After the eviction no settlers ventured into Path Valley until 1754, when the land was purchased from the Indians, under a treaty made at Albany, N.Y., on July 6th, of that year. This treaty was agreed to with great reluctance by the Indians, as they objected to conveying any lands west of the Alleghenies, and considered the amount of purchase money as altogether inadequate. This treaty was finally ratified, but the Indians dispersed with manifestations of displeasure. The French, who were watching every opportunity to produce unfriendly feelings between the English and the Indians, found this a timely period to influence the savage mind against the provincial government, and their successful efforts were soon apparent in the coalition of the Indian tribes and French against Braddock, and in the murderous raids which followed upon the helpless citizens of the frontier. Satisfactory concessions were made to the Indians in 1758 by confining the purchase of 1754 to the district east of the Allegheny Mountains.
The original settlers of Path Valley, with others, returned there after the treaty of Albany, in 1754, and repossessed themselves of the lands from which they had been driven four years previous, but troublous times were in store for them, and it was not until almost ten years after that date, that they regarded themselves as entirely secure from the incursions of their savage foes in the territory west of them. Frequently they were compelled to fly for safety to the forts at Shippensburg and Loudon. The records do not give any instance of the white settlers of Path Valley having been killed, except one, which occurred at the mouth of the valley, near Fort Loudon, when an Indian trader, named Joseph Campbell, was killed by an Indian named Izerall in the fall of 1754. The murderer was pursued by several whites and Indian chiefs but effected an escape.
[NOTE: THE FOLLOWING ACCOUNT OF THE FRENCH-INDIAN WAR LIKELY SPEAKS OF THE DELAWARE AND SHAWNEE. TO MY KNOWLEDGE THE TUSCARORA DID NOT TAKE PART IN THIS WAR. IT'S IMPORTANT TO REALIZE THAT THE WHITE SETTLERS DID SUFFER GREATLY DURING THIS WAR, SINCE THAT HELPS EXPLAIN THE CLIMATE TOWARDS ANY REMAINING NATIVE AMERICANS IN LATER YEARS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE CONESTOGA, THE LAST PITIFUL REMNANT OF THE SUSQUEHANNOCKS, WERE EXTERMINATED BY THE PAXTON BOYS,VIGILANTES WHO WERE CRAZED BY THE RECENT VIOLENCE AND DIDN'T PARTICULARLY CARE WHAT INDIANS THEY TOOK THEIR REVENGE UPON. THIS SMALL GROUP OF MORAVIAN CONVERTS, DEFENSELESS OLD PEOPLE, WOMEN AND CHILDREN WERE MURDERED IN THEIR CHURCH, AND LATER THE LAST OF THEM IN A JAILHOUSE THEY'D BEEN HIDING IN FOR SAFETY. -LKC ]
From the autumn of 1755, when the Indians desolated all the region west of the Kittatinny Mountain and extended their bloody visits into the Cumberland Valley, the people of Path Valley made little progress for the next two or three years in the cultivation of their lands or in the actual improvement or settlement of the valley. The records are almost silent in regard to their position, but from the statements frequently made that all the country west of the Kittatinny Mountain was vacated, and that large numbers of the settlers of Cumberland Valley had fled to York county, we can readily conclude that life in Path Valley was uncertain and dangerous, and that prosecution of improvement must have been attended with great difficulty. This state of affairs continued until about 1758, and even after that time at longer intervals, for they were disturbed by their unwelcome visitors up until as late as 1764. Throughout this period interesting military events were transpiring east and west of the valley and through it as a thoroughfare between the settlements of the east and the military posts in the west, which are fairly part of its history.
On the first of November, 1755, the first serious attack by the Indians was made on the settlers of the Big Cove and they laid it waste, butchering the inhabitants and burning their building. Two-thirds of the settlers fled and found refuge at McDowell's fort. The records state that upwards of one hundred women and children found succor there, and no idea of the distressed and distracted condition of the people could be formed. The inhabitants of Path Valley were greatly alarmed at this time for their own safety, and the same authority tells how they fled to forts for protection. These forts were evidently those located in the valley, as Loudon and McDowell's were not built until the year following. They were of singular construction. A ditch was dug in the ground about four feet deep, in which oak logs were set upright about seventeen feet in height. Each log was about one foot in diameter. In the interior were platforms made of clap boards. These were elevated to a distance of five feet and upon them the men stood when discharging their guns, through apertures made for the purpose. A swivel gun was placed in each corner and fired as occasion required to advise the Indians that guns of such a character were within.
In December, 1755, the Governor sent out officers to locate and build stockades and block houses, and by the first of February, 1756, several were completed and occupied. These were erected in consequence of the alarm occasioned in the Conococheague settlement by the numerous massacres occurring to the westward, notably that in the Big Cove. The result was the erection of a chain of forts along the eastern base of the Kittatinny Mountain. They seem to have had a salutary effect in checking the operations of the Indians, as there is no record of any outrages having been committed in their immediate vicinity during the first half of 1756, but that prowling bands penetrated into Cumberland Valley and committed outrages and murders, is evidenced by the letter written to Governor Morris, by John Armstrong, from Carlisle, on July 23rd, 1756, in which he refers to "seven persons having been killed on this side of the Kittatinny hills and many missing within the county." He says, further, that the enemy did not attack any of the people over the hills but passed them by, because of finding them well guarded and disposed of.
Two of these forts were erected in Path Valley. They were among the first and probably the first, as Elliott's was built in 1754 or 1755, while Chambers', Loudon's, McDowell's, Steele's and others were not built until 1755 and 1756. Elliott's stood about a mile north of Fannettsburg, at the place now know as Springtown. At this place are half a dozen limestone springs, one of which was enclosed by the fort. On the night of March 22d, 1763, when the barn of James and Samuel Walker, one mile south of Fannettsburg, was burned, the neighbors collected and scouts were sent by a by-path to give the alarm at the fort, so that it must have been still occupied by British soldiers.
Baker's was another fort located in Path Valley. It stood at or near the present village of Dry Run.
During the two or three years following the erection of these forts a number of council were held with the Indians at Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Easton, the red men continually complaining that the whites were encroaching upon them contrary to the treaty of 1754. Several treaties were made in which Gov. Denny insisted upon the return of the whites taken as prisoners by the Indians, but as this was not done no practical results were effected by the various treaties. In 1759, however, at a meeting in Philadelphia, the difficulty could have been removed had it not been for the war between England and France and the presence of the French army west of the Alleghenies, whose policy it was to aggravate the prejudices of the Indians and induce them to believe that the English intended to rob them, ultimately, of all their hunting grounds. That the French were too successful in instilling into the savage mind their incendiary representations the bloody result of the Indian wars abundantly attest.
In 1758 and 1759 there was considerable security to life and property in Path Valley. Bands of hostile Indians prowled through the Cumberland Valley and isolated cases of murder and outrages occurred, the perpetrations of which were calculated to keep the inhabitants on the frontier in a state of constant uneasiness and danger. The large body of troops, both British and provincial, that were moving against Fort Duquesne, in 1758, prevented the possibility of any considerable number of hostile Indians forcing their way to this country. This, however, did not prevent the organization of a company of minute men in Path Valley with Noah Abrams as captain.