The oldest house in Easton, Pa. Built by William Parsons, the founder of Easton, sometime between 1753 and 1757. First occupied by him in April, 1857. Later the home of George taylor, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and wherein he died February 25, 1781. At that time the propery included all of Lot No. 176 on the original plan of Easton, 60 feet on Hamilton (now Fourth) Street, and 220 feet on Ferry Street; and it is to be presumed that there were kitchen and other out-buldings attached to the stone house, which is 27 feet front on Ferry Street and 17 feet 9 inches front on Fourth Street. tat part of the property on which the house stands 21 feet by 27 feet, was purchased Janyary 15, 1906, by the George Taylor Chapter, Daughters of the America Revolution, which has p;aced a bronze tablet on the Fourth Street wide, with the following inscription:
This house built in 1757 by
William Parsons (1701-1757)
[Originally published in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1909 Vol. 33, pp. 340-346]
In the manuscript department of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is preserved a letter from Thomas Penn to Governor Hamilton, dated September 8, 1751, in which he states: “Sometime since, I wrote to Dr. Graeme and Mr. Peters to lay out some ground in the Forks of the Delaware for a town, which I suppose they have done, or begun to do so. I desire it may be called Easton, from my Lord Pomfret’s house, and whenever there is a new county, that shall be call Northampton.” William Parsons was selected to lay out the projected town, on the wedge of land between the Lehigh River, Bushkill Creek, and Delaware River, and on May 9, 1750, Surveyor General Nicholas Scull joined him on the site, and with a corps of assistants the survey was completed. The county of Northampton was erected under Act of Assembly approved March 11, 1752.
William Parsons was born in England, May 6, 1701, where he learned the trade of shoemaking, and before attaining his majority, came to Pennsylvania. While carrying on his trade in Philadelphia, he devoted all his spare time to study, so that in the course of time, he became acquainted with persons of education, and gained the reputation of “a man having a profound knowledge of mathematics.” He became a member of the famous “Junto,” the club formed by Franklin, soon after his his return from England in 1726, to discuss ethics, politics, and natural philosophy. Franklin mentions Parsons as a Geographer, in a letter of April, 1744. From 1734-1746 he served as librarian of the City Library.
On August 21, 1741, Parsons was appointed Surveyor General of the Province, to succeed Benjamin Eastburn, a position which called his peculiar qualifications into exercise, but the physical hardships connected with it caused him to present his resignation to the Provincial Council, which as accepted June 10, 1748, and Nicholas Scull was appointed in his place. He then became a resident of Lancaster, was commissioned a Justice of the Peace, April 22, 1749, and also filled the offices of Prothonotary, Register, and Recorder, and continued to survey at intervals.
After the erection of Northampton County out of the upper part of Bucks County, Parsons wrote to Secretary Peters, in December of 1752, that he had removed with part of his family, servants, and household effects and established themselves at the “Point of the Forks”; and here the most eventful years of his life were passed. The first County Court was held at Easton, June 16, 1752, and the first County election for Assemblyman, Sheriff, and three County Commissioners, October 1, of the same year. Parsons served three terms as Justice of the Peace between 1752 and 1757; one term as an Assemblyman, 1753; and filled the offices of Prothonotary, Clerk of the Court, Recorder, and Clerk of the Commissioners. He also acted as the agent of the Proprietaries, looking after their interest, and promoting the sale and settlement of lands. Through his personal efforts, the first building for school and worship was erected by subscription. Parsons contributed £5 and was a trustee.
During the Indian troubles, Parsons was appointed Major in the Provincal service, in 1755, and the following year assigned to the First Batallion, commanded by Lieut. Col. Conrad Weiser. On December 29, 1755, he was appointed Major in command of all the troups raised in Northampton County, and for a time supervised the defences of that region. At all the Conferences held at Easton prior to 1758, between the Provincial authorities and the Indians, Major Parsons attended in his military capacity, and Governors Morris and Denny were his guests, the last named, however, found that the Major was at the seashore for the benefit of his health. Parsons died at Easton, December 17, 1757, and is justly entitled to the honor given him, “The Father of Easton”.
William Parsons, in many respects, was a man of perverse disposition, that marred his relations with people without real occasion. His anti-German position, which he thought the Proprietary interest he represented demanded, was intensified by being outvoted at several elections in the new county, and his prejudices against the Moravian settlements—a prejudice which he tried unsuccessfully to impart to the Proprietors—all injured his popularity. His old associated Nicholas Scull said of him: “Parsons is a man that is not apt to forget any old differences.” The first election held in the new county, October 1, 1752, resulted in the election of James Burnside as the first Assemblyman, he being a Moravian living near Bethlehem, and representing the elements which Parsons spoke of as the Quaker Party at variance with the Proprietary interests. At the election of 1753, he was successful, but in 1754 and 1755 two Moravians, James Burnside and William Edmonds were again elected.
Later his prejudices against the Moravians changed, and his attitude became friendly; he embraced the evangelical faith; and as his end drew near, he desired to have all his family gathered around him, but in that pathetic hour, it was too late for his wife to come from Philadelphia. He died December 17, 1757, and as his request a simple funeral service was conducted by his son-in-law, the Rev. Jacob Rogers, of the Moravian Church.
The substantial stone house which Parsons built at his second residence in Easton, is still standing at the northeast corner of Fourth and Ferry streets. After his death it was occupied by George Taylor, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who died there in 1781. It is now the property of the George Taylor Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, who have restored it a placed a memorial tablet on its wall.
It so happened, that the year and month—May, 1901—which marked the bi-centennial anniversary of Parsons’ birth, brought the announcement that the spot where his remains rested on Mount Jefferson was to be sold for a site of a free library, a more pretentious undertaking than the first institution in the interest of popular education which he succeeded in erecting at Easton. His remains were not disturbed, and are marked by an appropriate memorial.
The will of William Parsons is dated December 15, 1757 (two days prior to his death) in which he bequeaths to the children of his sisters Mary and Sarah £50 each; to his son-in-law James Worrell his watch and £40 to with which he is “to make up and decorate the graves and tombs of my late dear mother,” and his own children, Robert, Susannah, and Hannah; to his nephew, Dr. Stephen Wooley, £100; to his niece, Rebecca Wooley, £20, for the great care and attention shown him; to his niece Elizabeth Cummins, £50; to a servant girl, Elizabeth Kristman, £20, [this is in error to the primary document: £200 to the “Poor Scholars of the Academy of Philadelphia”] and the residue of his estate to his wife during her life, and after her death to their three children. His executors were his “very good friends” William Coleman and Evan Morgan of Philadelphia, and Timothy Horsfield of Bethlehem.
William Parsons was married at Philadelphia in 1722, to Johanna Christina Zeidig, born May, 1699, a daughter of John Julius Zeidig and Salome Margaret Sprogel, a daughter of the Rev. John Henry Sprogel, a widely known clergyman and educator of Quedlinburg, in the Saxon province of Prussia. A sister was the wife of the Rev. Gottfried Arnold, a church historian, a professor at the University of Giessen, and man of great learning. Two of her brothers were John Henry Sprogel and Ludwig Christian Sprogel, names familiar to the students of early Pennsylvania history, with one of whom Miss Zeidig came to Philadelphia  where she first affiliated with the Dunkards under Alexander Mack. Parsons, about the date of his marriage was in nominal connection with the Lutheran Church, but was so absorbed in studies and plans in the direction of his personal inclinations and ambitions, that he had no sympathy with the fervent piety of his German wife, and at times was indifferent and harsh towards her. She withdrew from all religious associations and became a Separatist and next found satisfaction in a kind of Agnosticism. She next came in contact with certain “French Prophets,” who gave her books to read, in which she thought that she had found light. These enthusiasts are not commonly mentioned among the sects which presented such a motley array in Pennsylvania in those days. When Whitefield visited Philadelphia she attended his preaching, and when the Moravian evangelists came, she was constantly at their services. To this her husband objected, and forbade his children to attend their meetings; and when his wife seemed disposed to do so nevertheless, he threatened to forsake her, if she did not follow his wishes. In 1745, Parsons really carried his threat into execution and the couple was never re-united. Leaving his wife in Philadelphia, he took his two youngest daughters to the Swatara, where he owned a tract of land, but later he yielded to their wishes and permitted them to return for awhile to their mother. In 1751 she was admitted to membership in the Moravian Church, and in 1769, removed to Bethlehem, where she died March 10, 1773. Six children were born to them:
The “Parsons Papers” in the Manuscript Department of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania comprise a large an valuable correspondence and surveys; his Day Book 1723-1727 (shoe and slipper making); Index to Surveys made in 1730; Field Book, 1734; Receipt Book, 1738-1749; Common Place Book, 1741.
Will of William Parsons
Be it remembered that on the 1st day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty seven before me William Plumsted Esquire one of the Justices of the Peace for the said County came David Henderson of the city of Philadelphia Attorney at Law and Jost Vollert of Easton Cordwainer in their proper persons and being duly qualified the said David Henderson upon oath and the said Jost Vollert on his solemn affirmation according to law did say that William Parsons late of Easton deceased on the fifteenth day of this instant sent for the said David Henderson and Jost Vollert to be witnesses of the executing his Last Will and Testament, the said William Parsons then in his won House in his last sickness and having his senses and understanding perfect and when then said William Parsons took the paper on which his will was wrote into his hands he said, gentlemen there is one thing I have forgot to mention in my Will, that is I desire to be buried in the grave yard at Easton, I did design to have left ten pounds toward making a fence about it, but I have forgot it, However Gentlemen do you be witness that it is my desire and tell my executors I desire them to lay out ten pounds in fencing in the graveyard and further the said Deponent and affirmant say not.
Last Will and Testament of William Parsons
In the name of God Amen I William Parsons of Easton in the County of Northampton Gent. Being very weak of body but of sound Mind and Memory blessed by God for the same and all others his Mercies and Favors do think fit to make this my Last will and testament in Manner following that is to say first it is my mind and will that all my debts be fully paid by my executors hereafter named and appoint my very good Friends William Coleman and Evan Morgan of the City of Philadelphia and Timothy Horsfield of Bethlehem to be the executors of this my Last Will and Testament and the better to enable my said executors to pay my debts and legacies I do hereby fully impower them my said executors, the survivors and survivor of them and the executors of the survivor of them to grant bargain full release and confirm all my lots, lands, tenements and -------whatsoever and wheresoever and all my estate tight title and interest in and to any lots lands tenements and -------whatsoever and wheresoever in fee simple to any person or persons whosoever their being executors and assigns forever so such price and consideration as they can get for the same and I do hereby confirm the four several bonds for fifty pounds each to my late Sister Mary’s children and I do confirm these three several bonds to my sister Sarah and her two children for fifty pounds each and I desire my executors to pay into the hands of my son in Law James Worrell the sum of forty pounds with which he is to make up and decorate the graves and tombs of my late Dear Mother and three Children Robert, Susannah and Hannah and I give unto my said son in law my watch and I give and bequeath unto my nephew Dr. Stephen Wolley the sum of one hundred pounds lawful money in consideration of his great care of me and his great expense of time and medicine from time to time for these several years and I give to my niece Rebecca Wooley twenty pounds lawful money in condiseration of the great Trouble she has had with me and my affairs and I give to my servant girl Elizabeth Hibsman the sum of Twenty pounds lawful money in consideration of the great care and attendance of me in my sickness and I desire my executors to pay and deposit into the hands of some descrete person the sum of fifty pounds lawful money for them to pay unto my niece Elizabeth Cummins in such manner and proportion of that appear to them most useful for her and I give to my said executors the sum of two hundred pounds [obliterated by his own hand]….poor scholars of the Academy of Philad and as for and concerning all the rest and residence of my estate whatsoever and heresoever I give the use of the same to my wife during her natural life and after her Decease my mind is that the same shall go to my three children now living their Heirs executors and assigns forever respectively And I revoke all other wills by me heretofore made and declare this only to by my last Will and Testament
In witness whereof I the said William Parsons have hereunto set my hand and seal dated the fifteenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty seven.
Signed sealed published and declared by the above named William Parsons the testator in the presence of us who at his bequest have subscribed our names in his presence.
The disbursement of William Parsons estate:
Will of Robert Parsons
I Robert Parsons of Philadelphia in the Province of Pensilvania being at present weak in body but of a sound and perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say, FIRST I commend my soul unto the hands of Almighty God, Hoping through the Merits Death and Perfession of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full and free Pardon and forgiveness of all my sins and to inherit Everlasting Life And my body I comitt to the earth to be descently buried at the direction of my executrix hereafter named and as touching the disposition of all such temporall estate as it hat pleased almighty god to bestow upon me I give and dispose thereof as followeth.
FIRST my will is that all my just Debts and funorall charges be payd and disscharged by my executrix hereafter named.
ALSO I give unto each of my children towitt, Edith, William, Mary and Sarah Parsons the sum of ten pounds apiece this Country money to be paid them as they shall respectively Attain their full age of Twenty one years.
ALSO I give Devise and Bequeath unto my Dear and Loving Wife Grace Parsons All my house and lott scituate lying and being on the west side of the Second Street in Philadelphia aforesaid with all the improvements and Credit and Land appurtenances thereunto belonging And also all the rest and residue of my estate both reall and personal and whatsoever and wheresoever TO HOLD to her and to her heirs [?] and Assigns forever.
AND LASTLY I constitute and appoint my said wife to be sole executrix of this my last will and testament. IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal dated the Second Day of August in the year of our LORD One thousand seven hundred and eight.
Robert Parsons [Wax Seal]
Signed sealed published and delivered by the above named Robert Parsons to be his last Will and Testament of present
Phila’ October 11 1708 There personally appeared William Wofsoncraft Richard Heath and W……..according to law did declare that they ….aforenamed Robert Parsons his testators sign seal publish declare the named to be his last will and testament and that at this day thereof he was of sound mind memory and understanding to the best of their knowdledge.
An Inventory of the Estate of Robert Parsons of Reall and Personal taken the seventeenth day of August 1708….
From Carl Van Doren's Biography of Benjamin Franklin:
Letters of William Parsons
Dear Doc’tr I am obliged to beg an extraordinary Favour of you which my son will more particularly acquaint you with. Br. Baron who I hear is stopt in Newton has had out of my shop during a long course of illness a considerable Quantity of Wine and other things, and though called upon several times he has not paid any part of it but without saying anything to me has left our town and by his Character is doubtful if he intends to return again. If you will be so good and assist my son with your advice how to proceed to recover the Debt it will be a new Oblig’n to many others you have done to me.
I have sent you a small Quantity of White Clover Seed which if your ground be clean you may sow immediately or wait till Spring as you please but I should advise if yr Ground be not subject to be overflowed in the Spring (which will wash away the Seed before it take Root) to sow it as soon as you can it will be so much time gained. I have another favor to ask in behalf of one of Count Zinzendorf’s friend [Rev. John C. Pyrloeus] who the Count intends to employ in the Conversin of the Indians—he is now at Conrad Weisers who is well acquainted with the Mohawk Language and they imagine it would be a great help to them if they had some book in that language and Conrad being well acquainted with me has desired me to use my endeavor to borrow one for them of which they promise to be very careful and as they are used to Books I doubt not but they will. I have heard that Governour Morris has the New Testam’t or the Common Prayer in the Mohawk Language. If you think he would countenance the Count’s Design (who is esteemed with us a very polite engenious Man) I wish you would borrow one and I will undertake to see it returned safe again.
I am Y’r real F’d
To Richard Peters, Esq.
Sir: herewith you have all the Papers that ever came to my Hands relating to the Temporary Line, being one old Draught in Mr. Jacob Taylor’s Hand-writing; copied, as I imagine, from a large folio Book in the Surveyor General’ Office; John Taylor’s Draught as far Westward as Conegochege and Mr. Eastburn’s Field Marks & Plan with his rough draught of a Return, which Return as it was made to Governor Thomas it is not improbable that he may have taken it with whim if it is not amongst the Proprietors Papers. I hope what was done with regard to the Bridge at the upper End of the Town will have your Approbation, if any thing further is necessary. Mr. Scull will have Opportunities enough to communicate it to me. Upon my opening to Mr. Weiser the Affair you gave me in Charge, it affected him pretty much, as he looked upon it a matter of great Importance, but did not hesitate Obedience. He is entirely of Opinion that it will be best to proceed from South to North, and that it will be impracticable to prosecute the Business till some time in August next as well upon Account of Subsistance which will not be to be met with in those parts before that Time, as upon Account of the Gnats, Musketoes, flies and other vermin which are intollerable in the Summer Season, and especially to Horses which are intollerable in the Summer Season, and especially to Horses. It will also be necessary, he thinks, to have at least two Indians, Shikallimo’s Sons, with us. And these may be necessary even in extending the Temporary Line. The Number of Persons necessary cannot yet be determined, because if we go at a Time when Provision is not to be had in the desert Woods, a greater Number will be wanting then, as it must all be carried with us. I have a young Man in my Service who understands something of Surveying and as it may contribute something towards expediting the Affair to have one with me that I can trust now and then to continue the Course, when it may be necessary for me to take a view of the adjacent Country, or in case of any Disaster. I propose with your Approbation to take him with me. As he is a young Man he may happen to be useful heareafter to the Proprietaries by being something acquainted with those parts of the Country.
Mr. Weiser will write you more particularly as soon as he gets clear of Court Business.
I am Sir,
I can’t hear of any considerable Body of Clay for making Bricks or Potters Work upon any of the Proprietary’s Land near the Town but upon the 500 Acre Tract which was surveyed for Mr. Thomas Craig, near the Town, I am told there is very good Clay, both for a Potter and Brickmaker. The 500 acres belongs now to one Correy (sic), in Chester County, I wrote to you about it very largely in a former Letter. There is now eleven Families in Easton, who all propose to stay there this Winter. And when our Prison is finished, which there is Hopes it soon will be , as it is now covered in, there is a great Probability that the number will encrease (sic) before the Spring.
I am, Sir,
Sir, When I wrote last to you, In informed you that I was engaged in laying out the Road from Easton to Reading. When I was got as far as Reading, it was hard to deny myself the pleasure of seeing the Plantation where I got the last Fryday afternoon, and passed that Day and Saturday and Sunday with great satisfaction; but on Monday, I heard a Rumour of Thomas Mockee’s Engagement with some strange Indians. I had heard before of some murder having been committed by them on the West Side of Susquahanah, near Shamokin. Monday Evening I received an Express from Mr. Weiser , informing me that he had summoned the people to go and oppose the Indians, and desired me to meet a large Company near the Foot of the Mountain in the Shamoking Road, while he went with about 300 to Pextang. When I came to the Company at the Foot of the Mountain, about 100 in all, I found one half of them without any Powder or Lead. However, I advised them to go forward, and them that had no ammunition I advised to take Axes, in order to make a Breast work of trees for their Security at Night; and the next day I advised them they should go forward to the Upper Gap of Swarotawro and there to make another Breast work of Trees, and to stay there two or three Days in order to oppose the Enemy if they should attempt to come that way; which if they had done, I am inclined to think what has since happened would have been prevented. I promised them to go to Tulpehockon & provide Powder and Lead, and a sufficient Quantity of Bread, to be sent immediately after them. But they went no farther than to the Top of the Mountain, and there those that had amunition, spent most of it in shooting up into the Air, and then returned back again, firing all the way to the great Terror of all the Inhabitants thereabout and this was the Case with almost all the others, being about 500 in different parts of this Neighbourhood; there was another Company who came from the lower part of Bern Twonship as far as Mr. Freame’s Manor. So that when I came to Tulpehockon, I found the People there than they were near the Mountain. For when they say me come alone they were overjoyed, having heard that were were all destroyed, and that the Enemy were just at their Backs, ready to destroy them. At Tulpehocken, there was no lead to be had; all that could be got from Reading was taken to Pextang. I therefore sent an express over to Lancaster to Mr. Shippen, that Ev’ning desiring him to send me some Lead. He sent me 71lb, being all that the Towns people were willing to part with, as they were themselves under great apprehensions. I also procured 20lb of Powder, papered up in ¼ lbs, and ordered out a quantity of Bread near the Mountains, but when I returned home, I learnt that my People had given over the pursuit in the manner above mentioned. I have since distributed a good deal of the powder and Lead, and the Bread I ordered to the poor People who are removing from their Settlemts on the other side of the Mountain from whence the People have been removing all this Week.It is impossible to describe the Confusion and distress of those unhappy people. Our Raods are continually full of Travellers. Those on the oter side of the Men, Women & Children most of them barefoot, have been obliged to corss those terrible Mountains with what little they could bring with them in so long a Journey thro’ ways almost impassable, to get to the Inhabitiants on this side. Whilst, those who live on this side near the Mountain are removing their Effects to Tulpehocken. Those at Tulpehockon are removing to Reading, and many at Reading are moving nigher to Philadelphia and some of them said quite to Philada. This is the present unhappy Situation of Pennsylvania. Yesterday afternoon I was informed that Adam Rees was come over the Mountains and reported that he had been at the House of Henry Artman who he say lying dead, having his scalpt. I sent for him and before 5 o’clock this morning he came to me, and told me that between 11 & 12 o’clock yesterday, being then at Home at his plantation on the West side of Swatawro about 9 miles from my house & about 5 miles from the nearest Settlemt on this Side of the Hills, hear heard three Guns fired towards Henry Hartmans plantation which made him suspect that something more than Ordinary was the occasion of the firing. Whereupon he took his Gun and went to Harman’s House, being about a quarter of a Mile from his own, where he found Hartman lying dead with his face to the Ground and all the skin scalpt from his Head. He did not stay to examine in what manner he was killed, but made the best of his Way through the Woods to this Side of the Mountains. He told me further that he made Oath before Adam Reed, Esquire, of the whole matter. This Day I set out with some of my Neighbors to go and view the place and to see the Certainty of the Matter, and to assist in burying the Dad Body. Mr. Reed had appointed the people about him to go with him for that purpose & we intended to me them at the place by way of Shamoking Road. When got to the Top of the Mountain, we met with 7 or 8 men, who told us they had been about 2 or 3 miles further along the Road and had discovered two dead men lying near the Road about 2 or 300 yards from each other, and that both were scalpt, Whereon I advised to go to the place where the these two men were and with great difficulty we prevailed with the others to go back with us, being then 26 men strong; when we came to the place, I saw both the men lying dead and all the Skin of their Heads were scalpt off, one of them we perceived had been shot thro’ the Leg, we did not examine further but got some Toos from a Settlemt that was just by and dug a Grave and Buryed them both together in their Cloaths, just as we had found them to prevent their being torn to pieces & devoured by wild Beasts. There 4 or 5 persons, Women and Children, yet missing; one of the dead men had been over on this Side the Mountain with his Family, and was returning with his Daughter to fetch some of their Effects that were left behind. She is missing for one. It is not for me to describe the Horror & Confusion of the People here and of the Country in General, you can best imagine that in you own Mind; but where will these Proceedings end? For myself, I do not know whether I shall stay where I am or leave all that I have to be destroyed by those Barbarians, or to be plundered by wicked People amongst ourselves.
I am, Sir,
“This morning very early between 4 and 5 of the clock, Adam Rees, an Inhabitant over the first mountain, about six Miles from Lawrence Houts, who lives on this side the Mountain, came to my house and declared that Yesterday between 11 & 12 of the clock he heard three guns fired towards the plantation of his neighbour Mr. Henry Hartman, which made him suspect that something more than ordinary had happened there; Whereupon he took his Gun and went over to Hartman’s house, being about a quarter of a Mile & found him lying dead upon his face on the floor and his Head was scalped but saw nobody else. He threreupon made the best of his way thro’ the Woods to the Inhabitants on this side of the Mountain to inform them of what had happened. He further informs me that he had been to Adam Reed, Esqr, and related the whole affair to him & that Mr. Reed is raising men to go over the Mountain in quest of the Murderers.
“I am your very humble Servant and most hearty friend,
To the reverend Mr. Coart and all other Friends.
“I wrote to you yesterday that I intended to be with you at the unhappy place where Henry Hartman was murdered, but when I was got to the top of the Mountain I met some men who said they had seen two Men lying Dead and scalped in the Shamokin road about two or three Miles from the place we then were; Wherefore we altered our course, being 26 in number, and went to the place and found the two men lying dead about 300 yards from each other, and all the Skin scalped off their heads. We got a grubbing Hoe and spade from a settlement about ½ mile from the place and dug a Grave as well as we could, the Ground being very stony and buried them both in one grave without taking off their Cloaths or examining at all into their wounds, only we saw a Bullet had gone thro’ the leg of one of them. I thought it best to bury them to prevent the bodies from being torn to pieces by wild beasts. One of the men had a Daughter with him that is yet missing, and the other man had a Wife & three or four children that are also missing. I shall be obliged to return home in a day or two, but hope to see you sometime about Christmas and to find my unhappy Country somewhat relieved from this distressed Condition. I can’t help thinking that it would be well for a good number of the Inhabitants to go next Monday and help to bring the poor people’s Grain and Corn to this side. It will help to maintain them which we must do if they can’t maintain themselves, and ‘tis very likely those barbarous Indians will soon set Fire to and burn all if it be not soon secured.
“I am, Sir, Your very humble Servant,
“I have now to inform you that David Zeisberger is this minute returned from Gnadenhutten, who was sent Yesterday with the letter informing we would convoy the Indians that wanted to go to the Governor. He came to Gnadenhutten about 5 or 6 o’Clock last night; when he came within sight of the Town he heard the firing of Guns which he thought to be at ye Mahoney, the place where our Brethren’s Farm is and when he came to the first House he heard more firing where somebody hallowed to be fetched over the Water, whom they fetched over; it was one of our Brethren that escaped from the Mahoney, who told David that the Enemy was at the Mahoney and had killed the most part of our poor White Brethern; he knew of only two that escaped; upon hearing this David came immediately away to inform the people in Arms, who he found encamped about 6 Miles this side of Gnadenhutten; The first Company, being some of the Irish Settlement people and some Dutch, when they heard of the Mischief, directly got to arms and march’d in good spirits;; 2 miles further this way he came to Colonel Anderson’s Company who encamped at the Gap without any Fire; So soon as he heard of it immediately called his Men to Arms and sent one Man with David to the Settlement with orders for the Men then in the Settlement & some of Bucks County men who loged there last night to march directly to their assistance.
“When David was got a few miles from Gnadenhutten, he saw a very great Fire, he supposed it to be the buildings at the Mahoney in Flames. The Brethren in Bethlehem intend, as soon as possible to send a Waggon load Mead and such other Provisions they can get ready, to Gnadenhutten or & ea for the use of the Troops and I suppose to get some of the Saucon people to go as a Guard to the Waggon, least it fall into the Enemy’s hands; pray excuse these confused Lines, being in great haste.
“I am , Sir, Your very affectionate humble Servant,
Bethlehem, past 5 o’ clock
A Letter to the Secretary from Mr. William Parsons
“By the Letters herewith sent to his Honour the Governor, you will see that the Enemy have attacked and burnt the Moravian Settlement at Mahoney, and killed all their White People except two which escaped. As soon as I received this account I dispatched John Weaver express with it to the Governor and as the Enemy is so near us, I shall be obliged to send continually Expresses, which will occasion an Expense which neither myself nor the Towns People will not be able to bear. Pray Sir, help us for we are in Great distress. The powder and lead came to hand but not Letter and I don’t know what we shall do for want of Arms. I can get a Waggon to bring my Daughter to Philadelphia, I will send her off immediately, by which Waggon may be sent Arms & ect, if any are to be had.
“I am Sir, In great distress,
A Deposition of John Michael Hute’s taken before William Parsons, Esqr.
“The 12th Day of December 1755, Personally appeared before me, William Parsons, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Northampton, Michael Hute, aged about 21 Years, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, did dispose and declare that last Wednesday about 6 of the Clock, Afternoon, a Company of Indians about 5 in number attacked the house of Frederick Heoth about 12 miles Eastward from Gnadenhutten on Pooche Phochto Creek. That the family being at Supper the Indians shot into the house and wounded a woman; at the next shot they killed Fredrick Heoth himself & shot several times more, whereupon all ran out of the House that could. The Indians immediately set fire to the house, Mill and Stables. Heoth’s Wife ran into the Bakehouse which was also set on fire. The poor Woman ran out thro’ the Flames, and being very much burnt she ran into the Water and their dyed. The Indians cut her belly open and used her otherwise inhumanly. They killed and scalped a Daughter and he thinks that three other Children who were of the Family were burnt. Three of Heoth’s Daughters are missing with another woman who are supposed to be carried off. In the action one Indian was killed & another wounded; and further this Deponent saith not.
“John Michael Hute
The Deposition of John McMichael and others taken before William Parsons, Esqr., at Easton
“The 12th Day of December 1755, Personally appeared before me William Parsons one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Northampton, John McMichael, Henry Dysert, James Tidd and Job Bakehorn Jr. who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of the Almighty God, did depose and declare that yesterday about 3 of the Clock, afternoon, two Indian Men came from towards Broadhead’s House, who fired at these Deponents and several others who returned the fire and made the Indians turn off. And the said deponents and several others, who returned the fire and made the Indians turn off. And the said Deponents, James Tidd and Job Bakehorn further said that as they were going round the Stack yard of the said McMichael where they all were, they saw as they verily believe at least 4 Indians on their knees about twenty perches from the Stack Yard who fired at the Deponents. And these Deponent further say that they were engaged in manner aforesaid with the Indians at least three Quarters of an hour. And these Deponents, John McMichael and Henry Dysert further say that they saw the Barn of the said Broadhead’s on fire about the nine of the Clock in the morning which continued Burning till they left the house being about 4 afternoon and that they heard shooting and crying at Broadheads House almost the whole day and that when they left McMichaels House, the Dwelling House of said Broadhead was yet unburn being as they supposed defended by the people within it. And the Deponents James Tidd & Job Bakehorn further say that they did not come to McMichaels House till about 3 in the afternoon, when they could see the Barn and Barracks of the said Broadhead’s on fire. And these Deponents further say they did not see any one killed on either side by James Garland house, one of their Company was shot through the Hand and Arm and further these Deponents say not.
The mark of
A Letter to the Honorable Jno Hamilton & Benja Franklin, Esqr from Wm Parsons, Esq.
“I make bold to trouble you once more, and it is not unlikely that it may be the last time. The Settlers on this side of the Mountain all along the River side are actually removed, and we are not the Frontier of this part of the Country. Our poor people of this Town have quite expended their little substance and are quite wearied out with watching and were all along in hopes the Government would have taken some measures for their Relief & for the security of the Town. But now seeing themselves as well as the Town neglected, they are moving away as fast as they can. So that if we have not help nor no orders from the Commissioners to use means to get help in a day or two, we shall every one of us be obliged to leave the Town & all we have in it to the fury of the Enemy who there is no reason to doubt are lurking about within sight of us. Besides the Losses which I have reason to sustain in this general Calamity, I have expended what little stock of Cash I had in Publick Services so that I am obliged to send this by a private hand, not being able to pay a person to go express with it. Pray do something or give some order for our speedy relief, or the whole country will be entirely ruined. If you had but given Encouragements to some Persons that you could have confided in for their Employing people just for our present Defence 'till you could have agreed on a general Plan, all this part of the Country might have been saved which is now entirely lost & the Enemy are still perpetrating further and further and if immediate measures are not taken, they will very soon be within sight of Philadelphia. This is my real opinion, for all the Country is flying before them and no means are employed to stop them.
“I am, Honored Sirs, Your most obedient humble Servant,
A Letter to Governor Morris from Major Parsons
“Your Favour of the 12th Instant came safe to hand yesterday morning, and as you have not commanded me otherways, I purpose to let Capt. Foulk’s Lieut. And Men remain in Fort Allen till Capt. Reynolds comes to relieve them; Yesterday Evening James Enis annd Thomas Apty came from Bethlehem in their Way to Paulin’s Kill, to enquire if the Scalping Party were gone out from that Place. I gave them a letter of Recommendation to Col. John Anderson, and all other his Majesty’s Justices and officers, desiring them to assist and forward them in their Journey, and to do everything in their Power to divert that party from going out if they were not already gone. This afternoon Mr. Enis and Mr. Apty returned to this Place & tell me that about Eighteen or twenty miles from hence, they met with Johnathan Hampton, Esqr. And Doctor Hart, who Informed them that four Officers & twenty-five men each set out last Saturday & took ten days’ provisions with them; whereupon, I wrote Immediately to messeaurs Horsfield & Edmonds, and desired them to take care of the Indians & keep them at Bethlehem only until your further pleasure could be known & beged them to send Mr. Enis & Mr. James immediately Express to Philadelphia to Inform your Honour how matters are Situated.
“Last Thursday, being at Fort Morris, the Captain received the Copy of a Letter without date, Informing him that the Indians (sometime last Week, I imagine,) killed & scalped a certain Felix Wins, near the fort at the Gap of Swahtaraw, & carried away his wife and Three Children, and burnt his house; that it is supposed there must be a considerable number by the Quantity of Goods &c, from Fort Henry, supposed to be Carried awy by the Indians as several of their Tracks were seen in that Neighbourhood.
“I am, Honourable Sir, Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
A Letter of the 15th Instant, received by Express from Major Parsons, was read in these Words
“On the 11th towards Evening the Indians, vizt 9 men and one Woman with 4 Prisoners (vizt Henry Hess, William Weeser and George Fox from Lower Smithfield and Samuel Clifford taken at Diahogo after his Escape from the French, who took him Prisoner at the Engagement with Colonel Broadstreet), arrived here. They all came to my House and Zacheus, who is their Speaker, told me he came with a Message from King Teedyuscung, who with 4 other Chiefs and a great Number of Indians were arrived at Wioming. He said that Teedyuscung had ordered him to call to his Assistance Augustus and Joshua tow Indians at Bethlehem, when he delivered his Message to me, and therefore desired me to send for them, which I did the next day. But they sent for answer till they know who the Indians were and what their Business was they could not come and Objected that I had not sent a String of Wampum, but I had none.
“On the 12, Seven of the Indians came to me and told me they were not Subjects of Teedyuscung; they were Minisink Indians of a different Tribe and that they came to visit their Brethren and Sisters who were at Bethlehem and desired me to let them go to Bethlehem. I told them they were very welcome here and while they staid I would take care that they shou'’ be supplied with every thing they wanted; but if they chose to go to Bethlehem I would send an Escort with them; and accordingly ordered two Soldiers to go with them, and sent a Letter to Mr. Horsfield informing who the Indians were that remained here and what their Business was, and desired him to prevail with Augustus and Joshua to come to Easton, as Zacheus could not deliver his Message without them.
“On the 18, Mr. Okely coming to Easton on some private Business, told me that the seven Indians arrived at Bethlehem Yesterday and made a Declaration there that they were Minisink Indians and had formerly lived in the Minishink Town; that they had never been engaged in the War and were therefore not come to make peace (which they, however, greatly desired) for they never had broken it, and in the beginning of the War had fled far back. That the Brethren had visited them in their Town and told them good Words from God, and they had now come a long Journey to see their Indian relations in Bethleham, and to hear more good Words; and had taken the Opportunity of coming with three Indians who brought the Prisoners and would have gone straight to Bethlehem if the Soldiers wou’d have permitted them.
“The same day about eleven O’Clock, Zacheus and George and his wife came to my House a little in Liquor and brought the four Prisoners with them and said they had something to say to me. Then Zacheus spoke as follows: ‘Brother: This String of Wampum comes from Colonel Johnson, from whom we received news that when the King was last down here he had like to have been catch’d and betrayed, and that the Governor of Pennsylvania intended to get him down again and then wou’d cut his Throat, Teedyuscung now sends down four prisoners, and desires his Wife and Children may be sent to him. He desires the English will keep the words they spoke to him at the Treaty last Summer, and that we may hold ourselves as good Brothers. Teedyuscung desires that some Persons may be sent from this Government to him at Wyoming, as he has sent some of his People to this Government.
“”Brother: I rejoice at the Fire kindled at Easton, where the Governor and I smoaked our Pipes together, which I hold for good.’
“Then he delivered the String of Wampum and the four Prisoners, and seemed inclined to return directly back to Wyoming. I told him I had received and Account that Augustus and Joshua were upon the Road, and that they might be expected here in about two Hours; That as they had sent for them it would look very strange if they did not stay to speak to them when they came. Besides, I had myself something to say to them in Answer to what they had spoken and desired they would wait a little that I might prepare myself with an Answer. They then desired they might have some drink, and would by no means be contented without it. Towards Evening Augustus and George came in company of one of the Brethren. By this time Zacheus and George were got pretty drunk which I acquainted Augustus and Joshua of, and told them the Substance of what Zacheus had spoke to me. They were of Opinion with me that it was not proper to say anything to them that Night but they would take them early next Morning before they could get any Drink.
“On the 14 in the Morning early, Zacheus, George and his Wife and Augustus and Joshua with the Brother that Accompanied them from Bethlehem, came to my House and after they had talked awhile together in their own Language, Joshua spoke in the German Tongue and said :Five Chiefs were coming down the Susquahannah to the English, when they received a Message with a String of Wampum as from Colonel Johnson, telling them they shou’d not go to the English at Pennsylvania for if they did they wou’d certainly all of them be killed; But the Chiefs did not five much heed to that Message. When they had proceeded some way on their Journey they received another Message, with a large String of Wampum, as from the Colonel, desiring them by no means to venture themselves with the English, who would surely cut all their Throats as soon as they had the Indians in their power. But Teedyuscung said when he was last Summer with the Governor of Pennsylvania he was very kindly treated by the English, and that he could perceive it came from the Heart, and he would not believe they would do him any harm, and therefore he wou’d proceed in his Journey to his Brothers the English. When they came to Wioming they received another Message as from the Colonel, with a very broad and long Belt of Wampum, entreating them not to venture themselves further for if they did the English would certainly cut all their Throats as soon as they get them in their power. Whereupon Teedyuscung said ‘this is now the Third Message, perhaps there may be some Truth in it. I will stay here, and send two of my Men, with four Prisoners, to Easton, where the Fire was kindled, to enquire into this matter. If it is true I will return back; but if it is false I will proceed to my Brother.
“’Brother: we are five Chiefs; we desire you to send us five Quarts of Rum that we may drink and we desire you to send it in one Cagg, secured so that it may not be opened till it come to us’
“When the Indians had done speaking I told them I had something to say in answer to them, but as I had no Wampum I could not tell whether it would be taken well without. Augustus and Joshua told me it was necessary that what I said should be accompanied with a String of Wampum otherwise it would not be so well received. I then asked them if the Indians at Bethlehem cou’d supply me with as much as wou’d be necessary upon this Occasion. They said they believed they cou’d I then told them I would set of them for -------, and ordered them their Breakfasts immediately. I told the Indians that as Teedyuscung had requested his Wife and Children should be sent to him, I thought it absolutely necessary that Zacheus and George, with his Wife and Children should go to Bethlehem and Speak with Teedyuscung’s Wife and Children and know her own Mind; That if she inclined to go I would do all in my power to have her accommodated on her Journey.
“ The Indians all approved of what I said to them, and then I ordered two Soldiers to Escort them to Bethlehem and rode forward myself to get ready a Cagg for the Five Quarts of Rum, and to provide a Blanket, Stockings, Shoes and Buckles for each Indian again they came. I also mentioned to the Brethren that I wanted two White Men to go with the Indians to Wioming, but did not succeed in that point. When the Indians came to Bethlehem I ordered Zacheus and George, with his Wife and two Soldiers, to the Ferry and desired Augustus & Joshua to prepare the String of Wampum; and sometime after Mr. Horsfield went with me to the Ferry and sent for the King’s Wife and Children. After she and the other Indians had saluted each other I mentioned to her what Teedyuscung had said and asked her if she inclined to go or to stay, telling her if she staid we would be sure to be treated well as she had all along been. She told me she wou’d consider of it and give me her answer before Night.
“Towards Evening I went with Mr. Horsfield to the Ferry again and all the Indians being present I asked Teedyuscung’s Wife if she had determined upon what I mentioned to her before? She said she had, and she thought it best for her to stay at Bethlehem. Whereupon I promised her that she shou’d be very kindly used as she had been.
“The String of Wampum being made ready, and Zacheus, George & Augusts, with several other Indians, Men and Women being present, I delivered the String of Wampum and the following Answer:
“Brother: I tell you not to believe those false Reports. I tell you we love you and have made up the Fire anew that it may burn very bright when you come again that we may all Smoak our Pipes by it and that the People afar off may see its light.
“Brother: you desire your Wife and Children should be sent to you. They are free and at liberty and are as our own Children. We will not keep them one Minute longer than they desire to stay; while they do stay we love them as our own Children and shall use them kindly for our Brother’s sake, that he may have them again in good Health.
“Brother: I will send your words directly to the Governor that he may know you are coming. Brother: your sending the four Prisoners is a token of your Love, and is taken very kindly.
“Then deliv’d the String of Wampum
“Then I told the Indians that I had offered the Officer at the Fort to Supply them with as much bread, Meal, and Meat as they shou’d have occasion for. They desired me to furnish them with Horses and Saddles and with Powder and Lead. I promised them If I could at so short warning procure Horses and Saddles I would, and gave them an Order to the Fort for ¼ lb Powder each Man with some Lead and then took my leave of them, the Sun being then set And Mr. Horsfield being so kind as to undertake to see everything done according to Order, against next Morning. When we parted Zacheus told me he expected to be at Easton with the other Indians in Nine days. One of the seven Indians goes with him. Yesterday Mr. Horsfield sent me word that six of the Seven were going that Morning. The three were gone. It is almost impossible to prevent the Indians from getting too much liquor, for if the Tavern keepers refuse to supply them there are People mean enough to go and buy Rum for them with the Indians Money that they may help to drink it when they have done. Among others there is in Town a Number of Irish Recruits, some of them as abandoned, drunken Fellows as ever was got together. The Officer has not many Recruits. If he had, I shou’d not be very easy here myself; And I could wish he had orders not to suffer his Men to mix with the Indians at all.
“As soon as I heard the Indians were coming I ordered Lieutenant Witterhold, with the small Detachment of eight Men who were posted at Teet’s to come and take post in this Town. These, with four of Captain Orndt’s Men that Escorted the Indians from Fort Allen to this place, serve as a Guard at present to Easton and as the Indians are to be so soon expected I propose to keep them here till further Orders. If the Commissioners were to order some Blankets, Shirts and Shoes up here for such Indians as are to be supplied it would be cheaper and easier that to buy here also a little Wampum is wanting, the String that I bought cost 20s and the making 1s. 6. Mr. Till’s letter of the 11th came safe to Hand.
“I am Honoured Sir, Your most Obedient humble Servant,
From a letter Conrad Weiser to Governor Morris:
…….”Major Parsons gives himself a great deal of Trouble with These Indians; he is in a very poor state of health, tho’ on the mending Hand, but the Indians cannot let him rest……”
Two messages from Teedyscung, sent from Diahogo by Indian Samuel, Express and deliver’d to Mr. Parsons at Easton on the 13th Instant
“Two Messages from Teedyuscung (Note: Teedyuscung was the father of Chief Logan. The massacre of Chief Logan's family 20 years later was a causitive factor in the Battle of Pt. Pleasant), sent by Indian Samuel, Express & by him deliv’d this Day in the Afternoon at the House of William Parsons, in the presence of Paul, and Indian Man from Bethlehem, and Jost Fullart and William Parsons, Inhabitants of Easton..
“My Brother Maghakseehue!**** : My Brother, I bring our Tobacco, very fine Tobacco; I take your Pipe and fill it with that fine Tobacco; I give it to you to smoke. Look always up the way that Leads to the Indian Country, you shall soon see more Indians coming with Messages. These are Words from the Chiefs of the five Nations. We let you know, by this String, that we are soon coming. Your Brother Teedeyscung is preparing to come and see you.
“John Pumpshire and Tatamy, the Interpreters must soon come to Easton. Teedyuscung saith, the Indians are in want of Provisions and much desires some may be sent to Wyoming that they may be supplied on their Journey down. Samuel says, Waggons can go to Fort Allen with Provisions, and the Indians at the Fort can carry it further on horses.
“Many Indians are coming from the Five Nations and other Nations with Women and Children, who are very hungry; he can tell how many.
“Gave a String of Wampum
“My Brother: the Governor told me to let him know what I hear. I have been far back among the 5 Nations and cou’d not let you know before.
“There have been 6 Frenchman and Ten Indians, their children at Shamokin Fort to look at it and see how it was. They killed two men there and we think the French will soon attack it”
“Gave another string of Wampum.”
****William Parsons Indian Name
Lt. Jacob Wetherhold to William Parsons, 1757
These are to Acquant you of A Murder Happened this Day at the Houce of Adam Clauce in said Township of Lynn, Whaaire three or fore Nabors Was Cutting said man’s corn; as they Was Eating theaire Dinner they Waire fell one By A Perty of Saviges, Indians, and Give of the Whits Took to there Heals, two men, two Women, and one Gerl, and Got saf out of theire hands. Was Killed and Scolped, Martin Yager and his Wife, and John Croushores, Wife and one Child, and the Wife of Abrahan Secles, and one Child of one Andam Clouce, and the Wife of John Coucehere, and the Wife of Abram Secles Was Sculpt and is yet Alive, But Badly Wounded, one Shot Thro’ the Sid and the other in the Thy, and two Children Kild Belonging to said Croushere, and one to said Secler, and one Belonging to Philip Antone Not Sculpt and this Was Done at Least three Miles Within the out side Settlers, and 4 miles from John Everett’s and Philip Antone’s Wife Was one that Took her Tilit and cam hom and Acquanted her husband, and he came and Acquanted me, and I went Emeaditly to the Place With Seven men Besides my Self and Saw the Murder, But the Indians was Gon and I Derectly Purs’ed them About 4 Milds and Came up with them in the thick Groves Weaire Wee met with Nine Indians, and one Sprung Behind a Tree and took Sit at me and I Run Direct at him, and Another one the sid Flast at me, and then Both took to there Heals, and I shot one as I Goge Thro’ the Body, as he fell on his face, But I loded and after another that was Leding a maire, and ye meane time he Got up and Run away and I fired one the other and I think I shot him in ye Buttux, and my Soldiers had oppertunety to shot three times and then they Got out of oure Sit in the thick Groves and Wee Cold not find them No more, But I Got from them one maire and two saddels, one Bridel and Holter & one Bag with a Cag of Stil Licker in it, and Cloths and one Brace Cittel and fore Indians Caks Baked in the ashes of Wheat, meal and to Aquaat you further, that I have Several New Soldiers that has No Guns and Were Little Powder and Led and I have sent this Express to you Hoping that you Wold Help me with Arms and Ammenishan, and so I Remaine youre frind and Umble Servent,
Les Shockey and Betty Briggs, Co-Coordinators of the Jackson County WVGenWeb page.