Wilkes-Barre in the Eyes of the Rest of the Nation July 25, 1840
Extract of a Letter from Wilksbarre, Luzerne County , July 5th
"Yesterday being the anniversary of Independence, a large number of gentlemen and ladies assembled to celebrate the auspicious day, the first part of which being unfavorable, the time of the meeting was suspended until eleven o'clock, when the clouds dispersed and the weather proved fine.
A display of the colours representing the United States, and the discharge of a cannon, announced the meeting at the federal power, on the beautiful bank of the Susquehannah, a few rods distant from the ruins of the garrison.
"At 2 o'clock the company partook of an elegant dinner, after which was a discharge of 15 cannon, and the following toasts were drank:
1. The United States of America.
2. The President of the United States.
3. The Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress.
4. The allies and friends of the United States.
5. The King and National Assembly of France.
6. The Vice-President of the United States.
7. The State of Pennsylvania.
8. The govenor of the State of Pennsylvania.
9. The Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Pennsylvania.
10. To the memory of the heroes who bravely fell in defence of the liberties of the Americans, in the late revolution.
11. To the memory of the brave men who fell by the savages in defence of Wyoming, on the 3d of July, 1778.
12. The county of Luzerne.
13. Freedom, peace & happiness, to all mankind.
14. The Cincinnati Society.
15. The 4th of July. May it ever be commemorated by the Americans.
At 5 o'clock the company removed from the bower to the court house, where the remaining part of the day and evening was spent in convivial mirth and festivity. ( Dunlap's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
June 25, 1800
WILKESBARRE, May 6
In our last, we mentioned a draught of 9290 shad being taken at Nanticoke, for miles below this town; a few days previous to that, 6963 were taken at a draught, and frequently ion the course of the season, from 1500 to 4000 at the same fishery. (Courier - Newspaper Article)
July 24, 1800
WILKESBARRE, July 1
Generals Irwine, Porter and Bonde, the commissioners appointed under the act, entitled "An act for offering compensation to the Pennsylvania claimants of certain lands within the seventeen townships of the county of Luzerne, and for other purposes therein mentioned," have arrived here, and we expect will immediately proceed on the business. (Universal Gazette - Newspaper Article)
September 3, 1800
WILKESBARRE, August 5
In our Gazette of the 1st of July, we announced the arrivals of Generals Irvine, Porter, and Bonde, commissioners appointed by the government to carry into effect the compromising act of Assembly, relative to the Pennsylvania and Connecticut claims to lands within the Seventeen Townships of Luzerne. Their secretary is John Shippen, Esq., of Shippensburgh, who arrived just as this paper was going to press.
We can now assure the public they have made considerable progress. we have reason to hope and believe these gentleman are disposed to act with all the liberality which the law authorizes. From their dispositions and exertions, as well as from the spirit of the law itself, we have a fair prospect of a happy issue to this long existing controversy. we understand the commissioners express themselves pleased and encouraged by the attention and exertion of the inhabitants of such towns as their surveyors have been engaged at, in coming forward with such cheerfulness and exhibiting drafts, corners, and lines; as well by the many instruments of submission which have been forwarded to the land office since their arrival. (Litchfield Monitor- Newspaper Article)
November 5, 1800
From the Wilkesbarre Paper
Extract of a Letter from One of the State Commissioners on Leaving this (Luzerne) County
"By communications from the land Office, (dated Sept. 25th last) the commissioners are informed that the Pennsylvania claimants have generally released, and sanguine expectations are entertained, that the whole would be released before the 2nd of this month. That being the case, it must now depend entirely on the Connecticut claimants coming forward in due time with their applications, to put an end to the controversy. The commissioners contemplate returning here early next Spring, with full confidence of completing the business, -not doubting the Connecticut claimants on their part will be fully prepared to give every information necessary to facilitate the business", October 15. (Courier - Newspaper Article)
December 17, 1800
Mr. Asher Miner
Proposals are published by Mr. Asher Miner, late of this city, for publishing a weekly newspaper at Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, to be entitled the Luzerne County Federalist. Connecticut Gazzette (Courier - Newspaper Article)
January 28, 1801
Extract of a Letter from Gentleman of Bath in Steuben County, State of New York, to his Friend in Wilkesbarre
Our Farmers have been so successful in raising wheat, that great quantities are already to spare for the markets on the coast. - Albany and New York are the objects of the farmers and merchants in the country about Geneva and Canandarque - but those on the southern side of Ontario and Steuben, look to the southward for their market. Those who sent their wheat and flour last spring to Wright's ferry and Baltimore, neated at least twelve shillings, Pennsylvania currency, per bushel for their wheat, after paying all costs of transport; ....
The route that leaves the Susquehannah soonest, would doubtless, in many instances, have the preference.
Nature has pointed out Wilkesbarre as this spot. Whether the navigation is used from the town of Easton on the Delaware, or from the Lehigh, is of little consequence, if the intermediate road was so improved, that the carriage of a barrel of flour would not cost more than three-fourths of a dollar from the Susquehannah to the navigation of the Delaware. This would bring the carriage of a barrel of flour from this place to Philadelphia, much within two dollars. (Commercial Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
August 26, 1801
Wilkesbarre, August 10
Three of the persons, supposed to have been concerned in tarring and feathering Mr. Smilie, who was in the employment of Col. Horn, the agent under the Intrusion law, are taken and under bonds for their appearance at court.(Courier - Newspaper Article)
September 1, 1801
A letter from Ebenezer Bowman, Esq., of Wilkesbarre, that three of the riotous Connecticut men, who with blacked faces, seized Mr. Smille and his papers, at midnight, have been apprehended. The papers destroyed were 45 abandonments of the Connecticut pretension. More of the riotous party are discovered, and must fly the state or surrender themselves. Order, justice, and property are like to be restored in Luzerne... (American - Newspaper Article)
September 9, 1801
Court of Oyer & Terminer
At the Court of Oyer & Terminer, held at Wilkesbarre, P., on the 17th of last month, William Lathrop, of Duchess County, N. Y., was tried for rape on the person of Anna Makins. The court sentenced him to 21 years imprisonment at hard labor. (Courier - Newspaper Article)
October 20, 1801
Court of Oyer & Terminer
Wilkesbarre, Penn, August 24 - The honorable Court of Oyer and Terminer, Etc., commences their sessions in this place on Monday last. Much important business was before them. The curiosity of the public being excited, a large concourse of people attended the court as usual. His honor Judge Rush addressed the grand jury in an appropriate charge.
William Lathrop, from Duchess County (N. Y.) was arraigned of the charge of a RAPE, committed on the 18th of April last, at Tioga point; to which he pleaded not guilty....Friday morning was assigned for the prisoner to hear his sentence...:
"William Lathrop - You have been indicted and convicted of a rape, upon the person of Anna Makens, accompanied with circumstances of peculiar aggravation and horror...
It appears you are a married man with several children. You knew also the prosecutrix was a married woman, and basely took advantage of her husband's absence to perpetrate the crime...
Had your crime been committed a few years ago, an ignominious punishment under the gallows, would have been your undoubted portion where you would have died unpitied and unlamented, a just victim to injured humanity, and the laws of the country.
Such a a creature as you are, is unfit for society. An enemy to chastity and virtue you are more depraved than the savage that roams the wilderness; and in some respects worse than a murderer...
The court therefore do sentence and adjudge you undergo an imprisonment at hard labor, for the period of twenty one years; and that you be fed, clothed, and in all respects treated according to the directions of the act to reform the penal laws of this State, and that you be placed and kept five years out of the twenty one, in the solitary cells in the penitentiary house in the city of Philadelphia, and be fed on low and coarse diet, during the said five years; that you pay the costs of prosecution, etc., etc. (Political Repository - Newspaper Article)
May 15, 1802
By accounts a few days ago from Wilkesbarre, (Luzerne County) we learn, that a dreadful conflagration was spreading through an immense extent of woodland, to the west of the town. It was set on fire in a particular spot, solely with a view to facilitate their sport; but they afterwards found it impossible to restrain the flames. (Philadelphia Repository - Newspaper Article)
July 8, 1802
If the citizens of Philadelphia, could divert their attention from the Learned Pig - the Ladies Bosoms - and Mr. Rannie's Ventriloquism, to their true interest, they would certainly exert themselves to have the contemplated road, between this place and Easton, opened. Nearly a hundred thousand bushels of grain, (principally wheat) have been boated from this town and the waters above, to Baltimore, the greatest part of which would have been carried to the Philadelphia market had this road been formed. Unless some early measures are taken to accomplish this desirable end, our traders will form connections with the merchants of Baltimore, whose interest it will be to give them advantageous terms of trade and by frequently navigating the river, they will cease to dread its dangers - it will then be found very difficult to draw the trade from its established channel. (Commercial Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
July 22, 1802
Wilkesbarre, July 17
"The God of Harvest pours abundance over the flowing fields."
We congratulate the husbandman on the cheering prospect of a plentiful harvest. Perhaps no former year has witnessed a quantity of excellent English Grain as it is now ripening for the sickle within and without the Seventeen Townships of this County. (Poulson's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
June 4, 1803
Wilkesbarre, (Penn.) May 21
Board of Commissioners, under Act of 1799
On Tuesday last Mr. Cooper arrived here and on Wednesday morning commenced the business of hearing Appeals, on which business he will sit daily till they are determined. All persons concerned in contested titles under the Connecticut claim, are desired to take notice of this. The month of May has already been appointed for this purpose by repeated advertisements last fall.
Any persons having titles to make out, or further deeds or documents to exhibit, would do well to make early application for this purpose. (Spectator - Newspaper Article)
June 11 , 1803
Vast quantities of lumber, consisting of hewn timber, scantlings, boards, shingles, etc., now cover the shores of the Susquehanna, from Wilkesbarre (Penn.) almost to its source - water bound. Very large quantities of grain are in shore, also waiting for a fresh. (Providence Gazette - Newspaper Article)
August 15, 1803
(Patriot - Newspaper Article)
December 13, 1803
Turnpike Road to Easton
We have the pleasure to announce to the public, that the subscription for the Stock of the proposed Turnpike Road from Easton to Wilkesbarre, have increased rapidly at a meeting held here the 2nd of last month at the instance of Mr. Thomas Wright, of Wilkesbarre, one of the commissioners, and that there is the best reason to believe that in a few days the whole number of shares allotted to this place will be subscribed. - Easton Eagle of Dec. 10 (Poulson's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
April 18, 1804
Extract from the Luzerne Federalist, Printed at Wilkesbarre, ( Penn) April 14
"We hope next week to be able to give a statement of the number of rafts, arks, and boats that have descended the Susquehanna the present spring; they have exceeded by a vast difference, all former years.
On Tuesday morning the 1oth of last month arrived here from Newtown, four large beautiful new boats, the Enterprise, Minerva, Chesapeake and Harmony, under the command of Captain Skear. These boats wree each laden with 800 bushels of wheat the property of Mr. H. Goldsborough, of that place. On Wednesday the little fleet sailed for Baltimore.
Mr. Goldsborough left Newtown, with a fifth boat, the Intrepid; the evening after he sailed, four of his men attempted to remove her to a place, where they supposed she would remain secure through the night, but unfortunately the boat filled and sunk. The cargo consisted of 900 bushels of wheat. The boats we understand were insured at Baltimore.
A number of arks have been loaded with wheat, fat, cattle and fur, in the small streams that rise in the very heart of the Genessee, and have gone on to the Chesapeake."
[The above information should certainly rouse the citizens of Philadelphia to greater exertions in turning part of the increasing current of wealth to their city, which is now so rapidly passing to Baltimore, and this may effectually be done, by completing the Turnpike Roads, from Wilkesbarre to Easton and from the Susquehanna to the Lehigh, especially since the Navigation of the latter river, from the point where the proposed road is to commence, is now proved to be practicable... (Poulson's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
May 1, 1804
Wilkesbarre, April 21
Navigation of the Susquehanna
Mr. Philip Jackson, of Kingston, has kept an account of the rafts, arks, and boats that have gone down the river this season, and has favored us with the following statement:
550 rafts, worth, on average, 150 dollars - Total 88,000 dollars
Many of the rafts were laden with wheat, pork, and other produce, to the amount, it is though, of Total 2,000 dollars
89 arks, containing on average, 1000 bushels wheat, to Total 89,000 dollars
19 boats, containing about 600 bushels wheat, or its value, Total, 11, 400
Total value 190,400 dollars.
We are of opinion that of the articles which have descended the river above this place would exceed our estimate; M. Hollenback, Esq., sent down two arks, containing 1500 bushels of wheat each; and many more of the arks contained 1200 bushels.
It is almost certain that 100,000 worth of this property would have stopt at this place, and a great proportion of it would have been transported to Easton and Philadelphia, if the turnpike road through the swamp had been open.
We hope the spirit of the people in taking shares, and their punctuality in paying for them will enable the managers to make a few miles of the road this present season. (United States' Gazette - Newspaper Article)
September 11, 1804
Fever at Wilkesbarre
A Bilious Intermittent Fever prevails at Wilkesbarre, in the county of Luzerne. Many families are under its influence. (Pennsylvania Correspondent - Newspaper Article)
October 10, 1804
Wilkesbarre, Sept. 22
Ague and Fever
The Ague and Fever now rages in this and the neighboring townships with a fury and destruction never exceeded by the Yellow Fever in Philadelphia, considering the number and situation of the inhabitants.
It is very customary for those who visit the sick to mention all the new cases of the Fever - all who lie dangerously ill - and all the deaths; this is very reprehensible, and it depresses the spirits of the patient - creates great alarm, and does no good whatever. (Courier - Newspaper Article)
October 16, 1804
Wilkesbarre, Sept. 29, 1804
We Want Doctors and Medicine
The sickness in this country has become very alarming; a great number of persons have died; six persons were buried yesterday, and a number more to be buried today: - about fifty persons are now lying sick in the town plat of Wilkesbarre. Doctor Covell is also sick. We want Doctors and Medicine. We understand it has been proposed to send an express for you; but whether this is done or not, should you received this letter, we hope you will let nothing prevent your coming here immediately: we believe it to be your interest and duty to return to this place without delay.
We are Sir, with esteem
N.B. We have no barks in the country.
(Connecticut Centinel - Newspaper Article)
January 18, 1805
Wilkes-Barre, December 23
I learn that the Connecticut claimants in Luzerne and Lycoming counties, have resolved to make another effort to bring about a compromise with the Pennsylvania claimants, and that for this purpose they have appointed the old veteran Col. John Franklin and Major Allen, of Sugar Creek, as agents to treat with the adverse party. If the landowners are as disposed to do justice, and make an honorable termimation of the dispute as the settlers, the event I am confident, will be favorable to the final settlement of the unhappy controversy. (Albany Register- Newspaper Article)
August 19, 1806
The Season - English Grain
Among the farmers of Wilksbarre, and Kingston, (Pennsylvania) a noble strife has arisen, which shall raise the most grain. In both towns are a number of farmers who have from 70 to 100 acres of English grain this season. The crops which they are now reaping are unusually fine and promise richly to reward the labor of the husbandman. (New-Hampshire Gazette- Newspaper Article)
November 12, 1806
Easton and Wilkesbarre Turnpike Road
...we are enabled to congratulate the Country on the completion of the most difficult and important part of the Easton and Wilkesbarre Turnpike road. Twenty four miles of this road, commencing at the town of Wilkesbarre and ending at the Tunkhanna river, and covering the whole of the distance which passes over the heretofore impracticable district, emphatically called "The Swamp", are finished; and as we understand from the report of the managers who have recently returned from a journey of inspection, the work is executed in a manner quite satisfactory, and such as to assure an excellent and permanent road through a wilderness which until very lately has been deemed almost impassable...
The citizens who have advanced their money as Stockholders in this very useful undertaking, will, we trust, be rewarded, by abundant tolls, for their public spirit... (Poulson's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
April 29, 1807
Wilkesbarre, Penn. April 20
An Extraordinary Flood
We have had this spring had an extraordinary flood in the Susquehannah river. The water began to rise about ten days ago, and continued increasing in height until Tuesday evening, when it attained its summitt. The water flowed into the front street of the town and filled anumber of cellars; its width opposite the town was about 400 rods. The water has not been so high since the great flood in 1784, and what is very remarkable, there had no rain fallen here for fifteen days before the commencement of the flood, that could affect the river in the least. This immense body of water therefore, must have been produced solely from the fusion of the snow, by the sun.
The rapidity of the stream - the vast and unusual quantity of water, were to us scenes new and grand, and excited ideas, pleasing and sublime.
The damage sustained by some individuals will be considerable, while others, from the rich sediment left upon their land, will be considerably benefited.(Poulson's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
April 21, 1808
Wilkesbarre [Penn.] April 15
On Monday last Jedediah Seward was committed to prison in this place, for passing a counterfeit bank note. On searching him bills were found in his possession to the amount of about four hundred dollars...(North American - Newspaper Article)
July 15, 1808
Wilkesbarre, July 1
Two prisoners have been for some time confined in the gaol in this town on criminal charges. Seward for passing counterfeit money - Dodge for stealing.
When Seward was taken, a lady was his companion. She was secured for a few days, and then, as nothing appeared against her, was liberated, and has since lived in the neighbourhood.
Seward for some time has been so ill as to require the attention of a Physician, and at all times has been treated by Mr. Stewart, who keeps the prison, and his wife with all the humanity his situation could require.
Last week the family, who reside in the prison, were two or three times alarmed for Seward, as he was taken with fainting turns, and appeared as if expiring. On Tuesday last he was so ill that Mr. Stewart left them fire and a candle to light if necessary.
About 12 o'clock at night, Dodge called in the most urgent manner for help, as Seward had fainted and was dying. - Mr. and Mrs, Stewart ran into the prison, with all possible haste, and found Seward gasping for breath, and with the utmost tenderness they endeavored to relieve him, when Dodge seized the stump of a broom, the splinters of which they had burned off for the purpose, and struck Mr. Stewart over the eyes. The dying man sprung from his bed, and the two prisoners, with the most dreadful threats ordered Mr. and Mrs. Stewart to the backside of the prison. - A smart contest ensued and Mrs. Stewart seeing a knife lying upon the floor, which appeared sharpened for the service, and hearing them threaten her husband with death, immediately seized Dodge, and with a heroism that does her the highest credit, dragged him into the street and called for help, and notwithstanding Dodge beat her in a most cruel manner, she retained her hold, constantly hollowing for asistance.
In the mean time the dying man and Mr. Stewart had struggled to the door of the prison, when some of the neighbors arrived, and the fellows were secured. On searching the prison, a saw, file and other tools were found, and two knifes sharpened, with which it is supposed they intended to further their escape if other means failed.
The spirited conduct of Mr. & Mrs. Stewart does them much credit.
On examining the habitation of the lady, who had been taken in company with Seward, she was found dressed in all the preparation for a journey - Whether means are taken to secure her I do not know, but certain it is, she ought like other heroines of Romances, to be castled a while.
It is understood that seward eloped with her, from her husband; but the good man pursuing them, Seward compromised the matter by exchanging with the tender man, and gave him a horse for his wife. - Which made the better bargain is not certainly known. That the wife has found a lover who knows how to describe his passion, as well as appreciate her worth, may be seen from the following letter from him to her, found in the prison.
Whether the first husband can write as affectionate an epistle to his horse, is a matter much questioned, and it is therefore concluded, that whatever bargain the horse may have made - the woman has done exceedingly well.
"Deare Phebe I Recv'd youre Leter Da'd the 14 of this Month which I Red with Grate Pleasure youre Soncerrity My Love Make My Confinement And Dungen a palis o My Love if you New with what Plesure it is that I Red your's I Kis it a thousan and pres the Hart to My Bosum when I think on the Deare Hand that Rote it My Love Look at My Hart with yours [here was the picture of two hearts united] My Deare Had I wings like a Dove I would Fly to that Deare Bosum of yours and there Spend the Remander of My Days Im Braceing youre Charmes - But Stop My thoughts Here I am Shut up as Lone Sum as the Chambers of Death." (New-Bedford Mercury - Newspaper Article)
July 29, 1809
Wilkesbarre, July 14
We have had rain for about a week past, almost constantly, which has raised the Susquehannah river to an unusual height for the season this year. The water we believe, has been about sixteen feet above low water mark. The immense loss that will be sustained by the farmers who have land adjoining the river will be incalculable. Wheat, Rye, Oats, Corn and Grass, will be entirely destroyed; which will render the situation of our farmers truly distressing. A flood in July has not been known before, for more than twenty years. The ruin and distress that will be occasioned by it, from the source, to the mouth of the river, will be beyond all calculation. (Independent American - Newspaper Article)
September 14, 1909
Wilkesbarre, (Penn.) September 8, 1809
On Sunday morning last, Mr. Joseph Johnson, and four other persons were crossing the Susquehanna at the Falls, about a mile above the Borough, in a boat laden with brick - when near the opposite shore of the river, the boat sunk, and Mr. Johnson was unfortunately drowned. - The other persons reached the shore in safety. Mr. Johnson has left a wife and two small children to lament their irreparable loss. (Poulson's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
December 24, 1810
Calico and Paper Printing Invention
Leonard Beatty, of Wilkesbarre, Penn. is said to have invented a machine for Calico and Paper Printing which will stamp at the rate of 200 pieces of paper hangings in nine hours. (True American - Newspaper Article)
January 24, 1812
The present Quarter has this week commenced; and the Managers of the Academy would inform the public that the usual course of Study is pursued-viz. History, Composition, the Latin and Greek Languages, Rhetoric, Logic, Mathematics, including Natural Philosophy, are taught by Garrick Mallery, the former Principal of the Academy.
Geography, English, Grammar, Penmanship, Book-Keeping, Arithmetic, Reading, ad Spelling, are taught by Thonas Bartlet, and Andrew Beaumont.
The Trustees & Managers of the Academy assure the public that all possible attention shall be paid both to the instruction and morals of the Youth committed to their charge. (Gleaner - Newspaper Article)
February 24, 1812
Wilkesbarre, (Penn.) April 10
The Wyoming Experiment
This afternoon, at half past three o'clock, the vessel built in this port, was launched into the Susquehanna, amid the shouts of the people, and the firing of cannon. The concourse of people was great - the launch in every respect beautiful - and no accident to mar the pleasure. The vessel is now floating, and the cannon are yet firing - thus has so far prospered. (Yankee - Newspaper Article)
April 24, 1812
Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, (Penn.) April 17
Last Friday was the day on which the Launch of the vessel on the stocks in this Port was announced. A scene so extraordinary, two hundred miles from the tide waters of the river, raised the curiosity of everyone...The novelty to those who had never witnessed such a view, excited their curiosity to the highest degree. The importance of the experiment too did not fail to augment the general solicitude, for on its success depended the important consideration, whether the timber of our mountains could be profitably employed in ship building, and our country be benefitted by the increase of business which such a pursuit would naturally produce.
...Early on Friday people began to gather from all parts of the country. The common on the bank, at noon gave notice that every thing was in preparation. A little after two, repeated discharges announced that all was ready. ...A little after three the increased bustle and noise around the vessel, and the sound of the sledges and axes gave the interesting notice that they were knocking away the blocks.
The vessel was built on the bank of the river, 100 feet from the water, and 15 feet perpendicular height above it, so that she had a considerable distance to move. She measures between 50 and 60 tons. Her colours were flying from her stern, and near thirty persons were on board. The after block was knocked away - every eye was fixed- all was anxiety - but she did not move. The news of the Embargo had just come into town, and he seemed aware that there was no business for her on the ocean, and she might as well lie in dry dock. The men on board all gathered near her bow and then run in a body to the stern. - She started- moving for half a minute slowly - the velocity increased, and she slid most gracefully into her destined element, amid the shouts of thousands. As she met the water, Capt. Chapman, christened her in the usual style, "The Luzerne, of Wilkes-Barre." - Nothing could be more beautiful - every spectator was amply gratified.
Great credit is due to Mr. Mack, the shipright who built her, and under whose superintendance she was launched, and to Mr. Arndt the principal proprietor, who has been chiefly active in her building.
We hope her voyage down the crooked and rocky Susquehanna may be safe, though our hopes are not without some fears for her safety as she draws without ballast four feet water. (New-York Gazette - Newspaper Article)
March 30, 1813
Wilksbarre, March 12
On the night of Wednesday the 10th of last month between 10 & 11 o'clock, the Printing Office of the Gleaner, together with the greater part of the materials, were consumed by fire. It had made such progress before discovered, that all attempts at saving the building proved ineffectual - nor would but few of the printing materials be rescued from destruction. In consequence of which the publication of the Gleaner must be suspended for a time. Mr. Miner's loss is very heavy, but a generous public will not be backward in affording aid to an industrious man, by making him some remuneration. (Broome County Patriot- Newspaper Article)
April 14, 1813
Northumberland, (Penn.) April 6
On Thursday last there arrived at this place a sloop from Wilkesbarre called the "LUZERNE". She has been navigated down the Susquehanna, thus far, on her way to Baltimore, without either mast or helm, by the assistance of platforms attached to her bows and steered. - The sloop measures 61 tons, and in the trim in which she now is, draws only four feet of water. In the year 1792, the first ship descended the Mississippi - several descend it now annually. Should the Luzerne get safe to Baltimore, as we hope she may, it might shortly become no unusual thing to see vessels of 100 tons or upwards, descend our river.
(Poulson's American Daily Advertiser - Newspaper Article)
September 6, 1813
Wilkes-Barre, Nov. 7, 1813
Hospital for Drunken Persons
The Hospital erected in this County for drunken persons, is producing the most salutary effects. Every man found in a state of intoxication is taken there and confined. Those who have been long in the habit of drinking, are allowed a little every day, but the quantity is gradually diminished, and plenty of milk and beer situated in its place, and it is very pleasant to see the change in the health of the patients - Many have been discharged perfectly cured, who bless the day that the institution was ever established. (Farmer's Cabinet - Newspaper Article)
September 21, 1813
Wilkes-Barre (Penn.) September 10
On Thursday morning, Mr. Allen Jack, merchant of this place, was walking on the scaffold around the second story of a new store he was building, when unfortunately he trod on the end of a board not properly secured - the board gave way and precipitated him head long to the ground. He was taken up senseless and every aid in the power of the faculty afforded to restore him, but in vain. He expired at 12 o'clock the same night, aged 37 years.
He was a native of Ireland and for some years made Baltimore his residence. In 1806 he established himself in business in this town, where his uprightness, benevolence and industry acquired for him an honorable name and an accumulating fortune. Mr. Jack has left no relative here, but the sigh of pity and the moan of sorrow will not be suppressed. He goes not down to the grave unhonored and unwept - but the tear of sensibility shall bedew his grave, and the sincere grief of hundreds mark their respect for the stranger living, and their sorrow for his untimely fate. Green be the grass that grows upon his grave and light the turf that rests upon his bosom.
On Monday last, John BAILY, of this town, was blowing rocks at the falls of the Lehigh. Imprudently he attempted to blow a match which was slow to go off. In the daring act the powder caught, and blew him up, tearing him most shockingly. He exclaimed, "God have mercy on my soul!" and died.
(Rhode-Island American - Newspaper Article)
March 24, 1817
Wilkesbarre, Penn., March 14On Wednesday last the citizens of Wilkes Barre were amused with the singular spectacle of two DEER running through the heart of the town. One entered the borough near Mr. Gibbs' and pursued its course down Main street, as far as Mr. Tuttle's lot, then across by Dr. Baldwin's to the river. The other entered from the redoubt, ran across the lots through Mr. Tuttles barnyard to Main street, thence to the Public Square, and then across lots to Front street, near the bank and passed the river on the ice to Kingston. During the day 7 Deer passed within the bound of the borough, and 11 within half a mile of the Court House. (Courier - Newspaper Article)
March 18, 1818
From the Wilkesbarre Democrat
The heavy rain which fell last Sunday, and the previous thawing of the snow, caused a sudden rise of the Susquehanna River. The Ice began to break up on Monday afternoon, and owing to its uncommon strength, the crashing it made was tremendous.
The stone piers erected for the Wilkesbarre Bridge, though well laid and strongly dowelled, have been torn down, and now nothing is to be seen of them but the wake produced by their well secured foundations. The loss to the Contractors is great, and the completion of the Bridge must be delayed by this calamity at least for a season. (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
March 25, 1818
We are happy to learn that the injury done to the piers of the Bridge, by the late extraordinary ice freshet, is much less than was at first believed and that the completion of this elegant and noble structure, will be little retarded in consequence of the event.
From the spirited exertions making by the contractors, we are warranted in the belief that it will be rendered passable in the early part of the ensuing summer - and that proper measures will be taken by the erection of ice breakers to prevent the like occurrence taking place again. (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
December 20, 1815
Wilkes-Barre, Dec 8
The Influenza, which prevails throughout the United States, has visited us. At Lackawanna it has proved malignant as the Yellow-Fever. As many deaths, it is thought, have taken place there, within the past ten days, as in the preceding six months. (Courier - Newspaper Article)
February 28, 1818
Wilkes-Barre, February 20
William Hultz, confined in the jail of this county for debt, terminated his life by cutting his throat, on Monday last. No Particular cause we have heard, is known for so rash an alternative. (Berks and Schuylkill Journal - Newspaper Article)
July 29, 1818
Wilkesbarre, July 17, 1818
On Sunday afternoon last, we were visited by a hailstorm, more severe than is in the recollection of the oldest inhabitants. The cloud approached from the north west, and seemed to hang over the adjacent country, for some time before it burst. The hail were mostly the size of cherries, though some were much larger. On the Plains one was measured which was five inches in circumference. In Kingston many fell the size of a hen's egg, and in Exeter, one measured eight inches in circumference, and another ten inches. The hail was generally, in the center white like snow, and on the outside clear as ice. (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
October 7, 1818
A paper has been established at Wilkesbarre, entitled the "Wyoming Herald." The publisher is Mr. Steuben Butler, formerly one of the editors of the Gleaner. The paper is handsomely printed, and our old friend has our cordial good wishes for its success. (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
May 5, 1819
From the Susquehanna Democrat
WilkesBarre, April 23, 1819
The fresh in the Susquehanna still continues - and we are sorry to learn that considerable property has been lost. The Wilkesbarre bridge has sustained serious injury. Several rafts have been stove against one of the piers, which has contributed to endanger its safety. Persons attempting to run rafts or arks would do well to keep close to the Wilkesbarre shore, where they can run without danger to themselves or to the Bridge. (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
May 12, 1819
From the Wilkesbarre Herald
Contrary to the opinion entertained at the publication of our last paper, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon of Monday last, that pier of the Wilkesbarre Bridge which stands next to the Wilkesbarre shore, and for some one? preceding, wore a very threatening ascent (being continually settling towards the Kingston shore) suddenly gave way. The top, and two arches of the Bridge restingt hereon, were with tremendous crash, precipatated into the river. The shore arch remains in the water where it fell - the other one was washed to shore about a half mile below, where it remains, the timbers of both being very much shattered, & much of the ironwork is injured.
The other half of the Bridge remains in a perfect state - in consequence to measures being previously taken to disconnect it from that part which has been destroyed. (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
July 30, 1819
Census of the Borough of Wilkesbarre, Penn
The following is the number of Inhabitants and houses, within the borough of Wilkesbarre, agreeable to enumeration made on July 16th:
Whole number of inhabitants 763, of which 737 are white, and 26 blacks, and of the number of whites, 374 are males, and 365 females, of which 362 are adults, and 375 children. Dwelling house 110. Store houses 6. (City of Washington Gazette - Newspaper Article)
September 8, 1819
We learn with much pleasure that the Managers of the Wilkesbarre Bridge have contracted with Mr. Thurston, to rebuild that part of the Bridge which fell in May last. The work is already commenced, and from the character of Mr. Thurston, we are warranted in assuring the public (of no unforseen circumstances occur) that the bridge will be passable by December - Herald. (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
September 22, 1819
Health of Wilkesbarre
Dr. Covelle, of Wilkesbarre, has published a bill of mortality in that borough, embracing the last 5 years and 5 months; by which it appears, that the total number of deaths, during that period, was 55, and the number of diseases causing the deaths 22. The population of the borough is estimated at 700. In giving the bill of mortality - the editor remarks - "Eleven of the deaths were the consequence of an epidemic, which prevailed over the country generally; and in forming an estimate of the salubrity of our situation, ought not to be taken into consideration. Wyoming Herald (Village Record - Newspaper Article)
How to Celebrate the Fourth
We learn from the Wilkes-Barre Advocate, that Mr. Fuller, a contractor for the North Branch Canal, deposited fifty-three kegs of powder in some rock which his workman had drilled for blowing, and on the morning of the 4th the match was lighted and the explosion threw off two thousand yards of rock. (Connecticut Courant - Newspaper Article)
On the 13th of last month, Mr. Peter Stroh and his son John of Wilkes-Barre township, Luzerne County, Pa., in attempting to cross over to the first island below the borough with a horse and wagon, unfortunately got into deep water, and were both drowned. (Sun - Newspaper Article)
An enterprising company of Philadelphia have erected Rolling and Slitting Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre, at the junction of the Rail Road and Canal. The building, says the Wilkes-Barre Advocate, is 200 feet long and 150 feet wide. A row of ten dwelling houses have been built for the operatives. Bringing iron in any form to Pennsylvania will, by and by, be like carrying coals to Newcastle.(North American - Newspaper Article)
April 3, 1841
Almost everyone perhaps is acquainted with the history of the massacre of the inhabitants of Wyoming Valley, by the British and Indians , in July 1878.
July 12, 1841
Nearly 200 strangers arrived at the Phoenix Hotel, Wilkes-Barre, during two days of last week. (Philadelphia Inquirer - Newspaper Article)
September 7, 1841
Parents intending to send their sons beyond the city for an education should not overlook Mr, Dana's school at Wilkes-Barre. It has every possible advantage in regard to salubrious atmosphere, beautiful location and excellent management, to render it among the most desirable schools in the country. Mr. Dana has all the needed qualifications to instruct as well as guide young minds, and then, it should be remembered, the School is situated in the very midst of the beautiful Wyoming Valley. (North American - Newspaper Article)
October 16, 1841
The ladies of Wilkes-Barre, with a commendable zeal, are striving to obtain $3000 to build the Wyoming Monument. They have about $2500 on hand, and the balance they need before starting with the noble enterprise. (Connecticut Courant - Newspaper Article)
November 29, 1841
The Journal of Saturday says that the coalmen in that region are quite active. The amount shipped from the Wyoming Valley will reach nearly 50,000 tons. Next year, if the navigation is uninterrupted , the amount will be more than doubled. (North American - Newspaper Article)
July 15, 1843
July 19, 1843
A sad accident took place last Saturday afternoon on the Lehigh and Susquehanna Rail Road, about three miles from Wilkes-Barre. A letter from that place in the U. S. Gazette states the particulars as follows:
Fugitive Slave Excitement at Wilkesbarre
Several Slave hunters have recently visited Wilkesbarre, in pursuit of their human game, but though officially aided and cheered on, by the Slave Catching Commissioner, one Eleazer Carey, they returned empty to chew and digest their defeat as they might. On account of some of their heroic adventures, is given by the Wilkesbarre Advocate from which we quote:
"At one time it was said about 200 blacks were congregated together, and part of them armed. A military company was called out by the commissioner. They paraded making a fine appearance, and march to the appointed place. Their object was to protect the officer in the execution of the Commissioner's writ. Finding no colored men, the military returned and were dismissed.
At another time some patriotic young men readily responded to the call of an officer appointed by the commissioner, and formed a posse to aid in searching for fugitive slaves. They repaired to the appointed place, but found no men, only a few women, most of whom were without means of defense, except two or three, who had a few butcher knives and a pot or two of hot water, neither of which were used. The young gentlemen were resolute, and made the necessary search without molestation and finding a fugitive."
The Advocate also says that two Southerners, in search of a fugitive, went to the residence of Mr. Jameson Harvey, in Plymouth township, Luzerne county, where they understood the fugitive was employed.
"They met with him as he was returning to Mr. Harvey's with a team. The black swung his whip, when the horses sprung forward, and the man holding one of them fell, and rolled down the hill they were ascending. The black thus made the escape. The pursuers mounted their own wagon and made chase. Ascending another hill, one of their own horses fell down, and rolling over broke the wagon, and thus the black made good his retreat to the house of Mr. Harvey. As he entered, the two Southern men approached hastily, with cocked pistols in hand. The black, we understand, aided by a female who happened to be there at the time, fastened the doors. He then fled to his bed room, where he armed himself with two loaded pistols".
Mr. Harvey, being absent at the time, was sent for. This was not in his power to comply with, as the man was armed, and threatened that he would not be taken. The pursuers being also armed, Mr. Harvey objected to any bloody work about his residence, and the men returned to town without the black, and made preparations to prosecute Mr. Harvey at Williamsport. Afterwards learning that the slave was valued at $600, Mr. Harvey, not knowing whither he had gone, offered to give the men $600 if they would manumit the slave. This they refused to take, preferring to pursue Mr. Harvey with the law. (Pennsylvania Freeman - Newspaper Article)
June 27, 1851
A Fugitive Slave from Eastern Pennsylvania
Yesterday, at noon, George H. Roset, Esq., Assistant U. S. Marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania, reached this city in the Reading cars, from Wilkesbarre, having in custody Jesse Whitman, a fugitive slave, whom he arrested at Wilkesbarre on Saturday last. Marshal Roset was accompanied by Messrs. W. H. Beaumont, Jacob Cooper, and George Fell, who assisted in Whitman's capture.
Marshal Keyser having been telegraphed to meet the parties at the depot, was promptly on the spot with an efficient police force, and accompanied the United States officers and their charge to the Baltimore boat, on which they took passage for Maryland at two o'clock.
Whitman is a large, powerful negro, and fought desperately before surrendering himself. He struck Marshal Roset twice upon the head with a heavy cart whip, and drew a large sheath knife, for which he doubtless have used has it not been for the timely and efficient aid of Messrs. Beaumont, Fell, Cooper and Seaman. Whitman belongs to John Conrad, Esq., of Loudon County, Virginia.
The matter was managed so quietly, as far as Philadelphia was concerned, that very few persons heard of either the arrival or departure of the fugitive. Some of the colored porters, wood sawyers, stevedores, and other employees along the wharves, indulged in threats, but they were overawed by the presence of officers of the law, and made no attempt at rescue. An effort was made to detain the slave by a writ of Habeas Corpus, but the boat shoved off before it could be executed. - Philadelphia Gazette, 24th. (Daily Atlas - Newspaper Article)
September 16, 1853
From the New York Tribune
A Scene of Cruelty and Bloodshed
Wilkesbarre, Pa., Sept. 3, 1853
A most disgraceful and brutal occurrence took place here this morning, which I shall take the liberty of communicating to you, thinking it probable that no other person here may take the trouble. Being an eye-witness, I have given nothing but what you may rely upon as facts.
About 7 o'clock this morning, an attempt was made by a person calling himself 'Deputy Marshall Wynkoop' (a brother to Colonel Wynkoop), another answering to the name of 'Joe Jenkins', and three other assistants from Virginia, to arrest as a fugitive slave a colored waiter, in the dining room of the Phoenix Hotel, in this place.
Immediately after receiving their breakfast at the hands of 'Bill', the unsuspecting fugitive, who is a tall, noble-looking, remarkably intelligent and active mulatto, they suddenly, from behind, knocked him down with a mace, and partially shackled him; but, by a desperate effort, and after a most severe struggle, with the whole five upon him, he shook them off, and with the aid of his handcuffs, which were only fast upon his right wrist, he inflicted some hard wounds on the countenances of some of the Southerners, the marks of which they will probably carry to their graves.
But, notwithstanding the fearful odds against him, he managed to break from their grasp, and with the loss of everything upon him but a part of his shirt, and covered with blood, he rushed from the house, and plunged into the river close by, exclaiming, 'I will be drowned rather than taken alive'. His pursuers fired twice at him on his way to the river, without checking his speed, and, on reaching the bank, they presented their large revolvers, and called on the fugitive, who stood up to his neck in the water, to ' come out and surrender himself, or they would blow his brains out'. He replied, 'I will die first'. They then deliberately fired at him four or five different times, the last ball supposed to have struck on his head, for his face was instantly covered with blood, and the poor fellow sprang and shrieked out in agony, and no doubt would have sunk, but for the buoyancy of the water holding him up. The people around, who had by this time collected in large numbers, were becoming excited, and could no longer refrain from crying out 'Shame, shame!' which had the effect of causing the Southerners to retire short distance, in evident consultation.
The slave, not seeing his pursuers, came to the shore; but not being able to support himself in the water, he lay down on the edge, completely exhausted, became senseless, and was supposed to be dying, on hearing the slave-catchers remarked coolly, that 'Dead niggers were not worth taking South'. Some one shortly brought a pair of pantaloons and put on the fugitive, who, in a few minutes, unexpectedly revived, and was walking off from the river, partly held up by another colored man, named Rex; on seeing which, his pursuers again headed him, drew and presented their revolvers, and called upon him to stop, threatening to shoot any one who assisted the fugitive. The white friends of Rex instantly shouted, 'Stand away! Stand away, Rex! You'll get shot, too.' This was bad advice, as they would not have dared to shoot at that time, and it had the effect of encouraging the pirates, who kept advancing toward the fugitive, and at the same tie intimidated Rex, who drew back, exclaiming to the slave, ''Put., Bill, to the water again; don't be taken alive'.
The poor fellow, seeing himself alone, for there was a general drawback on the revolvers being presented, turned and plunged into the river again, where he remained upward of an hour, with nothing above water but his head, covered with blood, and i full view of the hundreds who lined the high banks. His claimants dared not follow him into the water, for, as he afterward remarked, 'He would have died contented could he have carried two or three of them down with him'. In the mean time, some of the citizens, thinking there was no law justifying such barbarity, were taking means to have the kidnappers arrested.
Judge Collins, one of our most respected citizens, and several others, questioned them as to their names and authority, to which they replied, ' He was more like a lunatic than a Judge', etc. They soon, however, saw the sentiment of the community was strong against them, and drove off before an officer could be found to arrest them. A telegraphic dispatch to the constable in Hazleton caused their detention there; but he was overawed by such pompous U. S. officers, and they were allowed to go again.
After their departure, the fugitive, afraid to come out there again, waded some distance up stream, and got out above, and was found by some colored women, flat on his face in a corn field. The women carried him to a place of safety, dressed his wounds, and at night he will be far on his way towards Canada.
Such are the plain, unvarnished facts. you cannot overstate the barbarity of the scene, the excitement of the people, or the ferocity of the slave-catchers, but having recently felt the rigors of the Fugitive Slave Law here, there was a general fear of the officers, who bullied and browbeat any one who ventured to speak above his breath, exclaiming occasionally, 'Gentleman, you can have him for $1,000; but we are U. S. officers; resist us at your peril".
We felt ashamed of our country, and almost longed to be in Austria or Russia, where human rights are more respected.
Nothing in Mrs. Stowe's work equaled this in brutality displayed by this Pennsylvania Marshal and the Virginia slave-hunters. Had some bold spirit led the way, the citizens would have demolished them on the spot. As it is, the result has been good.
The bloodthirsty villains were baffled, the 'property' escaped, (though probably a cripple for life, if indeed he does live, for he was quite light-headed during the day,) and there has been more anti-slavery feeling excited, and more hatred to the Fugitive Slave Law aroused, then could have been done with years of lectures or addresses. (Liberator - Newspaper Article)
October 13, 1853
The Wilkesbarre Slave Case
Arrest of the Deputy Slave Catchers
On Tuesday afternoon of last week, after our form was made up, a warrant issued by a magistrate of Wilkebarre, on the oath of Mr. William C. Gildersleeve, a highly respectable citizen of that borough, was served by the High Constable of Wilkesbarre, upon John Jenkins and James Creisson, two of Commissioner Ingraham's slave catching deputies, charging them with a riot, and an assault and battery on Bill Thomas, an alleged fugitive slave with an intent to kill him. The warrant also included the name of George Wynkoop, but Mr. Wynkoop being absent from the city, it was not served upon him. Soon after their arrest, upon petition of certain friends of these deputies, Judge Grier granted a writ of habeus corpus to bring the High Constable and his prisoners before the U. S. circuit Court, and on Wednesday morning the case came up before Judge Grier. The Bulletin, which will not be suspected of any wish to represent the Judge's conduct in an unfavorable light, thus reports the proceedings of the Court:
Mr. Jackson, for the High Constable of Wilkesbarre, read his answer to the Court, in which he admits that he held the Deputy Marshal in custody, but alleged that he did so by legal authority, having arrested them on a warrant issued by Gilbert Burrows, a magistrate of Wilkesbarre, on the action of William C. Gildersleeve, a citizen of Wilkesbarre.
Judge Grier, sternly: Who is William C. Gildersleeve?
Marshal Wynkoop: Your honor, he is an abolitionist of Wilkesbarre.
Mr. Jackson: He is a respectable storekeeper of that borough.
Judge Grier: Was the assault and battery committed on him?
District Attorney Ashmead: No, sir; he did not allege it.
Judge Grier: Oh! Oh!
District Attorney Ashmead said he would now read the petition for the habeas corpus...
Judge Grier: I take it for granted that the facts set forth in the petition are true., and I shall rely upon them, unless they are shown to be false.
Mr. Brown: We rely upon the warrant of the magistrate, issued upon the oath of a citizen.
Judge Grier: If you deny what is set forth in the petition, I will hear the facts in the case. I will not have the officers of the United States harassed at every step in the performance of their duties by every petty magistrate who chooses to harass them, or by any unprincipled interloper who chooses to make complaints against them, for I know something of the man who makes the complaint. The laws of the United States arte binding against me, and I will not take the warrant issued in this case as sufficient to hold these officers.
Mr. Brown: Your honor will perceive, that if murder had been committed, we could not prosecute in a United States court for it.
Judge Grier: There has been no murder committed here. They were acting under a process of the United States, legally issued.
District Attorney Ashmead said that the case was free from difficulty. He called upon the court to vindicate the laws of the United States and its own officers, who were constantly subjected to the most harassing conduct on the part of the men disposed to set the laws of the Union at defiance.
Judge Grier: I shall act as if I had the evidence before me, unless the other side are prepared to deny the facts set forth in the petition. In that case, I shall put the matter off, to give them a chance to submit their testimony. The officers, I suppose, arrested the fugitive, and he resisted; they then used force, to hold him in custody.
Mr. Brown: We deny this. We say that he did not resist, and that he was cruelly beaten. We shall show such a case of barbarity as will appall your Honor.
District Attorney Ashmead: They allege that the officers executed their duties in a riotous manner. They went to the borough, of course, to serve the process which was put into their hands by a U. S. Commissioner, upon the oath of a competent party, countersigned by a Judge of the U. S. Court. They executed their process, and were resisted by their prisoner even to the drawing of a knife upon them, which was put into his hands by one of the bystanders. They were compelled to use sufficient force to secure him, and this the opposite party called rioting. It is not Bill who sues here. They well know he has fled beyond the jurisdiction of this court. To hold the officers to answer, there must be some excess of authority shown in what they did, and the proof is upon them. every officer is prima facie supposed to act in a legal manner. Is every magistrate in the State, numbering probably two thousand, to have power to issue his warrant of arrest against the officers of the United States upon the intervention of any interloper who has the manlihood to swear that the officers exceeded their authority! If this is to be the case, the Marshal himself may be arrested under their warrant, for an alleged improper exercise of his duties, or even the Judges of this Court or the U. S. District Attorney may be subjected to the same annoyance.
Mr. Brown: Your Honor, there was no resistance at all. we put our case upon the excess of authority on the part of the officers. If your honor is determined to go behind the warrant of the Magistrate, we asked to be permitted to show the facts in the case, which will be found to be of the most horrible nature.
District Attorney Ashmead asked the officers be discharged from custody.
Judge Grier: If this man Gildersleeve fails to make out the facts set forth in the warrant of arrest, I will request the Prosecuting Attorney of Luzerne County to prosecute him for perjury. I know that the United States have a limited authority; but where they have it, it is clear, undoubted and conclusive, that theirs is the sovereign authority. If any tuppenny magistrate, or unprincipled interloper can come in, and cause to be arrested, the officers of the United States, whenever they please, it is a sad state of affairs. After a man against whom the U. S. warrant was issues has run away, some fellow intervenes and runs to a State Judge for his interference, and has the U. S. officers arrested. There was a case recently of this kind and to that I now allude. If habeas corpuses are to be taken out after that manner, I will have an indictment sent to the U. S. Grand Jury against the person who applies for the writ, to see whether the United States officers are to be arrested and harassed, whenever they attempt to serve a process of the United States. I speak of what is daily done to thwart the United States in the exercise of her lawful authority. I will see that my officers are protected. When will you be ready with your proofs in this matter, Mr. Brown?
Mr. Brown: This day one week.
Judge Grier: Then upon that day I will hear your proof.
The case then went over until that time.
(Pennsylvania Freeman - Newspaper Article)
November 10, 1853
From the Daily Register.
Another Chapter in the Wilkesbarre Affair
Judge Grier threatens to hang Mr. Gildersleeve!!
Letter from Mr. Gildersleeve, showing sundry reasons against the Execution
To The Hon. Judge Grier, of the Supreme Court of the United States
In your remarks from the Bench, on the hearing of the Habeas Corpus sued out of the Circuit Court over which you preside, by John Jenkins and others, and also in your printed opinion, you have taken liberties with my name, no less inconsistent with the dignity of your official station, than with truth and justice. The insinuation, equivalent as a positive assertion, that I am an "unprincipled interloper," does not amount to proof, although proceeding from the lips of a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.
An affidavit was made upon me, upon which a warrant was issues for the arrest of certain slave catchers. You were pleased to remark " If this man fails to make out the facts set forth in the warrant of arrest, I will request the prosecuting attorney of Luzerne County to prosecute him for PERJURY." Perhaps it would still more aid and comfort felons if you would request all prosecuting attorneys to prosecute all Grand Jurors for perjury, whenever the facts they had sworn to were disproved on trial; in other words, whenever a person indicted is acquitted on trial, send the Jurors who indicted him to the State Prison for perjury!
I made an affidavit stating facts according to the best of my knowledge and belief, and which was strictly and literally true. I informed the magistrate that I had not been an eye witness of the facts stated. Hence there was no fraud practiced or attempted.
In your usual gentlemanly style you observed, " I know something of the man who made this complaint." If you knew aught against my veracity or integrity you kept it to yourself. Perhaps you may know something of me. You may know that I hate oppression. That I believe in the doctrine of the Declaration of Independence. That I do not believe in the power of the United States Government, nor in the power of the combined governments of the world, rightfully to chattlelize a single human being. Moreover that I look upon the fugitive slave act as unconstitutional, a foul disgrace to our country, and that I loathe it from my very soul; while you take pride in enforcing it. In your zeal for this despicable act, you thought to intimidate me by sending me a threat some two years since that if you could ever get me before you, you would hand me. See the affidavit of Mr. Butler, annexed. The fear of you and your threatened halter has not yet prevented me from expressing my opinions. You have thought proper to punish my audacity by insulting me from the bench. You are indignant at the interference of a tuppenny state magistrate with United States officers. It maybe humiliating to you, but such is the system of our Government, that a tuppenny Pennsylvania magistrate ha sa perfect right to order the arrest not only of a deputy Marshal, but a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, on a criminal charge. Hence it is no matter os surprise that a justice of the peace should order the arrest of official slave catchers, when they assume the part of brutal and murderous assailants. a Justice of the peace may appear in the view of a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, a " tuppenny magistrate", but in the estimation of honorable, virtuous men, the office of a Justice is infinitely more honorable than that of a slave catching commissioner, at any bribe of five dollars a head; the spawn of a United States Judge, not the choice of a free people.
We are left to infer from your written opinion that no degree of violence and brutality in catching negroes is culpable or illegal. You seem to have forgotten the warrant for the arrest of an alleged fugitive is a civil, not a criminal process. The fugitive is not charged with crime. He is merely charged with "owing service." He is an unfortunate debtor. Can it be that you suppose a sheriff, in executing process in an action of debt, may take an armed posse and deliberate with his associates on the propriety of shooting the defendant, if they cannot otherwise take him, and that they may violently assault him, and beat him, and fire pistols at him, endangering his life, and all this without showing his warrant!
As to the legality of your proceedings, others more competent must decide. As to the impropriety and indecency of your language and deportment on the bench, no difference opinion well be entertained by those who understand what is requires of the manners of a gentleman, and the unimpassioned impartiality of a judge.
We are officially assured that in the conduct of three deputy marshals towards the alleged fugitive there " was nothing worthy of blame", except perhaps, " a want of sufficient courage and perseverance!" That the public may judge what is the style of slave hunting approved by a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, I refer them to the affidavits of Jacob Kutz, Casper Fetterly, Henry Patton, and Charles Gegenheimer, heretofore published.
These affidavits, besides sustaining to the fallest extent the one made by me, disclose a most brutal and murderous assault upon an unfortunate but innocent man. His nominal master gave me a brief history of his character. He said he was honest and faithful; that he had given a boat on the Rappahannock in his charge; that in all the loads of produce which he had disposed of and accounted to him for, he had no reason to believe that he had wronged him out of a shilling. This noble resistance and courage displayed by this man at the time of his attempted arrest, would have made any white American the pride of his countryman. He exemplified to the letter, the sentiment of Patrick Henry - "Give me Liberty or give me Death." Your assertion above, that these officers had done "nothing worthy of blame," and their acts of unfeeling cruelty exhibit the brutalizing influence of the "Fugitive Slave Act" on all who stoop to execute it. The claimant of Bill (the name of the alleged fugitive) also told me that Bill's father was a white man, worth one hundred thousand dollars, and that he had full knowledge of the late treatment of his son at Wilkesbarre.
With the overflowing of parental sympathy, why does he not fly to the aid and succor of his child in his hour of extremity? The sad tale is soon told; this unholy and peculiar institution cuts out natural affection.
The outrage at Wilkesbarre, and the indecent and arrogant zeal of a man who fills the high and honorable station of a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, will do something to increase the intense odium wit which the fugitive slave act is viewed by the better class of the community. May that odium continue to expand and to gather force until it shall finally render it impossible to execute this execrable act. If this be treason, you are at liberty to make the most of it.
W. C. Gildersleeve
The following is Mr. Butler's affidavit, referred to in the above letter:
Before Gilbert Burrows, a Justice of the Peace, in and for the Cpunty of Luzerne, and State of Pennsylvania, personally came John L. Butler, of Wilkesbarre, in said county, and being duly sworn, deposeth and saith as follows, viz:
About two years ago, I met Judge Grier in the City of Washington, D. C. The Judge asked me if I knew Gildersleeve, of Wilkesbarre. I replied that I did; that he was a respectable merchant, and conscientious good man. Judge Grier said to me, I hear that he harbors negroes, and gives them arms. I replied, he mat harbor negroes but I think he would not arm them. Judge Grier then requested me to tell Mr. Gildersleeve from him, that if he, Gildersleeve, shold ever be brought before him he would hang him; which message I delivered to Mr. Gildersleeve on my return home.
J. L. Butler
Sworn and subscribed, October 28, 1853, before me,
G. Burrows, Jr.
Wilkesbarre, October 28, 1853
We, the undersigned, cheerfully bear testimony to the high estimation in which Gilbert Burrows, Esq., is held in this community. Few men, if any, among us are more truly respected, as a citizen, a magistrate and a Christian.
John Dorrance (Presbyterian Clergyman),
H. H. Wells (Presbyterian Clergyman),
Stephen Vaughn (Acting Justice of Peace)
Hendrick B. Wright (M. C., Democrat)
Edward Lynch (Cashier of Bank)
Henry M. Fuller (Ex-M. C., Whig)
( Pennsylvania Freeman - Newspaper Article)
Wilkes-Barre, September 10th, 1862. At three o'clock, P.M., yesterday, all places of business were closed. All the church bells and Court House bells rang for the people to assemble for a drill, at which time nearly all the able-bodied men in the town, amounting to some hundreds, assembled in their public square.
Mr. Thomas Reece
During a thunderstorm at Wilkes-Barre. Pa. last week, Mr. Thomas Reece went to the door of his residence just as the lightning struck a tree a few yards distant. Across a small alley, a vine bearing a small flower runs up the side of the house of Mr. Kipple.
Mr. Reece was in his shirt sleeves, and in the morning, branches of the vine were found to be distinctly traced in green on his right sleeve. On the wristband is a trig and a flower. From the elbow up, several branches and a leaf are clearly to be seen. (New-Hampshire Patriot - Newspaper Article)
October 12, 1869
July 25, 1840