The Columbia Democrat. (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1837-1850, November 25, 1837, Image 1
KVIOCEtlT I liavo sWorn upon the Allnr of God, eternal hostility to ctcry fcrai of Tyranny over the fllliitl of Man," Thomas Jefferson. PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY JOHN S. INGRAM! Volume I. BLOOMSBSURG-, OOITMBIA CQUNTY, PA, SATURDAY, JfOYEMBEE 25, 1837. Number SI. ill I'roni llio Wyoming Jtepublicnn & Herald. AIEMOHIAT, TO CONGRESS. , 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 lion. 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 Wyoming 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 ..film 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 svar. 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 Such - 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 army." 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 expedition." Thus, within less than four months from; tho first order to raise theso companies, and Notp A. Extract from Westmoreland Re- cords. "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 route. 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 .record. "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 ofllfe."