-comb, the venison steak, and well preserved shad. If, perchance, a furlough had allowed some of Ransom and Durkee's men to visit their wives and little ones, the broiled chicken, the well fatted roasting pig, or the delicious turkey, bade them a thousand times welcome. Neighbours would flock in to hear-how they whipped the British at Millstone, and took an hundred horses! How Porter, poor fellow, and the gallant Matthewson, were cut in two by cannon balls. How Gen. Washington (“and did you see Gen. Washington ? would, in the
enthusiasm that beloved name inspired, burst from a dozen tongues.) How Gen. Washington, at Germantown, rode right into the mouths of the British cannon, as it were. The wearied scouts would come in, while others set off on tours of duty, creating little excitement, as no immediate danger impended, all seeming quiet above. Meanwhile the flail sounded merrily on the threshing floor-the flaxbreak and hatchell were in active requisition—the spinning wheel buzzed its round-while the shuttle sped its rapid Aight. The arrival of the postman from Hartford created a sensation throughout the whole settlement. Such was the dawning of 1778 upon Wyoming, as pictured to the writer by a grey-headed survivor from
Burgoyne had surrendered. It was a happy event, but many
of the sagacious old men feared that the Indians, released from service in the northeast, would now turn their dreaded arms upon the southern and western frontiers; and who so hated, or exposed, as the people on the Susquehanna.
Under the recent law, requiring, since the Declaration of Independence, a new oath of allegiance to the State of Connecticut, instead of the King, one hundred and forty-nine freemen had been sworn in and recorded, beginning with the name of Nathan Denison, Esq., in the previous September, in open town meeting, and now, April 13, 1778, one hundred and twenty more appeared, and took the oath of fidelity; making in all two hundred and sixty-nine.
John Dorrance was chosen Collector of the State Tax.
Nathan Denison and Anderson Dana, were elected members to the Assembly, to be holden at Hartford, in May.
On the 21st of April, another town meeting was warned, and prices fixed on articles of sale and service of labour, in accordance with a recommendation of the Legislature. To gratify the curious, we will quote twenty items :Good yarn stockings, a pair,
2 s. 7 s. 18 s.