« ZurückWeiter »
pine sad ferns. On the parlor mantel was a beautiful floral offering from Hon. and Mrs. Charles A. Miner. On the mantels and window sills were vases of beautiful flowers. Among the other floral decorations was a beautiful tribute from Mr. Parsons' asBooiates in the directory of the People's Bank. Against the mirror were the figures in gold, 1837—1887. In the parlor were two beautiful chairs presented by the children and a cherry tablejpresented by theyoanger grandchildren. The guests had been requested in the invitation to bring no presents nod the wish was respected. The tables in the dining room were lighted with candelabra, as were also the mantels in the parlor and drawing room.
The tables were waited on by some of the grand-children, Miss Mame Kidder and Calvin Kidder, of Wilkee-Barre, and by Miss Manness, of Scranton, a sister of Mrs. H. Parsons. Guests were received at the door by two little grand-children, Clarence Kidder and Harry Fish; np stairs by Anna and Edna Cole and Ruth and Alioe Fish.
Among the callers were the following, many of them accompanied by members of their families:—N. Rntter, A. T. McClintock, Wesley Johnson, W. 8. Wells, Rev. H. E. Hayden, Rev. H. H. Welles, 8. H. Lynch, Judge Dana, O. M. Miller, R. J. Flick, J. W. HoUenbaok, H. Baker Hillman, A. J. Davis, Hon. Charles A. Miner, C. W. Bixby, Wm. P. Miner and daughters, Miss Jane Miner, Miss Laura Brower, Dr. J. L. Miner, F. 0. Johnson, Dr. Murphy, Wm. Diokover, Mrs. Koerner, Miss Anhiser, Mrs. Rhoads, Mrs. Priestly Johnson, Rev. W. J. Day, Isaac M. Thomas, Rev. Dr. F. B. Hodge, W. 8. Parsons, Dr. C. 8. Beck, Rev. H. E. Spayd, C. P. Kidder, J. C. Jeffries, W. F. Bailey. Geo. Loveland, B. M. Espy, Mrs. F. W. Hunt, Mrs. C. F. Reefs.
There were also present among others: From Scranton: C. F. Mattes and daughters, Mary and Nell, Mr. and Mrs. Olmstead, Mrs. McKmny, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Manness and daughter, Mary, Paul Weitzell, Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Shotton, Mrs. Edgerton; Mrs. Wiloox and daughter, Earlville, N. Y.; Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Wood, Trenton, N J.; Lawrence Ladd, Springfield, M ss ; Hon. and Mrs. Steuben Jenkins, Wyoming; Mrs. Holdah Crumb and Mrs. Ciirincroff, Smyrna, N. Y.; Mrs. Atkins, Mrs. Henry Green, Earlville, N. Y.; Dr. Charles Dana, FraDk Piatt, Mrs. Wheelock, Mrs. Miller, Mrs, Mehalfe, Mr. and Mrs. Streeter, and others Tuuklmnnook; Alva Tompkins and Dr. and Mrs. N. G. Parke, Pittston; S. A. Metcalfe. B. W. Lewi-, Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Metcalf, Tunkhannock; John R. Fordham and wife, Green Kidge; Mrs. Park, of Easton; Dr. J. J. Rogers, of Huntaville; Dr. and Mrs. Underwood, of
Pittston; W. P. Johnson and wife, of Ketchnm; from Parsons—Rev. Dr. Y. C. Smith, wife and daughter, Capt. Colvin and wife, John Bowers and wife, Daniel W. Kimball and wife, Lieut. Moore and wife, George Davis and wife, Mrs. Elston, Mrs. Rhodes, Dr. Mebane.
Among those from whom regrets were received were these: Sarah B. Lyman, Lakeville, Conn.; E. K. Morse, Granby, Conn.; Fannie Dana, Morrisville, Pa.; Anna Lothorp. Trenton ;0, 8. Mills.Tunkhannock; Daniel Phelps, Warehouse Point, Conn.; E. G. McCarragher, Roaring Brook; Eunice Dana, Trenton; Dr. O'Neal, Gettysburg; Mrs E.E.Thomas.Nantuoket; John Alderson, Walter H.O'Neil.Gettysburg; Stephen Miller, Old Forge; Elizabeth D Strong, Pittston; E G. Tracy, Waverly, N. Y.; Dr. Bedford, Waverly, Pa.; Mrs. Dr. Oliver, Elizabeth, N, J.; Mr. and Mrs. Ingalls, Little Falls; Dr. and Mrs. Johnson, Waverly, N. Y.; Selden Soranton, Oxford. N. J.; B. Courtright, Orange; F. B. Davison, Fleetville, Pa.; Taylor and Eva Parsons, Springfield, Mass.; D. F. Parsons, Earlville, N. Y.: Rev. and Mrs. Taylor, Waverly, N. Y.: 8. E. Raynor. Carbondale; Dilton Yarington, Carbondale; Miss N. G. Pease, Milton, Conn.; Lettie Thomas Sturdevant, Nanticoke: from Scranton—Dr. Throop, Mrs. H. B. Phelps. Mrs. A. N. Decker, Dr. and Mrs. Hollister. Hon. and Mrs. J. A. Scranton, Mrs. J. C. Phelps, W. F. Mattes, R. A. Squires; from WilkeeBarre—E S. Lood, A. H. Dickson, Miss Natalie Rntter, Dr. and Mrs. Urqnhart, F. J. Leavenworth, W. W. Loo mis.
Among the regrets was a beautiful one from Rev. Dr. S. C. Logan, of Soranton, who was married on the same date, 35 years ago.
The bride's cake was an elaborate specimen of the baker's art and was decorated with gold, also bearing the anniversary date.
A most interesting feature of the event was the reading of an original poem suitable for the occasion, by C. P. Kidder, Esq., for which we regret we have not room.
Mr. and Mrs. Parsons were married in Enfield, Conn., and one of the guests at the wedding was present at the golden wedding, Mrs. Parsons' brother, John C. Persons, of Iowa. Of the 72 guests at the wedding seven are living: Mrs. Parsons' sister, Elizabeth, P. Barber, of East Windsor, Conn.,who stood up with the bride, also Miss Pease and Mrs. Parsons' aunt, Mrs. Phelps, of Enfield. Wm. P. Miner was at the infare, as also his sister, Mrs. Jessie Thomas Two cousins in Illinois, Mrs Elias Downing and Mrs. John Williamson, also at the infare, are living.
THE FLIGHT FROM WYOMING.
An Address at the Meeting of the Wyoming Commemorative Association, July 2, 1887, by W. A. Wilcox, Esq.
The matchless beauty of this Valley of Wyoming has frequently been the inspiration of the pen of the poet and of the pencil and brash of the artist. The story of the battle and massacre has been told again and again, in prose and in verse, with painstaking elaboration of detail and in the quick sentences of passionate eloquence, nntil it is is familiar, as it deserves to be, not only in the homes of the valley and in the widely scattered homes of the descendants of the patriots, bat wherever the English language is known and wherever patriotism dwells. The names of those who fought have been reverently gathered and are here fittingly inscribed on this monument erected to their memory. The influence of the event on the final result of the war for independence has been ably discussed and its importance so clearly shown that it is now conceded by all. The questions cf title and of jurisdiction have been exhaustively treated and long since happily settled. Passing all of these by as matters familiar to you, I shall try to stir your love of country and of home, (whioh I take it is the proper object of this gathering), by recounting some of the particulars of the flight of the inhabitants.
Justioe and gratitude demand that we remember not only the valor of the soldiers who fought on that eventful third of July, bat as well the sufferings and fortitude and endurance of the noble women of Wyoming.
Let us first glance at the geographical position and surroundings of Wyoming. It was an isolated community, almost embosomed in the country of a savage enemy. "The Six Nations," a confederation of powerful and warlike Indian tribes, occupied Central and Western New York, with prominent towns at Geneva, (Kanedasegna), Tioga, Chemung and other points to the north and west of Wyoming. Niagara, occupied by the British, Whs the stronghold from which.' British, Iudians and Tories sallied forth on their expeditions against the settlers of different parts of the country. "It was the depot of their plunder; there they planned their forays, and there they returned to feast until the time for action should come again."
To Shamokin or Sunbury, the nearest inhabited poet down the river was seventy miles.
Between the Susquehanna and the Delaware rivers are two mountain ranges. The one next the Susquehanna is the Moosio range, or Pooono. To the south-east of Wyoming it is a plateau or table-land 800 to 1,400 feet above the valley. The greater part of this plateau is to this day a perfect wilderness, parts of it covered with a dense primeval forest growth of pines, spruces, balsams, etc. Here are found also in places the heaths, orchids and sedges of Labrador and Northern Europe, almost on their southern limit. Much of this wilderness is very swampy and there are large tracts, miles in extent, covered with bogs and marshes.
Col. John Jenkins, writing Maroh 14, 1750, says: "Great Swamp lies about forty miles west south-west from Cashuetnnk or Station Point; from Bethlehem about fortyfive miles north north-west; from Gnadenhutteu about twenty-three miles north, something west. This swamp lies just over the mountains whioh Evans calls Cashuetnnk Mountains, and is twenty-five miles from north to south and fifteen miles from east to west. The Bethlehem people Bay four or five hundred Indians keep in this swamp, and from thence 'tis imagined they send out parties to destroy the settlements."
Some idea of what this immense wilderness is, can be formed from a ride over the D., L. <fc W. RR. to the Water Gap. Beyond this plateau, lying northeast and southwest, is a valley in which flow towards the south the Lehigh River and its tributaries, the Tobyhanna and Tunkhannock Creeks, and in the other direotion the Wallenpaapaok and the Sbohola Creeks. Across this valley from as is the Blue Mountain, with its Wind Gap and Water Gap.
This region can hardly be called, as Stone has it, a pathless one. There were Indian trails crossing it towards the Southeast, perfectly familiar, donbtless, to the savages and more or less so to the settlers, though it can hardly be presumed that they were practically so to the women and children.
These paths or trails are described as being remarkable for their directness. They, preferred hill-sides to ravines and close valleys, were conveniently wide for foot travel, and frequently in favorable soil worn to a depth of one or two feet, or even more.
One of them was known as the "Warriors' Path." It led from Wyomingto Fort Allen, now Weissport, on the Lehigh. It was laid down on the old maps and surveys and in 1844 was still a well beaten path, used by people in crossing the mountain from Hanover.
Another led through the marshes already mentioned, to Stroudsburg, then known by the name of Fort Fenn. This route bad been need by most of the settlers coming into the valley, and some ten years before they had determined on opening it as a road. This had, however, not been accomplished, and was not until Oen. Sullivan came in, in the Summer of 1779.
Another trail lay up the Lackawanna by Capouse Meadows and the Lackawaxen. Having reached the Delaware the route was up the river to the Minisink country, thence across to Newbnrgh and Ponghkeepsie, and to Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The number of those to whom, in the spring of 1778, the valley was home, was not far from 4,000 in the aggregate. About 200 of these were absent with Washington's army. Between three and four hundred fell in the battle and massacre. The number of those, then, who sought safety in flight was probably a little in excess of three thousand, men, women and children. It is with these 3,000 we have now to deal.
The terrible odds of the conflict while not positively known had been feared by all. And while husbands and fathers and sons made preparation for the battle mothers and ohildren anticipated the worst, and prepared for flight.
Word had been sent out on Thursday, and the inhabitants were gathered, most of them in Forty Fort, some in Fittston and Wilkes-Barre Forte.
These women who had been accustomed to pioneer life, who, while the men were away on public duty had oheerfully assumed the work of planting and harvesting,—who had leached ashes and earth to make saltpetre for gunpowder,—who could load a musket and adjust a flint, were not the women to sit down despairingly while there was anything for them to do. What preparation could be made for the journey had been made, and before day-break of Saturday, the day following the battle, the majority had turned their faces towards Shamokin and towards Connecticut.
Let us take Miner's description of the flight, borrowed by him largely from earlier aooounts. A few who had escaped came rushing into Wilkes-Bsrre Fort where trembling with anxiety the women and ohildren were gathered, waiting the dread issue. The appalling "all is lost" proclaimed their utter destitution. They fly to the mountains — evening is approaching—the dreary swamp and "The Shades of Death" before them,—the victorious hell-bounds are opening on their traok. They look baok on the valley — all around the flames of desolation are kindling; they cast their eyes in the range of the battle field,—numerous fires speak their own horrid purpose. They
listen! The exulting yell of the savage strikes the ear! Again! A shriek of agonizing woe! Who is the Bufferer? Is it the husband of one who is gazing! The father of her children!!
O God, who art the widow's friend,
Their flight was a soene of wide-spread and harrowing sorrow. Their dispersion being in an hour of the wildest terror, the people were scattered, singly, in pairs, and in larger groups, as ohanoe separated them or threw them together in that sad hour of peril and distress. Let the mind picture to itself a single group, flying from the valley to the mountains on the east, and olimbing the Bteep ascent—hurrying onward, filled with terror, despair and sorrow —the affrighted mother whose husband has fallen — an infant on her bosom, a child by the hand, an aged parent slowly olimbing the rugged steep behind them; hunger presses them Beverely; in the rustling of every leaf they hear the approaching savage, a deep and dreary wild erneBs is before them, the valley all in flames behind, their dwellings and harvests all swept away in this spring flood of ruin, the star of hope quenched in this blood shower of savage venegeanoe. .
There is no work of fanoy in a sketch like thiB. Indeed it oannot approach the reality. There were in one of these groups that crossed the mountains on the Warriors' Path one hundred women and ohildren, and but a single man, Jonathan Fitch, Esq., sheriff of Westmoreland to aid, direct and protect them.
Botta, in his history of the Revolutionary war, in concluding his account of the Massacre of Wyoming, says: "Those who survived the massacre were no less worthy of our oommiseration. They were women Sdj children who had escaped to the mountains at the time their husbands, fathers and friends expired under the blows of the barbarians. Dispersed and wandering in the wilderness as chance and fear directed their steps, without olothes, without food, without guide, these defenceless fugitives suffered every degree of distress. Several of the women were delivered alone in the woods at a great distance from every possibility of relief or help. The most robust and resolute only escaped, the others perished; their bodies and those of their helpless infanta became the prey of wild beasts."
The majority of the settlers had fled Friday night; others, a large number, set out Saturday night, while there were those, some of them detained by savages, some by different necessities, who remained still longer. They may have been more oonfident of the humanity of Col. Butler, and of their Tory neighbors, and afterwards relied on the pledges of tne articles of capitulation. A few instances will suffice to show how those pledges were kept:
Jonathan Weeks, whose three sons fell in the battle with four others of his household, seven in all, was one of those to remain. A band of savages, led by one called Turkey, viiited his house, and after destroying property and submitting him to indignities at their hands, gave him three days to remove with his family. His house and property were then burned.
Mr. Hickman, his wife and child were murdered at Caponse the day after the battle.
James Adam Leaoh and Daniel St. John, attempting to leave in the direction of Caponse, were murdered about a mile above Old Forge.
Timothy Keys and Solomon Hooksey were taken captive, carried northward and killed in Abington.
The treachery of the enemy and the insecurity of their position beoame more and more apparent every day to the settlers who had remained, and when at last they were driven from Wyoming they found themselves pursued in the same manner, and had to encounter the same privations and sufferings as did their neighbors who had preoeded them. The percentage of those who survived was probably not materially different among those who fled at once and those who remained to the last.
Most of the fugitives took the Stroudsburg roote over the mountain. It has already been mentioned as leading through the Pocono marshes. One of these had been known as the "Great Swamp," but it has ever since been called tbe "Shades of Death" because of the great number who perished there in their flight. While that nnmber cannot be told with any degres of certainty, it may be set down as probably abont two hundred.
About one-third of tbe whole number of fugitives, nerhaps one thousand, went by canoes, rafts, etc., down the Susquehanna. Mr. Wm. Maclay, in a letter to the Counoil of Pennsylvania, July 12, 1778, (nine days after the battle) says: "I left Sunbury on Wednesday last. I never in my life saw such scenes of distress. The river and roads leading down it were oovered with men, women and children, flying for their lives." They went from Sunbnry to Harrisburg to Lancaster County, while many took their way across the mountains from Catawissa, Berwick, and other points on the I«high and Delaware.
The time occupied in the journey of wane varied greatly. Some reached Snnbory with oanoes in twenty-four hours. To
Stroudsburg was two or three days' journey. Conneoticnt could be reached in about two weeks. At the time of the battle Capt. Spaulding, at the head of sixty-nine men, what remained of Captains Ransom's and Dnrkee's companies, was on his way to the relief of Wyoming, and met the foremost of the fugitives the evening of Sunday at Bear Swamp. An his foroe was entirely inadequate to engage the invaders he went only to a point overlooking the valley, then disposing his forces so as to give the greatest assistance to the flying settlers, returned towards Fort Fenn where he remained until August 4.
While the feelings engendered by the Pennsylvania-Conneoticnt question of jurisdiction found expression in many acts of barbarous in hospitality on the part of some towards the fugitives, still it is to be said that most of those with whom the fugitives came in contact were found ready to assist them in every way possible. The generous Scotch-Irish of the Fsxtang settlement were particularly hospitable, and the Moravians at Bethlehem.
Let us now look at a few of the details, some of them unpublished, of this sad story. Mercy Ross, widow of Lieut. Ferrin Roes and sister of Jonathan Otis, both of whom were killed in the Wyoming Massacre, gives this acoount of her escape:
When the news oame to go into tbe fort she packed the papers and clothes in a ohest and her pewter platters she buried with other articles in the garden. She then took her children and went into the fort (Forty Fort) the night before the battle. When the news oame to the fort that our men were defeated she would not stay in tbe fort. A party of thirty, one old man with a horse, the rest women and obildren, went out of the fort at night, crossed the river at Wilkes-Barre and went up into Solomon's Gap that night. When they got into the woods they lay down to rest and sleep. They went on next day and were ten days getting through the wilderness. Hannah, (Ford) wife of Josiah Rogers, died on the route and was buried under the root of a fallen tree, and Mrs. Ross was so worn down with the excitement and fatigue of the journey and starved for want of food, that when the burial was over and the party was about to move on, Mrs. Ross said that she could go no further and would like to be buried alongside of the other woman. She was, however, appealed to in behalf of her children, and urged to get up and go on with the party, which she was finally induced to do. They first met the abode of civilization at Allentown and stopped at the house of the people and asked for food, but were refused.
They did not go far after this before they were taken up by the Government and furnished with provisions. She had five children with her, all of whom were about naked, so badly were their clothes torn and worn in the journey. About the first of October, three months after the battle, her last child was born in Connecticut. In March, 1782, she married Samuel Allen, with whom she moved to Wjonnug to the place of her former husband, Perry Ross, on Ross Hill, in the winter of 1784-5.
The Rogers family of Plymouth, who formed part of this company in thu afternoon of that fatal day, heard of the defeat and immediately set out to return to Connecticut. Having but two horses one was packed with indispensables, while one was devoted to carrying the old grandmother, who, too feeble to sit up. was held in the arms of some of the men. When they had thus traveled some six days she asked to be lain on the ground and soon after expired. Her burial has already been mentioned.
A company consisting of Mr. Hall
dron, Mrs. Barrett, and Mrs. Morris
set out immediately by the Warr ore' Path on hearing the result of the battle. They proceeded two miles and halted, awaiting the rising of the moon, the night being very dark. They then set out on their journey and were three days and nights in getting to Fort Allen. The second night there was a child (son) born to Mrs. Morris. Her husband was in the battle, but escaped. When they reached the Leuigh a man came over the river to meet them, riding a powerful horse and bearing two jugsof milk and a bag of biscuits. He fed them and helped them to cross the river. Id three weeks they reached their destination in Connecticut.
One hundred and eighty women and children, with thirteen men, having been detained by the Indians and plundered,were sent off in one company three or four days after the battle, bare footed, bare headed and suffering for want of food.
I would like here to speak some worthy tribute to these Women of Wyoming as women. This inscription on the monument, prepared, I believe, by Mr. Edward G. Mal lery, while it is very much to be admired as being noble and patriotic in sentiment, chaste and eloquent in expression, and accurately truthful in point of fact, seems to be deficient in that it makes no recognition of the women. True, they were not in the battle: theirs was the anxiety of suspense. The men and boys who fought were patriots; their mothers had taught them patriotism. They showed a courage that deserved success; the women showed a fortitude, a faith and a power of endurance that brought final success even after defeat.
Some element of danger has always a fascination to brave hearts, but it would seem that experiences such as these, following as they did the Flnnkett invasion and other features of the Penuamite war, would satisfy any with this valley. But such was not the case. Life here had been too sweet. They had come expecting to find a wilderness, and willing to bestow courageous, hard, persistent labor to make of it a home for themselves and their posterity. Coming with this expectation they had not been disappointed. They found a climate more favorable than that of their former homes. A soil that brought forth abundantly. They had established a government of their own, which, says Col. Stone, was the most thoroughly democratic probably of any government that has ever existed among civilized men. They were intelligent, honest and industrious, and they were happy.
Gold'icith's "Sweet Auburn," in its prosperous days, found a counterpart here. It is not strange that Ooleriife and Sou they should associate this Wyoming with their Utopian dreams It's quiet life was as perfect as its then nnmarred landscape. And the influence of that life was sufficient to bring back many of the survivors, notwithstanding its past and future perils. Men came to take up that life where they had left it off. Widows came to mourn their dead. Those who had fled as children came again as husbands and wives. Through many more years of danger and of difficulty they defended their possessions to transmit them to their present custodians. Justice and gratitude demand from us this public recognition of their noble sacrifice. The heritage here of the present from the past consists not alone in these broad fields with their store of mineral wealth. The names and blood of the settlers and the memory of their deeds have come down. The love of liberty that dictated that form of local gov eminent established by them—the wisdom and fidelity with which it was administered —the patriotic spirit of self sacrifice that sent, in a time of home peril, one half the fighting men of the valley (eight times the quota) into the Revolutionary army—the noble virtues of the women which I have today feebly portrayed in part—let us trust that these have been transmitted. Every word, thought and look of sympathy with heroic action helps to make heroism. How fitting then are those annual gatherings of the descendants of the settlers, held in recognition of the obligation of the living to the dead. Let us ever repeat the story of these Wyoming patriots to the end that we may perpetnale in ourselves and in our children, their virtues and thereby also their institutions.