Tag: stories

New Link: Online Newspapers Archive

New Link: Online Newspapers Archive

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Learning of this online newspapers archive site was very exciting to me. Some of the most valuable information we can find in our genealogical search comes from newspaper accounts because they provide a more detailed reflection of the lives of our ancestors – not just facts and figures. I have added this link to the main ‘Genealogy Links’ page in the top menu.

 

Online newspapers archive.
Online newspapers archive.

The Online Newspapers Archive site endeavours to centralize the thousands of historical newspapers from various sources in one location.

The first newspapers I looked for were those in the Acadian territories of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before, during and after the expulsion. My family names do show in the papers available after 1850, but it will take some time to sift through them.

The newspapers for Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and Kentucky also look promising as a great deal of our family history took place in these states.

One great disappointment, though is that there is nothing yet for the United Kingdom.

Although there are great gaps in the newspapers available for some geographical regions, what is available could provide that ‘gem’ one or more of us have been seeking.

I definitely intend to investigate this site further.


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Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

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I have been researching my family’s genealogy for over twenty years and my appreciation of the tireless and volunteer contributions in the pursuit of genealogy is endless.

 

All of our continuing efforts to expand our own genealogies do contribute to the cumulative effort of us all to save and expand our genealogical resources.

 

At one time, the only options for researching outside one’s own community were to depend on the mail system at the time or to travel to the location involved.

Although mail was relatively inexpensive, the flexibility of performing research oneself was lost. There was no opportunity to just dive right in and pursue a lead found in the return information. One would then have to mail another request, and then another, and then another – making this process time-consuming.

Submit Hall
Submit Hall

Travel to the location(s) in question could be very expensive, but resulted in the opportunity to pursue leads found while on site. If new information led to other organizations, agencies, museums, archives, etc. within the area, it was possible to also visit and do further research. This option provided a much more timely method of researching.

Genealogy has evolved considerably with the advent of the personal computer. Now, one can travel the world, visit museums and historical sites, communicate with organizations virtually, as well as doing research using free and paid sites online. The immediacy and flexibility of researching genealogy is something to be marveled at.

How was this possible?

This evolution started with passionate and dedicated volunteers and individuals who began transcribing physical records, collecting photos and images of documents, and placing them in online archives, databases and in specialty archive sites. For the most part, these resources were free and available to everyone.

With some sadness, I have watched a major shift take place in the short time since I began. As the popularity of genealogy became evident, commercial sites and paid services suddenly appeared online – the most noted of which being Ancestry.com .

Barker, William Sr. - Accused in Salem Witch Trials
Barker, William Sr. – Accused in Salem Witch Trials

It was still possible to find considerable free information and resources online, but those who had the funds and wanted to save time and effort could pay for subscriptions to make their search easier. Those of us with limited funds began setting up our own sites posting tips and information for other genealogists.

The newest shift I’ve been seeing is the trend for paid services and sites to ‘buy out’ free resources and add them to their paid catalog, leaving paid sites as the only option.

I still consider genealogy as a historical ‘treasure hunt’, one which I pursue with great effort and pleasure. I love nothing better than to discover an obscure site offering valuable information and this blog has provided the venue for me to post this information and assist others.

All links I find to valuable sites can be found in the ‘Genealogy Links’ tab above. Another update with dozens of new links will be completed soon.

Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate. Let's all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.
Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate.  Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

I think it is important for us to try and preserve the free resources that remain, and possibly add new ones. This is only possible through the efforts of volunteers and the willingness of those of us researching to share information for free. I have made all information from my research available in the ‘Blythe Database’ in the tab above, including sources. Unfortunately, in order to include photos and images, I would have to start my own server. I do wish I could though, because the gold in the genealogy treasure for me has always been photos and images of documents, etc. I will say, though, that the images in my articles are either owned by me, credited to the rightful owner or under free commons license (credit requirements). Feel free to use any images on my site, but please be sure to include the photo credit. A credit to this site on the ones I own (uncredited) would be appreciated.

How can we all help to encourage and preserve free information?

Here are just a few ideas.

  • Start a website of your own and freely post any information you are willing to share.
  • Donate physical items to genealogical and historical societies, museums, libraries and archives that provide free services to the field.
  • Start a newsletter or contribute to existing newsletters to collect and provide information to other researchers.
  • Offer your services to anyone researching in your area through services such as RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness), which has since shut down indefinitely due to the illness and death of its Administrator, Bridgett Schneider.
  • Volunteer in ways to add to or improve what is available. Examples include transcription of documents, taking and submitting photographs of historical and/or genealogical importance, voluntary work at a location providing free services and resources, and conducting and documenting interviews for first hand accounts.

I am still actively pursuing my research and operating my sites, Empty Nest Ancestry and Blythe Genealogy. All data I’ve accumulated, including images, documents, links and sources is available for free access and download on Blythe Genealogy. Feel free to check it out by searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the upper drop down menu.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

If you have new information of relevance to genealogy, or are willing to volunteer your services to provide research in your area on behalf of others and would like to spread the word about your own efforts in this regard, or just plain news of interest, please let me know and I’d be glad to post it here.

Guest posts are welcomed but are subject to Editor review and may not be accepted. If accepted, the author will be given credit for the article and can include two nofollow links.

Please consider making information you have available to others in any way possible and for as little cost as possible and volunteer and/or donate to those who do if you can. Let’s keep our voluntary and free networks operating and providing for researchers in the future.


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We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.

We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.

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It has become increasingly apparent recently that there are two distinct schools of thought regarding quality and depth in genealogy research.

There are the genealogists who believe in working only with well-sourced, proven information – and then there are those of us who started our genealogical quests simply for the pleasure of doing so.

Before either camp can begin searching for answers, they much first know the genealogy questions.

 

My own research (see my Blythe Database) started with a curiosity about our history because I grew up in a military family that moved a great deal, and therefore I had very little opportunity to meet with near and distant family members to learn family stories and lore.

I do agree with the article “Take time to produce well-sourced, quality work,” on the Genealogy Today site, in which they respond to another article by Sharon Tate Moody in the Tampa Tribune, entitled “Drive-by genealogists should learn a few rules.”

I am one who looks at unsourced information as possible clues to breaking down brick walls and answering questions. Although the information itself may be unsourced and seen as questionable, it can be regarded as a clue.

When I receive gedcoms from others, or access information online, I do not discard what could be valuable information simply because there are no sources cited. I note the information, making it part of my own database, intending to return to it, find and cite concrete sources as I can.

Yes, I’ve found mistakes, but I have also found wonderful information allowing me to enlarge upon my family’s own stories.

I believe in the researchers’ responsibility for assessing the quality of the data they receive from others. I never take sources cited by others at face value, always working to find the sources cited and attach concrete proof in the form of images, etc.

Although a great deal of the Blythe Database attached to this site is not sourced, the majority of it is – the result of tireless work and ever increasing expense over 15 years. I have a clearly stated ‘Data Quality’ disclaimer linked in the upper horizontal menu of every page and post, and it states:

“The Blythe Database is my genealogy research in its entirety and is an ongoing process. I spend a minimum of four hours a day researching sources to verify data.

I have been researching genealogy for over fifteen years and you will note that I classify all sources by quality. If it is a poor quality source it is clearly indicated as such…

…It is common for there to be gaps in data and sources and in these cases I will use the individual anyway and either leave sources blank (indicating no sources found) or will clearly indicate source quality. It is up to the person using the data to use the information as classified.

I continually search out sources and documents to verify data and improve on substantiation. I have made some of my best discoveries using unsourced data as a starting point and I would hate for those clues to not be available.

This site is an effort to provide open, free sharing of genealogical information. However, all information is only as good as the sources cited.

I will gladly make corrections to data providing the information provided can be substantiated by the submitter with a source…”

Let’s face it: it’s quickly getting to the point where information gleaned from others will rarely include sources, images, etc. as more and more researchers become protective of their data. I understand as I struggle with my decision to openly share ALL of my information, but ultimately feel I’ve made the right decision, hopefully promoting more open and cooperative sharing of data by others as well.

Genealogy is a passion for me – and others. I enjoy the hunt as much as finding those elusive facts and sources. Maybe it’s my inner detective struggling to get out. Whatever the reason, my database will always have a substantial amount of unsourced data as I continually stumble upon new and hopefully ‘breakthrough’ information. I do, however, spend as much time as I can finding evidence and sources, but find (and I’m sure others do as well) that each new discovery raises numerous new questions, and finding those answers takes a great deal of time and effort.

There will never be an end to my quest…

photo credit: droetker0912 via photopin cc


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The ancestor quest: humor, poems and prose for Genealogists.

The ancestor quest: humor, poems and prose for Genealogists.

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I have gathered and transcribed several items of humor, poems and prose for Genealogists that have touched me in some way. The ones I have selected and printed below are my favorites of the hundreds that can be found – and the ones that hit home the most.

 

Leaf Divider

 

Dear Ancestor

 

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
So many years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.

Leaf Divider

 

 Genealogy – where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.

 

Leaf Divider

 

Murphy’s Law for Genealogists

 

The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated and at which the platform collapsed under him turned out to be a hanging.

When at last after much hard work you have solved the mystery you have been working on for two years, your aunt says, “I could have told you that.”

You grandmother’s maiden name that you have searched for four years was on a letter in a box in the attic all the time.

You never asked your father about his family when he was alive because you weren’t interested in genealogy then.

The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.

Copies of old newspapers have holes occurring only on the surnames.

John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as the family progenitor, died on board ship at
age 10.

Your gr. grandfather’s newspaper obituary states that he died leaving no issue of record.

The keeper of the vital records you need has just been insulted by an another genealogist.

The relative who had all the family photographs gave them all to her daughter who has no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.

The only record you find for your gr. grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff’s sale for insolvency.

The one document that would supply the missing link in your dead-end line has been lost due to fire, flood or war.

The town clerk to whom you wrote for the information sends you a long handwritten letter which is totally illegible.

The spelling for your European ancestor’s name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.

None of the pictures in your recently deceased grandmother’s photo album have names written on them.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, owned property, was sued or was named in wills.

You learn that your great aunt’s executor just sold her life’s collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer “somewhere in New York City.”

Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.

The 37 volume, sixteen thousand page history of your county of origin isn’t indexed.

You finally find your gr. grandparent’s wedding records and discover that the brides’ father was named John Smith.

Leaf Divider

 

Whoever said “Seek and ye shall find” was not a genealogist.

 

Leaf Divider

 

Strangers in the Box

 

Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I’ve often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.

I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.

I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I’ll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time,
To tell, who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?

Take time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.


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Transcription: Wogaman, Burkett and Holdery – Burkhart — Burckhardt — Burket — Burkett

Transcription: Wogaman, Burkett and Holdery – Burkhart — Burckhardt — Burket — Burkett

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Transcription: Wogaman, Burkett and Holdery – Burkhart — Burckhardt — Burket — Burkett

 

WOGAMAN, BURKETT, HOLDERY

Author:     Ezra McFall Kuhns
Publisher:     [Dayton, Ohio? : s.n., 1948]
Series:      Genealogy & local history, G7296.

BURKHART — BURCKHARDT — BURKET — BURKETT
(First Page)

Burket Family Bio
Burket Family Bio – Wogaman, Burkett, Holdery

It has been said that Emanuel Burkhart whose home was in one of the Swiss Cantons, probably Berne, had two sons who came to America, sometime between 1742 and 1754. One of these is said to have been Jonathan and the other Christian. Rupp’s records no persons by either of these names, until the arrival on November 22, 1752, on the ship St. Michael, of Johann Burckhard, and on September 24, 1753, the arrival on the ship Neptune, of Johannes Burkhart. There is listed, however, the arrival on the ship Rosanna, on September 26, 1743, of Heinrich Burckhart. This person so nearly fits in with the known facts of the case, as to lead to the belief that this Henry, to use the English equivalent of his first name, was the progenitor of the family under discussion, in America. There is not much support to the traditional name of Jonathan, and it could easily be the case, in any event, that like thousands of others, there was the first name “Johan”, by which he might have been known, but omitted from the registration. It is stated that the immigrant’s wife died at sea, and that the father died four years after arrival. There were four children, Salome, probably the eldest, born August 14, 1734, Jehu, Nathaniel, and probably another boy said to have been named Christian. Salome, according to well authenticated statements, was seven years of age upon arrival, and this fact, as well as her marriage in 1759, she being then of marriageable age, seems to be controlling in fixing the approximate time of the arrival in America, that is at about the time of the arrival of Henry as above stated. Jehu married Madalene (Motlene) Croll or Kroll, who was the daughter of Ulric Croll, of Elizabeth township, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, who came to America on August 19, 1729, aged 27 years, on the ship Mortonhouse. The brothers moved to Frederick county, Maryland, residing and working there at their trade, as well as farming, from about 1768 to 1775, after which Jehu and family moved to Reedy creek on the Yadkin, Rowan county, North Carolina. About 1809, Jehu moved to Montgomery county, Ohio, and became the owner of a 112-acre tract located on Salem pike, a few miles north of the city of Dayton, opposite the Brethren church at Ft. McKinley, Jehu died in 1823, and his wife a few years before. He was the first Bishop or Elder of the church of the Brethren (Dunkard) in this vicinity, and assisted in the organization of the Lower Stillwater church of that denomination (still flourishing at Ft. McKinley) and out of which church sprung the church at “Happy Corners”. Despite his connection with one of the peace loving sects, Jehu seems to have served in the North Carolina troops in the Revolution, was paid a fairly large sum presumably for military services. Again, in a muster roll of Capt. Andrew Long’s company of Col. Samuel Miles’ rifle regiment of Pennsylvania troops, taken on June 4, 1776, appears the name of “Jehu Burket”. This company came from western Bucks county, and there is authority for the statement that Jehu’s wife’s people were, or had been, formerly residents of that region. It could easily be possible that Jehu had returned to Pennsylvania before finally settling in North Carolina, and enrolled for a short time only as the records of that company would indicate, after which he returned to Maryland or North Carolina. From the extreme infrequency of the name Jehu, and the singular fact of it being attached in this case to the last name “Burket”, it appears to the writer as more than a coin

BURKHART — BURCKHARDT — BURKET — BURKETT
(Second Page)

Wogaman, Burkett, Holdery 2
Wogaman, Burkett, Holdery

cidence. This conclusion might be further justified from the fact of the somewhat roving disposition of the person in question, who in the course of this life, removed three or four different times, and to distant points. Jehu and Motlene had nine children, Henry being the fourth. He, Henry, was born on May 13, 1771, in Maryland. On December 25, 1793, Henry married Elizabeth Rinker, in North Carolina, who was born on June 22, 1772, and who died on February 9, 1836. About 1815 or 1816 this family came to Montgomery county, where Henry’s father had already located. Henry acquired 400 or more acres of land on the so-called Stringtown pike, in Madison township, about a mile or so north of the village of Trotwood, and about the same distance west of the settlement on the Salem pike formerly known as Taylorsburg. He died in September 1817, leaving a will which was probated in due course. Henry and Elizabeth had the following children, all born in North Carolina: Mary (sometimes called Mollie) born October 27, 1794; John, born December 27, 1795; George, born November 23, 1797; Elizabeth, born September 7, 1801; Isaac, born February 3, 1803; Charles, born March 13, 1805; Amelia, born December 8, 1807; Anne, born December 8, 1809; Martin, born October 5, 1811; and Barbara, born April 20, 1815.

As previously stated in this narrative, Mary the first child of Henry and Elizabeth, married John Wogaman the second, on August 18, 1818, and their child was George, who married Catherine Hilderbrick on June 15, 1843. She was born on July 17, 1824, the daughter of David Mary Hilderbrick, and Mary was the daughter of George and Elizabeth Holtry.

In connection with what has been said as to Jehu Burket, it should be mentioned that the material is based somewhat on a History of the Burgner family, published in 1892. This narrates an interview, in 1889, with a granddaughter of Salome Burket. This granddaughter well remembered Salome the sister of Jehu. She had married a Burgner, and after her husband’s death lived in Maryland near Frederick. Also, a pamphlet on the Burket family, prepared by Mr. John M. Burkett, of Washington, D. C., has been useful and most essential in establishing some of the important facts of the story of this family. It should also be mentioned that the family migrated in large numbers to Indiana in the early part of the nineteenth century, and many members have achieved prominence both in civil and professional walks of life, including farming and other lines of business.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Genealogy News Bites – May 14, 2014

Genealogy News Bites – May 14, 2014

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Following are the newest ancestry and genealogy news bites and headlines since May 5, 2014.

Genealogy News BitesFamilySearch.org Blog

Discussions: Users Can Now Delete Legacy Disputes

A few years ago, FamilySearch.org copied disputes from new.FamilySearch.org into the Discussions feature in Family Tree. Those disputes are referred to as “legacy disputes.” When they were copied into Family Tree, the contributor of the dispute was listed as FamilySearch, and the comments could not be deleted

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.1 Million Images to Collections from Belgium, England, India, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, the United States

FamilySearch has added more than 5.1 million images to collections from Belgium, England, India, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 2,571,405 indexed records and images

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.4 Million Images to Collections from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States

FamilySearch has added more than 5.4 million images to collections from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 2,152,718 indexed records

Genealogy and History News

Explore New Records from New Zealand on findmypast

Findmypast, one of the big name companies in the genealogy field, are part-way through their 100 in 100 project (100 new data sets in 100 days). And part of that they have just released a whole bunch of New Zealand

Genealogy Canada

Alberta Quilt Project

The Alberta Quilt Project will be coming to Pincher Creek’s Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village at the end of May and the start of June. The project will index all the quilts either made in Alberta or brought there by the immigration process from the 1800s to the 1960s

Building Personal Archives

The Quinte Branch of the OGS will hold their monthly meeting on Saturday May 17, 2014 at 1 pm at the Quinte West Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton.
Entitled Building Personal Archives, the presentation

Olive Tree Genealogy

100 Years of McGill University Yearbooks Online

If you have an ancestor who attended McGill University in Montreal Quebec you won’t want to miss this new database. The years online are 1898-2000 and you can browse or search by name. For details see Gail Dever’s blog post  More than 100 years of McGill University yearbooks digitized

The Childen’s Home Website Now Online

The first phase of The Children’s Home website by Peter Higginson is now live. According to Peter who also created The Workhouse website: The Children’s Homes website aims to provide information on all of the many and varied institutions that — for whatever reason — became home

Fold3 Blog

Access the World War II Collection

This Memorial Day season, explore Fold3′s World War II Collection for free now through May 31st. Find your family heroes in Fold3′s vast collection of WWII documents, records, and images, including draft registration cards, Army enlistment records, Navy muster rolls, “Old Man’s Draft” registration cards, missing air crew reports, casualty lists, and more…

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

National Genealogical Society Gives Awards for Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service

The following was written by the folks at the National Genealogical Society: Arlington, VA, 9 MAY 2014: The National Genealogical Society held its annual banquet on Friday evening, 9 May 2014, at the NGS 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, to present awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service

WebProNews

Genealogy Tool Can Now Pinpoint Ancestry Through Genetics

Genealogy is a fun pastime for many people throughout the world. Tracking down ancestral information and filling out family trees is a way for many to connect with the past. Beyond birth and death records, however, the study of genealogy is now being

Library and Archives Canada

The United Empire Loyalists – Finding their Records

The term “United Empire Loyalists” (often referred to as UEL) refers to the American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution, and many of which fought for Britain during that conflict. They fled the United States and settled in what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario

photo credit: North Carolina Digital Heritage Center via photopin cc


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Genealogy News Bites – May 5, 2014

Genealogy News Bites – May 5, 2014

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genealogy news bites picsIn an effort to help ease the load of searching for genealogy news and genealogy events, I prepare a ‘Genealogy News Bites’ post to gather together what I feel are the most important or informative genealogy news headlines from the previous week (or thereabouts). Following are the most recent and relevant genealogy news headlines.

 

Olive Tree Genealogy

Victorian Reform School & Prison Records Online – A Contest!

John Wormald age 11 Reform School 1892 Ancestry.co.uk, Ancestry.ca and Ancestry.com have recently published some fascinating reformatory school and prison records from West Yorkshire

Irish Census Records 1821-1911 online

1821 Census Colebrooke (Aghalurcher, Fermanagh) Irish Census Records from 1821 to 1911 (with gaps 1861 to 1901) are now available online.  The earlier records are scattered and many have not survived but The National Archives of Ireland

Prosapia Genetics – Worth the Money?

Yesterday I decided to check out a website that has the genealogy community buzzing. The Examiner called it a “Groundbreaking GPS tool [that] finds your ancestors, genealogy, family tree and history”  Basically it is being touted as

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Panel to discuss genealogy issues in La Verne – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

The panel sponsored by the Southern California Society of Professional Genealogists will provide members and guests with a special opportunity to meet in a roundtable setting

Beliefnet

Matthew 1:1-17; The Genealogy of Jesus (Cross-Reference Comparison)

Some believe that Matthew’s genealogy focuses primarily on the family tree of Jesus’ adopted father, Joseph, while Luke’s highlights the lineage of his mother, Mary. Another theory

Genealogy Canada

RCMP obituary card index and notices, 1876-2007

Here is an instance which demonstrates the co-operative partnership that exists between Ancestry and Family Search these days with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) obituaries card and notices between 1876 and 2007

OGS announces officers for 2014-2016

The slate of new officers for 2014-2016 was announced today at the OGS Conference. The president is Alan Campbell. Alan is from the Lambton Branch of the OGS.The vice president i…

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

Evernote Was Made For Genealogy | Eastman’s Online Genealogy …

Cyndi of Cyndi’s List has started a new section entitled, Evernote Was Made For Genealogy. She writes, “I will admit it. I’m an Evernote junkie. I love this tool and all it has to offer

Ancestry.com Blog

Don’t Let Mold Destroy Your Family History

Mold is a four-letter word. It can destroy your documents and it can make you sick. What do you do when you discover that great-grandpa’s Civil War letters or the family Bible has mold on it? Here are some tips


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Genealogy News Bites to March 28, 2014

Genealogy News Bites to March 28, 2014

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Internet podcasts

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Amara is an online resource that gives individuals, communities, and larger organizations the power to overcome accessibility and language barriers for online videos.  This unique tool is simple to use, collaborative, and fun

National Archives (Great Britain)

Last autumn we put out a call to the higher education sector for research project proposals based on our research agenda, and received a fantastic response.  Proposals of the highest quality were received

Web Pro News

…there are plenty of ancestry sites that will help you locate the records you need. Most of these sites charge a subscription fee. The question is, are they worth the cost? If you plan on putting a lot of time and effort into your genealogy or family history

Ancestry.co.uk Blog

DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl

FamilySearch.org Blog

For those who were not able to personally attend RootsTech 2014, we now have the video recorded present(ation)s of nineteen selected speakers posted online

Several new research classes have been added to the Learning Center on FamilySearch.org. The new training includes courses in Swedish, Danish, and Czech research, as well as 8 Spanish language research courses

Fold3 Blog

Fold3 has digitized nine titles documenting hundreds of thousands of men who served in the New York National Guard (NYNG) and other New York regiments for conflicts from the Civil War to World War II

Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a wealth of early sound recordings of pioneers in the arts on discs and wax cylinders. These recordings cover a range of themes, such as patriotic songs, jazz and dance from the 1920s, Québécois recordings

LAC is releasing its latest podcast episode, The Virtual Gramophone: Early Canadian Sound Recordings. LAC’s Virtual Gramophone is a multimedia website

Fort Howe images are now on Flickr. During the American Revolution, New Brunswick experienced continuous pressure from American forces including attacks

Discover a sampling of photos of the Indian Residential Schools of Alberta. The photos from other provinces and territories will be added to this first collection this summer

The following photographs are part of the Arctic Images from the Turn of the Twentieth Century exhibition presented at the National Gallery of Canada. Featuring material from Library and Archives Canada’s collections, the exhibition showcases rarely seen images

photo credit: Br3nda via photopin cc


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Ancestry.com adds Saskatchewan databases.

Ancestry.com adds Saskatchewan databases.

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Saskatchewan databases
David and Christine Gummeson and Family (c. 1893) – back l-r: Gustav Herman Gummeson, Johanna Matilda (Tillie) Gummeson, Ernest Wilhelm Gummeson – middle l-r: David Gummeson (Axel Frederik Gummeson on David’s lap), Frank Elmer Gummeson, Kristine Christina Gummeson (Esther Christine Gummeson on her lap) – front l-r: August Leonard Gummeson, Hilda Caroline Gummeson.

If you’re like me and spend a lot of time researching Canadian ancestors from Saskatchewan, Ancestry.com ‘s new Saskatchewan databases will be a valuable resource.

In our case my husband’s Gummeson family ancestry spans generations since the initial immigration of David and Christine Gummeson from Sweden to the United States in the 1800’s. At the turn of the 20th century, the entire Gummeson clan took advantage of available land in Saskatchewan and moved to Cabri to homestead and farm, remaining there for generations.

I find the Gummeson’s ancestry particularly fascinating because it is a true pioneering, homesteading story on the Canadian prairie, where live could be particularly harsh.

Among the new databases offered on Ancestry.com are the:

 


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Genealogy Links List in Right Sidebar

Genealogy Links List in Right Sidebar

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My original plans for modifying the genealogy links list in my sidebar did not proceed as planned. Unfortunately, the plugin I was going to use did not work out.

So, back to the drawing board. I did some research and learned how to create bookmarks within a page and set up a ‘Categories List’ of bookmarks links for the main categories of the list. Just click on the categories link and it will automatically scroll to the desired links.

This means that my sidebar (therefore page) will be just as long, but this function will greatly reduce time taken to scroll and search what can be a very confusing list.


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Ancestry Magazine 2004 to 2009 Back Issues Available Free at Google e-Books

Ancestry Magazine 2004 to 2009 Back Issues Available Free at Google e-Books

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Ancestry MagazineI was thrilled to discover that back issues of Ancestry magazine from 2004 to 2009 are now available for free download at Google e-Books.

This is just one of several magazine titles for which Google e-Books is making back issues available online – on numerous subject matters.

Ancestry magazine is about genealogy and family tree research, and includes advice on using Ancestry.com , stories and advice from experts, as well as the success stories from fellow researchers and genealogists around the world.

Among the regular features is a timeline, heritage recipes, information about new records and tools at Ancestry.com , and advice for using Family Tree Maker genealogy software.

I certainly will be checking through all of these issues as I find time.

Source:

  1. Google e-Book

 


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Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 9

Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 9

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CHAPTER IX.

FROM THE DEFEAT AT BRANDYWINE TO THE CONCLUSION OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.

 On the afternoon of September 12th, the day succeeding the battle, Maj.-Gen. Grant, with the First and Second Brigades of the English army, marched from Chad’s Ford to Concord meeting-house, whence he sent out foraging-parties to bring in wagons, horses, provisions, and cattle from the surrounding neighborhood. Early the following morning (Saturday, the 13th), Lord Cornwallis, with the Second Battalion of Light Infantry and Second Grenadiers, made a junction with Gen. Grant and advanced to the Seven Stars, in Aston, within four miles of Chester. The day was very cold, as the noticeable equinoctial gale of the following Tuesday was already threatening. It may be that an advance party of the British troops that day went as far as Chester, for on Sept. 13, 1777, James Dundas wrote from Billingsport that “the people employed here begin to be very uneasy, since we have heard that Chester is in possession of the enemy.”1 Notwithstanding this assertion, I doubt much whether the ancient borough was occupied by any of the commanding army officers at that time, for on September 15th Capt. Montressor records in his journal2 that “the Commander in Chief went with his Escort only of Dragoons to Lord Cornwallis’ Post 3/4 of a mile west of Chester,” and under the same date he states, “This night at 8, the body with Lord Cornwallis moved from near Chester toward the Lancaster road.”

The day following the battle of Brandywine, Council called for the militia in the several counties – the fourth class in Chester County – “to turn out on this alarming occasion,” and to march to the Swede’s Ford, on the Schuylkill, unless Washington should command them to rendezvous elsewhere. On the 13th, Washington, whose army was resting at Germantown, instructed Col. Penrose to overflow the ground upon Providence Island, which necessarily meant cutting the banks at Darby Creek, so as to prevent the English army, should it march immediately to Philadelphia, from erecting batteries in the rear of Fort Mifflin, or carrying it by a land force in that direction. On September 15th, Washington broke camp at Germantown and marched his soldiers along the Lancaster road. From the Buck Tavern, in Haverford township, he called the attention of Council to the pressing necessity for an immediate supply of blankets for the troops, stating that he had been “told there are considerable quantities in private hands which should not be suffered to remain a moment longer than they can be conveyed away.”3 The American commander had fully determined to meet the British army again in battle before the city of Philadelphia should fall into the hands of the enemy. For that purpose he had turned his column westward, and that evening Washington was encamped in East Whiteland township, Chester Co., in the vicinity of the Admiral Warren Tavern.

Late in the afternoon of September 15th the report was received by Gen. Howe that the American army, as he supposed, in flight, was “pursuing the road to Lancaster,”4 and at eight o’clock that night, Lord Cornwallis moved from near Chester towards the Lancaster road, following the Chester and Great Valley road, “by way of the present village of Glen Riddle, Lima, and Howellville and by Rocky Hill and Goshen Friends’ meeting-house.”5 The next morning Gen. Howe, who had remained at Birmingham for five days

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 616.

2 Penna. Mag of Hist., vol. vi. p. 35.

3 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 624.

4 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. vi. p. 35.

5 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 78.

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after the battle,1 on the morning of the 16th, marched towards Lancaster by the way of the Turk’s Head (now West Chester), Goshen meeting-house, and the Sign of the Boot, on the Downingtown road, and at eleven o’clock made a junction with Cornwallis’ division, the latter column moving in advance until it had gone about a mile and a half north of Goshen meeting-house, where, about two o’clock, the two armies confronted each other, and Wayne attacked the British right flank with so much spirit that in a few moments the action would have become general, when, doubtless, owing to the discharge of musketry, the heavy, low-hanging, scudding clouds broke into a deluge of rain, accompanied by a tempest of wind, which resulted in separating the armies immediately. So far as the American troops were concerned, they were in a few moments wet to the skin. Their ammunition was ruined, owing to their cartouch-boxes and “tumbrels” being so defectively constructed that they were no protection front the rain. About four o’clock, Washington retired to Yellow Springs, which place his army reached in the night, and the next morning the commander-in-chief retreated with the main army up the Schuylkill, crossing it at Parker’s Ferry.

While the English forces lay at Birmingham, Jacob James, a loyalist of that neighborhood, recruited in Chester County a troop of light-horsemen, and when the army marched away, he and his company followed the British standard. “The Chester County dragoons, under Captain James, subsequently took part in the surprise of Col. Lacey’s Militia Brigade, lying at Crooked Billett,” on April 30, 1778, and in March, 1780, Capt. James was captured in North Carolina. President Reed, on April 18th of the latter year, wrote to Governor Caswell stating that James had been “a distinguished Partizan here in the Winter 1777, & particularly active in Kidnapping the Persons in the Vicinity of the City who were remarkable for their Attachment to the Cause of their Country. He was also extremely troublesome to the County by stealing & employing his Associates in stealing Horses for the British Army.” President Reed therefore requested Governor Caswell “that he may not be exchanged as a common Prisoner of War, but retained in close Custody untill a favorable Opp’y shall present to bring him to this State for Tryal.”2 The regular British officers, however, were not overscrupulous in this matter of appropriating horses to their use, for, on Sept. 19, 1777, Lieut.-Col. Harcourt, with a party of dragoons and light infantry, came from Howe’s encampment in Goshen, on the Philadelphia road, and from Newtown Square brought a hundred and fifty horses to the enemy.3

The British not only had made these advances by land, but on September 17th Howe was notified that several of the English vessels of war had arrived in the river, “and three vituallers, one at anchor, in the Delaware off Chester.”4 The “Roebuck,” Capt. Hammond, whose presence in the river, as heretofore noticed, had made that officer familiar with the navigation of the Delaware River, at least as far as Wilmington, was one of the advanced men-of-war. Admiral Earl Howe, after the battle of Brandywine, hastened with his fleet into the river and anchored his vessels along the Delaware shore from Reedy Island to New Castle. Washington, as well as Gen. Howe, when the latter by “doubling on his tracks” had crossed the Schuylkill and captured Philadelphia, knew that the English commander must have uninterrupted water communication to maintain his army, and while the enemy were resolved to do everything they could to force the passage of the river, the American authorities were equally resolved to keep up, if possible, the obstruction. “If these can be maintained,” wrote Washington to Congress, “Gen. Howe’s situation will not be the most agreeable; for, if his supplies can be stopped by water, it may easily be done by land.”5 When the city fell, on September 25th, Gen. Howe sent a messenger to notify the English fleet, then at Chester, that his had taken possession of Philadelphia. That communication by the river must be had was well understood by the English officers, for, in a letter from Lieut.-Col. William Harcourt to Earl Harcourt, dated at Philadelphia, October 26th, he remarks that “it was absolutely necessary we should open a communication with our fleet;”6 and in the letter he narrates the attempts, up to that time, made by the British commander to that end, the defeat of Col. Dunop at Red Bank, the attack on Fort Mifflin, the repulse of the English forces there, and the destruction of the frigate “Augusta” and sloop-of-war “Merlin,” classifying them as “checks following so close upon the back of each other.”

The enemy, however, had already made unwelcome visits to the section of country now Delaware County, for a resident of Philadelphia, under date of October 3d, records that “a foraging party went out last week towards Darby and brought in a great number of cattle to the great distress of the inhabitants.”7 We also learn that on October 5th (Sunday) a captain of the Royal Artillery, with thirty men, went to Chester to bring to Philadelphia two howitzers and a large number of mortars. A battalion of Grenadiers and the Twenty-third or Welsh Fusileers accompanied them as an escort.8 On September 29th. Col. Stirling, with two British regiments, crossed the river from Chester, and took possession of the fortifications at Billingsport, which was manned only by militia, who,

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1 See “A plan of the Operations of the British Army in the Capaign, 1777,” under Descriptive Letter F. “The Evelyns in America,” p. 252.

2 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. iii. p. 191.

3 Penna. Mag. of History, vol. vi. p. 38.

4 Ib., p. 37.

5 Sparks’ “Correspondence of Washington,” vol.v. p. 71.

6 “The Evelyns in America,” p. 246.

7 “Diary of Robert Morton,” Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. i. p. 12.

8 “Journal of Capt. Montressor,” Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. vi. p. 42.

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after spiking the cannons and setting fire to the barrack, withdrew without firing a gun.1 The force under Stirling is stated by Col. Bradford to have been Highlanders and marines from the man-of-war. Capt. Montressor says the troops were the Seventy-first Highlanders. On October 4th the enemy retired, excepting three hundred men, after they had made some unsuccessful efforts to remove the obstructions sunk in the river there, and on October 6th the British set fire to all the works and house, and the men who had been left to garrison the fort were withdrawn. The same evening Commodore Hazelwood of the Pennsylvania navy came down the river with the row-galleys, and attacked the British vessels of war between Fort Island and Chester. The firing “was almost a constant cannonade,” and resulted in the British vessels getting under way, retiring to Chester, where nine of his Majesty’s war ships were then lying.2 The same evening the Forty-second and Tenth British Regiments, with two howitzers and two mortars, marched to Philadelphia to protect a large quantity of provisions landed at Chester for the use of the army, which were then being transported to the city. In the evening of October 11th, about three hundred American militia entered the town of Chester and captured the loyal sheriff of Sussex County, Del., who had sought shelter there under the British authorities. The night after the battle of the Brandywine, Governor McKinley, of that State, was taken from his bed and made a prisoner. In retaliation for that act the Governor offered a reward of three hundred dollars for the arrest of the sheriff, at whose instance it is said McKinley had been apprehended. The day previous to this bold movement of the milita, Col. Boyd, sub-lieutenant of Chester County, was instructed to call out the fifth class of the militia to defend the inhabitants from foraging parties, and that a troop of fifty horsemen should be organized for that purpose. The ammunition required for these hastily-assembled forces was ordered to be placed at Col. Boyd’s immediate disposal. On the 13th of October it was reported that Gen. Proctor, with sixteen hundred men, was then in Newtown township, almost sixteen miles from Philadelphia.3 Potter had been ordered to keep a sharp lookout for parties of English foragers, and if possible prevent any provisions from being taken from the west side of the Schuylkill to Philadelphia for the use of the British troops. Congress had also by resolution declared that any one who should furnish provisions or certain other designated supplies to the British forces, or who should be taken within thirty miles attempting to convey such interdicted articles to any place then occupied by his Majesty’s soldiers, would be subject to martial law, and if found guilty of the offenses, should suffer death.4 Gen. Armstrong, on the 14th, informed Council that his division had been separated, that Gen. Potter with his brigade had been “sent to Chester County to annoy the Enemies’ small parties, whether Horse or foot, that may be found on the Lancaster or Darby roads, prevent provisions going to the Enemy, &c. I have heard,” he continued, “of a fifth class of the militia of that County being ordered to remain for its own defence, which is very proper, the Commander of that Class ought to communicate with General Potter & occasionally take his instructions.”5 On the 15th the British fleet moved up the river and joined the “Roebuck” and “Vigilant,” that then lay at anchor off Little Tinicum Island, the latter having the day before come up the Delaware sufficiently near to exchange shots with Fort Mifflin. The Americans were still confidently relying on the strength of the chevaux-de-frise, being entirely unaware of the fact that Robert White, who had been employed to sink the obstructions, was a traitor, as his subsequent base conduct showed, and had designedly left the channel near the Pennsylvania side open.6 Yet even after the forts were in the hands of the British, the approach to the city of Philadelphia was regarded as so hazardous that most of the English vessels lay in the river below the Horse-Shoe, making the town of Chester the port where they discharged supplies for the army.

Richard Peters, as secretary of the United States Board of War, on Oct. 18, 1777, called President Wharton’s attention to information received, that a great number of the inhabitants of Chester County had furnished intelligence to and supplied the enemy with provisions while they were in that county, without which assistance it was believed the British would not have succeeded in the capture of Philadelphia. The authorities of the United States were determined to render such service impossible, and to that end urged upon the State that “the great principle of self Preservation requires that the most effectual means should be forthwith pursued to put it out of their Power to persist in their former Mal-Practices, by taking from them such Articles of Cloathing &: Provisions, & of the former particulary shoes, stockings & Blankets, as might serve for the comfort & subsistence of the Enemy’s Army, & the Acquisition whereof is of absolute Necessity to the existence of our own.” The War Department, therefore, urged on Council that “spirited and determined militia,” commanded by discreet and active officers, should be immediately sent to Chester County to collect blankets, shoes, and stockings from all of the inhabitants that had not taken the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania, and that all provisions and stock which might be useful to the enemy should be removed to a point beyond the latter’s incursions.

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1 Marshall’s “Life of Washington,” vol. iii. p. 176.

2 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 648.

3 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. i. p. 18.

4 Marshall’s “Life of Washington,” vol. iii. p. 172.

5 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 673.

6 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. vi. p. 192, note.

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Gen. Washington, it was apprehended by Richard Peters, would order Gen. Potter to co-operate with the officers appointed for that purpose by Council.1 On the 21st, which was possibly the day Council received the dispatch just mentioned, for it had been sent from York to Lancaster, Col. Evan Evans, Col. William Evans, Col. Thomas, Col. Gibbons, Col. Thomas Levis, Capt. William Brooks, and Capt. Jacob Rudolph were appointed to collect the articles enumerated from persons who had not publicly given in their adherence to the State of Pennsylvania, and were instructed to give certificates to owners whose goods were taken, allowing them three pounds for new single blankets. The articles thus taken were to be delivered to the clothier-general. Dr. Smith tells us that this order bore with unusual harshness on the Quakers, who were indeed a class peculiarly situated, their religious principles prevented them from taking the oath of allegiance and abjuration, for not only did they suffer from the inconvenience of parting with the necessaries for their family, but in addition, “their conscientious scruples would not permit them to receive the proffered compensation.”2

At this time the British were making every effort to forward the siege they had begun of Fort Mifflin, where, under the supervision of Capt. Montressor, batteries had been erected on Providence Island in the rear of the fort and communication had also been established with the fleet by way of Bow Creek. On the 23d of October an unsuccessful attack was made on the fort, twenty vessels taking part therein, but in the action the frigate “Augustas,” a new sixty-four gun ship, got aground, was set on fire, her magazine exploded and she was a total wreck, as was the “Merlin” sloop-of-war, which ran on the chevaux-de-frise and sunk. The day before the attempt to carry Red Bank by assault had resulted disastrously for the British arms. On the 25th, Col. Joseph Reed, then at Darby, wrote to Council that a deserter from the Hessian Losberg regiment stated that the British army “must retreat in a few Days to Wilmington if they cannot get up their Provisions. Great Distress for Provisions in Town.” Hence, when the news of Burgoyne’s surrender was received in Philadelphia on October 31st well night Capt. Montressor record: “We are just now an army without provision, a Rum artillery for Beseiging, scarce any amunition, no clothing, nor any money. Somewhat dejected by Burgoyne’s capitulation, and not elated with our late maneuvres as Dunop’s repulse, and the ‘Augustas’ and ‘Merlin’ being burnt and to complete all, Blockaded.”

Gen. Potter was active in his efforts to harass the enemy and cut off their means of supply, for we learn from a letter to President Wharton, written on October 27th, that when he first went to Chester County with his command the country people carried to the city all kinds of marketing, but that he had put an end to that trade, no one being suffered to go to Philadelphia without a pass. At the time he wrote, sixty ships of the enemy were lying at and below Chester. From the best information he could get he learned that provisions “is very scarce and deer in the city,” and he also stated that he had moved all the beef cattle and the flour from that part of the county, – the territory now included within the present limits of Delaware County.

Two days after the date of this letter Gen. Washington (Oct. 31, 1777) wrote to Gen. Potter:

“As soon as the Schuylkill is fordable, I will send over a large body of militia to you, for the purpose of executing some particular matters. The principal one is to endeavor to break up the road by which the enemy have a communication with their shipping over the islands (by Bow Creek) if practicable; and to remove the running-stones from the mills in the neighborhood of Chester and Wilmington.”

The commander-in-chief was very explicit in the orders to Gen. Potter, and the latter was instructed to execute them at once, and, if he had no teams or insufficient means of transporting the stones, he was directed to impress wagons. The grist-mills from which the stones were to be taken he designated thus:

“Lloyd’s, about two miles on this side of Chester (afterward Lapadie, Leiper’s Snuff-mills); Robinson’s, on Naaman’s Creek; Shaw’s, about one mile back of Chester (now Upland), and the Brandywiue mills . . . . The stones should be marked with tar and grease, or in some other manner, that it may be known to what mill they belong, that they may be returned and made use of in the future, and they should be moved to such distance that the enemy cannot easily recover them. If there is any flour in the mills it should be removed, if possible, after the stones are secured. I am informed that there is a considerable quantity in Shaw’s mill, particularly, which there is reason to believe is intended for the enemy. It is very convenient to the navigation of Chester Creek, and should be first taken care of. I beg you may instantly set about this work for the reason above mentioned. That no previous alarm may he given, let a certain hour be fixed upon for the execution of the whole at one time, and even the officers who are to do the business should not know their destination till just before they set out, lest it should take wind.”

In a postscript, Washington says, “I have desired Capt. Lee, of the Light-Horse, to give any assistance that you may want.”3

That this order was carried into effect we learn from a letter dated Nov. 4, 1777, written by Maj. John Clark, Jr., to Washington, in which he informed the general that, “Near Hook fell in with Capt. Lee with a few dragoons and about sixty of foot, among whom were a few riflemen . . . . The mills are dismantled, and we drove off some fat cattle from the shore at Chester, which I believe were intended for the enemy.”4 I have been unable to find where the mill-stones were taken, or how long their owners were deprived of them. Certain is it that after the British evacuated Philadelphia, the mills mentioned were in full operation.

The service of light cavalry was indispensable in moving rapidly from place to place in order to intercept the enemy in their raids in the neighborhood of

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 686.

2 Smith’s “History of Delaware County,” p. 319.

3 Annals of Buffalo Valley, by John Blair Linn, p. 144.

4 Bulletin of Penna. Hist. Society, vol. i. No. 10, March 1847, p. 34.

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the city and in rescuing booty from their foraging parties or in driving cattle beyond their reach. So important was it deemed to have such bodies of men in Chester County that Council, October 31st, ordered Cols. Cheyney and Granow, without loss of time, to form three or four troops of light-horse, particularly in the southeastern parts of the county – now Delaware County – and in the formation of such mounted troops the advice and direction of Gen. Potter was to be taken. The militia officers designated immediately set about carrying out the orders they had received, for on November 8th, Gen. Potter, who then had his headquarters at Mr. Garret’s, in Newtown, wrote to President Wharton that considering the close approach of winter, he doubted whether the men could be raised and equipped sufficiently early to be of any service in the then campaign, and that he then had volunteers who were acquainted with the country, and answered every purpose of dragoons. If it was necessary to have dragoons for an emergency, Washington would send any number that might be required. The reasons assigned by Gen. Potter seem to have fully satisfied Council, for nothing more appears in reference to the troops of light-horsemen from Chester County.

Meanwhile the British forces were making regular siege to Fort Mifflin, for the scarcity of provisions was such that already many articles of food had so advanced in price in Philadelphia that they had thereby been banished from the tables of all but the wealthier classes, and provender for animals was difficult to procure. Although the city had fallen, on the whole, considering the repulse of the fleet at Fort Mifflin and the defeat at Red Bank, together with the stirring tidings from the North that Burgoyne had been captured, the outlook for the enemy was in nowise promising. For a number of years before the war, the industrious residents of that part of Chester County bordering on the Delaware, at a considerable outlay of labor, time, and money, had constructed dikes or embankments of earth alone the river bank, so that much of the low and swampy ground had been converted into rich meadow land. As a means of defense, Council had determined to cut these banks when necessary, and flood the meadows. Hence we find that on November 1st, Capt. Montressor, who was constructing the batteries on Carpenter’s and Providence Islands, and who had effected communication with the fleet by the way of Bow Creek, records on that day that “two hundred of the Rebels employed in cutting up the road to Bow Creek, and breaking down the dam to overflow us.” Previous to this, however, the meadows had been flooded, for in a letter to Gen. Potter, dated October 31st, Washington says, I am glad to hear the flood had done so much damage to the meadows. Endeavor by all means to keep the breakers open.” Still the engineers strengthened the batteries, the work of reducing the fort and opening the river continued.

The American army even then, before the winter at Valley Forge set in, was miserably deficient in clothing, and as the State authorities were highly indignant at the peaceable position assumed by the Society of Friends, on Nov. 8, 1777, Council appointed collectors in the several counties in the State to collect from those persons who had not taken the oath of allegiance,1 or who had aided the enemy, arms, accoutrements, blankets, woolen and linsey-woolsey, cloth, linen, stockings, and shoes for the army. For Chester County, the following persons were named: Col. Evan Evans, Philip Scott, Esq., Elijah McClenaghan, Capt. John Ramsey, Patterson Bell, Esq., Thomas Boyd, Esq., Capt. Benjamin Wallace, William Gibbons, Col. George Pierce, Capt. McCay (Concord), Maj. Thomas Pierce, Capt. John Gardiner, Samuel Holliday, Col. William Evans, Capt. Israel Whellam, John Wilson, Capt. Samuel Vanlear, Thomas Levis, Esq., Capt. William Brookes, Capt. David Coupland, Col. Thomas Taylor, Capt. Allen Cunningham.

At this juncture John James, a loyalist, seems to have been especially objectionable to Council, hence on Nov. 13, 1777, all the officers of the commonwealth, both civil and military, were instructed to exert their utmost endeavors to apprehend him, so that he might be dealt with according to law; and the following day Col. Smith, lieutenant of Chester County, was notified that John James had been clandestinely sent out from Philadelphia by Gen. Howe into his territory, and the authorities were particularly desired to secure “that dangerous emissary and to bring him to condign punishment.” To that end Col. Smith was instructed to watch the quarterly meetings of the Society of Friends, where, it was believed, he would endeavor to promote the views of the invaders. That he might be more readily detected, Council furnished a personal description of James, setting forth that he was then about thirty-five years of age, five feet ten inches in height, slenderly made, with a stoop in his walk, leans sidewise, and his shoulders falling greatly. His eyes were dark, and his hair, for he wore no wig, was of a dark hue. His apparel, it is stated, was generally a light drab, in “the strictest Quaker fashion, being lengthy in the skirts and without pockets,” while his hat was very plain. He was, so the instructions stated, a native of Chester County, and would be better known to the people there personally than by any description Council could give of him. “For this man you have,

1 No wonder is it that the society of Friends, as a body, were not zealous in the interest of the Continental authorities, a sentiment that the men most active in the Revolutionary war were mainly responsible for. Washington, usually so just in all his acts and deeds, was eminently unjust to Friends. Even at the time was this patent to a careful observers, for in a letter written from Philadelphia by a British officer, shortly after the capture of that city, he says, in speaking of those who remained when it fell, “Till we arrived I believed it was a very populous city, but at present it is very thinly inhabited, and that only by the canaille and the Quakers, whose peaceable disposition has prevented their taking top arms, and consequently has engaged them in our interests, by drawing opon them the displeasure of their countrymen.”

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under cover of this letter,” the order to Col. Smith stated, “a warrant, tho’ it is expected that all agents of the Enemy will be industriously sought after and apprehended by you and many other friends of their country without such formalities.”1 The arrest of John James and many other Friends had been specially ordered by Council in the month of August preceding the battle of Brandywine2

On Monday morning, Nov. 10, 1777, the batteries opened on Fort Mifflin, which was bravely defended until the Saturday, when, about a half-hour before midnight, the garrison evacuated it, the enemy’s fire having rendered it no longer tenable. Before they retreated the Americans applied the torch, and when the royal troops took possession and hauled down the flag, which had been left flying at the staff-head, it was almost a ruin. A noticeable incident of the siege, which shows the changes in the river, is thus mentioned in Howe’s dispatch:

“On the 15th, the wind proving fair, the’ Vigilant’ armed ship, carrying 16, twenty-four pounders, and a hulk with three 24-pounders, got up to the Fort through the Channel between Providence Island and Hog Island, those assisted by several ships-of-war in the Eastern channel, as well as by the batteries on shore, did such execution upon the Fort and collateral block-houses that the enemy, dreading our impending assault, evacuated the island in the night between the 15th and 16th and it was possessed on the 16th at daybreak by the grenadiers of the guards.”

We are told by Marshall3 that the water between Providence and Hog Islands had been deepened because the obstructions in the main channel had forced a strong current in that direction, which fact was entirely unknown to the garrison. The sharpshooters from the round-top of the “Vigilant” kept the American guns silenced, for no sooner would a man show himself than he was fired at from the vessel with fatal effect. The American galleys endeavored to drive the English man-of-war away, but without success, and the evacuation of the fort became absolutely necessary. Lord Cornwallis, who was incensed at the stubborn resistance, and the loss its capture had occasioned to the British forces, with a round army oath denounced it as “a cursed little island.”4

Fort Mercer, at Red Bank, still floated the rebel colors, and it was determined by the invaders to effect its reduction. Hence, to that end, Gen. Howe, on the evening of the 18th,5 dispatched Cornwallis from Philadelphia with three thousand men, comprising the Fifth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Thirty-third, and Fifty-sixth Regiments, exclusive of the Hessians and Light Infantry, with twelve pieces of cannon and several howitzers,6 together with a number of baggagewagons, which body marched across the Middle Ferry on their way to Chester. On the morning of that day a numerous fleet of British vessels sailed up to and anchored off Billingsport,7 where was disembarked a large body of troops, estimated by the American scouts as nearly six thousand men. They had “arrived a few days before from New York,” under the command of Maj.-Gen. Sir Thomas Wilson, with whom were Brig.-Gens. Leslie and Patton.8

As the division under Cornwallis was on the march to Chester they drove in the American pickets on the Darby road, who, retreating, sought shelter in the Blue Bell Tavern, on Crum Creek, and from the windows fired at the advancing English. Two men of the Thirty-third Regiment were killed, one of the slain being the sergeant-major.9 The Grenadiers, enraged, broke ranks, rushed into the house, and there bayoneted five of the Americans who had taken refuge in the inn. They would have killed all the militiamen had not the British officer interfered, and the whole picket, which had numbered thirty-three including the killed, were captured. The column then resumed the march and encamped a few miles eastward of Chester, from which point marauding parties plundered the inhabitants. The next day they reached Chester, where the whole of Cornwallis’ command was embarked on transports by sunset, and it was conveyed across the Delaware to Billingsport, where he united his forces with those of Gen. Sir Thomas Wilson.

Washington, who had been apprised of this movement, ordered Gen. Greene to repair to the support of Gen. Varnum at Red Bank, and Gen. Huntingdon was immediately detailed with a brigade to reinforce the garrison. It is not within the scope of this work to narrate the circumstantial story of the unnecessary abandonment of Fort Mercer, which was vacated on the evening of the 19th, and the destruction, two days thereafter, of eight American armed vessels and two

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. vi. p. 4.

2 Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 342.

3 Marshall’s “Life of Washington,” iii p. 178.

4 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. vi. p. 23.

5 John Clarke, Jr., on Nov. 20, 1777, (Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. vi. p. 238.) wrote to Paul Zantzinger, Esq., that at noon on the 17th, Cornwallis left Philadelphia for Chester with three thousand British and Hessian troops, but Gen. Howe in his report unequivocally asserts that the soldiers began their march on the night of the 18th, in which statement he is supported by Robert Morton (Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. i. p.283.) and by Capt. Montressor (Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. vi. p. 193.) Clark in a postscript to this letter says, ” I dined at Chester yesterday, caught a person supplying the enemy at the wharf with provisions, the boat pushed off, and about thirty pounds of butter and an excellent cheese fell into my hands.”

6 Bulletin Pennsylvania Historical Society, No. 10, March, 1847, p. 15. Robert Morton (Penna. Mag. of History, vol. i. p. 28) says the troops numbered three thousand five hundred. Maj. John Clark, Jr. (Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. vi. p. 23) in a letter to Paul Zantzinger places the command at three thousand, and in his letter to Washington in the Historical Society’s Bulletin, the first citation of authority in this note, he makes the number five thousand. Clark seems to have made a mistake of one day in the date he gives in the letters just quoted. He reports Cornwallis as coming from Philadelphia on the 17th instead of the 18th, and his crossing to Billingsport on the 18th instead of the 19th.

7 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. vi. p. 27.

8 Gen. Howe’s report, dated Nov. 28, 1777. Hazard’s Register, vol. ii. p. 288.

9 John Clark, already quoted, says there was a captain, a sergeant-major and three privates killed on the part of the English. Morton says there were two grenadiers killed in the British forces, and Montressor put the enemy’s loss a sergeant-major. I have followed Morton both as to the number of men under Cornwallis, and the number killed at the Blue Bell.

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floating batteries to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy. On the 20th, at mid-day, Cornwallis took possession of Fort Mercer, the force under his command amounting to six thousand men. Thus the great water-way – the Delaware – was opened to the British fleet, and supplies could easily and without opposition be forwarded to the city in vessels of light draught. Notwithstanding the river was cleared to the enemy their ships seemed not, in most instances, to have gone above Chester. The day that Cornwallis crossed the river to Billingsport, Maj. Clark, who was then at Mrs. Withy’s tavern, now the Columbia House, stated that “eighty sail lie opposite to Bridgeport.” Capt. Montressor’s journal shows that in most instances the British vessels ascended the Delaware no higher than Chester. On Nov. 21, 1777, he records: “This morning sailed from Chester, dispatches for New York.” On April 8, 1778, he tells us: “Arrived the ‘Brune’ frigate at Chester, having sprung her mainmast in the late Gale. Arrived also the ‘Isis,’ ship of war, with 8 transports, part of 12 separated in ye gale.” On the 22d: °This day arrived at Chester a fleet of 35 sail from New York with forage, &c. Also arrived the ‘Eagle’ (the flag-ship) with Lord Howe.” On the 28th, “The ‘Lord Hyde’ Packet only sailed from Chester this morning,” and on May 7, 1778, “The ‘Porcupine’ sloop of war arrived at Chester this evening from England, where she left 25th of March last.” Joseph Bishop, an octogenarian resident of Delaware County, who died many years since, related that when a boy he stood on the porch of Lamoken Hall, now the Perkins mansion, in South Ward, and watched the fleet practicing, and on several occasions when receiving distinguished passengers, the yardarms were manned and the vessels gayly dressed with many flags and streamers. Even Gen. Howe, when he sailed for Great Britain, was compelled to descend to the vessel by land, for on May 26, 1778, Montressor notes: “Early this morning sailed from below Billingsport for England the ‘Andromeda’ frigate, Brine commander, in whom went General Sir William Howe.” The day before Montressor had gone with Howe to Billingsport.

When it was determined that the Continental troops should go into winter quarters, the English general must have been speedily apprised of that movement, for on the 11th of December, the very day the army under Washington began its march from Whitemarsh to Valley Forge, and a portion of his troops had crossed the Schuylkill at Matson’s Ford, Cornwallis was in force on the other side, where Gen. Potter met him, we are told by Washington, “with a part of the Pennsylvania militia who behaved with great bravery, and gave them every possible opposition till he was obliged to retreat from their superior numbers.” Cornwallis had in all probability made this movement as a reconnoissance, for portions of his command had been in the townships of Radnor. Haverford, and Darby. On the 10th, the next day, from Matson’s Ford he returned to Haverford, his command encamping for the night at the hillside on which Haverford meeting-house stands, and the next day he returned to Philadelphia. The residents of those townships had cause to remember the merciless plunderings of the British troops during that raid.

We learn that at this period some of the militia of Chester County had organized as a troop of horse, for on December 19th, Council ordered that in addition to their pay as infantry they should be allowed all the expenses of forage, when it could not be supplied by the commissary. In the same month Lord Cornwallis had been sent to England by Gen. Howe as bearer of dispatches, and subsequent thereto the English commander-in-chief, on December 22d, with seven thousand men marched out from Philadelphia, leaving Gen. Knyphausen in command in that city, and encamped on the heights of Darby, his lines extending along the road from Gray’s Ferry to the heights below the village, extending along the Springfield road to the dwelling then of Justice Parker, while their pickets in that direction were at the intersection of Providence and Springfield roads, near the house then of Mr. Swain. This movement of the British general was made for the purpose of protecting the transporting, by water, of a large quantity of forage, which the enemy had collected from the islands and in the neighborhood of Darby. Gen. Howe states that about a thousand tons were secured in this raid, sufficient, he estimated, for the winter consumption of the British army.1 On the 24th, Col. John Bull notified President Wharton that “By Certain Intelligence Just Recd from Head Quarters the Enemy are in a Large Body in Chester County with Genl. Howe at their head,” and in consequence of that movement he had been ordered to march to Germantown or below, towards the enemy, with six regiments of militia. Gen. Potter, in a letter dated from Radnor, Dec. 28, 1777,2 wrote to President Wharton that to annoy Howe as much as possible, a detachment of Continentals with Morgan’s riflemen had been sent from the American encampment to operate in connection with the militia under his command, and that they had kept close to the enemy’s lines; that on Tuesday, the 23d, thirteen of the British light horses had been captured, and ten of their horsemen, while the next day two more of their horses and riders had been taken. The activity of the Americans had prevented the enemy from plundering the inhabitants, as they usually did, but there had been little skirmishing, and but one of the American soldiers had been killed and two wounded, while upwards of twenty of the English had been captured, and a number of deserters had made their way to his lines. On the other hand, Gen. Howe reported that “the detachment returned on the 28th of

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1 Gen. Howe’s report, Jan. 19, 1778. Hazard’s Register, vol. ii. p. 288.

2 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. vi. p. 141.

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December without any further attempt from the enemy to retard the progress of the foragers, than from small parties skulking, as is their custom, to seize upon the straggling soldiers. One of these parties, consisting of two officers and thirty men, were decoyed by two dragoons of the Seventeenth Regiment into an ambuscade and made prisoners.” Potter, it seems, agreed with Howe in the results of this raid, for he stated that the English had carried off large quantities of hay, and had provided themselves with winter fuel and forage, “and will bless themselves, and sit down in peace this winter in the city.” Perhaps the militiamen captured by the British, mentioned by Howe, was the same party of whom Dr. Smith records, that, under the command of Capt. William Brooke, of Haverford, – who during the second war with England was a general of the Pennsylvania troops, – they were enjoying themselves in a house a mile below Darby, when the enemy suddenly surrounded the house. Brooke jumped from a window and made his escape, but in getting over a fence found that in his leap he had partially dislocated his foot, to which he was subject. “Putting his foot through the fence, and giving his leg a quick extension, the joint was brought into a proper condition,” and he continued his flight until he reached a place of safety.1

While the British forces held possession of the city and river, many acts of inhumanity are recorded of their foraging-parties. The marine service was more objectionable in that respect than the army, and many cases are recorded of this brutality.

Notwithstanding his advanced years, David Coupland, of Chester, was earnest in his advocacy of the cause of the colonies, and previous to the battle of Brandywine having entertained the Marquis de Lafayette at his home, he became very obnoxious to the Tories; hence, when the British authority was temporarily supreme, he was held under suspicion of communicating with the Continental authorities. In the spring of 1778, when the “Vulture,”2 a British man-of-war, lay off Chester, in the middle of the night, a boat’s crew came ashore, and, going to David Coupland’s dwelling, the present Stacey house, he was taken out of bed and conveyed to the vessel, where he was detained for many weeks a prisoner. His age, as well as the anxiety consequent on his forced detention from home, his inability to learn aught of his family, the exposure and harsh treatment, induced a low, nervous fever. At length, when the disease began to assume alarming symptoms, the commander of the “Vulture” had him conveyed ashore and returned to his home, but without avail. He died previous to Aug. 26, 1778, for his will was admitted to probate at that date. About the same time Capt. John Crosby, of the militia in the Continental service, was captured at his home and taken on board the vessel of war, sent to New York, and detained there in the old “Jersey” prison-ship for six months. So extreme were the privations and hardships he had to undergo, that for the remainder of his life he suffered from their effects.

The incidents happening during the Revolutionary struggle within the territory now comprising Delaware County were few, and generally comprise the adventures of a resident seeking to save his property from seizure, or an American soldier who, while on leave of absence, had had narrow escapes from being captured by the British troops. Most of these events which have come to my knowledge will be related in the history of the townships wherein the incident happened. Still, it should be remembered that while the army lay at Valley Forge the authorities were active in preparation to place the forces in as effective condition as their limited means would permit. Hence, on Jan. 9, 1778, Col. Thomas Moore was appointed wagon-master of Chester County, and on the 30th of that month a requisition for sixty wagons was made on the county, and on February 17th, recruiting being enjoined to fill out the depleted regiments, Council, on Washington’s recommendation, ordered Lieut. James Armstrong, Lieut. John Marshall, and Lieut. William Henderson to Chester County in that service. On March 11th, Robert Wilson was appointed one of the sub-lieutenants of Chester County instead of Col. Thomas Strawbridge, and on the 23d of that month Col. Andrew Boyd, holding the like office in the county, received two thousand musket cartridges for the use of the militia, in all probability for the use of the men instructed to prevent the farmers of the county carrying to Philadelphia and the enemy their produce, an act on their part which might call down upon them the severest punishment, since Council had authorized persons so violating their orders to be subject to military law, and if found guilty to pay the penalty with their lives.

The collection of the militia fines was a frequent source of trouble in Chester County, and on several occasions we find that complaints were made to Council by the officers there that they were unable to execute the duties imposed by law upon them. On May 22, 1778, Col. Boyd, one of the sub-lieutenants, represented that in the townships in the southeasterly parts of the county, – necessarily part of the present county of Delaware, – many of the inhabitants were “disaffected,” and “in a riotous & seditious manner commit Treason & felony, & oppose the execution of the Law.” The lieutenant of the county, Col. — Smith, was thereupon instructed to select seventy-five men from the militia, with a captain, lieutenant, an ensign, and the proper number of non-commissioned officers, which company was to be employed in arresting all persons who should so resist the execution of the laws. This specially-detailed body was placed by Council in charge of Col. Boyd,

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1 Smith’s “History of Delaware County,” p. 325.

2 Martin’s “History of Chester,” p. 175.

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who was expected to use the men only in making arrests, but “that nothing be done by them by way of Punishment,” which was to be reserved until trial and sentence, for any other course would “be discreditable not only to Counsel but to the cause of Freedom.” However, on June 4th, Cols. Hannum and Cheyney informed the authorities that there was no occasion for the guard of men mentioned in order to collect the fines for non-service in the militia; that the ravages made by the enemy in their march through and raids in the county, as well as the great quantities of provisions, forage, and other supplies furnished to the American army were such that the residents there had great difficulties in raising money for substitutes and militia fines. Council thereupon ordered the company of soldiers under Col. Boyd to report to camp, and directed that in all cases where the parties to whom the certificates for articles furnished the government tendered those certificates in payment of their substitute money or for fine, they should be accepted by the officers, but this tender was not to include any who had obtained a certificate by assignment.

On May 6, 1778, Council appointed William Evans, Thomas Cheyney, Thomas Levis, Patterson Bell, and John Hannum to act as commissioners for Chester County in enforcing the act of attainder, and on July 15th the Supreme Executive Council issued a proclamation calling on a large number of persons “who it is said have joined the Armies of the Enemy to render themselves & abide their legal trial for their Treasons. &c.,” and among the number were the following persons formerly residents of that part of Chester County which is now included within the present boundaries of Delaware County:

“George Davis, Husbandman, now or late of the Township of Springfield; John Taylor, Tavern-keeper; John Moulder, Waterman; John Talbot, wheelwright; & Thomas Barton, Sawyer, all now or late of the Township of Chichester; . . . Edward Grissil, Laborer; & John Wilson, Taylor; both now or late of the Township of Thornbury; William Milson, Taylor; Isaac Bullock, Laborer; Benjamin James, Cooper; & John Bennet, Jun’r, Laborer; all now or late of the Township of Concord; . . . William Maddock, Tavern-keeper: William Dunn, Laborer; Joseph Edwards, Mason; George Dunn, Taylor; James Malin, Laborer, & Gideon Vernon, Husbandman; all now or late of the Township of Providence; And Christopher Wilson, Husbandman, & John Taylor, Grazier, both now or late of the Township of Ridley; . . . Joshua Proctor, laborer; now or late of the Township of Newtown; Aaron Ashbridge, Waterman; Joseph Gill, Malster; Elias Wernon (“Vernon”), Taylor; all now or late of the Township of Chester; And David Rogers, Carpenter, now or late of the Township of Egmant; And John Supplee, William Caldwell & James Hart, Husbandmen; John Musgrove, Trader; and William Andrews, Fuller; all now or late of the Township of Darby; And William Smith of Tinicum Island; & William Anderson, Laborer, both now or late of the Township of Ridley; Henry Effinger, Junior, Hugh O’Cain, William Kennedy, Darby O’Cain & James McClarin, Laborer; & Isaiah Worrell, All now or late of the Township of Springfield; And Isaac Buck, Abraham Talkenton, Thomas Burns, William Clarke & George Good, laborers; and William Henry Taylor; all now or late of the Township of Providence. And George Dunn & David Malis, Taylors; & William Bell, Laborer; all now or late of the Township of Newtown; and Robert Kissack, Weaver; James Brown, Wheelwright; James German & Enoch German, Cordwainers; & Michael Crickley, Laborer; all now or late of the Township of Haverford, all now or late of the County of Chester . . . And Malin Dunn, Taylor; now or late of the Township of Providence; have severally adhered to & knowingly & willingly aided & assisted the Enemies of the State & of the United States of America, by having joined their Armies at Philadelphia, in the County of Philadelphia, within this State . . . We the Supreme Executive Council . . . do hereby strictly charge and require the said George Davis &c. to render themselves respectively to some or one of the Justices of the Supreme Court, or of the Justices of the Peace . . . on or before the third day of August next ensuing & also abide their legal trial for such their Treasons on pain that every of them the said George Davits &c. not rendering himself as aforesaid & abiding the trial afore, shall, from and after the said first day of August, stand & be attainted of High Treason, to all intents & purposes & shall suffer such pains and penalties & undergo all such forfeitures as persons attainted of High Treason ought to do. And all the faithful subjects of this State are to take notice of this Proclamation & govern themselves accordingly.”1

Gen. Benedict Arnold, after the British army had evacuated Philadelphia, June 18, 1778, was placed in command of that city. While there, as is well known, he used his official position to further his own personal ends, and one of his speculations finally re-

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1 Colonial Records, vol. xi. pp. 513-18. Governor Guerard, of South Carolina, having applied for the name of all the persons who has been proclaimed as traitors in Pennsylvania, on Nov. 28, 1783, John Morris prepared a certified list from which are taken the following names of persons from the present county of Delaware, and those who were then recorded as from Chester, without designating the townships where they resided: Aaron Ashbridge, Chester, discharged; William Andrews, fuller, Darby; William Anderson, laborer, Ridley; Isaac Bullock, laborer, Concord; Isaac Buck, laborer, Providence; Thomas Burns, laborer, Providence; William Bell, laborer, Newtown; James Brown, wheelwright, Haverford; William Caldwell, husbandman, Darby; William Clark, laborer, Providence; Michael Crickley, laborer, Haverford; George Davis, husbandman, Springfield; William Dunn, laborer, Providence; George Dunn, discharged; Malin Dunn, tailor, Providence; George Dunn, tailor, Providence; Henry Effinger, Jr., discharged; Abraham Falkenston, laborer, Providence; Samuel Fairlamb, yeoman, Chester; George Good, laborer, Providence; Joseph Gill, maltster, Chester; William Henry, tailor, Providence: Benjamin James, cooper, Concord: William Kennedy, laborer, Springfield; John Moulder, waterman, Chichester; John (William) Millson, tailor, Concord; William Maddock, tavern-keeper, Providence; John Musgrove, trader, Darby; David Maris, tailor, Newtown; Hugh O’Kain, laborer, Springfield; Darby O’Kain, laborer, Springfield; Joshua Proctor, laborer, Newtown; John Taylor, tavern-keeper, Chichester; John Talbot, wheelwright, Chichester; John Tayler, grazier, Ridley; Nathaniel Vernon, late sheriff; Nathaniel Vernon, Jr., laborer, Gideon Vernon, husbandman, Providence; Christopher Wilson, husbandman, Ridley, tried and convicted; Isaiah Worral, miller, Springfield. Of Chester County – Thomas Bulla, husbandman; Timothy Hurst, gentleman; Henry Skyles, husbandman; John Swanwick, late of Custom-house; Richard Swanwick, late of Custom-house; Joseph Thomas, late sub-sheriff. A John Taylor, of Chester County, was pardoned May 30, 1783, on taking oath of allegiance and giving bonds for good behavior during the war. By the time this list was made out it became a question which of the John Taylors herein mentioned had received the Executive clemency, and the master of the rolls himself acknowledges in a quote that he could out determine the controversy. Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. x. pp. 250-60. On June 3, 1783, John Briggs, who had been convicted of harboring Gideon Vernon, “an attainted traytor,” was sentenced to a fine of fifty pounds and imprisonment to the 14th of October following, appealed to Council, who mitigated his punishment by remitting the imprisonment, on his entering security for payment of the fine, fees, and costs, and to be of good behavior for three years. On Sept. 13, 1783, President John Dickinson issued a proclamation offering a reward for the noted Doan brothers, and charging many others with being implicated in their crimes, among the number Gideon Vernon. The proclamation stated that anyone who should kill any of these persons fleeing from arrest, “he or they so killing shall be and hereby are justified, and in case of any prusecution shall be commenced against any person or persons for the same, he or they may thereto plead the general issue and give this act in evidence.” Moreover, any, person who should kill any of the persons named in the proclamation on proof of that fact produced to the president of the State should receive a reward of three hundred pounds in good money. Colonial Records, vol. xiii. pp. 687-96.

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sulted in casting on his reputation and character, which seemed to have had only remarkable physical bravery as a redeeming trait, the suspicion that murder, as well as treason, was among the crimes of which be had been guilty. The circumstances are briefly these: Jesse Jordan, a deputy wagon-master of Chester County, on Sept. 27, 1778, with a brigade of twelve wagons in his care, was ordered by Col. Andrew Boyd, the wagon-master of the county, to Philadelphia, there to load with provisions, and thence to New Windsor. Jordan was absent much longer than was expected. On his return Col. Boyd demanded the reason, and was told that when he reached Philadelphia, Deputy Quartermaster-General John Mitchell had ordered him, with his train of empty wagons, to Egg Harbor, N. J., then a harbor for American privateers, where he was instructed to load with merchandise belonging to private persons. This he did, and when he returned to the city the goods were delivered to stores kept by private individuals. Col. Boyd immediately laid the matter before Council, and on Jan. 18, 1779, that body demanded an explanation of this transaction from Gen. Mitchell. On the 23d the latter replied that he had sent the wagons to New Jersey by order of Gen. Arnold, whereupon Council requested the general to inform them whether the goods transported were public or private; if the latter, to whom they belong; also desiring Arnold to refer them to the authority by which “public wagons of Pennsylvania were sent into another State to do business merely of a private nature.” On January 30th, Jesse Jordan was fully examined respecting the circumstances of this trip. While the matter was pending Arnold left the city, and Jordan and his teamsters being then “in great necessity,” the Council considered that “the board ou’t to relieve them, so far as to advance £450 until they can procure further redress.” On the 25th of February, Deputy Quartermaster-General Mitchell appeared before Council, acknowledged that the blot in his memorandum book under date of Oct. 30, 1778, was done by his orders to conceal an entry of his clerk “of the return of Mr. Jordan’s Brigade of waggons from Egg Harbor, & that the obliteration was made after the charge against Gen. Arnold for haying used the public waggons for his private business had come to his (Mitchell’s) knowledge.” He subsequently, on March 1, 1779, in a lengthy letter to President Reed, gave a circumstantial account of the matter, and on March 27th, Timothy Matlack, the secretary of Council, wrote to Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, stating that Council had advanced Jordan four hundred and fifty pounds, to be repaid when he should recover compensation for the use of the wagons from Gen. Arnold, and the body was anxious to learn whether legal proceedings had been instituted. Ther appears no reference to the subject until October 10th, when Mr. Sergeant informed Council that he had instituted suit for Jesse Jordan against Gen. Arnold, but the action had at that time abated by the plaintiff’s death, for “Jesse Jordan has been lately murdered in Chester County.” That Arnold personally did that deed no one believed, but there was a general impression that of all men he had the greatest interest in the wagon-master’s death, and after the former’s treason many there were who thought that perhaps he knew more of the particulars of Jesse Jordan’s “taking off” than be cared to tell.

The privateer brig “Holker,” named in honor of the French consul at Philadelphia, was owned by Robert Morris, and it is related that on one occasion the vessel, in lead ballast, reached the city very opportunely, for, at the time, the American troops were entirely out of bullets. Her owner immediately turned her cargo over to the authorities for the use of the army. On July 20, 1779, the “Holker” was lying at Chester, where a crew was being recruited for the privateer, and Maj. George Harvy was instructed by Council to allow the then owner of the vessel, Mr. McClanachan, to have ten tons of disabled cannons for ballast. The price was not exactly stipulated, but the major, as some guide for him in adjusting that matter, was informed that wben these disabled cannon were delivered at Chester the ironmaster would give one ton of bar iron in exchange for four tons of the old metal. The brig, as before stated, was then lying at Chester, commanded by Capt. Matthew Lawler, and at that place, from July 17th to August 2d, a crew was recruited for the vessel by Davis Bevan, captain of marines, who had before been mustering officer for the county of Chester. The following list gives the names of the crew, as well as the sums paid each man at the time of enlisting;1

Received as Bounty   £    s.  d.                                   Received as Bounty    £    s.   d.

John Bayley                    37   10   0                                     William Coulter              18   15   0

William Mackey             37   10   0                                     John Virdine  18             15          0

Christopher Battnel      37   10   0                                     John Hambright, Sr.      18   15   0

George Trusk                  37   10   0                                     John Cockshott               18   15   0

Joseph Marshall            37   10    0                                     Nathaniel Carr                18   15   0

Nicholas Francis (1st)   37   10   0                                     Patt Cain                           18   15   0

William Smith                37   10   0                                     John Whitehead              18   15   0

John Basset                    37   10   0                                     Matthew Penell                18   15   0

William Swanson          37   10   0                                     William Webb                  18   15   0

Edward McDonagh       37   10   0                                     Roger Brown 18               15          0

William Johnson           37   10   0                                     James McAlester             18   15   0

John McGlocklin           37   10   0                                     George McCay                  18   15   0

Joseph Claterbuck         37  10   0                                     George Wass 18                15         0

Frederick Waggoner     37  10   0                                     Allen Mongomery             18  15   0

David Kenedy                 37  15   0                                     Thomas Burnel                  18  15   0

Joseph Bowdin               37  10   0                                     John Plog      18                 15         0

Eber Perry                       37  10   0                                     David Bamiskay                18  15   0

John Aruyz                      37  10   0                                     David Harding                  18  15   0

John Dunham                 37  10   0                                     Patrick Shannon              18  15   0

George Geddey               37  10   0                                     John Slaughter                 22  10 10

Nathaniel Heath             37  10   0                                     David Cahill 22                10          6

Charles Orsonall             37  10   0                                     Charles Griffith                18  15   0

Joseph Hullings              37  10   0                                     Matthew W. Murray       18  15   0

Thomas Richards           37  10   0                                     George Parker                   18  15   0

George Eunis                   28   2   6                                       Andrew Rowar                 18  15   0

William Thomson           28   2   6                                       Benedeicteo Pida            18  15   0

John Wallace                   28   2   6                                       James Hambleton          18  15   0

Robert League                                                                   Peter Abrams                       18  15   0

(carpenter’s mate)          28   2   6                                       Jesse Hall                         18  15   0

Peter Anderson                18  15  0                                     Richard Dickson               18  15   0

John Harkins                   18  15  0                                     Patrick McCauld                18  15   0

David Colemar                 18  15  0                                     John Crawford                   18  15   0

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1 From the manuscript of David Bevans, captain of marines on the “Hulker,” now in the Delaware County Institute of Science, Media, Pa.

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Received as Bounty    £   s.  d.                                 Received as Bounty         £    s.  d.

John Neagle                      18  15  0                                   Anthony Elton                       18  15   0

James Harper                   18  15  0                                   Blenkine Cornaickle             18  15   0

Thomas Henry                                                                   Samson Moore                       18  15   0

(a mulatto)                        18  15  0                                   Daniel Binckar                       18  15   0

William Smith                  18  15  0                                   Joseph Seilings                      18  15   0

Thomas Apkin                  18  15  0                                   William Poke                          18  15   0

Francis Brown                  18  15  0                                    John Hoddy                           18  15   0

Matthew McSherny         18  15  0                                    James Robertson                  18  15   0

John Fairland                   18  15  0                                    Patrick McGinnis                  18  15   0

James Hardin                   18  15  0                                    David Cahill                           18   15   0

George Shilstone              18  15  0                                    Richard Cockshott                18  15   0

James Anderson               18  15  0                                    Jeremiah Casey                     18  15   0

Hugh Harris                      18  15  0                                     Thomas Hornsby                  18  15   0

Robert Cornish                 18  15  0                                     Cornelius Bookly                   18  15   0

Samuel Armitage              18  15  0                                     Samuel Clayton                     18  15   0

J. Bickham                         18  15  0                                      Stephen Green                      18  15   0

Dennis Lynch                    18  15  0                                      Thomas Forrest                    18  15   0

Richard Bickerton            18  15  0                                      David Buchanan

Ralph Horn                        18  15  0                                       (a cabin boy)                          7  10   0

Thomas Lee                        18  15  0                                      Joel Jones                                    $100

Charles Rouff                     18  15  0                                      Ekena Tessune                               100

William McGlocklin          18  15  0                                     Porpino ——-                                100

July 28, 1779, Barney Cuningham receipted for £11 3s. for one hand-vice for use of brig “Holker.”

July 30, 1779, Thomas Fell receipted for thirty-six pounds for two muskets for use of brig “Holker.”

Aug. 2, 1779, Thomas Lee receipted for fifteen pounds in part of prize money.

Aug. 2, 1779, George Geddey receipted for two hundred and four dollars by bounty paid David Forsyth and James McNeil, masters-at-arms.

The April preceding the “Holker” had captured a schooner of ten guns and forty men, and also two armed sloops early in the month of July, before she lay at Chester to refit and recruit her crew. In July, 1780, the “Holker” had an engagement off the coast of New Jersey with the loyal privateer “Lord Rodney,” in which the cutter, after an action of an hour and a half, was captured, her commander, Samuel Moore,1 and five of her crew killed, and twenty wounded. The “Holker” suffered severely in the engagement, her loss being six killed, including the first lieutenant, and fourteen wounded.2

The war-cloud had drifted away from Chester County, and never since that time have the good people of this section of the commonwealth been disturbed by the tread of hostile forces in martial array. But, although the husbandmen could resume their labors without the constant dread that inimical parties might gather the harvests and lay waste their fields, the State of Pennsylvania still made heavy demands on the public both for men and means to carry on the war.

In the fall of the year 1778, when Sir Henry Clinton, in accordance with instructions from the ministry, had detached five thousand men to the West Indies and three thousand to Florida, the destination of these troops being unknown, the mysterious preparations aroused widespread apprehension as to the objective point of the expedition. Naturally the public disquietude was increased when the attack on Little Egg Harbor and the butchery of the sleeping, unarmed infantry attached to Pulaski’s brigade, was known.

On October 19th, Council ordered that the militia in the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, and Lancaster should be held in readiness to march at the shortest notice, but the minute-men were not further called out that year, nor were they in June, 1780, when Gen. Knyphausen crossed from New York and made an incursion into New Jersey. The purpose and extent of that movement being unknown, Council, on the 12th of that month, ordered the fourth class of the militia of the counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester to hold themselves in readiness to march to the support of the Continental army, should later intelligence indicate that such a movement was necessary. But orders to take the field were not issued. Not long afterwards, on July 28th, President Reed wrote a complaining letter to Col. Robert Smith, that Chester was lagging behind the other counties in forwarding volunteers, and urged him to exertion in furnishing the quota of militia, which must report, he said, according to Washington’s command, at Trenton, by the 12th of August. In September of the following year (1781), after the army had gone southward, and Benedict Arnold was making preparations to undertake his infamous expedition, under the British flag, against New England, on September 25th. Col. Smith was again ordered to hold the militia of the county in readiness to march on a moment’s notice to Newtown, Bucks Co., notwithstanding there was no recent tidings of the movements of the enemy at New York. The troops had assembled on the occasion, and had already begun to move as required, for, on October 10th. Col. Smith wrote Council that, as ordered, the fourth class of the militia of Chester County had twice marched, but as often the orders had been countermanded, and the men were on furlough till further commands were issued. The order to march had been countermanded before the troops left the county, and as but few of the enrolled men failed to appear, the fines on the delinquents would amount to a very small sum. The cost of supplying necessaries for the men was considerable, and hence, as the time was short, there was a general objection to assessing on the delinquents the “whole costs of the tour.” No further particulars respecting the calling out of troops appear during the remainder of the war; although on Jan. 30, 1781, James Moore received five hundred pounds to enlist men into the Pennsylvania line from Chester County.

The incidents happening in the county now became of little general interest. On March 30, 1780, Col. Robert Smith was appointed lieutenant of the county, with Col. Thomas Cheyney, Lewis Gronow, Andrew Boyd, Thomas Levis, and Robert Wilson as sub-lieutenants. On June 8th the quartermaster-general stated that Col. Boyd had been instructed to send sixty wagons and teams from Chester County, but none had up to that time reported. Council, therefore, on the 21st, ordered a requisition on the several counties for wagons, fixing the quota of Chester at forty, which, if “cannot be procured in any other way, must be impressed.” On July 25th, Council made requisition for supplies for the army, and Cheater County was required to furnish eight hundred barrels of flour per month, two thousand bushels of forage per month, two hundred horses, forty wagons, and five hundred militia; and, on August 8th, David Denny for First; Owen Thomas, Second; Joseph Luckey, Third; David Wilson, Fourth; Thomas Strawbridge, Fifth; John Crosby, Sixth; George Price, Seventh, and Joseph Spear for Eighth Battalion, to collect quota of horses in Chester County, under direction of Col. Andrew Boyd, wagon-master. On August 10th, John Beatan was appointed paymaster of the militia, with instructions that Continental money was to be paid out at the rate of sixty dollars for one in that of State issues. As an illustration of the depreciation of Continental money, – owing to the fact that Congress then could not levy a tax to provide for the redemption of these issues, – some of the payments made for cattle in 1780 are annexed:

June 20, 1780. John Crozer received $6000 for 5 head of cattle.June 27, 1780, Gideon Gilpin £2400 for 6 cattle.June 27, 1780, Israel Gilpin £700 for 20 sheep.June 27, 1780, James Hannum £2000 for 5 cattle.June 27, 1780, Caleb Pyle £1240 for 5 cattleJuly 12, 1780, Isaac Sewell £19,106 for 14 head of beef cattle.

In the latter month, Commissary-Gen. Ephraim Blaine gave notice that William Evans was his representative in Chester County to receive live stock; and that “the magazine” for such supplies was located in Philadelphia.

Early in April, 1782, – for the vessel did not sail from Philadelphia until the 8th of that month, – occurred in Delaware Bay the remarkable engagement between the Pennsylvania vessel-of-war “Hyder Ali,” commanded by Capt. Joshua Barney, and the British ship “General Monk.” The American vessel carried sixteen six-pound guns and a crew of one hundred and ten men, while that of the English had one hundred and thirty-six men and twenty nine-pounders. The victory of the former was largely due to the fact that the understanding between Barney and his men was that every order should be executed as though an exactly opposite command bad been given. Thus, while the two vessels were approaching each other. Barney cried out, “Hard a-port your helm; do you want him to run aboard of us?” The Englishman heard the order and made preparations to counteract the movement, as the American captain hoped, so that when Barney’s vessel answered the helm, which had been clapped hard a-starboard by the men at the wheel; the enemy’s jib-boom caught in the fore-rigging of the “Hyder Ali,” and there remained during the short engagement which followed, giving the latter a raking position. The same confusion of orders mystified the British captain throughout the action, for, as understood, when Barney gave the command “Board!” his men were to fire, and when he shouted “Fire!” they were to board. When the vessels ran together, as stated, Barney in a loud voice gave the order “Board!” and the stubborn Englishmen crowded forward to repel the enemy, when a broadside was discharged at close range; and so rapidly did the American gunners load, that in twenty-six minutes, the time the action lasted, the “Hyder Ali” had fired twenty broadsides. The English vessel kept her colors flying until she had twenty killed and thirty-three wounded. Among the former were the first lieutenant, purser, surgeon, boatswain, and gunner; among the latter Capt. Rogers and every officer on board, except a midshipman. The American loss was four killed and eleven wounded. Captain Barney left the “Hyder Ali” at Chester, at which place he took Capt. Rogers ashore to the house of a Quaker lady, who nursed him until he had entirely recovered from his wounds. The victor proceeded to the city in his prize.

In the latter part of 1782, Col. Hannum, Col. Frazier, and Dr. Gardner, as representatives of the Council in Chester County, seized a quantity of British goods while passing through the county, designed for the prisoners of war at Lancaster. The wagon-train was under a flag of protection granted by Washington. The seizure was made because of some alleged violation of the passport granted to those having the goods in charge. Congress, immediately after receiving information of the fact, took action in the matter, and it was presented to the attention of Council in such a manner that the latter required the opinion of Attorney-General Bradford as to whether Council could summarily dispose of the case, and thus prevent a trial of the cause in Chester County. Bradford was clearly of opinion that Council had no authority to interfere, asserting that if the goods seized were necessary for the prisoners of war and were covered by a passport issued by the commander-in-chief, they were not contraband or liable to condemnation; if the passports had been violated the offense was one against the law of nations, and punishable in our courts of judicature. On Jan. 17. 1783, Congress appointed a committee to confer with Council on the subject, and the following day President John Dickinson, in a special message, called the attention of the attorney-general to the matter. On the 21st the committee of Congress, a committee from the General Assembly, and Council met in the chamber of the latter body, where the question was discussed, and the position of each fully understood, and adjourned to the 23d, when a representation of the case as agreed on was drafted, which, after being signed by Cols. Hannum and Frazier and Dr. Gardner, was referred to Congress, and thus the difficulty terminated; although on March 24, 1783, John Gardner, sheriff of Chester County, a brother of the doctor, was instructed by Council to proceed with the utmost diligence in securing such of the goods seized in the county which had not as yet been delivered to the person designated by the Secretary of War to receive the articles.

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1 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. vi. p. 255.

2 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 370, in note C, it is said that the captain of the “Holker” was killed. The captain of the “Lord Rodney” was, but Matthew Lawler, captain of the “Holker,” lived to be mayor of the city of Philadelphia from 1801 to 1804, both years inclusive.

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The surrender of Cornwallis on the afternoon of Oct. 19, 1781, was virtually the last great struggle of the Revolutionary war, although some sharp engagements followed that decisive event, and, as will be noticed in the preceding narrative subsequent to that date, the public records demonstrate the belief so general that the end was at hand, that matters other than the preparation and march of troops occupied almost exclusively the attention of the authorities. On the 15th of April, 1783, Council issued a proclamation announcing a cessation of hostilities, but the treaty of peace was not concluded until November 30th. The independence of the United States was announced by the king of Great Britain, in his speech on Dec. 5, 1783.

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1 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. vi. p. 255.

2 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 370, in note C, it is said that the captain of the “Holker” was killed. The captain of the “Lord Rodney” was, but Matthew Lawler, captain of the “Holker,” lived to be mayor of the city of Philadelphia from 1801 to 1804, both years inclusive.


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Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 8

Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 8

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CHAPTER VIII

 THE BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE

 “The Brandywine Creek, as it is called, commences with two branches called the East and West branches, which unite in one stream, flowing from West to East about twenty-two miles, and emptying itself into the Delaware about twenty-five miles below Philadelphia.”7 The union of these branches takes place over four miles above where the stream crosses the circular boundary-line dividing Delaware County

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7 Irving’s “Life of Washington,” vol. iii. p. 213.

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from the State of Delaware. The banks of the creek were steep, uneven, and covered with a heavy growth of forest trees at the period of which I am writing, and for the accommodation of public travel, roads had been cut and graded at convenient points to reach the fords of the Brandywine; that most generally used being on the direct road to Philadelphia and known as Chad’s Ford. The topography of that section, in a military aspect, impressed the English chief of engineers as “an amazing strong country, being a succession of large hills, rather sudden with narrow vales, in short an entire defile.”1

Washington, as before stated, at Chad’s Ford, the centre of his position, where he anticipated the principal attack would be made, had stationed the main body of his army under command of Maj. Gen. Greene, and comprising the brigades of Gens. Wayne, Weedon, Muhlenberg, and Maxwell’s Light Infantry. Slight earthworks and a redoubt had been constructed, and Col. Proctor, with his Pennsylvania Artillerists, was in charge of the battery of six guns, which commanded the usual crossing of the stream at that place. Wayne’s brigade, with Proctor’s men, occupied the intrenchments, while Weedon’s and Muhlenberg’s brigades of Virginia troops were stationed some distance in the rear as a reserve. The Pennsylvania militia, under Gen. John Armstrong, constituted the left-wing and extended through the rough ground – then known as Rocky Field – to Pyle’s Ford, two miles below Chad’s, and there Col. Jehu Eyre, with Capt. Massey’s and McCullough’s companies of the artillery militia of Philadelphia, had placed his cannons so as to prevent the crossing of the stream at that point by the enemy. The right wing of the American army was composed of six brigades, in three divisions, that of Gen. Sullivan’s on the left, Gen. Lord Stirling on the right, and Gen. Stephens in the centre, reaching about two miles up the creek beyond Washington’s headquarters, while the pickets were extended well up the stream, Maj. Spear being stationed at Buffington’s Ford, now Brinton’s, five miles beyond Chad’s Ford.

On the evening of the 9th of September the two divisions of the British army under Lord Cornwallis and Maj.-Gen. Grant marched from Howe’s headquarters, in Mill Creek Hundred, Del., to Hock Hossing Meeting-House, and the following morning moved to Kennett Square, reaching that place about noon, where Lieut.-Gen. Knyphausen’s division was already encamped.

At daybreak next morning, the 11th of September, 1777, Gen. Howe marched his army in two columns against the American forces. The left wing, consisting of mounted and dismounted chasseurs, the first and second battalions of grenadiers, the guards, two squadrons of the Queen’s Light Dragoons mounted, and two squadrons dismounted, and four brigades of infantry, comprising, according to English reports, seven thousand men, commanded by Lord Cornwallis and accompanied by Howe himself, who, on that occasion, we are told by Joseph Townsend, rode a “large English horse, much reduced in flesh,” the result of the long voyage from New York and the scarcity of provender on shipboard. The American accounts, on the other hand, insist that this column amounted to thirteen thousand men. On that sultry autumn morning a thick fog hung like a curtain shutting out this movement from the eyes of the Continental scouts, and for miles the British troops, in light marching order, even their knapsacks laid aside, threaded their way along the road that ran northward almost parallel with the Brandywine for several miles without a whisper of their coming being borne to the ears of the American generals.

The column under Cornwallis having marched away, Knyphausen was not hurried in his movement, as his purpose was merely to amuse the Continental force in front of him until the left wing of the British army should have time to gain their right flank and rear. Hence it was about nine o’clock, four hours after Cornwallis had gone, that the Hessian general began to advance on the direct road to Chad’s Ford. Early, on the morning of the day of battle, Gen. Maxwell crossed at Chad’s Ford, and with his riflemen had gone as far as Kennett Meeting-House to feel the British force, while small scouting-parties were extended even beyond that place. A graceful historical writer tells us that, as tradition has preserved the incident, a party of scouts had ventured to John Welsh’s tavern, within the very clutches of Knyphausen, and there hitched their horses at the front of the inn, while they comfortably sampled the New England rum and apple whiskey in the barroom. The Hessians, who “wore their beards on their upper lip, which was a novelty in that part of the country,” advancing, cut off the retreat of the American party by the front of the house, so that, abandoning their horses, they ran from the back door, turning, however, as they “fled, to discharge a spluttering volley that wounded one of their own horses left in the hands of the enemy.”2

The riflemen began to harass the advancing troops, and, by resorting to trees, fences, and every available shelter, Maxwell thus maintained an efficient skirmish, sustaining himself well as he retired slowly before the heavy column moving against him. From behind the building and graveyard walls at Kennett Meeting-House a number of the sharpshooters inflicted much loss on the British troops, but were compelled to retreat before the overwhelming body arrayed against them. By ten o’clock Maxwell had by the pressure of superior numbers been forced back-

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1 Journal of Capt. John Montressor, Penna. Mag. of History, vol. v. p. 415.

2 “Brandywine, 1777,” by Howard M. Jenkins, in Lippincott’s Magazine for September, 1877.

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ward to the high ground on the west of the creek, and, after a bitter contest, to the ford itself. Some troops being sent over to his assistance, he renewed the struggle, even regaining the heights. Capt. Porterfield and Waggoner, with their commands, crossed the ford, moved to the left of Maxwell, where they began a vigorous attack on Ferguson’s Corps of Royal Riflemen, who at the time, together with a portion of the Twenty-eighth British Regiment, were engaged in throwing up light works, to put two guns in position on their right, to respond to Proctor’s artillery, which had opened fire from the opposite bank. The troops under Porterfield and Waggoner fought their way up a narrow, thickly-wooded valley, and forced a company of the enemy, supported by a hundred men from Gen. Stern’s Hessian brigade, to seek protection back of the stone house of William Harvey, the elder, who lived on the west side of the creek, until additional troops had hastened to their assistance. Proctor, from the other side of the stream observing this, trained his guns on the advancing Britons, and the house came directly in the line of his fire. William Harvey, then in his sixtieth year, had sent his family away from the dwelling, but, being a man of great personal courage, determined to remain to protect his property as far as he could from plunderers. When the American guns opened, Harvey sat on his front perch, when a neighbor, Jacob Way, seeing him there, called out, “Come away; thee is in danger here! Thee will surely be killed!” The old gentleman merely shook his head, while his friend urged him in vain. As they exchanged words a twelve-pound cannonball from Proctor’s battery passed through both walls of the kitchen, and plunged along the piazza floor, tearing up the boards and barely avoiding William’s legs, until, a little farther on, it buried itself six feet deep in the earth. It is recorded that William hesitated no longer, but sought a safer locality. His house was thoroughly despoiled when the British came up.”1 He, however, lived nearly forty years after that trying ordeal.

The pertinacity of the attack of Maxwell’s brigade, as well as the audacious action of Porterfield and Waggoner, made it necessary for Knyphausen to send forward two brigades, supported by artillery, while at the same time a heavy column was marched toward Brinton’s Ford, thus outflanking Maxwell, who was compelled to recross the Brandywine. Simultaneously with these movements the Queen’s Rangers, under Capt. Weyms, of the Fortieth British Regiment, poured so hot a fire down the valley that Porterfield and Waggoner were also forced hastily to retire across the creek. The high ground about half a mile back from the Brandywine, vacated by Maxwell, was immediately occupied in force by the enemy, and guns were placed in position by Knyphausen to command the ford. From thee occasionally a few shots were discharged, and responded to by Proctor’s cannons, which desultory firing inflicted but little damage. The casualties on the American side thus far had not exceeded sixty, while those of the British and Hessian troops were about one hundred and sixty. Hence, at half-past ten o’clock in the morning, when the enemy at Chad’s Ford seemed disinclined to make any vigorous attack, Col. Harrison, Washington’s secretary, might be well excused for having dispatched a hurried note to Congress, stating that he had no doubt but that the enemy would be repulsed.

Major Ferguson, the commander of the rifle corps in the English army, in a letter describing this battle, stated that while his men were lying concealed in a clump of woods, he noticed “a rebel officer in a hussar dress” pass in front of the American line, followed by another officer in dark green and blue, who was “mounted on a good gray horse, and wearing a remarkably high cocked hat.” Ferguson ordered three of his men to creep towards and fire at them, but hardly had he done so when he recalled the command, for the Americans were so near that he felt to shoot at them would be little less than deliberate murder. After the officers had passed some distance, they returned, and were again within easy reach of his sharpshooters. The following day Ferguson, in conversation with a wounded American, learned “that Gen. Washington was all the morning with the light troops, and attended only by a French officer in a hussar dress, he himself mounted and dressed in every respect as above described.”

On the morning of the battle Gen. Washington ascertained that Cornwallis had moved northward to some of the upper and unimportant fords, deigning thus to turn the right flank of the American army. The commander-in-chief, fully aware that Maj. Spear was posted at Buffington’s Ford, whence he could dispatch intelligence of such a movement to Gen. Sullivan, who would promptly communicate with him, had resolved to strike Knyphausen, while beyond the reach of the support of Cornwallis’ division, and overwhelm him by numbers, and thus crush the British army in detail. The Hessian General, it is known, did not begin his advance until nine o’clock in the morning, and it was rightly believed that Cornwallis would have to march twelve miles before he could cross the creek, even if he effected a passage at Buffington’s Ford. Between nine and ten o’clock Col. Bland, with a few light-horsemen, crossed to the west side of the stream at Jones’ Ford, three miles above Chad’s, and, observing that Cornwallis’ column was then approaching Trimble’s Ford, on the west branch, he immediately dispatched a messenger with the tidings to Gen. Sullivan. Col. Hazen also made a report of like import. The following dispatch, which Col. Carrington2 states is a model for clearness

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1 Lippincott’s Magazine for September, 1877: “Brandywine, 1777,” by Howard M. Jenkins.

2 Carrington’s “Battles of the American Revolution.”

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in all details then needed, was sent by Lieut.-Col. Ross, of the Eighth Pennsylvania, to Gen. Sullivan, and by him in turn forwarded to Gen. Washington:

“Great Valley Road,
“11 o’clock a.m.

“Dear General, – A large body of the enemy, from every account 5000, with 16 or 18 field-pieces marched along this road just now. The road leads to Taylor’s Ferry & Jeffries’ Ferry on the Brandywine, & to the Great Valley, at the Sign of the Ship, on Lancaster road to Philadelphia. There is also a road from the Brandywine to Chester, by Dilworthtown. We are close in their rear, with about 70 men. Capt. Simpson lay in ambush with 20 men & gave them 3 rounds within a small distance, in which two of his men were wounded; one mortally. I believe General Howe is with this party, as Joseph Galloway is here known by the inhabitants with whom he spoke, & told them that Gen. Howe was with them.

Yours,
“James Ross, Lieut-Col.

Washington at once ordered Gen. Sullivan to cross the Brandywine and engage this division, to keep it employed, as it was the purpose of the commander-in-chief to attack the Hessian general immediately, shatter his command, and capture his baggage-train before the left wing, comprising the greater part of the British army, could retrace their steps and come to his relief. Gen. Greene was also directed to cross above Chad’s Ford, in order to strike Knyphausen on the left flank. That officer, with the celerity of movement that was a conspicuous trait in his military character, promptly sent his advance guard across the stream at Brinton’s Ford, where Sullivan’s command lay, and was prepared to follow with his command. The commander-in-chief was to remain with Wayne, who was to cross the Brandywine at Chad’s Ford in the face of the enemy. The fog which had clung to the earth in the early morning had vanished before the scorching sun, not yet midday high, and by noon this decisive movement would have been made, when the following note was delivered to Washington:

“Brenton Ford,
“Sept. 11.

“Dear General: – Since I sent you the message by Major Moore, I saw Major Spear of the militia, who came this morning from a tavern called Martin’s, at the fork of the Brandywine. He came from thence to Welch’s Tavern, & heard nothing of the enemy about the fork of the Brandywine, & is confident they are not in that quarter; so that Col. Hazen’s information must be wrong. I have sent to that quarter to know whether there is any foundation for the report, & shall give your excellency the earliest information.

“I am, etc.,

“John Sullivan.”

The bearer of this dispatch was followed by Maj. Spear, who was sent by Gen. Sullivan to Washington to verbally make his report to the commander-in-chief, and this intelligence was speedily supplemented by a similar statement made by Sergeant Tucker, of the Light-Horse. These tidings were of the utmost consequence to the American general, for they argued that Cornwallis had merely moved off as a ruse de guerre, and that both wings of the British army were in supporting distance of each other. Hence the orders for crossing the creek were countermanded. Gen. Greene’s advanced detachment was withdrawn, and the American army again resumed its former position. Washington, however, instructed Col. Bland to proceed to the extreme right and reconnoitre above the forks.

When the British invaded Chester County, Justice Thomas Cheyney, who was an outspoken Whig, was advised to absent himself from his dwelling in Thornbury, and to avoid personal danger he withdrew to the home of his relative, Col. John Hannum, at “Centre House,” now the village of Marshallton, located between the East and West Branches of the Brandywine. Here Cheyney had passed the night of Sept. 10, 1777, and the next morning he, with Hannum, started to visit the American camp at Chad’s Ford. As they rode along the highway near Trimble’s Mill and Ford, on the West Branch, in descending the hill they saw a large body of soldiers, their scarlet uniforms designating them as British troops, descending the hills opposite. Halting, they watched the direction in which the column moved, and saw that it was making towards Jefferies’ Ford, on the East Branch, their polished arms flashing and glittering in the sultry September sun. Having ascertained that fact, for a moment the two men consulted as to the course they should pursue, and finally it was decided that immediate intelligence of the presence of the British force at this point must be conveyed to Washington. Cheyney being mounted on a fleet hackney, – Dr. Harvey tells me it was a sorrel pacing mare, – started off in the direction of the American headquarters at a rapid pace, followed by Hannum, whose horse being less speedy was soon distanced, notwithstanding the squire turned the scales at two hundred pounds.1

Washington was seated under a cherry-tree which then stood – now blown down years ago – on the gentle declivity south of the road which leads to the crossing at Chad’s Ford, when he saw a stout-built man without a hat, riding a sorrel horse, which jumped the fences that stood in the direction he was coming across the fields to where Washington was. It was Cheyney, who, having first reported to Sullivan his tidings, had been so discourteously received that be inquired and was told where Washington himself was to be found. The latter listened as the squire related what he had seen, and, as the chieftain seemed to hesitate, Cheyney exclaimed, “By h-ll, it is so!” and dismounting, he picked up a twig, drew a sketch on the ground of the upper roads, describing how the British passed the fords of the forks of the Brandywine, and where the enemy would probably be at that time. So accurately was this information imparted, that notwithstanding it was most unwelcome news, the general was reluctantly convinced of its truth. Some of his staff-officers, however, spoke sneeringly of the report made by the justice, and the excited man with an oath said to Washington, “If you doubt my word, sir, put me under guard till you ask Anthony

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1 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 586.

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Wayne or Persie Frazer1 if I am a man to believed,” and then, turning to the smiling officers, his indignation found utterance: “I would have you to know that I have this day’s work as much at heart as e’er a Blood of you!”2

The delays that had attended Squire Cheyney’s attempt to apprise the Americans of the danger that threatened them had consumed considerable time, and hardly had Washington acknowledged the accuracy of the intelligence brought to him, when an orderly galloped hastily to the group and delivered a dispatch. It read as follows:

“Two O’Clock p.m.

“Dear General: – Col. Bland has this moment sent me word that the enemy are in the rear of my right and coming down. They are, he says, about two brigades of them. He also says he saw a dust, back in the country, for about an hour.

“I am, &c.,

“John Sullivan.”

Inclosed in this note was one addressed to Gen. Sullivan, as follows:

“A Quarter-Past l O’Clock.

“Sir, – I have discovered a party of the enemy on the height, just on the right of the two widow Davis’, who live close together on the road called the Forks road, about one-half mile to the right of the meetinghouse. There is a higher hill on their front.

“Theodore Bland.”

By this time Washington knew that Gen. Sullivan. a brave and patriotic officer, had permitted Howe once more to play with success the stratagem which had given him victory on Long Island, and for the like reason, Sullivan’s neglect to make a proper reconnoissance. It was a brilliant but dangerous movement of the English commander, separating his army into two divisions, seventeen miles asunder; and had not the second dispatch been sent by Sullivan, declaring on Maj. Spear’s assertion, that Cornwallis’ division had not moved northward in the manner reported by Col. Ross, the attack determined on by Washington could have been made on Knyphausen’s division in overwhelming numbers, and in all likelihood would have been wholly successful. Never in all his military career did Washington display greater capacity as a commander, than when he had decided to recross the Brandywine and engage the Hessian general. No wonder was it then that the American chieftain ever after disliked to discuss the stragetic movements of that day.

Gen. Washington, knowing that his presence was necessary at the point menaced, was anxious to reach that part of the field as soon as possible, and desired to go thither by the shortest way. To that end an elderly man of the neighborhood, Joseph Brown, who was well acquainted with the locality, was found and asked to act as guide. The latter was loath to undertake this duty, and only consented to do so when the request assumed such a form that it could not with safety be refused. One of the general’s staff, who rode a fine horse, dismounted, Brown was lifted into the saddle, and the party started in the most direct route for Birmingham Meeting-House. The mettlesome beast the the guide rode cleared the fences as they dashed across the fields, the officers following at his heels. So great was Washington’s anxiety that he constantly kept repeating the command, “Push along, old man; push along, old man.” Brown subsequently, in relating the incidents of this wild scamper across the country, stated that when they were about half a mile west of Dilworthtown, the bullets were flying so thickly that, as the noise of battle was now a sufficient guide to the American officers, and no notice was taken of him, he, unobserved, dismounted and stole away.

Cornwallis, accompanied by the commander-in-chief, Sir William Howe, had marched his column from five o’clock in the morning through the woods that skirted almost his entire route on the west bank of the Brandywine. During the first four hours a heavy fog clung to the earth, and a trying march it was that sultry day, with the dust rising in clouds under the feet of a moving army and the wheels of the parks of artillery and trains of baggage-wagons. It was past the midday hour when the British column reached the west branch of the creek at Trimble’s, and it was here, while making directly for Jefferies’ Ford, that Cols. Cheyney and Hannum watched it on the march, as heretofore related.

On the west side of Jefferies’ Ford Emmor Jefferies owned a fine farm, the home of his ancestors, and from his father’s ownership of the real estate on both sides of the branch the crossing had received its name, – Jefferies’ Ford. When the British army first landed at Elk and moved in the direction of Wilmington, a number of the storekeepers, as well as other residents of that town, sent their goods to Chester County, near the forks of the Brandywine, whose peaceful quiet at that time it was supposed the march of armies never would disturb. In the house of Emmor Jefferies, who leaned somewhat to the royal side, it was thought goods could be safely kept. But when the British soldiers learned that in his cellar a large quantity of liquors were stored, the thirsty, hungry men rolled out the barrels and casks, knocked in the heads, and drank freely, without asking the approval of the reputed owner. Nor was that all. Emmor Jefferies was himself pressed into service by Sir William Howe as a guide.

It was not one o’clock when the vanguard of the British army passed the ford and pressed onward towards Osborne’s Hill, near Sullivan’s right. Almost half a century ago Joseph Townsend (who, as a young man of twenty-one, was a witness of much appertaining to the battle) published his recollections of that day. He was attending that Thursday morning a mid-week meeting of Friends in the wheelwright-shop at Scon-

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1 Persifor Frazer was lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth Pennsylvania Line, recruited in Chester County. He was born in Newtown township, and was a partner in the noted Sarum Iron-Works, in Thornbury.

2 Dr. William Darlington’s sketch of Thomas Cheyney in Nota Cestriases. Newspaper clippings in Library of Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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nelltown, for Gen. Washington had taken the Birmingham meeting-house as a hospital for his sick and wounded soldiers, even before he moved his army to Chad’s Ford, and hearing a disturbance outside, the meeting was brought to a close. While endeavoring to quiet several of the women of the neighborhood, who were alarmed at the approach of the British troops, Townsend relates: “Our eyes were caught, on a sudden, by the appearance of the army coming out of the woods into the field belonging to Emmor Jefferies, on the west side of the creek, above the fording-place. In a few minutes the fields were literally covered over with them, and they were hastening towards us. Their arms and bayonets, being raised, shone bright as silver, there being a clear sky and the day exceedingly warm.” This eye- witness records how “the space occupied by the main and flanking parties (of the British army) was near half a mile wide;” that Cornwallis “on horseback appeared very tall and sat very erect. His rich scarlet clothing, loaded with gold lace, epaulets, etc., occasioned him to make a brilliant and martial appearance, and that most of all the offcers who conversed with us were men of the first rank, and were rather stout, portly men, well dressed, and of genteel appearance, and did not look as if they had ever been exposed to any hardship; their skins were as white and delicate as is customary for females brought up in large cities or towns.”

The entire column of British troops had crossed Jefferies’ Ford by two o’clock, its advance having reached the vicinity of Osborne’s Hill, and in half an hour thereafter the whole body of men halted to refresh themselves, for they had not eaten since the early morning, and had marched about seventeen miles almost without a halt. Many of the soldiers on that weary tramp had fallen out of ranks, and exhausted remained along the road.1

When Washington first learned that the lost column of Cornwallis had been found, unfortunately for the Continentals in such a position that the inferior American force – in numbers, in discipline, and arms – would have to fight at great disadvantage, or, as Capt. Montressor states it, “were instantly obliged to divide their army, leaving part to oppose our right,” Gen. Sullivan was ordered to bring his division to bear upon the British, and this compelled a forward movement of the whole right wing up the Brandywine. The American troops formed in a strong position above Birmingham meeting-house on a hill about a mile and a half removed from the British column, the ground falling gradually for more than half a mile in their immediate front “a natural glacis,” and a thick woods covered their rear. As the divisions of Gens. Stirling and Stephens formed, Lord Cornwallis, on horseback, – Sir William Howe and his generals gathered about him, – sat watching the American offcers arrange their line of battle, and as his glass showed him the disposition they were making, his eminent military abilities, never excelled in England’s history during the last three hundred years, except by Marlborough, compelled him to pay this tribute to their merit, “The damned rebels form well!”

Cornwallis, under the immediate supervision of Sir. William Howe, formed his battle array in three lines. The Guards were on the right of the advance, the First British Grenadiers to the left, the centre of the latter organization, supported by the Hessian Grenadiers, formed in a second line. “To the left of the Second Grenadiers, who held the centre, were two battalions of light infantry, with the Hessian and Anspach Chasseurs, supported by the fourth brigade, for a second line.” The third brigade, consisting of the Fifteenth, Forty-fourth, and Seventeenth Regiments, was held in reserve, and was not called into action during the day. Both flanks of the British army were covered by very thick woods, and the artillery was advantageously disposed so that its fire might most seriously affect the American lines, and sustain the advance in its attack on the Continental troops.

Gen. Sullivan seems to have questioned his own judgment and hesitated to decide what was best to be done, when the true situation of the two armies ryas clearly presented to his mind. He had command of the entire right wing, hence the command of his immediate division devolved on Gen. DeBorre, his brigadier, a French offcer of thirty-five year,’ experience in service, but a martinet, insisting on every little punctilio of military etiquette, even where such trifling matters might jeopardize the whole army. Hence when the latter marched his division to form, because it had laid along the Brand ywine, fronting across, he insisted on moving his command on the right of ‘ Stephens and Stirling, which determination on his part made disorder in the division and occasioned an interval in the American line of over half a mile. It should be remembered that Stirling and Stephens as soon a_ they learned that the enemy were on their flank moved promptly, without waiting for orders from Sullivan. to the nearest good position from which they could resist the advancing British columns. Sullivan, thereupon leaving his old division in disorder, rode forward to where the other general offcers were, and it ryas their unanimous opinion, he tells us in his report, ” that his division should be brought on to join the other and the whole should incline further to the right to prevent our being= out-flanked.” Even the graphic account of the battle furnished by Gen. Sullivan shows that lie lost that self-control which in Gen =. Greene and Washington showed conspicuously during that afternoon of disaster tai the American arms. “At half-past two,” lie gays, ” I received orders to march with my division to join with and take corn-

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1 “Journal of Capt. Montressor,” Penna. Mag. of History, vol. v. p. 416.

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mand of that and two others to oppose the enemy who were coming down on the right flank of our army. I neither knew where the enemy were, or what route the other divisions were to take, and of course could not determine where I should form a junction with them. I began my march in a few minutes after I received my orders, and had not marched a mile when I met Col. Hazen with his regiment, which had been stationed at a ford three miles above me, who informed me that I might depend that the principal part of the British army was there, although I knew the report sent to headquarters made them but two brigades. As I knew Col. Hazen to be an old officer, and a good judge of numbers, I gave credence to his report in preference to the intelligence before received. While I was conversing with Col. Hazen and our troops still on the march, the enemy headed us in the road about forty rods from our advance guard. I then found it necessary to turn off to the right to form, and so got nearer to the other divisions, which I at that moment discovered both in the rear and to the right of the place I was then at. I ordered Col. Hazen’s regiment to pass a hollow way, file off to the right, and face to cover the artillery. The enemy, seeing this, did not pass on, but gave me time to form my division on an advantageous height in a line with the other divisions, about almost a half mile to the left.”

This gap of half a mile must be closed, and while this was being attempted at about half-past three o’clock,1 the English commander hurled his well-disciplined soldiers full at the unformed Americans’ right wing, and a half-hour previous to this assault the British guns had opened fire.2 The distance separating, the combatants was about a mile and a half, the assaulting party being compelled to cross a valley and ascend a hill slope before they came to close quarters with their enemy.

According to Joseph Townsend, an advance company of Hessians, when they reached “the street-road were fired upon by a company of the Americans who were stationed in the orchard north of Samuel Jones’ brick dwelling-house,” and the mercenaries scrambled up the bank of the road alongside the orchard, still resting their muskets on the upper rails, discharged them at the small body of Continentals. This was merely an episode in the engagement, and was one of many similar incidents alluded to by Capt. Montressor, in the remark, “Some skirmishing began in the valley in which the enemy was drove.”3 The American artillery Sullivan had placed in the centre of the line, where he had taken his position, and he ordered the guns discharged as quickly as possible to stop the progress of the British and to give the brigade under DeBorre time to form, for that body had been thrown “into the worst kind of confusion” before the assaulting party was upon them, and although Sullivan sent four of his aids, two of whom were killed in the effort to adjust the disorganized division, and had gone himself to rally the men who had fallen out of ranks, he succeeded only in partly forming there a line of battle.

Conscious that the artillery on the centre commanded both the right and left of the line, he returned to that point, determining to hold the position as long as possible, knowing that if it was carried “it would bring on a total rout, and make a retreat very difficult.” The right, however, was demoralized, and though some of the troops in that division were rallied and made a show of resistance, the greater portion could not “be brought to do anything but fly.” In front of the American left was a plowed field, and the attack at this point was made by the Guards, the First British Grenadiers, and Hessian Grenadiers; and although it was claimed by Gen. Howe that, notwithstanding a heavy fire of artillery and musketry, his troops pushed the rebels at once from the position they had taken, the fact is that for nearly an hour the struggle for the possession of the summit was continued, and although five times did the British soldiers drive the American troops from the hill, as often was it retaken. The regiments of Drayton, Ogden, and Hazen’s “Congress’ Own” stood firm on the left, while the resistance of Stirling and Stephens was highly creditable, the main defense being made by the centre, where Sullivan exhibited great personal courage, and doubtless by his example animated his men in their contest with an overwhelming force. At length the left wing broke and fled, pursued by the Guards and Grenadiers into a thick woods, whence the larger part of the American troops escaped, while the English were “entangled, and were no further engaged during the day.” The centre still remained firm; and here Gen. Conway, by the good conduct of his brigade, gained considerable reputation for himself (which he subsequently tarnished at Valley Forge), the Twelfth Pennsylvania, under his command, suffering very heavy loss. Cornwallis now turned the whole fire of his artillery on the small body of men who still stood in line, and they were soon compelled to retire, a movement which was effected with some degree of steadiness and an occasional resumption of the offensive, since they took with them their artillery and baggage.

The noise of heavy ordnance almost due north from Chad’s Ford apprised Knyphausen that Gen. Howe had succeeded in turning the right wing of Washington’s army, and, although the musketry firing could be distinctly heard, it was not until an hour before the sun’s setting that the Hessian commander made the attempt to cross at the ford.4 It is doubtful whether

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1 At half-past three the whole moved toward the enemy in three columns. – Journal of Capt. Montressor, Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. v. p. 416.

2 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. x. p. 316.

3 Penna. Mag. of History, vol. v. p. 416.

4 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. x. p. 316.

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Wayne had more than a thousand men who before that day had been under fire to resist the passage of the creek by the enemy. Knyphausen, taking advantage of the smoke from his own and the American cannon, for they had been firing for some time, marched his column, under the immediate command of Maj.-Gen. Grant, into the stream, and, notwithstanding Proctor’s guns and the artillery with Wayne, plowed gaps in the advancing ranks, so that for days afterwards “the farmers were fishing dead bodies from the water,”1 the crossing was made, and the redoubt captured. “Mad Anthony” knew that a retreat was inevitable, but his pugnacious nature, and that of the Pennsylvania line in his command, was loath to retire before an enemy, but the appearance of a large body of English troops from Cornwallis’ division, on his right, compelled a hasty and disorderly retreat, in which he and Maxwell were compelled to abandon the greater part of their artillery and stores. The handsome black horse which Col. Proctor rode that day was shot from under him, but subsequently the State of Pennsylvania, in consideration of his bravery on that occasion, remunerated him for the loss he had sustained. The Pennsylvania militia, under Gen. Armstrong, which had taken no active part in the battle, fled with the rest of the American soldiers, and joined the demoralized body, which then almost choked the Concord road with a struggling mass of panic-stricken men hastening wildly in the direction of Chester.

Washington, when he received positive information that the British left wing had made its circuitous march from Kennett Square to Jefferies’ Ford, the first part of the route under the guidance of Joseph Parker, whom Sir William Howe had compelled to point out the most direct road to Trimble’s, and from Jefferies’ Ford by Emmor Jefferies, and had already turned Sullivan’s flank, started across the country for the scene of conflict, as already mentioned. He had immediately commanded Greene’s division, consisting of Weedon’s and Muhlenberg’s brigade, to advance to the support of the right wing. With the promptitude ever noticeable in Greene’s movements, the latter immediately put his division in motion. Weedon’s brigade was on the advance, and at trail arms, the men, guided by the noise of battle, and knowing that Sullivan could have no line of retreat “but towards Dilworthtown, as the British right wing had outflanked it to the left, and intervened between it and Chad’s Ford,” double-quicked nearly to Dilworthtown, four miles in forty-five minutes, and then by a wheel to the left of a half-mile, he was enabled to occupy a position where, opening his ranks, he let the retreating, discomfited battalions pass through while he held the pursuing British in check and saved the American artillery.

Previous, however, to Greenes coming to their relief, a number of Americans were induced to make a stand, and rallied on a height to the north of Dilworthtown, where, under the personal command of Washington, who had reached the field, accompanied by Lafayette, the latter for the first time under fire in America, a stout resistance was made. It was here that the marquis was wounded. He stated that a part of the American line had broken, while the rest still held its ground; and to show the troops that he “had no better chance of flight” than they, he ordered his horse to the rear, and dismounted, he was endeavoring to rally the disorganized column, when he was struck in the left foot by a musket-ball, which “went through and through.” The fact that Lafayette was wounded was immediately carried to Washington, “with the usual exaggerations in such cases.” The surgeon endeavored to dress the injured foot on the battle-field, but the firing was so sharp that the attempt was abandoned, and the young Frenchman mounted his horse and galloped to Chester, where, becoming faint from loss of blood, he was “carried into a house and laid on a table, where my (his) wound received its first dressing.”2 Before he permitted his injuries to be cared for, Lafayette stationed a guard at the old decayed drawbridge at Chester Creek (the site of the present Third Street bridge) to arrest stragglers and return them to their regiments. The Baron St. Ovary, who was aiding Lafayette in the endeavor to rally the American soldiers, was not so fortunate as the marquis, for he was captured by the English, and to be consigned to the tender mercies of that fiend, William Cunningham, provost-marshal of the royal army, was certainly less to be desired than a wound which healed kindly in two months.

The enemy meanwhile pressed the Americans backward until Weedon’s brigade came in sight, and Sullivan joining him with some of his men, the battle continued until many of the fugitives had succeeded in effecting their retreat. At a place then called Dilworth’s Path, now known as Sandy Hollow, the American army made its final stand. It is said by Irving that Washington, when riding in the neighborhood previous to the battle, had called Greene’s attention to that locality, suggesting that if the army should be driven from Chad’s Ford there was a point well calculated for a secondary position, and here Greene was overtaken by Col. Pinckney, an aid of the commander-in-chief, ordering him to occupy that place. Be that as it may, Greene formed there; Weedon’s brigade, drawn up in the narrow defile, flanked on either side by woods, and commanding the road, while Greene, with Muhlenberg’s – the fighting parson – brigade formed on the road on the right. The English troops, flushed with success, for it is idle to say they were not the victors of the day, came on, and were surprised at the unexpected resistance they

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1Mr. Auge’s statement, published in Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 81.

2 Poulson’s Advertiser, Philadelphia, Feb. 25, 1825.

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encountered here. Charge after charge did they make, but were repeatedly driven back. Gen. Howe states, “Just at dark the infantry, Second Grenadiers, and fourth brigade had a brief action beyond Dilworth, between the two roads which run from Dilworth to Chester.” Capt. Montressor tells us that here the heaviest fire during the battle for the time was poured on the British soldiers. Indeed, he records, “Late in the evening, when the action was near concluded, a very heavy fire was received by our grenadiers from six thousand rebels, Washington’s rear-guard, when Col. Monckton requested me to ride through it to Brig.-Gen. Agnew’s brigade and his (4) twelve-pounders, which I did in time enough to support them; and by my firing the (4) twelve-pounders routed the enemy.”1 The latter statement is not accurate, for Weedon, after holding his position until the demoralized troops had retreated down the Wilmington road to the Concord road, fell back in good order on Greene; and gradually the whole division drew off, showing their fangs to their enemy, who did not pursue the retiring Continentals. It is even stated that many of the American ofcers were so enraged at the result of the conflict that they demanded to be led immediately against the enemy, but Washington shook his head, replying, “Our only recourse is to retreat.” Greene, whose blood was up from the conflict and defeat, asked how far they must retreat? “Over every hill and across every river in America if I order you,” was the stern reply.2

The American troops, considering the circumstances fought well. Particularly was this true of the Twelfth Pennsylvania, commanded by Col. Walter Stewart – said to have been the handsomest man in the Continental service – of Conway’s brigade; of the Fifth Virginians, Woodford’s brigade, commanded by Col. John Marshall, afterwards the great chief justice of the United States; and the Tenth Virginia, under Col. Stevens, in Weedon’s brigade. The First, Third, and Sixth Maryland Regiments, and the First Delaware, under Gen. Smallwood, acquitted themselves with marked bravery, while the Second, Fourth, and Seventh Delaware and German Regiments, four companies recruited in Pennsylvania, and the like number in Maryland, were the first to give way, and retired in disorder from the field. This was largely due to the fact that Gen. DeBorre did not possess the confidence of his troops. The Eighth Pennsylvania, Col. Bayard, suffered greatly, and in the action Bayard was struck down by a cannon-ball, which broke the barrel of a rifle on the shoulder of Sergt. Wyatt, as well as the sergeant’s shoulder, and then struck Bayard on the head and shoulder, “turning him over on the ground for nearly two rods,” when Lieut. Patterson helped the colonel to his feet, who, the latter states, “was frantic” at his unceremonious treatment. The Eleventh Pennsylvania lost so heavily that it was subsequently consolidated with the Tenth. Capt. Thomas Butler, of the Third Pennsylvania, for rallying a detachment of retreating troops, was on the field publicly thanked by Washington. Capt. Louis de Fleury conducted himself with such gallantry that Congress presented him with a horse to substitute his own, which was killed in the battle, and Gen. Sullivan’s horse, “the best in America,” was shot under him in the engagement. Count Casimir Pulaski, the Polish nobleman, highly distinguished himself that day, when, as a volunteer in the American Light-Horse, he rode within pistol-shot of the British lines to reconnoitre. This action and his conspicuous bravery won him troops of friends, so that when he was appointed brigadier-general, with a command of cavalry, it met fully the approval of public opinion.

The actual loss of the American forces can only be approximated, since Gen. Washington never made a detailed report of this battle. The British claimed the loss was about a thousand killed and wounded and five hundred prisoners, together with nine “Branfield pieces, one more of a composition,3 and one brass Howitzer, with several ammunition wagons.”4 Howe reported his own loss as only five hundred and seventy-eight killed and wounded, including officers, a statement that is not probably correct,5 while Capt. Mon-

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1 “Evelyns in America,” by Gideon D. Scull, Oxford, England, 1881 (privately printed), p. 266.

2Headley’s “Life of Washington,” p. 256.

3“We took ten pieces of cannon and a howitzer; eight were brass, the other two of iron of a new construction.” Materials for History, by Frank Moore, quoted in Penna. Mag. of History, vol. i. page 294, note, “In the war of the Revolution a singular cannon was made by a person who afterwards lived in the village (Mount Holly, N. J.). It was constructed of wrought-iron staves, hooped like a barrel, with bands of the same material, excepting there were four layers of staves breaking joint, all of which were firmly bound together, and then bored and breached like other cannon… William Denning (he died in the ninety-fourth year of his age) was an officer in the army of the Revolution. He it was who, in the day of his country’s need, made the only successful attempt ever made in the world to manufacture wrought-iron cannon, one of which he completed in Middlesex, Pa., and commenced another and larger one at Mount Holly, but could get no one to assist him who could stand the heat, which is said to have been so severe as to melt the lead buttons on his coat. The unfinished piece is now (1844) in the Philadelphia Arsenal. The one completed was taken by the British at the battle of Brandywine, and is now in the tower of London. The British offered a stated annuity and a large sum to the person who would instruct them in the manufacture of that article, but the patriotic blacksmith preferred obscurity and poverty in his own beloved country, though the country for which he had done so much kept her purse closed from the veteran soldier until near the period of his decease.” Barber and Howe’s Historical Collections of New Jersey, pp. 113-114.

4Penna. Mag. of History, vol. vi. p.297.

5In the Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. iv. page 121, is given what purports to be a memorandum of the British forces at the battle of Brandywine, and the loss sustained by the several divisions. The document was, it is stated, found in one of the British officers’ marquet, at Germantown, Oct. 4, 1777, which, after being in possession of Col. Thomas Forrest, subsequently came to John F. Watson, the annalist. The total loss as given in the memorandum is nineteen hundred and seventy-six. In Headley’s Life of Washington, page 258, is published a paper found among those belonging to Gen. James Clinton, and in his handwriting, indorsed, “Taken from the enemy’s Ledgers, which fell into the hands of General Washington’s army at the action of Germantown.” An examination of the two statements shows that the one is a copy of the other, although there in a difference of ten in the grand total, the latter being nineteen hundred and eighty-six. This occurs in the loss of the First

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tressor tells us that the British troops had sixty killed and three hundred wounded. Certain it is that the English not continuing the pursuit is some evidence that they were in no condition to do so. Thomas Paine declared that Brandywine, “excepting the enemy keeping the ground, may be deemed a drawn battle,” and that as Washington had collected his army at Chester, “the enemy’s not moving towards him next day must be attributed to the disability they sustained and the burthen of their wounded.”1 The dead of both armies, it should be remembered, were left on the field and had to be burned, while the number of wounded was so great, that on the Sunday following the battle (September 14th) Drs. Rush, Leiper, Latimer, Way, and Coates, with Mr. Willet, a mate in the hospital, with their attendants, who had been sent by Washington, arrived at headquarters of the British army, or, as Capt. Montressor records the incident, came “to attend the wounded Rebels left scattered in the Houses about the field of Battle unattended by their Surgeons until now.”

To return to the army, which was drifting down the road to Chester in a confused mass. The artillery saved from the enemy’s clutches jolted and surged along as rapidly as the tired horses could be made to go under the goading whip, while the baggage-wagons crowded to the front amid the oaths of the teamsters and the panic-stricken men who were forced to make room for the vehicles to pass. Fortunately the early evening was still and clear, and the moon looked down on the defeated, demoralized men, who tiring at length of their senseless flight, the disorder in a measure ceased as the weary journeying came near an end, so that the guard at Chester bridge, placed there by Lafayette, succeeded in gathering the men into something like company and regimental order without much difficulty. Greene’s division, as well as many of the men from other commands, preserved a military organization, and they marched front the field in columns becoming the brave soldiers they had proved themselves to be on the heights of Brandywine.

In Chester the noise of the distant cannonading could be distinctly heard, like far-away mutterings of thunder, and after the battle had been lost, the bearer of ill tidings traveled fast with their unwelcome intelligence. Before dusk the first of the discomfited American forces began to straggle in, spreading all kind of rumors regarding the results of the contest, and the ancient borough was never so aroused. In Philadelphia all was excitement. Paine states that he was preparing dispatches for Franklin “when the report of cannon at Brandywine interrupted my (his) proceedings.”2

Far into the night the American army kept marching into Chester, and it is related that after the moon had set Col. Cropper, then a captain in the Ninth Virginia Infantry, – a part of Greene’s command covering the retreat, – because of the darkness, and to prevent his men being crowded off the approaches to the bridge at the creek, fastened his handkerchief on a ramrod, and stood there holding it aloft as a signal until his command had filed by.

Hon. William Darlington has recorded the escape of Col. Samuel Smith, of Maryland, from the field, as related to him by the old veteran, who subsequently defended Fort Mifflin so determinedly. Having become separated from his command in the retreat, and, apprehensive of falling into the hands of the enemy, the colonel rode to the house of a Quaker farmer, whom he desired forthwith to conduct him by a safe route to Chester. The latter protested against the undertaking, but Col. Smith drew a pistol, stating that if he did not get his horse at once and do as he asked, he was a dead man. The Quaker, in alarm, exclaiming, “What a dreadful man thou art!” did as he was told. “Now,” said Col. Smith, “I have not entire confidence in your fidelity, but I tell you explicitly that if you do not conduct me clear of the enemy, the moment I discover your treachery I will blow your brains out.” The terrified farmer thereupon exclaimed, “Why, thou art the most desperate man I ever did see.” However, he brought the colonel safely to Chester and was rewarded for his services. At midnight Washington addressed a letter to Congress, apprising that body of the loss of the battle. The missive is dated Chester, and traditionally in the Kerlin family, it is said, he wrote the letter at the Washington House, on Market Street. It was published by the order of Congress, and is as follows:

“Chester, September 11th, 1777.

“Twelve o’clock at night.

“Sir: – I am sorry to inform you that in this day’s engagement, we have been obliged to leave the enemy masters of the field. Unfortunately the intelligence received of the Enemy’s advancing up the Brandywine and crossing at a ford about six miles above us, was uncertain and contradictory, notwithstanding all my plans to get the best. This prevented my making a disposition adequate to the force with which the enemy attacked us on our right; in consequence of which, the troops first engaged were obliged to retire, before they could be reinforced. In the midst of the attack on the right, that body of the enemy that remained on the other side of Chad’s ford, crossed and attacked the division there under the command of General Wayne and the light troop under General Maxwell; who after a severe conflict, also retired. The militia under the command of General Armstrong, being posted at a ford about two miles below Chad’s, had no opportunity of engaging.

“But though we fought under many disadvantages, and were from the cause above mentioned, obliged to retire, yet our loss of men is not, I am persuaded, very considerable; I believe much less than the enemy’s. We have also lost seven or eight pieces of cannon according to

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Hessians at the Upper Ford, under Cornwallis, – the Forrest memorandum making it sixty, while that of Clinton’s places it at seventy. The two papers differ somewhat in designating the numerals of the British regiments. The Clinton paper is probably the most accurate.

1 Paine’s letter to Franklin, Penna. Mag. of History, vol. ii. p. 283.

2 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. ii. p. 283. Irving (Life of Washington, vol. iii. p. 222) thus describes the excitement in Philadelphia: “The scene of this battle, which decided the fate of Philadelphia, was within six and twenty miles of that city, and each discharge of cannon could be heard there. The two parties of the inhabitants, Whig and Tory, were to be seen in groups in the squares and public places, awaiting the event in anxious silence. At length a courier arrived. His tidings spread consternation among the friends of liberty. Many left their homes; entire families abandoned everything in terror and despair and took refuge in the mountains.”

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the best in information I can at present obtain. The baggage having been previously moved off all is secure; saving the men’s blankets, which at their backs, many of them doubtless are lost.

“I have directed all the troops to assemble behind Chester, where they are now arranging for the night. Notwithstanding the misfortunes of the day I am happy to find the troops in good spirits, and I hope another time we shall compensate for the losses now sustained.

“The Marquis La Fayette was wounded in the leg, and General Woolford in the hand. Divers other officers were wounded and some slain, but the numbers of either cannot be ascertained.

“G. Washington.

“P.S. – It has not been in my power to send you earlier intelligence; the present being the first leisure moment I have had since the engagement.

The American army assembled to the east of Chester along the Queen’s Highway, and Washington, after dispatching this letter, went to the present Leiperville, where, still standing on the north of the road, is the old stone dwelling, then the home of John McIlvain, in which the chief of that retreating army passed the night after the ill-starred battle of Brandywine.

Gen. Howe demonstrated in this battle his ability to command armies successfully, and the skill with which he maneuvered his troops in a country of hill and vale, wood and thicket, showed the accomplished, scientific soldier. The rapidity with which Washington brought order out of disorder was shown when the American troops marched through Darby to Philadelphia, on September 12th, in the soldierly bearing of that part of the army which the day before had fled from the field a panic-stricken mob. Taking all things into consideration, never was Washington’s wonderful command of men and extraordinary capacity to recover from disaster more exhibited than at this period of our nation’s history, and that in this emergency the whole country turned to him as its foremost man is evidenced in that Congress, while the thunder of the cannons of Brandywine was yet heard in Philadelphia, clothed the commander-in-chief with almost dictatorial power for two months.

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Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 7

Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 7

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Page 40

(continued)

CHAPTER VII

THE REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE TO THE BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE

The thoughtful men of that period who stopped in the midst of the popular clamor to consider the probable termination of the controversy between the mother-country and her colonies began to be alarmed at the excited temper of the public mind in both hemispheres, hence many of those persons who had been prominent in advising resistance to the arbitrary acts of Parliament, now when their reason taught them that the absolute overthrow of the power of Great Britain in the provinces, or the abject submission of the colonies, could alone set at rest the long dispute, hesitated, some retraced their steps, casting their lots with the established authority; others, shrinking from public view, ceased to be active on either side; while yet others, believing that

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5 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 598.
6 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. v. p. 415.

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man, mentally and socially, was but partially developed, picturing to themselves the possibilities of a free representative government, comprehending fully the lesson of the hour, braved the issue, and boldly advocated the adoption of a then untried Utopian scheme. The great mass of the people — the majority uneducated — drifted with the day until events made them bitter partisans either for crown or Congress. When sides became radical, as a general rule, the wealthy and cultured few, afraid of change, were loyalists, while the middle classes and the poor were Whigs.

The direct result of the meeting of the Continental Congress of 1774 was to intensify the feeling of the masses in opposition to the ministerial powers, the address issued by that body being so calm and dispassionate, but so convincing, that it found ready response in popular approval. Especially was this true of the resolution that all importations of English goods should be prohibited, and that no articles should be exported from the colonies to Great Britain after December, 1776, unless before that time Parliament had removed the obnoxious law against which the people in America complained. In all parts of the colonies meetings were held to ratify and carry into execution the association recommended by Congress, and on Dec. 20, 1774, “a very respectable number of the inhabitants of the County of Chester convened at the Court-house in the Borough of Chester,” at which the following persons were named as a committee to act for the county to that end, viz. : Anthony Wayne, Francis Johnston, Richard Riley, Evan Evans, and James Moore, Esqs.; Hugh Lloyd, Thomas Hockley, David Coupland, John Hart, Sketchley Morton, Samuel Fairlamb, David Coupland, John Crosby, Nicholas Diehl, Jesse Bonsall, Aaron Oakford, Benjamin Brannan, John Talbot, Joseph Brown, Samuel Price, John Crawford, John Taylor, Lewis Gronow, Edward Humphreys, Henry Lawrence, Richard Thomas, William Montgomery, Persifor Frazer, Thomas Taylor, John Foulke, Robert Mendenhall, Joseph Pennell, George Pierce, Nicholas Fairlamb, Samuel Trimble, Charles Dilworth, John Hannum, George Hoops, Joel Bailey, John Gilliland, Joseph Bishop, Jr., John Kerlin, Edward Jones, William Lewis, Patrick Anderson, Joshua Evans, Thomas Hartman, Dr. Branson van Leer, William Evans, Joseph Cowan, Thomas Haslep, Patterson Bell, Dr. Jonathan Morris, Andrew Mitchell, Thomas Buffington, James Bennett, Joseph Musgrave, William Miller, Richard Flower, Walter Finney, James Simpson, David Wherry, James Evans, Thomas Bishop, William Edwards, Jonathan Vernon, Jr., Lewis Davis, Sr., Joseph Gibbons, Jr., and Thomas Evans; which committee were “to be and continue from this time until one month after the rising of the next Continental Congress, with full power to transact such business, and enter into such associations as to them shall appear expedient.”

Immediately after the committee had been selected
that body organized by the appointment of Anthony Wayne, chairman, and Francis Johnston, secretary. The following resolutions were then unanimously adopted:

“1st. That any twelve or more of the said Committee, meeting upon due notice, be empowered to enter upon and transact all such business as shall come under their consideration; provided, the majority agreeing shall not be less than twelve.

“2d. That the present unhappy situation of public affairs in general, and of this province in particular, readers it highly necessary that a Provincial Convention should be hold as soon as possible, for which purpose twelve persons shall be appointed out of the said committee as delegates to attend the said Convention, at such time and place as shall be generally agreed on.”

As there were no further matters requiring immediate attention, after the delegation of twelve to the Provincial Convention had been named, the committee adjourned to meet on Jan. 9, 1775, at the house of David Coupland in the borough of Chester.

In the mean while, in furtherance of the resolutions passed by the convention of the people of Chester County, held on July 15th, heretofore mentioned, as well as the similar resolution adopted by Congress, calling on the other colonies to aid with contributions the necessities of the inhabitants of Massachusetts, so long as the enforcement of the Boston Port Bill rendered such assistance needful, the people of Chester County made generous contributions to the fund. Dr. Smith shows that the purse-strings of Friends were unloosened liberally to this end. “Chester monthly meeting contributed £70 for the relief of Necessitous inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay and Provinces adjacent. Darby meeting paid £33 14s. for the relief of the poor and distressed in New England, while Haverford meeting responded to the request of the meeting for suffering, ‘that Friends should contribute liberally for the relief of friends or others (in the New England Government), who are or may be reduced to indigent circumstances in this time of public calamity, and in a short time had the satisfaction to receive an affecting account of the state of the poor of these provinces, and of the distribution of the donations sent from hence.'”1

On Jan. 23, 1775, the Provincial Convention assembled at Philadelphia, and continued in session for six days. Chester County was represented in that body by Anthony Wayne, Hugh Lloyd, Richard Thomas, Francis Johnston, Samuel Fairlamb, Lewis Davis, William Montgomery, Joseph Musgrave, Joshua Evans, and Persifor Frazer. Thomas Hockley and Thomas Taylor, who had been appointed delegates, failed to attend. The proceedings of this body show that the men who composed it had carefully weighed the means necessary to build up and sustain a nation, while at the same time they comprehended that slavery, which then existed throughout the colonies, — largely due to the fact that Great Britain had always interdicted any restriction in the traffic, — was an ob-

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1 Dr. Smith’s “History of Delaware County,” p. 282.

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stacle which intruded itself in carrying out the idea of a free constitutional government, and should be done away with. Hence, to that end they resolved that the members of the General Assembly should be urged to pass a law prohibiting the future importation of slaves into the province.

On March 20th a meeting of the committee of Chester County was held at the house of Richard Cheyney, in East Calm, where Messrs. Hockley, Johnston, Gronow, Lloyd, Frazer, Moore, and Taylor were appointed a committee to draft a petition to the Assembly, “with regard to the manumission of slaves, especially relating to the freedom of infants hereafter born of black women within this Colony,” and report at the following meeting, while each committeeman was instructed to “use his utmost diligence in collecting the several sums of money subscribed for the use of Boston, and pay the same” to Anthony Wayne, “treasurer,” at the next meeting, after which the committee adjourned to meet on Wednesday, May 31st, at the house of David Coupland. But before that date had come, the reverberation of the musketry volleys at Lexington and Concord had stirred the blood of the Whigs throughout the colonies, and nothing was considered but how preparation should be made to meet the storm which had now broken on the country. Hence, in Chester County the committee met at an earlier day than that named when they adjourned in March, and published the following extract from the proceedings then had:

“In Committee, Chester, May 22, 1775.

“WHEREAS, it appears very necessary in order to avert the evils and calamities which threaten our devoted country, to embody ourselves and make all the military preparation in our power; and it appears absolutely impossible to carry this laudable design into execution without observing the greatest order, harmony, and concord not only under the laws of civil government, but also while under arms and in actual duty, we therefore unanimously recommend the following Association, to be entered into by the good people of this County:

“We, the subscribers, do most solemnly resolve, promise, and engage under the sacred ties of honor, virtue, and love to our country, that we will use our utmost endeavors to learn the military exercise and promote harmony and unanimity in our respective companies; that we will strictly adhere to the rules of decency during duty; that we will pay a due regard to our officers; that we will, when called upon, support with our utmost abilities the civil magistrate in the execution of the laws for the good of our country, and that we will at all times be in readiness to defend the lives, liberties, and properties of ourselves and fellow-countrymen against all attempts to deprive us of them.

“Extract from the minutes.
“By order of the Committee,
“Francis Johnston, Sec’y.”

The enlistment of soldiers was at once begun, for on June 29, 1775, at a meeting of several officers of the militia of Chester County, it was determined that for the better regulation of the military in this district it was advisable that a meeting of all the officers in the companies should be held at the public-house of Richard Cheyney, in East Calm, on the 21st day of July next, the day immediately after the Continental Fair, at which meeting it was proposed to divide the county into the most proper and convenient military districts, to form several battalions, and to elect field-officers. The next day, June 30th, the Assembly by resolution recommended to the boards of commissioners in all the counties in the province, “as they regard the Freedom, Welfare, and safety of their County immediately to provide a proper number of good new Firelocks with Baynets fitted to them, Cartridge Boxes with Twenty-three Rounds of Cartridges in each box and Knapsacks,” and in the apportionment five hundred of each of these equipments was the number the county of Chester was directed to procure.1 By the same act the Assembly appointed a Committee of Safety, consisting of twenty-four members, those named from Chester County being Anthony Wayne, Benjamin Bartholomew. Francis Johnston, and Richard Riley, only the latter residing within the territory now comprising Delaware County. On July 10th, for the first time, was any of the committee from Chester County present at the meetings of the body, and on that occasion Francis Johnston and Anthony Wayne both took part in the proceedings.

In a letter dated at Philadelphia, July 10, 1775,2 the writer says, “Travel through whatever part of this country you will, you see the inhabitants training, making fire-locks, casting mortars, shells, and shots, and making saltpetre, in order to keep the gunpowder-mills at work during the next autumn and summer. Nothing, indeed, is attended to but preparing to make a defence that will astonish the whole world.”

On July 17th the Committee of Safety determined that eight good rifles should be assigned to each boat now building, a part of which were to be put into the hands of such men as Capt. Francis, of Philadelphia, and Col. Wayne, of Chester County, should engage to go as minute-men on the boats when required. At this time Wayne was colonel of militia only. The same day the committee requested “the good women” of the province to supply their family doctors “with as much scraped Lint & old Linen for bandages as they can conveniently furnish, that the same may be ready for the service of those that shall happen to be wounded in the defence of the country.”

Considerable apprehension having been aroused among the members of the Society of Friends as to their position amid all this din and clash of approaching war, Congress, on July 18, 1775, by a resolution to those people “who from Religious Principles cannot bear Arms in any Cause, this Congress intends no Violence to their Conscience, but earnestly recommend it to them to Contribute Liberally in this time of universal calamity to the relief of their distressed brethren in the several colonies, and to do all other services to their oppressed country which they can consistently with their Religious principles.”

The allusion to riflemen to be placed on the boats, who were to be men selected by Capt. Francis and Col.

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 279.

2 Hazard’s Register, vol. iii. p. 248.

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Wayne, related to the defense of Philadelphia from a threatened attack by British vessels of war; hence a brief account of those defenses, so far as they refer to the history of Delaware County, should not be omitted from this work.

The obstructing of the Delaware River by vaisseaux-de-frise was the suggestion of Dr. Franklin, who also strongly urged the building of galleys, — vessels of considerable size, propelled by oars, and intended to be armed with heavy guns, besides carrying a number of marines, — as well as locating fortifications at certain places on the banks. The chevaux-de-frise, as the obstructions were popularly termed, consisted of large frames of timber, filled in with stones to cause them to sink, and from these frames huge beams shod with iron extended to the surface of the water. So energetically did Franklin labor, that although be had returned, May 5, 1775, after many years’ absence in Europe, in four months he had three rows of these obstructions laid, the fort at Red Bank completed, and seven of the galleys afloat. One of the rows of vaisseaux-de-frise was sunk within the territory now of Delaware County, and extended across the main channel of the Delaware, opposite the upper end of Hog Island, and a mile and a quarter below Red Bank. Subsequently a row was laid to Billingsport, N.J. On Sept. 13, 1775, Richard Riley, from Marcus Hook, wrote to George Gray,1 of the Committee of Safety, arguing that, as the provincial galleys would soon be finished, the entire fleet, in his opinion, should be stationed at the boundary of the province on the river, below the “shiver de fress’s,” and then, if they — the boats — “are any Protection, every Person above them will Receive a Benefit;” that as there was a large island opposite Marcus Hook, it would afford a harbor to the galleys; while if the fleet was stationed above the obstructions at the forts, “Chester and Marcushook may be reduced to ashes before any Relief can be obtained, which would be a Considerable Loss, as all the Records & other public papers of the county is their.” This matter of the defenses at Marcus Hook seems to have been presented to Council; for on Nov. 16, 1775, it was resolved “that two tier of Chivaux de Frize be sunk, for the further Security of this province, in the Channel opposite or near to Marcus Hook.”2 That this resolution as to locating obstructions at Marcus Hook was never carried into effect is apparent. for the proceedings of the Committee of Safety show that on Jan. 18, 1776, Col. Wayne states to the committee that as large vessels must come within musket-shot of the shore at and near Marcus Hook, in his opinion “a Line or two of Chevaux de Frize placed there would be of considerable Service. The Shore near this narrow channel is nearly as high as Red Bank, and a battery of Cannon there would greatly annoy an Enemy.”3 On Feb. 15, 1776, Richard Riley again

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1 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 550.

2 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 404.

3 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 471.

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wrote to George Gray,4 calling attention to the exposed condition of Marcus Hook, where, should the enemy come up the river, they would certainly land. He therefore urged erection of a battery on the shore, or the stationing of a floating one there, together with one or two companies of riflemen, to protect that part of the province, “now Intirely exposed, without the least defence or the least means for defence, being without Battery, arms, or ammunition, & of course, if left to continue, will be obliged to abandon their Habitations.” In addition, as confirmatory proof that the obstructions did not extend below Chester, as late as July 24, 1777, Council ordered that before a master of a vessel could obtain an order for a “Chevax De Frize Pilot” he was compelled to swear that he would not permit such pilot to remain on the vessel from “the time she leaves the town of Chester.”5 The purpose of this order was to prevent any person knowing the unobstructed channel from getting access to British vessels, and for a reward imparting that knowledge to the enemy.

Early in the fall of the year the galleys were ready, as already stated, and, on Sept. 22, 1775, the Committee of Safety appointed Capt. John Moulder, of Marcus Hook, commander of the armed boat “Hancock;” but the latter, on the 10th of October following, notified the committee that he declined to act in that capacity.

The Committee of Chester County seems to have had no meetings during the summer, but in pursuance of a notice of the chairman, Wayne, they met on Monday morning, September 25th, at the Turk’s Head Tavern, — now West Chester, — at which time the board of commissioners and assessors of the county were present. At this meeting the following disclaimer of all treasonable intentions on the part of the colonies was adopted and published in the Philadelphia newspapers of that day. The ignorance displayed in that resolution of the tendency of public affairs might be pardoned in Wayne, who was an admirable soldier but a wretched politician; but the committee certainly had among its members some men who could read the signs of the times better than to have issued such a document as that, particularly when it was known that statesmen like John Adams were openly advocating the independency of the colonies. The disclaimer was as follows:

“Whereas some persons, evidently inimical to the liberty of America, have industriously propagated a report, that the military associators of this County, in conjunction with the military associators in general, in

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4 Ib., p. 372.

5 Ib., 501. Nearly two years before the order, Nov. 7, 1775, the Committee of Safety had ordered that five of the ten licensed pilots should be in readiness at Philadelphia to carry vessels down to Chester, and, having performed that service, were immediately to return by land or in skifts to the city. The other five were to be at Chester to bring vessels up the river, and are, immediately after piloting the vessel, to return to Chester by skift or land. In Chester the pilots were directed to be at the house of Mrs. Withy, to receive applications from owners or masters of vessels, every day from 10 to 1 o’clock, and none are to be absent except when on duty. — Colonial Records vol.x. p. 396.

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tend to overturn the Constitution, by declaring an Independency in the execution of which they are aided by this Committee and the board of Commissioners and Assessors with the arms now making for this County; and as such report could not originate but among the worst of men for the worst of purposes, — This Committee have therefore thought proper to declare, and they hereby do declare, their abhorrence even of an idea so pernicious in its nature; as they ardently wish for nothing more than a happy and speedy reconciliation, on constitutional principles, with that state from whom they derive their origin.

“By order of the Committee.

“ANTHONY WAYNE, Chairman.”

The committee, after adopting the foregoing document providing for an election by the people in the several townships on the 11th day of October following, for persons to serve on the committee for Chester County for the ensuing year, then adjourned to meet in the borough of Chester on that date. The next day, September 26th, the Council of Safety directed that an order for five hundred pounds should be drawn in favor of Chester County, the money to be expended in the purchase of arms and other munitions of war.

The Assembly, Oct. 19, 1775, reappointed the then Committee of Safety, and added new members thereto. So far as Chester County was concerned, the representation remained unchanged, excepting that it was increased by the appointment of Nicholas Fairlamb,1 the latter a resident of the present county of Delaware.

The new committee of the county of Chester which had been selected on October 2d, by which some slight change was made in the personnel of that body, met shortly afterwards, and gave official publication to the following proceedings:

“Chester, Oct. 23rd, 1775.

“Pursuant to public notice given, the Committee met at the house of David Coupland, in the borough of Chester. On motion ordered, that each member of this Committee do immediately make return to the Chairman, of the quantity of Powder which he already has or may collect within his district, together with the price and the name of the owner thereof, that the some may be paid for.

“On motion resolved, that Anthony Wayne, Francis Johnston, and Elisha Price Esqrs., Mr. Richardson, Mr. Knowles, Mr. Lloyd, and Mr. Brannan, be and they are hereby appointed a Committee of Correspondence for this County.

“By order of the Committee.

“Francis Johnston, Sec’y.”

It may be doubted whether any of the muskets ordered for Chester County were delivered until this month, for on October 6th, Mr. Dunwicke, a gunsmith, “now employed in making the Provincial Muskets for Chester County,” asked Council for an order on the commissary for two pounds of powder, “to prove some of them now ready.” Which request was granted, and the commissary ordered to be present when the firearms were tried.2

The necessity for a more thorough organization in the several counties became so apparent that the Assembly, on Nov. 25, 1775, adopted rules and regulations to that end, and at the meeting of the committee of Chester County, on December 26th, that body re-

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. pp. 373-74.

2 Ib., 356.

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organized in conformity with the suggestions of the Legislature. At the same meeting the committee

“Resolved, that Anthony Wayne, James Moore, Francis Johnston, Esq., Dr. Samuel Kenedy, Caleb Davis, William Montgomery, Persifor Frazer, and Richard Thomas, Gentlemen, or any five or more of them, be appointed, and they are hereby appointed to represent the county (if occasion be) in Provincial Convention for the ensuing year.”

The provincial authorities were very active in pushing forward military organizations, for Washington was constantly drawing the attention of Congress to the fact that in a short time the term of service of many of the troops with him, besieging Boston, would expire, and the army must be filled with fresh men. On Dec. 9, 1775, Congress resolved that four battalions should be raised in Pennsylvania, and on the 15th provided that the Committee of Safety should be requested to recommend proper persons as field-officers, from which names Congress would select and commission the colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors. Of all officers below the rank of major, the Committee of Safety were to make the appointments. On Jan. 2, 1776, the Committee reported the name of Anthony Wayne as colonel of the Fourth Battalion, which nomination was confirmed by Congress. On the 3d of January the Committee nominated Francis Johnston as lieutenant-colonel, and on the 4th, Nicholas Haussegger as major of the same battalion, which nominations were promptly confirmed. The next day the Committee of Safety appointed Persifor Frazer, Thomas Robinson, John Lacey, Caleb North, Thomas Church, Frederick Vernon, James Moore, and James Taylor captains of the several companies of the Fourth Battalion, and they were commissioned as of that date.3 The battalion rendezvoused at Chester on February 9th, and on the 17th, Col. Wayne reported that five hundred and sixty officers and men were present at camp, and that ten commissioned officers were absent, with recruits, the number of which was sufficient, he believed, to make the battalion complete. At that date he stated he “had only twelve rifles and twenty muskets,” and was in want of every other article. On January 22d, Congress ordered the companies, as fast as they were equipped, to march to New York. Robinson’s, Church’s, and Lacey’s companies, under the command of Maj. Haussegger, reported at New York on the 28th. The troops must have been housed even as far away from Chester as Darby, for on April 26th, Wayne arrived at New York, assumed command of his regiment there, and dispatched Maj. Haussegger to Philadelphia to immediately bring on the other five companies, and we find that the next day he ordered Capt. Lacey to return to Darby and settle for the board of his (Lacey’s) men. Capt. Lacey always asserted that Wayne had promised to settle that account himself, and he sent him (Lacey) back simply to have an op-

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3 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. x. p. 119-136. Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. Anthony Wayne.

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portunity “to give the command of his company to his ‘pet,’ Capt. Moore.”

On Jan. 17, 1776, five days before Congress ordered Wayne’s battalion to New York, the Committee of Safety resolved: “That Col. Wayne, Col. Johnston, Mr. Bartholomew, & Mr. Riley be a Committee to Examine the Fire-locks, Cartridge-Boxes, Knapsacks, &c., as ordered by Assembly to be provided for Chester County … and make return of the same to this Board.”

The following day, January 18th, a member of the committee suggested that a thousand chosen riflemen should be recruited for the provincial service, which body should be stationed near Chester to harass the enemy in their march to Philadelphia, should they attempt the capture of that city.1 At that time the general confidence in the efficacy of the obstructions in the river was such that the thought of an attack by water was rarely entertained. The suggestion was adopted, and in the spring of 1776, Col. Samuel Miles was appointed to the command of a regiment of one thousand riflemen, formed in two battalions. This body of men must have begun to assemble at Marcus Hook and Chester early in April, 1776, for on the 13th of that month the Committee of Safety had a report from Col. Miles that there was not sufficient “houses or other buildings” in or about the towns mentioned to quarter the troops then being raised, and Council authorized Col. Miles to purchase one hundred good tents on the most reasonable terms he could.2 On April 17th, Caleb Davis made application to the committee for money to pay for fire-locks made in Chester County for the use of the province. He received fifteen hundred pounds for that purpose, to the order of the commissioners and assessors of the county, and also one hundred pounds for saltpetre, and two quarter-casks of gunpowder were ordered to be delivered to him.3 On March 25, 1776, Henry Fisher, at Lewes, Del., by express, notified the Committee of Safety that a sloop-of-war was coming into Whorekill “Road with a Small Tender,” and it being night, he could not state whether she was bound up the bay or not, but every effort would be made to prevent her procuring a pilot. The express was started at seven o’clock on Monday evening, and reached Chester by half-past two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, where, after stopping forty minutes, Richard Kane, the messenger, left that place for Philadelphia. On the receipt of the dispatch, Council ordered Commodore Caldwell to send four well-manned and armed boats down the river to Reedy Island, which galleys were directed to act with Capt. Barry of the brig “Lexington,” and endeavor to capture the English vessel. Caldwell subsequently returned, for Council on April 30th ordered the fleet to go down the river again, if Mr. Mease and Mr. Morris thought it neces-

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1 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 471.

2 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 540.

3 Ib., 546

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sary. It was ordered down, and in the mean time, as constant reports were being sent to the committee of the daily progress up the river of the British men-of-war, on May 7th, Robert Towers was directed to deliver to Col. Miles one thousand pounds of gunpowder and two thousand pounds of lead, “or as great a part thereof as is in store, and for the use of the Associators of Chester County, to be consigned there agreeably to Col. Miles’ direction, 20,000 Cartridges for Muskets.” At the date just mentioned the “Roebuck” of forty-eight, and the “Liverpool” of twenty-eight guns, were off New Castle, bound up the river, and the galley fleet was ordered to attack them, while at the same time Col. Miles, who was at the meeting of the Council, went at once to Marcus Hook with some powder and lead for his riflemen, and the next morning marched one hundred and fifty of his men – all of his troops for whom he had equipments – to Wilmington, which place he reached in time (two o’clock in the afternoon) to see the action between the galleys and the British ships. “I am convinced,” he stated in his journal,4 “that had the galleys been sufficiently supplied with ammunition in due time (although one-half of them appeared very shy, and never came within point-blank shot of the ships) that these vessels, at least the ‘Roebuck,’ would have fallen into our hands.” Council, on June 12th, ordered Col. Miles to furnish from the provincial troops under his command guards over the powderhouse, over the military stores deposited at the State-House, as well as the materials collected for fire-rafts at Philadelphia, stating the reason for this order was that the Continental troops had been withdrawn. Col. Atlee, on June 13th, from Chester, wrote to John Morton5 that, under Col. Miles’ order, he had detached four companies of “musquetrey,” under Col. Parry, to Philadelphia, and would be pleased if the remainder of his battalion could be ordered there, “that they might jointly be properly Disciplined.” On the 17th, Atlee was directed to move his whole battalion from Chester to be quartered in the barracks at Philadelphia. On July 3, 1776, Congress desired the Committee of Safety to send as many troops as they could spare immediately to Monmouth County, N. J., and the same day it is noted that “In Consequence of the following Resolve of Congress, a Letter was wrote to Colo. Miles, requesting he would give orders for the most Speedy March of the Rifle Battalione to this city.”6 From a letter written by Col. Miles to Richard Riley, dated July 10th, it appears that when the troops left Marcus Hook, in obedience to the foregoing order, a number of men inoculated for

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4 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, p. 519. (See Pennsylvania Archives, 1st series, vol. iv. p. 748, for Col. Miles’ report. From some of the reports made by the commanders of the galleys and Pennsylvania vessels of war, it is evident that they had no great longing for the allotted task, that of capturing the British men-of-war.)

5 Ib., 1st series, vol. iv. p. 772.

6 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 628.

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the smallpox had been left there under charge of Dr. Davis, who was afterwards ordered to join his company in the Jerseys, and the sick men “still remained at the Hook under the notice of Doct’r Chapman.” Col. Miles therefore desired Mr. Riley to see that these sick men were served with every necessary pro vision.1

As stated in the letter hereinbefore quoted, giving an account of the activity in military affairs in the provinces as early as July, 1775, the people were busy “in making saltpetre.” Grave apprehensions were entertained early in the war that possibly that commodity could not be had in sufficient quantity to meet the demand in making gunpowder. To prevent such a disaster the Committee of Safety made extraordinary efforts to instruct the people in the manner of preparing the necessary article. Hence the following advertisement appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet in February, 1776:

“TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE COUNTY OF CHESTER

“Pursuant to the recommendation of the Committee of Safety for the Province of Pennsylvania to the Committee for Inspection for the County of Chester, Benjamin Brannan, Walter Finney, and John Beaton were appointed to attend the saltpetre manufactory in the City of Philadelphia, in order to perfect themselves in said art, We having complied therewith, do hereby give notice to all those whose public virtue and patriotic spirit would excite them to such a valuable and necessary undertaking at this crisis of time; that attendance will be given at the house of Benjamin Brannan, in Darby,2 on the 23d and 24th of February; at the house of Mr. Cochran, in East Fallowfield, on the 27th and 28th; at the house of Mr. Whithy (Withy), in the borough of Chester, on the 1st and second of March; at the house of Mr. Hood, in Oxford, on the 4th and 5th; at the house of Mr. Miller, in Birmingham, on the 6th and 7th; at the house of Mr. Bell, in Kennet, on the 12th and 13th; and at the house of Walter Finney, in New London, on the 14th and 15th of said month, in order to teach and instruct all persons who may please to apply at the times and places above mentioned.

“Benjamin Brannan,

“Walter Finney.

N.B. — The times and places in the North West district are not yet appointed.”

The Council next turned its attention to the erection and operation of powder-mills. On Feb. 3, 1776, Dr. Robert Harris proposed to the committee to build a mill on the Valley Stream, about twenty-five miles from the city, and stated that he would engage to be ready by the 1st of March to make one ton per week, on the same terms as the Committee of Safety would make with other parties.3 Dr. Harris and the committee entered into the agreement, but he did not locate his powder-mill at the place where he first intended to have built it, for in John Ladd Howell’s report to Owen Biddle, dated June 3, 1776,4 he describes his works thus:

“Doctr. Robert Harris’s, on Crum Creek, about three miles from Chester, begun to Work about the 23d ult. The dimensions of the Mill House 30 ft. by 20 ft., Head of Water about 2 1/2 feet fall, about 6 ft. Water Wheel 12 ft.

“The Shafts that Worke (Eighty Stampers of 2 3/4 by 3 3/4 Inchs &

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 783.

2 Dr. Smith states (Hist. of Delaware County, p. 288) that at that time Brannan lived in Upper Darby.

3 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. iv. p. 709.

4 Ib., p. 765.

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eleven ft. Length) is thirty-two ft. Long, five Mortars made of Two Inch Plank, about five foot each, one Stamper & Mortar for preparing Sulphur.

“Drying House, 20 ft. by 15 ft., neither floor’d nor plastered. He has received one Ton of Salt Petre and five Hundred wht of Sulphur, or thereabouts, expected to deliver one Ton of Powder on the first Inst. & the Same Quantity Weekly.

“The sides of the Mill House & Gable Ends of that & the Drying House being enclosed by Boards not sufficiently seasoned, am very open & must have a bad effect on the Powder, yet the Doctr is of a Different Opinion.”

This mill was located in Springfield township at Strath-haven, on Crum Creek.

In the same month, June, 1776, as the enlisted troops would be in all probability ordered away from Chester County, it was necessary to put the militia in such a condition that they could be called on in an emergency. Hence we find that on June 1st Col. William Montgomery was ordered to purchase a quantity of lead for the use of the Associators of Chester County,5 and shortly after an estimate was made of the number of firearms in the county, and the following return was made:6

1st Battalion, Col. James Moore                       380

2nd Battalion, Col. Thomas Hockley              400

3d Battalion, Col. Hugh Lloyd                           300

4th Battalion, Col. William Montgomery     450

5th Battalion, Col. Richard Thomas               300

                                                                                      1830

The dread that the enemy – whom it was known was preparing an expedition at Halifax – intended to make an attack on Philadelphia was so general that every means in the reach of the colony was employed to defend the city from the threatened assault. To that end, on June 19, 1776, Abraham Kinsey, the tenant of Samuel Galliway’s estate on Hog Island, was notified that it might be necessary to “lay that island under Water on the near approach of the Enemy,” but whatever injury he should sustain would be made good to him by the public. On June 20, 1776, George Bryan, the naval officer, was also instructed that no application for a cheveaux-de-frise pilot should be allowed unless the captain on oath declared that he would not take the pilot farther down the river than Chester, except in cases where the vessels should go down the bay under convoy of Continental sloops-of-war.

On June 22d the committee ordered Robert Towers, commissary, to deliver to the colonels of the Battalions of Associators in Chester County the following quantities of ammunition:

“To Colo. James Moore:
2300 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
2070 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1500 flints.

 

To Colo. Thom’s Hockly:
2300 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
2300 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1600 flints.

 

To Colo. Hugh Lloyd:
1840 do. for Provincial Muskets.
1610 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1200 flints.

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5 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 592.
6 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 776.

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To Colo. Wm Montgomery:
2760 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
2415 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1800 flints.

To Colo. Rich’d Thomas:
1840 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
1610 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1200 flints.

“And to each of the said Colonels, the same proportion of loose powder and Lead, equal to the Quantity of Cartridges.”1

By this time almost unconsciously the public mind in the colonies had been rapidly educated to an acceptance of the idea of absolute independence from the kingdom of Great Britain. The stirring sentences of Paine’s “Common Sense” had rung through the provinces like the blare of a trumpet, giving direction to the thoughts and ideas of the struggle, and “crystallized into fixed purpose the wishes and hopes for independence,” until those persons who, as members of the committee of Chester County, had only a few months before declared “their abhorrence even of an idea so pernicious” now gave support freely to the movement for the establishment of a new nationality on the earth.

Congress, on May 15, 1776, recommended “the respective Assemblies and Conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs has been hereunto established, to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general.” In Pennsylvania, where the legislative power had (by popular consent or obedience) been transferred to the Committee of Safety, the people were unwilling to submit the matter to an Assembly which had become simply the empty form of authority. Thereupon the Committee of Correspondence for Philadelphia communicated with all the county committees, appointing June 18th as a day for the meeting of a provincial conference to be held in Philadelphia. On that day the body thus summoned assembled in Carpenters’ Hall, and elected Col. Thomas McKean president; Col. Joseph Hart, vice-president; and Jonathan B. Smith and Samuel C. Morris, secretaries. The county of Chester, in that body, was represented by Col. Richard Thomas, Maj. William Evans, Col. Thomas Hockley, Maj. Caleb Davis, Elisha Price, Samuel Fairlamb, Capt. Thomas Levis, Col. William Montgomery, Col. Hugh Lloyd, Richard Riley, Col. Evan Evans, Col. Lewis Gronow, and Maj. Sketchley Morton. The conference unanimously resolved that the then form of provincial government was “not competent to the exigencies of our affairs,” and that it was necessary that a convention should be called for the purpose of forming “a new government in this Province on the authority of the people alone.” Thereupon the conference made provision for representation of every county in the province, and for an election of members to

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 613.

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the proposed Constitutional Convention. On the 24th of June, 1776, the meeting adjourned, after each deputy had signed a declaration which stated their “willingness to concur in a vote of the Congress declaring the United Colonies free and independent States.”

The momentous event which made the year 1776 one of the most noticeable in the history of the world was at hand. For some time the fact that a separation was inevitable between the United Colonies and the mother-country was apparent, and the declaration of the deputies to the conference at Philadelphia, just mentioned, exhibits how popular the movement had already become. Hence, when the committee of Congress appointed to draft a formal Declaration of Independence reported to that body on the 28th of June, it needed no prophet to foretell the fate of the measure when the question as to its adoption should be submitted to the members, and it occasioned no surprise when, after some alterations had been made in the document, on July 4, 1776, it was sanctioned by the vote of every colony. Of the eight members from Pennsylvania on the day of its adoption, Robert Morris, John Dickinson, and Andrew Allen were absent; Benjamin Franklin, John Martin, and James Wilson voted in the affirmative, while Thomas Willing and Charles Humphreys recorded their voices against the Declaration. Of these men deemed worthy to represent the then wealthiest province in the colonies in a Congress of the leading minds of the continent, it is a highly honorable record that there were two who were natives of the territory now Delaware County, – John Morton, of Ridley township, who voted in the affirmative, and Charles Humphreys, of Haverford township, who voted in the negative on the final question of the adoption of the Declaration.

The convention which had been called to prepare a constitutional form of government for the republic of Pennsylvania met in Philadelphia July 15, 1776. Dr. Benjamin Franklin presided over the assemblage. The representatives from Chester County were Benjamin Bartholomew, John Jacobs, Thomas Strawbridge, Robert Smith, Samuel Cunningham, John Hart, John Mackey, and John Fleming. This convention absolutely assumed the chief legislative and executive power in the province, appointed a Council of Safety, ratified the Declaration of Independence, and filled all the offices under the new order of things. The body continued in session until Sept. 28, 1776, when it adopted the constitution it had made, which went into effect immediately without being submitted to a vote of the people. By its provisions the legislative power was reposed in a General Assembly acting as one House, the executive authority was vested in a president, who was to be chosen annually by the Assembly and Council in joint ballot, the Council consisting of twelve persons who were elected in classes for a term of three years.

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A council of censors was provided consisting of two persons from each city and county, the first members of which were to be chosen in 1783 and elected every seven years thereafter, whose province was to see that the legislative and executive branches had performed their duties properly, neither failing in nor exceeding their powers. On Nov. 13, 1783, the only council of censors ever chosen in pursuance of this constitution met at the State-House, Philadelphia, and continued its session until Sept 25, 1784. Chester County was represented in that body by Anthony Wayne and John Evans. The latter dying while a member of the council, James Moore was chosen in his stead, being present Dec. 30, 1783, for the first time.

After the Declaration of Independence, the men who had led the people forward to that step, now that the bonds that held them to the mother-country had been severed, put forth additional energy. It was the days when the bullets used in the chase and in war, at least in America, were cast of lead, and generally by those who used them; hence the authorities were anxious to gather material which could at once be utilized for that purpose. On July 8, 1776, the Committee of Safety ordered certain gentlemen to collect “all the Leaden Window-weights, clock-weights, and other Lead in Germantown and its Neighborhood, for which the Liberal price of six Pence per pound will be allowed.” I do not find that the county of Chester was distinctly named so far as gathering lead is concerned, but on July 17, 1776, the Committee of Safety made a general demand as follows:

“The Families who have leaden Window- or Clock-Weights are earnestly requested to give them up immediately to the Persons appointed to Collect them. Such Families may be assured that they will be supplied a soon as possible with Weights of Iron, and it is hoped the trifling Inconvenience of being for a few days without them will not be put in Competition with the Danger that may Arise to this Country from the want of a sufficient quantity of Lead for our Defence.”1

Guard boats were stationed in Darby Creek,2 for on July 26th, Capt. Charles Lawrence, William Watkin, and Robert Tatnall represented to Council that the inconvenience of going to the fort for provisions was such that they desired Sketchley Morton might be appointed to furnish their supplies, which order was made.3 The uncertainty as to the destination of the English expedition still hung over all the provinces, and extraordinary efforts were made to meet the storm when it should burst. On July 29th, Council ordered that fifty muskets should be delivered to Col. James Moore, of Chester County, for the use of his battalion,4 and on August 1st. Col. Moore made application for “50 Bayonets or Tomhawks, 30 Hatchets, 100 screws, & 100 worms, for the use of his Battalion,” and Com-

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 649.

2 In a letter from David Joy to Samuel Howell, Jan. 16, 1776 (Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v, p. 700), the former suggested that a few fire-rafts should “be kept in some creek below the Chevee de Frizes, in order to sett them on the Enemy on the flood. Darby, Chester, or Racoon creeks will do.”

3 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 656.

4 Ib., p. 659.

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missary Towers was ordered to deliver these articles to the colonel.5 At this time there must have been an encampment of troops at Chester, for on August 5th, Council ordered £4 6s. 3d. to be paid James Pennell for wood delivered at that place “for the use of the Pennsylvania Musketry.”6 The report that the British fleet had rendezvoused off Sandy Hook on the 28th of June had allayed somewhat the dread of an attack on Philadelphia, but the long delay in disembarking the troops and the constantly receiving tidings that daily reinforcements were being made by transports and vessels of war to the armada that was to subjugate the colonies kept alive the apprehension that at any moment the fleet might weigh, and almost before the news could be carried to Philadelphia the guns of the hostile vessels would announce their presence in the Delaware. Hence the alarming condition of the time demanded constant vigilance and preparation on the part of those men who, advocating independence, must do everything to resist the capture of the foremost city of the colony. August 6th, one hundred stand of arms was delivered to Col. Richard Thomas, of Chester County, for his battalion, and the following day thirty stand of arms was sent to Col. Moore.

The same day the muster-master, Davis Bevan, of the borough of Chester, was instructed “to Pass Col. R’d Thomas’s Battalion of Chester County with the Present number of Officers and Men,” and the commissary was directed to supply the battalion with accoutrements, as also to immediately deliver to Col. Thomas sixty stands of arms.7 The alarm increasing, as news of unusual activity in the British fleet was received by express, the militia was hastily armed and mustered into the service, hence we find that on August 8th the muster-master was ordered to pass Capt. Thomas Heslep’s company of the First Battalion of Chester County, commanded by Col. Moore, with the number of officers and men then recruited. There was intense anxiety in the county of Chester at that time and unusual activity, as is evidenced from the minutes of the Council of Safety. On August 12th, Col. Richard Thomas received £196 3s., the price he had paid for eighty-one firelocks, bought of non-associators,8 and on the 14th of the same month fourteen pounds was paid for cartridge-boxes and bayonet-belts for Col. Thomas’ command, while the same day £75 4s. 6d. was paid for like articles for the use of Col. Moore’s battalion.9 On the 20th of August the news, borne by express, reached Chester that the British fleet, under Sir Peter Parker, had been signally repulsed at Fort Moultrie, and a few days subsequently that the English army had disembarked on Long Island, and hence the “Flying Camp” was dispatched immediately to New York. On August 23d, the day following that of the landing of Gen. Home’s

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5 Ib., p. 665.

6 Ib., p. 670.

7 Ib., p. 672-73.

8 Ib., p. 681.

9 Ib., p. 685.

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army on Long Island, Maj. Caleb Davis was paid £202 10s. for necessaries for the Chester County quota of the Flying Camp, and the same day John Hart was paid £5 14s. 3d. mileage for his company of Col. Lloyd’s Chester County battalion, and Capt Pierce of the same organization received £6 8s. 7d. for mileage. The next day, August 24th, Capt. Andrew Boon of the Second Battalion received £6 2s. 6d. to purchase drums, fifes, etc., for his company. Many of these men who marched from Chester County with the Flying Camp never returned, but in the early gray light of the morning of the 27th of August, 1776, their ghastly faces stiffened in death, when the first pitched battle of the war was begun by an attack on the Pennsylvania “Flying Camp” on Long Island. How severely the troops from Chester County suffered on that disastrous day can be inferred from the letter of Capt. Patrick Anderson to Benjamin Franklin, dated from West Chester County, N. Y., Sept. 22, 1776,1 and how bravely the women of Chester County acted at that time is shown by the following extract from the New England Courant of Sept. 5, 1776:2

“Philadelphia, August 27, 1776. – THE WOMEN OF CHESTER COUNTY, PENNA. Since the departure of the able-bodied men from the forks of the Brandywine, in Chester County, in the service of their country, the patriotic young women, to prevent the evil that would follow the neglect of putting in the fall crop in season, have joined the ploughs, and are preparing the fallows for seed; and should their fathers, brothers, and lovers be detained abroad in defense of the liberties of these States, they are determined to put in the crops themselves, – a very laudable example, and highly worthy of imitation.”

The Council of Safety, on September 16th, resolved that the members of the Constitutional Convention, then in session, should recommend proper persons in their respective counties, to be appointed by Council, to purchase “blankets, coarse Woolens, Linens, & Stockings for the use of the Troops belonging” to Pennsylvania, and on the 4th of October, William Evans was desired “to purchase all the Coarse Cloths, Blankets, & Stockings in Chester County for the use of ye State, and draw on the Board for the Cost.”3

The following summons from the Council of Safety to the justices of Chester County4 explains itself so far as known, for there appears no further reference to the matter in the official records of Council:

“IN COUNCIL OF SAFETY,
“PHILADELPHIA, Oct’r. 9th, 1776.

“GENTLEMEN:

“You are hereby required to appear before this Council at Ten o’clock on Saturday morning, then and there to answer for your conduct in holding an Election on Tuesday of the first Instant, at the Borrough of Chester, apparently with a view of supporting the late Government of the King of Great Britain, in direct Violation of the resolves of Congress and of the late Convention of this State.

“By order of the Council.

“Thos. Wharton, Jun., Pres’t.”

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 26. See, in addition, Col. Atlee’s journal, as well as that of Col. Miles, 1 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. i. pp. 512 to 522.

2 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 66.

3 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 741.

4 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 652.

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On the 8th of November, 1776, Council order the sergeant-at-arms “to arrest Richard Swanwick, of Chester County,” and bring him before that body, for what offense does not appear;5 and the next day an order was made that Rev. Mr. Rodgers be “paid £70, being part of his wages as Chaplain to late Miles’s and Atlee’s Battalion.” On the 8th, too, we learn that Council gave orders requiring “Provisions to be made at Chester for Troops to Rendevous there.” That such an encampment was located at that place at that time is inferentially established by the fact that on November 14th, “Intelligence was rec’d by Express that several hundred Transports had sailed from New York & steered their Cource to the Southward, & expected to be intended for this City; whereupon the Council wrote a Circular Letter to the Commanding Officers of the Battalions of Militia, earnestly requesting them to march their respective Battalions to this city Immediately.”6

The next day Col. Bayard was paid fifty-seven shillings for expenses going to Chester with Gen. Armstrong,7 and on the 21st, George Weiss received £5 for riding express to Chester County to order the militia to be in readiness to march at short notice.8 On the 23d, Council determined that the salt then in possession should be divided among the committees of the several counties, the proportion allotted to Chester being eighty bushels, which was to be sold to the people at the rate of fifteen shillings per bushel, and in no greater quantity than half a bushel to any one family. The salt was to be distributed equally according to the necessities of the people, “for which purpose they are to require a declaration of what quantity they are possessed of more than their just proportion of the necessary article at a time of such very great scarcity of it.”9 On the 28th, Council declared that the salt sent to the various counties, as mentioned, should be sold only to the militiamen who entered the service, or to their families10 and reiterated the like order on November 30th.

On Nov. 27, 1776, Dr. Thomas Bond wrote from New Brunswick, stating that he had obtained permission to carry the sick American soldiers under his care, and stated that it would be well to consult Gen. Mifflin on the desirability of locating hospitals at Darby, Chester, Marcus Hook, Wilmington, and New Castle. “I think the Water Carriage from Trenton to these Places would save much Carting, & this plan much better than one propos’d, of sending the Sick to East Town, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Reading, etc.”11

The times were unpropitious for the American colonists. The battle of Long Island had been fought and lost, New York had fallen, and Washington, apparently driven from post to post, was retreating across New Jersey, followed by the victorious foe. It was to

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5 Ib., p. 644.

6 Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 3.

7 Ib., p. 5.

8 Ib., p. 11.

9 Ib., p. 13.

10 Ib., p. 20.

11 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 79.

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prepare for the attack which threatened Philadelphia, alike by sea and land, that Council issued the order of Nov. 14, 1776, for all owners of cattle along the Delaware River to make arrangements to remove their stock inland at least five miles, notifying the owners that if they failed to act promptly in carrying out the order when required, the board “may be under the disagreeable necessity of giving the most peremptory order for the removal and to see that the same be punctually and suddenly complied with.”1 At the same time the minutes of Council show that the utmost anxiety prevailed, and the activity displayed in collecting troops, for that time, was proportionally as great as when, ninety odd years later, the Confederate forces, under Lee, invaded Pennsylvania. As Washington drew nearer to Philadelphia, retiring before the exulting enemy, his army dwindled to a mere handful of war-worn, ill-clad, ill-fed, ill-armed troops, fleeing across New Jersey, sorely pursued by Lord Cornwallis’ overpowering force of twenty thousand men, the flower of the English soldiery, the nation’s fate trembled on the verge of ruin. On November 30th, Council resolved “that in the present alarming situation of affairs” no vessel should be permitted to leave the port of Philadelphia, and all shipping was interdicted passing through the chevaux-de-frise. Money was immediately dispatched to the colonels of the militia organizations in the counties of Chester, Philadelphia, Bucks, Northampton, and the city of Philadelphia to furnish support to “the families of such associators as go into actual service and may stand in need of the same,” which money was to be distributed among the families requiring supplies, “from time to time, according to their need, in the most discreet manner.”2 On December 1st dispatches were sent by expresses to Chester, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Northampton Counties to hasten the march of militia to reinforce Gen. Washington in New Jersey. On the 3d, Council desired the members of Assembly from the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, and Lancaster to recommend immediately in the respective counties, proper persons to be appointed by the board to hire all the wagons in those counties.3 On the 4th, Dr. Robert Harris was paid fifty-eight pounds for making powder at his mills, at Strath-haven, on Crum Creek, and the same day Mr. Towers was ordered to deliver to Dr. Harris a ton of saltpetre and sulphur, in proportion to make gunpowder.4 The same day John Morton was paid £3 6s. for wharfage of the floating-battery “Arnold,” in the preceding March. This, doubtless, must relate to expenses incurred while the war-boats and galleys lay in Darby Creek.

On the 8th of December the American army crossed the river from New Jersey to the west bank, and so eager were the pursuing enemy that they came in sight

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1 Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 4.

2 Ib., p. 23.

3 Ib., p. 28.

4 Ib., p. 30.

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but a few moments after the rear-guard had passed over and destroyed the bridges. The English commander was so assured that the armed resistance of the colonies was virtually at an end, that leave was given Lord Cornwallis to return to England, and he had gone to New York with the intention of embarking for Europe. The hopes of the colonists were overclouded with doubts. The Council, however, hurried forward the raw levies of militia to reinforce the wasted ranks of the Continental army. On December 11th, Col. Evan Evans, of Chester County, was paid £2 9s. 4d. for the transportation of the baggage of his company, as well as £2 0s. 5d. for flints and lead for his battalion. Col. James Moore received one hundred pounds to advance a month’s pay to his battalion,5 and on the 14th, Col. Evans received “1000 dollars to pay his Battalion of Militia a month’s wages advance.”6

On Dec. 11, 1776, Capt. Hammon, of the British vessel-of-war “Roebuck,” landed Davis Bevan and Benjamin Canby at Lewes under parole, with instructions to proceed to Philadelphia and make arrangement for an exchange of prisoners of war. It seems that the schooner “Nancy,” of which vessel Davis Bevan was master, had been captured by the “Roebuck,” and he, Canby, and other Americans, prisoners of war in the hands of the commander of the British vessel, were exchanged Dec. 30, 1776.

The cause of the united colonies seemed, previous to the holidays of 1776, almost beyond hope; only the most patriotic citizens could bear up against the constant reverses which attended the Continental arms, and it is not surprising that less than a week before the brilliant affair at Trenton Col. Francis Johnston, in a letter dated from New London Cross-Road, December 21st, should present the following gloomy picture of the uncertainty that maintained among the inhabitants of Chester County respecting the outcoming of the struggle, and their hesitancy to part with any commodities in exchange for Continental currency. He says, –

“I think it my Duty to inform you of the strange and perverse Change in Politicks which hath taken place through a great part of this County.

“Even some quondam associators, as well as conscientiously scrupulous men, totally refuse to accept Congress money as payment for old Debts, And there are some so maliciously averse to our support of Liberty that they refuse to part with any commodity whatsoever, even the Necessaries of Life, unless they can get hard money or the old paper currency of this Province. Most of the Tavern Keepers who are friends on the Lancaster Road have pull’d down their Signs, & refuse the Soldiery Provisions or drink – they will assign you no reason for such conduct; the reason, however, is too evident, they are afraid to receive Congress Money.”7

Col. Johnston was not only incensed at the conduct of the people of Chester County, but on Jan. 7, 1777, he gave Council to understand that the appointment of junior officers over his “head” was objectionable; particularly the case of Lieut.-Col. Penrose brought

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5 Ib., p. 44.

6 Ib., p. 50.

7 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 100; see also 2d series, vol. i. p. 657. Ib., 1st series, vol. v. p. 125.

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forth his indignation, but his wrath was mollified when, on Feb. 21, 1777, Congress promoted Col. Anthony Wayne to the rank of brigadier-general, and he (Johnston) was made the colonel of the Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, Persifor Frazer its lieutenant-colonel, and Thomas Robinson its major. The term of the Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion had expired on Jan. 5, 1777, but it remained over until January 24th to allow other troops to be enlisted and forwarded to take its place. It is, however, not to be inferred from the foregoing remark that the Fourth Battalion marched away from the field in a body, for the fact is that the greater number of Wayne’s men, being of Irish birth or descent, re-enlisted, under their old officers, in the Fifth Regiment of the Pennsylvania line.1 Those who did not re-enter the service were ordered to Chester, where the battalion was mustered out Feb. 25, 1777. On the same day John Evans, of Chester County, was notified that he had been elected a member of the Council of Safety, the duties of which office he assumed shortly afterwards.

Although early in the year the storm of war, owing to Washington having assumed the offensive, had rolled away from Philadelphia, the Council did not lessen its efforts to place the Continental army in as efficient condition as possible, and to that end, on Jan. 13, 1777, it required the commissioners in the several counties in the State to furnish thirty-eight thousand bushels of horse feed, and of that total, four thousand bushels were required for Chester County. At this time the prevalent idea was that Gen. Howe proposed to make an attempt to capture Philadelphia by water, and this impression was confirmed when, on March 25th, James Molesworth, who bore a lieutenant’s commission from Gen. Howe, was arrested in Philadelphia, charged with attempting to obtain a chevaux-de-frise and two bay pilots, to bring the British fleet up the Delaware. Not only did he attempt to corrupt pilots to that end, but he strove to have accomplices, whose duties it should be to spike the guns at Fort Island (Fort Mifflin), and to destroy the posts and ropes at the ferries. Molesworth was tried by court-martial, on the charge of being a spy, was found guilty, and hung March 31, 1777.2 Previous to his execution he

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1 In Gen. Henry Lee’s “Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department,” vol. ii. p. 203, the personnel of the Pennsylvania Line is thus described: “Wayne had a constitutional attachment to the decision of the sword, and this cast of character had acquired strength from indulgence, as well as from the native temper of the troops he commanded. They were known by the designation of the Line of Pennsylvania, whereas they might hve been with more propriety called the Line of Ireland. Bold and daring, they were impatient and refractory, and would always prefer an appeal to the bayonet to a toilsome march. Restless under the want of food and whiskey: adverse to absence from their baggage, and attached to the pleasures of the table. Wayne and his brigade were more encumbered with wagons than any equal portion of the army. The general and his soldiers were singularly fitted for close and stubborn action, hand to hand, in the centre of the army. Cornwallis, therefore, did not miscalculate when he presumed that the junction of Wayne would increase rather than diminish his chances of bringing his antagonist, Lafayette, to action.”

2 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 282; Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 197.

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made a confession, and accused a number of persons as being implicated in the design to restore the royal authority in Philadelphia. Council hastened its preparation to meet the threatened invasion, and on April 3d a hundred wagons drawn by four horses was called for by the Board of War, to remove public stores from Philadelphia to the west side of the Schuylkill. Col. Caleb Davis, Maj. Evans, Col. William Dewees, and Isaac Webb were designated to hire such wagons in Chester County. On April 21st Council instructed the committees of the counties of Bucks, Philadelphia, and Chester “to take an Inventory of all the Flour, Wheat, Rye, and Indian Corn, Oats, Beef, Pork, Horses, Neat Cattle, Sheep, Hogs, &c., also Wagons, Carts, &c.,” in each county, and make return as quickly as possible, so that in the event of sudden alarm the provender and live stock might be removed to a place of safety. This was the ostensible reason for this order, but in all probability the purpose was to ascertain how much and where located were the articles enumerated, so that, if necessary, they might be impressed for the use of the American army.

Robert Smith had been appointed lieutenant of Chester County on March 12, 1777, which office gave him the rank of colonel, and devolved on him the duties of raising, arming, and provisioning the military contingent in his district, and preparing the troops when called into service. They remained under his command until ordered to take the field. On April 12th, Col. Smith reported that Chester County then contained five thousand men capable of bearing arms, and he promised to use his utmost exertions to get his contingent in the greatest possible state of forwardness.3 On April 24th, Congress requested that three thousand of the militia of Pennsylvania, exclusive of the militia of the city of Philadelphia, should be called, one-half of the “troops to rendezvous at Chester, on the Delaware.” The following day Council ordered the lieutenants in the several counties to furnish men, although the number from Chester County was not designated. Each man was to be provided with a blanket, which was to be purchased; if that could not be done blankets were to be impressed, but in a way that should give the least offense to the public. The troops from the

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3 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. iv. p. 84; “The onerous duties of his office were discharged in an active, untiring, self-sacrificing spirit, and much of his property melted away during the war, partly from direct gifts to the army and to the needy families of the soldiers, and partly because his public duties gave him no time to attend to his private business. On one occasion when foragers were sent into Uwchlan to procure supplies for the famishing army at Valley Forge, Col. Smith assisting to load corn from his own stores into the wagon, was urged by his wife to keep enough to subsist his own family through the winter. He replied, saying that the soldiers’ needs were greater than their own, and continued his work till the wagons were filled and his granary was almost empty. He spoke with feeling in his latter life of taking, on another occasion, unthreshed wheat to Valley Forge, and being met on his arrival at the edge of the encampment by numbers of hungry men, who seized the sheaves and mitigated the pangs of hunger by eating the grains, which they rubbed out with their hands.” Ib., p. 85.

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counties of Chester, Lancaster, and York were ordered to form a camp “at or near Chester.”1 Col. Smith acted promptly, as did the other counties’ lieutenants, for May 30th Council notified Congress that the militia called out by the recommendation of that body was encamped at the places named, part of the troops being already there and the remainder preparing to march; that as Council had but few arms fit for service, Congress was requested to furnish arms, tents, and camp equipage. On June 11th, Benjamin Brannon, sub-lieutenant of the county of Chester, applied to Council for a cannon, that several companies of artillery had been formed in the county, hence he desired that the men might practice with the gun, and to that end also asked for a few pounds of powder. On the 14th, Council ordered that the first class of militia should be immediately forwarded to camp, and the second class be ordered to march, and the third class be held in readiness to move on short notice. The same day Col. Robert Smith received one thousand pounds to equip the militia of Chester County, and he was also instructed to send to Philadelphia thirty wagons. This activity was due to the intelligence Congress had received that Gen. Howe proposed marching to and reducing Philadelphia. When the British army, on June 13th, actually made an advance in two columns from Brunswick, the news was dispatched by Washington to Congress, and being received the neat day, prompt measures were taken to meet the threatened attack. On the 17th, Lewis Granow, sub-lieutenant of Chester County, received four thousand dollars to purchase substitutes, blanket, etc., and on the 20th four hundred stand of arms was delivered to Col. Smith. The next day he received a like number each of canteens, knapsacks, primingwires, brushes, and cartouch-boxes. John Beaton way appointed paymaster of the Chester County militia. On the 21st two thousand dollars were appropriated for paying substitutes in Chester County, and on the 24th a like sum for the same purpose. On July 12th Col. Smith reported that notwithstanding repeated orders only three hundred and twenty men of the Chester County militia had arrived at Chester, and two hundred of these were substitutes. Col. John Hannum was then commanding officer at that station. The alarm having passed away on the return of the British army to Brunswick on the 25th, Council, considering “the extreme inconveniency arising from the march of the militia in the time of Harvest,” countermanded the order for the levies to go to camp, but instructed the lieutenants of the counties of Philadelphia and Chester that it was unnecessary to move the second class of militia, but that it should be held in readiness to march at the shortest notice. On July 9th, Council requested the magistrates of the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, and Bucks to return the names of persons well qualified to take an

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 321.

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account of all flour, wheat, grain, and other stores in the several counties, so that it might be removed “in case the Enemy’s movements should make it necessary,” and on the 29th Council appointed John Pearson, Nicholas Deihl, Isaac Hendrickson, Isaac Serrill, Harvey Lear, and Jacob Richards, to be added to a committee consisting of Samuel Levis, William Kerlin, and Sketchley Morton, which had been appointed to drive off the stock in the county of Chester on the approach of the British forces. On July 20, 1777, Congress received information that a British fleet of one hundred and sixty sail was in the Narrows, on the way to Sandy Hook. On the 22d, Washington, perplexed as to the destination of Howe, requested that trustworthy persons should be stationed at the Capes of the Delaware to give prompt notice if the fleet should appear in that quarter. In the early morning of July 23d the expedition sailed, but owing to light winds and fog the fleet did not get in sight of the Capes until the 30th, when expresses from both Cape May and Lewes were sent to Council apprising that body that the fleet of two hundred and twenty-eight vessels was in sight. Gen. Mifflin was at the time in Chester, for he signed for and indorsed the time of departure from that place on the dispatch from Lewes. Late on the 31st the hostile vessels bore away to the southward. Gen. Howe, in his narrative, states, “that finding it hazardous to sail up the Delaware, he agreed with the admiral to go to Chesapeake Bay, a plan which had been preconcerted in the event of a landing in the Delaware proving upon our arrival there ineligible.”2

On July 9th, Gen. Washington had requested Council to have a plan of the shore of the Delaware River made, and on the 18th that body notified the commander-in-chief that General Du Coudray had produced a plan of a fortification to be erected at Billingsport to prevent the enemy removing the chevaux-de-frise at that place, and the chart would be made of the shore of the river as soon as proper surveyors could be procured. On the 24th the “proper surveyors” were procured, for four persons were directed to make “A Survey of the Shore of the River Delaware and of the land for about four miles to the Westward, taking in the Great Road leading to the Southward, when they may extend further than that distance from the river, and remarking the several places where an enemy may land and the kind of ground adjoining, whether marshy, hilly, open, or covered with woods, and when there are several heights near each other remark’g their altitudes and distances apart, remarking particularly the several Creeks and streams of water as high up, at least, as the tide flows, and the places where they may be

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2 George H. Moore, a gentleman whose assertion on any historical topic is always worthy of consideration, states in his work, “The Treason of Charles Lee,” that this movement was made by Gen. Howe at the treasonable suggestion of Gen. Lee, the English soldier who had received so many honors at the hands of the American Congress.

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forded or passed by bridges. Where there are Swamps near the river, or roads, not’g particularly their kinds & size nearly. Passes of difficulty to an army to be accurately surveyed and well described.”

Nathan Sellers was directed to make the survey from the Schuylkill River to Christiana Creek, which included all the territory now Delaware County, in which duty he was enjoined to use secrecy and dispatch.

When the news of the arrival of the British fleet at the cape of the Delaware was received, Council prepared to meet the threatening attack, and as many of the militia were without guns, it was ordered that those persons who had not taken the oath of allegiance to the colonies should immediately be disarmed, “and their arms made use of by those who are willing to risk their lives to defend their liberties and property.”1 On August 1st the justices of Cheater County returned the names of a number of citizens in the county who were, in their opinion, proper persons to take an account of the grain and other stores within twenty miles distant westward from the river Delaware, and also persons to provide for the poor who might be compelled to leave Philadelphia in the event of an attack on that city by the British forces. The major part, if not all, of the persons thus suggested resided without the present county of Delaware.

Washington was at this time in Philadelphia, and on August 1st, in company with Lafayette, – whom the commander-in-chief had met for the first time the day previous at a dinner-party, – he inspected the fortifications on the Delaware River,2 and proceeded as far as Chester, from which place Washington, on the date just mentioned, addressed a letter to Gen. Putnam.3

On Aug. 14, 1777, Col. Galbraith wrote from Lancaster that he had dispatched nearly one thousand militia on foot for the camp at Chester, but they had neither arms, accoutrements, camp-kettles, etc., – nothing except blankets.4 Two days subsequently, John Evans, member of Council, wrote from Chester that about one thousand militia was assembled at that place from Berks County, part of two classes; from Cumberland one company, and part of two companies from Lancaster; the Chester County class “was about half completed, and when completed” would have arms sufficient for their own use, but several companies from other counties must be supplied. The quartermaster report, he says, “that it will be difficult to find shelter for any more troops at this place, all the empty houses being now occupied.5 The next day, Col. Jacob Morgan wrote from Reading that the greater part of the twelve companies from Berks County – two battalions under Cols. Daniel Hunter

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 472.

2 Sparks’ “Life of Washington,” p. 232.

3 Sparks’ “Correspondence of Washington,” vol. v. p. 2.

4 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 521.

5 Ib., p. 529.

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and Daniel Udree, comprising six hundred and fifty-six men – had marched for Chester, and by that time were doubtless at that place.6 On the 18th, Col. Benjamin Galbraith notified Council that the third class of Lancaster County had marched to Cheater, and requested that commissions for the officers of the three classes of militia from that county be sent there.7

In the mean while no further intelligence being received of the movements of the British fleet, the opinion became general that one of the Southern seaports was the point of destination, and as the expense of massing the militia bore heavily on the indigent commonwealth, on Aug. 20, 1777, Council called the attention of the Pennsylvania delegation in Congress to the fact that the militia called into service had encamped at Chester, and were still reporting there; that as it was the season for sowing winter wheat, on which the country largely depended, it would be a relief to industrious people if public affairs would permit the discharge of part of the militia at Chester, “particularly as they were deficient in arms and blankets and wholly unprovided with tents.”8

The following day a dispatch was received in Philadelphia, stating that on the night of the 14th instant the British fleet had been seen standing in between the Capes of Chesapeake Bay. Washington, who was restless in his encampment on the Neshaminy, had that very day apprised Congress that be would move his army to the Delaware the next morning, proposing to march thence to the Hudson River, which proposition on his part, notwithstanding the reported news from the fleet, was approved by Congress. The commander-in-chief, however, determined to halt until further intelligence was received, which came the next day confirmatory of the enemy’s presence in Chesapeake Bay. Washington at once ordered Gen. Nash, then at Trenton, N. J., to embark his brigade and Col. Proctor’s corps of artillery, if vessels could be procured for the purpose, and proceed to Chester; or, if vessels could not be had, to hasten towards that place by land with all possible speed.9 On the 23d the Continental army broke camp and moved for Philadelphia, through which city it passed early the next day, August 24th (Sunday), marching down Front Street to Chestnut, and up Chestnut to the Middle Ferry, Washington himself riding at the head of the column and Lafayette at his side. That evening the army encamped in and about Chester, and the next evening (the 25th) they reached Wilmington.10 On the

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6 Ib., p. 530.

7 Ib., p. 532.

8 Ib., p. 536.

9 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. i. p. 282.

10 “Washington’s Encampment on the Neshaminy,” by William J. Buck; Penna. Mag. of Hist., Vol. i. p. 284. Irving says, in speaking of the 25th of August, “The divisions of Gens. Greene and Stephen were within a few miles of Wilmington; orders were sent for them to march thither immediately. The two other divisions, which had halted at Chester to refresh, were to hurry forward.” – Irving’s “Life of Washington,” Riverside edition, vol. iii. p.205. In Townsend Ward’s most interesting “Walk to Darby” (Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol.iii. p. 262) it is

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morning of that day the British army landed at the head of Elk,1 or, rather, some distance above the mouth of the Elk River.2

The effect of the news of the approach of Gen. Howe’s expedition aroused Congress and Council to renewed exertion. The former, on August 22d, requested the State of Pennsylvania to keep four thousand militia in readiness to assist in repelling the threatened attack. The following day Council ordered Col. Henry, of the city and liberties of Philadelphia, to complete the third class of Philadelphia militia, which was ordered to march to Downingtown, while the artillery of the same locality was to assemble in numbers equal to three-eighths of the whole corps, which (with cannon) were ordered one-half to Chester and the other half to Downingtown, there to await the commands of Washington. Maj.-Gen. John Armstrong, the veteran Indian fighter, was placed in command of the forces at Chester. On the 26th Deputy Wagonmaster-Gen. Thomas Hale applied to Council for wagons for Gen. Nash’s brigade, and the justices of Chester County were ordered to furnish seven wagons, which, if not immediately forthcoming, were to be impressed. The following day the justices were required to send to Philadelphia twenty-five wagons.

On August 29th Gen. Armstrong wrote from Chester stating that matters there had “been that of a chaos, a situation more easy to conceive than describe.” He had, however, forwarded at least eighteen hundred men, and also, in concert with Gen. Potter, he had formed a rifle regiment of three hundred men, had given Col. Dunlap, who was “not unacquainted with the business of a Partisan,” command of it, and it would march to Marcus Hook the next day. The three hundred men, as well as the one hundred and sixty which he would send to Wilmington that day, were not included in the number he had mentioned as already forwarded to Washington’s army. He stated that the want of arms was the “great complaint at a crisis like this.”3 On August 31st Council authorized Gen. Armstrong to buy blankets for the use of the troops, but if purchasing was impracticable to make as equal and moderate a levy of blankets as circumstances would permit upon the inhabitants of Chester County, “confining the same to persons who refuse to bear arms or take an active part in the defence of their bleeding country, now invaded by a

said, “It was here, along the higher ground on the left bank of the Kakari Konk (Cobb’s Creek), that Washington, when moving towards the field of Brandywine, was forced, by rains so heavy as to swell the stream almost beyond precedent, to remain three days inactive.” Did not the incident thus described occur when the army was moving southward to meet Cornwallis in Virginia?

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1 “Journal of Capt. John Montressor,” Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. v. p. 409. There is an error in the day of the week on which the landing was made, as recorded in the journal. Capt. Montressor notes Aug. 25, 1777, as falling on Sunday, while the minutes of the Supreme Executive Council record Saturday as Aug. 23, 1777.

2 Johnson’s “History of Cecil County, Md.,” p. 327.

3 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 563.

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cruel enemy.” He was instructed to employ proper and discreet persons to make the levy, to appraise the blankets, certify the number and value of the articles, from whom taken, as well as the townships wherein the levies were made. The general was recommended to keep account of the blankets collected that they might be returned to the militia, so that the troops subsequently called into service could be supplied therewith.4

The two days immediately succeeding the landing of the British at Elk were stormy, with lightning and thunder, which delayed the advance of their army. On the morning of October 27th, two divisions of light infantry, under Howe, moved forward, and the army of invasion thus began its march in the direction of the city of Philadelphia. The lines of the royal troops, who had proceeded slowly and cautiously on Wednesday, the 3d day of September, extended from Aikentown (now Glasgow) to a point some distance northwest of the Baptist Church on Iron Hill, in Pencader Hundred, Del., when at the latter place their vanguard was encountered by Gen. Maxwell’s brigade, consisting of a detachment of Continental and the Maryland and Delaware militia. An English officer records, “The Rebels began to attack us about nine o’clock with a continued smart irregular fire for near two miles.”5 The American sharpshooters as usual did good service, but being inferior in number and without artillery, were pushed backward and finally compelled to retreat across White Clay Creek with a loss of forty killed and wounded. The English claimed that their loss was three killed and twenty wounded,6 but a woman who the following day had been in the British camp declared she saw nine wagonloads of wounded brought in.

On September 1st, Gen. Armstrong had forwarded almost all the troops at Chester to Washington’s command, and proposed following them himself the next day after he had adjusted some matters requiring his personal supervision.

Three days later Council wrote to Gen. Armstrong stating that a part of the militia of Chester belonging to a class which had not been called into service had formed themselves into companies and had applied for ammunition and rations at headquarters, and had been refused. Council was willing to encourage those people “at this juncture,” and if they could be of use in the field, would “consider their two months service at this time as if they had served in future classes.” These men were from the southern part of Chester County, and Col. Smith the same day was directed to extend the like terms “to all other volunteers that may go forth in this common cause, they first accommodating their services to the ideas of Gen. A.”

On September 5th the American army was encamped

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4 Colonial Records, vol. ix. p. 285.

5 Capt. Montressor’s Journal, Penna. Mag of History, vol. v. p. 412.

6 Ib., p. 413.

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on the east side of Red Clay Creek, and all the troops in Wilmington were ordered to march to Newport, excepting Gen. Irwin’s brigade, which was to remain in Wilmington, at work on the intrenchments at that place. “The enemy,” writes Gen. Armstrong, “as far as we yet learn, appear to spread over some considerable apace of Country, but in a detached way from Couches Mills to some part of Nottingham.”1 The same day the Navy Board recommended to Council that as there were reasons to believe that some vessels of the English fleet would attempt to approach the city, a certain number of persons should be assigned to flood Hog Island, and that ninety or one hundred men should garrison the fort at Darby Creek. Council requested the Navy Board to see to the flooding of the Island, and ordered a company of artillery and a company of “Musqueters,” under the command of Col. Jehu Eyre, to the works at Darby Creek.

Congress having recommended, on September 5th, a call for five thousand militia of Pennsylvania, the following day Council directed the several lieutenants of the counties to order the militia to immediately march to Darby, where they were “to rendezvous on the heights,” and to “appear with what arms they have, or can procure, and otherwise equipped in the best manner they may be able.” These equipments, including blankets, Council assured the troops, would be paid for by the State in the event of their being “taken by the enemy or otherwise unavoidably lost.”2 This call for militia only included those of the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, York, Cumberland, and Northumberland.3 Why Lancaster was omitted does not appear on the records of the Executive Council.

We also learn from the journal of Capt. Montressor, chief engineer of the British army, that three fugitives came into Howe’s camp on the 5th of September and reported that Gens. Mifflin and Cadwallader were, “with what militia they have and can collect, at Chester, with an intention to harass our rear.”4

Deputy Quartermaster-General Mifflin, on September 7th, wrote to Council from Newport, stating that the English army had disencumbered itself of all heavy baggage, and was then in light marching order. Washington, thereupon, had directed all baggage, excepting blankets and “a few small clothes,” to be sent away from the army, and for that purpose Quartermaster Mifflin desired a hundred wagons be at once ordered to headquarters. These teams were “to be placed in the rear of the divisions, and immediately on an alarm the tents and small packs left with the men were to be sent over Brandywine.” The following day Council directed one hundred wagons from Berks, and a like number from Lancaster County, to report to Mifflin.

Gen. Armstrong, on the 8th, stated that the night

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 587.

2 Ib., p. 592.

3 Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 293.

4 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. v. p. 414.

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previous he had told Washington that in his opinion Howe’s intention was to re-embark on the Delaware, cross to the New Jersey side, march up to the “Shevar de frize,” clear the way for the fleet, and then bombard Philadelphia. He, therefore, was urgent for an attack on Howe in his camp.5 The commander-in-chief, however, had strengthened his position, intending to offer battle on Red Clay Creek, but on the very day on which Gen. Armstrong wrote to Council, Howe advanced in two columns, one as if threatening an immediate attack, while the other, extending its left, halted at Milltown. At once Washington detected the intention of the British general, which was to march by his right, throw his army suddenly across the Brandywine, occupy the heights on the north of that creek, and thus cut the Continental arms absolutely off from communication with Philadelphia. Had Howe succeeded in that movement it is not probable that anything other than the total surrender of the American forces could have followed its consummation. That evening Washington held a council of war, at which it was decided at once to change position. At two o’clock in the morning the army was on the march, and had already crossed the Brandywine. On Tuesday afternoon, September 9th, in pursuance of the enemy’s plan, Lieut.-Gen. Knyphausen, with the Third Division and two British brigades, marched for Kennett Square via New Garden. That afternoon, at half-past five o’clock, Gen. Howe ascertained that Washington had “evacuated Newport and Wilmington, and had taken post at Chad’s Ford on the Brandywine Creek.”6 Washington having moved almost due north from Newport on the afternoon of the 9th, was intrenched on the high ground immediately north of the present Chad’s Ford Hotel. During the night of the 10th, Maxwell’s Light Infantry, which had the advanced posts, dug intrenchments on the west side, covering the approaches to the ford, and at this point Washington decided to deliver battle in defense of Philadelphia.

Chapter

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(continued)

CHAPTER VII

THE REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE TO THE BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE

The thoughtful men of that period who stopped in the midst of the popular clamor to consider the probable termination of the controversy between the mother-country and her colonies began to be alarmed at the excited temper of the public mind in both hemispheres, hence many of those persons who had been prominent in advising resistance to the arbitrary acts of Parliament, now when their reason taught them that the absolute overthrow of the power of Great Britain in the provinces, or the abject submission of the colonies, could alone set at rest the long dispute, hesitated, some retraced their steps, casting their lots with the established authority; others, shrinking from public view, ceased to be active on either side; while yet others, believing that

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man, mentally and socially, was but partially developed, picturing to themselves the possibilities of a free representative government, comprehending fully the lesson of the hour, braved the issue, and boldly advocated the adoption of a then untried Utopian scheme. The great mass of the people — the majority uneducated — drifted with the day until events made them bitter partisans either for crown or Congress. When sides became radical, as a general rule, the wealthy and cultured few, afraid of change, were loyalists, while the middle classes and the poor were Whigs.

The direct result of the meeting of the Continental Congress of 1774 was to intensify the feeling of the masses in opposition to the ministerial powers, the address issued by that body being so calm and dispassionate, but so convincing, that it found ready response in popular approval. Especially was this true of the resolution that all importations of English goods should be prohibited, and that no articles should be exported from the colonies to Great Britain after December, 1776, unless before that time Parliament had removed the obnoxious law against which the people in America complained. In all parts of the colonies meetings were held to ratify and carry into execution the association recommended by Congress, and on Dec. 20, 1774, “a very respectable number of the inhabitants of the County of Chester convened at the Court-house in the Borough of Chester,” at which the following persons were named as a committee to act for the county to that end, viz. : Anthony Wayne, Francis Johnston, Richard Riley, Evan Evans, and James Moore, Esqs.; Hugh Lloyd, Thomas Hockley, David Coupland, John Hart, Sketchley Morton, Samuel Fairlamb, David Coupland, John Crosby, Nicholas Diehl, Jesse Bonsall, Aaron Oakford, Benjamin Brannan, John Talbot, Joseph Brown, Samuel Price, John Crawford, John Taylor, Lewis Gronow, Edward Humphreys, Henry Lawrence, Richard Thomas, William Montgomery, Persifor Frazer, Thomas Taylor, John Foulke, Robert Mendenhall, Joseph Pennell, George Pierce, Nicholas Fairlamb, Samuel Trimble, Charles Dilworth, John Hannum, George Hoops, Joel Bailey, John Gilliland, Joseph Bishop, Jr., John Kerlin, Edward Jones, William Lewis, Patrick Anderson, Joshua Evans, Thomas Hartman, Dr. Branson van Leer, William Evans, Joseph Cowan, Thomas Haslep, Patterson Bell, Dr. Jonathan Morris, Andrew Mitchell, Thomas Buffington, James Bennett, Joseph Musgrave, William Miller, Richard Flower, Walter Finney, James Simpson, David Wherry, James Evans, Thomas Bishop, William Edwards, Jonathan Vernon, Jr., Lewis Davis, Sr., Joseph Gibbons, Jr., and Thomas Evans; which committee were “to be and continue from this time until one month after the rising of the next Continental Congress, with full power to transact such business, and enter into such associations as to them shall appear expedient.”

Immediately after the committee had been selected
that body organized by the appointment of Anthony Wayne, chairman, and Francis Johnston, secretary. The following resolutions were then unanimously adopted:

“1st. That any twelve or more of the said Committee, meeting upon due notice, be empowered to enter upon and transact all such business as shall come under their consideration; provided, the majority agreeing shall not be less than twelve.

“2d. That the present unhappy situation of public affairs in general, and of this province in particular, readers it highly necessary that a Provincial Convention should be hold as soon as possible, for which purpose twelve persons shall be appointed out of the said committee as delegates to attend the said Convention, at such time and place as shall be generally agreed on.”

As there were no further matters requiring immediate attention, after the delegation of twelve to the Provincial Convention had been named, the committee adjourned to meet on Jan. 9, 1775, at the house of David Coupland in the borough of Chester.

In the mean while, in furtherance of the resolutions passed by the convention of the people of Chester County, held on July 15th, heretofore mentioned, as well as the similar resolution adopted by Congress, calling on the other colonies to aid with contributions the necessities of the inhabitants of Massachusetts, so long as the enforcement of the Boston Port Bill rendered such assistance needful, the people of Chester County made generous contributions to the fund. Dr. Smith shows that the purse-strings of Friends were unloosened liberally to this end. “Chester monthly meeting contributed £70 for the relief of Necessitous inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay and Provinces adjacent. Darby meeting paid £33 14s. for the relief of the poor and distressed in New England, while Haverford meeting responded to the request of the meeting for suffering, ‘that Friends should contribute liberally for the relief of friends or others (in the New England Government), who are or may be reduced to indigent circumstances in this time of public calamity, and in a short time had the satisfaction to receive an affecting account of the state of the poor of these provinces, and of the distribution of the donations sent from hence.'”1

On Jan. 23, 1775, the Provincial Convention assembled at Philadelphia, and continued in session for six days. Chester County was represented in that body by Anthony Wayne, Hugh Lloyd, Richard Thomas, Francis Johnston, Samuel Fairlamb, Lewis Davis, William Montgomery, Joseph Musgrave, Joshua Evans, and Persifor Frazer. Thomas Hockley and Thomas Taylor, who had been appointed delegates, failed to attend. The proceedings of this body show that the men who composed it had carefully weighed the means necessary to build up and sustain a nation, while at the same time they comprehended that slavery, which then existed throughout the colonies, — largely due to the fact that Great Britain had always interdicted any restriction in the traffic, — was an ob-

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1 Dr. Smith’s “History of Delaware County,” p. 282.

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stacle which intruded itself in carrying out the idea of a free constitutional government, and should be done away with. Hence, to that end they resolved that the members of the General Assembly should be urged to pass a law prohibiting the future importation of slaves into the province.

On March 20th a meeting of the committee of Chester County was held at the house of Richard Cheyney, in East Calm, where Messrs. Hockley, Johnston, Gronow, Lloyd, Frazer, Moore, and Taylor were appointed a committee to draft a petition to the Assembly, “with regard to the manumission of slaves, especially relating to the freedom of infants hereafter born of black women within this Colony,” and report at the following meeting, while each committeeman was instructed to “use his utmost diligence in collecting the several sums of money subscribed for the use of Boston, and pay the same” to Anthony Wayne, “treasurer,” at the next meeting, after which the committee adjourned to meet on Wednesday, May 31st, at the house of David Coupland. But before that date had come, the reverberation of the musketry volleys at Lexington and Concord had stirred the blood of the Whigs throughout the colonies, and nothing was considered but how preparation should be made to meet the storm which had now broken on the country. Hence, in Chester County the committee met at an earlier day than that named when they adjourned in March, and published the following extract from the proceedings then had:

“In Committee, Chester, May 22, 1775.

“WHEREAS, it appears very necessary in order to avert the evils and calamities which threaten our devoted country, to embody ourselves and make all the military preparation in our power; and it appears absolutely impossible to carry this laudable design into execution without observing the greatest order, harmony, and concord not only under the laws of civil government, but also while under arms and in actual duty, we therefore unanimously recommend the following Association, to be entered into by the good people of this County:

“We, the subscribers, do most solemnly resolve, promise, and engage under the sacred ties of honor, virtue, and love to our country, that we will use our utmost endeavors to learn the military exercise and promote harmony and unanimity in our respective companies; that we will strictly adhere to the rules of decency during duty; that we will pay a due regard to our officers; that we will, when called upon, support with our utmost abilities the civil magistrate in the execution of the laws for the good of our country, and that we will at all times be in readiness to defend the lives, liberties, and properties of ourselves and fellow-countrymen against all attempts to deprive us of them.

“Extract from the minutes.
“By order of the Committee,
“Francis Johnston, Sec’y.”

The enlistment of soldiers was at once begun, for on June 29, 1775, at a meeting of several officers of the militia of Chester County, it was determined that for the better regulation of the military in this district it was advisable that a meeting of all the officers in the companies should be held at the public-house of Richard Cheyney, in East Calm, on the 21st day of July next, the day immediately after the Continental Fair, at which meeting it was proposed to divide the county into the most proper and convenient military districts, to form several battalions, and to elect field-officers. The next day, June 30th, the Assembly by resolution recommended to the boards of commissioners in all the counties in the province, “as they regard the Freedom, Welfare, and safety of their County immediately to provide a proper number of good new Firelocks with Baynets fitted to them, Cartridge Boxes with Twenty-three Rounds of Cartridges in each box and Knapsacks,” and in the apportionment five hundred of each of these equipments was the number the county of Chester was directed to procure.1 By the same act the Assembly appointed a Committee of Safety, consisting of twenty-four members, those named from Chester County being Anthony Wayne, Benjamin Bartholomew. Francis Johnston, and Richard Riley, only the latter residing within the territory now comprising Delaware County. On July 10th, for the first time, was any of the committee from Chester County present at the meetings of the body, and on that occasion Francis Johnston and Anthony Wayne both took part in the proceedings.

In a letter dated at Philadelphia, July 10, 1775,2 the writer says, “Travel through whatever part of this country you will, you see the inhabitants training, making fire-locks, casting mortars, shells, and shots, and making saltpetre, in order to keep the gunpowder-mills at work during the next autumn and summer. Nothing, indeed, is attended to but preparing to make a defence that will astonish the whole world.”

On July 17th the Committee of Safety determined that eight good rifles should be assigned to each boat now building, a part of which were to be put into the hands of such men as Capt. Francis, of Philadelphia, and Col. Wayne, of Chester County, should engage to go as minute-men on the boats when required. At this time Wayne was colonel of militia only. The same day the committee requested “the good women” of the province to supply their family doctors “with as much scraped Lint & old Linen for bandages as they can conveniently furnish, that the same may be ready for the service of those that shall happen to be wounded in the defence of the country.”

Considerable apprehension having been aroused among the members of the Society of Friends as to their position amid all this din and clash of approaching war, Congress, on July 18, 1775, by a resolution to those people “who from Religious Principles cannot bear Arms in any Cause, this Congress intends no Violence to their Conscience, but earnestly recommend it to them to Contribute Liberally in this time of universal calamity to the relief of their distressed brethren in the several colonies, and to do all other services to their oppressed country which they can consistently with their Religious principles.”

The allusion to riflemen to be placed on the boats, who were to be men selected by Capt. Francis and Col.

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 279.

2 Hazard’s Register, vol. iii. p. 248.

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Wayne, related to the defense of Philadelphia from a threatened attack by British vessels of war; hence a brief account of those defenses, so far as they refer to the history of Delaware County, should not be omitted from this work.

The obstructing of the Delaware River by vaisseaux-de-frise was the suggestion of Dr. Franklin, who also strongly urged the building of galleys, — vessels of considerable size, propelled by oars, and intended to be armed with heavy guns, besides carrying a number of marines, — as well as locating fortifications at certain places on the banks. The chevaux-de-frise, as the obstructions were popularly termed, consisted of large frames of timber, filled in with stones to cause them to sink, and from these frames huge beams shod with iron extended to the surface of the water. So energetically did Franklin labor, that although be had returned, May 5, 1775, after many years’ absence in Europe, in four months he had three rows of these obstructions laid, the fort at Red Bank completed, and seven of the galleys afloat. One of the rows of vaisseaux-de-frise was sunk within the territory now of Delaware County, and extended across the main channel of the Delaware, opposite the upper end of Hog Island, and a mile and a quarter below Red Bank. Subsequently a row was laid to Billingsport, N.J. On Sept. 13, 1775, Richard Riley, from Marcus Hook, wrote to George Gray,1 of the Committee of Safety, arguing that, as the provincial galleys would soon be finished, the entire fleet, in his opinion, should be stationed at the boundary of the province on the river, below the “shiver de fress’s,” and then, if they — the boats — “are any Protection, every Person above them will Receive a Benefit;” that as there was a large island opposite Marcus Hook, it would afford a harbor to the galleys; while if the fleet was stationed above the obstructions at the forts, “Chester and Marcushook may be reduced to ashes before any Relief can be obtained, which would be a Considerable Loss, as all the Records & other public papers of the county is their.” This matter of the defenses at Marcus Hook seems to have been presented to Council; for on Nov. 16, 1775, it was resolved “that two tier of Chivaux de Frize be sunk, for the further Security of this province, in the Channel opposite or near to Marcus Hook.”2 That this resolution as to locating obstructions at Marcus Hook was never carried into effect is apparent. for the proceedings of the Committee of Safety show that on Jan. 18, 1776, Col. Wayne states to the committee that as large vessels must come within musket-shot of the shore at and near Marcus Hook, in his opinion “a Line or two of Chevaux de Frize placed there would be of considerable Service. The Shore near this narrow channel is nearly as high as Red Bank, and a battery of Cannon there would greatly annoy an Enemy.”3 On Feb. 15, 1776, Richard Riley again

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1 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 550.

2 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 404.

3 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 471.

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wrote to George Gray,4 calling attention to the exposed condition of Marcus Hook, where, should the enemy come up the river, they would certainly land. He therefore urged erection of a battery on the shore, or the stationing of a floating one there, together with one or two companies of riflemen, to protect that part of the province, “now Intirely exposed, without the least defence or the least means for defence, being without Battery, arms, or ammunition, & of course, if left to continue, will be obliged to abandon their Habitations.” In addition, as confirmatory proof that the obstructions did not extend below Chester, as late as July 24, 1777, Council ordered that before a master of a vessel could obtain an order for a “Chevax De Frize Pilot” he was compelled to swear that he would not permit such pilot to remain on the vessel from “the time she leaves the town of Chester.”5 The purpose of this order was to prevent any person knowing the unobstructed channel from getting access to British vessels, and for a reward imparting that knowledge to the enemy.

Early in the fall of the year the galleys were ready, as already stated, and, on Sept. 22, 1775, the Committee of Safety appointed Capt. John Moulder, of Marcus Hook, commander of the armed boat “Hancock;” but the latter, on the 10th of October following, notified the committee that he declined to act in that capacity.

The Committee of Chester County seems to have had no meetings during the summer, but in pursuance of a notice of the chairman, Wayne, they met on Monday morning, September 25th, at the Turk’s Head Tavern, — now West Chester, — at which time the board of commissioners and assessors of the county were present. At this meeting the following disclaimer of all treasonable intentions on the part of the colonies was adopted and published in the Philadelphia newspapers of that day. The ignorance displayed in that resolution of the tendency of public affairs might be pardoned in Wayne, who was an admirable soldier but a wretched politician; but the committee certainly had among its members some men who could read the signs of the times better than to have issued such a document as that, particularly when it was known that statesmen like John Adams were openly advocating the independency of the colonies. The disclaimer was as follows:

“Whereas some persons, evidently inimical to the liberty of America, have industriously propagated a report, that the military associators of this County, in conjunction with the military associators in general, in

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4 Ib., p. 372.

5 Ib., 501. Nearly two years before the order, Nov. 7, 1775, the Committee of Safety had ordered that five of the ten licensed pilots should be in readiness at Philadelphia to carry vessels down to Chester, and, having performed that service, were immediately to return by land or in skifts to the city. The other five were to be at Chester to bring vessels up the river, and are, immediately after piloting the vessel, to return to Chester by skift or land. In Chester the pilots were directed to be at the house of Mrs. Withy, to receive applications from owners or masters of vessels, every day from 10 to 1 o’clock, and none are to be absent except when on duty. — Colonial Records vol.x. p. 396.

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tend to overturn the Constitution, by declaring an Independency in the execution of which they are aided by this Committee and the board of Commissioners and Assessors with the arms now making for this County; and as such report could not originate but among the worst of men for the worst of purposes, — This Committee have therefore thought proper to declare, and they hereby do declare, their abhorrence even of an idea so pernicious in its nature; as they ardently wish for nothing more than a happy and speedy reconciliation, on constitutional principles, with that state from whom they derive their origin.

“By order of the Committee.

“ANTHONY WAYNE, Chairman.”

The committee, after adopting the foregoing document providing for an election by the people in the several townships on the 11th day of October following, for persons to serve on the committee for Chester County for the ensuing year, then adjourned to meet in the borough of Chester on that date. The next day, September 26th, the Council of Safety directed that an order for five hundred pounds should be drawn in favor of Chester County, the money to be expended in the purchase of arms and other munitions of war.

The Assembly, Oct. 19, 1775, reappointed the then Committee of Safety, and added new members thereto. So far as Chester County was concerned, the representation remained unchanged, excepting that it was increased by the appointment of Nicholas Fairlamb,1 the latter a resident of the present county of Delaware.

The new committee of the county of Chester which had been selected on October 2d, by which some slight change was made in the personnel of that body, met shortly afterwards, and gave official publication to the following proceedings:

“Chester, Oct. 23rd, 1775.

“Pursuant to public notice given, the Committee met at the house of David Coupland, in the borough of Chester. On motion ordered, that each member of this Committee do immediately make return to the Chairman, of the quantity of Powder which he already has or may collect within his district, together with the price and the name of the owner thereof, that the some may be paid for.

“On motion resolved, that Anthony Wayne, Francis Johnston, and Elisha Price Esqrs., Mr. Richardson, Mr. Knowles, Mr. Lloyd, and Mr. Brannan, be and they are hereby appointed a Committee of Correspondence for this County.

“By order of the Committee.

“Francis Johnston, Sec’y.”

It may be doubted whether any of the muskets ordered for Chester County were delivered until this month, for on October 6th, Mr. Dunwicke, a gunsmith, “now employed in making the Provincial Muskets for Chester County,” asked Council for an order on the commissary for two pounds of powder, “to prove some of them now ready.” Which request was granted, and the commissary ordered to be present when the firearms were tried.2

The necessity for a more thorough organization in the several counties became so apparent that the Assembly, on Nov. 25, 1775, adopted rules and regulations to that end, and at the meeting of the committee of Chester County, on December 26th, that body re-

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. pp. 373-74.

2 Ib., 356.

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organized in conformity with the suggestions of the Legislature. At the same meeting the committee

“Resolved, that Anthony Wayne, James Moore, Francis Johnston, Esq., Dr. Samuel Kenedy, Caleb Davis, William Montgomery, Persifor Frazer, and Richard Thomas, Gentlemen, or any five or more of them, be appointed, and they are hereby appointed to represent the county (if occasion be) in Provincial Convention for the ensuing year.”

The provincial authorities were very active in pushing forward military organizations, for Washington was constantly drawing the attention of Congress to the fact that in a short time the term of service of many of the troops with him, besieging Boston, would expire, and the army must be filled with fresh men. On Dec. 9, 1775, Congress resolved that four battalions should be raised in Pennsylvania, and on the 15th provided that the Committee of Safety should be requested to recommend proper persons as field-officers, from which names Congress would select and commission the colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors. Of all officers below the rank of major, the Committee of Safety were to make the appointments. On Jan. 2, 1776, the Committee reported the name of Anthony Wayne as colonel of the Fourth Battalion, which nomination was confirmed by Congress. On the 3d of January the Committee nominated Francis Johnston as lieutenant-colonel, and on the 4th, Nicholas Haussegger as major of the same battalion, which nominations were promptly confirmed. The next day the Committee of Safety appointed Persifor Frazer, Thomas Robinson, John Lacey, Caleb North, Thomas Church, Frederick Vernon, James Moore, and James Taylor captains of the several companies of the Fourth Battalion, and they were commissioned as of that date.3 The battalion rendezvoused at Chester on February 9th, and on the 17th, Col. Wayne reported that five hundred and sixty officers and men were present at camp, and that ten commissioned officers were absent, with recruits, the number of which was sufficient, he believed, to make the battalion complete. At that date he stated he “had only twelve rifles and twenty muskets,” and was in want of every other article. On January 22d, Congress ordered the companies, as fast as they were equipped, to march to New York. Robinson’s, Church’s, and Lacey’s companies, under the command of Maj. Haussegger, reported at New York on the 28th. The troops must have been housed even as far away from Chester as Darby, for on April 26th, Wayne arrived at New York, assumed command of his regiment there, and dispatched Maj. Haussegger to Philadelphia to immediately bring on the other five companies, and we find that the next day he ordered Capt. Lacey to return to Darby and settle for the board of his (Lacey’s) men. Capt. Lacey always asserted that Wayne had promised to settle that account himself, and he sent him (Lacey) back simply to have an op-

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3 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. x. p. 119-136. Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. Anthony Wayne.

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portunity “to give the command of his company to his ‘pet,’ Capt. Moore.”

On Jan. 17, 1776, five days before Congress ordered Wayne’s battalion to New York, the Committee of Safety resolved: “That Col. Wayne, Col. Johnston, Mr. Bartholomew, & Mr. Riley be a Committee to Examine the Fire-locks, Cartridge-Boxes, Knapsacks, &c., as ordered by Assembly to be provided for Chester County … and make return of the same to this Board.”

The following day, January 18th, a member of the committee suggested that a thousand chosen riflemen should be recruited for the provincial service, which body should be stationed near Chester to harass the enemy in their march to Philadelphia, should they attempt the capture of that city.1 At that time the general confidence in the efficacy of the obstructions in the river was such that the thought of an attack by water was rarely entertained. The suggestion was adopted, and in the spring of 1776, Col. Samuel Miles was appointed to the command of a regiment of one thousand riflemen, formed in two battalions. This body of men must have begun to assemble at Marcus Hook and Chester early in April, 1776, for on the 13th of that month the Committee of Safety had a report from Col. Miles that there was not sufficient “houses or other buildings” in or about the towns mentioned to quarter the troops then being raised, and Council authorized Col. Miles to purchase one hundred good tents on the most reasonable terms he could.2 On April 17th, Caleb Davis made application to the committee for money to pay for fire-locks made in Chester County for the use of the province. He received fifteen hundred pounds for that purpose, to the order of the commissioners and assessors of the county, and also one hundred pounds for saltpetre, and two quarter-casks of gunpowder were ordered to be delivered to him.3 On March 25, 1776, Henry Fisher, at Lewes, Del., by express, notified the Committee of Safety that a sloop-of-war was coming into Whorekill “Road with a Small Tender,” and it being night, he could not state whether she was bound up the bay or not, but every effort would be made to prevent her procuring a pilot. The express was started at seven o’clock on Monday evening, and reached Chester by half-past two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, where, after stopping forty minutes, Richard Kane, the messenger, left that place for Philadelphia. On the receipt of the dispatch, Council ordered Commodore Caldwell to send four well-manned and armed boats down the river to Reedy Island, which galleys were directed to act with Capt. Barry of the brig “Lexington,” and endeavor to capture the English vessel. Caldwell subsequently returned, for Council on April 30th ordered the fleet to go down the river again, if Mr. Mease and Mr. Morris thought it neces-

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1 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 471.

2 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 540.

3 Ib., 546

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sary. It was ordered down, and in the mean time, as constant reports were being sent to the committee of the daily progress up the river of the British men-of-war, on May 7th, Robert Towers was directed to deliver to Col. Miles one thousand pounds of gunpowder and two thousand pounds of lead, “or as great a part thereof as is in store, and for the use of the Associators of Chester County, to be consigned there agreeably to Col. Miles’ direction, 20,000 Cartridges for Muskets.” At the date just mentioned the “Roebuck” of forty-eight, and the “Liverpool” of twenty-eight guns, were off New Castle, bound up the river, and the galley fleet was ordered to attack them, while at the same time Col. Miles, who was at the meeting of the Council, went at once to Marcus Hook with some powder and lead for his riflemen, and the next morning marched one hundred and fifty of his men – all of his troops for whom he had equipments – to Wilmington, which place he reached in time (two o’clock in the afternoon) to see the action between the galleys and the British ships. “I am convinced,” he stated in his journal,4 “that had the galleys been sufficiently supplied with ammunition in due time (although one-half of them appeared very shy, and never came within point-blank shot of the ships) that these vessels, at least the ‘Roebuck,’ would have fallen into our hands.” Council, on June 12th, ordered Col. Miles to furnish from the provincial troops under his command guards over the powderhouse, over the military stores deposited at the State-House, as well as the materials collected for fire-rafts at Philadelphia, stating the reason for this order was that the Continental troops had been withdrawn. Col. Atlee, on June 13th, from Chester, wrote to John Morton5 that, under Col. Miles’ order, he had detached four companies of “musquetrey,” under Col. Parry, to Philadelphia, and would be pleased if the remainder of his battalion could be ordered there, “that they might jointly be properly Disciplined.” On the 17th, Atlee was directed to move his whole battalion from Chester to be quartered in the barracks at Philadelphia. On July 3, 1776, Congress desired the Committee of Safety to send as many troops as they could spare immediately to Monmouth County, N. J., and the same day it is noted that “In Consequence of the following Resolve of Congress, a Letter was wrote to Colo. Miles, requesting he would give orders for the most Speedy March of the Rifle Battalione to this city.”6 From a letter written by Col. Miles to Richard Riley, dated July 10th, it appears that when the troops left Marcus Hook, in obedience to the foregoing order, a number of men inoculated for

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4 Pennsylvania Archives, 2d series, p. 519. (See Pennsylvania Archives, 1st series, vol. iv. p. 748, for Col. Miles’ report. From some of the reports made by the commanders of the galleys and Pennsylvania vessels of war, it is evident that they had no great longing for the allotted task, that of capturing the British men-of-war.)

5 Ib., 1st series, vol. iv. p. 772.

6 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 628.

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the smallpox had been left there under charge of Dr. Davis, who was afterwards ordered to join his company in the Jerseys, and the sick men “still remained at the Hook under the notice of Doct’r Chapman.” Col. Miles therefore desired Mr. Riley to see that these sick men were served with every necessary pro vision.1

As stated in the letter hereinbefore quoted, giving an account of the activity in military affairs in the provinces as early as July, 1775, the people were busy “in making saltpetre.” Grave apprehensions were entertained early in the war that possibly that commodity could not be had in sufficient quantity to meet the demand in making gunpowder. To prevent such a disaster the Committee of Safety made extraordinary efforts to instruct the people in the manner of preparing the necessary article. Hence the following advertisement appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet in February, 1776:

“TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE COUNTY OF CHESTER

“Pursuant to the recommendation of the Committee of Safety for the Province of Pennsylvania to the Committee for Inspection for the County of Chester, Benjamin Brannan, Walter Finney, and John Beaton were appointed to attend the saltpetre manufactory in the City of Philadelphia, in order to perfect themselves in said art, We having complied therewith, do hereby give notice to all those whose public virtue and patriotic spirit would excite them to such a valuable and necessary undertaking at this crisis of time; that attendance will be given at the house of Benjamin Brannan, in Darby,2 on the 23d and 24th of February; at the house of Mr. Cochran, in East Fallowfield, on the 27th and 28th; at the house of Mr. Whithy (Withy), in the borough of Chester, on the 1st and second of March; at the house of Mr. Hood, in Oxford, on the 4th and 5th; at the house of Mr. Miller, in Birmingham, on the 6th and 7th; at the house of Mr. Bell, in Kennet, on the 12th and 13th; and at the house of Walter Finney, in New London, on the 14th and 15th of said month, in order to teach and instruct all persons who may please to apply at the times and places above mentioned.

“Benjamin Brannan,

“Walter Finney.

N.B. — The times and places in the North West district are not yet appointed.”

The Council next turned its attention to the erection and operation of powder-mills. On Feb. 3, 1776, Dr. Robert Harris proposed to the committee to build a mill on the Valley Stream, about twenty-five miles from the city, and stated that he would engage to be ready by the 1st of March to make one ton per week, on the same terms as the Committee of Safety would make with other parties.3 Dr. Harris and the committee entered into the agreement, but he did not locate his powder-mill at the place where he first intended to have built it, for in John Ladd Howell’s report to Owen Biddle, dated June 3, 1776,4 he describes his works thus:

“Doctr. Robert Harris’s, on Crum Creek, about three miles from Chester, begun to Work about the 23d ult. The dimensions of the Mill House 30 ft. by 20 ft., Head of Water about 2 1/2 feet fall, about 6 ft. Water Wheel 12 ft.

“The Shafts that Worke (Eighty Stampers of 2 3/4 by 3 3/4 Inchs &

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 783.

2 Dr. Smith states (Hist. of Delaware County, p. 288) that at that time Brannan lived in Upper Darby.

3 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. iv. p. 709.

4 Ib., p. 765.

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eleven ft. Length) is thirty-two ft. Long, five Mortars made of Two Inch Plank, about five foot each, one Stamper & Mortar for preparing Sulphur.

“Drying House, 20 ft. by 15 ft., neither floor’d nor plastered. He has received one Ton of Salt Petre and five Hundred wht of Sulphur, or thereabouts, expected to deliver one Ton of Powder on the first Inst. & the Same Quantity Weekly.

“The sides of the Mill House & Gable Ends of that & the Drying House being enclosed by Boards not sufficiently seasoned, am very open & must have a bad effect on the Powder, yet the Doctr is of a Different Opinion.”

This mill was located in Springfield township at Strath-haven, on Crum Creek.

In the same month, June, 1776, as the enlisted troops would be in all probability ordered away from Chester County, it was necessary to put the militia in such a condition that they could be called on in an emergency. Hence we find that on June 1st Col. William Montgomery was ordered to purchase a quantity of lead for the use of the Associators of Chester County,5 and shortly after an estimate was made of the number of firearms in the county, and the following return was made:6

1st Battalion, Col. James Moore                       380

2nd Battalion, Col. Thomas Hockley              400

3d Battalion, Col. Hugh Lloyd                           300

4th Battalion, Col. William Montgomery     450

5th Battalion, Col. Richard Thomas               300

                                                                                      1830

The dread that the enemy – whom it was known was preparing an expedition at Halifax – intended to make an attack on Philadelphia was so general that every means in the reach of the colony was employed to defend the city from the threatened assault. To that end, on June 19, 1776, Abraham Kinsey, the tenant of Samuel Galliway’s estate on Hog Island, was notified that it might be necessary to “lay that island under Water on the near approach of the Enemy,” but whatever injury he should sustain would be made good to him by the public. On June 20, 1776, George Bryan, the naval officer, was also instructed that no application for a cheveaux-de-frise pilot should be allowed unless the captain on oath declared that he would not take the pilot farther down the river than Chester, except in cases where the vessels should go down the bay under convoy of Continental sloops-of-war.

On June 22d the committee ordered Robert Towers, commissary, to deliver to the colonels of the Battalions of Associators in Chester County the following quantities of ammunition:

“To Colo. James Moore:
2300 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
2070 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1500 flints.

 

To Colo. Thom’s Hockly:
2300 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
2300 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1600 flints.

 

To Colo. Hugh Lloyd:
1840 do. for Provincial Muskets.
1610 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1200 flints.

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5 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 592.
6 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 776.

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To Colo. Wm Montgomery:
2760 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
2415 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1800 flints.

To Colo. Rich’d Thomas:
1840 Cartridges for Provincial Muskets.
1610 do., sorted, for the other different Bores of Firelocks.
1200 flints.

“And to each of the said Colonels, the same proportion of loose powder and Lead, equal to the Quantity of Cartridges.”1

By this time almost unconsciously the public mind in the colonies had been rapidly educated to an acceptance of the idea of absolute independence from the kingdom of Great Britain. The stirring sentences of Paine’s “Common Sense” had rung through the provinces like the blare of a trumpet, giving direction to the thoughts and ideas of the struggle, and “crystallized into fixed purpose the wishes and hopes for independence,” until those persons who, as members of the committee of Chester County, had only a few months before declared “their abhorrence even of an idea so pernicious” now gave support freely to the movement for the establishment of a new nationality on the earth.

Congress, on May 15, 1776, recommended “the respective Assemblies and Conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs has been hereunto established, to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general.” In Pennsylvania, where the legislative power had (by popular consent or obedience) been transferred to the Committee of Safety, the people were unwilling to submit the matter to an Assembly which had become simply the empty form of authority. Thereupon the Committee of Correspondence for Philadelphia communicated with all the county committees, appointing June 18th as a day for the meeting of a provincial conference to be held in Philadelphia. On that day the body thus summoned assembled in Carpenters’ Hall, and elected Col. Thomas McKean president; Col. Joseph Hart, vice-president; and Jonathan B. Smith and Samuel C. Morris, secretaries. The county of Chester, in that body, was represented by Col. Richard Thomas, Maj. William Evans, Col. Thomas Hockley, Maj. Caleb Davis, Elisha Price, Samuel Fairlamb, Capt. Thomas Levis, Col. William Montgomery, Col. Hugh Lloyd, Richard Riley, Col. Evan Evans, Col. Lewis Gronow, and Maj. Sketchley Morton. The conference unanimously resolved that the then form of provincial government was “not competent to the exigencies of our affairs,” and that it was necessary that a convention should be called for the purpose of forming “a new government in this Province on the authority of the people alone.” Thereupon the conference made provision for representation of every county in the province, and for an election of members to

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 613.

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the proposed Constitutional Convention. On the 24th of June, 1776, the meeting adjourned, after each deputy had signed a declaration which stated their “willingness to concur in a vote of the Congress declaring the United Colonies free and independent States.”

The momentous event which made the year 1776 one of the most noticeable in the history of the world was at hand. For some time the fact that a separation was inevitable between the United Colonies and the mother-country was apparent, and the declaration of the deputies to the conference at Philadelphia, just mentioned, exhibits how popular the movement had already become. Hence, when the committee of Congress appointed to draft a formal Declaration of Independence reported to that body on the 28th of June, it needed no prophet to foretell the fate of the measure when the question as to its adoption should be submitted to the members, and it occasioned no surprise when, after some alterations had been made in the document, on July 4, 1776, it was sanctioned by the vote of every colony. Of the eight members from Pennsylvania on the day of its adoption, Robert Morris, John Dickinson, and Andrew Allen were absent; Benjamin Franklin, John Martin, and James Wilson voted in the affirmative, while Thomas Willing and Charles Humphreys recorded their voices against the Declaration. Of these men deemed worthy to represent the then wealthiest province in the colonies in a Congress of the leading minds of the continent, it is a highly honorable record that there were two who were natives of the territory now Delaware County, – John Morton, of Ridley township, who voted in the affirmative, and Charles Humphreys, of Haverford township, who voted in the negative on the final question of the adoption of the Declaration.

The convention which had been called to prepare a constitutional form of government for the republic of Pennsylvania met in Philadelphia July 15, 1776. Dr. Benjamin Franklin presided over the assemblage. The representatives from Chester County were Benjamin Bartholomew, John Jacobs, Thomas Strawbridge, Robert Smith, Samuel Cunningham, John Hart, John Mackey, and John Fleming. This convention absolutely assumed the chief legislative and executive power in the province, appointed a Council of Safety, ratified the Declaration of Independence, and filled all the offices under the new order of things. The body continued in session until Sept. 28, 1776, when it adopted the constitution it had made, which went into effect immediately without being submitted to a vote of the people. By its provisions the legislative power was reposed in a General Assembly acting as one House, the executive authority was vested in a president, who was to be chosen annually by the Assembly and Council in joint ballot, the Council consisting of twelve persons who were elected in classes for a term of three years.

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A council of censors was provided consisting of two persons from each city and county, the first members of which were to be chosen in 1783 and elected every seven years thereafter, whose province was to see that the legislative and executive branches had performed their duties properly, neither failing in nor exceeding their powers. On Nov. 13, 1783, the only council of censors ever chosen in pursuance of this constitution met at the State-House, Philadelphia, and continued its session until Sept 25, 1784. Chester County was represented in that body by Anthony Wayne and John Evans. The latter dying while a member of the council, James Moore was chosen in his stead, being present Dec. 30, 1783, for the first time.

After the Declaration of Independence, the men who had led the people forward to that step, now that the bonds that held them to the mother-country had been severed, put forth additional energy. It was the days when the bullets used in the chase and in war, at least in America, were cast of lead, and generally by those who used them; hence the authorities were anxious to gather material which could at once be utilized for that purpose. On July 8, 1776, the Committee of Safety ordered certain gentlemen to collect “all the Leaden Window-weights, clock-weights, and other Lead in Germantown and its Neighborhood, for which the Liberal price of six Pence per pound will be allowed.” I do not find that the county of Chester was distinctly named so far as gathering lead is concerned, but on July 17, 1776, the Committee of Safety made a general demand as follows:

“The Families who have leaden Window- or Clock-Weights are earnestly requested to give them up immediately to the Persons appointed to Collect them. Such Families may be assured that they will be supplied a soon as possible with Weights of Iron, and it is hoped the trifling Inconvenience of being for a few days without them will not be put in Competition with the Danger that may Arise to this Country from the want of a sufficient quantity of Lead for our Defence.”1

Guard boats were stationed in Darby Creek,2 for on July 26th, Capt. Charles Lawrence, William Watkin, and Robert Tatnall represented to Council that the inconvenience of going to the fort for provisions was such that they desired Sketchley Morton might be appointed to furnish their supplies, which order was made.3 The uncertainty as to the destination of the English expedition still hung over all the provinces, and extraordinary efforts were made to meet the storm when it should burst. On July 29th, Council ordered that fifty muskets should be delivered to Col. James Moore, of Chester County, for the use of his battalion,4 and on August 1st. Col. Moore made application for “50 Bayonets or Tomhawks, 30 Hatchets, 100 screws, & 100 worms, for the use of his Battalion,” and Com-

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1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 649.

2 In a letter from David Joy to Samuel Howell, Jan. 16, 1776 (Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v, p. 700), the former suggested that a few fire-rafts should “be kept in some creek below the Chevee de Frizes, in order to sett them on the Enemy on the flood. Darby, Chester, or Racoon creeks will do.”

3 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 656.

4 Ib., p. 659.

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missary Towers was ordered to deliver these articles to the colonel.5 At this time there must have been an encampment of troops at Chester, for on August 5th, Council ordered £4 6s. 3d. to be paid James Pennell for wood delivered at that place “for the use of the Pennsylvania Musketry.”6 The report that the British fleet had rendezvoused off Sandy Hook on the 28th of June had allayed somewhat the dread of an attack on Philadelphia, but the long delay in disembarking the troops and the constantly receiving tidings that daily reinforcements were being made by transports and vessels of war to the armada that was to subjugate the colonies kept alive the apprehension that at any moment the fleet might weigh, and almost before the news could be carried to Philadelphia the guns of the hostile vessels would announce their presence in the Delaware. Hence the alarming condition of the time demanded constant vigilance and preparation on the part of those men who, advocating independence, must do everything to resist the capture of the foremost city of the colony. August 6th, one hundred stand of arms was delivered to Col. Richard Thomas, of Chester County, for his battalion, and the following day thirty stand of arms was sent to Col. Moore.

The same day the muster-master, Davis Bevan, of the borough of Chester, was instructed “to Pass Col. R’d Thomas’s Battalion of Chester County with the Present number of Officers and Men,” and the commissary was directed to supply the battalion with accoutrements, as also to immediately deliver to Col. Thomas sixty stands of arms.7 The alarm increasing, as news of unusual activity in the British fleet was received by express, the militia was hastily armed and mustered into the service, hence we find that on August 8th the muster-master was ordered to pass Capt. Thomas Heslep’s company of the First Battalion of Chester County, commanded by Col. Moore, with the number of officers and men then recruited. There was intense anxiety in the county of Chester at that time and unusual activity, as is evidenced from the minutes of the Council of Safety. On August 12th, Col. Richard Thomas received £196 3s., the price he had paid for eighty-one firelocks, bought of non-associators,8 and on the 14th of the same month fourteen pounds was paid for cartridge-boxes and bayonet-belts for Col. Thomas’ command, while the same day £75 4s. 6d. was paid for like articles for the use of Col. Moore’s battalion.9 On the 20th of August the news, borne by express, reached Chester that the British fleet, under Sir Peter Parker, had been signally repulsed at Fort Moultrie, and a few days subsequently that the English army had disembarked on Long Island, and hence the “Flying Camp” was dispatched immediately to New York. On August 23d, the day following that of the landing of Gen. Home’s

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5 Ib., p. 665.

6 Ib., p. 670.

7 Ib., p. 672-73.

8 Ib., p. 681.

9 Ib., p. 685.

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army on Long Island, Maj. Caleb Davis was paid £202 10s. for necessaries for the Chester County quota of the Flying Camp, and the same day John Hart was paid £5 14s. 3d. mileage for his company of Col. Lloyd’s Chester County battalion, and Capt Pierce of the same organization received £6 8s. 7d. for mileage. The next day, August 24th, Capt. Andrew Boon of the Second Battalion received £6 2s. 6d. to purchase drums, fifes, etc., for his company. Many of these men who marched from Chester County with the Flying Camp never returned, but in the early gray light of the morning of the 27th of August, 1776, their ghastly faces stiffened in death, when the first pitched battle of the war was begun by an attack on the Pennsylvania “Flying Camp” on Long Island. How severely the troops from Chester County suffered on that disastrous day can be inferred from the letter of Capt. Patrick Anderson to Benjamin Franklin, dated from West Chester County, N. Y., Sept. 22, 1776,1 and how bravely the women of Chester County acted at that time is shown by the following extract from the New England Courant of Sept. 5, 1776:2

“Philadelphia, August 27, 1776. – THE WOMEN OF CHESTER COUNTY, PENNA. Since the departure of the able-bodied men from the forks of the Brandywine, in Chester County, in the service of their country, the patriotic young women, to prevent the evil that would follow the neglect of putting in the fall crop in season, have joined the ploughs, and are preparing the fallows for seed; and should their fathers, brothers, and lovers be detained abroad in defense of the liberties of these States, they are determined to put in the crops themselves, – a very laudable example, and highly worthy of imitation.”

The Council of Safety, on September 16th, resolved that the members of the Constitutional Convention, then in session, should recommend proper persons in their respective counties, to be appointed by Council, to purchase “blankets, coarse Woolens, Linens, & Stockings for the use of the Troops belonging” to Pennsylvania, and on the 4th of October, William Evans was desired “to purchase all the Coarse Cloths, Blankets, & Stockings in Chester County for the use of ye State, and draw on the Board for the Cost.”3

The following summons from the Council of Safety to the justices of Chester County4 explains itself so far as known, for there appears no further reference to the matter in the official records of Council:

“IN COUNCIL OF SAFETY,
“PHILADELPHIA, Oct’r. 9th, 1776.

“GENTLEMEN:

“You are hereby required to appear before this Council at Ten o’clock on Saturday morning, then and there to answer for your conduct in holding an Election on Tuesday of the first Instant, at the Borrough of Chester, apparently with a view of supporting the late Government of the King of Great Britain, in direct Violation of the resolves of Congress and of the late Convention of this State.

“By order of the Council.

“Thos. Wharton, Jun., Pres’t.”

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 26. See, in addition, Col. Atlee’s journal, as well as that of Col. Miles, 1 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. i. pp. 512 to 522.

2 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 66.

3 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 741.

4 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 652.

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On the 8th of November, 1776, Council order the sergeant-at-arms “to arrest Richard Swanwick, of Chester County,” and bring him before that body, for what offense does not appear;5 and the next day an order was made that Rev. Mr. Rodgers be “paid £70, being part of his wages as Chaplain to late Miles’s and Atlee’s Battalion.” On the 8th, too, we learn that Council gave orders requiring “Provisions to be made at Chester for Troops to Rendevous there.” That such an encampment was located at that place at that time is inferentially established by the fact that on November 14th, “Intelligence was rec’d by Express that several hundred Transports had sailed from New York & steered their Cource to the Southward, & expected to be intended for this City; whereupon the Council wrote a Circular Letter to the Commanding Officers of the Battalions of Militia, earnestly requesting them to march their respective Battalions to this city Immediately.”6

The next day Col. Bayard was paid fifty-seven shillings for expenses going to Chester with Gen. Armstrong,7 and on the 21st, George Weiss received £5 for riding express to Chester County to order the militia to be in readiness to march at short notice.8 On the 23d, Council determined that the salt then in possession should be divided among the committees of the several counties, the proportion allotted to Chester being eighty bushels, which was to be sold to the people at the rate of fifteen shillings per bushel, and in no greater quantity than half a bushel to any one family. The salt was to be distributed equally according to the necessities of the people, “for which purpose they are to require a declaration of what quantity they are possessed of more than their just proportion of the necessary article at a time of such very great scarcity of it.”9 On the 28th, Council declared that the salt sent to the various counties, as mentioned, should be sold only to the militiamen who entered the service, or to their families10 and reiterated the like order on November 30th.

On Nov. 27, 1776, Dr. Thomas Bond wrote from New Brunswick, stating that he had obtained permission to carry the sick American soldiers under his care, and stated that it would be well to consult Gen. Mifflin on the desirability of locating hospitals at Darby, Chester, Marcus Hook, Wilmington, and New Castle. “I think the Water Carriage from Trenton to these Places would save much Carting, & this plan much better than one propos’d, of sending the Sick to East Town, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Reading, etc.”11

The times were unpropitious for the American colonists. The battle of Long Island had been fought and lost, New York had fallen, and Washington, apparently driven from post to post, was retreating across New Jersey, followed by the victorious foe. It was to

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5 Ib., p. 644.

6 Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 3.

7 Ib., p. 5.

8 Ib., p. 11.

9 Ib., p. 13.

10 Ib., p. 20.

11 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 79.

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prepare for the attack which threatened Philadelphia, alike by sea and land, that Council issued the order of Nov. 14, 1776, for all owners of cattle along the Delaware River to make arrangements to remove their stock inland at least five miles, notifying the owners that if they failed to act promptly in carrying out the order when required, the board “may be under the disagreeable necessity of giving the most peremptory order for the removal and to see that the same be punctually and suddenly complied with.”1 At the same time the minutes of Council show that the utmost anxiety prevailed, and the activity displayed in collecting troops, for that time, was proportionally as great as when, ninety odd years later, the Confederate forces, under Lee, invaded Pennsylvania. As Washington drew nearer to Philadelphia, retiring before the exulting enemy, his army dwindled to a mere handful of war-worn, ill-clad, ill-fed, ill-armed troops, fleeing across New Jersey, sorely pursued by Lord Cornwallis’ overpowering force of twenty thousand men, the flower of the English soldiery, the nation’s fate trembled on the verge of ruin. On November 30th, Council resolved “that in the present alarming situation of affairs” no vessel should be permitted to leave the port of Philadelphia, and all shipping was interdicted passing through the chevaux-de-frise. Money was immediately dispatched to the colonels of the militia organizations in the counties of Chester, Philadelphia, Bucks, Northampton, and the city of Philadelphia to furnish support to “the families of such associators as go into actual service and may stand in need of the same,” which money was to be distributed among the families requiring supplies, “from time to time, according to their need, in the most discreet manner.”2 On December 1st dispatches were sent by expresses to Chester, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Northampton Counties to hasten the march of militia to reinforce Gen. Washington in New Jersey. On the 3d, Council desired the members of Assembly from the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, and Lancaster to recommend immediately in the respective counties, proper persons to be appointed by the board to hire all the wagons in those counties.3 On the 4th, Dr. Robert Harris was paid fifty-eight pounds for making powder at his mills, at Strath-haven, on Crum Creek, and the same day Mr. Towers was ordered to deliver to Dr. Harris a ton of saltpetre and sulphur, in proportion to make gunpowder.4 The same day John Morton was paid £3 6s. for wharfage of the floating-battery “Arnold,” in the preceding March. This, doubtless, must relate to expenses incurred while the war-boats and galleys lay in Darby Creek.

On the 8th of December the American army crossed the river from New Jersey to the west bank, and so eager were the pursuing enemy that they came in sight

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1 Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 4.

2 Ib., p. 23.

3 Ib., p. 28.

4 Ib., p. 30.

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but a few moments after the rear-guard had passed over and destroyed the bridges. The English commander was so assured that the armed resistance of the colonies was virtually at an end, that leave was given Lord Cornwallis to return to England, and he had gone to New York with the intention of embarking for Europe. The hopes of the colonists were overclouded with doubts. The Council, however, hurried forward the raw levies of militia to reinforce the wasted ranks of the Continental army. On December 11th, Col. Evan Evans, of Chester County, was paid £2 9s. 4d. for the transportation of the baggage of his company, as well as £2 0s. 5d. for flints and lead for his battalion. Col. James Moore received one hundred pounds to advance a month’s pay to his battalion,5 and on the 14th, Col. Evans received “1000 dollars to pay his Battalion of Militia a month’s wages advance.”6

On Dec. 11, 1776, Capt. Hammon, of the British vessel-of-war “Roebuck,” landed Davis Bevan and Benjamin Canby at Lewes under parole, with instructions to proceed to Philadelphia and make arrangement for an exchange of prisoners of war. It seems that the schooner “Nancy,” of which vessel Davis Bevan was master, had been captured by the “Roebuck,” and he, Canby, and other Americans, prisoners of war in the hands of the commander of the British vessel, were exchanged Dec. 30, 1776.

The cause of the united colonies seemed, previous to the holidays of 1776, almost beyond hope; only the most patriotic citizens could bear up against the constant reverses which attended the Continental arms, and it is not surprising that less than a week before the brilliant affair at Trenton Col. Francis Johnston, in a letter dated from New London Cross-Road, December 21st, should present the following gloomy picture of the uncertainty that maintained among the inhabitants of Chester County respecting the outcoming of the struggle, and their hesitancy to part with any commodities in exchange for Continental currency. He says, –

“I think it my Duty to inform you of the strange and perverse Change in Politicks which hath taken place through a great part of this County.

“Even some quondam associators, as well as conscientiously scrupulous men, totally refuse to accept Congress money as payment for old Debts, And there are some so maliciously averse to our support of Liberty that they refuse to part with any commodity whatsoever, even the Necessaries of Life, unless they can get hard money or the old paper currency of this Province. Most of the Tavern Keepers who are friends on the Lancaster Road have pull’d down their Signs, & refuse the Soldiery Provisions or drink – they will assign you no reason for such conduct; the reason, however, is too evident, they are afraid to receive Congress Money.”7

Col. Johnston was not only incensed at the conduct of the people of Chester County, but on Jan. 7, 1777, he gave Council to understand that the appointment of junior officers over his “head” was objectionable; particularly the case of Lieut.-Col. Penrose brought

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5 Ib., p. 44.

6 Ib., p. 50.

7 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 100; see also 2d series, vol. i. p. 657. Ib., 1st series, vol. v. p. 125.

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forth his indignation, but his wrath was mollified when, on Feb. 21, 1777, Congress promoted Col. Anthony Wayne to the rank of brigadier-general, and he (Johnston) was made the colonel of the Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, Persifor Frazer its lieutenant-colonel, and Thomas Robinson its major. The term of the Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion had expired on Jan. 5, 1777, but it remained over until January 24th to allow other troops to be enlisted and forwarded to take its place. It is, however, not to be inferred from the foregoing remark that the Fourth Battalion marched away from the field in a body, for the fact is that the greater number of Wayne’s men, being of Irish birth or descent, re-enlisted, under their old officers, in the Fifth Regiment of the Pennsylvania line.1 Those who did not re-enter the service were ordered to Chester, where the battalion was mustered out Feb. 25, 1777. On the same day John Evans, of Chester County, was notified that he had been elected a member of the Council of Safety, the duties of which office he assumed shortly afterwards.

Although early in the year the storm of war, owing to Washington having assumed the offensive, had rolled away from Philadelphia, the Council did not lessen its efforts to place the Continental army in as efficient condition as possible, and to that end, on Jan. 13, 1777, it required the commissioners in the several counties in the State to furnish thirty-eight thousand bushels of horse feed, and of that total, four thousand bushels were required for Chester County. At this time the prevalent idea was that Gen. Howe proposed to make an attempt to capture Philadelphia by water, and this impression was confirmed when, on March 25th, James Molesworth, who bore a lieutenant’s commission from Gen. Howe, was arrested in Philadelphia, charged with attempting to obtain a chevaux-de-frise and two bay pilots, to bring the British fleet up the Delaware. Not only did he attempt to corrupt pilots to that end, but he strove to have accomplices, whose duties it should be to spike the guns at Fort Island (Fort Mifflin), and to destroy the posts and ropes at the ferries. Molesworth was tried by court-martial, on the charge of being a spy, was found guilty, and hung March 31, 1777.2 Previous to his execution he

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1 In Gen. Henry Lee’s “Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department,” vol. ii. p. 203, the personnel of the Pennsylvania Line is thus described: “Wayne had a constitutional attachment to the decision of the sword, and this cast of character had acquired strength from indulgence, as well as from the native temper of the troops he commanded. They were known by the designation of the Line of Pennsylvania, whereas they might hve been with more propriety called the Line of Ireland. Bold and daring, they were impatient and refractory, and would always prefer an appeal to the bayonet to a toilsome march. Restless under the want of food and whiskey: adverse to absence from their baggage, and attached to the pleasures of the table. Wayne and his brigade were more encumbered with wagons than any equal portion of the army. The general and his soldiers were singularly fitted for close and stubborn action, hand to hand, in the centre of the army. Cornwallis, therefore, did not miscalculate when he presumed that the junction of Wayne would increase rather than diminish his chances of bringing his antagonist, Lafayette, to action.”

2 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 282; Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 197.

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made a confession, and accused a number of persons as being implicated in the design to restore the royal authority in Philadelphia. Council hastened its preparation to meet the threatened invasion, and on April 3d a hundred wagons drawn by four horses was called for by the Board of War, to remove public stores from Philadelphia to the west side of the Schuylkill. Col. Caleb Davis, Maj. Evans, Col. William Dewees, and Isaac Webb were designated to hire such wagons in Chester County. On April 21st Council instructed the committees of the counties of Bucks, Philadelphia, and Chester “to take an Inventory of all the Flour, Wheat, Rye, and Indian Corn, Oats, Beef, Pork, Horses, Neat Cattle, Sheep, Hogs, &c., also Wagons, Carts, &c.,” in each county, and make return as quickly as possible, so that in the event of sudden alarm the provender and live stock might be removed to a place of safety. This was the ostensible reason for this order, but in all probability the purpose was to ascertain how much and where located were the articles enumerated, so that, if necessary, they might be impressed for the use of the American army.

Robert Smith had been appointed lieutenant of Chester County on March 12, 1777, which office gave him the rank of colonel, and devolved on him the duties of raising, arming, and provisioning the military contingent in his district, and preparing the troops when called into service. They remained under his command until ordered to take the field. On April 12th, Col. Smith reported that Chester County then contained five thousand men capable of bearing arms, and he promised to use his utmost exertions to get his contingent in the greatest possible state of forwardness.3 On April 24th, Congress requested that three thousand of the militia of Pennsylvania, exclusive of the militia of the city of Philadelphia, should be called, one-half of the “troops to rendezvous at Chester, on the Delaware.” The following day Council ordered the lieutenants in the several counties to furnish men, although the number from Chester County was not designated. Each man was to be provided with a blanket, which was to be purchased; if that could not be done blankets were to be impressed, but in a way that should give the least offense to the public. The troops from the

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3 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. iv. p. 84; “The onerous duties of his office were discharged in an active, untiring, self-sacrificing spirit, and much of his property melted away during the war, partly from direct gifts to the army and to the needy families of the soldiers, and partly because his public duties gave him no time to attend to his private business. On one occasion when foragers were sent into Uwchlan to procure supplies for the famishing army at Valley Forge, Col. Smith assisting to load corn from his own stores into the wagon, was urged by his wife to keep enough to subsist his own family through the winter. He replied, saying that the soldiers’ needs were greater than their own, and continued his work till the wagons were filled and his granary was almost empty. He spoke with feeling in his latter life of taking, on another occasion, unthreshed wheat to Valley Forge, and being met on his arrival at the edge of the encampment by numbers of hungry men, who seized the sheaves and mitigated the pangs of hunger by eating the grains, which they rubbed out with their hands.” Ib., p. 85.

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counties of Chester, Lancaster, and York were ordered to form a camp “at or near Chester.”1 Col. Smith acted promptly, as did the other counties’ lieutenants, for May 30th Council notified Congress that the militia called out by the recommendation of that body was encamped at the places named, part of the troops being already there and the remainder preparing to march; that as Council had but few arms fit for service, Congress was requested to furnish arms, tents, and camp equipage. On June 11th, Benjamin Brannon, sub-lieutenant of the county of Chester, applied to Council for a cannon, that several companies of artillery had been formed in the county, hence he desired that the men might practice with the gun, and to that end also asked for a few pounds of powder. On the 14th, Council ordered that the first class of militia should be immediately forwarded to camp, and the second class be ordered to march, and the third class be held in readiness to move on short notice. The same day Col. Robert Smith received one thousand pounds to equip the militia of Chester County, and he was also instructed to send to Philadelphia thirty wagons. This activity was due to the intelligence Congress had received that Gen. Howe proposed marching to and reducing Philadelphia. When the British army, on June 13th, actually made an advance in two columns from Brunswick, the news was dispatched by Washington to Congress, and being received the neat day, prompt measures were taken to meet the threatened attack. On the 17th, Lewis Granow, sub-lieutenant of Chester County, received four thousand dollars to purchase substitutes, blanket, etc., and on the 20th four hundred stand of arms was delivered to Col. Smith. The next day he received a like number each of canteens, knapsacks, primingwires, brushes, and cartouch-boxes. John Beaton way appointed paymaster of the Chester County militia. On the 21st two thousand dollars were appropriated for paying substitutes in Chester County, and on the 24th a like sum for the same purpose. On July 12th Col. Smith reported that notwithstanding repeated orders only three hundred and twenty men of the Chester County militia had arrived at Chester, and two hundred of these were substitutes. Col. John Hannum was then commanding officer at that station. The alarm having passed away on the return of the British army to Brunswick on the 25th, Council, considering “the extreme inconveniency arising from the march of the militia in the time of Harvest,” countermanded the order for the levies to go to camp, but instructed the lieutenants of the counties of Philadelphia and Chester that it was unnecessary to move the second class of militia, but that it should be held in readiness to march at the shortest notice. On July 9th, Council requested the magistrates of the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, and Bucks to return the names of persons well qualified to take an

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 321.

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account of all flour, wheat, grain, and other stores in the several counties, so that it might be removed “in case the Enemy’s movements should make it necessary,” and on the 29th Council appointed John Pearson, Nicholas Deihl, Isaac Hendrickson, Isaac Serrill, Harvey Lear, and Jacob Richards, to be added to a committee consisting of Samuel Levis, William Kerlin, and Sketchley Morton, which had been appointed to drive off the stock in the county of Chester on the approach of the British forces. On July 20, 1777, Congress received information that a British fleet of one hundred and sixty sail was in the Narrows, on the way to Sandy Hook. On the 22d, Washington, perplexed as to the destination of Howe, requested that trustworthy persons should be stationed at the Capes of the Delaware to give prompt notice if the fleet should appear in that quarter. In the early morning of July 23d the expedition sailed, but owing to light winds and fog the fleet did not get in sight of the Capes until the 30th, when expresses from both Cape May and Lewes were sent to Council apprising that body that the fleet of two hundred and twenty-eight vessels was in sight. Gen. Mifflin was at the time in Chester, for he signed for and indorsed the time of departure from that place on the dispatch from Lewes. Late on the 31st the hostile vessels bore away to the southward. Gen. Howe, in his narrative, states, “that finding it hazardous to sail up the Delaware, he agreed with the admiral to go to Chesapeake Bay, a plan which had been preconcerted in the event of a landing in the Delaware proving upon our arrival there ineligible.”2

On July 9th, Gen. Washington had requested Council to have a plan of the shore of the Delaware River made, and on the 18th that body notified the commander-in-chief that General Du Coudray had produced a plan of a fortification to be erected at Billingsport to prevent the enemy removing the chevaux-de-frise at that place, and the chart would be made of the shore of the river as soon as proper surveyors could be procured. On the 24th the “proper surveyors” were procured, for four persons were directed to make “A Survey of the Shore of the River Delaware and of the land for about four miles to the Westward, taking in the Great Road leading to the Southward, when they may extend further than that distance from the river, and remarking the several places where an enemy may land and the kind of ground adjoining, whether marshy, hilly, open, or covered with woods, and when there are several heights near each other remark’g their altitudes and distances apart, remarking particularly the several Creeks and streams of water as high up, at least, as the tide flows, and the places where they may be

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2 George H. Moore, a gentleman whose assertion on any historical topic is always worthy of consideration, states in his work, “The Treason of Charles Lee,” that this movement was made by Gen. Howe at the treasonable suggestion of Gen. Lee, the English soldier who had received so many honors at the hands of the American Congress.

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forded or passed by bridges. Where there are Swamps near the river, or roads, not’g particularly their kinds & size nearly. Passes of difficulty to an army to be accurately surveyed and well described.”

Nathan Sellers was directed to make the survey from the Schuylkill River to Christiana Creek, which included all the territory now Delaware County, in which duty he was enjoined to use secrecy and dispatch.

When the news of the arrival of the British fleet at the cape of the Delaware was received, Council prepared to meet the threatening attack, and as many of the militia were without guns, it was ordered that those persons who had not taken the oath of allegiance to the colonies should immediately be disarmed, “and their arms made use of by those who are willing to risk their lives to defend their liberties and property.”1 On August 1st the justices of Cheater County returned the names of a number of citizens in the county who were, in their opinion, proper persons to take an account of the grain and other stores within twenty miles distant westward from the river Delaware, and also persons to provide for the poor who might be compelled to leave Philadelphia in the event of an attack on that city by the British forces. The major part, if not all, of the persons thus suggested resided without the present county of Delaware.

Washington was at this time in Philadelphia, and on August 1st, in company with Lafayette, – whom the commander-in-chief had met for the first time the day previous at a dinner-party, – he inspected the fortifications on the Delaware River,2 and proceeded as far as Chester, from which place Washington, on the date just mentioned, addressed a letter to Gen. Putnam.3

On Aug. 14, 1777, Col. Galbraith wrote from Lancaster that he had dispatched nearly one thousand militia on foot for the camp at Chester, but they had neither arms, accoutrements, camp-kettles, etc., – nothing except blankets.4 Two days subsequently, John Evans, member of Council, wrote from Chester that about one thousand militia was assembled at that place from Berks County, part of two classes; from Cumberland one company, and part of two companies from Lancaster; the Chester County class “was about half completed, and when completed” would have arms sufficient for their own use, but several companies from other counties must be supplied. The quartermaster report, he says, “that it will be difficult to find shelter for any more troops at this place, all the empty houses being now occupied.5 The next day, Col. Jacob Morgan wrote from Reading that the greater part of the twelve companies from Berks County – two battalions under Cols. Daniel Hunter

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 472.

2 Sparks’ “Life of Washington,” p. 232.

3 Sparks’ “Correspondence of Washington,” vol. v. p. 2.

4 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 521.

5 Ib., p. 529.

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and Daniel Udree, comprising six hundred and fifty-six men – had marched for Chester, and by that time were doubtless at that place.6 On the 18th, Col. Benjamin Galbraith notified Council that the third class of Lancaster County had marched to Cheater, and requested that commissions for the officers of the three classes of militia from that county be sent there.7

In the mean while no further intelligence being received of the movements of the British fleet, the opinion became general that one of the Southern seaports was the point of destination, and as the expense of massing the militia bore heavily on the indigent commonwealth, on Aug. 20, 1777, Council called the attention of the Pennsylvania delegation in Congress to the fact that the militia called into service had encamped at Chester, and were still reporting there; that as it was the season for sowing winter wheat, on which the country largely depended, it would be a relief to industrious people if public affairs would permit the discharge of part of the militia at Chester, “particularly as they were deficient in arms and blankets and wholly unprovided with tents.”8

The following day a dispatch was received in Philadelphia, stating that on the night of the 14th instant the British fleet had been seen standing in between the Capes of Chesapeake Bay. Washington, who was restless in his encampment on the Neshaminy, had that very day apprised Congress that be would move his army to the Delaware the next morning, proposing to march thence to the Hudson River, which proposition on his part, notwithstanding the reported news from the fleet, was approved by Congress. The commander-in-chief, however, determined to halt until further intelligence was received, which came the next day confirmatory of the enemy’s presence in Chesapeake Bay. Washington at once ordered Gen. Nash, then at Trenton, N. J., to embark his brigade and Col. Proctor’s corps of artillery, if vessels could be procured for the purpose, and proceed to Chester; or, if vessels could not be had, to hasten towards that place by land with all possible speed.9 On the 23d the Continental army broke camp and moved for Philadelphia, through which city it passed early the next day, August 24th (Sunday), marching down Front Street to Chestnut, and up Chestnut to the Middle Ferry, Washington himself riding at the head of the column and Lafayette at his side. That evening the army encamped in and about Chester, and the next evening (the 25th) they reached Wilmington.10 On the

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6 Ib., p. 530.

7 Ib., p. 532.

8 Ib., p. 536.

9 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. i. p. 282.

10 “Washington’s Encampment on the Neshaminy,” by William J. Buck; Penna. Mag. of Hist., Vol. i. p. 284. Irving says, in speaking of the 25th of August, “The divisions of Gens. Greene and Stephen were within a few miles of Wilmington; orders were sent for them to march thither immediately. The two other divisions, which had halted at Chester to refresh, were to hurry forward.” – Irving’s “Life of Washington,” Riverside edition, vol. iii. p.205. In Townsend Ward’s most interesting “Walk to Darby” (Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol.iii. p. 262) it is

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morning of that day the British army landed at the head of Elk,1 or, rather, some distance above the mouth of the Elk River.2

The effect of the news of the approach of Gen. Howe’s expedition aroused Congress and Council to renewed exertion. The former, on August 22d, requested the State of Pennsylvania to keep four thousand militia in readiness to assist in repelling the threatened attack. The following day Council ordered Col. Henry, of the city and liberties of Philadelphia, to complete the third class of Philadelphia militia, which was ordered to march to Downingtown, while the artillery of the same locality was to assemble in numbers equal to three-eighths of the whole corps, which (with cannon) were ordered one-half to Chester and the other half to Downingtown, there to await the commands of Washington. Maj.-Gen. John Armstrong, the veteran Indian fighter, was placed in command of the forces at Chester. On the 26th Deputy Wagonmaster-Gen. Thomas Hale applied to Council for wagons for Gen. Nash’s brigade, and the justices of Chester County were ordered to furnish seven wagons, which, if not immediately forthcoming, were to be impressed. The following day the justices were required to send to Philadelphia twenty-five wagons.

On August 29th Gen. Armstrong wrote from Chester stating that matters there had “been that of a chaos, a situation more easy to conceive than describe.” He had, however, forwarded at least eighteen hundred men, and also, in concert with Gen. Potter, he had formed a rifle regiment of three hundred men, had given Col. Dunlap, who was “not unacquainted with the business of a Partisan,” command of it, and it would march to Marcus Hook the next day. The three hundred men, as well as the one hundred and sixty which he would send to Wilmington that day, were not included in the number he had mentioned as already forwarded to Washington’s army. He stated that the want of arms was the “great complaint at a crisis like this.”3 On August 31st Council authorized Gen. Armstrong to buy blankets for the use of the troops, but if purchasing was impracticable to make as equal and moderate a levy of blankets as circumstances would permit upon the inhabitants of Chester County, “confining the same to persons who refuse to bear arms or take an active part in the defence of their bleeding country, now invaded by a

said, “It was here, along the higher ground on the left bank of the Kakari Konk (Cobb’s Creek), that Washington, when moving towards the field of Brandywine, was forced, by rains so heavy as to swell the stream almost beyond precedent, to remain three days inactive.” Did not the incident thus described occur when the army was moving southward to meet Cornwallis in Virginia?

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1 “Journal of Capt. John Montressor,” Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. v. p. 409. There is an error in the day of the week on which the landing was made, as recorded in the journal. Capt. Montressor notes Aug. 25, 1777, as falling on Sunday, while the minutes of the Supreme Executive Council record Saturday as Aug. 23, 1777.

2 Johnson’s “History of Cecil County, Md.,” p. 327.

3 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 563.

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cruel enemy.” He was instructed to employ proper and discreet persons to make the levy, to appraise the blankets, certify the number and value of the articles, from whom taken, as well as the townships wherein the levies were made. The general was recommended to keep account of the blankets collected that they might be returned to the militia, so that the troops subsequently called into service could be supplied therewith.4

The two days immediately succeeding the landing of the British at Elk were stormy, with lightning and thunder, which delayed the advance of their army. On the morning of October 27th, two divisions of light infantry, under Howe, moved forward, and the army of invasion thus began its march in the direction of the city of Philadelphia. The lines of the royal troops, who had proceeded slowly and cautiously on Wednesday, the 3d day of September, extended from Aikentown (now Glasgow) to a point some distance northwest of the Baptist Church on Iron Hill, in Pencader Hundred, Del., when at the latter place their vanguard was encountered by Gen. Maxwell’s brigade, consisting of a detachment of Continental and the Maryland and Delaware militia. An English officer records, “The Rebels began to attack us about nine o’clock with a continued smart irregular fire for near two miles.”5 The American sharpshooters as usual did good service, but being inferior in number and without artillery, were pushed backward and finally compelled to retreat across White Clay Creek with a loss of forty killed and wounded. The English claimed that their loss was three killed and twenty wounded,6 but a woman who the following day had been in the British camp declared she saw nine wagonloads of wounded brought in.

On September 1st, Gen. Armstrong had forwarded almost all the troops at Chester to Washington’s command, and proposed following them himself the next day after he had adjusted some matters requiring his personal supervision.

Three days later Council wrote to Gen. Armstrong stating that a part of the militia of Chester belonging to a class which had not been called into service had formed themselves into companies and had applied for ammunition and rations at headquarters, and had been refused. Council was willing to encourage those people “at this juncture,” and if they could be of use in the field, would “consider their two months service at this time as if they had served in future classes.” These men were from the southern part of Chester County, and Col. Smith the same day was directed to extend the like terms “to all other volunteers that may go forth in this common cause, they first accommodating their services to the ideas of Gen. A.”

On September 5th the American army was encamped

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4 Colonial Records, vol. ix. p. 285.

5 Capt. Montressor’s Journal, Penna. Mag of History, vol. v. p. 412.

6 Ib., p. 413.

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on the east side of Red Clay Creek, and all the troops in Wilmington were ordered to march to Newport, excepting Gen. Irwin’s brigade, which was to remain in Wilmington, at work on the intrenchments at that place. “The enemy,” writes Gen. Armstrong, “as far as we yet learn, appear to spread over some considerable apace of Country, but in a detached way from Couches Mills to some part of Nottingham.”1 The same day the Navy Board recommended to Council that as there were reasons to believe that some vessels of the English fleet would attempt to approach the city, a certain number of persons should be assigned to flood Hog Island, and that ninety or one hundred men should garrison the fort at Darby Creek. Council requested the Navy Board to see to the flooding of the Island, and ordered a company of artillery and a company of “Musqueters,” under the command of Col. Jehu Eyre, to the works at Darby Creek.

Congress having recommended, on September 5th, a call for five thousand militia of Pennsylvania, the following day Council directed the several lieutenants of the counties to order the militia to immediately march to Darby, where they were “to rendezvous on the heights,” and to “appear with what arms they have, or can procure, and otherwise equipped in the best manner they may be able.” These equipments, including blankets, Council assured the troops, would be paid for by the State in the event of their being “taken by the enemy or otherwise unavoidably lost.”2 This call for militia only included those of the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, York, Cumberland, and Northumberland.3 Why Lancaster was omitted does not appear on the records of the Executive Council.

We also learn from the journal of Capt. Montressor, chief engineer of the British army, that three fugitives came into Howe’s camp on the 5th of September and reported that Gens. Mifflin and Cadwallader were, “with what militia they have and can collect, at Chester, with an intention to harass our rear.”4

Deputy Quartermaster-General Mifflin, on September 7th, wrote to Council from Newport, stating that the English army had disencumbered itself of all heavy baggage, and was then in light marching order. Washington, thereupon, had directed all baggage, excepting blankets and “a few small clothes,” to be sent away from the army, and for that purpose Quartermaster Mifflin desired a hundred wagons be at once ordered to headquarters. These teams were “to be placed in the rear of the divisions, and immediately on an alarm the tents and small packs left with the men were to be sent over Brandywine.” The following day Council directed one hundred wagons from Berks, and a like number from Lancaster County, to report to Mifflin.

Gen. Armstrong, on the 8th, stated that the night

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1 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. v. p. 587.

2 Ib., p. 592.

3 Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 293.

4 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. v. p. 414.

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previous he had told Washington that in his opinion Howe’s intention was to re-embark on the Delaware, cross to the New Jersey side, march up to the “Shevar de frize,” clear the way for the fleet, and then bombard Philadelphia. He, therefore, was urgent for an attack on Howe in his camp.5 The commander-in-chief, however, had strengthened his position, intending to offer battle on Red Clay Creek, but on the very day on which Gen. Armstrong wrote to Council, Howe advanced in two columns, one as if threatening an immediate attack, while the other, extending its left, halted at Milltown. At once Washington detected the intention of the British general, which was to march by his right, throw his army suddenly across the Brandywine, occupy the heights on the north of that creek, and thus cut the Continental arms absolutely off from communication with Philadelphia. Had Howe succeeded in that movement it is not probable that anything other than the total surrender of the American forces could have followed its consummation. That evening Washington held a council of war, at which it was decided at once to change position. At two o’clock in the morning the army was on the march, and had already crossed the Brandywine. On Tuesday afternoon, September 9th, in pursuance of the enemy’s plan, Lieut.-Gen. Knyphausen, with the Third Division and two British brigades, marched for Kennett Square via New Garden. That afternoon, at half-past five o’clock, Gen. Howe ascertained that Washington had “evacuated Newport and Wilmington, and had taken post at Chad’s Ford on the Brandywine Creek.”6 Washington having moved almost due north from Newport on the afternoon of the 9th, was intrenched on the high ground immediately north of the present Chad’s Ford Hotel. During the night of the 10th, Maxwell’s Light Infantry, which had the advanced posts, dug intrenchments on the west side, covering the approaches to the ford, and at this point Washington decided to deliver battle in defense of Philadelphia.

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Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 6

Transcription – Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” – Chapter 6

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Page 24…

(continued)

 CHAPTER VI

THE COLONIAL HISTORY TO THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION

The only hamlet in Pennsylvania which had received a distinctive name that was known to persons in England at the time Penn acquired title to the territory was Upland, and that that had done so was doubtless due to the fact that Robert Wade had already made it his home. He being a Friend in communication with members of that religious sect in the mother-country, that circumstance directed the attention of the Quakers, “a society,” says Acrelius, “that the realm could well spare,” to the little cluster of rudely-fashioned dwellings on the banks of the Delaware. Hence Friends (whom, fortunately for the United States, could be spared from Europe to plant on this continent those seeds of political truths and religious liberty which, germinating, have grown into a nation on the maintenance of which the future continuance of constitutional representative government on the earth largely depends), or Quakers, as popularly known, desiring to flee from persecution and ignominy at home, gladly availed themselves of the liberal conditions which Penn offered to persons anxious to leave England, and particularly did the latter meet the approval of those people whose poverty had been largely produced by reason of the heavy fines imposed on them simply because of the religious sentiments they maintained. That Penn originally intended to locate his proposed capital city at Upland can hardly be questioned, for his instructions to his commissioners, Crispin, Bezer, and Allen, particularly directing them “that the creeks should be sounded on my side of the Delaware River, especially Upland, in order to settle a great toune,” will bear no other legitimate construction. That this was his purpose is evident from all the surrounding circumstances, and he only abandoned it when he learned that Lord Baltimore, by actual observation, had discovered that the site of the hamlet was in the debatable land as to ownership. That the proprietary, after he bad been informed of Lord Baltimore’s persistent claims, had resolved to build a city farther up the river, before he first came to his province, will not admit of doubt; hence the result of the visit of William Penn to James Sandelands, mentioned as having taken place almost as soon as the former landed at Upland, when it was “talkt among the people that it was with Intent to have built a City” at that place, “but that he and Sanderlin could not agree,”1 may perchance have interfered with some proposed improvement at the old Swedish settlement, but even had Sandelands assented to all that Penn may have required, it would not have eventuated in locating the contemplated “great town” at that point.2 Under the circumstances the risks, owing to the disputed ownership of that part of his territory, were too great for Penn to assume.

Martin informs us on the authority of Mrs. Sarah Shoemaker, aged ninety-two years, who died in Chester in 1825, and who had heard her grandfather, James Lownes, often speak of the times of which I am now writing, that during the winter of 1682-83, Upland presented a very animated appearance. It was the only place then in the province, as stated, known to English ship-owners, and consequently, as the destination of all vessels was this port, most of the emigrants landed here, and several ships often rode at anchor at the same time off the hamlet. It is said that the water was deep near the western shore, and vessels could approach so closely to land that the trees would often brush their upper rigging.

The great influx of emigrants in the hamlet caused nearly every dwelling in it to be a house of entertainment, and as the people of that day, in the majority of instances, used beer instead of tea or coffee, that fact may account for the number of presentments by the

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1 The Breviate, Penn vs. Lord Baltimore, folio 105: Professor G. B. Keen’s “Descendants of Joran Kyn,” Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. ii. p. 445.

2 Latrobe’s “History of Mason and Dixon’s Line.”

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grand juries of the residents along the Delaware “for selling beer, etc., without license, contrary to law.” The proprietary himself is believed to have made his home at Chester during the greater part of the winter of 1682-83, and while here, it is said (on Nov. 25, 1682), he divided the territory theretofore known as Upland into the three counties, — Chester, Philadelphia, and Bucks.

William Penn, having called the city of Philadelphia into being, — he had named it before it had any actual existence as a town, — summoned the freemen throughout the province to hold an election on the 2Oth day of the Twelfth month, 1682 (February, 1683), to choose seventy-two persons of most note for their wisdom, virtue, and ability to serve as members of a Provincial Council, to meet on “the 10th day of the First month next ensuing” (March, 1683), at the new capital. From each county twelve men were returned under this order, but the several sheriffs also presented petitions from the people in their bailiwicks praying that only three of the twelve men returned as councilors be vested with the duplex character of councilors and assemblymen, and the remaining nine as simply assemblymen. The petition presented by the people of Chester County was as follows:1

“To WILLIAM PENN, proprietary and governor of the province of Pennsylvania and territories thereof.

“The petition of the freeholders of the County of Chester respectfully showeth, That In obedience to the writ sent to our Sheriff we have chosen twelve persons for our delegates to serve in the provincial Council, but considering that the numbers of the people are yet small, and that we have few fit for or acquainted with such public business, and also that we are unable to support the charge of greater elections and Assemblies. After our humble acknowledgments of the favor intended us therein, we take leave humbly to request that three of the twelve we have chosen may serve as provincial Councillors, and the other nine for the Assem,ly. which provincial Councillors are John Symcock (for three years), Ralph Withers (for two years), and William Clayton (for one year), leaving it to thee to increase the number, as occasion may serve, hereafter.

[Signed] “JAMES BROWN, & Co.

The assemblymen thus designated from Chester County were John Hoskins, Robert Wade, George Wood, John Blunston, Dennis Rochford, Thomas Bracy, John Bezer, John Harding, Joseph Phippes.

These petitions, although in direct violation of the charter, were favorably acted on, but in the formation of Council Ralph Withers appeared as credited to Bucks County, while Christopher Taylor represented Chester. It is not my purpose to make extended reference to the proceedings of the second Assembly further than to notice that the seal of Chester County at that session was established, bearing as its distinctive design a plow.

The influx of immigrants into Pennsylvania for the few years immediately after Penn acquired ownership of the territory is unequaled in the history of the British colonial possessions in North America, and can only be likened in recent years to the marvelous growth of settlements in the oil region of this State, or localities west of the Mississippi, where precious metals are supposed to yield almost certain fortune to adventurers who locate there. Within the limits of the present county of Delaware, before the close of the year 1683, the population began to preponderate largely of members of the Society of Friends, and at Chester, Marcus Hook, Darby, and Haverford permanent settlements of Quakers had been made, from which centres their influence extended outwards, giving tone and character to the whole people. The few Swedes and Dutch who had preceded these Friends were soon absorbed in, and their individuality of thought and action was merged into that of the more intelligent majority, greatly to the benefit of the former. The Welsh immigrants, who had secured a tract of forty thousand acres in a whole from Penn previous to leaving the Old World, found, on arriving in the colony, that they could not locate it within the city limits of Philadelphia, and were forced to push out into the then wilderness; and we find, in 1682, that their first lodgment with a few settlers was made in Merion and Haverford, from which they rapidly spread into Radnor, Newtown, Goshen, Tredyffrin, and Uwchlan.

It was the fixed policy of William Penn, in order to avoid all causes of trouble with the Indians growing out of disputed rights to the soil, to purchase from the aborigines, and extinguish the title to the territory as rapidly as civilization pushed outward into “the backwoods.” The ownership of the land within Delaware County was released to William Penn by the Indians in two deeds, both of which are interesting, because of the consideration mentioned as having been paid to chiefs. The first deed was executed over a year before William Penn returned to England, in 1684. The old document is as follows:

We, Secane & Icquoquehan, — Indian shackamakers, and right owners of ye Land Lying between Manaiunk, als Sculkill and Macopanachan, als Chester Rivers, doe this 14th day of ye fift month, in ye year according to English account 1683, hereby graunt and Sell all our Right & Title in ye sd Lands Lying between ye sd River, begining on ye West side of Manaiunk, called Consohockhan, & from thence by a Westerly Line to ye sd River Malopanackhan, unto William Penn Propriety & Governr of ye Province of Pennsilvania &c., hiss heires & Assignes, for Ever, for and in Consideration of 150 fatlhom of Wampum, 14 Blanketts, 65 yds. Duffills, 28 yds. stroud watrs, 15 Gunns, 3 great Kettles, 15 small Kettles, 16 pr. Stockins, 7 pr. Shoes, 6 Capps, 12 Gimbletts, 6 Drawing Knives, 15 pr. Sissors, 15 Combes, 5 Paper needles, 10 Tobacco boxes, 15 Tabacco Tongs, 32 Pound Powder, 3 papers Beads, 2 papers Red Lead, 15 Coats, 15 Shurts, 15 Axes, 13 Knives, 30 barrs of Lead, 18 Glasses, 15 hoes, unto us In hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have renounced all Claims & Demands for ye future from us or heires or Assignes, in or to ye prmises. In witness whereof we have hereunto sett our hands and seals ye day & year first above written.

“The mark of X Secane.

“The mark of X Icquoquehan

“Sealed and delivered in presence of

“Piserickem

“The mark of Peter Rambo,

“Phillip Th. Lehnmann,

“Jos. Curteis,

“Catemus, an Indian king.”2

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2 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. i. p. 65

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The second deed was made after Penn had returned to England. The Provincial Council, on the 22d of the Seventh month (September), 1685, was notified by Capt. Lasse Cock that the Indians were anxious to dispose of their land between Upland and Appoquinomy. Council immediately appointed Thomas Holme, surveyor-general, John Simcock, and Col. William Markham, the then secretary of the body, to meet the Indians and purchase from them the territory named. The following deed, executed in ten days after the date given, shows how expeditiously the authorities acted in carrying out the original intention of Penn, the extinguishment of Indian titles; but the indefinite bounds, “so far as a man can ride in two days with a horse,” clearly shows the superior bargaining abilities of the white man, and the success which attended this transaction might have prompted the noted “walking purchase” of a later date.

“This Indenture Witnesseth That We Lare Packenah Tareekham Sickais Pettquessitt Tewis Essepenaick Petkhoy Kakelappan Feomus Mackalohr Melleonga Wissa Powey Indian Kings Sachemakers, Right Owners of all the Lands from Quing Quingus Called Duck Creek unto upland Called Chester Creek all along by the West Side of Delaware River and So between the Said Creeks Backwards as far as a man can Ride in two days with a horse for and in Consideration of these following good to Vs in hand paid and secured to be paid by Wm Penn Proprietary and Gouvnour of the Province of Pannsilvania and Territories Thereof, Viz Twenty Gunns Twenty fathom Matchcoat twenty Fathom Stroudwaters, twenty Blankets twenty Kettles twenty pounds Powder One hundred Barrs Lead forty Tomahawks One hundred Knives Fourty pare Stocking One Barrel of Beer twenty pound red Lead One hundred Fathom Wamphum thirty Glass Bottles thirty Pewter Spoons one hundred Awl Blades three hundred tobacco Pipes One hundred hands of Tobacco twenty Tobacco Tongs twenty Steels three hundred flints thirty pare sissers thirty Combs Sixty looking Glasses two hundred Needles one Skiple Salt thirty pounds Shuger five gallons Mollassis twenty Tobacco Boxes One hundred Juise Harps twenty Hows, thirty Guimiets thirty Wooden Screw Borers & One hundred Strings Beeds. Wee hereby Acknowledge in behalfe of Our Selves as Only Rright Owners of the aforesaid Tract of Land to Bargain and Sell And by these Presents doe fully Clearly and Absolutely Barggaine & Sell Unto the said Wm Penn his heirs and Assignes for Ever without any mollestation or hindrance from or by Us and from or by any other Indians whatsoever that Shall or may Claime any Right Title or Interest in or unto the Said Tract of Land or any Part thereof. In Witness Whereof Wee have hereunto Set our hands and Seals at New Castle the 2d day of the Eighth month 1685.
:Signed sealed and delivered unto Capt Thomas Holme Surveyr Genl of ye Province of Pennsylvania to & for ye use of William Penn Esqr Proprietary & Governr of ye aforesd Province & Territories thereunto belonging in the presence of us.

“Pieter Alricks                    The Mark of

“Lasse Cock                        Oweg Ham

“Philip Th Lehnmann         The Mark of

“James Atkinson                 Oweg X Ham

“Christopher Gorr               The Mark of

“The Mark of                      Lik X Hamm

“John X Walker                   The Mark of

“Edward Lare                     Patasko X

“John Mandy.                     The Mark of

“The Mark of                      Mack X Rashute.”1

“Tamma X Gwaran

The general history of our county is very meagre of interesting incidents in the early days of the province other than the happenings which became matter for the intervention and adjudication of the courts; and as these subjects will be found collated and treated of

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Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. i. p. 95.

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in a distinctive chapter, no allusion will be made to them at this time.

The absence of William Penn from England afforded an opportunity to his enemies and for the friends of Lord Baltimore in the mother-country to press with earnestness objections to the former’s title to the “three lower counties,” now Delaware, as also to seriously menace his ownership of the greater part of the present county of Delaware (as well as others) in Pennsylvania. Hence it became imperatively essential that he should return to Great Britain; and preparatory to his departure he appointed Thomas Lloyd, James Harrison, and John Simcock — the former to be Deputy Governor, and, in the event of death, the others to succeed to that position in the order mentioned — to represent him in the province, and, in the contingency of his (Penn’s) death before other officers were selected, empowered them to be “Commissioners & Guardians in Government to my dear Heir, Sprigett Penn.” As the record shows that on Aug. 14, 1684, Penn presided for the last time in Council until he returned, nearly sixteen years subsequently, it is thought that he sailed not long after the date above mentioned.

At a Council held at Philadelphia, April 1, 1685, Thomas Lloyd presiding, the boundaries of the county of Chester were officially prescribed, as follows: “The county of Chester to begin at ye Mouth or Entrance of Bough Creek, upon Delaware River, being the upper end of Tinicum Island, and soe up that creek, dividing the said Island from ye Land of Andros Boone & Company; from thence along the several courses thereof to a Large Creek Called Mill Creek: from thence up the several courses of the said creek to a W.S.W. Line, which Line divided the Liberty Lands of Philadelphia from Several Tracts of Land belonging to the Welsh and other Inhabitants; and from thence E.N.E. by a line of Marked Trees 120 perches, more or less; from thence N.N.W. by the herford (Haverford) Township 1000 perches, more or less; from thence E.N.E. by ye Land belonging to Jno. Humphreys 110 perches, more or less; from thence N.N.W. by ye Land of John Eckley 880 perches, more or less; from thence continuing ye said Course to the Scoolkill River, wch sd Scoolkill River afterwards to be the natural bounds.”2

Many complaints having been made respecting the manner in which Charles Ashcom, the deputy surveyor for Chester County, had encroached on the forty thousand acres which Penn had ordered set apart as the Welsh tract3 (including Radnor and

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2 Colonial Records, vol. i. p. 126. Dr. Smith (History of Delaware County,” p. 155), says, “This line continues to be the eastern boundary of Delaware County to the north line of Haverford. The resolution of the Council makes the next course run easterly instead of westerly, and is probably a mistake, as Radnor township never extended farther easterly than it now does.”

3 The survey of the Welsh tract was authorized by the following warrant from the proprietary:

“Whereas divers considerable persons among ye Welsh Friends have…[see next page footnote]

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Plate…

 

Plate…

 

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Haverford townships, in this county), in laying out lands for other purchasers, not recognized as distinctively Welsh settlers, in such a way as to interfere with the continuity of “the Barony,” and because the inhabitants of that territory were summoned to do jury and other public duties in both Philadelphia and Chester Counties, in 1688 a lengthy petition was prepared by them and forwarded by Col. William Markham the same year to Penn in England. It is not known whether the letter was ever received by Penn; at least so far as the writer has information no notice was ever taken by the proprietary of the communication.

The Welsh settlers in Radnor and Haverford, however, declined to recognize the division of the counties of Philadelphia and Chester, and silently refused to pay their proportion of the public taxes to the treasury of Chester County or to serve on juries. The authorities of the latter at length, having exhausted all means at their command to compel recognition of their jurisdiction, presented a petition from the justices and inhabitants of Chester County to the Governor and Council, March 25, 1689, in which they represented that the county was at first small, “not above 9 miles square & but Thinly seated, whereby ye said County is not able to Support the Charge thereoff,” and that the Governor in “his Serious Consideration of our Weak Condition was pleased, out of Compassion to us, to grant an Enlargement of ye same,” which was subsequently done in the official boundaries before mentioned. To support the allegation that these limits had been approved by William Penn, John Blunstone testified “that a ffew days before Gover Penn left this Province that upon ye bank by John Simcock’s house I moved him to Deside this matter that had been so long Discoursed, who then, before me and Others did Declare that ye bounds Should thus runn from the mouth of Bow Creek to Mill Creek, wch should be ye bounds until it come to ye Land of Herford, and then to take in the Townds of Herford & Radnor; from thence to the Skoolkill, and take in his mannour of Springtowne, . . . then I asked him if he would be pleased to give it under

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… [see previous page footnote] requested me yt all ye Lands Purchased of me by those of North Wales and South Wales, together with ye adjacent counties to ym, as Haverfordshire, Shropshire, and Cheshire, about fourty thousand acres, may be layd out contiguously as one Barony, alledging yt ye number allready come and suddenly to come, are such as will be capable of planting ye same much wthin ye proportion allowed by ye custom of ye country, & so not lye in large and useless vacancies. And because I am Inclined and determined to agree and favour ym wth any reasonable Conveniency & priviledge: I do hereby charge thee & strictly require thee to lay out ye sd tract of Land in as uniform a manner, as conveniently may be, upon ye West side of Skoolkill river, running three miles upon ye same, & two miles backward, & then extend ye parallell wth ye river six miles, and to run westwardly so far as till ye sd quantity of land be Compleately surveyed unto ym. Given at Pennsbury, ye 13th 1st mo. 1684.

“WILL. PENN.

“To THS. HOLMES, Surveyor General.”

In pursuance of this warrant the Surveyor General, on the 4th of the 2d month (April), 1684, issued an order to his deputy, David Powell, he directing him to execute it. The survey was probably made before the end of 1684. See Smith’s “History of Delaware County,” pp. 164-65.

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his hand, to avoyd ffurther Trouble, who answered he would, if any of vs would Come the next day to Philadelphia, in order thereunto; one was sent, but what then obstructed I am not certaine, but yt ye, Goverr Departed about two days after.” Randall Vernon testified that William Howell, of Harford, “Signified unto me” that he had “asked ye Goverr to what County they should be joined or belong unto, & The Goverr was pleased to answer him that they must belong to Chester County.” Thomas Usher, sheriff of Chester County, testified that Penn said to him, “Thomas, I perceive that the Skoolkill Creek Comes or runs so upon the back of Philadelphia that it makes ye City almost an Island, so that a Robbery or the like may be there Committed, and ye offender gitt over ye Creek, and so Escape for want of due persute, &c., therefore I intend that ye bounds of Philadelphia County Shall Come about 3 or ffour miles on this side of the Skoolkill, and I would not have thee to take notice or to oppose that Sheriff on ye Execution of his office, about Kingses or the like, but I intend to enlarge this County downwards to Brandywines.”1 The Deputy Surveyor-General produced the official map, showing the county lines as before given, and stated that “it so is set out by order of the Governor and Provincial Council.” Governor Blackwell and the Council intimated that as the bounds had been published in the map of Thomas Holme, which had been distributed in England, and as land had been sold and located according to that map, to change the boundaries now might result in much confusion to purchasers. Besides, the Welsh settlers had refused to bear any part of the taxes or serve on juries in Philadelphia, as they had done in Chester County, claiming that they were a distinct “barony,” and although the Governor and Council intimated that clearly the Welsh Tract was a part of Chester County, yet they refused to announce their final conclusion until the next morning, when, if the Welsh settlers chose to show cause why they should not be part of Chester County, they would be heard. The next morning, Thomas Lloyd and John Eckley appeared on behalf of the Welsh, alleging that Penn had intimated to them that they would form a county palatine; but as they had no written evidence to substantiate that assertion, Council decided that the boundaries already shown to have been established must be confirmed. Thereupon the strong arm of the law was extended to compel the reluctant Welshmen to yield obedience to the decree that had been made. The Court of Chester County appointed John Jerman constable for Radnor, and John Lewis for Haverford, but these recipients of judicial favor failing to present themselves, the justices determined that the dignity of the bench should be maintained. Hence we find that at court held “3d day of lst week, 3d mo., 1689, ordered that Warrants of Con-

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1  Colonial Records, vol. i. pp. 263, 265.

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tempt be Directed to ye Sheriff to apprehend ye Bodyes of John Lewis and John Jerman for their Contempt of not entering into their respective offices of Constables (viz.) John Lewis for Harfort, and John Jerman for Radnor, when thereunto required by this Court.”

At the same session, David Laurence, who had been returned as a grand juror from Haverford, failed to attend, and for his neglect or refusal to appear was presented by the grand inquest. The court fined Laurence ten shillings. The jury also presented “the want of the inhabitants of the townships of Radnor and Hartfort, and the inhabitants adjacent, they not being brought in to join with us in the Levies and other public services of this county.” The movement to compel the Welsh to submit to the constituted authority did not cease, for at the following (June) court the commission of William Howell, of Haverford, was read, and he afterwards assumed the office and subscribed “to the solemn declaration” required. William Jenkins, of Haverford, at the same court, served as a juror. Haverford had yielded, but the court deemed it wise that public proclimation, as was then customary with all laws, should be made respecting this decree, hence we find this entry in the old record of the county: That at court, on Wednesday of the first week in June, 1689, “the Division Lyne between this County and Philadelphia was read, dated ye 1st of ye 2d moth 1685.” At the December court following, John Jerman was qualified as constable of Radnor, and thereafter the two townships made no further objection to act with and pay taxes to the authorities of Chester County. In 1688 the inhabitants of the province were greatly alarmed by reason of a rumor diligently circulated that two Indian women from New Jersey had informed an old Dutch resident near Chester that the aborigines had determined, on a designated Thursday, to attack and massacre all the white settlers on the Delaware. To add to the general consternation, about ten o’clock at night of the evening fixed upon by the savages to begin the attack a messenger “out of the woods” came hurriedly into Chester with the report that three families, residing about nine miles distant, had been murdered by the Indians. The people of the town gathered to consider the startling intelligence, and at midnight a Quaker, resident at Chester, accompanied by two young men, went to the place named, where they found the three houses empty, but no signs of murder. The dwellers therein, alarmed by the rumor, had fled to the homes of their parents, about a mile distant on Ridley Creek. The further particulars of this alarm are thus given by Proud:1

“The master of one of these families being from home, had been informed five hundred Indians were actually collected at Naaman’s Creek, in pursuit of their design to kill the English; and as he was hastening to his home, he thought he heard his boy crying out and saying, “What shall I do, my dame is killed.” Upon which, instead of

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1Hist. of Pennsylvania, vol. i. page 336.

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going home to know the certainty of the affair, he ran off to acquaint the government at Philadelphia, but being met by a person of more prudence than himself before he got to the city be was persuaded by him to return.

“The report, notwithstanding, soon arrived at the city, and was told with such alarming circumstances that a messenger was immediately dispatched to Marcus Hook, near the said Naaman’s Creek, to enquire the truth of it. He quickly returned and confirmed the report but with this variation, that it was at Brandywine Creek, at an Indian town, where the five hundred Indians were assembled, and that they, having a lame king, had carried him away, with all their women and children. These circumstances rendered the affair still more alarming, and with many amounted to a certainty.

“The Council were, at that time, sitting at Philadelphia on other affairs, when one of them, a Friend, supposed to be Caleb Pusey,2 who lived In Chester County, voluntarily offered himself to go to the place, provided they would name five others to accompany him, without weapons; which, being soon agreed on, they rode to the place; but, instead of meeting with five hundred warriors, they found the old king quietly lying with his lame foot along on the ground, and his head at ease on a kind of pillow, the women at work in the fields, and the children playing together.

“When they had entered the wigwam the king presently asked them very mildly, ‘What they all came for?’ They told him the report which the Indian women had raised, and asked him whether the Indians had anything against the English, he appeared much displeased at the report, and said, ‘The woman ought to be burnt to death, and that they had nothing against the English,’ adding, ‘Tis true there is about fifteen pounds yet behind of our pay for the land which William Penn bought, but as you are still on it and improving it to your own use, we are not in haste for our pay; but when the English come to settle it we expect to be paid.’ This the messengers thinking very reasonable, told him they would undoubtedly be paid for their land.

“One of the company further expressed himself to the Indian King, in the following manner: ‘That the great God, who made the world, and all things therein, consequently made all mankind, both Indians and English; and as he made all, so his love was extended to all; which, was plainly shown, by his causing the rain and dews to fall on the ground of both Indians and English alike; that it might generally produce what the Indians, as well as what the English sewed or planted in it, for the sustenance of life; and also by his making the sun to shine equally on all, both Indians and English, to nourish them all, extending his love thus to all for they were naturally bound to love one another.’

“The King answered, ‘What they had said was true; and as God has given you corn, I would advise you to get it in (it being harvest time); for we intend you no harm.’ They parted amicably, and the messengers returning put an end to the people’s fears.”

The Revolution of 1688 in England was a serious obstacle to the rapid development of this province. William Penn was known to be a warm personal friend of the deposed king, from whose hand he had received many favors; hence, when the new monarchs were told that Penn was a Jesuit of St. Omers, a self-devoted slave to despotism, and even charged with conspiring for the restoration of James II., the royal ears hearkened attentively to the wildest rumors circulated by his enemies. Penn was twice examined before the Privy Council, and he was even held to bail for his appearance, but the Court of King’s Bench discharged him, as no evidence was presented substantiating the charges lodged against him; there-

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2 Dr. Smith has correctly shown that Pusey was not a member of the Council that year. It is to be regretted that the name of this member of Council is not recorded, for his act was one of rare heroism. In all probability Proud has confused the incidents, in that he makes Pusey visit the Indians from Philadelphia, when doubtless – for he was of that stamp of noble men – the Quaker who at midnight rode from Chester, accompanied by two young men, to the scene of the alleged violence was Pusey.

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upon he decided to return immediately to his colony, and to that end had gathered about five hundred persons to accompany him, the government had even ordered a convoy for the protection of the emigrants, when an infamous wretch accused him under oath of attempting to incite a treasonable outbreak in Lancashire, and Penn escaping arrest, was compelled to abandon his proposed colony, entailing on him serious loss. Meanwhile in the province faction feelings and dissensions had been aroused until the three lower counties, now comprising the State of Delaware, actually separated from the three upper counties of Pennsylvania, their representatives refusing to act in conjunction with the authorities in Philadelphia. At last Penn, in the hope of maintaining order, was compelled to appoint, in the beginning of 1692, Thomas Lloyd to be Governor of the province, and William Markham to be Governor of the territory (Delaware). The new order of things, however, failed to produce the harmony desired, so that reports of the confused condition of affairs in the province which went abroad supplied the crown of England with an excuse for suspending the proprietary rule, which was done by a commission from William and Mary, dated Oct. 20, 1692, to Col. Benjamin Fletcher to be Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of Pennsylvania. The commission to Fletcher set forth three reasons for the act of suspension, but the real incentive was the doubt of Penn’s loyalty, which the latter’s enemies had awakened in the royal breasts. But whatever was the motive, the whole system of laws which had been enacted were revised, modified, and repealed by the throne in the authority vested in Fletcher. There is little of interest, specially in reference to the radical changes thus made, connected with the annals of Delaware County, apart from that of the State at large, but among the seven Members of the late Governor Lloyd’s Council who protested so earnestly against any and all measures in contravention of Penn’s charter this county was ably represented. Governor Fletcher’s understanding of the situation was made clear in his reply to a subsequent address by the Assembly, that “These Lawes and that model of government is desolved and at an end.”

William Penn, than whom no more adroit politician (in the legitimate, not the conventional use of that word) appears on the pages of English history, waited for the royal distrust to subside in time, and by degrees the antagonistic feelings of the crown died away to such an extent that their Majesties themselves at last desired to restore Penn to the enjoyment of those rights of which they had arbitrarily deprived him. Hence, on Aug. 20, 1694, the commission of Governor Fletcher was annulled, and letters patent granted to Penn fully restoring to him the Province of Pennsylvania and its territories. The proprietary not having matters arranged that he could leave England at that time, commissioned William Markham Governor, which office the latter discharged until late in the spring of 1698, when he received a new commission as Lieutenant-Governor.

In the fall of 1699 the yellow fever visited Philadelphia as a pestilence. Many of the inhabitants died of the disease, and the utmost alarm prevailed throughout the province. Although we have no direct record that the malady made its appearance at Chester, that such was the case may be inferentially concluded from the fact that the September court adjourned without transacting any business, an incident without a parallel in our county’s history. Later on, in November of that year, William Penn came for the second time to his colony, and before leaving England he announced that it was his intention to make his permanent residence in the province. As the vessel sailed up the Deiaware the proprietary caused it to be anchored off Chester, and, coming ashore, he for a second time became an honored guest at the Essex House. Robert Wade, his friend, was dead, but Lydia, his widow, welcomed Penn, and here he met Thomas Story, who had recently returned from a religious journey to Virginia. The next morning, as is related by Clarkson,1 Penn was rowed across the creek in a boat to the eastern side, “and as he landed, some young men officiously, and contrary to express orders of some of the magistrates, fired two small sea pieces of cannon, and being ambitious to make three out of two, by firing one twice, one of them, darting in a cartridge of powder before the piece was sponged, had his left arm shot to pieces; upon which, a surgeon being sent for, an amputation took place.” The young man, Bevan, thus injured died the following April, and the expenses attending the nursing and ultimate burial of the wounded lad were dicharged by Penn.

The proprietary was not destined to end his days in his colony. William III., after the death of Mary, is believed to have regarded him in no friendly spirit, and when the proprietary learned that the ministry, with the intention of converting the provincial government into a regal one, had introduced a bill to that effect in Parliament, the consideration of which had been postponed until he could be present, the urgency of affairs compelled his prompt return to England. He sailed from Philadelphia, Nov. 1, 1701, never again to visit the commonwealth he had founded. Before his departure he established a Council of State, and appointed Andrew Hamilton as Deputy Governor.

The general history of our county, saving such incidents as relate to court proceedings, religious associations, organization of townships, and similar matters, which will be considered hereafter, is very meagre until the approaching struggle of the colonists with Great Britain threw the country into a commotion that tore asunder family ties, and strained the social and political fabric to its very foundation. In a great measure previous to that period, year had followed

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1 Life of William Penn, vol. ii. p. 163

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year without leaving any impression that has remained to our day. Even the absurd farce, on May 16, 1706, of the French invasion, in which Governor Evans played such a ridiculous part, seems to have made no lasting trace on our county’s records, yet doubtless the messenger who rode with such hot haste to Philadelphia, and whose tidings caused such widespread consternation in the latter place1 as he passed through Marcus Hook, Chester, and Darby, gave forth intimations that he was the bearer of momentous intelligence, for such a course would have been in full accord with the preconcerted scheme of the Governor to arouse general alarm in the province, and yet there seems not to be the faintest reference to this in our local annals.

On May 16, 1712, to the Provincial Council was presented “A Petition of a great number of the Inhabitants of the county of Chester, praying that ye Burrough of the Town of Chester, in this Province, may be made a free Port, was read & Considered; And it is the opinion of the board that the matter may be presented to the Propry., that he may take proper methods Concerning the same & Consult the Courts of the Queen’s Customs therein.”2 In all probability William Penn, whose energy was beginning to yield under the weight of years and constant pecuniary embarrassments, never gave this petition any serious consideration, his chief desire at that period appearing to be to rid himself of the trouble, vexation, and expense of the colony by its sale to Queen Ann for twelve thousand pounds. This transfer would doubtless have been effected had not a stroke of paralysis rendered Penn unable to formally execute the contract. During all the last century, as will be shown as we proceed in this narrative, Chester was a place where outward- and inward-bound vessels stopped for days together. On the 4th of Fifth month, 1730, at noon, James Logan dispatched a letter to his son, William, “on his Voyage to Bristol, sent to him at Chester,” and during the British occupation of Philadelphia almost all their transports and men-of-war lay off the former town. As just stated, William Penn’s health became so impaired that he was unable to carry to an end his contemplated sale of the province to the crown, and from that time he never wholly rallied, his mind gradually becoming more and more feeble until his death, July 30, 1718.

The disputes respecting the northwestern boundary of the county of Chester, which bad been, as supposed, officially determined in 1685, and after a protracted resistance had finally been accepted by the Welsh in 1689, in the early spring of 1720 again engaged the attention of Council, when at that time a petition of the inhabitants of the west side of Schuylkill was presented, setting forth that the commissioners of Chester County had compelled the payment by them

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1 Gordon’s “History of Pennsylvania,” p. 138

2 Colonial Records, vol. ii. p. 546.

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of taxes levied by the assessors of that county, although they stated that ever since their first settlement they had paid their taxes to Philadelphia; that they had no trade with Chester, “seeing it is impossible for us to have any tolerably convenient road to Chester by reason of Rocks and Mountains,” and also urged other arguments, all concluding with a prayer that the counties might be so divided as to place them within Philadelphia.3 On Feb. 1, 1721, Council reported4 that the General Assembly had acted on the matter, and that the secretary had made full examinations as to the official boundaries as theretofore established, but that he expressed his belief that the line then run “was done arbitrarily by the Surveyor-General, and that in his opinion it would have been more regular to carry the Division Line along the side of Radnor and the upper part of that called the Welch Line, laying all those Tracts called Manors to Philadelphia County.” Council thereupon concluded that until the matter could “be more fully and effectually settled, the Commissioners and Assessors, of Chester County should forebear to claim those Inhabitants . . . and that the said Inhabitants be permitted to pay their Taxes and do all other Duties to the county of Philadelphia as formerly.” Chester County, however, declined to accept this decree without resistance, for on March 28, 1722,5 David Lloyd (who at the time was chief justice of the province) and Nathaniel Newlin, in behalf of themselves, and the other commissioners appointed by the act of Assembly for Chester County, presented a petition to Council praying relief “from the unrighteous Attempts of the said persons to sever themselves from the said County of Chester.” Council called the attention of David Lloyd to the fact that no regular division of the counties, so far as known, had been made, and the interdiction of the commissioners of Chester County from levying taxes only applied to cases where persons had been assessed in and had paid taxes to Philadelphia County, for it would be unreasonable to require on the same estate taxes in both counties, and, besides, those who had thus paid their assessments to Philadelphia County were only six in number, but they were of opinion that it was of great importance that the division-lines should be adjusted without delay. David Lloyd replied that there were persons yet living who remembered the running of the division-line, which was done, he believed, about the year 1688, under the administration of Governor Blackwell, but the commissioners of Chester County did not know where to apply for the record “or written proofs of it, except to the secretary, in whose custody all things of that kind should be kept.” After an interesting statement relative to the custody of the papers of the former secretary, Patrick Robinson, Council instructed the

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3 Ib., vol. iii. p. 111.

4 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 41.

5 Colonial Records, vol. iii. p. 158.

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then secretary, James Logan, and Attorney-General Andrew Hamilton, without delay, to make search for the missing documents belonging to the records of Council, and the secretary was “ordered to make further search for the proofs that have been mentioned of the Division Line between the Counties of Philadelphia & Chester.” With this announcement, so far as the minutes of Council are concerned, the whole matter dropped out of public notice, and adjusted itself in the manner suggested by Secretary Logan, by “laying all those Tracts called Mannors to Philadelphia County.”

At a meeting of Council held Feb. 6, 1728-29, a petition was presented by the inhabitants of the upper part of Chester County, setting forth that “by Reason of their Great Distance from the County Town, where the Courts are held, Officers are Kept and Annual elections made,” the inconvenience of attending court or obtaining writs and other legal process, being compelled to travel one hundred miles for such purposes, the want of a jail to imprison “Vagabonds and other dissolute People” who harbored among the frontier settlements, where they believed themselves “safe from justice in so remote a Place,” a division of the county should be made between the upper and lower parts, and that the upper portion should be erected into a county”.1 It is not within the scope of this work to follow the particulars of this movement, which finally resulted in the county of Lancaster being erected by the act of May 10, 1729.

We learn from the minutes of Council of Dec. 16, 1728,2 that the propriety of again making Chester the seat of the Provincial Government was seriously considered. It seems that a resolution had been carried in the General Assembly which set forth, “that inasmuch as there, has been of late several Indecencies used towards the Members of Assembly attending the Service of the Country in Philadelphia by rude and disorderly Persons unknown to this House,” the Governor and Council were requested to select a place which they shall deem “more safe for the Members of Assembly and most convenient for the Dispatch of the Business of the Country.” The Provincial Council, on their part, after considering the inconvenience of removal at that season of the year and setting out other difficulties, concluded that “if on further Experience the House shall continue in the same Sentiments that a Removal is necessary, the Board are of opinion that the same out [ought] to be adjourned to Chester, as the most convenient place for their meeting next to Philadelphia.” The sober second thought of the indignant legislators, or the penitent petitions of the inhabitants of the Quaker city prevailed over the anger of the Assembly, and, on “further experience, the House” neglected to press the subject of removal, and thus Chester did not grasp the prize she was so willing to secure.

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1 Colonial Records, vol. iii. p. 343

2 Ib., p. 340

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About 1730, the first mission of the Roman Catholic Church within the territory now comprising the present county of Delaware was located at the residence of Thomas Willcox at Ivy Mill, in Concord, to which fuller reference will be made in the history of that township. This religious sect did not progress very rapidly, for in 1757, in the census of Roman Catholics in Pennsylvania,3 the following return shows that in Chester County there were

Men/Women

“Under care of Robert Harding      18/22

“Under care of Thomas Schneider  13/9

“Under care of Thomas Schneider (Irish)     9/6

“Under care of Ferdinane Farmer (Irish)      23/17

“Under care of Ferdinane Farmer (German) 3

“These were all who took the sacrament above twelve years of age or thereabout.”

On the afternoon of Aug. 11, 1732, Thomas Penn, the son of the proprietary, landed at Chester, and a messenger was dispatched to Philadelphia to apprise the Council and Assembly, then in session, of his arrival. The secretary of Council immediately came to Chester, with the congratulations of the authorities, and “to acquaint him — Penn — that to-morrow they would in person pay their respects to him.” The following day the Governor and Council, accompanied by a large number of gentlemen, visited the borough, and “waited on the Honorable Proprietary and paid him their compliments. After dinner the Proprietary with his company, now grown very numerous, sett out for Philadelphia.” On September 20th of the following year, John Penn arrived at Chester, from England, and was there met and welcomed by his younger brother, Thomas, who, with a large number of gentlemen, had come from Philadelphia to greet the eldest son of the founder. After passing the night at Chester, the next morning the party rode to the city, where they were received with manifestations of popular rejoicing.

In 1739, when England declared war against Spain, an expedition was proposed from the colonies to invade the West Indies, and the Governor, in a proclamation calling tor recruits “to inlist in the important Expedition now on Foot for attacking and plundering the most valuable Part of the Spanish West Indies,” notified the people of Chester and vicinity that those who proposed to recruit should call on James Mather in the borough, while Henry Hockley, Robert Finney, and Lazarus Finney were designated for like service in other localities throughout the then county of Chester. It seems that in this enterprise a number of redemption servants were enlisted, and notwithstanding the attention of Governor Thomas was drawn to that fact, he took no official action to prevent such recruiting, and the parties aggrieved were compelled to seek redress from the Assembly. That body promptly provided for the payment by the province of all losses sustained by masters whose servants had been accepted into the military forces, and accordingly, on June 3, 1741, to James Gibbons and

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3 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. iii. p. 144

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Samuel Levis was issued an order on the loan-office for £515 11s. 9d., in payment for fifty-eight servants for mustered by the officers in Chester County. Other claims for damages suffered by similar enlistments were urged and paid; in one instance it was alleged that ten servants were taken from the iron-works at Coventry and Warwick, and those establishments were obliged to cease operation for a time, because skilled labor had been marched away as recruits.

On Dec. 22, 1741, the Governor presented to Council a petition from the justices of the county of Chester, setting forth that great abuses had been “committed” in the county by the use of defective weights and measures, and that they, the justices, at the instance of some of “the substantial Inhabitants,” as well as an address from the Grand Inquest, had “directed the purchasing of Standards of Brass for Weights & Measures, accordingly to his Majesty’s Standard for the Exchequer.” They therefore prayed that “the Governor would be pleased to appoint an Officer to keep the said Standards, and to Seal and Mark all Weights and Measures within the said County.”1 Isaac Taylor was the favored one who received the appointment, and the standards, we learn, cost the county £17 12s. 11d.2

On March 29, 1744, war was declared between Great Britain and France, and on the 11th of June of the same year Governor Thomas issued a proclamation3 in which he not only announced the hostile position of the two nations but strictly enjoined and required all persons in the province capable of bearing arms “forthwith to provide themselves with a Good Firelock, Bayonet, and Cartouch-Box, and a sufficient Quantity of Powder and Ball,” that they might be prepared to attack the enemy or defend the province from invasion. The Governor also urged the fitting out of privateers, not only as a war measure highly beneficial the State, but “may bring great advantages to the Adventurers themselves.” The Assembly, however, in which the Society of Friends largely predominated, took no step of a decided military character; but Franklin, by his pamphlet, “Plain Truth,” aroused the public to a knowledge of the defenseless condition in which the province then stood. A meeting of citizens was called, a regiment was formed in Philadelphia, and money was raised by a lottery to erect a battery below thatcity, on the river. “These military preparations were necessary to intimidate a foreign enemy, and to curb the hostile disposition of the Indians which had been awakened by several unpleasant rencontres with the whites.”4

The crown having, on April 9, 1746, ordered that four hundred men should be raised in the province of Pennsylvania, to be part of the forces designed for

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1 Colonial Records, vol. iv. p. 507.

2 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 49.

3 Colonial Records, vol. iv. p. 696

4 Gordon’s “History of Pennsylvania,” p. 245

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the immediate reduction of the French Canadian colonies, Governor Thomas, on June 9th of the same year, issued his proclamation5 to that effect, and under it four companies were recruited, commanded respectively by Capts. Trent, Perry, Deimer, and Shannon. The latter, John Shannon, of New Castle County, Del., was commissioned June 25, 1746, as captain, and authorized to enlist one hundred men.6 Professor Keen informs us that the company was to be recruited on the Delaware River.7

That the men were collected in New Castle and Chester Counties the names on the roll fully establish, and aside from that inferential proof, we have positive evidence that the organization was quartered in the borough of Chester, for in January of the following year the petitions of James Mather, David Coupland, John Salkeld, and Aubrey Bevan, then tavern-keepers in that town, were presented to the Assembly, asking payment “for the diet of Captain Shannon’s company of soldiers,” while Dr. Gandouit, a practicing physician in Chester at that time, also petitioned for payment for medicine furnished by him, as well as professional attendance on the sick soldiers.8 These companies were ordered to Albany, where they went into winter quarters. From a letter from Capt. Trent to Governor Thomas, written from Albany, Oct. 21, 1746,9 we learn that the troops were badly provided with blankets, and that the officers had been compelled to purchase a number for them, paying therefor in a draft on the Governor. He stated that had they not supplied the troops with those “articles the whole body would have deserted. The weather was extremely cold, and as many as thirty men had already deserted from Capt. Shannon’s company, giving as their reason the want of proper covering, and that they might as well take the chance of being killed in trying to make their escape as by remaining, to surely die. He related that one of Shannon’s men, “when the snow was knee-deep, in attempting to make his escape, got frost-bit, and his companions, fearing to undergo the same fate, left him, when he miserably perished.” The following month the captains of the four Pennsylvania companies united in an appeal to the Governor to supply the troops with necessaries, for “we have been making as near a calculation as possible of our provisions, & find, with the utmost frugality, we have not more meat than sufficient to serve till the 19th January, & as to our Bread & Rum, it falls far short of that time.”10 The troops, after being kept in cantonment until Oct.31, 1747, were discharged by proclamation of the Governor, wherein he declared the reason that “the late in

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5 Colonial Records, vol. v. p. 39.

6 See his commission and instructions, Pennsylvania Archives, vol. i. p. 688.

7 “Descendants of Joran Kyn,” Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. iv. p. 108.

8 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 49.

9 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. ii. p. 680.

10 Ib., p. 681

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tended expedition against Canada having been by his Majesty laid aside for the present.”1

During the early summer of 1747 a French privateer entered Delaware Bay, and captured several inward- and outward-bound vessels.2 The intelligence of these acts reaching Philadelphia on July 4th, pilots were forbidden by proclamation “to conduct, Pilot, or bring up any foreign Ship or Vessel carrying a Flag of Truce … to any Port or place within this Province above that Tract of Land lying in Chester county, commonly called and known by the name of Marcus Hook,”3 unless special license was issued by the Governor. The following summer the Spanish and French privateers showed the utmost daring in cruising off the mouth of and in Delaware Bay.

On May 25, 1748. George Proctor, a prisoner of war, succeeded in escaping by swimming from the “St Michael,” a Spanish privateer, carrying twenty-two guns and a crew of one hundred and sixty men, which was at the time moored off Salem Criek. The deposition of the Proctor was taken, and an express sent immediately to Philadeiphia with the intelligence, which threw the city into the utmost consternation, a condition of affairs which was in no wise allayed when on the following day the escaped sailor was himself sent to Philadelphia, the bearer of a letter from the authorities stating that the Spanish vessel, about ten o’clock that morning, came up within gunshot of New Castle, and there anchored, with a spring on her cable. The tide together with a calm, being against her, she was prevented getting nearer to that town, and as the people opened fire upon her, she weighed, and by her boats was towed “stern foremost, giving three Huzzas & one Gunn, hoisted Spanish Colours, & went down the River again.” Council desired Capt. Ballet, commander of the sloop-of-war “Otter,” to go down the bay and engage the privateer, but that officer stated that he had an encounter with a large French ship, in which his vessel had received such damage that required her to be hoved down for repairs.4 The Spanish privateer, unmolested, remained in the bay for some time, during which she made prizes of a number of vessels. The result of the alarm, however, was to arouse the public to the necessity of organization; hence the bodies known as Associators, which had been called into existence during the previous December by the voluntary action of the people throughout the province, became firmly established, and the militaxy education imparted thereby to the populace was of the utmost consequence to the patriot cause when, a quarter of a century later, the Revolutionary contest was forced upon the colonies. The following is the list of the officers of the two Associate Regiments of Chester County in 1747-48:5

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1 Colonial Records, vol.v. p. 127

2 Ib., p. 234

3 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. ii. p. 682

4 Colonial Records, vol. v. pp. 248, 252, 253, 256, 260, 261, 263, 264.

5 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. ii. p. 506.

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Colonels, William Moore, Andrew McDowell. Lieutenant-Colonels, Samuel Flower, John Frew. Majors, John Mather, John Miller.

 

Captain David Parry.           Captain Job Rushton.

Lieutenant Issac Davy.        Lieutenant Joseph Smith.

Ensign Nathaniel Davies.     Ensign James Dysart.

 

Captain Roger Hunt.            Captain Andrew McDowell.

Lieutenant Guyon Moore.   Lieutenant John Cunningham.

Ensign William Littles.        Ensign George McCullough.

 

Captain George Ashton.       Captain John McCall.

Lieutenant Robert Morrell.  Lieutenant John Culbertson.

Ensign Edward Pearce.        Ensign James Scott.

 

Captain William McKnight.  Captain George Taylor.

Lieutenant Robert Anderson.   Lieutenant John Vaugn.

Ensign Samuel Love.           Ensign Robert Awl.

 

Captain Moses Dickey.        Captain James Graham.

Lieutenant John Boyd.         Lieutenant William Darlington.

Ensign James Montgomery. Ensign Francis Gardner.

 

Captain Richard Richardson.    Captain Robert Grace.

Lieutenant John Cuthbert.    Lieutenant John Kent.

Ensign John Hambright.      Ensign Jacob Free.

 

Captain John Williamson.    Captain Hugh Kilpatrick.

Lieutenant James McMakin.    Lieutenant William Buchanan.

Ensign John Johnson.          Ensign William Cumming.

 

Captain John, Mathers.        Captain William Bell.

Lieutenant James Mathers.  Lieutenant Robert McMullen.

Ensign Joseph Talbert.        Ensign Rowland Parry.

 

Captain James Hunter.         Captain Joseph Wilson.

Lieutenant Charles Moore.  Lieutenant James Cochran.

Ensign Benjamin Weatherby.   Ensign Joseph Parke.

 

Captain John Miller.            Captain Henry Glassford.

Lieutenant George Bently.   Lieutenant Robert Allison.

Ensign Thomas Brown.       Ensign John Emmitt.

 

Captain William Clinton.      Captain William Boyd.

Lieutenant Morris Thomas. Lieutenant John Culbertson.

Ensign William Carr.           Ensign John Donald.

 

Captain Thomas Hubert, Jr. Captain William Reed.

Lieutenant John Rees.          Lieutenant Thomas Hope.

Ensign Anthony Richard.    Ensign Thomas Clarke.

 

Captain George Leggitt.        Captain William Porter.

Lieutenant Thomas Leggitt. Lieutenant Robert Mackay.

Ensign Archibald Young.    Ensign John Smith.

In the autumn of the year 1748 a general sickness prevailed throughout the province. Kalm records that “the disease was so violent that when it attacked a person he seldom lived above two or three days, and of those who were taken ill with it very few recovered. It was a true pleurisy, but it had a peculiarity with it, for it commonly began with a difficulty of swallowing.” … “The physicians did not know what to make of it, nor how to remedy it.”6

In 1751 the act of Parliament,7 which, as its title stated, was to regulate the commencement of the year and to correct the calendar then in use, was adopted. By its provisions Wednesday, the 2d day of September, 1751, was followed by Thursday, the l4th day of the same month, and as the act was intended to equalize the style in Great Britain, Ireland, and the colonies with that used in other countries in Europe, it was necessary that the Society of Friends should take action on so important a change. Hence the records of Chester Monthly Meeting respecting this alteration in style, as transcribed by Dr. Smith,8 are here given entire:

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6 Kalm’s Travels, vol. i. pp. 376, 377

7 24 Geo. II., c. 23, 1751

8 Hist. of Delaware Co., pp. 261, 262

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“Agreed that as by the late Act of Parliament for regulating the commencement of the year, that it is ordered that the first day of the Eleventh month next shall be deemed the first day of the year 1752, and that the month called January shall be successively called the first month of the year, and not the month called March, as heretofore hath been our method of computing.

“That from and after the time above mentioned, the Eleventh month, called January, shall thenceforth be deemed and reckoned the First month in the year, be so styled in all the records and writings of Friends, instead Of computing from the month called March, according to our present practice, and Friends are recommended to go on with the names of the following months, numerically, according to our practice from the beginning, so that the months may be called and written as follows: That January be called and written the First month, and February called and written the Second month, and so on. All other methods of computing and calling of the months unavoidably leads into contradiction.

“And whereas, for the more regular computation of time, the same act directs that in the month now called September, which will be in the year 1752, after the second day of the said month, eleven numerical days shall be omitted, and that which would have been the third day shall be reckoned and esteemed the 14th day of the said month, and that which otherwise would have been the fourth day of the said month must be deemed the 15th, and so on. It appears likewise necessary Friends should conform themselves to this direction, and omit the nominal days accordingly.”

In 1753 the French and Indian war was actually begun by a direct violation of good faith on the part of the French, and the struggle then inaugurated, although Great Britain did not declare war until 1755, finally terminated in the white standard of France giving place to the red-crossed banner of St. George throughout that vast territory now known as British North America. When, in the summer of 1755, Gen. Braddock took up the line of march for Fort Du Quesne, there was but one impression in all the English provinces, and that was that victory was already assured to his arms. We know that on May 28, 1755, the justices, sheriffs, and constables of the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Berks, and Bucks were notified that sixty wagons were required for the use of Braddock’s army, and that, if possible, they should be procured without harsh measures before the 8th day of June following, but, if they were not willingly furnished they must be impressed. It is, however, very doubtful whether any soldier from the then county of Chester at the fatal field of the Monongahela,1 but when the news of the crushing defeat

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1 Andrew Wallace (better known as Sergt. Wallace, of Wayne’s Bridge), in a sketch of his life published in Hazard’s Register, vol. xiii. p. 53, says, “About the 1st of May, 1754, I entered as a volunteer at Chester, and was appointed orderly sergeant in a company commanded by Capt. John Hannum.” (This was about the commencement of what was termed the French war.) The company before referred to became a part of the regiment under the command of Col. Charles Dack, of Virginia. “We were afterwards marched from Chester to the Gum-Tree Tavern, in Chester County, and from thence to Carlisle, where we were placed under the command of Maj. Samuel Hughs. From the last-mentioned place we were marched to Fort Chambers, now Chambersburg; from thence to Fort Louden, to join the troops raised, and to be commanded by Gen. Forbes, whose division was a part of the army commanded by Gen. Braddock, in the year 1755, as no part of the immediate command of Gen. Forbes was in that engagement.” This statement was made by Wallace in 1833, when he was a petitioner for a pension, and he stated he was one hundred and four years old. The aged veteran was possibly in error in his date. He may have been in Forbes’ expedition in 1758, but Forbes was not with Braddock in 1755. At the time Wallace places Hannum in command of a company the latter officer was not fourteen years of age.

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which made famous the rash, overbearing English general, who purchased with his life posthumous renown, came to astound the colonists as greatly as it amazed the English nation, many a young man from this locality enrolled himself in the hastily-recrulted company which, commanded by Capt. Isaac Wayne, was sent into Northampton County to guard the frontier inhabitants from threatened Indian attacks,2 as also in that commanded by Capt. George Aston.3 When, in the summer of 1758, Brig.-Gen. John Forbes took command of the troops collected to reduce Fort Du Quesne, in not a few instances the garb of the peaceful Society of Friends gave place to the dark-scarlet coat, faced with blue, the uniform of the Royal Americans, or the fringed hunting-shirt of the Pennsylvania Provincial. Dr. Smith4 records that no less than eight young men in full membership with Radnor Meeting went into active military service in 1756, and were disowned by the society because of that open violation of its rules. After Braddock’s defeat, so intense was the feeling in Chester County5 among the masses that on Nov. 24, 1755, a letter was read in Council from Col. William Moore, informing the Governor that two thousand of the inhabitants of that locality were prepared to march to Philadelphia to compel the Assembly to pass laws providing for the defense of the province. As at the same meeting a letter from Mr, Weiser, of Berks County, of a like import, was read, the Governor issued orders to the authorities in Philadelphia to take proper precautions to preserve the public peace. Subsequently Moore’s letter played a prominent part in the legislative and gubernatorial quarrels of that day, which, being more particularly the history of the State, requires no further mention in this work.

In 1755 the English nation suffered a disgrace far greater than defeat to her arms, and that was the violent expatriation of the French Neutrals, or, as afterwards called, “Acadian exiles,” from Nova Scotia. These unfortunates were the descendants of French parentage, and by the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, Great Britain had stipulated that these people should retain their lands on taking the oath of allegiance to the English king, and were not to be required to bear arms against the Indians or the French. For nearly half a century both parties adhered to the terms of the treaty, but in 1755 the love of their ancient country animated a few of the Acadian young men to enlist under the standard of France, and at the capture of Beau Sejour three hundred were found in arms. A number of these, however, were unwilling soldiers, forced into the ranks. Governor Lawrence, of Nova Scotia, thereupon demanded of the whole population, amounting to over seven thousand souls,

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2 Col. Samuel Miles’ Manuscript, Feb. 4, 1802: Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. ii. p. 547.

3 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” p. 54

4 Smith’s “History of Delaware County,” p. 264

5 Colonial Records, vol. vi. p. 729.

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including those who had not been in arms, to take the oath of allegiance to the British monarchy unconditionally. This being refused, because it was a violation of the treaty, Lawrence expelled the Acadians from Nova Scotia, confiscated their property (excepting their money and household goods), burned their dwellings, and wasted their estates. In this wantonly cruel act husbands and wives, parents and children, were torn apart and transported to different parts of the British American Colonies, while the vessels which carried them were so crowded that many died on the voyage. On Aug. 11, 1755, Governor Lawrence wrote to Governor Morris, of Pennsylvania, that he had shipped one hundred and sixty-eight men, women, and children to the latter province.1 This letter, which was brought by the vessels on which the Acadians came, was received November 19th, and Council immediately commanded that a guard should be placed over the ship to prevent the landing of the exiles, but fresh provisions and necessaries were ordered to be delivered on board, and continued to be sent until Council determined what should be done with these people.2 On the 25th of the same month Governor Morris, by message, informed the Assembly that he had the French Neutrals landed at Providence Island, as the doctor had reported that it would be dangerous to have them remain longer in the crowded vessel.3 Early in December it was officially reported that in the ships “Hannah,” “Three Friends,” and “Swan” four hundred and fifty-four out of the five hundred French Neutrals assigned to Pennsylvania had been received at Providence Island. Governor Morris, touched at the wrongs these unhappy exiles had suffered, strove earnestly to reunite those families which had been separated in transportation.4 On Feb. 20, 1756, the Assembly passed an act dispersing the Acadians in the several counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, and Lancaster, and making provision for their maintenance.5 By the act three commissioners were appointed in each of the counties named to distribute the Acadians among the people, locating only one family in a township, and to have a supervisory care over them. Nathaniel Pennock, Nathaniel Grubb, and John Hannum were the commissioners named for Chester County. The Governor failing to approve the bill promptly, on March 3d a committee from the Assembly waited on him to know what “he had done” with it, and on the 5th he signed it. When the law was attempted to be enforced, the Neutrals claimed to be prisoners of war, but Governor Morris and Council, after considerable delay, decided, six months subsequent to the promulgation of the act, that under the treaty of Utrecht they were subjects of Great Britain.6 Jan. 14, 1757, an additional act was approved, empowering the binding out and settling of

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1 Colonial Records, vol. vi. p. 711.

2 Ib., p. 713.

3 Ib., p. 729.

4 Ib., p. 45.

5 Ib., vol. vii. pp. 14, 15.

6 Ib., pp. 239, 240, 241.

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the Acadians under age, and providing for the maintenance of their aged, sick, and maimed at the expense of the province. The unfortunate people, feeling the injustice that had been visited on them, having lost heart and refusing to work, were soon in the utmost want. One week subsequent to the passage of the law just mentioned, William Griffith informed Council that unless something was immediately done many of the French Neutrals would perish. Already death had been busy among them, for shortly after they landed more than one-half of them had died.7 On March 21,1757, Governor Denny, caused the arrest of five of the Neutrals at the request of Lord Lowdoun, two in the city of Philadelphia, one in Frankford, “Paul Bujaud in Chester, and Jean Landy in Darby,” because they were “suspicious and evil-minded persons, and have and each of them hath at divers Times uttered menacing speeches against his majesty and his liege subjects, and behaved in a very disorderly manner.”8 No wonder; for surely the poor men who were thrown in jail in Philadelphia had every reason to utter menacing speeches against the Hanoverian scoundrel who then sat on the throne of Great Britain. In Chester, before the act authorizing the overseers of the poor in the several townships to bind out the children of the Acadians, the former officials had in many cases refused to receive the exiles or minister to their wants, hence many of the latter had died with smallpox; but after the law of Jan. 14, 1757, became operative the condition of the Neutrals was considerably improved. The burden of their support, however, aroused the taxpayers of that day, and when four years later it was found that seven thousand pounds had been expended in the support of the exiles, a committee of the Assembly was appointed to inquire into the condition of these people, and to ascertain whether the cost of their maintenance could not be lessened. It was, after investigation, reported that the reason their children had not been bound out to service was mainly owing to the religious opinions of their parents, who feared that their offspring might be surrounded with objectional influences in the families of the English settlers or their descendants. The result of the report was finally the repeal of the law providing for the support of these exiles. The glamour of Longfellow’s genius has made the wrongs of these Acadians more familiar to the popular mind than any of the many harsh and unjustifiable acts of ministerial minions in American colonial history, but to the student, the story of the banishment of these ignorant French people is a mere incident, the happening of which had little or no influence in shaping the direction of events. Even at that time among the Northern colonies the impression was being made on some thoughtful minds that at no distant day there would be an absolute separation from the mother-country.

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7 Gordon’s “History of Pennsylvania,” p. 500.

8 Colonial Records, vol. vii. p. 446.

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In the summer of 1758, Brig.-Gen. John Forbes, as before stated, with three hundred and fifty Royal Americans, twelve hundred (thirteen companies) of Montgomery’s Highlanders, twenty-six hundred Virginians, and twenty-seven hundred Pennsylvania Provincials, besides a thousand wagoners,1 set out from Philadelphia intending the reduction of Fort Du Quesne. Capt. John Hasslet, of New Castle County, recruited a company on the Delaware River, and the roll shows that Chester County contributed at least the following persons to the ranks2 of this organization:

Peter Allen, enlisted May 7, born in Chester Co., aged 22, and by occupation a saddler.

William Beggs, enlisted May 6, born in Chester Co., aged 40.

James Brieslin, enlisted May 12, born in Chester Co., aged 17.

Edward Gallagher, enlisted May 12, born in Chester Oo., aged 17.

Thomas Harvey, enlisted May 12, born in Chester Co., aged 17.

John McAfee, enlisted May 8, born in Chester Co., aged 21, and by occupation a laborer.

James Thomas, enlisted May 8, born in Chester Co., aged 22, and by occupation a laborer.

Samuel White, enlisted May 10, born in Chester Co., aged 26.

In the same month and year Capt. John Singleton enlisted a company of soldiers for Forbes’ expedition. The list of that organization shows that the following men were certainly from Chester County, and probably the number from this locality was greater than here represented:3

William Henry, aged 22, resident of Chester, Pa., drummer.

Samuel Armitage, aged 27, resident of Chester, Pa.

William Bevard, aged 28, resident of Chester, Pa., weaver.

Thomas Callican, aged 20, resident of Chester, Pa.

Thomas Connolly, aged 17, resident of Chester, Pa.

John Cross, aged 25, resident in Chester, Pa., cordwainer, “pock-pitt’d,” “stout made.”

John Cruthers, aged 16, resident of Chester, Pa.

Hugh Davis, aged 20, resident of Chester, Pa., smith.

Willian Foster, aged 25, resident of Chester, Pa.

William Kennedy, aged 25, resident of Chester, Pa., weaver.

John Long, aged 24, resident of Chester, Pa.

Edward McSorley, aged 22, resident of Chester, Pa.

Terence Kealy, aged 35, residing in Chester, Pa., “pock-pitt’d.”

John Richeson, aged 27, residing in Chester, Pa., “cocke nose and smooth faced.”

Patrick Roe, aged 22, residing in Chester, Pa., “bold looking.”

John Shannon, aged 23, residing in Chester, Pa., chandler, “Irishman.”

Edward Sheppard, aged 21, residing in Chester, Pa., “red hair and thin visaged.”

David Way, aged 24, residing in Chester, Pa., tanner.
Coupland David.

Besides these organizations there was a company of Pennsylvania Rifles under Capt. West, an elder brother of Benjamin West, the painter,4 who was present with his command when, on Nov. 25, 1758, the standard of Great Britain floated over the blackened

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1 Penna. Gazette, 1758, No. 1553. Winthrop Sargent, in his “History of Braddock’s Expedition,” page 270, make a difference in the number of men in Forbes’ command. He places the Virginia troops at sixteen hundred men.

2 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. ii. p. 551.

3Ib., p. 553

4 Sargent’s “History of Braddock’s Expedition,” p. 274. Mr. Sargent cites, in reference to the search of Sir Peter Halket for the remains of his father, slain in Braddock’s defeat, a statement that the English nobleman was accompanied by Capt. West. Galt’s “Life of West,” p. 65.

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and charred remains of the Fortress Du Quesne, and when the general, who had sworn the day previous to carry the works or leave his body beneath its walls, christened the heap of ruins Fort Pitt. The army having retraced its steps, the government the following year determined to rebuild the dismantled fortification, or to erect a new one on its site. Brig.-Gen. John Stanwick was placed in charge of this expedition, he having, on the death of Gen. Forbes, succeeded to the command. Troops were ordered to be enlisted, and on May 4, 1759, Gen. Stanwick gave notice that a number of wagons would be required, and in order to avoid the impressment of horses or wagons, a certain rate of compensation had been fixed by the authorities, which would be paid to those persons who would willingly furnish teams. From the county of Chester sixty-four wagons and four times as many horses were required.5 In the same locality a number of men enlisted, and doubtless the whole company recruited by Capt. John Mather, Jr.,6 was credited to Chester County, because Mather himself was a resident of the borough of Chester, and the following men certainly resided in that neighborhood:

John Gorsel, aged 16, of Chester. Pa., enlisted June 8, 1759, laborer.

Evan Jones, aged 38, of Chester, Pa., enlisted May 27, 1759, laborer.

Jacob Kirgan, aged 19, of Chester, Pa., enlisted May 27, 1759, weaver.

Hugh Wallace, aged 17, of Chester, Pa., enlisted June 12, 1759, shoemaker.

In Capt. Robert Boyd’s company appear the following persons who were undoubtedly residents of Chester County:

James Campbell, aged 22, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted June 13, laborer.

James Darragh, aged 20, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 11, laborer.

Samuel Fillson, aged 18, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted June 6, tailor.

James Hamilton, aged 21, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 21, laborer.

George Matthews, aged 18, resides in Cbester, Pa., enlisted June 2, laborer.

Robert Sandford, aged 23, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 25, laborer.

John Small, aged 22, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 1, laborer.

John Travers, aged 20, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 14, tailor.

John Willson, aged 20, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 7, tailor.

In Capt. James Armstrong’s company from Chester County were:

William Moore, aged 17, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 9, hatter by trade.

James Parr, aged 16, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted May 9, laborer.

In Capt. Jacob Richardson’s, company, Third Battalion provincial service, under command of Governor William Denny, appears the following:

William Cassiday, aged 21, resides in Chester, Pa., enlisted Aug. 20, carpenter.

These are all the persons which can absolutely be designated as belonging to Chester County, but the

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5 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. iii. p. 628.

6 Ib., 2d series, vol. ii. p. 588.

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foregoing is but a very small part of the men who enlisted from this locality.

The wagons required by Gen. Stanwix, so far at least as Chester County was concerned, seem not to have been forthcoming, for on Aug. 13, 1759, he wrote to the Governor from Bedford,1 complaining that Lancaster County was the most backward, but that “Bucks and Chester have given us only Nominal Assistance, by sending us impressed Waggons, unfit for this Service, by the Weakness of the Horses and Carriages. The Managers meet with more opposition in these two Counties than in any of the others, as the Magistrates seem unwilling to disoblige them; and unless they are spurred by the fear of incurring your Displeasure, I am afraid they will not exert their Authority in such a manner as will Answer the Purpose.”

Notwithstanding the constant assertion of Gen. Stanwix, the number of horses and wagons furnished by Chester County, according to the account-book of Roger Hunk,2 was not inconsiderable, particularly when we consider that the expedition really was of little moment in the shaping of events, and was useful only in that it made permanent the settlement then first called Pittsburgh.

The history of the province at this period is exceeding interesting, but, strange as it may appear, for almost a decade no event of sufficient importance to impress itself on the fleeting years seems to have occurred in our county. The French war, which was most honorable to the colonial arms, was approaching its conclusion, and in 1761, after the subjugation of Canada was complete, the whole of the provincial forces raised by Pennsylvania were discharged, excepting one hundred and fifty men. Considerable alarm was felt along the Delaware and at Philadelphia when the intelligence was received that about the beginning of the year (January 4th) 1762 Great Britain had declared war against Spain. The defenseless condition of the city of Philadelphia, its wealth and importance, it was feared would attract the combined naval power of France and Spain to attempt its capture, therefore the Assembly, which had been hastily convened, appropriated twenty-three thousand five hundred pounds, the parliamentary allotment for 1759,3 to the defense of the city, and also voted five thousand pounds to erect a fort mounting twenty guns on Mud Island, at the site of the present Fort Mifflin. However, the province breathed more freely when, in January, 1763, news was received that on the 3d of November, 1762, peace had been proclaimed with both France and Spain.

In 1765 we find that no less than three lotteries were authorized by the Legislature for the benefit of churches within the territory of the present county of

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1 Colonial Records, vol. viii. p. 376.

2 Futhey and Cope’s “History of Chester County,” pp. 54-58.

3 Gordon’s “History of Pennsylvania,” p. 393.

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Delaware, viz.: St. Paul’s, at Chester; St. John’s, at Concord; and St. Martin’s, at Marcus Hook. 1768 “was a year of jubilee4 for our good people, for the commissioners and assessors, after inspecting into the affairs of the county, “find no necessity for raising a tax this year.”

The power and wealth exhibited by the colonies during the French war amazed the home government, hence Mr. Grenville, in his desire to relieve the pressure of taxation at home, — the result of that war, — as well as to personally acquire reputation as a shrewd financier, proposed to raise a revenue from the colonies for the direct use of the British treasury. The scheme was not devoid of arguments to commend it to a debt-ridden people, yet the history of the provinces ought to have clearly demonstrated that such a measure would be met with determined resistance. The decided stand taken by the latter in 1754, when a plan for colonial taxation was suggested, should have fully indicated the temper of the people, who, whenever called on, had freely contributed pecuniary aid to the king by a vote of the Assembly, but who had always denied the right of the English Parliament to levy taxes on the provinces unless the latter had representation in the home legislative bodies. And perhaps no more objectionable form could the duties be made to assume than that which levied a tax on colonial imports, which resulted in almost destroying the colonial trade with the Spanish and French West India islands. It is unnecessary for me to discuss further this topic of colonial taxation, the resistance to which finally culminated in the Revolutionary war, and subsequently the formation of the United States as a nation.

It seems that Chester was the outpost where the customs officer was stationed to board vessels and prevent violations of the revenue laws. We learn that on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 23, 1771, about four o’clock, Alban Davis, who was attached to the custom-house schooner then lying off Chester, noticed several vessels coming up the river, among the number a light brig and a pilot-boat. Capt. Thomas Muskett, of the revenue cutter, boarded the pilot-boat, and signaled the schooner to come alongside. The crew on the pilot-boat then stated they wished to go down the river, which brought the inquiry from the officer what was their cargo, and the command to open the hatches or he would seize the vessel. Those in charge of the craft being insolent, the officer “put the broad arrow on the boat’s mast.” Whereupon the captain of the latter said that, as he had no further business on the vessel, he would go ashore. The revenue cutter and her prize, lashed together, had sailed up abreast of Red Bank, when the ebb-tide compelled them to anchor. Shortly before ten o’clock that evening, a pilot-boat coming down the river stood directly for the government schooner, when Capt. Muskett

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4 Smith’s “History of Delaware County,” p. 274.

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ordered them to keep off or he would fire at them, and was answered that he might fire and be damned, the river was as free to them as the cutter. Bearing down, the pilot-boat came alongside, when a man leveled a blunderbuss at Capt. Muskett, and gave him the choice to surrender or have his brains blown out. Even before the captain could make the selection about thirty men, armed with cutlasses and clubs, boarded the schooner, knocked down the captain and two of his men, and threw them into the hold, then fastened down the hatches. The captors ran the schooner ashore, cut her rigging and sails to pieces, and, unlashing the prize, sailed away with it. On December 5th Governor Richard Penn issued a proclamation, offering a free pardon to any one who should give information by whom the act was done.1 But nothing was learned of the men who had thus boldly set the law at defiance.

The Navigation Act, which interdicted colonial trade with foreign nations, compelling the purchase of all goods from England directly, as before stated, aroused

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1 Penna. Archives, lst series, vol. iv. p. 445; Colonial Records, vol. x. pp. 8-14. To show the unpopularity with which the custom-house officials were regarded, even among that class of the colonists whose feelings leaned towards the doctrine that the king could do no wrong, the following case is a good example: On Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 8, 1775, Francis Welsh, in a boat with four men, boarded the schooner “Isabella” off Gloucester Point, and was told, that the vessel was in ballast from Portsmouth, New England, whereupon the officer ordered the hatches to be removed. Capt. John Ritchey drew a pistol, declaring the first man who should attempt to search the schooner “he would blow to h–l.” The pilot wanting to be put ashore, Officer Welsh remarked that no man should leave the vessel, but Ritchey ordered a boat manned, and the pilot was landed. Ritchey subsequently told Welsh that the schooner belonged to Capt. David Campbell, who was the sole owner, and every dollar he had in the world was in her and the cargo, which consisted of dry goods and other dutiable or contraband articles from Dunkirk, France. Welsh was permitted to look around the cabin, and saw, among other things subject to impost duties, thirty pounds of tea. That night, about nine o’clock, Capt. Campbell, the pilot, and two gentleman came aboard, but the latter went away, and about an hour later three other gentlemen boarded the boat, who told the officer that he ought not to pursue Capt. Campbell, for it would ruin him. They offered Welsh twenty-five guineas, and promised him more if he would let the vessel go. About two o’clock at night Welsh formally seized the “Isabella” in the kings name, and ordered his men to take the helm. Upon this Campbell said the king never paid for her, and, drawing a pistol, put it to the pilot’s head, swearing that if be did not run the vessel down the river without putting her ashore he would kill him. On the next ebb-tide the schooner was abreast of Chester. Welsh and Campbell went ashore to get something to eat, and while in the town the officer inquired for a justice of the peace. He went to Francis Richardson, but he was ill, and afterwards to Henry Hale Graham, whose sympathies leaned towards the crown, but he told Welsh that he had no authority t