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Full text of "A collection of papers read before the Bucks County Historical Society"





Alumni living Plan 

Born May 2, 1S32. Died November 7, 1903, 
jralily of Mr. Klkins and of his son George W. Elkins, made possible the erecti^ 
of the liucks County Historical Society's building at Doylestown. 

■D'J^^' ^t^^' 








B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. 




Hon. Harman Yerkes Mrs. Agnes Williams Palmer 

Henry C. Mercer Clarence D. Hotchkiss 

Warren S. Ely B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. 

Press of 

The Chemical Publishing Co. 





List of Illustrations vi 

Officers of the Societ}- vii 

Standing Committees viii 


The Counties of Pennsj'lvania Hon. J. Simpson Africa i 

The Two Makefields Gen. W. W. H. Davis 12 

John Fitch, the Inventor of Steam Navi- 
gation Rev. D. K. Turner 22 

The Schwenkfelders Isaiah A. Anders 35 

Some Historic Facts Gen. W. W. H. Davis 43 

Prehistoric Man in Northern Bucks 

Count}' Charles Laubach 52 

The Grave of Tamanend Henry C. Mercer 58 

Hon. Richard Watson Alfred Paschall 66 

Bedminster Township Gen. W. W. H. Davis 69 

Hon. Bird Wilson, D. D. , LL. D. , Hon. Harman Yerkes 82 

The Blackfans in England and America-Miss Elizabeth C. Blackfan--- 102 

The Bristol Pike Rev. S. F. Hotchkin 105 

The Jails of Bucks Count}- Rev. D. K. Turner iii 

Notes Taken at Random Henry C. Mercer 122 

Early and Trying Days of the Reformed 

Church in America Rev. J. G. Dengler 132 

The Beatty Family Rev. D. K. Turner 137 

Historical Sketch of Hatboro and 

Vicinity Hon. Harman Yerkes 152 

Robert Morris, the Financier of the 

Revolution Rev. D. K. Turner 157 

The Battle of Crooked Billet Gcu. W. W. H. Davis 173 

First Settlers' Descendants Alfred Paschall 187 

Early Settlers in Bucks County Gen. W. W. H. Davis 192 

Representatives of Bucks County in 

Congress Rev. D. K. Turner 205 

The Hermit of the Wolf Rocks Col. Henry D. Paxson 231 


Reading the Rocks Charles Laubach 246 

The Early County Superintendency of 

Bucks County Hugh B. Easlburn 253 

The Red Man's Bucks County Henry C. Mercer 267 

The Tree and the Vine, the. Original Seal 

of Bucks County Hon. Harman Yerkes 283 

Buckingham, the Empire Township Gen. W. W. H. Davis 294 

Washington's Crossing, Unveiling of 

Monument at Taylorsville Dwight M. Lowrey 308 

Washington's Crossing, Dedication of 

Monument at Taylorsville Gen. William S. Stryker 316 

Washington's Crossing, Additional His- 
torical Facts Hon. Samuel F. Gwinner 325 

Daniel Boone, a Native of Bucks County. Rev. D. K. Turner 329 

The Battle of Fair Oaks Gen. W. W. H. Davis 337 

An Old Burying-Ground, Grave of 

Edward Marshall John S. Williams 348 

John Ross and the Ross Family Hon. Harman Yerkes 353 

Newtown Prior to 1800 J. Pemberton Hutchinson 386 

Folk Lore, Notes taken at Random Henrv C. Mercer 406 

Half an Hour with the Old Taverns of 

Doylestown Gen. W. W. H. Davis 417 

General Jacob Brown. A Bucks County 

Hero of the War of 1812 Rev. D. K. Turner 441 

The Growden Mansion Henry Winfield Watson 451 

Thomas Janney, Provincial Councilor Oliver Hough 457 

The Little Neshaminy Rev. D. K. Turner 466 

Tools of the Nation Maker Henry C. Mercer 480 

Colonial Bucks County Hon. Harman Yerkes 4S1 

Some Treasures and Recollections of 

Childhood Miss Martha Reeder 490 

When Men were vSold, Reminiscences of 

the Underground Railroad in Bucks 

County and Its Managers Dr. Edward H. Ma,t;ill 493 

Scotch-Irish Families Warren S. Ely 521 

The Society of Friends ]Mrs. Anna E. Willits 541 

Jeremiah Langhorne and His Times Samuel C. Eastburn 546 

Amos Austin Hughes E. Watson Fell 561 

The Turnpike Roads Rev. D. K. Turner 565 


Rescue of the Colors Painting presented to Bucks county 576 

Temanend, Chief of the Lenni Lenapes. -Mrs. Sarah DuBois Mowry 588 

How the Word "White" Became Inserted 

in Our Constitution of 1838 Gen. W. W. H. Davis 595 

Early Courts of Bucks County William C. Ryan 601 

Settlement of Tinicum Township Gen. W. W. H. Davis 615 

The Old Sullivan Road Rev. Henry M. Kieffer, D. D • . 622 

Indian "Busts" Found in Hilltown Town- 
ship Rev. J . G. Dengler 634 

Sketch of the Life of Rev. Thomas B. • • • 

Monlanye Rev. D. K. Turner 640 



William 1,. Elkins (portrait) Frontispiece 

Deep Run School House, Bedminster, Exterior View 73 

Deep Run School House, Interior View, Showing Staves of Music on 

Beams of Ceiling 73 

President Judges of Bucks County Courts 82 

Old Jail at Doylestown, Erected in 1S13 iii 

New Jail at Doylestown, Erected in 18S5 1 1 1 

Ripple Marks at Raubsville, Northampton County, Pa 246 

Bucks County Superintendents of Public Schools 253 

" Turtlebacks " Found at Upper Blacks Eddy 279 

Indian Quarry Refuse at Gaddis Run 279 

The Keith House, Washington's Headquarters in 1776 317 

Tablet Placed on Keith House by Bucks County Historical Society ... 317 

The Ross haw Office at Doylestown , Pa 353 

The Ross Residence at Doylestown, Pa 353 

Treasury and County Offices at Newtown, Pa., Erected in 1796 386 

" Court Inn " at Newtown, Pa., Erected in 1733 386 

Growden Mansion, " Trevose ", Front View 451 

Growden Mansion, "Trevose", Kitchen and Slave Quarters 451 

Lamps of Pennsylvania Pioneers 480 

Candle Dipping 100 Years Ago 480 

Tools of the Nation Maker, Two \Mews 486 

Tools of the Nation Maker 489 

The Conestoga Wagon or Prairie Schooner 489 

Samuel Scott, a Fugitive Slave 51S 

Scott's Home in Solebury Township 518 

Mansion of Jeremiah Langhorne 546 

Fire Proof Office of Joseph Growden at ' ' Trevose " 546 

Rescue of the Colors, at Battle of Fair Oaks 576 

Indian ' ' Busts ' ' Found in Upper Bucks County 634-637 


Organized November 20, 1880. 
Incorporated February 23, 1885. 

For Charter, Constitution, By-laws, and List of Members, see Vol. I. 


For the Year Ending January, 1910. 

General W. W. H. Davis 

Vice Presidents 
John S. Williams Henry C. Mercer 


Thomas C. Knowles Yardley, Pa. 

Henry C. Mercer Doylestown, Pa. 

Mrs. Richard Watson Doylestown, Pa. 

(Term expires January, 1910) 

General W. W. H. Davis Doylestown, Pa. 

Captain William W'ynkoop Newtown, Pa. 

Miss Mary L. DuBois Doylestown, Pa. 

(Term expires January, 191 1) 

Alfred Paschall West Chester, Pa. 

John S. Williams New Hope, Pa. 

Mrs. Harman Yerkes Doylestown, Pa. 

(Term expires January, 1912^ 

Secretary and Treasurer Librarian and Curator 

Clarence D. Hotchkiss, Warren S. Ely, 

Doylestown, Pa. Doylestown, Pa. 


History and Genealogy 

Seth T. Walton Evan T. Worthington 

Dr. J. B. Walter Mrs. Sarah B. Knowles 

Historical Landmarks 

Warren S. Ely Hon. Harman Yerkes 

Ely J. Smith Capt. William Wynkoop 

Tree Planting and Grounds 

T. O. Atkinson 
Mrs. Mary Heaton Miss Ellen D. Smith 

Relics, Curios and Antiquities 

Grier Scheetz Henry C. Mercer 

Matthias H. Hall Miss Ellen D. Smith 

Pictures, Photographs and Paintings 

Alfred Paschall 
Mrs. Agnes Williams Palmer Miss Margaret W. Ely 

Mrs. Alfred Paschall Miss Belle VanSant 

Biography and Necrology 

C. R. Nightingale 
Mrs. I. M. James Mrs. Anna L. Tilney 

The Counties of Pennsylvania. 


(Doylestown Meeting, January 20, 1S91). 

ANY of the pupnlar histories of the day erroneovtsly 
fix the year 1682 as the date of the first settlement 
of Pennsylvania. More than half a century before 
the date of William Penn's charter, the Dutch "West 
India Company took possession, under the right of discovery, 
of the lands along the rivers Hudson and Delaware, the former 
being called the North and the latter the South river. The 
Dutch settlement upon the Delaware was abandoned, and, under 
Queen Christiana of Sweden, an expedition, under command 
of Peter Menewee (or Minuit), consisting of two vessels with 
many colonists, landed in the present state of Delaware in April, 
1638, built a town and purchased the land along the bay and river 
as far up as the Falls at Trenton and westward to the Susquehanna. 
Accessions were had from year to year and the Swedish colony 
prospered in material wealth. For a number of years the settlers 
enjoyed comparative peace, but the Dutch, unwilling to permit 
the Swedes to enjoy that which they claimed rightfully belonged 
to them, in 1655 sailed up the Delaware with armed vessels 
and compelled the Sw^edes to surrender to their authority. The 
capitulation was an honorable one and the latter were permitted 
to remain in possession of their lands. 

In 1664, the English, under Charles II, captured New Amster- 
dam (New York) and with it the Dutch possessions on the 
Delaware. Again the Swedes and a few Dutch settlers came under 
the rule of a new master, under whom, however, all private 
rights remained unimpaired. 

The dispossession of the Dutch was made by James, Duke 
of York and Albany, to whom the King, his brother, had 
made a grant on the 12th of March of that year. 

With the exception of an interval of a few months from 
August 1673, until the autumn of 1674, when the Dutch accom- 


plished a temporary repossession, the territory now known as 
Pennsylvania and Delaware remained the proprietary possession 
of the Duke of York. It was g-overned by his appointees who 
made numerous grants of land. The oldest of these grants 
on record in this Commonwealth is dated January i, 1667. 

After 1664 there was another element, the English, added 
to the already mixed population of Swedes and Dutch, which 
only preceded a few years still another admixture, the Scotch, 
Irish and German, all of which in their way contributed to that 
industrious, thrifty and sturdy population which has made Penn- 
sylvania the richest, if not the greatest. Commonwealth of the 
American Union. 

William Penn obtained his charter from Charles II., March 
4, 1681, and on the loth of the next month commissioned 
William Markham, Lieutenant Governor. But his title to the 
soil was not complete, and on August 20, 1682, he obtained 
from the Duke of York, three quit-claim deeds, one for Pennsyl- 
vania and two for portions of the three lower counties. After 
the execution of these conveyances, which made his title abso- 
lute, Penn arranged to come to America and arrived in October 
following. As we have already seen, the colony planted by 
Peter Menewee, nearly half a century before, augmented by 
Swedish, Dutch and English immigrants, had, by the time of 
Penn's arrival, attained a considerable population and he found 
a State already formed, needing only that moulding or direc- 
tion which his master-mind was well qualified to give. In his 
frame of government, he recognized the rights of the people 
and sowed the seeds of independence which, a century later, 
brought fruit in that declaration of human rights conceived 
and promulgated within the province he founded, that was 
a revelation to the oppressed of the world and caused thrones 
to topple and fall. The world owes more to broad-minded Wil- 
liam Penn than he has received credit for. 

As soon as Penn arrived, he set about putting into motion 
his preconceived plans for the government of the province. 
The Delaware front was divided into three counties, Bucks, 
Philadelphia and Chester; but the precise lines of separation 
do not ap])e.-ir to have been fixed until April i, 1685, when the 

the: counties of PENNSYLVANIA 3 

boundary between Bucks and Philadelphia was settled to be the 
Poquessing creek from its mouth up to a point near the southern 
angle of the present township of Southampton and thence by a 
northwest line as far as the province extends. This line remains 
the boundary between Berks and Lehigh and ran through the 
present counties of Schuylkill, Columbia, Lycoming, Tioga and 
Potter. In the last named county it would be terminated by the 
line of the state of New York. Mother Bucks, at its formation, 
embraced the whole of its present territory and the counties 
of Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Wayne, Luzerne, 
Lackawanna, Wyoming, Suscjuehanna, Bradford and Sullivan 
and parts of the other counties last above named. 

Philadelphia included Montgomery and Berks, and that por- 
tion of the province between parallel lines running northwest- 
wardly and terminated by the northern boundary of the province. 
All the remainder of the province, more than half of its area, be- 
longed to the county of Chester. 

The Proprietaries, as Penn's sons and grandsons who succeeded 
to his estates here, were called, respected the rights of the Indian 
occupants and refused grants of land and restrained settlement-^ 
thereon until the title of the native owners was purchased. By 
the purchase made prior to Penn's grant, and those in 1682, 
1 7 18, 1736, 1749, 1754, 1768 and 1784, the Indian title to all 
the lands within the boundaries of Pennsylvania became vested 
in the Proprietaries or the Commonwealth. 

Lancaster was erected from Chester in 1729 and took from 
it its vast western expanse of territory. From Lancaster, York 
which then included Adams, was set off in 1749, and Cumberland 
in 1750. The latter then embraced all of the Cumberland Valley 
and the entire region west of the Susquehanna. In 1752 Berks 
was taken from Philadelphia, Chester, Lancaster and Cumber- 
land ; and Northampton from Bucks. Bedford was formed from 
Cumberland in 1771, and Northumberland in 1772 from Lancaster, 
Cumberland, Berks, Northampton and Bedford. In 1773, West- 
moreland was taken from Bedford. It was the last county 
created under the provincial government. The growing dissen- 
sions between the colonies and the mother government and fear 
of attack from Indians on the frontier, retarded the tide of im- 


mig-ration, and put a stop to further carving out of new counties. 
By this date large settlements of Scotch people, improperly 
called Scotch-Irish, had been made in Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, 
York, the Cumberland Valley, along the Susquehanna, up the 
Juniata and on the waters of the Monongahela, and Germans 
were planted in Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton, the Lebanon 
valley, York and elsewhere in the province. These people, set 
by the proprietary government on the frontiers as a barrier 
against hostile incursions by the Indians to the settlements below, 
were practically voiceless in the councils of the province, but 
were soon to act an important part in the struggle for Inde- 
pendence, and make their power felt in the new Commonwealth. 
. We have seen that prior to the stormy days of 1776, eleven 
counties were formed, all except Philadelphia, bearing the name 
of shires or localities in England, and indicating the predomi- 
nance of English sentiment in the councils of the province. 

The experienced observer can read in the successive layers 
of the earth's crust, in the gneiss, slate, limestone, shale, sand- 
stone, and coal, and the evidence of upheavel and disruption, the 
history of the various stages of progress fitting the planet for 
the habitation of man and no less unerringly can we, in study- 
ing the names given by man to streams or political divisions 
of a country, divine the prevailing or predominating thought 
of the time. Soon after the organization of Westmoreland, 
the war cloud appeared in the horizon. Before Independence 
was declared the people of Pennsylvania appointed an election 
for delegates, who in convention in the summer of 1776, formed 
a Government for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and de- 
throned the proprietary officers. The Revolution was now upon 
the country and the thoughts of the people were centered upon 
that struggle. 

The 'first county created under the Commonwealth was on 
March 28, 1781, and it was named Washington, after the 
great and good man who, in the providence of God, was choseii 
to lead the American army to ultimate victory. This, bear in 
mind, was some months before his crowning achievement, at 
Yorktown, the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. Next, in 1783 
was Fayette; then Franklin and Montgomery in 1784; Dauphin 

the; counties of Pennsylvania 5 

in 1785 and Luzerne in 1786. All these names have Revolu- 
tionary associations. Lafayette, you remember as one of Wash- 
ington's aids ; Benjamin Franklin needs no introduction ; Mont- 
gomery honors a brave patriot who fell in the assault on Quebec ; 
Dauphin was named in honor of the eldest son of the King o£ 
France, whose good offices in our behalf were secured by Frank- 
fin ; Luzerne honors Chevalier De la Luzerne, Minister of France 
to the United States for five years during the Revolutionary 
struggle and our zealous friend. 

Of the remaining fifty counties, two, Huntingdon and Somer- 
set were given English names; thirteen, Allegheny, Lycoming, 
Erie, Venango, Indiana, Tioga, Susquehanna, Lehigh, Juniata, 
Clarion, Wyoming, Montour and Lackawanna, have Indian 
names ; thirteen, Mifflin, Greene, Wayne, Armstrong, Buthr, 
Crawford, Mercer, Warren, Potter, Pike, Perry, Sullivan and 
Lawrence, honor military or naval heroes ; seven, Delaware 
Bradford, Columbia, Clinton, Blair, Fulton, and Cameron, dis- 
tinguished men; three, Adams, Jefferson and Monroe, Presidents 
of the United States; two, McKean and Snyder, Governors of 
the Commonwealth ; two, Beaver and Elk, animals that abounded 
within their limits ; one is a Dutch name, Schuylkill ; and seven. 
Centre, Cambria, Clearfield, Lebanon, Union, Carbon and For- 
est may be classed as miscellaneous. 

English. — Huntingdon, formed in 1787, bears an English name, 
but was so called after its county town, laid out in 1767, and 
christened in honor of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, England, 
tor her liberal donations to the University of Pennsylvania, 
whose provost. Rev. Dr. William Smith, was the founder of the 
town. Somerset, 1795, bears the name of an English shire 
but the reason for its transportation here I have not ascertained. 

Indian. — Allegheny, 1788, is supposed to have been derived 
from AlHgewi, the name of a race of Indians that dwelt along 
the river. This name, spelled Allegheny, is applied to the 
main ridge of the Appalachian chain that stretches across the 
State. Lycoming, (1795), the name of a creek, is corrupted 
from "Lagai-Hanne," signifying "Sandy stream." Erie, (1800,) 
from a tribe of natives. Venango, (1800,) is a French corrup- 
tion of "In-nun-gah." Indiana, (1803,) a slight change from 


"Indian." Tiago, (1804,) corrupted from "Tia'oga," an Iro- 
quois word signifying "a. gate, a place of entrance." Sus- 
quehanna, (1810,) "Hanna," or "Hanne," signifies stream. 
Authorities differ as to the meaning of the prefix "Susque," 
some claiming it to be "broad-shallow" and others "crooked." 
Lehigh, (1812,) from "Lechauwekink," "where there are 
forks" shortened by the early German settlers to "Lecha." 
Juniata, (1831,) an Iroquois word claimed by some to be equiva- 
lent to "Standing stone," Clarion, (1839, ) called by the Dela- 
wares "Gawunsch-hanne," or briar stream. Wyoming, (1842,) 
corrupted from a Delaware name "Maughwauwame," signifying 
large plains or extensive flats. Montour, (1850,) from a French 
Indian bearing that name. Lackawanna, (1878,) forks or union 
of waters. 

Military. — Mifflin, (1789,) Greene, (1796,) Wayne, (1798,) 
Armstrong, (1800,) Butler, (1800,) Crawford, (1800,) Mercer, 
(1800,) Warren, (1800,) Potter, (1804,) Pike, (1814,) Perry, 
(1820,) Sullivan, (1847,) ^^^ Lawrence, (1849,) were named 
for Pennsylvanians and others who distinguished themselves 
in the first and second wars for Independence. Mifflin was also 
Governor of the Commonwealth at and for nine years after, the 
adoption of the Constitution of 1790. 

Distinguished Men. — Delaware, (1789,) is not Indian as some 
suppose, but is the name given to our eastern boundary river 
after Lord De la War, an English navigator. Bradford, (1810,) 
was originally called Ontario, but changed in 181 2 to the present 
designation in honor of William Bradford, an Attorney General 
of the United States. Columbia, (1813,) perpetuates the name 
of the discoverer of America. Clinton, (1839,) honors DeWitt 
Clinton, the ardent advocate of canal navigation in New York, 
and Blair preserves the name of John Blair, a member of the 
Legislature from Huntingdon county, noted for his efforts in 
pushing the construction of the main line of public improvements 
in this Commonwealth. Fulton, (1850). The friends of this 
new county asked that it should be called Liberty, but by some 
design on the part of a legislator, it received its present name 
in honor of the successful steamboat inventor, not the original 
one however, as old ATother Bucks claimed him as one of her 

the; countie;s of Pennsylvania 7 

sons. Cameron, (i860,) was named for General Simon Cameron 
then one of our United States Senators. 

Presidents. — Adams, (1800,) and Jefferson, (1804,), were 
named for Presidents of the United States then in office and 
Monroe, (1836,) for another President who served from 1817 
until 1825. 

Governors. — McKean, (1804,) bears the name of the Govern- 
or of the Commonwealth then in office, who had been Chief 
Justice of the Supreme Court. Snyder, (1855,) was called for 
Simon Snyder, Governor from 1808 until 181 7. It included 
his homestead. 

Animals. — Beaver, (1800.) took its name from the principal 
stream which was so called by reason of the pioneers finding its 
current obstructed by beaver dams. Elk, (1843,) "from the 
noble animal which, upon the arrival of the first settlers, in large 
droves had a wide range over this forest domain." 

Dutch. — Schuylkill, (1811). Many of the tributaries of the 
Delaware called by the Dutch inhabitants "Zuydt," still bear the 
names given by them. A conspicuous one is the Schuylkill river, 
from which this county derived its designation. The original 
term was "Schuylen" to hide and "kill" creek, meaning the 
hidden creek or stream. 

Miscellaneous. — Centre, (1800,) so called because it includes 
the geographical centre of the State. Cambria, (1804,) is an 
importation from Great Britain and is supposed to have been 
given by a colony of Welsh who were early settlers. Clearfield, 
(1804,) comes from a locality designated in the journal of an 
early explorer as the "Clear Fields." Lebanon, (1818,) is a 
scriptural name applied at an early day to a township of Lancas- 
ter county that embraced a large part of the present county. 
ITnion, (1813,) supposed to be derived from the LTnion of the 
American States. Carbon, (1843,) received its name from its 
valuable coal deposits; and Forest, (1848,) was a fitting recogni- 
tion of the major part of the territory. 

William Penn's province was bounded west of the Delaware" 
with the exception of a portion of an arc of a circle of twelve 
miles radius, having its centre in New Castle, springing from the 
Delaware until it intersected the Maryland line by three straight 


lines. The southern boundary was to be the beginning of the 
40th degree of north latitude; the northern, the beginning ot 
the 43d degree, and the western 5 degrees of longitude west- 
ward from the Delaware. While these latitudinal lines can be 
plainly defined they were predicted upon an erroneous idea of 
the geography of the country. Lord Baltimore claimed that his 
charter extended northward to the end of the 40th degree, and 
therefore would include the city of Philadelphia and a large strip 
of territory along the southern portion of our Commonwealth. 
This difference gave rise to many disputes, often resulting in 
bloodshed and was not finally settled until after many conten- 
tions before the King and council in England. An agreement 
was entered into July 4, 1760, by which the line separating the 
two provinces was to be a parallel of latitude running from the 
northeastern corner of Maryland, 15 miles in latitude south of 
the most southern part of the city of Philadelphia. Various at- 
tempts had been made from time to time to fix a temporary 
boundary and then to trace one under the agreement of 1760; 
but it was not until Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were 
employed and performed the work allotted to them, that this 
vexed question received final settlement. These men uncon- 
sciously rendered their names famous throughout the world, 
for they defined the line which became for many years thereafter 
the line of demarkation between freedom on the one hand and 
slavery on the other. They arrived in the city of Philadelphia, 
November 15, 1763, made the necessary astronomical observa- 
tions and preliminary surveys, so as to be ready for the great 
work on the parallel the following season. They continued the 
survey from season to season until in 1767, the valley of Dunkard 
creek, now in Greene county was reached, where they were 
stopped by the Indians who refused to allow them to proceed 
further. This work ended the contentions with Maryland, set- 
tled the land titles along the border, and secured peace to the 
adjacent inhabitants. 

But some years later another difficulty was presented; Vir- 
ginia claimed that she was not a party to the settlement be- 
tween Lord Baltimore and the Penns, and her right to the end 
of the 40th degree of latitude was not affected thereby and she 


was not bound by the Mason & Dixon survey. She therefore 
asserted her claim up to the hne mentioned and also declared 
that the western boundary of the State was to be precisely par- 
allel with the river Delaware and at every point 5 degrees of 
longitude therefrom. Following up this claim, she granted lands, 
planned settlements, and even organized counties within the 
present limits of Pennsylvania. Happily, through the efforts 
of a joint commission, these differences were settled in 1784; 
Pennsylvania's right to an extension of the Mason & Dixon line 
recognized also that the western boundary should begin at a 
point on the Mason & Dixon line 5 degrees west of the river 
Delaware and then run a due north line as far as the two states 
were co-extensive. 

The fixing of the extreme western corner of the State was an 
act requiring the highest astronomical and mathematical skill, 
and Pennsylvania very properly committed that duty on her 
part, to her distinguished son, David Rittenhouse. The Mason 
& Dixon line was soon thereafter extended to this point; the 
western line was run and marked during the years 1785- 1786 
and the New York line in the years 1786- 1787. 

It is proper to remark here that about 1774 the two states 
of New York and Pennsylvania attempted to define the end of 
the 42d degree of north latitude as the boundary between them. 
David Rittenhouse, already mentioned, acted on the part of 
Pennsylvania. The point at which the line crossed the Dela- 
ware was marked by a stone monument. The severity of the 
season prevented the extension of the line, and the Revolution- 
ary troubles coming on, that work was abandoned until after the 
close of the contest with Great Britain, when the line was con- 
tinued, as already mentioned, in 1786- 1787. 

Rittenhouse's extreme accuracy was recently tested in the 
re-tracing of the New York boundary and from the observations 
then made by the most refined instruments, the correctness of 
the points he fixed has been well established. 

The western and northern boundaries of the Commonwealth 
intersected on the edge of Lake Erie. By an adjustment of the 
boundaries of the state of New York, it was limited on the 
west by a section of a meridian line which was to be drawn 

lo the; counties of Pennsylvania 

from the extreme western part of Lake Ontario until it intersected 
the boundary of Pennsylvania. That survey left out of New York 
and Pennsylvania a triangular strip adjacent to Lake Erie, 
which has been familiarly known as the Erie Triangle, and was 
purchased by Pennsylvania from the United States Government, 
and thus Pennsylvania obtained a good harbor upon that lake. 

The rectangular system by which William Penn directed his 
city of Philadelphia to be laid out and afterward copied all 
over the country, was followed to a considerable extent in 
laying out the tracts of land, townships and roads in parts of the 
three original counties. These lines are yet visible in various 
places in Chester, Montgomery and Bucks, and particularly in 
the last two named counties. Further west, the conformation 
of the country caused the rectangular lines to give way to the 
direction of valleys and the mountains. Still further west, where 
the surface of the country admitted of it, the rectangular system 
was again put in practice, first by laying out the lands in square 
form, next in making the rectangular system conform to the 
cardinal points of the compass. The effects of that system are 
readily seen upon inspection of the map of Pennsylvania, where 
it will be observec that most of the lands in what is known 
as the Indian purchase of 1784, being that portion of the State 
lying northwest of an irregular line drawn from Towanda to 
where the Ohio river crosses the western boundary, are laid out 
by north, south, east and west lines and the county and township 
boundaries conform in the main to that system. 

From this plan, introduced by Penn and perfected by the years 
of experience of the Commonwealth, the officers of the U. S. 
Government obtained the idea of laying out the public lands, 
and they improved the system of making the lines conform to 
the true meridian and by adopting the square mile for the unit 
of area. 

This Commonwealth is an empire in itself. It is bordered on 
the east by tide water and on the west connects with the chain 
of Great Lakes and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Its cen- 
tral portion is broken by the Appalachian chain, giving a rugged 
contour ; but between its mountains are fine valleys of unexcelled 
fertility. In the northeastern portion there are practically inex- 

the; counties of Pennsylvania ii 

haustible beds of anthracite coal ; in the centre, semi-bituminous, 
and west of the main ridge of the Alleghenies, ahnost the entire 
territory is underlaid with bituminous coal of various grades ; 
in the valleys of the Allegheny and the Monongahela are vast 
deposits of petroleum that have added much to the wealth of the 
people, and in various places throughout the Commonwealth 
are found inexhaustible stores of iron-ore, which have enabled 
it to achieve and maintain the first rank in production of iron in 
this country; and the forests along the head-waters of its princi- 
pal streams, have contributed largely to the material wealth of 
our people. Its population of 5,250,000, is fairly distributed 
over nearly 46,000 square miles. The great cities of Philadelphia 
and Pittsburg are at opposite extremes of the State ; but scattered 
elsewhere, north, south, east and west, are cities ranging from 
20,000 to over 80,000 inhabitants each, and elsewhere through- 
out its territory, many cities and boroughs of less size. The 
great increase of population, and wonderful augmentation of 
wealth found within our borders, have occurred within the short 
space of two centuries. 

Of the sixty-seven counties, (in 1890) one contains over 1,000- 
000 people; one over 500,000; one over 200,000; six over 100,- 
000 ; two over 90,000 ; five over 80,000 ; seven over 70,000 ; three 
over 60,000 ; six over 50,000 ; nine over 40,000 ; ten over 30,000 ; 
six over 20,000 ; ten under 20,000. 

The Two Makefields. 

(Yardley Meeting, July 21, 1S91.) 

The dwellers on the banks of the beautiful Delaware, who 
enjoy all the comforts and many of the luxuries that wait on 
the nineteenth century civilization, can hardly realize when this 
country was a wilderness; when from the sea to the mountains, 
and beyond to the setting sun, the wild beast and the savage 
Indian were its only inhabitants. Yet such was its condition a 
little more than two centuries ago. 

When the good ship Welcome, our Quaker Mayflower, en- 
tered the capes of Delaware, October 24, 1682, there were but 
few settlers in the valley of our noble river. On either bank 
were found an occasional Swede and Hollander, survivors of 
the colonists which their governments had introduced many years 
before; and just below the Falls were half a dozen English fami- 
lies which had settled there five years prior, while Sir Edmund 
Andros governed the country under the Duke of York. With 
these exceptions it may be said our county was without a civilized 
inhabitant, and its "original people," the Lenni Lenape, held un- 
disputed sway. 

The "Falls of Delaware" was an objective point for Penn's 
immigrants, and from there many of the pioneers set out to 
people the neighboring wilderness. William Yardley, from 
Staffordshire, England, with his wife, three children and a ser- 
vant man, who arrived at the Falls September 25, 1682, a month 
before Penn landed, was the pioneer settler of Lower Makefield. 
Me pushed his way up into the woods and settled on his large tract 
that included the site of Yardley. He was a fit man for a pio- 
neer. Born in 1632, he was a minister among Friends at 
twenty-five, and was several times imprisoned because he would 
not yield up his faith. He became a leading man in the new 
province, was a member from Bucks in the first Assembly and 
was also in Council, dying in 1693. Thomas Janney wrote of 
him, about the time of his death : "He was a man of sound 


mind and good understanding." After his death his nephew 
Thomas estabUshed a ferry here called "Yardley's Ferry," which 
the Assembly confirmed to him in 1722. This soon became an 
important point, and, later in the century, when the three great 
roads leading to Philadelphia, via the Falls, Attleborough and 
Newtown, terminated here, "Yardley's Ferry" was a thorough- 
fare of traffic and travel between the lower Delaware and a large 
section of East Jersey. 

Several other settlers pushed their way into the woods of 
Makefield as early as 1682. Richard Hough, in his will made in 
1704, gives the following as the order of the land owners along 
the river from the Falls up: John Palmer, Richard Hough, 
Thomas Janney, Richard Vickers, Samuel Overton, John Brock, 
1,000 acres; John Clows, i,ooo; WilHam Yardley, 500; Eleanor 
Pownall, Thomas Bond, James Harrison, Thomas Hudson, 
Daniel Milnor, 250 ; Joseph Milnor, 250 ; Henry Bond and Rich- 
ard Hough, 500 acres. Harrison owned, in all, 5,000 acres, here 
and elsewhere, and Bond was a considerable proprietor. The 
usual quantity held by a settler was from 250 to 1,000 acres. 
Among the earliest marriages in the township was that of Rich- 
ard Hough to a daughter of John Clows, ist month 17, 1684, 
and the meeting appointed William Yardley and Thomas Jan- 
ney to see that it was "orderly done and performed." The 
descendants of this family are found in great numbers in many 
parts of the country and in every walk of life. 

Of the early families of Lower Makefield besides the Yardleys 
and Houghs, which have come down to our generation, may be 
mentioned the Briggses, the Livezeys, the Slacks and many others 
if T had time to speak of them. The Briggs family trace their 
descent, on the paternal side, for more than two centuries 
through the Briggses, Croasdales, Storeys, Cutters and Hard- 
ings to Ezra Croasdale who married Ann Peacock in 1687. On 
the maternal side it runs back through the Taylors, Yardleys, et al., 
to John Town, who married Deborah Booth in 1691. The Stock- 
tons, more recent in the township, are a collateral branch of the 
Princeton family of that name, the first in this county being a 
nephew of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of 
Independence. The latter descended from Richard, a Friend, who 

14 the: two MAKEFIELDS 

came to America between 1660 and 1670 and settled on Long 
Island. The Livezey family of Lower Makefield and Solebury, of 
which Dr. Abraham Livezey, of Yardley, is a member, came to 
Bucks county at an early day ; John, the first comer, settling in 
Solebury soon after Penn's second visit, where he took up a tract 
of land including the old Stephen Townsend farm. The Slacks 
came into the township about 1750, from New Jersey, and were 
descendants of Hendrick Cornelise Slecht, who emigrated to 
Long Island in 1652 from Holland. Abraham, born in 1722, 
settled in Lower Makefield and died in 1802. The descendants 
are very numerous, and ariiong them are some distinguished 
men. James Slack, a young son of Abraham, assisted to ferry 
Washington's army across the Delaware on that memorable 
night in December, 1776, when on its way to attack the Hessians 
at Trenton. 

Makefield was not organized into a township until 1692 when 
the first subdivision of the county was made. The first legal 
steps toward laying out townships, were taken in 1690, when the 
Provincial Council authorized warrants to be drawn, empower- 
ing the magistrates and grand juries of each county to sub- 
divide them into hundreds or such other divisions as they shall 
think most convenient in collecting taxes and defraying county 
expenses. At the September court, 1692, a jury was appointed 
to divide the county into townships, and directed to meet at the 
Neshaminy meeting-house, in Middletown, the 27th. They re- 
ported at the following December court, dividing the settled por- 
tions into Makefield, Falls, Buckingham, now Bristol, Salem, 
now Bensalem, and Middletown. The following are the metes 
and bounds of this township : "The uppermost township be- 
ing called Makefield, to begin at the uppermost plantation and 
along the river to the uppermost part of John Wood's land, and 
of the lands formerly belonging to the Hawkinses and Joseph 
Kirkbride and Widow Lucas' land, and so along as near as may 
be in a straight line to Joshua Hoops' land." The John Wood 
here referred to was the first English settler in the county, in 
[678, and took up 478 acres opposite the Falls. 

The name of Makefield, has its origin in Macclesfield, Ches- 
hire England the place of nativity of Richard Hough above 


mentioned. When John Fothergill, minister among Friends, 
of London, visited the township in 1721, he wrote the name 
"Macclesfield," in his journal. It is possible that Macclesfield, 
was pronounced "Makefield" by the early English settlers, and 
the spelling was made to conform to the pronounciation. In 
the will of Henry Margerum, an earlier settler, the name of 
the township is written "Maxfield," but one remove from 
Macclesfield. But all this is conjecture in face of the fact that 
the jury, which laid off the township, spelled the word plainly 
enough "Makefield." 

The township had been settled nearly three-quarters of a cen- 
tury before the Friends had a meeting-house to worship in : in 
all the intervening years going down to Falls and uniting with 
the settlers of that township. In 17 19 the "upper parts" of 
Makefield asked permission of Falls to have a meeting on First- 
days for the winter season at Samuel Baker's, John Baldwin's 
and Thomas Atkinson's, which was allowed. In 1750 the Falls 
Monthly gave leave to Makefield Friends to hold a meeting for 
worship every other Sunday at the houses of Benjamin Taylor 
and Benjamin Gilbert, because of the difficulty "in going down 
there," meaning down to Falls. The first meeting-house was buih 
in the township in 1752; size 25x30 feet, one-story high, and was 
enlarged in 1764 by extending the north end 20 feet at a cost of 

The increase in wealth and inhabitants was slow. In 1693, 
the next year after the township was organized, the assessed 
tax of Makefield was but £11, 14s., 3d. In 1742, sixty years after 
the settlement, the taxable inhabitants numbered 76, of whom 
II were single men; the next year they decreased to 57, but in 
creased to 94 in 1764. The presence of wealth at that period 
was not a disturbing element, the heaviest taxpayer, Thomas 
Yardley, being assessed at but £100; the poor rate was three 
pence per pound, and nine shillings for single men. In the next 
twenty years there was considerable increase in population, num- 
bering 748 in 1784, of which 26 were blacks. At that time there 
were one hundred and one dwellings in the township. The 
census of i860 puts the number of foreign-born population at 
227. The first loss by fire in the township that I have any 

l6 the; two MAKEFIELDS 

record of was in 1736, when the dwelling of John Schofield was 
burned, and collections to cover the loss were taken up in the 
Monthly Meetings. 

The township contains a relic of the early days in the remains of 
a burial place known as the "old stone graveyard" near this spot. 
The ground was given to the Falls Monthly Meeting June 4, 
1690, by Thomas Janney, just previous to his return to England 
where he died. At my visit to it twenty years ago, there was but 
a single stone standing to mark the resting place of the fore- 
fathers of the township. This was a brown sandstone, 27 
inches high, 18 wide and 6 inches thick, that part out of the 
ground being dressed. On the face, near the top, were the 
figures ''1692/' and below was the following inscription: "Here 
lies the body of Joseph Sharp, the son of Christopher Sharp." 
What unwritten history lies in these silent, unknown graves ! 
If the voiceless tongues of the occupants could speak, how deeply 
interesting would be their relation of the settlement of the town- 
ship, the hardships, nay, the sufferings of the pioneers in this 
the then wilderness west of the Delaware. 

Your pleasant little township capital, which bears the name of 
the first owner of the land it stands upon, had its birth in the 
wilderness like all American towns two centuries ago. It stands 
at the site of Thomas Yardley's ferry of ye olden time. It had a 
struggle for over a century before it developed into what Ameri- 
cans call a village. This was in 1807. An old map of that 
date shows a number of building lots and streets laid out above 
the mouth of the creek running back from the river, and, on the 
south side, lots were laid out at the intersection of the Newtown 
and upper river roads. The only buildings in the place were the 
old tavern on the river bank and the dwellings of Brown, 
Pidcock, Eastburn and Depue. At that time the ferry was half 
a mile below the bridge and boats landed opposite the farm- 
house that once belonged to Jolly Longshore. One Howell kept 
the ferry on the New Jersey side, and it was as often called 
Howell's as Yardley's ferry. The first store-house was built 
by the widow of Thomas Yardley. An old tavern, kept by 
John Jones, and afterward by Benjamin Fleming, stood 
on the upper side of the ferry, and when the ferry was 

the; two makh;fields 17 

moved up to the site of the bridge, a tavern called the 
"Swan" was built there and was first kept by a man named Grear. 
Among the earliest dwellings in Yardley were a small frame on 
John Blackfan"s land near the creek, the three-storied stone 
called the "Wheat Sheaf" because a sheaf of wheat was cast in 
the iron railing in front of the second story, and a small frame 
and stone house east of the canal above Bridge street. Charles 
Shoemaker was the first lock-tender on the canal at Yardley, in 
1831. The third store in the place was that of Aaron LaRue. 
who joined the church, emptied his liquor into the canal and set 
it on fire. LaRue's son killed a negro in this store-house for 
insulting his mother and the grand jury ignored the bill. A 
post office was established here in 1828 and Mahlon Dungan was 
appointed postmaster. The Yardley of to-day is a much more 
pretentious village than its ancestor of eighty-four years 
ago. With its industries, churches, schools, railroad communi- 
cation with the outside world, its numerous appliances for the 
comforts and conveniences of modern life and its busy, active 
population of 1,000 souls, your pleasant village is keeping well 
abreast with its fellows in the race of wordly prosperity. 

In a letter written by James Logan to Phineas Pemberton 
about 1700, he mentions that William Penn "had ordered a 
memorandum to be entered in the office that ye quarry in R. 
Hough's and Abel Janney's lands be reserved when they come to 
be confirmed, being for ye public good of the county." What 
about "ye great quarry" and who can tell us of it now? Are 
the quarries at Yardley the same? In this same letter Logan 
asks Pemberton where he can get "three or four hundred acres 
of good land and proportionable meadow in your innocent coun- 

As Makefield originally embraced Lower and Upper Make- 
field, it is proper we should consider the settlement of both 
townships. When this township was organized in 1692, what is 
now Upper Makefield was a wilderness. Probably a few ven- 
turous pioneers had pushed their way thither, but there was 
hardly a permanent settler in it. The two townships were one 
under the general name of "Makefield" for forty-five years 
after they were settled. In 1695. Thomas Holme, Penn's Sur- 


veyor General, laid off a tract of 7,000 acres north of what is 
now Lower Makefield, to which was given the name of "Manor 
of Highlands," extending into the edge of Wrightstown and 
Solebury. Among the original purchasers in this part of Make- 
field we have the names of Edmund Luff, Henry Sidwell, Thomas 
Hudson, whose large tract lay about DoHngton and extended to 
the Delaware ; and Joseph and Daniel Milnor, the "London- 
Company," composed of Tobias Collett, Daniel Quere and Henry 
Goldney, of London, became extensive land-owners in Upper 
Makefield township, purchasing 5,000 acres before 1700. 

The "Manor of Highlands" was reserved for William Penn, 
and in 1705 he wrote to James Logan that a great part of the 
Manor was taken up by "encroachers." In 1708 William Smith, 
son of the William Smith who settled in Wrightstown in 1684, 
purchased 201 acres in Upper Makefield, which the surveyor 
was instructed to lay out, at a place called Windy Bush, in 
Penn's Manor of Highlands, near Wrightstown. 

Among others who settled in this part of Makefield, or who 
were landowners in it, were Thomas Ross, the ancestor of the 
distinguished family of that name, John Pidcock, Gilbert Wheel- 
er, Jeffrey Burgess, the Blackfans, Richard Hough. John Trego, 
Charles Reeder, Edward Bailey, Richard Parsons, John Osmond, 
the McNairs, the Keiths, the Magills, the Stewarts and others. 
The Tregos are descendants from French Huguenot ancestry 
which came to America shortly after 1688 from England. The 
McNairs are what is called Scotch-L-ish, but properly Scotch - 
Saxons, and all are descended from Samuel, son of James, who 
was driven from Scotland to Ireland by religious persecution, and 
was born in county Donegal, in 1699. This family has been a 
prolific one, and descendants of the first settlers are found in 
many states of the Union. The grandfather of the late Joseph 
Fell, of Buckingham, lived and died in Upper Makefield; and 
his father, David Fell, was born in the township. He studied 
mathematics with Dr. John Chapman, of Upper Makefield, Latin 
with the Rev. Alexander Boyd, of Newtown, and read medicino 
with Dr. Isaac Chapman, of Wrightstown, having the late Dr. 
Phineas Jenks as fellow student. He completed his studies at 
the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania and was 


graduated there in 1801. On leaving the University, Dr. Fell 
carried with him the following certificate from Dr. Rush, its 
founder, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence : 

" I do hereby certify that Mr. David Fell hath attended a course of my 
lectures upon the Institutes and Practice of Medicine in the University of 
Pennsylvania with diligence and punctuality. 

[" Signed] Benjamin Rush. 

'■'Philadelphia, February 2^th, 1801." 

This early medical diploma is written on a small piece of 
paper, and I am the fortunate ovvner of it. Dr. Fell began 
practice under the shadow of Bowman's hill, and died in Buck- 
ingham, in 1856, on the premises owned and occupied by the 
late Dr. Seth Cattell. Dr. Fell was one of the earliest graduates 
in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. 

As already stated, the two Makefields were under one munici- 
pal jurisdiction for 45 years. This was continued to 1737, 
when the population had become so numerous, it was incon- 
venient for the constable and assessor to discharge their dtities. 
A division of the township was now asked for, which led to the 
organization of Upper Makefield. At the March term, a petition 
signed by 20 of the inhabitants, was presented to the Court of 
Quarter Sessions, representing themselves as living in that 
part of the Manor of Highlands called "Goldney's & Company's 
Land," meaning the London Company; that the township is so 
large, containing 22,000 acres ; the lands so thickly settled ; the 
township officers cannot discharge their duties toward all the 
inhabitants ; that the constable does not know the bounds of the 
township, and frequently returns the names of persons taxed 
with the inhabitants of Wrightstown. For these reasons the 
petitioners ask to have the said company's land attached to 
Wrightstown, or erected into a township by itself. This action 
led to the organization of Upper ]\Iakefield township with an 
area of 11,628 acres, and the boundaries have been little, if 
any, altered since 1753. Among the names signed to the peti- 
tion for the erection of the new township are Palmer, Russell, 
Richey, Lee, Doane, Hough, Bailey, Smith. Parsons, Atkinson, 
Osmond, Trego, Tomlinson, Reeder, Brown and \A^all. all well- 
known in the countv. 


Among the distinguished sons of Upper Makefield, the late 
OHver H. Smith, of Indiana, member of the Legislature and of 
Congress, U. S. Senator and Attorney General, probably stands 
first. He was a son of Thomas and Letitia Blackfan Smith, 
and a descendant of William Smith, who settled in Wrightstown, 
in 1684; born on the farm owned by the late John A. Beaumont, 
and died in Indiana in 1859. There was a vein of wit and 
humor in his composition and many anecdotes are told of him 
When a young man, a raftman at New Hope offered a high 
price for an experienced steersman to take his raft through 
Well's Falls, and young Smith, believing he could do it, accepted 
the offer and conducted the raft down the falls in safety. H^ 
knew nothing more about the channel than what he had learned 
while fishing. It is told of him when he first went to Washing- 
ton as a Senator, one of his fellow Senators asked him what 
college he had graduated at, and he answered "Lurgan," the 
name of a roadside school house in Upper Makefield. At one 
time Mr. Smith kept store at Hartsville, and at the Green Tree, 
Buckingham. His career is a good example of what energy 
and courage will do in this country for a young man if he seizes 
the opportunities as they present themselves. 

Other inhabitants of Upper Makefield are not unworthy of 
note. Thomas Langley, as eccentric as Oliver H. Smith was dis- 
tinguished, was born near London, England, and came to Penn- 
sylvania about 1756. After teaching school for several years, 
his mind became deranged and remained so to his death. He 
imagined himself the king of Pennsylvania, and believed in the 
invisible agency of evil spirits. He wandered about the country 
as an itinerant cooper, and in 1803 extended his travels to South 
Carolina, being absent a year. He was an educated Episco- 
palian, but joined the Friends and attended their meetings. 
Much romance lingers about the memory of Dr. John Bowman, 
an earlier settler on Pidcock's creek, and after whom Bowman's 
hill was named. It tells us he was appointed surgeon of the 
English fleet sent out under Captain Kyd, in 1696, to suppress 
piracy on the high seas and that he turned pirate with him ; that 
he came to Newtown after Kyd was hanged, where he drew 
upon himself suspicion that he belonged to the pirate's gang; 

the; two make;fiei.ds 21 

that he disappeared and after being gone several years returned, 
and built himself a cabin at the foot of the hill that bears his 
name ; then removed to Newtown where he was found dead in 
his house ; that among his effects was a "massive oatcen chest, ' 
but it failed to yield up any of Captain Kyd's gold. 

At the southern base of Bowman's hill is a small hamlet 
called Lurgan, after the birthplace of James Logan, in Ireland. 
Three-quarters of a century ago a famous day-school was kept 
there, in a one-story house, now occupied as a dwelling, and 
among the scholars were Judge John Ross, Oliver H. Smith, 
whose career I have related, Dr. John Chapman, Edward Smith, 
a learned man, Seth Chapman, lawyer and judge, Dr. Seth 
Cattell and others. Among the teachers of this primitive semi- 
nary were the late Joseph Fell, of Buckingham, Moses Smith, 
afterward a distinguished physician of Philadelphia, a man 
named McLean, who became a noted teacher and was a fine 
Latin scholar and mathematician, and Enos Scarborough, cele- 
brated for his penmanship, father of the late Hiram Scarborough, 
of New Hope. But the glory of Lurgan hath departed, and 
most of her scholars, statesman and jurists have crossed the dark 
river to the undiscovered country beyond. 

The two Makefaelds are full of Revolutionary incident. When 
Washington withdrew the Continental army to the west bank 
of the Delaware, in December, 1776, he encamped the main body 
along the river from Trenton to New Hope. Two or three 
brigades lay in the meadows of Upper Makefield under the shel- 
ter of Jericho hill, and the officers quartered in the neighboring 
farm houses. Washington occupied the dwelling of Robert Keith 
on the road from Brownsburg to the Eagle ; Greene was at Mer- 
rick's a few hundred yards to the east, across the fields and mead- 
ows ; Sullivan was at Hayhurst's, grandfather of the late Mrs. 
Mary Buckman, of Newtown ; and Knox and Alexander Hamil- 
ton were at Doctor Chapman's, over Jericho hill to the north. 
From the top of this hill a good view of the river could be had 
with a field glass, quite down to Trenton. 

The houses occupied by Washington, Greene, Knox and Ham- 
ilton are still standing and in good preservation. The depot of 
supplies was at Newtown. From these camps the small Con- 


tinental army, on which hung the hopes of free government in 
America, marched to attack the Hessians at Trenton. The 
evening before, December 24th, Washington rode over to Mer- 
ricks to take supper with Greene, and, no doubt, Knox, SterHng 
and SulHvan were there. The family were sent across the fields 
to spend the night at a neighbor's, so there could be no listeners 
to the council of war that destroyed British Empire in America. 
The troops marched about three on Christmas afternoon and 
reached the place of rendezvous, at the mouth of Knowles' creek, 
where the crossing was to be made, about sundown. The rest 
of the story I need not tell ; you, who have read American his- 
tory aright, are familiar with it ; those of you who have not read 
it, should not fail to do so at the first opportunity. 

John Fitch, The Inventor of Steam Navigation.* 

(Davisville Meeting, July i6, 1S89). 

" There's a Divinity that shapes our ends, 
Rough hew them how we will." 

Men often fail of suitable rewards for their labors, though 
they may have toiled with apparent wisdom, energy and perse- 
verance. An eminent illustration of this is found in the career 
of John Fitch, the first person who successfully applied the 
power of steam to navigation. He was born of English ancestry, 
Jan. 21, 1743, in Windsor, Conn., and in his youth served an 
apprenticeship with a watchmaker, but received very little in- 
struction at his trade, being kept by his master mostly at farm- 
ing. After being released from his indentures, with an im- 
perfect knowledge of time-pieces, but with much native mechani- 
cal genius, he worked a few years at brass founding, married 
and had a son and daughter, but not being able to live harmon- 
iously with his wife, he turned his steps southward, journeying 
on foot and repairing clocks and watches for subsistence by the 

For some time previous to the American Revolution, he 

* Rev. Tiirner read a paper 011 John Fitch at the Wrightstown meeting, July 31, 1883. 
As this is a later paper, and as both cover practically the same material, it has been 
thought better to omit the publication of the first paper, in order to avoid duplication, 
and to give the author the benefit of his latest paper on the subject. 


resided in New Jersey, at Trenton, and during that struggle he 
was employed by the public authorities in repairing fire-arms 
for the Continental soldiers, for which service he was peculiarly 
adapted, and was more useful to his country than if he had 
served in the ranks, though he had been chosen lieutenant and 
had fully intended to join the army in the field. When the British 
troops from New York approached the Delaware, all active 
patriots were compelled to seek some place of safety, and he re- 
tired across the river into Pennsylvania, finding a home tempo- 
rarily with John Mitchell at Four Lanes' End (now Langhorne) 
in Bucks county, and afterwards with Charles Garrison, in War- 
minster. He set up the business of a silversmith in the 
shop of Jacobus Scout, a wheelwright, commonly called Coba 
Scout. While Washington's forces were at Valley Forge, he 
supplied them with tobacco and beer, and realized large profits 
in Continental currency, which, however, rapidly depreciated 
on his hands. At one time he had forty thousand dollars in 
paper, which in the course of a year or two sank in value to 
a hundred dollars in silver and in order to prevent it from be- 
coming altogether worthless he determined to invest it in land 
warrants and locate them in Virginia. In his boyhood he had 
learned something of surveying and by study and practice had 
acquired proficiency in it. This prepared him for the position 
of deputy surveyor, which he secured through the recommenda- 
tion of influential friends in Philadelphia. Clothed with the 
proper authority, he went to Kentucky, then a part of Virginia, 
and in that dense wilderness, rarely visited by civilized man, he 
passed 1780 and a portion of 1781, laying out tracts of the most 
fertile land and, as he believed, had secured the foundation of 
an immense fortune, when Congress adopted a new method of 
survey and the most of his labor proved of no avail. In 1782, 
when on a commercial expedition down the Ohio river en route 
to New Orleans, he was captured by Indians, who were in the 
interests of the British, and carried to Canada, it was almost a 
year before he was exchanged and returned to the United States. 
Peculiarly unfortunate in most of his enterprises, he realized 
the force of the proverb, "The best laid plans of mice and men 
aft gang aglee." 


On Sunday in the month of April, 1785, after having been to 
Neshaminy church, where Rev. Nathaniel Irwin preached, he was 
walking along the Street road toward his home in company 
with James Ogilbee. Being troubled with rheumatism, which he 
had contracted in his tours through the Western wilds, he found 
his progress somewhat difficult. When a gentleman passed him 
rapidly in a carriage, drawn by a spirited horse, the idea oc- 
curred to him, "Could not a vehicle be invented which would 
move without a horse?" Ogilbee afterward said that he at once 
became inattentive to conversation and seemed lost in thought, 
and Fitch subsequently affirmed that he then first conceived the 
notion that steam might be applied to propel carriages on land. 
This occupied his mind for a week, when he was convinced that 
the roughness of common roads would prove an insurmounta- 
ble obstacle to the use of steam in ordinary wagons. But the 
employment of it in vessels presented itself as practicable, and 
the more he contemplated it, the more he was impressed with 
its feasibility and its great importance. With the utmost 
diligence and enthusiasm, he set about making drawings of a 
boat to be propelled by steam which he took to his friend, Rev. 
Nathaniel Irwin, who is spoken of by Dr. Archibald Alexander, 
of Princeton, as "a. man of a profound understanding." Mr. 
Irwin had in his library a book containing a description of a steam 
engine and showed it to the self-taught inventor. In his manu- 
script autobiography, now in possession of the Philadelphia 
Library Company, Fitch says, "Although it was not to my credit, 
I did not know that there was a steam engine on earth when I 
proposed to gain force by steam," and he adds, when the drawing 
at Mr. Irwin's was shown him, "I was very much chagrined." 
Still, on reflection, he concluded that as the mighty force of 
heated vapor had never as yet been applied to boats, it would be 
a grand triumph of mechanical skill if he could devise the 
machinery by which it could be accomplished. He first con- 
structed a small model boat with paddle-wheels. Hon. Nathaniel 
B. Boileau, afterwards a noted politician in Pennsylvania and 
Secretary of State under Governor Snyder, told Daniel Long- 
streth, formerly a highly respected citizen of Warminster, that 
he himself when at home on a vacation from Princeton college 

JOHN t'lTCH, the: inventor OF STEAM NAVIGATION 25 

made the paddle-wheels, which were of wood, and that Fitch 

made the rest of the machinery of brass. Mr. Longstreth's 

language giving Mr. Boileau's statement is this: 

" It was in 'Cobe' Scout's log shop that Fitch made his model steamboat 
with paddle-wheels as they are now used. The model was tried on a siiiall 
stream on Joseph Longstreth's meadow, about half a mile from Davisville, 
in Southampton township, and it realized every expectation. " 

Through the courtesy of General Davis, I am permitted to 
present an account of this trial of the boat, taken down by 
him in 1858, from the mouth of Abraham McDowell, of War- 
minster township, who was an eye witness of the scene, when 
in his childhood. Mr. McDowell said: 

" I was acquainted with Jotin Fitch, the steamboat man. Sometime after 
the Revolutionary war, he came to my father's house, in Warminster town- 
ship, Bucks county. Pa., to board, where he remained two or three years or 
more. Near the house was an old log shop, where my father carried on 
weaving, and James Scout, called ' Cobe Scout, ' did silver-smithing. In 
this shop John Fitch built his first steamboat, which I distinctly remember, 
as I was a good-sized boy. It was about four feet in length and a little over 
a foot in breadth, with a wheel in the stern, somewhat like a flutter- wheel. 
When the boat was done it was taken to a dam on the farm of Arthur Watts, 
in Southampton township, near the present village of Davisville, and now 
owned by Gen. John Davis. John Fitch was accompanied by James Scout, 
Abraham Sutphin, Anthony Scout. John McDowell, William Vansant and 
Charles Garrison. I went along out of boyish curiosity, and after we 
reached the dam, Arthur Watts and, I think his son, Wiliam Watts, then a 
young man, came out to witness the experiment. I was sent up to the head 
of the dam, where the water was shallow and the mud deep, as the men did 
not like to go where they would get muddy. I waded in a little distance, 
where the water was deep enough to allow the boat to float, and stood there. 
The boat was launched, and in a few minutes it put off^ under a full head- 
way, puffing and the smoke flying, and very soon reached the opposite side 
of the dam. This run being too short, it was next started lengthwise of 
the dam, and made several trips back and forth to and froni the point where 
I stood. When it reached me, I turned it around and headed it toward the 
starting point again. We were there two or three hours, and until all were 
tired and satisfied with the experiments, when we returned home. Fitch 
carrying the boat under his arm. The late Nathaniel Boileau, E-q., then a 
yoting man, turned some part of the machinery for the boat and I carried it 
back and forth several times, and I remembe I thought the wheels were 
very pretty things and wanted them for a wagon. I was born in I7!^2, and 
at that time I could not have been less than four or five years old. The 
whole transaction is indelibly impressed upon my memory. Soon after this 
trial. Fitch took his boat to Philadelphia, where he met srme person who 
told him some part of the machinery was not right, and that he had better 
alter it, when Fitch returned home with the boat to make the suggested 
alteration, after which he went a .second time to Philadelphia with his boat. 
The shop in which this boat was built was on the farm now owned by Mitch- 
ell Wood, in Warminster township, within about three hundred yards of 
the line of Montgomery county. Mr. Boileau lived at this time with his 
father, on the farm now owned by Lewis Willard, on the line between Bucks 
and Montgomery counties, near the eight-square school-house and little 
more than a mile from Davisville. 

Yours, respectfully, 
[Signed] Abraham McDowell." 


This account bears many marks of truth, though Mr. Mc- 
DoweU, if he is correct about the date of his birth, could have 
been at the time of the experiment but four years and a few 
months old. He may have recollected the names of the men who 
were present and other circumstances by often hearing the 
matter talked about afterwards, as a remarkable affair of that 
kind would naturally be. The engine used in the little craft 
was constructed in Philadelphia, and judging from all the 
historical data accessible, was the first steam engine ever made 
on this continent. 

It is stated in Westcott's "Life of Fitch," (prepared from the 
manuscript autobiography of the inventor), that in 1786 a company 
of individuals was formed who contributed $300, to enable him 
to complete and bring forth his proposed boat into practical use. 
"The first great difficulty was the making of a steam engine, a 
piece of machinery, which the mechanical capability of the coun- 
try was scarcely able to furnish. There were at that time but 
three steam engines in operation in America." They were all 
imported from England; two were in New England and one in 
New Jersey. None had ever been constructed this side the Atlantic. 
Fitch first engaged John Nancarrow, of Philadelphia, to assist 
him in his experiment, and at the end of a month the machinist 
produced drawings of the old-fashioned atmospheric engine, that 
"was to have a weight to raise the piston." This did not satisfy 
Fitch, and that plan was rejected. After a time he became ac- 
quainted with Henry Voight, a watchmaker in Philadelphia, 
who had displayed much ingenuity, and concluded to employ him 
to assist in the work. They first made a small engine, the cylin- 
der of which was only one inch in diameter and would not move 
regularly ; the force generated was not able to fully overcome 
the friction. The expense was very slight, being only £3 Pennsyl- 
vania currency, or $8.00. Though Fitch had never seen a steam en- 
gine of any kind before, and this was of almost insignificant capaci- 
ty and operated imperfectly, yet it illustrated the idea he had form,- 
ed, and he was confident his invention would ultimately be of vast 
importance to mankind. This little one-inch cylinder engine was 
placed in the model boat and set forth on a pond near Davisville, 
and was the germ of the vast commerce by steam, which now 


traverses the rivers, lakes and oceans of the world and enriches 
all lands. 

Fitch and his friend immediately commenced the construction 
of an engine with a three-inch cylinder, and at the same time 
they made a skiff with the apparatus for its propulsion, which, 
by way of experiment, they moved by hand until the new engine 
was finished. They employed "a screw of paddles," an endless 
chain, and one or two other kinds of gear, but they did not give 
satisfactory results. These trials were made on the Delaware 
river, and were witnessed by several persons, who jeered and 
scoffed when Fitch landed on the shore, and he was so much 
mortified at his want of success in overcoming difficulties that 
he went to a tavern, and, as he says, "used considerable West 
India produce that evening," of which he was much ashamed 
the next day. The following night he went to bed early, and, 
instead of sleeping, thought what kind of gearing he should use 
in his boat, and after some hours, it suddenly struck him that 
cranks and paddles would be a practicable arrangement, and for 
fear he should forget the precise idea, he arose, struck a light, 
and made a draught of it. Early in the morning he went to see 
Voight, showed him his plan ; it was approved, was put into 
operation in the skiff, and, with some changes, worked by hand 
successfully. Soon the steam engine with a three-inch cylinder 
was completed, placed in the skiff, and attached to the oars, 
and made the little craft hurry over the water at the speed of 
seven or eight miles an hour, and Fitch was certain that with 
a more powerful engine the velocity might be increased to ten or 
twelve miles an hour. 

The funds of the company were running low, and an un- 
successful effort was made, through Dr. Benjamin Franklin, 
to sell the engine to the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. 
It cost about a hundred dollars, but the inventors were willing 
to part with it for any sum they could get. Much gratification 
was felt by the members of the company in the result of the 
efforts of Fitch. They were satisfied now that his invention 
would prove practicable and useful, yet they hesitated about 
contributing more money. It was proposed to build an engine 
with a twelve-inch cylinder also a much larger boat, for which 


a considerable expenditure would be required ; but the means were 
not furnished and Fitch experienced great distress at the un- 
willingness of his associates to provide funds. 

He therefore wrote a letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, 
asking for a loan of £150, or $400, and in this communication 
he says : "Mr. Voight and myself are sure that we can build 
an engine; nay, we are vain enough to believe that we can 
make one as good as they can in Europe ;" and he declares that 
in his opinion his plan will be worth to America three times as 
much as all the territory northwest of Ohio, and that it would 
open that part of the land to settlement by making it possible 
to go rapidly up the current of swift rivers with large quantities 
of merchandise and many passengers. His petition was respect- 
fully received and placed in the hands of a committee, who re- 
ported favorably, recommending a loan, but the bill failed by a 
small negative majority. He then wrote to ("k)vernor Mifflin, 
requesting that a private subscription might be taken among the 
members of the Legislature, but no effort was made to aid him 
in that way. After much persistent labor with all who were 
interested in the scheme, money enough was secured to finish 
the engine and place it in the boat. But defects immediately 
appeared. The cylinder had zvoodcn caps and they admitted 
air ; the piston box was leaky and all the works had to be taken 
out, altered and put in again at a large expense. Then the con- 
densation was imperfect and new condensers were required ; 
then the steam valves were not tight. As soon as one defect was 
remedied another appeared. Finally when every fault seemed 
to be obviated and all parts were adjusted, it was found that 
the boiler was not large enough to generate sufficient steam. 
Although the contributors were discouraged, they were pur- 
suaded to respond once more ; the necessary alterations were 
made, and the boat was tried publicly on the Delaware, August 
22, 1787. The convention to frame a Constitution of the United 
States was at that time in session in Philadelphia and an invita- 
tion was extended to the members to witness the experiment, 
and Fitch says in his journal that nearly all of them were present, 
except General Washington. They considered it successful, 
though the machinery was not sufficiently powerful to move the 


boat very swiftly against the current. Governor Randolph, of 
Virginia, "was pleased to give the invention countenance," and 
the next day Dr. Johnson, of the same state, sent a complimen- 
tary note to the persevering genius. Governor Ellsworth, of 
Connecticut, informed Rev. Ezra Stiles, president of Yale col- 
lege, that he saw the trial of the steamboat made by John Fitch, 
and that it gave satisfaction to all the spectators ; David Ritten- 
house, the celebrated astronomer. Prof. Andrew Elliott, of the 
Episcopal academy, and Dr. John Ewing, provost of the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, all wrote certificates that the boat, operated 
by steam alone, moved against wind and tide with a very con- 
siderable degree of velocity, and that the theory thus reduced to 
practice must be of vast benefit to the human race. 

This craft, with a twelve-inch cylinder, however, was too 
small for practical purposes, and after many delays a longer 
boat with the same machinery and paddles at the stern, was 
built and set out on a trip to Burlington. It went well until it 
came opposite the town within twenty or thirty rods of the 
wharf, when the boiler sprang a leak and they were compelled 
to anchor in the stream. With the next tide they got the dis- 
abled vessel back to Philadelphia. An account of this first long 
voyage of the steamer was prepared in 1855 from reminiscences 
of old persons, who lived along the Delaware, and who wit- 
nessed it at various places on the route. The following are a 
few extracts from this narrative : 

" Crowds of persons assembled at all the prominent points along the river 
to see her pass, and waited for hours to witness what was then the greatest 
wonder of the day. At Point-no-Point, now Bridesburg, the whole popula- 
tion of Frankford and the upper end of Philadelphia county were gathered, 
and they saw the boat slowly steam by them on her upward progress. Great 
indeed was their enthusiasm and long and loudly did they cheer the gro- 
tesque exhibition. Women waved their handkerchiefs in approbation. 
Bateaux put off from shore and rowed alongside the steamer, cheering the 
adventurous and now exulting Fitch. 

"At Dunk Ferry a similar demonstration took place. A vast concourse 
of people had collected there from the interior of Bucks county to see the 
passing of the new wonder. Loud cheers greeted her as she approached, 
and a cannon, one of those which Gen. Reed had vainly endeavored to 
carry across the Delaware on the night of Washington's masterly surprise at 
Trenton, and which by some oversight had been left behind, was hastily 
loaded and discharged in honor of the discoverer of navigation by steam." 


The accident to the boiler was soon remedied, other improve- 
ments were effected, and the boat made several voyages to and 
from Burlington without mishap, at the rate of four or five 
miles an hour. In a trip made on October 12, 1788, thirty 
passengers were on board, and a few days later a number of 
distinguished gentlemen were carried, among whom was Cap- 
tain John Hart, of the ist U. S. Infantry, who certified that they 
moved at least four miles an hour and that the same force ap- 
plied to a boat would move it against the current of the Ohio, 
Mississippi and other Western rivers at a similar speed. 

But this did not satisfy Fitch. To make his invention useful, 
more power and greater velocity must be developed. By this 
time a majority of the members of the company became dis- 
satisfied at the repeated calls for money and withdrew from 
the concern. Voight also, the inventor's tried and skilled friend, 
pleaded the wants of his own family and his personal affairs, which 
had been too much neglected, and abandoned the work. But the 
patient genius was not entirely discouraged. He organized a 
new company ; an engine with an eighteen-inch cylinder was 
constructed ; various changes, improvements and experiments 
were made, and the velocity was augmented, but it was still 
not great enough for a river packet. New exertions were put 
forth during the spring of 1790, and the tireless enthusiast had the 
satisfaction during the summer of that year of being able to go at 
the rate of eight miles an hour, and to pass all the sailing vessels 
that competed with him. The boat afterwards went eighty 
miles in a day and was run as a regular passenger steam 
packet. Advertisements are found in the Federal Ga::ette and 
other newspapers of 1790 announcing the days of leaving Phila- 
delphia and extending through the months of June, July, Aug- 
ust and September. The first notice is the following: 

" The steam V>oat is now ready to take passengers, and it is intended to set 
off from Arch street ferry, in Philadelphia, every Monday, Wednesday and 
Friday, for Burlington, Bri-^tol, Bordentown and Trenton; to return on Tues- 
days, Thursdays and Saturdays. Price for passengers, 2 shillings and six- 
pence, 33 cents to Burlington and Bristol ; 2 shillings and 9 pence to Borden- 
town, and 5 shillings to Trenton, June 14, 1790." 

It was advertised also to run at various times to Gray's 
Ferry, Christian Bridge, Chester and Wilmington. Counting up 


the lengths of all the trips it made that summer, it must have run 
between two and three thousand miles. Lewis Rue and John 
Shaffer gave a certificate that they set out from Philadelphia 
June 5, 1790, at four o'clock in the morning and went in the 
steamboat to Trenton and thence to Lambertville and back to 
the city in the afternoon, at a speed of 7>4 miles an hour. Ful- 
ton's boat, the "Clermont," seventeen years afterwards, in 1807, 
occupied thirty-two hours in a distance of 150 miles, or four 
and three-quarter miles an hour ; Fitch's boat was, therefore, 
superior in speed to Fulton's, and would have reached Albany 
fifty-two miles in advance ! Yet Fulton is generally called the 
inventor of steam navigation. 

Fitch and his company commenced another boat, "The Per- 
severance," but it was never finished. While lying at the wharf 
in Kensington, a northeast storm drove it from its moorings 
and drifted it on Petty's island, where it remained fast sev- 
eral days. Other hindrances retarded the work, and winter set 
in before it was completed. The next year, 1791, was consumed 
in efforts to raise money and improve the machinery. But funds 
came in slowly, the friends of the unfortunate projector became 
discouraged and indifferent, and in 1792 the attempt to com- 
plete the second boat was abandoned altogether, and in 1795 it 
was sold in part to the highest bidder at public vendue. 

Several causes conspired to prevent Fitch from bringing to 
a successful and profitable issue the attempt to introduce steam 
navigation. One was the low state of the mechanic arts in this 
country. No steam engine had ever been built here, and but 
few were in operation in the whole land. It was difficult to ob- 
tain necessary iron or steel castings and a large part of the 
work had to be done by ordinary blacksmiths, unskilled in 
such work. Fitch himself was poor, without influential friends, 
except those whom he secured by his own industry, perseverance, 
and mechanical genius. The period was unpropitious. It was 
just after the close of the Revolutionary war, when money was 
scarce, and the people generally impoverished by their sacri- 
fices for liberty, were with difficulty persuaded to contribute 
to a venture, concerning the ultimate success of which they were 
doubtful. Sea captains, the owners of boats and sailing vessels 


and all interested in prevailing modes of carrying on commerce, 
were jealous of the innovation, which threatened to diminish 
their profits, and derided and scoffed at his scheme. It was only 
by wonderful energy and determination, united with countless 
faith in the feasibility and vast importance of his plan, that 
enabled him to reach the measure of success he actually attained. 
He demonstrated practically and fully that navigable waters could 
be traversed by steam, but circumstances beyond his control pre- 
vented the introduction of his invention into general use at that 
early day. 

His claim to priority has never been refuted. The thought 
of a steamboat first came to him in April, 1785. In August of 
the same year he presented a memorial to the Continental Con- 
gress for encouragement and in September he applied for aid 
to the Spanish minister, then in New York. In December he 
asked for assistance from the Legislature of Pennsylvania. In 
1786 the Assembly of New Jersey passed an act giving him ex- 
clusive right for 14 years to navigate all the waters of the state 
by fire and steam, and in 1787 similar acts were adopted in his 
favor by the Assemblies of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York 
and Virginia. 

The legislative bodies would not have given him this right 
unless they had been convinced that his claims were unimpeach- 
able. Committees in each listened to his statements, investigated 
their truth and reported in his favor, and their recommendations 
were adopted, which is testimony of the strongest kind that his 
invention was prior to that of any other individual, and that he 
was the original projector of the most important and valuable 
improvement ever made in navigation. 

In February, 1786, nearly a year after Fitch conceived his 
plan, he applied to Arthur Donaldson, of Philadelphia, an in- 
genious man possessed of some pecuniary means, for assistance, 
and asked him to become a partner with himself in the enter- 
prise. Donaldson hesitated and said he would consult a friend 
and let him know his decision later. In this interview Fitch 
declares that Donaldson did not hint that he had ever thought 
of using steam as a power in propelling boats, yet a few months 
afterwards Donaldson asserted that he had contrived a way for 


driving boats by steam, and intended to apply to the Pennsylvania 
Legislature for the sole right to the machine. The Legislature 
considered the merits of both in respect to originality and the 
next year decided in favor of Fitch. It does not appear that 
Donaldson ever thought of steam in connection with boats till 
the idea had been suggested to him by Fitch, yet he pretended 
that the credit of the discovery should be awarded to him. 

James Rumsey, of Virginia, likewise pretended to the honor 
of the invention, but the evidence shows that his claims were 
fallacious. He did indeed experiment in 1784 to get a boat 
made which would be worked by a machine with poles, set in 
motion by hand. But he did not intimate that he expected to 
use steam as the power till many months after Fitch had applied 
to more than one legislative body for a patent right, and his 
claims had been heard of in all parts of the country. Fitch first 
learned that Rumsey said he had invented a steamboat in October, 
1787, more than two years after Fitch began his experiments. 
During all that time Rumsey had been planning a mechanical 
boat, to run by hand or horse power, and it had not occurred 
to him that steam could be employed until the idea was sug- 
gested by the persevering exertions of the skillful artisan in 

After the failure to complete the third large boat, "The Perse- 
verance," Fitch remained for some time in Philadelphia without 
funds, sad and despondent. Much of his time was passed in writing 
his autobiography, which was comprised in six manuscript vol- 
umes. In them he gives an account of the events of his life and of 
his arduous and checkered experience with the steamboat. He de- 
posited them in 1792 with the Philadelphia Library Company, 
requesting that they be not opened till 1823, at the expiration of 
thirty years. The whole work is addressed to Rev. Nathaniel 
Irwin, pastor at Neshaminy, for whom he entertained the high- 
est veneration and the warmest regard. The early education 
of Fitch was very limited, and in his writings, grammar, ortho- 
graphy, spelling and punctuation are constantly violated, but his 
style is forcible and vivid, and displays far more than ordinary 
intellectual gifts. 

In 1793 he went to France, under the direction of a company 


of gentlemen, with a view to building steamboats there, but the 
French Revolution was agitating the country when he arrived, 
no funds could be secured, his own means were soon exhausted, 
and after tarrying a while in England, he returned to the United 
States, working his passage as a common sailor. For two years 
he remained with his relatives in New England, and in 1796 
he fitted a small steam engine in a ship's yawl in New York city, 
and ran it on a little pond called the "Collects," now filled, on 
the site of which the "Tombs" prison is built. Robert Fulton 
and Robert R. Livingston were several times on this craft with 
Fitch, while it was in motion, who explained to them the work- 
ings of the machinery. It was propelled by a screw propeller, 
and steered by an oar. Fulton, instead of being an originator, 
was taught by Fitch, but he was more fortunate in possessing 
in Livingston a wealthy friend. 

Fitch had been revolving in his mind for a considerable time 
a journey to Kentucky to look up lands which he still owned 
there, and to form a company to build steamboats for the West- 
ern rivers. In 1797 he repaired to that region, which he had 
traversed repeatedly with his surveying instruments when it 
was occupied only by savages and wild beasts. But he found 
that no steamboat company could be organized, and that his 
lands were over-run by squatters. To eject them he was obliged 
to engage in vexatious lawsuits. To pay his board bill he had to 
transfer his title to some of his lands to the keeper of the hotel. 
He had become addicted to intemperate habits by resorting to 
the bottle for comfort and cheer in his misfortunes, and at last, 
when he saw no prospect of realizing the vision of his life, he 
took opium with fatal efifect, and passed intentionally into the 
dreamless sleep of death at Bardstown, Kentucky, somewhere 
between the 25th of June and the i8th of July, 1798, being in 
the 56th year of his age. Only a rough unhewn stone marks his 
grave in the cemetery of that distant village. But a monument 
ought to be erected over it. on which should be inscribed his 
prophetic words, "The day will come when some more potent 
man will get fame and riches from my invention. This will be 
the mode of crossing the Atlantic in time, whether I shall bring 
it to perfection or not." 

The Schwenkfelders. 


(Do3'lestown Meeting-, January 19, 1892). 

There is no spot in this broad land wherein there may be found 
such a great variety of sects as within the hmits of the grant 
allowed William Penn. This is not to be marveled at, w^hen we 
recall the fact that to this end Penn labored : while even in NeW 
England, the Puritans, who themselves had endured the pangs 
of persecution, were inclined to persecute those who took excep- 
tion to their views. So many and various are the sects that it 
will be unnecessary to name the leading denominations, which 
are doubtless well known to all the members of this society. The 
Moravians and the Mennonites are comparatively well known, 
but the Amrish, the Harralites, and finally the Schwenkfelders, 
of whom this paper will treat, are unknown, except probably 
in name only, to most persons, even to those with whom they 
come in daily contact. Probably many or all of the members 
of your historical society may in a measure be conversant with 
the local history of the Schwenkfelders, but few know of their 
past, of the ignominious brutalities and suffering they were the 
subjects of, all for tlie views they took in reference to the Scrip- 

The founder of this peculiar people was one Kaspar von 
Schwenkfeld, who was born in the year 1490, in a little village 
called Ossing at that time, but now known as Ossig, in the 
principality of Liegnitz, in Lower Silesia. He was a nobleman, 
ranking high in court circles. He was educated at Cologne 
and lived for a number of years at various universities on the 
continent, where his favorite studies were theology and the 
writings of the church fathers. After leaving the various uni- 
versities he visited many German courts, devoting some years 
to the culture which in his time was supposed to benefit his rank, 
qualifying himself for knighthood and becoming a courtier. 
While yet a young man he entered the service of Carl Duke of 
Munsterberg, at whose court the doctrines of John Huss were 

36 the; schwenkfeIvDErs 

received and by none more heartily than by the young knight and 
courtier. They made a lasting impression upon his mind and 
doubtless gave direction to his future life and labors. 

Being unfitted by bodily infirmities for knightly duties, he 
quitted the service of the Duke of Munsterberg and became 
counselor to Frederick II, Duke of Liegnitz, w^hom he served 
in that capacity a number of years. Theology, however, had 
stronger attractions than affairs of state. He made the acquaint- 
ance of many theologians who were drifting in the direction of 
the reformation, and under the influence of such associations 
and the impressions already received, he withdrew from the 
ducal court and was chosen canon of St. John's church at 

Luther had now withdrawn from the church of Rome and his 
doctrine attracted the attention of Schwenkfeld, who fell in with 
Luther upon the issues at stake and he forthwith renounced his 
position as cannon of St. John's and became an evangelist. While 
Schwenkfeld was not inclined to be a controversialist, it was 
not long before he and the Great-Reformer began to difl:'er on 
points of doctrine which eventually led to a meeting between 
the two at Wittenberg in September, 1525, where a personal inter- 
view was held, resulting in a seeming agreement on the ques- 
tions at issue, but which eventually drifted them far apart. 

Trouble now began to thicken. Deprived of his fellowship 
with the Lutherans, Schwenkfeld was none the less also an 
outcast from the Catholics. Even Ferdinand, King of Bohemia 
and Hungary, and afterward Emperor of Germany, whose lib- 
erality to the Protestants brought him into disfavor at Rome, 
could not tolerate his doctrine, and consequently ordered the 
Duke of Liegnitz to suppress Schwenkfeld and his teachings, 
Silesia being tributary at that time to the Bohemian Kings. But 
the friendship formed while he was counselor to the Duke for- 
bade compliance with the King's edict. But while the Duke 
disobeyed the command of the King to repress Schwenkfeld, 
he was powerless to protect his friend, and therefore urged 
him to retire from Selesia for a time, until toleration should be 
granted once more at the royal court. 

After rcceivino- this kindly advice from his friend and hereto- 


fore protector, Schwenkfeld left Silesia in 1529 for a tour 
through Germany, and as it afterward proved, never to return 
to his native land. This event then gave rise to a statement cir- 
culated by his enemies at that time, and has since been repeated 
by some German w^riters, that he had been expelled by the 
Duke at the solicitation of the King, but which was refuted 
by the fact of his continued friendly correspondence wath the 
Duke until the latter's death. From that time on he moved 
about from city to city defending his doctrines in public dis- 
cussions with learned men and before the magistrates at Augo- 
burg, Nurnburg, Strasburg and Ulm and other cities. His life 
was one of unremitting labor. Besides preaching, he main- 
tained correspondence wdth learned men and those high in rank 
throughout Germany and Switzerland. 

After thirty-six years of severe toil with voice and pen, he 
died in the city of Ulm, December 10, 1562, leaving a name 
unspotted by any charge except that of heresy and that only 
in respect to doctrine. His opponents accorded him the praise 
of possessing great learning combined with modesty and piety. 
Although the purpose was never entertained by Schwenkfeld 
to establish an independent sect, he had, so far as successful 
teaching was concerned, prepared the way for it. Many clergy- 
men, noblemen and other influential and learned men throughout 
Silesia and Germany and other localities, especially at Liegnitz 
and Jauer, embraced his doctrine, but their prosperity was 
short lived. State reasons inclined the Prince to favor the larger 
following of the other Reformers : even Frederick H, whose 
friendship for Schwenkfeld had never abated, yielded to the 
dominant influences and dismissed the court preacher, but while 
he lived he exercised no severity to the people in his dominions, 

After his death they fared worse. They came into dire dis- 
favor with both Protestants and Catholics. They were called 
Schwenkfelders in derision — a name which they accepted — and 
they were stigmatized by almost every name supposed to convey 
reproach. Frederick HI, who succeeded to the principality 
at the death of Frederick H, determined to stamp them from 
his dominions and consequently issued a decree against them 
imposing among other things a fine of 500 florins upon any per- 

38 the; sciiwsnkfelders 

son who would harbor a Schweiikfelder, at the same time 
ordering all their books to be seized and burned. 

These stringent measures had an effect quite contrary to that 
intended. The number of Schwenkfelders increased rather than 
diminished. Persecution followed persecution until about the 
year 1580, when it seemed that every ingenuity that man could 
devise was employed to exterminate them ; no clergyman would 
solemnize their marriages. Leading men were expelled from 
the country, others were arrested and imprisoned in dungeons, 
where many died from starvation, cold and violence. Others 
contracted diseases from which they afterward died. Large 
numbers were sent to Vienna and there condemned without trial 
to serve in the wars with the Turks, or as oarsmen on the Medi- 
terranean Galleys — and thus passed the weary years until the 
outbreak of the Thirty Years War, when the Schwenkfelders 
accepted the horrors of that prolonged struggle as a grateful 
change from the cruelties of religious persecution. 

After the peace of Westphalia the old persecutions were 
increased with renewed vigor. Amid all these persecutions, 
without organization, robbed of their books, which had been 
burned, they maintained their faith for more than two centuries. 
Toward the close of the 17th century this period of intolerance 
relaxed; large numbers of the young entered the other Pro- 
testant denominations, and from that time the Schwenkfelders 
gradually decreased, until the year 1718 they numbered only 
a few hundred, where formerly they had been counted by 
thousands, and had disappeared entirely from many towns where 
they had been numerous. 

It was not difficult for the enemies of the Schwenkfelders 
to persuade Charles VI that the treaty of Westphalia in its in- 
terdiction of religious persecution did not protect the Schwenk- 
felders. An imperial edict to this end, that of compelling them 
to return to the state-religion, was issued. Consternation seized 
the people and persecution stalked throughout the land. Women 
were placed in stocks and compelled to lie in cold rooms in win- 
ter without so much as straw under them. Marriages were for- 
bidden, and when young people went into other countries to be 
married they were imprisoned on their return. The dead were 


not allowed Christian burial in the church-yards where their 
ancestors for many generations slept, but were required to be 
interred in cattle-ways, and sorrowing friends were forbidden 
to follow the remains even to these ignominious resting places. 
Hundreds of Schwenkfelders were so buried for a period of 20 
years, and to prevent escape from the horrible situation, the 
people were forbidden to sell their property or under any pretext 
to leave the country, and severe penalties were denounced 
against any one who should assist a Schwenkf elder to escape. 
They therefore resolved to escape at all hazards. 

The exodus commenced in the month of February, 1726. Dur- 
ing that and the following months upwards of 170 families es- 
caped by night from the different towns and villages of Silesia 
and fled on foot to Upper Lusatia then a portion of Saxon\. 
In consequence of the prohibition of the sale of their property 
and the police regulations to prevent their emigration, they were 
obliged to leave their property behind except such as they could 
carry with them. The less provident who had laid up little or 
no money found themselves in great destitution among strangers. 
They were, however, hospitably received and entertained by 
Count Zenzendorf, and soon after their arrival they received 
assistance from unknown friends in Holland. 

The assistance received from Holland led to a correspondence 
with their Dutch benefactors who strongly advised emigration 
to Pennsylvania. Some had already purchased homes in Lusatia, 
but subsequent events proved that the hand of persecution would 
soon follow them even to this temporary shelter. It was ascer- 
tained that application had been made for their enforced return 
to Silesia, and their presence would not be tolerated in Lusatia 
after the following spring. Soon after the announcement that 
protection would be withdrawn, two families emigrated to Phila- 
delphia, where they arrived September 18, 1733. Their report of 
the country and the advice of the friends in Holland determined 
about forty families to follow them. They then journeyed to 
Holland, arriving in Plaarlem on the 6th of June. Here they were 
received with open arms and hospitably entertained by their 
benefactors of former years. 

Just here it will be proper to mention a circumstance showing 

40 the; schwenkfeld^rs 

that "bread cast upon the waters will return after many days.'' 
This was shown by the disinterestedness of a mercantile house 
in Haarlem composed of three brothers named Von Byuschause. 
Their attention to the strangers was not limited to seeing that 
their actual wants were supplied ; they endeavored by personal 
attention to make the stay of the party enjoyable. The little ones 
especially came in for a full share of their kindly offices. Part 
of the contributions which had been sent for the rehef of the 
destitute remained unexpended and those having it in charge 
offered to return it to the donors. The Messrs. Von Byuschause 
would not listen to the offer but directed the fund to be expended 
for the benefit of the poor people when they should arrive in 
Pennsylvania, and not content with all they had done, they insisted 
upon providing at their own expense, a vessel for the transporta- 
tion of the whole company to Philadelphia and defraying the 
entire expense of the voyage. The descendants and successors of 
the Messrs. Von Byuschause met with reverses in the year 1790. 
Information of this fact coming to the Schwenkfelders in Penn- 
sylvania, they in grateful remembrance of the kindness shown 
them in childhood more than half a century before, raised a large 
sum of money and sent it to the relief of the distressed house. 

The emigrants remained at Haarlem, enjoying the munificent 
hospitality of the Messrs. Von Byuschause until the 19th of 
June, then proceeded to Rotterdam, where they embarked on an 
English ship, the St. Andrew, which had been chartered for 
them by their large-hearted friends ; and touching at Plymouth, 
England, they arrived in Philadelphia on September 22, 1734. 
On the next day all male persons over 16 years of age proceeded 
to the State-house, and there pledged allegiance to George 
n. King of Great Britain, and his successors, and of fidelity to 
the proprietor of the Province. They spent the 24th in thanks- 
giving, for deliverance from the hands of their persecutors. 
This day was set apart to be observed by them and their descend- 
ants through all time and is observed to this day. This 
little band who had passed through so many trials together, 
were now to separate. Some settled in the present limits of the 
city of Philadelphia, in the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, others 
in the present counties of Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh. It 

the; schwenkfeIvDERs 41 

is needless to dwell on the privations and hardships of the first 
few years. They were such as fell to the lot of all the early 
settlers of Pennsylvania. This, however, was as naught to 
the persecutions through which they came. 

It was natural to expect that the remaining Schwenkfelders 
would speedily follow their emigrant brethren, but such was 
not the case. A change of tactics on the part of the authorities 
in Silesia gave a comparative rest for a few years. The hour 
of final deliverance had come. In a short time Charles II paid 
the debt of nature and Frederick the Great proclaimed religious 
freedom in the long misgoverned principalities. He was not 
content to merely stop religious persecutions, but endeavored 
to redress the damage even at the expense of the royal treasury. 
For that purpose he issued an edict in 1742 which reflects the 
highest honor upon himself, and when the insignificance of 
their numbers is considered, pays a flattering tribute to the 
worth of the exiled Schwenkfelders. In this edict everything 
of which they had been deprived, including land, was returned, 
and full protection in every form was granted them, but much 
as they loved their fatherland, none of the Schwenkfelders in 
Pennsylvania availed themselves of the royal invitation to return. 
They had become attached to the government in which they 
enjoyed absolute freedom and a measure of prosperity that 
promised better things in the future than the restoration of their 
estates in Silesia. By untiring industry, they shared in the 
prosperity and wealth of their newly chosen home, and have 
not been deficient in giving to their adopted country men of 
intellect and social standing, who have become famous in 
church and state. 

Their houses of worship are plain and primitive, without dis- 
play of architectural beauty or costly finishings — no gilded dome 
or tapering spire — no chime of bells to summon the faithful to 
worship. But with simplicity and humility they worship the 
God of their fathers as in days of yore. To attend one of their 
services is certainly impressive on account of its rural simplicity. 
The male and female portion of the assemblage occupy separate 
parts of the house. Their music is of the kind that would indi- 
cate the singing of a requiem, being mostly in a minor key, and 
a feeling of sadness pervades the place. 

42 the; schwenkfelders 

The Schwenkfelders are given mostly to agricultural pur- 
suits, and son follows father in the same line, generation after 
generation. They are thrifty and economical and as a conse- 
quence it is a rarity to find a poor Schwenkfelder. Their 
farms are models of what can be accomplished and they take 
great pride in their barns and stock. They are peaceable and 
law-abiding and shun strife and legal broils. They take care 
of their poor and none who remain in their fold is ever thrown 
upon public charity. No poor man or beggar ever approaches 
in vain for food or shelter at their door, nor is he turned away 
in distress. 

It may very properly be asked why they do not increase in 
numbers as other denominations do, and can be answered by 
saying that they never ask any persons outside of those born 
in their faith to become part of them, while many of their 
young have been received into other denominations. 

Many of them have ably filled positions of trust and responsi- 
bility. Some have been elected to represent their districts in 
the halls of Congress, some in the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives at Harrisburg, others have risen to prominence at the 
bar of justice, including the Supreme bench ; many have be- 
come scholars of note, having attained proficiency in the arts 
and sciences. Some have risen to eminence in the science of 
medicine, and one to the highest gifts within the power of tlie 
people to bestow, namely that of Governor of the State of 
Pennsylvania, was conferred upon the late John F. Hartranf*:, 
a brave and tried soldier, who fought his way from com- 
parative obscurity to that of a general. 

Some years ago the Schwenkfelders sent one of their repre- 
sentative men to Silesia to ascertain what had become of the 
property and estates which they left behind in their flight. He 
returned and reported that there was no hope of its recovery, 
owing to the proclamation which had been made by Frederick 
for their return, and which had not been accepted by them. 

Sdme Historic Facts. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 19, 1S92). 

Bucks county is rich in historic incidents. Wliether we 
consider its settlement and the men who composed tlie band of 
pioneers who had the courage to penetrate the wilderness, or 
note the events that have transpired from that time to the present, 
we find much of deep interest. We must not lose sight of the 
actual condition of things when Penn and his bold immigrants 
landed on the bank of the Delaware. If we except an oc- 
casional clearing, what is now a charming and cultivated land- 
scape, was an unbroken forest. The rivers swarmed with fish, 
the woods were filled with game, and -there was much wild 
fruit. The country was without roads, and those who traveled 
followed bridle paths or propelled themselves in canoes on the 

One of the earliest subjects to engage the attention of the 
first settlers of our county was the marking of their cattle. As 
they were turned loose in the forest, some distinctive mark to 
recognize them was provided by law. In Bucks the registry of 
ear marks was begun in 1684, but no doubt cattle were marked 
earlier. The first name entered in the book kept for that pur- 
pose is that of Phineas Pemberton, and the entry reads : "The 
marks of my cattle, P. P., the 10, 6th-mo., 1684," and the book 
is part of the records of our court. Nearly all the entries 
were made in that year, and the book contains the names of 
105 owners of cattle in Bucks county. The usual method of 
marking was by cropping one or both ears ; each owner's cattle 
must be marked differently, and any alteration of the marks was 
a punishable offense. Among the owners of cattle in 1684 we 
find the names of many prominent families of to-day. 

In viewing the early history of our county we are impressed 
with the fact that it was a Quaker settlement, and Pennsyl- 
vania a Quaker Commonwealth. Outside pressure had intensi- 
fied the settlers' religious convictions, which were carried into 


state and family. Their social and domestic government was 
practically turned over to the Meeting, and a discipline was 
enforced that would not be tolerated now. It prescribed rules 
for dress, and marked out the line of behavior. As early as 
1682, male and female, old and young, are advised against 
"wearing superfluity of apparel." In 1719 they advanced a 
step farther, and advised that all who accustomed themselves 
to suffer their children to use "the corrupt and unscriptural 
language of you to a single person" should be "dealt with." In 
1711 Friends were exhorted not to attend the funerals of those 
not in communion with them ; nor to go into any of their "wor- 
ship-houses," or hear their sermons. They were strict about 
marriages, and the man and woman were not allowed to dwell 
in the same house, from the time they "begin to be concerned 
in proposals of marriage," until its consummation. Notwith- 
standing this strictness, the Meeting countenanced the supply- 
ing of liquor at funerals and marriages. 

I have mentioned Phineas Pemberton as the first to have 
the ear marks of his cattle registered. He was the first clerk 
of the Bucks county courts, serving until his death, in 1702. 
There is no doubt the Pembertons lived on the fat of the land. 
His daughter Abigail writes him, in 1697, that she had saved 
twelve barrels of cider for the family. In one of his letters 
he speaks of "goose wrapped up in the cloth, at the head of a 
little bag of walnuts," which he recommends them to "keep a 
little after it comes, but roast it, get a few grapes, and make 
a pudding in the belly." One of the members of the Pemberton 
household was a young girl named Mary Becket, a descendant 
of the great Northumberland house of Percy. When her mother 
married Becket she was a ward in Chancery, and they were 
compelled to flee to the continent, where he was killed in the 
religious wars in Germany. Mary was the only child. Her 
mother subsequently married one Haydock, had two children 
who became Friends and came to America. Mary Becket was 
married to Samuel Bowne, of Flushing, Long Island, October 
4, 1694. His letter to Mary, dated 6-mo., 1691, is a model of 
its kind. A copy fell into my hands some years ago ; it contains 
some pointers that might be of service to the young ladies present 


in this kind of epistolary correspondence. It opens by saying, 
"My very dear and constant love salutes thee," and insists in 
calling her his "dear hart." The future history of Mary Becket 
I have not been able to learn. 

Bucks county produced a number of eminent men in the past, 
but in this brief paper I have time and space to mention but a 
few. Our county furnished the United States one Commanding- 
General of her army, and he was a member of the Brown family 
— Jacob Brown, a descendant of George Brown, who came from 
England in 1679, and settled on the Delaware near Biles' creek, 
in Falls township. Our hero, the son of Samuel Brown, was 
born on the Delaware three and a half miles below Morrisville, 
May 9, 1775. The family removed to western New York at 
the close of the century, where he was living when the war with 
England broke out in 181 2. He went to Washington but a plain 
citizen, and presented himself to General Armstrong, Secre- 
tary of War. He introduced himself to this functionary by 
saying that his name was Jacob Brown ; that he was a full- 
blood Bucks county Quaker, but had an inclination to enter 
the military service, which he would do if the Secretary would 
give him the command of a brigade ; that he knew nothing of 
military, but believed he possessed every other requisite for a 
soldier and an officer. The Secretary, without hesitation, 
offered him the command of a regiment, which he declined, 
saying : "I will be as good as my word ; give me a brigade and 
you shall not be disgraced, but I will accept nothing less." He 
returned home and received the commission of Brigadier Gen- 
eral in the militia; served with great distinction in the war 
and rose to be Commanding General of the Army of the 
United States, dying at Washington, February 24, 1828, where 
he was buried. The following verse was cut on his tomb- 
stone : 

" Let him who e'er in after days 

Shall view this monument of praise, 

For honor heave the patriot sigh 

And for his country learn to die. " 

Falls township, Quaker though it be, produced another officer 
of renown. I refer to Charles Ellet, Jr., who rendered dis- 

46 some: historic p^acts 

tinguished service in the late Civil War. He was born in 1810, 
adopted the profession of an engineer and at the age of 19 went 
to France with a letter to General Lafayette. Finishing his 
education in Paris, he traveled over Europe on foot studying 
bridges, canals, &c. Among his other great works were the 
wire suspension bridges at Fairmount, Philadelphia, Niagara 
Falls and Wheeling, Va. He married a daughter of Judge 
Daniels, of Virginia. He was the first to recommend the use 
of steam rams on the western waters during the Civil War, 
and proved their efficiency by destroying the enemy's fleet May 
12, 1862, at the cost of his life. He was buried from Independ- 
ence Hall with civic and military honors. At his death his 
brother, Alfred M., took command, and, when he was given the 
marine brigade his nephev\^ Charles Rivers Ellet, succeeded 
to the ram fleet. The latter died suddenly in 1863. Three 
other members of the family served with the ram fleet and be- 
haved with conspicuous gallantry, Lieutenant-Colonel John A. 
and Lieutenants Richard and Edward C. Ellet. These men, 
little known to the present generation at home, were an honor 
to the country and an honor to the county. 

Bucks county can claim the distinguished General Zebulon 
M. Pike, who fell at York, Canada, in 1813, as a resident if not 
a native. There is some question as to which side of the Dela- 
ware he was born on, but we know he spent several years of his 
life in Solebury and went to school there. The Pikes were early 
settlers in that township. It is claimed that he was born at 
Lamberton, now the lower part of Trenton, January 5, I779' 
and that his father afterwards removed to Lumberton where the 
family lived. This was his home in 1786. While living there 
the father subscribed the oath of allegiance to the Colonies. He 
was a soldier in the Revolution ; served in St. Clair's expedition 
in 1791 ; was a Lieut. Colonel in the regular army in 1812, and 
died in 1834 at the age of S^. The son, General Pike, entered 
the army as lieutenant, March 3. 1799, and his services are too 
well known to lie repeated. Among them were valuable ex- 
plorations to the head-waters of the Arkansas and Red rivers, 
in 1806. This led to his capture and imprisonment at Santa Fe, 
New Mexico. The buildinc: he was confined in was a small 


adobe structure annexed to the government palace. It was still 
standing when I went there in 1853 ; and the roof fell in, the 
day David Meriwether, the newly appointed Governor, arrived 
to take charge of the office the same year. The Mexicans con- 
sidered this a favorable omen. A distinguishing feature of 
General Pike was a fine head of bright red hair; and as he 
was the first man with reel hair ever seen in New Mexico, he 
was viewed as something of a curiosity. 

Nicholas Biddle, the great financier, was long a resident of 
Bensalem township, this county. The Biddies were settled in 
Pennsylvania almost at the birth of the colony, the first ancestor, 
William Biddle, one of the original proprietors of New Jersey, 
coming from London in 1681. Many of them became distin- 
guished men, several serving in the Navy and Army. Edward 
was a captain in the Avar of 1756 and member of the Conti- 
nental Congress ; Nicholas was a captain in the Navy and 
perished with his vessel, the frigate Randolph of 32 guns, while 
fighting the British ship Yarmouth of 64 guns ; Charles Biddle, 
the father of our Nicholas, was vice-president of Pennsylvania 
while Benjamin Franklin was president. The Bensalem prop- 
erty, the home of Nicholas Biddle. was purchased in 1795 by 
John Craig, one of Philadelphia's old merchants, who, in mem- 
ory of his successful mercantile ventures in Spain and her col- 
onies, called his country home "Andalusia." In 1811 Nicholas 
Biddle married Craig's eldest daughter, and spent much of his 
time there, removing thither permanently in 1821, and devoting 
much of his time to agricultural pursuits. He was made presi- 
dent of the United States Bank in 1823, which place he held 
until the charter expired in 1830: and, on the rechartering of the 
bank by the Legislature of Pennsylvania, he was again elected 
president, but retired in 1839. The bank failed in 1841, and 
his own fortune then very large, went in the general wreck. 
Mr. Biddle was an accomplished scholar and a man of refined 
tastes, spending much of his leisure in literary pursuits. He 
was a poet of no mean merit. His "Ode to Bogle," the great 
Philadelphia waiter and undertaker, whom he denominated "the 
colorless colored man," lives to this day and has been republished 
again and again. He was the first to introduce Aldernev cattle 


into this country and the cultivation of the grape, while to his 
efforts the country is indebted for one of the most beautiful 
structures of modern times, Girard College. It was a saying 
of his that there were but two truths in the world, "the Bible 
and Greek architecture," and his influence was exerted in favor 
of that order for public buildings. Nicholas Biddle died at 
Andalusia, February 26, 1844. 

In 1703 William Penn sent his son William, a wild youth, 
to Pennsylvania, hoping the associates of his father would have 
a good influence over him. He came commended to the care 
of James Logan with this injunction to the latter: "Take 
him immediately away to Pennsbury, and there give him the 
true state of things, and weigh down his levities, as well as tem- 
per his resentments and form his understanding, since all de- 
pends upon it, as well as his future happiness, as in a measure 
the poor country. Watch him, outwit him, and honestly overreach 
him for his own good. Fishing, little journeys, (as to see the 
Indians) &c., will divert him; no rambling to New York, nor 
mongrel correspondence." Logan carried out these instructions, 
and young Penn was soon under the peaceful roof at Pennsbury. 
He brought out two or three couples of choice hounds, for deer, 
foxes and wolves, and his father wrote to have John Sotcher, 
who had charge of Pennsbury, quarter them about, "as with 
young Biles et al." Young Penn received the congratulations 
of his father's friends; and when the Indians heard that the son 
of the Proprietary had arrived, they sent a deputation of one 
hundred warriors with nine kings to Pennsbury, to tender their 
welcome. Young Penn made a favorable impression, and Sam- 
uel Preston wrote Jonathan Dickinson : • "Our young landlord 
in my judgment, discovers himself his father's eldest son; 
his person, his sweetness of temper and elegance of speech are 
no small demonstrations of it." Neither the devotion of Logan, 
the interest of his father's friends in his welfare, nor the pure 
atmosphere of Pennsbury, had the desired effect ; he spent most 
of his time in Philadelphia, where he played some wild capers. 
He fell again into evil habits, and, returning to England in the 
fall of 1704, died in disgrace in France a few years later. 
The waywardness of this favorite son almost broke the father's 

some; historic facts 49 

Among the distinguished persons who visited Pennsbury after 
Penn left it was Lord Cornbury, the Governor of New York, 
in June, 1702. He was a cousin of Queen Anne, and came to 
BurHngton to proclaim her ascension to the throne. Governor 
Hamilton and party met him at Crosswicks, N. J., and invited 
him to visit Pennsylvania. James Logan, who was up at Penns- 
bury, hastened down to Philadelphia to provide for his entertain- 
ment, and a dinner "equal to anything in America," we are told, 
was prepared for him and his retinue. On his return from 
Burlington to ihe Falls on the 24th, he paid a visit to Pennsbury, 
Logan had sent up wine and, as he expressed it, "what could 
be got," and was there to receive his guest. Lord Cornbury 
was attended up the river by four boats besides his own, includ- 
ing the Governor's barge, and arrived about ten in the morn- 
ing with a suite of 50 persons. James Logan, in a letter to 
Penn, says of this dinner: "With Mary's great diligence, and 
all our care, we got really a handsome country entertainment, 
which, though much inferior to those of Philadelphia for cost, 
etc., yet, for decency and good order, gave no less satisfaction." 
The "Mary" here referred to was Mary Sotcher, the house- 
keeper, and wife of John Sotcher, who had charge cf Pennsbury 
for many years. In September, 1704, Lord Cornbury again 
visited Pennsbury, accompanied by his wife, when they were 
entertained by William Penn, Jr. At that period the Manor 
was noted for its apple-orchard, and the quality of its "pear- 
mains and golden pippins." 

The Ellicott family was one of the most prominent of our 
county, Andrew, the first ancestor in America, coming from 
Devonshire, Enlgand, and settling in Solebury in 1730. He 
followed farming and milling. About 1770 his three sons, 
Joseph, Andrew and John, purchased a tract of land at what 
is now Ellicott's Mills, in Maryland, and removed thither. There 
in the wilderness they built mills, erected dwellings, stores and 
schoolhouses, opened roads and quarries and established the seat 
of an extensive and profitable business. They were all men of 
sterling merit and became rich and conspicuous. They introduced 
the use of plaster of Paris into Maryland and were the first to 
advocate -a supply of good v/ater for Baltimore. Joseph, the 


eldest son, was a genius in mechanics, to which he was devoted 
from boyhood. About 1760 he made a repeating watch without 
instructions, which he took to England, where it was much ad- 
mired and gained him great attention. y\fter his return he 
made a four-faced musical clock, tiie wonder of the time, which 
played 24 tunes and combined many other and delicate move- 
ments. He died in 1780 at the age of 48. His son Andrew, 
born in Solebury, in 1754, became a distinguished engineer. 
He was Surveyor-General of the United States in 1792; adjusted 
the boundary between this country and Spain, in 1796; laid out 
the towns of Erie, Warren and Franklin in this State, and was 
the first to make an accurate measurement of the falls of Niagara. 
He was the consulting engineer in laying out the city of Wash- 
tngton and completed the work. In 1812 he was appointed 
professor of mathematics at West Point and died there in 1820. 
George EHicott, the son of Andrew, was one of the greatest 
mathematicians of his time, and died in 1832. The Ellicotts 
owned the mill at Carversville, and what was known as Pettitt's 
mill in Buckingham. They were Quakers. 

I can recall no one at present whose career presents a more 
interesting history than the late Dr. Arthur D. Cernea, of Buck- 
ingham. Many of us knew him as a quiet Friend and practi- 
tioner of medicine, never dreaming that in his life thereby hangs 
a tale. He was Ijorn in Philadelphia, of French parentage, 
about 1806. Plis father, an officer of the French army, came to 
this country near the close of the last century with his wife, 
from the West Indies. She was likewise French, her family 
having lost their estates in the troubles in those islands. Con- 
templating a short visit to France, their eldest son, Arthur, a 
lad of nine years, was placed at the Moravian school, Nazareth. 
The parents were never heard of after they embarked, and their 
fate is left to conjecture. It was learned in after years from 
the records of a lodge of French Masons, in possession of the 
Pennsylvania Historical Society, that his father and mother 
came to Philadelphia about 1793, also learned his mother's maiden 
name, and the time of their departure for France. The over-ab- 
sence of the parents was kept from young Cernea as long as pos- 
sible, but when he discovered it, he resolved to quit school and 

some; historic facts 51 

not be a charge upon others. He left Nazareth, unknown to the 
teachers, with a small sum of money in his pocket realized 
from the sale of a box of paints, and started on foot for Phila- 
delphia, stopping over night at the Jenkintown inn. Here he 
met Eleazer Shaw, of Plumstead, on his way to market, with 
whom he rode to the city and to whom he related his story. 
After a fruitless search for his parents, Mr. Shaw persuaded 
the young lad to go home with him, which he did. At this 
time he was about 13. He lived with Mr. Shaw several years, 
devoting his leisure to self -improvement. By the time he was 
18 he was qualified to instruct others, and began to teach at the 
old eight-square school-house in Plumstead, and afterward taught 
at several other places, including Ouakertown. While here he 
began to read medicine with Dr. Hampton Watson, and grad- 
uated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1831. He re- 
moved to Buckingham and associated himself in the practice of 
medicine with the late Dr. Wilson, and, at the death of that 
eminent physician, he continued practice alone, removing to 
Centreville. a more convenient point. Here he died a few years 
ago. Dr. Cernea was a quiet, scholarly man, devoting his leisure 
to literature and the sciences, giving much attention to botany. 
If we were to inquire into the lives of other men who go in and 
out among us daily, no doubt we should find many of them 
equally chequered and interesting. 

Prehistoric Man in Northern Bucks County. 


(Pipersville Meeting, July 19. 1892). 

Man in the Delaware V^alley must be studied from a geological 
standpoint. Not only is this true of our section of the country, 
but of the Pacific coast and intervening country as well. To de- 
termine at what precise point in geological time man appeared 
upon the earth, is obviously impractical with our present knowl- 
edge. We can, however, trace prehistoric man as far back as the 
Glacial epoch and possibly in the Pliocene. Man in the Ter- 
tiaries from being hypothetical has at length become a tangible 

That there was a prehistoric age of man is easily recognizable 
by every sense which makes us intelligent human beings. If this 
principle of knowledge were insufficient to convince, we need but 
to refer to the Hebraic accounts for conclusive arguments in 
favor of this our most reasonable doctrine. Their record refers 
to cities and countries which were populous and possessed of ap- 
pliances and arts and sciences that were old when the Hebrew 
nation comprised only a few families. Northern Africa was at 
that time the seat of a civilization which the Jews never equalled. 
Ethiopia, already overpopulated, swept thence a tide of civilization 
towards the ever-receding western world. Even before the old- 
est Hebrew records, Ethiopia had its vast pyramids, colossal 
monuments and grand moral memorials which are now but debris 
of an ancient civilization. 

It seems, too, in that period, which is so far away from us that 
their incidents are almost imperceptible in the dimness of their 
own antiquity, that the populous hordes of Africa, as well as the 
people of Asia, were impelled by the same mysterious principle 
of impulse and unrest to move ever onward toward the setting 
sun. Hence we find that the tendency has forever been "West- 

* In October, i8gi, Mr. lyaubach gave to the Museum of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania his archaeological collection, consisting of about 1,500 specimens, including ham- 
mer-stones, chipped flints, axes, and a number of miscellaneous objects. 


This singular record of the weird past has its Drototypes even 
now in this materiahstic age of strange surprises and wonder- 
ful discoveries. There is the same restlessness of races, and the 
spirit of unrest agitating us now that actuated the Phoenicians 
to discovery and conquest in the unrecorded history of those past 
ages. This same mobility is the peculiarity of the present-day 
pioneers, whose few wants, hermit habits, and primitive disposi- 
tion tend to carry them to the borders of unexplored countries 
towards which the ax and plow and printing-press are impelling 
hordes of the hungry, eager and adventurous spirits of the age. 
There they indulge in the rude and semi-barbarous pleasures in- 
cident to nomadic life. 

There will probably always be overcautious folk, who will ac- 
cept no other testimony than his or her own eyes — often the most 
treacherous of guides — and who turn their backs when we speak 
of prehistoric man, chipper of jasper, argillite and flinty rock, 
and who with no other weapon than bow and arrow held at bay 
the savage and ferocious beasts of primeval time. Such a man 
stands out in the geological history of the Delaware Valley, not 
as a dim shadow, but as a substantial fact. 

In the valley of the Delaware river palaeolithic mxan has left 
abundant traces of his former presence. Dr. C. C. Abbott, of 
Trenton, N. J., one of the most competent archaeologists of this 
country, says while speaking about prehistoric implements : 

" As the first to point out what is now maintained b}' competent archae- 
ologists to be their real significance, I may be pardoned for devoting the 
conclusion of my address to a consideration of the Delaware Valley. So far 
as its physical character and the traces of prehistoric man found there, have 
a bearing on the question of the antiquity of man in America. But do not 
suppose that others have not gone over the same ground. Slialer, Belt, 
Whitney, Wright, Pumpelly, McGee, Lewis, as well as our State geologists, 
are practically one in their view that the gravel deposits along this river are 
so far ancient as to be very significant as to whatever traces of man or other 
mammals they may contain; while Dawkins, Tylor, Putnam, Morse, Haynes, 
Wilson, DeCosta, and others have all been more or less successful in finding 
traces of palaeolithic man in this river valley, and admit witliont qualifica- 
tion his former presence. " 

I would prefer to give the opinions of others, rather than my 
own, but as prehistoric man and his implements have claimed 
my attention for many years, I may be pardoned for bringing 
before this society some facts in the distribution of prehistoric 

54 pre;historic man in northern bucks county 

implements and their importance in the study of the question now 
before us. The conditions under which prehistoric implements 
occur in the valley of the Delaware are characteristic, and are as- 
sociated with a deposit, which, although geologically recent, is of 
great antiquity. A wide gap, that the most earnest opponent of 
prehistoric man cannot close, exists between these and the Indian 
relics proper. The confusion concerning the evidences of man's 
antiquity in the valley of the Delaware is due to the fact that the 
average collector has laid too much stress upon the character of 
the implements found, and too little upon the circumstances under 
which they were found. The evidence of man's antiquity is the 
same the world over, and only when we find the geological and 
archaeological condition in accord, i. c, prehistoric implements 
in undisturbed deposits of great age, can we assert that such evi- 
dence has been found. 

The discoveries in this region give tangible results of man's 
great antiquity in the valley of the Delaware. Several sites, 
circles of stones, hearths, small boulders, burnt and cracked by 
fire, fire-discolored earth, etc., have been found in this vicinity, 
deep under gravel-deposits of post-glacial times. These deposits, 
lying immediately south of the terminal moraine, give us approxi- 
m.ately, their own age and connection with the last Glacial epoch. 
To say that man was here before the close of the Glacial epoch 
fixes a minimum point only, as to his antiquity. How long he 
was here previous to that time must be determined by other 
considerations. The Glacial period was a long time in closing. 
The deposits at Trenton and along the Delaware northward took 
place while the ice sheet still lingered in the upper water shed 
of the Delaware. The Glacial period followed the Tertiary period. 
Vast geological and climatic changes occurred during the Tertiary 
period, especially towards the advent of the Glacial epoch. Both 
geological and astronomical causes may have been at work in pro- 
ducing this singular period in the earth's history. The best es- 
tablished view seems to be that Glacial periods are periodical 
phenomena, depending upon the eccentricity of the earth's orbit 
By this we can approximately fix the time of the age or period. 
It may have ended about 60,000 years ago. In about 150,000 
years to come the orbit of the earth will again be so eccentric 
that a glacial period may supervene. The time estimate becomes 


of great importance in elucidating the question, how long ago did 
man first make his appearance on the earth ? Assuming then that 
geologists are correct in their data, we have from thirty to sixty 
thousand years of time for these deposits to be made, and at no 
time was the continent uninhabitable, however deeply submerged 
the lower lying areas. There was land enough for mammalian 
life, and it flourished at the very foot of the advancing or receding 
ice sheet. It should be noted that all of tlie remains of pre- 
historic man thus far reported from these deposits in this region 
have come from or immediately beneath the later ice action. It 
is significant that nearly all the palaeolithic implements found by 
Dr. Abbott in the Trenton gravels are of similar age and con- 

In my frequent excursions throughout the valley of the Dela- 
ware I found many promising fields, and obtained many valuable 
specimens of the handiwork of the later Indians. Among these 
polished and finished specimens were occasionally noticed some of 
rude shape, showing a wide gap in the method of manufacture, and 
from their respective positions it became conclusive that they be- 
longed to tw^o different races of men occupying the country at 
dift'erent times. 

In the fall of 1886 while overseeing a large excavation being 
made in opening a limestone quarry north of Durham creek, and 
at a depth of about twenty feet from the surface (the surface 
soil being glacial drift) against a limestone ledge, the workmen 
came upon an undoubted ancient hearth or cooking place. Numer- 
ous fire-burnt and broken stones were found, with several rude 
but rather dubious looking implements of stone. The hearth or 
fireplace and burnt stones were undoubtedly placed in the cir- 
cular position by ancient man before this deposition of over 
twenty feet of glacial gravel. 

Several years ago while a gang of men were making excava- 
tions on the New Jersey side of the Delaware, they exhumed 
from the glacial gravels quite a number of artificial objects manu- 
factured by ancient man. These implements were exhumed at a 
depth of at least forty feet from the surface, and in a geographic 
position denoting great age. Along Fry's run, in Williams 
township, Northampton county, Pa., Theophilus Sleckel, while 
quarrying sand in a deposit of the same age, exhumed at a depth 


of twelve feet several hearths or fireplaces of circular shape, 
besides a large number of stone implements of undoubted arti- 
ficial manufacture. In 1862 after a heavy freshet wliereby about 
twenty acres of river drift were washed away along the Dela- 
ware river at Riegelsville, Bucks county, we picked out of the 
embankment remaining, at a depth of forty feet from the sur- 
face, some sixty arrow heads manufactured of argillite. It may 
be claimed that this river drift deposit is comparatively recent, 
yet viewing it from an archaeological standpoint, it is extremely 
old, dating back at least to the thawing of the great ice sheet. 

Atout four hundred yards north of where a little creek some- 
times called the ''Brandywine" empties into Durham creek, under 
an overhanging limestone ledge, were found about thirty or more 
implements of rude manufacture resembling the net sinkers of 
the late Indians. These implements of stone must have been 
placed there before the extensive floods created by the melting 
of the great ice sheet, as the limestone in the vicinity is covered 
by an alluvial deposit of drift and soil averaging from seven to 
fifteen feet in depth. 

After the 1862 freshet in the Delaware, Lewis Bloom, on the 
New Jersey side of the Delaware, opposite Durham, discovered 
in a washout at a depth of fifteen feet from the surface in the 
underlying clay a cacJw of argillite and quartz arrow-points con- 
taining at least half a bushel. These primitive implements were 
probably deposited or buried in the clay or soil by ancient man. 

Having, endeavored to make clear what I mean by prehistoric 
man, and shown also that he was a fact and not a myth, the 
question arises, what was his fate? Did he like the mammoth 
and the mastodon become extinct ? 

Whatever conclusions may ultimately be arrived at in regard 
to the relationship between the Red Man found in this section 
at the time of its discovery by the Europeans and prehistoric 
man, it is quite apparent that a long lapse of time occurred be- 
tween their respective occupation. 

No line of connection between Glacial man and the modern 
Red Man has as yet been determined, and in all probability never 
will be. It is doubtful whether sufficient positive evidence to satis- 
fy the minds of mankind at large, of the presence of an earlier 
people than the Indian along the valley of the Delaware, will ever 


be forthcoming; yet, to the minds of candid observers, there is 
such a degree of positive evidence in the interpretation of known 
facts that brings it within the bounds of certainty. That pre- 
historic man attained to an advanced degree of culture in the 
land is also certain, as may be demonstrated by visiting the 
museum of American Archaeology and Palaeontology of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 

However others may be impressed by what I have now im- 
perfectly presented, for myself I see while strolling along the 
pleasant shores of the beautiful Delaware river the remnants 
(implements) of a once grand and noble race, who, while living, 
inscribed their history, meagre though it be, upon enduring tab- 
lets of stone. These ancients, having fulfilled their mission, 
pass. The Indian with his polished stone looms up and, like his 
predecessor, fades away. Soon, the present race having attained 
its zenith, will, like its predecessors, follow, and another grander, 
nobler, brainier civilization will step upon the platform and gaze 
with wonder and admiration upon the relics of the past. 

In recapitulating the various geological formations occurring 
where these prehistoric implements were found, we have recent 
illuvium, river-drift, brick-clay and post-glacial deposits. Hiis, 
in brief, is the tale told by our clay and gravel deposits in north- 
ern Bucks and adjacent parts of New Jersey. How interesting 
do they become where they aid us in deciphering the early history 
of man. 

The Grave of Tamanend. 

BY he;nry c. me;rcer, doyi.e;stown, pa. 

(Pipersville Meeting, July 19, 1S92). 

Walk down Neshaminy creek on the right bank at "Prospect 
Hill," in New Britain township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, 
and as you come out of the hemlock grove that overhangs 
the water, ascend the first rivulet that crosses your path to empty 
into the stream. A walk of 300 or 400 yards brings you to the 
rills source, a small spring half hidden by grass, in a hollow of 
the open hillside meadow. 

About 50 feet downward from the spring close to the rill, you 
find by pulling away some briars an old stump much decayed, 
where 40 years ago, stood a large tulip-poplar, and just 47 feet 
below it, some large suckers mark the former site of a chestnut 
tree. Between the two stumps stands a young cherry tree and 
there a little nearer the rivulet at the foot of the bank, 11 feet 
from the poplar and 36 feet from the chestnut, according to Aden 
H. Brinker, is the site of an Indian grave. 

The spot is on the farm now (1892) owned by Enos Det- 
weiler, in New Britain township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania,* 
about a mile up Neshaminy creek from Godshalk's mill-dam, and 
there is no doubt that in the middle of the last century an In- 
dian chief was buried there by white men. 

The local tradition of the death and burial has been often 
referred to by antiquarians, notably in Watson's Annals, II, 172 
— in a quoted letter written from Bucks county by one E. M., in 
about 1842, to the editor; in Sherman Day's historical collections, 
(p. 163) ; in Harper's Magazine, (Vol. 44, p. 639) ; by W. J. 
Buck in the Doylestown Democrat of May 6, 1856, and by John 
Rogers within a few years in the Doylestown IntelUgcucrv. 

It was noted down by me in June of last year (1891) from 

* I traced back the ownership of the property in the Doylestown lanrl records to 
abont 1770. From that time (deed book 19, p. 76) it had come down through David Cald- 
well, William Forbes, William Dean, David Waueroner, Abram Mover, John Mover. 
Captain J. Robharts in 1S22 (deed book 49. p. 139) to John Q. Adams Drinker and the pres- 
ent owner. I cannot learn that it was ever owned by the Shewells. 

the: grave of tamanend 59 

the lips of Thomas Shewell, of Bristol, the oldest living male 
descendant — great-grandson of the Walter Shewell, (b. 1702, d. 
1779) who superintended the burial about 150 years ago. 

A very aged Indian, too infirm to walk, (so the story ran, as 
Mr. Shewell knew it direct from his ancestors), while being car- 
ried by younger followers to a conference with the Proprietaries 
(probably at Philadelphia) halted near the above mentioned 
spring;^ there tired of their burden^ the young Indians built a 
hut for the old man and leaving him in charge of an Indian girl,- 
suddenly, after night Came on, abandoned him and went on to 
the conference. 

So enraged and distressed was the aged chief, on waking, to. 
find himself deserted, that he tried to commit suicide by stab- 
bmg himself, and when his weak, trembling hand could not 
thrust the knife with eflrect, he at last set fire to his bed of 
leaves and threw himself upon it." The other Indians, who had 
been refused a hearing by the Proprietaries in his absence, and 
were sent back to fetch him, on arriving at the hut, found him 
dead with a hole burned in his side. 

The aiTair was noised abroad and Walter Shewell, of Painswick 
Hall,* the most prominent man in the neighborhood and once 
sheriff of Bucks county, had the body buried near the hut in 
the presence of the Indians. 

All the common versions repeat the incident omitted by Mr. 
Shewell, that Walter Shewell's son Robert, then a little boy, 
wanted to go with his father to the funeral but was forbidden. 
The Misses Shewell, of Doylestown, are very certain of the detail 
as forming part of their family tradition, but their cousin, my 
informant, doubts it. 

Not long after, the body of a son or descendant of Tammany 

' The common version and that of Sherman Day, taken from some members of the 
Shewell family, about 1840, (Historical Collections, p. 163) says distinctly that the old 
chief fell ill on the road. 

- The current versions describe the girl as his daughter, who was sent to the spring 
for water when he committed suicide. 

3 All the other versions say that he first tried to burn himself, but was prevented, and 
afterwards stabbed himself while the girl was at the spring. 

•* Painswick Hall, named after an ancestral country seat of the Shewells in England. 
The old hou'ie recently sold by the Misses Shewell, of Doylestown, still stands on the left 
of the road leading from New Britain to Castle Valley, the first building on the left after 
crossing the road to Oodshalks mill. Early in the last century it belonged to an estate 
of 500 acres. The Shewells were in New Britain in 1729. 

6o the; gravk of tamanend 

or Tamanend (for so all the traditions distinctly name the buried 
chief) was brought by Indians to the spring and there buried 
near the other grave, where Thomas Shewell, my informant, re- 
membered seeing both grave-mounds with the stones and the two 
large trees in about the year i8i6.^ 

Still later two more dead Indians, supposed descendants of 
Tamanend, were brought by the tribe to the spot for burial, and 
finally, for some reason unknown, interred in the old New Britain 
(Baptist) churchyard where all traces of their unmarked graves 
have been lost.- 

On January 31, 1892, I visited the spring and site of "Tam- 
rnany's" grave in the company of the only two persons now liv- 
ing who probably could positively identify the spot, Aden H. 
Brinker, of New Britain, and Edward Brinker, (sons of John 
Quincy Adams Brinker) who had bought the present (1902) 
Detweiler farm including the grave sites, from Captain Robbarts 
and sold it to its present owner. 

Knowing the need of exactness in these facts, I took the great- 
est care in learning from the Brinker brothers that Captain 
Robbarts had been a particular friend of the Shewells and a 
continued guest at Painswick Hall, scarcely a mile away; that 
through Nathaniel Shewell, the then owner, (uncle of Mr. She- 
well, of Bristol,) and others of the family, he had been fully 
acquainted with the particulars of the tradition ; that after his 
sale of the property to the Brinkers he had boarded at the 
Brinker house until his death and had frequently shown the 
boys and their father the graves by the spring. 

Aden H. Brinker was about 14 years old when his father or- 
dered him to remove the grave-stones, (flat hewn slabs of red 
slate from Neshaminy creek,) about 3 feet long and i^A wide 
with no marks upon them, and then standing at "Tammany's" 
grave 6 or 7 feet apart and protruding about 8 inches from the 
ground. Much less interest was taken in the second grave than 
in the first, and both brothers distinctly remember their father 
and a Captain Robbarts referring to it and pointing it out 

' The Misses .Shewell knew iiolhins- of this second grave. 

- The Misses Shewell had not heard of these graves. Neither had the present sexton 
at New Britain. Eugene James had an indistinct recollection of having heard them 

the; grave of tamane;nd 6i 

about 50 feet away across the gully. When A. H. Brinker dug 
up one standing stone and another fallen one as belonging to 
it, both of these with the other two from "Tammany's" grave 
were hauled away in a cart and built into the wall of the new 

At the same time about 1850-60 the boys cut down to be used 
as timber the chestnut tree and the giant poplar (whose trunk it 
took six horses to haul) that once shaded the spring. 

So the spot has changed much since the graves were visible. 
So much so that perhaps Mr. Shewell, who has not seen it for 
80 years, would not recognize it. 

The steep overhanging bank has been much graded down by 
ploughing. The source, according to Mr. Brinker, has receded 
nearly 100 feet from the poplar, stump. The trees are gone and 
the hillside is bare.* 

Still, let us draw a straight line from the poplar stump to the 
chestnut shoots, measure 11 feet from the former or 36 feet 
from the latter, and looking northward step a little to the left, 
and then, if there is any certainty in human evidence, we are 
within a few feet of the spot where a rusty iron knife or 
hatchet, a few glass beads bought from white men, and possibly 
a brass medal might be dug up to tell the tale of this memor- 
able interment. Let me beg that no relic hunter, for the sake 
of a few comparatively modern trinkets (since he need expect 
to find no implements of the stone age), will venture to disturb 
the spot for archaeology by careless digging and render its scien- 
tific identification hopeless. 

No doubt then as to the burial of the Indian, and little doubt 
as to our having found the spot. The only remaining question 
is as to the identification of the chief. Was it Tamenend? 

Sherman Day (Historical Collections, p. 163) says "No" and 
adduces in proof an ingenious and at first convincing argument. 

He fixes, and I think correctly, the date of burial after 1740, 
because Robert Shewell, the "little boy," who asked in vam, (ac- 

* Resides the two large trees referred to, a walnut and two other chestnuts on the 
slope just above the spring and opposite Tamniany's grave, were cut down by the 
Briukers for barn building at the same time, 1850-60. 

62 THE grave: of TAMANKND 

cording to the common tradition), to go to the funeral, was 
born then.* 

Tammany he thinks could not possibly have been living so 
late and escaped the notice of the Moravian missionaries, who 
explored the Forks of the Delaware in 1742 and the Susque- 
hanna soon after. This is only a suggestion of Mr. Day's and 
so is my answer to it. I suggest that Tamanend might have been 
living until after 1740 unnoticed by white men for the follow- 
ing reasons : 

First. — -Tamanend was present at a council in Philadelphia on 
July 6, 1694, when the Iroquois wanted the Delawares to attack 
the settlers (colonial 1:447), when he made the speech. 

"We and the Christians of this river have always had a free roadway to 
one another and though sometimes _ a tree has fallen across the road, 
yet we have still removed it again and kept the path clear and we design to 
continue the old friendship that has been between us and you." 

And again on July 6, 1697, (Pa. arch. i. 124) and with "Wehi- 
land and my brother and Weheequickhon, alias Andrew, who is 
to be king after my death," he again for the third time sells his 
land between Pennypack and Neshaminy creeks. This is the 
last official notice of him thus far discovered. 

If he was forty years old then, he would have been 93 in 
1750, or if 50, 103 at the latter date, which is in general accord 
with the Bucks county tradition of his great age and the tradi- 
tional information upon which Cooper bases his description in 
the "Last of the Mohicans." 

Second.^ — The fact cannot be overlooked that Prospect Hill, 

* But it is useless, I think, to a'^sign as he does. 1749. or the date of any known public 
conference to the joiirn* y of the old man and his followers over Prospect hill. Examin- 
ation of the signed treaties proves, that no one chief v^hatever his rank as sachem was 
present at any of the land conferences which did not concern him personally. Tamanend 
who WIS head sachem of the whole r,enape system until 1718, was not present at the 
Jersey land ire fty of 1673, or the lower Bucks county sale in 1692, or the Chester and 
Pennypack sale in 16S5, nor that for the Schuylkill and Pennypick lands in 1683, or Sus- 
quehanna and Delaware lands in 16S3, (see Colonial Rec and Pa. archives) when in 1683 
sellint? lands between the Neshaminy and Pennypack (Pa. srch 1.62), Tamanend con- 
cerned h imself with his own patrimony. A study of the deeds throws little I'ght on the 
governmenial system of the I,enape. We find appended to each a list of strange names, 
and the .same tract .sold several times by different inaividnals with no hint of a general 
tribal supervision 

Doubtless dozens of informal conferences were never recorded to anyone of which 
Tamanend may have been called. The 1749 conference concluded a sale of lands beyond 
the Blue Mountains. At that time Tamanend, if living, had been deposed from the oflRce 
of chief sachem 31 years. 

the; gravk of tamanend 63 

the scene of his death, according to the legend, is comprised in 
the very lands lying between Pennypack and Nesliaminy creeks, 
which as the particular territory of Tamenend himself he sold 
three times over to William Penn in 1683, 1692 and 1697. Then, 
and for years after, the word Tamanend must have been identi- 
fied with the region, and is it likely that the Shewells, who came 
there in 1729, only thirty-one years after the last sale, would 
have made a mistake in the name ? 

Third — There is some corroborating evidence of the tradi- 
tion in a song sung in honor of the American Saint Tammany 
in 1783 at one of the meetings of the then celebrated Tammany 
brotherhood in Philadelphia^ Its beginning, 

" Of Andrew, of Peter, of David, of George, 
What mighty achievements we hear." 

proves it to have been written later than the date of the first 
Philadelphia almanac that dubbed Tamanend a saint, about 1760- 
70. While its last verse, 

" At last growing old, and quite worn out with years, 
As history doth truly proclaim. 
His wigwam was fired, he nobly expired. 
And flew to the skies in a flame." 

infers either that the composer had heard the story of his death 
on the Neshaminy, or had, which is rather unlikely, confused him 
with the well known drunken Tedyuskung, who was burnt to 
death in his wigwam at Wyoming in 1763. 

At one of these meetings in 1781 a delegation of Senecas visited 
the society's "wigwam" on the Schuylkill, where hung a portrait 
of "Tammany," on which occasion Cornplanter made a speech 
and pointing to the picture, poured a libation of wine on the 
ground, saying, '"If we pour it on ground it will suck it tip 
and he will get it." 

It was this merry-making, parading brotherhood, founded in 
Philadelphia before the Revolution, who set in vogue the myth 
that the three white balls on Penn's coat-of-arms represented 
three dumplings which Tammany had cooked for him at the 
Treaty Tree, who adopted Indian names and paraded in Indian 
dress on Tammany's Day (the 1st of May),* who invited all 

* The frequent elaborate Indian costumes still common at city parades in Philadel- 
phia are unquestionably a relic of these processions. 


manner of myths, stories, and sayings about the great Indian, 
and had him dubbed a saint by certain almanac makers, who set 
going the word Tammany, so to speak, over the country, and 
gave rise to all the other so-called Tammany societies in the Unit- 
ed States, the Independent Order of Red Men, and the New 
York political organization known as Tammany Plall, founded 
in Borden's city hotel in New York in 1789, and who gave 
the name to Tammanytown, Juniata county; Mount Tammany, 
near Williamsport, Md. ; Tamanend, Schuylkill county ; Tam- 
many street, Philadelphia (now Buttonwood) ; St. Tammany 
parish, Louisiana; Tammany, Mecklenburg county, Virginia, and 
a hundred other places so called. 

But fourth and last, to return to our particular subject, there 
is no question that the three clans of the L,enape, the Wolf, 
Turtle and Turkey, were in a vague, loose way presided over 
by a head sachem chosen from the Turtle clan by the members 
of the two other clans. (Lenape and Their Legends, p. 47). 
Just what his powers were, is not definitely known. He certainly 
had little or nothing to do with the land sales of his fellow chiefs 
to the whites. Loskiel says that "he arranged treaties and 
conventions of peace" and kept the wampum peace belt of the 
tribe. (Mission, p. 135). He held his office during good be- 
havior and so generally until death. 

Such a chief was Tamanend and the others : Allumpees, died 
1747; Natiumus, probably Tatemy, died 1761 ; Netatawees, in 
the west, and Tedyascung, in the east, died 1763, who came after 
him until the removal of the Delawares from eastern Pennsyl- 
vania,* and such were the many who came before him, if we 
' are to believe the testimony of the "Wallum Olum," or Lenape 
bark record, an historic song illustrated by mnemonic picto- 
graphs, and sung by medicine men at sacred occasions, recount- 
ing the tribal migrations and the full list of head sachems, dis- 
covered by the eccentric antiquarian, C. A. Rafinesque, and re- 
cently published by Dr. Brinton (Lenape and Their Legends, 
p. 170). 

The Wallum Olum tells us that Tamanend, or "The Afifable," 
was not the first of his name, but that long before, counting 

* The=e and many other interesting and uncollected data I find in an annotated edi- 
tion of Reschel's " Memorials of the Moravian Church" at the Pennsylvania Historical 


back by the names of scores of rulers before the coming of the 
whites, there were two other Tamanends, the first a celebrated 
head chief in the far West before the tribe had migrated east- 
ward. Taking this and Reichel's "Memoirs of the Moravian 
Church" as our authority we learn that our Tamanend was pre- 
ceded by Ikwahou, and probably succeeded by Allumpees, or 
Sassoonan, who was made chief in 1718 and held the office 
till his death in 1747. 

Here is an important date then, the certain end of Tamanend's 
reign in 1718. If he died then that is the end of our story. The 
Neshaminy legend is mistaken. But that he did so is by no 
means certain. 

For some reasons, not thoroughly explained, the Iroquois at 
about this time obtained that curious moral and physical influence 
over the Delawares which has been the subject of much curious 
speculation. Then it was that governors were sent down from the 
Six Nations to look after them, and they were referred to as 
"women" and "in petticoats," and took that position of a con- 
quered people which they held down to the outbreak of the Revo- 

What the details of this sudden decadence were, whether a 
defeat in battle or a weakening dispute no one has a? yet authori- 
tatively learned. The Moravians did not come into the upper 
Delaware and Susquehanna region until 1742, and as Heckewel- 
der testifies, the Indians were very reticent on these subjects. 

Allumpees, made chief sachem in 17 18, was a weak character 
who died a drunkard in 1747. As the tool of the Iroquois, he 
may have been elected by their powerful influence to supersede 
Tamanend, nor is it impossible to suppose that tlie latter, by a 
patriotic resistance to the majority of his people at the time 
of their degradation, had become distasteful to the Six Nations. 
If it is not unfair to suggest this, we have an easy explana- 
tion of the several apparent contradictory facts — that he had 
a great reputation among his tribe, and yet that they said so 
little about him, that he lived until about 1750 and yet was un- 
noticed by early settlers, missionaries and public documents. 

Yet this is but supposition and I have thus far tried in vain 


to sift to the bottom the stories that Tamanend once Hved upon 
the site of Easton, was buried where Nassau Hall now stands 
at Princeton college, lived in the state of Delaware, or at the 
place in Damasus township, Wayne county, called by the early 
Connecticut settlers "St. Tammany's fiat" in 1757. 

Still I do not despair on the other hand of finding in the ar- 
chives of the Moravians at Bethlehem, or in the State archives 
at Harrisburg or Trenton, or in the lost diaries of Still or 
Weiser or any of the other early scouts, or in the traditional 
data probably embodied in the Fenimore Cooper MSS., or from 
living Delawares themselves, some direct proof that the well au- 
thenticated Neshaminy legend is true, that the great Tama- 
nend was alive between 1697 and 1750, that deposed by his ene- 
mies in 1 7 18 he lived on in the Pennsylvania wilderness until a 
very old man, watched jealously by the powerful Iroquois and 
their governor at Shamokin, avoided cautiously by the time 
servers of his tribe, beloved by many in secret, guarded by a 
few, and least of all, betrayed to the notice of the white 

Hon. Richard Watson. 


(Pilieisville Meeting, July 19. 1.S92). 

In the death of Richard Watson, which occurred sud lenly, 
while on a trip to Philadelphia, on Friday, July 15, 1892,"'' the 
Bucks County Historical Society loses an eminent and highly- 
gifted member. 

It is neither necessary nor appropriate at this time to refer 
to the life of the deceased in his social, official, business and 
citizen relations. These have been lately recounted at other 
hands, and by able tongues. As a member of this society, a 
few words may be permitted in connection with this meeting. 

Richard Watson was during all his life ardently interested in 
liistorical matters. Some years since he devoted much time and 

* Judge Watson was born February 3, 1823. 


study to a careful examination of the records of the Society of 
Friends of the meetings in the lower end of the county, noting 
many forgotten facts and making copious notes for his own keep- 
ing. He was a close observer of events, and it was a life-long 
practice to write his observations and experiences in a journal 
— one of the greatest aids to accurate history which individuals 
have ever contributed. 

Judge Watson's greatest service to the Historical Society was 
in connection with the celebration of the bi-centennial anniver- 
sary of the founding of Bucks county. This movement had its 
beginning at a regular quarterly meeting of our organization, 
held at Newtown,- October ii, 1881, at which a committee was 
appointed, headed by Josiah B. Smith, and with Judge Wat- 
son's name second on the list, to take into consideration the en- 
tire subject of a suitable observance of the two hundredth an- 
niversary of the settlement of Bucks county. 

At the meeting for organization of the committee, held in 
November following. Judge Watson was made chairman, and au- 
thorized to appoint a committee of seven persons to report a gen- 
eral plan of celebration. This committee presented a written re- 
port to Chairman Watson, at a meeting held in December, and 
the matter then took definite form. Richard Watson as chair- 
man was then authorized to appoint a committee of twenty 
to carry through the work, and from the performance of this 
duty, with the knowledge and judgment which were displayed 
in the selection, dates the success of the bi-centennial celebration 
of 1882. 

Judge Watson served upon the sub-committee on literary exer- 
cises, and made the opening address on the first day of the cele- 
bration, and from that I take the following extract, the closing 
sentences of his remarks, worthy of the occasion, the man and 
the county of his nativity and. our homes, a fitting close to this 
brief tribute to him whose remains were yesterday laid to rest 
in the Doylestown cemetery, and an encouragement to our faith 
and hopes brought by the history of the past to the times in 
which we live : 


" Two hundred years have passed since the settlement of the county. We 
have met to commemorate that event, to perpetuate a knowledge of the past, 
to consider the present, to look forward upon the future. Our bicentennial 
celebration is a fitting tribute to the memories of those who have li\ed be- 
fore us, and who made Bucks county what the present generation found 
her. There were great and good men among them. We may profit by 
emulating their virtues and their works. But there is a glamour over the 
past that conceals the details and allows only the prominent features of the 
vision to be seen. The view is a distorted one. The extremes, both good 
and bad, appear in exaggerated forms. Men lived and worked and thought 
then much as they do now ; they were prompted by the same motives, 
subject to like passions and frailties, possessed the same virtues, influenced 
by like religious feelings, as are the men of to-day. In short, we are a people 
like unto them. 

"It is, however, a just cause of congratulation for the present, and of 
hope for the future, to know that the world has learned much in the last 
two hundred years and has been bettered by the learning. We of Bucks 
county have reaped and are reaping the fruits of the knowledge gained in 
common with our fellow men elsewhere. We live in every respect much 
better than our ancestors. We are better housed, better clothed, better fed 
and better taught. Statistics show that we live longer too. As knowledge 
and comforts bring enjoyments and long life, there is every reason to be- 
lieve they also bring an increase of happiness and virtue. Sin is often a re- 
sult merely of ignorance and want. 

" We may sigh for the good old times when men were all honest and 
pure, but when those times were we do not know. The zealous enthusiast, 
impatient of results in his efforts to cure the evils in the world, may be dis- 
app )inted and weary, may conclude mankind is growing worse instead of 
better, and may become himself in danger of losing his love for humanity 
and his faith in the true and the right. A greater mistake was never made. 
An examination of the old records, both of the courts and of the church or- 
ganizHtions, and a careful study of the history of the past, will show that 
offences were more frequent and flagrant in the olden times than they are 
to-day and that the present standard of morality is higher and more closely- 
observed than it was then. 

" There is no cause for discouragement in all proper efforts to promote the 
good and the true. Impatience is the child of weakness. Confidence is an 
attendant upon strength. Right is stronger than wrong. Good is mightier 
than evil. Love is the conqueror of hate. In the providence of God, love, 
right and truth must triumph in the end. Bucks county has abundant 
cause to look with pride upon her past, with satisfaction upon her present, 
and with confident hope upon her future." 

Bedminster Township. 


(Pipersville Meeting. July 19, 1892). 

The most interesting part of our county's history is a sketch 
of the pioneers who settled it; who transformed the forests into 
productive farms ; opened roads and built houses ; their gradual 
expansion and growth in the elements of civilization, and the 
organization of townships, the bed-rock of local self-govern- 
ment. In the paper I am about to read, I shall treat of Bed- 
minster township from the standpoint I have mentioned. 

It is stated in one of William Penn's biographies, that when 
he sailed on his return to England, in 1684, from his first visit 
to Pennsylvania, the Province was divided into twenty-two 
townships ; but this could not have referred to Bucks county, for 
her boundaries were not yet fixed, nor were townships laid out 
until eight years afterward. There is evidence that Penn intend- 
ed to lay out this county according to a system of townships 
that would have given them much greater symmetry than they 
now possess, and similar to our three rectangular townships on 
the Montgomery border, with an area of about 5,000 acres each ; 
but circumstances, over which he had no control, compelled him 
to abandon right-angle townships. There were no legal sub- 
divisions in Bucks earlier than 1692, although, for the conven- 
ience of collecting taxes, etc., limits had already been given, and 
names affixed, to some of the settlements. 

It is a feature of the formation of the townships of Bucks 
county, that they were organized in groups, at shorter or longer 
intervals, as the wants of the settlers called for them. The first 
group composed of the five townships of Makefield, Falls, Buck- 
ingham, (now Bristol), Salem, (now Bensalem) and Middle- 
town, was formed in 1692 ; while the second group, Southamp- 
ton, Warminster, Newtown, Wrightstown, Buckingham and Sole- 
bury, was organized in 1703. The first township organized north 
of Doylestown was Hilltown, in 1722, followed by New Britain 
in 1723, and Plumstead in 1725. Milford was the first German 


township to assume corporate life, and the first of the concluding 
group that embraces the remaining townships in Bucks, organized 
prior to 1752. In this group is Bedminster. If you will examine 
your county map, you will find that this township lies wedged 
in between Plumstead, Hilltown, Rockhill, Haycock and Nocka- 
mixon, having the tortuous Tohickon for its north and northeast 
boundaries, and it formed part of Plumstead at the time of its 
organization in 1742. 

Speaking of the parent and child, that is, of Plumstead and 
Bedminster, it may be remarked right here, they were both settled 
by English-speaking people, but were subsequently overrun by 
the Germans. Other townships were conquered in the same 
peaceful way, and the Germans are still marching toward the 
lower Delaware like an army with banners. They have great 
staying qualities, and when they once plant their stakes in the 
fertile fields south of Doylestown, they are as hard to rout 
out as were their war-like ancestors after they had crossed the 
Rhine in pursuit of the Roman legions. When I was a boy, the 
German language was seldom heard in lower Bucks, but to-day 
it is spoken in almost every neighborhood, and German ballots 
are voted at every poll. 

Before settlers began to arrive in what is now Bedminster, 
William Allen, of Philadelphia, and the Penns owned 
all of the land in the township. Allen's was called the "Deep 
Run tract," because that stream ran through it. The Penns 
opened their lands for settlement about 1725-30, and settlers soon 
began to come in. Among others, John Hough bought 200 acres 
on Deep Run, in 1734, and, in 1741, Richard Hockley took up 
I, GOO acres, the survey being made by virtue of a warrant 
dated March 20, 1734. This tract lay "near Tohickon above 
Deep Run." In a few years there was considerable population 
along this stream, and the settlement bore its name until the 
township was organized. The first settlers were from the north 
of Ireland, of that sturdy race known as Scotch-Irish, and of 
Presbyterian faith. 

Among these pioneers we find the names of William Hart, 
Cochran, Thompson, Grier, Barnhill, McNeelcy, Darrah, Robin- 
son, McHenry, whose grandson became a county commissioner, 
Humphrey Orr, who took up 900 acres on the Tohickon, at the 


point where the Durham road crosses that stream, and was known 
as "John Orr's ford" until a bridge was built. This Bedmins- 
ter pioneer was the ancestor of. the distinguished Orr family of 
South Carolina, of which James L. was a member of Congress, 
Speaker of that body, and died in St. Petersburg in 1873, while 
minister to Russia. The Orrs were in Bedminster as early as 
1730. Samuel Ayres, from Antrim, Ireland, settled on Deep Run 
about 1742, and died there the following year. The late F. A. 
Comly, president of the North Pennsylvania railroad, was a 
descendant of Samuel Ayres, in the female line. 

The Darrahs are descended from a Scotch-Irish ancestor who 
settled at Deep Run. Thomas Darrah came from the north of 
Ireland about 1725 ; he first settled in Horsham, now in Mont- 
gomery county, then Philadelphia, but, after living there a few 
years, sold his property and removed to Bedminster, where he 
patented 800 acres. At his death, in 1750, he left five sons and 
three daughters. The descendants are numerous, and several of 
the name have served their country in various wars that have 
taken place since that time, William Darrah, son of the first 
Thomas, serving in Benjamin Franklin's regiment in 1756-57. 
William Armstrong, also an early settler, and a signer of the peti- 
tion for the township, was of Scotch-Irish descent, whose line can 
be traced back to John Armstrong, chief of the border clan of 
that name, who was treacherously murdered by James V, of 
Scotland. His father was an officer at the siege of Derry; 
and William, with his wife Mary and three sons, came from 
Ireland to America, in 1736. They probably settled in Bed- 
minster soon after their arrival, for we find that he built a man- 
sion in the township in 1740, known for many years as the "Arm- 
strong House." December 30, 1747, he received from the Penns 
a patent for 300 acres, on the south bank of the Tohickon, which, 
added to 104 acres he had bought two years prior, made him 
the owner of 404 acres in all. He died abut 1785. Two of his 
sons served in the Continental army. 

Jacob Wismer, who died at Deep Run, February 4, 1787, in 
his 103rd year, was an early settler in our county, but it is im- 
possible to tell when he came into Bedminster. He was born in 
Germany prior to 1720; immigrated to North Carolina where he 
lived ten years, and then removed to this county, where he mar- 

72 bedminst£;r township 

ried his third wife, with whom he Hved 67 years. He is thought 
to have come here as early as 1720. The name of Jacob "Weis- 
more," signed to the petition for the township, in 1741, was doubt- 
less meant for Jacob Wismer. He left, at his death, 170 children 
and grandchildren, and his widow died at 84. The Eckels were 
among the earliest German pioneers in Bedminster, the grand- 
father of John Eckel, who died 20 years ago, coming from the 
borders of France and Germany and settling near the Deep Run 
meeting-house. Returning to Europe on business, shortly after- 
ward, he was taken sick on his way home, and died at Philadel- 
phia. His body was buried in Tohickon graveyard. His de- 
scendants are numerous. The late David Spinner, of Milford, 
married a granddaughter, a daughter of John, the son of Henry. 

The Scheetzs are descended from Conrad Scheetz, who immi- 
grated from Germany with his brother Philip, and settled in Ger- 
mantown about 120 years ago. They were married and brought 
their families. Conrad was a hatter, and many farmers of Bucks 
and Montgomery bought their hats of him when going to or 
returning from market. He had a large family of children, all 
of whom lived and died in Philadelphia, except George, the eld- 
est son, who settled at Keller's church, some ninety years ago. 
He married a Fluck and had a family of nine children, eight 
sons and one daughter, all of whom are living but three of the 
sons ; and there had not been a death among them until within 
five years. George Scheetz died about 1861, and his widow in 
1875, at the age of 83. The family Bible, handsomely illustrat- 
ed, and brought from Germany by Conrad Scheetz, is still in 
the family. 

The Germans, destined to be the ruling race in Bedminster, 
were not far behind the Scotch-Irish. The first of these comers 
were Mennonites, who settled on, or near. Deep Run before 1746. 
Among them we find the names of Swartz, Friedt, Kolb, Ober- 
holtzer, Gross, Wismer, Kulp, Moyer, Meyers, Godshalk, Landes. 
Eckel, Keichlein, Scheetz, Koehler, Leatherman, Stover and many 
others, all familiar names at this day. Several v/ere leaders in 
the church ; some were bishops, others deacons. 

The settlers in Bedminster of both races, followed the uni- 
versal practice of the immigrants from the old world to Pennsyl- 
vania, and organized religious societies and built churches as soon 




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In Bedmiuster township, Bucks county. Pa. Built in 1842, the successor of log house of 1746. 


Staves of music written on beams of ceiling. 

(Photographs by H. C. Mercer, in 1S97.) 

be;dminste;r township ']2> 

as they had found shelter for their famiHes. The Scotch-Irish, 
the first to arrive, were the first to erect a church. This was in 
1732, 162 years ago, when a log meeting-house was built near 
Deep Run, in the southwest corner of the township, and in 1736 
the Rev. Francis McHenry was called to the pastorate. No 
doubt meetings were first held at private houses, for, when Rev. 
William Tennent was called to Neshaminy in 1726, and six years 
before the church was built, Deep Run was his "upper congre- 
gation." The church joined the Philadelphia Presbytery, in 1732. 
This was the original place of worship for the Scotch-Irish 
settlers in all this section of the country, and was the cradle 
of Presbyterianism in Bucks county, north of Doylestown. Deep 
Run was the parent of the Doylestown church. As evidence of 
the great change in religious faith and race since the settlement 
of the township, we need but state there is not a Presbyterian or 
an English family in it. It has become thoroughly German, and 
service is only held at Deep Run at long intervals to prevent 
the forfeiture of the real estate given by William Allen for a 
parsonage. There are none there to keep watch and ward over 
the old place of worship but the spirits of the rude forefathers, 
who lie buried in the church-yard, and who left pleasant homes 
in the old world for freedom to worship God in the new. Be- 
sides the Orr's, others of the pioneer settlers in Bedminster were 
the ancestors of distinguished descendants. The Grier family 
gave three ministers to the church, and a judge of the Supreme 
Court of the United States; while the late William D. Kelly 
was a descendant of the Darrahs in the female line. 

The Mennonite settlers were the next to organize a church, 
and a log meeting-house was erected near the Deep Run in 
1746. William Allen gave the ground for the place of wor- 
ship, deeded a fifty-acre farm, in trust, to Abraham Swartz, 
Hans Friedt, Samuel Kolb and Marcus Oberholtzer, bishops and 
deacons, for the use of the church, and he also gave them a silver 
cup for Sacramental purposes, which is still in use. The log 
house was replaced by a stone one in 1766, and the latter, by a 
modern structure, in 1872. Some fifty years ago a schism took 
place in the church, when a portion went ofif and erected a new 
place of worship, but the old congregation remains, one of the 
largest and most flourishing in the county. The first minister 


was Abraham Swartz, who became bhnd during the latter part of 
his ministry, after which it was his custom to get one of the 
congregation to read a portion of the Scriptures, from which 
he would select his text and preach a sermon. Continuous ser- 
vice has. been held since the first house was built in 1746, The 
second German church in Bedminster was the Tohickon, Lu- 
theran and German Reformed, situated in the northwest corner 
of the township, a few hundred yards south of the point where 
the old Bethlehem road crosses the Tohickon creek. At what 
time this congregation was organized is not known, but it had 
grown to considerable size by 1754, and, for ten years, it 
had been visited by Messrs. Rauss and Schultz. The congrega- 
tion, at that day, was too poor to pay the salary of a regular 
minister, but managed to build a parsonage and school-house. We 
have no record of a church being built at that time. The first 
church building was of logs, and the subsequent ones of stone, 
the present large and substantial edifice being built in 1838. The 
lot was the gift of Andrew and Charles Keichline, and, for 
many years, it was known as "Keichline's Church." The church 
building is one of the largest in the county, having seating capacity 
for a thousand, and the two congregations nearl)'- double that 
number. The organ, built in Lehigh, in 1839, was probably the 
first pipe organ in a church in the county. The name of the first 
pastor at Tohickon has not come down to us, but Casper Wack 
was in charge from 1770 to 1782, and likewise at Indianfield, in 
Rockhill, and the Great Swamp, in Lehigh county. He was the 
first young man of these denominations ordained to the ministry 
in America, and Tohickon was his first church. In 1773, the 
Synod added Nockamixon- to his charge, and he supplied other 
congregations. The home of Mr. Wack was in Hilltown, two 
miles from the present Hilltown church. Among the pastors at 
Tohickon was the Rev. John A. Strassburger, who was in charge 
about thirty years, until 1854, dying in i860, in his 64th year. 
He made his mark on the community, and few men, in the church, 
or out of it, wielded wider influence. 

There are few more interesting spots than the old graveyard 
of the Tohickon church, which hands down to the present gen- 
eration the names of the pioneers who worshiped on the banks 
of that historic stream. When I examined this graveyard, twenty 


years ago, the same fact was noticeable that is observed in all 
the old graveyards in the county, that the gravestones mark four 
periods in the interments; first, the primitive rock from the foun- 
dation of the church down to about 1750, generally without in- 
scription; next, slate, to 1775; then brown sandstone, to about 
1800, followed by marble, first blue, then white. German in- 
scriptions were universal until within about 40 years. The grave- 
stones show a sprinkling of English names, probably of settlers 
in Tinicum or some of the English-speaking people who had 
settled along Deep Run. The earliest stone in the Tohickon yard, 
with a legible inscription, was erected to the memory of John 
Henrich Eckel, probably the ancestor of the family in that town- 
ship that bears this name, who died November 24, 1764, his wife 
Susannah, born in 1719, surviving him to 1803, thirty-nine years 
of widowhood. Then we have Felix Lehr, 1769, Michael Ott, 
1767, and his wife Catharina, 1792. Johannes Honig, the orig- 
inal of Haney, born in 1714, and died in 1787, and Jacob Nonne- 
macher, born 1720, and died in 1788. Several stones bear the 
name Salade, the original of Solliday. The late Henry Eckel 
was organist in the old stone church. Keller's church, likewise 
Lutheran and Reformed, was organized at an early day, but we 
are not able to give the date, but sometime before 1750. In 
175 1 the Rev. Mr. Rauss, Lutheran, accepted a call and reached 
his new charge in a fifteen days' journey from New York, 
traveling most of the way through unbroken forests. 

The first movement toward the formation of a township was 
made in March, 1741, one hundred and fifty-one years ago, when 
"thirty-five inhabitants of Deep Run" petitioned the Court of 
Quarter Sessions to form the territory into a township, with the 
following boundaries : "Beginning upon Plumstead corner, com- 
ing along that line to Hilltown corner, and from that line to Rock- 
hill corner, and down Tohickon till it closes at Fiumstead cor- 
ner, where it begins. The following names attached to this pe- 
tition give us additional knowledge of the men who peopled the 
wood north of Plumstead : James Hughes, Robert Smith, Abra- 
ham Black, William Armstrong, John Graham, John Ree, George 
McFerrin, Adam Thompson, Mr. Miller, Thomas Darroch, Mark 
Overbold, Martin Overbold, Nicholas Ogeny, Jacob Leatherman, 
Jacob Weismore, John Fretts, William Graham, Joseph Town- 


send, Henry Groud, Alichael Lott, David Kulp, Daniel Norcauk, 
John Bois, Joseph Armstrong, John Riffle, Ralph Trought, Fet- 
ter Ryner, Matthew Ree, Andrew Sloan, Tilman Kiilp, Christian 
Stover, George Lynard, John Clymer, Nicholas Kean and Fred- 
erick Croft. I have given the spelling of these names as they art 
on the public records, though some of them are evidently erro- 
neous. The township was granted at the March term, 1742, and 
the Court appointed, to lay it off, as jurors, John Kelley, Wil- 
liam James, Griffith Davis and Lewis Evins, with John Chap- 
man as surveyor. It was surveyed and laid out sometime during 
the year, and the boundaries returned differ little, if any, from 
the present. On the report of the jury the following is en- 
dorsed : "Confirmed with the name of Bedminster." In the 
jury's report the Tohickon is spelled "Tohickney" and "Socunk" 
is named as a place whose locality is now entirely unknown. 
The area of Bedminster township is given as 16,058 acres. In 
the petition for the organization of Tinicum, in 1738, Bedminster 
is mentioned as a township, and probably was so for all practi- 
cal purposes, but was not so constituted by law ui.'til 1742. 

In addition to a labyrinth of local roads, about which little is 
known, Bedminster is cut by three great arteries of travel that 
run through the county ; the Durham and Easton roads that inter- 
sect at Pipersville, in the southeastern corner of the township, 
and the old Bethlehem road, which forms part of the north- 
west boundary. The Swamp road separates Bedminster from 
Hilltown on the west. The first township road, we have a record 
of, was laid out in 1748; starting in the road from "Colvin's ferry 
on the Delaware (now Point Pleasant) to Philadelphia," and 
running to John Clymer's mill on the Tohickon; thence by the 
Presbyterian and Mennonite meeting-houses to the old Bethle- 
hem road. A road was laid out from the Durham road to Jacob 
Stout's mill, on the Tohickon and to Tohickon church, and thence 
toward the county line, about 1755. In 1765, a road was opened 
from Deep Run meeting-house to the Easton road ; and the fol- 
lowing year, a road was opened from the meeting-house to To- 
hickon church. The fact that several public highways led toward 
the Deep Run, at that early day, is evidence that that rrgion was 
the seat of considerable population. A bridge was built over Deep 
Run, near the meeting-house, about 1800. 


Of the mills of Bedminster, it is supposed that the oldest was 
built on the site of Angeny's mill, on a small stream emptying- 
into Deep Run, east of the Presbyterian meeting-liouse. The date 
is unknown. The first mill may have been John Clymer's on the To- 
hickon, built before 1749; and the mills of Joseph Tyson, on Cabin 
Run, and Jacob Kraut, on Deep Run, were erected next in order. 
They were followed by Jacob Stover's on the Tohickon and 
Henry Black's oil mill on Cabin Run and Durham road, half a 
mile below Pipersville, torn down some years ago. A widow 
Shearer owned a mill in Bedminster, in 1753, but we have never 
known its location, and that year a road was laid out from it to 
Deep Run meeting-house. Among the early mills on the To- 
hickon, in addition to Clymer's, were those of Ichabod Wilkin- 
son, White's and Henry Lot's. 

Bedminster has five villages, at least localities so designated ; 
DubHn, Pipersville, Hagersville, Bedminsterville and Keelersville. 
Of the number, Dublin is the most considerable, while Pipers- 
ville has the most history fingering around it. Dublin is said to 
have taken its name from its earliest log tavern. It was a 
double building and got the name of the double-inn : the change 
to Dublin was easy enough. This was near a century ago, and, 
in the course of time, a hamlet grew up about it. Three inns 
are said to have stood on the site of the old hostelry. A man 
by the name of Robinson kept it during the Revolution, whose 
son was a royalist, and an associate of the Doanes. After the 
war it is supposed the son lay concealed a long time in the house 
between two partitions ; he was watched, but not discovered. 
The father was drowned in a creek on the premises. A post- 
office was established at Dublin in 1827, with Newton Rowland 
postmaster. In 1798, when Rev. Uriah DuBois was called to 
the pastorate of Deep Run church, he lived at Dublin, remain- 
ing there until 1804, when he removed to Doylestown to take 
charge of the Union Academy which was opened that year. 

Pipersville, where we are assembled to-day, and whose hos- 
pitality we enjoy, is the centre of an interesting history. Its 
founder was George Piper, from whom are descended all that 
bear the name in this section and many elsewhere. He was 
born on the Wissahickon, Philadelphia county, November 11, 


1755 ; removed to Bedminster about the time he arrived at man- 
hood, and married a daughter of Arnold Lear, of Tinicum. 
He opened a store here in 1775, and, in 1778, moved into the 
tavern that stood on the site of the present pubHc house, and 
was the landlord of it until his death in 1823. He was a promi- 
nent man. At one time he was an officer in the Continental 
army, a colonel in the State militia and assisted General Paul 
Mallet Provost to purchase the tract of land on the east bank of 
the Delaware, on which he afterward laid out Frenchtown, Hun- 
derdon county, New Jersey. Colonel Piper listened to the read- 
ing of the Declaration of Independence in front of the State 
House, Philadelphia, July 4, 1776. This place was not called 
Pipersville until the post-office was opened in 1845, ^^^ Jacob 
Nicholson was appointed postmaster. 

The tavern kept at Pipersville, in ye olden time, and of which 
George Piper was the landlord almost half a century, was a 
very noted inn a century ago. The first building was built 
about 1759, by one Bladen, on the site of the present house. 
This was the centre building; the parlor and dining-room were 
added in 1784, and the kitchen and a small room at the west 
end in 1790, and 1801. The sign of the old inn, simply "Piper'? 
tavern," was painted on a board and fastened to the front of the 
upper porch. It was called "Bucks county hotel" for many 
years. While Colonel Piper was landlord of the old inn, it shel- 
tered some of the most distinguished men of the last century, 
among whom may be mentioned General Anthony Wayne, of 
the Revolution; Benjamin Franklin, Governor Mifflin, Timothy 
Pickering, Robert Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, Doctor Rush, Chief Justice Tilghman, Bishop White. 
Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg and others. Timothy Matlack cut his 
name on the railing of the upper porch, which was still there 
when it was taken down in 1827. During the yellow fever of 
1799, Mayor Wharton, of Philadelphia, and his family boarded 
here ; and Stephen Girard made it his stopping place to and 
from Bethlehem. George Taylor, another signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, was a frequent guest of Colonel Piper, 
as was also William Allen ; and Colonels John and Thomas 
Cadwalader stopped at the old inn while on their gunning ex- 

bedminste:r township 79 

cursions along the Tohickon, sometimes accompanied by William 
Logan and Casper Wister. Among the distinguished men, who 
patronized Colonel Piper's tavern, was Joseph Bonaparte, ex- 
King of Spain, who boarded with him two weeks at one time. 
On such occasion the brother of the French Emperor was ac- 
companied by his entire suite, and brought with him his cook 
and plate ; the landlord only furnishing the meats, vegetables, 
etc., which his servants prepared for the palate of the ex-King. 
In addition to the distinguished guests named, who found shelter 
under the roof of the old historic inn, the celebrated General 
La Fayette must not be forgotten. xA.fter being wounded at 
Brandywine, he was taken in a barge to Bristol, and then con- 
veyed in a carriage up the Durham road, to Bethlehem. He 
passed this point, and there is no doubt stopped here, and prob- 
ably remained over night. 

During the Revolution this neighborhood was, at times, the 
scene of exciting episodes, being in the range of the Doanes 
and their confederates. Colonel Piper was frequently from 
home, being at one time in command of the American outposts 
near Milestown, when some of these disreputable fellows would 
visit the tavern. It is told, by a member of the family, that one 
day, while the Colonel was absent at Newtown, then the county 
seat, leaving only his wife, children and a hired man at home, 
Gibson and Geddis, two of the confederates of the Doanes, came 
to the inn while Mrs. Piper was ironing. Geddis put his booted 
foot into a pan of buckwheat batter, when she threw a flat-iron at 
him, breaking his arm near the shoulder. In return he tried to 
strike her with his loaded whip, but she retreated into a side 
room, got her husband's sword and drove the ruffian from the 
house. The broken arm was set by Doctor Shaffer, who 
boarded at George Fox's, a mile and a half below the tavern. 
Geddis brought suit against Mrs. Piper for damages, but was 
afraid to prosecute it. Gibson, the companion of Geddis, was 
the same who shot Moses Doan after his capture at the cabin 
on the Tohickon. It is said of the patriotic Mrs. Piper, that 
during the Revolutionary war, she gave her husband her entire 
fortune she received from her father's estate, £325 in gold, to 
purchase shoes and clothing for his company. It had been buried 

8o be;dminste;r township 

in the cellar of the tavern in an earthen pot, but was dug up 
and carried to camp. It was replaced by Continental money 
that became worthless. 

When George Piper was gathered to his fathers, in 1823, 
at the age of 68, he was succeeded as landlord by Jacob Keich- 
line, his son-in-law. He presided at the head of this famous 
hostelry until 1859, two years before his death, making the rule 
of these two, 81 years, a longer lease of power in the same 
family than any other tavern in the county can boast, and few 
in or out of the State. The Keichlines are one of the oldest 
families in Bedminster, but not as numerous as they were half a 
century ago. The first immigrant was John Peter Keichline, who 
settled in the township as early as 1742, one hundred and fifty 
years ago. He had three sons, all of whom entered the Revolu- 
tionary army and did good service. Peter, who removed to 
Northampton county, as early as 1749, built the first flour mill 
on the Bushkill. He lived at Easton. When the Revolutionary 
war broke out, he recruited a company of riflemen, in Northamp- 
ton and Bucks, for Colonel Miles' regiment, and was in command 
of it at the battle of Long Island, 1776, where he was taken 
prisoner. Lord Sterling, wrote to Washington that the Eng- 
lish General Grant was killed by some of Keichline's riflemen. 
His brother Andrew was promoted to a majority on the field 
of Monmouth, and Charles, who entered the army later than his 
two brothers, took the oath of allegiance in June, 1778. Andrew 
and Charles were both born in Bedminster, the former being the 
grandfather of the late Dr. William H. Keichline, of Philadel- 
phia. Jacob Keichline, the son of Andrew, was born in this 
township, September 8, 1776, and his father owned and kept 
a tavern, now, or was lately, a dwelling house opposite the 
Tohickon church. In the 36 years that Jacob Keichline kept the 
old tavern at Pipersville. he and his wife became very popular, 
and the house was much frequented. They were both warm 
Democrats, the wife taking as deep an interest in politics as her 
husband. She, a plain German woman, was a born ]^olitician. 
and took to it as naturally as Richlieu to state craft. Many 
an anxious candidate for office had his fortunes helped by re- 
ceiving timely advice from her. Candidates, on their way up 

be;dminste;r township 8i 

county from below, seldom failed to stop and have a chat with 
the astute landlady of the old tavern. When a youth, I oc- 
casionally came with my father into this section, who always 
stopped to see Mrs. Keichline,' and they invariably sat down 
and had a quiet chat on the political situation. 

The old inn, whose story I have briefly related, stood until 
1885, when the present owner, Jacob B. Crouthamel, built the 
present commodious house on the site. Although "lost to sight," 
the historic hostelry is still "to memory dear," and "Kachline's 
tavern" will be remembered long after the generation which 
saw it in the flesh shall have passed away. Since the new inn 
was erected, various improvements have been added to Pipers- 
ville. In 1877, a library was established; in 1886, Dr. Brum- 
baugh erected a chapel, and George Rapp commenced building 
a creamery in 1889, which was finished and successfully run 
by A. M. Gerhart; Amos Fretz began the clothing business^ 
in 1884, and in 189T, a council of the Junior Order of Native 
American Mechanics was organized here. Other industries will 
spring up in the near future, and, while Pipersville may never 
be a seaport, it will undoubtedly increase in intellectual and 
material wealth. 

While the Bedminster of to-day may not keep pace with some 
of her sister townships in its progress in the Arts and Sciences 
and Literature, she is behind none of them in agricultural pur- 
suits. One has but to traverse the township and see her elegant 
farms, teeming with rich harvests and ornamented with hand- 
some dwelling and well-kept farm buildings, to be satisfied that 
her husbandmen are the equal of any in the county. By the 
last census she stands first in valuation in horses and cattle. 
Four creameries stimulate the farmers to improve their stock 
and enrich the soil so as to get the best results from their dairies. 
Bedminster's fertile hills and rich valleys are the pride of their 
owners. Of her business interests the mercantile pursuit flour- 
ishes, and the general stores of Sherer & Co., Dublin, and Lewis 
Keller, Bedminsterville, are among the largest in the county. 
The sons of Bedminster have not been behind other sections of 
the county in fighting- their country's battle ; they shed their blood 
in the Revolution that established the Union and in the late war 


that preserved it. Two of her sons have filled the office of 
Superintendent of Public Schools of the county, S. S. Overholt, 
and William H. Slotter, the present efficient incumbent. Others 
are found in the leading professions of the day — in Law, Medi- 
cine, the Ministry and in Art. 

Hon. Bird Wilson, D.D., LL.D. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 17, 1893). 

The commendable effort of the bar and the county commission- 
ers of Bucks county to collect, for preservation in the court- 
room, the likenesses of the judges who have presided over our 
courts in times gone by, naturally excites interest in the lives 
and history of the eminent men who, by their learning and 
ability, contributed to the honorable record of our county. 

They were, each in his turn, the central figures around whom 
were enacted scenes exhibiting the passions, ambitions, secret 
motives, hopes, revenges, plottings and despair which impel men 
to attempt the noblest deeds or to commit the blackest crimes. 
They, as the chief arbiters of the lives, liberties, fortunes and 
happiness of many of their fellow mortals, carried responsibili- 
ties which doubtless cast many a shadow over the brightest 
hours of their lives. They carried to their graves secrets and 
confessions of the wrecked beings whom, in duty's line, they had 
been called upon to condemn, that must have impressed them 
with the wickedness, coldness, treachery, sadness and empti- 
ness of this earthly life. 

The courts of justice of our State had undergone a variety 
of changes prior to the adoption of the Constitution of 1790. 
The Act of 1722 had provided for the appointment, in each 
county, of a suitable number of justices to hold the several 
courts. These justices were not required to be learned in the 
law. They were authorized to hold public and also private or 
special sessions. The public sessions were limited to two days' 
sittings. Their jurisdiction was also limited. In holding the 
orphans' court the justices sat at the localities most convenient 


Portraits of all president judges from 1790 to 1S51, except that of John D. Coxe (17117-1S0 

whose portrait we were unable to get. 

(For portraits of other judges of Bucks county, see page 94.) 


to the parties, but the number of times they preferred Col. 
Piper's tavern at Pipersville would indicate that they had also 
an eye to the good things of this world. 

A Supreme Court with a Chief-Justice and two Associates was 
also constituted at Philadelphia. They were required to ride 
the circuit into the counties of Bucks and Chester twice a year, 
to try all issues joined therein. The jurisdiction of the Su- 
preme Court attached in all causes where the value exceeded 
£50, and in all cases of debt for rent, replevin, ejectment, tres- 
pass or suits wherein title to real estate might come in question. 
They were also to deliver the jails of all persons committed for 
capital crimes or felonies. 

By the Constitution of 1790 and the Act of 1791 the Supreme 
Court was continued as before. The courts of Common Pleas, 
Oyer and Terminer and Quarter Sessions and Orphans' Court 
were erected into four districts or circuits, one of which, the first, 
comprised Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware. In 
each of these districts one President Judge, skilled in the law, 
and four Associate Judges (afterwards reduced to two) were 
appointed by the Governor. The same Act provided for a High 
Court of Appeals to be composed of the Judges of the Supreme 
Court, the Presidents of the Common Pleas districts and three 
other persons of legal attainments who were commissioned dur- 
ing good behavior. This resembled the present Court of Ap- 
peals of New Jersey. 

Down to 1806, when Bucks county was separated from Phila- 
delphia, the law end of our courts was so closely allied with 
that city that a history of the judges and lawyers of the time 
seems to belong to her rather than to us. However, some of 
the greatest lawyers of the province were residents of Bucks 
county and represented it in the legislative bodies. They 
followed the Judges of the Supreme Court in riding the 
circuit into all the counties. Time will not permit me to name 
these lawyers nor the eminent Justices of the Supreme Court 
who held the circuits here. Probably all of them came here in 
their turns. Most prominent among the Judges of the County 
Court were Jeremiah Langhorne, in the early days, and Henry 
Wynkoop, of the Revolutionary period, both able men. Wyn- 

84 HON. BIRD WII^SON, D.D., hh.D. 

koop was one of the most honored of our citizens. He was our 
first member of Congress and the intimate friend of General 
Washington. Senator McClay intimates that he was given to 
toadying to the great man. He was appointed President of the 
Court of Common Pleas of the county in 1784 and was next to 
the last Lay President Judge of the courts of our county. John 
Barclay succeeded him and held the position for a few months. 
Other prominent Justices were Joseph Hart, James Benizet, 
Francis Hutchinson, James Hanna, Andrew Long, John and 
Joseph Chapman and Richard Backhouse. They were all com- 
missioned as Judges of the Court. 

The First President Law Judge of this county was Hon. 
James Biddle. He was appointed under the Act of 1791 to 
preside over the new district comprising Philadelphia, Bucks, 
Montgomery and Chester, and held the office at the time of his 
death in 1797; he was a member of the Biddle family of Phila- 
delphia, famous for six generations for men of physical and 
mental vigor ; he was the oldest of three brothers. A second 
brother, Edward, was a member of the Continental Congress, 
and promised to take a very high place as a military leader in 
the Revolution, but an unfortunate accident resulted in his 
death. The other, Charles Biddle, became Vice President of 
the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania and was in- 
fluential in public afifairs. Charles was the father of Nicholas 
Biddle, who carried on the great bank contest with President 
Jackson and was ancestor of nearly all of the name who in this 
generation have won distinction as judges, lawyers and soldiers. 

James, the first Law Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of 
this county, was born February, 13, 1731, and studied law with 
John Ross, of the Philadelphia bar. He practiced in Berks, 
Lancaster and Northampton counties, residing in Reading until 
about 1760, when he removed to Philadelphia, on being ap- 
pointed Deputy Prothonotary. Later he became Deputy Judge 
in admiralty. In December, 1776, he removed to Reading and 
continued the practice of the law until 1788, when he was made 
Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, a 
position much sought after by lawyers. His principal competi- 
tor for the appointment was James Wilson, Esq.. hereafter 


mentioned, and father of the subject of this paper, who became 
a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

While Mr. Biddle held the office of Prothonotary, the yellow 
fever broke out in Philadelphia, but he resolutely refused to 
leave his post, throughout the scare. He was a vestryman of 
Christ church and is buried in its grounds. He married Frances 
Marks, and had thirteen children,- only three of whom lived to 
be over ten years of age. A number of his descendants are 

Judge Biddle was succeeded on the bench of Bucks county 
by the Hon. John D. Coxe, who held his first court at Newtown, 
August 9, 1797. He was succeeded by Hon. William Tilgman, 
who first sat at Newtown, February 3, 1805. 

Judge Tilgman did not remain long on the Common Pleas 
bench. Chief Justice Shippen of the Supreme Court, who had 
reached the age of 78 years, resigned at the beginning of 1806, 
and Judge Tilgman was appointed to that position, which he 
filled with great learning and ability until his death on April 
30, 1827. Chief Justice Tilgman was one of the greatest judges 
the State has produced. The circumstance that Governor Mc- 
Kean, whom Horace Binney termed the father of the Supreme 
Court, appointed him Chief Justice thus making him the head of 
fhe new judicial system at a time when party spirit was at its 
highest, although those two great men did not agree in their 
political views, was the strongest tribute to his worth as a jurist 
and lawyer. 

I have now reached a period in our judicial history when 
Bucks county, relieved of the delays and disadvantages to which 
the natural tendency to neglect by a bench and bar whose cen- 
tral interest was in a populous city, had always subjected her, 
was to emerge upon a career of business activity and intel- 
lectual brightness in the conduct of legal afifairs, which gave 
to her lawyers a reputation, long maintained, second to none 
in the Commonwealth. 

A short retrospect of the manner of conducting the business 
of the courts will serve partially to explain the causes which 
led to the important reforms in our judicial system that have 
since survived all changes. As usual they arose through agita- 


tion by the people at large. Succeeding the Revolution, there 
was a tendency to form a higher class, after the model of the 
English. This was a continuation of the colonial aristocracy. 
The disposition was to retain the lofty notions which had pre- 
vailed, of pomp, circumstance and display in the conduct of pub- 
lic officers. Both President Washington and Vice President 
Adams were accused by the severer class of Republicans of 
a hankering to ape the forms of royalty on public occasions. 
These notions were nowhere stronger than in Philadelphia. 
The courts, necessarily conservative, were slow to change in 
matters of formality, as they have always been in systems of 
practice. In the Supreme Court, the judges wore robes of scar- 
let, the lawyers dressed in black gowns, and Chief Justice Mc- 
Kean presided with his cocked hat upon his head. When the 
judges rode the circuits into the adjoining counties, they were 
met and escorted to the court-house and to and from the justices' 
robing-room by the sheriff' with a drawn sword and by the 
constables of the county carrying their staves, as was the cus- 
tom in England. 

It appears that Henry Wynkoop, probably through his as- 
sociations with Washington, Adams, Hamilton and other great 
men at the Nation's capitol, was deeply imbued with the idea 
that a display of pomp rather than the certainty and rapidity 
of executing the public business would impress the people with 
the majesty of the law. It is possible that his own handsome 
and distinguished presence, which we are assured appeared lo 
great advantage on public days, whetted his taste for these 

Upon assuming the presidency of the Justices' Court, be made 
an order that, during the sitting of the court, the constables 
should appear with their staves in their hands ; that "after the 
court shall have adjourned they walk in procession with their 
staves, before the sheriff to the door of the justices' room, 
where they shall deposit their staves until the time of adjourn- 
ment shall have expired, when they shall again attend and walk 
to the court-house door as before directed." 

The people generally, notwithstanding their Quaker affilia- 
tions, also held to the formalities of the mother country. The 


grand inquest for the body of the county presented "that the 
present device (the design of the provincial government) ought 
to be obHterated, and the arms of the State of Pennsylvania, 
with such addition as the court shall think fit, be put in the room 
thereof." The Court then suggested "that a buck be added by 
way of a crest to denote the county." With the adoption of 
this suggestion, showing a singular ignorance of the origin of 
the county name, the learned Court and "the body of the coun- 
ty" were content with the dignity thereof, and the order so 
stood. ■ 

But this pomp in the judicial proceedings did not facilitate 
the despatch of business, and the want of legal knowledge 
of the justices of the county court rendered them unfit to trans- 
act it. The people lost and buried their unwise prejudice against 
lawyers as judges, and discerning that their important litigation, 
depending upon the uncertainty of the attendance of the Su- 
preme Circuit Court and of the attorneys from the city, was 
much hindered and delayed, became dissatisfied ; and complaints 
grew loud and strong. One great source of delay was de- 
clared by Governor McKean, in one of his veto messages, to 
He in requiring the judges of the Supreme Court to go upon 
the circuit into each county of the State to try cases. In those 
days the difficulties of traveling into remote counties consumed 
much of the year. Lvocal tribunals, presided over by law judges, 
were therefore demanded. The feeling at the delay in judicial 
proceedings became very bitter. In the heated canvass of Simon 
Snyder against the re-election of Governor McKean in i8o5', a 
powerful argument used against the Governor, was that he was 
a lawyer and ex- judge and had no sympathy with these de- 
mands — a charge afterward proved to be unfounded. An 
attempt was also made to supplant the constitution of 1790 with 
a new one for the same reason. The strength and threatening 
character of the feeling in this county are shown in a very able 
address issued by Samuel D. Ingham, to counteract the efifect 
of these arguments. He was elected to the Legislature in that 
campaign and, no doubt, greatly aided Governor McKean in 
bringing about the Legislation of 1806, reorganizing the judic- 
iary system and providing for a system of arbitration, legal pro- 


cedure, etc. probably to-day the best in the union. There was 
no man better quaHlied by knowledge, ability, industry, capacity 
for great labor, and unequaled experience, for this undertaking 
than the Governor. His most enduring monument is in the 
laws enacted during that year. 

The Act of 1806 "To alter the Judiciary System of the Com- 
monwealth" became the permanent foundation of our present 
system. It created ten Common Pleas Districts now grown with 
the greatness of the Commonwealth, to forty-nine. The 
counties of Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Delaware were 
formed into a new district, called the seventh. The Act also 
called for the appointment of a judge learned in the law, and 
two associates in each new district. It is a noteworthy fact that 
Bucks county has always retained the designation of the 
"seventh" district. 

Bird Wilson was appointed to the position of President Judge 
of this district, then the second in importance in the State. He 
was twenty-nine years old — younger than any of his suc- 
cessorij upon coming to the bench. Henry P. Ross, the next 
youngest, was thirty-two years old. But Judge Ross was a 
tried, successful and able lawyer, with a very large practice 
in the nisi prins court, while Judge Wilson had httle experience, 
and had probably never tried a case. His appointment, there- 
fore, illustrates the great decision of character and confidence 
in his own judgment of Governor McKean. He undoubtedly 
believed that Mr. Wilson possessed the qualifications to make 
a good judge, and trusted to time to make good his opinion. 
There may have been other circumstances to influence the ap- 
pointment, such as the distinguished services of James Wilson, the 
father of the appointee, and the unusual advantages which the 
young man had possessed to become learned in the science of the 

A sketch of James Wilson will be found in the "Encyclopaedia 
Americana." He was one of the most prominent and influential 
men who took part in the formation of our present National 
government. By some he was regarded the ablest. 

He was born near St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1742, and passed 
from the university at that ])lace to those of Glasgow and Edin- 


burg. He came to America about 1763 and taught in the college 
at Philadelphia. He and William (afterwards Bishop) White, 
were intimate friends, and in 1768 wrote in company some 
essays called "The Visitant." He studied law with John Dick- 
inson and moved to Reading, where he probably married his 
wife, Miss Bird, after whose family the town of Birdsboro, is 
called. He practiced law there for a time, and then moved to 
Carlisle. Eventually he returned to Philadelphia, and soon at- 
tained very high rank in his profession. In 1774 he wrote a 
pamphlet on "The Authority of the British Parliament," which 
was much praised. He was a colonel of militia and a member 
of the Provincial Convention. 

As a member of the Continental Congress of 1775, he won re- 
pute as a scholar and debater. He signed the Declaration 
of Independence July 4, 1776. The next year he was a com- 
missioner to treat with the Indians. By defending certain Tor- 
ies and merchants who refused to lower their prices to a scale 
imposed in popular resolutions, he became very unpopular. On 
October 4, 1779, a mob attacked his house with cannon ; he and 
his friends defended it ; the city troop came to his aid, and blood 
was shed. He was Advocate General of France in the United 
States. He was long the acknowledged head of the bar of the 
city and State, and his gains were very large. He was a direc- 
tor of the Bank of North America ; agent for the State in the 
Connecticut controversy : again a leading member of Congress 
in 1782-1786. 

In the convention of 1787 he was "the best read lawyer," and 
chairman of the committee which reported the Constitution, Aug- 
ust 6. 

Washington said that "the convention was made up of the 
wisest men in America" and that "among the wisest was James 
Wilson." High praise to a young man of 45. At the State 
convention to consider the adoption of the Constitution, he 
lauded it as "the best form of government ever offered to "the 
world :" and, in the ceremonies which celebrated its adoption 
delivered in the State House a memorable address. Washing- 
ton appointed him in October, 1789, one of the first judges of 
the Supreme Court of the United States, and personally wrote 


him a highly complimentary letter. In one of his decisions 
he asserted the sovereignty of the Nation. He was elected in 
1786 a member of the learned Philosophical Society of Phila- 
delphia. He received in 1790 the first appointment as Professor 
of Law at the City College, which in 1792 was united with the 
University of Pennsylvania, and delivered three courses of lec- 
tures. His practice, chietiy in the admiralty courts, was very 
remunerative, but large as were his gains, they were swallowed 
up by tl^e land speculations then so disastrously rife. He be- 
came involved, iiud to avoid arrest for debt exchanged circuits 
with a Southern colleague, Judge Iredell. He died at Edenton, 
N. C, August 28, 1798, aged 56 years, of over-work and anxiety. 
Professor McMasters goes so far as to say he died "a broken- 
hearted fugitive from justice." But a calmer judgment will 
hardly hold that the avoidance of a debtor's prison constituted 
one a fugitive. Experience has taught that imprisonment for 
simple debt is unjust and will not avail to collect a claim.* 

His son. Bird Wilson, was born at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 
January 8, 1777. It is said of his early youth that he then 
displayed the same indoor sort of character which marked his 
riper years. Rather than go out to engage in play with his com- 
panions, he found pleasure in the immediate society of his par- 
ents. To him alone was accorded the privilege of having his 
books and playthings in his father's ofifice, as also of being the 
constant companion of his father, even when called on in con- 
sultation in matters of business, the details of which were strictly 
confidential. He graduated from the University of Pennsyl- 
vania in 1792, at the very early age of fifteen years. He at 
once began the study of law and was admitted to practice at 
the Philadelphia bar, March 13, 1797. He was appointed to a 
responsible position in the office of the Commissioner of Bank- 
ruptcy. It is not known that he ever actually engaged in the active 
practice of the law ; in fact, it is asserted, by a near friend, that 
he never tried a case before a jury. The same person assures 
us that he had not a single element of the popular orator. Wc 

* He was buried in North Carolina. In igo6 Justice Wilson's remains were removed 
to Pliilarieliiliia, and reinterred at Christ Church g;routids. Philadelphia, beside his wife 
and son, amid noHble ceremonies, in which distinguished representatives of the Nation 
and State participated. 


are assured, however, that he had made himself a master of the 
law as a science, and was entirely familiar with its great leading 
principles. His opinions show this ; and his writings and ad- 
dresses indicate that he was a clear reasoner and capable mas- 
ter of the language in which he registered his thoughts. That 
he was thoroughly learned and of great promise, when ap- 
pointed to the bench, goes without saying, to anyone who has 
studied the character of Governor McKean. 

Bird Wilson was educated, and came to the bar, enveloped 
in an atmosphere of legal learning. Philadelphia was then 
the great centre of law and all that pertained to it in America. 
Besides all the law courts of the State, the Supreme and Dis- 
trict Courts of the United States were located there. In the 
office of his distinguished father, first a leader of the bar and 
afterwards a member of the highest court in the country, the 
young man who, as a boy, had been the companion of his father, 
met and doubtless received the attentions, almost paternal, of 
such men as John Jay, Oliver Ellsworth, John Rutledge, Wil- 
liam Gushing, William Tilgman, Edward Shippen and Jasper 
Yeates. There, no doubt, the haughty, stern, clear-sighted and 
self-willed Thomas McKean had come to admire the quiet, un- 
obstrusive, gentle and scholarly young man so dififerent in dis- 
position from himself. No doubt the interest of these great 
men, the friends of his deceased and unfortunate father, had 
something to do with the appointment. It was, besides, the age 
of young men all over the world — of Napoleon, of Pitt and of 

Mr. Wilson was appointed President Judge of this district on 
February 28, 1806, and immediately commissioned by the Gov- 
ernor at Lancaster, then the seat of government. He first took 
his seat upon the bench in this county at Newtown, on May 5. 
Judge Wilson's first case was the Com. vs. Joseph Black, charged 
with horse-stealing, who was convicted and sentenced to under- 
go an imprisonment at labor for nine years and give further 
surety for five years. The terms of the surety were such as to 
insure virtually an imprisonment for the entire 14 years. In 
those days prisoners were not allowed an abatement equal to 
about one-third the term, as now. This and other punishments 


inflicted by Judge Wilson, indicate that notwithstanding his 
mild and gentle disposition, he was a vigorous administrator 
of the criminal law. 

By. way of comparison we refer to another case which was 
tried twenty years before in the same court-house. John Hough 
was convicted of stealing a mare and was sentenced to pay 
forty pounds "and on Saturday following to be stood in the 
pillory one hour, be publicly whipped 39 lashes, have his ears 
cut off and nailed to the pillory and be imprisoned six months," 
probably to give his ears time to heal. The courts of this 
county have never been very partial to horse thieves. 

In a memorial published by Rev. W. White Bronson, the 
statement is made that throughout his entire judicial career, 
Judge Wilson was not reversed by the Appellate Court. I would 
prefer that this assertion might stand to the credit of the good 
man, but to permit it would do violence to the truth of history. 
The State reports show that of the 22 reported cases appealed 
from him during his term, he was reversed in eleven ; in two 
he was affirmed by a divided court ; and, in one other affirmed 
case, the Supreme Court held he had committed error in favor 
of the plaintiff in error. 

Sterritt vs. Bull, ist, Binney 234, is the first reported of his 
cases reversed in the Supreme Court. It must have excited mixed 
feelings of triumph and disappointment in the breast of the 
young judge. In it two disputed questions arose upon the ad- 
mission of evidence. In the first instance Judge Wilson admitted 
the evidence and sealed a bill of exceptions, in the other he wa<; 
opposed to admitting the testimony, but the associate judges 
overruled him and sealed a bill of exceptions. The case was 
appealed by Thomas Ross, a distinguished lawyer of that day 
and a cousin of Judge Ross. The Supreme Court reversed both 
decisions. The case illustrates the embarrassments under which 
the new Court commenced. 

The Quakers of Pennsylvania did not favor lawyers, and 
originally organized their courts with the idea of excluding 
them altogether. But as incongruous and arbitrary decisions 
and judgments developed the importance of having, in the con- 
duct of legal affairs, as in every other business, the best skilled 

HON. BIRD WILSON, D.D., hh-D. 93 

agents, the barriers against the legal profession were gradually 
broken down, so that lawyers or friends of the parties were per- 
mitted to appear at trials and advise the judges. But prior to 
1791 the laymen maintained themselves, alone, as judges in the 
local courts. As a result, many of the local justices, such as 
Wynkoop, Murray and Hutchinson, were well informed in. t\vi 
ordinary and common rules of practice of the law. The Act of 
1806, which reduced the number of associates to two, was a 
severe blow to the power of the lay judges, in matters purely of 
law. Yet they jealously resisted what they regarded as an ag- 
gression upon their prerogatives. It was not surprising, there- 
fore, that Judge Wilson's associates, considering their own years 
of experience and his inexperience, in the trial of cases in the 
courts, should have disregarded the opinion of the young lawyer 
and asserted their own power. The first division in the court re- 
sulted in a drawn battle ; but the blow to their vanity, which the as- 
sociates received from the Supreme Court, seems to have inspired 
such respect for their president that we do not again read of their 
overruling him upon legal questions. He also won the devotion 
and respect of the very able lawyers who practiced in his court, 
as well as of the general community. 

In a conversation with the late Hon. Henry Chapman in Octo- 
ber, 1890, he gave me his impressions of Judge Wilson, whom 
he remembered well. He said : "He was a model judge, learned, 
polished, affable and pleasant. Although modest, he possessed 
sufficient fire and vigor to maintain order in the court-room." 
He also stated that he distinctly remembered an incident when 
he was present in court, as a youth. Mr. Conda, Mr. Hanna 
and, he thought, Mr. Swift "became very warm during the trial 
of a case. Judge Wilson interrupted them and said: 'Gentle- 
men, I do not object to your language, but the manner of your 
speech is not respectful to the Court.' Thereupon the case pro- 
ceeded in an orderly manner ; and every one must have been im- 
pressed, as I was, with the dignity and urbanity of the mild ap- 
pearing judge." It was not in Judge Wilson's nature to be- 
come a demonstrative partisan. He was, however, a man of 
deep political convictions. But in office, he was a respecter and 
an adherent of the view of decorum observed bv Governor 


McKean, Judge Tilgman and other strong partisan lawyers of 
his day — that in the discharge of judicial duties personal or po- 
litical prejudices, feelings or opinions, should not be permitted to 
have any influence. Upon his retirement from the bench, the 
West Chester Village Record, the opposition paper of that county, 
commended him "for his liberality in not making, in his appoint- 
ments, a devotion to particular political tenets an indispensable 
requisite to promotion." He was judge here at the time the pubhc 
buildings were removed from Newtown to Doylestown. and so 
conducted himself in that period of local contention as to escape 
animadversion. He lived at Norristown during his incumbency 
of the bench. His residence was on the eminence east of the 
town, his mansion occupying the site of Oakland Female In- 
stitute. During the same period he was chiefly instrumental 
in organizing the parish of St. John's church, Norristown, and 
in erecting the church edifice there, begun in 1813. He was a 
warden of the parish for many years, as well as a delegate from 
it to the annual convention of the diocese. As a consequence 
of the dependence of his father's family upon him, he never 
married, but provided for the wants of his three brothers and 
two sisters, and succeeded in making adequate provision for 
them and acquiring besides a handsome estate. 

On the first of January, 1818, Judge Wilson, then forty-one 
years old, resigned his commission as judge, to enter ti.e min- 
istry of the Episcopal church. Of the causes which led to this 
determination we are left, somewhat, to conjecture. On the one 
hand, it has been asserted that disappointment and disgust at the 
reversal of his judgments, particularly "the White Marsh Church 
case," caused his retirement. By others it is ascribed to his 
unwillingness to sentence the murderer John H. Craig, "tried and 
convicted before him," it being asserted that, "upon the trial 
some painful, harrowing scenes were witnessed, almost con- 
vulsing even the agonized spectators ; and, as a matter of course, 
making a deep impression upon the judge, whose native refine- 
ment and delicate kindness of heart no one who had ever known 
him could ever possibly mistake." 

His connection, if any, with the case of Craig, was such 
merely as may have occurred at a formal hearing and com- 




Portraits of all Bucks county judges from is.si to igoi), except Arthur G. Olmstead, (addi- 
tional law judge 1.S71-1.S72), whose portrait we were unable to get. Henry P. Ross was the 
first additional law judge under the Act of iSdg. He assumed office December 1st of that 
year, and was promoted to the president judgeship in iSyi. He removed to Montgomery 
county in 1S73, where he served until his death, April 13, 1SS2. Stokes L,. Roberts succeeded 
Judge Olmstead as additional law judge, he .served from December 1,1872, to January i, 
1873. Richard Watson succeeded Judge Roberts as additional law judge in 1S73, and became 
president judge in 1S74, when Judge Ross removed to Norristown. 

{.For portraits of other judges of Bucks county, see page 82. ) 


mitment for trial. Neither were the circumstances such as to 
excite the degree of sympathy and timidity claimed, in the 
mind of one, who, as the records show, had always been stern 
and inflexible in administering the law. John H. Craig, a drunken 
blacksmith, waylaid and shot Edward Hunter, Esq., who had 
written the will of his father-in-law. He was arrested and dis- 
charged, and afterwards, upon his own confession, re-arrested 
and committed for trial. 

His case did not come up for trial until nearly four months 
after Judge Wilson's resignation had been accepted by the 
Governor ; and no such reason was given in that resignation. 
The case was called for trial before his successor, Hon. John 
Ross, Tuesday April 14, 1818, and lasted until Saturday night. 
The jury was charged by Judge Ross, remained out about an 
hour and returned with a verdict of guilty. The proof seems 
to have been so plain that so good a lawyer as Edward Tilgman 
did not deem it worth while to file a motion for a new trial, and 
the court immediately imposed the sentence of death. A con- 
temporary account in the Village Record of April 22 and 2Q, 
says the proof was "so full and clear as to leave no possible 
room for doubt," and the conduct of Craig was "very hardened 
and unfeeling." The trial "presented a complete history of the 
operations of a mind, conceiving, plotting and executing a hor- 
rid murder, afterwards laboring under the weight of guilt, 
in flight, in temporary security, arrested, discharged after an 
examination, confessing to a friend, and again arrested and com- 
mitted to custody." Although "every individual on the jury 
took the affirmation, they agreed upon their verdict in about one 

Judge Wilson's resignation is endorsed as accepted on January 
I, I St 8. Judge Ross, his successor, was commissioned January 
13. Hunter was killed July 19, 1817. Craig fled and escaped 
to Northampton county. The sheriff of that county passed 
through Doylestown with him in custody on Friday, September 
12. He was taken to Media, and finally, in October, committed 
for trial. While Judge Wilson was reversed in the case of 
Mather vs. Trinity Church, 3 S. & R., 508, there was no case 
tried before him over the White Marsh church, with which he 


was connected, and which he could not have tried had it existed. 
Therefore, there can be Httle foundation in that alleged reason. 
I conclude from the prompt acceptance of the resignation, the 
almost immediate appointment of the new judge, and the date 
(the beginning of the year), that it was a step which, for a 
considerable time had been contemplated and understood as 
to occur at that time. 

From a careful study of Judge Wilson's character, we must 
believe that his resignation of the judgeship, was the result 
of a deliberate and conscientious determination that he had per- 
formed his full duty in his office, and that a more congenial field 
of labor and usefulness was open to him, rather than a weak 
desertion of a most distressing duty, the probability of perform- 
ing which, in the then condition of society, he must have contem- 
plated when he took office. I am not willing to believe he 
would have accepted a public position with a mental reserva- 
tion to escape its most solemn duty. 

He might retire from his high office, which he held for a 
longer period than any of his successors, with honor and pro- 
found satisfaction even. He had assumed it without experience 
and with the serious misg-ivings, natural to one of his disposi- 
tion, of his own ability to fill it, observing the want of confidence, 
in him, of his associates and, no doubt, of the able bar over which 
he presided. He had organized and set in smooth working order 
the new court, so perfectly and satisfactorily that hardly a 
material change has been made in the methods of transacting 
the public business in the long period of seventy-five years ; in 
fact, it has been found wise to return to some of the safeguards 
against mistakes created by him and temporarily departed from 
He wisely abolished the foolish and showy forms of procedure 
and retained the useful ones; and since he took his seat in the 
court, 87 years ago, the records have ceased to be burdened with 
orders displaying a pompous assumption of dignity by the court. 
He had been a laborious, studious, prompt and conscientious 
official, trying his cases with firmness and ability, and had won 
from his superiors the highest testimonials to his character as a 
judge. The reported cases, appealed from him, show that many 
new and intricate questions were considered and decided by 


him, and his position was argued with such ability and learn- 
ing that in a majority of the cases where he was reversed one of 
the three Supreme Judges dissented from his colleagues and 
agreed with him : a high complement to his ability and the best 
evidence of the difficulties of the questions involved. 

His district was a hard one, requiring much time and atten- 
tion to keep up with the business ; yet from the time he took 
his seat the complaints, before so common, ceased. His official 
labors and the chaotic condition of his father's affairs, of whose 
estate he was executor, had given him little rest and even 
at his youthful time of life had inclined him to long for quiet 
retirement from distracting public duties. He retired from the 
bench, honored and respected by all, and left a record for learn- 
ing, purity and superior judicial conduct which has justly excited 
the emulation of all his successors. 

It is reserved to but few men to successfully pursue, in the 
learned professions, first one public career, reaping the high- 
est honors, to close and round it out, and then to enter upon a 
second career in the line of another profession, completing it 
with equal honor and success, before retiring from the activities 
of life. Such was the fortune vouchsafed to Judge Wilson. 
More than this, he was a prolific writer and successful author 
in law and theology. 

In 1803 he published an edition of his father's works, in- 
cluding his law lectures, in 3 volumes ; about the same time a 
work on real property, and after his elevation to the bench he 
edited "An Abridgment of the Law," in 7 volumes. As a 
churchman, besides his elaborate memorial to Bishop White, 
which included a complete history of the church in America, he 
wrote and published several learned papers upon doctrinal ques- 
tions. Bishop White, of the Episcopal church of Pennsylvania, 
had been his father's boyhood companion and friend and his 
own lifelong adviser, and having abandoned the law with his 
resignation of the judicial office, Judge Wilson devoted him- 
self to preparation for the ministry, studying under the direc- 
tion of the bishop. He was admitted by that learned prelate as a 
deacon in Christ's church, on the 12th of March, 1819, and as a 
priest about a year afterwards. 


On the 3rd of May, 1820, Bishop White announced the death 
of Rev. Thomas P. May, rector of St. John's church, Norris- 
town, and of St. Thomas' church, White Marsh, and said to the 
convocation, that, "as an alleviation to the loss which these 
parishes had sustained there was one residing within their 
bounds, the Rev. Bird Wilson, recently ordained but long known 
among them for his able and faithful discharge of the duties of 
a highly responsible office in the judiciary department, and who 
without delay was chosen and settled as their pastor." 

This was the first and only rectorship held by Judge Wilson 
during his entire clerical life. It lasted but about two years. 
Of his manner in the chancel, one who knew him well, Rev. W. 
White Bronson says "He was not what is known as a popular 
preacher. He had none of the so-called graces of oratory. His 
voice, never strong, made it often necessary that the fixed and 
undivided attention of his hearers should be given. His manner 
was quiet, dignified and impressive." 

In 1 82 1 Judge Wilson received the degree of Doctor of Divin- 
ity from the University of Pennsylvania. He did not long re- 
main at Norristown. "His reputation for learning and stead- 
fastness of character transplanted him to a broader and far more 
useful field of Christian work." The General Theological Sem- 
inary had been established at New Haven, Connecticut ; and at a 
meeting of the trustees held on the 24th of July, 1821, Dr. Wilson 
was appointed to the chair of systematic divinity and accepted. 
The seminary was united with a diocesan school in New York 
and the new institution located at New York. At the first 
meeting of the trustees, held December 19, 1821, Dr. Wilson 
was reappointed to the same chair. He filled the duties of this 
position with great ability and success for nearly thirty years, 
contributing his aid in the erection of the seminary building, 
begun in 1825, and of the chapel of St. Peter's connected there- 
with, which was afterwards succeeded by the large parish church 
of the same name. 

In 1825, in consideration of the advanced age of Bishop White, 
who had reached his 80th year, it was deemed advisable to elect 
an assistant bishop in the diocese of Pennsylvania. The bishop 
consented and a special convention was called for the purpose. 


It convened on October 25, in St. Peter's church, Philadelphia. 
There was a question whether particular parties were canonically 
resident in the diocese, and therefore, entitled to vote. The seat 
of Dr. Wilson was disputed on the ground that he was a pro- 
fessor in the seminary in New York ; but the Committee on Cre- : 
dentials reported that, "while his duties there are of a public 
and official character, he has in no way changed his residence 
or ceased to be a resident of Pennsylvania." 

The candidates were Rev. Bird Wilson D. D. and Rev. Wil-. 
Ham Meade, of Virginia, afterwards bishop of that diocese. Dr. 
Wilson cast a blank vote. The tellers announced that Rev. Wil- 
liam Meade had received 27 votes and the Rev. Dr. Wilson 26 
votes. It was suggested, it is said, by Hon. Joseph R. Inger- 
soll, that a majority of the members had not voted for ary 
candidate. The tellers made a supplemental report, from which 
it appeared, "there were 54 clerical members present and that 
one of them had declined to vote," which vote being counted 
rendered it a tie ; upon which Bishop White announced "that 
there was no constitutional vote for any candidate." 

The convention then adjourned. At a subsequent meeting at 
Harrisburg, May 8, 1827, Dr. Wilson was again urged to allow 
his name to be used as a candidate ; but he peremptorily declin- 
ed, and Henry U. Onderdonk, D. D., was elected. The contest 
in the first convention gave rise to a great deal oi excitement : 
and when, upon the adjournment, Bishop White was asked if he 
would again reconvene a convention, replied he would not. He 
afterward said : "J\Iy reason for the limitation arose from the 
excitement of feelings which I had perceived to be produced ; 
and out of occurrences which my mind could not reconcile to the 
integrity of ecclesiastical proceedings, such as I never before wit- 
nessed in our church, and concerning which I was resolved, 
chat if there should be a continuance of them no act of mine 
should contribute to it." From the circumstance that it w ;is felt 
that the venerable Bishop White preferred Dr. Wilson as his 
assistant, although he could not be induced to express a wish, 
there is little doubt that the convention was controlled into dis- 
regarding what would seem a natural consideration for him as- 
well as the great worth and superior qualifications of Dr. Wilson 


through the warm feehng which then prevailed between high 
and low churchmen. It was the intemperate feeling of the latter 
which led to the bishop's severe strictures. His expressions fur- 
nish convincing proof that although advanced in years, the great 
prelate had lost none of his mental vigor. 

In 1829 Dr. Wilson was '^lected Secretary of the House of 
Bishops of the United States, and served in that capacity until 
1841, when he declined a re-election. Bishop White died July 
I/', 1836, at the advanced age of 89 years. Dr. Wilson was se- 
lected by his family and the unanimous action of the clergy to 
write his life. It was said to be "pre-eminently the most fitting 
choice ; for he bore, himself, a most striking resemblance to him 
whom he thus worthily commemorated." 

. His memoir of Bishop White was published in 1839. It and 
his other writings upon church subjects gave him a high standing 
as an ecclesiastical scholar and disputant. 

In 1844, owing to some charges to the effect that some of 
the students in the seminary were receiving encouragement in 
"superstitious or Romish practices," Dr. Wilson, as Dean, pre- 
pared a report on "certain cases of discipline," which had great 
influence in clearing the institution of unpleasant imputations. 
While reading this paper to the faculty, he suddenly became so 
confused as to be obliged, for a short space of time, to suspend 
the reading. The attack, which soon abated, was the first 
warning to him of failing health. In his final illness a cele- 
brated physician expressed the opinion that the inception of his 
disease, softening of the brain, might be dated from that mo- 
ment. It was said that "nothing that had ever occurred to him in 
the whole course of a long life, was known to prey upon and 
depress his spirits, as did this period of deep anxiety which af- 
fected the character of the institution over which he presided and 
had done so much to build up." On the 28th of June, 1848, he 
handed his resignation to the Board of Trustees. A unanimous 
and most flattering request was at once made by the Trustees that 
he would withdraw the paper, which he did. Two years later, he 
again pressed his resignation which was finally accepted in 1850. 
The honor of Professor Emeritus was conferred on him by the 


In 1855 the Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania elected 
him a member of the Trustees of the Seminary, but he declined 
the position. On October 7, 1845, the degree of Doctor of Laws 
was conferred upon him by Columbia College, New York. In 
informing him of this honor the Board, who unanimously voted 
the honorary degree, say: "It is the first time in a long series 
of years in which the board have conferred this degree on a 
clergyman being a D. D. But in your case, from your character 
and extensive attainments and your eminent services in the cause 
of religion and learning, there was no hesitancy in departing 
from the general practice." 

After the resignation of his professorship. Dr. Wilson passed 
about six years in quiet study and in friendly social relations 
with his numerous friends. He was then again attacked with 
the fatal disease of which he had received a warning eleven 
years before. It was that terrible malady, softening of the brain, 
and continued its course three years "with many alternations and 
varieties of intensity," his mind at times being very seriously af- 
fected. At length he was relieved from the misery and terror 
which sufferers from that fearful disease endure. He died 
quietly and calmly on Thursday, April 14, 1859, aged 83 years. 
Rev. W. White Bronson, to whom I am indebted for much infor- 
mation, has fittingly commemorated his services, especially in the 
church, in a memorial published in 1864. From the grandson of 
the distinguished founder of the Episcopal church in America, it 
is a delicate and an appropriate testimonial of the intimate rela- 
tion between two families which, begun in the boyhood of 
Bishop White and Judge James Wilson, has uninterruptedly 
continued for a century and a quarter. 

Of the six children of James Wilson, only one, Mary, ever 
married. She became the wife of Paschall Hollingsworth and 
had one child, Miss Emily Hollingsworth, who is the last sur- 
vivor of the family of James Wilson. She is unmarried and re- 
sides with Mr. Bronson. In a few short years, at most, naught 
will be left save the history of their imperishable deeds to keep 
green the memory of James and Bird Wilson, both of whom 
played a prominent and often difficult part in laying the 
foundations of Pennsylvania's admirable system of laws. 


A word about Judge Wilson's habits. It was said that he was 
strictly methodical and was accustomed to walk five miles every 
day regardless of the weather, and almost always over the same 
course ; that he possessed an uncommonly high toned spirit, 
coupled with inflexible firmness and decision. It "was utterly 
impossible to move him from aught suggested by reason, con- 
science or a high sense of duty, but hastiness or impatience he 
had never been known to exhibit." 

There is a fine portrait of him at the Episcopal Seminary, New 
York, executed in oil by the artist Huntington ; a well executed 
copy of it is in the court-house, at Doylestown. 

His funeral was held in St. Peter's church, New York, whence 
his remains were taken to Philadelphia and deposited, while 
appropriate services were conducted before the altar of Christ 
church, where he had received his commission "to break the 
bread of eternal life." He is buried in the grounds belonging 
to Christ church, at the corner of Arch and Fifth streets. The 
chapel at the Episcopal hospital, Philadelphia, was erected by 
his niece to his memory. 

The Blackfans in England and America. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 17, 1S93). 

Among the many friends and counselors of William Penn, the 
Great Founder of our Commonwealth, was Edward Blackfan who 
was bound to him also by ties of kinship, and whose name is 
mentioned frequently in the records of the Province and the let- 
ters of William Penn. Edward Blackfan, whose descendants 
still reside in Bucks county, was the son of John Blackfan, of 
Stenning, Sussex county, England. The Blackfans were among 
the early converts to Quakerism, and both the Penn and Blackfan 
families attended the meetings at Ifield. They were connected 
through the Crispins, as Edward Blackfan's wife, Rebecca, was 
William Penn's first cousin, her father and Admiral Penn hav- 
ing married sisters. 

It is not strange that the ties of consanguinity and of a like 


faith should grow into that warmth of friendship and confidence 
which was displayed in the letters of the Proprietary during the 
last five years of Edward's life. The Blackfans seemed to have 
suffered like many others of that period for their religious faith. 
John Blackfan was fined several times for refusing to attend 
worship or pay tithes, and was also imprisoned and finally ex- 
communicated. The marriage certificate of Edward Blackfan 
and Rebecca Crispin is dated 8-mo., 24th, 1688. The marriage 
took place at Ifield Friends' Aleeting, and was witnessed by Wil- 
liam Penn, his wife, son and daughter. The marriage certificate 
is in possession of my father, William C. Blackfan, and is in a 
good state of preservation. 

The last account of Edward fJlackfan was in a letter to Rich- 
ard Morris, dated at London, 1689, containing an order pro- 
claiming William and Mary, King and Queen of England, France 
and Ireland. Here all record ends, but tradition tells us, that he 
had purchased or obtained grants from Penn, of certain valuable 
lands in Pennsylvania, with the intention of emigrating to 
America ; his plans could not be carried out, as he was taken 
sick and died; this was probably in 1699. It is to be regretted 
that his papers became lost or destroyed. About one year after 
his death, in 1700, his widow, Rebecca, with her infant son Wil- 
liam, came to America, where she was kindly received at Penns- 
bury by her kinsman, taking charge of the Proprietary's house. 

When the son William became of age, he received by deed of 
gift from Thomas and William Penn, a tract of 500 acres of land 
in Solebury township. The original deed is said to be in a good 
state of preservation, and is in the possession of the family of 
Og"den Blackfan, of Trenton. 

In 1 72 1 William married Elinor Wood, of Philadelphia, and 
settled in Solebury township. Many prominent names appear on 
the certificate of their marriage, including those of the Mayor, 
Surveyor-general, Provincial-commissioner, and Attorney-gener- 
al ; they had six children, Crispin (named for his grandmother's 
family), Elizabeth, Rebekah, Sarah, William and Hannah. Soon 
after her son's marriage, Rebecca, widow of Edward, married 
Nehemiah Allen, a prominent citizen of Philadelphia, and a 
member of the City Council. At William's death the 500-acre 


tract of land in Solebury was divided, Crispin taking the western 
half, and William Jr. the eastern half. 

Crispin married Martha Davis and had nine children, one son 
Edward, and eight daughters. Edward married Mary Smith and 
had four children, of whom three were sons, Crispin, Samuel and 
Joseph. Crispin married and settled in Trenton, where his son's 
family still reside. Samuel married Elizabeth, daughter of Moses 
Eastburn. After his death the homestead was sold and passed 
out of the family name. It is now owned by Charles Atkinson. 
Joseph studied medicine and settled at Radnor, Delaware county. 
His descendants live at Norristown. 

William, fourth child of William and Elinor, married Esther 
Dawson, daughter of Thomas Dawson, granddaughter of John 
Dawson. The Dawson property lay two miles west of New Hope 
and consisted of 500 acres of land. It was deeded to John Daw- 
son in 1 7 19, by Ralph Jackson and Francis Harding. This prop- 
erty was left by Thomas Dawson to his grandsons, John and 
Thomas Blackfan. The original deed is the only one ever made 
and is still in possession of the Blackfan family. William and 
Esther had six children. Of the sons, Thomas died unmarried; 
Jesse married Jane Defifendorf, of New York; William died in 
1796 and his wife in 1806; John married Martha Quinby, of 
New Jersey, and settled upon the estate his grandfather left him, 
near New Hope. He died in 1806, leaving one son, John, born 
in 1799. His widow, Martha, afterwards married Dr. Isaac 

John Blackfan married Elizabeth R. Chapman, of Wrights- 
town, in 1821, and settled in Solebury at his father's house. 
This house was burned in 1835, nearly everything in it being de- 
stroyed. He built the present house, not far from the old site. 
They had four children who grew to maturity, Hetty Ann, Wil- 
liam C, George C. and Martha C. Hetty Ann married George 
Watson and died in 1867. William C. married Elizabeth Ely, of 
Philadelphia, and lives upon the Solebury farm. George C. 
married Lavinia Worstall, of Newtown, and lives there. Martha 
married George Watson and lives in Philadelphia. John Black- 
fan's wife, Elizabeth, died in 1856, and in 1864 he married 
Francenia Ely, of Buckingham, and moved to Yardley, where he 
died in 1878. 


Many old deeds, certificates and wills remain in our possession, 
together with the bibles of John Dawson, printed 1613, and 
Elinor Wood Blackfan printed in 1758. An old che?t-of-drawers, 
brought from England, 1700; a clock made in 1792, by Seneca 
Lukens, maker of the state-house clock; an old chair or two, 
some silver, etc., are all that remain of their personal property ; 
some was destroyed by fire and some scattered among the fami- 
lies of the numerous daughters. Such is the record of the des- 
cendants of the staunch old Quaker whom William Penn called 
cousin and honored with his friendship and confidence. There 
have been no statesmen or politicians among them, but they have 
led upright and blameless lives and their descendants are proud 
of an inheritance, which, if it bring no great wealth or fame, 
brings what is held to be better than great riches, a good name. 

The Bristol Pike. 

(Menlo Park, Perkasie Meeting, July i8, 1893). 

Near Frankford creek lies Chalkley Hall, where the pious 
preacher among Friends, Thomas Chalkley, retired from busi- 
ness cares for rest and quiet and where in after years the poet 
Whittier was a guest, and concerning which he wrote a delight- 
ful poem. 

Wain grove is just across the creek and we are reminded 
that the Wains owned a thousand acres around Frankfort. 

On Church street the Presbyterian church of Dr. Murphy, 
the historian of the Log College, reminds us that early Swiss 
settlers found a religious home there. 

An old summer-house on the Wamrath place which Editor 
France is trying to preserve (in a new resting place) is said to 
have been the spot where the Declaration of Independence was 
planned, or at least where Jefferson and other Congressmen 
came on the afternoon of the day of signing the Declaration. 
There was once a hotel on the place. 

The ancient hotel, the "JoHy Post," tells of a day when a 
stage horn and fiery steeds and hungry passengers passed that 

io6 the; BRISTOL pike; 

way. The "Allen House" a little above it, calls to mind a 
splendid entertainment to Lafayette when that hero revisited 
this grateful land. Editor Axe has well described the scene. 

We now approach the point of rocks noted in Col. McLane's 
dangerous experience under a British pursuit. Cedar Hill and 
North Cedar Hill cemeteries have chosen this beautiful spot, 
and thousands of silent sleepers lie in this city of the dead. 
Let us look on these massive tombs and remember the Anglo- 
Saxon lines translated by Longfellow : 

" For thee was a house built. 
Before thou wast born." 

We look at a house before we enter it. The narrow house 
appointed for all the living awaits us, but if we die in Christ 
the blooming flowers on the graves are as the early Christian 
poet Prudentius sings, but types of a renewed life. The burial 
service gives St. Paul's assurance that what is sown in corrup- 
tion shall be raised in incorruption, and the clergyman in pass- 
ing casts a thought on those whom he has here laid to rest over 
whose graves have echoed the blessed words of the Saviour. 

" I am the Resurrection and the Life." 

" On the cold cheek of death smiles and roses are blending, 
And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb." 

Near the cemetery is the Cornelius place. At its entrance 
is a house, some parts of which may have composed a portion 
of the old rectory of Trinity Episcopal church, Oxford, in Pro- 
vincial days when the parson could live miles from his church 
and try to cultivate a glebe, but it is hard to raise chickens and 
catechumens together. Mr. Cornelius was one of the earliest 
to experiment in photography in this country. 

Tacony is the seat of the Disston saw works known over the 
world, also of the iron and metal company, whose bronze 
statue of Penn draws the gaze of thousands in Philadelphia. 

The Forest Home above was a splendid gift of the great 
actor to the poorer brethren and sisters of his profession. 

Holmesburg is a pretty and thriving town of which the Wash- 
ington hotel was the centre ; the village once bore the name of 
Washington. A later Holme family may have given name to 
the town, but a monument to Thomas Holme, the Surveyor Gen- 


eral of Pennsylvania is in a graveyard on the Bustleton railroad 
at Ashton station. The good man left £4 which was the seed 
of the Lower Dublin Academy, and which now aids the Holmes- 
burg Free Library. U^his perpetual blessing should stimulate 
others to endow benevolent and Christian institutions that they 
may thus live in their works after they are dead. 

Passing Alexander Brown's place with its long avenue of 
splendid trees, we reach "Eleven-mile lane." On the river stood 
the old bake-house used for baking bread for the army in the 

The Fisher family, descended from General Morgan, have 
wisely preserved the name in their country seat. From this 
point for three miles up the Delaware is one of the finest sub- 
urbs in this or any other land. The magnificent country seats 
are directly on the broad river, and no public road intervenes. 
Here the tired business man may find true rest. Wordsworth 
says : 

"The world is too much with us ; late and soon 
Getting and spending we la}- waste our powers." 

Hence we need to recuperate them and Archbishop Trench 
puts enjoyment in a word thus : 

" A little murmur in mine ear, 
A little ripple at my feet." 

So nature or rather the God of nature soothes the man who is 
indeed yet a tired child. 

Vancouver once spent some time in an old white wooden 
house with green blinds on the river bank on Nelson Brown's 
place, which is called after the great navigator's name. 

Torresdale is now before us. Here was Risdon's red brick 
hotel, where young gentlemen of Philadelphia came to fish, and 
were conveyed in little boats to and from the vessels in the 
stream. Charles Macalester came and introduced the Scotch 
name Torresdale from the place of ancestral relatives in Scot- 
land ; Glengarry, named in like manner, was his own fine, large 
mansion at the mouth of the Poquessing, where of late years his 
daughter, Madame Laughton, dispensed a bounteous hospitality, 
having numbered Canon Farrar among her guests. Father and 
daughter are dead, and the empty house is lonely in its ample 


lawn. A brownstone Presbyterian church, clad with ivy, is the 
result of a bequest of Mr. Macalester. This gentleman was the 
orig-inator of the modern settlement, but Colonel Morrell has 
pushed it on to greater life. The Hopkins and Grant properties 
are absorbed into the Morelton Inn grounds, and various cot- 
tages shelter guests who desire privacy. Those who wish to see 
a yacht race can here behold the white-winged servants of the 
wind bending under their master's power, and struggling with 
the waves as Aeolus contends with Neptune for the mastery. 
The tally-ho also displays the rapid and beautiful steeds which 
enliven, the old turnpike, while Colonel Morrell's energy and 
benevolence have improved the roads, adding thus a high mark 
of civilization. 

On the hillside is the large and beautiful Academy of the 
Sacred Heart with its beautiful chapel, lately adorned and en- 
larged by the Drexel family. All Saints' church and rectory 
are close at hand. Here good Dr. Beasley served many a year 
as a pattern of a country parson. As we descend the hill, an 
old country school-house, no longer used as such, displays the 
simple mode in which our fathers spent their school-days. An 
old hipped-roof house on our left is the ancient home of the 
Hart family, who were ancestors of your worthy president. 
General Davis. An ancient graveyard opposite, given to the 
public by John Hart, contains some of the relatives of Dr. Rush. 
The family lived on the Parry place near by. 

The Old Red Lion Inn stands on the turnpike; it is a pictur- 
esque structure ; and the three-arched bridge over the Poquessing, 
on the Red Lion road, adds to the beauty of the scene. Here 
the Revolutionary army once encamped, and at the Yorktown 
anniversary a company again honored the place in the same 

On the river, Adolph Borie had his home, and the Secretary 
of the Navy under Grant, and the companion of his foreign 
travel, had his family name commemorated in a railroad station, 
though a late alteration has dropped that depot. 

Andalusia was the country seat of Nicholas Biddle, the 
financier and literary man. James S. Biddle and Judge Biddle 
now occupy it. The river bank for miles is lined with trees, 

the; BRISTOL PIKE 109 

which Sir John Lubbock tells us are more lasting than flowers 
in their leaves. He calls each tree a picture. The oak he styles 
"the type of strength, the sovereign of British trees." The 
chestnut with its "glossy leaves," and "delicious fruit" shows 
its durability in "the grand and historic roof of Westminster 
Abbey." The birch is named as "the queen of trees," and the 
beech enlivening the country with its greenness in spring, and 
its "glorious gold and orange in autumn" is not forgotten. 

Above the Biddle place is the Bickley mansion, now occu- 
pied by the gun club. In the carriage house stands an ancient 
coach like that of Washington. An aged lady of the family 
used to tell of the perilous trips to Philadelphia when the bays 
dragged the coach into the city making the sixteen miles in 
four hours, and observing the same rate in returning, while the 
thought of highwaymen gave zest to the journey. Those were 
days of early breakfasts and late suppers. 

On the turnpike at Andalusia is the Chapel of the Redeemer, 
and the King library founded by Dr. Charles R. King for the 
good of his neighbors. Above were Andalusia College and 
Potter Hall under the late energetic Rev. Dr. Wells. 

Cornwells was a half-way house between Philadelphia and 
Trenton. The Vandergrift graveyard is an ancient landmark 
here ; St. Elizabeth's noble school is here. 

At Eddington we glance at Christ Church and at the large 
Industrial School of St. Francis and ride by the pretty Presby- 
terian church beyond with its architectural tower, and look at 
Ford Inn at Bridgewater the scene of Dr. Beasley's poem on the 
gentle ghost of former times when a ford was used instead of a 

The Clock house on the river was so called because an upper 
window was shaped like the face of a clock, and for years a light 
shown in it at night to warn raftsmen and boatmen of rocks. 
The old mansion was the home of Dr. Rousseau. It now be- 
longs to the famous and ancient fishing club, the State in Schuyl- 
kill. The old Fish house once in the Park, and later at Gray's 
Ferry, has been moved here. This club for over a century has 
comprised some of the best known people in Philadelphia. Laf- 
ayette was an honorary member and is said to have done some 


cooking there. The gentlemen pride themselves on being able 
to cook their meals and fish are served by them with juicy 

Bristol College is at hand. Here Von Braam Houckgeist built 
China Hall and it is said that this distinguished man who had 
lived in China hung bells under the roof that the winds might 
make music as an Aeolian harp. An Episcopal College arose, 
and a large additional building was built. Here was afterward 
a Soldiers' Hospital, and a graveyard near at hand shows that 
some could no longer answer the roll call, and some empty seats 
at home kept up the thought that life is often freely given for 

Bristol with its factories looks backward as the story of the 
■glory of Bath Springs rivals that of Saratoga and the Old Quaker 
■Meeting and the graveyard of St. James' Episcopal Church speak 
loudly of the past. 

Let us go on to Morrisville. Here two great names meet ud, 
Morris and Moreau. As you leave your depot on the right 
beyond the Goodyear rubber works lies the Grove, which was 
the estate of the great financier of the Revolution, Robert Morris, 
who was a compeer of Washington and Franklin. The brick 
'Stables forming a part of the Goodyear buildings, and seen from 
the railway are said to have been built by him, when Govern- 
ment messages went from Philadelphia to New York by horses. 

The mansion here fell into the hands of Napoleon's General, 
the distinguished Moreau, of whom Dr. Turner has told you in 
a lecture. The dwelling was burned and the General lived in 
the large ferry house yet standing, and listened to the strange 
noises of the Trenton iron works. It is sad to walk in this grove, 
now being cut into lots, but long the resort of picnics, and to 
think of Morris, like Walter Scott, at Abbotsford, ruined by his 
unfinished palace on Chestnut street, and his land speculations 
and a dishonest partner. As Socrates and Plato mused and 
taught on the Cephissus, at Athens, so on the Delaware ^Hd he 
look over the past and the future, and as he was the husband 
of Mary White, the sister of Bishop White, let us hope that he 
had the faith of that good man and looked beyond the earthly 
river to the Heavenly Canaan. 

I'o which prisoners 


•ere transferred from Newtown May 13, 1813. 
3, 1SS5, and buildings demolished same year. 

Completed and occupied January 3, 1885. 

The Jails of Bucks County. 

(Menlo Park, Perkasie Meeting, July i8, 1893). 

The punishment of criminals is coeval with the human race. 
The first pair were violators of law, and experienced the evil con- 
sequences of their offense in expulsion from the Garden of Eden, 
their beautiful home, in the loss of innocency, sorrow, and the 
perpetuation of evil in their posterity. Ever since their day it 
has been necessary for the good of society to inflict some kind of 
penalty upon those, who disregard the rights of their fellow- 
men in the pursuit of pleasure, gain, or revenge. 

Inferior misdeeds, as justice requires, are usually followed by 
lighter retribution than those of greater turpitude, and accord- 
ingly in our country, offenders of deeper criminality are incarcer- 
ated in state penitentiaries for a longer term, and those of a 
milder type in county jails for a shorter period. 

From the earliest history Bucks county has had a court- 
house for the trial of accused persons and a place for the con- 
finement of such as were convicted. Corporeal chastisement 
with the whip has not been unknown within our limit s, but 
shutting up within prison walls has been more generally practic- 
ed, especially within the last hundred years. This county was 
designated by William Penn as one of the three original coun- 
ties of Pennsylvania in 1682. Soon after his arrival in the Prov- 
ince, one of his first measures in the organization of local gov- 
ernments was the appointment of sheriffs for each county. Then 
the judges of the lower courts were nominated, and their ses- 
sions formally opened by the Governor. The first court in the 
county was held at the house of Gilbert Wheeler, March 4, 
1684, William Penn presiding, and Richard Noble, sheriff. No 
mention has been left in the county records of the erection of 
the first public buildings, and we are not informed exactly where 
they were, nor what were their dimensions or appearance. The 
minutes of the second session of the Court of Quarter Ses- 


sions commence thus: "Court met at Court-House, nth day, 
I2th month, 1684-5" No doubt the jail was attached to the 
court-house or under the same roof, but on what precise spot, 
is left to conjecture, and few hints are suppHed which aid us in 
forming an opinion as to its definite location. The Provincial 
Assembly of 1683 passed an order, that each county erect a house 
of correction with dimensions 16 by 24 feet, and at this session 
of the court William Biles and William Beakes were directed 
"to, buy 10 or 12 acres of land to be laid to the public use of the 
county, and that they do it, if they can before the next Court." 
At the Falls Monthly Meeting of Friends, June 7, 1686, it was 
proposed to hold their regular meetings in the court-house, at a 
rent of 2^ shillings a month ; but the idea was afterwards 
abandoned, "because there was no convenience of seats or water." 
From this it appears that the first jail and court-house were 
in Falls township. July 14, 1687, the records state that 

" Philip Conway, being in custody for nnsdenieanor, and being in the 
prison below the court, was very unruly in words and actions to the great 
disturbance of the king's peace and of the court in the exercise of their 
duties, cursing the justices and other ofiicers, casting logs against the door, 
and endeavoring to make as much disturbance as he could ; therefore, the 
Court orders that the ^40 forfeited by him be levied according to his said 
recognizance on his lands, goods and chattels." 

It seems from this incident that the jail was under the court-room. 
About forty years ago a tradition was narrated by Jacob Smith, 
who owned a farm just below Morrisville, that the first court- 
house and jail had been on his property about two hundred yards 
from the river bank and opposite to what was then called Moon's 
Island. The building was of logs, two stories in height, on a 
stone foundation, with an attic, about 20x40 feet in size. The 
first story was divided into two rooms, one somewhat larger than 
the other, the smaller being used for the jail and the others for 
the court. The windows of the former and the throat of the 
fireplace were secured with iron bars. 

This description does not correspond to the idea formed from 
the scanty allusions of the records, but there may have been tzvo 
court-houses before the one erected in Bristol, as the minutes 
of court of December, 1793, begin thus: "At the court-house 
near the falls," as if the judges were in a different place from 


that in which they had met previously. However, if there were 
two, they were both in the vicinity of the Delaware river, in the 
lower part of the county, where the earliest settlements in the 
county were made. Gradually population extended into the in- 
terior and a different location for the public buildings was de 
manded. After much discussion the offer by Samuel Carpenter, 
of Bristol, in 1705, of a site, was accepted and the court deter- 
mined to meet in that town in June. He directed also that a pair 
of stocks and a whipping-post should be reared for the punish- 
ment of those who might be found guilty of diamkenness and 
other misdemeanors. But the edifice, for some unknown reason, 
was not erected till 1709, and where the court sat in the mean- 
time, whether in the old house or in some temporary structure, 
is uncertain. In that year the court ordered a tax of two pence 
on the pound, which is in the ratio of 83^ mills to the dollar, to 
defray the expense of the new court-house and prison. The 
structure was accordingly built and braved the storms of 125 
years, though it was not employed all that time for the same 
honorable ends which marked its birth. In 1834 Hon. William 
Kinsey bought the building and tore it down. He states that it 
was built of brick, two stories high, 24x34 feet, with a whipping- 
post attached, and a beam extended out from the end for a gal- 
lows. The upper room was for the court and the lower for a 

The seat of justice remained in Bristol about twenty years, 
during which period settlers rapidly multiplied toward the 
northwest and the location was inconvenient for many, who were 
obliged to travel long distances over poor roads to transact public 
business. In 1724 the Assembly passed an act empowering Jere- 
miah Langhorne, William Biles, Joseph Kirkbride, Jr., Dr. 
Thomas Watson and Abraham Chapman to build a new court- 
house and jail in the county of Bucks. The expense was not to 
exceed £300, which, if English currency, would be $1,500, a 
sum which seems small, but which had much more purchasing 
value than at the present day. The committee decided upon 
Newtown, and purchased five acres of land in that place from 
John Walley. The court-house and prison were sepai'ate edifices, 
made of brick, and faced the south, but no minute account of 


them has come down to us. Before many years had passed, the 
prison was found too small and in 1745 a more commodious 
structure superseded it, and the old jail was employed as a 
workhouse and reformatory. The new jail was surrounded by 
an ample yard, enclosed by a stone wall, and furnished with a 
set of stocks, according to the custom of that era. It has been a 
tradition, generally credited, that the jail in Newtown was once 
destroyed by fire, whether the older or later building is not 
specified, nor does rumor intimate if it was due to the incen- 
diary scheme of some inmate anxious for his liberty. 

The story is confirmed by a presentment of the grand- jury, in 
what year is uncertain, that "John Webber, being a prisoner in 
the prison-house in Newtown, wilfully set fire to the said house, 
whereby the same was consumed to ashes." 

Joseph Doane, one of the five brothers of that name, who were 
celebrated during the Revolutionary War for their deeds of daring 
and hostility to the cause of independence, was captured and in- 
carcerated at Newtown. He was endowed with great physical 
strength and activity, and was accused of robbing and plunder- 
ing houses, stealing horses and committing other acts of vio- 
lence against the lives and property of those who favored 
America. He was held for trial and might have been condemned 
to death, if he had not by cunning and agility succeeding in es- 
caping in the night, when the keeper was asleep. He fled to 
New Jersey, where he is said to have made a better use of his 
talents, than he had done before, in teaching school, but not feel- 
ing safe there he went to Canada, the refuge of modern culprits, 
where he died at an advanced age. 

During the struggle for freedom from Great Britain some of 
the Society of Friends were confined in the prison at New- 
town, because they refused to take up arms or pay taxes for the 
maintenance of the army. General Davis mentions in his his- 
tory of Bucks county that "Joseph Smith, of Buckingham, the 
inventor of an iron mould-board for a plow, declining from 
conscientious scruples to pay anything for the support of the 
war, was put in jail." It is said that he amused himself during 
his confinement by making with a jackknife models of his plow, 
which he threw over the jail wall, and which excited much in- 

the; jails 01^ BUCKS COUNTY II5 

terest as an important improvement in agriculture, which was 
destined to prove the source of great benefit to the country. 
Thomas Watson, of Buckingham, also another Friend, was im- 
prisoned. On account of a detachment of troops being en- 
camped in the neighborhood of his home in the winter of 
1778-79 hay had become extremely scarce. Watson had saved 
a stack and rather than sell it for worthless Continental money, 
determined to distribute it among his neighbors, who had suf- 
fered more from military requisitions than he. This was made 
a ground of accusation against him. He was tried by court- 
martial and sentenced to be hanged for treason. Efforts to ob- 
tain his pardon were in vain, until his wife went to Lord Sterl- 
ing, then in command of the American troops in that region, 
and with tears prevailed upon him to issue an order for his 

Toward the last part of the last century the public buildings in 
Newtown had become old and inadequate to the wants of the 
county. Many in the lower districts wished to see new edifices 
in the same piace, and presented petitions to the Legislature 
with that in vievv^ But this plan was not acceptable to the 
people in the upper townships, who by this time had greatly 
increased in numbers. They asserted that Newtown was thirteen 
miles from the centre of the county and that they ought not to 
be compelled to go so far to the courts and public offices. In 
1800 a meeting of citizens was held at Shaw's tavern, in Bed- 
minster, to protest against erecting a new court-house and jail 
at Newtown, and "thereby permanently fix the seat of justice at 
that place." Not only was the village far from being central, 
but they said "the roads through it were so unpopular as never 
to support a sufificient number of public houses to accommodate 
the many that will be obliged to attend court." A petition was 
prepared and sent to the Legislature praying for a removal of 
the county seat to a more convenient location. Similar action 
was taken at gatherings in Haycock at the house of John Ahlum, 
in 1808, in Buckingham, and in other neighborhoods. Yielding 
to the desire expressed by so many, the Assembly passed an 
Act in 1810, which was approved by the Governor and 
which provided for the appointment of three "discreet 


and disinterested persons, not holding real estate in the 
county, to select a site for the public buildings, which shall be not 
more than three miles from Bradshaw's Corner," now styled 
Pool's Corner. The Governor chose Edward Darlington, of 
Chester county, Gabriel Hiester, Jr., of Berks, and Nicholas 
Kern, of Northampton county. They met at Newtown early in 
May. The Turk, Centreville and other districts were discussed, and 
they were about deciding upon Pool's Corner, when citizens of 
Doylestown brought such influences to bear upon them that they 
yielded to their representations. Nathaniel Shewell, of New 
Britain, who owned the triangular piece of land between Court 
and Main streets, in Doylestown, offered to donate nearly three 
acres to the county, if that site was selected; the owner of the 
Clear Spring promised unrestricted access to it for county pur- 
poses, and another gentleman offered a plot of ground near 
the spot on which the Catholic church now stands, for a potter^•^ 
field. This decided the commission in favor of Doylestown, and 
on May 12, 1810, the land was deeded to the county, which is 
still the site of the court-house and from which the jail frowned 
darkly seventy-two years. 

The work on the jail was apparently done first; but it was so 
intermingled with that on the court-house, and, moreover, ma- 
terials for the two were purchased at the same time, that a 
separation of the accounts cannot be accurately made. Little 
was effected toward the erection of the buildings during that 
year, and 181 1 passed without accomplishing more than obtain- 
ing lumber and stone ; the latter was delivered on the ground 
for 56 cents a perch, and the privilege was secured of taking 
loose stone from the quarry of Septimus Evans for 12^ cents 
a perch. Lime was hauled from Whitemarsh. Levi 
Bond and Enos Yardley contracted to do the car- 
penter work at eight shillings and four pence per day, which 
in Pennsylvania currency amounted to $1.11, and they were no 
doubt to board themselves and to work from morning till night 
without reference to the number of hours. The county was to 
furnish the whisky at the raisings. The wages were afterwards 
increased to $1.25 a day and the number of men employed to 
25, as the legislative enactment required that the work should 

the; jails of bucks county 117 

be completed within three years. The total cost of the buildings 
was $38,057, but what proportion of that sum went to the jail 
it is impossible to determine. It stood north of the court-house 
and consisted of a rectangular structure facing Court street with 
two wings, one at each corner of the rear of the main edifice, 
forming thus three sides of a hollow square, the fourth side 
being guarded by a high stone wall. 

On May 4, 1813, the offices were ready for books and papers 
appropriate to the several departments, and the jail for the 
prisoners, and on the 13th, Sheriff Samuel Sellers transferred 
the culprits from Newtown to their future "durance vile" in 
Doylestown ; and no doubt they enjoyed the ride of fourteen 
miles under their kind-hearted conductor, and perhaps a song 
now and then burst from their lips as they passed over hill and 
dale and through leafy groves on that bright spring morning. 
It must have been quite a long procession, of which they formed 
a part, for there were ten wagons filled with public property, 
among other things, the twelve stone steps of the old court- 
house. The court-house, old office, jail and jail-yard and public 
ground thereto appertaining, in Newtown, were sold at public 
auction to John Hulme for $1,650, and the new office and lot of 
ground belonging to it to William Watts for $900. 

The first jail in Doylestown remained in use for more than 
seventy years, but when it had reached the age of three score 
and ten, infirmities crept in upon it. The walls were for the 
most part sound, but the wood-work, floors, window-frames, 
sash and doors were shrunken and decayed by the lapse of 
time, and, moreover, it was too small and insecure for the proper 
detention of prisoners. The inhabitants of the county had mul- 
tiplied manifold, but the capacity of the prison had not ex- 
panded. Many convicts were necessarily confined in one room, 
involving injury to their health and morals. Repairs often 
made did not remedy its defects, and it was plainly seen that the 
termination of its usefulness had been well nigh reached. A new 
court-house was completed in 1877, at a cost of about $100,000. 
and this large outlay had much influence in retarding the con- 
struction of a better jail. The same year a fire occurred in the 
venerable pile, which threatened to destroy everything combus- 


tible in it, seeming to portend its approaching downfall. Its an- 
tique appearance, too, in contrast with the beautiful temple of 
justice reared at its side, was sadly against it, and the ground, 
on which it stood, was wanted to enlarge the park and set olT 
the attraction of its fair neighbor. With a sigh escaping from 
its iron-bound doors, it quietly made up its mind "to shuffle off 
this mortal coil" and lie down to endless sleep and pleasant 

In February, 1882, the grand jury unanimously declared it to 
be their opinion that "the present building used for a jail is en- 
tirely unfit for the purpose, and earnestly recommend the con- 
struction of a new building." The succeeding grand jury in 
May and the State Board of Public Charities advanced similar 
views, and the general opinion of citizens was that the work 
should be undertaken as soon as the county had liquidated its 
debt without increasing the rate of taxation. 

In January, 1884, the site where the jail now stands was se- 
lected by the Board of Public Charities and the county com- 
missioners, Messrs. John Wynkoop, James T. Breisch and Isaac 
Ryan. It was chosen in preference to the corner of Court and 
Church streets, because being as desirable in other respects, it 
was somewhat less elevated and would afford a more liberal 
supply of water. It was the property of Dr. George T. Harvey, 
and in February the commissioners bought four acres of him 
commanding a beautiful prospect toward the south and south- 
east, and susceptible of perfect drainage. A better location 
could hardly be desired for any penal institution. Architects 
Hutton and Ord, of Philadelphia, were employed to draw a plan 
and supervise its execution, and the contract for the construc- 
tion of buildings and walls was awarded to Henry D. Livezey, 
of Doylestown, for $72,000. The stone, which is an excellent 
variety of red sandstone, was obtained from a quarry a short 
distance in the rear of the jail yard. The expense of introduc- 
ing gas, by which the premises are lighted, was $4,249, and of 
steam for heating, washing and cooking $3,772. The entire cost 
of the prison was $83,274, exclusive of a stone stable, which was 
erected outside the wall in 1885 at an expense of $1,700, making 
the whole amount nearly $85,000. January 3, 1885, eight 

the; jails of bucks county 119 

months after it was begun, the prison was finished and handed 
over to the commissioners, who transferred the keys to Sheriff 
Allen H. Heist. 

It is built in the form of the letter T, the part represented by 
the horizontal bar being- the front, in which is the main en- 
trance. From this a corridor, 10 feet wide and 175 feet long, 
runs to the rear, and a similar corridor crosses it at right angles, 
each lined by tiers of cells. At the point of the intersection 
spreads a rotunda, lighted by a dome 28 feet high. The of- 
ficers standing in this central space occupy a commanding point 
of observation. The cells are vaulted rooms 8x18 feet and 12 
feet high and are lighted from the corridor through the grated 
door and also by a slot in the top of the arch, 4 inches wide 
and three feet long, which is directly beneath a skylight. They 
are well ventilated^ are warmed in winter and have abundance 
of light for working or reading and are ordinarily occupied 
each by one person. They might be termed luxurious apart- 
ments in comparison with the dens and dungeons in which 
criminals were confined formerly and which prevail now in 
many parts of the world. 

The Marquis de Lafayette, who joined the American army in 
the Revolution near Hartsville, when Washington was encamped 
there, some years after his return to Europe was imprisoned 
at Magdeburg by the enemies of liberty. The cell which he oc- 
cupied for nearly a year was a space of only 4 feet by 8 feet ex- 
cavated under the outer ramparts of the castle. It was so damp 
that the walls were covered with mould and no light entered 
except through a small opening in the door. 

His detention at Olmutz for three years and a half more 
was in a cell of a similar character. The contrast between such 
apartments and those which are found in our jail is very great. 
The present efficient sherifl^, J. Johnson Beans, remarked to me 
not long since that there was no punishment in living in the in- 
stitution under his charge, except the confinement. With plenty 
of good plain food, light and air, warm in winter and cool in 
summer, and not obliged to work beyond their strength, the 
inmates pass their days in comfort. They only suffer from de- 
privation of their liberty. If they are insubordinate a diet of 


bread and water and no communication with any one usually 
subdues the most refractory in a short time. Recourse is never 
had to corporeal punishment. 

Three objects should be sought in penal discipline, the main- 
tenance of the supremacy of the law, the prevention of crime 
and the reformation of the criminal. While the first two are 
most important, the last should not be forgotten. It is extreme- 
ly desirable that every convict should not only pay the penalty 
for his offense, as an example to others, but that such an im- 
pression should be made upon his mind and heart that his char- 
acter will be improved ; and that he will be less inclined to 
wrong-doing when he emerges from the prison. With this most 
commendable aim, religious services have been held in the pres- 
ent jail on Sunday afternoons, for a number of years past, 
under the leadership of George W. Hunt, a citizen of Doyles- 

The services are conducted in the rotunda with seats pro- 
vided for all the inmates who choose to be present, the attend- 
ance though voluntary is nearly universal. The singing is gen- 
erally done by the prisoners. The Bucks County Bible Society 
also has, by request, several times within a few years past gratu- 
itously supplied the men with Testaments, which they could 
keep as their own property. 

The annals of crime have been darkened by the perpetration 
of but few murders within the limits of our county. The first 
execution, probably the first in the State, took place in July, 
1693, when Derrick Johnson, alias Closson, was hung in Falls 
township after a fair trial and after every effort possible had 
been made to secure his pardon or the commutation of his sen- 
tence. It is related that he was confined in the old jail at the 
Falls, which was dilapidated and insecure, and it was hoped 
by the authorities that he would break out and escape; but as 
he failed to do this, they were obliged to carry out the mandate 
of the law. 

In 1 83 1 Dr. William Chapman, of Bensalem, was poisoned 
by Mina, a Spaniard, who came to his house representing him- 
self to be unfortunate, ingratiated himself with Mrs. Chapman 
and took the life of his benefactor. She is supposed to have 

the; jaiIvS of bucks county 121 

been an accomplice, as after the death of her husband she mar- 
ried the foreigner. This, and other circumstances, fastened 
suspicion upon the couple ; they were arrested and lodged in 
jail at Doylestown. After a long trial she was acquitted for lack 
of sufficient evidence. Mina was convicted and hung. 

Executions were public in those days and on June 26, 1832, 
he was taken in a dearborn wagon to a field on the almhouse 
property attended by fourteen companies of volunteer infantry 
and six of cavalry from this and neighboring counties. No 
equal gathering of the stalwart yeomen and fair women of this 
region had ever been witnessed before. Perhaps the tragic 
scene in which he suffered for his crime, may have had its 
proper effect upon the multitudes looking on, increasing their 
reverence for the law and their desire to walk in the ways of 
virtue and innocence. 

On April 18, 1867 Albert Teuffel was hung in the jail-yard in 
Doylestown for killing James Wiley the captain of a canal-boat 
near the Narrowsville lock in Nockamixon township. His mo- 
tives seem to have been robbery and revenge. On February 15, 
1856 Jacob Armbruster of Nockamixon township was executed 
at Doylestown for taking the life of his wife, that he might gain 
possession of a house and lot, which she owned. On August 
14, 1835 Josiah Blundy paid a like forfeit to justice for the 
murder of Aaron Cuttlehow. No one of the fair sex, so far 
as I have learned, has ever been within our prison walls pro- 
nounced guilty of murder. It is doubtful whether any other 
than these five just mentioned have been convicted of that 
crime within our bounds. The smallness of the number during 
the two hundred years that have elapsed since the organization 
of our county, speaks well for the sobriety and self-restraint of 
our people. Various other offenses have been committed as 
the years have rolled on, and our jail has probably always had 
more or less occupants varying in numbers up to 40 or 50. 
Would that we could say it was without a tenant; that Sherifif 
Beans reigned in solitary grandeur there, a king without sub- 
jects, and that there was no one among all our population, who 
de.-crved to be there. 

Notes Taken at Random. 

The Sunbonnet, Indians Mining Lead, The Grass Hopper War, 
A Lost Boundary. 


(Menlo Park, Perkasie Meeting, July i8, 1S93). 


Charles Mayer, of Macungie, Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, 
told me in September, 1892, that he had seen peasant women 
at Kaiserslautern, (Rhenish Bavaria,) Neckarsulm, (Wurtem- 
berg) and Walkeren in the Odenwald, wearing bonnets like 
sunbonnets on Sundays, but I saw nothing of the kind in North 
or South Germany, and believe that this characteristic Ameri- 
can head dress now in vogue from Maine to Mississippi, which 
must strike a European as strangely as a Breton woman's mus- 
lin cap strikes an American, and which I suppose is not to be 
seen anywhere in Italy, Spain, France, Holland, Scandinavia or 
Russia, originated in England. 

At Brandon in Suffolk, the landlady of the Ram Inn, told 
me in April, 1893, that old people in the country still wore sun- 
bonnets, though girls had grown ashamed of them, and that 
if I waited a day, which I could not, she would get me one to 
take to America. 

It remains for folk lore to tell us how and where this cur- 
ious headgear was introduced into the United States, and why, 
abandoned in the land of its invention, emigrant women of all 
nations should here so easily have adopted a thing, which if 
we stop to think, seems to be the only universal, national and 
therefore uniquely interesting article of dress that we have. 


Benjamin W. Pursell, of Kintnersville, Bucks county, told me 
in September, 1891, as a well known story in the Delaware 
valley, that Indians in the last century had shown members of 
the Ridge family, then living on Ridge's Island, lead-ore in situ, 
at a spot never since discovered in the neighboring hills. 


More definite still is the lead story of New Galena, Bucks 
county, Pa., at third hand. Somewhere in the middle of the 
century Elijah and Abraham Campbell, of Plumstead, told John 
M. Proctor, now of Blooming Glen, who wrote me in December, 
1891, that straggling- Indians coming to hunt along the north 
branch of the Neshaminy, between 1790 and 1808, had often taken 
them as boys to a place near the mouth of the "Hartyhickon"' 
(now the property of Arthur Chapman). There they disap- 
peared in the woods to return with their arms full of lead, with 
which they made bullets. 

I took these for local tales until I was surprised to hear J. 
M. Kessler, at Hummel's Wharf, Snyder county. Pa., tell me 
the same story, while pointing to the hills across the Susque- 
hanna as its scene. But I came nearest of all to the legend when 
Reuben Anders, of Little Wapwalopen, Luzerne county. Pa., gave 
me it first hand. He had seen the Indian who had spent the 
night with his grandfather and offered to show him a mineral 
wonder on a hill called Councilkopf. Though the latter was 
afraid to follow the red man alone, one Harman had gone hunt- 
ing with two others, who when bullets had given out had gone 
into the woods and returned with loads of lead. If untrue, 
it is hard to see why this lead story has so seized the popular 
mind. But when we realize, as I am informed, that lead rarely 
if ever occurs pure in nature, but as galena, which if mixed 
with lumps of limestone requires about 1,200 degrees (Centi- 
grade) to smelt by drying out the carbonic acid and re- 
moving the sulphur, it is to be doubted whether, given the 
galena, any such offhand bullet-making in the woods could ever 
have taken place.* 

Squier and Davis found galena ornaments in ancient Ohio 
tumuli. Clarence B. Moore showed me a lump excavated by 
him from a St. John's river (Florida) mound, and modern 
Sioux ornament their catlinite pipes with lead, but no digging 
has yet proved that mound builder or Indian in pre-Columbian 

♦Some specimens of galena, recently obtained through Alfred Paschall, from the 
prospective mine now working in the bed of the north branch of the Neshaminy, on the 
farm of Henry Funk (New Britain township, Bucks Co., Pa.), would not melt in a red hot 
crucible, but splintered into fine fragments, as did other fragments when held directly 
in the bellows fire. 


times regarded galena as other than a hard, gHttering stone 
to be pounded or rubbed into trinkets.^ 

Still we know that the Rhode Island Indians very soon 
learned the art of pewter casting from Roger Williams' col- 
onists, and the question therefore is, had Indians in eastern 
Pennsylvania by 1780-90 learned from white men how to smelt 
bullets from galena for their newly acquired guns? 

Whether or not these lead tales furnish us with an archaeologi- 
cal clue of importance, they seem less strange than the story told 
me on July 12, 1893, by Charles Keller (now 84 years old), of 
Point Pleasant, as related to him sixty years ago by his father, 
Christopher Keller: About the end of the last century Peter 
Keller, Christopher's brother, had refused to do some iron work 
for a band of Indians at his blacksmith shop, on Tohickon 
creek, above Stover's mill (the present Redding Meyers farm). 
When he pleaded as an excuse that his supply of charcoal was 
exhausted the Indians went into the forest and after nearly 
a day's absence returned with a basket full of "stone" (anthra- 
cite) coal,- with which he did the job. 


Another legend somewhat more fanciful than the lead story, 
begins at Durham, Bucks county, Pa., crosses the Blue moun- 
tains and descends the Susquehanna. The late Peter Fraley 
and Nelson Angell informed Charles Laubach, of Durham, 
about i860, that the hillside across the Delaware at Holland, 

' .^fter the present paper was read, Walter Chase, of Madison, Wisconsin, showed me 
a small figure of a turtle of cast lead found bv him at a surface Indian camp site in 1889 
on the shore of Lake Wingra. two miles southwest of Madison. Dr. Hall, of Madison, 
had another plowed up by a farmer in 1891, with a stone axe and four or five arrowlieads, 
from an effigy mound, shaped itself somewhat like a turtle, on the shore of Lake Men- 
dota. near Madison. Two perforated discs of ca>t lead have also been found by farmers 
in Dare county, Wisconsin and are now in the possession of neighboring collectors. Ga- 
lena oc::urs in southern Wisconsin in loose masses in a very pure state. 

' Mr Keller about 30 years aa:o says he saw lumps of very coarse coal burnt by way 
of experiment in the furnace at the blacksmith shop at jacob Stover's mill on Tohickon. 
The specimens had been found about 3 miles down the stream (right bank), at a place 
not above 4 milt-s from the shop of Peter Keller, his uncle. 

While the present paper was printing I learned that John Ruth, of New Britain 
while diguing a mill race in 1S48, on the present farm of Joseph Mitchell (New Britain 
township. Bucks Co , Pa ), discovered an outcrop of coarse anthracite coal, specimens of 
which though impure and not satisfactorily combustible, were burnt as fuel in the forges 
of neighboring blacksmiths. I saw the outciop in process of examination by a shaft on 
Septeuiber 12 1892. but learned from the ownrrs that no fragmen's of coal had been 
previously found on the surface or in the neighboring bed of the stream. 


N. J., had been about the year 1800 so thickly strewn with human 
bones that the skulls in heaps of five had sometimes served as 
rail rests for fences. All was the result of a fierce battle called 
the "grasshopper fight" seen by one Metlar from the top of the 
"Narrows" cliff, in 1755, when a Pennsylvania band of "Paw- 
nees" (Shawnees)^ quarreling with the Delawares about a grass- 
hopper that some children had caught, attacked the latter and 
were nearly exterminated. Reuben Anders, at Little Wap- 
walopen creek, on the Susquehanna, Luzerne county, in June, 
1892, again told me this story in the main, as having occurred at 
the Indian town there, where the tribal quarters had been sepa- 
rated by a string boundary. Some children chasing a grasshopper 
over the line, had set the women, then the men to fighting, till 
most of the combatants were killed. On this occasion a white 
man, living with the Indians, was burnt alive and all the neigh- 
boring settlers buried their valuables. 

I heard the story again from J. M. Kessler at Hummel's 
Wharf, (Snyder county. Pa.,) in June 1892, where it was given 
color by the presence of an Indian ossuary (on the J. W. Am- 
bergast farm) from which farmers for the last sixty years had 
been ploughing fragments of human skeletons with better pre- 
served teeth and skulls. J. M. Fisher repeated it, grasshopper 
and all, near the site of Indian graves unearthed by him on the 
Isle of Que on the Susquehanna, (Snyder county. Pa.,) as did 
Mr. Klemson, living on Klemson's Island below, near the site 
of another ancient ossuary.- In his narrative the grasshopper 
had been used for fish bait by the swarthy squabbling children. 
And so at Sunbury, the same tale was told me, with its scene 
laid up the west branch of the Susquehanna at Chillesaqua. 

Whether regarded as a clue to lost events, or like a fairy tale 

1 A large band of Shawnees long quartered with the Delawares, left Pechequeolin, 
the great Indian town at Durham cave almost opposite Holland, in 1728 A few others 
remained until 17S8 (according to information from Charles I.aubach). It must be re- 
membered that the Indians had sold all the land on the Pennsylvania side in 1738, and 
if living there were doing so on tolerance or as squatters. 

- The presence ot these ossuaries on the Susquehanna, many of which were examined 
by me in July, 1892, showed traces of incineration, and the fact that all the Indian inter- 
ments that I could hear of in the region from their explorers showed traces of white 
contact seems to indicate that drying the dead on polrs or stone protected structures, and 
finally depositing the loose bones in heaps to be (sometimesi cremated, was the common 
mortuary custom of the Susquehanna Indians prior to the coming of the whites. 


worth catching from the people's mouth to see what imagination 
is made of, the story is interesting. From the latter stand- 
point the ossuaries, graves and scattered bones might seem ex- 
cuse enough for the legend of a battle. But why the grasshop- 


A much garbled and misquoted passage in the deed of 1682 
for Lower Bucks county to William Penn now hanging in the 
fire-proof room of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, says 
that the northern boundary of that purchase ran "up the river 
side to a corner-marked spruce tree, with the letter P, at the 
foot of a mountain, and from the said corner-marked spruce 
tree along the side or foot of the mountains, west northwest to 
a corner white oak marked with the letter P standing by the 
Indian path that leads to an Indian town called Playwicky, and 
near the head of a creek called Towssissink, and from thence 
westward to the creek called Neshaminy creek." These blazed 
trees must have stood until 1737 undisturbed, when the deed 
of that year (see recorder of deeds, office, Philadelphia, book 
G, vol. I, p. 282,) going over the description to get the starting 
point for the "Indian Walk" says more definitely: 

" Beginning upon a line formerly laid out from a corner spruce tree by 
the river Delaware about Mackeerickkiton, and from thence running along 
the ledge or foot of the mountains west-northwest to a corner white oak 
marked with the letter P. standing by the Indian path that leadeth to the 
Indian town called Playwicky, and from thence extending westward to 
Neshaminy creek." 

Another much discussed copy in the Penn. MSS., a supposed 
deed made in 1686, goes over the latter description without 
varying it materially and has only served to whet curiosity as 
to the exact position of the line and its landmarks. We know 
that Edward Marshall and the walkers started in 1737 at a 
chestnut tree near the corner of the Wrightstown church yard 
to walk off the new purchase, and the line ought to have run 
through the tree if they started at the right place. 

But there is a dispute as to whether they did and the true 
course of the boundary and the position of the Indian village, 
the mountains, the streams, and blazed trees, have for many 
years puzzled antiquaries. 

NOTES take;n at random 127 

Charles W. Smith, in his "History of Wrightstown," does 
not doubt that the chestnut tree was on the line but W. J. Buck 
("Indian Walk" p. 26) thinks not, seeming- to rely on East- 
burn's map of Highland Manor in the Penn. MSS., at the 
Pennsylvania Historical Society, which appears to place the 
boundary some distance to the southward. 

However, as this rough pen drawing marks no conterminous 
streams or hills, it can hardly, without further corroboration, 
be used as proof of more unjust dealing than took place at the 
"walk," which it would if the walkers started about a mile too 
far to the north. 

The trouble is that the old deeds, besides getting the direc- 
tions by the compass wrong, neither give distances along the 
line, nor explain where Mackeerickkiton, its starting point on 
the Delaware, was, and if it had not been for John Watson, 
surveyor of Bucks county, who made notes upon the fascinating 
puzzle in 1756, only 19 years after the walk, we would be hope- 
lessly in the dark as to the landmarks intended. 

He says in the valuable manuscript, now (1893) in the pos- 
session of Mrs. Richard Watson, of Doylestown, that "Mac- 
keerickkiton" is Baker's creek, afterwards called Great creek, 
and now Knowles' creek, though the 1682 deed calls the Delaware 
river itself "Mackeerickkiton."^ 

That Towssissink was thought in 1756 to be its most southern 
branch, heading in Joseph Hampton's land (i. c. the rill now 
rising close to Frank Doan's house that crosses the Buckman 
and Watson wood) about one mile east of A¥rightstown. 

That the corner white oak marked "P was thought by John 
Chapman deceased, to stand in 1756 on Joseph Hampton's land," 
(now the Buckman and Watson and possibly Doan tracts) 
on Towssissink creek above described. 

That "Playwicky" or "Laywicky" was an Indian town or 
plantation about Philip Draket's, below Heaton's mill.- 

1 " Unto the Delaware river, alias Makeriskhickoii. Makerisk-kitton. written also 
Makenskkitton, Makerisk-hickoii and Makeerick kitton in early Indian deeds, denotes 
I am inclined to believe, a spot either on the bank or in the bed of the river Delaware 
which conjecture I base on the termination /ci/Zoii evidently intended for ki/ hanne or 
gichlhanne, signifying 'the main stream.' "— Heckewelder, Indian names, Nazareth, 1S92, 
P- 254. 

2 Playwickv, "corrupted from Plaenwikichtit, signifying 'the home or habitation of 
the Indians of the Turkey tribe.' " — Heckewelder, Indian names, p. 262. 


Another John Watson, cousin to the above, commenting on 
his relative's notes in 1815, says that the Hne, with its elbov^' 
just east of Wrightstown, ended on Neshaminy at the High 
Rocks, on the left bank belov^f Worthington's mill on the present 
Blackfan property. 

That the corner white oak "was or is supposed to be or have 
stood near the northeast corner of Joseph Hampton's land,"' 
and that "the corner spruce tree stands by my measure 140 
perches, measured by the bank of the river, above the mouth of 
the Great creek." 

These notes settle the starting point of the line on the Dela- 
ware, for there can be no mistake about the "corner marked 
spruce tree" seen by John Watson (the second) in 181 5, and 
whether Mackeerickkiton means the present Knowles' creek or 
not, the "mountain" is Jericho hill. 

Leaving Lahaska creek and "Windy Bush" behind us, to 
stand on its top and look down into the valley, our interest in 
old farmhouses that were Washington's and Greene's headquar- 
ters and meadows where the Continental army lay encamped 
before the battle of Trenton, wanes at the thought of this puzzle 
of an earlier time. We are on the "mountain" or "ledge of the 
mountains" of the old deed. Below us ripples Mackeerickkiton, 
near whose mouth once stood the "corner marked spruce tree."^ 
Somewhere through the leafy dells to the right is its southern 
branch, Towssissink, and there is or may be still the Indian path 
and the white oak near a spring blazed with Penn's initial. 

Descend the hill, cross the stream and follow its right bank 
by the road up the valley, not west-northwest as the deed says, 
since that would lead up the river, and as John W^atson (the se- 
cond) remarks, "include no land at all," but west-southwest, 
convinced that the deed's direction was a slip of the pen. 

Where the dale narrows and the rustling woods arch thick- 
est over the way, by the old Hampton tract.- Towssissink, if the 
Watsons are right, is the brook that there flows southward across 
the road, and there if anywhere Nature will tell us the secret 
of the blazed oak, the Indian path and the lost "Playwicky." 

' This tree has certainly disappeared, as I paced off the distance up the river and 
looked in vain for it in June, 1891. 

2 Novir (189.^) Buckman and Watson's vcoodland. 


Tramping through green underbrush and by briar-covered banks 
of shale to the rill's source, half a mile away, Dr. Charles C. 
Abbott and I saw in June, 1892, a large white oak, probably 400 
or 500 years old, which may well have been one of the most in- 
teresting landmarks in Pennsylvania. Though we failed to find 
a trace of the Indian path, the venerable oak, not a hundred 
yards from the line of the Buckman & Watson tract and com- 
prised possibly by the Hampton land in 1756, close to the source 
of Towssissink, fulfilled fairly the conditions of the deed, 
save the blaze. But this, if buried under its bark, only its 
destruction could reveal, and we went away wondering if there, 
like James Miller, of Selinsgrove, on the Susquehanna, who, 
in 1891, split fifteen Indians beads out of the heart of a maple, 
or as a workman in Moore, Michigan, not many months ago, 
sawed an iron tomahawk, buried ten inches in the wood, out 
of a log, or as John Watson, above mentioned, in 1769 found 
on Lahaska creek the figure of the "Thunder bird," cut with 
stone axes under the bark of a tree, we might not, if we dared 
to cut and saw and split the noble stem find somewhere within 
its living circle of rings the tell-tale letter? 


If to get to the oak* we have followed the brook, a strange 
impression is in st»re for us as we step out of the trees into 
a bleak clearing known as the "Indian field." We have come as 
out of an oasis suddenly into the desert. A hillside shuts in the 
place on the west and high woods hide its four or five acres on 
all other sides. There is no house in sight. 

Young trees have sprung up and grass grows on the supposed 
native clearings on the Updyke farm, on Fish run, near Jami- 
son's Corner ; on Henry Woodman's farm, on Robin run, near 
Concord; on the Paxson property, near Holicong; on the north 
side of Jericho hill, and on Buckwampum, but here, blighted in 
the midst of fertlest Buckingham, the "Indian field," strangest 
sight of them all, remains a red waste. 

The late Josiah B. Smith, of Newtown, was impressed with 

* The oak stood in 1891 by the spring close to Frank Doan's hou'se. Examination of 
the titles foi this and the adjoining- property in the deed books in Doylestown may reveal 
whether it could have ever been comprised in '-the northwest corner of Hampton's laud." 


the spot, until his death, as the site of Playwicky,* but the fact 
that no Indian remains have ever been found there would rule 
it out, if John Watson's note, above referred to, had not dis- 
tinctly placed "Playwicky" in Northampton or Southampton 
township, "about Philip Dracot's, below Heaton's mill." 

Still to agree with John Watson is not easy, for what with Philip 
Dracord or Draket or Dracott and Ralph Dracord, mentioned 
in the Bucks county deed books (V, 309; IX, 159; IX, 158,) as 
owning or transferring land in Southampton close to the North- 
ampton border, I cannot yet find where a Philip Draket lived 
in 1756, though deeds prove that Heaton's mill is the present 
(Willard estate) mill on Ironwork creek, at Rocksville, North- 
ampton township. The Dracot family, says local tradition, once 
owned the Stephen Delaney farm on Mill creek, above the mouth 
of the Ironwork brook, but in a walk along Mill creek for four 
or five miles in 1891, I searched on either bank in vain for a spot 
sufficiently scattered with stone implements, charcoal and pottery 
to have indicated an Indian town of note. 

If the few relics on the Delaney farm mark the spot, then 
Playwicky was either a very small village or had been occupied 
but a very short time; while, should the words "below Heaton's 
mill" mean anywhere to the southward of the stream, then some 
inland site, less inferably suited to Indian taste, near Feaster- 
ville, may yet be found to corroborate John Watson. 


If we have lost "Playwicky" we have found, thanks to the in- 
vestigations of Charles Laubach, of Durham, Pechequoelin, the 
Indian town about the mouth of Durham cave, whose fire sites 
and stone circles Anthony Laubach remembered about 1812 
as extending from Durham creek to Riegelsville. So they re- 
mained till the canal, cultivation and the freshet of 1841 destroyed 

William Walters plowed down in 1853-55 three mounds six 
to eight feet high on the hilltop behind the cave, near which 
about seven acres of woodland, cleared by the Indians remained 
until 1855. Later a group of twenty-five stones set on end were 
taken away to build a neighboring wall, save one that I saw in 

* See " Indian town of Playwicky," Vol. I, p. 95. 


1892 still Standing as a land boundary by the Morgantown road. 
Pechequoelin's trails and paths led up and down the river, 
across the hill by the clearing up the Brandywine creek 
and up the Durham creek to meet the path followed 
by Marshall and the "walkers," on which the Durham road was 
afterwards built. 

To have seen the large, dry chamber of Durham cave before 
its destruction by the iron company was to have recognized 
that man from the time of his arrival in the Delaware valley 
must have used it as a habitation. But the bones of men and 
animals, gathered about 1845-59 by Professor H. D. Rogers, 
State geologist, were sent in boxes to the Academy of Natural 
Sciences in Philadelphia before it was realized that the whole 
question of human antiquity on the river could probably have 
been settled there. 

The story of the evolution of stone implements and human 
association with fossils was forgotten when no careful record 
was kept by the circumstances of discovery and science lost lit- 
tle when the stone objects found and sent to Dr. Swift of Easton, 
were burned at the fire in Pardee Hall. The damage, though 
unintended, had already been done. 

Early and Trying Days of the Reformed Church in America. 

(Menlo Park, Perkasie Meeting. JiiU' 18, 1S93). 

In preparing for the celebration of the centennial of the Re- 
formed Church, of which I had the honor to be chairman of the 
committee of arrangements, I was led to investigate the records 
of the early and trying days of the Reformed Church in 
Anierica. ]\Iy attention was particularly drawn to certain per- 
sons connected therewith, to a few of whom I desire to call 
attention, particularly to one (Rev. John Michael Kern) who 
spent the closing days of his life in the upper part of Bucks 
■county, and whose ashes lie buried in the old graveyard of the 
Indian Creek Reformed Church, near Telford. 

In the researches to which I have referred, my attention 
was also drawn to the life and services of Baron VonSteuben, 
who was an elder in the Reformed Church to the close of his 
life. I question whether the whole list of eminent men of his 
day and generation presents a more interesting character. 

He was born in Magdeburg Germany, in 1730. The son of 
a distinguished officer in the Prussian army, which he entered as 
a cadet at the age of 14 years, he soon came to the notice and 
attention of that grand character, Frederick the Great, fought 
splendidly in the Seven Years' War, became Grand Marshal at 
court, but when court-life became too monotonous, traveled 
extensively. After traveling from court to court, he determined 
to go to England by way of Paris, where he met the American 
commissioners, Franklin and Deane, who saw in this chivalric 
young Baron the very man needed in America as drill-master for 
the Continental army ; and as he was dissatisfied, and not in 
sympathy with the courts of Europe, he decided to go to Ameri- 
ca. In his voyage to America, the vessel caught fire three times, 
endangering the lives of the passengers, particularly as the 
vessel carried large quantities of gun powder. 

He arrived in Portsmouth, N. H., with his suite, December 
I, 1777. They proceeded on horse-back to York, Pa., where 


Congress was in session. The Baron for a time was much 
discouraged because he could not understand the EngHsh lan- 
guage, but on arriving in Pennsylvania, he found many Penn- 
sylvania Germans and others who could converse with him in his 
native tongue. He was received at York with enthusiasm, and 
in the most complimentary terms Congress detailed him to pro- 
ceed to Valley Forge, and report to General Washington. This 
was during one of the gloomiest periods of the war. 

General Washington appointed VonSteuben to the important 
office of instructor-general of the Continental army, with the 
rank of major-general. He at once proceeded with the work of 
re-organizing and drilling the bare-footed and ill clad army. 
It was said that it was necessary to keep the men drilling 
in order that they might not freeze. Tossing, the historian, 
says, "After this the Continental regulars were never beaten 
in a fair fight." VonSteuben did his full duty to the end of the 
war, commanding divisions in battle, and directing the trenches 
in the siege of Yorktown. A number of promotions offered 
to him were declined. 

After the close of the war, he lived in New York city, spend- 
ing the summer months on his land in Steuben township, 
Oneida county, N. Y. He was an active elder in the Reformed 
Church in Nassau Street, of which the learned Rev. Dr. John 
Daniel Gross was pastor. The whole community honored the 
somewhat eccentric Baron. It is said that he could, by his 
presence, quiet any disturbance, and that an angry crowd would 
stop and give three cheers to VonSteuben. 

Immediately after his death, which occurred Nov. 28, 1794, 
General North had a tablet erected in the church, of which the 
Baron was a member, bearing this inscription : 

" Sacred to the memory of Frederick William Augustus Baron de Steuben, 
a prominent Knight of the Order of Fidelity, Aide de Campe to Frederick, 
King of Prussia, Major General and instructor general of the Revolutionary 
War ; esteemed, respected and supported by Washington. He gave military 
schooling and discipline to the citizen soldiers, who, fulfilling a decree of 
Heaven, achieved the independence of the United States. The highly pol- 
ished manners of the Baron were graced by the most noble feelings of his 
heart. His hand, open as daj' for meeting charity, closed when in the 
strong grasp of death. 

This memorial is inscribed by an American who had the honor to be his 
Aide de Campe, the happiness to be his friend." 


Michael Hillegas, (B. 1728 D. 1804), the faithful friend of 
Washington, and the first treasurer of the United States, was 
also one of the distinguished laymen of the Reformed Church.* 

With very few exceptions, all the pastors of the Reformed 
Church were earnest advocates of independence. In their re- 
ports to the authorities in the old country, they spoke of the 
British as enemies. The cause of this could easily be traced 
by studying the trials which they passed through in the old 
country, as well as the new conditions which they found in 
America. They appointed days of fasting and prayer, and often 
chose texts on which patriptic sermons were preached, as a re- 
sult of which they frequently got into trouble with England. 
Rev. John H. Weikel, pastor of Boehms church in Montgomery 
county, preached on the text : "Better is a poor and wise child 
than an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished." 

Rev. Dr. Caspar Diedrich Weyberg, of Race street, Phila- 
delphia, on one occasion preached expressly to the Hessian 
mercenaries, whereupon it was said that if he would not be 
silenced, the whole body of Hessians was likely to leave the 
British cause. He was imprisoned for his patriotism, and on the 
Sunday after his liberation, seeing how the British had desecrated 
his church, which had cost over $15,200 (in depreciated Conti- 
nental money) to repair, he preached on the text: "O God! 
the heathen have come into Thine inheritance ! Thy holy tem- 
ple have they defiled." 

When Gen. Richard Montgomery was killed in the famous 
attack on Quebec, his eulogy was delivered in the Race street 
Reformed Church, in Philadelphia. When the opinions of citi- 
zens were divided on the subject of the war, the strong and 
clear resolutions of loyalty to the cause of freedom, and the 
communication sent to Washington on his election to the Presi- 
dency, by the Reformed Synod, show of what mind and spirit 
these early pastors were. A full history of the part taken by Dr. 
Weyberg among the soldiers would alone be a subject for an 
interesting and pathetic paper. 

Rev. Dr. F. L. Herman is also entitled to a special place in 

* For an interesting account of the life and public services of Michael Hillegas, see 
" The Pennsylvania German," October 1901, Vol. 2, page 147 et seq.— Editor. 


history, on account of his heroism and devotion to the people 
during the prevalence of the yellow fever, and also on account of 
the friendship and attachment between Gen. Washington and 
himself. Washington attended his church frequently, and on one 
occasion, communed with his congregation. 

But not all the ministers and laymen of the Reformed Church 
in America were in sympathy with the move for liberty. I 
turn now to the other side for the purpose of studying one whose 
career I had specially in mind in the preparation of this paper. 
I refer to Rev. John Michael Kern, whose remains, as already 
stated, lie buried in the graveyard of the Indian Creek Re- 
formed Church, near Telford. I must, necessarily, treat him 
very briefly, because of the meagre data which are obtainable. 

To understand him we must bear in mind that we are all 
more or less the creatures of circumstances. In the Civil War 
period, we of the North were for the Union, because we could 
not well be otherwise. But if we had been born and reared in 
the sunny South our sympathies would, no doubt, have been on 
that side. 

Social relations are a great power in determining one's at- 
titude for or against a principle. Conscientious ministers of 
the gospel before the war on the one side preached against 
slavery while those on the other side upheld it. I have in my 
library a singular volume on "The Pro and Con of Slavery" by 
a Southern Episcopal divine, with the weight of his argument 
on the side of slavery. Go back to the Revolution and you 
find a similar situation. In the city of New York, as it then 
was, the British ruled in outer affairs, and also largely in 
social affairs. The Nassau Street Reformed Church was at that 
time a very prominent and highly influential congregation. Their 
pastor was a young man of marked ability. He had been trained 
in the best universities of Germany. He was also highly 
cultured, and accustomed to move in the best circles of society. 

His first relations with the British seem to have been purely 
social, but they did not end there. From social and personal 
attachment he was led to avow the principles of his friends and 
finally became an outspoken loyalist. This was well enough for 
the polished pastor so long as the British had the rule social and 


otherwise, but the tables turned, and then he found himself with 
many others, on the wrong side of popular opinion and favor. 

It is easy to see why the days of usefulness of this pastor 
came to a speedy and an unpleasant end. He quietly left New 
York and moved to Montgomery, where he remained to the close 
of the war. Soon after he went to Halifax, but in 1788 he 
wandered to Pennsylvania and settled in Rockhill township in 
this county. He preached in Tohickon and other churches for 
a short time, and on the 22nd of March of the same year, 1788, 
poor, heartsick, and a stranger among strangers, he died. 

Such was the career of the Rev. John Michael Kern of whom 
we often think with feelings of peculiar sadness because we feel 
assured that it was purely the force of circumstances that de- 
termined his life and that brought a once brilliant and hopeful 
career to such an humble and obscure end. 

Little is known of him except what is here indicated, no doubt, 
because he himself took special pains to allow but little to be 
known of his former relations. It was most likely his wish to die 
unknown and to be absolutely forgotten. As to his moral and 
official character nothing in the least derogatory to honor and 
sincerity is known. We think of him as a man of honest inten- 
tions, whom the receding tide of popular opinion left alone and 
forsaken in a new and strange land, and who, after having 
wandered lonely and disconsolate, finally came to the deep 
wilds of upper Bucks and Montgomery counties to die and be 
well-nigh forgotten. 

The Beatty Family. 

(Doylestowu Meeting, January lo, 1894). 

It is not uncommon to observe the excellences or unworthy 
traits of parents developed in many of their posterity. Peculiar- 
ities pass down from ancestors to generations following. The 
principle of heredity prevails extensively in all branches of ani- 
mated nature^ and in none perhaps more than in the human 

This is illustrated in the history of the family of Rev. Charles 
Beatty, who commenced his pastorate at Neshaminy Presbyterian 
Church in 1743. 

The name "Beatty" is supposed to be derived from the Latin 
word "beatus," (happy), and is found with various forms of 
spelling in England, Scotland and Ireland ; the different branches 
from the original source have, in course of time, been located. 

The father of Rev. Charles Beatty was John Beatty, who 
in 1640, resided in county Antrim in the north of Ireland, 
whither his progenitors had removed from Scotland. He was 
an officer in the British army, and is said to have been a noble 
looking man, with a fine military bearing. At one of the sta- 
tions, where he was located in the discharge of his duty as a 
soldier, he became acquainted with Christianna Clinton, to whom 
he subsequently united in marriage. 

Her grandfather, William Clinton, was of English parentage, 
and in the struggle between the Parliament and Charles I, ad- 
hered to the cause of the latter, and was an officer in the royal 
army. After the defeat and execution of the King he fled to 
Scotland, but soon passed over to Ireland and settled in county 
Longford, where he died, leaving a son, James, only two years 
old, who, on arriving at maturity, while on a business trip to 
England, met Miss Elizabeth Smith whom he married. She was 
the daughter of a captain in Cromwell's army. Through his 
wife he received some pecuniary means, which enabled him to 


establish a reputable standing in the "green isle," which had 
given him birth. 

This alliance was crowned with at least two children, Chris- 
tianna, who married John Beatty, and Charles, who was the 
ancestor of the Clintons, celebrated in the history of the State 
of New York. Christianna lost her husband in Ireland, at 
what time is unknown, and was left a widow with four children. 
Her brother, Charles Clinton, hoping to secure larger prosperity 
and more religious freedom in the new world, determined to 
emigrate to Pennsylvania. He and some of his friends char- 
tered a ship in Dublin, commanded by Captain Ryner, for the 
voyage across the Atlantic. His sister and her family accom- 
panying him, they set sail for Philadelphia, May 20, 1729. 

i\lthough the captain was bound by a written contract, the 
voyage for some unexplained reason was prolonged, lasting five 
months. They suffered for want of provisions, and were re- 
duced at last to the verge of starvation. The rations being 
reduced to half a biscuit and half a pint of water per day. 

Many of the passengers died from hardships and privation, 
among them a son and daughter of Mr. Clinton, and Mrs. 
Beatty's eldest daughter Elizabeth. It was believed by some, 
that the captain contrived to render the passage long and ex- 
tremely severe, that the emigrants might perish and their prop- 
erty fall into his hands, or that he had been bribed, that emigra- 
tion might be discouraged. When land was sighted, it proved 
to be Cape Cod in New England. 

He was persuaded to disembark the survivors of the ship's 
company at a port in Massachusetts. In that region they 
remained through all the following year, and not finding a 
place altogether suited to their wants there they removed in the 
spring of 1731 to Ulster county, N. Y., about eight miles from 
the Hudson river and sixty miles from the city. There Mr 
Clinton fixed his residence with his wife and a daughter born 
in Ireland, and had four sons born in this country. One of 
them was George Clinton, General in the Revolutionary army, 
and for eighteen years Governor of the State of New York. 
Another was James, the father of DeWitt Clinton, the pro- 

the; beatty family 139 

jector of the Erie Canal, likewise Governor of New York, and 
Senator of the United States. 

Mrs. Beatty and her family remained near her brother Charles 
for some time, but at length she married James Scott, of New 
York city, where she removed and resided 'till her death in 
1776, in the 91st year of her age. She was a lady of refine- 
ment, of dignified and courteous manners, neat and tasteful in 
her dress, fond of music, performing skilfully upon the harp, 
and endowed with a vigorous intellect. All her ofl;spring, who 
were children of her first husband, Mr. Beatty, were born in 
Ireland. Mary married a Mr. Gregg, and another daughter, 
Martha, was married to a Mr. McMillan. She found her home 
with her mother in the old lady's declining years, and probably 
inherited her property, as none of it came to her brother Charles' 

Charles Beatty, the eldest son of John and Christianna Beatty, 
appears to have remained with his relatives in Ulster county, N. 
Y., during most of his youth, and assisted his uncle, Charles 
Clinton, in clearing the forests and cultivating the soil. He was 
under most favorable moral and religious influences and grew 
up with an established character of virtue and integrity. Either 
in Ireland or in America, he was trained in the various branches 
of an English education and in the Latin language. About 
the time that he arrived at his majority he set out to provide 
for himself as an itinerant trader. Probably obtaining a supply 
of goods in New York, where his mother, Mrs. Scott, resided, 
he traveled on foot through New Jersey, vending his wares to the 
scattered families. One day he came to the door of "Log Col- 
lege," as it was called, an institution founded by Rev. William 
Tennent, Sr., near Hartsville, in Bucks county, for the education 
of young men for the ministry of the Presbyterian church. This 
school was established because its founder perceived the great 
need in our new and growing country of a larger number of 
preachers than the colleges of Great Britain or New England 
could supply. 

He believed that a thorough university training, however de- 
sirable, was not absolutely necessary to success in the sacred 
calling. The venerable man met young Beatty at the door and 


greatly to his surprise was addressed by him in correct Latin. 
Finding that he had acquired the rudiments of classical learning 
and appeared sincere in his religious principles, he said to him : 
"Go sell the contents of your pack, come back and study with 
me." His youthful visitor followed his advice, with the result 
that he ultimately became his successor in the pastoral office at 
Neshaminy. Mr. Beatty, however, did not become minister of 
the whole congregation, as a division took place in the General 
Synod of the Presbyterian Church in 1741 between two parties, 
denominated the "Old Lights" and the "New Lights." The 
former were opposed to the admission to the ranks of the clergy 
of any but those who had received a complete training in a uni- 
versity, while the latter deemed the want of ministers in the 
land so imperative, that in cases in which other qualifications 
were sufficient, the lack of a college diploma ought not to bar 
the way to the pulpit. The "New Lights" favored the work 
and measures of Whitfield and his friends; the "Old Lights" 
denounced them as the fruit of fanaticism and delusion. Mr. 
Tennent advocated the views of the "New Lights," and Mr. 
Beatty cordially sympathized with him. The congregation at 
Neshaminy was not entirely harmonious. 

When Mr. Tennent, in 1743, became incapacitated by age 
for the duties of a pastor, Mr. Beatty was invited to take his 
place and was installed over the part of the congregation which 
adhered to the "New Lights," and they built a new house of 
worship on the site occupied by the present church. The other 
portion of the congregation chose Rev. Francis McHenry as 
their pastor, who faithfully served them and the Dcople at Deep 
Run at the same time until his death in 1757. After the re- 
union of the two synods, in 1758, Mr. McHenry 's flock at 
Neshaminy became gradually merged in that of Mr. Beatty. Rev. 
McHenry was the great grandfather of Charles McHenry, now 
residing in Doylestown. 

Mr. Beatty was an earnest and zealous preacher, and took a 
deep interest in missionary operations, particularly among the 
Indians. David Brainerd's labors among the sons of the forest 
in New Jersey and the forks of the Delaware awakened in his 
mind sentiments of warmest approval. In 1745, when Brain- 


erd visited Philadelphia to consult the Governor upon his labors 
for the aborigines, he sojourned with Mr. Beatty and formed 
a most favorable opinion of both his spirit and his abilities. Not 
only was Rev. Beatty faithful to the welfare of his own particular 
flock, but he was usually present and took an active part in 
ecclesiastical councils with which he was associated. The Synod 
of Xew York and Philadelphia elected him ^loderator in 1764. 
In 1750 he made a missionary tour through south New Jersey 
going' as far as Cape May, preaching frequently on the way, 
with the approval of the Synod, to which body he gave an ac- 
count of the circumstances and wants of the people in that 
region. In 1754 he went with several other clergymen, by ap- 
pointment of Synod, to A'irginia and North Carolina and was 
absent from home about three months, afterwards presenting a 
report of his work to those who had sent him. 

A warm patriot, he was anxious to do all in his power for the 
defense of his country and the protection of her citizens in time 
of danger. At three different times he served as chaplain with 
Pennsylvania troops in the struggle of the French and Indians 
with the English. The first was soon after the savages had de- 
stroyed the Moravian village of Gnadenhutten on the Lehigh, 
when the expedition was under the command of Benjamin Frank- 
lin. They set out in January, 1756, but Franklin soon gave up the 
charge of the soldiers to Col. Clapham, and Mr. Beatty returned 
home before spring. The same year he was commissioned by Lieut. 
Gov. Morris, of Pennsylvania, to act in a similar capacity with 
a military force, which was to penetrate into the interior of the 
State. In 1758 a large army having been raised to attack Fort 
Duquesne, Mr. Beatty at the request of Gen. Armstrong was 
commissioned chaplain of the wdiole force by Lieut. Gov. Wil- 
liam Denny. They marched west through the wilderness, fording- 
streams and crossing mountains, where no sign of human habita- 
tion met their eyes, and where they might be waylaid by the 
enemy in ambush. Before reaching the Allegheny river they were 
attacked by a considerable body of the French, but repulsed them, 
forcing them to retreat toward their fortification. Pushing on 
the next day after the foe, they ere long came to the fort, but 
found it evacuated and partly destroyed by fire. The enemy had 


become convinced that they could not hold the place against the 
advancing army, and had entered boats and gone down the Ohio. 
The Americans took possession of the empty citadel and effectual- 
ly terminated the efforts of the French to drive out the Eng- 
lish from the Valley of the Mississippi. Here Mr. Beatty preach- 
ed a sermon of thanksgiving to God before the whole army, 
which was probably the first Protestant sermon ever delivered 
in that magnificent territory, which had long been the prize con- 
tended for by two mighty nations. In 1759 he was invited to 
engage in a similar work, but the Synod advised him to decline, 
as his congregation needed his pastoral care. 

Soon after the reunion of the "Old" and "New Lights" in 1758, 
a scheme was adopted by the Synod to provide a fund for the 
benefit of aged or deceased ministers and their needy families. 
Mr. Beatty was on the committee to draw up a plan, which in- 
cluded also help for destitute mission fields. It was thought best 
that some one should go to Great Britain to solicit pecuniary aid 
for this fund. Mr. Beatty was selected. He sailed for Europe 
in the spring of 1760 and was absent till the summer of 1761. 
He visited Ireland, Scotland and England, was at the coronation 
of George III, was present at Court, and received from the King 
a handsome donation to the fund. His mission proved highly 
creditable to himself, and advantageous to the objects he had 
mainly in view. He afterwards crossed the ocean again with his 
wife on account of her health, between 1767 and 1769, being 
away nearly two years. But his beloved companion did not re- 
turn with him. Her decease took place at Greenock, Scotland, 
March 25, 1768 where her remains lie buried, together with 
those of an infant daughter. 

In 1766, by direction of Synod, Mr. Beatty and Rev. George 
Duffield, of Carlisle, made a tour among the western settlements 
and the Indian tribes for preaching and studying their religious 
condition. From Carlisle to Pittsburg they pursued the journey 
by two different routes. Meeting at the latter town, in which 
there were not then more than thirty houses, besides the forts, 
they crossed the Allegheny river in a canoe, "swimming their 
horses at its side." Continuing along the Ohio till they passed 
the Beaver river, thence southwest through the primeval forest, 

THE be;atty family 143 

they came to the principal town of the Delawares, 120 miles 
west of Pittsburg, in the present state of Ohio. They held many 
conferences with the Indians, aiid Mr. Beatty preached his first 
sermon to them through an interpreter on the parable of the Prod- 
igal Son. The journey occupied two months, and was extreme- 
ly fatiguing, being made on horse-back through the woods, and 
over streams without bridges, but it gave them much informa- 
tion about the natives, which they embodied in a report to the 

Mr. Beatty was a trustee of the College of New Jersey at 
Princeton, elected in 1763. The institution was in its childhood 
and needed larger resources than this country, just emerging 
from the wars with the French and the Indians, could furnish, 
It was deemed important that aid should be solicited in the West 
Indies, some portions of which were occupied by British planters, 
men of wealth. Dr. John Witherspoon, the president who was 
first requested to undertake the duty, being unable to leave his 
post, Mr. Beatty was appointed to serve on what proved to him 
a fatal mission. 

He arrived at the Island of Barbadoes June 6th and died 
August 13, 1772, stricken with the yellow fever. There in the 
cemetery at Bridgeton his remains are interred. As a public 
speaker he was ready, fluent, impressive, and seldom made use 
of a manuscript. Gentlemanly in his manners, pleasing in his 
personal appearance and address, he commanded respect and 
made friends wherever he went. He was useful, active and 
influential in his parish, in society, in the judicatories of the 
church and in the affairs of the country. 

Rev. Charles Beatty was married in 1746 to Ann, daughter of 
John Reading, president of the Council of New Jersey and after- 
wards governor of the Province. They had eleven children, 
two of whom died quite young. Nine reached maturity and 
most of them married and left a numerous posterity, who are 
scattered far and wide over the land. 

I. Mary Beatty, the eldest daughter, at the age of 27i mar- 
ried Rev. Enoch Green, pastor of the Presbyterian church at 
Deerfield, N. J. He served as a chaplain in the army of the 


Revolution, and while acting in that capacity was attacked with 
camp-fever and died, after being in the ministry ten years. Like 
many others he gave his life for his country. His widow resided 
many years near Trenton, N. J., on the farm of her father-in- 
law, which subsequently became the property of herself and her 
sons. In 1 82 1 she removed to Philadelphia, where she died in 
1842, in the 96th year of her age. During the seven years of 
the Revolutionary contest she abstained through patriotic mo- 
tives from the use of tea, though fond of the exhilarating bev- 
erage. She had three children, two sons and a daughter. One 
of her sons, William, when a young man, served in the militia 
in quelling the insurrection of "The Whiskey Boys" in western 
Pennsylvania. Her other son, Charles Beatty Green, studied 
law and settled in Natchez, Mississippi, where he acquired an 
extensive practice, and was chosen a member of the House 
of Representatives of the State, and continued to be a member 
either of the House or the Senate many years. He filled also 
other offices in the State, both civil and military, and was known 
as "General Green." 

2. John Beatty, the oldest son, graduated at Princeton in 
1769, with the first class that took their bachelor's degree under 
the presidency of Dr. Witherspoon. He studied medicine with 
Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, in 1770 and 1771, and commenced 
the -practice of his profession at Hartsville, Bucks county, in 
Neshaminy congregation, in 1772. His father's death took 
place that year. He was one of the executors of the will, and 
the care and management of the estate occupied much of his at- 
tention. In 1774 he married Mary Longstreet, whose home was 
near Princeton, and he soon moved to that town. When the 
war with Great Britain commenced in 1775, he joined the army 
as Captain and rose to the rank of Major, was taken prisoner 
at the surrender of Fort Washington in November, 1776, and 
detained in severe and rigorous confinement till May, 1778, a 
period of eighteen months, when he was exchanged. A few 
weeks later Dr. E. Boudinot resigned as Commissary General 
of Prisoners and Major Beatty was appointed to his place and 
promoted to the rank of Colonel. In 1780 he resigned and was 
honorably discharged from the service, when he returned to 


Princeton and resumed the practice of medicine. He did not 
confine himself, however, to his profession, but miiigled in pub- 
he affairs. He represented New Jersey in the Continental Con- 
gress in 1783 and 1785, and in the Federal Congress in 1793-5. 
He was a member of the State Legislature and Speaker of the 
Assembly. In 1795 he was chosen by the Legislature, Secretary 
of State, and held the office ten years. In military life he held 
a conspicuous position, being Brigadier General of Militia, 
which gave him the title by which he was afterwards known. 
General Beatty. 

The Trenton Delaware Bridge Company, organized in 1803, 
chose him as its president, and he superintended the erec- 
tion of that most important structure, which was on the direct 
route from Philadelphia to New York, which united New Jersey 
and Pennsylvania, and which was at that day considered in both 
England and America, a remarkable work, being on a new plan. 
During the building of it he resided at South Trenton, near the 
terminus. A spectator at its opening in 1805, said, "Well do 
I remember his tall and commanding appearance when he led 
the great procession that was formed to inaugurate its first 
crossing." He was President of the Trenton Banking Com- 
pany, a trustee of the College at Princeton, and a trustee in the 
First Presbyterian Church of Trenton. 

His death occurred in 1826, in his 78th year. He was mar- 
ried twice and had two children by his first wife, a son and 
daughter. One of his grandchildren, Catharine Louise Beatty, 
a young lady of unusual ability and piety, in 1861 went to India 
as a missionary under the direction of the Presbyterian Board 
of Foreign Missions, and for nine years was at the head of a 
large seminary for girls, in which position of exhausting labor 
her health failed, and she passed away in 1870 much lamented. 

3. Elizabeth Beatty, the fourth child, married Rev. Philip 
V . Fithian, a native of Greenv\^ich, N. J. He graduated at 
Princeton in 1772, and was appointed Chaplain in the Revolution- 
ary army in 1776. It is said, that at the battle of White Plains 
he fought in the ranks. Soon after, exposure brought on the 
dysentery and he died in the autumn of the same vear. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Fithian, after her husband's death, married his 


cousin, Joel Fithian, and several of her children were in the 
Union army in the late struggle with the Confederate States. 

4. Charles Clinton Beatty, sixth child, graduated at Princeton, 
in 1775, and entered the Army of the Revolution with a com- 
mission in a Pennsylvania regiment. In the expedition against 
Canada he was with Gen. Wayne, and in November, 1776, was 
one of the garrison of Fort Ticonderoga. During the winter or 
spring he came south, and while with a body of troops at 
Aloore's tavern, near Chester, Pa., he was showing a fine rifle he 
had just bought, to one of his brother ofiQcers, when the latter, 
taking it in his hand, and not knowing it was loaded, pointed 
it at the former and said, "I will shoot you, Beatty!" The 
trigger fell, the bullet pierced his heart, and he fell dead. The 
officer was overwhelmed with grief and dismay, and could never 
allude to the tragic occurrence, (though he lived to old age), 
without the most sad and distressing emotions. The remains 
of the unfortunate young man were interred in the Old Chester 

5. Reading Beatty, the seventh child, named for his mother's 
father, John Reading, after pursuing the study of medicine 
with his brother John at Neshaminy and with Dr. Moses Scott, 
of New Brunswick, N. J., in 1775 enlisted in his country's mili- 
tary service as a private soldier, was soon made sergeant, then 
ensign, then lieutenant, and during the campaign of 1776, in 
consequence of the sickness of his superior officer, acted as 
captain. When Fort Washington was surrendered, he was 
among the prisoners, and was at first subjected to ignominious 
and severe treatment, being deprived of most of his clothing, 
marched through New York, and confined in the prison-ship 
Myrtle, and came near being murdered by a Hessian soldier. 
Ere long, however, he was permitted to reside at Flatbush, Long 
Island, where he remained eight months, when he was ex- 
changed in company with his brother, John. After prosecuting 
his medical studies for a year or more, he was appointed sur- 
geon in the nth Pennsylvania regiment, and was commissioned 
by Congress; and in 1781 he received from Congress a commis- 
sion as surgeon of artillery, in which capacity he remained 
with the army till the close of the war. When hostilities had 

the: beatty family 147 

terminated, he began the practice of medicine at Hartsville, and 
remained there three years; but having married in 1786 Chris- 
tiana, the daughter of Judge Henry Wynkoop, of Bucks county, 
he removed to Nockamixon township, and thence to Fallsing- 
ton, where he resided forty years, pursuing his profession with 
success. For a long period he was ruhng elder in the Presby- 
terian church of Newtown, to which place he transferred his 
home in 1828 and there died in 1831. His wife survived him 
nearly ten years. 

One of their children, Anii, married Rev. Alexander Boyd, 
pastor of the Presbyterian church in Newtown. Another, 
Charles Clinton Beatty, graduate, d at a medical college in Phila- 
delphia in 1816 and practiced mei Heine five years in Penn's 
Manor, and subsequently in Abington, Montgomery county. 
Another daughter, Mary, married Rev. Robert Steel, D. D., pas- 
tor of the church at Abington. Another son, John Beatty, born 
in 1800, now (1894) resides in Doylestown, at the advanced age 
of nearly 94 years. He first married Miss Emily Moore, daugh- 
ter of Dr. Samuel Moore, of Philadelphia, who had a Farm at 
Bridge Point, now in possession of Aaron Fries. This beautiful 
property he owned from 1831 to 1841. Having lost his wife, he 
married, in 1833, Miss Mary A. Henry, of Evansburg, Pa., and 
their home was brightened by the presence of five children, 
and many grandchildren have proved an honor and comfort in 
their declining years. 

Sarah Beatty, daughter of Dr. Reading Beatty, married Rev. 
Henry R. Wilson, D. D., who immediately after their marriage 
went to Indian Territory, as a missionary among the Choctaws. 
Exposed to many hardships and privations in an unhealthy dis- 
trict, her health soon failed and in less than a year she whs taken 
from her husband by death, July 15, 1835. He was afterwards 
sent to Hindostan as a missionary, and at a later period became 
the secretary of the board of church erection of the Presby- 
terian General Assembly, which office he ably filled till his death, 
a few years since. 

6. The eighth child of Rev. Charles Beatty was called by his 
father Erkuries, a name that he himself coined in gratitude for 
the gift. It was derived from two Greek words — e, from, and 


Kurious, the Lord, which after a few changes in spelHng became 
Erkuries. The boy was preparing for Princeton college when 
the war with Great Britain commenced, and though only six- 
teen years of age, he wished to join his older brothers in fighting 
for the liberties of his country, but for a time he was restrained 
by his guardian on account of his youth. However, he success- 
fully engaged with others in a privateering adventure to cap- 
ture a British sloop near Elizabethtown, and soon after en- 
listed in the ranks as a soldier, rising ultimately through several 
grades of promotion to the position of major. He was in many 
severe battles ; with Lord Sterling on Long Island, in the re- 
treat by night ; at White Plains, and in command as a sergeant 
of a guard over some stores, where he narrowly escaped being 
captured or slain and every one of the detachment was killed or 
wounded but himself. He took part in the engagements of the 
Brandywine under Lafayette and at Germantown, in the latter 
of which he was wounded in the thigh. Fainting from the loss 
of blood he was carried from the field and laid at the door of 
one of the Society of Friends, who took him in and sent for a 
gentleman to whom he was well known, a Mr. Erwin, who 
lived near Hatboro. There he remained till he had recovered and 
then returned to the army, which had encamped at Valley Forge. 
In 1778 he was in the battle of Monmouth under General Wayne, 
on the Hudson, at Schoharie to protect the town from the In- 
dians ; in an enterprise against the Onandagas, in April, 1779; 
and in Sullivan's expedition against the savages in the fall of 
the same year. After Arnold's treachery he was stationed for 
a time at West Point and in various other places, where he saw 
hard service in the field. He assisted in the capture of York- 
town, Va., saw the British lay down their arms, and was detached 
as a part of the guard over the prisoners at Lancaster, Pa. 
Throughout the war he was an active, brave and meritorious of- 
ficer. Subsequently for several years he acted as clerk in the 
War office, settling the accounts of the Pennsylvania line and 
as paymaster in the Western Army, which made it necessary 
for him to often visit New York and Philadelphia to confer 
with the Secretary of War about clothing, paying and provision- 
ing the troops. 

the; beatty famii.y 149 

In 1793 ill health and other reasons induced him to resign his 
relation to the army, when General Wayne, in a letter accepting 
his resignation, expressed his high appreciation of his faithful 
and valuable services and his great esteem for him as an officer 
and a gentleman. Most of his subsequent life was spent on the 
Castle Howard farm near Princeton, N. J., which he purchased 
and on which he devoted himself to practical and scientific 
agriculture. In 1799 he was married to Mrs. Susanna Fergu- 
son, of Philadelphia, who with her daughter immediately went 
to reside on the farm with him. In civil life he was often 
elected to honorable and important offices. He was Justice of 
the Peace, Judge of the county courts, member of the State Leg- 
islature and of the council, and for a long period Treasurer of 
the Society of the Cincinnati. His later years were passed in 
Princeton, where he died in 1823, in the 64th year of his age. 

He had three children, one of whom was Rev. Charles Clinton 
Beatty, D. D. who graduated at Princeton college, and after 
traveling in the West for the benefit of his feeble health, studied 
theology and preached in the vacant pulpit of the Presbyterian 
church in Doylestown two months in the summer of 1822, when 
through his labors and the aid of others a season of great re- 
ligious interest was enjoyed and about seventy persons united 
with the church, trebling its numbers. Receiving a call from 
the Presbyterian church in Steubenville, Ohijo, he decided to 
accept it and was installed pastor in 1823, which position he 
occupied thirteen and a half years. In those days in that new 
country ministers were content with small stipends. His salary 
at first was $500 and he never asked the people to increase it. 
In 1824 he attended as a delegate the General Assembly in 
Philadelphia, and was married in June to Miss Lydia R. Moore, 
a daughter of Dr. Moore, of Bridge Point, Bucks county. Pa., 
to whom he had been attached from his youth. His young wife, 
however, was not spared to him long. She passed from earth 
in June, 1825, and her infant daughter soon followed her. In 
1827 he was married to Miss Hetty E. Davis, of Maysville, 
Ky. She was fond of teaching, and in accordance with her 
wishes they established the Steubenville Female Seminary, which 
for many years was widely known as a popular institution of 

150 the: beatty family 

high standing and eminent usefulness. In 1840 he received 
the degree of D. D., and in i860 that of LL. D., from Washing- 
ton College, Pa. Often a member of the Presbyterian General 
Assembly, he was elected the Moderator of that body in 1862 
and the next year preached the sermon at the opening of its 
sessions. He was called by his brethren to take a prominent 
part in the reunion of the two severed branches of the Presby- 
terian Church, being chairman of the committee of the old 
school assembly, and of the united committee composed of the 
two committees, whose report was adopted by both bodies, and 
sealed their union. In many other ways he was honored by 
ecclesiastical organizations, with which he was connected, which 
time forbids me to mention. After a life of singular benevolence, 
usefulness and distinction, he died at his home in Steubenville, 
O., October 30, 1882, in the 83rd year of his age. 

7. William Pitte Beatty, the tenth child of Rev. Charles 
Beatty, was named after the eminent English statesman, whose 
opposition to the tyranny of Great Britain in her treatment of the 
Colonies rendered him dear to every patriotic American. In 
1799 he was married to Eleanor Polk, of Neshaminy, named for 
her aunt, Mrs. Eleanor Polk, a lady, who died in 1850 in extreme 
age, and who remembered to have seen General Washington 
when his army was encamped at Neshaminy, and he rode on 
horseback at the head of his troops and took off his hat to the 
ladies that greeted him. William Pitte Beatty was a good pen- 
man and had a talent for arithmetical calculations, and was 
employed in various official positions in Philadelphia and Co- 
lumbia, Lancaster county, in which latter place he was post- 
master for many years. His long life found its close in Phila- 
delphia at the home of one of his sons, when he was 82 years 
of age. Like his brother Erkuries he maintained to the last 
the practice of wearing the hair in a queue and in other respects 
resembled an old fashioned gentleman. He was one of the 
founders and principal supporters of the Presbyterian church 
in Columbia, and was an ardent patriot and friend of every 
thing that benefited humanity. 

One of his children, George Beatty, in 1832, had charge of a 
large section of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal; in 1837 he 


was Secretary of the Executive Council of the Territory of Iowa ; 
and on the division, he held the same position in Wisconsin ; he 
was likewise the Auditor General and Treasurer ot that Terri- 
tory ; and had charge of the building of the Northern railway of 
Canada, in which capacity he secured the approval and commen- 
dation of the directors, which were expressed by special resolu- 

Another son of William P. Beatty, Erkuries, resided at Car- 
lisle, Pa., and was Assistant Adjutant General in the late Civil 
War under General Miles, and received from the War Depart- 
ment the rank by brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel for gallant and 
meritorious services. 

I have already, I fear, exhausted your patience and will close 
with the remark, that the record of Rev. C. Beatty, and his 
family, is in a high degree honorable. Patriotism, courage, love 
of military service, industry, executive ability, and piety are 
qualities which have been exemplified in an unusual measure in 
the ancestors and in their descendants. 

Historical Sketch of Hatboro and Vicinity. 
An Address of Welcome. 

(Hatboro Meeting, July 17, 1894). 

It was a happy thought that suggested Hatboro as the place 
for the joint meeting of the historical societies of the counties 
of Chester, Bucks and Montgomery. About this centre of his- 
torical interest a series of events cluster which, here, more 
perhaps than elsewhere, illustrate the evolution of the people 
of these counties out of the maze of bitter, not to say bigoted, 
religious and social differences which so greatly multiplied the 
difficulties and embarrassed the efforts of the friends of Ameri- 
can Independence in establishing free democratic government 
in this land. 

For the possession of the beautiful valleys and fertile hills 
and plains enclosing them, from the time when Tammany and his 
associate chiefs, in 1681-83, granted to Penn the lands along 
and between the Neshaminy and Pennypack creeks, there appears 
to have been a quiet but determined struggle between the various 
elements of earnest and rugged characters who first settled in 
these parts. 

Here at the confluence of the "big" and "little" Neshaminy 
gathered a sturdy Presbyterian band under the lead of the 
learned and wise Tennent and the brave Beatty, while, to the 
north, as far as Bedminster and Tinicum, they found aggressive 
support from the Scotch-Irish adherents of the same faith. What 
ancestry has left a greater impress upon the history of our 
country than these? What institution of learning of such small 
pretentions has exerted an equal influence with the Log College 
in developing the highest civilization and virtues of mankind? 

Nowhere in Pennsylvania were the peaceful yet determined 
followers of Penn more aggressive in proclaiming their tenets 
and in occupying the soil than along the belt of country upon 
which old Horsham meeting-house stands and extending from 
West Chester to the Delaware. It can confidentlv be asserted 


that no influence was greater in uniting the famiHes of the three 
counties in a common brotherhood than the common meeting 
ground at Horsham, where all were wont to gather in social 
and religious intercourse. But the Friends and Presbyterians 
were not the only ones to contend for the possession of this rich 
heritage along the Pennypack. Under the lead of Eaton and 
Watts, the Baptists early established themselves, while their 
brethren from Wales, in Upper Dublin, planted a colony above 
the Neshaminy at New Britain and Hilltown, where, through 
long years, they have carried on a tenacious though losing effort 
for possession with the home-loving and conservative Menno- 

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war all these forces 
were engaged in a successful struggle for material advancement. 
Intermingling with each other in the pursuit of their various 
enterprises, of clearing the land, trading and intertrading, little 
had occurred to sharply define their differences of opinion or to 
kindle the smouldering fires of antagonism and bitterness which 
their strongly divergent sentiments inevitably developed in a 
time of civil war. The Friends, then in the first growth of their 
peculiar views upon the question of war, were not inclined to 
abandon their new teachings and to take up arms. They coun- 
seled peace and submission to the exactions of the mother coun- 

On the other hand, the Presbyterians and Baptists, not enter- 
taining any conscientious scruples upon the subject of war, were 
willing and even eager to ascribe to the peaceful counsels of the 
Friends motives of cowardice and treachery to their neighbors, 
and by persecution and intolerance drove many of their young 
men, as unquestionably was the case with the notorious Doan 
family, to abandon the practices of peace and to openly join 
the ranks of the Royalists. Thus religious feeling, as in all great 
upheavals, had much to do in shaping the course of events in this 

But other influences were also at work. While the leading 
Friends counseled peace and submission to wrongs rather than 
open war, from the pulpits along the Pennypack and the Nesh- 
aminy, Nathaniel Irwin and other bold spirits thundered forth 


resistance to tyranny. Moving up and down, in and out, amon^ 
all these discordant elements were the men of prominence, wealth 
and power in the community, greatest and most influential among 
whom was the able, eloquent and persuasive Joseph Galloway, 
who in his final false step was supported by Jonathan Walton 
and other more aggressive spirits among the Loyalists. Gallo- 
way first led in protests and counseled resistance, then, appalled 
at the consequences to his high position, of possible failure, 
repudiated independence, deserted family and country and lost 
all. Who to-day can reckon the influence upon the final attitude 
of the people of this neighborhood of Joseph Galloway as he passed 
through here on his frequent visits to the Fergusons over there 
at Graeme Park? 

On the other hand, never wavering, and present at every 
public gathering, could be seen the handsome and impressive 
Henry Wynkoop, counseling all to stand firmly by his friend 
Washington. Then there were the Rev. Nathaniel Irwin, John 
Fitch, the inventor of the steamboat, the Beatty family. Colonel 
Joseph Hart, Captains Andrew Long and Henry Darrah and 
others of their followers who made the townships of Warmin- 
ster, Warwick and Warrington firm supporters of the Revolu- 
tion, while on this side of the line Dr. Edwards and Judge Bom- 
bers contended with greater odds. 

Sectarian lines failed to hold all followers within them. From 
Hilltown Captain Thomas led a company of Loyalists into Howe's 
camp, at Philadelphia, while Lacey, the Wrightstown Quaker, 
marched his company to the storming of the Canada posts, after- 
wards to return and command in the action which occurred al- 
most on this spot. 

On the morning of May i, 1778, the most important outpost 
of the patriot army at Valley Forge was stationed here, at the 
Crooked Billet, commanded by General John Lacey, who, doubt- 
less, was selected for this difficult command in the hope that his 
Quaker affiliations might have some influence in suppressing 
demonstrations of local sympathy for the enemy. General Lacey 
was to prevent communication of the inhabitants between the 
Delaware and Schuylkill with the enemy at Philadelphia and to 
watch and report his movements to General Washington. 


No similar task was ever assigned a commander under more 
difficult circumstances. Sympathy with the enemy, whetted by 
a profitable trade with his army, was strong among the farmers, 
and treachery lurked about Lacey and dogged the footsteps of 
his command, as, for safety, it shifted its camp from place to 
place. During the winter twenty-five of his command were be- 
trayed into the hands of the enemy at Smithfield, and on the 6th 
of March his own men had aggravated the situation by burning 
a number of barns and wheat-stacks about Byberry meeting- 
house, while he had caused the cattle of the farmers to be driven 
to Doylestown so as to prevent their falling into the hands of 
the British. 

It is therefore not a matter of wonder that, notwithstanding 
every precaution, the British troops were piloted so as to evade 
Lacey's sentries. When we shall hear from General Davis of 
the cruelties perpetrated upon that day, we may more thoroughly 
understand the bitterness of feeling which then prevailed be- 
tween Patriot and Loyalist in this community, and can realize 
its influence upon after events in its development. 

For long years whatever of public moment was undertaken 
here was aggressively done and vigorously resisted. The se- 
cond Afasonic lodge in Bucks county, which was located at 
Bean's tavern, over in Warminster, was fiercely assailed during 
the anti-Masonic fever and compelled to surrender its charter, 
while your most prominent citizen. Dr. John H. Hill, was de- 
feated for Congress through the same feeling. This place was 
also on the line of the most aggressive and active "underground 
railroad," where the anti-slavery society which was an earl> 
friend to the local library, found strong supporters among 
the Friends. That there was a strong antagonism was developed 
in 1823, when the kidnapping of a colored boy from his master, 
who had arrested him, resulted in a riot in Hatboro and led to 
the participants being taken before the United States Court, in 
Philadelphia, where they found themselves much in the same 
plight that the Debsites of Chicago now are. 

Horsham meeting-house and old Loller academy have again 
and again resounded to the eloquence of Lucretia Mott and 
Charles C. Burleigh preaching universal freedom and Christ 


the Prince of Peace, and the walls of the academy have re- 
echoed with sharp and exciting forensic contests, never to be j 
forgotten by those who heard them, over the prominent ques- I 
tions of the times, between these able disputants and General 
John Davis, Josiah Randall, E. Morris Davis, Alfred Earle and 1 
numerous other bright men whose ambition, whetted by love j 
of intellectual combat, attracted them as by common consent, 
to this centre of intellectual activity and public political agita- j 
tion. In no other locality in these counties, during more than | 
a century, could there be found a greater mental development ' 
and activity than here. I 

x\nd now that the angel-of-peace seems to have spread her 
wings over the graves of all the combatants and as their children 
vie with each other in singing their praises : when the political 
and sectarian rancors of old have departed ; when the shriek 
of the iron horse signalling the dawn of progress, ease and 
security, is heard in your midst, and other thoughts suppress 
that old stern desire for conflict and discussion, let the local 
historian come down upon the stage to commemorate the abili- 
ties, virtues and honesty of purpose which distinguished the 
inhabitants of the vicinity of the old town of Crooked Billet, 
and lest he should overlook it, let me now ask you one and all ; 
What was the one great influence which, more than the preach- 
ing of dogmas and sectarianism, the enrollment of battalions and 
the clash of arms or the eloquence of orators and disputants, 
has contributed to your local advancement, glory and happiness r" 

Every index will point to that plain but impressive building 
down the street which holds the precious volumes of the Union 
Library, founded in 1755. and where so many of us have found 
pleasure and profit. As we glance over the names of the con- 
tributors and members, what a galaxy of noble men and women 
is unfolded and what an illustration of how all, however differ- 
ing, worship at the common shrine of learning and information. 
There are William Allen and Lawrence Growden, Chief and 
Associate Justice of Pennsylvania ; Joseph Galloway, Dr. Thomas 
Graeme, Elizabeth Ferguson, Thomas Penn the proprietor, Alex- 
ander Graydon, Dr. Oliver Hart, Daniel Clymer, Robert Loller, 
Joseph Hart, Rev. Joshua Potts, Nathaniel Irwin, Gen. John 


Davis, the Lukens, the Jarretts, the Iredells, Lloyds, Spencers, 
McNairs, and other famihes, whose works have left a lastinj;^ 
impression upon the civilization of the century. To the strangers 
who are here to-day, on behalf of my old neighbors, I bid you 
a hearty welcome to the feast, both of mind and body, which 
now awaits you. 

Robert Morris the Financier of the Revolution. 

(Hatboro Meeting, July 17, 1S94). 

Probably no one is mentioned on the pages of American his- 
tory except Washington, to whom we are more indebted for the 
final result of the Revolutionary struggle than to Robert Morris, 
whose wisdom and foresight as a financier were of incalculable 
value in guiding the "Ship-of-State" through a sea of difficulties, 
which threatened to engulf it. 

As he owned and managed for a considerable period an ex- 
tensive estate in Bucks county, and founded one of its towns, 
which bears his name, it may not be amiss to dwell briefly on 
this occasion upon his life and character. 

His father, whose surname was likewise Robert, resided in 
Liverpool, England, and was taught the trade of nailmaker, but 
had a partiality for mercantile pursuits, which the son seems 
to have inherited. When the latter was a boy of six years old, 
the family removed to America and settled on the eastern shore 
of Maryland. They had been in the New World about 
ten years when the father made a social visit to a vessel in the 
harbor, and on his taking leave a salute was fired from a can- 
non in his honor. The wadding struck him in the arm, causing 
a wound which proved fatal. This occurred in 1750, when 
Robert, Jr., was 16 years of age. Some time before this he 
was placed in the counting house of Charles Willing, of Phila- 
delphia, where he soon displayed unusual industry and enter- 
prise. In a few years a change took place in the firm and he 
entered into partnership with Thomas Willing and engaged in 
foreign and domestic trade. He made several voyages across 


the ocean as supercargo, in one of which during the Seven-Years- 
War between France and England he was captured by the 
French and detained a long time as a prisoner. While in con- 
finement he earned some money by repairing a watch, which he 
used in paying his passage home. 

In 1769, when he was 35 years old, he married Mary White, 
a sister of Rev. William White, D. D., the first bishop of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania, and chaplain to 
the Continental Congress. Before her marriage she is pictured 
in a fascinating light in a poem written by Joseph Shippen, 
on the belles of Philadelphia, indicating that she was sprightly 
and beautiful. 

" In lovely White's most pleasing form, 

What various graces meet ; 
How blest with every striking charm, 

How languishingly sweet." 

Mr. Morris was successful in business and acquired a con- 
siderable fortune and a high reputation for ability in commer- 
cial transactions when the efforts of the British Parliament 
to oppress the Colonies began to arouse their indignant oppo- 
sition. In 1765 the Stamp Act was passed. This was a measure 
to raise revenue from America, requiring that legal documents, 
bonds, deeds and contracts should be written on stamped paper 
or parchment, which must be purchased from the Royal Govern- 
ment. The Colonists insisted that England had no right to 
lay taxes of any kind upon them without their consent. As 
they had no representatives in Parliament they declared they 
could not be justly compelled to pay anything into the King's 
treasury, unless they chose to do so. All the payments they had 
heretofore made were in their view voluntary contributions. 
On the day the act was to go into operation the people mani- 
fested their grief and displeasure in the most decided manner. 
In Boston, Philadelphia and other cities the bells on the 
churches were muffled and . tolled as if for a funeral, cannon 
were fired, flags were put at half mast for the death of liberty, 
processions paraded through the streets and orations were de- 
livered against the tyranny of the ministry. In many places 
the stamps themselves were seized or were prevented from 


being landed ; the stamp officers were oblig-ed to resign, or 
hide, to escape the vengeance of the populace, and at the same 
time numerous associations were formed by merchants, who 
agreed not to import goods from Britain until the odious act 
was repealed. In these displays of indignation against that 
measure, Robert Morris fully sympathized. He signed the non- 
importation agreement, though this course resulted in interrup- 
tion of his business and severe pecuniary loss, and he was on a 
committee of citizens to compel John Hughs, the collector in 
Philadelphia, to desist from collecting the stamp tax. His 
standing in the city for energy and efficiency was almost un- 
equalled, and in 1766, when still a young man, he was appointed 
warden of the port. 

At the commencement of the struggle with the mother coun- 
try he was forty-one years of age, and the commercial house, 
of which he was the head, occupied the first rank in wealth 
and extent of its operations both at home and abroad. During 
the long hostilities he took part in nearly all the proceedings 
of the United States, except those that were of a military charac- 
ter, and even in these he exercised much influence. 

There was then no proper treasury of the general Govern- 
ment. Congress, the highest legislative authority in the land, 
passed bills for the discharge of trivial debts ; $16.39 ^o^ fer- 
riage, $11.78 for meals for troops, $22 for two sick men in hos- 
pitals, $16 for a lost rifle, and so on through 1777 
and part of 1778. The regular operations of taxation 
and providing for the support of the credit of the 
Nation did not exist. The compact, into which the Colonies 
entered to carry on the war, gave no power to Congress to levy 
taxes upon the inhabitants of the several States, or to bor- 
row money by loans. Each Commonwealth was independent, 
and means to pay troops or to obtain arms and ammunition 
could only be obtained by the consent of the different legis- 
latures. The people were almost universally opposed to being 
taxed, for the struggle was against taxation, and they had paid 
comparatively little to maintain the colonial officers and legisla- 
tive assemblies. The annual cost of the civil establishment of 
all the Colonies together, previous to 1775. had l)ccn but $300.- 


GOO. They were not accustomed to heavy pecuniary pubHc bur- 
dens. No one in New England paid half a crown, or 66 cents, 
per annum before the Revolutionary War to support the State. 
A fortnight before the battle of Bunker Hill the report that 
a man in Salem, Mass., had 500 pounds to lend to the Govern- 
ment was taken up with eagerness by the authorities, so limited 
were their resources. The Pennsylvania Assembly, by an Act 
in 1775, voted to lay a tax on real and personal property, but 
they did not order the collectors to collect it, and it was to be 
paid when the bills of the Colony to discharge its former debts 
were paid. In 1779 taxation had lain dormant in South Caro- 
lina four years, ever since the beginning of the war, and prev- 
ious to that period it had been slight. The planters of the 
South had been somewhat isolated and in the habit of defend- 
ing themselves and punishing offenders with little ceremony, 
and in the North the structure of courts and jurisprudence 
was simple and inexpensive. 

Great Britain had indeed obtained large sums of money from 
the Colonies, but it was done indirectly, by duties on imports, 
tonnage and port dues. From these sources at the opening of 
the contest the crown received £80,000 annually. With the 
Declaration of Independence this at once ceased. It was not 
till after the present Constitution was adopted that the people 
of the United States paid for federal purposes as much as they 
had paid to the King. When he attempted to tax them in new 
modes for the maintenance of a power across the ocean, it is not 
surprising that they refused their consent. But the same dis- 
crimination to submit to unwonted imposts rendered it extremely 
difficult to Congress to realize funds necessary to defend the 
position they had assumed. The need of more troops and more 
money to arm, equip and pay them was constantly felt. The 
letters of Washington to Congress are full of urgent requests 
for more men and additional supplies of food, clothing and 
ammunition, and that body perceived the imperative necessity 
of acceding to his suggestions. They often applied to the 
States for assistance, representing the pitiable condition of the 
soldiers, and the imminent peril of the cause of liberty unless 
help were rendered, but frequently received little more than 


empty resolutions in reply. Samuel Dexter, of Massachusetts, 
retired from public life because he could not consistently vote 
to raise an army without seeing measures inaugurated for its 
support. However patriotic Congress might be, it was desti- 
tute of power to coerce the States to undergo expenses which 
it did not approve, and its enactments had little more efficiencv 
than so many recommendations. June 2, 1775, more than a 
year before Independence was declared, it resolved that no 
one should sell supplies to the British. The next day they voted 
to borrow i6,ooo, and to provide for the liquidation of the loan, 
but how payment was to be realized was not clear. 

During the first part of the contest the principal reliance of 
the National Government was upon paper promises to pay, 
which were circulated as money, and as from necessity they 
were multiplied, until at the expiration of a few years they 
would purchase nothing and were worthless. February 17, 1776, 
Congress appointed a committee of five, one of whom was Mr. 
Morris, to superintend the department of finance, and in April 
following an effort was made to organize the treasury office 
under this committee. The same year it established a loan 
office, with a view of borrowing five millions of Continental 
dollars, at four per cent, interest, to be repaid in three years. 

Air. Morris was first elected a delegate to Congress from 
Pennsylvania in 1775, and subsequently to the same body in 
1776 and 1777. He was the first from his State who signed 
the Declaration of Independence, though he had been doubtful 
whether the time chosen for its promulgation was appropriate. 
He saw the poverty of the Confederation and with his clear 
mercantile foresight feared the consequences of contracting 
debts which without foreign aid there was no prospect of pay- 
ing. He served on various committees to provide military 
stores, including a committee to secure a navy for the defence 
of the coast. His voice was often heard advocating measures 
by which the States might be induced to furnish adequate 
pecuniary means for the prosecution of the war. In 1776 he 
was on a committee of secret correspondence with reference to 
securing assistance from European nations, and was intimately 


associated in this task with Benjamin FrankHn and John Jay. 
In the intervals of the sessions of Congress in 1776 and 1777 
he was one of a committee of three, to whom was intrusted all 
its business. He wrote many long and important letters to 
Washington and to the representative of the United States in 
France urging the importance of prevailing upon that country 
to render help. Washington applied to him for £150 in hard 
money to be used in the secret service of the Government, and 
he undertook to supply it, though gold and silver were ex- 
tremely scarce. Lieut. Col. Charles Lee, a retired officer in 
the British army, dissatisfied that he had not been promoted 
as he thought he deserved, determined to join the American 
cause. If he did so, his property would be confiscated and he 
would be reduced to poverty. As he was destitute of funds, 
Mr. Morris loaned him £5,000, that he might be able to trans- 
fer his allegiance to the side of the Union. Some months 
afterwards Lee, who by this time had been made a Major 
General in our army, wrote to a friend across the ocean, that 
"the affairs of Pennsylvania were in the hands of Robert 
Morris." INIr. Morris was a member of the Council of Safety, 
and before and after the war one of the most influential members 
of the Pennsylvania Assembly ; his private business suffered much 
by his attention to public duties, and by his willingness to use 
his property and his credit for the benefit of his country. 

In 1777 Congress realized more than ever the impracticability 
of meeting the large and increasing expenses of the war by the 
issuing of paper money, and it began to urge the States to tax 
their citizens. In September a committee was appointed, on 
which Mr. Morris was placed, to press this matter upon the 
immediate attention of the Legislatures. The same year a 
resolution was passed advising Washington to take supplies for 
the soldiers from the disaffected inhabitants, a plan which tended 
wherever it was carried out, to intensify their ill feeling toward 
the partisans of freedom. In 1778 considerable time was spent 
in devising schemes against the property of the Tories, and 
confiscation of their effects seemed to be almost the last resort. 
To employ the uncertain power of the Confederation to take 
what was needed from the L^nionists was deemed unwise 


and unsafe. In a letter to Franklin then in Paris, it is said, 
in explanation of the difficulty of gathering funds, "The con- 
test being upon taxation, the laying of imposts except in the 
direct necessity would be madness." 

Yet Congress was impressed with the vast importance of 
keeping up the conflict, and it asked the States to provide 
annually six millions of dollars for eighteen years commencing 
with 1779, and as this proposition was not accepted, in the 
early part of that year it made a call upon them for fifteen 
millions of dollars and in May for forty-five millions more. In 
1780 it sent out a trumpet blast to all the Commonwealths for 
aid, and made apportionment of six million silver dollars, which 
might be paid partly in specific articles, as corn, oats and flour. 

The value of the bills of credit and notes it had put forth, 
had fallen so low that it was useless to issue more. That 
was the most gloomy period in the Revolution. Many patriotic 
hearts were filled with overwhelming anxiety, lest after all the 
labors, sufl^erings, hardships, and battles of years the attempt 
to establish a free government on this continent should prove 
vain. The English saw the depressed condition of the Colonies 
with exultation. King George III said the distress in America 
would force his rebellious subjects to make peace. Washington 
himself was more alarmed than he had been at any previous time. 
He wrote in May, 1780, to Joseph Jones, a delegate from Virginia : 

"Certain I am unless Congress are vested with powers by the several 
States competent to the great purposes of war, or assume them as a matter 
of right, and they and the States respectively act with more energy than 
they have hitherto done, our cause is lost. One State will comply with a 
requisition of Congress ; another neglects to do it ; a third excutes it by 
halves, and all differ either in the manner, the matter, or so much in point 
of time, that we are always working up hill. While such a system as the 
present one, or rather want of one, prevails, we shall ever be unable to apply 
our strength or resources to any advantage." 

There was lamentable carelessness in many parts of the land 
about fulfilling the wishes of Congress, yet in some regions 
earnest and self-denying efforts were made to conform to 
them. In 1 781 President Reed, of Pennsylvania, said that 
4,000 persons in the State were suffering for want of provisions, 
and yet he urged the commissioners to bring in the taxes. 


About that time Congress appointed a committee, in which 
President Reed was, to discover the reason why the taxes were 
not collected. After investigation they reported that it was due 
to the neglect of the proper officers. Even then all our country- 
men were not disinterested patriots. The committee said, "not 
one-third of the taverns take out a license." 

Continental property, no longer needed toward the close of 
the war, was sold by appraisement. Officers would sell to 
a friend a span of horses belonging to the Government for 
one-third of its value. 

In Bethlehem a commissary on full pay was employed with 
an assistant to supply six Hessians, who worked about the town. 
Reed said, "a mulatto under the deputy commissary has ac- 
quired a handsome fortune, some declare £10,000 in specie. 
There have been at times twelve deputy quarter-masters in 
this one county alone." 

Enforcing the' payment of taxes caused great hardships to 
individuals and in many districts. One man in Pennsylvania 
with a small farm owed militia fines of twenty and one-half 
pounds, ($57.00) ; to satisfy the debt the collector took away 
two horses and seven cattle. The collector of Caroline county, 
Va., reported that many of the people there were willing to 
pay the tax but had no money; they were willing to give up their 
property, and some had exposed it for sale, but no one had 
silver or gold to buy it with. In 1780 Mr. INIorris, assisted 
by other citizens of Philadelphia, established a bank, by means 
of which 3,000,000 rations of provisions and 300 hogsheads of 
rum were forwarded to the army. In 1781, before Yorktown 
was captured, it was feared that Philadelphia might be at- 
tacked by the r>ritish. and Thomas Paine proposed that one-third 
or one-quarter of the value of the house rents should be levied 
on the inhabitants of the city for its defence, which it was esti- 
mated would amount to £300,000 or $800,000. 

The various schemes for providing money proved inade- 
quate, and Congress therefore decided to place the financial 
affairs of the Country, in the hands of one man, who should 
be clothed with authority to devise and execute plans to re- 
plenish the exhausted treasury and revive the public credit. 


For this duty in February, 1781, Alexander Hamilton nomi- 
nated Robert Morris, who was unanimously elected with the 
title "Superintendent of Finance," which was abbreviated in 
common parlance to "Financier." His salary was to be $6,000 
a year, a small compensation for the services he rendered. Soon 
all the monetary operations of the government were under his 
control. A floating debt of $2,500,000, weighed down the treas- 
ury, and more permanent obligations existed in the form of 
currency and certificates of loan to the amount of $140,000,000, 
or counting twenty of paper for one of silver, seven millions 
in specie. There was no power in the Confederacy to oblige 
the States to assist in meeting its responsibilities and no regu- 
lar, reliable source of income. No systematic assessment had 
been adopted for all parts of the land, and the States were 
jealous of each other, one afraid that it would pay more accord- 
ing to its population and resources than another. 

]\Ir. Morris was from the first embarrassed with the general 
derangement of pecuniary aflr'airs, enormity of expenditures, 
confusion, languor, complexity and consequent inefficiency of 
the operations of the Government. He wrote to Congress and 
CO the States urgently requesting that their mutual accounts 
be settled, that he might know the liabilities of the Confedera- 
tion. He stated that in his judgment the cost of the war was 
$20,000,000 a year, and that the assessments should be paid in 
specie ; that if they were contributed in old Continental paper, 
their cause was hopeless. He must abandon the system prev- 
iously in use and enter upon a new course. He found the 
treasury empty, and discovered that public officials, clerks and 
employes had not been paid for many months, and that some of 
them were liable to be put in jail for debts they had necessarily 
contracted and had no means to satisfy. If he paid the salaries 
of those, who were about to be imprisoned and not others, there' 
would be misunderstanding and hard feeling; so he paid them 
all from his own purse. 

France acknowledged the independence of the United States 
and made an offensive and defensive treaty with us in 177S, and 
as hostilities arose with Great Britain in consequence, she sent 
a fleet and troops to our coasts to aid us, which proved most 


timely and advantageous. But money was needed to recruit and 
support our own army. Not only military and naval assistance 
was required, but pecuniary funds also. Mr. Morris made efforts 
to secure a loan from France with indifferent success. He tried 
to obtain one of $5,000,000 from Spain, but that country was 
not in circumstances to furnish it. At length he borrowed 
$1,400,000 from Holland, which was the first loan our Govern- 
ment ever made from a foreign nation. He exerted a powerful 
influence in his own, as well as other States, in the way of 
inducing the people to comply with the demands of Congress. 
He pronounced specific supplies, grain, etc., to be burdensome 
and comparatively useless, and pressed the need of solid money. 
Albert Gallatin in 1796 wrote, that Pennsylvania had levied 
some enormous taxes during the war, as he thought, far be- 
yond her ability, the arrearages of which were not yet fully 
paid, and this was largely through the persuasive eloquence of 
Mr. Morris. 

Lord Cornwallis surrendered to the combined French and 
American forces October 19, 1781. The day before that im- 
portant event Mr. Morris stated, that he could not command 
more than one-twentieth of the sum necessary for the current 
expenses of the year. He declared, that he had not, since his 
appointment as Superintendent of Finance, received a shilling 
from any State but Pennsylvania, and that only in paper money, 
and £7,500, in specie, which must be expended for contracts 
in the State. For general purposes almost nothing had come 
within his reach during a period of eight months. Yet the 
war must be prosecuted, the soldiers must have food, clothing, 
tents, arms and ammunition, and money that their families might 
be kept from starvation while they were in service, and all the 
other innumerable expenses of the National administration must 
be met. No other course seemed open to him than to purchase 
what was needed with his own private means and to enter into 
contracts on his personal responsibility. The campaign of 1781 
was freighted with the gravest issues ; multitudes of the people 
were becoming weary of war ; preparations must be vigorously 
made for the destruction or capture of the British forces under 
Cornwallis, and Mr. Morris was obliged to take upon himself 


the task. In the first part of the season he furnished the army 
several thousand barrels of flour and during the summer issued 
his own notes to the amount of $1,400,000 to provide articles 
demanded. Marshall, in his "Life of Washington," says that 
it was due to Morris that the movement on Yorktown was not 
frustrated by lack of men, transportation and subsistence. 
Another writer says that "next to Washington the country 
owes the triumph of Yorktown to Robert Morris." Just be- 
fore that event he obtained from the Chevalier Luzerne, a 
French nobleman, £20,000 in specie. 

People had so much confidence in him that his own notes 
circulated more freely than those of the Confederation. Chas- 
tellux says that on the strength of his office as minister of 
finance his notes, bearing his own name alone, passed through- 
out the Continent as cash, and the Legislature of Virginia 
enacted a law making them legal tender. 

Mr. Morris used every expedient possible to raise funds. He 
had faith in the ability of the country to pay ultimately all 
its indebtedness, but this was a season of poverty and sore dis- 
tress. He applied to the Society of Friends for donations for 
the refugees from the South who had fled from the incursions 
of the British. They answered that they had contributed to 
the citizens of Charleston, South Carolina, and to the inhabi- 
tants of the frontier settlements during the French and Indian 
Wars and that it w^as not convenient for them to accede to 
his request now. In 1782 the quotas to be paid by the States 
came in so slowly that the general Government had not money 
sufficient to pay debts of the utmost exigency and to support 
its embassadors in foreign lands, even with the help afiforded 
by France. 

Many of the people in districts in possession of the enemy 
suffered severely by the contest. Farmers, on the opening of 
peace, found their farms out of order, buildings dilapidated, 
fences gone, stock carried off, crops destroyed and utensils 
missing, and many of the churches were torn down or deserted. 
At the close of 1779 Air. Tracey, a merchant of Newburyport, 
Mass., had lost forty-one ships. Facts like these account in 
part for the laxity of many of the States in contributing for 


the Confederation. Their rehictant delays laid an enormous 
load upon the shoulders of Mr. Morris. But though the soldiers 
in numerous instances met with great losses and all were poorly 
supplied and meagerly paid, yet they behaved nobly. A French 
officer, who was in the Yorktown campaign wrote as follows : 
"I cannot too frequently repeat how much I was surprised at 
the American army. It is beyond understanding how troops, 
who were almost naked, badly paid, composed of old men, 
negroes and children could move so well, both on the march 
and under fire." 

Mr Morris devised various forms of imposts upon the fitting 
out of vessels, and as no one had been appointed to regulate 
the affairs of the navy. Congress in 1781 resolved, that until 
such an appointment should be made, the duties of that depart- 
ment should be performed by the Superintendent of Finance, 
and for more than three years he was in charge of both the 
treasury and the navy, without increase of salary. Though he 
objected to this additional burden, yet he bore it, because it 
saved expense to the United States. Joseph Reed, secretary 
of Gen. Washington, wrote from London that Morris had "all 
the effectual powers of the Government of the Union in his 
hands." In 1781 he proposed to Congress the establishment 
of a mint, and through his efforts the bank of North America 
was incorporated and its operations sanctioned by the Legisla- 
tures of Pennsylvania and several other States, and it proved 
a powerful agent in relieving the Confederation of its em- 
barrassments. In 1783, just before the ratification of the treaty 
of peace, he wrote to the President of Congress, that "as noth- 
ing but the public danger could have induced him to accept 
the office of Superintendent of Finance, so little apprehension 
was now entertained of the common enemy, that his original 
motives had ceased to operate ; that circumstances had post- 
poned the establishment of the public credit, and that it did 
not consist with his ideas of integrity to increase the national 
debt while the prospect of paying it was diminishing." He 
therefore resigned, but at the request of Congress remained 
in charge till November, 1784. At the end of the war the 
army would not disband unless the claims of the soldiers were 

robe;rt morris the; financier of the; re;volution 169 

satisfied, and Mr, Morris became responsible for the amount 
necessary. This with other sums advanced made the Nation 
at his retirement a debtor to him of a half million of dollars, for 
which he trusted his successor would idemnify him, and 
which was all finally repaid. He was elected by Pennsylvania 
a member of the convention that framed the present Constitu- 
tion of the U. S., and a member of the first U. S. Senate. 
When President Washington was about to organize his cab- 
inet, he offered to Mr. Morris the position of Secretary of the 
Treasury, but he declined it. Upon being asked by the Presi- 
ident whom he would recommend, he suggested Alexander 
Hamilton, who received the appointment. 

When the sound of arms was no longer heard in the land, 
Mr. Morris formed a partnership with Gouveneur Morris, 
though they were not relatives, and engaged in commerce with 
China and India. They sent out in 1784 the first American 
ship that ever appeared in the port of Canton. His residence 
in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War was on Front 
street below Dock street, facing the Delaware river, but sub- 
sequently it was on Market street, between Fifth and Sixth, 
and was the finest in the city. It was in this mansion that 
Gen. Washington, by the invitation of Mr. Morris, ordinarily 
took up his abode when in Philadelphia. The two eminent 
men were on terms of the warmest friendship, and there was 
no one whom the President held in higher esteem than the 
able and patriotic financier. At a reception on one occasion, 
when a large number of distinguished guests were presented 
to Washington, he bowed to them all, but shook hands with Mr. 
Morris alone. After the alliance was formed with France, he 
was visited by diplomats, noblemen and other foreign dignitaries, 
as the representative man of the city. In 1782 the Prince De 
Broglie took tea with him, and spoke of him in letters as the 
Controller General of the U. S. The Marquis De Chastellux 
says, "He is a large man, simple in his habits, lives in fine 
style. His house is like the residences of wealthy Englishmen." 
August 31, 1 78 1, is represented in the journals of the time as 
a gala day in Philadelphia, when Washington came to the 
town with a large number of French officers. They first rode 

170 robe;rt morris the; j'inancier of the; re;voIvUTion 

to the city tavern, thence to the house of Mr. Morris, where 
they were appropriately entertained. This dwelhng originally be- 
longed to Richard Penn, grandson of Wm. Penn, but had received 
extensive improvements from its proprietor. 

In 1795 Mr. Morris was persuaded by Monsieur L. Enfant, 
a Fiench architect, to enter upon a scheme, which subjected 
him to great pecuniary loss, the building of a splendid man- 
sion on a new site. He said he could sell his High street, or 
Market street property for $80,000, and was told he could 
put up a magnificent structure for $60,000. He therefore 
bought nearly the whole square bounded by Chestnut, Wal- 
nut, Seventh and Eighth streets, for i 10,000, or $26,600, and 
the architect proceeded with the work. The ground was twelve 
or fifteen feet higher than it is at present, and was a com- 
manding location. Cellars of two and in some places three 
stories underground were dug with extensive vaults and mas- 
sive arches ; the superstructure was reared two stories in height 
with lofty ceilings ; the whole exterior was faced with marble 
with much carved ornamentation in relief, and furniture was 
imported from Europe at lavish expense. The result was the 
most beautiful private dwelling in America. But Mr. Morris was 
often seen gating at it with mortification and regret, and was 
heard to utter bitter exclamations at his own folly and the ex- 
travagance of the architect. Soon after this he was involved in 
financial troubles and the grand palace was seized by his 
creditors. But it was so far beyond the need of any one that 
no purchaser could be found even at a minimum price ; it was 
therefore taken down at great cost ; most of the cellars were 
filled up and the materials sold in lots to the highest bidder. 

Toward the last part of his life Mr. Morris displayed less 
wisdom in the management of his own affairs than he had 
done previously in those of the Government. He purchased 
2,500 acres of land in Bucks county along the Delaware op- 
posite Trenton. The earliest date of his ownership is 1787, 
when Manassah Cutler mentions that he saw several long 
buildings, which Mr. Morris had erected. The place took the 
name of Morrisville. Tn the tract he had fourteen farms, 
a grist-mill, rolling-mill, wire-mill, snuff-mill, plaster-mill. 


an iron-forge, a saw-mill, a brewery, a fine house for his 
own residence with suitable outbuildings, and a stone quarry. 
In 1794 he directed his son William, who was then in London 
to visit a Mr. Wood, who he understood could build a steam 
engine, and get him to come to America ; and stated, that if 
the machinist had not money sufficient, he would furnish means 
to construct the engine and make the voyage; he cautioned him, 
however, not to attract the attention of the British Government, 
which would do everything in its power to prevent the growth 
of manufactures in the new Republic. The Duke De Liancourt, 
a French nobleman, gives a description of Morrisville, and re- 
marks that Robert Alorris owns the whole of it ; and that 
he had started iron-works and other manufactures. All these 
enterprises failed to be remunerative ; they were in advance of 
the times. The estimated value of the property was $250,000; 
but on it were two mortgages, the first to the Insurance Com- 
pany of North America for $73,000, and the second for $25,000 
to George Clymer, one of the signers of the Declaration of 

Morrisville is within the district originally chosen as the 
site of the capital of the United States. In 1784, while Con- 
gress was in session at Trenton, it appointed a commission of 
three members, one of whom was Mr. Morris, to procure land 
near the Falls of the Delaware for public buildings. It was to 
be not less than two, nor more than three, miles square, and 
they were authorized to erect suitable edifices in an elegant 
manner, and to draw on the treasury for $100,000. It was 
understood that the spot for the Hall of Congress was to be 
the high ground west of Morrisville. Soon after Congress 
adjourned to New York and influence adverse to the plan arose. 
Washington was in favor of a more southern location, and it 
was finally decided, as a compromise between the North and 
South, that the seat of the National Government should be 
temporarily, for ten years, in Philadelphia, and permanently 
on the banks of the Potomac. 

Besides the village bearing his name, Mr. Morris owned a 
tract which was called in an inventory of his possessions, the 
Neshaminy estate, and a farm of no acres in Plumstead town- 


ship. With John Nicholson and James Greenleaf he organ- 
ized the North American Land Company and bought millions 
of acres in different sections of the country at low prices, from 
a few cents to a dollar an acre. They had 4,300,000 acres in 
the region of the Genessee in New York State and vast tracts 
in Northampton, Luzerne, Washington and other counties of 
Pennsylvania. Greenleaf was an unprincipled sharper and 
through him Mr. Morris lost all he possessed. In 1798 Mr. 
Morris was arrested for debt by suit of Charles Eddy, whom 
he pronounced "the most hardened villian God ever made." 
Having no means to satisfy his creditors, he was confined in 
prison three years and six months. 

It has been said with some truth that he used his private 
fortune for his country, but that in his time of trouble his 
country forgot him. Still it is proper to remark that his ul- 
timate descent to poverty did not come from his connection 
with the Government, but from his own imprudent speculations. 
He wrote to a friend in England that ''although he suf- 
fered much loss of property by the war, on the whole he had 
gone through the crisis about even. He had lost as many as 
150 vessels and mostly without insurance, as he could not 
get it effected ; but as many escaped and made excellent prof- 
its, his losses were made good to him, or nearly so." While 
he was in prison he was visited by Washington more than once, 
who still esteemed him a dear friend. He was released in 
1 80 1, and lived about five years after, dying in 1806, at the 
age of seventy-two. His wife survived him 21 years. They had 
seven children, sons and daughters, several of whom were sent 
to Europe to be educated in France and Germany. 

The Battle of the Crooked Billet. 

(Hatboro Meeting, July 17, 1894). 

The Delaware-Schuylkill peninsula, including both banks of 
these rivers, is richer in Revolutionary history than any other 
section of the country. The war was almost fought within these 
narrow limits ; it was the alpha and omega of the movement that 
gave constitutional government to America. Here the war for 
independence was given form and substance by that immortal 
Declaration, which electrified the world by announcing that "all 
men are. created equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain unalienable rights ; that among these are life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, gov- 
ernments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers 
from the consent of the governed." 

As the war progressed, this peninsula was repeatedly traversed 
by the Continental Army with Washington at its head ; and, in the 
dark days of December, 1776, when driven out of New Jersey,- 
it sought shelter behind the friendly waters of the Delaware, 
whence it turned on the foe and gained the victories at Trenton 
and Princeton. On four occasions the army crossed this penin- 
sula immediately preceding, or following, important events in the 
war; in 1777, to open the campaign of Brandywine and German- 
town; in 1778, to strike the enemy in flank at Monmouth while 
escaping from Philadelphia to New York; in 1781, on its march 
to cross swords with Cornwallis at Yorktown ; and, after his sur- 
render, to return by the same route later in the Fall. At the close 
of the war, delegates assembled at the capital city of this penin- 
sula and formed that constitution which welded thirteen feeble 
Colonies into the most powerful Nation of the world ; and here 
was established the capital of the infant Republic, and the new 
Government successfully launched on its career of greatness. 

Starting fiom this village of Hatboro (formerly called Crooked 
Billet), a pedestrian of ordinary power, can walk to any one of 
the eight battlefields ot tie Revohition m a single day; Trenton^ 

174 the; battle of the crooked bieeet 

Princeton, Brandywine, Paoli, Germantown, Fort Mifflin, Red 
Bank and Monmouth, not to mention the Crooked Billet. In 
addition to these fields is Valley Forge, where more courage was 
required than in any other battle of the war. I repeat, that no 
section of the country is so rich in Revolutionary history and 
incident as this peninsula. 

The Fall and Winter of 1777-78 were among the most trying 
periods of the war. The preceding campaign had been disas- 
trous to our arms. Defeated at Brandywine; forced to retreat 
at Germantown in the moment of victory ; the fall of Fort 
Mifflin and Red Bank, the keys to the Delaware, and the enemy 
in possession of Philadelphia, military operations closed with little 
apparent hope for the cause of the Colonies. As the Winter set 
in Washington marched with his ragged battalions to the bleak 
hills of Valley Forge, where he encountered a more inexorable 
foe than British bayonet or Hessian sabre. 

Washington, finding it necessary to have this peninsula guard- 
ed by a military force to prevent supplies reaching the enemy at 
Philadelphia, placed it in command of John Lacey, a Bucks 
county Quaker, Brigadier General of militia. He had seen ser- 
vice as Captain in Wayne's Regiment on the Canadian frontiers, 
and was esteemed an excellent officer. He entered upon duty in 
January, 1778, under special instructions from the Commander-in- 
Chief. He was active during the Winter and Spring, with a force 
never large enough for the duty required of him, patrolling the 
country and trying to prevent intercourse with the city. He 
was constantly moving, and we find his headquarters, in turn, 
at Graeme Park on the county line, Rodman's farm, now the 
Bucks county almshouse property, at Doylestown, the Crooked 
Billet, and at other places. Despite all his efforts to break up 
intercourse between city and country, it had become so frequent 
by the end of. March it was seriously contemplated to depopu- 
late the country between the Delaware and Schuylkill for the 
distance of fifteen miles, but the plan failed to receive Washing- 
ton's approval. He had frequent encounters with the enemy, 
sometimes meeting with loss. 

Near the close of April we find Lacey moving down the York 
road as far as Edge Hill to watch a party of the enemy, but, learn- 

TH:e battle; of thd crooked billet 175 

ing they had gone to Philadelphia, he returned to the Crooked 
Billet with his whole force, about 400 militia. He encamped in 
a wood owned by Samuel Irvine, on the east side of the York 
road, at the upper end of the village, the right resting on the 
road and facing south. Lacey quartered in a stone house, 
on the opposite side of the road, owned by one Gilbert, many 
years the home of the late John M. Hoagland, and now the prop- 
erty of Thomas Reading. Here he was attacked at daylight May 
I, by a large body of British, suffered considerable loss in killed, 
wounded and prisoners, and was obliged to fall back a couple of 
miles. He had taken the ordinary precautions to prevent sur- 
prise, but his orders were not carried out. The evening before he 
was joined by a body of unarmed militia. 

General Howe, the British commander, had it in contemplation 
to attack and disperse Lacey's force, and Major Simcoe, the com- 
mander of the Queen's Rangers, a refuge corps, was charged with 
making the arrangements. He was familiar with the country, 
having traversed it in most directions ; and had sent spies into 
Lacey's neighborhood, and had all his movements watched. He 
learned that Lacey expected to be at the Billet May i, and gained 
other information that would be of value, which was reported 
to General Howe with his plans. They were approved and the 
expedition ordered. In addition to the Queen's Rangers, a con- 
siderable body of cavalry and light infantry was detailed, and 
spare horses were to be taken along to mount the infantry should 
that be necessary ; the whole to be under the command of Lieut. 
Col. Abercrombie. 

The following plan of attack was agreed upon. The British 
were to reach the vicinity of Lacey's camp at daylight. The 
Queen's Rangers were to attack his left flank and rear, which, 
if successful, would prevent his falling back to the hills of 
Neshaminy ; while a body, to be placed in ambush on the road 
leading from the Billet to Horsham meeting-house, would cut 
off his retreat to the main army at Valley Forge. Simcoe was 
to bring on the attack, and, when the firing of the Rangers was 
heard, a third body was to move up the York road through the 
Billet, and attack Lacey's camp in front. This would place the 
Americans between two fires, and, it was thought by acting in 
concert, their object could be accomplished without difficulty. 


The British troops left Philadelphia on the afternoon of April 
30, with guides acquainted with the country. They marched out 
Second street, and up the Middle, or Oxford road through the 
Fox Chase to Huntingdon Valley. Here the force was divid- 
ed, the main body, composed of light infantry and cavalry and 
commanded by Abercrombie in person, marching by the nearest 
route to the York road and thence to the place of the proposed 
ambuscade. Simcoe with the Queen's Rangers and some cavalry, 
continued up the Middle road above the Sorrel Horse tavern; 
turned into the- Byberry road, and along it to Lloyd's Corner ; 
then turned to the right into the road leading from the Willow 
Grove to the county line; now changed to the left, at Bean's 
Corner, now Kimball's, and came into the county line a short 
distance above where the old "eight-square" school-house stood. 
In a few hundred yards they took to the fields across the farm of 
Isaac Boileau the nearest way to the Billet. 

During the night Simcoe fell in with Captain _ Thomas' com- 
pany of armed refugees and barely escaped an encounter with 
them. The enemy was anxious to capture Lacey ; spies were 
placed in the trees about his quarters to watch his movements ; 
and Captain Kerr, who marched with Simcoe, was ordered to 
seize and hold Lacey's quarters with his detachment of horse 
as a rallying point. The enemy marched with all possible speed 
but daylight appeared before Simcoe reached Lacey's camp. He 
had escaped all the patrols. 

I have stated that Lacey took the necessary precautions to 
prevent surprise. He gave orders the evening before for the 
patrols to leave camp at 3 o'clock, but it was near daylight be- 
fore they left. Lieut. Neilson, who took the road to Horsham, 
came within sight of the cavalry and light infantry in a mile, 
and sent a soldier back to camp to give the alarm. He found 
the militia paraded. The patrol under Lieut. Laughlin returned 
to camp after a scout of a couple of miles without discovering the 
enemy, but heard firing before getting back. 

Abercrombie, fearing he should not be in time to support Sim- 
coe's attack, detached a part of the cavalry and the mounted 
infantry, to the place of ambush, while he marched up the York 
road with the main body to strike Lacey in front. From the way 
Lacey was hemmed in, Abercrombie probably sent a detachment 

the; battle of the crooked bieeet 177 

up the Easton road to turn his right flank and fail upon his rear 
in concert with the Queen's Rangers. Tliey must have come into 
the York road where the cfounty line crosses it, and where the 
cavalry attacked Lacey's left soon after he began his retreat. 
General Lacey states in his report to General Armstrong, that 
one detachment of the enemy passed the cross roads in his rear 
before his scouts got there. 

The enemy was within 200 yards of Lacey's camp when first 
discovered. He was in bed, but dressed in a hurry, mounted his 
horse and joined his command. It is charged that he carried 
part of his clothes in his hands. The enemy, in his front and 
rear, opened fire about this time, being sheltered by the houses 
and fences. Seeing himself nearly surrounded, and the enemy's 
force superior to his own, Lacey ordered a retreat, moving by 
column to the left in the direction of a wood across open fields, 
the wagons following, and in full view of the enemy in pursuit 
He states that when he emerged into the open fields, and a body 
of the enemy's horse appeared in front, his men gave him an 
anxious look, as if asking him what they should do. He ordered 
them to "deliver their fire and push on." His flanking parties 
now began exchanging shots with the enemy and were soon hotly 

Lacey moved across the fields in tolerable order to the wood, 
probably the tract that belongs to the late William K. Goentner's 
estate. Here he made a stand. By this time the several parties 
of the enemy had come up, and attacked him on all sides. He 
says in his report to Washington : "I kept moving on till I made 
the wood, when the party of both horse and foot came up the 
Byberry road and attacked my right flank; the party from the 
Billet fell upon my rear; the horse from the rear of n;y camp 
came upon my left flank, and a body of horse appeared directly 
in front." The situation of things shows that Lacey was sur- 
rounded, and his position critical. The enemy now began to con- 
centrate on the wood, and General Lacey being much exposed, 
and having already suffered considerable loss, thought it safer to 
move on, which he did with the loss of all his baggage. 

The force which appeared on Lacey's right flank and front, 
about the time he reached the wood, was Simcoe's rangers and 
cavalry. When Simcoe left the county line and struck across the 


fields directly for the Billet, and, while explaining to his officers 
his plan of attack, hearing firing in the direction of Abercrombie's 
detachment, he exclaimed, "The dragoons have discovered us," 
and pushed on at a rapid pace to join in the action. He came up 
on the right flank of the retreating Americans, as already stated, 
intercepting on his march some small parties of fleeing militia- 
men, several of whom were killed. He dispatched a party of 
cavalry to intercept Lacey's baggage, and captured it while cross- 
ing the fields. While the Americans were marching through the 
wood, Simcoe resorted to a ruse, thinking it might induce them to 
lay down their arms. Riding within hailing distance he ordered 
them to surrender, and, as they did not halt, he gave, in a loud 
tone, the commands, "Make ready, present, fire," to deceive them 
into the belief that he had a body of troops with him. In this he 
was disappointed ; they continued to move on, paying no other 
attention to him than bowing their heads at the word "fire." The 
retreating Americans were pursued for a couple of miles, skirm- 
ishing with the enemy, an occasional man falling. They passed 
across the farm of Thomas Craven and by the present Johnsville 
to near the Bristol road, when they turned to the left into a wood, 
when pursuit was relinquished. Entering the York road near 
Hartsville, Lacey moved down towards the scene of the late con- 
flict, hoping to find the enemy oft" his guard in the hour of vic- 
tory, but he had retired, carrying his wounded and most of his 
killed with him. 

The loss was not heavy on either side, and that of the British 
not accurately known. General Lacey reports 26 killed and 8 or 
TO wounded, most of whom fell while crossing the open fields. 
Several were taken prisoners. Lacey lost three officers killed, two 
with the patrols, and Captain Downey, acting commissary of sub- 
sistence. Captain Downey had taught school in Philadelphia, and 
rendered valuable services in the war, among other duties making 
a military survey of the Delaware. He was first wounded in the 
shoulder, and afterward bayoneted and attacked in a brutal man- 
ner. The loss of the enemy is still more uncertain, as he carried 
most of his killed, and all his wounded, away with him. He 
left five dead bodies on the field. A field officer is supposed to 
have been killed, and another officer was badly wounded in the 
knee, and he was carried to the farm-house of Thomas Craven. 


where his wound was dressed. In the report of Major Simcoe 
he admits some of his rangers were wounded, and says the shoe 
buckles of Captain McGill probably saved the life of that ofticer. 
The Americans were buried in one grave above Craven's Coiner 
and near the county line; the wounded were taken to the house 
of Thomas Craven until able to be removed. After burying the 
dead and caring for the wounded, General Lacey fell back to the 
north bank of the Neshaminy above the Cross Roads, now Harts- 
ville. The captured baggage was taken to Philadelphia and hold, 
the proceeds being divided among the soldiers of the expedition, 
yielding about a dollar to each man. 

The British are charged with extreme cruelty to our wounded 
at the Crooked Billet, which I fain would disbelieve for the 
sake of humanity and the credit of the English name, but the 
evidence is conclusive, and the witnesses unimpeached. In a field 
on the Craven farm, and near the county line was a large pile 
of buckwheat straw. Garret Grewson, a respectable man living 
in the neighborhood, says several of our fatigued militiamen 
crept into this straw about sunrise ; that a Tory told the British, 
and they set fire to the straw while our men were asleep. Some 
were burned to death, and others so badly burned they died shortly 
afterward. Several of our wounded, who had crept into the 
straw for shelter, were likewise burned by the enemy. General 
Lacey in a letter to General Armstrong, under date of May 7. 
writes : 

"Many of the unfortunates, who fell into the merciless hands of the British, 
were cruelly and inhumanly butchered. Some were set on fire with buck- 
wheat straw, and others had their clothes burned on their backs. Some of 
the surviving sufferers say they saw the enemy set fire to the wounded while 
they were yet alive, but struggled to put it out, but were too weak, and ex- 
pired under the torture. I saw those lying in the buckwheat straw ; they 
made a most melancholy appearance. Others, I saw, who, after being 
wounded by a ball, had received near a dozen wounds with cutlasses and 
bayonet. I can find as many witnesses to the proof of these cruelties as 
there were people on the spot, and that was no small number who came as 

After the British returned from pursuit of the Americans, 
they visited several houses, mainly in quest of something to eat. 
There was little plundering, but general consternation prevailed. 
A small party went to the dwelling of David Marple, an aged man, 

i8o the; battle of the crooked bielet 

grandfather of the late Col. David Marple, and ordered the family 
to catch and cook the chickens for them. They were not allowed 
even to spare the setting hens on their nests. The conduct of 
the enemy, however, was not as bad as often witnessed on similar 

In my boyhood the old people of the neighborhood were full 
of incidents connected with the battle ; I listened to their recitals 
with intense interest, and treasured them with the greatest 
care. Captain Baird, an ofificer in the action, and, I believe, a 
witness of the affair, said the last British soldier was killed in a 
wood on the south side of the Bristol road just above what was 
then known as "Hart's Corner." He was chasing a militiaman 
named Vandyke, and had snapped one of his pistols at him. The 
latter, in his alarm, forgot he was carrying a loaded musket, and 
was in a fair way of getting a bullet through his head. As the 
dragoon was about drawing his second pistol, Vandyke thought 
of his musket, and, taking deliberate aim at the soldier, shot him 
dead, when, mounting his horse, he rejoined his retreating com- 

Stephen Beans, the father of the late Robert Beans, related 
substantially the same story, as told him by a son of Thomas 
Craven, who said he saw a trooper shot near a wood on the John 
Mentz farm, and within sight of the Craven homestead. He 
was leading his father's horses to the wood to conceal them, 
when he saw a militiaman rest his gun on a fence, aim at his 
pursuer, and shoot him from his horse; that the horse — dun 
colored, with a black stripe down his back — ran to his horses, 
was caught by him, and taken by the militiaman, who mounted 
and rode away. Mr. Beans related another incident that oc- 
curred under his own observation. His parents lived at the 
old Beans homestead opposite the lane of Harman, now Stephen, 
Yerkes on the Street road. All the men being absent, either 
witli the militia or hiding the stock, his mother took him, then 
a small boy, down to the Yerkes house, which then consisted 
of the small end of the present building. During Lacey's re- 
treat a tired militiaman came into the room ; said he was closely 
pursued and wanted to hide under the bed that stood m a 
corner of the room. The women advised him not to do so. 

the; battle oe the: crooke;d bii.Ive;t i8i 

telling him there was a heap of straw in the Bean's barnyard, 
where he could more safely conceal himself. 

He went out the back door, and, by keeping the house be- 
tween him and his pursuers, reached the straw without being 
seen. The enemy, four in number, soon entered the house, 
and demanded where the militiaman was concealed. They re- 
fused to accept a denial that he was there, and proceeded 
to search for themselves, jabbing their bayonets into the very 
bed in which the militiaman wanted to hide. He returned 
after a while and thanked the women for his deliverance, saying 
his pursuers walked over the straw in which he was concealed, 
and came near bayoneting him. Mr. Beans related this incident 
in the same room which he saw the militiaman and his British 
pursuers enter. He also stated that some of the Americans 
who were killed, were buried on the Parry farm, near the Qua- 
ker meeting-house. The last American is said to have been 
killed while sitting on the fence on the north side of the Bristol 
road, at the end of the road that runs across from Johnsonville. 
He and a man named Cooper retreated along this road, and 
were sitting on the fence resting before entering the timber. 
Just then a couple of British dragoons, who were pursuing 
them, raised the little hill beyond where General William W. 
White lived, and, seeing the two militiamen, one of them fired 
and Cooper's companion was killed. The bloofl stains remained 
on the fence many years. 

At that time two men lived in the neighborhood named Van- 
Buskirk; both had the title of Captain, one a Whig, the other a 
Tory. The British only knew the Whig, whom they had long 
been anxious to arrest. During the burning of buckwheat 
straw, the neighbors collected, and among them the Tory Cap- 
tain. Hearing him called by name, a British officer asked him 
if he were Captain VanBuskirk ; he answered "Yes," probably 
expecting a compliment for his services to King George, but 
he was arrested instead. He said he was not the Captain Van- 
Buskirk they wanted, and asserted his loyalty, but it availed 
nothing. The neighbors looked smilingly on, thinking it a 
good joke. He was taken to Philadelphia, thrown into prison 
and kept there until some one vouched for his loyalty ; he was 


then liberated and apologies made, but this did not heal the 
wound. Ever after he was as good a Whig as his namesake. 
The medicine effected a cure. 

Soon after Simcoe turned into the crossroad at Lloyd's 
Corner on his way to the Billet, he halted to get a guide from 
the old house on the Kelley farm. A young man put his head 
out of a window and was ordered to dress and come down; 
and was then threatened with death if he did not show them 
the way. This he agreed to do if they would give him their 
fastest horse to ride so he could escape should the "rebels" 
attempt to capture him. They mounted him on one of their 
fleetest horse, he, watching his opportunity, put whip to it and 
escaped. The enemy fired at him but this only increased his 
speed. This was told me by the late Judge William Watts, when I 
was a boy; he saw the escaped guide, without hat or coat, rid- 
ing at the top of his speed, about daylight in the morning, 
across the breast of the Davisville mill-dam. 

One of Simcoe's officers left his horse at Isaac Boileau's 
on the county line in charge of a negro, threatening hiiii with 
punishment if he let the "rebels" have it, and hastened across 
the fields with his command. After a while a militiaman came 
along and compelled the negro to give him the horse, which 
he mounted and rode off. After the fighting was over the 
officer returned, and flew into a great rage on finding his 
horse gone. The alarmed negro explained it as well as he 
could, but this did not satisfy the Englishman; the slave was 
arrested and taken along, but was released after going a few 
miles. This was related to me by an eye-witness. 

Isaac Tompkins, a small boy at the time, was living with 
his parents in the old Fretz building, and had a distinct recol- 
lection of the day. He had just got up, about sunrise, when 
his sister, who had been sent into the garden to plant cu- 
cumber seed, came running into the house shouting "the Brit- 
ish are coming," and, on looking out, he saw a body of red- 
coated dragoons marching up the road. They were part of 
Abercrombie's command w'hich came across from Horsham 
meeting-house and attacked Lacey in front. 

Nathan Marple, father of the late Colonel David Marple, was 

the; battIvE of the; crooke;d bille;t 183 

then a boy of about sixteen, and lived with his father at the Bil- 
let. He heard firing in the morning, and, supposing Lacey's 
men were getting ready to drill, started across the fields to go 
to them. He had not gone far, however, when he saw the 
British dragoons riding across a field toward the camp; they 
wore cloaks which concealed their red coats. He took warning 
at what he saw, and returned home. He further related, that 
he saw an officer ride some distance in front of his men, halt, 
rise up in his stirrups and look around as if reconnoitering. 
He immediately heard the report of a gun, and saw the officer 
fall to the ground, when the horse wheeled round and cantered 
back to the company. 

Nearly forty years ago. Safety Maghee, of Northampton 
township, Bucks county, then in his ninty-sixth year, related 
to me the following as his recollection of events connected 
with the battle of the Crooked Billet. He said : 

"In 1778 I was living with my uncle, Thomas Folwell, in Southampton 
township where Horatio Gates Yerkes lives (now Cornell Hobensack's on 
the road from Davisville to Southampton Baptist meeting-house). On the 
morning of the battle of the Billet, I heard the firing very distinctly, and a 
black man named Harry, and myself concluded we would go and see what 
was going on. I was then about 13 years old. We started from the house 
and went directly toward where the firing was. When we came near where 
Johnsville stands, we heard a volley there which brought us to a 
halt. The firing was in the wood. The British were in pursuit of 
our militia and chased them along the road from Johnsville to the 
Bristol road and also through the fields from the street, to the Bris- 
tol road. They overtook the militia in the woods near the Street road. 
When the firing ceased we continued on and found three wounded 
militiamen near the wood ; they appeared to have been wounded by a sword 
and were much cut and hacked. When we got to them they were groaning 
greatly. They died in a little while and I understood were buried on the 
spot. They appeared to be Germans. We then passed on, and in a field 
near by we saw two horses lying dead ; they were British. One of them 
was shot in the head, and the gun had been put so near the hair was 
scorched. While we were on the field, Harry picked up a cartouch box that 
had been dropped or torn off the wearer. Shortly after we met some of the 
militia returning, and, when they saw the black-fellow with the cartouch 
box they became very much enraged ; accused him of robbing the dead, and 
took it away from him. These dead horses were on the farm of Colonel 
Hart, now the property of Comly Walker. Soon after this we returned 

The late Jonathan Delaney, of Warminster, used to relate 


the following circumstance he witnessed. He was living at 
the time at Frankford, through which one detachment of the Brit- 
ish passed on their return to the city. Among the prisoners was 
an old man who wore on his shoes a pair of large silver buckles, 
which attracted the attention of a soldier while marching along 
the street, who left the ranks and stooped down to pull them 
off. The old man, who was not disposed to be thus robbed of 
his property, struck the would-be thief on the head with his 
fist and knocked him down, the other soldiers, who witnessed 
the act, giving a loud shout of approval of the prisoner's cour- 

The news of the battle soon spread over the country, and many 
of the inhabitants were so much alarmed they would not venture 
from home until assured that the British had returned to the 
city. A child of Samuel Flack, who kept the tavern at Doyles- 
town where the Fountain house stands, had previously died, 
and was to be buried on that day at Neshaminy; but the alarm 
was such only four persons would venture with the corpse to 
the place of burial. These were two young men and a couple 
of young women, one of the latter being a Miss Mary Doyle, 
afterward Mrs. Mitchell and the mother of the late Mrs. Na- 
thaniel Cornell, of Doylestown. They were all mounted, the 
men being armed, one of them carrying the coffin. They rode 
the fastest horses they could get, so they might be able to escape 
should the enemy pursue them. When they reached the bury- 
ing-ground, the young men dismounted and buried the corpse, 
the two young women remained on horseback ready to fly at the 
first alarm. This sad duty discharged the young men remount- 
ed, and they all rode home as rapidly as possible. They 
could see the smoke from the burni'-«g buckwheat straw. 

A few days after the battle General Lacey ordered a general 
court-martial to try the officers of his scouts and patrols for 
disobedience and neglect of duty on the morning of the attack. 
It met at camp on the Neshaminy, May 4, with Colonel Smith, 
President and William Findley, afterward Governor of the 
State, Judge Advocate. Lieut. Neilson was found guilty and 
dismissed from the service, but Ensign Laughlin was acquitted and 
ordered to rejoin his regiment. The court tried a number of 

the; battlk of the; crooke;d bili^et 185 

citizens and soldiers for various offences, holding intercourse 
with the enemy, &c., &., some were found gulty and sentenced 
to be whipped, others to be confined in the Lancaster jail. 

General Lacey was subjected to severe and unjust criticism 
for the affair at the Crooked Billet, and especially by those hos- 
tile to the cause of the Colonies, The attempt to hold him re- 
sponsible for the reverse he met signally failed, and his con- 
duct received the approval of his superiors. His situation was 
a critical one, and only the coolest judgment and most deter- 
mined courage of himself and men saved him from the capture 
of his entire force. He took the necessary precaution to obtain 
the earliest information of the approach of the enemy and pre- 
vent surprise, but his orders were disobeyed. His actions will 
bear the closest scrutiny. His camp of 400 men was surprised 
and nearly surrounded ; he had raw militia, the enemy were 
veterans inured to war. Practically, he cut his way out with 
the small loss of some 35 killed and wounded and a few prisoners. 
He had to march across an open country most of the distance, 
fighting every foot of the way, the enemy pressing him at the 
same time in front and rear and on both flanks. I am astonished 
he was able to extricate himself from his perilous situation; 
and it seems quite like a miracle he did not fall into the enemy's 
hands with his entire force. His action was so highly appre- 
ciated by the Executive Council of the State, that the Secretary 
wrote General Lacey on May 16: "Your conduct is highly 
approved ; and your m.en have justly acquired great reputation 
by their bravery." 

In conclusion, I present a new and interesting incident connec- 
ted with the battle of the Crooked Billet, and although I had 
known of it for several years, I only received it in writing on the 
13th inst. It came to me in a letter from the Rev. R. W. Luther, 
D. D. dated Newark, N. J., July 12, 1894. He writes: 

"My grandfather, James Luther, was at the Crooked Billet with his 
brother, William. At the surprise he and his brother were encamped some 
little distance away from the main body of our troops, with several others 
guarding a wagon in which was the camp chest with |8oo in silver, together 
with papers, orders, etc. At some period he was Quarter-master of the Fly- 
ing Camp, and, from the fact that this money was committed to him, he was 
probably acting in a similar capacity at this time. This is only conjecture. 

" After the surprise, and during the confusion, he and his guard started to 

lOD THE battle; of the crooked BIIvLET 

escape with the wagon and contents, intending to get to Valley Forge. 
They laid down a panel of fence and tried to reach a piece of woods near by. 
They had crossed two fields, when, suddenly over the brow of a hill, a 
company of about seventy British horsemen appeared and rode down and 
surrounded them. The guard offered what defence they could, especially 
my grand-uncle William, but soon were forced to surrender. Attracted by 
the shouts of soldiers when they discovered the money, a group of British 
ofiicers rode up. As they approached, a trooper was cutting at my grand- 
uncle, who was disarmed, but sheltering himself by seizing the trooper's 
bridle and dodging under the horse's head. The trooper was enraged by the 
defence made. As the group of officers rode up, a young officer called out, 
" has the man surrendered?" The other troopers answered, " He has, my 
Lord." The young officer ordered the trooper to desist, and when he still 
cut at my grand-uncle, paying no attention to the order, the officer drew a 
pistol and shot him off his horse. My grand-uncle, who was severely 
wounded, was placed in the saddle, and the whole party were taken to the 
tavern . 

" My grandfather said that so long as they were with the British regulars 
they had good treatment, but the next day, being put in charge of some 
Tories, they were stripped of most of their clothing and their shoes, and all 
their valuables. When they were going into Philadelphia, the Tories con- 
gregated at a tavern, threw bottles in the road compelling them to walk 
over the broken glass. My grandfather and his brother were taken to New 
York ; afterward were exchanged, and William died on the return tramp, 
from hardship and privations in the prisons. 

" M}' grandfather returned to the village of Concord in what is now 
Franklin count)^, Pa., to recruit men for his company, and there command- 
ed the force which rescued the village from an attack of Tories and Indians. 
Subsequently he served during the war. 

"I have given you, my dear General, this account as I have heard it 
many times from my father, he hearing it from my grandfather and his 
fellow soldiers. Grandfather survived until 1826." 

First Settlers' Descendants. 


(Doylestowii Meeting, January 22, 1895). 

If the commandment to honor parents were the criterion of 
judg-ment Americans would be generally and severely con- 
demned. We have been too busy with the present to even 
think of the past, much less to do it honor and respect. We 
have been too much absorbed in overreaching our brothers to- 
day to render the respect and remembrance due our progeni- 
tors for what we are and what we have. I say have been ad- 
visedly, because there is a disposition, becoming each year more 
marked, to recall the past, to honor our predecessors, to mem- 
orialize the events of the Country's early history, and to pledge 
anew our faith to the principles which our forefathers pro- 
mulg-ated. The patriotic societies and the associations of de- 
scendants of the military heroes of '76 are especially active in 
this work and are accomplishing a conspicuous efifect in the 
cause of hereditary patriotism. 

The development of two hundred years in America is stu- 
pendous as it is matchless. It is not wonderful that successive 
generations have been closely absorbed by the topics of their 
times, and thus have lived in their present rather than in the 
past. Each succeeding set of people have thought their times 
the best times, and the active, ardent, hustling citizens of each 
period have been busy with themselves and their affairs, to the 
exclusion of what their ancestors have had or have been. Of 
course there are many honorable and conspicuous individual 
exceptions, but the general statement is true. Sufficient unto 
the day were the interests thereof and the past — if there was a 
past — was permitted to slumber in oblivion. This condition was 
fostered by the further fact that many could not if they would 
trace their ancestry beyond three generations, and many, very 
many, could not and now cannot go back two generations with- 
out getting out of the United States. 

Under such circumstances it is not strange that the reverence 

i88 FIRST si;ttle;rs' descendants 

to our fathers, to the generations which have preceded us, and 
contributed to the welfare of our Country and the prosperity of 
our times, have been ignored or forgotten or even unknown 
among a large mass of our people. That conditions should be 
thus, however, is both wrong and unfortunate. It is debasing 
to one of the best attributes of the human mind. It is weaken- 
ing to our respect for ourselves and our people. It lessens, 
along with our family regard,, our patriotic pride and the love 
and sympathy and fraternity which we should feel for the com- 
mon Country of our fathers and ourselves. In its personal and 
family aspect the interest we should feel and the respect we 
should render to our forefathers is a matter for individuals. 
What may be attained in knowledge or satisfaction by the 
study of ancestry and genealogy is for each a larger or smaller 
subject as circumstances decree. But it is individual and must 
be pursued each for himself. 

In the broader, general sense of honor to our parents who 
were the settlers and founders of this Nation, there is loving 
loyalty and patriotic devotion and support of principles, which 
are a source of strength to nations as well as an honorable char- 
acteristic among men, and that this tendency is increasing among 
us is alike honorable and promising. Our people are to-day mani- 
festing a disposition to look with favor upon this phase of the 
subject. There are more patriotic and antiquarian societies than 
there were even a half century back. Events of the past two hun- 
dred years are constantly being made more prominent. Dates of 
important historical events are being celebrated with a growing 
warmth and fervor. Gifted speakers in glowing words are calling 
the attention of descendants to the great deeds of their an- 
cestors, or to the remarkable events of our history, or to the 
heroism of conviction and principle, which are our priceless heri- 
tage and which made our Country's record the history we are 
proud of. 

Yet the lines of the existing associations are narrow and 
the forefathers whom they honor are of the not distant past. 
These societies are entirely right so far as they go, and in 
time will be of greater antiquity than at present. With all hon- 
or and respect to all the societies which draw inspiration and 


existence, and foster patriotism and family respect upon the 
great events and glorious histor}/ of the days of '76, I think 
it would be possible and advisable to go further back into our 
history, to show deference and respect to at least as great and 
good principles, to honor equally our first parents in this Coun- 
try, to secure a wider strength, a larger membership, a greater 
influence, even a stronger patriotism, through an organization 
of first settlers' descendants, than by any means yet suggested, 
or even upon the memories of the greatest military struggle the 
world has known. 

The period previous to 1700 witnessed the arrival upon these 
shores of a very large number of people who came for con- 
sciences' sake. Religious convictions were the consideration 
which determined a generous proportion to leave homes and 
friends and kindred, and seek a habitation in the wilderness. 
F^reedom to worship God as their consciences might determine, 
was worth the risk of hardship, privations, sufferings, even life 
itself. What they sought they found. What they found they 
maintained. What they maintained they transmitted to their 
posterity in the free land and free speech for free men, which 
are to-day the boasted foundations of our institutions. 

To uphold and extend these traditions and teachings of the 
past, to honor our fathers that our day may be long in the 
land which their and our God and their principles and teach- 
ings have given us, there could be no more appropriate and 
consistent ag-ency than an association of first settlers' descend- 
ants. To practically map out such an organization is not a 
feasible discussion for a paper of this character at this time. 
A few points only can be suggested. The motto and sentiments 
should be patriotic. The purpose should be the perpetuation of 
the principles upon which the Country's cornerstone was laid 
by the forefathers. The work should be the inculcation of 
knowledge and respect as well as remembrance and recogni- 
tion of the labors of those who are gone, given for the 
National and our welfare. Eligibility to membership should be 
restricted to those of the blood of the inhabitants of what is 
now the United States previous to 1700 — now a term of about 
two centuries. Both sexes should be included in the member- 


ship. Work should be pursued much as in the organizations 
now existent, but should be more comprehensive in perfecting 
genealogical lines downward, the proper dissemination of 
large and accurate information and the encouragement of the 
idea of Americanism — every citizen a sovereign. The associ- 
ation should also be unique in that there should also be family 
name chapters or branches as well as State, county and town- 
ship subdivisions of a general National Society. 

In such an organization as first settlers' descendants, if 
made general and conducted upon proper lines, there would 
be inevitably the strongest influences favoring patriotism, the 
support of our institutions, the maintaining of early principles, 
encouragement of individuality. Who should more warmly love 
their Country than the children of those who settled it and 
occupied the soil ? Who should more ardently support our in- 
stitutions than the posterity of those who founded our insti- 
tutions? Who should more strongly uphold principle than the 
descendants of those who suffered for principle? Who should 
more ardently foster individual strength of character and life than 
they who are of the blood of strong and conscientious men? Yet 
than these very aims and attributes there is nothing to-day 
more lacking in our social, official and political conditions. In 
the slang of the day, money talks, and in the social, official and 
political functions of the times it has been and is money, 
organization, sharpness and a "pull'' that count more than 
manliness or brain, blood or principle. This is not unreservedlv 
and universally a fact of course, but it is the popular tone of 
our times. It is a wrong tone, and needs correction. If the 
people whose ancestors founded this Country, who endured pri- 
vations for principle, who watered the soil with their blood, 
cannot and do not institute and urge the reform which shall 
jealously guard and religiously care for the heritage bequeathed 
to us, because of patriotic love and parental veneration, it is idle 
to expect others to appreciate and show respect for the great- 
ness of the past or hope of the future. 

Again a fraternal society of the descendants of first settlers 
would have a conspicuous effect in completely eradicating 
sectionalism. The lives and deeds of the early settlers were 


a common heritage to all of their descendants, North, South, 
East and West. The awakening and organization of this com- 
mon interest and pride, could and would be the means of creat- 
ing most intimate knowledge and closest ties among first set- 
tlers' children, wherever scattered. Blood will tell and ties of 
consanguinity, once established and recognized, would forever 
strengthen our common relations and forever bar difficulties 
such as the terrible events of the sixties. At this date there 
are doubtless an immense number of persons eligible to the 
membership of a society of first settlers' descendants, and they 
are scattered in every State of the Union. It was the good 
old fashion to rear large families in the early days of the Coun- 
try's history, and there was less need of doctors than in these 
times. Descent was numerous therefore, and in this day 
doubtless runs in a goodly sum in eight figures. 

In contemplating the nomenclature of the original States of 
the Union there is but one bearing the name of the first propri- 
etor and first Governor — Pennsylvania. In the subdivisions of 
the Commonwealth there is but one county containing the 
country home of him who gave his name and left his impress 
upon history and settled here previous to 1700 — Bucks. What 
more appropriate then than that under the auspices of the 
Bucks County Historical Society, in the vicinity of Penn's man- 
or home, in the State he founded and loved, established and 
settled more than two centuries since, there should be organ- 
ized the initial society of first settlers' descendants, to honor 
the works and worth of our fathers of two centuries ago, to 
perpetuate the principles they upheld and to inculcate loyalty 
and patriotism, alike to principle and the land w^hich the first 
settlers transmitted to us? Where better might such a society be 
established than here, among the people many of whose family 
names have been associated with the possession of the soil for 
two hundred years? 

There is no question involved of wealth — money can't buy 
blood. There is no issue as to prominence or preferment. 
Even eminence cannot always trace lineage. The first settlers" 
descendants would be purely an American association, the 
posterity of those whose coming here, made the Nation, in 


some six or eight generations, what it is, and in honoring 
whom the Country would be honored and their posterity be 
encouraged to bear a part in present affairs, as did their 
forefathers in the past — for sound principles, for strong lives, 
for high character, for the Country's welfare and for the honor 
of succeeding generations. 

Early Settlers in Bucks County. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 22, 1895). 

A knowledge of the early settlers of a country — whence 
they came and the character of the men they are — is always 
a matter of deep interest ; and we are fortunate in having had 
preserved to us so much that concerns the men who first pen- 
etrated the wilderness west of the Deleware. 

The first Europeans, to settle within what is now Bucks coun- 
ty, were a few families of French Walloons, who located at a 
trading-post on a small island near the west shore of the Dela- 
ware, just below Trenton falls, about 1624-25. The post was 
broken up a few years later and the Walloons returned to New 

Jocob Alricks, a trader on the Delaware, was one of <"he ear- 
liest permanent comers, and previous to 1657. He was ac- 
companied by his wife, who fell a victim to the climate. His 
nephew, Peter Alricks, a native of Gronegen, Holland, who 
probably came to America with his uncle, was the first known 
land owner in Bucks county, but may never have lived here. 
Beginning life as a trader, he was commissary of a fort near 
Henlopen in 1659 ; was the first bailiff and magistrate of New 
Castle and settlements on the river, his jurisdiction extending 
to the Falls : was commandant of the Colonies under the En- 
glish in 1673 ; was one of the first justices commissioned by 
Penn after his arrival ; a member of the first assembly, held 
in Philadelphia, in 1683, and was repeatedly a member of the 
Provincial Council. He lived at New Castle and had a large 
family of children. He owned an island in the Delaware be- 
low the mouth of Mill creek, at Bristol, and it bore his name 


for many years, but has entirely disappeared. The island was 
granted to Alricks by Governor Nicholls in 1667; by Alricks 
to Samuel Borden, in 1682, and, by him, to Samuel Carpenter 
in 1688. In 1679 Alricks' island was occupied by a Dutchman 
named Barent. Herman Alricks, of Philadelphia, grandson 
of Peter Alricks, when a young man, settled ni the Cumber- 
land valley, about 1740, and when Cumberland county was 
organized, 1749-50, he was the first member of the assembly. 
He filled the various offices of register, recorder, clerk of 
the courts and justice of the peace, to his death, in 1775. His 
wife was a young Scotch-Irish girl named West, and her broth- 
er Francis was the grandfather of the late Chief Justice Gibson. 
Herman Alricks had several children, all born in Carlisle, the 
youngest, James, in December 1769. The late Hamilton Al- 
ricks, of Harrisburg, was a descendant of Peter Alricks, as 
are probably all who bear this name in the State. , 

Duncan Williamson — known in the early records as "Dunk" 
Williamson, (but the inscription on his tombstone reads Dun- 
can,) was one of the earliest settlers on the river front in Bucks 
county. His descendants claim that he came to America from 
Scotland with his wife in 1660-61. We first hear of him in 1669, 
when land was granted him on the east side of the Schuylkill 
from the mouth up. He probably settled in Bensalem about 
1677, when 100 acres were surveyed to him on the south side of 
the Neshaminy in that township. In 1695 he bought 100 acres 
additional, adjoining the tract he already owned, of Thomas 
Fairman, for in silver money; part of 4,000 acres Fairman 
had purchased of William Stenly and Peter Banton in 1689, 
Dunk's ferry was named after him. He died about 1700, and 
was buried in the Johnson burying-ground, Bensalem. Of his 
wife nothing is known. His son William, who died in 1722, 
left a widow and five sons, Jacob, Abraham, John, William and 
Peter. Peter, the great-grandson of Duncan, Mas the grand- 
father, on the mother's side, of Robert Crozier, of Morrisville. 
A sister of Peter Williamson, who married Abraham Heed, died 
in Solebury in 1834, aged loi years. The descendants of Dun- 
can Williamson intermarried with the families of Vandegrift, 
Walton, Burton, Crozier, Brewer, Vansant, Thompson and many 


Others of this county and State, wherein many of them live. 
Among them was the late Peter Williamson, Grand Treasurer 
of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Pennsylvania. The late Isaiah 
Williamson made the greatest name of all the descendants of 
Duncan Williamson. He embarked in mercantile pursuits in 
early life, and by close attention to business and the strictest 
integrity in all his dealings, became one of the richest merchants 
of Philadelphia, his fortune amounting to several millions. He 
left the bulk of his wealth to found a mechanical school, w^here 
poor boys are taught trades. 

The first known Catholic in Bucks county, and probably in 
the State, was an early settler in Falls township, Lyonel Britton, 
who arrived in 1680. He was a Friend and a blacksmith by 
trade, and came from Almy, in Bucks, England. He was one 
of the first to arrive that year, and settled on 203 acres in the 
bend of the Delaware at the upper corner of the Manor. Penn 
patented it to him in 1684. A daughter died on the way up 
the river, and was buried at Burlington. Another daughter, 
Mary, born June 13, 1680, was, so far as is known, the first 
child of English parents born in Bucks county, or probably in 
the State. The record of Mary Britton's birth is in the register's 
office, Doylestown, in the handwriting of Phineas Pemberton. 
The name of Lyonel Britton is found on the panel of the first 
grand jury drawn in Bucks county, June 10, 1685. He probably 
left this county and removed to Philadelphia in 1688, which year 
he conveyed his real estate in Falls to Stephen Beaks for £100. 
He is noted in our early annals as the first convert to Catholicism 
in the Colony. He assisted to read public mass in Philadelphia 
in 1708, and was a church warden the same year. He died in 
1 72 1, and his widow in 1741. 

Samuel Carpenter, shipping merchant and miller, was one of 
the most prominent of the early settlers in lower Bucks, and 
left a high reputation behind him. He was born in Surry, Eng- 
land ; went to the island of Barbadoes, whence he came to this 
Province in 1683. He first settled at Philadelphia, where he 
carried on extensive shipping business. At the close of the cen- 
tury he was the largest land owner in Bristol township — some 
2,000 acres, inchuling the site of the borough, and the tracts of 
John Otter, Samuel Clift, Edward Bennet and Griffith Jones, 


running down the Delaware to the mouth of the Neshaminy; 
and afterward purchased the tract of Thomas Holme, extending 
back to the Middletown line, making about 1,400 acres. He 
likewise owned two islands in the river. Samuel Carpenter 
probably built the Bristol mills on what is now Mill creek, a 
quarter of a mile from the river, and up to whose doors small 
vessels came to load and unload freight. The saw-mill was 70 
feet long and 32 wide, and able to cut 1,500 feet of lumber in 
12 hours, a large amount for that period, and the flour-mill 
had four run of stones, with an undershot wheel. There is some 
uncertainty as to the time Mr. Carpenter built the mills, but as he 
speaks of them in 1705, as being "newly built," it was probably 
not earlier than the opening of the century. They earned a clear 
profit of £400 a year, very considerable for that early day. The 
mill-pond covered between two and three hundred acres. The 
pine timber sawed at the mill was brought from Timber creek, 
N. J., and the oak, cut from his own land nearby. At that time 
the mill-race had about fifteen feet head and fall, and there was 
water enough to run eight months in the year. Mr. Carpenter re- 
moved from Philadelphia to Bristol and took up his permanent 
residence there, about 1710-12, living in summer on Burlington 
island, where his dwelling stood until 1828. He was the richest 
man in the Province in 1701, but lost heavily by the French and 
Indian war of 1703. At one time he ofi:ered to sell his Bristol 
mills to his friend William Penn, and to Jonathan Dickinson, of 
the island of Jamaica, in 1705. The wife of Samuel Carpenter 
was Hannah Hardman, who came from Wales in 1684. He 
died at Philadelphia in 1714, and his wife in 1728. His son 
Samuel married a daughter of Samuel Preston and grandlaugh- 
ter of Thomas Lloyd. Samuel Carpenter, the elder, was one of 
the most conspicuous men of that period, and largely interested 
in public affairs. At diiferent times he was a member of the 
Executive Council, of the Assembly, and Treasurer of the Pro- 
vince, and is spoken of in high terms by all his contemporaries. 
The Ellets, who distinguished the War of the Rebellion on the 
side of the Union, were descendants of Samuel Carpenter through 
the intermarriage of the youngest daughter of his son Samuel 
with Charles Ellet. 

The Rev. Thomas Dungan, who came from Rhode Island with 


his family and settled in Bristol township, in 1684, was one of 
the most conspicuous of our early settlers. Emigrants of this 
name from Rhode Island had preceded him, and some of them 
were on the west bank of the Delaware before Penn's arrival. 
William Dungan, probably the eldest son of the Rev. Thomas, 
came in advance to the Quaker colony, in which there was 
neither let nor hindrance in freedom to worship God, and took 
up 200 acres near Bristol. The grant was made by William 
Markham, 6th. mo. 4th, 1682, and Penn confirmed it in 1684. 
About this time a small colony from Rhode Island settled near 
Cold Spring, one of the finest in the county, and near the river 
bank, three miles above Bristol. It discharges 150 gallons a 
minute. When the Rev. Thomas Dungan arrived he settled in 
the immediate vicinity, and soon gathered a colony of Welsh 
Baptists about him, and organized a church, which was kept to- 
gether until 1702. Its history is little known. If a church-build- 
ing were ever erected it long since passed away, but the grave- 
yard, about 50 feet square, with a few dilapidated tombstones, 
remains. It is supposed the land for the graveyard, etc., was 
given by Thomas Stanaland, who died in 1753, and was buried 
in it. Among others, buried in this old graveyard, were two 
pastors at Pennypack, the Rev. Samuel Jones, who died in 
1722, and Joseph Wood, in 1747. Thomas Dungan, the pastor, 
died in 168S and was buried in the yard, but several years after- 
wards a handsome tombstone was erected to his memory at 
Southampton. The Rev. Elias Keach, the first pastor at Penny- 
pack, and who afterwards became a celebrated English divine, 
was baptized and ordained by Mr. Dungan, and probably studied 
with him. The Rev. Thomas Dungan left five sons and three 
daughters. In his will he bequeathed his real estate to his three 
sons, Thomas, Jeremiah and John, after the death of their 
mother, thev paying their sisters, Mary, Rebecca and Sarah, £s 
each. The sons and daughters married into the families of Wing, 
Drake, West, Richards, Doyle and Carrell. William, the eldest 
son, married in Rhode Island, probably before he migrated to 
Pennsylvania. The descendants of this Baptist pioneer became 
numerous, and we have the authority of Morgan Edwards for 
saying, that by 1770 they numbered between 600 and 700. The 
family probably left Bristol in 1698, when four of the sons, Cle- 


ment, Thomas, Jeremiah and John, conveyed 200 acres to Walter 
Plumphluy, and removed to Northampton township, the home 
of the family for a long time. The descendants are still numer- 
ous in the county, in both the male and female lines. Some mem- 
bers of the family reached honorable positions in life. One was 
Major General of militia in the early twenties; another, Joshua, 
of Northampton township, an ardent temperance man and poli- 
tician ; and Hugh E., son of Daniel, of Northampton, was 
educated at West Point, graduated into the artillery, and died of 
yellow fever at Fort Brown, Texas, in 1853. 

William Yardley was one of the pioneers of Lower Makefield 
township. He came with his wife, Jane, children, Enoch, 
Thomas and William, and servant, Andrew Heath, from Ban- 
clough, near Leek in Staffordshire, in 1862, arriving at the falls 
September 28. The "falls of the Delaware" was an objective 
point to Penn's first immigrants, for a little colony of English 
settlers had gathered there five years before; hither many di- 
rected their footsteps upon landing, whence they spread out into 
the wilderness beyond. Several of these settlers pushed their 
way into the woods up the river soon after arriving, among them 
William Yardley, who took up a tract of 500 acres covering 
the site of the present Yardley. He was born in 1632, was a 
minister among Friends, and had been repeatedly imprisoned. 
He took a prominent place in the new colony immediately he 
arrived, and we find him a member from Bucks, of the first as- 
sembly, and was also in the Provincial Council. He died in 
1693. Thomas Janney wrote of William Yardley about the 
time of his death : "He was a man of sound mind and good 
understanding." He was an uncle to Phineas Pemberton. From 
him have descended all the Yardleys of Bucks, and many else- 
where, with almost unnumbered descendants in the female line. 

The Kirkbrides were among the first to settle in Falls. The 
ancestor was Joseph Kirkbride, son of Mahlon and Magdalene, 
who came over in the Welcome, at the age of 19, running away 
from his master and starting for the New World with a little 
wallet of clothing and a flail. He was first employed at Penns- 
bury, but soon removed to West Jersey. He was twice married, 
his first wife being Phoebe, daughter of Randall Blackshaw, 
to whom he was married March 14, 1688, and the second Sarah 


Stacy, daughter of Mahlon Stacy, proprietor of the site of 
Trenton, and one of the most prominent men on the Delaware. 
This marriage took place December 17, 1702. She died three 
years after, leaving one son and two daughters. Joseph Kirk- 
bride lived to become an influential and wealthy man, and a 
leading minister among Friends ; he was a magistrate and a 
member of assembly. In 1699 he went to England, visiting his 
old master in Cumberland and paying him for the services he 
had deprived him of seventeen years before, by running away. 
He returned in 1701, and died in 1738 at the age of 75. From 
his son Mahlon have descended all that bear his name in the 
county. He married Mary, the daughter of John and Mary 
Sotcher, favorite servants of William Penn, at the age of 20, 
and settled in Lower Makefield, where he built a stone mansion 
that stood until 1855, when it was torn down by a grandson of 
the same name. Col. Joseph Kirkbride, who lived opposite Bor- 
dentown, and was prominent in the county during the Revolu- 
tion, was a grandson of the first Joseph. While the British army 
occupied Philadelphia in the Winter of 1777-78 they made an 
excursion up the Delaware, and burned the fine dwelling of 
Col. Kirkbride. At the death of the first Joseph, he left 13,000 
acres to be divided among his children. The homestead farm 
in Falls remained in the family until 1873 when it was sold at 
public sale to Mahlon Moon for $210 an acre — one hundred and 
one acres and a few perches. Until recently, a small dwelling, 
with cellar underneath and used as a tool and wood-house, built 
by the first settler, was standing on the premises. A ferry was 
established at Kirkbride's landing as early as 1718, which came 
to be known as Bordentown ferry, and, we believe, still bears 
that name. 

Phineas Pemberton, one of the most prominent immigrants to 
arrive in 1682, from Boston, county of Lancaster, England, was 
a glover by trade. He and his father-in-law, James Harrison, 
came together, sailing from Liverpool, July 7, and landed in 
Maryland, October 30. Pemberton brought with him his wife, 
Phoebe, children Abigail and Joseph, his father, aged 72, and 
his mother, 81. Harrison was accompanied by his wife, several 
servants and friends. Leaving their families at the house of one 
William Dickinson, Choptank, Maryland, Pemberton and Harri- 


son traveled on horseback up the west bank of the Delaware 
toward their destination, stopping over night at the site of Phila- 
delphia. Unable to procure accommodations for their horses, 
they were obliged to turn them out in the woods. As they 
could not be found in the morning, our two immigrants had 
to proceed in a boat up the river to the Falls. They continued 
on to William Yardley's, at the site of Yardley, who had pre- 
ceded them, and already begun to build a house. Pembertf<n, 
concluding to settle there, purchased a tract of 300 acres, calHng 
it "Grove Place." He and Harrison now returned to Marylaii 1 
and spent the winter there, coming back to Bucks county in May, 
1683, with their families. It is thought Pemberton lived w-th 
Harrison for a time, but how long is not known. He owned 
considerable land in Bucks county, which lay in several town- 
ships, including the "Bolton farm," in Bristol township. He is 
supposed to have lived in Bristol borough at one time. His wife 
died in 1696, he March '5, 1702, and both were buried on tlic 
point of land opposite Biles" island, in Falls. They were the 
parents of nine children, only three leaving issue ; Israel be- 
coming a leading merchant of Philadelphia and dying in 1754. 
One of Phineas Pemberton's daughters married Jeremiah Lang- 

As previously stated, James Harrison, the father-in-law of 
Phineas Pemberton, came with the latter in 1682, landing in 
Maryland, October 30, and settling in Lower Makefield the fol- 
lowing spring. Penn appointed Harrison his "lawful agent" to 
sell for him any parcel of land in Pennsylvania of not less than 
250 acres. This was soon after the latter's arrival, or poss'My 
before he sailed. 

The Paxsons were of the immigrants who arrived in 1682. 
James Paxson, the progenitor of the family, coming from Bycot 
house, parish of Slow, county of Oxford. He embarked with 
his family, but his wife, son and brother Thomas died at sea, 
his daughter Elizabeth only surviving to reach her father's new 
home west of the Delaware. He settled in Middletown, locat- 
ing 500 acres on the Neshaminy above the site of Hulmeville. 
After being there two years he married Margaret, the widow of 
William Plumley, of Northampton township, August 13, 1684. 

* Por additional account of Phineas Pemberton see page 43 ante. 


He was a man of influence and a member of assembly. In 
1704 he removed from Middletown to Solebury, purchasing Wil- 
liam Croasdale's 250 acres, but at what time he came into Buck- 
ingham is not definitely known. The late Thomas Paxson was 
fifth in- descent from James through Jacob, the first son by his 
second wife, Sarah Shaw, of Plumstead, whom he married in 
lyy'J. But three of Jacob Paxson's large family of children 
became residents of Bucks county, Thomas, who married Ann, 
granddaughter of William Johnson, and was the father of ex- 
Chief Justice Edward M. Paxson, of the State Supreme Court; 
the late Samuel Johnson Paxson, proprietor of the Doylestown 
Democrat; and Mary Paxson, who married William H. Johnson, 
and died in 1862. William Johnson, probably of English descent, 
was born in Ireland, and received a good education. He came to 
Pennsylvania after his majority, bringing an extensive library 
for the times, settled in Bucks county, married Ann Potts, 
and removed to South Carolina, where he died at the age of 35. 
His sons were all cultivated men, Thomas becoming an eminent 
lawyer, and dying in New Hope, in 1838. Samuel, the youngest 
son, spent his life in Buckingham, married Martha Hutchinson 
and died in 1843. Ten years ago Judge Paxson published the 
memoirs of the Johnson family with an autobiography by Ann 
J. Paxson, his mother, containing a number of her poetical pro- 
ductions. Samuel Johnson was a poet of no mean merit, writing 
some really excellent verse. In his history of Buckingham valley, 
one of the most productive and beautiful in the county, he wrote: 

" From the brow of Lahaska wide to the west, 

The eye sweetly rests on the landscape below ; 

'Tis blooming at Eden, when Eden was blest, 

As the sun lights its charms with the evening glow." 

Two years and three months after William Penn and his 
immediate followers had landed on the shores of the Delaware, 
John Chapman, of Yorkshire, England, with his wife Jane, and 
children Mara, Ann and John, took up his residence in the woods 
of Wrightstown, the first white settler north of Newtown. 
Being a staunch Friend, and having suffered numerous persecu- 
tions for opinion's sake, including the loss of property, he 
resolved to find a new home in the wilds of Pennsylvania. Of 
the early settlers of Wrightstown, the names of John Chapman, 


William Smith and Thomas Croasdale are mentioned in "Bessie's 
Collections," as having been frequently fined and imprisoned for 
non-conformity to the established religion, and for attendance 
on Friends' meeting. Leaving home June 21, 1684, and sailing 
from Aberdeen, Scotland, he reached Wrightstown toward the 
close of December. Before leaving England, he bought a claim 
for 500 acres of one Daniel Toaes, which he located in the south- 
ern part of the township, extending from the park square to 
the Newtown line, on which the village of Wrightstown and 
Friends' meeting-house stand. Until able to build a log house, 
he lived with his family in a cave, where twin sons were born 
February 12, 1685. Game from the wood supplied them with 
food until crops were grown, and often the Indians, between 
whom and the Chapmans there was the most cordial friendship, 
were the only reliance. On one occasion, while his daughter 
Mara was riding through the woods, she overtook a frightened 
buck chased by a wolf, and it held quiet until she had secured 
it with the halter from her horse. The first house erected by 
John Chapman stood on the right hand side of the road leading 
from Wrightstown meeting-house to Pennsville in a field that 
formerly belonged to Charles Thompson. After a hard life in 
the wilderness, John Chapman died in 1694, and was buried in 
the old graveyard near Penn's Park. His wife died in 1699. 
This was his second wife, Jane Saddler, born about 1635, and 
married June 12, 1670, and was the mother of two of his children. 
The children of John Chapman inter-married with the families of 
Croasdale, Wilkinson, Olden, Parsons and Worth, and the des- 
cendants are numerous. The late Dr. Chapman, of Wrightstown, 
and Abraham, of Doylestown, were grandsons of Joseph, one of 
the twins born in the cave. 

The descendants of John Chapman have held many places of 
public trust, and, in the past, were in the assembly, on the bench, 
in the senate chamber, the halls of Congress, at the head of the 
loan ofiice, county surveyor, county treasurer, etc., etc. In the 
early history of the county they did much to mould its affairs. 
Ann Chapman, the daughter of John, became a distinguished 
minister among Friends, traveling as early as 1706, visiting Eng- 
land several times. The family added largely to the real estate 
originally held in Wrightstown and elsewhere, and, about 1720, 


the Chapmans owned nearly one-half the land in the township. 
The most prominent member of the family was the late ex-Judge 
Henry Chapman, a distinguished lawyer and jurist. In i8ii 
Seth Chapman was appointed President Judge of the eighth 
judicial district of Pennsylvania. 

The Watsons came into the county the beginning of the i8th 
century, Thomas Watson, a maltster, from Cumberland, England, 
settling near Bristol at a place called "Honey Hill," about 1701. 
His family consisted of his wife and sons Thomas and John, 
He brought with him a certificate from Friends' meeting at 
Pardsay Cragg, bearing date 7th mo. 23d, 1701. He married 
Eleanor Pearson, of Robank, in Yorkshire. He removed to 
Buckingham in 1704, and settled on a 450-acre tract bought of 
one Rosile, lying on the southeast side of the York road. Al- 
though he held Penn's warrant he declined to have the land 
surveyed without the consent of the Indians. He was a man of 
intelligence, and, there being no physician within several miles, 
he turned his attention to medicine, and built up a large practice 
before his death in 1731-32. He was interested in the educa- 
tion of the Indians and it is said kept a school for them, but 
lost his most promising pupil by smallpox. Of his two sons, 
Thomas, the elder, died before his father, and the younger, John, 
studied medicine, took his father's place, was a successful prac- 
titioner, and died in 1760. John, the son of Thomas, born about 
1720, finished his education at Jacob Taylor's academy, Phila- 
delphia, and became one of the first men in the Province. He 
was a distinguished mathematician and surveyor, and assisted 
to run the line between Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. He 
was noted for his elegant penmanship. He died in 1761 in his 42nd 
year, at the house of William Blackfan, and was buried at 
Buckingham burying-ground. The newspapers of the day ex- 
pressed great regret at his death. John Watson was secretary 
to Governor Morris at the Indian treaty at Easton, 1756. 
Franklin had promised to find the Governor a good penman, and 
mentioned Mr. Watson ; and when the Governor's party marched 
up the York road, Mr. Watson was out mending fence, bare- 
footed, but, on invitation to accompany them, he threw down his 
ax and walked to Easton without any preparation for the jour- 
ney. He engrossed the treaty on parchment, and his penman- 


ship elicited great admiration. Franklin said that after the treaty 
was engrossed, the Governor took off his hat to Watson, and 
remarked to him: "Since first I saw you I have been trying to 
make out what you are. I now have it. You are the greatest 
hypocrite in the world." In personal appearance he was a large, 
heavy man, and not prepossessing, but was both a scholar and a 
poet. He spoke good extempore verse. It is stated that on one 
occasion an Irishman, indicted for stealing a halter, asked Mr. 
Watson to defend him, and he consented. The testimony was 
positive, but he addressed the jury in fine extempore poetry, 
beginning : 

" Indulgent Nature generally bestows. 
All creatures knowledge of their mortal foes," etc, 

and the fellow was acquitted. Thomas Penn wished John Wat- 
son to accept the office of surveyor-general in 1760, which he 
declined. He has the credit of introducing the "New York 
cider" apple into Bucks county, by grafting two apple trees with 
it on his Buckingham farm, in February, 1757. John W^atson 
was the grandfather of the late Judge Richard Watson, of 

Thomas Langhorne, of Westmoreland, England, arrived in 
1684. He was a minister among Friends and brought a certifi- 
cate from the Kendall Monthly Meeting. He had been fre- 
quently imprisoned, and, in 1662, was fined £5 for attending a 
Friends' meeting. He took up a large tract of land below Attle- 
borough, now Langhorne, running down to Neshaminy, and 
settled in Middletown. He represented the cottnty in the first 
Assembly, and died October 6, 1687. Proud styles him "an 
eminent preacher." Thomas Langhorne was the father of Jere- 
miah Langhorne, who became Chief Justice of the Province. 
The son was a man of mark in the new Commonwealth, wielding 
large influence, and died October 11, 1742. He became a heavy 
land owner. The homestead tract of 800 acres, known as "Lang- 
horne Park," lay on the Durham road, and the borough of Lang- 
horne is built on part of it. He owned 2,000 acres in War- 
wick and New Britain townships, purchased of the Free »Society 
of Traders ; two thousand at Perkasie, and a tract on the 
Monocacy, now in Lehigh, but then in Bucks county. He own- 
ed the ground on which Doylestown is built. He was also one 


of the original proprietors of the Durham iron works. In his 
will, dated May i6, 1742, he made liberal provision for his ne- 
groes, of whom he owned a number. They who had reached 
twenty-four years of age, were to be manumitted, and others set 
free at the age of 21. A few received especial marks of his 
favor, among them Joe, Cudjo and London, who were to live 
at the park until his nephew, Thomas Biles, to whom it was 
left, became of age; and were to have the use of the necessary 
stock, and support all the women and children on the place at a 
rental of £30 per annum. Joe and Cudjo were given life es- 
tates in certain lands in Warwick, covering the site of Doyles- 
town, after they left the park. For a few of his favorites he 
directed houses to be built, and 50 acres allotted to each during 
their lives; specifying in his will that the negroes were to work 
for their support, but there is great doubt whether they kept 
their part of the testamentary contract. 

The mansion of Jeremiah Langhorne, Manor-house as called 
in ye olden time, has always been an object of interest. It was 
built of stone, without any regard to architectural beauty or ef- 
fect, with two wings, and stood on the site of the dwelling late 
Charles Osborne's, two miles above Hulmeville. The old road 
from Philadelphia to Trenton, crossing the Neshaminy just above 
Hulmeville, made a sweep around by the Langhorne house, and 
thence to Trenton by the way of Attleborough. The park was 
long since cut up into several farms, and the last vestige of 
the mansion obliterated. It is possible the site of the dwelling is 
known. If so that is all. In 1794, four hundred and fifty acres 
were sold to Henry Drinker, Samuel Smith and Thomas Fisher, 
and the part unsold, 285 acres, was called "Guinea." A portion 
of this tract is the borough of Langhorne. The last of the Lang- 
horne slaves was one known as "Fiddler Bill," who lived some- 
times in the ruins of an old house on the premises, but was 
finally taken to the almshouse, where he died. 

Representatives of Bucks County in Congress. 

(Doylestowu Meeting, January 22, 1895). 

We are all interested in the character and the qualifications 
of those who represent us in the Congress of the United 
States. They are sent to Washington to frame laws for the 
whole country, by which the safety and prosperity of its nu- 
merous and diversified population may be secured. They are 
types of the people, for whom they act, and if able, upright 
and patriotic, they reflect credit upon their constituents. Es- 
pecially do we desire that the legislators from our own particu- 
lar district should be capable of presenting and advocating such 
statutes, as will advance in the best manner the interests of all 
of our citizens. 

For many years after the thirteen original colonies were 
planted, they were independent of each other. In 1754 a con- 
vention was held in Albany, N. Y., in which a plan of union was 
formed, but failed to secure the subsequent approval of both the 
British Government and the Colonial Assemblies. Eleven years 
later, in 1765. the first American Congress met in New York, 
composed of delegates from nine colonies, one of which was 
Pennsylvania, and in 1774 a second congress was held in Phila- 
delphia with members from eleven colonies. Among these was 
Joseph Galloway, a native of Maryland, owning large estates 
in Bensalem and Durham townships. Though he practiced law 
in Philadelphia, his home was at Trevose, where he owned 1,300 
acres of land. He was endowed with superior intellectual ability, 
and chosen to high official positions, being a member and Speaker 
of the Pennsylvania Assembly and prominent in the Colonial 
Congress. In the first part of the struggle between the British 
crown and the Colonies he was favorable to the American cause, 
regarding the course of the Royal Government as oppressive. 
He gave his assent to all the measures designed to express the 
indignation of the people at the tyranny of the English min- 
istry, and no one at that time stood higher in the esteem of 


patriotic Americans. But he never favored breaking loose from 
the mother country and estabhshing independence, and when the 
war for freedom commenced he joined the royahsts and remained 
with them in Philadelphia and New Jersey until 1778, when 
he went to England and there spent the rest of his life. In 1779 
he was summoned before a committee of Parliament to testify 
and give his views on affairs in the revolted States, and spoke 
in terms of severe denunciation of the conduct of General Howe 
and other British officers. 

On his departure for England, his estate this side the Atlantic, 
valued at £40,000, equal at the present day to more than $200,000, 
was declared by Congress confiscated. Subsecjuently, however, as 
it came into his possession through his wife, it was restored to his 
daughter, Elizabeth, a young lady celebrated for her beauty and 
accomplishments, who married an Englishman.* Joseph Galloway 
published a number of pamphlets and books, some of which 
breathed a spirit of bitter animosity against the land of his 
nativity. His death took place in England, August, 1803, at 
the age of 73 years. 

Henry Wynkoop represented our county in the Colonial Con- 
gress from 1779 to 1783, and after the adoption of the Federal 
Constitution, in the Congress of the United States from 1789 to 
1791. He was a descendant of Cornelius C. Wynkoop, who 
emigrated from Holland. His father, Nicholas Wynkoop, came 
to Northampton about 1727, and received in 1738 from his 
father, Gerardus Wynkoop, a deed of 260 acres of land, on 
which he resided for a long period. Henry Wynkoop was wide- 
ly known and honored in Pennsylvania, and was a member of 
the "Committee of Public Safety" for this county in 1774-5-6, 
and a lieutenant in the army of the Revolution. He occupied the 
bench as Associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, when 
it was located at Newtown, and is said to have been the personal 
friend of Washington and Alexander Hamilton. He was Presi- 
dent Judge of the Courts of Bucks county, appointed in 1777 
and reappointed June 8, 1784. He was also appointed a Judge 
of High Court of Errors and Appeals of Pennsylvania, Novem- 
ber 20, 1780, commissioned March 28, 1783, and took the oath 
of office April 7, 1783. He resigned both positions June 27, 

* See Vol. I, page 245. 


1789, when he was elected a member of the first Congress. He 
was the first Associate Judge of Bucks county, commissioned 
August 17, 1791. He died March 25, 1816, in his 80th year.* 

John Pugh represented this district in Congress from 1805 to 
1809. He was the grandson of Hugh Pugh, who emigrated from 
Wales about 1725 and settled in Chester county. Subsequently 
he removed to the vicinity of Norristown, where his son Daniel 
was born, who at length settled in Hilltown, Bucks county, and 
married the daughter of Rev. William Thomas, the Baptist 
clergyman of that place. Daniel was the father of John, who 
became distinguished in politics and social life, bore a shining 
reputation, and wielded a strong influence in the region where 
he lived. His fellow citizens manifested great confidence in his 
wisdom and integrity, as they elected him to the Legislature in 
1800 and re-elected him three times. Two terms in Congress 
also indicated that he was held in high esteem by the people. In 
1810 the Governor of the State appointed him register-of-wills 
and recorder-of-deeds of the county, the duties of which offices, 
then in charge of the same person, he faithfully and efficiently 
discharged for fourteen years. One of his children was John 
B. Pugh, Esq., for many years justice of the peace in Doyles- 
town and a citizen of high standing. Probably no one in this 
county ever appended his name, as magistrate, to legal 
documents more frequently, or was trusted more fully, 
than Esquire John B. Pugh. His wife was the daugh- 
ter of Hon. John Fox, President Judge of the courts of 
this county. A daughter of John Pugh, the member of Con- 
gress, became the wife of General William T. Rogers, of Doy- 
lestown, who was a member of the State Senate several terms 
and at one time president of that body. John Pugh died 1842. 

The next member of the National House of Representatives 
from Bucks county was William Rodman, Jr., occupying that 
position from 181 1 to 1813. He was the son of William Rodman, 
Sr., who was a prominent citizen and held many offices of public 
trust, among others being a member of the State Legislature 
several years. William Rodman, Jr., was even more distinguish- 

* For further account of the life and public services of Judge Wynkoop see "The Wyn- 
koop Family" by Capt. William Wynkoop, and "Judge Henry Wynkoop" by John S. 
Wurts, Vol. 3 of these papers. 


ed than his father. He was born in Bensalem, October 7, 1757, 
and though in his minority when the Revolutionary struggle 
commenced, he took an active part in the war and served in the 
militia under General Lacey. A justice of the peace many years, 
in the Legislature a long time, and a member of the Senate of 
Pennsylvania, he was sent to Congress in 181 1, serving one term. 
In 1791 during the administration of Washington, Congress placed 
an excise tax upon whiskey, which aroused great opposition in 
the western part of Pennsylvania, where large quantities of dis- 
tilled liquor were manufactured. This hostility was even carried 
to such an extent as to reach defiance of the National govern- 
ment. By direction of the President, Mr. Rodman raised a com- 
pany of soldiers which, together with other troops, soon had the 
effect of quieting the disturbance. A niece of William Rodman 
married Judge John Fox, of Doylestown. 

Mr. Rodman was succeeded in Congress by Samuel D. Ingham, 
who was perhaps more widely known throughout the country, 
at that time, than any other of our citizens. He was elected to 
Congress in 1812, 1814, and 1816, and again in 1822, 1824, 1826 
and 1828.* 

On the resignation of Mr. Ingham from Congress the first 
time in 1818, Dr. Samuel Moore was chosen to fill the vacancy. 
He was born in Cumberland county, N. J., studied medicine, re- 
ceived the degree of M. D., and married the daughter of Dr. 
Robert Patterson, the first director of the U. S. Mint in Phila- 
delphia. In his early manhood he located as a practitioner in 
the village of Dublin, in Bedminster, but soon removed to Tren- 
ton. His health being impaired, he relinquished his profession 
and engaged in trading, making occasional voyages to the West 
Indies. In 1808 he purchased the grist and oil-mills at Bridge 
Point, where he erected a saw-mill, store and school-house and 
several dwellings, and a handsome residence for himself on an 
elevated site, now owned by Aaron Fries. He was an enter- 
prising, energetic man, and one of the most prominent in the 
building of the first Presbyterian church in Doylestown, towards 
which he gave $200, a large sum for that day. After completing 
in Congress the unexpired term of Mr. Ingham, he was twice 

* For full and complete account of the life and public services of Mr. lugham, see 
Vol. I of Bucks County Historical Society papers, pp. 450 to 459. 


re-elected, being in the 15th, i6th and 17th Congresses. In 1824 
he was appointed Director of the Mint to succeed his father-in- 
law, Dr. Patterson. At a good old age he died in 1861 at Doyles- 

When Mr. Ingham became Secretary of the Treasury in 
1829, Samuel A. Smith was chosen to fill his place in Congress 
and continued in office till 1833. He was born in Nockamixon 
township, associated with the Democratic party and resided in 
Doylestown, where he carried on the mercantile business many 
years on Main street below Lenape hall. He removed to Point 
Pleasant, where he died and his remains were interred in the 
graveyard of the Presbyterian church at Doylestown, with which 
religious organization he had been long connected. He was a 
man of fine physical appearance and was often marshal of pro- 
cessions on public occasions. His father, James Smith, lived on 
the Durham road above the Harrow tavern. 

He was followed by Robert Ramsey, of Warwick, who was 
born in Warminster, February 14, 1780, received a good English 
education and occupied a high place in the esteem and confi- 
dence of his fellow-citizens. He took an active interest in the 
politics of the county, was a member of the legislature five years, 
1825-26-27, 29-31, and in Congress two terms, from 1833 to 
1835 and from 1841 to 1843. Endowed with sound judgment 
and clear discernment he performed acceptably the duties of every 
office to which he was chosen. While in Washington he was mti- 
mately acquainted with John Ouincy Adams, and a warm admirer 
and friend of that distinguished statesman. A regular attend- 
ant on religious services, he was a liberal supporter of the gos- 
pel and for many years a trustee of Neshaminy church. He died 
of paralysis, December 12, 1849, in the 70th year of his age. 

The next member of the National House of Representatives 
from this district was Matthias Morris, who was born in Hilltown 
in 1787. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in New- 
town in 1809. When the county-seat was transferred to Doyles- 
town, he accompanied it and for a time resided in this borough, 
but subsequently practiced law in Philadelphia till 1839, when he 
was appointed by Governor Heister deputy attorney general for 
Bucks county and returned to Doylestown, which place was his 

210 re;presi;ntative;s oi^ bucks county in congress 

home for the remainder of his hfe. When Philadelphia was 
threatened by the British in 1814 he joined the forces of defence 
encamped at Marcus Hook. In 1828 he was elected to the State 
Senate and in 1835 to Congress by a majority of 706. In 1837 
he was chosen again over his competitor, Judge John Ruckman. 
In 1829 he married a daughter of Abraham Chapman. His death 
took place in Doylestown, November 6, 1839. 

In the Congressional election of 1838 the candidates were 
Matthias Morris, of the Whig party, and John Davis, of the 
Democratic. Davis was successful, having received a majority 
of 424 over his opponent. He served but one term (1839-41), 
having been renominated and failed of election on two subse- 
quent occasions. He was the father of Gen. W. W. H. Davis.* 

In 1842 Michael H. Jenks, of Newtown, was elected to Con- 
gress by a majority of 640 votes over his competitor, General 
Davis. A-Ir. Jenks was born in Middletown township in 1795, 
was trained in farming and milling, but in middle life devoted 
himself to conveyancing and dealing in real estate. For a long 
time justice of the peace, he was a commissioner and treasurer 
of the county, and associate judge from 1838 to 1843. He was 
in Congress one term from 1843 to 1845, allied to the Whig 
party. His youngest daughter became the wife of Hon. Alexan- 
der Ramsey, the first Governor of A'linnesota and U. S. Senator 
from the State. After a life of honorable usefulness ]\Ir. Jenks 
died in Newtown October 16, 1867, aged 'J2 years. 

Our county was represented in Congress from 1845 to 1847 
by Jacob Erdman, who died at Coopersburg, July 20, 1867. He 
was born February 22, 1800, in Upper Saucon township, Lehigh, 
then Northampton county, his birthplace being a farm, on which 
his father was born, and his grandfather and great-grandfather 
had lived. It had been in the possession of the family at least 
as far back as 1750, and is still in the hands of their descendants. 
He was a representative in the State Legislature in 1834, 1836 
and 1837, and elected associate judge of the courts of Lehigh 
county in 1866, which position he occupied at the time of his 
death. Two of his daughters, Mrs. Henry S. Cope and Anna 
Maria Erdman reside in Bucks county, near Sellersville. His 

* For fuU sketch of the life of Gen. John Davis, see Vol. I of these papers, pages 1S2 to 


grandson, Hon. Constantine J. Erdman, now (1895) represents 
in Congress the district of which Lehigh county forms a part. 

Hon. Jacob Erdman was succeeded in 1848 by Hon. Samuel 
A. Bridges, who was in Congress first in 1848 and '49, and a sec- 
ond time from 1853 to '55, when as a Democrat he defeated Caleb 
N. Taylor, the Whig candidate. Mr. Bridges was born in Col- 
chester, Conn., in 1802, and graduated at Williams College, 
Mass., in 1826. In that year he removed to Easton, Pa., and 
studied law with Hon. James Madison Porter & R. M. Brooke. 
He commenced practice in Doylestown, but in 1830 removed to 
Allentown, which was subsequently his home, and where he 
gained a high reputation as an able advocate at the bar and a 
learned counselor. After being there about ten years, at the 
opening of a term of court, he received a telegram announcing 
the death of a member of his family. The judge, being asked 
to continue his cases, looked over the docket and found Mr. 
Bridges' name connected with every case, whereupon the court 
adjourned. In 1876 he was elected to Congress the third time, 
to represent the tenth district, composed of the upper portion 
of Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. It has been said of 
him, by one who knew him well, that he was conscientiously up- 
right in all his course. As a lawyer he would never take a fee 
that he did not think he justly earned. Liberal to the poor and 
generous in contributions to every good cause, he was greatly 
esteemed by all and deeply loved by those who knew him most 
intimately. A cultivated gentleman, he was a consistent member 
of the Presbyterian church and always in his pew on the Sab- 
bath. In 1876 he received the degree of Doctor of Laws from 
Williams College, his alma mater. His death took place in Al- 
lentown in 1884, when he was 82 years old. 

After the first term of Mr. Bridges, Thomas Ross, of Doyles- 
town, was elected in 1848, over Caleb N. Taylor, by 321 majority, 
to represent the district at the National Capital. He was born 
and spent his boyhood in Doylestown, being the son of Hon. 
John Ross, judge of the courts of this county and of the Supreme 
Court of the State. Educated at Princeton College, he graduated 
in 1825, pursued the study of law and was admitted to the bar 
in 1829 ; he soon rose to a commanding position in his profession. 

212 repre;sentative;s of bucks county in congre;ss 

securing a large clientage and wide influence. At the expiration 
of one term in Congress he was re-elected over Caleb N. Taylor 
by 240 majority. 

He was an eloquent public speaker, an earnest advocate of the 
principles, and a consistent adherent to the fortunes of the Demo- 
cratic party. One of his sons was Hon. Henry P. Ross, for 
many years judge of the courts of Bucks and Montgomery coun- 
ties. Another was Hon. George Ross, a lawyer at the head of 
the bar of Bucks county, and member of the Senate of Penn- 
sylvania. Hon. Thomas Ross died July i, 1865, after Mr. 
Bridges' second term. 

Dr. Samuel C. Bradshaw was elected to Congress by the 
Whigs by a majority of 345 votes. Dr. Bradshaw was born in 
Plumstead in June, 1809, graduated at the Pennsylvania Medical 
College, Philadelphia, and practiced medicine in Haycock town- 
ship five or six years ; then with Dr. Carey at Quakertown thirty 
years, and alone ten years more. He represented this Congres- 
sional district from 1855 to 1857. He died in the house now 
occupied by Dr. Wm. H. Meredith in Quakertown, June, 1892, 
and was interred in the Friends' burying-ground of that place. 

In the next Congressional election, 1856, Dr. Bradshaw was 
defeated by Henry Chapman by 1,532 votes, a much larger ma- 
jority than usual. Judge Chapman was born in Doylestown, 
January 16, 1805, and studied law with his father, Abraham 
Chapman, Esq., an eminent legal advocate, and for a long period 
regarded as the "father of the Bucks county Bar." His son, 
Henry, was admitted to practice in 1826, and soon manifested 
unusual ability in his profession and acquired wide distinction. 
Without ambitiously seeking political honors he was chosen a 
member of the State Senate in 1843. About 1847 he was ap- 
pointed President Judge of the Chester and Delaware judicial 
districts, and sat upon the bench until the expiration of the term 
in 185 1, when he declined the nomination. In 1861 he was 
chosen Presiding Judge of the courts of Bucks county, and con- 
tinued in office the full period of ten years, when he declined re- 
election. He possessed great dignity of character and manners, 
and never stooped to an unworthy act in official or private life. 
His integrity was never questioned and his decisions were rarely 


if ever reversed. The members of the bar respected, loved and 
feared him. The closing years of his long life were spent in 
the enjoyments of "otium cum dignitate" on a beautiful estate a 
short distance north of Doylestown, where he passed away, 
April II, 1891. 

Judge Chapman was followed in Congress by Henry C. Long- 
necker who was born in 1825, and graduated at the Military 
Academy, Norwick, Vermont, and at Lafayette College, Easton. 
He served in the Mexican War, as a lieutenant, and was wounded 
at the battle of Chapultepec. Sent to Congress in 1859, he re- 
mained in Washington one term; in 1861 joined the Union 
Army ; as colonel of the Qtli Pennsylvania Infantry, com- 
manded a brigade in West Virginia and in like capacity a similar 
body of troops at the important battle of Antietam. At the 
close of the Civil War he laid down the sword and returned to 
the practice of the law in Allentown, and was chosen Associate 
Judge of Lehigh county, in 1867. An able lawyer and judge, a 
gallant military officer, he died at Allentown, September 16, 187 1. 

In the Congressional election of i860 Dr. Thomas B. Cooper 
was successful over his opponent, Mr. Longnecker. He was 
born in Cooperstown, Lehigh county, December 29, 1823, was 
educated at Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, and at the Medical 
College of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated 
in 1843. He practiced in his profession many years in Coopers- 
town, at which place he died April 4, 1862, during the second 
session of the 37th Congress. 

On the death of Mr. Cooper, Hon. John D. Stiles was elected 
to the vacant seat, and took the oath of office June 3, 1862. He 
served with fidelity and was appointed on the committee of the 
House on Revolutionary Claims. He was born January 15, 
1823, and admitted to the bar in 1844. He was a delegate to 
the convention which nominated James Buchanan for the Presi- 
dency in 1856, also to the Chicago convention of 1864, the con- 
vention of 1866, and the Philadelphia convention of 1868. He 
was re-elected to the 38th Congress, 1863-4, over Judge Krause, 
but did not at that time represent this district, a change having 
taken place in the geographical limits of the district, by which 
the northern part of Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks coun- 
ties were united. 


Hon. M. Russell Thayer was elected to Congress for 
two terms, from 1863 to 1867. He was born in Peters- 
burg, \'a., Jan., 27, 1819, graduated at the University of Penn- 
sylvania in 1840, was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1842. 
In the 38th Congress he was chairman of the committee on Land 
Claims, and in the 39th Congress chairman of the same committee 
and of the one on the Bankrupt Law. He was subsequentlv 
elected one of the Judges of the District Courts of Philadelphia, 
and has acted in that capacity many years. He has published 
several valuable papers on politics, law and literature, and is a 
man of legal learning and literary culture, and an able and up- 
right Judge. 

Hon. Caleb N. Taylor was- elected to the 40th Congress in 1866 
and served during 1867 ^"d 1868. He was born July 2y, 18 13, at 
Sunbury farm, Bristol township, where he passed most of his 
life. Interested deeply in agriculture, being a large land owner, 
he did not confine himself to that branch of industry, but engaged 
in politics and banking and was for a long period president of 
the Bristol bank. He was a delegate to the first Republican con- 
vention in Chicago, and several times a Presidential elector. In 
Congress he was on the Committee on Territories and Expenses 
in the Treasury Department. x\n ardent and influential politician, 
for years he exercised a powerful control over the elections and 
appointments of the Whig and Republican parties in the lower 
section of the county. 

Dr. John R. Reading followed ]\Ir. Taylor in the 41st Congress, 
in the years 1869 and 1870*. He was born in Philadelphia 
county, November i, 1826, and graduated at the Jefferson Med- 
ical College. After receiving the degree of M. D., he successfully 
pursued his profession at Somcrton, one of the northern suburbs 
of Philadelphia, where he built up a large and lucrative prac- 
tice. Connected with the Methodist church he showed unusual 

* This statement is misleading. In the election of 1868 the face of the returns indi- 
cated a majority for Dr. John R. Reading. Jlr. Taylor, however, successfully contested 
the election, proving that many illegal votes had been cast against him, particularly in 
Durham and Hensalem townships. The illegal votes in Durham township resulted in 
the arrest and imprisonment of a number of foreigners who had voted on fraudulent 
naturalization papers, purported to have been issued out of the Supreme Court of Penn- 
sylvania, in September, 186S. On April i-;, 1870, the House of Representatives, liy a vote 
of 145 yeas to 45 nays (67 not votiny). decided that Dr. Reading was not entitled tohis seat; 
and on the same day without a divisioti, the House voted that Mr.Taylor was entitled to a 
seat from the fifth district of Pennsylvania. The second session continued until July 15, 
1870; the third session assembled on the first Monday of December, 1870, and the Con- 
gre.ssadjourtied March 4, 1S71. Dr. Reading served as Congressman i year, i month and 
9 days, when Mr. Taylor took his seat for the remaining portion' of the fortv-first 
Congress. " Editors. 


ability as an exhorter and class leader, and was licensed as a local 
preacher, in which capacity he often supplied pulpits and con- 
ducted religious meetings. 

In 1870 Hon. Alfred C. Harmer was the successful candidate 
for congressional honors. Born in Germantown August 8, 1825, 
he commenced business as a shoe manufacturer and was after- 
wards a wholesale dealer in shoes. From 1856 to i860 he was a 
member of the city councils of Philadelphia and then elected 
recorder-of-deeds, which important office he held three years. 
He was chosen a delegate to the Republican National Conven- 
tion at Chicago ; he represented Bucks and Montgomery counties 
and a part of Philadelphia in the 42d and 43d Congresses from 
1 87 1 to 1875^ in which he was chairman of the Committee on the 
District of Columbia and a member of the Committee on Weights 
and Measures. 

After serving the district of which Bucks county was a part, 
four years, the Congressional districts were changed, and Har- 
mer was elected to nine succeeding Congresses for the fifth 
district in which he resides, and is still (1895) representing 
that district. 

In the fall of 1874 Hon. Alan Wood, Jr., of Conshohocken, 
was elected to the 44th Congress, for the years 1875-76. He was 
an extensive iron manufacturer, and well acquainted with the de- 
tails and wants of that important industry. He was born in 
Philadelphia July 6, 1834, located in business at Conshohocken 
in 1857, having previously built the sheet and plate iron rolling- 
mills at that place, owned and operated by the firm of Alan Wood 
& Co. While in Congress he was on the Committee of Public 
Buildings, the House having a majority of Democratic mem- 
bers, with Hon. Mr. Kerr, Speaker, who died a few months after 
his elevation to the chair, and was succeeded by Hon. Samuel J. 
Randall. Many important and exciting events occurred, among 
which was the election to the Presidency of the United States of 
Mr. Hayes by the electoral commission, to follow General Grant. 
In the House were Mr. Blaine, Mr. Hayes, Mr. Garfield, General 
Benjamin Butler, General Banks, Mr. Hill, of Georgia, Judge 
Kelly and other distinguished National characters. 

In the autumn of 1876 Hon. Alan Wood, Jr;, declined a re- 

2i6 re;pre;se;ntative;s of bucks county in congre;ss 

nomination, and Dr. I. N. Evans, Republican, of Hatboro, 
Montgomery county, was elected to the forty-fifth Congress 
by 1,518 majority over Abel Rambo, Democrat. At the com- 
pletion of this term, the years 1877-78, by the rules of the party 
the candidate for Congress was to be taken for four years from 
Bucks county, and Montgomery county was not entitled to the 
office again until 1882, when Dr. Evans was nominated by the 
convention over a number of rivals and elected to the 48th 
Congress, for the years 1883-4. In the fall of 1884 he was 
elected a third time and served in the 49th Congress, for 
1885-86. In the 45th Congress he made a speech on the tar- 
iff, which was highly approved by those whose opinions agreed 
with his, and which was translated by a Baptist minister into 
the Welsh language and circulated extensively in the region of 
Pittsburg and Allegheny. Another speech of his before Con- 
gress was on "The Retirement and Recoinage of the Trade 
Dollar," in the redemption of which he was much interested, 
and the success of that just measure was largely due to his 
efforts. His speech on "The Suspension of the Silver Coinage" 
was received very favorably by the Secretary of the Treasury, 
the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Director of the Mint. 
The New York Herald and New York Tribune printed a con- 
siderable part of it with favorable comments. In the 48th 
Congress he spoke on the following topics : "The Tariff," 
"The National Board of Health," "Inter-State Commerce," 
and "Oleomargarine." Dr. Evans was born in Pennsylvania, 
in 1827 ; studied medicine, and graduated at the medical depart- 
ment of Bowdoin College, ]\Iaine, 1851, and at Jefferson Col- 
lege, Philadelphia, 1852. He is a member of the Pennsylvania 
State Medical Society and of the American Medical Association. 
For many years he had a large medical practice at Johnsville, 
Bucks county, and at Hatboro, but subsequently devoted him- 
self principally to banking and the purchase and exchange of 
real estate, in which he is now engaged. He is now (1895) 
president of the Hatboro National Bank. 

After Dr. Evans' first term Hon. William Godshalk, of New 
Britain, was chosen to represent the district in the 46th Con- 
gress, 1879-80, by a majority of 1,338 votes, and the 47th Con- 


gress, 1881-82, by 1,864 majority. He was born in October, 
1817; received a good education in his youth, and became in- 
terested in poHtics in early manhood. In 1848 he was nomi- 
nated county treasurer and in 1864 for the Strite Senate. In 
September, 1862, he joined the company of Captain George 
Hart, of DoylestowUj who went at the call of the Government for 
troops to act against the Southern Confederacy, and was at 
Hagerstown, Md., at the time of the battle of Antietam. In 
1871 he was elected associate judge of the courts of Bucks 
county and served on the bench with fidelity and usefulness 
five years. At the expiration of the four years of his duty in 
Congress, the nomination of a candidate belonged to Mont- 
gomery county, and he retired to his farm and mill, which he 
conducted with prosperity and success. He was twice married 
and the father of five children. After an honored life he died 
February 6, 1891, in the 75th year of his age. 

At the conclusion of Dr. Evans' third term it was due to 
Bucks county to select a candidate for the House of Represen- 
tatives in Washington, and Hon. Robert M. Yardley was chosen 
by the Republican party and was elected by the people to the 
50th Congress, 1887 and 1888, by 2,135 majority over Edwin 
Satterthwaite, Democrat, and was re-elected for the 51st Con- 
gress, 1889-1890, serving four years. Mr. Yardley was born 
in Yardley, Pa., October 9, 1850, and is of English descent, 
his ancestors having resided in the county 150 years. He was 
employed in his younger days with his father in the coal and 
lumber business ; but having received a good education, he 
studied law with his brother, Mahlon Yardley, Esq. In 1872 
he was admitted to the bar of Bucks county, and commenced 
practice in Doylestown, where large success has attended him. 
In 1879 he was elected District Attorney, and in 1884 a delegate 
to the Republican National Convention at Chicago. He is one 
of the directors of the Bucks County Trust Company, and is 
a widely known and highly respected citizen. When the Key- 
stone National Bank failed in Philadelphia he was appointed 
by the Comptroller of the Currency in Washington, Receiver, 
and satisfactorily carried through the investigation of its com- 
plex affairs. 


In 1890 Hon. Edwin Hallowell, of Moreland, Montgomery 
comity, was elected to the 52nd Congress over Irving P. Wan- 
ger, Esq., of Norristown, Republican, and served with fidelity 
to the interests of his constituents two years, 1891 and 1892. 

In 1892 Hon. Irving P. Wanger was elected to the 53rd Con- 
gress, 1893-94, over his competitor, Air. Hallowell, and was 
re-elected to the 54th Congress for the years 1895-96, over Dr. 
John Todd, and is now the efficient and eloquent representative 
of the 7th district, to which this county belongs. 

Hon. I. P. Wanger was born in North Coventry, Chester 
county. Pa., March 5, 1852; commenced the study of law at 
Norristown in 1872, and was admitted to the bar in 1875 ; 
was elected burgess of Norristown in 1S78; was a delegate to 
the Republican National Convention in 1880; was elected 
District Attorney of Montgomery county in 1880 and again in 
1886. In the first session of this Congress he made a speech in 
favor of the repeal of the purchasing clause of the Sherman 
Act. In the second session he spoke several times on the tar- 
ifif bill, when it was under consideration in committee of the whole. 
He also spoke in opposition to the reduction of appropriations 
for the education of the Indian children, and several times 
briefly on incidental matters. 

Of the 28 members of Congress, of whom I have given 
brief notices, 1 1 were farmers, or farmers and millers at the 
same time, 10 lawyers, 4 physicians, 2 manufacturers, and i a 
merchant. No single occupation claimed them all or even a 
majority of them. They were all honest, upright and intelli- 
gent, seeking the good of the country rather than their own 
selfish ends, and some of them were able defenders of the 
interests committed to their charge. Our country has reason 
to be proud of its representatives during its long history since 
the adoption of the present form of government. Compared 
with the majority of the members of the lower house at Wash- 
ington, they have stood high ; they have been worthy of their 
position, and some have attained an enviable degree of eminence. 
For many years our county was united with other counties 
in districts that sent to Congress more than one member at the 
same time, and it has been deemed desirable to gather the facts 


attainable in reference to all those who acted for us in the Na- 
tional halls of legislation, though they were not residents of our 
county, and represented the district in conjunction with others. 
For some items of information that follow I am indebted to 
Hon. Harman Yerkes, President Judge of the courts of Bucks 
county, and to D. H. Neiman, Esq., of Easton, Pa. 

The members of the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania 
previous to 1787, when the National Constitution was adopted, 
were elected by the State Assembly, two of whom, Joseph Gallo- 
way and Henry Wynkoop, were from Bucks county, and have 
already been spoken of. The new Constitution provided that 
Pennsylvania should have eight Congressmen till the next census, 
and in the ist and 2d Congresses it had eight; in the sessions 
following it had thirteen till 1803. An act was passed by our 
Legislature Oct. 4, 1788, prescribing in what manner members 
of Congress and electors for President of the United States 
should be chosen, but it does not divide the State into districts, 
and I am informed by W. M. Gearhart, Esq., Chief Clerk of the 
Secretary of the Commonwealth in Harrisburg, that it is im- 
possible in his office to find who represented Bucks county be- 
fore 1803. All the members in the last century may be properly 
termed "Congressmen-at-Large," as they represented the whole 
State, stricty speaking, rather than any one portion of it. 

One of the earliest representatives, who had charge of the 
interests of our county in Congress, was Hon. Samuel Sit- 
greaves. He was born in Philadelphia, received a liberal aca- 
demic education, studied law and was admitted to the bar. He 
commenced practice in Easton, where he soon displayed eminent 
ability and profound learning, and was chosen a delegate to 
the convention in 1790, which framed a Constitution for Penn- 
sylvania under the new system of national government. De- 
cidedly and warmly in favor of a firm union in the States, he 
acted with the Federalists, and was chosen a member of the 
lower house of Congress, and took his seat December 7, 179?. 
Securing in a high degree the confidence of his constituents 
and an elevated place in public esteem, he was re-elected and 
entered again upon his duties in 1797. His reputation for men- 
tal acumen and deep reasoning became so conspicuous that he 


was appointed by President John Adams in 1798 a commissioner 
to treat with Great Britain in regard to difficulties, which had 
arisen in the commercial relation of the two countries. We 
were accused of showing partiality for France in the war, in 
which she was engaged with England. The latter proud of her 
superiority as "mistress of the seas," endeavored to lay humilia- 
ting restrictions upon our commerce, to which our nation did not 
propose to submit. In the struggles of France with other Euro- 
pean nations then in progress we desired to stand neutral, and 
Mr. Sitgreaves was designated as fully qualified to assist in ar- 
ranging measures, by which our rights and interests would be 
secured. To enter upon this important duty he resigned his 
seat in Congress and was succeeded by General Robert Brown. 
After a life of distinguished honor his death took place at a 
ripe old age in Philadelphia, April 4, 1824.* 

By Act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, of April 2, 1802, 
Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton and Luzerne counties were 
constituted one district, and were directed to elect three members 
of Congress till the next apportionment, which by law of the 
United States would be made after the succeeding census in 

One of those who represented this district of four counties 
during the period from 1802 to 1812 was General Robert 
Brown. He became a member of the House before the dis- 
trict was constituted, being elected to fill the vacancy caused 
by the resignation of Hon. Samuel Sitgreaves. He first took 
his seat December 4, 1798, and served by repeated re-elections 
to March 2, 181 5, being in nine Congresses, from the 5th to the 
13th inclusive, about 18 years. The territory for which he 
acted comprised most of eastern Pennsylvania. His services 
were eminently satisfactory to his constituents, so much so that 
his election on each occasion is said to have been unanimous, or 
without opposition, except once, when the Federal party set up 
as its candidate against him Mr. Sitgreaves, whose reputation as 
special envoy to England they hoped would carry great weight 
in his favor. Even then Gen. Brown prevailed by a large ma- 

* See Henry's History of the Lehigh Valley, for portrait of Hon. Samuel Sitgreaves, 
page 17, for sketch of his life, ibid., page 407, et. seq. 


During the Revolution he was an officer in a body of troops 
under Washington, called the "Flying Camp." They comprised 
two thousand men and were among the best of the American 
army. After Gen. Howe had captured New York City, Wash- 
ington retreated northward, but left Col. Morgan with three 
thousand soldiers, among whom were Robert Brown and his 
comrades at Fort Washington, with orders to hold it to the 
last. This fortification was on Manhattan Island, about eleven 
miles above the city. It was soon attacked by a strong force 
of the British, and was defended with great courage and de- 
termination. The fight continued all day. When the ammu- 
nition of the Americans was exhausted they resisted assaults 
with the barrels of their muskets, but at last were forced to 
surrender to superior numbers. The enemy lost about i,ooo 
men in killed and wounded, and the English commander was 
so incensed at the stubborn resistance he met with, that he 
deliberately put to death one of the colonels. The prisoners 
were placed in a church under guard, and for three days and 
nights had no food. Starvation and exhaustion were fatal to 
many of them, and the dead were carried away in carts by 
their heartless foes and dumped into pits with quicklime to 
hasten decomposition. Being an officer, Capt. Brown, who had 
learned the trade of a blacksmith in his youth, was released 
on parole, and working at that business in the vicinity where his 
men were confined, he earned money with which he bought 
bread which he distributed among them. This fact reported 
at home by survivors proved one of the elements of his long 
continued popularity. 

Hon. Isaac VanHorne was another of the three gentlemen 
who represented the district during the period from 1802 to 
1812. He was born in Bucks county and served as a captain 
in the Revolutionary War. He was coroner from 1786 to 1791 
and member of the State Legislature from 1797 to 1800 inclu- 
sive, being elected four years in succession, as that body then met 
annually. He was chosen member of the National House of 
Representatives twice and served from 1801 to 1805. ^ con- 
ference of the dififerent counties of the district was held at 
Nazareth September 25, 1804, to decide upon candidates for 


congressional honors and he was made president of the meet- 
ing. In the early part of this century Ohio was in its infancy, 
and Mr. Van Home was appointed by the U. S. Government 
to act as receiver of public money derived from the sale of 
lands and excise duties at Zanesville, which was the capital 
of the State from 1810 to 181 2. and it may have been during 
that time that he was a resident of the place in the service of 
the Union. 

Another of the members of Congress in the early part of 
this century from the district, in which Bucks county was in- 
cluded, was Hon. John Ross. He was the grandson of 
Thomas Ross, who was born in county Tyrone, in the north 
of Ireland, in 1708, and immigrated to Upper Makefield in 
1728, when he was 20 years of age, at a period, which was 
marked by the coming of large numbers of Scotch-Irish to 
Pennsylvania. Thomas Ross, the grandfather of the Judge, John 
Ross, is said to have been brought up in the Episcopal church ; if 
so, he left the ecclesiastical associations of his ancestors, and 
in 1729 was admitted to membership in the Friends' meeting 
at Wrightstown, and subsequently became a noted minister m 
that denomination. In June, 1784, he made a visit for relig- 
ious purposes in company with other Friends to England, 
Scotland and Ireland. During his travels he reached the home 
of Lindley Murray, the celebrated English grammarian, at 
Holdgate, near York, where overcome by the infirmities of 
years, he died June 13, 1786, in the 78th year of his age. 
He is spoken of as a man of great excellence of character and 
of unusual strength of mind. His grandson, John Ross, born 
February 29, 1770, received a good English education, and 
while a young man, taught school in Durham township. Here 
he became acquainted with Richard Backhouse, proprietor of 
the iron furnace, who seeing in him promise of future distinc- 
tion encouraged him to study law at Easton, agreeing to lend 
him money for his expenses till he could support himself 
in his profession. He applied himself with diligence, was ad- 
mitted to the bar, and soon proved a learned counsellor and 
an able advocate. Interested in the affairs of the nation, he 
was elected to the nth Congress, which began its sessions 


May 22, 1809. His term at this time continued to March 3, 
181 1. Being- again elected without opposition, in conjunction 
with Samuel D. Ingham, to the 14th Congress and re-elected 
to the 15th, his second period in Washington was from Decem- 
ber 4, 1 81 5, to February 24, 181 8, when he resigned to accept 
the Judgeship of the Seventh Judicial District, consisting of 
the counties of Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware, 
with two associate judges. This position of influence and re- 
sponsibility he held 12 years, till April 9, 1830, when he was 
appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. His 
tenure of this high office, however, was only four years, as he 
was removed by death in 1834, aged 64 years. He had pur- 
chased some time previously a considerable tract of land in 
a secluded section of Monroe county, on which he had set 
apart a family burying-ground, and there his remains were 
deposited in their final resting place.* In person Judge Ross 
was tall, erect and muscular. His manners were dignified, 
inclining to austerity, and in some respects he seemed eccentric. 
At one time he displayed a taste for spotted or calico horses, 
which were then rarely seen, and with a span of them attached 
to his large heavy carriage, as he rode to and fro between 
Doylestown and Philadelphia, he was the object of interest 
and respectful curiosity to all observers. Among his descend- 
ants were his son, Hon. Thomas Ross, and his grandsons, Judge 
Henry P. Ross of Norristown, and Hon. George Ross, of 

Another of the gentlemen associated in the representation of 
the district comprising our county between 1802 and 1812 
was Hon. Frederick Conrad. He was born in Worcester 
township, Montgomery county, where he resided most of his 
life. Of German extraction, his father or grandfather crossed 
the ocean to find liberty and prosperity in this home of the free. 
His first wife was Catherine Schneider, by whom he had seven 
children, one of whom was the mother of Judge Hoover, of 
Norristown. His education was received principally in the 
common school, that intellectual nursery of many distinguished 
men, but reading and study developed a naturally strong mind, 

* The burial place referred to is at Ross Commons, which was named for Judge Ross. 


and early in life he stood high among his fellow citizens for 
sterling sense and extensive information, and in 1789, he was 
elected to the lower house of the State Assembly, was re- 
elected the two following years, serving three terms. In 1804 
and 1805, he was paymaster of the 51st Regiment of the Penna. 

In 1803 having been elected as a Federalist he took his seat 
in Congress, was re-elected in 1805, holding the position till 
December 3, 1807. His nomination the second time took place 
at a meeting of conferees at Nazareth, September 25, 1804, 
when Hon. Isaac VanHorne presided. In his congressional 
career his coadjutors were John Pugh, of Bucks, and Judge 
John Ross, of Northampton county. In 1809, when Nathaniel 
B. Boileau, of Hatboro was appointed Secretary of the Com- 
monwealth by Gov. Snyder, his seat in the Legislature became 
vacant, and ]\Ir. Conrad was nominated by the Federal party 
to fill his place, but was defeated by Richard T. Leech, Repub- 
lican. In 1807 he was appointed by Governor McKean Justice 
of the Peace, and probably continued a magistrate as long as he 
lived, for at that period the office was held during good behavior. 
In February, 1821, he received from Governor Hiester the ap- 
pointment of prothonotary and clerk of the courts of Mont- 
gomery county, and was reappointed by Governor Shultz in 
1824, performing the duties of the post faithfully six years. 

Mr. Conrad's home and farm were at Centre Point, on the Skip- 
pack road, about four miles northeast of Norristown, to which 
borough he removed late in life. Being a Justice of the Peace 
he wrote many deeds and mortgages and joined many couples 
in marriage. In person he was of medium height, stoutly built, 
and inclined to corpulence. With a flow of animal spirit he 
united sprightliness in conversation and his companionship was 
sought by a wide circle of friends in public and private life. He 
died in Norristown and was buried in the graveyard of the Wentz 
German Reformed congregation, of which he was a member and 

Another of those who represented Bucks county, when it was 
joined with Montgomery, Northampton and Luzerne, was Hon. 
Thomas Jones Rogers. Born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1780, he 


was brought by his parents to this country when six years old. 
His father settled in Philadelphia and engaged in the manufac- 
ture of glue and cow-skin whips. His son, Thomas, in early 
youth, learned the art of printing and having acquired some 
skill and experience in that, which is the preserver of all arts, 
he went to Washington city, and remained there several years. 
Subsequently he removed to Easton, Pa., where he purchased 
the Delazvare Democrat and Baston Gazette, which he success- 
fully conducted a long period. During this time he compded, 
printed and published a work entitled, "A New American Bio- 
graphical Dictionary or Remembrancer of the Departed Pleroes, 
Sages and Statesmen of America," which was designed specially 
for the use of schools. This book ran through three editions, 
in 1813, 1823 and 1824 respectively. In the war of 1812 he was 
an officer in the Pennsylvania troops that marched to Marcus 
Hook for the defense of Philadelphia, and rose to the rank of 
Brigadier General, which he held a long time in the militia of this 
State. Judge John Ross having resigned his membership in Con- 
gress, Gen. Rogers was elected to fill his place and took his seat 
in the 15th Congress, March 24, 1818; re-elected to the i6th, T7th, 
and 1 8th Congresses he served until April 26, 1824, when he re- 
signed, as he had been appointed register of wills and recorder of 
deeds for Northampton county, which position he occupied sev- 
eral years. He was one of the incorporators named in the char- 
ter of Lafayette College at Easton, and was an honored trustee 
of that institution from 1826 to 1832. In 1830 he returned to 
Philadelphia, where he was an officer of United States Customs. 
His death occurred in New York City, December 7, 1832, at the 
age of 52 years. He married Mary Winters, daughter of Chris- 
tian and Mary Winters, of Easton. They had eleven children, 
ten of whom were born in Easton and one in Philadelphia. 

One of the sons, Gen. William Findley Rogers, was alsj a 
printer, having learned the trade with his father in Easton. Early 
in life he removed to Buffalo, N. Y., where in after years he filled 
the offices of city auditor, controller and mayor. During the 
war with the Southern Confederacy he served his country with 
distinction and was afterwards appointed Major General of the 
Fourth Division, National Guards of the State of. New York. 


One of the daughters of Gen. Thomas Rogers was the wife of 
the late Dr. F. A. Fickhardt, of Bethlehem, Pa. Another son, 
also a printer, and a daughter, reside in Philadelphia. 

Another gentleman, who represented this district, was Hon. 
Jonathan Roberts. He was born in Upper Merion township, 
Montgomery county, August i6, 1771. His great-grandfather, 
John Roberts, emigrated from North Wales to America in 1682, 
and settled in what is now Lower Merion township. He was a 
millwright and erected the third mill in the Province of Penn- 
sylvania. Jonathan's father, also named Jonathan, in 1771 was 
chosen a member of the Colonial Assembly, and continued to 
serve in that capacity four years. The son, Jonathan, the subject 
of this sketchy when five years old was sent to school to Law- 
rence Bathurst, a nephew of Allen Lord Bathurst, one of the 
English nobility, and was his pupil 5 years. His teacher had 
received a liberal education in England, and being endowed 
with a strong mind made a lasting impression upon his mental 
habits and character. When 14 years of age he came under the 
tuition of a Mr. Farris, at the "Gulph." While under his in- 
struction he was directed to commit to memory and declaim 
Addison's "Soliloquy of Cato." This he refused to do, because 
he thought it wrong to learn and repeat the sentiments of a 
man who had intentionally killed himself. He did not then un- 
derstand that Addison designed not to commend the views of 
the ancient Romans, but to put into his mouth those of a heathen 
philosopher. When about 17 years of age he was indentured 
to learn the trade of a wheelwright, and passed through a full 
apprenticeship of three years. During this time he sought the 
society of intelligent and cultivated people in his vicinity with a 
desire for personal improvement. Speaking of this period, when 
he was an old man he said, "I was engaged in my work some- 
times from earliest dawn to latest twilight. Work absorbed 
every thought and feeling. I have felt at times a like abstraction 
when in office, discharging public duties. To this faculty of 
entire absorption of my powers, whether mental or physical, I 
owe any success I have ever reached." He read and studied 
morning and evening and wrote essays that he might form a 
correct and forcible style of composition. 


In 1795 Jonathan and his brother, Matthew, leased their father's 
large farm of 375 acres and managed it with energy and success, 
and in 7 years he said, "We could command $7,000 and had in- 
creased our stock and improved the land. At every spare mo- 
ment I recurred to my studies. My desk and books were ever 
kept at hand. I never touched them, however, but with cleanly 
washed hands." In 1798, being then in his 28th year, he was 
elected to the Legislature and was one of the youngest mem- 
bers. At that time the seat of the State Government was at 
Lancaster. Speaking of his return home at the close of the 
first session, he said, "I sat down to a plain farmer's table, 
lodged in the old loft on a chaff bed, and in three days had re- 
sumed my usual habits of daily toil." 

He was returned to the Assembly the next year and began to 
take part in the discussions before the house. In 1807 he was 
elected contrary to his expectation to the State Senate by a 
majority of 500 over John Richards, a popular German candi- 
date. In that body he was a prominent actor, and at the close 
of the term had acquired a reputation for high character and 
ability. In 181 1 he was elected by the Republican party a 
member of Congress, in conjunction with Gen. Robert Brown, 
of Northampton county, and William Rodman, of Bucks, and 
in the autumn went to Washington in a private hack through 
Lancaster, which was called the western route. The question of 
a war with Great Britain for her aggressions upon our com- 
merce came before Congress, and Mr. Roberts took a firm stand 
with the administration of Mr. Madison in favor of that measure 
and made an able speech against the arbitrary assumptions of 
the mother country. 

By an arrangement instituted by the Legislature in 1812, 
Montgomery and Chester counties were erected into one district, 
which Mr. Roberts was chosen to represent. _ He continued to 
favor carrying on the war with vigor, and rose to such promi- 
nence as a statesman, that he was chosen a member of the 
U. S. Senate, and having resigned from the House of Represen- 
tatives he took his seat as Senator, Feb. 28, 1814, and served 
with honor till 1820, the end of his term. He earnestly opposed 
the extension of slavery and the Missouri compromise. After 
the expiration of his career in Congress he was sent again to the 


Pennsylvania Legislature and subsequently re-elected. In the 
political contests between Gen. Jackson and John Quincy Adams, 
he advocated the claims of the latter, and was henceforth associat- 
ed with the Whig party, and was a delegate to the National 
Convention that met at Harrisburg and nominated General Wm. 
H. Harrison for the Presidency. When John Tyler became 
President, he appointed Mr. Roberts Collector of Customs at 
Philadelphia, greatly to his surprise, as he had recommended for 
the post Henry Morris, the youngest son of Robert Morris, the 
Financier of the Revolution. With President Tyler's course in 
breaking away from his former affiliations he did not sympathize, 
and resigned the collectorship, which was his last public office. 
So decidedly was he in favor of home manufacture, that he 
would never knowingly wear a garment of foreign fabrics. He 
married when in his 40th year, in 1813, just before the adjourn- 
ment of Congress, Miss Eliza H. Bushly, of Washington, a lady 
or rare endowments. His death occurred July 21, 1854, at the 
advanced age of 83 years. His wife survived him 11 years. They 
had nine children, one of whom, Jonathan M. Roberts, still 
occupies the ancestral property, which has been in possession 
of the family the protracted period of 213 years. 

An act was passed by our Legislature, April 2, 1822, consti- 
tuting the Eighth Congressional District of the counties of Bucks, 
Northampton, Pike and Wayne, to be represented by two mem- 
bers. In the 17th and i8th Congresses, that is from 1822 to 
1824, Samuel D. Ingham and Thomas J. Rogers were the two 
joint representatives. In 1824 Mr. Rogers resigned, and Hon. 
George Wolf was elected to fill the vacancy. He was born in 
Allen township, Northampton county, August 12, 1777, of Ger- 
man parentage. He received a classical education, studied law, 
was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice at Easton. When 
a young man he was initiated into the Order of Free Masons and 
was for many vears a popular member of Easton lodge. Active 
in politics, he was sent to the Pennsylvania Legislature, serving 
his constituents faithfully, was crowned with higher honors, and 
elected to the House of Representatives in Washington, for the 
second session of the i8th Congress, taking the oath of office, 
December 9, 1824. Re-elected to the 19th and 20th Congresses, 


his term of service extended to March 3, 1829, nearly 5 years. 
He was then chosen Governor of Pennsylvania, and was an able 
and honored chief executive from 1829 to 1835, six years. An 
ardent Democrat and an earnest friend of General Jackson, he 
was appointed first Comptroller of the Treasury of the United 
States, and discharged with ability the duties of that responsi- 
ble position from June 18, 1836, to February 23, 1838. When 
Mr. Van Buren occupied the Presidential chair^ he received 
the lucrative appointment of Collector of Customs at Philadel- 
phia. Two Presidents thus indicated their high appreciation 
of his talents, industry and integrity. He died in Philadelphia, 
March 14, 1840, in the 64th year of his age. 

In the 2 1 St and 22nd Congresses Hon. Samuel A. Smith, from 
Bucks county, and General Peter Ihrie were united in represent- 
ing this district. General Ihrie was born in Easton, February 3, 
1796. It is said by those who knew him, that he was a gentle- 
man in every sense of the term, courteous, brave and honorable. 
In 1829 he was elected to Congress as a Jackson Democrat and 
re-elected in 1831, serving four years. In the days of the or- 
ganized militia he was Major General of a division, and had 
the reputation of being a thoroughly trained officer. For many 
years he was a member of the board of directors of the old Eas- 
ton bank and the solicitor of that board. He was one of the foun- 
ders of Christ Lutheran church in Easton, and for a long period 
the president of its board of trustees. 

His first wife was Camillia Ross, daughter of Judge John 
Ross. By this marriage there were five children, two sons and 
three daughters. Their mother died November 11, 1841. He 
subsequently married Eliza Roberts, of Newtown, a sister of the 
late Judge Stokes L. Roberts. General Ihrie died at the family 
residence, on the northeast corner of the public square in Easton, 
March 28, 1871, in the 76th year of his age. His remains were 
interred in the Easton cemetery. He lived a long useful life, 
respected and honored by the whole community. His brother 
Anthony, the only survivor of his family, still (1895) resides 
in Easton. 

From 1832 to 1843 Tjiicks county alone constituted the Sixth 
District with one member of Congress. 


From 1843 to 1852 the Sixth District was composed of Bucks 
and Lehigh f-'-'^nties with one member. In the latter year the 
name of the same district was changed to the Seventh, up to the 
present time with several alterations of territory it has sent but 
one member to the National Lower House at Washington. 

I will now give a list of all who have represented our county 
in Congress, as complete as I have been able to make it. Some 
having been in ofifice at different times, I will mention their names 
but once, in chronological order, according to the date of their 
first election : Henry Wynkoop, Samuel Sitgreaves, Robert 
Brown, Isaac VanHorne, Frederick Conrad, John Pugh, John 
Ross, Jonathan Roberts, William Rodman, Samuel D. Ingham, 
Thomas J. Rogers, Samuel Moore, George Wolf, Peter Ihrie, 
Robert Ramsey, Matthias Morris, John Davis, Michael H. Jenks, 
Jacob Erdman, Samuel A. Bridges, Thomas Ross, Samuel C. 
Bradshaw, Henry Chapman, Henry C. Longnecker, Thomas B. 
Cooper, John D. Stiles, M. Russell Thayer, Caleb N. Taylor, John 
R. Reading, Alfred C. Harmer, Alan Wood, Jr., I. Newton 
Evans, William Godshalk, Robert M. Yardley, Edwin Hallowell, 
and Irving P. Wanger. 

The Hermit of the Wolf Rocks. 

BY COL. he;nry d. paxson, holicong, pa. 

(Meeting at Wolf Rocks, Buckingham, July i6, 1895). 

It is a source of great gratification for me, on this occasion, 
on behalf of the good people of Buckingham, to bid the members 
and friends of the Bucks County Historical Society, a hearty 
welcome to the Empire township. 

All lovers of local history commend the good work being done 
by this society in rescuing from oblivion many interesting facts 
and much history of our county that would otherwise have been 
lost to the present as well as the future generations, and we 
should express our approbation for the valuable service rendered 
to this end by Messrs. Davis, Paschall, Turner, Smith, Yerkes, 
Chapman, Wright, Mercer, Laubach, Bailey, Michener, Buck 
and many others. 

To the press of our county, principally through our worthy pres- 
ident and secretary, we are much indebted for publishing the 
many valuable papers read before the society from time to time. 
This, besides awakening an interest in the subject, has done much 
to preserve these valuable articles, and I trust the day is not far 
distant when some generous and broad-minded citizen of our 
county will donate a sufficient fund to our society to enable it to 
publish all of these valuable papers in book form and thereby put 
them in proper shape for preservation for all time to come. 

There is an eminent fitness for this meeting to be hel 1 at this 
place, for we are truly upon historical ground ; not made memor- 
able by any achievements in armed conflict for mastery, but rather 
by deeds of peace enunciated by Pennsylvania's founder and 
great law-giver. As the eye takes in the great panorama of the 
valley and the wooded slopes outlining its western border, our 
minds naturally revert to the changed conditions which two cen- 
turies of civilization have wrought. Let us look back to the 
period when our early pioneers halted by the way at New- 
town, while others pushed up through the woods of Wrightstown 
and scaled our mountain to behold this land of promise. It was 


not the land spoken of in the Scripture which the children of 
Israel were led to view, but not allowed to enter. On the con- 
trary, they came with passports that gave to them a lasting 

What a wonderful world of beauty met the pioneers' enrap- 
tured gaze as from the mountain top their eyes rested on this 
beautiful valley clothed in primeval forest of oak, hickory and 
walnut, and broken only here and there by small clearings where 
the aborigines practiced their rude forms of agriculture. The 
smoke yet ascended from the wigwam of the Indian at Holicong 
and the bright waters of Lahaska creek rippled over its pebbly 
bed, on whose bank the Lenni Lenape with his bow and quiver 
startled the wild deer from its repose. Is it any wonder that the 
pioneers here rested, that here they built their meeting-house 
and homes? 

Among the number who took title from Penn were the follow- 
ing : Thomas Bye, 600 acres ; James Streator, 500 acres ; Thom- 
as Parsons, 500 acres : John Reynolds, 900 acres and Richard 
Lundy, 1,000 acres. To one standing on Buckingham INIoun- 
tain the eye covers all of these various tracts. Down to 1700 
little inroad had been made upon the forest, and upon the heavy 
timber the woodman's axe made slow progress. 

It was not long after the first purchasers that others joined 
therein and a new era of prosperity, civilization and refinement 
was inaugurated. The soil was found to be unsurpassed in 
fertility, and the melodies of wood and stream brought the 
Prestons, Canbys, Parrys, Larges, Andersons, Elys, Fells, Pax- 
sons and others, and the large tracts were divided and sub- 
divided to suit the views of purchasers. 

The opening up of the Old York road and the Durham road 
which cross at Centreville also turned the tide of travel thither- 
ward, and was one of the forerunners of civilization. 

A place of worship always makes an important mark in the 
history of a community, but it was not until 1720 that a Monthly 
Meeting of Friends was established at Buckingham. The early 
settlers were mainly Friends or people inclined that way as dis- 
tinguished from Church people, and were, previous to this time, 
a part of the Falls Meeting. History has it recorded that occa- 

the; hermit of the wolf rocks 233 

sionally the trip was made on foot; if so, it was a religion of 
sacrifice and not an easy-going one as now. 

The first meeting-house was built of logs, in 1705, and in a 
few years it was found insufificient to accommodate the largely 
increased membership of worshipers and a larger one, also of 
logs, was built near the site of the old one. This took fire in 
1768, while the meeting was in session, and in 1769 was built the 
present house as we now find it. Thomas Canby, of Thorn, 
Yorkshire, England, came over with Penn, and was the first 
clerk, and he and his descendants served in that capacity for a 
period of one hundred years. 

The late Thomas Paxson was the last in the line, his grand- 
father, also Thomas, having married a daughter of Thomas Can- 
by. Friend Canby was no ordinary man, and to him was due 
in no small measure the growth and prosperity of this particular 
meeting. He lived many years where we now find Samuel and 
Joseph Anderson, and was the father of seventeen children. The 
name is not common at present, but this is accounted for from 
the fact that a large portion of the family were girls and that 
they had a fashion in those days, as now, of changing their names 
in early girlhood, as good offers presented. Thus the name was 
lost ; not so the blood ; a proportionate quantity yet remains, is 
carried down the stream of time, and the pulse will register its 
ebb and flow to the latest generation. 

What hallowed memories cling around this historic old meeting- 
house ! In the Revolution its roof sheltered the sick and wound- 
ed soldier, while its old casements have resounded with the sharp 
report of the flint lock or the measured tread of the guard. And 
how rich and rare in remembrance of many sunny and sad scenes 
of both bridals and burials are those quaint old walls as they stand 
festooned in stern and strict simplicity. Here most of the mar- 
riage happenings of this section were consummated. On one 
October day in 1824, four parties knotted the golden tie that 
binds two willing hearts. They were Dr. John Wilson and Mary 
Fell, Samuel Eastburn and Mary Carver, Joseph Lewis and Ann 
Saul and Daniel Smith and Hannah Betts. Daniel Smith long 
survived all the others and his decease took place very recently. 

The ancient horse-blocks are living sentinels of by-gone days 


when men and women came to meeting on horseback and made 
use of them in mounting and dismounting, and those majestic 
old oaks have stood ward and watcher around the old edifice 
through many generations of worshipers. 

Here, too, we find the old graveyard wherein are gathered 
many generations of our forefathers. From 1700 to 1800 there 
was no other burial ground for many miles around, and here it 
may be truthfully said : 

" Each in his narrow cell forever laid 
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

The school-house, too, close by, has strong claims to memory, 
for here, under such able instructors as Joseph Fell, William 
H. Johnson and Thomas Paxson, many men who have smce 
risen to eminence received their early education. While the yel- 
low fever prevailed in Philadelphia, in 1793, Jesse Blackfan and 
Benjamin Ely, merchants of that city, brought their goods up 
to this school-house, and in the second story opened and kept 
store until they felt safe in returning to the city. It is also mem- 
orable as being the place where the first agricultural society of 
this county was organized. And so the old edifice has claims 
historical as well as classical. 

While we cannot in this paper mention all of the events which 
have made this valley historical, or call to mind all the men who 
have shed lustre on this county, yet here is a rather remarkable 
coincidence which must not escape our observation. On yonder 
slope an unpretending farmhouse registers the birthplace of ex- 
Chief Justice Edward M. Paxson. Upon an adjoining farm 
Justice D. Newlin Fell first saW the light of day. Still in front 
of them, with but a small farm intervening, we find the birthplace 
of the late Judge Richard Watson. All three were reared upon 
the farm and knew little or nothing of college life, but drank in 
from Nature's fountain and our common school the elements 
of success in life; who will say that the Empire township has 
not a prolific soil? 

The old York road over which many of you traveled in coming 
to this meeting is full of historic interest and covered by long 
years of travel when it was the great thoroughfare between Phila- 
delphia and New York. Along this road ran the great swift 


sure four-horsed mail and passenger coach thundering along all 
weathers and roads, rocking and surging on her leather suspend- 
ers. Now she sticks in the mud — all out — Heave Oh ! and on- 
ward we go, warranted withal with many relays of horses to go 
through in three days. What mighty changes in travel since then, 
and yet it is only about fifty years since the sight was familiar. 
Now we run sitting still and fly without wings. A traveler go- 
ing through Buckingham valley, on the New Hope cannon ball 
express, recently remarked that he saw two objects : two hay 
stacks, and they were both going the other way. 

Nor was the old stage-coach the only line of travel that has 
made old roadway famous. It was a common carrier — an ar- 
tery as it were — that supplied the life blood to Philadelphia. 
Long lines of white tented wagons, filled with farm products 
from upper Bucks and New Jersey, found out roads to meet their 
wants. They, however, like the stage line, have been withdrawn 
and gone into history. General Washington likewise passed 
along this road with his army of men on his way from Valley 
Forge to the ferry at New Hope after stopping over night at the 
town of Doyle. 

Centreville, at the intersection of the York and Durham roads, 
and in the line of vision from the W^olf Rocks, is an old hamlet 
replete with historic interest. It was on Monday morning, Sep- 
tember 10, 1737, at 7 o'clock that a picturesque group passed 
through this village on the line of what is now the Durham road. 
The party consisted of Timothy Smith, Sheriff of Bucks county, 
assisted by Benjamin Eastburn, Surveyor General, and two depu- 
ties, Nicholas Scull and John Chapman, who, with three Indians, 
accompanied Edward Marshall, James Yates and Solomon 
Jennings on the famous walk to define the boundary of land 
released by the Indians to the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania. 

We have no record that the party stopped at the old hostelry 
for refreshments and therefore presume that Sheriff Smith had 
anticipated the wants of the walkers and sent the provender along 
in advance. 

Next in importance to the old meeting-house, Righter's Hotel at 
Centreville has probably more of historic interest connected with 
it than any other building in the township, and if its ancient walls 

236 the; hermit of the woef rocks 

could speak what a tale they could unfold. This old hostelry- 
dates back far beyond the Revolution, and at that trying- period 
of our country's history was known as "Bogart's Tavern." 

There General Greene had his headquarters, and its hospitable 
roof sheltered the great and good Washington on the many occa- 
sions he passed through our township on the mission of his coun- 
try. There was the recruiting station, and there many a poor 
fellow shouldered the flint-lock and bade adieu to friends and 
family for the chances of war, and never returned to relate the 
story of his privations and suffering. There the "Bucks County 
Committee of Safety" was organized, and many of its most im- 
portant meetings held. 

What a picture could be painted of this old inn. Fancy a 
little band of patriotic farmers gathered there late at night laying 
their rude plans for the defence of their country. Now there is 
a pause in their deliberations — each man grasps his flint-lock for 
without, there is borne on the midnight air the noisy clatter of 
horses' hoofs hurrying down the Durham road. In fear and 
breathless silence they wait until the sound is lost in the distance 
of the mountain. Now they breathe a sigh of relief for well 
they knew it was Moses Doan and his band of Tory outlaws ! 

These are a few of the many incidents of history connected 
with the environments of our meeting to-day, which afford a 
rich field for the historian, and which the limits of time allow 
but a passing reference by way of a prelude or introduction to 
what is announced in the program as "The Hermit of the Wolf 

In the year 1709, Joseph Large, the great-grandfather of Albert 
Large, the Hermit and subject of this sketch, attracted by the 
many inducements offered to agriculturists in the Buckingham 
valley, for it was then beautiful as now, purchased of Richard 
Lundy, for the consideration of £20, a tract of 100 acres of land, 
extending from the line of John Reynolds' land on the Mountain, 
northward toward the York road, and was a part of the 1,000 
acre tract which Richard Lundy purchased of one Jacob Telnor. 
He also purchased of Samuel Blaker in 1759 a tract of 50 acres 
adjoining for £238. It will be noted there was a large increase 
in land values in 50 years. 


Joseph Large in his will, dated May 10, 1784, among other 
things devised to his son, John Large, his farm containing 150 
acres, and extending from the Old York road on the north, to 
the Reynolds line on the Mountain, on the south. The Reynolds 
line is but a few rods south of Wolf Rocks, where the present 
meeting is held. 

John Large died February 2, 1794, leaving a widow, Rachel 
Large, and seven children, Jonathan, William, Samuel, (born 
December 6, 1775) John, Achilles, Elizabeth and Sarah, to 
whom the farm descended. In the partition made in 1799, a 
tract containing 122 acres (and covering the Wolf Rocks) was 
adjudged to Samuel Large, the Hermit's father. 

Standing at the Wolf Rocks the whole tract lies before you. 
Here Samuel Large pursued his occupation as an agriculturist, 
but what made him famous was his skill as a foxhunter. His 
appointments for the chase were the best, and his well trained 
hounds and fleet steed that knew no fence as a barrier, won the 
admiration of all beholders. It was a gala day on^ the hunt when 
Large with his aids, the Elys and Byes, gave chase. Foxes were 
then abundant and their runways covered a large territory of 
wooded tracts. Buckingham and Solebury mountains. Bowman's 
hill and Jericho mountain were favorable haunts of sly Reynard, 
and however hotly pursued seldom failed to cover his retreat. 
Even in this day an occasional fox is seen on the mountain, but 
the baying of the hounds and the horn's clear notes on moon- 
light nights are no longer heard in the valley. 

Of the children of Samuel Large the most conspicuous were 
Joseph and Albert, the former as teacher at the old Tyro Hall 
school, in Buckingham, and afterwards as an Episcopal clergy- 
man in the far West, and the latter whose remarkable case of 
seclusion has made his name historic and won for him the world- 
wide notoriety as the most celebrated hermit of modern times. 

We have no data to fix the exact year of Albert Large's birth, 
but circumstances lead to the belief it was about the year 1805. 
Of his childhood and training there is little reliable information 
now known other than his general dislike for restraint and con- 
finement. The school-room was no place for him and books at 
this period of his life were an abomination. The late Joseph Fell, 

238 the; hermit of the wole rocks 

with all his skill as an able and successful instructor, was unable 
to cistill in the mind of this pupil, "Bert" Large, a liking for 
books. Playing truant was not unknown to him and the wilds 
of Buckingham Mountain were his delight. 

Here, like a child of nature, he would wander for days at a 
time through the shady woods admiring the wild flowers that 
grew unrestrained along those leafy isles or listened to the wood 
birds' sweet but plaintive note. Then when worn out he would 
recline on some mossy rock and dreamily watch the fleecy clouds 
floating along the blue firmament until lulled to sleep by the 
gentle sighing of the winds through the mountain oak. 

Thus passed his boyhood days and when early manhood arrived 
a train of events occurred that may have changed his purpose and 
turned his whole after life into the sad but interesting and roman- 
tic story we find it. Affliction came upon the family and the pale 
messenger bore his loved mother, Elizabeth, across the river 
which separates us from the long hereafter. However much 
it may have borne heavily on them at the time. 

The father's tears were few and brief 
For he woo'd and won another, 

But ever before the eyes of the son, 
Came the image of his mother. 

It does not appear that the introduction of the new mother, 
Mary Dean, added to his home attractions, for now he is known to 
have absented himself from home for long periods. Yet as the sun- 
shine that dispels the clouds is the brightest, so the joy that follows 
grief is often the sweetest. Tender words of sympathy and en- 
couragement from a fair one of the valley did much to overcome 
his former griefs and trials. Here tradition broadly hints a love 
entanglement connected therewith. 

The valley then, as now, was the seat of beauty and refinement, 
and why should he escape the smiles that from time to time had 
led others captive. There was one above all others whose charms 
were proverbial. She was the grand luminary of attraction, the 
star at which all others knelt, whose smile was sweeter and whose 
silver laugh was merrier than all others as it rang among the 
sylvan bowers of Lahaska. 

That he aspired to her hand there is every reason to believe 
and that mutual love did not materialize is also known, but at 


whose hands the fault Hes remains as yet an untold tale. A 
proper respect for the changed condition of things impels me to 
keep silent as to the name of the fair one. On what a slender 
cord sometimes hangs one's future happiness and station in 
life. This second disappointment or lost hope turned him away 
from human society and for many years his abode was entirely 
unknown to his family or the outside world. 

" He sought his new abode where moonlight's wing 
Curtained the sleeping valley far below, 
And life to him seemed like a weary thing, 
Lulled by the music of the winds so low." 

Sadly twisted and warped as his mind must have then been, yet 
in selecting the weird romantic Wolf Rocks as his abode he seems 
to have had an appreciation of nature left. The ponderous rocks 
forming the roof of his new home stand sentinels over the valley 
he loved so well. It was a fitting place for his retirement, for 
while giving an outlook upon the busy world, was comparatively 
secure from the steps of any intruder. 

The mountain and rocks were less frequented then than now, 
and days and perhaps weeks passed without a traveler visiting 
them. While his family and friends thought him lost, yet here, 
amid the changing seasons, with storm and wild tempests sweep- 
ing the mountain's height and valley below with its white mantle 
of snow, he was secure in his rocky castle. What must have been 
his thoughts as he sat near the entrance of his lonely cell at 
midday, and beheld his kindred tilling the soil and gathering the 
harvest in the same field where he was once a toiler, were known 
only to him. He was a silent watcher of all the improvement going 
on in the valley and little on the line of travel on the Old York 
road could have escaped his observation. His eye took in the 
quiet villages of Lahaska, Greenville and Centreville, the spires 
of Doylestown and the far-off Haycock mountain with its round- 
ed and blue summit. Many years he thus lived unknown to the 
outside world. He must have sallied forth at times to gather 
in supplies to stock his larder, but this was doubtless after the 
tired farmer had sought repose and night had spread her mantle 
over mountain and valley. At length he became less car^^ful to 
conceal his identity and made occasional visits to near villages. 
But how changed his appearance. His long growth of hair and 

240 the; hermit of the wolf rocks 

beard flowing over his breast and shoulders left no semblance of 

"Bert" Large of the valley, and 

" The very mother that him bare 

Would not have known her child." 

At that period of his history, a few years before his dis- 
covery, he seems to have fallen into a very common but mis- 
taken notion that to assuage grief or drown sorrow, a resort to 
the intoxicating bowl would give relief. Accordingly to the vil- 
lage inn went he with his little brown jug to be filled; but alas 
on his return home the jug or its contents became too heavy and 
he fell, not among thieves as of old, neither by the roadside, but 
upon a lime kiln's summit. The light from the burning kiln 
in the darkness of the night had drawn him thither, and a 
chilly October air led him to take advantage of the warmth 
there afforded, unmindful of the danger of inhaling the nox- 
ious coal gas. In the morning he was found by one of the 
employes of the late William H. Johnson, the great philan- 
thropist and reformer. The little brown jug, his companion 
of the previous night, was yet beside him but showed no 
signs of life, its spirits had departed, and it was thought at 
first that those of the traveler had shared the same fate. Not 
so, however, for friend Johnson acted the part of a good Samari- 
tan, had him removed to his house nearby and the work of 
resuscitation commenced. Mr. Johnson, in writing of this inci- 
dent some years ago, says : 

" One of the hands brought intelligence, early in the morning, that a man 
was lying at the top of one of the kilns tlien on fire, and that he believed 
him to be dead. We went to the place and found the person still in the 
same position as when first seen. His face was turned toward the heated 
stone forming the top, and upon examination it showed a livid paleness. 
His eves were entirely closed. A close inspection showed a slight breath- 
ing at long intervals. The kiln at the time being in full blast and having 
been on fire for more than a day, the carbonic gas was passing off very 
freely from the vent at the top. and the man having his face very near this 
opening had imbibed the noxious vapor until his lungs were now incapable 
of performing their ofhce. A phial of hartshorne was at once applied to his 
nostrils. This very soon gave evidence that his lungs were yet capable of 
inhaling, although they had suffered a temporary paralysis. His breathing 
soon became improved, and it was not long before the whole body gave in- 
creased signs of animation. He sat up and preparations were soon making 
for a cup of coffee and some other refreshments. He showed no disposition 
to conver.se about his new abode or his singular nap, and, although his in- 
tended repast was nearly ready, he seized the momentary occasion of the 
person preparing it being absent from the room, to beat a hasty retreat. 
This was the last opportunity (until the time of his discovery) that pre- 
sented of holding any intercourse with the man who obtained a distinction 
as the Hermit of the Wolf Rocks on Lahaska mountain." 


William H. Johnson was a near neighbor of Albert Large 
and had known him from childhood. 

For some years after the incident just related Large was 
neither seen nor heard of until there came on Friday morning, 
April 9, 1858, the startling announcement of his discovery. 


The facts from well authenticated sources are as follows : On 
the morning of that day as William Kennard, a well-known color- 
ed man of this township, was passing along the foot of the Wolf 
Rocks, he observed smoke issuing from the rocks and heard a 
strange noise like the rattling of tinware ; or to use his own 
words, "like the dragging of a kettle by a chain." He became 
alarmed and ran to another part of the mountain to obtain the 
company of another colored man, Moses Allen, to go back with 
him and make some explorations. 

The two men, armed with a crowbar, went back to the part 
of the rocks from which the strange sound emanated, and after 
making considerable explorations were about to abandon the 
enterprise, when it occurred to them that making a noise might 
bring the stranger to sight. They commenced boring the rock 
with a crow-bar, which had the effect of bringing a voice from 
some hiding place which asked, "who is it and what do you 
want?" They proceeded to the cleft in the rock and after dili- 
gent search succeeded in finding an entrance to a room or cavern 
in which was a human being. Upon being asked to come out 
he refused to do so, and denied the obtruders admittance, threat- 
ening to "put balls through them both," if they attempted to 

There had been so many strange rumors concerning the Wolf 
Rocks and their environments ; their possible occupancy by a band 
of counterfeiters and outlaws ; the story of the little girls who 
were gathering whortleberries or chestnuts near the rocks, and 
ran home alarmed, stating to their parents they had seen a man 
at the Wolf Rocks with a beard a yard long; another, that the 
human voice had frequently been heard there on moonh'ght 
nights, pouring forth a stream of wild and romantic melody 
when at the same time no person could be discovered from 
whom it could possibly have emanated. From these and other 


rumors the two men thought it unsafe to proceed further with- 
out reinforcements, and they accordingly secured the services of 
several stalwart men from the limestone quarries of the late 
Aaron Ely. 

The large party, plentifully armed with crow-bars, churn- 
augurs, and other quarrymen's tools, returned to the rocks and 
began the research. The sounding of heavy iron bars upon the 
rock roof of the cavern, with a huge fire at its entrance, and the 
loud voices of the quarrymen calling upon the occupant to come 
out, compelled him to yield, and he displaced the large stone that 
formed the door of his abode and reluctantly came forth. The 
exploring party were dumbfounded to find him to be the missing 
Albert Large. In appearance at that time he is described as a 
man about the average size, with rather round or drooping 
shoulders, over which fell long gray hair in profusion. His 
beard extended almost to his waist, and, with his ancient and 
tattered clothing and general unkempt appearance, he presented 
a picture of a veritable wild man. 

The exploring party having made a favorable impression on 
him by the promises that no injury should be done him, he 
at length became composed and gave them some account of his 
history and mode of living, and invited them to inspect his den. 
The cave was located about midway of the "Big Wolf Rocks" 
and a short distance below what is termed the "Wolf Hole," a 
place that has been observed by all who have ever paid this 
wild spot a visit. The entrance was from the north side and 
could only be effected by going on all-fours. The first place 
they entered was his kitchen or culinary department. In it 
were found a rude fireplace, some pipe to carry off the smoke, 
several buckets, a powder keg with a leather strap for a handle, 
several tin pans, an iron pot for boiling his foo I and a number 
of minor cooking utensils. 

The next apartment was his sleeping room, which was sepa- 
rated from the kitchen by a rough mortar wall of his own con- 
struction. This room was not high enough for a man to walk 
erect, but when once ensconced therein, its occupant was pretty 
cozy and comfortable. It contained a pretty good mattress that 
served him as a bed, an old stool and a few other articles that 


made up his chamber suit. This room was so surrounded by 
board work and mortar that the penetration of dampness was 
impossible. Over the entrance leading to the cave was a large 
flat stone, which he rolled away at pleasure when he wanted to 
go out, and which was carefully replaced when he returned and 
wished to enter his sanctum. Altogether his cave was a place 
of some comforts, and to a man who wished to be secluded from 
the world was capable of being a resort of much happiness and 

Large claimed he purchased his tobacco and some provisions at 
village stores several miles distant. This is probably true, but 
it was thought at that time that the balance of his provisions, 
such as apples, potatoes, turkeys, chickens, milk, and beef from 
the smoke-house were never paid for. He stated that one hard 
winter he was shut in his cave for six weeks, and that with 
the snow of an unknown depth above his cave and provisions 
and tobacco running low, the situation was anything but cheering. 

During the summer season parties came to the rocks almost 
weekly and kept him pretty well posted as to the news in the 
valley. While he was in their very midst, as it were, and could 
hear all that was said, his presence was unknown to them. The 
natural arm chair and sofa of stone, objects of rare curiosity, 
are close by his cave, and he heard much in the way of "billing 
and cooing" there happening. 

The "Wolf Hole," that dark recess, was visited by another 
class in nowise allied to those just alluded to, and while Large 
is not known to have disclosed the robberies and incendiaries 
there plotted, yet several parties of doubtful reputation found 
it convenient to move from the neighborhood shortly after his 

At the time of his discovery considerable speculation existed 
in the public mind as to the length of time he had occupied this 
sequestered and secluded spot. To his captors. Large claimed a 
residence of forty years, but in this he must have been mistaken. 
The best and most reliable authorities in the valley at that 
time agreed that his heimit life was not over twenty years; 
perhaps about eighteen years, from the time he first entered the 
cave until his discovery in 1858. 


The news of the discovery of the long-lost Albert Large and 
his cave spread like a forest fire, and the public curiosity was 
aroused by the circumstances so novel and mysterious. That a 
man had been living, summer and winter, for so many years, 
in a cavern of a rock, in sight of the heart of the valley, was 
too much for the credulity of the neighborhood. The Sunday 
following his discovery all avenues leading to the mountain 
were lined with vehicles heavily freighted with humanity, all 
bent on reviewing the great discovery. They came from Doyles- 
town, New Hope, Lambertville, Flemington, and in short the 
whole region of country from Tinicum to Newtown. For many 
weeks the excitement was unabated, and the Wolf Rocks and 
hermit's cave were the principal theme uppermost at inns and 
stores. Every article found in his cave was thoroughly in- 
spected, and it was not long before everything there, even to 
the board lining and mortar wall, were carried .-.way as relics by 
curious people. 

Accounts of his finding were published far and wide at the 
time, and residents of our county when traveling in the far Wes- 
tern States have frequently been asked about the Buckingham 
hermit. Not only in our own land, but from far-ofif shores we 
find our transatlantic journals giving the matter great publicity. 
Some of them were wide of the mark in matters of actual fact, 
and to show how the story got mystified in crossing the ocean, 
we quote entire, as a matter of curiosity, an article printed at 
that time in the Guide, a paper published in London, England: 


" Hermits are things of the past, only to be found in story books, or old 
worm-eaten novels of the end of the last century, in which trap doors and 
caverns play a distinguished and lugubrious part. It is, therefore, with 
some little surprise that we have to record the following well authenticated 
story : There exists at a distance of some miles from Doyle's Town, Penn- 
sylvania, a mountain known as the Wolf Rock. Goats alone find pasture on 
its barren cliffs, and even they must be sadly starved to seek food upon 
these naked and jagged stone hills. A few weeks ago, however, two blacks 
from Doyle's Town started in search of three stray goats, and tracked them 
to the foot of Wolf Rock. They had no alternative then but to scale the 
rugged mountain. It was no easy task, for the hunters had nearly all the 
time to crawl upon their hands and knees. 

" Evening drew in, and yet there were no signs of more than one of the 
goats. They accordingly made up their minds to redescend, when their at- 

the; hermit of thh wolf rocks 245. 

tentioii was attracted to a noise in some hollow of the hill. Negroes are 
naturally curious, while the)' even fancied they were upon the track of the 
two fugitives. They determined then, to explore further, and advanced to- 
wards the entrance of a mysterious-looking grotto. It was a narrow fissure, 
obstructed by roots and stones. After much exertion, one succeeded in 
crawling in upon his face ; but just as his eyes were becoming used to the 
darkness, a voice from out of the gloom cried, ' What do you want ? ' The 
negro knew not what to say. He stammered out that he was looking for a 
goat. For some minutes there was no reply ; then a mysteiious voice cried 
out, ' Wretch, you advance to your destruction. One step more, and you 
are a dead man.' 

" The black could stand it no longer, but backed out as speedily as possi- 
ble from the hollow, and rapidly regained Doyle's Town, telling everybody 
he met that he had been face to face with the Prince of Darkness. Now, 
the inhabitants of Doyle's Town are not superstitious, but they are curious. 
They accordingly determined to learn the truth. Plentifully supplied with 
arms, lanterns, &c., they surrounded the cavern, after lighting a great fire 
at its entrance. The supposed demon not liking to endure the fate of 
Marshall Pelissier's Arabs, came forth. He was a man of herculean stature, 
clothed in skins of goats and foxes, with long hair and beard, and singularly 
wild eyes. He was at once made prisoner and his dwelling examined. 

" It was a large grotto, divided into three compartments, lined with moss, 
and receiving light and air from above. There was a fire place, a comfort- 
able bed, and numerous remains of poultry were there, which explained the 
frequent and mysterious disappearance of fowls, &c., which had been no- 
ticed by the neighboring farmers for some years. Questioned as to his name 
and strange existence, the Sybarite hermit declared his name to be Albert 
Large. He assured his captors that for forty years he had dwelt in that re- 
tired cavern, never leaving it but at night to hunt for the poultry, goats and 
pigs on which he fed. A disappointment in love had driven him to his ex- 
tremity. His brother, Joseph S. Large, is an eminent minister of the Epis- 
copal church." 

Such, my hearers, are the stories, both authentic and apocrypal 
of Albert Large, the hermit, as I have gleaned them. After his 
discovery he lingered about the mountain but a short time, and 
on yonder rocky promentory he is said to have taken his fare- 
well view of the beauty-woven valley, and bade a silent but 
mournful adieu to those weird and romantic rocks, endeared 
to him as a home through all the changing seasons of those 
many years of his life in solitude. 

From thenceforth all traces of him and his later history have 
been lost. It was thought by some that he might have gone to 
another cave or hiding place somewhere along the banks of the 
river Schuylkill, but there is nothing to warrant such belief. 


It is now 37 years since his departure, and if living he would 
be 90 years of age. It is most likely that long ago he paid the 
debt of nature, as his habits and mode of life were not calcula- 
ted to lead beyond "the days of our years" as allotted by the 
Psalmist. Instances of a life like this are very rare, and if 
all were known of him, an interesting volume would be the 
meditations and reveries of Albert Large, the Hermit of the 
Wolf Rocks. 

Reading the Rocks. 

(Meeting at Wolf Rocks, Buckingham, July 16, 1895). 

On the northern borders of the ancient triassic sea, on the 
Pennsylvania side of the Delaware river, in Nockamixon town- 
ship, Bucks county, in latitude 40 degrees 31 minutes, longitude 75 
degrees 14 minutes, we find large areas almost inaccessible un- 
der ordinary circumstances, owing to stupendous clififs and their 
beetling heights ; but at their base, and where nature scooped 
out deep ravines, plentiful opportunities are offered to the f^cien- 
tific tourist to amply repay him for his hazardous attempt of ob- 
taining rare mineralogical specimens. Geologically, the rock for- 
mation belongs to the Mesozoic time. — Reptilian Age. 

The position of the rocks in linear or ranges parallel with 
the mountains north, is therefore along depressions made when 
the Appalachian foldings took place. They are in many in- 
stances upwards of 400 feet in perpendicular height. The rip- 
ple-marks, rain-drop impressions, mud-cracks, etc., occasionally 
met with while prospecting, show wherever they occur, that 
the layer was for a time a half-emerged mud or sand flat ; and 
as they extend through much of the rock, there is evidence 
that the layers in general were not formed in deep water. The 
veins of minerals run in ribbons, in strings, broadening out 
unexpectedly, and i)enetrate the rock, in varying proportions 
and directions — in places even a foot in thickness. They lie 
generally in a horizontal position, but frequently bent or con- 
torted in every conceivable direction. They are usually more 

At Raubsville, Northampton county, Pa. In limestone quarry on line ot Philadelphia 
& Kaston Electric Railway. Two niile.s north of Riegel.sville and fi', miles south of 
p:aston, about 50 yards from the west shore of the Delaware river and one mile north of 
the boundary line between Bucks and Northampton counties. Said to be the largest and 
best defined ripple marks on the Atlantic coa.st. See Geological Survey of Pennsylvania, 
published in 1S5S by Prof. H. D. Rogers, Vol. I, page 99. 

( From photograph taken April t>. igo9.) 


abundant where a soft layer supervenes ; but pyrites are more 
plentiful in harder rock. There is hardly any one point on 
the outcrop of the minerals to be described that may be said 
to be favored in abundance, except the copper-bearing veins 
which have been from time to time somewhat exploited by Mr. 
Benjamin W. Pursell, and Mr. Amos Stone, of Doylestown. 

We will therefore proceed to describe some of the more 
prominent minerals found in this interesting locality. 

ist. Iron pyrites in cubes; the adjacent faces are often 
striated at right angles with one another, also in other forms. 
Pyrites close to druses sometimes contain minute quantities of 
gold. A fine specimen of the latter mineral was picked up by 
Mr. Pursell, in the locality. 

Pyrites in every imaginable condition, from a smooth, even 
yellow-colored mass almost devoid of crystalline form, to ag- 
gregations of very small but beautiful crystals, are met with. 
The crystals are generally less than a quarter of an inch long, 
and a cabinet specimen showing elegant forms of aggregations 
may be easily obtained with proper care in cutting the rock 
around it with a cold chisel. Patience is an excellent and 
necessary virtue in searching for minerals, and is eminently 
necessary here among the almost inaccessible cliffs and multi- 
tudinous barren veins. I may mention here that every part 
of the success of a trip lies in knowing where to find the min- 
erals sought — there is much more satisfaction (as every min- 
eralogist has experienced) in finding rich deposits independent- 
ly of direction, and by close observance of indications, rather 
than having them pointed out ; consequently the precise loca- 
tion is not necessary, but anyone wishing to prospect or collect 
cabinet specimens of the various minerals met with in the lo- 
cality will find the courteous owner of the premises, Mr. Pur- 
sell, always willing to aid the collector in quest of these inter- 
esting objects. 

Iron-pyrites is distinguished from copper-pyrites in being too 
hard to cut with a knife, and also by its paler color. The ores 
of silver at all approaching pyrites are steel-gray or nearly 
black, and besides they are easily cut with a knife and quite 


fusible. Gold is sectile and malleable; and besides, it does not 
give off a sulphur odor before the blow-pipe like pyrites. 

2nd. Specular iron-ore occurs here, sparingly in complex 
modifications of rhombohedral crystals, occasionally thin and 
tabular ; sometimes micaceous or lamellar, color, dark steel- 
gray or iron-black, crystals highly splendent, streak reddish- 

3rd. Amygdaloid, a trappean shale, containing numerous 
spheroidal or almond-shaped cavities filled with chlorite, is found 
here in great abundance. Some very fine cabinet specimens 
may be picked up in this locality without any exertion, as 
they are scattered over the surface in places in great profusion. 
Some specimens, however, are well worth a thorough search, and 
possess considerable value as unique mineralogical specimens. 
It is probable that some of the other zeolites belonging to this class 
occur here, but I have not been able to find them. Persistent 
search may possibly reveal them, or they may be stumbled upon 
through accident by some one. 

4th. Galena — sulphuret-of-lead. This mineral does not ap- 
pear to be very abundant in this locality, but through the kind- 
ness of Mr. Pursell we obtained several fine specimens, picked 
up by him while exploiting in the vicinity. General Davis, 
in his History of Bucks County, page 640, says : 

" Attention was drawn to this section at an early day. In the description 
of New Albion, published at London, in 1648, there is mention made of 
' lead mines in stony hills,' ten leagues above the Falls of the Delaware, 
which probably had reference to the iron ore in the Durham hills, where a 
little lead has been found from time to time." 

It is probable, however, that future exploitations may 
result in larger finds of lead-ore, as the appearance of the 
specimens denote that they were detached from a vein-bearing 
stratum, and not merely random or float specimens, washed 
or transported from another locality. Galena resembles some 
silver and copper-ores in color, but its cubical cleavage or gran- 
ular structure will usually distinguish it. Its sulphur fumes 
before the blow-pipe prove it to be a lead ore. The specimens 
have the characteristic of being easily split into small crystals. 

5th. Epidote. This mineral is quite abundant as inferior 


specimens. It occurs in the rocks in proximity to dykes of trap 
or basalt. There are three prominent varieties of this mineral 
found here ; one of a yellowish-green color, another of a gray- 
ish-brown ; a third of dark reddish shades, which contains 
a large per cent, of oxide of manganese. 

6th. Copper ores. Of these there are quite a variety, and 
as there is very little difference in their appearance a minute 
description may be best. The hammer and chisel will be neces- 
sary to obtain anything unique in the present state of 
the mines. Among the copper mineral varieties, green 
malachite stands preeminent. This mineral is finely ex- 
posed in this locality, and is conspicuous by its rich 
green color. Fine specimens may be obtained in abundance, 
which form excellent cabinet specimens. For this kind of 
specimens, masses of considerable size, quite hard, and of a pure, 
green color, should be taken. As the greater part of this min- 
eral is only about one-sixteenth of an inch in thickness, it re- 
quires care to secure anything massive ; but with careful chisel- 
ing, fine specimens may be obtained. The mineral is so con- 
spicuous by its rich, green color, and solubility in acid, that a de- 
tailed description is deemed unnecessary. It readily dissolves in 
acid with effervescence, as it is a carbonate-of-copper. Red- 
oxide of copper is found in small quantities along the line 
of outcrop, or near it. Fine crystals are fairly abundant, but 
are difficult to distinguish, as they are generally coated with 
malachite ; its color is earthy, or brownish red. The crystals 
are generally from an eighth to a quarter of an inch in thick- 
ness, and found imbedded in masses of malachite. When a 
piece of the latter is found, which has a high gravity, red-copper- 
oxide may be suspected and broken into, when the red-oxide 
crystals will appear, which have a greater beauty in the eyes 
of the mineralogist than the more massive malachite. The 
crystals dissolve in acids, similar to malachite, but without effer- 
vescence — that is if they be freed from malachite. The red- 
copper-oxide is not of itself a very showy mineral, but its 
rarity fully compensates for a considerable search after it. At 
the time of my visit to the locality, considerable of it could be 
seen scattered among the debris. 


Chrysocolla is also found in abundance, largely resembling 
malachite, but has a bluer^ lighter color, and is seldom massive, 
mostly occurring in incrustations and beautiful druses, which 
make fine cabinet specimens. 'It is softer than malachite, but 
as it is found mixed with it, it is difficult to distinguish, ex- 
cept it does not dissolve in nitric acid, although the acid takes 
the green color of a solution of malachite, which characterizes 
it. By careful search, finely drused specimens may be found, 
which can be carried away as mementoes of an interesting trip. 

Copper-glance has also been found in the locality, although 
we were unable to detect it during our visit; but on our ar- 
rival at the laboratory of IMr. Pursell we saw a solution of this 
mineral in a test tube which gave the characteristic white sul- 
phur powder precipitation. A steel blade being placed in the 
solution quickly received a coating of copper, known by its red 

Erubscite, another coi)per mineral, occurs here, sparingly, 
with the other varieties of this class. It is of a reddish-yellow 
color, sometimes tarnished to a light-brown on its surface. 
Erubscite is distinguished from red-oxide, which it alone re- 
sembles, by its lighter color, great solubility when pure, and 
its sulphur fumes. 

Having thus as briefly as possible sketched a few of the 
more prominent minerals found in this interesting locality, 
we will ask your attention for a few minutes to a concise con- 
sideration of the life existing during the genesis of these min- 
erals and rocks. 

The fossil remains of the vegetation of the period includes, 
so far as we have discovered, no species of sigilaria, stigmaria, 
or lepidodendron, the characteristic genera of plant life of the 
Carboniferous era immediately preceding the age under con- 
sideration; but, instead, there are cycads, or a species of tree- 
fern, having a simple trunk with a tuft of large leaves or fronds 
at the top resembling a palm, along with many new forms of 
ferns, Equiesta and Coniferae. No species of moss or grass 
have as yet been met with in this locality. The remains of these 
plants are sufficient to show that the hills had their forest veg- 
etation of Coniferae, cycads and ferns, from which trunks and 


leaves were occasionally swept into the estuaries, while the 
marshes were in some places accumulating vegetable debris, 
forming lignite. Relics of insects and crustaceans are rare in 
this vicinity — several fossil tracks of worms, indicated by the 
marks they left on the fine shales, also some fossil footprints 
of birds and reptiles have been discovered. The latter appar- 
ently belong to the lizard tribe. Numerous fossils, and far 
more varied, are found in other localities in this formation. 
The Nockamixon palisades, although comparatively an atom 
in the vast system of the Mesozoic is a system in itself in its 
revelations, and the portion of science, though gathered from 
one small exposure, is the deciphered law of the whole com- 
plicated Mesozoic formation. 

By studying out the character of the rocks, minerals, fossil 
remains of plants and animals, we are enabled to restore to our 
minds to some extent the epoch registered in the formation 
now under consideration. The various strata are thus not sim- 
ply records of moving waters, sands, clays, pebbles, and dis- 
turbed or uplifted rocks, with crystalline and rare minerals 
and fossil plants, and ancient life embedded in the strata; but its 
history is a history of the life of the globe, as well as of the rock 
formation of the period. 

A text book on paleontology, crystallography, or physics, out- 
lined and printed on the spot, would serve for the whole of the 
Mesozoic formation — Reptilian age. Thus the rocks and min- 
erals here exposed, may be regarded as records of successive 
events in the world's history — as actual historical records, and 
may be read as easily as any historical document written by man. 
Nature has placed its stamp upon every rock, mineral, pebble, 
seam of ore, fossil, crack or crevice, or any marking whatever, 
and only awaits the careful student to read the record. Thus 
every rock stratum marks an epoch in history, and groups of rocks 
a period, and still larger groups ages ; and thus the ages which 
reach through geological time are interpreted and their life his- 
tory determined by their fossil remains. 

On botanical data the ages would read : 

I St. The age of seaweeds, covering the ages of mollusks and 


2cl. The age of coal-plants or acrogens of the carboniferous age. 

3d. The age of cycacls, corresponding to the Mesozoic-Reptilian 
age, (or age now under consideration) and dicotyledons, cor- 
responding to the mammalian age. 

4th. The age of palms. 

Turning to the. Historical ages we recognize: 

I St. The age of mollusks, or silurian. 

2d. The age of fishes, or Devonian. 

3d. Carboniferous age — coal plants. 

4th. Reptilian age — reptiles, the dominant race, (corresponding 
to the age under discussion). 

5th. Mammalian age — mammals, the dominant race. 

6th. Age of man. The present. 

There are precautions necessary in outlining the ages, depend- 
ing on individual differences and diversities in the range of fossils, 
which will no doubt be fully understood by the average scientists, 
and need not be dwelt upon at this time. 

The position of the Triassic beds show that this part of the 
continent stood nearly at its present level when the deposition oc- 
curred. The strange absence of Atlantic sea shore deposits 
in the Triassic period, coupled with the absence of Radiates, and 
paucity of Mollusks, and the presence of only a few species that 
are properly marine, prove that the ocean had imperfect access, 
if any, to the regions under discussion. That the beds are not 
seashore deposits or formations like the Cretaceous and Ter- 
tiary of later times is thus confirmed, and clearly sustains the idea 
that the beds are partly of estuary and partly of lacustrine origin. 
The occurrence of vegetable remains and the lignite beds also 
prove this conclusion. 

The thickness — 3,000 to 5,000 feet or more, in connection with 
the foregoing, shows that the areas covered by this deposit, under- 
went a gradual subsidence to the above depth or beyond ; conse- 
quently, that these oblong depressions were slowly deepening, and 
continued to deepen until the last layer was deposited. 

" 'aes TO J^""*^ . 

T76 TO JLl"^ 

^06 TO jor«t 


Portraits of all incumbents from the time the office was established by Act approved May 8, 

1S54, with one exception ; we were not able to get a photograph of Stephen T. Kirk, 

of Doylestown, who was superintendent from June, iSikj, to May. 1S70. 

The Early County Superintendency of Bucks County. 

(Meeting at Wolf Rocks, Buckingham, July i6, 1895). 

The question of education in its relation to the incHvidual, to 
the community, and to the State, has always been from the 
founding of our State a matter of exceeding interest to those 
who have been interested in the progress and prosperity of our 
people. As we all know, the great founder of our Common- 
wealth, in framing the Constitution which seemed to him to be 
necessary in guiding the infant energies of the young State 
which he had created, said, "That, therefore, which makes a good 
Constitution must keep it, viz: Men of wisdom and virtue, 
qualities, which, because they descend not with wordly inheri- 
tances, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous education of 
youth." But while there have always been many institutions 
of a private character for the instruction of youth in our State, 
that have done superior work and have aided in the development 
of great intellectual power among our people, while in our own 
county there have been such institutions to whose labors can be 
traced great results, notably the case of the Log College in 
Warminster, founded nearly a century and three-quarters ago, 
while academies, seminaries and colleges have done much to 
promote the well-being of the State, yet our system of common 
school instruction has had to wait for its development and growth 
until within a comparatively recent period. In 1834 the Legis- 
lature of Pennsylvania passed its first General Act providing for 
a system of common schools. It was not made obligatory upon 
any township or borough in the State to accept all of its pro- 
visions ; those provisions could be made operative and of value 
only as each school district in the State might see fit to put them 
into force. The deep-rooted feeling of antagonism upon the part 
of many people to any system of education which required for 
its support the payment of taxes by the general public, and con- 
sequently the contribution to the public treasury by those who 
had no children to send to school as well as by those who had, 


the former claiming that they could not be benefited by the pay- 
ment of a school tax, constantly manifested itself in the dispo- 
sition to render of no avail the provisions of the law ; and the 
result was that in a large number of the districts of the State 
there was a failure to put the Act fully in force for many years 
after its enactment. Assaults were made upon the law in the 
Legislature, and it was only by the labors of Thaddeus Stevens, 
Thomas H. Burrows and their compeers that it was saved upon 
the statute books. The districts that so failed to adopt were, 
with scarcely an exception, the most backward and un-enterpris- 
ing in their respective counties ; but even where the Act was 
accepted and the experiments tried, there was a failure to realize 
the results hoped for from the system. There was a failure to de- 
vise and carry out any well-considered plan for the preparation 
of teachers for their work, for the examination and selection 
of teachers, for the grading and classification of schools, for the 
building of suitable school-houses, and for properly furnishing 
them, for the supply of proper books and apparatus, and gen- 
erally for a judicious financial management of the schools. Be- 
fore Pennsylvania could fully realize the position in which she 
stood, educationally, and could awake to the perils surrounding 
her, it seemed necessary that the quickening and inspiring in- 
fluence of Horace Mann, in his magnificent twelve years' work, 
commencing in 1837, as the Secretary of the State Board of Edu- 
cation of Massachusetts, should summon our people to the great 
work which lay before them. 

The haphazard method of conducting the educational work in 
our State became finally so notorious, its evils so patent, and 
the results so frightfully apparent in the failure to uplift the 
great bo^ly of our people to the intellectual and moral plane 
upon which it was universally recognized they should stand, 
that the Act of 1849 was passed, followed by that of 1854, the 
latter, without reference to the narrow and selfish views of 
those districts which had either failed to adopt the provisions 
of the Act of 1834 or had constantly endeavored to ren^^er abor- 
tive any sufficient results from that Act, providing as follows in 
the first section thereof: 


" That a system of common school education be, and the same is hereby 
deemed, held and taken to be adopted according to the provisions of this 
Act, in all the counties of this Commonwealth, and every township, bor- 
ough and city of this Commonwealth, or which shall be hereafter erected, 
shall constitute and be a school district subject to the provisions of this 

The school authorities of the State, as well as all careful 
students of the subject at that time, recognized as the most impor- 
tant feature of the Act those sections which provided for the elec- 
tion in each county of an officer to be called the County Superin- 
tendent, and which specified his powers and duties. The law re- 
quired the person elected to this office to be of "literary and 
scientific acquirements, and of skill and experience in the art of 

Many in this audience have from their personal knowledge 
had some conception of the magnitude and character of the 
duties which confronted the first officer in this county to be 
elected to that position. A majority of us who are here to-day 
have seen something of the gradual evolution and development 
of the system, and as pupils or teachers we may have been 
directly benefited by that development ; but no one who was not 
familiar with the condition of the schools in our county prior 
to 1854, of the methods by which they were conducted, of the 
kind oi teachers who were in charge of them, of the facdities 
that were furnished in the way of books and apparatus to 
teachers and pupils, can have any adequate idea of the work 
that confronted the first county superintendent. 

As I have intimated, there have always been good schools 
in this county. There have been men and women who, specially 
qualified by mental and moral endowment, filled with enthusiasm 
and working with tact and energy have been quoted and re- 
membered from one generation to another as teachers of remark- 
able power, who have, in their respective communities, aided in 
preparing for the State good citizens, and in developing inherent 
genius in many young people who otherwise might have remained 
in comparative obscurity. But such schools were exceptional. 
They were sporadic. Their existence was but fitful. 

The majority of the schools were taught by persons who were 
inadequately prepared, and who taught with no idea that teach- 


ing could or would be a profession. Most of the male teachers 
used the few months of winter to eke out a livelihood which 
an agricultural, mechanical or other pursuit would fail to proper- 
ly provide for. In not a few localities, teachers were appointed 
who were of intemperate habits and bad morals. The school- 
houses to which the children of that day were sent were almost 
universally imfit in their appearance and architecture, in their 
lack of ventilation, in their dearth of conveniences both within and 
without, to provide for the proper moral as well as mental de- 
velopment of the child. The books were crude and meagre and 

In certain localities the people insisted upon having good 
teachers, that their children should be sent to decent school 
buildings, and that whatever was necessary to supplement the 
work of an efficient teacher should be done ; but there was a 
lack of method, of organization, of management, calculated 
to lift up the whole body of the schools and impress upon them 
throughout the marks of a vigorous, upward and progressive 
movement. Teachers were put in charge of schools either with- 
out an examination at all as to their qualifications, or in many 
cases with but the most superficial effort to ascertain what they 
knew and what they could do. 

Naturally the members of the school boards would be unpre- 
pared, at least in the majority of cases, to conduct a thorough 
examination of those who might apply for the position of teacher 
in all of the branches to be taught. It was the custom in cer- 
tain places, if some citizen had the reputation of knowing more 
of mathematics or geography or grammar than his fellows to 
request him to examine teachers in that subject; but no certifi- 
cates were issued showing the results of any examination. The 
State authorities too complained that there was no proper ac- 
counting to the school department by the local school boards 
of the moneys appropriated by the State. There was no method 
by which accurate and reliable data could be obtained from these 
districts by the department; and it was alleged in many cases 
that there was a deliberate misappropriation by the local authori- 
ties of the moneys which had been intrusted to them, without 
there being any sufficient method on the part of the State in 


ascertaining where the difficulty lay. Much prejudice, born of 
ignorance and selfishness, which had always been entertained 
toward the common school system, yet remained, with the dis- 
position to thwart and hamper as far as possible all efforts to 
render the provisions of the new Act a success. Many people 
regarded the creation of the office of County Superintendent as 
entirely unnecessary, and the salary paid as a waste of the public 

The outlook, therefore, for the first officers under this Act 
was one that promised nothing but hard work. The Act has 
outlined nearly all of the principal duties of the County Su- 
perintendent as they have existed from that day to this. He 
was required to examine teachers, and to see that no incompe- 
tent teacher was employed ; to see that there should be taught 
in every district certain specified branches, as well as others 
that the Board of Directors might require ; to visit all the schools 
as often as practicable, noting the course in methods of in- 
struction in branches taught, and to give such directions in the 
art of teaching and the methods thereof in each school as to 
him, together with. the directors and controllers, should be deem- 
ed expedient and necessary. He was given power to annul cer- 
tificates given to teachers upon sufficient cause, which annul- 
ment would result in the dismissal from his school of the 
teacher afi^ected. It was directed that the annual reports of the 
several school districts should pass through his hands to the State 
Superintendent, and that he should make annually a report of 
the condition of the schools under his charge, suggesting im- 
provements and furnishing such pertinent information as he 
might think fit. These were among the requirements imposed 
from the beginning. There have naturally been added from time 
to time other duties, notably the holding of County Institutes, and 
increased powers in regard to the issuing and endorsing of cer- 
tificates to teachers. 

The first of the incumbents of the office had no beaten track 
to follow. While the office was not a new one in some portions 
of the country, yet here it was entirely untried ; and those who 
were first elected found it necessary that they should blaze the 
way. Fortunately, the majority of the people in our county, and 


all our papers, recognized the necessity of selecting the best per- 
son who could be found. And this feeling was voiced in man}) 
ways, insisting that the person chosen should be a person of 
"scientific and literary acquirements and of skill and experience 
in the art of teaching." In some counties of the State the feel- 
ing of opposition to the office was manifested in the fixing of 
a salary which was purposely made so low as to discourage the 
efforts of the official chosen and to put a stigma of popular dis- 
approval upon the officer and his work. The Nezv York Tribune 
of that day, in noticing the salaries paid to County Superinten- 
dents of common schools of this State, makes the following 
caustic criticism: "Of course at such rates either, first, feeble 
men are appointed who will effect nothing, or, second, capable 
men are chosen who are not expected to devote their time to 
their work, or third, good men are expected to give their ser- 
vices for half their value for the sake of the cause. In either 
case the policy is shabby, short-sighted and eminently Pennsyl- 
vanian. Chester, Montgomery and Bucks want men worth at 
least $1,500 and cannot afford to take an inferior article. Only 
think of Dauphin, the metropolitan county, including a city of 
at least ten thousand inhabitants, appointing a County Super- 
intendent of Schools at the magnificent sum of $300 a year. No 
wonder the State is sold out three or four times a year by her 
Legislatures when public ignorance is thus cherished." The 
salaries in two of the counties were as low as $100 a year. 

Prior to the convention called under the Act, which was fixed 
for the first Monday of June, 1854, there was much discussion 
in our county as to who shoul 1 be chosen. Several teachers 
who had been successful either in the county or outside of it 
were named. When the day arrived those who were especially 
interested in education looked with intense anxiety for the re- 
sult of the work of the convention. It was held in the old Court 
House, at Doylestown, June 5, 1854. Its president was a gentle- 
man who then, as always afterward, manifested his interest in 
public school work, and did not allow the fact that he was a 
professional man to dull and narrow his interest in the mass 
of the people, but who gave the benefit of his eloquence to 
school work, in educational meeting and institute whenever call- 


ed upon. The convention was presided over by a member of 
the Doylestown Borough School Board, George Lear, Esq. The 
first work of the convention was to determine the salary. The 
appointment of a committee to consider that question was fol- 
lowed by the nomination of candidates for the office. The list 
comprised Joseph Fell, of Buckingham ; James Anderson, Bris- 
tol borough ; Solomon Wright, Solebury ; Dr. E. D. Buckman, 
Bristol borough; Mahlon Long, Warwick; Aaron B. Ivins, Phila- 
delphia; James Robinson, New Hope; Eugene Smith, of Doy- 
lestown borough, and Silas Thompson. The names of Aaron B. 
Ivins, Mahlon Long and Eugene Smith were withdrawn. Before 
taking a vote the report of the Committee on Salary was pre- 
sented, stating that the committee had agreed on $1,000 as the 
salary of the Superintendent. Upon motion of George H. Mich- 
ener, Esq., of Doylestown, that the report be adopted, the spirit 
of hostility to the system as well as to the office became at once 
manifest when a director from one of the most intelligent dis- 
tricts of the county arose and vigorously opposed the motion, 
stating that he was opposed to the law, and no good would re- 
sult from the office, that the directors were competent to manage 
the affairs of the schools, and that as the Legislature had given 
them power, by refusing a salary, to virtually annul the office, 
they should adopt his amendment, which provided for a salary 
of one dollar for each school district. The report of the com- 
mittee was adopted, although the majority was not very large, 
the vote being 78 to 59. 

Among the school directors constituting the convention were 
many men who have been prominent in the county, and who, 
both at that time and for years afterwards, manifested a lively 
interest in the advancement of common schools. Among them 
were such men as George Lear, George H. Michener, Alfred H. 
Barber, John Clemens, of Doylestown borough ; George McDow- 
ell, of Doylestown township; Thomas Janney, Dr. David Hutch- 
inson, E^Hvard H. Worstall, of Newtown borough; Jacob Buck- 
man, Mahlon B. Linton, Daniel M. Hibbs, Newtown township; 
John B. Claxton, J. Watson Case, Isaiah Michener, Dr. Charles 
H. Mathews, of Buckingham ; Moses Eastburn, Elias B. Fell, 
Charles Magill, Robert Simpson, of Solebury; Dr. J. D. Men- 


denhall, Bristol borough ; Jesse L. Stackhouse, Samuel Hulme, 
of Bristol township; John Buckman, Isaac Eyre, Pierson Mitchell, 
Jesse G. Webster, of Middletown; Joseph A. VanHorn, Barclay 
Knight, John Yardley, Richard Janney, Benjamin Beans, of 
Lower Makefield; Samuel Bradshaw, Josiah Rich, Isaac G. 
Thomas, of Plumstead ; John H. Mathias, Elias Hartzell, Hill- 
(lown; Theodore S. Briggs, Henry Wynkoop, Wilson D. Large, 
Edward O. Pool, of Upper Makefield; Isaac VanHorn, North- 
ampton; Henry Frankenfield, Samuel B. Thatcher, of Haycock; 
Jacob A. Bachman, Peter Laubach, of Durham; William B. 
Kemmerer, Dr. Charles F. Meredith, of Richland ; Mahlon 
Long, Eleazer Wilkinson and Nathaniel J. Rubinkam, Warwick ; 
George Comfort, of Falls; Charles Kirk, Harman Yerkes, Jo- 
seph Barnsley, of Warminster. 

The convention happily chose the right man for the place 
in selecting Joseph Fell, of Buckingham. He possessed the 
requirements which the Act called for, as his range of knowledge 
was extended and he had for many years been a successful teach- 
er. There are those here to-day who can testify to the thorough- 
ness and accuracy of his work in the school-room. He had the 
happy faculty of arousing the interest of the pupil in the work 
before him, of stimulating his energies and of making the sub- 
ject so attractive and full of interest that the child found it a 
pleasure to study. He had moreover the great tact which was 
so especially needed in the incumbent of this office. 

As a consequence, in making his tours of the county, in ex- 
amination of teachers, in visiting schools, in his intercourse 
with the school directors, in the discussion of methods and plans 
of work, in his appeals for progress, on all of these lines, he 
was able to so impress himself upon teachers, directors, and the 
people as well, with whom he came in contact, officially and 
socially, as to disarm in many cases hostility, to win converts 
to the cause and in all cases to command a respectful attention 
and consideration from those who had determined only to scoff. 

A gentleman has told me, within a few days, of his experience 
when in 1856 he attended an examination in one of the upper 
townships with a view of applying for a certificate. He was 
young and diffident, and fearful of entering upon the ordeal be- 


fore him, but Mr. Fell, seeing him outside of the school-housj 
and ascertaining his purpose, encouraged him to make the effort, 
assuring him that he would probably meet with success. The 
timidity of the young man was dissipated, and he was thus en- 
abled to approach the work with composure and to pass the ex- 
amination creditably. He afterwards became one of the leading 
teachers of the county. This was doubtless but one of hundreds 
of cases wherein young people were encouraged by Mr. Fell's 

In visiting the school, he usually carried with him such appara- 
tus as it was practicable for him to take with him, and, as the 
schools at that time were almost bare of anything that could be 
used for illustration, the simple experiments and illustra- 
tions which he gave were interesting and suggestive to 
pupils and to teachers as well. This feature of his 
work resulted in improved teaching as well as caused the 
expenditure of money for needed maps, blackboards, charts, etc. 

A lady now living in Illinois, who formerly taught in Plum- 
stead township, writes to me, referring to Mr. Fell, 

" He had the happy faculty of entertaining the pupils and holding their 
attention from the least to the greatest, and if they knew anything he was 
sure to find it out. He had the same happy faculty in examining teachers." 

Another of the successful teachers of that time, a lady of our 
county who has always maintained her interest in the public 
schools, writes me of the nervous dread which she felt over her 
first examination, but that Mr. Fell's genial manner made her 
feel entirely at ease before the examination commenced. She 

" He was a model Superintendent as well as a man. He possessed the 
faculty of making the whole school feel at ease in his presence. Would con- 
duct most of the exercises himself , dwelling chiefly on fundamental princi- 
ples, as he was a firm believer in the educational structure having a firm 
foundation. Always brought with him globes, charts, etc., which were not 
then furnished the schools, and would so entertain the pupils that his visits 
were always looked forward to with pleasure." 

Some of Mr. Fell's experiences in visiting schools and in ex- 
amining teachers were decidedly ludicrous. They illustrate very 
fairly the character of many of the schools, and the unfitness 
of the teachers in the matter of their scholastic knowledge and 


their disciplinary power. He described his experience in one 

school as follows : 

" I fouri'l between 30 and 40 pupils of every grade of size from mere in- 
fants to young women. The door was open, a bucket of water having been 
emptied immediately in front of it making no small amount of mud to be 
tracked in the room. The floor was literally littered with shavings, chips, 
apple cores, etc. Two benches drawn up closely to the stove, in which 
there was sufficient fire to fill the house with smoke, were densely packed 
with interesting children who seemed much more intent upon the exercise 
of munching nuts, apples, and persimmons, than they were with the proper 
exercises of the school room. During recitations it was a common thing for 
the scholars to spring up on the top of the desk behind them and remain 
there until the class was done. One little chap was sitting in the middle of 
of the floor busily engaged stuffing the chips wiih which he was surrounded 
into his shoes. Others were stretched at full length on the benches enjoying, if 
not a siesta, at least a comfortable lounge. Another school was visited dur- 
ing the absence of the teacher. The children who were out playing fol- 
lowed me in and after arranging themselves to the best advantage for a per- 
spective and eagerly scanning my person till curiosity satisfied commenced 
a very animated romp ; mounting benches and desks, sans ceremony, leav- 
ing on them the footprints of mud and dust, which by the by evidently indi- 
cated familiarity with such labor. The teacher soon made his appearance. 
Apologizing for his absence beyond the usual hour of calling, on account of 
company, he thumped furiously against the sash of the window with his 
ruler. The well known sound had the effect of hurrying the scattered ur- 
chins pell mell into the school-room. One little chap immediately upon 

entering the door bawled out at the top of his voice, ' Teacher , swored 

the hardest kind of a word while you was gone home for your dinner.' 
' Hush ! Take your seats. First class read.' ' Teacher,' said another, ' you 
haven't called the roll yet.' The master, thus being reminded of his duty, 
called the roll, after which he pr.)ceeded to business. The teacher seemed a 
good deal worried with his scholars, who were of the vivacious kind, and 
who, spurning the prosing sedentary mood, illustrated their admiration of 
social intercourse by frequent exchanges of friendly visits. Exclamations, 
' John take your seat.' 'Thomas, what are you doing there?' 'Do turn 
your faces the other way, and mind your bu.siness as you commonly do.' ' I 
will keep you in at intermission if you do so again,' were frequent. One 
youngster, perhaps a Scott or Jackson, took out his chestnut club and aim- 
ing it at a schoolmate would hnlloo ' Bang,' nmch to the amusement of his 
Lilliputian compeers. I came to the conclusion that if the children learned 
well here that the largest liberty was no drawback to the acquisition of 
knowledge. As illustrating the qualifications of some of the applicHnts lor 
teachers' certificates Mr. Fell narrates the case of a young man who brought 
with him a note signed by the President and Secretary of the School Board 
stating that they were all ' sadsfied ' with him and wished him to teach 
their school. ' I asked the applicant if he understood grammar and geogra- 
phy. He said he could ' go through ' with them if required to teach them. 


He was then furnished with pen, ink and paper and desired to write the 
boundaries of Pennsylvania. He gave ' Pennsylvania Bounded on North By 
West Indian on the South B Meditarania Sea on the East by the Pasific 
ocean on the West by Indian Ocean.' Another case was that of a man who 
came with a note from an officer of a school board who answered the ques- 
tions propounded to him upon different subjects with considerable readi- 
ness, but who in response to the question as to what he had been doing this 
season said he had been in jail seven months and just got out. The man 
was crazy and had made his escape from a mad-house to seek his fortune in 

Mr. Fell's experience and success as a teacher, and his breadth 
of view as a school ofificer led him to become, very early in his 
term, a potent factor in conventions and organizations looking 
toward the reconstruction of our school system. Prior to the 
Act of 1854 there had been few meetings of an educational char- 
acter in the county having for their purpose the upbuilding of 
the schools. I find in 1852 or 1853, that there were two woods 
meetings held, one near Newtown and the other near Pineville at 
which parents, teachers, and the pupils of the schools were 
present, and to which lectures and instruction were given intend- 
ed to stimulate activity in the educational work. There were also 
occasional informal gatherings of teachers ; but all of these move- 
ments were desultory and fell far short of what was required 
to reach the mass of schools, and the majority of teachers. In 
July, 1854, on call of the State Superintendent of common 
schools, Mr. Fell attended the first State Convention of County 
Superintendents in the State at Harrisburg. The list of 
topics discussed is very suggestive as showing that there are 
some questions we can never finally settle. Thus history 
continually repeats itself. We find to-day the same topics 
troubling us and claiming much of the best thoughts of 
our educators. This list ts as follows: ist, Grade of 
teachers' certificates ; 2nd, Mode of examining teachers ; 3d 
Grades of school ; 4th, Visitation of schools : 5th, Teachers' In- 
stitutes ; 6th, The best mode of interesting the directors ; 7th 
The best mode of engaging the co-operation of parents ; 8th, 
Uniformity of books. 

During the first year of his term we find that he recognized 
the necessity for an organization of the teachers of the whole 
county. On March 28, 1855, a meeting was called by him at 


Doylestown to consider the matter of a county organization. 
After a discussion of the question, which showed that the spirit 
existed which could build up and maintain such an organization, 
the meeting adopted a resolution of that excellent man and 
citizen, Rev. S. M. Andrews, to the effect that it was expedient 
to form a Teachers' Institute of Bucks County. A committee 
was appointed to consider the matter, and an adjournment was 
had until June ist of the same year. The committee then re- 
ported, and the meeting adopted the name of the Bucks County 
Educational Society. A two days session was held in the Court 
House at Doylestown which was full of interest. Professor John 
F. Stoddard and Professor Charles W. Sanders, whose names 
have been connected with text books in arithmetic and reading, 
familiar to many of us in our school days, were present and 
lectured. The work proved so profitable ^nd was so much 
needed that another meeting of the Society was held, commenc- 
ing on October 22nd, in the same year, and continued for five 
days, which was attended by about 100 teachers, and at which 
the instructors aside from the local aid were Professors Stod- 
dard, Sanders, and Grimshaw. Henry Chapman and George 
Lear received resolutions of thanks for addresses which they 
made before the Institute. The citizens of Doylestown entertain- 
ed the lady teachers free of charge. I venture to say that there 
has been no greater zeal shown in the history of County Insti- 
tutes in this county than was exhibited in these meetings, which 
laid the foundations of the organization which, voluntary at the 
outset, have been finally required by law to be held. 

The beginning of the system of District Institutes had also its 
origin during Mr. Fell's term. Probably the most efficient one 
was held at Centreville, in the township of Buckingham. It 
was made up principally of the teachers of Buckingham and 

The necessity of Normal schools for the proper preparation of 
teachers naturally impressed itself upon the mind of our first 
County Superintendent as it did upon the minds of every student 
of our educational condition and needs. We therefore find IMr. 
Fell giving substantial aid to the first institution of the kind in 
our State, to wit, the school at Millersville, presided over in the 


beginning- by Professor Stoddard, and which was afterwards 
wonderfully developed during the principalship of James P. 
Wickersham, his successor. Many of the aspiring young people 
of our county went there on the opening of the school and for 
many years, and until the institution of other Normal schools 
had somewhat interfered, the contribution of Bucks county to 
the enrollment of Alillersville's list of pupils was as strong as that 
of any county in the State. Mr. Fell encouraged our ambitious 
teachers to go there. In this connection, as recalling the won- 
derful growth from small beginnings achieved by this school, I 
cannot forbear to quote from the prophetic words of the Hon. 
Thomas H. Burrows delivered at the opening exercises of the 
school, held on the 5th of November, 1855 : 

" But a few months ago and the words Normal School were never heard 
in our midst. And had they been, they would have elicited no more than a 
passing remark. Who beyond its own immediate bounds knew of Millers- 
ville? None. Its existence was only to be ascertained by reference to the 
map of the State. But her name has already gone forth, and in a few years, 
should this School meet with the success which we, its friends, so ardently 
desire for it, then will Millersville and its Normal School be household 
words on the lips of every citizen." 

In the year previous to the adoption of the Act of 1854 the 
average salary paid male teachers per month in our county was 
$21.57, and the females $17.92. For the last of Mr. Fell's term 
the salaries were $27.05 and $23.33 respectively, an increase' of 
more than 25 per cent, in the one case and more than 31 per cent, 
in the other. 

We may never know the full influence of the work of the 
three years of J\Ir. Fell's term ending June, 1857. Examining 
teachers, encouraging the diffident, remonstrating with the care- 
less, compelling the most unfit to leave the work, traveling 
over the county encountering privation (and at the same time 
meeting with the hospitality for which our people are noted), 
urging upon directors and citizens their duty in the supply of 
those facilities so much needed, stirring up the public conscience 
through educational conferences and institutes, in private appeals 
and in contributions to the press of the county, in repelling as- 
sault upon the system by tactful administration of its princi- 
pal office, in stirring up the ambition of teachers and leading 


pupils to believe that there was something more ahead of them 
than was to be found along the miserable lines already laid down 
for them — such was some of the work he did. 

At the expiration of his term he was not a candidate for re- 
election, and the office for the next three years went to another. 
A pure and upright man, a teacher of large experience, a citi- 
zen interested in all philanthropic movements, a native and resi- 
dent of the same Buckingham Valley that had contributed the 
first incumbent of the office. William H. Johnson served for 
the period ending- June, i860. The limits of this paper will not per- 
mit the discussion of the work during his administration. Mr, 
Fell, in the convention which elected his successor, delivered an 
address calculated to quicken anew the spirit which he had suc- 
ceeded so well in stirring into life. He laid down the work, 
but never lost his interest in it; attending institutes, and always 
offering encouragement and advice as he had been wont to do. 
The people's schools owe him a debt of gratitude. In their 
development he must always be recognized as a large factor. 
He did his part towards bringing nearer that time referred to by 
his superior in office, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and 
at the same time the Superintendent of Common Schools, the Hon. 
Andrew G. Curtin, who said in his report in 1885 : 

" When the common school system of Pennsylvania shall have unfolded 
its vast powers; when a corps of trained and educated teachers to supply all 
its demands shall have taken the field; when the text books used in the 
schools shall be wisely selected, and the schoolhouse built on the most ap- 
proved model ; when its protection and progress shall be the first object of 
the Government — then will all its mi.yhty agencies to do good be ft- It ; the 
public mind refined and enlightened; labor elevated; patriotism purified; 
our Republican form of Government fixed on an immutable basis, and the 
people crowned with its benefits and blessings." 

The Red Man's Bucks County. 

(Meeting at Wolf Rocks, Buckingham, July i6, 1895). 

We have been meeting thus for years to rescue from oblivion, 
facts in that part of the Delaware valley known as Bucks coun- 
ty. Sometimes I am afraid that we will exhaust the subject, 
for we only have some 250 years to talk about. Back of that 
we find ourselves lost in the great forest, a green shadow cov- 
ering the whole eastern half of the North American continent, 
from Florida to Hudson's Bay, from Louisiana to Labrador. On 
the side of a hill like this, where the wood-cutter works at a 
disadvantage, we try to imagine what it was, but the heaviest 
trees and their fallen, rotting trunks are cut and gone. Many 
sounds of the universal woods have ceased. Plants have varied 
their habits. A change has come over the animals and birds. But 
this immense woodland, larger than that crossed by Stanley in 
darkest Africa, has left us many insects and reptiles and flow- 
ers, many streams and a soil rich for a long time without culti- 
vation. Because of it I believe there is a louder noise of frogs 
and beetles upon a summer night here than anywhere in the Old 
World. A study of the turn of fate that destroyed the fiercer 
and multiplied the gentler animals recalls to the naturalist this 
great sea of trees which we know well sets a mysterious limit 
to all our historical records. What happened for centuries in 
its shadow? Who knows? There was John Smith at James- 
town in 1607, Hudson at Manhattan in 1609, De Vries on the 
Delaware in 1643, but what back of that? Columbus in 1492, 
and then what ? Our history is the story of transplanted Europe, 
and must long remain so. The chronicle of America is yet 
hidden under this forest gloom. Once walk into the shade alone 
and listen to the echoes. Books guide us no more. We have 
left behind us the annals of Penn, the struggles of the pioneers, 
even the founding of a new nation for the sake of a knowledge 
that no one has yet grasped. We look for signs on the ground, 


Upon the rocks and by the river-side, fascinated by questions 
that lose interest where books and histories begin. 

Fifty years ago the European student stepped over the boun- 
dary Hne of history, left Herodotus and Tacitus and Egypt 
and Assyria and Greece behind to dig in caves and find traces 
of a man, who, it is said, hunted the mammoth in France and saw 
the woolly rhinoceros in England, but let us repeat it that to 
get behind the record here, so as to use the word pre-historic, 
we have only to go back three centuries at most. Then we are 
in the pre-Columbian darkness. 

The great question is — who were the thousands of tribes, 
with several scores or hundreds of different linguistic stocks, more 
or less red and more or less alike, that Columbus found ? Where 
did they come from? Did they emigrate hither well equipped 
with primitive arts, or develop them on the spot ? And in answer 
to the question, which a child asks when it points to a grooved 
stone axe in a museum, and says, "How old is it ?" we can hardly 
more than say that we do not know. But something has been 
learned in the last five years. After much digging and searching 
some lights glimmer on the subject in this eastern part of the 
United States. 

If we can account in any way for the Lenni-Lenape, found here 
in the Delaware valley, something has been done. 


When we sum up all that we know we find that the Lenni- 
Lenape or Delaware Indian, found in Manhattan by Hudson 
in 1609, ^^^ here by DeVries and Campenius in 163 1 and 1643, 
were not very different from other Indians. Though one class 
of students holds that all Indians belong to one parent stock; 
another contends for different stocks, both leaving out the Eski- 
mo, as a race apart. We know that Penn found the Lenape 
here, that they had a confederacy of related tribes, that they 
were cheated out of lands at Wrightstown, and in consequence 
helped to massacre and torture our ancestors at Wyoming, under 
the leadership of a ferocious woman called Queen Esther, 
and we know now that they were related in language to tribes 
in the far West, like the Sioux. When we gather their relics 
we soon come to the end of the list. All the wood and skin and 

the; rkd man's bucks county 269 

basket work and most of the bone is gone. We have a few 
chipped blades, grooved stone axes and a curious catalogue of 
fantastic stones used in religious ceremonies. That is all. And 
there is nothing to differentiate the collection from the general 
run of "Indian relics" all over the United States. We are not 
dealing, therefore, with an isolated or unique race, but only with 
one Indian family, whose character is about the same as that 
of all the others, Mound Builders included. 


The Lenape built three mounds, six to eight feet high, at 
Durham, which William Walters ploughed down in 1853-55- I 
opened one and saw remains of about 50, not much larger than 
Christian graves along Saucon creek. There is a row of little 
ones on Rattlesnake hill, at Durham. One has been described to 
me near Mahanoy, another near West Chester, and if the so- 
called "Giant's Grave" in Solebury is not a loam-covered rock, 
it may be of Lenape make. Without it, however, we now know 
that they could build mounds like the Ohio tribes, though they 
very rarely did it. 


The first immigrants said that the Lenape buried their dead 
in the ground, and in the last three years Mr. Ernest Volk has 
found many such burials at Trenton. Though I have found none 
I hear of others near Atlantic City and in the river sands at Tay- 
lorsville, at Durham, below the Delawater Water Gap and at 
Minnisink. There is a graveyard near Doylestown, according to 
a writer in "Hazard's Register." 

The chief Tamanend it seems was buried on Prospect Hill 
about 1750. Had the Indians made mounds or marks at their 
graves, we should find them easier. Had the holes been shal- 
low we should plough up more skeletons. Therefore we are 
left to suppose either that they buried below plough-depths, that 
the bones have all decayed, which could hardly be true in all of 
our soils, or that they cremated the bodies or the bones after 
drying off the flesh, like the Nanticokes on the east shore of 
Maryland. Charles Laubach showed me stones standing at Gal- 
lows Hill, near Durham, supposed by him to mark the site 
of an ancient crematory, and he and I found curious paved areas, 

270 the; rkd man's bucks county 

suggesting ovens, at Glen Gardner, New Jersey, near Erwinna, 
on the Hexankopf, and at the Turk dam. There were traces 
of decomposed animal matter at some of these places, but no 
human bones; and if corpses or skeletons had been burnt 
there, where were the teeth ? We found charcoal in the chinks 
between the stones, yet that means little when we realize that 
underbrush has been burnt and woods fired all over the 
country, so that you can dig up bits of charcoal in almost any 
field or grove. 


Arrow-heads ought not to be worth five cents apiece. They are 
a drug in the market. Together with the other stone tools they 
have been figured and discussed over and over again. Dr. C. C. Ab- 
bott describes the whole range of Lenape stone work in his 
"Primitive Industry," but other things have been found since 
the book was written, and I have summed up elsewhere every pub- 
lished account of eye witnesses of the manufacture of chipped 
blades, showing how the Indian made them, in five ways, (a) by 
flaking by direct percussion with stone hammers; (b) by indi- 
rect percussion, or hammering on punches; (c) by direct pressure 
with a pointed bone; (d) by impulsive pressure or pressure aided 
by a blow, and (^) by pressure aided by heat. 

There are a few grooved stone axes in Australia and you find 
grooved hammers in Spain and Italy, but no one has picked up 
a grooved-axe in Europe. They are scattered all over North and 
South America, and I saw them in Madrid from Uraguay and the 
Argentine. About three years ago Mr. Maguire, of Washington, 
showed that you can easily make one with one of the familiar 
pitted pebbles — common at Indian village sites — held fast between 
the thumb and second finger, so as to strike about 100 blows to 
the minute. Chipping, polishing and drilling holes with hollow 
reeds and wet sand cover most of the stone work, and made all 
the hoes, scrapers, drills, flake knives, teshoas, pestles, mortars, 
hammerstones, bannerstones and gorgets in every boy's collection, 
but as we are not trying to exhaust the subject we will speak of 
things less known. 


Mounds of oyster and clam shells, mixed with charcoal, rise 


from the low salt swamps by the sea along the New Jersey coast. 
Some standing in the water look old, and as if the land must have 
sunk since they were formed. Theory supposes them to be of 
great antiquity and made by a race of people who disappeared 
before the Indian came. Savages eating molluscs at one spot 
produce such heaps, which I have examined in Maine and Mary- 
land, but not in New Jersey. Now we know through the ances- 
tors of S. P. Preston, of Lumberville, that the Lenape remnant, 
in the last century, walked from Bucks county to the Atlantic 
coast at certain seasons to eat clams and so form shell heaps near 
New Brunswick. The heaps would grow quickly and whether 
the Indians and their ancestors made all the deposits along the 
coast is not certain. If they did we are done with the mystery 
of the New Jersey shell heaps, and the notion of their immense 


Like all other American Indians, the Lenape were found in the 
stone age. They could not melt metals. When they used cop- 
per they hammered it cold. As is our iron so was their stone, 
a thing more important to them in the scale of needs than rail- 
roads, electricity, steamboats, gunpowder or perhaps even print- 
ing are to us. For long periods in man's unknown past the craft 
of making stone tools outrivalled everything else. Most of the 
tools were chipped and because not every stone would chip, those 
that did were hunted for and valued. The Lenape, and all his 
red kinsfolk prized the flakable, pointed, smooth-grained jasper. 
With pointed poles, stone spades, and by means of heat they 
dug hundreds of holes into a vein of it, which Mr. Berlin, Mr. 
Laubach and myself discovered three years ago running along 
the Lehigh hills, from Durham to Reading. It is worth a half 
day's drive from here, or a less journey on a bicycle, to see 
these pits, some forty feet deep originally, at Vera Cruz and 
Macungie near Allentown — a sight nearly as astonishing as that of 
the famous mounds at Newark or Marietta. I have tried to beg 
men of means in Philadelphia to buy the field that encloses one 
of these marvels at Vera Cruz before the plough touches it and 
it is lost, and I have begged lovers of nature to go and see it, but 
unfortunately in vain. 

272 the: red man s bucks county 

The Lenape could not have been in this region a week before 
they began to hunt workable stone. Almost as important as jas- 
per and probably discovered by them in this region before it, was 
the meta-morphosed slate called argillite. To get it, I discov- 
ered in 1892 that they had cut a dozen or more trenches along 
the hillside at Gaddis' run at Point Pleasant, and worked upon a 
solid cliff on the Neshaminy. 

This new information is not contained in any history. Five 
years ago no student had thought of aboriginal blade quarries, and 
the boys who collect arrowheads do not yet know where to look 
for them. Nevertheless these strange stony pits throw a flood of 
light upon the past. They show that the Lenape, like all the 
other Indians, were geologists, and in the shade of the old forest 
had probably scrutinized the rocks in the Delaware valley as rocks 
have been scrutinized by Indians over every acre of ground 
between Maine and Mississippi. 

Be not surprised, therefore, to learn that the Red Man had 
seen coal, though he did not use it, and could find galena ore and 
hematite before the white man came. After white blacksmiths had 
shown the Lenape the use of anthracite coal the latter may have 
dug some lumps for Peter Keller, at a secret mine somewhere 
along Tohickon creek, as the story goes. But, notwithstanding 
the traditions current in Bucks county, up the Delaware and down 
the Susquehanna I do not believe the legend of their coming out 
of the wood with armfuls of pure lead for bullet-moulding. Lead, 
save in the minute films, sometimes picked up in Wisconsin, is 
not found pure, and galena ore is a very different thing and will 
not do for bullets until it is smelted, at a temperature of nbout 
1,200 Centigrade. 

Any Indian tool made of a stone not indigenous had to be car- 
ried from a distance. A farmer near West Chester showed me- 
an arrowhead of volcanic glass or obsidian found in his field, 
and if his story was true and there was no trick, the Lenape 
must have got it from Mexico or the Yellowstone Park. They 
picked up quartzite at many places on the surface of the sea- 
board country and mined ryolite on the southern Susquehanna. 
I discovered an ancient chert digging in Snyder county, Penn- 
sylvania, and soon found that the Indians had continually used 

the; red man s bucks county 273 

rolled stones on the river beaches, just as I saw where they had 
chipped jasper pebbles into arrowheads on the Chesapeake shore. 
Then it was easy to believe as I walked up and down these strands 
that by following up the desirable pebbles to the parent rock, 
from which the stream had torn and borne them, the inland mines 
above mentioned were discovered by Indians at a time when the 
whole country was obscured by forest. Going up the Delaware 
stream argillite pebbles cease about Frenchtown, and if you fol- 
low them as a dog would a trail you can walk straight from Bris- 
tol to the Indian mine on Gaddis' run. Black chert runs far up 
the river, and any boy who collects arrowheads can on his holiday 
help science by tracing northward for these pebbles as far as they 
will lead him. Somewhere near the Gap of the Delaware or Le- 
high, some creek black with them will give him the clue, and he 
will find the quarry where most of the black arrowheads were 
worked out of the solid rock. Perhaps I had better not rouse 
any boy's curiosity with speculations about soapstone and mica, 
hematite, lead and precious stones. Let him remember that no 
one knows much as yet, and that the most wonderful secrers of 
the old forest lie still buried in the ground, waiting for him or 
me or anyone who knows how to search. 


As far as we now know (Zea-mais) maize, as the Arawakas, of 
South America, call it — Indian corn, was one of the greatest sur- 
prises of the New World. The Spanish discoverers of the i6th 
century had never seen or heard of it when they found the Indians 
growing and eating it all over America. There is a story that 
Rifaud, a Frenchman, found maize in an Egyptian tomb, and it 
might be true if Dr. Le Plonglon's idea is correct that the Egypt- 
ians came from maize-growing Yucatan, but Candolle, the great 
Italian botanist, thinks that Rifaud was tricked by an Arab. Soon 
after the Spaniards took maize to Spain it was seen growing near 
Seville in 1524. Then it reached Italy, where the natives make 
their i^olenta mush of it, and to Turkey, Egypt, Hungary, France 
and Austria. It does not thrive in cloudy England, but Stanley 
found it in the Congo forest. In Europe and the Orient not one 
of the strange names given it refers to America, and few realize 
that the widespread grain, like the turkey, the potato and the 

274 the; red man s bucks county 

tobacco pipe came from America. What a lavish, noble, poetic 
plant it is ! A little genius or a touch of originality at the World's 
Fair, at Chicago, would have ordered a whole building to be de- 
voted to the strange history of this beautiful gift of the Red 
Man to the world. 

The Central Americans lived on it almost entirely. Every stone 
pestle and mortar found in the Delaware valley proves no less 
surely that the Lenape grew it than does their word pone, bor- 
rowed into English and meaning corn bread, such as you get in 
Virginia. There the negroes learned how to make their hoe- 
and-ash-cakes from Indians, whom they had seen pounding dry 
or parched grains on stone and cooking the meal and water cakes 
in the hot embers of open fires. 

If you let corn run wild here it will die out, because the grains 
freeze in winter and therefore Prof. Harschberger, of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, thinks that it came as a wild plant from 
Mexico, where it might reproduce itself without help. Whatever 
was done to husband the plant for food up to 1500 the Indians 
did. The ancient cobs from Peruvian tombs are small, like 
those from Ohio mounds, and show how cultivation has helped 
the plant. The Zunis have outdone all other gardeners by pro- 
ducing at least five beautiful colored varieties — yellow, blue, white, 
red and black — which they make into sacred breads and use in 
ceremonies, as when they scatter meal on rattlesnakes in the hor- 
rible snake dance. If we could go out into the Mexican wilder- 
ness and find the wild plant we should know better what changes 
cultivation has made, but notwithstanding reports and experi- 
ments we are not yet certain that the maize brought by Professor 
Duges from Mexico in 1888 and planted in Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, and Philadelphia, which Lumholtz told me he found on 
the Mexican plateau 2 years ago, is the true original of the great 
grain. The Lenape stored corn in three or four still visible pits 
near Dyerstown and again, according to W. J. Buck, at a place on 
the Pennypack. De Soto says that he walked through Indian 
maize fields three leagues long. La Salle appropriated a lot of 
maize from an underground cache in an old Illinois village, 
and our armies destroyed great quantities of stored maize when 
ravaging Indian towns in the northeast. To maize we no doubt 

the; red man s bucks county 275 

owe the existence of another series of curious landmarks in 
Bucks county, as yet unvisited, unmentioned and unheard of. 
These are the mysterious clearings in original tracts of woodland 
known as "Indian fields." It is probable that the Lenape, by 
charring the trunks of blazed and dry trees, and then cutting 
them down with stone axes, made the old clearing of about seven 
acres once conspicuous on the river bank above Durham cave. 
I understand that there is one of these fields very near us on 
the slope of this mountain. I saw another on Jericho hill, and 
one near Mozart. Mr. Laubach has found one on Buckwampum, 
and a few individuals at Jamison's Corner have seen or heard of 
the ancient opening in the woods on Fish run, hardly half a mile 
from the toll gate. 

We might think that the Lenape had had villages at these spots, 
but if so more relics would be found. I can find none in the open 
heath in Buckman & Watson's woodland, west of Wrightstown, 
one of the most remarkable places in Bucks county. Therefore I 
cannot agree with the late Josiah B. Smith, of Newtown, who 
thought it the site of an Indian town, corruptly called Playwicky, 
in Penn's deed of 1682. 


If the Camera Club would take a suggestion might it not be 
well to search for the topographical features described in this 
deed, now hanging in the fire-proof room of the Historical Society 
of Philadelphia. The parchment is the very beginning of his- 
tory in Bucks county, and speaks of landmarks that refer back 
into an unknown time. A mountain, a place called Mackkeeri- 
kitton, a stream called Towsissink, a corner spruce marked with 
the letter P, a whiteoak with another P, by a spring, and a path 
close by leading to an Indian town called Playwicky. Thesej 
places marked the upper boundary of the first part of Bucks 
county that the Indians yielded to the white man. Hence the 
Hne from which Marshall .and the walkers of 1737 started or 
ought to have started. Between Wrightstown meeting-house and 
the Delaware these landmarks existed or still exist. There is a 
whole lore upon the subject, and strange to say some chance of 
still finding the white oak with the letter P even yet under its 
bark, a notable tree in 1682. Could the American Forestry Con- 

276 THP; RED man's bucks COUNTY 

gress hold a meeting at any more interesting spot? John Watson 
surveyor of Bucks county in 1756, and the late Josiah B. Smith, 
of Newtown, were the only two persons who, to my knowledge, 
became fascinated with the puzzle of these lost landmarks. Would 
that the Camera Club and all who love to turn their backs upon 
a desk might catch their enthusiasm. As to Playwicky, a manu- 
script foot note of John Watson, which Mr. Smith never saw, 
says that it was near Philip Draket's, below Heaton's mill ; in 
other words, somewhere along Mill creek, in Southampton or 
Northampton township, below Rocksville, but I looked in vain for 
the signs of a village where they should have been in that region, 
and concluded that the hearths and relics of Playwicky lie buried 
under the leaves of some woodland not yet cleared, or that I 
have carried away baskets full of chipped stones from the 
real site without knowing its name. 

A map of the lower valley region with the recently discovered 
village sites marked on it would show that they fol- 
low the streams. That they lie often at the mouth 
of a confluent, on south-facing slopes, warm in winter and 
that there is little use looking for them anywhere else. The 
larger the stream the larger the village, while the sites at springs 
are the smallest of all, from which we infer that the village 
builders entered the country by its streams, reaching last the 
headwaters or springs. When important trails had been worn 
through the forest, villages may have sprung up with reference 
to them, but until that time the stream — itself a natural highway 
and hunting trail, occasioned the village. 

I would divide, therefore, habitation sites in this region into 
three classes : ( i ) camp sites at springs or on trails, smallest 
and most modern; (2) villages on the larger tributaries of the 
Delaware, older and larger; (3) towns on the Delaware proper, 
oldest and largest of all. One out of every five farms in the 
county ought to show a site of the first-class, like that on the 
old Hansell farm near Mechanicsville, or that close to Dyers- 
town, or that on the Montanye farm at Johnsville. The larger 
village, from which Dr. Michener, of Colmar, must have gathered 
a bushel of relics, belongs to the second category. So does that 
at Dark Hollow, or the other at Graeme Park on the Little Nesh- 

the; red man's bucks county 277 

aminy, while the last class of forgotten villages runs along the 
whole Delaware Valley from Trenton to the Lehigh, as for in- 
stance at Lower Black's Eddy, Taylorsville, Hall's Island and 
Gallows run. 

When we have hunted over these sites we have reached the end 
of our collection of arrowheads and confront a much larger 
subject. All these remains of one kind and class might be 
the handiwork of the Lenape. In Europe you would have found 
on one hand the ruins of a city with coins and iron ; on the other 
the floor of a cave bedded with chipped stone tools, and nearby 
possibly barrows, cromlecs or dolmens, marking the graves of 
people who used bronze. Here there is no such variety and dis- 
tinction. Everything on the surface repeats itself over and over 
again and we might be half inclined to refer it all to the Lenape. 
But was there no man here before Wm. Penn's Indian? A 
Lenape told the Rev. Charles Beatty, in 1767, that his people had 
come to the Delaware, according to a bead tally, in 1397. The 
painted stick chronicle of the Delaware, preserved by them for 
centuries and rescued from destruction by Rafensque and Dr. 
Brinton gives about the same date as does a native tradition 
of the same kind collected by Heckewelder, all of which means 
that the Lenape only came here when Richard II was ruling in 
England, but these accounts say that tlic pioneer Indians found 
the country deserted, and this is very important. Had no man 
been here before? Shall we go back over geological epochs until 
there is no use looking further to find this region (and with' it 
v/e must infer the whole middle Atlantic coast) untrodden by 
human foot? There is a way of answering this question with- 
out the help of legends. If man was here he left his trace ; 
somewhere he built a fire ; somewhere dropped a chip of stone or 
fragment of bone to tell the tale. And at this point digging has 
professed to startle us with a new discovery. 


It is hard to dig trenches deep enough for the student, and 
he is lucky when others dig them for him. The Pennsylvania 
railroad, cut an immense pit into a gravel bank behind the city 
of Trenton, the very sight of which might inspire any one with 
a love of geology. It is evident that the gravel was washed 


there, for you can get into the pit and see the same kind of 
stratified bands that water is seen to make in gutter-sand when 
you shoe it and look at the section. But what kind of a freshet? 
A frethet that overtopped the State-house at Trenton and foam- 
ed against the Point Pleasant hill tops ; a roaring deluge filling 
the whole valley with sand and stones, and caused by one of 
the wonderful phenomena of the world's history. Geologists 
say it came from the meltings of the great glacier, that conti- 
nental crust of ice that crossed the valley like a high wall at 
Belvidere, ran westward to the Rocky mountains and northward 
to the Pole. Whatever was originally in this sand, therefore, 
was as old as the freshet, and when Dr. C. C. Abbott said that 
he found chipped-tools of stone manufactured by man and since 
called "turtle-backs," bedded between the layers of gravel in 
this pit, it surprised the scientific world. 

Other students have gone to Trenton again and again and 
have failed to find a turtle-back in place, and for the last two 
or three years a fierce dispute has raged between those who 
assert and those who deny that Dr. Abbott was mistaken. These 
turtle-backs resemble in shape very ancient chippeJ-stones found 
in Europe, and that fact was first recognized when Dr. Abbott 
found them in 1885; at that time, strange to say, nobody knew 
that the Lenape and all other modern Indians, had continually 
produced the same kind of chipped-stones. 

The new knowledge came from the study of the blade quar- 
ries on Gaddis-run, near Point Pleasant, where the Indians had 
mined masses of native rock, and when chipping it into blades 
had continually produced "wasters" or failures, half-blocked out 
pieces that would not thin down. Thousands of these lay scat- 
tered about the Gaddis-run mines, made probably in the 
fifteenth or sixteenth century, rather than ten or twelve thou- 
sand years ago. As we soon found that turtle-backs could, be 
picked up at all the village-sites on the Delaware, there was 
no reason why they could not have been found at the village-site 
now occupied by Trenton and originally overlying the top 
of the gravel pit where the first turtle-backs were found. For 
these reasons the opponents of Dr. Abbott said that his specimens 
were not found in place in the gravel, but had slipped down 

Found by H. C. Mercer on an 

ndian village site, Upper Blacks Eddy, Bucks count: 

olograph shows the haninierstones, argillite chips, " turtlebacks " and other quarry refu.se 
left by Indians in mining and working this native argillite rock for material 
for arrowheads and larger chipped blades. 


the banks from the Indian layer above ; that they were not 
finished tools of the ancient ice-men, but half-finished castaways 
of the modern Lenni Lenape. To continually fail to find turtle- 
backs is negative evidence, yet it grows stronger. Nevertheless, 
whoever goes to Trenton and pulls another specimen out of the 
freshly cut bank, where there is no down-sliding, will settle the 
question, but he cannot have too many witnesses. 


Though no more turtlebacks seemed to be discovered in the 
Trenton pits, there are other ways of getting at the truth. If a 
savage, little better than the ape, sat on the cold river beaches 
chipping turtlebacks 12,000 years ago we ought to find his traces 
somewhere else. There is a sand bank high above the canal at 
the mouth of Fry's run in Northampton county that by position 
looks at first sight as old as the Trenton bank, but when Mr. 
Laubach had shown me chips, charcoal and hammerstones buried 
deep in it, we learned from Mr. Salisbury, of the New Jersey sur- 
vey, that it was modern after all. High as it is, the true glacial 
washings were seen much higher. The river bending sharply 
there might have overwhelmed the bank, just as when the so- 
called "punkin" freshet that filled the canal with sand and wash- 
ed away Whip-poor-will Island, nearby, lapped the bottom of it. 
The chips, therefore, might have been made by Lenape Indians. 
You can find fire sites upon an old surface about two feet below 
the present bank top on Marshall's island, and I discovered after 
digging a deep trench, that there was a lower village layer below 
the well-known surface village at Lower Black's Eddy. But 
these levels are entirely at the mercy of freshets that build and 
unbuild banks, and that fact destroys their value as tests of age. 

This underplaced village-site at Lower Black's Eddy is the 
oldest human trace that I have been able to find in the Delaware 
valley and if I give up the Trenton gravel specimens it is all I 
have left. Who inhabited it ? Was its denizen a predecessor of 
the Indian, was he the Trenton gravel man himself, or was he 
only the first Lenape immigrant? To these questions I can say 
that no extinct animal bones were found to give a date to the 
lower hearths. The lower village man made pottery, which the 
ice men were supposed not to be able to do. He used more ar- 

28o the; red man's bucks county 

gillite than jasper. His arrows and spears were very narrow 
and long, but that does not seem evidence enough to me to prove, 
as has been urged, that he was an Eskimo. Until other evidence 
is in, the reasonable supposition seems that he was the first com- 
ing Lenape pioneer in the 15th century. 


Early man is supposed to have visited habitable caves when he 
saw them. If so a cave is a place where you can gather at one 
spot and with least trouble traces of every people that inhabited 
its neighborhood in the past. Visiting it ancient man left refuse 
layers on its floor, and you cut through these culture bands to 
find, by necessity, the latest on top and the oldest on the bottom. 

The late Hillborn T. Cresson said he found a cave on Naaman's 
creek, containing a series of layers that began with the Indian 
and went back to the Trenton man, but I have as yet found no 
such cave anywhere in the eastern United States or Central 
America. The Indian house, a rock shelter on Tohickon creek, 
contained only a film of Lenape refuse no older than that seen 
at any village site. The cave on the Neshaminy, near Worthing- 
ton's mill, is a mere chink unfit for habitation like the Doan's 
cave near Cassiday's rocks on the Tohickon, or the shelter near 
the Wildonger farm in Tinicum. ]\Ir. Paret dug bone needles, 
an argillite blade and the bones of the peccary, bison and giant 
beaver from Hartman's cave, near Stroudsburg, but was not cer- 
tain that they were associated together in the same layer. The 
great room at Durham cave, close to the river and easy of access, 
must needs have contained the whole truth, but to the despair of 
the students the Durham Iron Company blasted down its roof and 
if they did not destroy it's floor, covered it with tons of rubbish. 
1 found a bone of the extinct peccary in one of its ceiling cran- 
nies, called "Queen Esther's chamber," but there was no human 
hearth to associate it with. On the Schuylkill, the Port Kennedy 
cave, at which I have worked nearly two months, the most re- 
markable exposure of sloth, horse, mastodon, peccary and tapir 
1x)nes in eastern North America would settle the question of 
human antiquity in the East if it contained man, but thus far I 
have fomid no trace of his presence there, and much hunting at 
other places and from many points of view repeats the inference 


that in Eastern America man's remains are modern when com- 
pared with the relics of Europe, and that before the Indian there 
was no human inhabitant. 

The age test of extinct animal bones does not help us as much as 
we might think when we reflect that the word extinct means 
"not observed by white men for the last 300 years," but in Europe 
the name like the word "prehistoric," carries us back 2 milleniums 
at once. Nevertheless Port Kennedy and other such deposits will 
help science to learn which of these older animals survived long- 
est and fixed relative dates. Meanwhile we are not sure that a few 
mammoths, whose bones were found undecomposed on the surface 
at Big Bone Licks in Kentucky in the last century, did not strag- 
gle along into comparatively recent times. This would be the true 
meaning of the Lenape Stone which has not yet had its proper 
hearing before science. Bernard Hansell found, after an hitervai 
of nine years, two fragments of a gorget with a picture scratched 
upon it in Indian style, representing sun, moon, stars and light- 
ning and men fighting the hairy mammoth. When Colonel 
Paxson, its present owner, and Captain Bailey presented it to 
archaeologists and I tried to give the evidence in a pamphlet, 
objections were urged against it which have succeeded in ruling 
it out as a record. The chief of these the one that seems to 
have prevented further examination, was that urged by Dr. 
Daniel G. Brinton, who said that the outlines represented a 
group and that Lenape Indians could not draw groups. That 
its notion of the brute, human and Divine types placed 
side by side was above Indian conception, that the 
lightning was suspicious and the sun with divergent rays 
doubtful, that the stone lacked the patina of age, that the 
lines were steel-cut and that a clever fabricator would have used 
aboriginal tools, to which I answered that we have no adequate 
library of Lenape pictographs with which to compare this stone, 
or by which to gauge the Eastern Indians' power of drawing 
groups, as the modern Sioux draws groups on buffalo robes, 
fix a limit to his sesthetic conceptions, or make up our minds 
about lightning and suns with rays. The patina was gone 
because Colonel Paxson and I unwittingly washed and scrubbed it 

282 the; red man's bucks county 

off, I cannot believe in the power of discriminating steel-cut 
lines from lines made from beaver-teeth or arrow-heads in this 
case. Under the circumstances it is beyond me. Mr. Wads- 
worth, lithologist at Cambridge, Mass., agreed with Dr. Brinton 
about the steel-cut look of the lines, but Mr. Iddings, of the 
U. S. Coast Survey, said that he did not know whether such 
discrimination were possible after scrubbing. 1 agree with him 
and go perhaps a little farther. After experiments with abor- 
iginal scratching tools, blunt awls and scissors and scrubbing 
brush and similar pieces of slate I came to the conclusion that it 
would be unreasonable to assert that the Lenape stone lines were 
steel cut. 

The mammoth outline has been said to resemble an etching 
of the same animal found in one of the French caves and pub- 
lished in "Dana's Handbook of Geology," but I do not see the 
likeness. The stone is unique, and aboriginal drawings of any 
kind are exceedingly rare. This is against the specimen, though 
not a final objection. A band of Lenape at the Big-Bone Licks, 
in Kentucky, when asked the meaning of the mammoth bones 
lying there, told the Governor of Virginia their legend of a 
great devastating animal destroyed by lightning. The specimen 
is too interesting not to compel us to have a theory about it if 
we believe its authenticity. If the Indians did not make the 
stone, why the lightning? What conceivable connection has 
lightning with a mammoth in the mind of any possible white fab- 
ricator unless he knew of this legend, whose relation to the stone, 
I believe, I was the first to discover? Other evidence has come 
in for the Lenape stone, and Dr. Brinton's case should not be 
regarded as complete until he has examined and given an opinion 
on the three other carved stones found on the Hansell farm. 
Are they forgeries, too? 

They have not been scrubbed and are ready for the microscope. 
Will anybody shrug his shoulders and say that Dr. Brinton has 
settled the question until they are accounted for? Ten years 
have passed. I have watched and hunted for suspicions in 
vain, welcoming all criticism and taking all contradiction as a 
matter of course. To me the stone seems too important to let 
individual feelings intrude between it and the light. There 


is no libel in the case ; but only the pros and cons that 
beset the truth. Provided you are hunting it, consider them 
all. Use any words you please, forgery included. No one need 
look unutterable things. The cool scientific frame of mind let 
us hold fast upon, as the only frame of mind that prevails here. 
I was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt ten years ago. And 
after weighing everything that could be weighed and doubting 
everything that could be doubted I cannot find the evidence to 
change my opinion. 

The Tree and the Vine, the Original Seal of Bucks County. 

(Meeting at Wolf Rocks, Buckingham, July 16, 1S95). 

A year, perhaps longer, ago I received a telegram from Dr. 
William H. Egle, of Harrisburg, asking for a copy of the orig- 
inal seal of Bucks county, "a tree and a vine," to be used in 
designing the decorations of one of the rooms of the enlarged 
Capitol building. 

An answer to the telegram has not been forwarded for the 
reason that I discovered it entailed an amount of labor not to 
be performed within the time usually expected to answer an 
inquiry importing the urgency of a telegraph message. 

However, that and other applications for the old seal from 
antiquaries and others excited my interest in the subject of local 
heraldry and seals. 

The use of seals in Pennsylvania for the attestation of offi- 
cial and other documents dates back to the foundation of the 
colony. Charles the II. conferred the right upon William 
Penn to use his arms on the Proprietary Seals and hence we 
find them forming the basis or central figure of all the Colon- 
ial Seals. 

The proprietor, chief officers and important personages of 
the colony all had their seals, official or personal, which were 
used at the execution of every instrument of importance or 
value. Some of these, as distinct as on the day when they were 
executed, exist to this time. 


111 making treaties with the native Indian chiefs seals were 
frequently used. Tammany and other chiefs signed in curious 
hieroglyphics, sometimes in imitation of reptiles and wild ani- 

They regarded their efforts at chirography with much satis- 
faction and pride, and instances, no doubt, occurred where, 
for the sake of scribbling in the colored ink their awkward 
marks or signs, they voluntarily parted with valuable possessions. 

A curious and interesting illustration of primitive heraldry 
in Pennsylvania is the "Record of Ear and Brand Marks for 
Bucks County, 1695." 

In it the early settlers recorded the cuts and scarifications 
of the ears and the brand-marks, burned in the flesh of their 
cattle for purposes of identification and ownership. The 
record was made by drawings, showing the style of the 
cuts in the ears and the brand-marks. We there find that the 
"Proprietary and Governor" marked his cattle by cropping off 
about half of both ears, and for his brand mark he burned "on 
the near shoulder" of the animal in large capitals W. P. P. G., 
which stands of course for William Penn, Proprietary and 
Governor, the same inscription as appears on his seal. But 
these marks, unless recorded, did not protect the ownership or 
right of property. We find the case of an unrecorded stray, 
where, "at the request of the ranger," she was slaughtered by 
James Harrison. In the division the Governor took two-thirds 
and the ranger one-third, after Harrison had had 60 pounds 
for wintering her. A good bargain for the Governor and his 

After Penn had occupied his colony and divided his domain 
into counties, one of the early steps in the course of the new 
organization was to provide a separate seal for each county. At 
an assembly held in Philadelphia the loth of first-month 
(March) 1683, it was enacted that "there shall be a county seal 
in every county of this Province and territories thereunto belong- 
ing for the use of each respective county. Accordingly at a 
council meeting held at Philadelphia, "ye 23d of ye ist-month, 
1683," it was ordered that the seal of Philadelphia be the "An- 


Of the county of Bucks "A Tree and a Vine." 

Of the county of Chester "A Plow." 

Of the County of New Castle "A Castle." 

Of the county of Kent "Three ears of Indian Corn." 

Of the county of Sussex "One Wheat Sheaf."* 

In the year 1693 William and ]\Iary, King and Queen, ab- 
rogated the above law, but it was restored the same year. 
Again in 1705 a confirmatory law was passed "that there shall 
be a county seal in every county of this Province for the use 
of each county." This Act inflicted a heavy penalty for count- 
erfeiting seals, but did not indicate what the county seals then 
were, or should be. They therefore remained unchanged, so 
far as appears, with the exception of that of Philadelphia, which 
in some prints shows an anchor, and in others a ship under 
full sail, with numerous buildings filling in the unoccupied 

It is probable no alteration was made in the design of ^he seal 
for Bucks at that time since the original seal continued in use un- 
til a much later perio !. Investigators have heretofore proved that 
the seals of all the counties, with the exception of Bucks, were act- 
ually made and used in accordance with the order of Council of 
March 23, 1683. Prints of these are to be found in the volume 
of Duke of York's laws, published by the authority of the 
State in 1879. 

This volume also contains three illustrations of seals for 
Philadelphia. One purporting to be the original '^^eal of 
the county, 1683, is to be found on page 493 ; it displays the 
ship under full sail. Another, the seal of "The City of Philadel- 
phia," 1701, on page 528, contains on a quartered shield four 
designs, as follows — clasped hands, a sheaf of wheat, a pair 
of scales and a ship under sail. 

On the last page is the seal with an anchor above the Penn 
Coat-of-Arms. As already shown this is the original seal, 
adopted by the order of Council, ist month, 1683. It will be 
interesting to know when and why this seal was superseded 
by that of the ship under full sail. 

* The last thiee named counties weie tlie " lower counties " now in the State of Dela- 

286 the; original seal oi" bucks county 

In my efforts to discover the tree and vine seal I encountered 
a good deal of discouragement. I first turned to that encyclo- 
pedia of facts, "Davis' History of Bucks County," only, how- 
ever, to encounter dire disappointment. It says the first seal at 
the organization of the county, in 1682, was a tree and a vine, 
but that it cannot be stated when it was superseded; that in 
1738 it consisted of a double circle and shield in the centre with 
bars, crescent, etc. A drawing is given of the 1738 seal, but 
with the exception that it contains the Penn shield, it bears no 
resemblance to any authorized seal. There is great doubt 
whether this is a correct representation of any county seal ever 
used. It is merely the well known seal of the Penn family. 
The inscription "The County Seal," without more, would fail 
to indicate what county it belonged to, and could hardly have 
stood alone. It is probable the drawing was made after an 
imperfect impression of the complete and perfect seal. There 
are hundreds of such to be found among the files. The wording 
is likely an embellishment by the artist. 

Next in order I sought information from that son of Bucks 
of whose triumphs in the field of local history we are all so 
proud, William J. Buck. In a paper written by him prior to the 
Bucks County Bi-Centennial celebration, after referring to the 
order of Council, Mr. Buck records his conviction of the non- 
existence of "the tree and the vine" seal, in the following 
language : 

"Whether such a seal was ever used for official purposes I have my 
doubts as I possess no knowledge of having seen anything of the kind af- 
fixed or impressed on any ancient documents pertaining to the several rec- 
ords of the county, in the archives at Harrisburg or in the collections of the 
Historical Society, though I have carefully kept this matter in mind, and 
even mentioned it in my History of Bucks County in 1854." 

The official edition of the Duke of York's laws, fails to give 
any information of the Bucks county seal. 

In his excellent work on "Heraldry in America" Mr. Eugene 
Zeiber says that the design above the shield, on the seal of 
Bucks, was probably a sheaf of wheat, but that of the seal of 
Bucks there is no description. I since learn from him that 
Dr. Egle concurred in this opinion. It will now be under- 


Stood why I was unable to promptly answer Dr. Egle's tele- 
gram of a year ago. 

Still the uncertainty about the seal, the substantial abandon- 
ment of further inquiry, and want of belief in its existence by 
these careful and reliable antiquarian authorities, while promis- 
ing an almost hopeless undertaking, seemed to warrant renewed 
search and investigation, with a view of, settling the doubt one 
way or another. 

The legislation upon the subject of our county seal is sin- 
gularly unsatisfactory and meagre. From 1683, when the tree 
and the vine were declared to be the emblems of Bucks county, 
nothing further than the Act of 1705 appears upon the statute 
books, concerning the seal, down to the Revolution. 

In the year of Independence, the Constitution, adopted Sep- 
tember 28th, declared that all commissions should be in the 
name of and by the authority of the Freemen of the Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania, and sealed with the State seal ; but 
there was no provision as to what the seal should be. The Act 
of January 2, 1778, provided that a new seal should be pro- 
cured for the Supreme Court and the Courts of Oyer and 
Terminer and general Jail Delivery of this State, having the 
arms of the State thereon, with such other devices as the 
judges of the said court should direct. The Act of 1791 di- 
rected that the seals in the custody of the Supreme Executive 
Council should be the seals of the State, but does not describe 
them. It is quite probable the Judges and the Council, soon 
after the Declaration of Independence, had adopted the seal, 
described in Zieber's Heraldry as being used in April, 1777. 

In 1799 the commissioners of each county were authorized 
to have and use a common seal, for the purpose of sealing their 
proceedings, but it was not directed that they should adopt the 
county seal, which had always been used by the courts. 

Later Acts have been passed relative to the county seal, 
which since 1854. is required to have the same device that is 
engraved on the great seal of the State, with the name of the 
county, court or office in which the seal is to be used. 

After a very tedious examination of the files in the county 
offices, which are in a remarkably good state of preservation, 

2»» the: original seal OF BUCKS COUNTY 

for writs and other documents, attested by the county seal, 
I am able to remove all doubts as to the existence of the tree 
and vine seal, and while the facts may upset certain theories as 
to the composition of the great seal of the Commonwealth, I 
can positively assert that the Bucks county seal "A Tree and 
a Vine," ordered by the Assembly and designated by the Ex- 
ecutive Council in 1683, was actually made and in use as the 
county seal continuously until after the outbreak of the Revo- 

A great majority of the seals upon the old writs, etc., are 
quite indistinct, yet a number clearly define the tree and vine ; 
at least two of these are absolutely perfect. An impression 
in wax of the seal attached by Jeremiah Langhorne to a writ 
in partition between Thomas Stackhouse and Robert Cobbert, 
issued the 15th day of December, in the second year of George 
II. (1729) is as fresh and distinct as if made yesterday. 
Another in paper upon a similar writ attested by Gilbert 
Hicks, March 17, 1774, is equally clear. 

The original seal of Bucks county is about the size of a sil- 
ver half-dollar, with the escutcheon or shield of the Penn 
family as its central figure. The background of the shield is 
white, with a black band and three plates thereon, above which 
is a half-moon, probably the distinguishing mark of the Pro- 
prietor's branch of the family. Surmounting the shield is a 
low broad tree having a rather heavy trunk, with thickly clus- 
tered branches, similar to the apple or chestnut. Extend- 
ing from the base of the tree around the shield is a distinctly 
defined vine, resembling the old-fashioned trumpet vine, so com- 
mon about the old homes of Bucks county. Within a double 
dotted line on the outer circle is the inscription, "William Penn, 
Proprietor and Governor, Bucks." 

In technical heraldry the shield may be described as follows : 

Argent, on a fesse sable, three plates ; a crescent for dififer- 
ence, above the shield (in position of a crest;) a fruit tree 
proper ; in support of it a vine : in exergue, the legend ; Wil- 
liam Penn, Proprietor and Governor, Bucks. 

The suggestion has been made that it is doubtful if there 
is really a vine upon this seal, because the seals of Philadel- 

the; original seal oi? bucks county 289 

phia, Chester, New Castle, Kent and Sussex, all adopted the 
same time, seem to be of the same design as that of Bucks. 
All contain the shield of Penn as a central feature, and the 
same inscription altered to suit the name of the county ; and 
it is asserted all contain the same decoration, assumed, on the 
Bucks county seal, to be a vine; that, therefore, the vine so- 
called is but a mantling, which heraldic artists use to fill in 
vacant spaces, and as it appears on all the other seals of the 
series it is surely not a vine. It is said, therefore, that it can 
only be set down as a misnamed decoration upon the seal of 
Bucks county. 

This sug-g-estion is not tenable for several reasons : A com- 
parison of the so-called decoration upon the Bucks county seal 
shows that it is not so broad and is of a different form from 
those upon the others of the series, that is if the drawings be 
anything like a fair reproduction of those seals, the stem is 
fine and vine-like, apparently with flowers pendent, while in 
the others the decoration is broad and imaginary or fanciful.' 
In all the others the decoration appears as attached to the top 
of the escutcheon, but on the Bucks county seal it is discon- 
nected from the shield and has its root at the base of the 
tree, thus showing a very noticeable and significant difference. 
There is no reason to believe that the decoration upon the 
other shields represents a vine. It was not decreed or intended 
they should, but when we take up the Bucks county seal, we 
find first a decree directing that a vine form part of the seal, 
and upon it as used we find a fair representation of a vine 
apparently growing out of the earth at the root of the tree. 
It seems hypercritical to deny that this is a vine, even though 
it might not be well executed. 

There may be some question as to the kind of vine shown. 
The pendent branches may represent clusters of grapes, or, 
as I confidently believe, the trumpet flower. There is less 
room to question the kind of tree ; it has been suggested it was 
intended to represent the lower part of the "treaty elm." That, 
however, had no peculiar or special association with the de- 
velopment of Bucks county. The tree shown on the seal con- 

290 the; original seal of bucks county 

tains thick clusters peculiar to fruit trees in full leaf, for in- 
stance the chestnut, plum or the apple. 

As the anchor or sailing ship has its significance on the seal 
of Philadelphia ; the plow, the Indian corn, the castle and the 
wheat sheaf, on those of Chester, Kent, New Castle and Sussex ; 
so are the fruit tree and vine, significant on the seal of Bucks 
county, noted for their products. 

As early as 1648 a Swede, Rev. John Campanious, wrote that 
"alx)ut the falls the land is rich" and there grows "a great quan- 
tity of grape vines ; the fruit thereof is white, red, brown and blue. 
The inhabitants want only to know how to press the grape in 
order to have a rich wine country." He also said there was to 
be found walnut, mulberry and several sorts of plum trees in 

William Penn, who presided over the Council that selected the 
tree and the vine as our seal in 1683, wrote to his friend, Henry 
Savill, that "the woods yield us plums, grapes, peaches, strawber- 
ries and chestnuts in abundance." What was more appropriate as 
the emblem of the county than this combination of the tree and 
the vine upon her seal. 

We have evidences that this seal was used until the change 
was made, after the promulgation of the Constitution of 1776. 
As already observed probably the Judges of the Supreme 
Court, when they agreed upon the devices for the seal, pursuant 
to the Act of January 2, 1778, adopted substantially a seal, 
which had already been put to use through the exigencies of the 
occasion, when allegiance to both King and Proprietor was first 
thrown off. 

Mr. Zeiber informs us that on April 10, 1777, there appeared 
upon some currency bills a seal upon which was engraved a 
shield with the arms of the Proprietor, a plough between two 
barrulets, in chief a ship under full sail and in base three garbs 
or sheaves of wheat substantially the same as now used and 
recognized. We discover the same design upon all seals used 
since 1778. Those in the prothonotary's office are inscribed in 
the outer circle "Prothonotaries office, Bucks county." A very 
distinct impression of this seal is attached to the record of a deed 
by Joseph I Tart, recorder, inscribed "Rolls office, Bucks county, 


Pennsylvania, 1778." Mr. Zeiber says : "It is not known from 
whence the design came, that it would seem to have been a com- 
position made from the provincial seals of the three original 
counties, for, on the crest which, surmounts the Penn Coat-of- 
Arms ; on that of Philadelphia, in 1683, is a ship under full sail; 
on the shield of Chester county a plough, while on that of P)ucks 
was probably a sheaf of wheat, of the latter, however, he admits 
there is no verification. 

To sum up the results of the investigation, it is established, 
first : The tree and the vine, as the emblem of Bucks county, 
was used on her seal from 1683 to the Revolution, almost 100 
years. The proof of this seal is admitted by Mr. Zeiber, who, 
writing under date of April 29, 1895, says "Dr. Egle and myself 
have looked carefully over these papers and are of the opinion 
that you possess the long sought for seal of Bucks county." In 
one the "tree and vine" is distinct and on another, what appears to 
be three sheaves of wheat, is above the shield. The last inference 
of the experts is incorrect. The seal supposed to represent three 
sheaves of wheat is attached to a certificate issued by Jeremiah 
Langhorne, as deputy register for Bucks county ; it is therefore 
the seal of the register's office. We reason from analogy, that 
its design followed that of the seal of the Register General's 
office, which was an open book above the shield. 

In the minutes of the Council of February 6, 1705, it ap- 
pears that Thomas Story, Master of the Rolls, was authorized 
to adopt for the seal of his office, an escutcheon with the Pro- 
prietor's arms and two rolls in the upper division and one in the 
lower. The designs of the seals of the enrollment office of the 
Province and the county are to be found on pages 518 and 538, 
Duke of York's laws. They are both after that directed by the 
Council. While we have not discovered the authority for the 
seal of the Register General's office, we do have upon page 571 
of the same book a reproduction of the seal taken from a docu- 
ment in 1713, it shows an open book above the Penn coat of arms. 
There is no room for doubt that as in the Rolls' office, the Deputy 
Register General used a seal with the same design as that of his 
chief officer in the Province, with the inscription changed to apply 
to the proper county. A careful inspection of the seal referred 


to by Mr. Zeiber will disclose that what he takes for three sheaves 
of wheat, is really the open book of the Register General's seal, 
and bears little resemblance to wheat sheaves. 

The second conclusion, therefore, is: That prior to 1777 the 
sheaf of wheat did not at any time form a part of the design of 
the seal of the county of Bucks, and consequently the theory that 
the seal first used and afterwards by law adopted, as the great 
Seal of the Commonwealth, during and after the Revolutionary 
war. and used by all the counties, was a composition designed 
from the Provincial seals of the three original counties of Penn- 
sylvania cannot be sustained by any facts, so far as Bucks coun- 
ty is concerned, and must be abandoned. The wheat sheaf was 
the emblem of Sussex, one of the lower counties, now a part of 
the State of Delaware, and was also the design upon a quarter 
of the shield, found upon the seal of the city of Philadelphia, 
1 70 1. It therefore seems that both the wheat sheaf and ship, 
forming a part of the great Seal, were borrowed from Philadel- 
phia, while Bucks, with her equal claim, but greater modesty, 
was forced to the background, a practice that too much prevails 
to this day. 

Third : As already shown the seal printed in "Davis' History" 
does not appear to have been the legally authorized seal of Bucks 
county at any time, for the tree and vine were undoubtedly upon 
the county seal from 1683 to 1776. The seal in question may 
have been engraved from an indistinct impression of the true 
seal. It is almost incredible that the words "The County Seal" 
could have been inscribed thereon without the name of the county 

I have thus traced the history of the original seal of Bucks 
county with the one purpose, to establish its identity and discover 
all the facts obtainable. In conclusion, a question naturally pre- 
sents itself : Why should not the original emblem of Bucks be 
restored and have appropriate representation in the great Seal of 
the Commonwealth? Is there sufficient county pride to induce 
an effort in that direction? To that end let it be engraved as a 
perpetual monument to the thrift and industry of the first settlers, 
as well as a still appropriate emblem of the conservatism of their 

the; original se;al of bucks county 293 

descendants, our worthy and honored farming community, who 
continue to cultivate the tree and the vine, and are content to en- 
joy their fruits amidst domestic happiness and the highest moral 
and religious development. 

It is said that at the monastaries of Mount Athos the follow- 
ing precaution is resorted to to protect the Corporate Seal against 
counterfeiting: The circular matrix is divided into four quar- 
ters, each of which is kept by one of the four ruling monks. The 
four pieces are joined by a key handle, which remains in the 
custody of the secretary. Thus it is only when all five guard- 
ians of the various parts of the matrix meet together that the 
complete seal can be stamped on any document. Unfortunately, 
through some neglect to assert her just claim to the distinction, 
Bucks is the only original county of Pennsylvania not represented 
on the Great Seal. But she still possesses the emblem which is 
entitled to a place there. It is her quarter of the matrix, with- 
out which the true patriotic seal cannot be stamped. Let her 
guard it as jealously as the monks of Mount Athos do theirs, 
until the true Great Seal shall be made. 

The Great Seal of the Commonwealth, hewn in lasting stone, 
guards the main entrance to our beautiful court-house, and, with- 
in, the flag born in the heat of battle by her brave sons is pro- 
tected. V/hen shall Bucks county's original seal, the emblem 
of peaceful agriculture and thrift, find a place and be pcipet- 
uated ?* 

* Since the above paper was read a number of well preser\'ed seals, with the Tree 
and the Vine thereon have been found among the Records of the County offices. An ex- 
act reproduction of the seal was made by Mr. Eugene Zieber in his lifetime. The Tree 
and the Vine Seal was followed in producing the seal of the Bucks County Historical So- 
ciety, copy of which is shown on the title page of this volume. 

A beautiful design of the " Tree and Vine," seal of Bucks county, done in Moravian 
tiles and concrete, the work of Henry C. Mercer, now (1909) forms part of the decoration 
of the State Capitol at Harrisburg. 

Buckingham, the Empire Township. 

(Meeting at Wolf RocUs, Buckingham, July i6, 1895). 

Three-quarters of a century ago, Samuel Johnson, a poet, sang 
the praises of this beautiful valley, in verse, of which I give a 
single stanza: 

" From the brow of Lahaseka, wide to the west, 
The eye sweetly rests on the landscape below ; 
'Tis blooming as Eden, when Eden was blest, 
As the sun lights its charms with his evening glow." 

We stand about where the poet is supposed to have stood when 
he cast his horoscope on the charming surroundings. The "vale 
of Lahaseka" hath lost none of its charms ; the eye, as then, 
"sweetly rests on the landscape below ;" and her "lovely stream- 
lets" flow on in their "silvery pride" from the hills on the west. 

The central location of Buckingham, its large area, 18,488 
acres, its productive soil, high cultivation, beautiful rural scenery 
and agricultural wealth, rich deposits of limestone, its distin- 
guishe 1 sons, and the general intelligence of the people, entitle 
it to be called the "Empire township" of the county. 

Buckingham was among the earliest townships settled. The 
stream of immigration, that brought settlers into the woods of 
Wrightstown carried them up to the "Great Mountain," called 
"Lahskekee" by the Indians, whence they spread over Buck- 
ingham and Solebury, originally one township. The name is 
English. We have "Bushing" from becen, the beech tree; then 
"Becen-ham ;"now "Bushingham," the village among the beeches, 
and lastly, "Buckingham." Bristol was originally called "Buck- 
ingham," but the name was not given to this township until after 
that of Bristol had been changed. It was organized shortly after 
1700. anrl called "New Buckingham" in 1706. 

The earliest survey was that by Cutler, 1703, showing parts of 
Buckingham and Solebury, with the Street road dividing them. 
This was probably laid out by Phineas Pemberton when county 
surveyor, about 1700. A subsequent survey was recorded Sep- 


tember 15, 1722, which I have seen, but I do not know when the 
lines were run. It begins at the northwest corner of the town- 
ship and runs southwest by a Hne of marked trees, 1,493 perches, 
and the last line was up the Street road to the place of beginning 
2,184 perches; these are substantially the present boundaries of 
Buckingham. The earliest map of the township I have seen was 
drawn in 1726, giving its entire area from the Solebury line to 
the west end of the mountain. The York and Durham roads 
are marked on it. At that time there were twenty landowners, 
and the names are all given on the map but one, among them 
are the well-known names of Fenton, Hough, Preston, Fell, 
Phillips, Holcomb, Gilbert, Large, Kinsey and Bye. The Pax- 
sons, Watsons, and others, whose descendants now people the 
township, were then residents, but the map does not contain 
their names. 

It is impossible to name the first white settler in Buckingham, 
or the time of his arrival, but it must have been shortly after 1681, 
when John Chapman located in the woods of Wrightstown. The 
honor is claimed for Amor Preston, who tradition says, was a 
tailor at Wiccaco, Philadelphia county; that when his cabin was 
burned, the Indians, living about the Great Mountain, invited 
him to move up to their village, possibly to make fashionable 
garments for the "four hundred." His wife was the daughter of 
Swedish parents living on the Delaware above the mouth of 
Neshaminy. The Preston family produced some prominent men. 
Paul Preston was a fine mathematician and linguist, and the 
friend and associate of Franklin. A friend of Franklin, about 
to go to court at Newtown, asked for a letter to Preston. This 
the philosopher declined to give, saying, "You will know him 
easy enough, as he is the tallest man, the homliest-looking man 
and the most sensible man you will meet at Newtown." 

The early settlers of Buckingham were mostly Friends, well 
educated and intelligent, with a robust faith pleasant to contem- 
plate, some of them walking down to Falls to attend meeting 
before getting permission to have one of their own. The pio- 
neers of Buckingham had a hard life, and imagination at the 
present day falls short of the reality. Until a crop was raised 
flour was fetched from Falls and Middletown, over 20 miles. 


and grain was taken to Gwin's mill on the Pennypack, below Hat- 
boro, to be ground down to 1707. This was to supply Buck- 
ingham and Solebury. It was not so convenient then as now for 
the fair daughters of Buckingham to purchase their spring bon- 
nets, as there was no store north of Bristol, and it is doubtful 
if that kept a very good assortment; nor could they so quickly 
send the boy to mill for flour to bake sponge-cake and make 
cream-puffs on the eve of an entertainment. 

The names of some of the first purchasers have long since 
disappeared from both township and county records; among 
them are those of Nathaniel Bromley, 2,292 acres; Thomas 
Mayleigh, 1,622; John Reynolds, 984; Edward West, 980; Wid- 
ow Musgreave, 980, and Richard Lunday, 1,025. These holdings 
foot up 7,883 acres, very nearly one-half the present area of 
the township. Before Solebury was cut off, the entire area was 
33,000 acres. This was probably prior to 1703. 

A distinguishing feature in the settlement of Bucks county, 
with all denominations, was their care in erecting houses for 
religious worship and establishing schools. As the Friends were 
the first to come they led off in this work. The township had 
no constituted meeting prior to 1700, when the Quarterly granted 
leave to the Buckingham Friends to hold a meeting for worship. 
They first met at the house of William Cooper, and in turn at 
John Gillingham's, James Streator's, and Nathaniel Bye's. In 
1705 Streator conveyed ten acres, in trust, to build a meeting- 
house on and for a burying-ground, with the privilege of roads 
to get to it. On the west side of the road, that wound up the hill 
and near the line of the graveyard, a small log meeting-liouse 
was erected. In June of that year Buckingham Friends notified 
Falls meeting they intended to build a meeting-house, auvl asked 
their advice. Consent was given, and Stephen Wilson and John 
Watson were appointed to collect money for the building fund. 
It was begun that year, but not finished until 1708. 

Upon the establishment of a Monthly Meeting, in 1721, a frame 
house was erected a little further up the hill ; and, ten years later, 
a stone meeting-house, with a stone addition one story high for 
the use of women, was built still higher up the slope. In this 
Buckingham Friends held their first Monthly Meeting in 1732. 


It was destroyed by fire in 1768, and the present fine old-fashion- 
ed building, 40x70 feet, was erected the same season, the meetings, 
in the meantime, being held at the dwelling of Benjamin Wil- 
liams. The mason work and plastering were done by Mathias 
Hutchinson, of Solebury, and the carpenter work by Edward 
Good, of Plumstead. The present house was used as an hospital 
while the Continental army occupied the west bank of the Dela- 
ware, in December, 1776, and several soldiers were buried where 
the turnpike crosses the hill ; their remains were uncovered when 
the pike was made. It is said the soldiers, on meeting days put 
one-half the house in order for Friends, and that many of them 
attended worship. During the war. Monthly Meeting was held 
out of the house but once, February i, 1777, in Thomas Ellicot's 

A word about some of the individual settlers, who erected their 
altars and their hearthstones in the woods of Buckingham, will 
not be out of place. 

The Smith family did their full share in peopling this empire 
township and from which have descended a numerous posterity. 
At one time there were ten Robert Smiths in the same neighbor- 
hood. A Robert Smith, second son of his father who died on 
the passage, was the first of the family to arrive, coming in 
his minority, prior to 1699. He made his way well in life; 
marrying in 1719, and dying in 1745 the owner of 700 acres in 
Buckingham, Makefield and Wrightstown. He had six sons 
and John Watson, the surveyor, said they were the best six pen- 
men he every met in one family. About this time came William 
Smith, with his son Thomas, who took up 500 acres adjoining 
Robert. Joseph Smith, who introduced the use of anthracite coal 
into the county, and Charles Smith, of Pineville, the first to burn 
lime with hard coal, were descendants of Robert Smith, the 
elder. A Robert Smith was a pioneer in burning lime, having 
burned a kiln as early as 1785. The first kiln was probably 
burned by Samuel Smith, grandfather of the late Josiah B., of 
Newtown, in 1761. Thomas Smith, the elder, of Buckingham, 
planted the seed that grew the tree that bore the first cider apple 
in America, on the farm where the first Robert Smith settled. 
Samuel Smith, a captain in the Continental Army, was a native 


of this township, as was his son Andrew J. Smith, a Major Gen- 
eral in the late war. The father married a daughter of John 
Wilkinson, and I have heard my father say that his father helped 
Captain Smith steal the bride-elect away from the parental roof. 
More than 100 years ago the Smith family of Buckingham es- 
tablished a valuable industrial establishment in Tinicum township, 
on the Delaware, for the manufacture of plows and mould-boardb, 
which was run by water. The place was called "Smithtown," and 
the works successfully carried on for half a century. Joseph Smith, 
of Buckingham, made the pattern for the first iron mould-board 
about 100 years ago on the farm now owned and occupied by 
Heston J. Smith, great-grandson of the Joseph that made the 
plow. It was cast at Charles Ncwbold's foundry below Cam- 
den, N. J. It was patented in 1800. 

Thomas Canby, son of Benjamin, of Yorkshire, born about 
1667, came to Pennsylvania in 1683, as an indentured apprentice 
to Henry Baker. He settled in Buckingham about 1690, and 
married Sarah Garis in 1693. He was married three times, and 
the father of 17 children. He first bought part of the Lundy 
tract; sold this to Baker and then bought part of the Scar- 
borough tract in Solebury, including the Stavely farm. He sub- 
sequently purchased Heath's mill on the Great Spring creek, 
near New Hope, where he died in 1742. His descendants are 
numerous, and included General Canby, U. S. A., who was killed 
by the Indians in California some 20 years ago. Among the 
families which have descended in parts from this ancestry are 
the Laceys, Hamptons, Elys, Smiths, Staplers, Gillinghams, Pax- 
sons, Wilsons, Eastburns, Watsons, Pickerings and Magills. 

William Cooper, mentioned in "Bessie's sufferings" among 
those fined and otherwise punished for non-conformity, was an 
early settler. He was born in Yorkshire in 1649; came to Penn- 
sylvania in 1699, locating here in the same year. He was twice 
married, the first time about 1672, three years before joining the 
Friends. Three children by the first wife and one by the second 
came to America with him. The name is written Cozvper in the 
parish record, in England, and in the deed for 500 acres pur- 
chased of Christopher Atkinson. It was at his home where Friends 
first held meetings in Buckingham. William Cooper died in 1709 


at the age of 60. This family is not identical with that of Coop- 
er, the novelist; but as the latter was the grandson of Hannah 
Hibbs, of Solebury, he was a descendant of Bucks county an- 
cestry in the female line. 

The Byes were in the township prior to the close of the cen- 
tury. In 1699 Thomas Bye purchased 600 acres of Edward 
Crews, Nathaniel Park and others, extending down to the moun- 
tain. Crews and Park were probably never residents of the 
township, the land they conveyed to Bye being granted them m 
1681, the year before Penn left England, and joined the tracts 
of Lundy and Streator. Charity Bye, daughter of Hezekiah and 
Sarah Bye, born in 1780, was the mother of William F. John- 
son, Governor of Pennsylvania, 1850-54. The Bye tract was 
laid out by John Cutler, October 6, 1701. He was an early settler 
in Middletown and made a resurvey of the county in 1702-3. 

The Paxsons were among the earliest settlers in Buckingham, 
and in the county. William Paxson was in Middletown in 1682, 
and a landowner in 1684, locating 500 acres on the Neshaminy 
above Hulmeville. He lost his wife, two sons and a brother on 
the voyage, and, two years after his arrival, married the widow 
of William Plumley, of Northampton. William Paxson became 
a man of influence in the community, and represented the county 
in the Assembly. His son Henry removed to Solebury in 1704; 
was in the Assembly in 1705-7, and, subsequently, came to Buck- 
ingham. The late Thomas Paxson was fifth in descent from 
Henry, through Jacob, his fourth son, and Sarah Shaw, of 
Plumstead, his second wife, whom he married in 1777. But' 
two of Jacob Paxson's large family of children became residents 
of Bucks : Thomas, who married a granddaughter of William 
Johnson, and Mary, who became the wife of William H. John- 
son, deceased; William Johnson was born in Ireland and receiv- 
ed a good education ; came to Pennsylvania after his majority 
and settled for a time in Bucks county; married Ann Potts, re- 
moved to South Carolina, where he died at the age of 35. His 
sons were cultivated men, Thomas becoming an eminent lawyer, 
and dying at New Hope in 1838. Samuel, the youngest son, 
spent his life in Buckingham, married Martha Hutchinson and 
died in 1843. Thomas Paxson was the father of ex-Chief 


Justice Edward M. Paxson, of the State Supreme Court, and 
of Samuel Johnson Paxson, for many years proprietor and editor 
of the Doylestown Democrat. The latter was a man of "infinite 
jest." Upon the election of Mr. Buchanan, to the Presidency, 
he announced the fact in his paper in great head lines, thus : 
"A Bachelor in the White House and All the Old Maids Tickled 
to Death." It was republished in the London Times, and pro- 
duced a broad smile wherever read. 

The Watsons came into Bucks county from Cumberland, Eng- 
land, with the eighteenth century, Thomas Watson, with his 
wife and sons Thomas and John, locating in Bristol township 
at a place called "Honey Hill," about 1701. As his meeting-cer- 
tificate bore date 7th mo. 23d, they probably landed that fall. 
He removed to Buckingham in 1704, and settled on 400 acres 
he bought of one Rosill, lying on the southeast side of the York 
road ; but he was so careful of the rights of the Indians he 
refused to have the tract surveyed without their consent. A 
man of intelligence, he turned his attention to medicine, and, 
there being no physician within several miles, he grew into a large 
practice before his death, about 1731-32. He was probably the 
earliest physician in the township, flis son John, of greater 
medical knowledge, followed his father's profession, met with 
success and died in 1760. He was sixteen years in the As- 
sembly. John, the grandson of Thomas, named after his father, 
and born about 1720, was one of the most prominent men of 
the Province. He was a distinguished mathematician and sur- 
veyor and noted for his elegant penmanship. He assisted to run 
the line between Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, known 
in later days as "Mason and Dixon's Line," and was Secretary 
to Governor Morris at the Indian treaty at Easton, 1756. He 
was both a scholar and poet. Thomas Penn wished him to ac- 
cept the ofifice of Surveyor General in 1760, which he declined. 
He died in 1761. The late Judge Richard Watson was descended 
from this ancestry. 

Among others who settled in Buckingham about this period 
were Mathew Hughes, several years a member of Assembly, and 
commissioned a justice of the peace in 1738; Joseph Fell, the 
Lintons, John Plill, Ephraim Fenton, Isaac Pennington, William 


Pickering, the Carvers, probably descended from William, who 
settled in Byberry, in 1682, of whom Elias Carver, Esq., of 
Doylestown, is descended, and many others I could name, would 
time permit. 

Of the Fells, Joseph, son of John and Margaret, of L.ong- 
lands, county Cumberland, England, born in 1668, was the first 
comer. He arrived in 1705 with his wife and two children. 
Landing at the mouth of the Potomac they made their way 
to Bristol by land and water ; thence to Upper Makefield, where 
they lived a few months, and removed to Buckingham in 1706, 
where he died. Pie remarried in 1709. He was the father of 
eleven children, and they, and his thirty-five grandchildren, in- 
termarried, among others, with the families of Scarborough, 
Kinsey, Watson, Haines, Kirk, Church and Heston. He left a 
farm at his death to his son Joseph, in Upper Makefield, whither 
he removed. Here his son, who became Dr. David Fell, father 
of Joseph and grandfather of Judge Fell, of Buckingham, was 
born. He read medicine with Dr. Isaac Chapman, of Wrights- 
town, and was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, his 
certificate, signed by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, bearing date of February 25, 1801. 

It is claimed that Jesse Fell, the son of Thomas and Jane, 
born in Buckingham in 1751, was the first person to make a suc- 
cessful experiment of burning anthracite coal in an open grate. 
This was at Wilkes-Barre, whither he removed about 1790, and 
where he died in 1830. He was a prominent citizen of Luzerne, 
and served one term as Ajssociate Judge. 

The Idens were long in the county before coming to Bucking- 
ham. A Randall Iden was married about 1690. A second Ran- 
dall Iden, probably a son of the former, lived in Bristol town- 
ship in 1724, ani,! was married to Margaret Greenfield, of "Mid- 
dle township," the present Middletown. A third Randall Iden, 
grandfather of the late James C. Iden, of Buckingham, and son 
of Jacob, of Rockhill, married a daughter of Samuel Foulke, 
of Richland, in 1772, and on the certificate are the names of 
twelve Foulkes and thirteen Robertses, witnesses that the mar- 
riage was "orderly done." 

Among others, who purchased land in the township prior to 


1700, but not all settlers, were James Streator and Richard 
Parsons each 500 acres. In 1724 Streator styled himself "prac- 
titioner in physic," but, as he was a grocer in 1683, he must 
have studied the healing art subsequently. The farm of the late 
Joseph Fell is part of the Streator tract. In 1683 a warrant, 
covering several thousand acres, was issued to Thomas Hudson 
for land in this and other townships; and, in 1688, i,ooo acres 
were confirmed to Richard Lundy. In 1687, 980 acres were 
surveyed to Edward West, and 984 to John Reynolds, lying on 
both sides of the mountain on the road from Pineville to Clay- 
town. These two tracts have some historic interest, and gave 
rise to numerous lawsuits. The original purchasers never ap- 
pearing, the land was settled upon by others without a color of 
title, the Proprietaries taking bonds from the tenants against 
waste. In 1781 suits were commenced for the possession of these 
lands and continued for more than half a century, the late Thomas 
Ross being one of the counsel. The absence of Reynolds was 
accounted for by his alleged loss at sea, on his return to Eng- 
land, but that of West was never explained. 

Among the earlier settlers in Buckingham, but not classed 
among the earliest, were the Simpsons. There were probably 
two families of this name. Those best remembered are the de- 
scendants of William Simpson, from the north of Ireland, born 
about 1732 and came here between 1748 and 1750, and bought 
100 acres of John Penn.in 1766. He married Nancy Hines, of 
New Britain, and their daughter Ann was the mother of the 
late Gen. John Davis, of Davisville. John Simpson, son of Wil- 
liam, was the father of the late Mrs. Ann Jamison. William 
Simpson was a soldier of the Revolution, and, on one occasion, 
while on a visit home, escaped the search of a party of Tories 
by having an empty hogshead turned over him in the cellar. A 
James Simpson was living in Buckingham prior to the William 
mentioned above, where his son John was born in 1744. He 
settled on the Susquehanna, above Fort Hunter, in the present 
Dauphin county, in 1769, and married a daughter of Captain 
James Marray, in whose company he served in the Revolution. 
He was the grandfather of Hon. J. Simpson Africa, late Secre- 
tary of Internal Afifairs. A branch of this family emigrated to 


South Carolina and Virginia. General Grant was a descendant 
of our Bucks county Simpsons. A number of other families in 
the township deserve mention, but I have neither time nor space 
to notice them. 

One of the most distinguished residents of Buckingham in th& 
past century was Dr. John Wilson. He was born in Southamp- 
ton in 1768; graduated at Dickinson College in 1792; taught a 
classical school, of which Samuel D. Ingham, Jackson's Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, was a pupil; graduated in medicine, in 
1796, from the University of Pennsylvania, one of the first from 
Bucks county. He settled in practice at Elm Grove, where he 
died in 1835. He possessed a rare combination of desirable quali- 
ties ; was accomplished, handsome and courtly, and his house- 
the seat of refined and generous hospitality. He was twice mar- 
ried, the second wife being Mary Fell, widow of William Fell, 
and both wives were women of elegant manners and high intelli- 
gence. The late Lewis C. Coryell once remarked of him : "Dr. 
Wilson knew more from a potato hill up, than any other man 
I ever knew." The late Dr. Cernea read medicine with Dr, Wil- 
son, and became a distinguished botanist. His life was full of 

Buckingham is entitled to special honor for her activity in 
the cause of education. In this work she stands in the front 
rank. The ordinary country schools were opened soon after its set- 
tlement and the rudiments taught in them. Tradition tells us that 
Thomas Watson opened a school for Indians prior to 1730, but 
his philanthropic work was closed by the smallpox. In 1754, 
Adam Harker left a legacy of £40 to the township towards 
maintaining a free school under charge of the meeting; and, in 
1789, Thomas Smith leased a lot for thirty years, at the annual 
rent of "one pepper corn," on condition that a school-house be 
erected within a year. This was done, and subsequently known 
as the "Red school-house." It stood on the Street road on the 
northwest bank of Hyrl's run. A new building, erected on the 
opposite side of the creek, is now used as a dwelling. My 
father received part of his early education in that little school- 

The most noted three schools in the township in the past cen- 


tury were "Tyro Hall," the "Friend's School" and the Hughesian 
Free School." Tyro Hall was built about 1789 on a subscrip- 
tion of £99 contributed by 32 persons, and the lot was given in 
trust, by David Gilbert, to the care of three trustees, elected by 
the contributors. The last board was John C. Shepherd, Jesse 
Haney and Joseph Beans, in 1854. The house stood on the road- 
side just above Greenville, and one on the same site is now used 
as a dwelling, but whether the original, or built subsequently, is 
not clearly determined. 

The first action toward establishing "Buckingham's Friends' 
School" was taken in February, 1792, by the Monthly Meeting 
appointing a committee to raise means. In this way £709 were 
obtained to which the Harker legacy was added, £245, and others, 
Joseph Walker, Jonathan Ingham and Thomas Watson. The 
school building was erected in 1794, and is still standing but no 
longer used for school purposes. When the Friends separated 
the school fund was divided. The Hughesian school was founded 
on a legacy left by Amos Austin Hughes at his death, in 181 1, 
the real and personal property amounting to $21,450. It was left 
to educate the poor children of the township and such others as 
stood in need, "forever." If necessary they were to be clothed 
and fed. A charter was obtained in 181 2, and the building 
erected ; and the school maintained for many years ; but, within 
recent years, the school was discontinued and the money turned 
over to the township school fund. Mr. Hughes, who was an 
invalid from his youth, was a quiet, patient sufferer, and passed 
most of his time in reading and meditation. 

Among the teachers at one or another of these schools, and 
known to the present generation, were William H. Johnson and 
Joseph Fell, both superintendents of the public schools of the 
county ; Joseph Price and Albert Smith, who served in the Con- 
gress of the United States. Several of the scholars reached promi- 
nent places in the world's affairs : Justices Paxson and Fell of 
the State Supreme Court ; Richard Watson, President Judge of 
our County Courts, and his brother, a Judge in Kansas ; Gen. A. 
J. Smith, U. S. A. ; J. Gillingham Fell, Dr. Janney, one of the 
most prominent physicians of Philadelphia, late coroner and now 
in charge of the medical department of Girard College, and 


Jefferson Baker and Amos Bonsall, members of Dr. Kane's Arctic 
expedition. Baker died in the Polar region, and Bonsall, on 
his return, wrote a book on the expedition. 

Buckingham had another school equally noted in its day, that 
should not be overlooked. Martha Hampton's Boarding and Day 
School for Girls, at Greenville, on the York road. It was kept 
up for a number of years, and there many of the matrons of 
the township received their education. Tradition tells us the boys 
of the period were anxious to enjoy the advantages of Miss 
Hampton's seminary, and possibly the society of the girls as well, 
and a few of the very nicest boys, prime favorites, were admitted 
to the school, of which Edward M. Paxson is said to have been 
one. No youth could have a better endorsement to begin life 
on, and to it may be attributed his success. Of the three early 
public libraries in the county, that of Buckingham was establish- 
ed second, 1795, having been preceded by Newtown, in 1760, and 
followed by Falls, in 1800. Of the three, Newtown and Falls 
are still maintained, that of Buckingham having been wound up 
forty years ago. 

I have already alluded to the sons of Buckingham who liave 
made their mark in industrial pursuits. The Smiths, who estab- 
Hshed the extensive plant on the Delaware, in Tinicum, more 
than one hundred years ago, introduced the use of anthracite 
coal into the county ; were the first to burn lime with hard coal, 
etc., etc. ; but another of your citizens should not be forgotten. 
I allude to the late James Jamison. The county is probably 
more indebted to him than to any other one man for the present 
method of burning lime in fixed kilns. He found, by repeated 
experiment, that by putting lime and coal in a kiln, supported 
by grates, with space underneath for wood to kindle the lower 
layer of coal the manufacture of lime was both expedited and 
cheapened. Previous to this wood had been exclusively used, but 
the cost of lime was now reduced to about one-half. 

No township in the county is superior to Buckingham from an 
agricultural point of view ; none, whose soil is richer ; none, 
where there is more careful tillage; none, where the labor of the 
farmer is rewarded with better crops. The earliest attempt was 
made here to improve the condition of the husbandman by or- 


ganized effort. This was by the organization of a society "for 
promoting agriculture and domestic manufactures," the first in 
the county, in 1811. The meetings were held in school- 
houses, and it probably died a natural death, but we are not in- 
formed of the date of its demise. It was followed by the "Bucks 
County Agricultural Society," whose first exhibition was held at 
Newtown in 1824. In 1826 Jeremiah Bailey exhibited the model 
of a machine for cutting grass and grain which had been in 
successful operation in Philadelphia county. James Worth used 
this machine on his farm at Newtown that season, and spoke in 
high terms of it. It is thought the introduction of a strong tem- 
perance resolution, by Dr. Phineas Jenks at the May meeting, 
1829, hastened its winding up, but jealousy and rivalry among the 
members played their part. Among the early industrial estab- 
lishments of Buckingham was the scythe and ax factory of Ed- 
ward Kinsey, two miles northwest of Lahaska, where he had a 
trip-hammer operated by water-power. He was esteemed one 
of the finest mechanics in the county. 

A century ago there was a cultivated and scholarly coterie in 
Solebury and Buckingham, and the sons and daughters of this 
township have maintained their reputation in more recent times. 
Several cultivated the muse of poetry; the earliest of these was 
Dr. Joseph Watson, great-grandfather of the late Judge Richard 
Watson. His son, Dr. John Watson, devoted the latter years 
of his life to literary culture, and indulged his taste for poetry.* 

Others of the sons and daughters of Buckingham have paid 
court to the muse, whose productions have merit, but we nave 
neither space nor time to notice them. 

A glance at the taxables and population of Buckingham is not 
without interest, as the census shows a gradual increase in 
population, down to i860; since then there has been a falling off 
In 1722 the taxables were 53, of which nine were single men; 
the heaviest tax-payer being Richard Humphrey Morris, ii. 3s, 
gd, on 1,900 acres; they had increased to 178 by 1764. The 
heaviest tax raised was in 1781, the period of the greatest de- 
pression of Continental money, when it reached £6,767, 8d. In 
1810 the population according to the Federal census, was 1,715; 

* For poetry written by residents of Buckingham, see "Poets and Poetry, of Bucks 
County," Vol. I, of these papers, p. 126. 


in 1830, 2,193; in 1850, 2,767; in i860, 3,088; in 1890, 2,544. In 
the three decades, from i860 to 1890, it has fallen off 544; that 
is, Buckingham had 6 per cent, less population than she had thirty 
years before. She was then the first, or second in population, 
and fell the fourth in 1890. In the same period twenty town- 
ships of the county had fallen off in population. These figures 
present a serious problem. 

Despite the fact that Buckingham was settled by Friends, who 
eschewed war and all its belongings, a martial spirit always ex- 
hibited itself in her young men. When Congress authorized an 
army, in 1775, John Lacey raised a company for Wayne's regi- 
ment, and Samuel Smith, also of Quaker ancestry, was his first 
lieutenant. Robert Sample, a scholarly man, was a captain in 
Hubley's Tenth Pennsylvania Regiment, and served to the end 
of the war, and Joseph Fenton, Jr., was a surgeon in Colonel 
Joseph Hart's battalion, in the Amboy campaign. Fall of 1776. 
Samuel Smith was a Brigadier in the campaign on the lower 
Delaware in the War with England, 1812-15, and his son, An- 
drew Jackson Smith, a Major General in the late war for the 
Union, in which a number of her sons served, and several laid 
down their lives for the cause. 

If the empireship of Buckingham were determined by the num- 
ber of her sons who have entered the professions, she would 
get the award without a contest. Eighteen of them have become 
"learned in the law," and" six ascended the bench, two of them 
reaching the court of h'st resort, one the Chief Justice. In addi- 
tion, in two adjoining townships, one in each reached the State 
Supreme bench. Why is this ? Why should so many of the young 
men of the immediate section seek to climb to fame up the bteep 
ladder of the law. and with such signal success? Is it because 
of the air they breathe, the water they drink, or of some occult 
influence that controls their young manhood? I challenge any 
other township in the county to match it. 

Washington's Crossing, Unveiling of Monument at Taylorsville. 

(Taylorsville Meeting, October 15, 1895). 

"When in the chronicle of wasted time" we read for knowl- 
edge of the contributions which earlier generations have made 
to the advancement of the interests which humanity holds most 
dear, we learn of no single event more inspiring or more fruitful 
of beneficent consequences, than the heroic action which we in 
filial piety have met to-day to commemorate, on both sides of the 
river, by votive tablet and by appropriate and imposing monu- 

The night before Trenton was a dark hour, the darkest per- 
haps of all that long twilight through which the sun of American 
Independence was struggling upwards to bright and glorious day. 

When on March 17, 1776, the British forces evacuated Boston 
and sailed away to Halifax, there was scarcely a hostile company 
in the Colonies. Charles Lee occupied New York and for a 
moment the whole Atlantic shore seemed to be free from the 
menace of military occupation. 

The spirit of the Revolutionists rose, the sentiment of Inde- 
pendence grew and strengthened, to be crystallized at last in that 
eloquent Declaration which is the birth certificate of a great and 
puissant nation, and the best statement of those just and liberal 
principles, the observance of which alone can make government 
a blessing to mankind. 

The Declaration of Independence came to the people of the 
American Colonies as the "glad tidings of great joy." We 
read on Bancroft's glowing pages that the planters of South 
Carolina received it as "an unavoidable necessity, but with 
unspeakable pleasure." The Puritan ministers of Massachusett> 
read it from every pulpit, for that upon the destiny of this 
people it contained the full counsel of God. "The soldiers of St. 
Clair, at Ticonderoga, cheered it with wild enthusiasm," because 
"by it we became a free people with a name among the States 
of the world." And the men of Rhode Island, as thev looked 


down the long vista of our coming greatness and forecast 
our progress in civilization, broke forth into that superb 
and exultant prophecy, not yet realized in full measure 
to our hope ever constant though long deferred : "Free 
trade with all the world, American manufactures, and the dif- 
fusion of liberty o'er and o'er the globe." 

In five months all was changed; victory and confidence gave 
place to defeat and despondency ; and the liberty and dignity which 
had seemed our secure possession hung trembling in the balance 
of an unpropitious fate. 

While the bell which is now our most precious relic was "pro- 
claiming liberty to all the land," Lord Howe, with an army of 
20,000 men, was sailing up New York Bay to a position on Staten 
Island. Slowly but steadily he pushed back the American line, 
first from Long Island, then from New York, then from the 
Highlands above the city, then across the river westward, then 
across New Jersey and behind the Delaware. We had been 
driven from Canada, we had lost New Jersey. The enemy held 
New York and had opened to his movement the great water- 
way of the Hudson from Sandy Hook almost to the Great 
Lakes. By a master stroke of military policy he had cut the Revo- 
lution in two, and its severed members lay apparently at his 

The Congress lost heart and fled to Baltimore. The country 
folk lost heart and sought protection from the invader, and strove 
to win a claim upon his favor by betraying to his camp the defen- 
ders of their country. Philadelphia was sullen and discontented. 
The Quakers, in Yearly Meeting for Pennsylvania and New Jer- 
sey, refused "in person or by other assistance to join in carry- 
ing on the war," and published their longing for the old connec- 
tion with the mother country by mention of "the happy con- 
stitution" under which "they and others had long enjoyed peace." 

Samuel Adams declared that "the people of Pennsylvania and 
the Jerseys seemed determined to give it up." 

Europe lost faith in our success. Franklin was in Paris, but 
the French government hesitated to ally itself openly with what 
appeared to be a failing cause ; and Voltaire wrote : "Franklin's 


troops have been beaten by those of the King of England; alas, 
reason and liberty are ill received in this world." 

But there was one man whom defeat could not dishearten, nor 
disaster overthrow. Impassionate, patient and serene, he stood 
faithfully at his post, hoping when all around him doubted, 
persistent and persevering when others failed and turned back. 
No man saw so clearly the difficulties military and political which 
obstructed the triumph of the Revolution, yet he faced those diffi- 
culties with a courage that never faltered and overcame them all. 
To all those who criticised his measures or questioned his pur- 
pose or winced at his advice, he had but one reply : "A character 
to lose, an estate to forfeit, the cause of liberty at stake and a 
life devoted must be my excuse." 

His wisdom in council, his heroism in the field, the mildness 
of his manners, the kindliness of his disposition, the firmness of 
his temper, the elevation of his patriotism, the constancy of his 
purpose, his love of liberty, his respect for law, combined to make 
him in a peculiar manner the representative and type of all that 
is best in the race to which we belong. There have been others 
like him, who have preceded him ; there have been others like him 
who have followed him. Joe Hampden was such a man when 
he braved the royal authority and labored to bring about the great 
uprising which triumphed at Naseby and on A^arston Moor. 
Abraham Lincoln was such a man, as he guided the ship-of-state 
through the storms of Civil War to a more perfect union and a 
more complete and generous liberty. And there are still others 
to whom like virtues have secured some measure of this man's 
renown. But of all the great names which illustrate the annals 
of the Anglo-Saxon race on either side of the Atlantic, none has 
so secure a place in history, none has so certain a portion in the 
admiration and applause of mankind, as the Commander-in-Chief 
of the Continental army, the First President of the American Re- 
public. Indeed there is no nation ancient or modern which can 
produce the instance of a Revolutionary leader whose character 
combines, in such wonderful moderation and harmony, the cour- 
age and decision of a military commander, the conservatism and 
initiative of a wise and progressive statesman, the virtue and self- 
restraint of a private citizen. 


Mr. Lecky, the greatest of English historians, in his "History 
of England in the XVIII Century," says of Washington : 

" He was in the highest sense of the words a gentleman and a man of 
honor ; and he carried into public life the severest standard of private 
morals." * * * " It was always known by his friends, and it was soon 
acknowledged by the whole nation and by the English themselves, that in 
Washington, America had found a leader who could be induced by no earthly 
motive to tell a falsehood or to break an engagement or to commit any dis- 
honorable act. Men of this moral type are happily not rare, and we have 
all met them in our experience ; but there is scarcely another instance in 
history of such a man having reached and maintained the highest position 
in the convulsions of civil war and of a great popular agitation." 

This Republic may pass away ; another race may succeed us 
and dwell in the homos where we now happily reside ; our own 
descendants may forget the language in which we speak, even as 
we have forgotten the tongue in which our Saxon ancestors 
recorded the sentiments of their heart and the annals of their 
achievement ; but while history shall preserve the memory of 
those who have sacrificed and striven for the welfare of men, 
while literature shall exalt the renown and extol the character 
of the virtuous and the just, the name of George Washington 
will continue to be held, in reverend remembrance, an inspiration 
and an encouragement to every generous and devoted effort to 
ameliorate the condition of mankind. 

It was Christmas Eve, 1776, surrounded by his famishing 
troops, Washington lay at Newtown. His chest was empty, his 
ammunition was low. His command had not clothing to cover 
their nakedness, nor shoes to protect their bleeding feet. The 
men were within ten days of the expiration of the period of their 
enlistment, and that feeble army, worn to a mere shadow of its 
original proportions, by the battles and suffering of a long and 
disastrous campaign, was on the point of dissolving altogether, 
and with it would disappear the only visible bulwark between the 
middle States and complete subjugation. 

The enemy, well informed as to the situation, was disdainfully 
awaiting the hour when the Continental army "unsmote by the 
sword" should vanish into nothingness. Satisfied with the re- 
sult of the year's fighting, he was resting from war and disport- 
ing himself in our cities, while he waited for milder weather in 
which to open in overpowering strength the final campaign which 


was to crush into complete submission the rebelHous subjects of 
the British Crown. 

Cornwalhs made ready to sail for home to claim the reward 
of his services. Howe was in New York roistering with wine 
and wassail and lavishing upon his mistress the wealth he had 
gained from the destruction and plunder of American commerce. 
Donop lay at Burlington with orders to hang to the nearest tree 
any of the inhabitants who in bands or otherwise should fire on 
his troops. Rahl lay in Trenton with 1,200 Hessians, guarding 
the booty which they had gathered from the homes and shops of 
our citizens. The blare of martial music and the pageantry of 
parade occupied his attention by day, and the nights were spent 
in carousing. So great was his contempt for the weakness of 
the Continental army, and so strong was his confidence in the 
defence which the river afforded that he refused to fortify his 
position and talked boastfully of repelling with the bayonet a 
possible attack. 

The insolent security of the enemy was Washington's oppor- 
tunity. It was now or never with him. A blow must be struck 
which would revive the failing hope of the Continentals, or all 
was lost forever. So he marshalled his men — 2,400 strong — 500 
men of New England were there, and Stark, of Bennington, led 
them on. The Virginians were there, and James Monroe was in 
command. The Pennsylvania line was there, and the sword of 
Hand flashed at the head of their column. Green and Mercer, Stir- 
ling and Sullivan and Alexander Hamilton were there to lead and 
cheer the forlorn hope. The night was dark and bitterly cold, 
the wind was high, the storm was wild, the current of the liver 
was running strong, and the ice was dense and pushing hard. 
But the mariners of Marblehead manned the boats, the army 
crossed the ice-choked torrent and marched through the tempest 
to the town. Fifteen long weary miles these war-worn veterans 
marched through that tempestuous night, leaving on the inow 
over which they passed, the marks of the blood from their un- 
shod feet. The watchword given by the Commander himself 
was "Victory or death," and when morning came the victory 
was theirs. The Hessians surrendered without a blow, and 
Trenton was ours again. 

unve;iling of monument at tayIvOrsville 313 

The importance of a victory is not always to be measured by 
the blood that is spilt in the clash of arms. The daring of that 
night silenced all cavil ; an army with courage and endurance to 
surmount such obstacles to reach and capture its foe could never 
be finally overcome. The victory of Trenton turned the tide of 
w^ar in our favor, and from that moment all thought of sub- 
mission was abandoned. 

The War for Independence, followed as it was by the War 
of 1812, created in the breasts of our people a feeling of antagon- 
ism and hatred toward the mother country which the lapse of 
years has not yet entirely obliterated. To many Americans, even 
now, distrust and abhorence of all that is English seems a neces- 
sary factor in a true American patriotism. 

It is a noble and sacred duty to laud and honor the achieve- 
ments of the valiant dead whose sacrifice and devotion made us a 
separate and free people. But we do wrong if we allow the 
memory of past conflicts to determine our attitude in the rela- 
tions of the present. We owe much to the heroic dead, we owe 
more to the living and still more to that posterity which must suf- 
fer from our mistakes. 

The world is not helped by suspicion and hatred ; the cause of 
humanity is advanced by sympathy and charity. If we are to do 
our part in the great work of our national advancement, even as 
they whose deeds we celebrate did theirs, we shall note the dif- 
ference of our circumstances, and while we retain the benefits 
of "battles long ago," we shall put away the rancor which is born 
of strife. 

The War of the American Revolution was almost entirely due 
to the wrong-headed obstinacy of one man, George III. Even 
had the English of that generation unanimously supported the 
policy of the King, it would be irrational to visit on the popula- 
tion of the British Isles to-day our resentment at the sins of their 

But in point of fact, George III never had the approval of the 
great body of the English people in his policy toward America. 
Burke, Fox and Chatham and most of the Whigs defended our 
course and rejoiced in our success. Lord Efiingham threw up 
his commission in the army rather than serve against the Ameri- 
cans, and Dublin merchants voted him a resolution of thanks ; 


Amhert declined a command; and General Conway was of the 
opinion that no English officer was bound to serve his sovereign 
in such a cause ; Edinburg and Glasgow refused to vote addresses 
favorable to the Government ; London and Bristol gave their v^oice 
in our favor. The classes who favor authority and repression — 
the clergy, the bar, the landed interest and the army — sustained 
the King; but the Dissenters and great body of the people in 
England, Scotland and Ireland were either openly hostile to the 
royal policy or unmoved by the resistance it encountered. 

The common people of the British Isles would not enlist in 
either the army or the navy to fight against their own flesh and 
blood in the Colonies. The government was compelled to empty 
the prisons to get soldiers for the ranks, and harry the islands 
with press gangs to get sailors to man the ships. Finally the 
king bought the services of 17,000 German mercenaries and at- 
tempted by foreign aid to subjugate his rebellious Colonies. This 
policy turned the rebellion into a revolution and precipitated the 
Declaration of Independence. 

The Hessians whom Washington captured at Trenton are 
the standing proof of the stupid infatuation of the British Gov- 
ernment and of the generous and fair-minded temper of the great 
body of the British people. It is well to remember these facts. 
It is well also to do justice now to those men in the Colonies and 
in the mother country whose souls were torn with anguish at 
the thought of a permanent dismemberment of the English- 
speaking race. The benefits of Independence to us have been 
as great as they are unquestionable; but they are not to be 
found in that attitude of hostility toward the mother country into 
which, by the errors of Cabinets, we have unavoidably been 
thrown. That is an evil and only an evil, for it has in no 
slight measure cut us off from the well-spring of our civiliza- 
tion and troubled the current of our orderly and polite develop- 
ment. The benefit is to be found in the closer union of the 
people of these States, a union never fully consummated until Lee 
gave up his sword at Appomattox. And to that consummation 
no man contributed more than Washington himself, for he forged 
the instrument by which that union was attained. 

In the midst of desperate fortune, preceding the victory of 

unve;iung of monumicnt at taylorsviIvLE 315 

Trenton, Washington, while wresthng with the difficulties of the 
present, was looking with wise providence to the future. Worn 
out by the fickleness of the militia, and distrustful of the tardy 
and reluctant succor of the State levies, he pled with Congress 
for permission to organize battalions on the authority of the 
United States. ^ At length the permission came, and Washington 
laid broad and deep the foundations of that noble Army of the 
Republic, whose valor and consecration have lent a new orna- 
ment to the dignity of the human race. On a thousand well- 
fought fields it has made manifest the devotion of a great and 
magnanimous people to the cause of freedom and of human right ; 
and it has never drawn its sword save in the effort to defend, ex- 
tend, consolidate and perpetuate the empire of liberty controlled 
by just and reasonable law. 

While we cherish all the priceless achievements of its heroism, 
as we meet to celebrate its feats of arms, let us remember that 
the victories of peace are even more precious than the vic- 
tories of war. 

It is true to-day as it was 3,000 years ago that "he that con- 
quereth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city." 

"The old Continentals in their ragged regimentals" were called 
upon to strike hard and to spare not. But it is ours to bind up 
the wounds of strife, and to take up again in charity and human- 
ity the august work of modern civilization. The great families of 
the Anglo-Saxon race belong together. We have a common 
origin, a common nature and a common destiny. The world 
loses by our contention, and gains when we are joined in helpful 

A general political union of all these widely-scattered groups 
may be neither possible nor desirable, but we have in our com- 
mon language an apt and ready instrument for the profitable in- 
terchange of thought. and service; we have the basis for closer 
contact in the substantial similarity of our moral, social and 
political ideals ; and we have in the noble and unrivaled literature, 
which is our joint heritage, a common inspiration to every exalted 
purpose and to every intelligent and righteous endeavor. 

In our relations with these kindred peoples we in the United 
States can cultivate to our own advantage that broad and intelH- 


gent sympathy which deals gently with shortcomings, and appre- 
ciatively with those traits which make up the dignity and strength 
of a sister nation. We can promote that social and intellectual 
commerce, and that industrial intercourse and exchange which 
unite the tribes of men in reciprocal assistance, until the coming 
in of the time, which we cannot now foresee, but \vhich we never- 
theless most fondly anticipate, "When the war drums shall be 
muffled and the battle flags be furled, in the parliament of man— 
the federation of the world." 

Washington's Crossing, Dedication of Monument at Taylorsville. 

(Taylorsville Meeting, October 15, 1S95). 

What could be more cheerless than the condition of the Con- 
tinental Army in December, 1776? Christmas day was approach- 
ing, but for them there was no holiday rejoicing. The weather 
was bitterly cold and their miserable clothing, which was scarcely 
sufficient to protect them in Autumn weather, left them exposed 
to the nipping frosts of early Winter. At night they lay down 
on these hillsides covered with snow, without so much as a blan- 
ket to shield them. In lieu of shoes they had bound their feet 
with rags. Suffering with cold and hunger, marching over the 
frozen ground with bleeding feet, this was the fate of the pa- 
triotic army which had been gathered for the purpose of resist- 
ing British tyranny in America. What then was left for these 
heroic men but to make one final struggle for liberty, to strike one 
last desperate blow and die? Across the Delaware, in the can- 
tonment of Trenton, preparations for the Christmas revel were in 
progress ; but on the Pennsylvania shore men grasped their flint- 
locks more closely in their chilled fingers and waited with stern, 
determined faces the next orders of their leader. 

The night shadows were creeping over the woods on Jericho 
hill and the road from Neeley's mill to Newtown. In the door- 
way of Samuel Merrick's house, on that well-traveled road, 
stood a general officer of Washington's army, listening to the 
distant ring of horse's hoofs on the frozen ground. A moment 




previous to 

he Battle of Trenton 

. Dec 14- E5. 1776. . 

Placed by Bucks Count}- Hi.storical Society, January i, 1897. 


On .south side of Jericho mountain, near Woodhill post-office in Upper Makefield 

township. Built by William Keith in 1763. Original hou.se still standing, but 

alterations and additions have been made by James T. Keith and Dr. 

William Paxson, subsequent owners. Purchased October 15, 1907, 

by Sigafoos & Poore, of Riegel.sville, Pa. 
(Half-tone engraving furnished by the Newtown Enterprise.) 


later, General Greene's expected guests drew rein before him 
and he saluted his Commander-in-Chief. General Washington 
was attended by an aide-de-camp, the gallant Cplonel Baylor, and 
six Philadelphia troopers as a body guard. He had ridden over 
from William Keith's house on the Brownsburg road, to General 
Greene's headquarters to be present on this Christmas eve at a 
council-of-war, to which he had called his leading commanders. 
A few moments after the arrival of Washington and his guard, 
a little group of officers were seen dismounting in the dooryard of 
the old stone house, and the courtly Stirling, the best dressed man 
in the army, the brave and deterrhined New Hampshire General 
Sullivan and the foreign adventurer, DeFermoy, were welcomed 
from the doorstep by General Greene. Then, at short intervals, 
came the experienced soldier, St. Clair, and the equally skilled 
Stephen, the devoted Virginian, Mercer, Colonel Sargent, of 
Massachusetts, and the sturdy mariner. Glover. 

After preparing supper for General Greene and his com- 
patriots, the Merrick family left the house to the exclusive use 
of the council. The meal had just been announced when Colonel 
Stark, tall and straight as an Indian, and Colonel Knox, the 
artillerist, were admitted. The Rev. Dr. Alexander McWhorter, 
of Newark, pronounced grace at the supper of this important 
gathering of American military heroes. 

When the frugal repast was over and the short Winter twilight 
had faded into darkness, the famous council began. No explana- 
tion was needed to tell these soldiers of the critical situation in 
which the American army was placed. Each fact which led up 
to their present unhappy predicament stood out before them with 
painful clearness. But what was to be done? The young repub- 
lic was already surrounded with clouds of doubt, disaster and 
defeat ! Some step must be taken promptly, some decisive blow 
struck, or their longed-for liberty as a people would be lost, per- 
haps forever. The Commander-in-Chief laid before them his 
fully-matured plan, so ingenious and yet so simple that all who 
read can grasp its military subtlety. To make the perilous 
crossing of the icy Delaware during the hours of darkness ; to 
creep on the unwary Hessian foe in Trenton when Christmas 
wines and Christmas revelry had relaxed their customary vig- 


ilance and made a dull watch ; to throw them into helpless confu- 
sion by the suddenness of the attack and by striking from three 
sides at once, this was the plan of action upon which Washington 
had decided as the bold stroke to retrieve his country's fallen for- 
tunes. The division of Colonel John Cadwalader, at Bristol, was 
to attack the cantonments of Colonel VonDonop, at Mount Holly, 
Black Horse and Bordentown ; the corps of General Ewing, of 
Pennsylvania, and General Dickinson, of New Jersey, were to 
cross at Trenton Landing, take position on the south side of the 
Assunpink creek and, if possible, to close up all avenues of escape 
or entrance of a reinforcement for the British troops in Trenton; 
at the same time Washington and the commanders present at the 
Council-of-war, with 2,400 of their best Continental soldiers would 
make the direct attack on the garrison town of Trenton. Colonel 
Stark, who was so soon to drive his country's foes "pell mell" 
through the streets of that village, "dealing death wherever he 
found resistance," gave the key-note to the evening's consultation, 
when he said, immediately after Washington had concluded : 
"Your men have too long been accustomed to place their depend- 
ence for safety upon spades and pick-axes, li you ever expect to 
establish the independence of these States, you must teach them 
to place dependence upon their fire-arms and courage." General 
Greene and General Sullivan spoke hearty words in commenda- 
tion of the scheme, and Lord Sterling, that brave and gouty 
Jerseyman, always ready to strike a blow at British rule in 
America, made some enthusiastic remarks on the importance of 
an immediate attack. Colonel Glover gave a sincere promise 
as to what his men would do, which promise he carried out faith- 
fully and successfully. "Now is the time to clip their wings," 
said Washington, "while they are so spread," and the plan in 
all its details was approved by these zealous military leaders. 
"Christmas day, at night, one hour before day, is the time 
fixed upon for the attack upon Trenton," General Washington 
wrote to his Adjutant General, Colonel Reed, at Bristol. 

So the memorable council dissolved, the horses were brought 
to the doorway and the little company rode away in the darkness. 

In every great enterprise, a crisis is sure to come ; it may be 
slight, unseen, easily surmounted, or it may be vital, fully recog- 


nized, requiring desperate exertions and fraught with tremendous 
results for good or ill. Such an hour had now arrived for the 
Continental army. The defeat on Long Island, the evacuation 
of New York, the capture of Fort Washington, the surrender 
of Fort Lee, the retreat through the Jerseys, and the near ap- 
proach of the expiration of the term of service of a large part of 
the army, had brought the young nation to the lowest depths of 
despair. In this desperate condition a blow must be struck im- 
mediately at the military power of Great Britain, or the cause 
of national freedom and unity in America would be irretrievably 
lost. The great Chieftain had no idea of abandoning a cause 
in which he had risked his fortune, his honor, and his life, and 
all men turned to him, blindly, hoping that in some way he could 
change the disaster and defeat into glory and victory. So, with 
a tranquil countenance, Washington moved about among his 
officers and men, inspiring them with his"^ own undaunted spirit 
and high sense of patriotic duty; impressing them with the 
belief, that sooner or later, he would bring them out of this 
depressing darkness into brightness, the glory of victory and an 
enduring national life. 

Early on Christmas morning, Washington issued his orders 
for the march to Trenton. Every detail had been carefully 
studied and each brigade commander knew exactly what was 
expected of him and his men. The position of each detachment 
on the march and in the attack was carefully given ; a profound 
silence was enjoined and death was the penalty to be meted out 
to any soldier who quit the ranks. Three days rations were 
cooked and every officer put a piece of white paper in his hat 
that he might readily be recognized in the gloom as an officer. 
The accoutrements were put in order, forty rounds of ammunition 
carefully packed and the troops destined for this expedition were 
ordered to parade over the hill back of McKonkey's ferry. 

On the first day of December, before leaving Brunswick for 
Princeton, Washington had dispatched Colonel Richard Hump- 
ton of the nth Regiment, Pennsylvania Continental line, to gather 
together all the boats on the Delaware river above and below 
the falls at Trenton. Colonel Humpton had called to his aid 
such well-known and skilled river men as Jacob Gearhart, Daniel 


Bray, Uriah Slack and Thomas Jones, and, with a zealous party 
of farmer boys, they had collected all boats of every descrip- 
tion in the upper-waters of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers. 
These boats, with those used at Howell's ferry and Beatty's 
ferry, on December 7th and 8th, to carry over the retreating 
army from Trenton to Bucks county, they hid behind the diick 
woods on Malta island and at the mouth of Knowles' creek, 
where they could not be seen from the New Jersey shore. Just 
before dark these boats were brought down some two miles to 
McKonkey's ferry. There were also rafts which had been made 
for the transportation of the artillery, and there was the long, 
canoe-shaped Durham boat, used especially for carrying iron from 
Oxford furnace, in Sussex (now Warren) county, New Jersey, 
and from the Durham iron works, in Durham township, of this 
county, and flour from John VanCampen's mill, at Minisink, to 
the market at Philadelphia. These boats were possibly named 
after Robert Durham, who built the first boat on the west 
bank at the mouth of the Durham cave, and were about forty 
feet long, painted black, and had an oar adjustable at either end 
for steering the boat. This was the best boat for the purpose 
of moving the troops across a swift river as it could carry a 
regiment of men at every trip. 

As early as two o'clock in the afternoon of Christmas day 
some of the regiments most remote from the ferry began to 
march, and in an hour thereafter all the troops ordered for this 
enterprise were moving toward the place of parade over the hill. 
The movements of these men over the light snow which had fallen 
could easily be traced by the blood which dropped from the feet 
of those who had no shoes. 

During the night of December 20th, which had been intensely 
cold, some of the upper branches of the river had entirely frozen 
over. All day Monday and Tuesday the current had been swift 
and nearly free from ice, but by noon on Wednesday, which was 
Christmas day, the river was full of floating cakes of ice, not 
very thick, but very troublesome to boatmen who wished to make 
a quick and direct crossing. The weather that night became even 
colder and more cheerless. Some snow and a good deal of hail 
and sleet fell and the darkness was almost impenetrable. 


In the meantime, while the patriot soldiers plodded with dogged 
determination through the snow, how was it at Trenton ? Gen-' 
eral Howe, the British Commander-in-Chief, had posted at Tren- 
ton three Hessian regiments, fifty Hessian Yagers and a few 
British lighthorse, in all about 1,400 -men. Since the I4tli of 
December they had occupied all the public buildings and were 
quartered in many of the private houses. They did some picket 
and guard duty, but the work to which they were looking forward; 
confident of success, was to cross the river as soon as it should be 
completely frozen over, take the capital-city of Philadelphia, 
and spend the remainder of the winter there, enjoying the gay 
and congenial society of the loyalists in what was then the most 
considerable commercial center in the country. Colonel Johann 
Gotlieb Rail, the senior officer at the post, afifected to make light 
of the army under Washington, calling it a lot of farmers who 
knew nothing about war and would surely run at the first attack 
of his veteran troops. On Christmas night there was a small 
alarm on the Pennington road outpost, but this was soon over 
and seemed only to make them more careless in their fancied 
security. They remembered how they had kept Christmas- 
tide in the Fatherland, and, although a great ocean separated 
them from Hesse, they proposed to have as great a frolic as the 
wine-cellars of the rich merchants of Trenton could afford. So, 
even after the alarm, they continued the revelry so imprudently 
begun. Colonel Rail himself joined a convivial party, and it 
was just before daylight the next morning when he reached his 
own quarters and his bed. General Washington knew the state 
of affairs in the village through his trusted spy, John Honeyman, 
and he was prepared to take advantage of the tempting situation: 

It was just at dusk, this cheerless Christmas night, when 
Washington, w^ith Colonel Henry Knox and the other members 
of his staff, came to the river bank, ready to give the order for 
the first boat to shove off. Sitting on his chestnut-sorrel horse, 
he dictated a letter to Colonel Cadwalader, at Bristol, telling 
him that, nrtwithstanding the c'iscouraging accounts he had re- 
ceive ! of what might be expected from all the operations below, 
he was determined to cross the river and attack Trenton in the 
morning, as the night promised to be dark and his movements 


would be concealed. With more impatience than he usually permit- 
ted himself to show, he heard an aide-de-camp of General Gates 
say that that officer had not assumed the command at Bristol, 
as he had desired, but had gone on to intrigue with the members 
of Congress at Baltimore in his own interest and contrary to the 
expressed wishes of his chief. He had left the post of duty, of 
danger and of honor. 

The hour for the crossing had arrived. Close to the Com- 
mander-in-Chief rode his true friend, Colonel Knox, and with 
stentorian voice he repeated the commands of Washington. A- 
bove the noise of the crunching ice, above the calling of the boat- 
men, louder than the voices of the drivers of the artillery horses, 
tlie orders of Knox resounded through the darkness and the storm. 
His services that night cannot be over-estimated. 

When the boats were shoved off from the Pennsylvania shore 
and had reached the swift current, the jagged cakes of ice struck 
them repeatedly, and severely, and it was with the greatest diffi- 
culty that they could be properly handled. The wind was high, and 
at 1 1 o'clock the air was filled with blinding snow. Then again, 
as once before, over the East river, after the battle of Long 
Island, and as he had promised at the council of war. Colonel John 
Glover, and his magnificent Marblehead regiment of sea-faring 
men did inestimable service in gui.'ing the army over the dark 
and angry river. 

Several years after the war, in adc'.ressing the Legislature of 
Massachusetts, General Knox used these words in reference to 
Colonel Glover's Regiment : 

"I wish the members of this body knew the people of Marblehead as well 
as I do. I could wish they had stood on the hanks of the Delaware river in 
1776, in that bitter nij^ht when ibe Commander-in-Chief had drawn up his 
little army to cross it and had seen the powerful current bearing onward the 
floating masses of ice which threatened destruction to whosoever should ven- 
ture upon its bosom. I wish that when this occurrence threatened to defeat the 
enterprise they could have heard that distinguished warrior's demand, 'Who 
will lead us on?' and seen the men of Marblehead, and Marblehead alone, 
Stand forward to lead the army along the perilous path to unfading glories 
and honor in the achievements of Trenton. There, sir. were the fishermen of 
Marblehead athomeupon land and water, alike ardent, patriotic and unflinch- 
ing, whenever they unfurled the flag of the country." 

The name of Captain John lUunt, a shipmaster, of Portsmouth, 


N. H. has come down the century to us as one of those who 
gave most efficient aid on that terrible night. The progenitors 
of some of the famihes represented here to-day figured in that 
noble band of volunteers from both sides of the river, who 
gave their skill an 1 strength to stemming the angry stream that 
bitter night. Tradition gives us the names of Phillips, Slack, 
Muirheid, Laning, Titus, Greene, Scudder, Guild, Inslee, and 
Woolsey. All honor to those heroes on that Christmas night 
of 1776. 

It ha ' been confidently expected that all the troops intended 
for that expedition, with the horses of the artillery and cavalry, 
the eighteen cannon and howitzers, could easily be transported 
over the river by midnight, and so leave the hours between 
twelve and five o'clock for the march to the village. But it was 
after three o'clock in the morning before the last man and the last 
gun had reached the New Jersey shore. It was then too late 
to strike the town in the early dawn, but General Washington 
was still determined to make the attack. The risk must be taken 
and he was fully resolved to capture the village and its Hessian 

The story of the surprise, the attack and the capture has been 
often told and need not be repeated here. The details of the 
march by the river and Pennington roads are known to you all. 
The ol ! clocks in Trenton struck the hour of eight as the sharp 
reports of the American rifles were heard north of the town and 
repeated near the river. Colonel Rail, not yet recovered from 
his midnight frolic, essayed to muster his gallant troops. They 
fell back before the irresistible dash of the men of General 
Greene's division; they lost their cannon, and their lea ler fell 
from his horse fatally wounded ; they retreated to the apple- 
orchard and tried to escape by the bridge and through the waters 
of the Assunpink creek. At this juncture, finding themselves 
surrounded, they surrendered, and the patriot army took possess- 
ion of nearly t,ooo men, as many rifles, six cannon and flags, and 
all the stores which the Hessians had collected. 

P)cfnre nine o'clock in the morning, the day, which had opened 
in glonm and secret despondency, had changed to one of bright- 
ness and hope and future glory. The "crisis" as proclaimed a week 


previous by Thomas Paine, the "time which tried men's souls" 
had passed to make way for glorious triumph. What matter- 
ed it then if the sleet cut their faces, and the wind whistled 
through their tattered regimentals, or the blood oozed from their 
frosted feet ; had not victory perched upon their banners ; had 
they not shown the veterans of European wars that they could 
be defeated and captured by the fire-lock in the sturdy arm of 
a true American? And so they minded not the nine mile march 
back again to McKonkey's Ferry, with their prisoners, the re- 
crossing of the river, the upsetting of the boats and the involun- 
tary swim in the icy waters. The next day a thousand men were 
unfit for duty. What mattered it, they were hero-victors all ! 
A river with a dangerous current had been crossed in the dark- 
ness ; a British post had been captured, and the turning point in 
the war had been passed. Glory, eternal glory, to the 2,400 
young men who crossed this perilous river on that memorable 
Christmas night. 

It is just and fitting, nay, it is a duty to mark in loving remem- 
brance the spots where great deeds have been enacted, or 
where great men have lived and died, and in this way to com- 
memorate to future ages the magnificent heroism of the men 
who sutTered that the nation might endure. By monuments 
alone can we fittingly rescue from oblivion the achievements of 
those who, in the hour of greatest trial, fought for personal 
liberty and national independence. So, to-day, in honor of the 
heroes who crossed the river on that wintry night, we have 
erected two monuments to mark the historic crossing, the one 
on the Pennsylvania and the other on the New Jersey shore, 
and we dedicate them both in the spirit of true patriotism. Let 
the recollection of the virtues of these soldiers and the record 
of their noble lives inspire us all to the latest generation, and 
then this great country, great in its constitution, great in its 
history, shall stand a monument to the ages, as long as the world 
endures, the home of an enlightened, a Christian, a liberty-loving 
people the "land of the free!" 

Washington's Crossing, Additional Historical Facts. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January i8, 189S). 

On October 15, 1895, there was dedicated in Taylorsville, 
under the auspices of the Bucks County Historical Society, a 
monument to commemorate the crossing of the Delaware river 
at that place by the army of General Washington, on Christmas 
night, 1776. On the same day a monument was erected on 
the New Jersey side of the river in commemoration of the 
same event. 

The principal orator was General Stryker, of Trenton, N. J., 
who delivered an able and interesting address appropriate to 
the occasion. That the address of General Stryker disclosed 
new historical facts and traditional information must be ad- 
mitted by those who heard him or read his interesting address ; 
yet nevertheless it failed to particularize in relation to certain 
matters which I have no doubt are interesting to the members 
of the Historical Society and to the public. I therefore submit 
the following facts more to supply omissions than to criticize 
the address : 

General Stryker informs us that the house of Samuel Mer- 
rick, in which Washington held a council of war, on Christmas 
eve in 1776, when preparing' his plans for the crossing of the 
river and his moving upon Trenton, was located on the road 
leading from Brownsburg to Newtown, but gives no further 
information as to the location of the house. The Merrick house 
is on what is now known as the O'Brien farm and now owned 
and occupied by Thomas Gray. It was at one time occupied by 
John Case. About 30 years ago Nathan Irwin built and occu- 
pied the present farm-house, but died about 25 years ago. 
The old Merrick house is less than two miles from the 
Keith house, where Washington then had his headquarters. 

General Stryker says : "Early on Christmas morning orders 
were given for this expedition to parade over the hills back 

326 Washington's crossing, additionai, historical facts 

of McKonkey's Ferry." This parading evidently must have 
taken place upon the lowland or level ground between the 
hills or rising ground and the river, as it is the only location 
near the ferry where the troops could manoeuvre. The road 
from the "Eagle"' then continued in a direct course from where 
it intersects the back river road to the ferry, upon which road 
was located a small log house which was occupied by General 
Washington as his headquarters while preparations for the 
crossing of the river were being made. This old house was on 
the farm owned by the late Thomas B. Lownes, and was con- 
sumed by fire some years ago. The stones used in the cellar 
walls were used in building the foundation upon which this 
monument is erected. 

Where the crossing took place is the best place to be found on 
the Delaware river anywhere, convenient to Trenton. Just above 
where McKonkey's Ferry was located there is a large island. 
Under this island a large eddy forms and extends the greater 
part over the river and the current is greatly broken, except 
as it passes around the easterly or New Jersey side of this is- 
land. Between this island and the New Jersey shore the current 
is always somewhat swift, but this swiftness does not extend 
tar below the island. This island caused the floating ice, dur- 
ing low water, in the river principally to pass down near the 
New Jersey shore. In crossing from Pennsylvania to New 
Jersey there would thus be a current and ice to obstruct the 
rafts and boats for about one-third the distance they had to 
traverse. By taking advantage of the eddy under the island the 
rafts and boats could have been poled or rowed up under the 
lee of the island and by proper handling given a good start 
into the current would have, with comparatively little difficulty, 
been landed at the ferry. The Durham boats used could not 
have met with much difficulty in crossing, as the ice v/ould 
be but little impediment to them, as by their weight and sharp- 
ness, bow and stern, they were much more steady and easier 
handled than the other boats used. These other boats were 
ferry boats and such boats as could be gathered for the occas- 
ion. The ferry boats, and the others, unless some of them were 
bateaux, and I suppose rafts also, were broad at the bow and 

Washington's crossing, additional historical facts 327 

would be liable to run upon the floating ice and thus impede 
their progress. But no boat used was more adapted to the 
purpose of crossing the horses and artillery than the broad and 
long ferry boat and the use of rafts would possibly indicate a 
lack of boats for crossing. The Durham boats were suitable 
for any purpose, or could have been made so. Large quan- 
tities of ammunition and supplies could be placed on them, on 
the bottom, and upon the top of this a large number of men 
could also be taken, and they were of much the greater value 
in the crossing. But still the crossing was difficult, though the 
greatest difficulty was no doubt caused by the darkness of the 
night and the approaching storm and not by the condition of 
the river. The crossing commenced early in the evening and 
continued until 3 o'clock the next morning. 

At II o'clock at night the storm commenced, at which time 
considerably more than one-half of the crossing must have 
been acomplished. This long time occupied in crossing must 
have been caused by the lack of a sufficient number of suitable 
boats and the use of unwieldy rafts for carrying the artillery. 
Although the distance from the place of crossing to Trenton 
was but eight miles the troops did not arrive there until about 
8 a.m., being about five hours going that distance. 

After the battle was won Washington returned to INIcKon- 
key's Ferry with his army bringing his prisoners with him, 
and all were crossed over to the Pennsylvania side of the river 
without much difficulty or delay. In a very few days the 
river must have been again crossed by the army, for on Jan- 
uary 2, 1777, we find Washington again in Trenton fighting 
what is called the second battle of Trenton, and on the day 
following the battle of Princeton took place. After all this 
Washington was soon back into Pennsylvania again with his 
army, and yet with all this crossing and recrossing little or no 
difficulty seems to have been experienced. All of this would 
indicate that the river was in a placid condition and not the 
wild perilous stream it has been represented to have been on 
Christmas night, 1776. 

At the time of the crossing there were no roads on the New 
Jersey side near the ferry as now located. The road now run- 

328 Washington's crossing, additional historical facts 

ning directly from the river then passed up by the old house, yet 
standing, a short distance above the ferry, and near the monu- 
ment erected in October, 1895, on the New Jersey side of the 
river, and was the then road leading to Pennington and was 
the road taken by the troops until they reached the road lead- 
ing to Trenton which they followed south. This old house was 
then a hotel at which tradition says Washington took refresh- 
ments after crossing the river. 

The records in Doylestown show that the McKonkeys dis- 
posed of their holding at Taylorsville, within about two years 
after the crossing. John AlcConkey conveyed 13 1/4 acres to 
Benjamin Taylor on April 22, 1777, one acre of which is now 
part of my farm and upon which the farm-house stands. 

William McKonkey conveyed 150 acres to George Bennett 
on December 4, 1778, fifty acres of which now constitute all of 
my farm except the one acre referred to on the western side of 
the road running through the farm, and upon which are located 
the barn and other out-buildings. The other 92 acres are now 
owned by Edward Kell. who resides thereon. The McKonkeys 
seem to have left the neighborhood soon after disposing of their 
property, as a person by the name of Tomlinson came into 
possession of the ferry about that time and continued to operate 
it until the building of the bridge at Taylorsville in 1833, when 
it became known as Tomlii^ison's Ferry. 

Daniel Boone, A Native of Bucks County. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 21, 1896). 

Perhaps no native of Bucks county has been more celebrated 
than Daniel Boone. In his day and for a long period after- 
wards his fame was widely spread through our country. As 
a pioneer, hunter, explorer of regions untrodden by white men, 
and forerunner of civilization, he was surpassed by none, who 
more than a hundred years ago made their way to the path- 
less regions of the West. He was born in February, 1735, 
of English parentage, his grandfather, George Boone, having 
emigrated from Exeter, England, in 171 7, with his wife and a 
large family of children. Daniel's father, Squire Boone, 
(Squire being a Christian name and not a title) in 1728 bought 
T40 acres of land in New Britain township of Thomas Shute, 
of Philadelphia, on which property it is probable that the noted 
son came into life seven years later. 

When he was about ten or twelve years old the family removed 
to Berks county, and located near Reading. That part of the 
country was then sparsely settled, large tracts were covered with 
unbroken forests, game was abundant, and in his boyhood he 
formed and strengthened the taste for hunting, which subse- 
quently characterized him. After remaining there six or seven 
years his father, encouraged no doubt by Daniel, went to the 
still more primitive region of central North Carolina, and bought 
a property not far from the Yadkin river. Here was a field for 
the young man to cultivate his love of nature, to see her in 
her wildest aspect, and to roam over mountain, hill and valley, 
rifle in hand. While in that locality he married Rebecca Bryan, 
and pursued the occupation of a farmer several years ; but in 
1 761 becoming restless he joined a band of congenial spirits, 
crossed the Blue Ridge, and explored the head waters of the 
Tennessee river. A similar expedition followed three years later, 
along the sources of the Cumberland. 

330 DANiEiv boone;^ a native of bucks county 

These tours increased the desire, which had been awakened 
in his mind, to throw off the restraints of artificial civiHzation 
and to find a home, where the luxurious usages of refined 
society would no longer incommode him, and where inequali- 
ties of wealth and station would be little regarded. In 1767 a 
man, who had been far into the western wilderness, returned 
and depicted in glowing colors the beauty of the region known 
as Kentucky, its grand forests, undisturbed hunting grounds 
and fertile soil. 

Boone at once formed a resolution to visit it, and if the ac- 
counts were true, to cast his lot there. Two years elapsed, 
however, before he could so arrange his affairs as to make 
protracted absence from home possible. In 1769 a party of six 
hardy frontiersmen was formed, who placed themselves under 
his leadership and set out on the first of May for the almost 
unknown territory south of the Ohio. Their journey was toil- 
some and dangerous. The Indians, though nominally subject 
to Great Britain, were hostile to white men, jealous of their en- 
croachments and disposed to take their lives or force them back 
east of the mountains. The travelers moved along their lone- 
ly way, under the leafy arch above them, with little food but 
that which their rifles provided, five weeks. On the 7th of 
June they reached an elevated spot, from which they beheld 
a wide prospect of the valley of the Kentucky river and its 
tributaries. There they determined to erect cabins, and from 
this as a central point, hunt the buffalo and make extensive ex- 
plorations. Several months passed away in these agreeable em- 

When winter came, having seen no Indians, though contin- 
ually on the watch for them, they separated into three parties, 
Boone and a single companion, whose name was Stewart, re- 
maining together. On the 22nd of December these two men 
were surprised by the savages, robbed of all their valuables, and 
held prisoners a week, when they contrived to elude the vigi- 
lance of their captors and escape by night. 

In January, Daniel's brother, Squire Boone, and another hun- 
ter from North Carolina, arrived, bringing tidings of their 
families and welcome additions to their diminishing supplies 


of powder and lead. It was not long before they were again 
attacked by Indians. Stewart was shot and scalped, the man 
who came with Squire was lost in the woods and the two 
brothers were left alone in the boundless forest. In the spring 
Squire went home for supplies, and Daniel continued with no 
companion, without bread, salt or sugar, taking care of and 
adding to their furs, until the middle of summer, when the 
solitary exile was cheered by his brother's return. During 
the following autumn and winter they explored other parts of 
Kentucky and found it most attractive and desirable for a per- 
manent abode. 

In March, 1771, they packed their horses with valuable pel- 
try and retraced their steps eastward across the Alleghenies 10 
Yadkin. Daniel had been away from his family two years, 
in which he had seen no human being but his few com- 
panions and hostile savages. In spite of the dangers crafty and 
treacherous foes presented, he determined to emigrate to the 
new country as soon as he could sell his farm and properly 
arrange his business. This was accomplished in about two 
years, and in the fall of 1773 he and his brother, with their fami- 
lies, turned their faces toward the setting sun. On the way 
they were joined by five families and forty armed men, and thus 
strengthened they moved forward cautiously but with new 
courage. They had reached a valley near the southeast corner 
of Virginia, when they were suddenly attacked by Indians. 
Six of the party were killed, among whom was James Boone, 
Daniel's son and they were compelled to retreat forty miles to 
the Clinch river. 

Deeming it unsafe to penetrate further into the haunts of 
the aborigines that season, they remained in that locality till 
Tune, 1774. Boone was then requested by Governor Dunmore 
to go to Kentucky and conduct on their route home a party 
of government surveyors. This enterprise was successfuly car- 
ried through, m which he was occupied two months and traveled 
on foot 800 miles. His reputation for shrewdness, caution and 
daring in border' warfare was now fully established, and he was 
chosen to command, with the rank of captain, three separate 
garrisons of soldiers in outposts for the defence of the frontier 


against the Shawnees and other alhed tribes. He fought and 
defeated those marauding and merciless foes in several battles and 
drove them to their wigwams north of the Ohio. In 1775 he was 
engaged by the Transylvania Company to open a road between 
the Holston and Kentucky rivers. The danger of meeting 
stealthy and enraged savages was imminent at every step, but 
the work was energetically pushed forward and completed, and 
in April a fort and incipient town were built on the Kentucky 
and named Boonesborough. Harrodsburg was founded soon 
after, and the permanent occupation of the territory by civ- 
ilized man was begun. In a few months he removed his fam- 
ily to the new settlements, and his wife and daughters were 
the first white females ever seen on the banks of the Kentucky. 
About a year after their arrival one of his daughters and two of 
her companions one afternoon went rowing on the river. They 
amused themselves for some time dashing the water with their 
paddles, and failed to observe that they were being drifted by the 
current toward the shore opposite their home. But sharp eyes 
were watching them from the bushes, and as they floated nearer, 
five Indians seized the canoe, drew it out of view of the fort, 
and carried off its light hearted occupants prisoners. Their 
cries for help aroused the garrison, but Boone and Callaway, 
the fathers of the two girls, were absent, and nothing decisive 
could be done for their rescue that night. On the return of the 
men late in the evening preparations were made to pursue their 
captors next morning, and we may imagine, that little sleep 
was taken by their anxious parents, as the hours of darkness 
slowly rolled away. Ere the sun was up a party of armed men 
was on the trail of the savages, and followed it with so much 
rapidity, that they overtook them about midday, as they were 
about to cook a meal. So sudden was the attack that the wily 
foe was surprised and overpowered, before they had time to 
kill their prisoners, as was their custom in similar circumstances. 
Boone was a skillful military commander as well as a suc- 
cessful hunter. During the whole of the Revolutionary War the 
British incited the Indians to acts of murder and rapine along 
the border, and he was employed with his command much of 
the time, especially in 1777, in defending the settlers. Inter- 


course with the eastern part of the country was infrequent and 
attended with great difficulty. Many of the comforts and all 
of the luxuries of life were extremely scarce. Even salt was 
not to be had for weeks or months. There were salt springs 
at a place called the ''Blue Licks," where deer, elk, and buffalo 
were wont to resort to obtain it, and it might be made there 
by the slow process of boiling, but at the peril of nocturnal 
incursions of sneaking redskins. To secure this almost indis- 
pensable article Boone formed and commanded a party in the 
dead of winter 1778, who proceeded to the saline springs and 
had been there a month when, being a little distance from camp, 
he was surrounded and captured by a hundred Indians. Thor- 
oug-hly acquainted with Indian customs, in a short time he won 
their regard to such an extent as to gain favorable terms for 
his party, whose lives were to be spared and they were to be 
treated as prisoners of war. He was taken to Detroit, then 
under British control, and was honorably received by the com- 
mander of the district, but strictly watched. Sharp as the 
savages, he resolved to escape, and with this in view asked 
to be adopted into the tribe, suffered his hair to be pulled outi 
except the lock on top of his head, and was painted like a 
brave. He was allowed at certain times to hunt, and often 
returned to his "durance vile," making no attempt to leave. 
But after being with the dusky warriors five months he went 
one day with his rifle into the woods, and when out of sight 
started for his home, 160 miles distant. 

With no guide but the sun and stars, he had little fear of los- 
ing his way, and was anxious only about crossing the Ohio, 
as he was not an adept at swimming. When he came to the river, 
after some searching, he found an old canoe, in which he got 
safely over, and reached Boonesborough in five days from the 
time he set out. All his friends supposed he had perished, 
and his wife and children, under that idea, had returned to 
North Carolina. He warned the garrison that they would soon 
be attacked, and the fort was immediately put into the best 
possible state of defence. Not without reason, for in a few 
weeks nearly 500 Indians under British officers appeared and 
began a siege. Ere long they called upon the intrepid hero to 


surrender. He refused and bid them do their worst. A furious 
attempt was made to storm the fort, but it was repulsed with 
bravery and success, though the defenders numbered less than 
a sixth part of the assailants, and the enemy, after a loss of 
nearly forty killed and many more wounded became disheart- 
ened, and filed off to the north. For his eminent services in 
the late military operations Boone was promoted to be major. 
About this time he went to North Carolina to join His family, 
from whom he had been separated almost a year. 

In 1779 he sold his property and invested the proceeds in 
Continental money, then passing at a heavy discount, intend- 
ing to convert it into land-warrants, and to locate them m Ken- 
tucky. Others with a similar purpose intrusted to him large 
sums, having perfect confidence in his integrity. Nor did he 
betray his trust, but on his way to Richmond, where the sessions 
of commissioners to adjudicate western land titles were held, 
he was robbed of the whole, amounting to about $20,000. If 
this unfortunate reverse had not occurred, he would have be- 
come a large proprietor of real estate in one of the most fertile 
parts of the Union. 

He returned with his family to Boonesborough in 1780. Dur- 
ing that summer, while hunting with one of his brothers, the 
latter was killed and scalped by Indians, and he himself came 
near meeting the same fate. A body of militia formed to 
chastise the prowling foe, advanced into their neighborhood, 
and in spite of his earnest remonstrances were enticed into an 
ambuscade and attacked. In the engagement he lost a son, and 
another brother was wounded. About that time he was raised 
to the rank of Colonel. 

For ten years after the close of the Revolutionary struggle 
he was occupied in agriculture and occasional hunting. In 1792, 
when Kentucky was admitted into the Union, and the legality 
of claims to real estate was investigated, his titles were declared 
invalid and he was reduced to penury. He was now about 
sixty years old, and had spent the best part of his life in ex- 
ploring that magnificent inheritance and repelling the incursions 
of barbarous tribes, yet he was destitute of an acre he could 
call his own. He became embittered against officers and courts. 


that are often used by the unscrupulous and grasping to de- 
fraud the unwary, and determined to place himself where he 
would be less likely to suffer from a similar cause. His hopes 
turned towards Missouri and in 1795 he removed to the Osage 
river fifty miles west of St. Louis. That country then be- 
longed to Spain and was frequently called Upper Louisiana. 
Col. Boone was everywhere known as an able officer and a 
shrewd manager of Indian affairs, and in 1800 he was appointed 
commander of the Osage district, and as a compensation for 
his services in that capacity he was allotted 8,500 acres of rich 
land near the Missouri river. But it was necessary that he 
should appear before the Spanish Commissioner in New Orleans 
and have his title ratified by the highest authority. He put 
off attending to the matter from day to day, and finally neglected 
it altogether, and lost a baronial manor which would have en- 
riched himself and his children. When he left Kentucky he 
was not only poor, but in debt, and though several hundred 
miles from his former home, he had no disposition to avoid 
paying his creditors. Farming, then as now, brought little 
money. The only source from which he could secure cash, 
was from furs obtained by hunting, and in this for several 
years he had meagre success. At length by getting a consider- 
able supply of fine peltry his purse was moderately replenished, 
and he made a trip to Boonesborough, paid all persons the 
sums they said he owed them, and made his way back to the 
Osage with but half-a-dollar in his pocket. Then he declared 
he was ready to die content. 

In 181 2, when yy years old, he had a claim to 850 acres of 
land, the title to which was defective, and he was in danger of 
losing it. Missouri was then in the area of the U. S.j and a 
petition was presented to Congress, recommended by the Leg- 
islature of Kentucky, and supported by many influential men, 
that the possession of this tract should be confirmed to him. 
In view of his valor and courage, and the toilsome and peril- 
ous labors he had gone through in defence of the infant settle- 
ments of the Mississippi valley, favorable action was taken and 
the request was granted, a token that Republics are not always 
ungrateful. This property he enjoyed ten years until the close 


of his life, which took place in 1822, in his 88th year. He was 
laid to rest beside his wife, who died seven years previously, in 
a cofifin, which he had provided for himself, and which he kept 
under his bed, perhaps with a desire to follow the precept, "Me- 
mento Mori." A large number of children, grandchildren and 
other descendants to the fifth generation followed his remains 
to the grave. 

Francis Parkman in his interesting volume, "The Oregon 
Trail," says that he was furnished in 1846 witli a horse by his 
"friend Mr. Boone of Westport, a grandson of Daniel Boone, 
the pioneer." And when the author had advanced in his tour 
far toward the Rocky Mountains, he states that he overtook a 
party of emigrants on their way to the Pacific Coast. I quote 
his language : 

" Conspicuous among the rest stood three tall young :men, grandsons of 
IJaniel Boone. They had clearly inherited the adventurous character of 
that prince of pioneers, but I saw no signs of the quiet and tranquil spirit 
that so remarkably distinguished him. Fearful was the fate that months 
after overtook some of the members of that party. General Kearney on his late 
return from California brought back their story. They were interrupted by 
the deep snows among the mountains and, maddened by cold and hunger, 
fed upon each others' flesh." 

Whether any or all of those three young men perished in that 
way, we are not informed. 

A portrait of Col. Daniel Boone, which now adorns the 
walls of the State House, in Frankfort, Kentucky, was painted 
by Chester Harding, an eminent American artist, about two years 
before the veteran's death. It was long deemed appropriate by 
the citizens of Kentucky that a monument should be erected to 
his memory in the Capital of the State, of which he was one 
of the principal founders, and in 1845 this was accomplished, 
and the bodies of himself and his wife were removed from Mis- 
souri and deposited in the cemetery of that city with imposing 

Col. Daniel Boone was a noble man, of whom the country that 
gave him birth may well be proud. Many cities contended for 
the honor of the nativity of Homer, and we may be congratulated 
that one so brave, energetic, persistent and patriotic comliienced 
his career among us in Bucks county. His education was limited. 


but he possessed a strong- mind and commanded a powerful in- 
fluence wherever he went. 

The minute forms of a highly developed social and leg-al system 
were repugnant to him, yet he had few if any superiors in the 
virtues that adorn the head of a family or constitute a worthy 
citizen. As a husband and father he was beyond reproach. Sub- 
tle and cunning in warfare with the savages, he was too unsus- 
pecting and guileless in his dealings with civilized men. Perfectly 
honest, he wronged no man but often suffered himself to be 
wronged. To no one are the exploration and settlement of our 
country west of the Alleghenies and south of the Ohio more 
indebted than to the hero, Daniel Boone. 

The Battle of Fair Oaks. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 21, 1S96). 

As our wonderful war for the Union was closed almost a third 
of a century ago, and has passed into history, the paper I present, 
"The Story of a Battle," is pertinent to the occasion. 

And what is a battle ? Who can fully realize it, without having 
been actually present and engaged in such a conflict, and looked 
upon the awful surroundings? 

Not one ! 

As a matter of fact a battle is the transforming of human 
beings, created in the image of their Maker, into brutes and sav- 
ages ; it arouses their fiercest passions, and, when the combatants 
are fully warmed up to their work they have no other thought 
but to kill. 

This seems impossible to those who have always lived within 
the influence of Christian civilization, where the tenderest emo- 
tions of the soul are brought out ; nevertheless it is true, and my 
statement is only the epitome of a battle in a few lines. 

To paint the picture as I have it on my mind, I'll reproduce, 
as near as I can, what I saw at "Fair Oaks," the first great battle 
in front of Richmond. But, before doing this, permit me to 
occupy a few paragraphs in conducting my regiment to the scene 
of conflict. 


The 104th regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers left Doyles- 
town nearly 1,000 strong, November 6, 1861, for Washington, 
where it became part of the Army of the Potomac, and there 
passed the Winter. It took the field in the early Spring of 1862 
and participated in the campaign on the Peninsula. It bore its 
part in the siege of Yorktown ; was present at Williamsburg ; 
joined in the pursuit of the retreating enemy, meeting and ac- 
cepting all the vicissitudes of the service, and halted the morning 
of May 21, 1862, with the Fourth Corps, within a mile and a 
half of the Chickahominy. That evening it crossed this historic 
stream, by order of General McClellan, to go on picket, being 
the first infantry regiment on the enemy's side of the river ; and, 
within the next twenty-four hours, it crossed and recrossed that 
stream six times. 

On May 24th the 104th regiment led Naglee's brigade in a 
reconnoissance toward Richmond, meeting the enemy near Savage 
station and defeating him after a spirited action, and on the 26th 
established itself at Fair Oaks, within five miles of the Confed- 
erate Capital, whose steeples were in plain view from the tree 
tops. We occupied the picket line without shelter of any kind, 
and held it to the 31st, the day the battle was fought. The 
regiment changed its location a few hundred yards to the north, 
two days previous, the men pitching their shelter tents in a piece 
of timber, from which the bushes had been cleared. The "Nine 
Mile" road ran in front of the camp, and the field and stafif 
occupied a log cabin on it. I propose telling you what came within 
my own observation and disclaim all personal knowledge of what 
took place over a wide field on which many thousands of men 
were engaged in deadly conflict. Some profess to know it all. 
I make no such pretensions. 

There was a heavy storm the night before the battle, and the 
flash of lightning, crash of thunder and pouring rain seemed like 
a war of the elements prophetic of the terrible conflict of the 
morrow. The country was flooded. That evening Company F 
was put on picket and Company E in the morning, leaving but 
eight companies with the colors. Saturday was clear and sultry, 
and the forenoon unusually quiet. In camp the men were lolling 
in the shade, and at my quarters. Captain Cries was occupied 


replenishing our mess-chest — for the enemy. About ten o'clock 
an aide of Gen. Joe Johnston passed through my camp a prisoner 
from the picket Hne, and, about eleven, three shells from the 
enemy's lines fell within our camps, but we thought nothing of 
it at the front. In the meantime, however, suspicions were arous- 
ed; the troops were forming and the artillery horses harnessed. 

Our headquarters mess had just finished dinner and were dis- 
cussing the campaign in front of our cabin, when an aide of 
General Casey dashed up with an order to have the regiment under 
arms immediately. It was in line in a few minutes. This was a lit- 
tle after twelve. We did not expect a battle, thinking it an ordinary 
alarm. Shortly after I received an order to march the regi- 
ment nearer the Williamsburg road to support a battery. This 
was but a short distance, and we formed on the battery's right 
in a piece of timber. We were next ordered to advance two 
hundred yards into a clearing, where the line was quickly reform- 
ed and dressed as on parade. We were now ready for work, 
but could see nothing of the enemy. At this time my own regi- 
ment was the only force at the front on this part of the field, and 
was the first to receive the shock of the enemy. 

It is the general impression that armies go out to fight decked 
in all the "pomp, parade and circumstance of glorious war," as 
we see it represented in pictures, but it is far from the truth. 
Men need not to be dressed in finery to be killed, and they seem 
to realize it, for they generally divest themselves of every useless 
article. They frequently go to the field without their coats and 
sometimes with their sleeves rolled up. My regiment wore 
trousers and blue blouses, and carried Austrian rifles that would 
kill at a thousand yards. A reliable gun, plenty of ammunition 
and a stout heart are the most needful equipments. A battle^ 
is no dress parade affair. 

Soon after forming our line in the clearing, the enemy was 
seen in the edge of the timber in front, and began coming out in 
great numbers, firing as they advanced. Bullets began to fall in 
our ranks, coming with a whizzing, hissing sound, increasing 
every moment. The regiment stood in line, and had not fired a 
shot. The men were restive. Thinking the time to open fire had 
come, I ordered them to load, followed by "Ready," "Aim.". At 


this moment, Sergeant Major Wallazz, a former pupil of "Stone- 
wall" Jackson, came running up and said, "Let me say fire?" I 
assented ; he gave the word, and 400 bullets were discharged into 
the masses of the enemy in our front, within point blank range. 
This was the first volley, and gave notice throughout the army 
that the battle had begun. It must be borne in mind that, while 
these preliminaries were going on, my regiment stood alone, with- 
out any support. 

Other troops were soon in position, and the action became 
general, both sides loading and firing as rapidly as possible. 
My men began to fall, killed and wounded ; the former lying 
where they fell, many of the latter walking, and others being 
carried off the field. The fire grew hotter and hotter, but the 
men stood up to their bloody work as cheerfully as on dress 
parade. They were cool, and there was no flinching. They 
stood in an old clear-up furrow, and there the cartridge papers 
lay by the basket full. During the hottest of the firing one of 
my men, a strapping big fellow, called out to me, "Do you see 
that Colonel, they have put a bullet through my canteen and the 
water is running out." He was told to attend to his work and 
not mind it. Our right rested on the timber, and seeing a move- 
ment of the enemy to flank us in that direction. Companies A 
and B, Captain Rogers and Lieutenant Kephart, were pushed into 
the woods to prevent it. 

We had now been under fire more than an hour ; our line had 
been well maintained, but many men had fallen. The enemy was 
pressing us in front and on the flank and threatened the battery 
we were supporting. At this crisis the men were ordered to fix 
bayonets and charge. They sprang forward, with a tremendous 
yell, about one hundred yards across a piece of ground covered 
with low bushes, one-half of the regiment jumping over a worm- 
fence, the color-bearers planting the flags in the soft ground, and 
laying down by them. This was on the enemy's side of the fence. 
Fire was re-opened and the enemy checked for a short time. It 
was fool-hardy, but had the desired effect. Seeing we must re- 
linquish our ground unless reinforced, an officer was sent to Gen- 
eral Casey with the request that he send us a regiment. The 
officer passed twice between the fire of the two armies and re- 
turned unhurt. This gallant deed was done by Lieut. Ashenfel- 


ter. About this time a large white flag, with a black square in 
the middle, appeared in the enemy's ranks. Some of our men, 
thinking it a flag of truce, asked what should be done, and 
were told to fire at it as rapidly as possible. A volley brought 
down the bearers, but it was immediately seized and raised by 
another. Soon after they raised another flag, a white cross 
with stars on a blue field. Many of their men had white mus- 
lin tied round their hats. 

The regiment had been in action nearly three hours, and 
nearly one-third of the men had fallen ; the promised re-inforce- 
ments not arriving, we could hold our ground no longer. 
There was no order to retire ; the men were literally pushed 
back by the superior force of the enemy. Individual soldiers 
on the other side came near enough to strike my men with 
their muskets. The regiment retired slowly and sullenly, 
neither officers nor men running. When it retired the enemv 
was pressing it in front and on both flanks, and in a few min- 
utes, our retreat would have been cut off. He was already 
shooting down our battery horses some distance in the rear 
of our line of battle. The guns had been previously hauled off 
and saved. Many of our men, after emptying their own cartridge 
boxes, got 'a fresh supply from the boxes of their dead and 
wounded companions lying around them. The rifles were dis- 
charged so often the barrels burned their hands, and the 
grooves were so furred I saw some of my men place the ram- 
rod against a tree to force a cartridge home. 

One of the most gallant things I ever witnessed was the 
rescue of one of the flags at Fair Oaks- — that presented by the 
ladies of Bucks county. You will recall the charge of the reg- 
iment, its entanglement with a low worm-fence and the plant- 
ing of the two flag staffs in the soft ground on the enemy's side 
of the fence, where the fighting was renewed and continued 
until we were forced to retire. 

In the confusion and excitement of retiring one flag was 
left on the enemy's side of the fence and they made a bold 
effort to capture it. I ordered those nearest not to retire with- 
out bringing the flag, when Major Gries, Orderly Sergeant 
Myers and Color Sergeant Pursell sprang for it. The enemy, 


seeing the movement, rushed for the flag at the same time. 
Purcell, who had already secured his own flag, with it in his 
hand, jumped over the fence, seized the other and pulled it 
from the ground. The enemy were not quick enough and lost 
the coveted prize. 

As Pursell mounted the fence to return, with both flags in 
his hands, he was struck by a bullet and knocked over, carry- 
ing the flags with him. Regaining his feet, he handed one flag 
to Sergeant Myers, and started to the rear with the other, but, 
becoming faint from loss of blood he gave it to Corporal Mich- 
ener, who brought it off in safety. Both flags were delivered 
to the regiment that evening after the battle and received the 
most cordial welcome. The three prominent actors in the little 
drama were all wounded — Major Gries and Sergeants Pursell 
and Myers — the Major dying a few days afterward. The 
government recognized the gallantry of Sergeant Pursell bv 
presenting to him a medal of honor. This is but a single epi- 
sode of gallantry among thousands that occurred during our 
great war. 

While the battle was raging in our immediate front, on our 
left, two or three hundred yards away, other portions of our 
division were sustaining an equally stubborn contest. Gen- 
eral Casey, our division commander, was a conspicuous figure 
sitting on a large iron-gray horse on the Williamsburg road, 
apparently as unconcerned as if it were an ordinary field day. 
In this direction the country was open a short distance, but 
on our right and rear all movements were obscured by bushes 
and timber. The din of battle from the constant firing of can- 
non and smaii arms was almost deafening. When the regiment 
fell back a number of our wounded men were left on the field, 
and some twenty of them were found the following Monday 
morning in a small house to the left of our last line of battle. 
They had crawled or had been carried there by some of their 

Chaplain Gries rendered valuable assistance to the wounded, 
our medical officers both being absent. He remained at the 
camp, and dressed the wounds of the men, as he had paid some 
attention to the healing art, he was not entirely without ex- 


perience. He saved many men from falling- into the enemy's 
hands. Seizing three ambulances he loaded them with the 
wounded, including his own brother, and sent them to Savage 
station, a mile in the rear of the battlefield. There he took 
possession of the kitchen and out-buildings, also the barn and 
carriage house, which he filled with wounded as fast as they 
arrived. The cows were turned out of their stables, which 
were cleansed and bedded with cornfodder. There, many 
wounded spent the night and the Chaplain was occupied until 
nearly midnight dressing the wounds. Many of the wounded, 
however, lay in the rain all night, several dying before morning. 

When the regiment fell back from the first line to the second 
it was by squads and single files, and, in doing so, we lost 
several officers and men. Lieut. McDowell was killed at that 
time. He was shot dead while talking to Captain Pickering, 
fell on his face and was left lying there. He was stripped by 
the enemy. Captains Corcoran and Swartzlander and Lieuten- 
ants Hendrie and Ashenfelter were wounded on the second line. 
Ashenfelter had a little adventure in getting to the rear that was 
not down on the bills. He was shot in the ankle and taken to 
a cabin in the woods, where he spent the night. There he 
was joined by a couple of young surgeons, who, supposing him 
to be asleep, were overheard talking about cutting off his 
foot, one of them remarking that it would be a "nice operation". 
The Lieutenant now let himself be heard, saying, as he would 
have to be a party to the operation, his consent would have 
to be obtained, wdiich could not be had while his sword 
w^as able to do duty. This closed the professional aspirations 
of these young sawbones in that direction. Lieut. Ashenfelter 
died of that wound many years after. It might have been 
better for him had these young doctors taken the case in hand. 

I was on foot, as my horses had been sent to the rear when 
the battle opened, and, as we had to fall back through the 
slashing, my movement was difficult. I wore a pair of Mex- 
ican spurs, with long rowels which caught in the faggots at 
almost every step, and, at times I could hardly keep my feet. 
I walked into a battery just unlimbered and on the point of 
firing, and had to ask them to hold their fire until I could 


get out of their way. When I reached my own camp about 
300 yards in the rear of where my regiment had done its 
fighting, I found there some fifty of my men and a few officers, 
and my headquarters cabin was filled with wounded. The men 
fit for duty were collected on the left of the 23d Pa. under 
Major Ely, but the fire of the enemy soon became so warm, 
and being outflanked, we were forced to retire. About sun- 
down the regiment, some 150 strong, assembled at the rifle-pits 
near the field hospital a mile in the rear of where the battle had 
begun. The organization had been tolerably well maintained, 
and here the flags were delivered to it. The battle was now 
over, the weary lay down to rest and the wounded to die. The 
regimental wagons were saved by the quartermaster sending 
them to the rear when the firing began, but the camp equipage, 
baggage and personal effects of the officers and men fell into 
the enemy's hands. 

The result of the battle left the regiment in a very forlorn 
condition. Both officers and men lost all their clothing ex- 
cept what they had on their backs. Every camp utensil was 
gone but their tin cups, and in these the men had to do their 
cooking until a new supply was obtained. The loss of com- 
rades and reaction from the great mental and physical strain had a 
very depressing effect, and it required considerable effort to be 
cheerful. The depression was aggravated by bad weather. But this 
gradually passed oft". On Sunday a few men supposed to be 
killed or wounded reported for duty, and the old routine and 
discipline were re-established. 

There is a humane side to war, despite the blood and car- 
nage of battle — a silver lining, as it were — and it is evidence 
they do not entirely rob men of their finer feelings. The night 
of the battle the enemy occupied my headquarters cabin, and 
it was ■ filled with his and our wounded. All concur that 
they treated our men with kindness. Among the uninvited 
guests was General Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia. He assisted 
a surgeon in amputating the leg of one of my men on my 
handsome Mexican blanket, which was ruined. He treated our 
wounded to some fine wines and other liquors our mess re- 
ceived just before the call to arms, and the contents of our 


well-filled mess-chest, which Captain Gries arranged in the 
morning, supplied them with rations until removed on Mon- 
day. The enemy carried a number of our wounded to the shade 
of an old building nearby and supplied them with crackers 
and water. Corporal Solly reported that he was carried off 
the field by order of a Confederate colonel. 

An occasional incident relieves the harsher features of war. 
When the regiment was called to arms, the owner left his pet 
coon in camp, securing him by running a sergeant's sword 
through a ring in the chair and then into the ground to the 
hilt; when the owner returned to claim his property, it was 
gone, and never heard of afterward. A pet cat was more for- 
tunate ; it, too, was left in camp, but survived the day ; lived 
to complete the campaign on its owner's knapsack, and died 
in tranquility at Gloucester Point, Va. The regiment had 
drawn a ration of whiskey that morning, but it was not issued, 
and as one of the cooks was thought to be over-fond of it, 
a drummer boy was left in camp to watch it. When the 
bullets began whistling unpleasantly near the cook, he thought the 
rear was the post of honor, whither he fled at double-quick; 
and the drummer followed his example, for a bullet having gone 
through the bucket there was no longer any whiskey for him 
to watch. 

In the forenoon a soldier and a drummer-boy were reported 
for fighting, and by way of punishment they were tied to a 
tree : but, when the regiment was called to arms, they were 
released and sent to their companies. Both went into action 
and the soldier was one of the first to be killed. As a rule 
the line officers used rifles in action, and some of the drummers 
did the same. 

Nothing is sadder or more revolting than a battle-field after 
the struggle is over ; it shocks every sensibility ; while the fight 
is on, with body and mind fully occupied, and the fiercest pas- 
sions aroused, there is no time to seriously contemplate the 
surroundings ; but after it is all over and the passions have 
had time to cool, if one visits such scene of strife and looks 
upon the work he has been engaged in, he will then fullv realize 
the brutality of war, and what an awful thing a battle really is. 


The following will give a faint idea of the appearance of a 
battle-field and the scenes that meet the eye : 

The battle was fought on a Saturday. I did not revisit the 
field, but, on Monday morning a detail of two men from each 
company was sent there to identify and bury the dead, accom- 
panied by several officers, including the Adjutant Chaplain 
and Captain Pickering, whose reports reached me. The Adju- 
tant says of his visit: 

" Never can the recollection of that field be effaced from the memory of 
those who visited it on that day. The weather being extremely hot, with fre- 
quent showers, the dead had become bloated and swollen, until their clothes 
would hardly hold them, the blood still oozing from gaping wounds, the 
ground saturated with gore. Flies, in m3-riads, swarmed around; dead horses 
with -saddles and bi idles still on; broken guns, remains of camps, with the 
food cooked for Saturday's dinner, untouched; the air polluted with stifling 
odors from decomposing bodies; wounded men in the agonies of death, all 
tended to make the heart sick and the soul shudder at the sight. I visit- 
ed the late headquarters of the 104th. Here I found the log hut filled with 
wounded and dead soldiers. Some were our own men. The wounded had 
been refreshed from the stock of provisions left by the field and staff'. At 
the door the bloated carcass of a dead horse still lay, while under our shel- 
ter tents were numerous dead rebels." 

Chaplain Cries reports : 

"Close by the house of Seven Pines I found Staats, of Company F, lying 
dead, his brother, who was with me, recognized him; we buried him as de- 
cently as possible and then began to look for more. Close by we found a 
rebel still groaning, with the maggots swarming in and out of the wound in 
his head. In a tent were two dead rebel officers, and outside was a captain 
of a Michigan regiment with his name pinned on his breast. In the road 
were two Union soldiers, regiment unknown, and a number of miscreant shy- 
sters loafing under the shelter of an old barn, and looking on coolly, whilst 
wagons were passing over the legs of one of the dead heioes, I dragged the 
body out of the way, and directed a stupified Captain, who was looking on, 
to put the men at work burying the dead. At the old log hut we found a 
sad sight, as well as along the road to it — dead soldiers, Union and rebel, 
horses and broken wagons. In the camp of the 23d Pennsylvania lay the 
fresh meat issued to them the morning of the battle. In the old hut were 
dead and wounded packed close together, some of the living hardly showing 
signs of life. We ministered to them and got them off to the rear. We then 
struck through the wood toward the line occupied by the regiment in the 
battle, searching for the wounded, but found none except of other regiments. 
From the Fair Oaks building we started for the regiment. The road was 
lined with dead h(jrses, and in the fields were dead rel)els lying in rows like 
the winrow work of a reaper. The air was loaded with stench, and the sun 
almost overpowering. What with this, and the sights we had seen and the 
work we had done, we just managed to drag ourselves back to the rifle pits." 


Captain Pickering, who accompanied the burial party to the 

battle-field, tells the following as his experience : 

"Quite a number of ambulances were removing the wounded to the station. 
We found several of the rejiinient's wounded and, after seeing them safely 
put in to the ambulances, we commenced a search for the dead. We found 
the greater number on our first line, and from there to the fence, against 
which we made the charge, and from there to the log house on our left. 
Lieutenant McDowell lay about fifty yards from the house. It was impos- 
sible to recognize many of the dead, the hot sun and rain had so disfigured 
their countenances. Many of their faces had swollen up and burst. I hap- 
pened to find one man of my company near there, and he and I commenced 
to dig a trench for the company's dead. I sent word for a new detail which 
arrived about noon, by which time I was ready to bury those belonging to 
the company. We then buried all the dead of the 104th we could find. The 
names of those we recognized were cut on a board and put at the head of the 
grave. While thus engaged, we were within a few yards of the picket lines, 
and there was constant skirmishing with the enemy." 

The loss of the regiment during the battle is a natural in- 
quiry, and I will give it. The night before it had about 500 
present for duty. The two companies sent to the picket lines 
reduced the number 100, leaving 400 with the colors. Of these 
10 officers and r66 enlisted men were killed, or wounded, and 
61 captured on the picket line, a loss of over 40 per cent, 
of the number engaged. 

I have no personal experience to relate outside of that con- 
nected with my regiment, nor had I time to attend to anything 
else than what was taking place immediately around me. I 
was unfortunate enough to be struck twice — by a rifle ball in 
the left elbow joint, which made a painful wound, and by a 
musket ball on the left breast, but too far spent to break the 
skin. Toward evening my wound was dressed by a couple of 
surgeons at a field hospital, and that night I was the guest of 
Chaplain Cries and slept in a cow stable, the cow being turned 
out of her stall, which was bedded with clean straw. 

It gives me pleasure to bear testimony to the heroic conduct 
of Bucks county's regiment in the great war for the Union. 
It honored every draft on its services, nor claimed an hour's 
grace. In all the qualities that make good soldiers, discipline, 
perfection in drill, respect for superiors, cleanliness, steadiness 
under fire, freedom from pillages and manly endurance under 
the most trying vicissitudes of war, the men of the 104th had 
no superiors. It was an honor to command such a regiment, 
and the county was honored in sending it to the field. 

An Old Burying-Ground, Grave of Edward Marshall. 

•(Doylestown Meeting, January 21, 1S96). 

A mile and a half west from where the Tinicum creek enters 
the Delaware, in Tinicum township, on an elevated hillside 
facing- the southeast, is an old burying-ground, known as the 
Marshall Graveyard. Local tradition informs us that about 
the middle of the last century two young- women of the Mar- 
shall family, in a ramble over the country, stopped to enjoy 
the beautiful prospect from this hill, when one exclaimed, 
"When I die I want to be buried here." One authority says 
that before she reached her home a sudden shower came up, 
and she was drowned, in trying to cross the Tohickon creek ; 
another, that she died of typhoid fever later in the season, but 
both ag-ree, that her wishes were respected, and that she was 
laid at rest under a cedar tree in the present enclosure. This 
tree was struck by lightning a few years since, but the stump 
still remains. Local authorities place the time at which this 
occurred somewhere near 1760. The grave, so far as I can 
learn, is not marked, except by the location of the cedar stump. 

The gravestone bearing the oldest date and the one which 
gives to this little yard its greatest historic interest is that of 
Edward Marshall, of the great Indian Walk. It is marked by 
a marble slab rising nearly four feet above the ground, and bears 
this inscription : 

"In Memory of Edward Marshall, Sen., 
who died Nov. 7, 1789. Aged 79 years. 
Unveil thy bosom, faithful tomb ! 
Take this frail treasure to thy trust 
And give these sacred relics room ; 
To slumber in thy silent dust." 

This tombstone was placed at his grave in 1829, by his rela- 
tives, and the inscription is said to have been written by his son. 
Thomas. Under what conditions this tract of land was first 
used as a burying-ground, seems to be at present unknown. 


The deed, by which it is now held, is dated March 22, 1822, and, 
was made by Bernard Hillpot and Barbara, his wife, to Wil- 
ham Ridg-e and Wilham Marshall, of Pennsylvania, and Thomas 
Marshall, of New Jersey. It conveys 127 perches of land and 
was placed on record May 2, 1894, by Dr. A. M. Cooper, of 
Point Pleasant. The graveyard proper contains probably 100 
perches of land, the remaining 27 being outside the enclosure, 
shaded by cedar trees, and having posts for tying horses, and 
also includes a lane running across a neighboring farm to the 
public road. 

The property was originally a part of the Streeper tract ; the 
wall enclosing it was erected by Rebecca Kean in 185 1 ; the shin- 
gle roof which formerly covered it having given way, Dr. A. 
M. Cooper in 1892 caused the wall to be repaired, raising it 
slightly and covering it with a substantial coping of Point Pleas- 
ant stone, neatly dressed. 

The grounds are in excellent condition. Many of the grave- 
stones are of modern design, and were it not for the numerous 
old graves marked with the native stones and presumably des- 
ignating the resting places of those who were laid away a cen- 
tury or more ago, it w^ould be difficult to imagine that this spot 
had been used 150 years for its present purpose. 

The position of the graves gives the yard an unusual ap- 
pearance. The enclosure faces the southeast, with the end walls 
following the same direction, while the graves all range east 
and west, with the feet to the east, and are therefore placed 
diagonally across the graveyard and not parallel with the walls. 

y\side from the Marshalls, who are quite numerously repre- 
sented, many other names are recorded on the tablets. The 
Ridges probably come next in number ; they are direct descend- 
ants of Edward Marshall. The Coopers are also quite numerous ; 
they are descended from Samuel Cooper, who married Grace 
Ridge, and at least three, probably more, generations of them are 
buried here. In looking over a chart of the Cooper family 
owned by Dr. A. M. Cooper, the name of J. Kenimore Cooper 
appears in the third generation from Samuel above named ; this 
seems to verify the truth of the claim made by the Coopers of 
Solebury, who have from time to. time been brought to this 


old yard to be buried, that they were related to the great novelist. 

Of other marked graves are the Mclntyres, Watsons, Mc- 
Dongals, Otts, Myers and Woods, but history fails to inform 
us of the much larger portion of burials whose graves are marked 
with unlettered native stones. 

Unsuccessful efforts have been made at times to make these 
graves give up their secrets, but the years and the earth have 
combined successfully to thwart both friend and historian. The 
grounds are carefully kept and leave only pleasant impressions, 
and the thought occurred that too much commendation could not 
be given to the generous hands and loving hearts which had 
cared for and protected this old graveyard- from the desolation 
which too often marks the private resting-places of the dead. 

Most of the surroundings of this notable spot take their col- 
oring from the historic name of Marshall, the great walker, and 
his immediate descendants. Warrants were granted to Edward 
Marshall and his brothers, William and Moses, in 1733, for 
three tracts of land "above the Tohickon creek," commencing at 
the river and extending up the Tinicum creek ; these lands we 
are told by Buck, the historian, were surveyed by Nicholas 
Scull, Deputy Surveyor General, on ]\Iay 9, 1738, the last of the 
three tracts, which was deeded to Moses Marshall, reaching to 
and embracing the present Marshall graveyard. 

Application was made in 1738 in the Court of Quarter Ses- 
sions of Bucks county asking for the organization of a new town- 
ship to be called Tennicunk, "on lands adjacent to Plumstead," 
signed by numerous residents, including the three Marshall broth- 
ers. Tennicunk means in Indian parlance a "Wooded Island," 
and was probably applied to Marshalls Island, in the Delaware, 
opposite the mouth of Tinicum creek, which was willed to Edward 
Marshall by his brother William in 1757, and was his home from 
that date, (with the exception of short intervals,) until his death, 
which occurred there in 1789. His funeral took place from a 
house just below the Tinicum creek, which Buck says was still 
standing in 1873 ; but which Gen. Davis in his history concludes 
stood on the site of the present stone house, while Dr. Cooper 
thinks the frame house adjoining, must have been the one, as 
he can recollect when the present stone house was built. We 


can therefore safely conclude that it was an old house near that 
spot from which he was carried to his "faithful tomb" in the old 
burying-ground. It is not, however, the purpose of this paper 
to dwell on the life of Marshall, as that has received careful 
and conscientious study, the results of which have enriched Gen. 
Davis' history of Bucks county, and Buck's story of the great- 

As Edward Marshall was the father of twenty-one children, 
many of whom married and settled in this vicinity, doubtless 
from the vantage ground of the old graveyard the eye rests on 
the former homes of some of them ; the names of Ridge, Kean, 
Pursel, Weisel and Mclntyre, borne by the married daughters, 
their children and grandchildren, are still prominent in the town- 
ship. I am informed that the family name of Marshall is not 
known in the neighborhood as belonging to any of his descend- 

The present William A. Ridge, living on the banks of the 
Delaware above Point Pleasant, a great-grandson of Edward 
Marshall, is the possessor of the old rifle which he owned and 
probably the one with which he shot a "thousand deer or more 
and Indians unnumbered," for after the murder of Marshall's 
first wife by the Indians, he and they were sworn enemies, and 
if history is correct his aim was seldom at fault. Many tradi- 
tions of his encounters and methods, have come down through 
the years, one of which, especially interesting, is that he used 
a noiseless powder, which gave him a great advantage over his 
swarthy enemies. 

Without being associated with the subject of this paper, I 
desire to invite attention to an old land mark, worthy of notice, 
on the river road where Smithtown used to stand. It is the 
remains of an old foundry and factory where Joseph Smith 
made the first cast-iron mould-board that Pennsylvania produced. 
He is also said to have introduced in these shops the first an- 
thracite used for blacksmithing purposes in Bucks county. 
Smithtown was not long-lived, nor very successful, but the intro- 
duction of the Smith plow was an important event ; it was prob- 
ably the best plow used in the first half of the century. The 
business of manufacturing plows was continued by Mahlon 


Smith for a long time. The plow had a long mould-board which 
was thought to be too heavy to handle, but it did its work well ; 
it finally gave way to the Miles, Wiggins and Deats plows, 
which were lighter in weight ; since the introduction of plows 
made of heavy steel castings, much the shape of those manu- 
factured at Smithtown, farmers have learned that heavy weight 
does not always mean heavy draught. The thought occurred 
while riding past the site of the old town, whether it would not 
be well for the Bucks County Historical Society to place a tab- 
let on the rocks above these crumbling ruins to mark the spot 
where a new and great industry was projected in our county 
by its energetic citizens. Would it not be well, more often, to 
memorize the triumphs of our people who have been leaders 
in the peaceful revolutions of the past, whether they be in the 
line of mental, moral, mechanical or scientific achievement. 

In a parting glance from the old burying-ground we could not 
fail to be impressed with the beauty of the landscape which 
had captivated the maiden of a century and a half ago ; to the 
east lie the hills which wall in the noble Delaware on its seaward 
course ; to the south the spire of the old Tinicum church rises 
above the neighboring roofs : and far to the Westward are 
cultivated farms and comfortable homes, v/hile at one's feet is 
the Tinicum creek with its rugged banks and its 
" Old road winding, as old roads will, 
Here to a ferr)' and there to a mill." 

Following the creek on our homeward drive we soon reached the 
Tohickon hills, which were haunted in the early times by the 
presence of the outlaw Doans, but which have in modern years 
reminders of nothing but pleasant memories of picnic days spent 
on their rocky summits. A little later we came in view of that 
beautiful panorama of river and bridge, and hamlet and hill, 
which meets the gaze from the Point Pleasant heights. 

Having thus appreciated and enjoyed this Tinicum drive we 
could not wonder that even the staid Proprietors desired to 
make a good bargain for the "Manor of the Highlands," although 
the conscience can hardly be convinced that even these ends 
could justify the means said to have been brought to bear in 
their acquisition ; nor can we wonder that the aboriginal owners 

Till-, ROSS I, \W OI-IICI". 
Court-hoii',!.- \aui and Pine htreet, Doylestown, Pa. Built about 1830 by Thomas Ross, and 
used by him and his descendants as a law office continuously down to the present time. In 1905 
an addition was made, so constructed as not to change the appearance of the old building.;^ At 
present (1909) occupied by the law firm of Yerkes, Ross & Ross, the two latter great-grandsons of 
judge John Ross. 

On this site a black-smith shop was erected in 1788, which in 181 1 was enlarged and converted 
into a tavern known as the " Indian Queen." The property was purchased May 25, 1824, by Judge 
John Ross and converted into a dwelling. The corner shown in the foreground, and the chimney 
shown in center are parts of the old black-smith shop. The dwelling was torn down in 1897 to 
make way for the new banking-hou.se of the Doylestown National Bank. 


looked on with dismay at the phenomenal walk of Marshall, 
which must have seemed to them like the gait of Hiawatha, when 

" At each stride a mile he Tueasured." 
And perhaps we should not blame them if they felt that they 
had "sold their birthright for a mess of pottage." 

John Ross and the Ross Family. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 21, 1S96). 

One hundred and six years have elapsed since a somewhat 
radical change in our Constitution provided that Law Judges 
should preside over our county Courts. In that period we have 
had twelve President Judges — James Biddle, John D. Coxe, 
William Tilgman, Bird Wilson, John Ross, John Fox, Thomas 
Burnside, David Krause, Daniel M. Smyser, Henry Chapman, 
Henry P. Ross and Richard Watson. 

K a people may be judged of their civilization and progress, 
by their laws and the faithful execution thereof, then the freemen 
of Bucks are entitled to occupy the first rank among their fellows. 
No country of the world can boast of a fairer system of laws 
than Pennsylvania has possessed, since W^illiam Penn first gave 
us his beneficent code, and the records of these men who admin- 
istered the law, are excelled by none, for purity, integrity and 
fidelity to duty. 

It so happens that for the first time in more than a century, 
the occupant of the bench finds himself alone and without a 
single one of his honored predecessors among the living, to whom 
he can turn for counsel and advice in any great emergency ; they 
all sleep among our honored dead, revered for the good they did, 
and secure in that fame, which purity of life and honorable pub- 
lic service, can win. 

But the story of their deeds, and of the lives they lived, which 
gave them their exalted places in the estimation of their fellow 
men, have been but partially told, if told at all. If I, who succeed 
them and but too imperfectly discharge the duties of the office 
they so honored, can bv a simple narrative of the more prominent 


events of their lives inspire a single additional spark of gratitude 
and honor to their memory, I shall feel amply repaid for the 
little labor required of me, and will but discharge a duty I owe 
them for the illustrious and worthy example they have left for 
their successors to emulate. 

In a former paper I referred briefy to James Biddle, John D. 
Coxe and William Tilgman, and with some particularity traced 
the honorable and exceptionally successful and pure life of 
Bird Wilson*. 

The first native of Bucks county to hold the office of President 
Judge of her Courts since the adoption of the constitution of 
1790 was John Ross, appointed January, 1818. At the time of 
his appointment he was 48 years of age, seven years the senior 
of Bird Wilson, his retiring predecessor, who had occupied the 
bench for twelve years, and who was consequently the youngest 
Judge who ever sat upon our bench. To form a correct measure 
of the capacity of a public man, it is essential to have some 
knowledge of his antecedents, his family and its influence, and 
of the obstacles and surroundings through which he may have 
reached and maintained his place. 

On June 8, 1737, John Penn, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, 
by their patent conveyed a tract of upwards of 200 acres of 
land in Solebury township to Thomas Ross. The ancestors of 
this Thomas Ross were Scotch, but they settled in county 
Tyrone, Ireland, where Thomas was born in 1708. At the age 
of 20 he immigrated to Bucks county, accompanied by his sister 
Elizabeth, who afterwards married Thomas Bye. Her descend- 
ants are quite numerous. 

Thomas Ross took up his abode upon that portion of "Penn's 
Manor of Highlands" lying m what is now Solebury township. 
The community in which he settled was composed almost ex- 
clusively of Friends. Soon after his arrival he requested that he 
might join the Wrightstown Meeting, and the record of the 
Monthly Meeting held at Buckingham shows that on the Third- 
day of First-month, 1730, the meeting, after some solid considera- 
tion, condescended to accept him "so far as his life and conversa- 
tion shall correspond with the truth he desires to join himself to." 


In 1 73 1 he and Kesiah Wilkinson twice declared their inten- 
tions of marriage before the meeting; they were passed, and 
Abraham Chapman and James Harker were appointed a com- 
mittee to attend the marriage. At a Monthly Meeting at Wrights - 
town Sixth-month 3rd, 1731, the committee reported that the mar- 
riage was "decently accomplished." Kesiah Wilkinson was a 
daughter of EHsha Wilkinson and sister to Colonel Elisha 
Wilkinson, of Buckingham. The record of his testimony before 
the Wrightstown Monthly Meeting shows that "Thomas Ross 
was born in 1708 in the county of Tyrone in Ireland, descended 
of reputable parents, members of the Episcopal church, and 
received a religious education. Coming into America about the 
twentieth year of his age and settling within the limits of Buck- 
ingham Monthly Meeting, he soon afterward became convmced 
of th^ principles of truth as professed by the Friends." * 

Thomas Ross immediately took an active interest in religious 
instruction and became a noted minister of the Society. In 1784 
he sailed for Europe on a religious mission in company with a 
number of Friends. Rebecca Jones, of Philadelphia, was of the 
number. She was a convert from the church of England, and 
became a teacher and preacher of the Quaker sect. The record 
of her absence on this mission recites : "Granted a certificate by 
the Monthly and Select Meeting, 1784, to visit Great Britain. 
Embarked at New Castle on board the ship Commerce, Capt. 
Thomas Tuxton, commander, 25th of 4th mo., 1784, in company 
with my valued friends Thomas Ross, Samuel Emlen and son 
Samuel, George and Sarah Dillwyn and Mehitable Jenkins, all 
intending for Great Britain." 

General Davis in his history relates that the party were anxious 
to reach their destination in time for the Yearly ]\Ieeting, but 
the Captain said it was impossible. One day, while Mr. Ross 
was seated beside Rebecca Jones, he said to her, "Rebecca, canst 
thou keep a secret?" She replied that she could, when he added, 
"We shall reach England this dav two weeks, in time for the 
Yearly Meeting." On the morning of the appointed day one of 
the Friends, who was keeping a sharp lookout, saw land. The 
Captain admitted that had it not been for the lookout, encouraged 

* For an additional account of the life of Thomas Ross, see Vol. I. page 2S3. 


by the words of Friend Ross, his vessel would have gone upon 
the rocks; no doubt the prophecy was made as a joke or inspired 
by a bouyant hope. 

Rebecca Jones returned to America in 1788, but Thomas Ross 
did not come back with her. He attended the Yearly Meeting 
in London, and traveled in Ireland and the north of Scotland, 
taking part in many religious meetings. Through a mishap 
he broke a limb and was taken sick, and was entertained and 
cared for at the house of Lindley Murray, the gramma'-ian, 
at Holdgate, near York, in England, where he died Second-month 
13th, 1786, in his 78th year. He is buried there, and a modest 
stone, erected by a descendant, marks his grave. 

The letter of John Pemberton, to the widow, announcing his 
death speaks of him in high terms. Among his last words were 
"I see no cloud in my way. I die in peace with all men.'' His 
grandson, Thomas Ross, of Chester county, wrote a poem of 
considerable merit commemorative of his virtues. (See Vol. i, 
page 291, et seq.) In his will, dated Fourth-month 12th, 1784, 
he speaks of his occupation or trade as that of a "Tailer." His 
son Thomas and nephew John Chapman, were appointed execu- 
tors. He bequeathed £30 to be appropriated to building a Friends 
school-house, probably the same that stood near Wrightstown 
meeting-house. His widow, Kesiah, did not long survive him. 
She died the following year upon the farm in Solebury, which he 
purchased from the Penns in 1737. This was their home as 
long as they both lived, throughout a married life of fifty-five 
years. Upon it they built a stone house in the year of the pur- 
chase, and in 1780 added to it a substantial and commodious 
extension, which is still standing. Their children were : 

Mary, born First-month, 17th, 1732 — married Thomas Smith 
and has numerous descendants. 

John — born Eleventh-month, nth, 1734. 

Kesiah — born First-month nth, 1736. 

Thomas — born Second-month 23d, 1739. 

John married Mary Duer, of Solebury, and moved to Philadel- 
phia. He had several children. Of these, Joseph moved West; 
John was a physician, and Thomas, who married Rachel, daughter 
of Daniel Longstreth, of Warminster, was a distinguished law- 


yer. He was usually spoken of as "Lawyer Thomas Ross" or 
"Lawyer Tom." He settled in West Chester, but had an exten- 
sive practice throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. By his first 
wife he had a daughter Rachel, born Third-month 23rd, 1782, 
died Seventh-month 6th, 1875, who married Richard Maris. 
The late George G. Maris, of Buckingham, was a son of this 
marriage. Lawyer Thomas Ross' second wife was Mary Thom- 
as ; they had several children. The Patience Ross referred to 
in the will of Kesiah was probably a daughter of John. 

Thomas Ross, the youngest son of the preacher, born in 1739, 
was the father of Judge John Ross. He was executor under 
the will of his father and purchased from the estate, the Solebury 
property, which he conveyed to his son Thomas, referred to as 
"the hatter," in 1796, and who with his wife Jane, resided there 
until about 1800, when they removed to the county-scat at New- 
town, and took up their residence in the house of Aaron Pliillips 
on Main street. In 1801 he purchased the house and contin- 
ued to reside there for several years, probably until his decease. 
It is probable that he acted as Clerk of the Courts, to which 
office his son Thomas was appointed in 1801, holding it eight 
years. The exact time of his death is not known, but it probably 
occurred in 1814-15. Jane, his first wife, died prior to 1814. He- 
was twice married, his first wife being a Miss Clark and the second 
Jane Chapman. His children were Thomas, John, William, 
Cephas, Hugh and Samuel. Of these Thomas and William had 
no children. Thomas. John and Hugh all became lawyers and 
were prominent. 

Thomas, the oldest, born in 1767, studied law and was 
admitted to the bar in Easton in 1793. He did not remain in 
practice there, but went to the city of New York where he en- 
gaged in the business of "hatter," at No. 3, Burling Slip, Queen 
street. He returned to Bucks county i)rior to 1800, and purchased 
of his father the Penn tract of land in Solebury. He settled 
and practiced law in Newtown, but having marital difficulties, 
removed to New Hope, his place of residence at the time of his 
death. He was a successful man of business, and possessed 
superior abilities, which, possibly owing to the unsettling in- 
fluences of domestic troubles, were not developed in the law, as 


they might have been. In 1800, aided no doubt by his neighbor 
and friend, Samuel D. Ingham, and brother John, then in the 
Legislature, he obtained from Governor McKean, the appoint- 
ment to the offices of Prothonotary, and Clerk of the Courts of 
Bucks county, which he held for eight years. These offices were 
the most lucrative positions in the county. 

• In 1804, at a meeting of Democratic citizens or Jeffersonians, 
held at Wilkinson's, in Buckingham, Thomas Ross, Samuel D. 
Ingham and James Milnor were appointed a committee to pre- 
pare and issue an address in favor of the re-election of Governor 
AIcKean, and against a proposed amendment to the Constitution. 
The address is a thorough and able paper, and no doubt contribut- 
ed greatly towards the success of the Governor, whose election 
was bitterly opposed. The principal reason for opposition, was 
that he was a lawyer, which whether valid or not, was true, for 
Governor McKean is now regarded as one of the greatest men 
of his day ; he was always known to be a great lawyer. Thomas 
Ross married Mary Lyons, of Long Island, New York. They 
had no children, and after his removal to Newtown, through some 
misunderstanding, they entered into articles of separation, and he 
changed his residence to New Hope. He died in 1815, while on 
a visit to his brother John, in Easton. By his will he left his en- 
tire estate to his brother John, including the homestead in Sole- 
bury. John devised this farm to his son, the late Thomas Ross, 
of Doylestown, who in 1853 conveyed it to Edward Vanzanl. 
From the time the first Thomas purchased it of the Penns, it 
was in the family continuously, for a period of 116 years. 

Hugh Ross studied law with his brother John, at Easton, and 
w-as admitted to the bar there in 1801. He practiced law there a 
short time, then caiTje back to Newtown, where he practiced a few 
years, then went to Trenton and subsequently settled in Milford, 
Pike county, Penna., where he built the house still occupied by his 
granddaughter, Mrs. VanAukin, and in which he died. He 
married Catharine Biddis, of Pike county, and had two children, 
Edward and Louisa. Edward graduated at West Point and 
was in the Florida war. He was celebrated as a mathematician, 
and translated Bourdon's algebra for the use of the West Point 
Academy. He sold his translation to Davies, who published it as 


Davies' Bourdon. He was also a professor of mathematics at 
Kenyon College, Ohio, and at the time of his death at the Free 
Academy, New York City. He was twice married and had sev- 
eral children. His descendants are numerous in Ohio ; one of 
them married the celebrated Thomas Corwin. 

Hugh Ross' daughter Louisa married John Brodhead, and had 
a number of children prominent in Pike county. One of his 
daughters, still living, married Senator Charles H. VanWyck, of 
Nebraska. Another daughter, Maria, married Hon. Daniel Van- 
Aukin. Cephas Ross was twice married, first to Mary Bow- 
man, second to Mary Biddle, and had nine children. He resided 
on the Plumstead farm of his brother John and at New Hope, 
where he died in 1840. 

Samuel Ross, another brother of Hon. John, and the 3^oungest 
child of Thomas and Jane Chapman Ross, born 1779, married in 
181 5, Margaret, the daughter of Christian and Mary Helena 
Wirtz. They had six children, of whom William Walter, of 
Philadelphia, and Margaret Anna, who married James Lefiferts, 
yet survive. 

Hon. John Ross, son of Thomas, and grandson of the preacher, 
was born in Solebury township, Bucks county, February 24, 1770. 
Like all the members of his father's family he received a liberal 
education. When quite young he started out to make his own 
way in the world. He commenced life as a school-teacher at 
Durham furnace. Richard Backhouse, a Justice of the Peace 
and one of the Justices of the Bucks county court, then owned 
and operated th.e furnace. He became impressed with the in- 
dustry and ability of the young man, and when Mr. Ross had 
decided to go South in pursuit of fortune, persuaded him to 
change his mind and remain in Pennsylvania. He suggested to 
him that he study law, and offered to assist him during the time 
required for reading, and to help him later in obtaining a practice. 
Mr. Ross yielded to the suggestion of his friend and entered upon 
the study of the law under the instructions of his cousin, Thomas 
Ross, of West Chester. 

The following incident shows the feeling of gratitude which 
the family cherished for Richard Backhouse. One Joseph Lewis, 
a somewhat noted stage driver in his day, who drove the coach 


between Easton and Philadelphia, was not as provident a man 
as he might have been. Sometimes when he go: in straightened 
circnmstances he would call upon the late Thomas Ross for as- 
sistance. He never went away empty handed. On one occasion, 
one of the family asked Mr. Ross why it was that he was al- 
ways so lavish in handing out money to Lewis, apparently before 
he was asked for it. His only reply was : "Joe Lewis is a grand- 
son of Richard P)ackhouse, who aided my father when in need 
of help ; but for his generosity I might not have the money to 
give. Lewis shall not want as long as I am able to give." 

John Ross was admitted to the bar of Bucks county, at New- 
town in 1792, and at Easton the same year. After some delibera- 
tion it was decided that he should settle in Easton, Northampton 
county. More than one reason operated to bring about this 
determination. L'ndoubtedly, an important one was the friend- 
ship of Richard P)ackhouse, who had large business connections 
in Easton, growing out of his management of the Durham iron 
works. He was in a position to render a young lawyer much as- 
sistance. But a controlling reason was the result of the concep- 
tion of an ambitious scheme to acquire an extended and potential 
influence throughout the circuits of the first, second and third 
judicial districts, not only in the practice of the profession of the 
law, but also in directing and controlling the politics of the east- 
ern section of the State. 

It must be conceded, surely not to their discredit, that the fam- 
ily in every generation, have been imbued with a desire for popular 
approbation, and an ambition for professional excellence and of- 
ficial position. This trait was manifested by the first of the 
family here who, long after he had attained the allotted three 
score and ten years, left his peaceful home and incurred the dan- 
gers of the then difficult ocean voyage that he might visit the 
home of his youth, and try the power of his eloquence in sub- 
jecting his people to the opinions, to which he had become a 
convert in the new world. Again it appeared in the father and 
brothers of Judge Ross, who seconded him in activity in the public 
issues of the day as it has been show-n in the two generations of 
his descendants, who have lived in our own day. 

It was told by his son, that when John Ross came to the bar, 


it was thought that with a cousin, Thomas Ross, (then promi- 
nent in the Z;ffairs of Chester county, often engaged in the Courts 
of Philadelphia county, and constantly riding the circuit through 
Chester, Lancaster, Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery and Dauphin, 
and a father, brothers and numerous connections in Bucks, who 
wielded a wide influence,) John should seek a new field, that the 
family power might be extended, and made to command a still 
greater control The place of settlement was apparent. The 
third judicial district or circuit, consisting of the counties of 
Berks, Northampton. Luzerne and Northumberland, embraced all 
the territory, except Dauphin county, north of the counties named, 
to the New York State line, and lying between the Delaware and 
Susquehanna, then practically a wilderness, now ahnost an empire 
in wealth and population. 

Easton, at the forks of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers, and 
within easy communication by means of those highways, with 
the more populous regions, was to become the centre of the move- 
ments of this family junto. Whether this clever conception was 
hatched in the fertile brain of Thomas Ross, of Chester county, 
or originated with young John Ross, it was worthy of men of 
unusual grasp and ability, and of the widest, if not the wildest, 
ambition. As we proceed in the narrative of the life of the man 
of whom Henry P. Ross was wont to say. that "no member of the 
family approached him in ability," we shall see how this domi- 
nant idea of an extended yet centralized family influence became 
instilled into the minds of the entire family, and repeatedly con- 
trolled the conduct and settled the fate of its members, in every 
generation. In this one idea every son of the race was instructed, 
and whoever of them failed to devotedly cherish it, was regarded 
as recreant to a family tradition and duty. 

When John Ross settled in P^aston, his brother Thomas prob- 
ably joined him and completed his law studies there. He was 
admitted to that bar in 1793, but, it appears, he immediately went 
to New York. John was not so deeply immersed in his profes- 
sional and ambitious schemes, that he was proof against the 
blandishment of the fair sex. In a letter written October, 1793, 
to his lately married brother Thomas, with whom he had been 
visiting, he declares his purpose "as soon as Court is over" to 


turn his attention to "something in the poetical Hne which may 
please Mrs. Ross or her sister." The reference to the sister is 
significant in connection with the purpose to do something in 
the poetical line. Especially is this so when the sentence is in- 
jected into the middle of a letter upon the prosaic subject of a 
saddle and bridle, and a lame horse. The young man of 23 
probably failed heart, as the letter was not sent, but found in 
his papers, 103 years after it was written. Miss Lyon appears 
to have been supplanted by one, Mary Jenkins, whom he married 
a couple of years later. 

His selection of Easton for settlement was a wise one. Through 
a strong will, limitless ambition, dauntless courage, with possibly 
an active quick temper to incite him, Mr. Ross by strict applica- 
tion and attention to business, soon obtained a large practice. 

At that time one of the most prominent lawyers in the State. 
Hon. Samuel Sitgraves, resided in Easton, and towered far above 
any member of his profession in that section. He was fresh from 
his triumph of convicting John Fries for treason in the United 
State Court, in Philadelphia, and had been honored by a seat in 
Congress and held the appointment of foreign Ambassador from 
President Adams. With an audacity, characteristic of more than 
one of his descendants. Mr. Ross sought with avidity, rather than 
avoided, forensic conflicts with the great man. His daring brought 
him into popular notice and won the admiration of the rough back- 
woodsmen from above the mountains, whose confidence and sup- 
port he always retained. 

In the division into political parties then going on, the Rosses 
took the side of the Jefl^ersonians or Democratic-Republicans 
against the Adams men or Federalists. 

In Bucks, Thomas Ross and his son Thomas, when he re- 
turned from New York, joined hands with Samuel D. Ingham, 
in support of the Jeffersonians, while in Northampton, John threw 
down the gauge of battle to Samuel Sitgraves, the great Federal 
leader, and by a skillful use of the popular prejudice, broke his 
power forever, for there is no doubt that Mr. Sitgraves' influence 
was finally destroyed through the part he took in prosecuting 
Fries. There was much sympathy, especially among the Ger- 
mans, for PVies in his tax rebellion, and the severity of Mr. 


Adams' administration alienated them from his party. John Ross 
profited by this revulsion of feeling. About 1800 he was elected 
to the Legislature, and while in this position aided no doubt by 
Samuel D. Ingharn, procured the appointment of Prothonotary 
and Clerk for his brother, Thomas, in Bucks county. 

In 1804 he became a candidate for Congress in the district 
comprising the counties of Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton, 
Wayne and Luzerne, entitled to three members. At a meeting 
of the conferees of all the counties held at Hartzell's tavern, 
Nazareth, September 25, 1804, presided over by Isaac Vanhorn, 
of Bucks, John Pugh, of Bucks, John Ross, of Northampton, and 
Frederick Conrad, of Montgomery, were nominated by the Demo- 
cratic-Republicans. The candidates received nearly all the votes 
and the nominations were made unanimous. But the action of 
the convention was unsatisfactory to a number of citizens of 
Northampton county, who were disgruntled over the proposed re- 
tirement of the veteran ]X)litician and soldier, General Robert 
Brown, the then Congressman, in favor of a young man of 34. 
Accordingly on the next day a meeting "of the inhabitants" of 
Northampton county was assembled at Easton, and proceeded to 
nominate General Brown as an independent candidate. Their 
resolutions declared that they had not been well used by the de- 
cision of the conferees so far as respects John Ross, for the fol- 
lowing reasons : 

1. The Northampton conferees were appointed by twenty-seven 
persons, principally from one township. 

2. John Ross, when a member of the Legislature of the State, 
advocated anti-Republican principles, and more particularly in 
conjunction with the Federalists, opposed the amendments to the 
Constitution of the United States. 

3. That General Brown, who has served heretofore in Congress 
with fidelity : who in the year 1776 labored with his own hands to 
])rocure sustenance for his fellow prisoners ; who borrowed money 
at a large discount to alleviate their distress ; and who has unceas- 
ingly and unremittingly endeavored to promote the prosperity of 
the Union, is still entitled to our warmest confidence. That we will 
use all proper and decent means to support the re-election of said 
Robert Brown as a member of Congress. 


The Federalists made no nomination and the contest was be- 
tween Ross and Brown. The latter was elected. The result 
showed, that while the older man held the voters from the older 
settled districts, the young advocate had won the affections of 
the backwoodsmen of Luzerne and Wayne, where Ross receiv- 
ed nearly all the votes and Brown hardly any. The large vote 
for Ross in Bucks showed the influence of his connections in that 
cpunty. Strange to say, notwithstanding the Easton resolutions 
denounced Ross' affiliation with the Federalists, that party, es- 
pecially in Montgomery county, threw their vote almost en masse 
to General Brown. Such is the inconsistency, shall I say, trickery 
and dishonesty, of the so-called popular expression of politics. 

Undismayed by his defeat in the first venture in a popular 
election, due more, however, to the popularity of General Brown 
than to his own demerits, Mr. Ross while devoting himself to his 
profession had no idea of abandoning the field of politics. Few 
men could count on stronger support, and more promising pros- 
pects, for the future. His cousin, Thomas Ross, was still in active 
practice and constantly engaged in the Courts of all the south- 
eastern counties. In Bucks his father was highly respected, and 
his brother was Prothonotary and Clerk in all the Courts, the most 
important and lucrative position in the county, and the dockets 
show, that he himself was engaged in numerous cases in the 
county. At Easton, George Wolf, afterwards Governor, had been 
his student, and with other young men was his warm supporter. 
Thus circumstanced, Mr. Ross set about strengthening his power. 
After his defeat by General Brown, he and his Bucks county rela- 
tives formed an alliance with Samuel D. Ingham, and became 
the leaders of the AIcKean men. The understanding then entered 
into with Ingham, lasted to their mutual advantage for nearly 
twenty years, when causes of which I shall speak later caused 
their paths to diverge. 

In 1808 Mr. Ross again became a candidate for Congress and 
was successful. At the expiration of his term he was appointed 
Prothonotary of Northampton county. In those days the county 
officers were not prohibited from practicing law, and owing to the 
particularity required in proceedings, lawyers were frequently 
appointed by the Governor to fill these offices. One person often 


held all the offices, which made the appointment very desirable. 
Samuel D. Ingham, while in Congress, held the office of Prothono- 
tary. Judge James Biddle felt that he was making a sacrifice 
when he resigned the Prothonotaryship of Philadelphia to accept 
the position of President Judge of Philadelphia, Bucks and Dela- 

In 1814, ]\lr. Ross was again elected to Congress and re-elected 
in 1816, but resigned before serving out the term, to accept the 
judgeship. On January 25, 1818, he was appointed by Governor 
Findley to the office of President Judge of the Seventh Judicial 
District, comprising the counties of Bucks, Montgomery, Chester 
and Delaware, made vacant by the resignation of Hon. Bird Wil- 
son. The office was then held for life. 

Samuel D. Ingham, Judge Ross' colleague in Congress, was then 
Prothonotary of the county. He resigned his seat in Congress 
to become Secretary of the Commonwealth. We find the first 
order of the new Judge, published by Mr. Ingham as Prothono- 
tary, required that when judgments were entered of record, the 
warrants or confessions must be filed of record. It is surprising 
that this had not always been required. 

After an absence of over a quarter of a century, John Ross re- 
turned to the county of his birth. He was in the prime of life 
and no doubt felt a satisfaction in coming back to the home of 
his ancestors to assume the duties of its most important office. 
Twenty-eight years before he had gone hence to win fortune, a 
poor and unnoticed school teacher. He had been successful be- 
yond ordinary expectation or hope. In the State Legislature, in 
Congress, in society, at the bar, and in material wealth he had, 
and now, occupied a foremost position. Besides the valuable 
property in Bucks county devised by his brother Thomas he had 
amassed much valuable real estate in Northampton county. In 
Easton he owned a pretentious home, and had acquired a tract of 
343 acres of land, in what is now Ross township, Monroe county. 
There at the Delaware Water Gap he contemplated establishing- 
his family home, and erected, what for that time was considered, 
a commodious and handsome house. The spot is a beautiful 
one, situated on the divide of the Delaware and Lehigh. To 


the north, the waters flow to the Delaware ; to the south, by the 
beautiful Aquanchicola, to the Lehigh, 

"The Lehigh to the Delaware flows; 
The Delaware to the sea." 

In the centre of the domain which he named Ross Common 
he set apart the family graveyard still owned by his descendants. 
Such preparation is suggestive of family affliction. When he 
moved to Doylestown the little graveyard had already received 
more than one of its eternal occupants. His brother Thomas 
was buried there in 181 5, and other graves were there. His oldest 
son, George, a graduate of Princeton, and admitted to the bar in 
1818, had become embroiled in a quarrel over a young lady, and 
as the result of a duel, was either dead or a wanderer, in either 
instance, mourned by his parents as dead. Another son had become 
incurably aftiicted as the result of sickness, and unwise medical 
treatment. Of all who twenty years before had formed that alli- 
ance promising so much, he and Ingham only survived to reap 
its fruits. Under these circumstances it was probably a relief to 
change his home to the county of his fathers. He occupied the 
Ross mansion, soon to be torn down, at Main and Court streets, 
which a few years later he purchased of Judge Watts. He was 
not unknown to the district, when he assumed office, over which 
he was to preside. The following contemporary account of him, 
published in the West Chester Village Record, is no doubt an 
impartial description of him, as a lawyer, and is well worth re- 
production as fairly describing at least two of his grandsons, 
known to us : 

"It is announced in the ofiicial paper at Harrisburg, that John Ross, Esq., 
member of Congress from the district composed of Northampton, Bucks, 
Wayne and Pike counties, is appointed President Judge of the district com- 
posed of the counties of Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks. There 
are, withovit doubt many gentlemen within the district, of both political part- 
ies, well qualified to fill the ofifice, numerous as are the requisites and great 
as are the responsibilities. Put the usage has recently obtained, in appoint 
ing Presidents of court to select gentlemen out of districts; and for this satis- 
factory reason, that a lawyer who was in full practice would be called upon 
for years, to decide upon causes in which he had l)een interested as counsel; 
or frequently to leave the bench. 

If then, no disrespect has been shown to the district, the only remaining 
question is, whether the person selected is qualified for the station. Mr. Ross 
is a man of active mind and decided character, and has entered with zeal in- 


to the political contests of the day. If he has been the favorite of Northamp- 
ton county, which has for years been the stronghold of Democratic prin- 
ciples, I need not say, that in politics we widely differ. Under the present 
feelings or excitement perhaps it could not have been expected that Mr. 
Findley would select a judge from the ranks of his opponents, but it is hoped 
that he will exercise, at least, as much liberality as his predecessor, and not 
make, injudicial appointments, a devotion to particular political tenets, an 
indispensable requisite to promotion. 

Mr. Ross has been, for the last fifteen years, in active practice in North- 
ampton and the neighboring counties. In commencing business he found 
Mr. Sitgraves at the head of the Bar in that district— as he would have been 
from his talents in any other in the Union. Instead of being depressed, by 
the high standing and attainments of this gentleman, whom he must meet 
or shun, they awakened the ardent spirit of Mr. Ross to the highest exertions 
of honorable emulation. Almost always engaged in opposition, it was for many 
years an interesting struggle of the one to maintain in exclusive honor the 
heights so fairly gained, and of the other, at least, to share the enviable eleva- 
tion. This conflict naturally led to study, accuracy in proceeding, vigilance 
to defend from attack, and alertness to see and seize upon the weak points of 
his adversary's argument or cause. Mr. Ross is, therefore, a learned and an 
able lawyer. As an advocate he neither aims at pathos, nor goes out of his way 
to round a period, but he always opens his cause in a clear manner, preserves the 
strong points lucidlj' to view, and enforces his arguments always with per- 
spicuity, often with eloquence. In mentioning the politics of Mr. Ross I 
mean only to gratify the natural curiosity of my readers who, when a new 
officer is appointed wish to know "all about him" and not to intimate that 
his politics will influence him on the Bench. Quite otherwise. There, I am 
confident in saying he will be known neither as a Federalist nor Democrat, 
but an Independent Judge, doing his duty without fear, favor or affection."' 

I have now reached a period in the career of my subject, 
when a just narration of the Hfe of Judge Ross involves largely 
the political history of the county, and the relations thereto of one 
or two of his successors on the Bench. 

It was the beginning, in this county, of the era of personal 
politics and personal journalism. It is not an agreeable under- 
taking to delve into the history of that time, and by the cold, un- 
prejudiced light of time read the discreditable and often vulgar 
personalities of the local press. For a period of 75 years, with 
a few honorable exceptions, it has been the misfortune, not to 
say disgrace, of our county, that the editors of our newspapers, 
many of them strangers, abiding here but a short time, mistaking 
the mission of true journalism, have substituted, for the advocacy 
of principles and the publication of ideas, personal abuse and 
vilification. They have systematically chilled and warped the 


local patriotism of our people, by belittling the public services, 
and attacking the characters of our prominent men, preferring not 
to encourage local pride and admiration by bestowing just praise, 
where worthily earned. 

When one goes over the old files of the newspapers of our 
county and reads the unjust and nauseating abuse of Samuel 
D. Ingham, the Chapmans, the Pughs, the Rosses, Fox, McDowell 
and others, without whom our county would indeed be meagre of 
honorable mention, involuntarily the question arises, is it possible 
that a fair-minded, and disinterested people, who knew the worth 
of these men, and honored them, would tolerate their discredit, 
by supporting such degrading journalism. 

But succeeding generations have been more liberal and time 
evens up all things. Now when these men are remembered only 
with honor, the slander and those who invented it, pollute one 
common grave of oblivion. Who remembers the names even of 
the vilifiers of fifty years ago who thus prostituted their oppor- 
tunities. They were not of us in fact, and are not of us in 
history. Yet when we reflect that but for these harpies, Samuel 
D. Ingham would not have been driven away to die out of the 
county he so long honored ; John Ross, in his old age and sickness 
would not have been hounded to his grave ; the belligerence and 
bitterness of John Fox, and the reserve of Henry Chapman in 
public, would never have appeared to conceal the affectionate 
devotion of the one, and the kindness and affability of the other, 
to family and friends ; and when we recall the anguish and bit- 
ter tears of their dear ones, no doubt often endured in silence, 
we cannot but despise the despicable natures of those who with 
the opportunity of reaching the uninformed, so abused a sacred 

John Ross was commissioned as President Judge of the Vllth 
District, January 13, 1818. The District comprised the four coun- 
ties lying around Philadelphia and in importances was second in 
the State. 

An Act, passed March, 1821, and taking effect the succeeding 
June, detached the counties of Chester and Delaware and erected 
them into the XVth Judicial District. Thenceforth the Vllth 
District comprised the counties of Bucks and Montgomery, until 


by direction of the Constitution of 1874, they were separated. 
When Judge Ross came to the District he selected Jenkintown as 
his residence. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Jenkins, resided there, 
and no doubt it was Mrs. Ross' wish to return to the home of her 
birth. From that place the four county seats at Doylestown, 
Norristown, West Chester and Media were reasonably easy of 
access, over good stage roads. 

After the division of the District, it seemed advisable that the 
Judge should reside in one of the county towns. Accordingly in 
1824 he bought of Associate Judge William Watts the lot, tavern- 
stand, and other buildings in Doylestown, where the new Nation- 
al Bank building stands and a part of which is still the property 
of his descendants. 

He converted the tavern-stand into a family residence, where he 
lived continuously until his appointment to the Supreme Court. 
After that he found Jenkintown more convenient to the court- 
house in Philadelphia, and consequently spent the greater part 
of his vacations there with Mrs. Ross, who, owing to the con- 
dition of the health of her son John, found it necessary for the 
safety of other members of the family, to remove him to the 
quietude of that place. 

Judge Ross' service as a Common Pleas Judge was marked by 
energy, ability and learning in the law. 

The Pennsylvania Correspondent in speaking of his first ap- 
pearance upon the bench said that "his desire to preserve order 
in the court, to enft)rce its decisions and to further the administra- 
tion of justice, created a very favorable impression on the minds 
of the bar, the jurors and spectators." It is worthy of note that 
his first case, and probably the only one of the kind in his long 
service, was that of one Thomas Leonard for the very unusual of- 
fense of eaves-dropping. His sneaking propensity cost Thomas 
$20 fine and costs. The time allotted to this paper will admit 
of only a brief reference to incidents in Judge Ross" judicial ex- 

He found awaiting him for trial in Delaware county a case of 
great interest, that of John H. Craig, for murder. Craig held a 
grudge against Edward Hunter, Esq., of Newtown township. 
Delaware countv, who had written the will of his father-in-law. 


The case was called for trial at Media, Tuesday, April 14, 1818, 
and occupied until midnight the following Saturday. It was hotly 
contested on both sides. One of Craig's lawyers was Edward 
Tilgman, one of the great lawyers of his day and cousin to 
the Chief Justice. The trial resulted in a verdict of murder in 
the first degree. No complaint was made of the manner of the 
trial, and the prisoner was immediately sentenced. The scene is 
described as very pathetic, and Judge Ross' bearing throughout 
this most distressing ordeal, was highly commended. 

It appears that notwithstanding the "era of good feeling" in 
politics, the people were, as they are now, suffering from the stress 
of hard times. Early in his term, Judge Ross, in a charge to 
the Grand Jury of Montgomery county, gave his ideas of the way 
to work out an improvement. He likened the demands for a 
new tarifif, public improvements, etc., to the fable of the man who 
called upon Hercules to raise his wagon from the ditch, instead 
of putting his own shoulder to the wheel, and applied the fable 
by saying: 

" We must help ourselves, and if that will not answer, then we may cry 
for Hercules to assist us. We are too fond of showing out in our families, 
and in this way we exceed our incomes. Our daughters must be dressed 
off in their silks and crapes instead of their linsey-woolsey. When you can 
induce your sons to prefer young women for their real worth, rather than 
their show ; when you can get them to choose a wife who can make a good 
loaf of bread and a good pound of butter, in preference to a girl who does 
nothing but dance about in her silks and laces, then, gentlemen, you may 
expect to see a change for the better ; we must get back to the good old 
simplicity of former times if we expect to see more prosperous days." 

Whether this homily was an appropriate suggestion to the 
"good men and true" of the county, who can deny, that it has 
some application at least, three-quarters of a century later. 

One of the most remarkable trials of this county was that 
against S. Y. Thornton, Jacob Hellings, Jesse Hellings, John H. 
Keys, Thomas Salvadge, Samuel Thatcher and Jacob Thornton 
for conspiracy to circulate counterfeit money, which took place 
before Judge Ross at August sessions, 1821, amid great ex- 
citement, throughout the county. 

Mathias Morris, Thomas Kettera, F. B. Shaw and Joseph S. 
Pickering appeared for the Commonwealth and J. W. Condy, 
Peter A. Brown, John Swift, Abraham Chapman, John Fox and 


Robert Bethel, for the defendants. The trial lasted three weeks 
and resulted in the conviction of Keys, Jacob Hellings and S. 
Y. Thornton. The charge of Judge Ross which was very clear 
and concise and contains the best definition of conspiracy I have 
found in any of the books, occupied less than a half-hour. 

I have heard the older lawyers say that one of the defendants 
cunningly arranged with a Doylestown hotel-keeper to put him 
in the same bed with one of the jurors, and that at night after 
the lawyers had had their say, he argued his own case with the 
single juryman so effectively, as to secure his own acquittal. 

In 1828, a number of colored people were tried for riot in the 
x\frican Episcopal Church, at Attleboro. The trial consumed 
a week, and involved some nice cjuestions of law. There was 
much interest manifested in the case. Who knows anything 
about the difficulty, or of that church ? 

Then as now the labors of the Court and officers were occa- 
sionally lightened by some diverting incident or interesting point 
of law. 

At ]\Iay term, 1820, Joshua G. Walker was sentenced to ten 
yeais at labor, and politely thanked the Court for their moder- 
ation. He probably expected to be hanged. In the case of one 
Bailey a motion was made to arrest the judgment because of a 
defective indictment. Associate Judge Long was absent and 
Judge Watts surprised the President by disagreeing with him 
on the question of law, and insisting that the indictment was 
good; this rendered the defendant liable to punishment. The 
President, however, carried his point by positively refusing to 
pass sentence. 

In the case of Closson vs. Bye the Supreme Court reversed 
the judgment, because the jury had not followed the instructions 
of the Court, thereupon a juryman wrote to a newspaper indig- 
nantly inquiring whether "the noses of men are of wax to be 
twisted into shape by the courts." In the opinion of some, the 
question remains unanswered to this day. 

The court which met February, 1830, was an easy one, for 
it was reported that "Nothing was done at court : notody in 
jail, but one bill for assault and battery sent to the grand jury 


and ignored and costs imposed on the prosecutor. The trial 
list was called for the next week and no cases for trial." 

The following incident, no doubt embellished by the reporter, 
it was insinuated, took place before Judges Ross, Long and Watts. 
It must be borne in mind that the bonnets worn by ladies at that 
period, were described to be as large as parasols. 

An old lady witness was called to the stand, which in those 
days was located directly in front of the bench. 

The following interchange of compliments took place: 

Judge — Take off yoiir bonnet, madam. 

Lady — I will not, sir. 

Judge — I desire you to put off your bonnet. 

Lady — I am informed that in public assemblies the woman should cover 
the head and, of course, I will not take off my bonnet. 

Judge — Why! you are a pretty woman, indeed. I think you had better 
come and take a seat on the Bench. 

Lady — I thank you kindly, sir, but I really think there are old women 
enough there already. 

Of course she did not take off her bonnet; her hair had not 
been arranged with that expectation. 

I am indebted to the late William Thompson for the following 
story : 

Mr. H. was a man of settled opinions, one of which was a 
decided aversion against forms in procedure. As constable of 
Doylestown township, by his vigorous efforts at repression of 
offences, he had won the favor of the Court and was appointed 
court-crier. When he opened his first court he omitted the 
conclusion to the proclamation. The judge, with a show of 
severity, called his attention to the neglect of duty, and instructed 
him, that in the future, the proclamation must conclude with 
the words "God save the Commonwealth and this Honorable 

When the time arrived to adjourn the court, he lustily cried 
out the conclusion, "God save the Commonwealth," then broke 
for the side door and, as he passed out, muttered audibly, "And 
may the d 1 take your old court." 

Because of his worth and well-known peculiarities he was not 
called back for punishment and the late John D. James became 
the court-crier. 


I will now turn to some political incidents. We have seen 
how beneficial the alliance between Ingham and Ross was to 
both, while each remained the ruling power in his respective 
locality. It is easy to discern in the tone of the press of the day 
that the removal of Judge Ross, to Mr. Ingham's bailiwick, 
was regarded with suspicion, and even jealousy, as likely to 
weaken by a division of influence, the undisputed power of the 
great local magnate. There was also a hope for this result, 
for, as usual, there were those, smarting under the sting of neg- 
lected recognition, who looked upon the coming among them of 
one whose reputation and political influence made him the rival 
of j\Ir. Ingham in the public eye, as affording an opportunity to 
break the power of the latter. The Intelligencer, representing 
the opposition to Mr. Ingham, in a period when party lines had 
become almost obliterated, encouraged the idea that Judge Ross' 
influence should be asserted in the interest of his own friends. 
Had ]\Ir. Ingham, cool and careful politician as he was, been 
constantly upon the ground, a rupture might have been avoided. 
But in John Quincy Adams and others at Washington he was 
now finding foemen worthy of his steel and must of necessity 
leave his home afifairs to his friends. The irritating course of 
the Intelligencer and its friends in holding Judge Ross up as the 
great man, excited the hot headed followers of ]\Ir. Ingham, 
among whom were John Fox, Charles H. Mathews, William T. 
Rogers and Mannassah H. Snyder, so that they in turn cast 
imprudent, and sometimes personal reflections, upon Judge Ross 
and his friends ; two stars of the same magnitude, revolving in 
the same circle, with so much electricity in the air, inevitably 
must collide. 

For some years Judge Ross avoided the contest by taking up 
his residence in the obscure village of Jenkintown. But un- 
fortunately for his peace of mind and for the uninterrupted 
perpetuation of the power of Mr. Ingham the division of his 
judicial district, largely due to Mr. Ingham himself, rendered 
it more convenient that the Judge should locate his residence 
at the seat of justice of one of the two counties. Naturally 
Judge Ross selected his native county for his residence. The 
embers of jealousy and war smouldered until an issue of battle 
worthy of the parties arose. 


The approach of the great Presidential and Gubernatorial con- 
tests of 1828 found the now recognized rivals preparing for the 
fray, which was to determine who should prevail with the new 
Administrations, State and National. 

The Ross men were early in the field to show their devotion 
to Jackson. On the morning of Thursday, August 20, 1828, a 
large hickory pole was brought into the village, and with great 
labor, and industry, a portion of the Jackson men raised it in 
the afternoon, on a corner of Judge Ross' lot, and as was said 
by an opponent "immediate]}- in front of his door," where 
the monument now stands. 

It was said that a large portion of the Jackson men openly 
disapproved of the measure and refused to assist in raising the 
pole, "because they knew such would bring their cause mto 
disrepute and lead to riot and disturbance." 

From these assertions, we may infer, that the other faction 
did not relish this move to curry favor with the rising star of 
the Southwest. During the following night the anti-Jackson 
men gathered alx)ut the pole with intent to cut it down. 
Their movements were overheard by some neighbors ; the alarm 
was given and much disturbance ensued. Mrs. Judge Ross, 
like a Spartan matron, loyal to her husband and his friends, 
jumped from her bed, and without consulting the manner of 
her going, rushed to the scene of conflict, planted herself at the 
base of the oft'ending pole, threw her arms about it and defied 
the vandals to do their worst. Although there was threatened 
riot, there is no way to overcome the will of a woman, and the 
emblem of loyalty to Old Hickory was saved temporarily, for 
afterwards the rascals succeeded in cutting down the pole by 
stealth. Thereafter, inspired by the bravery of Mrs. Ross, the 
Democrats, each succeeding Presidential campaign, gallantly 
planted a hickory pole upon the consecrated spot. James M. 
Wilkinson and the late Philip Fretz were the leading spirits 
in planting the last one there in the 6o's. 

At the succeeding election Jackson was elected President and 
George Wolf, of Northampton county. Governor of the State. 
Both the Ingham and the Ross men had supported the successful 
candidates, but they reaped divided benefits. Ingham, being 


at Washington and near President Jackson, held the advantage 
with the President and was appointed Secretary of the Treasury. 
This triumph, owing to the unfortunate Eaton affair, turned to 
ashes in his hands and embittered the balance of his life. 

Governor Wolf had studied law with Judge Ross at Easton, 
and while the Ingham men worked hard for the fruits of victor v 
within his gift, the Ross men easily exercised a controlling in- 
fluence with the Governor. 

Judge Ross obtained marked recognition from the Executive 
of the State. Yet the opposition deftly used the Democrat to 
arouse distrust between the Governor and his old preceptor. 
They alleged that Ross was angry at the Governor through dis- 
appointment in not being chosen Secretary of the Common- 
wealth instead of Samuel McKean, and therefore he had gone 
over to the anti-Masons so as to weaken the Governor. 

The contest thus invited, was not avoided. Judge Ross, as 
if to convince the wavering of his influence with the Governor, 
secured for himself, July, 1829, the appointment of Commis- 
sioner for Pennsylvania, to treat with New Jersey for the 
use of the waters of the Delaware river, a very imix)rtant of- 
fice, the duties of which were ably discharged, as shown by the 
report filed the following December. One of the immediate 
results of this Commission was the construction within the next 
three years of the extensive system of canals, waterways, and 
powers along and connected with the Delaware. 

This exhibition of power with the Governor, was almost 
simultaneous with a more formidable display of strength, which 
was intended to handicap Air. Ingham in his own field of ad- 
vancing greatness. 

Samuel A. Smith, of Bucks county, and General Peter Ihrie, 
Jr., Judge Ross' son-in-law, were sent to Washington as Con- 
gressmen from Air. Ingham's own district, to attack him from 
his home, and to weaken him with General Jackson's admin- 
istration. With the assurance that his Secretary of the Treas- 
ury was in the minority in his own district. General Jackson 
found no political reason in the way of selecting that officer as 
the point of attack when he began to resent reflections cast 
upon the wife of his Secretary of War. General Jackson was 


soldier enough, to concentrate his attack, upon that part of his 
enemies' hues which showed the greatest weakness. 

That important contest for Congress was settled by North- 
ampton county. In Bucks the Fox-Ingham candidate was Lewis 
S. Coryell. George Harrison and Samuel A. Smith were also 
candidates for nomination. Smith carried the twelve German 
districts, representing a majority of the Democratic voters, thus 
developing such strength that the opposition treated with Har- 
rison, withdrew Coryell in his favor and thereby nominated nim 
over Smith. The cry of "bargain and sale to betray the Ger- 
mans" was raisetl, and to secure the sympathy of Northampton 
county it was charged that Judge Fox, upon taking the stage 
coach for Easton on a political errand, had given the word, "any- 
thing to beat Ihrie." 

A Democratic-Republican convention was called at Jacob 
Baker's tavern, in Rockhill township, of which Col. John Matts, 
Col. Hager, Harvey Mathias and Capt. David White were the 
officers. Thomas Ross, Charles E. DuBois and Major George 
R. Grantham were active participants. The convention passed 
resolutions denouncing Harrison for betraying his friends to the 
"Fox factionists," and attacking N. B. Eldred, of Pike county, 
who was the other Ingham candidate, as a New Englander and 
an enemy to the Germans. The meeting nominated Smith and 

The contest was as hotly waged in Northampton county. Ihrie 
carried the regular conferees there ; who recognized the Smith 
convention in Bucks, joined with his conferees, and nominated 
Smith and Ihrie. The other faction, by like means, nominated 
Harrison and Eldred. Thus, there were two Democratic tickets 
in the field. The Adams men did not run any candidate for 
Congress. At a convention presided over by Rev. Thomas B. 
Montanye, they resolved to leave the Congressional nominations 
open and nominated a county ticket only. 

Smith and Ihrie were elected by a decided majority. It was 
claimed that the old Federalists and Adams men supported Har- 
rison and Eldred. 

We have seen that by the transfer of Mr. Ingham to Wash- 
ington, the leadership devolved upon John Fox, who afterwards 


succeeded Judge Ross upon the Bench. A more determined, alert 
and loyal leader could not have been found. His chief weak- 
ness grew out of his great earnestness, which betrayed him into 
courting bitter antagonisms when unnecessary, although he was 
naturally of a mild and gentle disposition. While it does not 
appear that Mr. Ingham was averse to a contest with Judge Ross, 
yet his friends were bitter in accusing the latter, with betraying 
his old time friend, colleague, and political ally, when he sent 
Congressmen to Washington to oppose the Secretary of the Treas- 

The Ross men made the counter charge that Ingham had not 
hesitated to bargain with the Adams men to elect Congressmen 
whom he could control. One charge was that Mr. Fox had said 
he was for anybody to beat Ihrie. because he "did not like Ihrie's 
connection with ojd Judas ; that Ihrie and Ross had joined with 
the Federalists to defeat Ingham and that John Ross' eternal 
selfishness could not be endured." Fox retorted, by saying, 
these charges were untrue, and that Judge Ross had himself 
circulated them, as an excuse to oppose Ingham. As usual, 
others were drawn into the controversy, Henry Chapman, Albert 
Smith, Charles H. Mathews and other young men were referred 
to as witnesses to prove statements pro and con. 

A new element of bitterness was infused into the contest by 
Judge Ross, when he unbottled a vial of wormwood and gall by 
antagonizing Francis B. Shaw, who had been a supporter of 
Smith and Ihrie, and was Deputy Attorney General, for Mr. 
Shaw's cutting tongue was proverbial. The Democrat of Novem- 
ber lo, 1829, announced that Thomas Ross, "a stripling of old 
Judas, is appointed in place of F. B. Shaw, removed." It then 
proceeded to give its opinion of the "Drone" and "that hungry 
brood Tommy and Ihrie." These expressions may give some 
idea of the conduct of the "elevating press" of that time. 

"A citizen" (when does he not write in political contests) wrote 
protesting against Thomas Ross acting as Attorney General while 
his father was on the Bench, and alleged that Thomas was first 
appointed for Northampton county and resigned, that Attorney 
General Markley, of Montgomery county, made the appointment 
to secure greater influence with Governor Wolf, and worse than 
all said John Ross is an "lago." 


The next week a long- screed appeared entitled "A Comedy. A 
Way to Office." It described Markley as Attorney General ap- 
pointing Thomas Ross with the expectation that the Judge would 
resign, and he, Markley, be appointed in his place. The Adams 
men and Federalists helped along the discord. The Intelligencer 
called the Democrat the "family organ," and sarcastically denomi- 
nated Fox, Benizet, the Pughs and Dr. Mathews, "the family." 

Personalities were freely bandied, and if we recall that the pure 
characters of Judges Ross and Fox were not affected by such 
contemptible methods of opposition, and that the personal recti- 
tude of all the principal persons thus assailed, easily parried the 
foul blows, we must be impressed with the impotence, and folly 
of personal journalism, the highest office of which is to hurt the 
feelings of the innocent. 

Good old Governor Wolf undertook to become the peacemaker 
between his turbulent followers, and attempted to conciliate both 
sides. He made a sorry mess of it. 

In i\pril, 1830, John Todd, a Justice of the Supreme Court, 
died; Judges King, of Philadelphia, and Ross were mentioned 
for the vacancy. Judge Ross was appointed, and commissioned 
April 16; two weeks later his bitter foe, John Fox, was appoint- 
ed to the vacancy caused by the promotion. 

If, as the result of this manoeuvre. Governor Wolf ex- 
pected peace he was woefully mistaken. The Ross men irri- 
tated to desperation by the attacks and personalities of the 
Democrat had now started an organ of their own, called the 
Republican. Without an occupation the paper must die. It 
therefore opened a violent attack upon Judge Fox and unmerci- 
fully abused Governor Wolf for making an unfit appointment. 
A more imprudent act than the attack upon Governor Wolf 
by a paper published in the interest of Judge Ross, or his friends, 
could not be imagined in the game of politics. Connected with 
the denunciation of the Mason's, it brought down on the head of 
Judge Ross, a charge, that to one of his disposition, must have 
been most humiliating. The fight of the factions was renewed 
with the odds on Judge Fox's side ; they remained so, until by a 
similar act of imprudence, he alienated his strongest follower, 
Henry Chapman, and drove him to become the powerful and 


aggressive head and leader of the scattered anti-Fox elements in a 
factional warfare, which he ahly conducted for nearly a quarter 
of a century. 

The selection of John Ross for the Supreme Court was in 
every respect a fitting one ; for thirty years he had almost con- 
tinuously held positions of the highest trust, and filled them ably 
and honestly. The appointment was highly commended every- 
where, except, by his factional opponents at home. There is not 
recorded, any meeting of the Rucks county bar to show appre- 
ciation of the honor conferred on the county. But the Mont- 
gomery bar passed resolutions commendatory of the high sense 
of integrity and ability, which characterized his judicial career, 
and as a manifestation of their esteem for his judicial and per- 
sonal character, invited him to a parting dinner at the Washing- 
ton tavern. His reply indicates that he availed himself of the 
opportunity the invitation oft'ered, to refute the charges which his 
enemies had made against him at his home, while he gloried in 
his independence of the influence he had opposed. He said : 

"If I had ever cowered to any great man, in or out of court, or been 
influenced by political management or intrigue; or if I had ever been overaw- 
ed, prevented or diverted from the performance of my dut}' by any combina- 
tion; or if I had ever failed to lend a hand to the young inexperienced mem- 
ber of the Bar, to investigate the merits of his cause, I should not have de- 
served and certainly should never have received from the enlightened and 
intelligent Bar of Montgomery county, the approbation, they have this day 
so politely and handsomely bestowed. My present state of health forbids 
my indulging in the pleasure it would otherwise afford me to spend a social 
hour over the festive board." 

John Ross was in his 6ist year when he became a Justice of 
the Supreme Court. His colleagues were Gibson, Rogers, Smith 
and Huston, the latter also a native of Bucks county from Plum- 
stead township. Later Justice Kennedy took the place of Smith, 
who died soon after Judge Ross' appointment. Judge Ross' 
opinions are reported in the three volumes of Penrose & Watts' 
reports and in 3d and 4th Rawde. They show great research 
and legal knowledge, and for crisp, expressive and strong Eng- 
lish, compare well with those of the great Chief Justice, with 
whom he sat. In Summerville v. Holliday, i Watts 513, his two 
page opinion, involving the doctrine of presumptions, was so clear 
and convincing, as to satisfy all his colleagues excepting Ken- 
nedy, who occupied 17 pages in a fruitless effort to refute it In 


Snowden v. Warder, 5 R. 103, he wrote a beautiful tribute to 
the common law, anrl his dissenting opinion in McNair's Ap- 
peal, 4 R. 160, delivered shortly before his death, was the best 
answer that could be made to those who accused him of failing 

But he was not to be permitted to enjoy his final honors in 
peace. The warfare which his imprudent friends kept up against 
Governor Wolf, Judge Fox and the alleged misdoings of the Ma- 
sonic order, found fruit in a most unfair attack upon him in his 
high office. 

In the Legislature on January 14, 1832, Mr. McKeehan, of 
Cumberland county, presented a petition for the removal of John 
Ross, on account of mental and bodily infirmity. A committee 
was appointed and an investigation ensued. 

Of this proceeding the Intelligencer said : 

"It is stated that these petitions originated in consecjuence of the unfriend- 
ly opinion of the Judge, in respect to Governor Wolf and Masonry. The rea- 
sons urged in the petition for his removal cannot now be the true ground of 
complaint, for we believe Judge Ross has enjoyed for several months almost 
uninterrupted good health, and appears better and stronger than he has done 
for several years. In this district he enjoys the esteem of the Bar and his 
fellow-citizens very generally, and we should much regret, if we thought he 
was to be removed from the Supreme Court, to gratify mere pique and to 
make way for a more fortunate political favorite." 

William T. Rogers, M. H. Snyder, Wm. H. Powell and others 
were subpoenaed to testify against him. The same paper said 
its doubts, of the motives which instigated the investigation, 
were now strengthened. 

"It is somewhat singular that men should have been selected to prove the 
fact of imbecility who are the direct personal enemies of the Judge, and with 
whom he has had no personal intercourse for years. We know since his 
appointment to the Supreme Court and long before they have been kept at 
such a distance as to have little opportunity to judge of his mental imbecility 
at least." 

It then comments upon the circitmstance that those who, like 
the family physician, were capable of judging of his physical 
and mental condition, w^ere not summoned. It further said, that 
he had been in attendance upon the Court continuously for weeks, 
and delivered three opinions a few days before, and that the 
bar of Philadelphia did not participate in the investigation. 


Judge Ross appeared and personally conducted the cross-ex- 
amination of the witnesses before the committee, and was assisted 
only by the young son of Judge Burnside. 

It was said that he displayed much acuteness in cross-examining 
witnesses. E. T. McDowell, G. R. Granthem, Samuel Yardley 
and several members of the Norristown bar, went to Harrisburg 
to testify in his favor, but he was not required to call wit- 
nesses in his own behalf. The Committee declined to hear his 
side of the case and made a report against the petitioners which 
was unanimously adopted. The Intelligencer after the conclusion 
said: "Thus terminates this matter which is, in one of the 
Harrisburg papers, not inaptly termed a farce. It is worthy 
of remark, that not a single paper has editorially spoken favor- 
ably of the prosecution against the Judge, except the Doylestown 
Democrat, whilst on the contrary, the Village Record, Norristown 
Sentinel, Philadelphia Inquirer and others have disapproved in 
strong terms of the proceedings." 

Sixty-five years after the event, when it is common to see in 
our ancestors, virtues greater than we have, the conclusion is 
irresistible that a similar proceeding in our generation could not 
take place without bringing upon its authors the severest cen- 
sure. Political resentment and personal feeling were undoubt- 
edly at the bottom of the attack. He had perhaps, been unwise 
in permitting his friends to irritate and arouse so formidable 
opposition, without disclaiming responsibility. But he could 
hardly do this when he sincerely ascribed Masonry as the cause 
of Judge Fox's appointment. Judge Fox accused him of being 
the instigator of the assaults upon him. but his private letters to 
his son, Thomas, do not show a hostile spirit. The objections 
to Jurlge Ross' fitness for the Supreme bench ought to have had 
more force against his appointment, when made, than after- 
wards, when his removal was attempted. When appointed, in 
1830, he admitted he was not well, but in 1832 his health had 
decidedly improved and he had. about recovered it. 

The criticisms passed upon Governor Wolf because of the 
appointment of Judge Fox, and the strong anti-Masonic attitude 
of both the Rosses, and their denunciation of Governor Wolf 
for favoring Masons, accompanied by the resignation of Thomas 


J^oss as Deputy Attorney General, were the active causes which 
drove a Governor of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 
and his friends, to the unfortunate attempt to disgrace and pull 
down from his place a Justice of the Supreme Court. Governor 
Wolf failed to act the great man in this affair. 

Judge Ross was known to be in ill health when he received his 
a])j)(>inlment. ( )n occasions, he had been forced to delay con- 
vening his court, because of severe attacks of sickness. We have 
seen that for the same reason he declined the dinner tendered by 
the [Montgomery county bar. In a letter to his family, written 
from Lancaster, in 1830, he said: 

" I am certainly incoinpelent to attend to any kind of Inisiness— not 
sleeping more than one night in three. The weather has been very inju- 
rious to me. Wearisome days and nights have been my portion since my 
arrival here, yet I have been every day in court — nearly stupid. Judge 
Huston has been most of his time at his chambers on account of gout or 

R , though undoubtedly much better than myself. I am now, while 

writing, unable to connect two ideas, nor can I continue any longer to 
write! My head feels giddy." 

His son, William, who attended him at Lancaster, wrote to his 
mother of his father's sleeplessness, suffering and ill health. 

It seems clear, therefore, when Governor Wolf appointed him 
Supreme Judge, ill health was not regarded as an obstacle, but 
when disagreements arose between them, it became in his judg- 
ment, or that of his friends, a disqualification. It was the unani- 
mous opinion of thi^se who attended the investigation, that Judge 
Ross never displayed greater ability and skill, than in conducting 
the last battle of life against his enemies, the most rancorous of 
whom were at his own home. 

Jacob Kern, Senator from Northampton, who was his warm 
friend, wrote that he confounded the witnesses by his sharp cross- 
examination, and convinced every person hearing him, that his 
mind was far from being in the least impaired, and that the 
petitioners were heartily tired of the business. His son, Thomas, 
volunteered his assistance. The following impatient reply, Avhich, 
in after years, Air. Thomas Ross e'n joyed referring to, was rather 
discouraging to the young practitioner : 

"Dear Tom : "When I require your advice it will be time 
enough to give it to me, and then, and not till then, will it be 


The committee summoned as witnesses two members of the 
Supreme Court, Gibson and Huston. 

Judge Gibson was very fond of playing upon the vioHn. When 
presiding at WilHamsport, one Sunday morning, he entered the 
bar-room of his hotel and observed a violin lying there, for- 
getful that it was the Sabbath, picked it up and drew from it 
some exquisite strains of harmony. 

A political adversary, who conducted a newspaper, attacked 
him for the alleged impious act. Instead of treating the reflection 
with indififercnce, and the contempt it deserved, he foolishly wrote 
an explanation of the whole affair, excusing himself by alleging 
that he had forgotten the day. This, of course, furnished his 
unscrupulous opponent another excuse to renew the attack. 

David Paul Brown gives this sequel, as occurring during the 
investigation into Judge Ross' mental condition. Judge Gibson 
gave evidence of peculiarities in Judge Ross, calculated to sup- 
port the charges of failing judgment and want of memory. When 
turned over for cross-examination the following mortifying and 
ludicrous dialogue took place between the Chief Justice and his 
associate : 

Associate. You say, sir, you consider my memory defective ? Did you 
ever know me, on any occasion, to forget the Lord's holy day the Sabbath ? 

Chief Justice. I have no such recollection. 

Associate. You consider my judgment impaired. Pray, sir, did you ever 
know me to be guilty of the weakness and folly of answering a paragraph, 
in an obscure country newspaper, charging me with playing the fiddle on 
Sunday, and to put my defence against the charge — upon the ground of my 
having forgotten the day ? 

This, said Mr. Brown, was unanswerable. The associate tri- 
umphed and all further proceedings were abandoned. 

Judge Huston, through an unfortunate failing of his own, suf- 
fered a like discomfiture. Other judges of the court were ready 
to testify in his behalf but were not called. Judge Ross' health 
was at this time reasonably good, and so continued until his death. 
He was permitted to survive the discreditable attempt to remove 
him, for two years, which probably were the most peaceful years 
of his life after reaching manhood. He died in Philadelphia, 
Friday, January 31, 1834. of apoplexy; his death was sudden, 
he having been upon the Bench in his usual health the previous 


day. A meeting of the bar was at once called, with John Sar- 
geant, Esq.. as President, and josiah Randall as Secretary, and 
resolutions deprecating his death as a great public loss, and of 
sympathy with his family, were passed. It was also resolved 
that the members of the bar wear crepe upon the left arm for 
thirty days. 

Judge Ross was buried in his family lot at Ross Common, 
Monroe county. 

Thus ended the active, useful and somewhat stormy life of 
John Ross. His life could not have been active and successful 
in those times without being aggressive and turbulent. For 35 
years he was almost constantly in public life, in the formative 
period of our laws and developing growth. In every direction 
a great newborn, free people were expanding under the pressure 
of new ideas and systems, the outcome of our experiment of Re- 
publican institutions. It was no time for men to devote them- 
selves to conventionalities ; stern and exacting duties commanded 
all their energies. That John Ross in such a period, starting 
without resources, other tlian his brains, worked his way to 
the rank of leader, and was successful in fortune, and profession, 
without tarnishing his honor, speak the character and worth of 
the man. He is fairly entitled to rank with the foremost of the 
great men of our county, belonging to a race of our own peo- 
ple. In appearance Judg-e Ross was a handsome and imposing 
man ; tall, erect and muscular, with an inclination to portliness : 
his manners were dignified and to some degree severe. 

He was the progenitor of a race of remarkably good lawyers. 
His wife Mary Jenkins, whom he married November 19, 1795, 
not belonging to the Society of Friends of which he was a 
member, he was disowned by that society, and afterwards natu- 
rally inclined to the Episcopal church, in which his grandfather, 
Thomas Ross, the Quaker preacher, had been reared. Mrs. Ross 
was a woman of unusually fine character. She devoted much of 
her later life to the exclusive care of her son, John, who when 
a small boy, lost his mind through the malpractice of a physi- 
cian. After her son Thomas had successfully prosecuted Mina, 
the murderer, she wrote a pathetic letter to him in behalf of 
Mina deploring his miserable situation, and as a mother, piously 


urged her son to visit the murderer in his cell, and urged him to 
administer such consolation to him as was in his power. This 
Christian appeal of his mother was obeyed by Mr. Ross, who 
saw Mina in his cell and became the messenger of his last 
wishes to his friends. It did not, however, make such an im- 
pression on Mina, as to discourage him from shaking his fist at 
Mr. Ross as he passed his office on the way to his execution. I 
mention the incident as illustratins^ the character of Mrs. Ro3.> 
in such strong- contrast with the mother, who but sees a son's 
triumph and forgets the lesson of his duties. 

When in Jenkintown Mrs. Ross resided in a stone house near 
the road. It was her thoughtful practice to keep a light burning 
in the window through the night to light the way of passing mar- 
ket men. I have heard her kindness spoken of by those who 
appreciated the welcome beacon light. She died in December, 


They had twelve children, George, Charles J., Lord, Camilla, 
Serena, John, Thomas, William, Jesse Jenkins, Adelaide, Albert 
and Mary. George, Thomas, William and J. Jenkins, became 
lawyers, they were all college graduates. Thomas Avas the only 
one who pursued the practice of his profession. He was Deputy 
Attorney General and Congressman. 

The late Henry P. Ross and George Ross were his children. 
John Ross' son, George, was killed in a duel. William became a 
teacher, and Jenkins was a man of leisure. 

Camilla Ross married General Peter Ihrie, Jr., of Easton ; Ade- 
laide married Dr. Samuel R. Dubs ; William married Ruth Ann 
Lukens ; Jenkins married Ann Kelly ncc Rae. They all left de- 
scendants. John did not marry ; he survived all his father's 
family and died at an advanced age, in 1886. The other chil- 
dren of Judge Ross died without issue. 

Newtown Prior to 1800. 

(Meeting at Sharon, near Newtown, July 21, 1896.) 

Immediately after receiving a charter for the Province of 
Pennsylvania from King Charles II, on March 24, 1681, Penn 
set about devising plans for establishing not only a large city 
in the Province, but also for locating a number of towns therein. 
In order to carry out this latter scheme he offered prospective 
settlers who would purchase from 5,000 to 10,000 acres together, 
and adjacent to some suitable point for a town, to give them 
one-tenth of their respective purchases within the limits of the 
proposed tov/n-site, or, as he termed it, the "townstead." 

Although some settlements were perhaps made at an earlier 
date in Wrightstown, the present site of Newtown was probably 
the first point after leaving the river near Bristol that was 
considered suitable for the founding of one of these proposed 
towns. Here was a fine stream, numerous springs and rich land 
— considerations not to be overlooked in the settlement of a 
new country — and accordingly, on Holmes' map of 1684, made 
under the direction of Penn, we find the townstead or new 
town laid out and the surrounding land divided among fif- 
teen diiferent owners on tracts varying from 200 to 700 acres, 
with one tract on the north marked "Governors." The "Town- 
stead" was a piece of land about a mile square, with the stream, 
now called Newtown creek, running through its entire length 
near the middle. Persons taking up the surrounding land were, 
by agreement, allowed 10 per cent, of their purchases within 
the "townstead" and the remainder in country land adjoining. 

The farm west of the town which belonged to the late Alex- 
ander German is believed to be very nearly identical with one 
of the original 10 per cent, townstead lots. The boundary lines 
between the various tracts served at first only to mark laneways 
to the back lands. These laneways were extended and have become 
the public roads of to-day. So it is more than probable that 
quite a number of the public roads leading out of Newtown at 

F(.)Rmp:r trkastrv and corxTv (>i-i-]ci:s ai' newtowx, pa. 

Built in 1796, abandoned in 1813 when county buildings were erected at Doylestowii, 
now ( i909)occupied as office building by Edward S. Hutchinson. 

• -- ^^^a^^MfldflRs^ooyVS^^H 






Built in 1733 by Joseph Thornton. 

(Photograph.s by J. Peniberton Hutchinson). 


this time like the spokes of a wheel, are nearly upon the old 
lines of original purchase. The settlement thus made, though 
then largely upon paper, would very probably be referred to as 
the "new town," and it is thus quite easy to see how the name 
of Newtown, spelled with a capital "N," soon came to be en- 
grafted upon the first of Penn's towns in the county of Bucks. 


In accordance with another provision made by Penn with the 
early settlers of Newtown, and in order that all might have an 
equal right to the use of the waters of the creek, he reserved 
a rectangular piece of land, lying on Ix)th sides of the stream, 
extending the entire length of the town, for the common use 
alike of all the inhabitants of the village, and this was known ss 
the "common land," or "Commons." It was originally surveyed 
and laid out by John Cutler, in pursuance of a warrant from the 
Commissioners of Property, dated Sixth-month 6th, 1716, and 
granted to Shadrack Walley, William Buckman, and John Frost, 
trustees on behalf of themselves and the other inhabitants of 
said township for the purposes above stated. These trustees all 
dying before the title thereto was fully perfected, the commons 
remained practically unchanged and unproductive until 1727, 
when, on December 20th of that year, an agreement was entered 
into by Stephen Twining and nine others, then owners of the land 
about the townstead, to have the common land "re-surveyed, 
purchased from the Proprietary's Commissioners, and equal- 
ly divided among the said landholders as best suited their 
lands and the public in general, and to lay out such streets or 
ways through the same as would give them all convenient ac- 
cess to the w^ater." The tract included in the "Commons" was 
bounded on the south by the northerly line of Dr. George T. 
Heston's land, and extended northward along the easterly side of 
what is now State street to Frost's lane, or "upper" street ; thence 
westward to the toll-gate on pike to Wrightstown, and southward 
along the westerly side of Sycamore street, called the "other" 
street, down by the Presbyterian church to the aforesaid line of 
the Heston property. It included State street on the eastern 
border and Sycamore on the western border, each 66 feet in 


width, and contained 40 acres and 97 square perches. Many of 
the present principal business places of the town, with an equal 
number of residences, are within its limits. It was again sur- 
veyed in 1796 by Isaac Hicks, and in consideration of £79 6s. a 
patent from the State was issued by Thomas Mifflin, then Gov- 
ernor, to William Buckman, Francis Murray, and others, on July 
8, 1796, and after being divided into 55 lots it was exposed to 
public sale and sold on August ist of that year. The lots on 
Main street from the southerly line as far north as Washington 
avenue, except a lot just north of Centre avenue, were sold in 
fee simple, while those above Washington avenue, as far north 
as Frost lane, and those on Sycamore street, were sold on 
ground rent. But few of the lots above Washington avenue 
were improved, on many, the ground rents were unpaid, and they 
reverted back to the trustees and were re-sold to other parties. 
According tp agreement among the inhabitants of the township, 
dated April i, 1796, the proceeds of these sales were to be divided 
into three equal parts — one-third to go to the benefit of the acad- 
emy or free school, then established in Newtown, "which said 
academy is to teach gratis all such poor scholars as may offer." 
Another one-third to go to the township for the benefit of a 
school or schools which were then or may fie subsequently es- 
tablished in said township, exclusive of the townstead ; the re- 
maining one-third to be for the benefit of the townstead, in 
such manner and for such purposes as a majority of said trus- 
tees may direct. 

This brings the history of the ''Commons" up to 1800, but, in 
consequence of the death of all the trustees named in the patent 
except one, and the resignation of the trust by this one, further 
acts of the Legislature were obtained, incorporating the "Trus- 
tees of the Newtown Commons," and fully authorizing them to 
carry out the provisions of the original trust. This organization 
is in existence at the present time, but has little to do further 
than the occasional satisfaction of an old mortgage or the extin- 
guishment of a ground rent. 

The first to make a permanent settlement about Newtown were 
Stephen Twining, William Buckman, Thomas Hillborn, Ezra 


Croasdale, John Frost, Shadrack Walley and James Yates, all 
of whom died between 1716 and 1720, except James Yates, who 
died in 1730. This was the James Yates who walked over the 
one and a half days' walk of the Indian Walk of 1686. The 
papers relating to this were lost, however, and the boundaries 
were never settled until 1737, when another James Yates, son of 
the above mentioned, accompanied Edward Marshall in the great 
Indian Walk of that year. He lived in Newtown, in the old part 
of the b.ouse now occupied by Thomas P. Hampton, and became 
a member of the Friends' Society ten years before the great walk. 
The first patent issued for land about Newtown was to Thom- 
as Rowland, for 500 acres, and was dated Fourth-month, 15th. 

1685. The land was north and east of the Neshaminy and west of 
Newtown creek ; 450 acres were outside of the townstead and 50 
acres more were within the "village or townstead," and "one side 
thereof was on the street or road of said village," but the village 
had no name at the time of Rowland's patent. 

Shadrack Walley was the only one of the original purchasers 
who ever lived in the New Town, where he married Mary Sharpe, 
in 1688, under the care of "Neshaminy (now Middletown) 
Monthly ]\Ieeting" of Friends. John Coat, who came from 
England in 1686 with a Friends' certificate, on presenting the 
same to Neshaminy Monthly Meeting, on Twelfth-month 3d, 

1686, g-ave his residence as "New Town," in two words. 
James Yates was the first owner of a farm in Newtown who 

ever lived on it. His land laid upon the southeasterly side of 
the town, about "The First Hollow." He built a mill on the 
creek running along the westerly side of his farm, and sold it 
to Henry Nelson in 1728. The remains of the old dam belonging 
to this mill may still be seen in the creek close to the southerly 
line of the commons lots. 


The oldest institution existing in Newtown at the present day 
is the Presbyterian Church. It was originally composed of 
Scotch-Irish and English Presbyterians. Their first church 
building was a wooden structure, and was located about a half 
mile west of the town on the land now occupied by the estate of 
Alexander German, deceased. The old graveyard attached to 


the church is still to be seen, and contains a number of quaint 
inscriptions on the large marble slabs which mark the final resting 
places of prominent members of that day. The first reg'ular pas- 
tor was the Rev. Hugh Carlisle, who presided until 1738. He 
was succeeded in 1739 by the Rev. Hugh Campbell, \vho,however, 
occupied the pulpit but a few months. The church then remained 
without any regular pastor until the Rev. Henry ]\Iartin, a grad- 
uate of FVinceton, was called in 1752, and he remained in charge 
until his death in 17O4. During the next five years the pulpit 
was filled b)' various su])])lies. but in 176; the Rev. James Boyd 
became the settled minister. The present building, beautifully 
located on the ridge at the northwest side of the town, was erec- 
ted in I7(">9, on the lot either purchased from or donated by John 
Harris in 17^17. The church, as originally built, had the 
main entrance on the south side. The pulpit was in the center, 
on the north side, and was reached by a high flight of steps. Th'e 
pews had high backs, and the floor was of brick. Parson Boyd 
was pastor of the church for nearly half a century, during which 
period it flourished greatly. He died in charge in 18 14. and a 
large marble slab, supported by four stone pillars, marks the 
place of his interment in the graveyard of the church. 

In the early days of this church it was no unusual thing to 
hold lotteries under authority of the State for the erection or 
repair of houses for worship, and during the time of the Rev. 
Mr. ]\Iartin the Assemblv authorized the holding of a lottery for 
the purjiose of raising £400 to repair the old wooden church and 
to build or repair the residence of the minister. The following 
is a copy of one of the lottery tickets : 


No. 104. This ticket entitles the bearer to such Prize as may be drawn 
against its number if demanded within six months after the drawing is fin- 
ished, subject to such deduction as is mentioned in the scheme. 

[Signed] Jno. De Normandie. 

It was within the walls of the present church that some of 
the Hessian prisoners taken by Washington at the Battle of 
Trenton spent the first night of their captivity, and a story is 
told of an English officer being buried beneath its floor. To 
substantiate this, it is said that \vhen digging the foundation for 


one of the gallery posts at the time the old church was remodeled, 
human bones and military buttons were unearthed. 


The only other institution now in Newtown which dates its 
organization back in the last century is the "Newtown Library." 
While the population of that period was of a very intelligent 
class, few families possessed more books than a Bible and perhaps 
a few other religious works, so the need of a library was early 
felt. The first meeting of which a record is preserved in the 
minutes was held at the house of Joseph Thornton, in Newtown, 
in August, 1760. The Thornton house was known at that time 
as the "Court Inn," and is the same now occupied by Mrs. E. 
Mitchell at the corner of Court street and Centre avenue. At 
this meeting officers were elected to serve till the last Seventh- 
day of October next, the time fixed for the holding of the annual 
election anrl payment of annual dues. The books were to be 
kept at the house of Mr. Thornton, and he was elected librarian. 
At the meeting on October 25. following, twenty-seven members 
each paid £i, as required by the rules of the association, and the 
first purchase of books, numbering sixty-two volumes, of which 
twenty were of history, was made soon after. In the spring 
of 1761, as Mr. Thornton then moved out of town and was no 
longer able to attend to the duties of librarian, the board of 
directors ordered the books to be kept at the house of David 
Twining, who then lived on his farm just south of the town, 
now owned and occupied by Cyrus Vanartsdalen, and David 
was appointed librarian. The library remained here from 1761 
until 1788, a period of twenty-seven years, and David acted as 
director, treasurer and librarian. On account of the troubled 
condition of the country, the meetings of the directors were 
suspended from October, 1774, until October, 1783. a period of 
nine years. By this time the interest in the library had fallen 
ofif very much, and on September 27, 1778, it was proposed 
to sell the books and divide the proceeds among the members, 
and six members were appointed to carry this project into effect. 
During the twenty-eight years of the library's existence, however, 
a new generation had grown up, and a number of the younger 
people expressed a desire to co-operate with the older members, 


kt'cp the library intact, am! add to its vohimes and usefulness. 
Accordingly, on Novernber lo, 1/88, the new library com- 
pany met in the grand jury room in the court-house and an 
agreement was entered into b_\- the old and new members to in- 
corporate the library, and the incorporation was effected on 
]\Iarch 27, T789, under the title of the "Newtown Library Compa- 
ny." The members then acting as the officers were named as 
the incorporators, and were as follows : Henry Wynkoop, Thom- 
as Jenks. Francis Murray, Samuel Benezet and Abraham DuBois, 
who were then directors, and William Linton, then treasurer. 
This movement gave new life to the institution, and at a meeting 
of the directors in Deceniber, 1791, the library was reported as 
containing 832 volumes, which were kept in the court-house 
building, and it was decided to print the constitution and by- 
laws, a catalog of the books and a list of its members. From 
this time on the interest in the library was well maintained for 
a number of years. 


The removal of the courts from Bristol to Newtown was 
agitated as early as 1723, and an act was passed on March 24; 
1724, authorizing Jeremiah Langhorne, William Biles, Joseph 
Kiikbride, Thomas Watson, ALD. and Abraham Chapman to 
purchase a piece of land at some convenient place in Newtown, 
in trust for the use of the county, and to build thereon a court- 
house and a prison at an expense not to exceed ^300. The trus- 
tees accordingly purchased of John W^alley five acres of land 
on which the new public buildings were shortly erected. The 
lot was part of the 200 acres, located in 1689 by Israel Taylor, 
and had a front along the easterly side of Main, now State street 
(being the easterly line of the common lots), from what is now 
the north line of the Heilig estate southward 40 perches to the 
middle of Penn, then called Lower street; thence eastwardly 20 
perches to a line I57/^ feet eastward from the easterly side of 
Court street ; thence northwardly 40 perches and westwardly 20 
perches to the place of beginning. 

The lot was laid out with alleys 15 feet wide on the three 
sides, north, south and east, and was subsequently divided into 
six lots, each having a front of 190 feet, and a depth, clear 'of 


the streets and alleys, of 142^ feet, and separated by streets 30 
feet in width. 

The public buildings occupied lot No. i. The court-house 
was a two-story stone building, and stood on the easterly side 
of the square where the old frame building on Court street be- 
longing to the Heilig estate now stands. The court-room was 
on the first floor, the main entrance was by double doors in the 
middle on the south, the judges were seated on a platform in a 
recess or bay window in the middle of the north side. There 
was a large fireplace and chimney at each end. The second 
story was fitted up for jury rooms ; it had the old fashioned 
hip roof and was surmounted by a small cupola with bell. Here 
the courts of the county were held from 1725 to 1813, a period 
of 88 years. 

The first jail erected was at the northwest corner near where 
the drug store now stands, but it soon proved to be too small, 
and a new jail was erected immediately west of the court-house 
and where the Heilig house, at present occupied by Dr. Crewitt, 
now stands. Under an act of the Colonial Legislature of 1745, 
the old jail was by order of the Council taken as a work-house 
for prisoners and opened for that purpose in December, 1746. 

The act providing for the removal of the court-house to New- 
town also provided for the holding of all the elections in the court- 
house, and the elections for the whole county were held there 
until 1786. 

In the report of the Bucks county courts to the Governor in 
1730, I find that Elizabeth Thomas was tried for murder, that 
"she pleaded not guilty, but the jury found it manslaughter, and 
she was burnt in the hand" — the usual punishment in those days. 

Down to 1772 it was customary for the county officers to keep 
the records and public papers at their respective dwellings, but 
on March 21, 1772. an act was passed ordering the erection of 
a strong fire-proof building of 12 by 16 feet inside dimensions, 
with walls two feet thick and covered by a brick arch one foot 
in thickness, where the records were to be kept under penalty 
of £300. This small building, the last of the county buildings 
on the court-house square, is well remembered by the writer, 
as well as by many others now living, having been torn down as 


recently as 1873 by Mr. Heilig, whose estate, as has been said, 
still owns the court-house site. During the Revolution this 
small stone building was used as a magazine for storing powder 
and other military supplies, and was the treasury building robbed 
by the Doans in 178 1. It was later used as a lock-up, iron store 
and horse stable. 

After the close of the Revolutionary war there was soon a 
great revival of business, and the small building just described 
becoming insufficient to accommodate the county records, the 
large stone building on the opposite side of the street from the 
jail and now occupied as offices by the writer, was erected by 
the county for office purposes in 1796. It is a very substantial 
building, having dressed stone on two fronts. The first floor 
was divided by 20 inch walls and a wide hall into four rooms ; the 
two rooms on the south side were designed for offices and the 
two on the north side as vaults, and these latter were provided 
with iron shutters and iron window and door frames, several 
of which are still to be seen in place. 

On September 9, 1777, courts were first held in Newtown 
after the Oath of Allegiance was required under act of As- 
sembly of June 13, 1777, when Henry Wynkoop, the presiding 
justice, delivered an able charge to the grand jury in keeping 
with the new order of things. 


Located as Newtown was, between Philadelphia and New 
York, the county seat for a very large section of the country, 
and on one of the main thoroughfares through the county, we 
would naturally expect it to be an important point during the 
Revolution ; and such it was. Easy of access ; central and back 
from the river, it was selected as a depot for supplies for the 
Continental army during the various campaigns in New Jersey. 

It was also the headquarters of Washington from December 
27 to 29, 1776, when he returned to Trenton to follow up his 
victory of the 26th. On the 27th he wrote as follows : 

Headquarters, Newtown, Dec. 27, 1776. 
To Presidetit of Congress : On the evening of the 25th inst. I ordered the 
troops intended for this servnce to parade back of McKonkey's ferry that 
they might begin to cross the river as soon as it grew dark, &c. 



On the 28th he wrote from Newtown to Major General Heath, 
and on the 29th again to the President of Congress, as follows: 

I am just setting out to attempt a second passage over the Delaware with 
the troops that were with me on the morning of the 26th, &c. Since trans- 
mitting a list of the prisoners, a few more have been discovered and taken 
to Trenton, among them a Lieutenant Colonel and Deputy Adjutant Gen- 
eral, the whole amounting to about 1,000. 

There seems to be no reliable evidence that Washington was 
ever at Newtown except on the three days above mentioned. 
The building occupied by him stood on the site of the present 
dwelling on the farm of Alexander German, deceased, just 
across the creek on the westerly side of the town, which 
property at that time belonged to the estate of John Har- 
ris, deceased. Before leaving Keith's on that memorable 
Christmas day, Washington sent his movable effects to New- 
town as a place of safety in charge of his secretary, who found 
quarters in the old Harris mansion. It is said that on 
leaving the place Washington presented the family with a silver 
tankard, which, after being kept for many years, was finally con- 
verted into spoons. The writer distinctly remembers the tearing 
down of the old house, but has no recollection of the appearance 
of the historic structure. 

Immediately after the battle of Trenton, on the afternoon of 
December 26th, the captured Hessian soldiers were hurried 
across the river and over to Newtown, where they were con- 
fined in the county jail, Presbyterian church and m several of the 
private houses. The officers, about 23 in number, were kept in 
the ferry house during the night of the 26th, and escorted to 
Newtown by Colonel Wheedon on the 27th, where they were 
quartered at the inns. The officers were paroled on Dec. 30th 
and sent to Philadelphia, Lancaster and Baltimore. Four of the 
officers were invited by Washington to dine with him while he 
was in Newtown, while others called upon Lord Sterling, whose 
acquaintance they had made while he was a prisoner on Long 

Lord Sterling, a prominent commandant of the forces under 
Washington, was a native of New York, and his true name was 
William Alexander. His ancestors came from Scotland, and 
he spent a large part of his fortune attempting to secure the 


title and estate of an earldom held by some of his ancestors in 
162 1, and to which he claimed to be the rightful heir. His 
efforts, however, were unsuccessful, though from courtesy he 
was always styled Lord Sterling, and his letters to Washington 
and the council were signed simply "Sterling." The stone 
house on State street now owned by Hannah Hibbs was at that 
time kept as an inn, and was known as the "'Justices' House," 
because the justices of the court were usually entertained there, 
and here it was that Lord Sterling is supposed to have been when 
he received the visit from the Hessian officers on the 27th or 
28th of December. While at Newtown Sterling wrote frequent 
letters to the Supreme Council of Safety at Philada., a few of 
which may be interesting: 

Newtown, January 4, 1777. 
I was ill with rheumatism before our first expedition to Trenton, but the 
fatigue and hardships I endured for 40 hours in the worst weather I ever saw 
rendered me unfit for further duty in the field. General Washington there- 
fore placed me here to do the best I could to secure the ferries and upper 
part of the country against any surprise. I will do the best I can with the 
force I have to cotnniand. I have a number of prisoners from the enemy's 
army pouring in upon me (thank God), but tell me what I am to do with 
them ; there is no room for them here. * '•■ This is the first time I 

have been able to scrawl since I crossed the Delaware last. 

Most respectfullj^ yours, Stkrlinc",. 

Again, under date of January 6, 1777, he wrote to the chair- 
man of the Council, as follows : 

Lieutenant Wilmot, of the British Light Horse, is just brought in 
wounded. I shall send him on to " Four Lanes' End" [now Langhorne] 
to-morrow. There are a number of prisoners of war here, and more coming 
in. I should be glad to hear your opinion where it would be best to send 

Under date of January 7th he wrote the secretary of the Coun- 
cil as follows : 

I shall send off to Philadelphia about 70 British prisoners to-morrow 
morning. General Washington has upwards of 200 more with him. James 
Reynolds and the other two deserters went to Philadelphia yesterday. 

To give an idea of the extent of the capture by Washington 
and his army at Trenton, and of the poorly equipped condition of 
his men, I quote a letter from Deputy Quartermaster General 
Clement Biddle to the Council of Safety : 


Headquarters, Newton, 28lh December, 1776. 
Sir: His Excellency General Washington has commanded me to send for- 
ward the prisoners taken at Trenton, to pass through Philadelphia to Lancas- 
ter, and I have sent them with a guard under the conduct of Captain Murray 
(an officer of the State lately released from New York), with directions to 
furnish them with provisions and quarters on the road. * * * I have the 
pleasure to inform you that the prisoners amount to near 1000; that their 
arms, six brass field pieces, eight standards of colors and a number of swords 
and cartouch boxes, taken in this happy expedition, are safely arrived at and 
near this place. If your honorable committee could by any means furnisk 
shoes and stockings for our troops, it will be a great relief. 

Clement BiddlE, D't'y Or. Mr. Gen'l. 

It will be noticed that this letter is dated "Headquarters, New- 
town, December 28, 1776." 

It will be impossible to note more than a very few of the im- 
portant events which occurred at Newtown during the Revolu- 
tionary period. On February 23, 1778, Washington wrote to 
President Wharton, of the Council, as follows : 

Headquarters, Valley Forge. 
Sir : The militia from the westward who had been detained by the bad- 
ness of the weather have arrived at General Lacey's camp, and those from 
'Northampton have I hope come in by this time. Their presence had become 
exceedingly necessary, as the insolence of the disaffected in Philadelphia 
and Bucks counties had arisen to a very alarming height. They have seized 
and carried off a number of respectable inhabitants in those counties, and 
such ofl&cers of this army who fell in their way, among others Major Murray, 
of the 13th Penua. Regiment, who was at Newtown with his family. 

Their raid upon Newtown was made on the night of February 
18, 1778, by the cavalry companies of Hovenden and Thomas, 
both Bucks county Tories, who captured a quantity of cloth de- 
signed for the army, and made prisoners of Major Murray, 
three other officers and 26 soldiers, besides killing and wounding 

In July, 1 78 1, Captain Claypole was ordered to receive recruits 
at Newtown. On September 11, 1781, militia of Philada., city 
and county, Chester, Bucks, Lancaster, Berks and Northampton, 
Light Horse of city and county, York and Cumberland, and two 
companies of artillery, were called into service and ordered to 
rendezvous at Newtown. On October 12, 1781, General Lacey 
was ordered to discharge the militia at Newtown, and on the 
same date Paymaster Scott was sent there with £3,000 to pay 
them off. 



Probably no event which has ever occurred in the county has 
created as much excitement as the robbery of the county treasury 
at Newtown by a band of outlaws headed by the notorious Doan 
brothers, on the evening of October 22, 1781. The Doans, as 
is well known, were the sons of respectable Quaker parents in 
Plumstead, but early in the struggle for independence espoused 
the cause of the Crown, and on account of their Tory principles 
and numerous robberies were declared "outlaws." John Hart 
was then county treasurer and lived in the stone house on the 
west side of State street, now occupied by Thomas P. Hampton, 
at what was then known as "The First Hollow." 

The outlaws were harbored by John Tomlinson, who then 
owned the large farm in Wrightstown now belonging to Mrs. 
Charles Williams, and it was here that the plans for the 
robbery were laid. John Atkinson, who carried on black- 
smithing in a shop on the property now of Dr. Heston, was 
frequently called upon by the Doans and their companions to 
repair their guns, and it was he who kept them posted as to the 
movements of Treasurer Hart, the probable amount received by 
him from the various collectors, and when the treasury building 
was without a guard ; and as compensation for his services he 
received a small portion of the stolen funds. 

Moses Doan rode through the town in the early evening, and, 
finding the coast clear, he and his comrades surrounded Hart's 
house about 10 o'clock, made him prisoner, took possession 
of the keys. With these they repaired to the little stone treasury 
near the court-house and had no difficulty in securing all of the 
county funds contained therein, amounting to about i735 in specie 
and £1,300 in paper. 

The robbers carried their booty to an old log school-house 
which stood just across the road from the Friends' meeting- 
house at Wrightstown, and there divided it, giving each par- 
ticipant 140 hard dollars and a share of the notes, which latter 
were divided by count without regard to value. They then dis- 
persed, each going his own way. 

Henry Wynkoop, Esq., then judge of the court, lost no time 
in informing the Supreme Executive Council of the robbery, and 


that body on October 27th issued a proclamation offering a 
reward of iioo in specie for each and every one of the perpetra- 
tors of said robbery who should be apprehended and convicted. 

As a result, two of the party, Jesse Vickers and Solomon Vick- 
ers, were arrested, tried and convicted at Newtown, and sentenced 
to be hung; and on August 3, 1782, on reviewing the case of Jesse 
Vickers by the Council, it was ordered that he be executed on 
the 7th inst., and that he be informed if he would make a full 
disclosure of his accomplices he would be pardoned. His con- 
fession soon followed, and his execution was again postponed 
until the 14th, and he was removed to Philadelphia jail. The 
confession of Solomon Vickers was also obtained, and he and 
Jesse were both pardoned on September 10, 1782. 

As an outcome of these confessions, John Tomlinson, of 
Wrightstown, at whose house the robbery was planned, was 
arrested, tried, convicted and hung at Newtown, and buried on 
his own farm ; the stones marking the grave are still to be 
seen. Two of the Doan brothers were convicted and hung in 
Philadelphia, and it is said that their father, Joseph, walked from 
Philadelphia to Plumstead behind the cart which carried their 
dead bodies to his home in that township. Joseph, a third 
brother, was arrested, but broke jail at Newtown and fled to 
Canada, and their lands were confiscated and sold. 


Among the names of prominent persons who were identified 
with the history of Newtown during the last century was that of 
Judge Gilbert Hicks, great-grandfather of our present townsman, 
Isaac W. Hicks. He was born on Long Island, January 10, 1720. 
When married he removed to a farm in Bensalem, presented to 
his wife as a wedding present by her father, erected buildings 
thereon and raised a family. On June 9, 1752, only six years 
after coming into the Province, he was appointed by the gover- 
nor and council at Philadelphia one of the justices of the peace 
for Bucks county, and held the office until the Revolution; and 
on March 29, 1776, John Penn, then Governor, commissioned 
him and Hugh Hartshorne, Esq., to hold court for the trial of 
all crimes and offences committed by negroes, whether slave or 
free. He built the brick house in Langhorne opposite the hotel 


in 1763, and removed there. He was a man of superior nind 
and commanded the respect of all. Was chairman of a pubHc 
meeting held at Newtown on July 9th, 1774, in pursuance of a 
previous notice, when he made a short address explaining the 
object of the meeting as being to consider the injury and distress 
occasioned by numerous acts of oppression to the Colonies 
which had been passed by the British Parliament, in which 
body the Colonies were not represented. When, however, the 
British General Howe issued his proclamation, Judge Hicks seem- 
ed greatly impressed with the power of England, and while he 
condemned the injustice of Great Britain toward the Colonies, 
he advised to postpone any over resistance until the Colonies 
should become stronger. Being conscientious in regard to the 
oath which he had taken on assuming office, he read Howe's 
proclamation in front of the court-house at Newtown, and coun- 
seled his friends to pause before it was too late. Not that he 
favored Great Britain, but for the good of the Colonies. 

But the temper of the people was not in harmony with ihese 
sentiments, and those who heard him denounced him as a traitor, 
and the whole town was thrown into excitement. Judge Hicks 
returned to his home at "Four Lanes' End," where he was 
soon pursued by a company of horsemen, bent on making his 
arrest. He was, however, apprised of their coming in time to 
make his escape to the woods, and after the storm had somewhat 
subsided he fled the country and spent the remainder of his days 
in Novia Scotia, supported by a pension from the British Gov- 
ernment, while his property at Langshorne and in Bensalem 
was confiscated and sold by the State. 

Isaac Hicks, familiarly known as "Old Squire Hicks," was 
the son of Gilbert, the judge, and was more closely connected 
with the business history of Newtown during the last quarter 
of the last century and the first quarter of this than any other 
person. He was born on his father's Bensalem farm in 1748, and 
after acquiring such education as the times would afford, and 
reaching manhood, settled in Newtown. On June 6, 1772, Rich- 
ard Penn, then Governor, issued four commissions to him; 

I. As Justice of the Peace, and also assigning him as one of 
the Justices of the County Court. 


2. Prothonotary or Principal clerk of the Court of Common 

3. Clerk or Register of the Orphans' Court. 

4. Recorder of Deeds; and three days later, on the recommen- 
dation of the Justices of the Court of General Quarter Sessions, 
he received a commission as clerk of that court, with charge of 
all its records. 

He was also county surveyor and conveyancer, and filled all 
his positions of trust with general satisfaction until September, 
1776, when the whole county was in a tumult on account of the 
Revolutionary struggle, and the excitement occasioned by his 
father's unfortunate action made it necessary to remove him from 
office and appoint new men. 

On February 19, 1777, it was resolved by the Council of Safety 
that Joseph Hart and Henry Wynkoop, Esqs., and Richard Gibbs 
be requested to repair immediately to the house of Isaac Hicks, 
late clerk of the court for Bucks county, and take possession of 
all the public papers, books and records that may be in his posses- 
sion, to clear out the office built by the county for the purpose 
of keeping the records, and place them all therein and make 
report if any be lost, Henry Wynkoop, Esq., to keep the keys. 
On February 22, 1777, the committee reported to council that 
the records were all correct and the papers deposited, and the 
''office to be cleared to-morrow." 

'Squire Hicks then removed to "Four Lanes' End" and occu- 
pied the house recently vacated by his father, whose confiscated 
estates being sold at public auction, at the court-house at New- 
town, on August 24, 1779, were bought by Isaac for £4,030. 
He lived at "Four Fanes' End" until 1796, when, on January 
2d of that year, he bought the property at the corner of State 
and Penn streets, Newtown, now known as the White Hall hotel 
property, and removed to the old frame house thereon, in which 
he lived until his death in 1836. He was naturally well qualified 
for business, and made the survey of the common lots when they 
were laid out in 1796. He was authority on all questions of 
boundaries, and always went surveying on foot, even thoug-h the 
work were miles away. He was very erect in person, had white 
hair and carried a heavy cane, and as a justice he gave his decis- 


ions with dignity and impressiveness. He died at the age of 88 
years and was buried in the Presbyterian graveyard at Newtown, 
where the stone which marks the spot is placed by the 'Squire's 
request nearly two feet below the surface of the ground. He is 
well remembered by many now living, as he walked about the 
town with his heavy cane and dressed in knee breeches. 

Edward Hicks, son of Isaac the 'Squire, and a prominent min- 
ister in the Society of Friends, was born at Langhorne, Fourth 
month 4th, 1780. His mother died when he was very small and 
he was taken home by Elizabeth, the wife of David Twining, and 
lived there until he was old enough to go to a trade, when his 
father bound him to a coach painter at "Four Lanes' End." 
After he completed his apprenticeship he returned to Newtown, 
married, and established himself at coach painting. There is 
no doubt that the kindly religious teachings which he received 
while in the Twining home had much to do with the develop- 
ment of his strong and sensitive mind in the line of religious 
thought, in which he afterwards became so ardent a worker; but 
as his religious labors were confined to the present century, I 
am obliged to pass them over in this paper. 

One of the most conspicuous figures in Newtown during the 
latter part of the i8th century and during the Revolutionary 
days was Col. Francis Murray. In 1784 he bought the large 
stone dwelling on Court street immediately opposite the court- 
house and now owned by George Brooks, from Bernard Taylor, 
and lived there until his death in 1816. We find him becoming 
a member of the library company in 1774, one of its incorpora- 
tors in 1789 ; on December 28, 1776, a captain lately released from 
New York and conducting prisoners from Newtown to Philadel- 
phia, and his name appears upon the list of officers and privates 
of artillery settled with at Newtown by the auditors of Bucks 
county on March 24, 1781, as Lieut. Col. Francis Murray, late 
of the 13th Regt., Penna. Militia. He was a large owner of real 
estate in Newtown, and in September, 1783, purchased a confis- 
cated farm of Joseph Doan, of 108 acres, in Plumstead. On 
November 17, 1783, he was appointed Lieutenant of Bucks coun- 
ty, and was one of the trustees of the Newtown Commons in 
1796 and of the Bucks County xA.cademy in 1797, and one of the 


associate justices of the court in 1813. He died on November 
30, 1816, aged 84 years, and is interred in the Newtown Pres- 
byterian graveyard. 


Although the population of Newtown prior to 1800 was few 
and the neighborhood very sparsely settled, the community was 
not without schools. The earliest school in the town of which we 
have any reliable record was that kept by xA.ndrew McMinn, an 
Irish schoolmaster, who bought the lot upon which the Temper- 
ance House now stands of Amos Strickland, on May i, 1772, and 
erected thereon the present buildings. Here he kept both a 
tavern and a school. AIcAIinn sold the property to Gen. Murray 
and bought No. 11 of the Common Lots, immediately opposite, 
on which was an old house that had been used for school pur- 
poses. Here AIcAIinn lived and still carried on his school. There 
was a stone quarry upon the rear of the lot, and it is related of 
McMinn that whenever any one came for a load of stone from 
his quarry, he would lock up the scholars and go down and help 
load the stone. He was well remembered by the late Nicholas 

As a further evidence of an appreciation of educational ad- 
vantages by our citizens of one hundred years ago, no better 
proof is needed than the erection of the large three-story stone 
academy building in 1798. This building was after the style of 
the county offices of that date, with dressed-stone front, and very 
substantial. Prior to 1797 a lot part of the commons was con- 
veyed by the trustees of the commons to certain persons for the 
erection thereon of an academy and free school, and the Bucks 
County Academy was incorporated by the Supreme Court of 
Pennsylvania, and the articles approved by Thomas Mifflin, 
Governor, on April i. 1797. Francis Murray, Thomas Jenks 
and others were appointed trustees to carry out the provisions of 
the Act. The new building was erected during the next year 
and school kept therein with more or less regularity, and more 
or less under the care and influence of the Presbyterian Church, 
for about fifty years following. 



There was also an active movement in the cause of temperance 
during the last century, and as early as June 12, 1746, v^e find 
a petition with thirty-one signers presented to the justices of the 
peace holding court at Newtown, "to suppress certain public 
houses which are public nuisances and very prejudicial to some 
of the neighbors. There are too many of them and they are not 
supplied with suitable conveniences to entertain travelers." 


Among the oldest buildings in the town are those erected for 
hotels, or, as they were then styled, "inns." The very oldest 
of these is probably the old frame building on the easterly side 
of State street between Centre avenue and Mercer street, and 
known as the "Bird-in-Hand," from the old sign painted by 
Edward Hicks for Asa and Tamar Gary, representing a bird 
in a hand. It was built by George Welch, a Dutchman, in 1726 
or '28, soon after the erection of the court-house. It is still 
occupied as a dwelling, but is scarcely tenantable. 

The "Gourt Inn,"probably the next oldest of these inns at 
present standing, is, as before stated, on the southeast corner of 
Gourt street and Gentre avenue. The old stone and frame part 
of this building was erected by Joseph Thornton in 1733. The 
brick portion on the corner was built by his widow in 1757, 
while the stone addition on the east was erected by Josiah Fer- 
guson in 1792. This old hostelry was patronized largely by 
those attending court, and hence its name. The newer portions 
have been remodeled within the past few years, and are now in 
good condition. 

The third oldest of these old inns is probably the easterly part of 
the present "Brick Hotel." This building occupies the site of 
the "Red Lion Inn," a little old tavern which in 1760 was sold 
by the sheriff, together with a half acre of ground, as the estate 
of Joseph Walley, saddler, deceased, to Amos Strickland, for £40. 
At this time Strickland owned all the land north of Washington 
avenue to Frost Lane and as far as the bend in the road beyond 
the cemetery, and the Red Lion Inn was the most northerly build- 
ing in town. In 1764 or '65 Strickland burned a kiln of bricks 


in his meadow, on what is known as the PhiUips farm, just east 
of our present Lincoln avenue, and with them erected a large 
two-story hotel building on the former site of the little old inn, 
where he lived until his death in 1779, at which time all of his 
estate came into the hands of his son, Amos Strickland, Jr. The 
building then erected is the easterly part of the present Brick 
hotel, and has large rooms, high ceilings, broad windows, a wide 
hall with open stairway and beautiful old wooden arches, and must 
have been a grand structure in its day, and is still in excellent con- 
dition. Hessian officers were quartered here after the battle of 
Trenton. The senior Strickland kept a number of horses, was 
fond of racing, etc. Washington avenue as far east as the bend 
was known as "Strickland's Lane," and here many exciting races 
were witnessed at election times and on other public occasions. 

The "Justices' House," heretofore mentioned as the quarters 
of Lord Sterling while in Newtown, is very near the old "Bird- 
in-Hand," was built by Anthony Siddons in 1768, and is still in 
good repair. 

The "Temperance House," as has been said, was built in 1722 
by jMcAIinn, the Irish schoolmaster, who sold it about 1796 to 
General jMurray, and he rented it as a tavern as long as he lived. 
The license was taken away soon after the courts were removed to 
Doylestown in 1813, and has never been restored. 

Such then is some account of the settlement and history of 
Newtown during the first century of its existence and of a few 
of the persons who were prominent in making that history. Very 
much, probably of equal or greater interest, has necessarily been 
omitted. May Ave of to-day not fail to remember that we are 
participants in the history of its second century. 

In conclusion, I desire to acknowledge the valuable contribu- 
tions to our local history made by our late townsman, Josiah B.i 
Smith, deceased, from whose manuscript volumes I have obtained 
much information. 

Folk Lore, Notes taken at Random 


(Meeting^ at Sharon, near Newtown, July 21, 1896). 


Turning over the pages of note books which record the re- 
searches of several past years, I find stray allusions to that class 
of descriptive popular characteristics, which often escaping no- 
tice because everywhere in evidence, have found value in the 
eyes of science under the name Folk Lore. 

Quakers, Germans, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, followers of 
the English Church, Welsh and Dutch impressed their traits 
upon Eastern Pennsylvania and left characteristic marks, which 
an anthropologist sees. The sharply pronounced "r" which 
recently seems to have become modified by immigrant influences, 
probably came from Scotland and certain parts of Northern 
England. No doubt its marked effect on the sound of the lan- 
guage has been helped by the dry climate which Professor 
March supposed thinned the Anglo-Saxon voice, and lifting 
it from the chest higher into the throat robbed it of deeper 
and softer tones, a final result which strange to say has not 
been effected on the vocal organs of the musical negroes. If 
we judge without prejudice they must be held to possess, as 
a class, the only melodious voices in our country. 

An essay might be written on such bearings of trees upon 
human culture as not even the investigations of the Forestry 
Congress seem to have brought out, such surprising truths fnom 
a general point of view, as for instance, that enunciated by Dr. 
Johnson when he said there were no trees in Scotland, or 
the fact that all the streets devoted to business in all the cities 
of Eastern Europe (with two or three exceptions) are bare of 
trees, that no arcadian groves, nor, speaking comparatively, any 
trees or grassy lawns exist in Greece. That Spain has no trees, 
and but little grass, that on the fertile plains of Lombardy hardly 
a tree is permitted to outvie an average apple tree in size. 


I remember a pollard willow in one of Albrecht Duerer's en- 
gravings made probably about the year 1520, and if Germans 
were in the habit of transforming and distorting the shape of 
shade trees by pruning during or before the i6th century their 
numerous old wood cuts, paintings and engravings will show 
it. On the other hand we may learn that the desire to compress 
the outlines of all masses of leafage into ideal globular forms 
resembling a cabbage, sprung from a wave of French influence, 
which pervaded Europe about the time of Frederick the Great. 
This authorized as models for imitation such trimming of trees 
as is represented in the clipped promenades of Versailles, St. 
Cloud, Potsdam and San Souci. But whoever originated the 
fashion of pollarding shade trees along streets regardless of 
species, as of insects, light, air, view, and the life of the tree it- 
self, there can be little doubt that the Germans brought it to us 
notwithstanding the fact remarked before, that neither they, nor 
any of the other peoples of Western Europe were, or have since 
been accustomed to plant shade trees in the business streets of 
towns and cities. 


But the fanciful poetry-loving Germans may well have affected 
us in other ways, and to what extent imagination may have 
been stimulated by Teutonic immigration, might be shown by 
a study of children's tales, rhymes and local legends, more easily 
than by examining the conscious documents of literature. With- 
out having investigated the matter, I can testify that the people 
of the Lehigh hills, emigrants of a century and a half ago 
from the middle Rhine, a land of fable, have fairy tales and 
nursery legends still. For example, the following tale, rhymes 
and formulae were told to me by Mrs. Charles C. Miller, of Ma- 
cungie, Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, in October, 1892. They 
recall the occasion of an exploration of the Indian jasper mines 
at Macungie, when living at Mr. Miller's hospitable house, I 
passed many pleasant evening hours with his family talking of 
old and new Germany. 




Once upon a time a lamb said to a blind man, "You are no 
use to the world." Whereupon the latter answered, "Let us 
go and travel together and you will see." Now as they started, 
the blind man offered to take the lamb on his back, and having 
done so they traveled on thus till they came to a strange coun- 
try. There they found an ass tied to a fence, and as the blind 
man said they should take all along that they found, he put the 
lamb on the ass, and getting up behind on its back the two rode 
away. As they journeyed on, they found a plough and put it 
also on the ass. When they had gone on still further they saw 
a heavy rope and the lamb said to the blind man : "See ! there 
lies a rope," and the blind man said, "We will take it along." 

By that time it was growing dark and they had ridden into a 
forest where they saw a great palace. Dismounting there they 
went to the door and knocked, but no one answered for there 
was no one within. They went in then, taking all their things 
with them and closed the door. 

When it was night the King of the house came and wanted 
to go in but found the door locked. Then he knocked and said 
(in English), "Who is in here?" and those inside called back 
(English), "Who is out there?" Then he, outside said, "I am a 
giant" and he within said : "I am the grandfather of the giant." 

At this the King of the palace said that he inside should let 
the sound of his voice be heard, and the blind man heated a bar 
of iron hot in the fire and struck the ass with it. so that the ass 
gave a horrible bray. Then the King said: "Surely from your 
voice you must be the grandfather of a giant, but pull one of 
your teeth and throw it out that I may know you." 

At these words the lilind man threw out the ploughshare. 
"Now pull one of your hairs and throw it out." said the King, 
and the blind man threw out the rope. Then said the King, 
"By your voice and your tooth and your hair you must surely 
be the grandfather of a giant, so stay where you are. The pal- 
ace is yours as long as you live." Thus did the two get a good 
house to live in. 

To Mrs. Miller's kindness I am also indebted for the following : 




Hicka, hacka, Hollerstock, 

Wie viel Hanna hat der Rock, 

Ans, zwa.drei; 

Zucker auf der Brei, 

Salz auf der speck, 

Hahne geh wek 

Oder ich schlach Dich in der Dreck. 

Hick, hacka, elderbush, 

How many horns has the ram, 

One, two, three; 

Sugar in the pap, 

Salt in the lard. 

Rooster go away 

Or I'll knock you in the dirt. 


Ente diute minte fass 

Geh in die schule und lern etwas. 

Ente dinte minte fass 

Go to school and learn something. 

Ani beni dunke funke 
Rabe Schnabe diebe daube 
Kassi nabi oli boli rose 
Du liegst raus, Du bist aus. 

Ani beni dunke funke 
Rabe Schnabe diebe daube 
Kassi nabi oli boli rose 
You lie out, vou are out. 

Alte wind muhl geh die strassnaus 
Hoi die kuli Ham 
Trieb die schof naus 
Werst net n'ouf gekratelt 
Wer'st net nunta g'falla 
Hets Mei Schwester g'heirt 
Wer'st mei Schwoger wara. 

Old windmill go up the road 
Bring the cow home 
Drive the sheep out 
If you don't climb up 
You won't fall down 
If you marry my sister 
You'll be mv brother-in-law. 


Hansel von Bach 
Hat lauter gut sach 
Hat stiefel und shporra 
Hat alles verlora 
Hatkugele gegusa (gegossen) 
Hat Soldada todt gshusa 
Hat's Heisle verbrennt 
Hat lumpa drum g'henkt. 

Johnny of the brook 
Has good things plenty 
Has spurs and booth 
Has gone to the duce 
Bullets he's moulded 
Soldiers he's shot 
Houses he's burned 
And dresses in rags 


Es kommt'n man von Micka Bruck 
Und hat'n klad von tansend stuck 
Und hat'n knockish Angesicht 
Und hat'n lederner Bart. 

Here comes a man from fly bridge 
His clothes are of a thousand pieces 
He has a bony face 
And has a leathern beard. 



Die Sonne scheint, 
Das vogley greint, 
S'huckt auf'm Lauda 
Und spinntn' gaeler fauda. 

Die Lady von der Rutsch 

Wenn sie fahren will hat sie kein 

Wenn sie reita will hat sie kein gaul 
Wenn sie laufa will ist sie zu faul. 

Es steht ein kindle an der wand 

Und hat an gokle in der hand 

Und tehts gern broda 

Und will em net geroda 

Tehts gern essa 

Und hat kein messer. 


The sun shines, 

The bird sings, 

Sits on a shutter 

And spins a golden thread, 

The lady of the slide 

When she wants to drive has no 

When she wants to ride has no horse 
When she wants to walk is too lazy. 

On the wall there stands a child 
In his hand he has an egg 
He wants to fry it but it won't cook 
He wants to eat it, but has no knife. 

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, 
All good children go to heaven. 
One flies east, one flies west. 
One flies over the cuckoo's nest. 


For Hartsgespar, Ungewachsa, stitch in side, side ache. 

Hartsgespar and Ungewachsa weiche von (name of person )'s rippen 
gleich wie unser Herr Jesus gewichen ist von seiner grippe. (Touching 
highest and lowest ribs with thumb and forefinger of right hand and re- 
ing twice morning, noon and night). 

side ache go out of 's ribs, even as our Lord Jesus went out of his manger. 

POW-WOW FORMULA— ROTHENLAUFE — ( inflammation). 
Geh heraus das Rothelaufen aus der Haut und geh Zuruck was du warst. 
(After repeating blow the cross first down fingers then across them on 
sufferer's right hand holding it up). 

Go out scald, out of the skin, and go back where thou wast. 

Like all others only to be learned by woman from man or man from 

(Three times stroking the cross — in directions before given — on the suf- 
ferer's right hand. For horses as well as men). 

Geh aus dem Marks in die Knocken 
Aus den Knocken in das Fleish 
Aus dem Fleisch in das Blut 
Aus dem Blut in die Haut 
Aus der Haut in die Hohe 
Aus der Hohe sieben Klofter tiefin 
die Erde. 

Go out of the marrow into the bones, 
Out of the bones into the flesh, 
Out of the flesh into the blood. 
Out of the blood into the skin, 
Out of the skin into the sky, 
Out of the sky seven yards deep in 
the ground. 


The European parentage of the tale, rhymes and formulas 
is demonstrated by the phrase and thought of the Old World 
which pervades them. But to what extent they reveal character- 
istics, denoting a change of environment from the Black Forest 
and Hardt mountains, to the Lehigh hills, to what extent they 
have become American, let students of folk-lore tell. I only pre- 
sent the documents. 


As more fairly illustrating the wild and native growth of im- 
agination in America, several myths, dressed from the beginning 
in American dress, prove the existence of the soil at least, from 
which a national literature might spring. There are manv 
things to be heard from the people's mouth as you search the 
Appalachians from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The quaint fancy 
of the grasshopper war was a myth, which pertains not only to 
the valley of the Delaware, but to that of the Susquehanna. The 
still more widely diffused rumors of Indians mining lead are true 
legends, born of the early contact of the white and red races, 
while the latter in its more widespread and original form of 
treasure hunting pertains generally to the human race. Who- 
ever follows this last notion from the Delaware valley and down 
the Appalachians into Tennessee realizes that all men hunt treas- 
ure in imagination. The jokes, the bantering, the anecdotes of 
workmen and bystanders during archaeological expeditions have 
continually brought the thought to my notice. 

Rejuvenated by caves, by mountains, by a geology little stud- 
ied, and by the recent disappearance of a mysterious race the 
ancient theme has so fastened upon the imagination of many 
a mountaineer that he is able to fancy himself the hero of sto- 
ries that have been current in the region before he was bom. 
We had heard of the Indian lead mine, of the mysterious cliff 
that glinted its precious buttresses through the forest, of treas- 
ure buried within a given distance of a blazed tree, or con- 
cealed in logs at the bottom of streams, but there were new ways 
of telling the tale, and an aged man with broad brimmed white 
felt hat, resembling Rip Van Winkle in appearance, diverted 
my attention even from the unearthed remains of extinct ani- 


mals at Zirkel's cave in northern Tennessee with the following 
story : 

The time is the year 1894; the scene, a mountain region not 
far from Knoxville, but the incidents are of a kind that we 
dream about in childhood after reading- the story of Ali Baba 
and the Forty Thieves. 

For some time the scanty inhabitants of the wild district which 
I will not name, had noticed the presence in the neightorhood 
at intervals of two Indians who, as they came and went, said 
and did little to indicate the purpose of their visits. Neverthe- 
less observations on the part of the curious and a few stray hints 
from the Indians themselves revealed the fact that the myster- 
ious visitors were Cherokees, descendants of the original possess- 
ors of the land. They had come from and returned to the 
present home of their tribe in the Indian Territory, and when 
they went carried with them canvas sacks heavily laden, and 
which according to a generally accepted theory contained silver 

The inference was that a silver mine, long supposed to exist 
in the country was known and worked by the Indians, and to 
find it soon became the fixed purpose of my informant. He made 
several vain attempts to follow the Indians, but as they eluded 
all his efforts, and as he had resolved to make his discovery alone, 
he devised a plan for the systematic ransacking of a large tract 
of forest. The woods were divided into rectangular areas and 
these were laboriously gone over one by one, till one day, after 
weeks spent in the search, he halted before a low clifif, convinced 
that success was within reach. Certain rude outlines cut in In- 
dian style upon the face of the rocks, judged by their inclination, 
pointed to a certain spot nearby, and there on removing the 
leaves, a flat stone lifted up revealed the mouth of a cave. 
Venturing in his curiosity led him a long distance underground. 
He crossed a chasm on a log, reached a room littered with slag 
and charcoal, discovered a small furnace, and at last saw the 
glittering vein of metal arching over one of the galleries. There 
it still is. My informant had not yet raised the funds to buy 
the property, and the Indians still make their visits. Had the 
discoverer consented to take me to the cave, I must have pledged 


him not to reveal his secret, while our visit to the underground 
mine must have been timed so as not to coincide with the pres- 
ence of the Indians. Finding us in possession of their secret 
they would have defended their inheritance by force. They 
•or we must have perished in the cavern, while danger of sur- 
prise by the red men was the more likely, my informant supposed, 
since the suspicions of the former had been roused. "A white 
man has discovered our secret." This much they had ventured 
to say in the neighborhood. "We have marked his trail in the 
forest mould and found the gray hairs of his beard clinging to 
the rocks. 


A paper was read at one of the recent meetings of the "Amer- 
ican Association for the Advancement of Science," essaying to 
show that stories of bears have greater fascination for children 
than any other kind of tale, and that, therefore, they may be 
regarded as an unconscious inheritance from a primitive condi- 
tion, when bears rather than most other wild animals, ravaged 
the farmyard and carried off children. 

Snake stories, however, have a firm hold on older minds. 
Though I never saw a rattlesnake den, I do not pretend to deny 
the existence of places such as I heard of at Salt Pond Moun- 
tain in Virginia, where if you threw a stone down a certain chasm, 
not a dozen but a hundred rattlesnakes, at least, appeared to 
frighten you with their combined rattling, and overpower you 
with a noisome odor, said to resemble the smell of raw cucumbers. 
But if I have heard once the story of the hoop snake, with tail 
in mouth rolling at you like a cart-wheel, I have heard it twenty 
times, believing it less each time, particularly when the detail 
is added that the tail of some of the rollers, armed with a lance- 
like point, is sometimes spitefully darted into the trunks of im- 
mense trees, which die in consequence. 

Here, however, before your very eyes at last, is a snake no 
less remarkable. The joint snake of many tales, in many senses 
of the word. Again and again have I heard of the w^onder, as 
drawers of the long-bow vouch for it in the AUeghenies. I 
know a man who would perhaps have fought to maintain th«; 
truth, as he said he had observed it with his own eyes, namely, 


that this snake, when struck, flew in pieces, which individual 
pieces not only crawled away, but cominj^ together at will, re- 
stored the lKjd\- to its original length. 

The truth of the matter is that this so-called joint snake, or 
glass snake, is no true snake at all but rather a non-poisonous' 
lizard, the Ofhosaurns ventralis, that two-thirds or half its length 
is tail, and that the tail, almost as thick as the tody and very 
brittle, may break in sections when struck, leaving the upper 
vertebra and abdomen intact. Some pieces may wriggle "till 
sundown" and seem t'j crawl away, but when we are told that 
they link together again we feel like making the reply of the 
Kentucky Colonel to the narrator of a great marvel, "Would 
you believe that," he asks, "if you had not seen it with your 
own eyes ?" 

"Xo, sir," says the story teller. 

"Then, sir," says the Colonel, "may I be so bold, sir, as to 
request you, sir, to permit me the same privilege." 


Turning imm myths and legends to facts of every day life, 
that bear upon the character or welfare of humanity, how shall 
we overestimate the significance of processes by which fire is 
made? We liave had to do wdthout matches at times, and so 
may in imagination eliminate the match altogether from life, 
and substitute the flint and steel. But more difficult is it to pass 
backward over the centuries, and realize ourselves in the per- 
sons of ancestors existing without even this device. Yet as 
sure as we are here, and as sure as there was a time when iron 
was as yet undiscovered, so there was a time when no man alive 
knew better how to make fire than by the rubbing together of 
pieces of wood. 

We may imagine this but how shall we look still 
farther back into the darkness and recall the time when 
man, ignorant even of the rubbed stick, looked upon 
fire as a mystery, a wonder of nature, beyond his 
mastery? Of a sudden all the equipments that seem to make 
our life possible are obliterated and man stands alone without 
the ma.stery of light and heat. At some time there must have 
been a hint from somewhere, at some time a struggle for the all 


potent spark. Was the first experiment for fire suggested by the 
smoking of trees chafing in the wind ; by the clash of flint 
rocks; by the volcano, or by the lightning? Who shall say? 
However it came, when it came, the fate of the race depended 
on its issue. Let us estimate if we can the human energy expen- 
ded in this first effort; then let us try to judge the reward. Imag- 
ining the event and its consequences, shall we venture to exalt 
in importance the inventions of steam, gunpowder, printing or 
the telegraph over such a discovery as this ? 

This is not devising new episodes for the human story, but 
following it logically backward by way of known landmarks 
established by the Creator. From the match to the flint and 
steel ; from the flint and steel to the fire stick ; from the fire 
stick to ignorance ; a series of slow steps which we may best 
realize by turning to savage tribes still in the stone age, still 
ignorant of the flint and steel, and therefore at the lowest stage 
of development of the most momentous and important of all hu- 
man arts. The South Sea Islanders produce a flame by rubbing 
a pointed twig held at an angle along a groove in another stick 
held upon the ground, and we learn from the observations of ex- 
plorers, and from the ancient native drawings of Central America, 
that Indians before Columbus made fire by causing a round 
twig held vertically upon a piece of wood to revolve by friction 
between the palms of the hands. A mechanical device, the bow 
drill, in use among the Eskimos, was an improvement upon this, 
since by it you cause the twig, pivoted in a piece of hollow stone 
or bone, to revolve more rapidly with less effort, and strange 
to say after the same manner as the modern Arab carpenter does 
his boring and drilling. More ingenious still is the device for- 
merly in use among many Indian tribes, shown me recently by 
Joseph Nicolar, a Penobscot Indian, at Kennebunkport. Maine, 
as anciently the fire-making method of his tribe. 

Two discs of bark pegged together are mounted on a pivot 
which revolves as you work a loose bow-string upon it. Pre- 
sently the dry pine wood about the spinning hickory scorches 
and begins to smoke. Then if you stop at the right moment, and 
the bow-string doesn't break, you get a spark. Be very careful. 
Touch the ember with a piece of ])unk — a fungus that grows in 


tlie hollow of old locust trees, and blow hard enough, but not 
to<:) hard. Then sprinkle upon the smoking spot finest wood 
shavings and twigs, and y^u have your tongue of flame. 

If you wish to see how easy this looks, find a picture in 
Louis Figuiers' "L'Homme Primitif" called "Le Couquete de 
feu" where a band of cave men, rubbing sticks and twirling 
even simpler machines than these are sending up colunms of 
flame and smoke from an old stump. Then try it hour after 
hour, breaking the bowstring just at the critical moment, up- 
setting the tables, and as some of us have done many and many 
times, falling back utterly exhausted, conquered. But then are 
you in touch with Primitive Man, then as never before may you 
feel what a moment it must have been, when for the first time 
in the world, doubting and wondering, the poor naked savage 
struggled and toiled and fought for the great secret. When 
with the whole of Nature braced against him, as it were, and 
swaying with the strain of her tightly held secret, she yields 
at last and he conquers fire. 

Half an Hour with the Old Taverns of Doylestown. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 19, 1897). 

There is a deal of history in old taverns, and when but few 
people could read or write, their sign-boards played no mean 
part of the literature of city and town. Alany London streets de- 
rived their name from the sign before the tavern, not infrequently 
the first house built. A stndv of these signs is suggestive of the 
mode of thought and humor of their period. 

The crown, typical of royalty, was one of the oldest English 
signs. There was a "Crown" in Cheapside, London as early 
as 1467. It was associated with many other names, as "Crown 
and Mitre/' "Crown and Anchor," etc. An old couplet runs thus : 

"The Gentr}' to the King's head, 
The nobles to the Crown." 

The anchor was probably used as an emblem without refer- 
ence to its use in shipping ; and was frequently found in the 
catacombs, typical of the words of St. Paul, the "Anchor of the 
Soul." The Cross Keys are the arms of the Papal See, the 
emblem of Peter and his successors ; but I have no time to 
linger, and must hasten to the subject of my paper — "Half an 
Hour with the Old Taverns of Doylestown." 

The first tavern in Doylestown was opened by William Doyle, 
in 1745, and license granted at the March term. The peti- 
tioner stated he lived "between two great roads, one leading 
from Durham to Philadelphia, the other from Wells' ferry 
toward the Potomack." As Doyle lived in New Britain this 
would bring his residence in one of the angles formed by the 
crossing of the present Main and State streets, and north of 
Court. The license was renewed for thirty years, and Doyle kept 
the house until about 1775, when he sold out and removed to 
Plum.stead, where he died. 

Just where this pioneer tavern stood would be interesting to 
know. It is only reasonable to suppose Doyle's tavern was 


near the cross-roads, so it could command the travel of both. 
He may have first set up the bar in his ow^n dwelling, and 
afterward rented, or purchased, a convenient house. In this 
it is likely the location was south of Court street, and as near 
one of the four corners as he could get. It must be remembered 
that Doylestown, at that time, contained hardly half a dozen log 
houses, and the present name was not applied, until more than 
thirty years afterward. In 1752 William Doyle bought 19 acres 
of Isabella Crawford, on what is now the northeast corner of 
State and Main streets which he sold in October, 1774-76 to 
Daniel Hough, innkeeper, of Warwick. This purchase included 
Randall's corner, and part, if not all, of the block bounded by 
Main, State, Pine and Court streets. 

Two or three locations are claimed as the site of Doyle's tav- 
ern, but there is little or no evidence to sustain them. There 
is one fact, however, that militates against the claim that it stood 
on the site of Mrs. Scheetz's dwelling, on West Court street. 
When Doyle applied for license at the June term, 1774, he was 
set down in the records as "William Doyle of Warwick:" The 
line of the present Court street was then the boundary between 
New Britain and Warwick, and the site of the Scheetz dwelling 
was in New Britain. It is more than likely that Doyle had 
kept a tavern at the same location all the years he had been a 

In conclusion we repeat what we said at the beginning: It 
would be highly interesting to know the exact location of 
"Doyle's Tavern," the name which our future county capital 
bore for thirty years. It might open the way for the develop- 
ment of data now entirely unknown, and let us into the secret, 
where the young Doyles, Dungans, McLeans, Wests, Manns, 
Johnsons, Flacks, Griers and Snodgrasses, scions of the leading 
families hereabouts, spent their evenings, and tripped the light 
fantastic toe with their rustic sweethearts. We have no modern 
Oedipus to unravel the mystery that envelopes our subject. 

There is not the same mystery surrounding the second of our 
group, known to our fathers as the "Ship Tavern," for it stood 
at the southeast corner of State and Main streets, the site of 
Lenape building. It antedated all other taverns of our borough 


except Doyle's. When torn down in 1874, to erect Lenape, 
the tong-ue of tradition said it had rounded out a full century 
as a licensed house, and I beheved it. There was evidence of 
great age about the building. The eastern end, containing the 
long low parlor, was the original building : the pointing on the 
end wall next to Main street was in good condition, and, when 
the western end was built, probably when license was granted, 
the old wall was plastered over. No doubt the original building 
was used for a dwelling. Samuel and Joseph Flack, one of them 
the ancestor of James Flack, of our borough, owned this corner 
from 1774, down to 1791 when they sold it. The writer was 
told many years ago, by Mrs. Nathan Cornell, long a resident 
of Doylestown. that Samuel Flack kept tavern there in 1778; 
as he and his brother Joseph owned the corner where the 
"Ship" stood, it is more than probable he launched that barque 
"upon the vasty deep." 

An event, worth the telling connects that old house with Rev- 
olutionary times. On ]\Iay T, 1778, the day of the battle of 
Crooked Billet, a young child of Samuel Flack was buried 
from this house, at Neshaminy graveyard. Fear of the British 
was such that but four persons were willing to accompany the 
corpse, two young men, both armed, and two young women, all 
mounted, one of the men carrying the coffin on his horse. On 
reaching the graveyard the men dismounted, buried the corpse, 
and galloped home as rapidly as possible. They heard the 
firing of the Crooked Billet. One (^f these plucky girls was 
Mary Doyle, afterwards a Mrs. ^litchell, and mother of !Mrs. 
Nathan Cornell already mentioned. This is the first we hear of 
the "Ship Tavern," and it was through its front door, the little 
coft'in of the dead child was carried that sweet May morning 
one hundred and eighteen vears ago. 

We next hear of the "Ship" in December, 1805, when George 
Stewart announces in Asher Miner's paper that he had "again 
commenced business at the old stand in the village of Doyles- 
town, a few rods southwest of the two taverns." The "two 
taverns" were the Ship, and the ancestor of the Fountain House, 
on corners diagonally opposite. The Mansion House was not 
then built, and was not licensed until five years later. On Jan- 


iiary lo, 1806, Asher Miner's paper again speaks of our hostelry, 
as "that noted tavern stand, 'Sign of the Ship,' in the tenure of 
Matthew Hare, situate in Doylestown, fronting the Easton and 
New Hope roads." The western, or barroom end, had previously 
been built. On April i, 1817, Jacob Kohl advertised his oc- 
cupancy of tile "Ship Inn," formerly occupied by John Wor- 
man, and latterly by Lott Carr and Colonel Flack, opposite the 
stands of John Brock and Captain Magill. The former was a 
storekeeper, and the latter kept the Mansion House on the 
opposite corner. Flack offered the property for sale in 1816, 
but it did not sell. Kohl was agent for a line of stages that 
ran to Philadelphia. 

In 1829 it was called the "Bucks County Inn;" in 1839 the 
"Bucks County Hotel" and kept by Richard Leedom. One of 
the more recent landlords was Benjamin Morris, born in Doyles- 
town township, and elected sheriff in 1830. He was a member 
of the jMorris family, of Hilltown, which, at one time, was 
prominent in the county. He was sheriff of the county when 
the Mina-Chapman murder took place, and he hanged the mur- 
derous Spaniard. He spent several of the later years of his 
life at the "Ship" and died there. His step-daughter. Miss LaRue, 
a tall, graceful, pretty girl, became the first wife of the late Dr. 
George T. Harvey, and was the mother of Judge Edward Harvey 
of Allentown. The widow of Benjamin Morris died in recent 
years over ninety. 

After Benjamin ^^lorris, the "Ship" had several command- 
ers, the next owner probably being Pierson Hyde. He did not 
keep the house, but rented it to A. R. Kram, who afterwards 
moved to the Citizens House. This brings us down to 1851, 
when Alfred H. Barber, of Point Pleasant, bought the property 
and moved there April i, 1852. Mr. Barber kept the house until 
the Fall of 1859, when he sold it to Aaron Barndt, and moved 
out in the Spring of i860, and the new landlord moved in. 
Barndt did not long enjoy his new honors, for he died in 1862 
or '63, and the Ship Tavern passed into the possession of his 
family, and, for the next ten years, it was in the hands of ten- 
ants. The first of these was Abner Cleaver, who came from the 
Clear Spring and remained a couple of years, when he removed 


to the historic Brick Tavern, Newtown, where (1897) he still 
is. He was succeeded by John Bush, the last of a long line of 
landlords, the Doylestown Improvement Company buying the 
property for the erection of the Lenape Building, and into their 
hands. Bush gave up the Ship in the Spring of 1874. Peace 
to its ashes ! The borough elections were held for many years 
at the "Ship," at that time the vote was cast at one poll, and if 
the scenes attending these expressions of the popular will could 
be recalled, they would make an exceedingly interesting chapter 
in our village life. An oil painting of the old inn is extant. 

The Fountain House is the third tavern in this group, and its 
record reaches back almost a hundred years, under various 
names. The ground upon which it and its belongings stand, 
is part of a tract William Penn conveyed to Jeremiah Lang- 
horne, October 10, 1707. Thirty-nine years afterward it came 
into possession of Richard Swanwick, an officer of customs at 
Philadelphia ; who, taking sides with the Crown when the 
Revolution broke out, his real estate was confiscated and sold 
at public auction, August 24, 1779. He owned the land that the 
Fountain House and bank now stand upon. It was bought 
bv Samuel and Joseph Flack, the same who owned the Ship 
tavern, and to whom the State executed a deed June 8, 1780. 
Meanwhile Samuel Flack had bought his brother Joseph's in- 
terest, and conveyed the whole to John Shaw, innkeeper, of 
Plumstead. It is thought Shaw built a house, obtained license 
and kept tavern there : but, be that as it may, Shaw sold the 
property to Enoch Plarvey, March 29, 1794: Harvey to Charles 
Stewart, his father-in-law, in 1798: Stewart to Dr. Hugh Mer- 
edith, in 1802 : and ^Meredith conveyed it back to Harvey, in 
1803, who retained possession imtil his death in 1822. 

Our Quarter Sessions records show that license was issued 
to Charles Stewart in 1800, 1801 and 1802, and to Enoch Har- 
vey in 1802 3 4567 8. and doubtless for several years after- 
ward. Harvey rented the house to David P. Marple, in 181 5, 
who subsequently went to Philadelphia and died there in 1829. 
At that period the house was known as the "Doylestown Hotel," 
and later as the "Fox Chase Hotel," retaining the latter name until 
sometime in the 30's. A live whale, caught in the Delaware 


the admittance to adults being- 25 cents and children 12 1/2 
cents. Mr. Harvey advertised the property for sale in July, 
181 5, and the description given of it then is of interest after 
a lapse of 80 years. He says : 

"The house is large and commodious, 76 feet in length, anrl 
30 wide, containing six convenient rooms on the lower floor be- 
sides an entry, and ten rooms on the second floor, one being 
sufficiently capacious to accommodate parties of business f)r 
pleasure. In front of the house is a porch, and, contiguous to 
it, is a well of superior and lasting water with a good pumo 
therein." The house was then but two stories with the usual 
attic. I rememlier the "capacious'" room spoken of on the sec- 
ond floor, and attended a military l)a]l there ncarlv fifty years 
ago, when the nodding ]>lumcs and glittering eiiaulets of the 
county militia ofticers helped make a brilliant scene. It was 
called the " ball room." forme(| ])y throwing- three rooms (sepa- 
rated b\- movable i)artitions) into one. .\t the time it was the 
only room in the borough, except the court-room, suitable for 
such i)ur])ose. 

]\rr. llarve\' made a second attempt to sell the property in 
1830, with no better success than before. He spoke of it as 
"the Sign of the Fox Chase," 26 miles from Philadelphia, 30 
from Easton, tt from New Hope: it fronts on the Philadel- 
phia and Easton Port road, and the State road to the State line, 
and is known as the most eligible situation in the village for 
a public house. Among the outbuildings were two stone hay 
houses, carriage house, shed and stabling for 60 horses, also a 
large stone blacksmith shop, and a good wheelwright shop. 

After the death of Harvey in 1832, the executor sold the 
tavern property to Daniel Wierman for $1,976, and the follow- 
ing year the latter sold it to Stephen Brock, who took posses- 
sion April T. 1833, coming from the Turk, whither he had 
moved from Doylestown the spring before. Brock was the most 
famous landlord of the town, if not of the county, and will be 
referred to again in this paper. Brock kept the house for a 
couple of years and sold it in 1835 to James Meredith for 
$4,250. Meredith probably never occupied the house but made 


some improvements. Isaac W. James was the landlord in 1836, 
and it was called the "Doylestown Hotel," the revival of an old 
name. There was now a double piazza, and two-thirds of the build- 
ing was three stories high. James was followed by William Field, 
who kept the house 1837-38. In the Winter, or early Spring of 
the latter year, Meredith sold the property to Elnathan Pettitt 
for $5,000; he also came up from the Anchor, and was the 
second landlord that hostelry gave to our borough. 

Mr. Pettitt was an old and experienced landlord and he in- 
creased the popularity of the house. The Quarter Sessions 
records show that he kept a licensed house in Warwick in 1800 
to 1808 inclusive, but we have no means of telling where. 
Prior to the organization of Doylestown "township, he may have 
kept a house' anywhere in Doylestown, south of Court street 
and been in Warwick. 

Mr. Pettitt took possession of what we call the "Fountain 
House" in the Spring of 1838, and ruled over the destinies of 
the old inn eleven years. The Bucks County Intelligencer 
gave him a send-off by recommending him and his sons "as 
true and good Whigs as there are in the county." Mr. Pettitt 
had two sons and two daughters, agreeable young people, who 
attracted company and helped to make the house a social cen- 
tre. Elnathan, or "Telly," as he was known to everybody, 
remained at home and assisted his father to run the house, while 
John B. read medicine, graduated, and settled at Taylorsville, 
where he married. His death was a sad one. On the night 
of May 26, 1845, while returning from visiting a patient, his 
horse ran away, threw him out, and, becoming entangled in the 
harness, was dragged several hundred yards, and picked up dead. 

One of Mr. Pettitt's daughters married Mannassah H. Sny- 
der, the founder of the Bucks County Express, the first German 
newspaper published in the county. He was a man of promi- 
nence; was proprietor and editor of the Doylestown Democrat; 
was Postmaster, and cut quite a figure in political and military 
circles. He rounded out a varied life by serving in the ranks 
during the war of 1861-65, and two of his sons were also serv- 
ing their Country as telegraph operators. During Mr. Pettitt's 
ownership, Stephen Brock rented the inn one year, and that 


Summer the house received a fresh coat of paint. When Pet- 
titt sold out. in i84(;, the hotel passed into the hands of Charles 
H. Mann, who had recently retired from the sheriff's office. 
He took possession the first of April, moving down from the 
Citizen's house. This is almost fifty years ago, and yet, on 
looking- hack, it seems that one can almost touch that period 
with one's hand. Suhsequent to Mann's occupancy forty years 
ago, there have heen five jiroprietors and landlords for this 
popular puhlic house; X. P. Krower 1856, William Corson 
^S(>/, Edward Yost 1879. John T. vSimpson 1883, and Daniel 
Mcf^aughlin since 1892. In that time the house has been much 
improved, and is now the most imposing and valuable hotel in 
the county. ]\Ir. Corson changed the name to the "Fountain 
House." from the small fountain he put in over the old well. 
John Purdy was the landlord while Mr. Simpson owned the 
house, and a model one he was. Mr. McLaughlin, the present 
owner and kee])er of this po])ular establishment, is able to 
speak for himself. 

Not the least interesting feature in the history of the Fountain 
House is its increase in value. In less than half a century it 
has appreciated nearly two thousand per cent. Giving the fig- 
ures we have at hand, and starting at 1832. when it was sold 
for $1,976. we find an increase in value at every change of 
hands until it passed to its present owner at $33,000. We 
doubt if equal advance in the price of a country tavern property 
can be cited anywhere else in Pennsylvania. 

The Mansion House, that stood on the southwest corner of 
State and ]\lain streets, the site of Weinrebe's bakery and con- 
fectionery, is the fourth historic tavern. In 1775, that corner, 
and a considerable tract in the angle formed by Maine and State 
streets, was owned by William Scott. When the Continental 
Army encamped at Doylestown, in June. 1778. on its march 
from A'alley Forge to strike the British Army in its flight to 
New York, one brigade occupied the south side of State street 
west of Main. A small frame or log house stood on the corner. 

While it is not important, for our purpose, to know when 
the Magill's came to Doylestown, or got possession of this cor- 
ner, we will say, in passing, they were early settlers, and the 


male line is still with us in the person of Charles H. Magill, 
grandson of William, first landlord of the Mansion House. 
William Magill was born in 1777 and erected the building, a 
two and a half story stone, fronting State street, in the first 
decade of the century. It was doubtless built for a public 
house, and its erection probably hastened by the movement to 
have the seat of justice removed to Doylestown. He took out 
his first license in 18 10. This was renewed from year to year, 
and he continued to keep the house until his death, in 1824, 
at the age of 47. Mr. Magill was a man of note and influence 
in the community, and public spirited, to judge from his con- 
duct. When the British Army threatened Philadelphia, in 1814, 
he recruited a company of A'olunteers and served through the 
campaign on the lower Delaware. On one occasion his towns- 
men selected him to deliver the 4th of July oration, and he 
acquitted himself with great credit, the celebration taking place 
in the Academy. No doubt the name it bore for 50 years was 
given the house at the time it was built. It had a porch on both 
fronts, and, when Peter Opp returned home from the Mexi- 
can War, in 1848, Dr. Charles H. Matthews welcomed him in 
a patriotic speech from the front porch. 

On the death of William Magill he was succeeded by his 
widow, a practice more common then than now, and she pre- 
sided over the destiny of the Mansion House for ten years. As 
we find William Field in possession in 1834, he probably fol- 
lowed Mrs. Magill in her life time. He was a son of Benjamin 
Field of Doylestown, and elected Sheriff of the county the same 
Fall. This shortened his reign over this tavern. There were 
four candidates. Field and Plenry Carver representing the two 
great parties, with Christopher Bloom and George Harple as 
free lances. Field was elected by a majority of 120, while the 
two independent candidates polled, respectively, 136 and 793 
votes. Field was twice married, his first wife being Martha 
Dungan to whom he was united, October 27, 1824, by George 
li. Pawling, Esq. Pie Avas a popular man and figured exten- 
sively as an innkeeper in after years. His daughter Elizabeth, 
a child of the second marriage, a sprightly, pretty girl, and 
the toast of the vouno- men of Doylestown, added to the 


popularity of her father's house. She married Rex Peters, 
son of the great stage proprietor, and partner of Reeside, who 
was called the "Land Admiral," and they settled down on a farm 
in Chester county. 

Samuel E. Buck was the successor of William Field at the Man- 
sion House, keeping it a couple of years, and then removing to 
the Ruck Tavern, formerly Mrs. !\Iarple's, 130 North Second 
street, Philadelphia, which he opened December 19, 1838. He 
probably kept that a year, when he took the Mount Vernon House, 
South Second street, where he died December 7, 1840. He was 
a member of the Buck family of Nockamixon, and a handsome, 
dashing-looking man. He and one of the pretty daughters of 
Josiah Y. Shaw falling in love with each other, gave the father 
the slip, hied away to the city, and were married by Mayor 
Swift, December 29, 1833. Buck came to Doylestown in 1832, 
and began store-keeping with Daniel Wierman as business part- 
ner, the latter dying in January, 1834. Mr. Buck's widow 
married John Titus, a native of Bucks county and a member 
of the Philadelphia bar, who afterward achieved considerable 
distinction in the profession, at one time filling the chair of 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Arizona. Mrs. Titus was 
a lovely woman, whose estimable qualities increased with ripen- 
ing years. 

When Buck left the Mansion House, in 1838, a man named 
Zepp, from Philadelphia, took charge, of whom little is known 
and less said by this generation. When Zepp went out, Charlie 
Tucker moved in. He was a facetious fellow, and a tailor, who 
followed his trade while he played the role of landlord. He 
probably kept the house three years as we know license was 
issued to him in January, 1842, for the coming year. Tucker 
had several successors while the house continued in license, 
Thomas Sands being one of the last. The house went out of 
license in the Summer of 1853, while David Wilson, of Nock- 
amixon, was landlord, who was sold out by the Sheriff. It 
was Democratic headquarters for several years, and there the 
returns were brought the night of the election. As it did not 
take so long to count off then, as at present, the returns 
were frequently in by midnight, when the political couriers would 


set out to carry the news to the different sections of the county. 
This practice was continued until there was proper telegraph 
and rail facilities. To get the returns required much riding and 
driving. There was so much uncertainty as to Bridges first elec- 
tion, 1852, that Dr. Harvey and I drove up to Allentown, 
a round trip of 60 miles, to get the figures, driving John 
Weikel's famous match grays. 

The first telegraph instrument in the county was set up and 
operated in the Mansion House parlor in the Winter of 1845, 
which I remember very well. Dr. Alfred Goell, a Russian, and 
pet of Amos Kendall, Postmaster General, and James L. Shaw, 
son of Josiah Y. Shaw, of Doylestown, were putting up wires 
from Norristown across Montgomery and Bucks to Lambert- 
ville, a section of the line from Washington to New York, via 
Baltimore and Philadelphia. The instrument attracted great 
attention and many came to see it ; and they were not a few 
who contradicted it when told people could talk over the wires. 
At that time copper wire only was used, as it was thought 
none other would carry the electric current. 

The Mansion House property was not sold at the death of 
William Magill's widow, but retained in the family, until their 
son Alfred, father of Charles H., died. This was in 1853, when 
it was put up at public sale and knocked off to John Weikel 
for about $6,000, and a conveyance executed to William T. 
Eisenhart and Abraham L. Garron for an advance of $500. The 
property was about an acre in extent, fronting on South Main 
and West State streets. It was sold off in building lots and built up 
with stores and dwellings ; the Main street block in 1857, and that 
on State after the war. Willoughby Shade bought the tavern 
house, and kept a tinware and stove store there, for a few years, 
when it passed into the hands of the late James S. Mann, who 
improved it handsomely as we see it to-day. Thus two of the 
"Three Taverns," around which throbbed much of the business 
pulse and life of the village, and were really its centre, have 
passed into history. 

There are two groups of old taverns in Doylestown ; one, and 
the elder, at the crossing of the two main streets, whose history 
we have briefly rehearsed ; the other, about the court-house. 


These had their birth in tlie removal of the seat of justice to 
this place, and, but for that, would probably never have existed. 
Their story we will now relate. 

The elder of these is known to history as the "Indian Queen," 
a name recognized by few of the present generation, and by 
these as more of a myth than a reality — occupying the apex of 
the triangle bounded by Court, Main and Broad streets, in- 
cluding the court-house grounds. It had three lives; first a 
blacksmith shop, then a country tavern, and, for three-quarters 
of a century, a dwelling, familiarly spoken of as the "Ross 
Mansion," the home of one of the oldest and brainiest families 
of the county. 

The ground this historic house stood upon, was part of the 
"Free Society of Traders" tract: then to Jonathan Kirkbride ; 
to William Doyle, in 1737 the first appearance of the founder 
of our county's capital ; to John Robinson ; to Joseph and 
Jesse Fell, prior to the Revolution, who built a smith shop on 
the southeast side of the road leading from Easton to Philadel- 
phia, near where Main and Court streets cross. Here Joseph 
pounded iron, shod oxen and horses, repaired country carts and 
discussed with his neighbors the quarrel between Britain and 
.her Colonies. The Fells were Quakers as they are to-day, 
and Joseph owned the Mann farm on the New Hope pike 
just beyond the borough dam. In 1788 Joseph Fell bought his 
brother's interest, the latter removing to the Wyoming Valley, 
where he kept tavern, sat upon the bench and took a hand in 
teaching the industrial world how to burn anthracite coal in a 
grate. In 1802 this triangle fell into the possession of Nathaniel 
Shewell, of Painswick Hall, who parted with the last of it in 181 5. 
The smithy was the germ of the tavern and mansion, and it 
was no trouble for the genealogist to read their ancestry and 
descent in the rude arches over the cellar windows, and in the 
masonry of the southeast corner. 

When reasonably assured that Doylestown would be the new 
county-seat, Nathaniel Shewell enlarged the ancient smithy to 
a two-story attic house, extending the southwest front to Main 
street, two rooms on each story. This improvement was plainly 
to be distinguished bv better stone and finer dressing, espec- 


ially at the corners. Further addition was made before, or after, 
the house got Hcense, including the hall and sitting and dining 
rooms. The kitchen and library were built to the east end 
after the property came into possession of the Ross family. 

While Lear and Flack were tearing down the old building 
to erect the bank, a discovery was made that settles a disputed 
point. On two of the beam fillings at the top of the Court 
street wall, near the southeast corner, scratched in the fresh 
mortar were the letters "N. S. and G. S., 181 1," the former, 
undoubtedly, standing for "Nathaniel Shewell," the owner of 
the property, and the latter for some other member of that fam- 
ily. This record cannot be successfully disputed. In the 
middle of the dwelling (not including the hallway that ran 
through the house from southeast to northwest) was a heavy 
stone wall extending up to the comb of the roof, and on it 
was found a dressed chimney top ; additional evidence that 
the small southeast corner room, first story, was a smith shop. 
The building may have been extended to its northeast limit in 
181 1, for when Shewell ofifered it for sale, in 1812, he described 
the house as a new stone house, 50x32 feet, having three 
fronts ; a stone barn with convenient double sheds, 95 feet 
long, and a stone smith shop. The smith shop had probably 
been rebuilt across Main street, in front of the Thompson house, 
where charcoal and other debris of a smithy were turned uo 
over forty years ago in digging foundations for a hay scale. As 
Shewell did not sell his Indian Queen he concluded to rent it, 
and we now come to its history as a tavern. 

And who were the landlords that watched over the destiny 
of this new tavern at the new cxDunty-seat ? The first on the 
roll is Frederick Nicholas. Of him we know nothing except 
that he was refused license, elsewhere, a short time before. He 
took possession of the Indian Queen about the first of April, 
1813 ; occupied it about two years, and, on the first of April, 
T815, was succeeded by Matthew Hare, who removed from the 
Ship Tavern. In a newspaper notice of his change of location, 
he says he had "given up the ship," and hoped "by particu- 
lar attention to the duties of a public house keeper, to reinlist 


a portion of his old shipmates." Hare was an old landlord, 
and we think a Warwick man. 

On April i, 1816, Stephen Brock, whose acquaintance we 
made at the "Doylestown Hotel," assumed the baton of author- 
ity at the Indian Queen. His license was issued at the April 
sessions, and renewed the following year. On taking possession 
he made the following announcement in the columns of Asher 
Miner's newspaper of April 9th. : 

" Friends at a distance, and neighbors near." 

" I have taken Shewell's convenient tavern stand in Doylestown, near the 
court-house, at the door of which the Indian Queen exhibits herself in all 
kinds of weather, her spirits neither depressed b}' clouds nor raised by stm- 
shitie. I have liquors of a good quality, and have made comfortable pro- 
vision for the weary traveler, including provender for his horses ; and, hav- 
ing a disposition to live by the provision, I pledge myself to use every 
proper exertion to give satisfaction to those who may frequent the inn of 
Stephen Brock." 

Mr. Brock was a picturesque person, and, as an innkeeper, 
surpassed by none. He was genial and popular, and an import- 
ant factor in county politics. No man could play the part of 
candidate for office with greater success, and he was charged 
with enrolling the mothers on his side in politics, by kissing the 
children and giving them candy. His strength among the vot- 
ers was so great, that, on two occasions, he ran as an indepen- 
ent candidate for sheriff against the field and was elected. In 
his first race, in 1821, when returned by 983 majority, he an- 
nounced his candidacy in a card, which starts off by saying: 
"I am no grandee, nor caucus man, nor political intriguer: btit 
a plain man." and the people seem to have thought so, for they 
elected him. There was always a vein of humor about him; 
in the Spring of 1825 when he moved out to the Cross Keys, 
he announced that instead of having "shifted his quarters to 
the Lake country, the Cherokee settlements, or any other out- 
landish region," he "had only removed to the sign of the Cross 
Keys, lately kept by Peter Adams, Esq., on the Easton road, 
one mile from Doylestown." 

M. Brock left the Indian Queen April i, 1818, and William 
McHenry, father of the late Charles McHenry, of Doylestown, 
succeeded him. The new host came of an old Irish family, and 



his immediate ancestor was the Rev. Francis McHenry, a dis- 
tinguished Presbyterian divine. He was a watchmaker and 
carried on his trade while keeping the house. He was followed 
by Abram Black, whose pet name was "Walabocker," not at 
all classic, but affectionate, who moved up from the Black 
Bear, where he had kept seven years. He was at the Queen 
in 1821-22. In 1815 Shewell sold the property to William 
Watts, who came up from Newtown with the removal of the 
county-seat. He had held more than one row-office, and was 
subsequently Associate Judge. At the end of Mr. Black's two 
years, Mr. Watts took out a license in his own name and kept 
it for two years, 1823-24. We know of no occurrence out of 
the ordinary routine of life at a country tavern while he kept 
it, and, in the latter year,Mr. Watts sold the property to Judge 
John Ross, recently appointed to the Common Pleas bench of 
the district. The deed is dated May 25, 1824. 

The life of this historic tavern now comes to an end, as the 
new owner put it to other uses ; the Indian Queen was trans- 
formed into a dwelling, and used as such to the end of its days, 
almost three-quarters of a century. Three generations of ^av\- 
yers were reared and trained under its roof. Many of us have 
a vivid recollection of the elegant woman who presided over 
the Ross mansion; of the pride she took in her intellectual 
sons ; and with what grief she mourned the daughter of the 
house cut off in the pride of womanhood. Many pleasant, as 
well as sad memories linger about the old homestead. 

The Court Inn legitimately follows the Indian Queen, and 
may almost be called its child. It was a modest frame building 
until Mr. Heist improved it. We do not know when it was 
built, but it v/as probably transformed into a tavern soon after 
the Indian Queen retired to private life. It will be remembered 
that W^illiam Watts sold the Queen to Judge Ross in 1824, and 
he was the first, or one of the first, landlords of the Court Inn. 
He left it November i, 1826, his goods being sold at public 
vendue, October 26. Pie was doubtless the owner, for he men- 
tions in his advertisement, that he had "rented both his tavern 
and farm." Among the stock sold at his vendue was a pair 
of beautiful cream bays, known as "Lafayette horses," very 


much the fad after Lafayette's visit in 1824. They were two 
of the six horses of that color that drew the Marquis through 
the streets of Philadelphia when he visited that city. 

William Field succeeded Watts, taking possession of the 
house the fourth of November. He was still there in 1832, 
and, on the 28th of October, married his second wife, Eliza 
Gordon, of Doylestown. The "Doylestown coachee," running 
to and from Philadelphia, carrying the mail, put up at the 
Court Inn, and Field probably owned it, as he was proprietor 
of a stage line in 1832. Watts still owned the house in the 
Spring of \^2, when William T. Rogers offered it for sale as 
his agent. The house was robbed the night of April 15, 1830, 
while Field occupied it, and a number of articles stolen, in- 
cluding a dozen silver spoons, marked with the initial "D," 
which had belonged to his first wife. It is possible Field did 
not occupy the house continuously from 1826 to 1832; if he 
left in 1832 he may have lived privately until 1834, when he 
moved into the Mansion House. There is a break in the line of 
landlords, and our Quarter Sessions records do not help us out. 
Crispin Blackfan, of Solebury, while Prothonotary in the 20's 
kept the Court Inn, and his son, Joseph H., told me he was 
born there. In future years the son held an important position 
in the Post Office Department, and was ''Superintendent of For- 
eign Mails" for a long time. John Weikle kept the house in 
1842. and George II. Wyker in 1844, who. at the time of mov- 
ing into it, announced in one of the town newspapers that he 
"had absquatulated from the old stand on the Easton road, two 
miles below the Willow Grove, and has squatted down at 
Doylestown at the Court Inn." 

Wyker was followed by Joseph Strawn, "Pappy Strawn," as 
he was called, to whom license was granted at the April term 
1846. He kept the house twenty years, and developed a num- 
ber of peculiarities of character. He had a certain time for 
closing, and the rule was as rigid as the law of the ]\Iedes and 
Persians. The hour was ten o'clock, and if the guests were 
at the bar taking a "night cap," it made no difference, they 
had to go. He had great faith in the moon, and watched it 
closely, and, as age grew upon him, began to predict and pro- 


phesy. One of his peculiarities was his dishke to negroes, and, 
with a single exception, none of this race was allowed to drink 
at his bar. This was Peter Jackson, a negro of the old school, 
tall and dignified, and a constant attendant upon the officers 
in the hey day of our county military. Strawn had an only son, 
Clayton, who, after serving in the war of the rebellion, went to 
sea with a couple of his companions, and sailing the south seas 
over in different vessels, they met at Honolulu. The other two 
came home, but Strawn remained ; contracted leprosy, was sent 
to the island where such unfortunates are confined : and finally 
became the Governor. One of Strawn's daughters married 
William Beek, who built the first exhibition building on the 
Doylestown Fair Grounds in 1855, which was blown down that 
Fall, after a great fair at which Horace Greeley and a baby 
exhibit were the drawing cards. Allen H. Heist succeeded 
Strawn at the Court Inn in 1866 and to him the house is in- 
debted for all the modern improvements. He first erected the 
brick back building and then the front structure, the original 
frame giving way to the demands for better accommodations. 

The third tavern, in the court-house group, was the stone 
house at the northeast corner of !Main and Broad streets, now 
owned and occupied by Webster Grim, Esq. It was a licensed 
house for many years under the name of the "Green Tree," 
a sign bearing this emblem, swinging in front of it. This was 
the third tavern that had its birth in the transfer of the 
county-seat from Newtown to Doylestown, and built by Septi- 
mus Evans for a dwelling, prior to 1813. Evans, a clock and 
watch maker by trade, was here before 1807 and married Cath- 
arine Houpt, of Durham, March 11, i8ti. He obtained license 
in 1813, 14 and 15, and kept it as a tavern these years, but. 
wishing to go elsewhere, sold it to Daniel Woodrufil:" in the Fall 
of i8i5', and he probably moved into it the first of April, i8r6. 
He announced himself as the "landlord of the Green Tree Inn," 
on taking possession, the first mention of the name we have 
seen. To what place Evans removed, and when he left Doyles- 
town we do not know, but we find him following his trade at 
Jenkintown in 1821. He was the father of the late Henry S. 
Evans, many years proprietor and editor of the F/7/(7,f;r Record, 


West Chester, probably the most valuable country newspaper 
in Pennsylvania. He served two terms in the State Senate. 
He was born in Doylestown, and no doubt under the roof of 
the Green Tree. 

A new landlord took possession in the Spring of 1817, a 
village tailor by the name of John Randall, and the second 
of this craft who became a boniface in our town. During his 
occupancy of the house a stranger and a traveler died there, 
William Dennison Burroughs, of the State of New York, who 
had taken a raft down the Delaware to Philadelphia, and was 
attacked with pleurisy on his return. We are not informed 
how long Randall kept the house, nor who were the interven- 
ing landlords, if any, but we do know that Margaret Kiple 
kept it in 1822-23, leaving it the first of April, 1823. Joseph 
Burroughs, the father of the "Citizens' House," of which more 
later on, bought the property in the Spring of 1823 and moved 
in, as Mrs. Kiple went out. Burroughs, who was still there 
in 1826, announced that "Mineral water of the best quality, 
and ice cream equal to Philadelphia manufacture, can be had 
on Thursday and Saturday evenings." These were luxuries at 
that day. Air. Burroughs' wife, Sarah, died in Philadelphia 
June 30, 1824. He left the tavern prior to 1828, and began 
keeping a flour and feed store in Doylestown, being succeeded 
at the Green Tree by Henry Carver, subsequently elected 
Brigade Inspector. Carver was there in 1828, and William 
Field from 1829 to 1 831. 

Thomas Purdy, of Southampton, father of ex-Sheriff John 
M. Purdy, was the next landlord to rule over the Green Tree, 
his administration beginning April i, 1831, William Purdy, 
his father, having been recently appointed Prothonotary of the 
county by Governor Wolf. Father and son, that Spring, came 
to Doylestown and occupied the tavern. The license was taken 
out in the name of the son. The Purdys left the Green Tree 
in the Spring of 1833 ; the father removing to the house now 
occupied by Arthur Lehman, corner of State street and Print- 
ers" alley, where he died in 1834, the son going to the Black 
Bear, Northampton township, where he kept store a few 
vears in the Stuckert storehouse, and then removed to his 


father's farm in Southampton. He died there in the Fall of 
1844, two years after his election to the Sheriff's office. Amons^ 
the subsequent landlords were Benjamin Carver, the successor 
of Purdy; Kirk J. Price, who kept the house in 1836; Theo- 
dore Kinsey, who left the tavern to engage in the lightning-rod 
business, and, striking it at the flood, led on to fortune ; and 
Joel Vasey, who left the Green Tree in 1849, to give place to 
Abram R. Kram, the bartender for Lewis Apple at the Citizens' 
House. License was granted to both Apple and Vasey at the 
April Term, 1846. The Green Tree gave up the ghost as a 
licensed house sometime in the Spring of '54, and, since then, 
has been occupied as a residence by various persons. 

The fourth, and last, of the group of taverns that encircled 
the court-house was the "Citizens' House," known by other 
names to the present generation, but practically the same build- 
ing now occupied by Scheetz's stores, southwest corner of 
Court and Pine streets. It was a frame house built by Joseph 
Burroughs, in 1830-31, for a temperance house; finished in the 
Winter and opened in March. One of the newspapers of the 
village announced on December 7, 1830, that the "Citizens' 
House," is now ready for the reception of jurors, boarders and 
others, by the proprietor, Joseph Pjurroughs. The advertisement 
was headed "New Establishment." At that time there were 
no buildings on the south side of Court street between the 
Academy and Printers" alley, where Barton Stuart's log barn 
stood. It was enlarged and improved by several owners. 

In 1835 the proprietor of this temperance house, wiioso- 
ever he may have been, was the possessor of a handsome col- 
lection of birds, insects, fishes, minerals, etc.. collected by the 
son of a Mr. Myers, supposed to be the landlord. They were 
the cause of attraction. An article that appeared in the Intelli- 
gencer, of May 13, 1835. signed "Subscriber" pays the fol- 
lowing compliment to this hostelry, and its collection of curios : 

"Being at court last week, I had a curiosity to visit this 
establishment, and rarely have I spent a half hour more agree- 
ably than in examining the collection of birds, minerals, sculp- 
ture and paintings, with which one of the rooms of the Inn 
is so tastefully decorated. The skill displayed in the ar- 


rangement of the specimens deserves praise, and the collection 
is highly creditable to the place." At what time the house 
obtained license is not known, but it was probably after 1836, 
when Kirk J. Price removed hither from the Green Tree; this 
is supposed to have been about 1839, ^^^ ^^at William Field 
was the first landlord after license was granted. He left it 
in the Spring of 1841, and removed to the Mount Vernon 
House, Philadelphia, the second Doylestown landlord to try 
his fortune at that then famous house. After license was 
obtained the name was changed to that of "Citizens' House,"' 
which name it retained to the end of its days as a tavern. 
Stephen Brock succeeded Field the Spring he left, and kept 
the house for five years, removing to the Cross Keys in 1846. 
When he took charge he headed his notice in the newspapers, 
"Brock against the field," and it was literally true. While he 
kept the house it was the centre of much of the social life of 
Bucks county's capital. Air. Brock's two agreeable daughters, 
and three popular sons, were important factors in making it 
attractive during their father's administration. The Summer 
of 1845 was especially gay; the house was filled with boarders, 
among them several attractive girls from the city. Cotillion 
parties, in the large dining room, were of almost nightly occur- 
rence, and picnics frequent. Some hearts were touched, and, 
in after years, matches made by those who first met there. I 
was then in Doylestown and joined in these innocent pleasures, 
and, in after years, when standing in that empty dining-room, 
and contemplating past delights, it seemed "like some banquet 
hall deserted." 

Ex-Sherifif Charles H. Mann succeeded Mr. Brock in the 
Spring of 1846, and kept the house until he removed to the 
Fountain Plouse in 1849, which he bought of Pettitt. The 
landlords in rotation, from Mann, were Lewis Apple, who 
moved from Opp's : J. Wilson Cowell, son of Joseph Cowell, of 
Point Pleasant, whose tavern was quite famous in its day, and 
where J. Wilson got his early training, and whose oldest daugh- 
ter married James X'^anhorne, cashier of Hatboro National Bank ; 
William C. Knight, of Southampton, bought the house in 1863, 
kept it two years then he returned to Southampton where he died 


in 1877 ; Thomas P. Miller, son of Alahlon Miller who kept the 
famous Black Bear many years, who made some valuable im- 
provements, and was succeeded by ex-Sheriff Purdy in the Spring 
of 1876; Morgan Rufe bought the house of Purdy in 1883, 
and altered it for a general store. After Rufe's death it was 
bought by A. F. Scheetz whose sons conduct mercantile business 
in it. In its prime, the Citizens' House was the first public house 
of the county-seat. Its nearness to the court-house helped its 
patronage, and, when the four-horse mail stages ran between 
Easton and Philadelphia, before the days of railroads, they 
stopped there to change horses and dine, coming into town to 
the music of the driver's horn. 

In the forties and early fifties, while Judges Krause and Smy- 
ser were upon the bench, they made the Citizens' House their 
headquarters while holding court. This made it the resort of 
the members of the bar, much more than a similar cause 
would influence them now. After court had adjourned for the 
day it was no unusual thing to see almost the entire bar at 
this popular hostelry, spending all, or part, of the evening, talk- 
ing politics, discussing points of law, indulging in jokes, and. 
not infrequently, seasoned with wit. When the weather was 
mild enough to sit out of doors the company would gather on 
the broad pavement in front of the house. The late Thomas 
Ross took great delight in these social-professional gatherings, 
and was the life of the assemblage. His gold snuff-box played 
no mean part, for when that was taken out and passed around, 
it was equivalent to serving notice on the company there was 
fun ahead. More than one fellow member of the bar suffered 
from the keenness of his wit. 

At one time, away back in the 30's, the post-ofiice was in the 
Citizens' House, kept in the cellar under the southwest end, and 
was entered by an open stairway from Court street. Randall Mad- 
dock was the postmaster, and if tradition be at all truthful, he car- 
ried the letters round town in his hat. Our postal service has 
grown verv considerably in the last sixty years. 

The "Spring House Tavern," at whose front swung the sign 
of the "Bucks County Farmer" near a century ago, and, at 
this time, is known as the "Clear Spring Hotel," is one of the 


oldest taverns in Doylestown. When built and by whom, when 
first licensed to sell the "ardent," and the name of the first 
landlord, we are not informed. But one fact we do know, and 
that points to its longevity ; it was a public house at the dawn 
of the century, years before any one dreamed that the little ham- 
let at the crossing of the Easton road and that from Coryell's 
Ferry to the Schuylkill would ever become the county's capital. 

As long ago as 1806 this tavern was owned and kept by John 
Worman. doubtless the same who was carrying on tailoring in 
Doylestown just previous to that time. On December 6 he ad- 
vertised his tavern for sale in "(lermany," the name that end 
of our borough has borne from that time to the present, with 
twenty-three acres of land. He says in a partial description of 
the premises, "The house has two fronts, each 50x20 feet, 
with a good kitchen." As Landlord Worman did not succeed 
in selling his tavern he concluded to remain, and stayed there 
until April i, 1809, when he removed to Philadelphia to the 
sign of "The Drover," Third and Callowhill. Who followed 
Worman at the Spring House we do not know, but the next we 
hear of the tavern it was owned by John Ledley Dick, who 
probably bought it of Worman. Dick was still the owner in 181 3, 
and possibly longer. On August 30 he offered it at public sale 
under the name of the "Spring House, sign of the Bucks County 
Farmer." At this time Jacob Overholt was keeping it. The 
house was spoken of as a "New .stone building with a living 
spring of water near its base, and in full view of the public 
buildings, Doylestown." This tallies well with what may be said 
of it now. Just previous to vacating the premises Overholt ad- 
vertised a "Fox Chase," in Asher Miner's newspaper, in the 
following terms : 

"A handsome fox will be let out from the Bucks County Far- 
mers' Inn, in Doylestown, when all, who are fond of innocent 
sport, are invited to attend with good dogs and fleet horses." We 
are not informed how the fox chase terminated, nor who took 
the brush. 

Mr. Dick, with three sisters, came from Belfast, Ireland, in 
the first decade of the century, and settled at Doylestown. They 
are supposed to have been the children of a Presbyterian min- 


ister. He took to business, bought the tannery in "Germany," 
and carried on the tannery business. One of the sisters became 
the wife of Dr. Charles Meredith, and the brother married a 
daughter of WilHam Erwin, of Erwinna. The death of Mr. Dick 
was surrounded with pathetic circumstances, and great sadness. 
The typhus fever was epidemic in Doylestown, in the Winter of 
1 81 5, and he was one of the victims, dying February 18, after 
a few days' ilhiess. He was the first person buried in the Pres- 
byterian graveyard. A young member of the bar, and Mr. Dick's 
intimate associate and friend, and who was with him in his last 
moments, in a letter written to a friend in the lower end of the 
county, thus speaks of this sad event : 

"My friend. John L. Dick, died to-day at 2 p.m., of the ty- 
phus fever. How frail is man ! Ten days ago he was in the 
vigor of health. Alas, how visionary our hopes of earthly hap- 
piness : but two months since he married Miss Erwin, the 
daughter of the richest man in the county. How soon their 
fondest anticipations of future bliss and domestic felicity were 
destroyed." The writer of this letter caught the fever of Dick 
and died in a few days — himself, mother, sister, and a young 
lady, a member of the family, all dying in the same house within 
two weeks. 

In 1816, Valentine Opp, of Springfield township moved down 
to Doylestown and occupied the Clear Spring, of which he was 
landlord and owner for many years. He was succeeded by his 
son. The tavern was in the occupancy of the Opp family until 
1843. Peter Opp, who served through the Mexican War, was 
a grandson of Valentine. Mrs. Clementine Constantine, daughter 
of Valentine Opp, died at Doylestown, October 7, 1896, in her 
88th year. When the Opps left the tavern in 1843, Lewis Apple 
moved in, remaining there until I1846, when he went to the 
Citizens' House. Apple was succeeded at the Clear Spring by 
Thomas Scotland, and a number of others down to the present 
time, whose incomings and outgoings are known to the present 

A few words more and our story is concluded, of the nine old 
taverns we have discoursed about, and which, in their best days, 
wielded great influence. Six have been dropped from the rolls 


of licensecl houses, and but three remain, the Fountain, Monu- 
ment, and the Clear Spring. As we call the roll of their land- 
lords, a rather remarkable fact presents itself, eight of them, 
including one proprietor, filled the office of High Sheriff, and one 
was twice elected ; they were Stephen Brock, William Field, 
Benjamin Morris, Thomas Furdy, Charles H. Mann, John M. 
Purdy, Allen H. Heist and John T. Simpson. Two of these 
landlords, but not included in the number named, came of dis- 
tinguished ancestry ; one descended from an officer who accom-