HISTORY OF BUCKS COUNTY.

CHAPTER II.

EARLY SETTLEMENTS ON THE DELAWARE.

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    It is common to date the founding of Pennsylvania from the arrival of the first colonists under the charter granted to William Penn, but the student who would understand the character of its first settlements must go back some three-quarters of a century to the first exploration of the Chesapeake, which links its history with the first inception of the idea of colonizing the "new world." Even that portion of Pennsylvania now known as Bucks county was not a terra incognita to the first English colonists. A crude civilization had already entered its limits, and was slowly advancing upward along the trend of the river, carrying with it its characteristic institutions and individuality, which, though not remarkable for its enduring character, has still left traces that carry the investigator back to the time when the Dutch and Swedes contended for supremacy.
    The "first colony to Virginia'’ had been planted scarcely two years when Hudson, exploring the Atlantic coast in the interest of the Dutch, discovered "a great bay," since known as the Chesapeake. This, with his subsequent discovery of the river which bears his name, laid the foundation of the Dutch claim to the wide scope of country which they named the New Netherland. Hudson gained a very inaccurate idea of the character of the bay, and in his report gave marked preference to what was generally called the North river. The Dutch, who had gained the reputation of being the most daring adventurers and most enterprising traders of Europe, were, therefore, soon upon the river in quest of barter. In the year following Hudson's discovery their traders were to be found among the natives, exploring the river nearly to the site of Albany, and in 1613 the national flag floated over temporary structures erected for the protection of those who remained to carry on the exchange with the Indians.
    Early in 1614 a general charter for the encouragement of trade was granted by. the' states-general of Holland, and, stimulated by this dispensation, an

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expedition, composed of five vessels, was fitted out by the merchants of Amsterdam to take advantage of its provisions. The exclusive privilege of trade during four voyages with 11 any new courses, havens, countries, or places" discovered, made exploration the primary object of the expedition, and on reaching Manhattan island the vessels separated to scrutinize the coast north and south of their rendezvous. Captain Cornelius Jacobson Mey was assigned to the southern coast, and in the Fortune he explored the shore as far as the Virginia line. His chart shows the care with which he performed his mission; but, accepting the view of Hudson or pressed for time, he passed the bay, pausing only to give his name to the projecting capes at its mouth. The other vessels had achieved a similar work, and with this the expedition returned to Holland. One vessel, however, had been destroyed by accident, and its place had been filled by a small one constructed here. This, named the Unrust, was left behind, with a crew under the command of Hendrickson, to continue the work.
    It is evident that the bay had excited an interest which the superficial examinations of Hudson and Mey did not satisfy, and the Unrust was soon on its way to the Chesapeake. It is probable that this vessel was first employed in exploring the upper part of the Hudson, but in the latter part of 1615 it made its way up the bay. 'How far the exploration was pushed is in doubt. His report mentions 11 three rivers situate between the thirty-eighth and fortieth degrees ;" but the "Carte Figurative," which was attached to this report, leads to the belief that he did not reach even the mouth of the Delaware. But, wherever the utmost point of this exploration may have been, he found that, although no European vessel had preceded him, his own countrymen had visited the interior some time before. The hardy trappers on the Hudson were accustomed to make their homes with the various tribes, and so control the sale of their peltries. Three of these, who had joined the Mohawks and "Machicans," had been captured by the "Minguas," who resorted to the bay, and here fell in with explorers. Hendrickson apparently had no difficulty in effecting their ransom, giving in exchange for them certain "kettles, beads, and merchandise."
    These discoveries, however, suggested to the Dutch no more than a good opportunity for a valuable trade, and notwithstanding certain far-sighted ones urged that "his majesty of Great Britain would be disposed to people the aforesaid lands with the English nation," all suggestions of colonization were refused consideration. In 1621 the English ambassador at the Hague reported to his government, that the Dutch had begun to trade to "these parts between forty and forty-five degrees, to which, after their manner, they gave their own names, New Netherlands, a South and a North sea, a Texel, a Blieland, and the like;" whither they had continued to send ships of, sixty and eighty tons "to feteh furres, which is all their trade; for the providing of which they

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have certain factors there continually, residents trading with savages I cannot turn of any colony either already pleated -there by these people, or so much as intended." And this continued to he the truth of the Dutch possessions in America for nearly another decade. Up to 1624 the bay country, dill not receive even the attention which the ambassador's report might imply. Only little is definitely known of the trading operations of the Dutch in this region daring the period in question, but it is quite certain that there were no stations nor resident factors, though it is probable that trading vessels visited the hay with some regularity.
    At the date mentioned, the West India Company having come into possession of the trading privileges by virtue of a charter granted in 1621. Mey with others was dispatched to America to enlarge and invigorate the trading operations which had hitherto been carried on without regard for permanency or system. A colonial form of government was established with its neat on Manhattan island, the chief officer being styled a director. Mey was the first appointee, and early in his administration proceeded to the Chesapeake, where, some time in 1624, he erected a trading-post near the site of Gloucester, New Jersey. This he dignified with the name of Fort Nassau, and placed four women with their husbands and eight other men to keep it. Such possession of the country was not long maintained. In the following year the weakness of the central station demanded the concentration of the company's forces, and Fort Nassau was abandoned, its occupants being transferred to Manhattan.
    While the returns of the company were not inconsiderable it was nevertheless found difficult to infuse such vigor into the settlement as to promise successful competition with the thriving English colonies on either side of it, colonization accordingly came to be considered a necessity. Certain "freedoms and exemptions" were offered by the company "to all such as shall plant colonies in New Netherland." Previous to this action, however, several directors of the company had purchased of the natives a tract of land extending from Cape "Ilinlopen" upward along the shores of the bay, and about eight and a half leagues into the interior. A company was formed, with which De Vries, "a bold and skillful seaman," was associated, and measures taken to plant a colony on the leaned purchased. The mariner appears to have been made the executive head of the undertaking, and in December, 1680, he dispatched "a number of people, with a large stock of cattle," to found the colony of Swaenduel. The colonists soon after their arrival effected the purchase of a tract on Cape May, sixteen square, probably far a fishing station, but no immediate attempt was made to occupy it. A building," well beset with palisades," was erected near the site of Lewis, Delaware, and the company of thirty-two men prepared to accomplish the object of their coming.
    The career of this colony was a short and melancholy one. Not long after parterre of the ship which brought the colonists to America a misunder-

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standing occurred with the natives, and every member of the colony was murdered. Early in 1632 a second voyage to the colony was planned, but it was the 24th of Mey before the Towel are sail from the Texel, and just before he left the harbor De Vries learned of the destruction of Swaendael with all its It was December before he reached the bay, and exploring the situ of row colony discovered the half-burned building and the whitening bones of his people bestrewing the neglected fields. De Vries pushed his explorations as far as Fort Nassau, which he found occupied by natives ready to exchange their peltries for trinkets. Here lie prudently made peace with the Indiana, made a visit subsequently to the colony. In Virginia, and in April returned to Amsterdam. His report of the advantage to be derived from a settlement on the bay was such as to discourage farther attempts in this direction, and, save the occasional visits of trading vessels, the region was permitted to return to the undisturbed possession of the savages for several years,
    It appears that Fort Nassau was temporarily occupied for trading purposes from time to time, and in 1633 it is said a purchase was made by the Dutch of "the Schuylkill and adjoining lands." The evidence of this purchase is & deed which many years after the original transaction. This, with other evidence bearing upon the subject, suggests a much later date as the one at which, the purchase was made, and it is probable that beside the purchase made for the colony at Swaendael, the Dutch had no equitable claim against the savages in the bay country. In 1635 the rights of the destroyed colony were disposed of to the West India Company, and with this transfer ended all private attempts on the part of the Dutch to colonize this region. This was a fateful period for the Dutch interests: on the. South river. Their claims in the "new world" had never been recognized by the English, and not content with dusputing their progress in Connecticut, a party of English colonists in that region was formed to drive not the garrison of Fort Nassau The attack proved futile, the assailants being captured and taken to Manhattan, where they were released and permitted to; settle in the vicinity of Fort Amsterdam. But across the sea a more formidable competitor was even then maturing plans which bode no good to the feeble tenure by which the Dutch held, the bays
    Their colonial projects had not escaped the intelligent scrutiny of the Swedish monarch, and before the cause of Protestantism had summoned him to the fatal fields of Germany, he had cherished plans for founding a colony on the western continent. A company had been formed in Stockholm was early as 1624, but the nation becoming involved in the war and the tragic death of Gustavus Adolphus following in 1632, the project was delayed. It was so far revived in 1635 that. the charter of the Swedish West India Company was published, but it was two years latter before actual measures were a undertaken to plant the proposed colony. In 1638, therefore, two vessels, laden with Swedish colonists, set sail for America under the command of

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Peter Minnit a former director of the Dutch at Manhattan It is probable that the knowledge thus gained influenced the commander to direct his course to the may
    The expedition landed about the middle of April a little above Cape Henlo pen, and in recognition of the attractions of the location named it Paradise Point. Their stay here was short, however. Traffic with the Indians was the prime object of the colony, and for the best achievement of this a settlement near the haunts of the natives was desirable. Minuit accordingly sailed up the bay and river to the mouth of a stream which he named Christina, and proceeding up its course some three miles selected a site for the colony. Here lie gained the confidence of the natives, and purchased a strip of country ex- tending along the west bank from the cape to the falls at Trenton. He immediately erected a trading-house and pushed the traffic with the Indians with such success that before the end of July he was able to dispatch the vessels to Sweden well laden with furs.
    The new-comers found Fort Nassau garrisoned, and one of their vessels sail past it up the river and returned unmolested, though stopped in a second attempt and visited by the Dutch commander to learn the authority for such intrusion. News of the Swedes' arrival was hastily forwarded to the colonial seat of government, and a prompt but rather lame protest speedily returned to be served upon the commander' of the intruding colony.
    The true import of this document was not lost upon Minnit, who probably knew that the weakness of the Manhattan colony would allow no more forcible opposition to his progress. He ignored the protest, therefore, and exerted his energies for the protection of his little colony and for the development of the Indian trade. In the latter respect he was abundantly successful, and so interfered with the 'Ditch traffic that up to October, 1639, they complained that it had fallen short full thirty thousand beaver skins. But in other respects the outlook for the Swedes was far from agreeable. The colony had numbered only about fifty men, some of whom were transported criminals. Many of these had succumbed to the ravages of the miasma to which the location of the colony greatly exposed them, and this evil was seriously aggravated by the fact that the supplies were found nearly exhausted.
    This state of affairs was well known to the Dutch, who confidently predicted " that they must soon move off if not reinforced." At this juncture, when the colonists hats decided to abandon the place on the following day, Fredenbury, "laden with men, cattle, and other things necessary for the cultivation of the country," arrived to encourage the Swedes and disappoint their rivals. The new-comers were Hollanders whom the illiberal policy of the Dutch company had driven to seek a charter from Sweden. They established themselves in a separate settlement not far from the Swedes, and were identified with the history of the latter. They afforded assistance at a critical

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moment, however, and sustained the languishing colony until the subsequent arrival of supplies from the home government.
    Early in 1643 John Printz came, bearing the commission of governor of New Sweden His arrival marks a new era in the history of the Delaware colony. At his coming it was a straggling settlement of little more than a hundred persons. Of these, probably less than a half dozen were women, and the Reverend Reorus Torkillus the only representative of the professional claw. On Christina creek was a trading-house with a cluster of cabins, and in the near vicinity were the little settlements of the Hollanders. The trading-house was probably provided in some degree for the resistance of an Indian attack, but they had no forts to resist a more determined enemy, nor any regularly organized soldiery. But little bad been done toward bringing the acquired land under cultivation, and the colony was still dependent for ice existence upon provisions sent from the old country.
    The expedition which brought the new governor was the most important which had entered the Delaware, and brought ample supplies adapted to the peculiar necessities of the struggling colony. Beside his family and official staff, tie brought a large reinforcement to the settlers, twenty-four of whom were regular soldiers, a large supply of military stores and equipment, preen visions, and merchandise for the Indian trade. His instructions were ample pad intelligently framed. He was commanded to close the river against foreign intrusion; to protect the natives from the violence or injustice of the colonists; to encourage agriculture, especially the sowing of grain for the support of the colony, after which the cultivation of tobacco was to receive his attention. In addition to the stock sent out with him, the governor was urged to give special attention to, sheep "in order to have a good species" for the production of a good staple for export. The trade in peltries was to be maintained, and the culture of grapes, the raising of silkworms, the develop men: of fisheries, and the discovery of minerals encouraged
    A significant clause in these instructions referred to an English colony of Same sixty persons which die was to attract to his jurisdiction, and to that end to work underhand as much as possible, with good manners and with success." It appears that the Connecticut people were not discouraged by the miscarriage of their first attempt to secure a foothold on the Delaware, and in 1640 made land purchases on both sides of the bay and river. In the next year they effected a settlement near Salem, New Jersey, and made a purchase on the Schuylkill, where they erected a trading-house. The latter was promptly burned, and the people removed by the Dutch with no excess of gentleness. The Salem colony was subsequently driven off with the approval of the Swedes, if not with their active cooperation, This was probably accomplished before the arrival of Printz, leaving the new governor no opportunity to strengthen his colony by underhand diplomacy.

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    The governor came well equipped for the duties assigned him. In the administration of justice he was given unlimited powers under the laws of the realm, and in the direction of civil and military affairs he was granted dictatorial powers. He was a man of great energy and good judgment, though sometimes imperious and haughty in his intercourse with his rivals. He succeeded during his administration, however, in avoiding an open rupture with the Dutch, notwithstanding the progress of this expanding colony excited tile deepest jealousy among them. One of his first measures was to erect a " pretty strong" fort of green logs on Tinicum island, and soon afterward another at the month of Salem creek in New Jersey, where he mounted eight brass twelve-pounders. Near the upper fort, called New Gottenberg, lie built a "very handsome" mansion for himself, planted an orchard, and erected "a pleasure-house and other conveniences."
    The settlements of the colonists were influenced by the governor's selection of a building site as well us the location of the fort, and a report of the Dutch authorities in 1645 notes some plantations two miles above Christina creek which were "continued nearly a mile." But few houses were built, and these were at wide distances apart, the new settlers having built their houses in the vicinity of the fort. "Farther on, at the same side, till you came to the Schuylkill, being about two miles, there is not a single plantation, neither at Tinnekonk, because near tile river nothing is to be met but underwood and valley lands." A mill, " which ground both coarse and fine flour." had also been erected on Cobb's creek in the mean time, and a strong trading-house or fort near the Schuylkill, "a certain and invariable resort for trade with the Minguas." The increase of population was not rapid, though accessions were occasionally received, some of whom being of the criminal class were refused admission and forced to return. But in trade and the cultivation of tobacco the progress of the colony justified the complaints of the Dutch. In 1644, beside other goods, more than seventy thousand pounds of tobacco was exported, while the position of the Swedes' advanced trading-fort well nigh deprived their rivals of any share in the Indian traffic.
    The Dutch were not disposed "to lose such a jewel by the devices and hands of a few strangers" without a struggle, but the little garrison in Fort Nassau, at times not exceeding eight men, was too feeble to make any forcible demonstration, and so its commandant protested in season and out of season. It is doubtful, however, if this force had been stronger whether any other course would have been pursued. Neither nation was prepared for a determined contest and neither exhibited complete confidence in the justness of its claim, There is some evidence to warrant the belief that some general division of tile country between the two claimants had been agreed upon, but the agreement was probably not scrupulously observed by either party and the war of protests continued. Various measures were undertaken by the Dutch to regain their

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prestige east of the river and similar steps were taken by the Swedes to thwart them. and it could seem that only a firm determination not to provoke an armed conflict prevented active hostilities. And thus the bickerings between the Swedish governor and the commandant of Fort Nassau, and a certain hostility between their retainers, which was scarcely ignored in the formal courtesy observed between the leaders in their intercourse, continued into the early part of Stuyvesant's administration, who in 1647 succeeded Kieft as director of the Dutch colony.
    It would have been strange indeed if such n state of affairs had not in any way involved the Indians in the struggle, and it is very much to the credit of both people that neither took advantage of their credelity to arouse them to acts of hostility. In the summer of 1646 the Dutch commissary in command at Fort Nassau proceeded as far its the falls in search of minerals. Here he was stopped by the Indians, who were inspired to resist his advance, it is said, by a Swedish story to the effect that the Dutch proposed to build a fort there, garrison it with two hundred and fifty men, and then exterminate all the Indians on the river below. In September the. same official took possession of the west bank of the river about a mile above the fort, and some days later effect a purchase of the region of some natives. This land was a part of that purchased by the Swedes in 1638 and at once became the subject of vigorous protest by Prints. All attempts by the Dutch to occupy this territory were successfully resisted by the Swedes. The buildings erected were thrown down and burned, the intruders being rather roughly handled, and sometimes deprived of guns, ammunition and other valuables. All this was done without any show of legal formality, the superior strength of the Swedes leaving their opponents no resource save to protest and present bills for damages, which were simply ignored.
    Again in 1648, the Dutch were disturbed by the rumor that Prints was negotiating with the Minguas for the erection of a trading-house in their country and by their active preparation to build one near the Schuylkill at the only place left open to them for trade. As the commissary observed to his inferior, with this trade lost, the possession of the river would deserve very little consideration, and so that doughty official determined, in case the Swedes continued their threatening movement, "to take possession of the tract of land neared to him in the name of the company." Again the savages were brought We requisition, and in accordance with a convenient invitation of certain sachems the commissary proceeded to the east bank of the Schuylkill and erected a fort, subsequently known as Reverswede. This wall scarcely accomplished before a Swedish party of eight men appeared on the scene and challenged their right to occupy the land. Neither party was disposed to exhibit the warrant for their presence, and notwithstanding the Indians sharply rebuked the Swedes for their interference, the latter proceeded to destroy cer-

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tain improvements effected, but omitted to tear down the structure, probably for prudential reasons. The Dutch now hastened to plant a settlement here, and for this purpose assigned certain grants to several freemen, but this move was thwarted by the Swedes in their old fashion, a party pulling down and burning the partially completed structures and roughly driving off the would be settlers. Not content with these demonstrations, Prints erected a building within twelve feet of the Dutch fort and between it and the river so that the latter structure was almost hidden from the sight of vessel anchoring in the river.
    It is difficult to understand the real merits of a dispute which was carried on with such an absurd combination of temerity and forbearance. Each party continued to pursue the policy of obtaining additional grants oŁ the Indians with a view to strengthening its claims, the savages shrewdly taking advantage of the reckless mania to sell and resell their lands as often as they found a purchaser. In all this period the Delaware Indians seem to have generally acted as a disinterested party without any obligation to warrant the title transferred, and without any adequate idea of what the sale of their lands really meant. Neither party sought to enlist the hostility of the savages against its rival, and Indian outrages since the Swaendael tragedy were rare exceptions in the history of the early settlements on the Delaware. In this Year, however, two Swedes were murdered and, four years before, the crew of a New England trading vessel was attacked by the savages, four of the whites being killed, and two captured and subsequently ransomed by Governor Printz. There is no evidence that these murders were the result of the bickerings between the two peoples, nor indeed that they were perpetrated by the river Indians. The Minguas who came hither only to trade or fish were of a different disposition from the Delawares and map have been the authors of the mischief.
    In the meanwhile the Swedish colony continued to thrive, to the despair of its rivals. Even the energetic Stuyvesant saw no probable termination of its encroachments, and expressed himself at loss to determine "what he shall apply as a remedy." A little above Fort Beverswede, the Swedes held Fort Korsholm on the same side of the Schuylkill, and on the other side near its mouth they had Manayunk, "a handsome little fort built of logs filled up with sand and stones, and surrounded with palisades cut very sharp at the top." Between this and the Karakung, or Cobb's creek, was a settlement of "five freemen" with "substantial log houses, built of good, strong, hard hickory, two stories high, which was sufficient to secure the people from the Indians." Westwardly the settlements increased along the trend of the river to Christina creek.
    It was at this juncture of affairs on the Delaware that the Dutch adopted a new policy to check the growing power of the Swedes. In 1651, Stuyvesant visited the South river and endeavored to get a statement of the Swedish claim that would afford some opportunity for an advantageous compromise or for

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contesting its validity, Foiled in this he turned to the Indians no arbitors of  the conflicting claims, and in July secured from the compliant savages a questionable grant of land from Christina creek to Bompgen's hook. This done he directed the abandonment of Fort Nassau, as it "lay too high up and too inconvenient a distance;" and erected Fort Casimir on a "tolerably suitable spot,"about a league below Fort Christina. This called forth a protest from Governor Printz, but as this did not deter the Dutch from pursuing their plans the Swedish governor become reconciled to the situation and indulged in the exchange of official courtesies with Stuyvesant.*
    The return of Governor Printz to Sweden, in 1653 marks the turning-point it the fortunes of New Sweden. The tedious duties of his position had given rise to a keen longing to return to more congenial employment. and his letter calling for reinforcements to guard against the new and threatening attitude of the Dutch contained also the request for permission to return, This way reluctantly granted. but before the notice of his release reached the country he had sailed, John Rysingh was appointed to succeed Printz, but not with the some unlimited powers. He was instructed to form a council "of the best instructed and most noble officers in the country," of which he was to he "director." Military affairs and matters pertaining to the defense of the colony were placed in the hands of a "governor of militia," and the machinery of the government was to be so adjusted that neither officer should "decide or approve anything without reciprocally consulting each other."
    In relation to Fort Casimir his instructions were explicit and of a strictly pacific character, Protests, remonstrances and arguments were to be employed to remove the objectionable fortress, but if these failed hostilities were in no erect to be invoked. But as the control of the river mouth was considered important it was recommended that when other means failed a fort should be built below the Dutch stronghold; but even in this case the mildest measures Were enjoined, at "hostilities will ill no degree tend to increase the strength of the Sweden in the country." The event illustrates the wisdom of these injunc-

* Of the mythical colony of Sir Edmund Plowden but little is known.  In 1634. Charles I, granted him a wide scope of country, the boundaries of which accorded with the imperfect knowledge of the "new -world" geography then possessed. Plowden visited America, but there is no evidence that be made any practical effort to make good the extravagant claim of which no much has been written. in "The Representation of New Netherland," Vanderbuck wrote: "We cannot omit to say that there has been here (New Netherlands), both 'it the time of Director Kieft and that of General Stuyvesant, a certain Englishman who called himself Sir Edmound Plowden, with the title of Earl Palatine, of New Albion. who claimed that the land on the west side of the North river to Virginia was his, by gift of King James, of England; but he said he did not wish to have any strife with the Dutch though he was very much piqued at the Swedish, governor, John Printz, at the South river, on account of some affront given him. too long to relate. He said that when opportunity should offer he would go there and take possession of the river."

Chapter 2 Cont.

History of Bucks County By J.H. Battle  Table of Contents