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holy pioneers of the Moravian mission had penetrated the wilderness along the Susquehanna, and made settlements at various points.
As early as 1750, Bishop Cammerhof and Rev. David Zeisberger, guided by an Indian of the Cayuga tribe, passed up the Susquehanna on a visit to Onondaga. To each night's encampment they gave a name, the first letter of which was cut into a tree by the Indians. They tarried at Tioga, which is described as “a considerable Indian town.” The same year, it is said, “ there was a great awakening, which extended over the whole Indian country, especially on the Susquehanna.” There appears to have been an Indian village, in 1759, at Machwihilu. sing, (Wyalusing,) where one Papanhunk, an Indian moralist, had been zealously propagating his doctrines; with little success, however, for his hearers were addicted to the most abominable vices, and he himself was but little better. On a visit to the missionary station Nain, on the Lehigh, he heard for the first time the great doctrine of the Cross, and such an impression did it make upon him, that the following year he took down his wife and 33 of his followers, to hear this new doctrine; at the same time endeavoring, without success, to persuade the christian In. dians of Nain to remove to the Susquehanna.
In May, 1763, Zeisberger, with the Indian brother Anthony, came to Wyalusing, having heard of a remarkable awakening there, and that the Indians desired some one who could point them to the true way of obtaining rest and peace in their consciences. Papanhunk had lost his credit by the inefficiency of his doctrines. Zeisberger was met, before he arrived, by Job Gilloway, an inhabitant of Wyalusing, who spoke English well, and told him that their council had met six days successively to consider how they might procure a teacher of the truth. Zeisberger was invited to become a resident missionary among them, which, after a visit to Bethlehem, he consented to do. It appears that about this time " some well-meaning people of a different per. suasion arrived at Wyalusing,” but the Indians having already given a preference to the Moravians, would listen to no other sect. (Could this have been Brainerd ?] The first fruit of Zeisberger's pious efforts in his new congregation, was Papanhunk himself
, who confessed his sins, and desired to be baptized. He received the christian name of John, and another Indian, who "had been Papanhunk's opponent, was baptized after him, and called Peter.
In the midst of these encouraging prospects, consternation spread through the frontier settlements, on receipt of the news of the Indian war of 1763, which had just broken out along the lakes and the Ohio. Occasional parties of Indians from the west skulked into the Moravian Indian settlements to persuade them to withdraw, that they might make a descent upon the whites. This became known to the Irish settlement in the Kittatinny valley, whose jealousy was aroused that the Moravian Indians were in collusion with their hostile brethren, and the missionary settlements were thus placed between two fires. This animosity of the Irish at length wreaked itself upon the poor Indians on the Conestogo; and the other Christian Indians were taken by the missionaries to Philadelphia for protection. Peace at length arrived at the close of 1764, and in 1765 the whole body of Indian brethren returned to the deserted huts at Wyalusing. Devoting themselves anew to Him who had given them rest for the soles of their feet, they began their labors with renewed courage, and pitching upon a convenient spot on the banks of the Susquehanna, a few miles below Wyalusing, they built a regular settlement, which they called Friedenshuetten, (Tents of Peace.) It consisted of 13 Indian huts, and upwards of 4) frame houses, shingled, and provided with chimneys and windows. A convenient house was erected for the missionaries, and in the middle of the broad street stood the chapel, neatly built, and covered with shingles. Gardens surrounded the village, and near the river about 250 acres were divided into regular plantations of Indian corn. Each family had their own boat. The burying-ground was at some distance in the rear. During the progress of building the town, the aged, infirm, and children, lodged in the old cottages found on the spot; the rest in bark huts. In fine weather they lifted up their voices in prayer and praise under the open firmament. It was a pleasure to observe them, like a swarm of bees, at their work ; some were building, some clearing land, some hunting and fishing to provide for the others, and some cared for housekeep. ing. The town being completed, the usual regulations and statutes of the Moravian stations were adopted; order and peace prevailed, and the good work went gloriously on. As one of the great confederacy of the Six Nations, the Cayugas kept that door of their “ long house” which opened upon the valley of the Susquehanna, and it became necessary for the missionaries to seek their permission to reside within their jurisdiction. With all the solemnity of Indian diplomacy, the Christian Indians gave notice to the chief of the Cayugas, that they had settled on the Sus quehanna, where they intended to build and live in peace with their families, if their uncle ap. proved of it ; and they likewise desired leave for their teachers to live with them. The chief, after consultation with the great council of Onondaga, replied, in a friendly manner, “that the place they had chosen was not proper, all that country having been stained with blood; therefore he would take them up and place them in a better situation, near the upper end of Cayuga lake. They might take their teachers with
them, and be unmolested in their worship.”. This proposal did not exactly suit the Indians of Friedenshuetten, and they evaded an acquiescence, giving the chief hopes that they would reply " when the Indian com was ripe.” This was in the summer of '65. ^ After waiting until the spring of 1766, the Cayuga chief sent a message to Fried.
enshuetten," that he did not know what sort of Indian corn they might plant, for they had promised him an answer when it was ripe; that his corn had been gathered long ago, and was almost consumed, and he soon intended to plant again.” The chief, ultimately, and the council, gave them a larger tract of land than they had desired, extending beyond Í'ioga, to make use of as their own, with a promise that the heathen Indians should not come and dwell upon it. This grant, however, was forgotten at the treaty of 1768, when the whole country on the Susque. hanna was sold to Pennsylvania.
The peace of the settlement was often disturbed by the introduction of rum, that universal accompaniment of civilization, introduced by straggling Indians. They ordered at length that every rum bottle should be locked up during the stay of its owner, and delivered to him on his departure. The white traders from the Irish settlements at Paxton, found the settlement a most convenient depot, and endeavored to make it a place of common resort in 1766. They staid several weeks in the place, and occasioned much levity and dissipation among the young people. The Indians at length ordered them off, desiring that the “Tents of Peace" should not be made a place of traffic. The hospitality of the brethren often exhausted their little stock of provisions, and their only resource for a new supply was in hunting, or seeking aid from the older settlements. Their numbers had increased so much in 1767, that a more spacious church was erected. The locusts, which swarmed by millions, did great damage to their crops. The small-pox broke out among them in '67, and the patients were prudently removed to temporary cabins on the opposite side of the river.
The station at Friedenshuetten continued to prosper for several years, until the year 1772. During this period the persevering Zeisberger had several times threaded the wilderness to the waters of the Allegheny and Ohio, and planted new churches among the Delawares dwelling there. (See Beaver and Venango.)
Among the places visited by the Moravian brethren of Friedenshuetten, was an Indian town about thirty miles above, called Tschechschequannink in the orthography of the mission, "where a great awakening had taken place. This was old Sheshequin on the right bank of the river, opposite and a little below the present village of that name.) Brother John Rothe, after permission duly obtained from the Cayuga chief, took charge of this post as the resident missionary. The chief, in granting his permission, gave encouragement that he himself would occasionally come to hear the “great word”—being convinced that was the right way. Two Indian brethren assisted Mr. Rothe, and the station became a kind of “chapel of ease” to Friedenshuetten. About half a mile from Sheshequin the savages used at stated times to keep their feasts of sacri. fice. On these occasions they roved about in the neighborhood like so many evil spirits, making the air resound with their hideous noises and bellowings, but they never approached near enough to molest the brethren. Brother Rothe had the pleasure to see many proofs of the power of the word of God, and it appeared for some time as if all the people about Sheshequin would turn to the Lord. Some time after, an enmity began to show itself: some said openly, “We cannot live according to the precepts of the brethren : if God had intended us to live like them, we should certainly have been born amongst them.” Nevertheless James Davis, a chief, and several others were baptized.
The missionaries lost no opportunity of conciliating the chiefs of the Iroquois, and often invited them to dine as they passed through the settlement: these little attentions made a favorable im. pression, and enabled the missionaries, in familiar conversation, to remove misapprehensions, and allay unfounded prejudices which had been entertained by the chiefs against them. These chiefs noticed every thing that passed in the village, and looked with no little suspicion upon the sur. veying instruments used at the settlement, regarding them as some mysterious contrivance to obtain the land from the Indians. The paintings in the church, of the crucifixion, and the scene at the Mount of Olives, attracted their admiration, and enabled the brethren to explain to them the history of our Lord, " which produced in some a salutary thoughtfulness."
In 1771, there was an immense flood in the Susquehanria, and all the inhabitants at Sheshe. quin were obliged to save themselves in boats, and retire to the woods, where they were detained four days.
The Six Nations having, by the treaty of 1768, sold their land “from under their feet,” the brethren were compelled to seek a new grant from the governor of Pennsylvania, who kindly ordered that they should not be disturbed, and that he had ordered the surveyors not to take up any land within five miles of Friedenshuetten.
The brethren had received many pressing invitations from the Delawares on the Ohio to leave the Susquehanna, and the dangerous vicinity of the whites, and settle among them. These in vitations were declined until 1772, when the brethren became convinced that the congregations could not maintain themselves long in these parts. The Iroquois had sold their land, and various troublesome demands upon them were continually renewed ; the contest between the Connecticut men and the Indians and Pennamites at Wyoming had commenced, white settlers daily in. creased, and rum was introduced to seduce the young people. They therefore finally resolved o remove to the Ohio.
Their exodus was remarkable. To transport 240 individuals of all ages, with cattle and horses,
from the North Branch across the Allegheny mountains by way of Bald Eagle, to the Ohio, would be, even in these days of locomotive facilities, a most arduous undertaking. What must it have been through that howling wilderness! fortunately most of the company were natives of the forest. The scene is given in the language of Loskiel, the annalist of the missions.
“June 6th, 1772. The congregation partook of the holy communion for the last time in Frie. denshuetten.
June 11th, all being ready for the journey, the congregation met for the last time at F., when the missionary reminded them of the great favors and blessings received from God in this place, and then offered up praises and thanksgivings to him, with fer. vent supplications for his peace and protection on the journey. The company consisted of 241 persons from Friedenshuetten and Sheshequin, and proceeded with great cheerfulness in reliance upon the Lord.
“ Brother Ettwein conducted those who went by land, and brother Rothe those by water, who were the greater number. This journey was a practical school of patience for the missionaries. The fatigue attending the emigration of a whole congregation, with all their goods and cattle, in a country like North America, can hardly be conceived by any one who has not experienced it; much less can it be properly described. The land travellers had 70 head of oxen, and a still greater number of horses, to care for, and sustained incredible hardships in forcing a way for themselves and their beasts through very thick woods and swamps of great extent, being directed only by a small path, and that hardly discernible in some places ; so that it appears almost im. possible to conceive how one man could work his way and mark a path through such close thickets and immense woods, one of which he computed to be about 60 miles long. While pass. ing through these woods it rained almost incessantly. In one part of the country they were obliged to wade 36 times through the windings of the river Munsey, besides suffering other hardships. However, they attended to their daily worship as regularly as circumstances would permit, and had frequently strangers among them, both Indians and white people, who were partic. ularly attentive to the English discourses delivered by brother Ettwein. The party which went by water were every night obliged to seek a lodging on shore, and suffered much from the cold. Soon after their departure from Friedenshuetten, the measles broke out among them, and many fell sick, especially the children. The attention due to the patients necessarily increased the fa. tigue of the journey. In some parts they were molested by inquisitive, (probably in the Wyoming valley) and in others by drunken people. The many falls and dangerous rapids in the Susque. hanna occasioned immense trouble and frequent delays. However, by the mercy of God, they passed safe by Shamokin, and then upon the west arm of the river by Long Island to Great Island, when they joined the land travellers on the 29th June, and now proceeded all together by land. When they arrived at the mountains, they met with great difficulties in crossing them, for, not having horses enough to carry all the baggage, most of them were obliged to carry some part. During a considerable part of the journey the rattlesnakes kept them in constant alarm, as they lay in great numbers either in or near the road. These venomous creatures destroyed several of the horses, but the oxen were saved by being driven in the rear. The most troublesome plague in the woods was a kind of insect called by the Indians Ponk, or living ashes, from their being so small that they are hardly visible, and their bite as painful as red-hot ashes. As soon as the evening fires were kindled, the cattle, in order to get rid of these insects, ran furiously towards the fire, crowding into the smoke, by which our travellers were much disturbed in their sleep and at meals. These tormenting creatures are met with in a tract of country which the Indians call a place avoided by all men.' The following circumstance gave rise to this name: About 30 years ago, an Indian hermit lived upon a rock in this neighborhood, and used to appear to travellers or hunters in different garbs, frightening some and murdering others. At length a valiant chief was so fortunate as to surprise and kill him. To this true account fabulous report has added, that the chief, having burnt the hermit's bones to ashes, scattered them in the air throughout the forest, and they became ponks. In another part of the forest, the fires and storms had caused such confusion among the trees, that the wood was almost impenetrable. Some persons departed this life during the journey, and among them a poor cripple, 10 or 11 years old, who was carried by his mother in a basket on her back. Our travellers were sometimes compelled to stay a day or two in one place, to supply themselves with the necessaries of life. They shot upwards of 150 deer during the journey, and found great abundance of fish. They likewise met with a peculiar kind of turtle, about the size of a goose, with a long neck, pointed head, and eyes like a dove.
“July 20th, they left the mountains and arrived on the banks of the Ohio (now the Allegheny,] where they immediately built canoes to send the aged and infirm with the heavy baggage down the river. Two days afterwards they met brother Heckenwelder and some Indian horses from Friedenstadt, (in Beaver co.) by whose assistance they arrived there on the 5th Aug., and were received with every mark of affection by the whole congregation.”
At Fort Stanwix, Nov. 5, 1768, the chiefs of the Six Nations sold to the agents of Thomas and Richard Penn, “in consideration of ten thousand dollars," all the land in Pennsylvania not heretofore purchased, southeast of a boundary.
“ Beginning on the east side of the east branch of the river Susquehanna at a place called Owegy, down the said branch on the east side to the mouth of a creek called by the Indians Awandac (Tawandee,) and across the river and up the said creek on the south side, and along the range of hills called Burnett's hills by the English, and by the Indians on the north side of them to the heads of a creek which runs into the west branch of the Susquehanna, which creek is called by the Indians Tiadaghton," &c. &c., over to Kittaning, and thence down the Ohio. (See the whole boundary under Lycoming co.)
Again, at Fort Stanwix, Oct. 23, 1784, the Six Nations sold to the state of Pennsylvania all the land in the state lying northwest of the abovementioned boundary; and this latter sale was confirmed by the Wyandots and Delawares at Fort McIntosh, (in Beaver co.) in Jan. 1785.
It was also ascertained at Fort Stanwix in '84, that the creek called Tiadaghton by the Indians, was the Pine creek of the Pennsylvanians; and that the Indians had always known Burnett's mountain by the name of the long mountain.
Previous to the removal of the Moravians, pioneers from Connecticut had already arrived in the Wyoming valley, but no settlements were extended up as far as Wyalusing until the close of the revolutionary war. During that war these valleys swarmed with hostile parties of the Six Nations, descending upon the white settlements. A few Dutch families. attached to the British cause, were permitted to remain about the upper Susquehanna ; among whom was old Mr. Fauks, who lived on the point below Towanda. After the bloody conflict at Wyoming in 1778, Col. Hartley with a detachment of troops came up the valley and burned the Moravian towns, together with the Indian town at Tioga point. Maj. Gen. Sullivan passed up the Susquehanna in the ensuing summer of 1779, on his memorable expedition against the towns of the Six Nations. The army arrived at Tioga Point on the 11th Aug., and hearing that the enemy were at Chemung, an Indian village 12 miles above Tioga Point, went up and had a slight skirmish with the Indians, who had abandoned the village, and were lying in ambush. The Indians were driven off; and after destroying the grain, &c., the army returned to Tioga to wait for Gen. Clinton's brigade, which came down the east branch on the 22d Aug. from New York, with 200 batteaux. The united forces now moved forward up the Tioga into the Genesee country, ravaging and burning the Indian villages, and destroying their crops. While the army remained at Tioga they erected blockhouses on the peninsula, where Col. Shreeve was left with a garrison of 200 men to guard the place. The army returned on the 30th Sept., and were received by Col. Shreeve with a joyous salute, and “as grand an entertainment as the circumstances of the place would admit.”
The ravages committed by Gen. Sullivan made but a slight impression upon the savages. On his return they followed close upon his hovered around the frontier until the close of the war in 1783. A year or two after the peace, a number of those who had been in Sullivan's campaign, and thus became acquainted with this region, came here to settle, bringing with them several other adventurers, who took up lands in the Sheshequin valley under the Connecticut title. About the same time adventurers and squatters flocked in from New York, and settled
* A journal of this expedition, kept by Sergeant-major Grant of the Jersey troops, is published in full in Hazard's Register, vol. xiv, pp. 72 to 76, where the curious may consult it. The more interesting passages relate to the history of New York.
about Tioga point. The progress of the county was for many years retarded by the uncertainty of title to the lands, growing out of the contest between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut claimants. (See Luzerne co.) The first actual settlers were generally under the Connecticut title. Much bitterness of feeling was excited by the attempts of the Pennsylvania claimants to survey their tracts. A Mr. Irwin, a surveyor from Easton, while sitting, after the fatigues of the day, in the door of Mr. McDuffie's house on the Tioga above Athens, was shot dead by some person unknown. Mr. McDuffie was sitting near him playing the flute. A Mr. Smiley was tarred and feathered one night near Towanda creek. The feeling that prevailed among the settlers at the time, and the difficulty of bringing such offenders to justice, may be inferred from the fact, that the individual who lent the bottle to the rogues to hold their tar, was himself on the grand jury for investigating the case ; but as no legal evidence was presented to him officially that such a use had been made of his bottle; and as he did not actually know the fact, he did not feel bound to state his suspicions to the grand jury. Col. Satterlee, who was one of the most active in securing the original organization of the co., obtained an appropriation at an early day of $600 for opening roads into the northern part of the co., which gave an opportunity for the hardy and enterprising New Englanders to settle in the townships of Wells, Ridgebury, Springfield, &c.
Smithfield and Columbia townships are settled by Vermonters, whose fine farms attest their industry.
TowANDA, the county seat, is situated near the centre of the co., on the right bank of the Susquehanna. A part of the village is on the river bank, and a part on several successive benches gently rising from the river, and presenting a most enchanting prospect. The dwellings are built with taste, generally of wood, painted white, imparting a remarkably bright and cheerful appearance to the town as one approaches it from the Wysox valley, just opposite. Besides the usual co. buildings, the town contains Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal churches, an academy, and a bank, very extensively known. A noble bridge crosses the river at the town. Just below the bridge is the dam and lock of the North Branch canal, which here crosses the river by a pool, thus forming a convenient basin opposite the town. Part of the dam was swept away in the flood of 1841 or '42. In former times the people of Towanda numbered fresh shad among their luxuries, but the construction of the dams in the river has excluded them entirely. Population, 912.
Towanda was first laid out in 1812, by Mr. Wm. Means, who resided here at that time. The act organizing the co., directed the courts to be held at his house until public buildings were erected. Old Mr. Fauks, a German, and his son-in-law, Mr. Bowman, lived then on the point below Towanda. Mr. Fauks had settled there before, or during the revolution, having been attached to the British side in that contest. The village for several years was called Meansville, and so marked upon the maps. Other names were also occasionally tried on, but did not fit well enough to wear long. The Bradford Gazette of 4th March, 1815, says, “ the name of this village having become the source of considerable animosity, the editor, (Burr Ridgway,) willing to accommodate all, announces a new name-Williamston--may it give satisfaction and become permanent."