(The following article was compiled from information supplied by the Coyle Free Library in Chambersburg , PA and provided to Tuscaroras.com by Linda Carter.)
April 28, 1898
The Society was entertained by Frank Mchaffey, Esq.
The following paper was read by Hon. A. N. Pomeroy:
PATH VALLEY BEFORE THE REVOLUTIONHon. A. N. Pomeroy
Path Valley, situated in the northwestern part of Franklin County Pennsylvania, is parallel with the main, or Cumberland Valley, but separated from it by the Kittatinny and Blue Mountains, two ranges terminating near Loudin in Jordan's and Parnell's knobs. The Tuscarora Mountain bounds it on the west. The entrance to the main valley is very narrow. The west branch of the Conococheague, flowing south, drains Path Valley, which gradually widens as it extends northward. At the northern end a spur of the main ridge, called Knob Mountain, projects southward about eight miles, dividing the valley. The eastern folk, in which flows the main stream and which is very narrow, is called Amberson Valley, while the wider portion, or Path Valley, is drained by a tributary called Dry Run, which starts near Doylestown. At this place another stream has its rise, called Tuscarora Creek, which flows northward, cuts through Tuscarora Mountain, near Concord, follows the western side of that mountain through Juniata county and empties into the Juniata river at Port Royal, forming Tuscarora Valley. The two valleys are a continuous route, with a water course gap through the mountain, running north from the Cumberland Valley to the Juniata. The mountain limiting Path Valley on the west, the valley in Juniata county on the east, the valley itself, and the creek flowing through it, take their names from and will preserve for all time the memory of the Tuscarora tribe of Indians who were the original owners of the country of which the section forms a part.
The story of Path Valley begins on the shore of Lake Champlain. Samuel Champlain, as an ally of the Montagnais, an Algonquin tribe, accompanied by two Frenchmen on a voyage of discovery on the lake which bears his name, met on the evening of July 29, 1609, a flotilla of bark canoes, containing about two hundred Iroquois warriors of the Mohawk tribe, hereditary enemies of the Algonquins. The following day, on the present site of Ticonderoga, the two parties, met. It was the first exhibition of firearms the savages had ever witnessed. Champlain discharged his arquebuse and by it two chiefs were instantly killed. The two Frenchmen discharged their pieces, attacking the flanks of the astonished Mohawks, who fled in dismay to the forests, abandoning their canoes.
The same year, September 19, Henry Hudson in the Half Moon, was at the present site of Albany, only a two days' march from the scene of Champlain's battle and met and traded with the same tribe, the Mohawks. It was the beginning of an influence in America hostile to the French and friendly to the Dutch, who transferred it with their possessions to the English. The shot from Champlain's gun had a mighty effect upon the destinies of our country, for it arrayed the Iroquois nation forever against the French with an undying hatred and made them firm friends of the English. They made the power felt in the great struggle between France and England for supremacy in America, and affected by their friendship, the peaceful settlement of this valley.
The vast tract of wilderness from the Mississippi to the Atlantic, and from the Carolinas to Hudson's Bay, was divided between two great families or tribes, and separated by the radical difference in language. A part of Virginia and of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, southwestern New York, New England, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and lower Canada, were occupied, so far as inhabited at all, by tribes speaking various Algonquin languages. Like a great island in the midst of the Algonquins lay the country of tribes speaking the tongue of the Iroquois. Another smaller island of Iroquois, consisting of the Tuscarora and kindred tribes, was in North Carolina. The true Iroquois, or five nations, extended through central New York, from the Hudson to the Genesee, in the following order: Nearest the Hudson were the Mohawks; the Oneidas next west in the vicinity of Oneida Lake; the Onondagas in the vicinity of the salt springs: the Cayugas reaching to the shore of Lake Ontario, and the Senecas spreading to the south and west.
The Senecas were the more numerous. Among all the barbarous nations of the continent the Iroquois of New York stand paramount, and the annals of mankind do not afford, on the same grade of general civilization, any parallel to the political system which existed among them as a confederacy, or the tribe composing it. These people lived in castles which were towns with houses and their appendages; they cultivated the soil and had extensive orchards. The Iroquois was the Indian of Indians. A geographical position, commanding on the one hand the portal of the great lake, and on the other the sources of the streams flowing both to the Atlantic and the Mississippi, gave the ambitious and aggressive confederates an advantage they thoroughly understood and by which they profited to the utmost. Water, which a stone's throw separated, start, some for the Mohawk, and others by the Susquehanna, to the far distant Chesapeake. Patient and politic as they were ferocious, they were not only conquerors of their own race, but the dreaded foes and powerful allies of the French and English.
On the lower Susquehanna dwelt the formidable tribe called the Andastes. Fierce and resolute warriors, they long made head against the Iroquois of New York and were vanquished at last more by disease than by the tomahawk. They were known to the Dutch and Swedes as the Mingoes; the Marylanders as the Susquehannocks, and to Penn as the Conestogas. Upon their reduction in 1672, by the five nations, they were, to a great extent, mingled with their conquerors. The Tuscaroras in North Carolina engaging with the whites in a war in March, 1713, were defeated and for greater protection from their conquerors fled northward and joined the Five Nations in 1715, receiving land from the Oneidas, where Wincheser now is, some near Martinsburg, on the creek that still retains their name, and large numbers in Tuscarora Valley, Juniata county, which is a continuation of Path Valley, their principle castle being near Academia. It is owing to the strong ties of friendship between the Six Nations and the English that Penn was enabled to obtain the land comprised in this valley, and settlers were allowed to dwell in peaceful possession of it, while the title to the land was still held by the Indians, and that free from molestation, such a rapid settlement could be made. Had an alliance first been made between the Iroquois and the French, how different would have been the story.
The Tuscaroras did not all come north at once, but in detached fragments, covering a period of fifty-five years. During that time there was more or less mingling together of those north with those who located at points south. The main castle being at Milligans, in what is now Juniata county, attracted the various sections of the tribe to that place. It was by going backward and forward of the Tuscaroras that the path was formed which gave to the valley the name it has ever since borne. Originally is was called Tuscarora Path Valley, but subsequently the word Tuscarora was dropped, for after 1754 it is known simply as Path Valley, the continuation of the valley in Juniata county being known as Tuscarora Valley.
The Indians seldom diverge from a straight track. By reference to ancient or modern maps it will be seen that Path Valley was the logical route from the south to that portion of New York in which the Five Nations were located. In the retreat from North Carolina, to form an alliance with the five Nations, the Tuscarora's first entered and passed through Path Valley, some locating in Tuscarora Valley, as we have al-ready seen.
It would, of course, be impossible, in the absence of any allusion to the subject in the records, to even conjecture the number of Indians who made their home in Path Valley prior to its purchase in 1754. There is no account of any Indian town in the valley, but that they were there, transiently at least, in considerable force and prized the territory highly, is apparent from the vigorous and successful efforts they made by civil process to dislodge the early white settlers.
In 1753 there was evidently an important meeting of the Indians held in Path Valley, from the fact that John O'Neil, writing from Carlisle to Governor Hamilton, under date of May 27, 1753, refers to the opportunity which presented itself to him of learning the Indian character by at-tending a great Indian talk in Path Valley, the particulars of which Le Tort would furnish the governor. Whether Le Tort, who was the Indian interpreter at Carlisle, and for whom the stream running through that town was named, ever did so or not cannot be ascertained from any of the records.
Path Valley was a popular place for Indian traders, more especially after the locating of the Tuscaroras in that section, and early maps show it to have been dotted here and there with the paths over which these traders trod on their way to the wilderness where civilization had not as yet penetrated. These paths were numerous but the principle one was that running from Shippensburg through Roxbury Gap, then across Path Valley to Aughwick and on to Kittanning. Another ran by way of Fannettsburg.
Mr. Peters, in reporting to the governor on July 2, 1750, refers to Path Valley as the place through which the road to Allegheny lies. From information gathered from the records of that period, it is clear that the thoroughfare, dignified with the title of the road, was merely one of these paths. It, as well as the others, was known as the packers' path and crossed the Kittatinny Mountain near where Strasburg is now located. It ran up the ravine between the Lawyers' road and the present main road or Three Mountain road, crossed through Horse Valley and over the mountain into Path Valley, about half a mile from and south of the present Three Mountain road. After descending the mountain into Path Valley and just before crossing the creek, it divided, the main or shorter path going up through a ravine a short distance south of where Fannettsburg is now located, the other one being to the left and crossing near the large spring about a mile south of Fannettsburg, where the old Presbyterian church stood. The two paths came together again at the foot of Tuscarora Mountain and passed over it to the left of the present mountain road to Burnt Cabins. This path can still be seen in some places, as it was worn deep by the heavily laden horses.
The opening of these paths into the Indian territory had a disastrous effect, as may be inferred from a speech of one of the chiefs at a conference held with the authorities at Carlisle, on October 12, 1753. He said: "Your traders now bring scarce anything but rum and flour. They bring little powder or lead or other valuable goods. The rum ruins us. We beg you would prevent its coming in such quantities by regulating the traders. We never understood that trade was to be for whiskey and flour. We desire it may be forbidden and none sold in the Indian country; but that if the Indians will have any they may go among the inhabitants and deal with them for it. When these traders come they bring thirty and forty kegs and set them down before us and make us drink, and get all the skins that should go to pay the debts we have contracted for goods bought of the honest traders, and by this means we not only ruin ourselves but them too. These wicked whiskey sellers, when they have once got the Indians in liquor, make them sell the very clothes from their backs. In short, if this practice be continued we must be inevitably ruined. We most earnestly beseech you therefore to remedy it."
With the exception of the road entering Path Valley at its mouth and leaving it at Cowan Gap, near Richmond, subsequently known as Brad-dock's road, which was opened in 1755, there was no wagon road into Path Valley until after the close of the Revolution.
A map of Lewis Evans, published March 25, 1749, shows a road running from a point about the present location of Newville to the North Mountain's eastern slope, and from that point a dotted line, marked Allegheny Path, crosses Path Valley.
A map published by said Evans, June 23rd, 1755, gives a road from Shipppensburg across to Pyatt's (now Dry Run) and on to Aughwick and Standing Stone, but also gives a road to Raystown, past Fort Littleton. This must be regarded as an error, or else instead of full lines denoting roads, the lines should have been dotted, showing a trader's paths, as the road was not built to Raystown at the time the map was published.
In January, 1759, Nicklas Scull published a map which shows a road from Shippensburg crossing Kittatinny and Blue Mountains, also Path Valley, south of Fannettsburg, and going to Fort Littleton. The road is almost on the line of the present Three Mountain road, but was evidently the packers' path above referred to. Great consideration, however, should be given this map, as it is accurate even at this time, and was made by the surveyor general. But an error was undoubtedly made in engraving it, making what were only paths full roads.
William Scull, on April 4th, 1770, published a map which was much smaller and does not give the detail that is given by Nicklas Scull. This map gives a road in full lines from Shippensburg to Roxbury, and then, by a dotted line, indicates a path following the same route as the present Three Mountain road, crossing Path Valley, which verifies the map of Nicklas Scull.
A map "printed for Robert Sayer and J. Bennett, No. 53 Fleet St., London, published June 10th, 1775, from actual surveys and chiefly from the late map of W. Scull, published in 1770," is much larger and gives the country in greater detail than the map of W. Scull of 1770. It gives a road in full lines from Shippensburg to McAllister's (Roxbury), and from there only a dotted line to Fort Littleton, crossing Path Valley at the same point as shown in the maps of 1759 and 1770, with the addition of a path diverging in Roxbury Gap and going to Pyatt's. It also gives a path from Pyatt's running down the valley and crossing the mountain toward Fort Littleton, but north of the Three Mountain road. As the maps of 1770, 1775 and 1749 all show paths instead of roads, and as Governor Morris, in 1755, informed Braddock that there was no road west from Carlisle towards the Ohio, but only traders' paths, it seems improbable that with the road cut from McDowell's Mill to Fort Littleton, any other road would be opened up but four years later from McAlister's to the same point, and only such a short distance north as would appear by the map of Nicklas Scull of January 1, 1759. For that reason and also as no record appears of such a road, it must be considered an error in designating a path as a road.
In 1792 Reading Howell published a map which indicates a road across Path Valley where the Three Mountain road now runs, and the records show this road to have been made in 1786, the first to cross the mountain into Path Valley, consequently it is correctly represented on this map. This road was built by John Skinner, a resident of Horse Valley, in compliance with an agreement entered into with the Governor and Executive Council, to build a road from Shippensburg to Burnt Cabins. The contract was awarded for six hundred pounds in gold or silver, one-third to be paid that fall to enable the said Skinner to get his beef and pork for the winter; another third when work was half done, and the remaining third when the road was finished, on or before November 25th, 1787. Mr. Skinner completed the road within the prescribed time, but as he had been paid in paper currency instead of gold or silver, he subsequently petitioned the Council for an allowance between the value of currency and species, which was granted. Howell's map also shows a road running parallel with the valley from Fort Loudon to Concord, and one through the Narrows to Tuscarora Valley, in about the same location as the present main road, through Dry Run.
A careful study of the Scotch-Irish, the people who settled this section of the province, shows that while they were aggressive, they moved along the line of a higher civilization; while they were firm in their convictions they advocated the rights of man to liberty of thought and action; while they cherished many of the institutions and beliefs of the old country they were intensely patriotic and loyal to the new; and while they possessed what they regarded the best lands they were just in the dealings with the untutored red men. Patriotism was a predominant trait. They were conspicuous among the provincial troops in the old French war, and throughout all the Indian wars they sustained nearly the whole burden of defending the frontier. When a new purchase was made they were the first to make an opening in the wilderness beyond the mountain, and when the alarm of the America Revolution echoed along the rocky walls of the Kittatinny Mountains it awakened a congenial thrill of blood in that race which years before in Ireland and Scotland had resisted the arbitrary powers of England. These were the people who laid broad and deep the foundations of social, education and religious liberty in America. Great injustice has been done these Irish Emigrants in their settlements and conduct towards the Indians. Mr. Sherman Day, in his "Historical Collections of Pennsylvania," terms them a pertinacious and pugnacious race." Judge George Chambers, in his "Tribute to the Principles, Virtues, Habits and Public Usefulness of the Irish and Scotch Early Settlers of Pennsylvania," enters a most emphatic protest. He says: "Admitting the aggressive character of the early Scotch-Irish settlers in pushing into the forests and occupying lands, the outrages and massacres were, nevertheless, not the direct result of these encroachments, but a retaliatory protest against the unjust manner in which their lands and hunting grounds had been taken from them by so-called purchases and treaties with the government. The wrongs of the government, and not the encroachments of the few daring settlers, produced these destructive Indian outrages."
This statement is corroborated by the reply made by the Assembly to Governor Denny, in June, 1757, which says: "It is rendered beyond contradiction plain that the cause of the present Indian incursions in the province and the dreadful calamities many of the inhabitants have suffered, have arisen, in great measure, from the exorbitant and unreasonable purchases made, or supposed to be made, of the Indians, and the manner of making them–so exorbitant that the natives complain that they have not a country to subsist on."
Settlements were commenced in the Kittatinny, now Cumberland Valley, when Indians were numerous, when they and the white settlers chased, in common, the deer, the bear and other game, and angled in the same stream, teeming with the finny tribe?
To one man, above all others, is due the distinction of bringing about the friendly relations that at first existed and continued to exist as far as the Six Nations were concerned, for any trouble that came from the Indians in later years came from the tribes hostile to the confederation. In 1730 Benjamin and Joseph Chambers located in what is now Chambersburg. Joseph remained but a short time and then removed to another section of the valley. Benjamin continued to reside here. The Indians were greatly attached to him, and he used his influence with his acquaintances to settle in this neighborhood, and directed their attention to desirable and advantageous situations, ever reminding them of the importance of treating the Indian in a kind and friendly manner.
(Continued on Page 2 of this Article)
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