The Columbia Democrat. (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1837-1850, November 25, 1837, Image 1

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I liavo sWorn upon the Allnr of God, eternal hostility to ctcry fcrai of Tyranny over the fllliitl of Man," Thomas Jefferson.
Volume I.
Number SI.
I'roni llio Wyoming Jtepublicnn & Herald.
To the. Honourable the Senate and Home
of Jlcprcscnlalivcs of the United Slates,
til Congress assembled.
By order of a public meeting, held at
Wilkcs-Harrc, Luzerne County, Pennsyl
vania, the subscribers present you the fol
lowing Memorial in behalf of the Wyoming
Sufferers during tlc Revolutionary War,
their Heirs, Widows, and legal Hcprescn
tativco. K j
. The circumstances, of the invasion of the
"Wyoming Settlement by the British and
Indians the battle and massacre; the entire
-expulsion of the inhabitants; thc-cnnllagra-jion
of their dwellings, and the devastation
of their fiqlds a'ro presumed to be familiar
'to all of you. In the annals of that fearful
but glorious conflict, not a page recounts a
livolicr devotion to the cause of liberty, or
depicts a bloodier field, deeper sufferings,
or more extensive losses of properly. Ev
ery historian who has written an account of
the Kevolutionary war, nas mm me siory
of her sufferings. All America and Eu
rope were filled, at the time, with the mel
ancholy details. It is not our purpose to
au'akcn your sympathies; hut so much we
thought proper to say by way of introduc
tion. Our appeal shall be made to your
iudfrments. "Wo would address tacts to
your reason, and arguments to your under
standing; looking to your deliberate judg
ments for a lavorable response to our rcu
tlon.. . , .. .
The Wyoming Settlements were made
iindcr the authority of Connecticut. A
town called Westmoreland was erected
here, attached to the county of Litchfield,
near three hundred miles distant: the laws
6f Connecticut prevailed. Civil and mili
tary officers derived their commissions
frnm that State. Representatives were
sent from here to her Legislature: and the
troops raised in Westmoreland were part
of the Connecticut Line on the Continental
establishment. Several towns of Connec
ticut were burnt by the enemy: Now
London, Danbury, Westmoreland, Fair
field, Groton, and others, were among tho
nunibcr. Connecticut has made all those
towns, except one, full and ample remu
neration for their losses. Westmoreland,
or Wyoming, alone, received nothing.
Five hundred thousand acres of land, in
the Western Reserve, were granted in 1702
to those towns, valued at fis. 8i., a French
crown per acre amounting to between live
and six hundred thousand dollars. This
was a beneficent act on the part of Con.
hectieut, and will redound in all futuro lime
to her honor. Was not the grant also just,
as well as beneficent? Did not the recipi
ents deserve were they not entitled to this
grant? Was not their claim founded in the
principles of eternal Equity and overlast
ing justice? Who over heard a doubt ex
pressed of the righteousness of their claim?
If, then, it was just and equitable that New
T.nndnn. Danbury. Fairfield, and those oth
er towns should bo indemnified, is it not
clear as demonstration, that Westmoreland
or Wyoming where a heavier sacrifice o'f
life, far deeper personal sufferings, and
more extensive losses, were sustained, was
also entitled to remuneration?
. Wo anticipate here, that honorable mem
bers may say "YoUr claim is doubtless
just. Standing on its own merits of servi
ces, sufferings; and losses, it is a strong
claim; and when it is considered relatively
to those other towns of Connecticut, provi
ded for, it appears of unquestionable validi
ty: Hut when your parent State was ma
lting so ample provision for others similar
ly situated, why did you not then apply to
her for aid? While wo admit the claim
just, we cannot sec as yet,' how the. Gener
al Government can be held liable to make
you compensation." To this we would
reply with all truth and simplicity:
Tho reason why no provision was made
for Westmoreland is simple, and easily told.
About the conclusion of the War, by the
decree of Trenton, which settled tho long
existing controversy in respect to llicsc
lands, tho jurisdiction over Westmoreland
ceased m wouneciicm, aim naiwiwnw
tn Pnnnsvlvania. It was not until about
ten years after this event, that Connecticut
so far recovered her resources as to .be
able to make remuneration to thoso suffer'
ing towns which she indemnified, Hcing
no longer a portion of the Stato, no provi
sion was nlado for us, ab there doubtless
would have been, had Westmoreland con
tinued a component part of Connecticut.
Pennsylvania, with n'liberalily and pub
lic spirit most hdnorablo, to hor patriotism
aiidjustico, has granted amplo rewards to
officers nnd soldiers of licr lino, and to oth
f.r. whose merits and sufferings in the
cause, commended them to her considcra
Npt having uocn -
. . . , i..
r DnnhavU'iiiiIi. but maintaining an
U t VI H It 1 1 - "I -
attitude of opposition, if not of hostility?
during, and indeed for sometime after tho
war, it could not be asked or expected
that she would make good the losses, or
grant rewards for the sufferings of the Wy
oming people. So that, to use a common
but expressive phrase; "between twp
stools we caine to the ground." Moreover,
the diassters of the war, utterly prostrated
the people of Wyoming. Most of our nat
uralj guardians and protectors were slain,
amongst them many of our chief men; wid
ows and orphans, aged or very young men.
lestitutc and poor, constituted our clnel
population. Tho unhappy dispute (since
so satisfactorily adjusted by our present
parent and protector, noble and liberal
i'cnnsylvania; still continued, as you uouat
lcss Itivow, to perplex and impoverish us.
To obtain "ibis day 6iir daily bread" oc
cupied the thoughts and exertions of usalK
and no application was made to Connecti
cut to share in the bounty she was so lib
erally dispensing. Hut wo ask your pa
tience while we show, as we are sure we
can, that to the General Government we
have a right fairly to look for aid. The
services performed, the sufferings endured,
and the losses sustained, were all In the
public service, for the general cause. They
all tended to tho great end of accomplish
ing National Independence, which has
brought prosperity so unbounded to our
beloved country. All the debts founded
on contract having been paid, Congress
have recently, with iust and liberal hand
been mctinir out to claimants, not by, con
tract, but in equity, liberal rewards for ser
vices performed, sufferings endured, or
losses sustained. In those three particu
lars, no claim can be stronger than that of
Moreover, there is a strong point which
we mean to indicate, hut not now to argue
atlonulh, which statesmen, familiar with
the springs of events, well know to have
truth fonts foundation. Aiiout tnc close oi
the war. when the issue was certain, and
irreat empire of independent and powciful
sovereignties was takins rank among the
nations, it was deemed of the utmost im
tiortanco that nil disputes about territory
and jurisdiction should he put to rest
Powerful States were to be conciliated by
the favorable adiustmcnt of their claims
Indemnifications were to be allowed to oth
ers. Little would those statesmen and pa
triots have deserved the award we all yield
their wisdom and sagacity, if they had no
adopted proper measures to harmonize con
Hinting interests, and to consolidate the
anion. How far the national policy we
sneak of influenced the various measures
and final decision which confirmed to
Pennsylvania the whole extent of her char
tcrcd limits, and granted to Connecticut an
indemnification in Ohio, we need not here
demonstrate. Certainly that policy was
in a national point of view, wise a bene
fit to Connecticut a hlessinr to I'ennsyl
vania: and if, for the common good, it ex-
eluded Westmoreland from a participation
with other towns iu'dcninifi'cd, is it ifot right
that the common purse should aflord her
such remuneration as may ne jiistf
Again The old Continental 'Congress
nasscd a Resolution, Oct. It), 1780, in
which it was declared, in reference to tho
unappiopriatcd Lands which may be ceded
to tho United States, "That tho necessary
and reasonable expenses which any partic
ulfir Siato shall have incurred, since the
rnmnieneeincnt of the present war, in sub
duinir anv British Posts, or in maintain
ing Forts and Garrisons within and for
ihn ilrffiire. or in acnuinn!r any part oi the
territory that may bo ceded or relinquished
to the United States, shall be reimbursed."
Although tho woids of the Resolution do
not reach us, we do respectfully suggest,
that its spirit makes strongly in favor of the
Wyoming claim. ,
During the Revolutionary war, yo
mill nr stood an extreme frontier an out
post on tho borders of tho settlement of the
Savage enemy. To Sunbury, tho nearest
inhabited place down the Susquehanna, it
was sixty miles;' through the Great Swamp
it was sixty miles, a pathless wilderness
m Hful.lfihcm or Easton. The warlikt
nm! l.lnmlv Alohawks, Scuccas, and oth
n Six nations, o-cupicd all llio
uppor branches of tho Susquehanna, and
were within aiew nuum n.inui i en-moments,
which Wcio exposed to constant at
tacks.' Our pathways were ambushed,, and
midnight glared with the constant conna
eration of our dwellings. Thus exposed,
wo stood as a shield to all the settlements
below us. In this situation, every man
mi"ht justly lc considered as on duty con-
inually. Every ,man irjigtu wen do con-
sidcrcd 'as enlisted' for' anil during tho' whole
rhoro was no pcaco, no security .u
Wyoming. I ho liusuanuman iook. m
hoc in one hand, and his riflo in the other,
' c , r ,V(,rr! hunt.
'tn hH corn nciu. uvumui- .
, ; - maillt;Ucu
- a
was the case with Wintermoot's fort, Foify
fort, and the fort at. Wilkes-Barrc. This
was done by the people, by the militia, by
common consent and common exertion.
("Sec note A.1 Three hundred miles from
Connecticut, it was vain to ask assistance
from her, exerting every nerve as she was
for tho common defence, and the projection
her extensive and exposed sea-board.
If Statc3 which ceded lands were entitled to
be reimbursed for keeping up fortS) we sub
mit whether a people situated like those ot
yoniing. may not properly ask for reim
bursement since not only themselves, but
a wide extent of country below, slept in
comparative security through their position
and exertions. , .
Hut Congress early saw, and felt for the
extremely exposed situation of Wyoming.
Un the 23d August, 1770, Kcsolutions
were entered into, of which one is in these
words: "That two companies on the Con
tinental Establishment be raised in the town
of Westmoreland, and stationed in proper
places, fo r th e defence of the inhabitants
f said town, anil parts adjacent, till lur
ler orders of Congress." The Monday
following, Aug. 20, "Congress proceeded
to the election of sundry Officers, when
Robert Durkec and feamucl Kansom were
chosen Captains of the two Companies or-
ereu to he raised in the town ol -cst-
morcland; James 'ells and Perrin Ross
first Lieutenants; I Ionian Swift and Malhi
as Hollcnback Ensigns of said Companies. "
Thus the General Government the
Continental Congress, took the special de
fence of Wyoming into their hands. They
were satisfied, it seems, that the militia,
however well organised, were not sufficient
for its defence. A retrular force was deem
ed necessary, and orders were issued for
raising that'forcc.or the special defence of
that toivn anil parts adjacent, liy anoth
er clause it was provided that the men
should be liable to serve in any other part
of the United States. 1 Ins provision, not
withstanding they were raised expressly
'for the defence of the inhabitants" &c.
was perfectly proper; for if tho Savages on
the upper waters of the Susquehanna should
be driven oft" by a force from Albany, or
elsewhere, so that the source of impending
danger should be removed, there wa3 no
thing more proper than that these compa
nies, being no longer needed for the defence
of the inhabitants, should be marched else
where, at the discretion of Congress. Im
perious necessity, however, almost imme
diately induced Congress, without the im
plied contingency 61' tho proximate enemy
being removed, to call for their services in
another quarter. On the 25th October
17?0, tli'c battle of THiilc Plains was fought,
and Washington retreated. Nov. 10, Fort
Washington surrendered to the enemy, who
immediately pushed his victorious troops
in pursuit of the American army, and on
the 2d December His Excellency retired
through Princeton to Trenton, Lord Corn
wallis pushing upon his rear. "The Ar
my," says Marshal, "at no time during tho
retreat, exceeded four thousand men, and
on reaching the Delaware was reduced to
less than three thousand, of whom not quite
one-third were militia of New Jersey."
"The commander-in-chief found himself at
the head of this small band of soldiers, dis
pirited by their losses and fatigues, retreat
ing, almost naked and hare-footed, in tho
cold of November and December, befoic a
numerous, well appointed and victorious
On the 12th December, Congress passed
a Resolution, setting forth, that "whereas,
the movements of the enemy have now
rendered this city (Philadelphia) the seat Of
waf," ifcc, they resolved to adjourn to
meet at Halti'morc. The samk iay they
adopted the following Resolution: "Re
solved," That the two companies raised in
the town of Westmoreland, bo ordered to
join Gen. Washington, with all possible
Thus, within less than four months from;
tho first order to raise theso companies, and
Notp A. Extract from
Westmoreland Re-
"At a Town nicotine Ic-gatly warned and held in
WestmorcIanJ, "in Willtes-llarro district, August
yo 2'lth, 177C.
"Col. Hutlcr was chosen Moderator for yo work
of yo day.
"Votod It in tho opinion of this meeting that it
"now becomes nceebsary for yo Inhabitants of th,U
"Town to erect suitablo Fort or I'orU, as a defence
ngaintt our common enemy.
"Augnst 28th, 1770, this meeting ia opened and
"held pY cn adjournment, , ,
"Voted That yo tlirco Field Officers of yp lic
"gimcnt in this Town po appointed as i committeo
"to view tho most convenient places, in said town
"for building Forts for yo defenco of said town and
"determine on somo particular spot or place or pla
"ccs in each district for that purpose, and make out
'tho same .
"Voted That the above said Committeo do re
commend it to tho people in each part ns shall bo
"set oft' by them to belong to uny Fort to proceed
'forthwith in huilduur said I oris &c. without et
"Mfrrt or retcardjrom yctaid Tuun,"
probably within less than ninety days from
their enlistment and organization, the ex
treme and pressing exigence of the general
cause required that they should bo withdrawn
lrom the country they were raised to de
fend, to aid Washington m resisting the
alarming advances of the enemy.
llio consequence which, lollowcd it re
quired but little sagacity to foresee. Stim
ulated to revenge, by tho aid sent from Wy
oming to Washington; incited by the con
sequent weakness of the settlements, to at
tack them; and urged by policy to compel
tho withdrawal from the Commander in
Chief of part of hi3 men, by forcing them
homo to defend their own fire-sides the
enemy were not long in planning their at
tack. The Htitish having obtained possession
of Philadelphia, inevitable necessity did not
allow lhs Excellency to dispense with the
services of the Westniorelcnd companies;
but the reiterated rumors of preparation to
attack Wyoming, again engaged the atten
tion of the Congress. They saw, felt and
acknowledged their distressed situation;
but while the heart was assailed, and the
whole force of the country was concenlra
ted for its protection; little aid, butencoura
ging words, could be efforded to-the threa
tened extremities. In March, 1778, about
ninety days before the invasion, Congress
resolved. "That one full company of foot
be raised in. tho J own ol Westmoreland
on the cast bank of the Susquehanna, for the
defence of the said town and the settlements
on the frontier, and in the neighborhood
thereof, against the Indians and other cue
mies of the States: the said company to be
enlisted for one year from the time of their
enlisting, unless sooner discharged by Con
gress, . That the companies find their
oicn arms, accoutrements ami blankets'"
And provision was made that these should
be Paid for.
Thus a thud company was raised in that
infant and small settlement, having to clothe
and arm themselves if they could, and an ex
hausted Treasury promised to repay the
charge. This company was in the battle,
and almost literally annihilated.
The number of men which comprised
the first two companies when raised in 17-
7G,. we are not able to state: but in June,
1778, by a Resolution-of Congress, it .ap
pears thatthero wero then 80 non-commis
sioncd officers and privates. A number it
is known, were elain in battle, in the Jer
seys, and some died in the service. At
the time . mentioned the two companies
were consolodated into one; Simon Splad-
mg appointed Captain, Timothy Pierce
and Plnncas Picrco, Lieutenants) and they
were detached for the defence of the fron
tiers, but did not arrive until the settlement
was cut oil". Capt. Ransom and Capt
Durkec, Licut.'s Ross and Wells, of the
original companies, at home on furlough,
were in the battle, and were all slain.
On the first of July, 1778, Col. John
Duller, of the British army, with -100 men
regulars and torics, anil with 500 Indian
warriors, entered the Valley of Wyoming.
Rumors of the meditated irruption had pro-
ceded them, and pressing solicitations for
relief had, been sent to head quarters. A
number of the officers of tho two compa
nies had returned on furlough. The Mili
tia were mustered. Old men and boys
took their muskets. Retirement or flight
was impossible. There seemed no securi
ty but in the victory. Unequal as was the
conflict, and hopeless in the eye of pru
dence; the young athletic men fit to bear
arms and rrised for their special defence,
being absent with the main army; yet the
inhabitants, looking to their dependent
wives and little ones, took counsel of their
courage, and resolved to givo tho enemy
battle. On the 3d of July, about 400 men
under the command of Col. Zebulon Hut
lcr, marched out to meet tho British and
their savage allies, being more than double
their numbers. On thp right wing the
conflict was sharply contested for somo
time, and tho enemy gave way. On tho
left, out flanked by the savages, tho men
fought and fell rapidly, till an order was
given to fall back and pcrscnt a longer
front to tho enemy; a manoeuvre which
could not be executed under the destructive
tiro of tho Indian rifles. Confusion ensued
a disastrous retreat' followed, and a most
bloody massacre consummated tho bloody
tragedy. We cannot dw.cll on tho battle
and the subsequent, horrors. It would be
usclpijs if wo could. Hrothcr fell by the
side of brother; fathers and sons perished
in tho same, field.. More than half our
little army wero slain; many of the rest
were wounded; and the whole. settlement
very aged men and helpless children,
widows and orphans, wero now exposed,
without protection, to tho tomahawk and.
scalping knife. In utter confusion and dis
tress they all fled, some in boats down
tlio river, but most on foot through the wil
derness. Your imagination must conceive,
for words cannot point the unequalled mis
cry of their situation. In the simplicity of
truth wo will stato two instances, those of
the Chairman and Secretary of this mee
ting. .
Pcrnn and Jeremiah Ross, brothers of
thq.Chairman, were in the battle, and both
fell. Mr. Ross, then a lad. his father be
ing dead, was tho only male of the family
remaining. His mother, six sisters, the wi
dow of his brother Perrin and her five or-
phan children, fled, such was the terror
and confusion, not together, but in three
cparate parties; two down the river to
Harrisburg, aud thence to Oranerc Co..
New York two to Ncscopeck, and thence
to Fort Allen the rest by a more eastern
The father of Mr, Dana had then recent
ly returned from Hartford, where he had
been a member of the Assembly of Con
necticut, irom the town ol Westmoreland,
He was in the battle; and Mr. Whiting, a
young man who had a few months before
married hi3 daughter, was also in the bat
tle. Hoth were slain. Anderson Dana,
our Secretary, then a lad of 13, widowed
mother and widowed sister, (the latter in
delicato healthY with thirteen others, of
whom he was the eldest male havincr ono
pack horse to carry the few things thejr
could hastly gather, set out through tho
wilderness on foot to join their friends three
hundred miles distant, in Ashford, Connec
ticut, frdni whence they, originally came,
Death and desolation were behind them;
before them, hunger and despair. They
were twenty days on fheir journey, living
chiefly on charity. Several women of dif
ferent parties of fugitives, gave birth to
children on the way, who were indeed,
"Children of misery baptized in tears."
In the Valley, the demon of destruction
completed his work: Scarcely an inhabit
tant remained. Every house was rilled
and burnt. The sweep was universal
every thing was destroyed. The cattle
driven away and the harvests laid waste.
War and woe never looked upon a scene of
such utter sorrow and desolation.
GcxTLKsinx Is it not plain, that these
disasters and sufferings, befel the inhabi
tants from their exertions in the cause of
their country? Is it not manifest, that the
withd rawing the two companies raised for
the defence of the people, occasioned the
attack, massacre, and ruin that followed?
And is it not right, just now when the
public Treasury is full, and all tho other
equitable Revolutionary claims have been
recognized by Congress, that something
should be granted, to tho old Wyoming
sufferers, and their heirs? Why should
all receive bounty or justice, and we, ten
of tho dead, as well as justice to the living,)
we ask it at your hands. Noble Virginia
granted Col. George Rogers Clarko and,
his regiment, who marched with him to
Kaskaskia. and St. Vincent, one hundred
and fifty thousand acres of land on the Ohi
o. Should not Wyoming receive as much?
Tho portion of New London must have
exceeded one hundred and fifty thousand:
Ought not Wyoming receive cs much?
Having tto other resting place, the sur
vivors were obliged to return, desolalo and
melancholy as wero their homes. the bat
tle ground was still strewn with the unburi
cd slain; and their remains, as soon as they
could be approached in that sultry season,
were gathered and interred with affection
ate and pious care.
After their return, the savages kept war
parties around the settlements, and many
were murdered. Jonathan Slocum and his
wife's father, Isaac Tripp, Esq. who
had been a representative to the Connec
ticut Assembly from Westmoreland, were
butchered and scalped together, near tho
Wilkcsbarre fort; and shortly before, anoth
er party of savages murdered two children
near the door of Mrs. Slocum, and took
captive, Frances, her daughter, aged then
about five years. After tho war diligent,
search through all the Indian country to
Detroit, was mado by her brothers, for
their lost sister, but in vain. After all hope
was extinguished, recently within the pre
sent year, the sister, now neatly seventy .
years of ago, has been found. Not able to
spuait u woru ot our language, a
i. i f ,
lonsr lifo
ot habit has indentified Jior with
tho Indi
ans; and though there is a molancholy plea
sure in tho recognition, and certainty of
NoteD. What a noble contrast do tho pro
ceedings of Wyoming proscnt we copy from tho
"At a town meeting legally warped and held at
"Westmoreland December ye Qth 1777.
"John Jenkins, Esq. was chosen Moderator for ye
"work of ye day, Kzckicl I'ierco was chosen Town
"clerk for theycar ensuing, December 3Qt 1777.
"This meeting is oppened and held by adjourn
ment. "Voted By this Town that yc committee of
"lnsnectors be empowered to supply the Sooeita
-widows, and their families with the neceeiaries