April 28, 1898.
The Society was entertained
by Frank Mchaffey,
PATH VALLEY BEFORE THE REVOLUTION
Hon. A. N. Pomeroy
Path Valley, situated in the northwestern part of Franklin County, 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 dis-charged 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 posses-sions 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 Missisippi to the Atlantic, and from the Carolinas to Hudson’s Bay, was divided between two great families or tribes, 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 already seen.
It would, of course, be imposible, 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 attending 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 Kittaning. 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 Braddock’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 Shippensubrg 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 alll 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, eduation 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 pertinaceous 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 puchases 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.
As years advanced and the number of settlers increased, we find them pushing further westward and crossing the Kittatinny Mountain. Path Valley was then a hunting and fishing ground for the Indians, which was highly prized by them. None of the tribes made permanent settlements in its forests, which accounts for the absence of Indian relics so numerous in certain western and southern localities. With reluctance they finally left the valley to seek their game and fish elsewhere.
Path Valley was settled quite early in the last century. The records of the surveyor’s office show that Samuel Bechtel had a warrant, in what is now Fannett township, then Hopewell, Lancaster county, for 176 acres, which bore the date of January 24th, 1737, and was surveyed the 24th of the following May by Zach Butcher, deputy surveyor. The same records show that Thomas Doyle had a warrant in the same region for 530 acres, dated November 29, 1737, and surveyed December 30th following. Neither of these men had neighbors immediately adjoining them, showing the settlements to have been sparse. That the valley rapidly increased in population is evident, for in 1746 a number of whites went there in violation, as the Indians claimed, of the treaty rights and privileges, in which position they were sustained by the civil authorities of the province at a meeting of the provincial council, held in Philadelphia, on May 25th, 1750, when Governor Hamilton informed the House of the violation of the treaty, and that he had directed Mr. Peters, the secretary, and Mr. Weiser, the Indian interpreter, to proceed to Cumberland county, which had just been stricken from Lancaster, and take proper measures to remove the settlers who had presumed to stay, notwithstanding his proclamation prohibiting such action. Subsequently on July 2d, 1750, Mr. Peters reported to the Governor the result of the visit. After having met the representatives of the Indians and the justices of Cumberland county at Mr. Crogan’s, it was decided to evict the settlers from the territory beyond the Kittatinny until such time as the Six Nations would agree to make sale of the land, the magistrates announcing that the inhabitants would submit. Mr. Peters says: “The magistrates and company proceeded over the Kittatinny Mountains and entered the Tuscarora Path or Path Valley, though which the road to Allegheny lies. Many settlers were found in this valley and all the people were sent for. The following appeared: Abraham Slack, James Blair, Moses Moore, Arthur Dunlap, Alexander McArtie, Felix Dole, Andrew Dunlap, Robert Wilson, Jacob Pyatt, William Ramage, Reynolds Alexander, Samuel Patterson, Robert Baker, John Armstrong and John Potts. These men did not offer resistance but submited to be bound in recognizance of one hundred pounds each to appear and answer for trespass on the first day of the next county court of Cumberland to be held at Shippensburg. They gave bond to the proprietaries to remove with all their families, servants, cattle and effects, and having give up possession of their log houses, to the number of eleven, these were burned to the grounds, the trespassers cheerfully carrying away their goods. This was the first and only eviction in this section of the province.
This action was taken by Gov. Hamilton in conformity with a treaty entered into with the Indians in 1748, whereby the latter surrendered two millions of acres on the eastern side of the Susquehanna, for which a certain sum of money was paid. This territory was for the white settlers with the distinct understanding that no encroachments were to be made upon the Indians west of the Susquehanna river.
After the eviction no settlers ventured into Path Valley unitl 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 teritory 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.
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.
In tracing the early history of Path Valley the hostile Indian has thus far been treated in the character of a warrior, or rather as a skulking thief and murderer of defenseless families, or else as the diplomatist in council with the pale faces giving in his peculiar language the strongest assurance of friendship and good will, while intending to continue his course of murder, rapine and pillage. We have seen him sweep through our valleys, with his tomahawk reeking in the blood of his victims and carrying many into a captivity worse than death, but we have yet to learn of the treatment or fate of those who, having escaped immediate death at the hands of these fiends, were forced without regard to age, sex or condition, to travel hundreds of miles through the wilderness as prisoners to a cheerless abode, where many were burned to death amid horrible tortures, and others lived in constant terror of meeting a like fate.
On July 29, 1756, John McCullough, aged 8 years, who resided at the mouth of Path Valley, near Fort Loudon, was playing close by his home with his little brother, ages 5 years, when six Delaware Indians rushed upon them and carried them to the thicket. The account as given by young McCullough is very lengthy, but nevertheless exceedingly interesting. Suffice it to say the boys were taken to Fort Duquesne where they were subjected to the most cruel tortures and the younger brother put to death. John McCullough was adopted by one of the chiefs and remained with the tribe until December, 1764, having been absent over eight years. He was among the lot captured by Col.. Bouquet and returned to his home. He vividly recournts the return to Fort Duquesne of the Indians who massacred school teacher Enoch Brown and his children in Antrim township.
Another resident of Path Valley, captured by the Indians, was James Walker, of Fannettsburg, who was on his way home from Fort Loudon. When near Richmond he was fired at by a party of Indians, his horse killed and he was captured. Taking the saddle from the horse it was placed on Mr. Walker’s back, and he was obliged to carry it westward of the mountain. Arriving at Raystown, now Bedford, the Indians separated, leaving two of the companions to look after their prioner. Mr. Walker was tied and the Indians laid down to sleep. He determined that now was his opportunity to escape. Having a knife secreted about his person, after a long and patient effort he succeeded in freeing one of his hands and procuring the knife, cut the cords that bound him. In attempting to rise to his feet one of the Indians was awakened, who sprang at Mr. Walker with his tomahawk. As he did so Mr. Walker plunged his knife into the throat of the Indian, who fell to the ground mortally wounded. The other Indian being awakened by the death knell of his companion supposed they were pursued by a party of whites and fled. Mr. Walker, knowing the importance of having as great a space as possible between himself and the scene of the encounter before daylight, made all possible speed in the direction of Path Valley. After many weary nights of travel he reached Fort Littleton and was given such attention as he required and then sent home.
The year 1764 terminated the hostile incursions of the Indians into Cumberland county. As the tide of emigration rolled westward a barrier was thus formed against their advances to points east of the Allegheny mountains.
The remains of an early habitant of Path Valley was unearthed in August, 1829. While General Samuel Dunn was widening his mill race near Carrick, now Metal, he came upon the bones of a mammoth, among which was a tusk seven feet long and fourteen inches in diameter at the root, about which a portion of the jaw-bone still clung. It has always been understood that this relic was on exhibition in the Academy of Natual Sciences, Philadelphia. Whether this is true or not cannot be ascertained. Mr. Witmer Stone, assitant curator of the academy, writes me, under date of April 20th, 1898, as follows: “Our records do not show that such a specimen as you record was received in 1829 or ’30. We have several portions of mammoth tusks, some without date, and in the lax system which prevailed in those old times, such a specimen might have been received and not entered, but there is certainly no record of such an accession.
Fannett township, which originally embraced all of Path Valley as well as Amberson Valley, was created in 1761, but after the formation of Franklin county it was decreased in size, in 1795, by the creation of Metal township. Fannett was named for Fannet point in County Donegal, Ireland. The shape of the new township suggested it, being a long narrow point. Richard and John Coulter purchased a large body of land in the upper end of the township, in 1756, and Frances Amberson made improvements in Amerson Valley in 1763. These were among the early permanent settlers of the valley. Metal township was named on account of its large deposits of metal.
The men of Path Valley who participated in the scenes, shared the dangers and endured the hardships just recounted, were men of stout hearts and strong arms. Although resolute and daring they were not reckless and lawless. They were men of decided religious character. The records of the Presbytery of Donegal announce that at a meeting held at Middlespring, on April 23, 1766, a verbal supplication was made from Path Valley for supplies and a member to examine their youth and preside in electing and ordaining elders. Mr. Cooper, pastor of the church at Middlespring, was appointed to supply Path Valley at discretion, to spend a day or two catechising the youth, and to preside at the election and ordination of elders, if the way be clear. From his report, made to Presbytery in October of that year, he having ordained the elders prior thereto, the date of the organization of the church, now located at Spring Run, was 1766, and not 1767, as recent historians have made it. The elders ordained were David Elder, John Holliday, Randal Alexander and Samuel Mairs. Owing to the rapid expansion of civilization it was nine years before a minister could be procured, but services were conducted by the elders and they were supplied by Presbytery as frequently as circumstances would permit.
The warrant for the ground was issued the year previous by John Penn, at Philadelphia, on June 21, 1765, and included four acres to be used as a “meeting house and burial ground.” Entire unanimity did not exist as the proper location for the first house of worship, a portion favoring the site where Spring Run is, and others at or near a place now occupied by Fannettsburg. An appeal was made to Presbytery but no definite action was taken by that body. The records of Presbytery show that the reason for locating at the present site of Spring Run was owing to the fact that the large proportion of settlers were in the upper end of the valley. The matter went to Presbytery again in 1769, but the adherents of Spring Run had already commenced to erect their log structure. Presbytery, in order to appease all, granted two churches, one at each of the places desired, and the lower one was erected a mile below the present village of Fannettsburg, the ground being donated by Alexander Walker, and the church built in 1770. They always have been known as the Upper and Lower Path Valley churches.
Rev. Samuel Douglas was the first pastor and was called in 1774. In 1775 Presbytery held its first meeting in Path Valley at which time the ordination and installation of Mr. Dougal occurred.
Mr. Dougal’s salary was fixed at $266.66 a year, payable in wheat, some of which he traded for land warrants with which to procure a home. It was afterwards increased to one hundred pounds and one hundred bushesls of wheat “during the present circumstances of the times.” Whether the circumstances changed during his pastorate we are not informed. He was a native of Ireland and continued to serve the two churches until 1790, when he died.
In this brief review we have traced the history of Path Valley from the earliest times, when clothed with dense forests, it was the congenial abode of wild game and the favorite haunt of the red men, through the period when civilization first set her stamp upon it and the pale face invaded the territory to hew the trees and till the soil, to make roads and plant villages. Today peace and prosperity dwell on all sides. Shut in by their mountains a strong and sturdy set of men dwell there; men who have kept their religious convictions and the straightforward characters handed down to them from their Scotch ancestors. These men now possess the soil as their rightful inheritance, but as you look up at the grim mountain or halt by the sparkling stream, thought turns to the aboriginee.