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THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Discussing the Proponed Removal Into the Osterhout Library ltullaing.
The last regular meeting of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society held in the old rooms took place May 13, President E. L. Dana in the chair. A large number of members were present.
Gen. Dana announced that the meeting was for the purpose of discussing the proposition to remove into the old First Presbyterian church.
From the discussion whioh followed later in the evening it was obvious that the purpose of the meeting was a surprise to most of the members present, and little preparation had been made to discuss it.
The secretary, Sheldon Reynolds, read from the society's recent correspondence.
Wm. R. Maffet was proposed for membership by Dr. Ingham.
Judge Dana made the meteorological report for Feb.—April. For February the average temperature was 38 9-10 degrees; rain fall 3 47-100 inches; depth of of snowfall 8% inches. For March, the average temperature .was 31% degree; rain fall 1 84-100 inches; depth of snow fall 3% inches. For April, average temperature 42% degrees; rain fall 2 16-100 inches; snow faU 9% inches. The snow fall during the winter of 1880-7 by months was given as follows: Nov.,1886, 6 inches; Dec..l886, 10>4 inches; Jan., 1887. 9 inches; Feb., 1887, &% inches: March, 1887, 3 3-14 inches; April, 1887, \)% inches; total 47% inches. The heaviest snow fall in April sinoe April 30, 1857 occurred April 18, 1887.
Mr. Reynolds reported that the Osterhout trus ees had agreed to assign to the sooiety the use of the lecture room, two stories, of the ohurch, which will be ready for occupancy in July. Mr. Reynolds said it had been suggested that the society's library, or A portion of it, be merged into the Osterhout library. The government and State publications, about 3,000 volumes, particularly would be better adapted to the Osterhout library than to the shelves of the Historical Sooiety. The trustees desire that the society inform them as to what repairs ure necessary in the portion of the ohurch building set apart for the society.
Judge Dana gave a reminiscent sketch of the growth of the society and paid it a generous eulogy on the position at which it has arrived, tie announced that the chief object of the present meeting was to disouss and take action upon the proposed removal from the present quarters. The first thing to be done is to get a plan of the most economical adjustment practicable for the needs of the society. The removal of the
cabinet and library of the society should be in. the hands of the curators of the several departments.
Mr. Jones moved that the committee already appointed be renewed and conjoined with the curators to confer with the Osterhout trustees, with power to act. Judge Woodward moved the old committee be discharged and t e new one, consisting of the cabinet committee, be appointed in their stead. Mr. Atherton seconded the motion. Carried.
Mr. Edward Welles hoped the library of the society would be put in an aloove by itself and would not lose its individuality by being scattered about the Osterhout shelves. Mr. Reynolds announced that all but the government publications of the society's library would be kept in their rooms adjoining the library. Every one of the books will have the society's book-plate. Mr. Reynolds then moved that the government and Statu publications be deposited in the reference department of the Osterhout library. Mr. A. T. McChntock moved to amend that the matter be left to the cabinet committee with power to act. After discussion by Judce Woodward, G. R. Bedfordand the president, the amendment and motion were withdrawn and the matter was referred to the cabinet committee and Mr. E. Welles. Adjourned to meet on Friday evening, June 3.
The names of the various contributors were read and the contributions were also announced. A vote of thanks was then tendered to ail the contributors, who were as follows: Amherst College, Wisconsin State Historical Society, Dr. F. C. Johnson, C. J. Hoadley, Hon. J. R. Wright, Superintendent of Documents John G. Ames, American Geological Society, Director of the United States Mineral Survey of 1885, H. J. Smith, Minnesota Historical Society Governor James A. Beaver, Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, Meriden Science Association, Lewis Swift, Hon. J. A. Soranton, I. A. Stearns, H. J. Hill, W. A. Wilcox, Indiana Historical Society, E. H. Chase, Canadian Institute, American Geographical Society, Bureau of Education, S. H. Lynch, Owen P. Keenly, Department of the Interior, W. G. Sterling, R. G. Huling, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Soiences, Dr. W H. Sharpe, Virginia Historical Sooiety, Bangor Historical Society, Secretary Internal Affairs J. 8. Africa, United States Geological Survey, American Geological Society, I. P. Hand, C. D. Collet of London, A. H. Dickson, Luzerne County Express, Telephone, R. Baur & Son, J. C. Coon, A. E. Foot*, W. D. Averell, Peroival Gasset, Commissioner of Patents, Travelers' Insurance Company, Iowa Historical Sooiety, George W. Lung, Mrs. S. Horton, Hon. E. L. Dana.
Footprints of the Indiana in the Lackawanna Valley—Dr. Holllster's Cabinet of Twenty Thousand Specimens. IScranton Troth.] Dr. Hollister's cabinet of Indian relics contains 20,000 specimens, most of which were picked np along the Lackawanna Valley. The owner'B intimate knowledge of Indian language and customs invests this rare collection with an added interest, and makes it an excellent history of the Red raoe who a little more than a century ago held complete possession of this place, now the great centre of the anthracite industry— oovered with beauty on its face, and lined with rich treasures in its bosom. The writer spent several hours recently in the doctor's cabinet room with great pleasure and profit. The Doctor treasures his relics as a miser would his gold. The collection numbers pots of stone and burned clay of various capacities; pestles of large proportions and delicate finish; agricultural implements of stone, and of every possible variety for cultivating tobacco, corn, etc.; war implements of a formidable character, comprising spear points ten inches in length, and still as keen as a knife; stone death mauls for killing captives, such as that used by the "bloody Queen Esther" at the massacre; amulets, stone rings and beads and charms worn on the person to insure immunity from danger and disease, besides every kind of implement of silez or stone, such as was fashioned and UBed in thiB region a little more than a hundred years ago when the Delaware and Monsey tribes, who were tributary to the famous Six Nations, held sway here.
Among the quaint and curious articles that attract attention is a highly elaborate stone pipe, representing the Indian idea of the universe. The bowl represents the world, supported on one side by a bear, on the other by a wolf, while a crude figure of an Indian on each of the opposite sides -upposed to be standing on a log, holds up the world like a second Atlas. The following is a correct sketch of this rude piece of Indian art:
The pipe was formerly in the possession of the Nanticokes, and did duty at many a council fire, in quieting the fierce passions of the sanguinary savages, who made use of such a mode of establishing peace. It was picked np a short distance from the village of Nanticoke, near the Susquehanna River, and several miles from the scene of the Wyoming massacre.
The most ornate of the Indian amulets yet discovered in this vicinity, is the representation in stone of a bird, which was ploughed up in 1866 by Hiram On ens, in a field located in the Lackawanna Valley, four miles from Scranton. It was a charm of rare worth among the savages, and defeat could never come to the warrior who wore it.
A formidable stone hatchet, such as was frequently used in the great massacre, is represented by the accompanying sketch. The weapon was picked up near Capouse Mound, a memorable spot in the Lackawanna Valley, where half a dozen of those who were fleoing from the terrors of Wyoming were overtaken and mercilessly butchered. One of the most wonderful things connected with these stone weapons is their remarkable polish, and the keenness of edge by which they are characterized. This is shown in a high degree in a stone tomahawk, or battle-axe, of the very earliest make, such as was nsed by the Indians when the whites first made their appearanoe in this region. A specify men of this deadly weapon was discovered on a farm near Soranton, 30 years ago, by Mr. Henry Griffin. The above is a representation of it. Around the hollow portion of the stone a withe was placed to fix it to the handle, and, wielded by a powerful arm, and in the hands of a savage who regarded mercy as a disgrace, one can easily see what a cruel means it would be of putting to death a vanquished foe.
In strong contrast with the heavy stone tomahawk is that in nse at present upon the Rocky Mountains, among clans who have no firearms. The following is a sketch of this light yet effective weapon:
Among the arrowheads fonnd so frequently along the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, the Cornelian is the most beautiful and highlyprized. One of these was picked up in lfc!7F> by Mr. Marvin Carter, at Capouse.
The old Indian apple tree stood in the midst of the wigwam village and close by was the mound from which a number of relics have been exhumed, and where, it is supposed the bodies of several warriors were laid at rest, after their spirits had passed to the happy hunting-ground.
Near this spot was also found a serrated, or saw-flint arrow-head, of which the following is a representation. It is so constructed that it could neither be introduced nor withdrawn without lacerating and doing great injury to the parts, and was considered one of the most destructive of Indian missiles.
One of the most deadly of arrow heads, however, was an oval flint, nsed for war purposes and so constructed that the poisoned point remained in the victim, while the remainder of the missile was easily extracted.
These weapons of war, 'pipes of peace and amulets have a language more eloI quent than written history. They bring us face to face with a condition of things which prevailed here a little more than a hundred years ago, and as we contrast them with the implements and the civilization of the present day in the Lackawanna Valley, they naturally give rise to the question what will it be a hundred years hence when we shall all have passed away from the scene of action.
An Old Local Poem. We append a portion of a poem bearing the signature of a visitor from Lancaster, taken from an old scrap book containing clippings from Wilkes-Barre papers of half a century ago:
ADIEU TO WYOMING.
In chronicle and song
Where 1 have tarried long.
That 1 no more may see
Sweet Wyoming! in thee.
Ah earthly scenes can he;
Sweet Wyoming! to thee:
And wooed thee for a bride:
Their stoutest champions died.
That fancy ever drew—
Without a sigh for you.
O'er every mist-clad hill;
From every bounding rill.
While memory shall be,
On pilgrimage to thee:
And to thyself be true—
Sweet Wyoming! adieu.
A HUNDRED YEARS
Slace the OwuinilM of Lazerae'a
Friday, May 27th, was the centennial or one hundredth anniversary of the organization of the first court ever held in Luzerne county under Pennsylvania jurisdiction.
It was convened in Wilkes Barre, in the building then located where Judge Woodward's house now stands and was presided over by six Justices of the Common Fleas, as they were then called. There was no President Judge until the constitution of 1791 was adopted, when Jacob Rush was appoints I.
It must have been a very primitive court for fourteen years afterwards, in 1801, according to a carefully kept diary, still preserved, there were but sixty houses in Wilkes Barre. And seven years later, in 1808, there were but four houses not of wood. Two stone houses were—that now occupied by Dr. Mayer and that Miss Alexander has just torn down, and two brick houses, the Perry house at the Northampton and Main corner and the Slocuro, house where Brown's boos store now is. There was no traffic except that the farmers brought their produce over a ferry opposite Northampton street, bartered it on the common, from whence it was taken to Easton over the mountain in wagons.
It is not surprising to bear, therefore, that there were but four attorneys admitted at the first court and that for many years afterwards the total list was a very small one. In fact it is a comparatively few years since the bar of Luzerne ceased "traveling the circuit," that is traveling from court to court in Luzerne, Bradford, Tioga, Wayne and other counties and practicir g In each, the trips usually consuming from five weeks to two months. Stuart Pearce in his "Annals" says that in 1784 the whole number of buildin.s in Wilkes-Barre was but 26, of which 23 were burned by the Pennamites.
The names of the justices who held the first court in Zebulon Butler's house were Wm. Hooker Smith, Benjamin Carpenter, James Nesbitt, Timothy Pickering, Obadiah Gore, Nathan Kingsley and Matthias Hollenback. Lord Butler was Sheriff and Timothy Pickering held about all the other offices except that of Court Crier, which belonged to Jos. Sprague. Four Attorneys were sworn in: Ebenezer Bowman, Putnam Catlin, Roswell Welles and William Nichols.
The President Judges who have respectively presided over the court were and are:
Jacob Rush, December, 1791.
Thomas Cooper, August, 1806.
Seth Chapman, August, 1811.
John Bannister Gibson, July, 1813.
Thomas Burn side, 1817.
♦David Scott, 1818.
+WiUiam Jessup, 1838.
John N. Conynghain, 1839. Resigned in 1870, serving 31 years.
Garrick M. Harding, 12th of July, 1870, his 40th birthday. Resigned 1879.
Charles E. Rice, 1879.
There have been four Additional Law Judges, E. L. Dana, Henry M. Hoyt, John Handley and Stanley Woodward.
*Judge Scott held the President Judgeship for over 20 years.
+Judge Jessup was twice commissioned as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, in 1838 by Governor itltner, and in 1848 by Governor Johnson. For a part of the time, in the change of the districts, this county came within his circuit. By a compromise arrangement between Judges Jessup and Conyngham and with the consent of the Bars of both, the Susquehanna and Luzerne districts were so adjusted as to accommodate the two Judges, putting Luzerne in Judge Conyngham's district and Susquehanna in Judge Jessup's.
There have been many distinguished men in the Luzerne bar. She has given two Chief Justices in the persons of John Bannister Gibson, and George W. Woodward, and Warren J. Woodward also served upon the Supreme bench. All three were eminent men, Judge Gibson in many respects the most eminent who ever sat in that tribunal. The words of his decisions are still quoted, just as he uttered them, as irrefutable definitions of the fundamental law.
Garrick Mallory became a Judge. George Griflln was elected constable of WilkesBarre as a joke, became angry, went to New York, became a friend and associate of Aaron Burr, and attained high distinction. Ovid F. Johnson and Henry W. Palmer became Attorneys General. Henry M. Hoyt became Governor. Henry M. Fuller was a remarkable man. He served in the Legislature and twice in Congress, was Whig candidate for Caual Commissioner of the state and mentioned for Vice President in 18fi0, though he was but forty when he died.
H. B. Wright served as speaker of the State House of Rei resentatives, was President of the Polk Convention and several times in Congress.
Charles Den f son, Chester Butler, L. D. Shoemaker, E. S. Osborne and others have also sat in Congress.
John Handley, Alfred Hand and R. W. Archbald are judges iu Lackawanna. Luther Kidder also went to the bench in another district.
In the old days George Denison was a wonderful pleader. Lyman Hakes, brother of the doctor, is believed to have been the strongest criminal lawyer the Bar ever had. Hal Wright was also a great lawyer. One of the most remarkable of the whole number was James McClintock, a poetic, sympathetic orator. His story is a very affecting one. He was assigned by Judge Scott to defend a little girl who had stolen a pair of shoes from in front of a store. The loser of the shoes had got them back, but insisted on prosecuting the child. McClintock defended her in a speech that was the talk of all this part of the state for long afterwards. Later he was nominated for Congress, principally because of this speech. There were three candidates. Two weeks afterwards, so slow were the methods of transmitting the news at that day, it was not known who was elected. In the meantime McClintock had married. Chester Butler gave a grand party in honor of McClintock and his bride. That night news came that convinced him he was elected. He was congratulated universally, on that, and on his marriage. Subsequently it transpired that he was defeated. Within a year his wife died in giving birth to her first child. The child died also, and McCain tock became insane. He was sent to an asylum and died there 30 years afterwards, having been an imbecile all that time. A sad conclusion to a brilliant beginning.
Many chapters of great interest would be inspired by knowledge of the men who have plead at this bar. We have room only for these rambling, hasty reminisences.
The bar now is as strong as any in the state. It has about 150 members. Andrew T. McClintock is the oldest in years and in practice. The younger are so numerous that nobody knows them all. The last to be admitted is Marlin Bingham Stevens, whose date is May 16, 1887, and whe has an office in Ashley.
Relics of Sullivan's March.
Wilkes-babre, May 23, 1887.—Editor Record: In the summer of 1841 or 1842 I saw two cannon balls unearthed on the Kingston flats, which at the time of their discovery were supposed to have been thrown there by one of Gen. Sullivan's guns the year after the massacre of Wyoming. They weighed three or four pounds each.
One of them I found while hoeing with my father and brother Charles on land now owned by John Gates. This was given to A. C. Church, whose son William, at present residing in Kingston, thinks it went into Barnum's first New York museum, which was destroyed by fire.
The other ball was found by Lyman Little, who with myself and some other boys were amusing ourselves after bathing by digging in the recently cut perpendicular bank of the river opposite the center of Johnson's island. L*man Bklding.
The Meteoric Shower of 1833. Niagara Faixs, N. Y., May 36th, 1887.— Editoe Recobd: In a recent number of your valuable Record, I read a short notice of that wonderful meteoric shower of 1833, whioh I remember as vividly as any event of my life, as I was at my grandfather's in Wyoming Valley on that memorable night. At about 4 o'clock in the morning he sent my mother (who then made it her home there) to our sleeping apartment to awaken us, and she, with great solemnity, told us to come down stairs to prayer as the world was coming to an end; that the scriptures were being fulfilled, the stars were indeed falling from heaven etc, etc. It was really a most solemn display and was awfully grand. The supposed stars appeared to take start from the center of the zenith or great dome, and fall as quietly to the earth, as a shower of large flakes of snow, but lost to view as they came near the surface. I distinctly remember watching the phenomena of the "falling stars," till the rising sun hid them from sight, and eagerly watched for their appearance the next night, but the shower was over, and the show was out.
8. Pettebone. The Record's request for reminiscences has elicited some very interesting data. The latest is a letter written by Capt. James P. Dennis, who was an eye witness, to his father. The former was at this time in Philadrlphia, employed on the construction of the first railroad bridge across the Schuylkill. The reference to the meteoric display is as follows:
"I observe by the papers that the splendid phenomenon of shooting stars extended over the region of Wilkes-Barre as well as Philadelphia. But I am afraid that unless 'Old Michael' rang the bell many ot your sluggish citizens did not enjoy the sight. I was up, as usual nowadays, about an hour before daybreak, and upon going out to wash myself I first saw them, and it seemed to me as if all the stars in the firmament had taken it in their heads that they had been long enough stationary, and that they all with one accord were changing places. They seemed to shoot to and fro from every point of the heavens. Some of our men declared the moon was being cut to pieces and that the chips were flying from her. Some thought that there would be no more stars, that they were all falling. Others that the world was coming to an end and were prodigiously frightened. As for myself I stood and looked and wondered and admired the sight until the great luminary of day made his appearance and outshone the rest"