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The citizens of the eastern end denied the statements of the Conococheague' men, and the courts remained at Letort's Spring, where it was for the proprietary interest that they should be.
The settlers at that early day had but little regard to the quality of the soil upon which they located, if they could but fix their habitations near to running water. A number of them, there. fore, settled near Sherman's cr., upon lands not at that time purchased from the natives. In 1750, Richard Peters, taking with him his majesty's magistrates of Cumberland, and the cele. brated Conrad Weiser, dispossessed several families who had there built cabins. Their dwellings were burned to the ground, and the trespassers held to appear and answer at the next court at Shippensburg; and to remove immediately with their cattle and effects.
In the year 1755, instructions were given by the proprietaries to their agents, that they should take especial care to encourage the emigration of Irishmen to Cumberland co. It was their desire to people York with Germans, and Cumberland with Irish. The mingling of the two nations in Lancaster co. had produced serious riots at elections. In those primitive times, because of a sparse population, the elections were not very regular, but difficulties in these cases were settled in a summary manner, and at much less expense than in this intelligent age; for in 1756, when William Allen was returned a member of the assembly for two counties, Cumberland and Northampton, he was merely requested by the speaker to name the county for which he would sit, as he could not serve for both. He chose Cumberland, and a new election was ordered for Northampton.
Capt. Jack was a noted character in the early days of Cumberland co., between 1750 and 1755. From Mr. Conyngham's notes it appears thatCapt. Jack-the “black hunter,” the "black rifle," the "wild hunter of Juniata," the “black hunter of the forest"-was a white man. He entered the woods with a few enterprising companions, built his cabin, cleared a little land, and amused himself with the pleasures of fishing and hunting. He felt happy, for he had not a care. But on an evening, when he returned from a day of sport, he found his cabin burnt, and his wife and children murdered. From that mo. ment he forsook civilized man, lived in caves, protected the frontier inhabitants from the Indians, and seized every opportunity for revenge that offered. He was a terror to the Indians ; a protector to the whites. On one occasion, near Juniata, in the middle of a dark night, a family was sud. denly awakened by the report of a gun. They jumped from their huts, and by the glimmering light from their chimney saw an Indian fall to rise no more. The open door exposed to view the "wild hunter.” “I saved your lives," he cried; then turned and was buried in the gloom of night. He never shot without good cause. His look was as unerring as his aim. He formed an association to defend the settlers against savage aggressions. On a given signal they would unite. Their exploits were often heard of, in 1756, on the Conococheague and Juniata. He was sometimes called the Half Indian; and Col. Armstrong, in a letter to the governor, says, “The company under the command of the Half Indian, having left the Great Cove, the Indians took advantage and murdered many." He also, through Col. Croghan, proffered his aid to Braddock. “ He will march with his hunters," says the colonel ; "they are dressed in hunting-shirts, moccasins, &c., are well armed, and are equally regardless of heat or cold. They require no shelter for the night-they ask no pay.”
What was the real name of this mysterious personage has never beer. ascertained. It is supposed that he gave name to “Jack's mountain"-au enduring and appropriate monument.
CARLISLE is situated in the midst of the Cumberland valley, 17 miles W. from Harrisburg, and 117 from Philadelphia. It is an ancient and flourishing borough, and is laid out with wide streets, with a spacious public square in the centre, around which are several of the churches and public buildings. The trees recently planted in the centre of the square will, in a few years, add much to the beauty of the place. Letort's spring, a copious stream, which gushes from the limestone two miles south, runs along the eastern border of the town, emptying into the Conodoguinet, about three miles below. Through the centre of the main, or “ High” street, runs the Cumberland Valley railroad, which was completed about the year 1838. The great turnpike through Chambersburg to Pittsburg also passes through the town, and another runs to Baltimore.
The public buildings are, courthouse and county offices, jail, market
PUBLIC SQUARE IN CARLISLE, As seen on entering from the east. On the left are the Court House, Town Hall, and Methodist Church, on the main street. On the right, in the
foreground, is St. John's Episcopal Church, and on the other corner of the square is the First Presbyterian Church.
house, town-hall, two common school buildings, Dickinson's college and institute, two Presbyterian churches, St. John's Protestant Episcopal church, German Reformed church, Lutheran church, Methodist Episcopal church, Roman Catholic church, Associate Presbyterian church, three African churches, banking-house, and United States Barracks.
The common school system is in full operation in Carlisle. The whole number of schools is 15, in which are taught about 800 scholars, at an annual expense of not less than $4,000. The schools constitute a progressive series, in which “the branches are taught from the alphabet to the higher studies of an English education."
The courthouse, an old-fashioned brick building, was erected about the year 1766-the cupola and clock not having been added until 1809. The old stone jail was erected about 1754, and enlarged in 1790. In 1754, stocks and a pillory were also erected, and remained on the public square until that inhuman punishment was abolished. Some of the old citi. zens yet remember having seen the ears of “ cropped” culprits nailed to the pillory.
Carlisle was incorporated as a borough on the 13th April, 1782, and the charter was amended in 1814. Pop. in 1830, 3,708; in 1840, 4,350.
The citizens of this place are noted for their intelligence and orderly habits. It has always been the residence of a circle of distinguished professional men, attached to the college, to the army, and to the different professions, who impart an elevated tone to the society of the place.
The late Judge Duncan, of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, was a native of Carlisle. His father, who was from Scotland, was one of the first settlers of the county. Young Duncan was educated here under Dr. Ramsay, the historian, and studied law in Lancaster, under Judge Yeates. His rise was rapid, and in less than ten years from his admission to the bar he was at the head of the profession in the midland counties in the state, and for nearly thirty years sus. tained this rank. He was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court, in March, 1817, by Gov. Snyder, in place of Judge Yeates, who had died. He shortly after removed to Philadelphia, where he resided until his death, which took place on the 16th Nov. 1827.
At the bar, Mr. Duncan was distinguished by quickness and acuteness of discernment, prompt. ness of decision, and accurate and practical knowledge of men and things, and a ready recourse to the rich stores of his own mind and memory. Without the possession of many of the natural requisites of oratory, he was a skilful, ardent, and indeed eloquent advocate. During the ten years that he sat upon the bench, associated with the late Chief.justice Tilghman, and the present Chief-justice Gibson, he contributed largely to the stock of judicial opinion, and the Reports contain abundant memorials of his industry, learning, and talents. Judge Duncan survived his excellent friend, Judge Tilghman, but a few months. The decease of these two eminent magis. trates was deeply lamented throughout the state.
Mr. Conyngham says
Messrs. Lyon and Armstrong were elected by the proprietaries to lay out a town on the road from Harris's ferry, leading through the rich valley of Cumberland, including the old stockade and blockhouse, and extending over the big spring called Le Tort, (now Letort,) after James Le Tort, a French Swiss, who acted as Indian interpreter and messenger to government, and who had erected a cabin at its source as early as the year 1735. Carlisle was laid out in pursuance of their directions in 1750, and in 1753 the seat of justice was permanently located at Carlisle.
James Le Tort, by some of the manuscripts, is stated to have penetrated to Cumberland valley as early as 1731. His first cabin was burnt by the Indians. It stood at the head of the spring. He received for his services twelve pounds annually.
Gov. Hamilton, in his letter of instructions, April 1, 1751, “ to Nicholas Scull, surveyor-general, which will serve likewise for Mr. Cookson,” states that he had been led to select the site on account of there being among other advantages " about it, a wholesome dry limestone soil, good air, and abundance of vacant land, well covered with a variety of wood," and
charged his agents “to take into consideration the following matters" in selecting the site, viz. -the health of the citizens, the goodness and plenty of water, with the easiest method of com ing at it, its commodiousness to the great road leading from Harris's ferry to the Potowinac, and to other necessary roads, as well into the neighboring county as over the passes in the Blue mountains.
When you have examined the country about this place, so as to consult these necessary points in the best manner possible, then you may proceed to mark the place of the centre and the outlines, conforming yourselves in all things to the proprietaries' plan and instructions herewith delivered to you, but in doing this you are to have a special regard to the situation of the proprietary lands, so as that upon the incrcase of the town, the lots may all be within lands belonging to the proprietaries, and the roads to the town pass through them in the most advantageous manner; and to the end that I may forrn my own judgment of this, you are not absolutely to fix or publish any particular place, but to lay down on a draught the site, as in your judgment, of the town, with the proprietary lands and places contiguous, the courses of the creek, of the great road, as it goes from the ferry to Shippensburg, and other necessary roads, the courses and distance of the river Conedogwinet, and Yellow Brecches, together with the quality of the soil, at and near the town, and between it and those rivers. You are likewise to survey what other vacant lands there are within five miles of the town for the use of the proprietaries on your general warrant, as I am informed by them that the surveyors have strangely neglected their interest in this county.
In May, 1753, John O'Neal, who had been sent to Carlisle by Gov. Hamilton, for the purpose of repairing the fortifications, thus writes
“The garrison here consists only of twelve men. The stockade originally occupied two acres of ground square, with a blockhouse in each corner : these buildings are now in ruin. Carlisle has been recently laid out, and is the established seat of justice. It is the general opinion that a number of logcabins will be erected during the ensuing summer on speculation, in which some accommodation can be had for the new levies. The number of dwelling-bouses is five. The court is at present held in a temporary log building, on the northeast corner of the centre square. If the lots were clear of the brushwood, it would give a different aspect to the town. The situation, however, is handsome, in the centre of a valley, with a mountain bounding it on the north and south at a distance of seven miles. The wood consists principally of oak and hickory. The limestone will be of great advantage to the future settlers, being in abundance. A limekiln stands on the centre square, near what is called the deep quarry, from which is obtained good building stone. A large stream of water runs about two miles from the village, which may at a future period be rendered navigable. A fine spring runs to the east, called Le Tort, after the Indian interpreter who settled on its head about the year 1720. The Indian wigwams, in the vicinity of the Great Beaver Pond, are to me an object of particular curiosity.".
In the same year, 1753, another stockade of very curious construction was erected, whose western gate was in High street, between Hanover and Pitt streets, opposite lot 100. This for. tification was thus constructed. Oak logs about seventeen feet in length, were set upright in a ditch dug to the depth of four feet. Each log was about twelve inches in diameter. In the interior were platforms made of clapboards, and raised four or five feet from the ground. Upon these the men'stood and fired through loopholes. At each corner was a swivel gun, which was occasionally fired “ to let the Indians know that such kind of guns were within." Three wells were sunk within the line of the fortress, one of which was on lot 125; another on the line be. tween lots 109 and 117; and the third on the line between lots 124 and 116. This last was for many years known as the “King's Well.” Within this fort, called “ Fort Louther," women and children from Green Spring and the country around, often sought protection from the tomahawk of the savage. Its force, in 1755, consisted of fifty men, and that of Fort Franklin, at Shippens. burg, of the same number. At a somewhat later day, or perhaps about the same time, breastworks were erected a little northeast of the town—as it was then limited-by Col. Stanwix, some remains of which still exist.
The following extracts are from a pamphlet recently published at Carlisle, containing the charter and ordinances of the borough.
When the town was first located, it extended no further than the present North, South, East and West streets. All the surrounding country now within the borough limits was purchased back by Mr. Cookson from the settlers, for the proprietaries, and was designed as commons. Subse. quently, however, principally in the years 1798, 1799, and 1800, the "additional lots” and “out. lots” were laid out and sold to the citizens, but not without the remonstrance of a number of the inhabitants, who held a town meeting, and declared that the original lots had been purchased from the proprictaries upon a condition verbally expressed, that the proprietaries' lands adjoining the town should remain commons forever for the benefit of the poor. Because of this dissatisfaction,