« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
a sort of temporary breast-work, and he believed that if the same means of defence had been generally and concertedly resorted to, the troops might have been preserved from the catastrophe in which the contest terminated. It is said that the heaps of stones collected by the soldiers still remain undisturbed, to mark the spot were these ill-fated men were sacrificed to the craft of their enemies, and the thoughtlessness and inexperience of their officers. The Delaware and Hudson Canal now passes within little more than a mile of the scene of the battle, which was fought a short distance below a point opposite the point of the Lechawaxen. In 1828 or 1829, the bones of the slaughtered troops were collected by the citizens of Orange County, and conveyed to Goshen, where they were interred.
Major Wood, one of the officers of the Orange county troops, was taken prisoner by the Indians, and carried with them in their retreat to their fastnesses. He was detained even after the close of the revolutionary war, and every effort to escape was rendered fruitless by the vigilance of his captors. He left a wife. His family and his friends received no intelligence of his fate after the battle, and it was supposed he had shared the death of his fellow soldiers. Seven years after his capture he procured his release by some means from the Indians, and returned to his home. The lady's situation was a somewhat delicate one, and the other parties interested seemed to appreciate its delicacy. The matter was compromised in a manner characteristic of the age and country. The old husband and the new bridegroom agreed to submit the arbitrament of their respective claims to the possession of the double wife, to the lady herself. They did so, and the lady chose the Major.
After the close of the revolution the original settlers returned to the Wallenpaupack, and located themselves on the farms first allotted to them. Some of them settled in 1783. With less of danger to encounter than attended their first residence, they suffered much more of hardship. The year of their return the corn crop failed, generally, and the little that was raised had to be pounded into a shape fit for use in mortars constructed of pieces of wood. The flour used in the settlement was carried on the backs of the inhabitants from Milford. The winter of 1783–4, was a very severe one and the snow was very deep, during most of the winter the only mode of getting to and from Milford was upon snow shoes.
From the close of that winter the affairs of the settlement have been prosperous and promising. The population have always been industrious, energetic, hospitable, and honest. They became success
ful and wealthy. Their descendants have always retained the peculiar features of person and character which distinguished the first settlers. This is partly owing to the isolated situation of the settlement, and to the great age to which most of the inhabitants lived. Mrs. Sybil Kimble, already spoken of, and one of my authorities for the facts I have collected, is now living, at the age of 85 years. Mrs. Bennet, from whom also many of the facts related have been procured, is 78 years of age. Mrs. Mary Woodward, wife of Enos Woodward, died in 1818, aged 87. Jacob Kimble died in 1826, aged 91. His son, Jacob, died in 1834, aged 67. Abel, another of his sons, died in 1832, aged 77. Hezekiah Bingham died in 1811, aged 74. Moses Killam died 1831, aged 72. John Pellet died in 1801, aged 85. John Pellet, Jr. died in 1838, aged 90. Ephriam Killam died in 1836, aged 87. Mrs. Lucretia Woodward, a daughter of Jacob Kimble, died in April last, 1842, aged 67.
MY DEAR WILLIAM:
The Annals of Wyoming are written. It is confidently hoped the general reader, in pursuit of novelty, may find in the story something of interest to amuse a leisure hour. If the intelligent searcher for truth shall be satisfied that our labours throw some useful rays of light upon the heretofore dark and confused history of Northeastern Pennsylvania, we shall be well pleased.
The severity of labour being over, the last proof but one read, I breathe more freely; and fettered by no rules but my own taste and fancy, I mean to expatiate in this letter with unrestrained freedom. I had some reputation as a paragraph writer and essayist, and stood well generally with the Press; hence, when my work was announced, many praised because they thought "Poor Robert, the Scribe,” or “John Harwood," must, of course, write a valuable book. More spoke favorably with the generous purpose of aiding the sale and helping a brother printer to dispose of the productions of his pen to pecuniary advantage. Flattered I was, and grateful I am, for so much kindness; but my morbid sensibility awakens a thousand painful fears, that public expectation, so excited, will demand something that the incidents of Wyoming could not yield ; that even the polished pen of Prescott, or the exuberantly gifted Bancroft could not have satisfied. A Puritan settlement, quite limited in numbers and very poor, projected into one of the valleys beyond the mountains, “ that look so distant here," and there, for twenty years, enduring an unremitting succession of sufferings. What could be made of it? What could I do, but in a simple manner as possible tell their story-draw a faithful picture ?
Then again, and with reason, have I dreaded censure, lest I should be regarded as prejudiced and partial—I plead guilty. My fault, which I did not perceive in my manuscript, is apparent in my printed narrative. My honest purpose was to have been strictly impartial in coloring as well as in fact. But a Yankee, and an Intruder-having resided seventeen years in Wyoming-courted and wedded there—sent early to the Assembly-petted by her rude and hardy woodsmen, like a spoiled child-how could I help it, if affection led me, or misled me, to view their cause with partial favour! In truth, no one who did not make it a labour of love, ever could or would have taken the pains I have done, to gather the materials of which my history is composed ; and the facts, according to the best of my knowledge, are accurately stated.
But would I do injustice to Pennsylvania ? Heaven forbid. A New England man-I avow it—love for the rocky hills and stone-elad valleys of my native Connecticut, the residence of my ancestors for more than two hundred years, can never cease to glow with ardour, while there remains a pulsation in my heart. I am bound to old Norwich by all the ties that hallow the remembrance of childhood gay with the recollection of a delightful circle of lads and maidensthe sports of the green-the mischiefs of the school--the solemn pleasures of the ever welcome Sabbath-the kindly blessing of our beloved Pastor-a father's affection--a fond mother's tenderness-the sweet regards of sisters and a brother, without the remembrance of a day that was not gilded by sunshine. New England! I love thy stern and manly virtues, that have filled a country—so cold and rugged, that nature seemed to have marked it for desolation-with flourishing towns and populous cities; the abode of industry and intelligence, wealth and refinement; an elevated standard of morals; and where a reverential regard for the worship of Him, who planted and sustained them, is every where a familiar and cherished sentiment. But do I love Pennsylvania less? Does the bride who leaves the paternal roof to abide with her husband, therefore forget the sweet attachments of home? A Pennsylvanian of choice, ever since in 1799, a lad of nineteen, I came within her borders, every year has added to my regard, founded in reason, for her people, in all the generous virtues that ennoble our nature, are inferior to none on earth. It is impossible to regard the great Founder of our noble Commonwealth without awe, at his sublime virtues-reverence for his profound wisdom-love for his abounding goodness. WASHINGTON, first amidst those who established the Republic! PENN, foremost on the
file among the founders of the individual States ; in his household came the progenitors of my children. So far from intentionally doing wrong to Pennsylvania, I must be the most ungrateful of beings, treated with so much confidence as I have been, if I would not cheerfully die for her, if necessary. So that if the Wyoming sufferers find in me a somewhat favourer of their side, set it not down for malice.
This I solemnly charge. Let no one who comes after me alter a a single word of the text. If alterations or additions shall be deemed proper, let them be made in notes. I choose that the book should go down to posterity precisely as I leave it.
Our work in no slight degree bears the impression of a Drama of five acts-The introduction and brief preliminary chapter being the Prologue–The Indian story--the first act.
The exhibition of Title- the second act.
The civil war and incidents, including the Plunket invasion, to 1776—the third act.
The tragic events of the revolutionary war to the Trenton decree--the fourth act.
From that period, the second civil war, and mighty scheme to dismember Pennsylvania, up to the establishment of Luzerne, and onward to the cheering and happy compromise—the union--the marriage of the parties—the gloom breaking away-the clouds of sorrow dispersing, and peace and joy taking place of war and woe the fifth and concluding act.
Prospectively large as is the mass of interesting matter which patient research has accumulated on my hands, I regard it as having more appropriate reference to the history of Luzerne. Neither to interrupt the current of our narrative by too precise a detail, nor to incumber our pages by voluminous documents, I have reserved for the Appendix a variety of what I cannot but consider amusing and instructive anecdotes, facts and incidents, which could not well be omitted, and which will, I doubt not, prove acceptable to the reader.
Though Col. Pickering was pledged to the liberal adjustment of the controversy, and was deeply chagrined at the repeal of the confirming law, he did not remain in Luzerne to see his desired purpose effected; but although elsewhere engaged in affairs of engrossing moment, he never lost sight of the subject, and was efficaciously instrumental in procuring the enactments of the compromising law of 1799.