« ZurückWeiter »
Seventy Tears Ago In Wllkeh-Barro—Some Early BaUdlngs—Two Brothar Editors —Teaching* a Blind Sister Her Letters with Wooden Type.
A Record man met Isaao M. Thomas the other day. that gentleman remarking that his mother, widow of Jesse Thomas, could give the desired information in regard to the old house at the corner of Franklin and Union Streets, now undergoing demolition to make room for a handsome block of residences. Mrs Thomas was accordingly called on at her home on South Franklin Street. She remarked that the old house was built about 1811 or 1812, by her father, Hon. Charles Miner and that she and her brother, William P. Miner, founder of the Record Ok The Times, were born under its roof. While her father was engaged in its erection he occupied the house at the corner of Union and River Streets, now occupied by Dr. Ingham. In 1817 Mr, Miner sold it to Judge Bnrnside, who was a distinguished jurist, the former removing to West Chester, where he established the Village Record.
All the four corners except one, that occupied many years later by Hon. Andrew Beanmont's house, were built upon. These were older than Mr. Miner's house and the one in the southwest corner is still standing, It was called the Evans house, its owner being quite a prominent man in his day. On the northeast corner, now the Stickney Block, was the Palmer house, known to a later generation as the "old red house." The Palmers afterwards removed to Mt. Holly, and they were a large family. The Beaumont house was built years after, in fie early da) s of the canal and was intended by Mr. Beaumont as a ware house for canal shipping rather than for a dwelling.
Franklin Street ended at Union 70 years ago. Above Union it was called the "green lane" and was a favorite playground for our parents and grandparents during the first decade or two of the century. There were no houses above Union except that of Capt. Bowman, now the residence of Mrs. Col. A. H. Bowman.
Owing to the fact that Mrs. Thomas spent most of her earlier days away from WilkesBarre. she cannot tell who occupied the Miner house subsequent to Judge Bnrnside, though she recollects that Joseph Le Clero lived there in 1833.
Mrs. Thomas well remembers the consecration of the first St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in 1823. by Bishop White. It was a great event in Wilkee-Barre and as Mrs. Thomas had lived among Quaker influences, she (then nine years old) had never seen a snrpliced clergyman before. She remembers coming to visit Wilkes-Barre at that time
and that a fellow traveler in the stage ooaoh over the Easton pike was a gentleman who was also coming to Wilkes-Barre. The little girl and her mother did not know the gentleman, though they were curious to, beoause he was constant in his kindly attentions to the child. What was their surprise at afterwards seeing their fellow-passenger a conspicuous figure at the church consecration, he being a candidate for ordination, Bishop White laying his hands upon his head with the bestowal of the apostolic blessing. Rev. Samnel Sitgreaves—for this proved to be his name -served as rector of the parish for a year, was followed by Rev. Enoch Huntington in 1824. and by Rev. Dr. James May in 1827. Prior to the coming of Mr. Sitgreaves, Samuel Bowman had conducted lay services at 8t. Stephen's and he afterwards entered the ministry and became an assistant bishop. Bishop Bowman died in 1801, and his wife was a sister of the young deacon who rode across the mountains with little Miss Miner on that bright June day in 1833. The church, Mrs. Thomas says, was a low, frame building painted white, with a gable end to the street, a flight of half a dozen steps leading np to a long porch. The Presbyterian Church was built a little later and was similar to the Episcopal except that its pulpit was at the front while that of the Episcopal was at the farther end from the entranoe.
Mrs. Thomas has a host of interesting reminiscences. She remembers-Rev. Dr. May and Bishop Onderdonk (Episcopal), Rev. Nicholas Murray (Presbyterian), who afterwards gained considerable prominence as "Kirwan" in his celebrated oontest with Archbishop Hughes, of the Roman Catholic Church (1820-33). It was during Mr. Murray's pastorate that the church, which had been partly Congregational hitherto, folly adopted the Presbyterian form of government.
Her description of her father's pointing office and the manner in which he taught a blind daughter, Sarah, to read, by having her learn the shape of large wooden job type, is interesting in the extreme. When sent to an institution f >r teaching the blind her parents were informed that she was the first child ever admitted who was able to read. She had a marvelous memory and was afterwards an invnlurble assistant to her father in his arduous work of writing the ''History of Wyoming," she accompanying him on his visits to the old people, listening closely to their stirring narratives of pioneer privations and Indian hostilities, and then recalling them to her father when he returned home to put his data on paper.
Charles Miner was born rn Connecticut in 1780 and came to Wilkes-Barre in 1789, where his brother Asher (great grandfather of the present Asher Miner) estab lished the Luzerne County Federalist in 1801, in which year the Wilkes- Barre Gazette, owned by Thomas Wright, ceased publication. Asher Miner married the only daughter of Thomas Wright and Charles married his grand daughter, Letit<a, daughter of Joseph Wright, who had edited nis father's paper. In 1802 the two Miners formed a partnership, which continued two years, at which time Asher moved to Doylestown. In 1807 Charles was elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature and was re-elected the following year. In 1810 he sold the Federalist, to his two apprentices, Steuben Batler and Sidney Tracy. He resumed the office in 1811, but in 1810 sold to Isaac A. Chapman and looated in West Chester 1817. In 18?4 he was elected to Congress Bud was re-elected two years later. In July 1825 he was re-joined by his brother Asher and they published the Village Record until its sale by them in 1834. It is still hale and hearty. Charles returned to Wyoming Valley in 1832, Asber following iu 1834 and they ended their lives on adjoining farms near Wilkes-Barre. now Mh.er's Mills. His "Histowy of Wyoming," was published in 1845 and iB the standard work on that subject. His death occurred in 1805 at the ripe age of 85, Asher, who was the grandfather of Hon: Charles A. Miner, died in 1840.
Death of a Young Lawyer. Catarrhal pneumonia of a week's duration blotted out a promising young life on Friday, April 1, that of James Buchanan Shaver, Esq., of Plymouth, one of the youngest members of the Luzerne Bar. He was born in Dallas, Jan. 24, 1850, and was a son of Andrew Jackson Shaver, and a grandson of William Shaver, of Dallas. The family have resided in or near Wyoming Valley since 1790. Deceased moved to Plymouth when a mere lad, soon after his father's death at Dallas. He was a faithful and diligent student and was graduated with honors from Wealeyan University in the class of 1881, when 22 years of age. After graduating he returned to Plymouth and taught in the public schools for three years. He registered as a law student with 3. A. Opp., Esq., and was admitted to the bar of Luzerne County last June, after a highly creditable examination. He subsequently opectd offices in Plymouth and Wilkes-Barre and the trial of the cases upon which he was erlgaged in his very brief practice stamped him as a lawyer who would have adorned his profession had his life been
spared. He was a member of the Methodist Church and an efficient teacher in the Sunday school. He was a brother of Dr. Wm. Davenport Shafer and a cousin of Dr. Harry L. Whitney and the Davenport Brothers of Plymouth.
It is said that since the illness of Prof. Howland, of the Wyoming Seminary, he had been invited to fill his position during that illness, and would have accepted had he not himself fallen a victim to the same disease.
The funeral took place Monday at 11 o'clock from his late home. Interment in Plymouth.
On Saturday the Luzerne bar held a meeting to tako action upon its bereavement, and George B. Knlp, esq., was made chairman and Charles E. Keck, secretary. The following persons were appointed a Committee on Resolutions: A. C. Campbell, A. L. Williams, P. A. O'Boyle, P. A. Meixell, D. A. Fell, jr., J. Q. Creveling and J. A. Opp, who reported as follows:
The bar of Luzerne County condole with the family and kindred of James Buchanan Shaver, and desire to express their appreciation of the loss which his unexpected death has brought to them. His life has come to an untimely olose. His career has ended. His life's work was but begun. The future to him was full of hope and promise. His life was one of labor and assiduity, and his career worthy of emulation by all young men who aim at eminence in the profession to which he belonged. He was a Christian gentleman in all his actions and dealings with his fellow man. As a member of the bar he rejoiced in the moral triumphs of justice, and was a sincere and conscientious advocate in all that those terms imply. Therefore, be it
Resolved, That the members of the legal profession of this county, and particularly the younger members of the bar, who have enjoyed closer intercourse with the deceased, have lost a warm, faithful, personal friend, and the bar in general has been deprived of one who added to its character more than ordinary virtues.
And we hereby extend to the family, and especially to the widowed mother of the deceased that sympathy which may in some small degree sustain them in the hour of their sad affliction.
The verdict of his colleagues is that, though soung, James Buchanan Shaver has not lived in vain.
That these resolutions be engrossed and presented to the mother of the deceased, and that a copy be furnished the newspaper for publication, and that the court be requested to direct the same to be spread upon the records.
TLhc Ibistorical IRecorb
Vol. I. APRIL, 1887. No. 8.
A BIIAVE FKONTIKR KANGKIt.
Sketch of Peter Pence, Who Fought In the Revolutionary War anil watt Afterwards an Indian Fighter on the Susquehanna -Some or Hlpt Aftvei.tureH. Peter Pence, whose name has so often been read in connection with that of Moses Van Campen, was a German, or rather a Pennsylvania Dutchman, of the days of seventy-six. It is believed that his proper name was Peter Beutz, which name at that time was frequently met in Lancaster County and that he came from there to Shamokin, and that it was changed to Pence, by the well known aptitude of the Pennsylvania Dutchman to cross Hie souuds of the letters b and p when speaking English, that in this way his name was written Pence.
In one of the Wyoming histories, iu relating his and Moses Van Campen's adventures during a captivity with the Indians, Pence is described as a young boy. This is a mistake, as Peter was not only a man, but a very numerous one. both on the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna, as an Indian fighter and scout, or, as they were called in those days, a ranger. The first record we have of him is that in June, 1775, he enlisted in Captain John Lowdon's company, First Rifle Regiment, commanded by Col. William Thompson. This company camped at Sunbury, thence marched to Readiug and Easton; thence through the northern part of the State of Mew Jersey, and crossed the Hudson River at New Windsor, a few miles northwest of West Point; thence through Hartford to Cambridge, where it arrived about the 8th of August. Pence's company was now fairly to the front and he had an opportunity of seeing the British troops whoso batteries frowned down upon him trom Bunker, Breod and Copp's hills, as also from their war ships in the harbor. The men of the regiment to which Pence belonged were thus described at the time in Thacher's Military Journal:
"Several companies of riflemen have arrived hero from Pennsylvania and Maryland, a distance of from five hundred to seven hundred miles. They are remarkably stout and hardy men, many of them exceeding six feet in heignt. They are dressed in rifle shirts and round hats. These men are remarkable for the accuracy of their aim,
striking a mark with great certainty at two hundred yards' distance. At a review of a company of them, while on a quick advance they fired their balls into objects of seven inch diameter, at a distance of 250 yards. They are now stationed on our lines, and their shot have frequently proved fatal to British officers and and soldiers."
If this is a fair picture of the kind of boy Pence was in 1775 then he should have been something more than a boy, when in the month of April, 1780, he, Van Campen and Pike, with the two boys, Jonah Rogers and the boy Van Campen, Moses' little nephew, rose on their captors, near Tioga Point, and slew a portion of them, routed the remainder and captured all their guns and blankets. After which they made their way down the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, part of the way on foot and part on a raft, reaching Wyoming on the 4th day of April, 1780.
Here Pike and the boy, Jonah Rogers, left the party, as they were now near their homes. On the evening of the 5th Pence, Van Campen and his little nephew again took the river in a canoe and traveled all night, as at that time the Indians were on the river below Wyoming in force. They reached Fort Jenkins [now Briar Creek, Columbia County,] on the morning of the 6th of April, where they met Col. Kelly, with one hundred men, who had como across from the West Branch. Here it was that Moses VanCampen first met his mother and her younger children, who had escaped the massacre in which his father, brother and uncle met their fate just a week before. She had supposed him a victim of the slaughter. The next day Pence and VanCampen left Fort Jenkins in thtir canoes, and reached Fort Augusta, at Sunbury, where they were received in a regular frontier triumph. On the 9th following. Lieut.-Col. Ludwig Wettner writes from Northumberland to the Board of War.stating that he encloses a deposition, or rather a copy of it, of one Peter Bens, who was lately taken prisoner by the Indians on the 20th of March last, and happily made his escape with three more of his fellow sufferers. Ever> effort has been made to discover this deposition or a copy of it, but without success. The statement of Moses VanCampen as to this particular event must therefore forever stand alone.
The next exploit in which we find Pence engaged ia in the year 1781, when the Stock family were murdered by the Indians about two miles west from Selinsgrove. It was a most foul aDd brutal mnrder. The neighborhood and three experienced Indian fighter *. Pence, Grove and Stroh, went in pursuit of the enemy. The speed with which the Indians traveled and the care required to keep on their trail and avoid an ambuscade, prevented the white men from overtaking them nntil they had got into the State of New York, somewhere on the headwaters of the North Branch, where they fonnd the party encamped for the night on the side of a bill covered with fern. There the Indians fancied themselves safe. The distance they had traveled in safety warranted them in believing that they had not been pursued and they therefore kept no watch. Grove, leaving his gun at the foot of the hill, crept up through the ferns and observed that all their rifles were piled around a tree and that all but three or four were asleep. One of them, a large and powerful man. wan narrating in high good humor, and with much impressive gesticulation, the attack on Stock's family and described the manney in which Mrs. Stock defended herself. Grove lay quiet until the auditors fell asleep, and the orator, throwing his blanket over his head slept also. He then returned to his comrades, Pence and Stroh, informed them of what he had seen, and concerted the plan of attack, which was put in execution as soon as they thought the orator and his hearers fast asleep. They ascended the hill. Grove plied the tomahawk, while Pence and Stroh took possession of the rifles and fired among the sleepers. One of the first to awake was the orator, whom Grove dispatched with a single blow as he threw the blanket from his head and arose. How many they killed I do not know, but they brought home a number of scalps. The Iudians, thinking they were attacked by a large party, fled in all directions and abandoned everv thing. A white boy about 15 years of age, whom they had carried off, was rescued and brought back. The survivors having fled, they selected the best of the rifles, as many as they could conveniently carry, destroyed the remainder, and made ther way to the Susquehanna, where they constructed a raft of logs and embarked. The river was so low that their descent was both tedious and slow, and their raft unfortunately striking a rock at Nanticoke Falls went to pieces, and they lost all their rifles and plunder. From that place they returned to Northumberland on foot, and arrived there in safety.
Meginness in his "Olzinachson," after speaking of Michael Grove as the Indian
killer, says, "There was another remarkable hunter and Indian killer in this valley named Peter Pence, of whom many wonderful stones are related. He is described by those who remember, as being a savage looking customer, and always went armed with his rifle, tomahawk and knife even years after peace was made. It is said that an account of his life was published some thirty years ago, and is remembered by some, but the most careful research has failed to develop it."
That Pence was not a boy, but a brave soldier of the Revolutionary War and served out a term, during which he bravely faced the cannon shot and shell of the British at Bunker Hill, and returned home to do duty on the Susquehanna frontier against the Indians and was captured and escaped with Moses VanCampen almost four years after an honorable discharge from the Continental service, must be conceded.
On the 10th of March, 1810, the Legislature of Pennsylvania passed an act granting an annnity to Peter Penoe, in consideration of his services, of forty dollars per annum, which was to be paid annually in trust to John Forster of Lycoming County, and requiring the said John Forpter annually to report to the Orphans' Court of Lycoming County, on oath or affirmation how or in what manner he executed the said trust in him confided. Peter Pence, it is said, died in Crawford Township, Clinton Connty, in the year 1820 and left a son named John. It would be very interesting to know at lhis late day, what evidence *as filed at Harrisburg in support of the passage of the act granting the annnity. And also what report was made to the Orphans' Court by his trustee. And how, when and where he died and was buried. And who, if any of his living discendants are. C. F. Hill.
Hazleton, April 15, 1887.
The Doylestown Democrat of March 8 contains the paper on Hon. Samuel D. Ingham, read before the Bucks Connty Historical Society by Rev. D. K. Turner. Mr. Ingham was the most illustrious citizen who ever lived in Bucks Connty, unless Nicholas Biddle. who lived at the same time and participated in the same events of the Jacksonian era, is regarded as a rival Ingham, it will be remembered by the student of political h'story of the country, was the Secretary of the Treasury during old Hickory's administration, and with other members of the Cabinet dissolved their i flicial relations of the administration on account of the Mrs. Eaton troubles. The paper is a valuable contribution, and will rescue from oblivion many of the incidents of Ingham's career.
One Which Old Probabilities was not Looking fur—The Heaviest April Snow Fall In 30 Years. People who had begun to make garden and who thought spring had come were surprised to witness a heavy snow storm April 18. It began in the silent hoars of the early morning, continued about seven or eight hours, and by noon had laid a beautiful carpet of as many inches deep over the entire landscape. It lacked only a depression of temperature to be a genuine winter day. The thermometer was not as low as the freezing point. Pedestrians found the walking most difficult in the deep snow, while the roads speedily became muddy. The storm was hardly so severe as a noteworthy predecessor of 30 years ago, but it was phenomenal at this season of the year. The jingle ot sleigh bells was heard for the first time in many weeks and there was fully seven or eight inches of snow on a level in the city. Outlying towns and hamlets report about a foot of snow on the level, at Laurel Run there being between 11 and 13 inohes and at Lehman Centre the same. The storm began at about 5:30 am. and ceased for several hours about noon. At sundown it resumed, and continued until about midnight.
The storm on Saturday was cenlr.il at Salt Lake City but crossed the Rocky Mountains and was central Monday morning in Louisville, Ky. All east of the Mississippi River was on Monday under the influence of the storm, which caused heavy rains at Louisville, Cincinnati, Nashville, Pittsburg, Knozviile and Indianapolis and lighter rains both east and west of these points, from Kansas to the Atlantic. In New York city it caused the fall of considerable snow. Snow also fell along the New England coast and in the lake region, but elsewhere the rain fall prevailed an far south as northern Georgia and Mississippi. Throughout Central New York and Pennsylvania from two to ten inches of snow is reported.
All the old settlers called to mind a similarly late April storm in 1857. James D. Laird was the first to fix the date, he finding a memorandum on his day boos for April 30. 1857. He says the snow was up to the window sills of his Market Street shop, fully two feet deep.
Alderman Parsons, Richard Sharpe, Wesley Johnson, J. M. Nicholson and Charles Morgan, all had incidents to recall. The latter was on Long Island Sound on a steamer en route from New London to New York. The reckoning had become lost and the vessel had a difficult time making port.
Alderman Johnson recalled the crashing n of Mr. Betterly's kitchen, which stood
about where Morgan's shoe factory now stands. Mr. Betterly was the father of the present Dr. Betterly.
Alderman Parsons had a very vivid reoollection of the occurrence as his first wife was dying. He went to Pursel & Simon's livery tor a rig with which to take a nurse home. The stable was orushed. Mr. Parsons says the snow remaining at the end of the storm was 11 inches.
Hon. L. D. Shoemaker's recollection of the depth of the show was about a foot.
Ticket Agent Nioholson says the D. L. & W. trains y esterday did not softer so badly this time as in April, 1857, the snow fall on Pooono being only five inches, while in 1857 it was as many feet.
E. H. Chase, E*q., recalls the storm as it affected the courts. The drifts were so bad, and the storm so heavy throughout the county, that court which had assembled, as it did Monday, for the spring term, was compelled to adjourn because of the absence of jurors. Stiles Williams', of Bear Creek, for a long time proprietor of the Prospect House on the Wilkes-Barre mountain, created a sensation by bringing in several jurymen from Bear Creek township and neighborhood, the party being pulled by four horses, with five outriders going on ahead to break the road. Mr. Chase was drawn as salesman in the same court, but was rejected as not having been a resident of the county for a sufficient length of time.
The Record Of The Times for April 23, 1857, contains several references to the storm of that year, the date being April 30:
"The storm of Sunday night and Monday was more disagreeable than anything we recollect for years. Heaviest snow fall of the winter. The roof of the large shed at the livery stable of Pursel & Simons was broken down and several carriage tops crashed. Telegraph poles on Market and Main Streets broke down and tangled the wires in the street. A building on Main Street, occupied by Mr. betterly was broken in and his daughter slightly injured. The falling mass rested on the table where she was eating, otherwise she would have been crushed to death. Mr. Totlen's stable on Washington Street was crashed, also the long rope walk on the canal."
"The storm has interfered with our offioe work and we have been compelled to call in extra assistance in the way of steam for the power press."
"The weather for past week severe as November. Wednesday like winter. Saturday spring like, but only a weather breeder. Sunday raw, East wind, snow commenced afternoon, continuing nearly all Monday and part of Tuesday. We had a sled ride on Tuesday. Eighteen inches must have fallen. The Lackawanna & Western trains were