History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches
By H. C. Bradsby, 1891
Note from Joyce M. Tice: This book was written before either the words or the concepts of tolerance and appreciation of diversity entered out culture. Do not be offended by the idealogy presented here but view it in its historical context and glean from it the truth that is interspersed with its bigotry. The expression of the attitudes given here help us in this century understand how the events we consider atrocities could have occurred.
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 27
THEY ARE FADING AWAY-PETRIFIED INTELLECTUALLY-COUREURS DES Bois-THE VILLAGES AND SHACKS IN BRADFORD COUNTY THE DOORS OF THE SIX NATIONS- MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES TRAILS- POLYGAMY CANNIBALS- CANOES WARDS OF THE NATION - TREATMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT ETC.
COLUMBUS, not realizing that be had discovered the New World, called the people that he found here " Indians." thus transplanting the name of a people of ancient origin in the East. The original Inhabitants, therefore, to be strictly identified, must be called the American Indians, The picture of Columbus and his men meeting the natives on their ships first touching our south Atlantic coast is purely fanciful. These people, not as painted, were dirty, even filthy, and very ignorant savages. They had no idea of geography further than. .... .....
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 28
their eyes could see; the universe simply reached beyond the next range of mountains. Their god was a great and very savage hunter, who was half-horse and half-alligator, as the ancient "Arkansas Traveler" was wont to describe a backwoods tough. Primitive savages, moderately well developed as cannibals, with no arts or ideas above treacherous cunning and delight in torturing and killing. They were polygamists and their drudge slaves were their wives, mothers, and sisters. They were not much above the brutes on whose borders they lived and struggled for their wretched existence. Much of what we now read of the history of these savages is, like the picture mentioned above, fanciful. To civilize him and save him to the world and fit him for the Christian heaven was a deep sentiment of the religious world. The idea of the more practical Coureurs des bois, or the grim frontiers men was to kill him first and then civilize him. Both were impractical dreamers, so far as the Indian was concerned. The Indian was incapable of any advancement in civilization ; his intellect was petrified he deserved better than being starved and ruthlessly butchered
neither policy was right. He was entitled simply to be let alone-- made to behave and battle his own way in the new order in which he so suddenly found himself. If lie survived and advanced, keeping step with the world about him, bravo! If he fell by the wayside, bury and forget him. His right to liberty and justice was as good as an), body's, but the sickly sentimentality that holds be had an indefeasible title to the soil on which he existed, and could, therefore, keep back the increasing white civilization, has no part nor place in justice or good sense. " He was here first," well, so were the bumblebees and the wolves and the foxes had dens." Anglo-Saxon civilization has rights beyond and above all savagery, not only here, but everywhere upon earth. Before its march all else must give way -if necessary, perish. Civilizing the Indian, preserving him and his tribes and multiplying his posterity was not one of the wants Of the world. Millions of imperfectly civilized and ignorant Indians would have now become a sore problem had we them in our country. He despised the manners and habits of civilization; he loved his liberty as the bird or the beasts love it, and was no more capable of the higher order of improvement than they. Therefore it was best that he should slowly fade away as he has; his existence was not a, matter of importance to the world. For the life the world gave him he has given nothing in return. No thought, no idea, no act marked his long existence here that deserves even a slight remembrance. He did nothing and was nothing, and his passage from earth as a people was of no more importance than the swarms of " greenhead " flies that once rose up like pestilential clouds Upon the western prairies to confront the pioneers.
The general description of the Indians that were here when the first white man's eyes fell upon this beautiful land may be described as composed of the Five Nation & The particular one of the Five Nations that claimed possession of the Susquehanna was the Iroquois, whose headquarters were in New York. They had conquered the
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 29
Susquehanna from the Andestes, who inhabited the valley. This change it is supposed occurred about 1620. They are spoken of in early histories as the Canestoges and as the Susquehannocks. When the white man first came all this country belonged equally to the Five Nations. The Iroquois were a powerful and warlike people. They made many villages all the way from Tioga to Virginia. In this county at Wyalusing, Sheshequin, Wysox, Mehoopany and at Queen Esther's Town they had made considerable villages. It is said that all these places were Indian villages of the Susquehannocks before they were driven oat or exterminated by the Mohawks. In those Indian wars and invasions were constructed the fortifications at one time visible at Spanish hill and at the mouth of Sugar creek. The Susquehannocks were driven from their possessions along the river above Wyoming about 1650. The Iroquois held this territory about one hundred years. They are said to be the only Indian people who at that time had anything approaching the forms of civil government, but this gradually died out, and they became little else than aimless roving bands. The -Tuscaroras had been driven by the whites from the South and came North, and were the addition that made the Six Nations of what had been the Five Nations. 'They came in 1712, a century before Bradford county was formed, In this curious confederacy the Iroquois became the dominating race. Athens or Tioga was made the door of entrance into the territory of the Six Nations. At this place a Sachem was stationed, and only by his permission was any stranger, red or white, allowed to pass,-a primitive custom-house or Castle Garden, as it were.
Wyalusing was one of the oldest and
most important of the Indian villages in what is now Bradford county. It
had been built by the tribe that was driven off by the Iroquois. The place
originally was called Go-hon-to-to. After the tribe had been exterminated
it became again the silent desert, and so remained one hundred years. In
1752 a somewhat noted Indian character called Poponhauk, a Monsey chief,
from the Minisink country, came with a number of families and settled on
the old village site. He rebuilt the village. In 1760 it was described
by the Missionary explorers as having about twenty buts, but much better
buildings than was usually found belonging to the Indians. The old Indian
town was located at the mouth of Wyalusing creek, where are the farms of
J. 13. Stalford and G. H. Wiles. The rich land in the valley was cultivated
in a rude way; corn and grass for the cattle and ponies, and the former
for the Indians, were raised by the labor of the squaws in considerable
quantities. In 1763, only three ' years later, the huts in the place numbered
forty, nearly all built of split plank, set on end in the ground, the upper
end pinned to a plate, on which were
rafters, and covered with bark. This year, 1763, was the commencement of the Pontiac war. The Indians of Wyalusing, not taking part therein, retired to Bethlehem, and from there went to Philadelphia.
There is a noted old Indian burying-ground
near Sugar run ferry, where have been found many Indian relics of various
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 30
The Shawnees had lived at the mouth of Towanda creek. They planted corn on the valley lands. They lived ON tile opposite side the creek from. Towanda. The Moravian missionary, Zeisberger, September 30, 176 7, stopped at this deserted Shawness post. In his diary he called it Wisach (from which came our Wysox). He says lie went into camp in a deserted Delaware Indian wigwam. The Nanticoke Indians cattle up the Susquehanna front the eastern shore of Maryland in 1748. a part of the tribe stopped Oil tile Towanda flats.
An Indian town, was supposed to be a very ancient town, situated just a little above the mouth of Sugar creek-the John Hiles
farm. On the farm lately owned by Judge Elwell, nearly opposite Bald Eagle island, was a strong settlement. As for permanent settlements, the Indians were nearly migratory in their habits. They moved with the game and with the seasons- chief interruptions to their going and coming were tit(,, tribal wars, when the enemy hovered on their borders; then, like the wild animals they gathered closely together for safety. The earliest missionary visitors describe finding places in the deep woods where there were signs of the Indians having stopped there, but were now silent and deserted. They had written their story on the trees - a picture-language that was understood by the Indians. They would peal the bark Off a tree, and on this paint he story of what tribe they were, their expeditions of war, the number of the warriors, scalps and captives, etc.-the same rather gruesome story that occupies so much space in the white man's adventures and explorations.
A few families of the Monseys were located on the north side of Cash creek, near its mouth, at the close of the Pontiac war, near where is now tile village of Ulster.
Queen Esther's town was a settlement made about 1770 on the west side of the river opposite Tioga, Point. This woman, or rather female monster, became notorious from her savage cruelties to the captive whites, especially at the massacre of Wyoming.
One of the most important Indian settlements in the county, if not in the State, was made at Tioga-the junction of the Chemung and the Susquehanna. This was the "door" for a ]on(, time to the territory of the Iroquois. All the Indian trails in this part centered here, as all goers and comers must pass through this door, in([ unless his papers were properly "vised" he would be treated as an enemy or spy. This " door " was the entresol to a very long 11 house " indeed. Tile doorkeeper was a Cayuga Sackem. Here the war parties rendezvoused, and here prisoners were brought and disposed of. The place was reported abandoned in 1758, during the French-Indian war, but was rebuilt in 1760. The place was finally destroyed by Sullivan's army in 1759.
The story of Queen Esther, the pitiless enemy of tile whites, is It chapter in the history of Pennsylvania. The writer of these lines, a
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 31
few years ago, in tracing out the early history of Adams county, Pa., became convinced that this woman was an Indian by adoption and not by blood ; that she was a native of that county, and the child of a family that had all been massacred except this girl who was seven or eight years old at the time the family was destroyed. She was carried to western Pennsylvania, adopted by an Indian family, and when fifteen years old married a, full-blood. She was eventually taken to the Seneca tribe in New York, and was married to a noted chief of that tribe. Her stay in Bradford county was short and uneventful. Her village was destroyed by the Colonial army, and the Queen and her abhorred presence were known here no more. She was one of the earth's many unfortunates-her life among the savages had lapsed back into a more cruel savagery than was those among whom she lived ; vile in every respect, a female imp of Satan. A slight study of her character brings up the question: is all this boasted civilization, charity, love and refinement but a thin veneer that a circumstantial pin may readily scratch through to the solid, cruel, inherent brute ? Possibly it was because she was a queen that she was so utterly wicked and abandoned. There seems to be something in the 11 divine " titles and office of royalty that is low and debasing. That is perhaps one reason why men are so ambitious to become lords and kings eager to sweep their soul to the devil for the miserable baubles. The only edifying page in the whole history of crowned beads was where the hunch-back, Richard Ill., cried 11 A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!" The language is highly significant. lie was tired of the king business, it was too tame, and there was not play enough for his genius as a rascal in it all, and he wanted to be a jockey and with the jockey stand. Fortunately for the fall races, his high ambition was nipped in the bud, and King Richard never was promoted to Jockey Dick." Possibly if Shakespeare had personally known Queen Esther he would have married her off to Richard III., and improved the world's entire tribe of kinglets. The pride of America is that we have no kings nor queens. In lieu we have, how ever, the roaring demagogue-the meek and lowly 11 servant " and especial friend of everybody, - the Honorable Fetich, of Shakerag.
Along the shores of the Susquehanna, from the State line to the south line of the county, are spots that will be pointed out to you as once famous Indian resorts, villages, battle-grounds or scenes of massacres or something of that kind. There is a mixture of truth and fiction in it all. At one place, nay, at numerous places, may be pointed out spots in the dark and bloody legends, and at the isolated one or two places may be found memorial stones telling of where the wild children of the forests bent their knees in awe and child -like wonder at the simple, sublime story from. the lips of the hardy missionaries of the church, as they answered in the wilderness the glories of the ever-living God. Lazy, simple and credulous, these wild people of the woods were deeply impressed with the forms and symbols of the Christian religion. That part of religion they could see with the naked eye was all there evidently was in it to
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 32
these nomads, and they put on its outward forms with childish alacrity while deep in their hearts remained the undisturbed fetich worship of their tribes and fathers. They could simply add one religion to the other, not remove the one to give wholly the place to the new and the true religion.
The barbarities suffered at the hands of the savages by the early settlers of Bradford county are a nightmare of horrors. The story in its details is one prolonged agony. This was nearly the same story of every portion of the country east of the Mississippi river. The people fleeing to the forts, the rising smoke from the burning cabins, and tile scalps of men, women and children dangling as trophies from the belts of the warriors; and the flesh of the tortured captives cooked and eaten by the most favored braves. Meaner than the ugly, hungry wolves, far palls in any effort to more cunning and treacherous, human imagination conceive of all the sad story that ran riot through the country. This was the average Indian. Not forgetful that there were crimes, monstrous crimes, committed against the wild people; conscious of the fact that among the many immigrants to the New World were bad white men-some of the vile and vicious who had been banished from their native land-yet, the truth is, those were the exceptions, and for their crimes it is but little answer to be forever pointing to " Lo, the poor Indian'' This gangrened sentiment has found its way too often to our school books and light literature, vitiating the minds of tile young and closing their eyes to the truths of history. The curtain is now rung down on the long and bloody drama, and the fierce warriors that once ambushed behind nearly every tree in tile forests are now the wretched remnant of beggars, in filth and rags, hovering on the confines of our civilization.
Indians always traveled in single file and, therefore, their paths were very narrow, and were sometimes worn deeply in the hillsides where the rains added to the wear. The great Indian highway, that is, the deepest worn path in tile county, passed through from south to north along the river, much as is now the bed of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, on tile west of the river in the northern part of the county, and east of the river on the lower part. The Wyalusing path crossed at Wyalusing, and was in a northeast and southerly direction, entering. the county with Wyalusing creek about five miles west of the southeast corner of the county. The Towanda path entered the north line of the county about half-way between the Susquehanna river and the northeast corner of the county, and passed to the Shawnee village. The Minisink path came from the east, and passed nearly due west through the northern part of the county to Queen Esther's town. The Towanda path entered the county exactly at its southwest corner, and followed Towanda creek to the river; west of tile borough some ten miles it branched to the north, and led to the Indian village north of Sugar creek, on the river. The Sheshequin path entered about the center of the west line of the county, and followed Sugar creek.
Nester and Wyalusing were the chief villages of the Indian converts
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 33
to Christianity under the teachings of the Moravian missionaries. At these points they built huts, and at Wyalusing-called Friedens- built a church, and at one time claimed a population of more than 200 souls.
The management of the Indian by our Government Since we became a separate nation has been one prolonged mistake. He has been always considered a foreigner in his native land, a foreigner under the Government that has made war on him and his, and conquered and held them, and to this day we hear of 11 treaties " with the red men, the same as if they were people of Japan or Kamskatka, and at the same time they are the "Nation's wards," regular boarders at the great American free soup stand-a kind of quasi acknowledgment of their title to lands-and these we purchase and never pay anything except the annual interest thereon. The Government in a manner feeds and clothes these poor wretches, and Christian people give in charity and send bibles, missionaries and school teachers, and tracts and prayers and the Government opens Indian schools, colleges and training grounds, and carries train loads of pappooses and old hardened scalping experts back and forth from the Bad Lands and Lava Beds to see their "Great Father" at Washington and strike camps in the rooms of Willard's Hotel. On the mimic stage what a farce this whole hum- scheme would be-the roaring travesty on good sense is a national necessity to provide soft places for our gang of political bummers-which, by the way, is a great joke on the average tax-payer. The smallest modicum of honest common sense would have Iong ago forever disposed of the Indian question, by simply turning him loose and 11 root hog or (lie." Let him educate and christianize himself as well as provide for himself-exact and even justice with no favors.
The Indian knew nothing definite of his remote ancestors. He had his traditions and wild, crude legends, and some of them be perhaps believed himself, and others he cherished chiefly as we do epic poems. They were the exploits of great hunters and scalpers; something, no doubt, of the crude idea of our school boys in their Friday afternoon piping declamations about 11 Alexander's paw I " as they would gather up their pudgy fists and beat the air, in the belief that that man-slayer went at his blood y work with bare fists. The Indians were merely wild children ; their history was unwritten, and was but dreams of fighting and killing their fellow-man. Their highest pleasures were in the prolonged and most exquisite torture-not necessarily of their enemies, but of their captives-simply because they had them in their power; and after the victim was tortured to death, then to eat him was the crowning privilege. Their women were mere slaves and drudges, somewhat lower in their estimation than their mangy dogs. These Indians that stand so patiently in front of tobacco shops are much cleaner and more intelligent looking than the originals, as found running wild all over this country when the white man came.
All over the habitable world are evidences of the coming and passing away of nations. Birth, growth and final decay, it seems, is
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 34
much the history of peoples as it is of the individual. All roads once led to Rome. And although this was in comparatively modern times yet now these great works-,paved highways and stone bridges are but wrecks and broken remains of that once powerful nation. "The angel of death, it seems, extended his shadowing wings and the" mistress of the world" bowed to fate, and the owls beat upon the casements of their palaces, and the wild beasts lick their cubs where once was only
the busy feet of men. In the sweep of time the nations come and go, as the ripples chase each other on the resting waters. Birth and death and a little, short intervening struggle for existence is the be-all and the end-all, until existence itself is but change.
The numerous as well as powerful tribes of red savages found in possession of the continent have practically gone forever. The original wild Indian is now a memory. He has not passed out from his wild state and been civilized into a changed and higher existence, but before the pale faces he has been pushed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and has sung his death-song and laid down to die. Some few miserable remnants of once great and dominating tribes have min-led their blood with the strange white races, and after being driven from place to place are now in the Indian Territory-the Nation's wards and dependants. Those that clung to their clouts and blankets, and refused the clothes and fashions of civilization, were driven to the lava beds of the western mountain fastness, and shot down like dangerous wild beasts, or hemmed in and starved to death.
What a numerous race of Indians was here but a, century or two ago How little will soon remain to mark their ever having existed! The white man met their cunning warriors in the trackless woods and slew them. When the last miserable, dirty beggar of them has departed what will there remain, except the words of the historian, to perpetuate his memory? Nothing. As a people they have petrified in their ignorant savagery. He could neither lift himself up, nor could his nature be elevated to that higher plane where lives a nobler humanity. He has left behind no thought, no invention and no work of any value to the world or that deserves preservation. He was nothing, and therefore has left nothing. Ignorant, cunning, cruel and excessively filthy.. be was neither useful nor beautiful. His wild nature could not be reclaimed, except by adulteration of his blood with other races. Born in the wild wood. rocked on the wave, his one redeeming trait was his unconquerable love of liberty; this he loved far better than life. He would not be a slave. Had he- preferred existence and slavery to death, he might have lived on in peace with the white man. Indeed, lie might now have had the ballot in his hand and enjoyed the fawning Of our demagogues, a very hero indeed about election times, instead of the wandering beggar in rags as we see him. But this was not his nature. He would be free as the eagle of the crags, and in his choice between slavery and extinction be never halted. 'He met his fate with e ale stoicism, and his death-song rose in his throat as the caroling of the forest birds. Herein was the strong individuality of the Indian-the redeeming quality of his nature.
Joliet, Marquette and Hennepin, the first white men to visit the
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 37
Indians of the West, have left much authentic information of the conditions in which they found them. The pure and gentle Marquette was carrying to these wild children of the plains the Cross of Christ, and receiving the tender in return of the calumet and wampun. These explorers agreed that the northern Indians were inferior to those found in the South in their knowledge of the simplest of the arts. The Natchez were found to possess some little idea of the use of iron and cop per, while their northern brothers knew nothing of it, and used only stone. On the borders of streams or lakes they had their scattered villages their wigwams and shacks being the rudest and simplest structures. All seemed to be nomadic in their habits ; each tribe having its chief, with no certain authority except to command hunting and warring expeditions. The men. performed no manual labor, this being done by the women or Squaws. In the timber they built their wigwams of bark chiefly. This was laid on poles that were brought to a center, and here a hole was left for the smoke to escape. If very hungry, they ate the game captured raw. The most of their cooking was over the fire or in the hot coals; they would boil water by heating stones and dropping into the water in their crude stone vessels. Their best cooks would but poorly compare with our French chefs in some of our fine hostelries. Their mode, for instance, of cooking a turkey was to pull a few of the largest feathers, and then cook it just as it was. This they regarded as not only saving labor, but saving all that part of the turkey that we throw away-a double economy. Their marital relations were loose* and illy defined. Polygamy was often practiced, but not universally, as the bucks bought their wives, paying for them a pony, or game or pelts, or whatever else that was the currency of the realm. Wives were bought often for stated periods when they would return and be in the marriage market again without at all bothering the divorce courts. It was only such dusky maidens as mated without being paid for that wire discredited in the first circles of Indian society. The female children, in case of separation, by virtue of the terms of the contract, went with the mother, and the males belonged to the father. With these impediments in his way it may be assumed that, he would as soon as possible get another squaw to support 11 the old man and the boys.'' Sometimes as many as sixty persons would compose one family and altogether these would live in one wigwam-larger than Mr. the simple round ones. They slept upon the bare ground or on the skins of animals, and all their clothing in the rigors of the winter were also of the skins of animals. In the long winters their places of abode would be describably filthy. The numerous family and the dogs were huddled together in the smoke and the horrid air of their worse than kennels. While it was cold weather they never bathed, and they changed their clothes only by their wearing out and falling off. In the warm weather all took to the water daily, like ducks, but when they came out would smear themselves with horrid rancid grease, mixed often with certain kinds of clays. This seemed to be the only part of their toilet that they were at all particular to attend to.
The food of the Indian consisted of all the varieties of game, eating
They had three kinds of canoes, and these they made and handled dexterously. Having only stone axes they would burn down the tree, chopping away the charred part. They would chop it off at any required length in the same way dropping water at the points they did not want to burn. The heavy wood canoes were burned out in a similar way, and with slow fires they could shape and fashion
them exactly as wanted, and smooth and polish them with stone. A pirogue was made by fastening two or more canoes together abreast by poles reaching across on the top. These would carry great weight, and were not liable to upset. Their most common canoe was made of bark-elm or birch. The elm-bark canoes were very frail and not used for long voyages. To make a canoe of the elm they would select the trunk of a tree very smooth, and at a time when the sap was up. They would cut around, above and below the length wanted, and then remove the whole in one piece, shaving off the roughest of the bark, making this side the inside of the canoe; fastening the ends of the bark together, the sides of the canoe were held apart by bows that would be fastened in about two feet apart. They would sew up the two ends with strips of elm bark, and in such a way as to cause the two ends to rise, with a swell in the middle. Any chinks they sewed together and covered with gum they would chew It may be that this is where our girls got the fashion of gum chewing without inherit in- any knowledge of the better part of the business of malting bark canoes. They would add a mast, and on this use their blankets or skins for sails. All the passengers in such a craft sat upon their heels. There was much art and perfect balancing required to ride without turning over. About like bicycle riding. It is supposed that one of our ordinary mouse or bug squealing girls could upset one of these vessels in a few seconds-at least by the time it bad reached deep water. The chief merit of the elm-bark canoe was its lightness. A squaw could shoulder one with ease, and carry it along or over any portage. In ascending streams these people knew the road so well that frequently by crossing a great bend, and by going overland a mile or two, would save many miles around to the same spot.
Canoes made of birch bark were stronger and heavier, and looked more artistic in finish. The frames of these were of strips of cedar wood, which is light and flexible. This frame was made complete and was then covered with birch bark, which would be sewed together like
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 39
skins. The seams were covered with chewed gum. Cross *bars were put in to hold the sides apart. and these made seats for the passengers.
The French fur traders were the only white men who adopted the Indian's mode of making canoes, or had the skill to use them after the Indian fashion. Some of these canoes of the traders would carry as much as 3,000 pounds, and in the hands of an expert they would shoot along the water with great swiftness.
As already said, the Indians were cannibals, though human flesh was only eaten at war feasts. They would torture a prisoner to death ; in this the women and children were peculiarly delighted, and the body would then be thrown into 11 the war kettle," and greedily devoured after a partial cooking. An early traveler among the savages, Joseph Barrow, says he saw Pottawatomies and Miamis, with hands and limbs, both of white men and also of other tribes of Indians. The pr ivileges of this feast were confined to the noted and foremost warriors.
They would bury their dead with great care and ceremony. Jontel says: 11 They pay great respect to their dead. Some of the tribes would prepare the grave carefully and then for days weep and wail about it; others would dance and sing for twenty-four hours. These dancers would hang their calabashes or gourds about their bodies, filled partially with dry beans and pebbles, and these would rattle and ,assist the mourners greatly in expressing their inconsolable grief. The heirs of the deceased were not forced by fashion to dissimulate their in the form of grief, because when the old man died they buried his fortune with him, and had to throw in something of their- own to help him along the journey to the happy hunting ground.