Sherman Day's Mifflin County, 1843 - Mifflin PAGenWeb

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Mifflin County Genealogy Project


Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania


Sherman Day


Philadelphia: Published by George W. Gorton, 56 North Third Street, 1843.




MIFFLIN COUNTY was formed from Cumberland and Northumberland counties by the act of 19th September, 1789. Length 39 miles, breadth 15; area about 360 sq. miles. Population in 1790, 7,562; in 1800, 13,80; in 1810, 12,13; in 1820, 16,618; in 1830, 21,690; in 1840, (after the separation of Juniata Co.) 13,092. The county forms a long irregular figure, stretching in a southwest and northeast direction, traversed longitudinally by a series of rugged mountain ranges, of nearly uniform height. These mountains are separated by soft undulating valleys of slate and limestone, of exceeding beauty and fertility. The lovely vale of Wyoming has been more distinguished in history and song; and yet it is only a specimen - a rare one, it must be conceded - of many similar valleys that adorn the apparently rugged Apalachian formation, both in Pennsylvania and Virginia. The valley in which Lewistown is situated bears a striking resemblance to that of Wyoming, and if in some points inferior, it has the advantage in the possession of limestone, that inexhaustible element of fertility. The mountain ranges, commencing on the S. E., are Blue ridge, and Shade, Jack's, Stone, and Path Valley mountains. The latter is sometimes called the Seven Mountains.


Between these there are the narrow valley of Licking cr.; Lewistown valley, which is subdivided into several smaller ones; and Kishicoquillas valley. The Juniata, breaking through the wild gap of Jack's mountain, enters at the S. W. end of the Co., meanders leisurely through the Lewistown valley, and again enters the mountains at the romantic gorge called the long narrows, which is a trough four miles long, between the Black Log and Shade mountains, barely wide enough for the river to pass; at the end of this pass the river breaks through Shade mountain. Kishicoquillas cr. is a beautiful, never-failing stream, fed by the mountains surrounding the Kishicoquillas valley, out of which it breaks by a deep gorge in Jack's mountain, and enters the Juniata at Lewistown. Jack's cr. and Licking cr. are smaller tributaries of the Juniata.


Iron ore of the best quality abounds in the co., such as is used in making the famous Juniata iron. In the limestone districts, there are




several curious caves. Alexander's cave in Kishicoq's valley abounds in the finest stalactites and stalagmites; it is also a natural icehouse, preserving it in the midst of summer. Henawall's cave, near M'Veytown, is of vast dimensions, abounding with calcareous concretions: crude saltpetre has been taken from it at times. Bevin's cave is on the summit of a limestone ridge. The Pennsylvania canal and the Huntingdon turnpike pass along the left bank of the Juniata, nearly parallel with the Harrisburg turnpike road, and occasionally forcing the latter to climb the sides of the mountain. The prominent products of the co. for export are wheat and iron. A large forwarding business is done at Lewistown, for an extensive district of country beyond Bellefonte.


As early as the date of the old French war of 1755, a few adventurous pioneers, from the Scotch-Irish settlements on the Conococheague, had passed up the old Raystown road, and found their way, down the Raystown and Aughwick branches, to the lovely valleys of the Juniata. Arthur Buchanan - a man who loved the woods, and preferred a half savage life to that of civilization - built himself a cabin, and took up the land where Lewistown now stands, about the year 1755. His cabin stood near the mouth of the creek, about where the canal bridge now is, below the packet landing. He had several sons, frontier-men like himself. One of them became distinguished as Col. Buchanan. There was a Fort Granville built about the same time on the bank of the Juniata, a mile above Lewistown, near a very fine spring. The canal passed over the spring, and absorbed its waters; and it also destroyed an Indian mound near the canal bridge, which contained many bones, arrow-heads, &c. After the defeat of Braddock had imboldened the French and Indians, they made incursions upon all parts of the unprotected frontier in 1755 and '56. The attack upon Fort Granville was made in harvest time of the year 1756. The fort was commanded by Lieut. Armstrong, brother of Gen. Armstrong who destroyed Kittanning. Lieut. Faulkner had been sent with a small detachment to guard the reapers in Tuscarora valley. The following account of the capture of the fort, is from the appendix to Gordon's History of Pennsylvania:


On the twenty-second of July, a party of sixty Indians appeared before Fort Granville, and challenged the garrison to combat; but this was declined by the commander, in consequence of the weakness of his force. The Indians fired at and wounded one man belonging to the fort, who had been a short way from it - yet he got in safe; after which they divided themselves into small parties, one of whom attacked the plantation of one Baskins, near Juniata, whom they murdered, burnt his house, and carried off his wife and children; and another made Hugh Carroll and his family prisoners.


On the thirtieth of July, Capt. Ward, commanding at Fort Granville, left the fort with all his men, except twenty-four under the command of Lieut. Armstrong, to guard some reapers in Shearman's valley. Soon after the captain's departure, the fort was attacked by about one hundred Indians and French, who, having assaulted it in vain during the afternoon and night of that day, took to the Juniata creek, and, protected by its banks attained a deep ravine, by which they were enabled to approach, without fear of injury, to within thirty or forty feet of the fort, to which they succeeded in setting fire. Through a hole thus made, they killed the lieutenant and one private, and wounded three others while endeavoring to put out the fire. The enemy then offering quarter to the besieged if they would surrender, one Turner immediately opened the gate to them. They took prisoners twenty-two soldiers, three women, and some children, whom they loaded with burdens and drove before them. The fort was burned by Capt. Jacobs, pursuant to the order of the French commander. When the Indians reached Kittanning, they put Turner to death with the most horrid tortures. They tied him to a black post, danced around him, made a great fire, and having heated gun-barrels red hot, ran them through his body. Having tormented




him for three hours, they scalped him alive, and at last held up a boy with a hatchet in his hand to give him the finishing stroke.


Old Kishikokelas, (as the old settlers pronounced the name - or Kishicoquillas, as modern refinement will have it,) a friendly Indian, had his wigwam near Buchanan's cabin. Some of the friendly Indians gave notice to the Buchanans of the expected attack on the fort, and they fled with their families and cattle to Carlisle. The friendly Indians who lived in this vicinity, it is said, would frequently exhibit lead, which. they had found apparently pure. They usually went to seek it in the direction of Granville gap, but would never allow a white man to accompany them. It is still undetermined whether such tales, which were common among the old settlers, were or were not devised by the Indians to sport with the credulity of the whites.


The settlers returned cautiously after the Indians had retired, but not very extensively until after 1768, When what was called the new purchase was made by the treaty of Fort Stanwix, and the region beyond the Blue mountain became the property of the proprietary government. The land-office was opened in 1769. Samuel Milliken, Judge Wm. Brown, and McNitt, were among the first settlers in Kishicokelas valley. Samuel McClay came also to this region at the same time, as surveyor. There was also an early settlement at the southwestern end of the co., by the Brattons, Hollidays, Junkinses, Wilsons, Rosses, Stackpoles, &c., names that bespeak an Irish origin.


Of Kishicokelas, the Indian, tradition has preserved little except the name. Another friendly chief; distinguished in American annals, had his cabin for a number of years beside a beautiful limestone spring, on Kishicokelas creek, a mile or two above the wild gorge where the creek passes Jack's mountain. This was Logan, the Mingo chief, whose eloquent speech is familiar to every one. Logan was the son of Shikellimus, a chief of the Cayugas. Mingo, or Mengwe, was the name given by the Delawares to the Iroquois or Six Nations.


Reedsville, or Brown's Mills, is a pleasant manufacturing village on the middle branch of Kishicokelas cr., about six miles from Lewistown, on the Bellefonte turnpike. A short distance above the village is the mansion of John Norris, Esq., who now owns the mills. Mrs. Norris, from whom some of the following particulars were derived, is the daughter of Judge Brown. About a quarter of a mile further up the creek, a little north of the turnpike gate, is Logan's spring, on the left bank of the creek. The annexed sketch shows the site, with the more modern buildings erected upon it. The spring rises in the garden, and flows through the small spring-house on the bank of the creek. The following letter, published in the Pittsburg Daily American, is from Hon. R. P. Maclay, a member of the state senate, and son of the gentleman alluded to in the anecdote.

Senate Chamber, March 21, 1842.


To GEORGE DARSIE, Esq., of the Senate of Pennsylvania.


DEAR SIR - Allow me to correct a few inaccuracies as to place and names, in the anecdote of Logan the celebrated Mingo chief, as published in the Pittsburg Daily American of March 17th, 1842, to which you called my attention. The person surprised at the spring now called the Big spring, and about six [four] miles west of Logan's spring, was William Brown - the first actual settler in Kishacoquillas valley, and one of the associate judges of Mifflin county from its organization till his death, at the age of ninety-one or two - and not Samuel Maclay, as stated by Dr.





Logan's Spring.


Hildreth. I will give you the anecdote as I heard it related by Judge Brown himself, while on a visit to my brother, who then owned and occupied the Big Spring farm.*


"The first time I ever saw that spring," said the old gentleman, " my brother, James Reed, and myself, had wandered out of the valley in search of land, and finding it very good, we were looking about for springs. About a mile from this we started a bear, and separated to get a shot at him. I was travelling along, looking about on the rising ground for the bear, when I came suddenly upon the spring; and being dry, and more rejoiced to find so fine a spring than to have killed a dozen bears, I set my rifle against a bush and rushed down the bank and laid down to drink. Upon putting my head down, I saw reflected in the water, on the opposite side, the shadow of a tall Indian. I sprang to my rifle, when the Indian gave a yell, whether for peace or war I was not just then sufficiently master of my faculties to determine; but upon my seizing my rifle, and facing him, he knocked up the pan of his gun, threw out the priming, and extended his open palm toward me in token of friendship. After putting down our guns, we again met at the spring, and shook hands. This was Logan - the best specimen of humanity I ever met with, either white or red. He could speak a little English, and told me there was another white hunter a little way down the stream, and offered to guide me to his camp. There I first met your father. We remained together in the valley a week, looking for springs and selecting lands, and laid the foundation of a friendship which never has had the slightest interruption.


"We visited Logan at his camp, at Logan's spring, and your father and he shot at a mark for a dollar a shot. Logan lost four or five rounds, and acknowledged himself beaten. When we were about to leave him, he went into his hut, and brought out as many deerskins as he had lost dollars, and handed them to Mr. Maclay, - who refused to take them, alleging that we had been his guests, and did not come to rob him - that the shooting had been only a trial of skill, and the bet merely nominal. Logan drew himself up with great dignity, and said, 'Me bet to make you shoot your best - me gentleman, and me take your dollar if me beat.' So he was obliged to take the skins, or affront our friend, whose nice sense of honor would not permit him to receive even a horn of powder in return.


"The next year," said the old gentleman, "I brought my wife up and camped under a big walnut tree, on the bank of Tea creek, until I had built a cabin near where the mill now stands, and have lived in the valley ever since. Poor Logan" (and the big tears coursed each other down his cheeks) "soon after went into the Allegheny, and I never saw him again."


Yours, R. P. MACLAY.


Mrs. Norris confirmed and repeated the above, nearly in the same words. She stated that her father was for a long time almost the only settler in that valley. She also related the following additional incidents, highly characteristic of the benevolent chief : -


Logan supported his family by killing deer, dressing the skins, and selling them to the whites. He had sold quite a parcel to one De Yong, a tailor, who lived in Ferguson's valley, below the gap. Tailors in those days dealt extensively in buckskin breeches. Logan received his pay, ac-


* This spring is a few rods south of the Huntington road, in the rear of a blacksmith's shop, four miles west of Reedville.




cording to stipulation, in wheat. The wheat, on being taken to the mill, was found so worthless that the miller refused to grind it. Logan was much chagrined, and attempted in vain to obtain redress from the tailor. He then took the matter before his friend Brown, then a magistrate; and on the judge's questioning him as to the character of the wheat, and what was in it, Logan sought in vain to find words to express the precise nature of the article with which the wheat was adulterated, but said that it resembled in appearance the wheat itself. "It must have been cheat," said the judge. '"Yoh!" said Logan, "that very good name for him." A decision was awarded in Logan's favor, and a writ given to Logan to hand to the constable, which, he was told, would bring him the money for his skins. But the untutored Indian - too uncivilized to be dishonest - could not comprehend by what magic this little paper would force the tailor, against his will, to pay for the skins. The judge took down his own commission, with the arms of the king upon it,, and explained to him the first principles and operations of civil law. "' Law good," said Logan; "make rogues pay." But how much more simple and efficient was the law which the Great Spirit had impressed upon his heart - to do as he would be done by!


When a sister of Mrs. Norris (afterwards Mrs. Gen. Potter) was just beginning to learn to walk, her mother happened to express her regret that she could not get a pair of shoes to give more firmness to her little step. Logan stood by, but said nothing. He soon after asked Mrs. Brown to let the little girl go up and spend the day at his cabin. The cautious heart of the mother was alarmed at such a proposition; but she knew the delicacy of an Indian's feelings - and she knew Logan too - and with secret reluctance, but apparent cheerfulness, she complied with his request. The hours of the day wore very slowly away, and it was nearly night, when her little one had not returned. But just as the sun was going down, the trusty chief was seen coming down the path with his charge; and in a moment more the little one trotted into her mother's arms, proudly exhibiting a beautiful pair of moccasins on her little feet - the product of Logan's skill.


Such was the man, whose whole family was afterwards barbarously murdered, on the Ohio, below Wheeling, by some white savages, without a shadow of provocation. It was not long after that act that his consent was asked, by a messenger with wampum, to a treaty with Lord Dunmore, on the Scioto, in 1774. Logan delivered to the messenger the following speech, which is now well authenticated to have been his own; and not composed, as had been suspected, by Mr. Jefferson: - 

"I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, 'Logan is the friend of white men.' I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Col. Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it: I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance: for my country I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? - Not one."


Logan was a son of the Cayuga chief, Shikellimus, who dwelt at Shamokin in 1742, and was converted to Christianity under the preaching of the Moravian missionaries. Shikellimus had a high esteem for James Logan, the secretary of the province, and most probably had his son baptized with the Christian rites, by the missionaries.


LEWISTOWN, the county seat, is the most populous and flourishing town on the Juniata. It is 55 miles from Harrisburg, and 154 from Pittsburg. The town stands on an elevated plain, on the left bank of the Juniata, just above the confluence of Kishicokelas cr. A high limestone ridge rises behind the town, from which a grand and imposing view may be had of the valley, the river, and the wild mountain-gorge through which it passes, below the town. The Kishicokelas furnishes ample and permanent power for a number of mills and manufacturing establishments at the town, and for some five miles above. Lewistown derives considerable advantage from its peculiar location, as a deposit for the trade and




forwarding business of a large scope of country, beyond Bellefonte, as well as of that place and the contiguous valleys. There are several furnaces within a circle of eight or nine miles around Lewistown, and the iron-trade generally of the county has been extensive. Lewistown contains, in addition to the usual county buildings, seven churches - Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, and African; the Lewistown Bank, two foundries, and a flouring-mill. Population in 1840, 2,058. The houses are generally of brick, built with good taste, and the whole place has a lively and business-like appearance. A splendid new courthouse, now going up, (1842,) on the north side of the public square, will add much to the appearance of the place; especially after the old courthouse, which now encumbers the centre of the square, is removed.


The annexed view of one of the principal streets was taken from a window of the old courthouse.



View in the central part of Lewistown.


A resident of the place boasts, not without some reason, that many circumstances concur to make Lewistown a desirable resort for strangers. The scenery is the finest in the world; we breathe the pure mountain air. Our clear streams abound with fish, particularly trout. Our forests are filled with game of every description; and Milliken's Spring, on a farm adjoining the town, is ascertained to possess all the medicinal qualities of the Bedford water, particularly in bilious complaints."


The early settlement of the Buchanans at this place has been noticed above. When the county was established, Gen. James Potter, Judge William Brown, and Maj. Montgomery were owners of the town plot, and laid out the town in 1790. The neighboring valleys had at that time a population of 7,562. The Juniata division of the Pennsylvania canal was completed as far as this place in 1829, when the opening of the navigation was celebrated by the citizens with appropriate ceremonies.


When an attempt was made to run out the boundaries of the county, a dispute arose relating to the western corner between Huntington and Mifflin. A glance at the map will show the zigzag course of the line.




The people of Huntingdon co. contended that the line, after passing Southwesterly along Stone mountain, and turning towards the southeast, should continue that southeast course directly across Jack's mountain to Shade mountain; while the people of Mifflin, and especially those living in the disputed territory, claimed that the line turned again, and ran down along Jack's mountain to the Juniata, &c. The usual conflict of jurisdictions naturally occurred on the first attempt to enforce legal process. The settlers in the disputed territory were chiefly of Irish blood, and a small skirmish would have been rather acceptable than otherwise. Jemmy Stackpole kept a tavern just below M'Veytown, near the line in dispute. The Huntingdon sheriff, in serving a process, was seized by the inhabitants, and taken to Lewistown jail. Judge Brown released him on habeas corpus. He rallied an armed posse to come down and take his man, but could not find him. The inhabitants saw him coming, and at a preconcerted signal, (the firing of a rifle,) they assembled to take the sheriff and his posse; but the latter had prudently taken themselves off by another route. Another circumstance occurred about the same time to disturb the harmony of the county, which resulted in a fearful riot, and had well-nigh ended in bloodshed. Judge Bryson, who had been appointed an associate judge of the new county, had a short time previous been a brigade inspector; and in that capacity, for some reason, had refused to commission two colonels who had been elected by their regiments, and commissioned others of his own selection in their places. This gave great offence to the friends of the officers, and they resolved that Judge Bryson should not enjoy the honors of his new office. One of the colonels not commissioned was the brother of Wilson, the sheriff of the county. The courts were then held in an old log courthouse, which also served as a jail, standing on the site of the present jail. These explanations will serve to render more intelligible the following extracts from "the Pennsylvania Herald and York General Advertiser," of 5th October, 1791:


A Report of the Riot at Lewistown, in the County of Mifflin.




On Monday, the 12th of September, 1791, the Hon. W. Brown, James Bryson, and James Armstrong, Esquires, met in the forenoon, in order to open the court and proceed to business; but Thomas Beale, Esquire, one of the associate judges, not having arrived, their honors waited until three o'clock in the afternoon, at which time he arrived, and was requested to proceed with them and the officers of the court to the courthouse; he declined going, and the procession moved on to the courthouse, where the judges' commissions were read, and the court opened, and the officers and the attorneys of the court sworn in, and the court adjourned till ten o'clock next morning.


About nine o'clock, while preparing business to lay before the grand jury, I received information that a large body of men were assembled below the Long Narrows, at David Jordan's tavern, on the Juniata, and were armed with guns, swords, and pistols, with an avowed intention to proceed to Lewistown, and seize Judge Bryson on the bench and drag him from his seat, and march him before them, and otherwise ill-treat him. This information was instantly communicated to Messrs. Brown Bryson, and Armstrong, the judges, who agreed with me that Samuel Edmiston Esq., the prothonotary, Judge Beale, --- Stewart, Esq., --- Bell, Esq., should, with George Wilson, Esq., the sheriff of Mifflin county, proceed and meet the rioters; and the sheriff was commanded to inquire of them their object and intention, and if hostile, to order them to disperse and tell them the court was alarmed at their proceedings.


Two hours after this, the court opened, and a grand jury was impannelled. A fife was heard playing and some guns fired, and immediately the mob appeared marching towards the courthouse, with three men on horseback in front, having the gentlemen that had been sent to meet them under guard in the rear, all of whom, on their arrival at Lewistown, they permitted to go at large, except the sheriff, whom four of their number kept a guard over. The court ordered




me, as the representative of the commonwealth, to go out and meet them, remonstrate against their proceedings, and warn them of their danger, which order was obeyed; but all endeavors were in vain, the mob crying out, "March on! march on! draw your sword on him! ride over him!" I seized the reins of the bridle that the principal commander held, viz., - Wilson, Esq., brother of the sheriff aforesaid, who was well mounted and well dressed, with a sword and I think two pistols belted round him, a cocked hat, and one or two feathers in it. He said he would not desist, but at all events proceed and take Judge Bryson off the bench, and march him down the Narrows to the judge's farm, and make him sign a written paper, that he would never sit as a judge there again. The mob still crying out, "March on," he drew his sword, and told me he must hurt me, unless I would let go the reins. The crowd pushed forward, and nearly pressed me down; one of them, as I learned afterwards, a nephew of Judge Beale, presented his pistol at my breast, with a full determination to shoot me. I let the reins go, and walked before them until I arrived at the stairs on the outside of the courthouse, when Judge Armstrong met me and said, "Since nothing else will do, let us defend the stairs." We instantly ascended, and Mr. Hamilton and the gentlemen of the bar, and many citizens; and the rioters, headed by William Wilson, Col. Walker, and Col. Holt, came forward, and the general cry was, "March on, damn you; proceed and take him." Judge Armstrong replied, " You damn'd rascals, come on; we will defend the court and ourselves, and before you shall take Judge Bryson, you shall kill me and many others, which seems to be your intention, and which you may do." At this awful moment one Holt seized Judge Armstrong by the arm, with intent to pull him down the stairs, but he extricated himself. Holt's brother then got a drawn sword, and put it into his hands, and damned him to run the rascal through; and Wilson drew his sword on me with great rage, and young Beale his sword and cocked his pistol and presented it. I told them they might kill me, but the judge they could not, nor should they take him; and the word fire away shouted through the mob. I put my hand on his shoulder, and begged him to consider where he was, who I was, and reflect but for a moment. I told him to withdraw the men, and appoint any two or three of the most respectable of his people to meet me in half an hour, and try to settle the dispute. He agreed, and with difficulty got them away from the courthouse. Mr. Hamilton then went with me to Mr. Alexander's tavern, and in Wilson and Walker came, and also Sterett, who I soon discovered to be their chief counsellor.


Proposals were made by me that they should return home, offer no insult to Judge Bryson or the court, and prefer to the governor a decent petition stating their grievances, (if they had any,) that it might be laid before the legislature, and that in the mean time the judge should not sit on the bench this court. They seemed agreed, and our mutual honor to be pledged; but Sterett, who pretended not to be concerned, stated that great delay would take place: that injuries had been received which demanded instant redress, and objected to the power of the governor as to certain points proposed. At this moment young Beale and Holt came up, the former with arms, and insisted on Wilson's joining them, and broke up the conference. I followed, and on the field among the rioters, told Wilson, "Your object is, that Judge Bryson leave the bench, and not sit on it this court?" He and Walker said "Yes." " Will you promise to disperse and go home, and offer him no insult ?" He said " Yes." And our mutual honor was then pledged for the performance of this agreement.


Mr. Hamilton proceeded to the court, told the judge, and he left his seat and retired. I scarce had arrived until the fife began to play, and the whole of the rioters came on to the courthouse, then headed by Wilson. I met them at the foot of the stairs, and told them the judge was gone, in pursuance of the agreement, and charged them with a breach of the word and forfeiture of honor; and Walker said it was so, but he could not prevail on them. Wilson said he would have the judge, and attempted going up stairs. I prevented him, and told him he should not, unless he took off his military accoutrements. He said he had an address to present, and complied with my request, and presented it, signed "The People." Young Beale, at the moment I was contending with Wilson, cocked and presented his pistol at my breast, and insisted that Wilson and all of them should go; but on my offering to decide it by combat with him, he declined it, and by this means they went off swearing, and said they were out-generalled.


The next day Col. McFarland, with his regiment, came down and offered to defend the court, and addressed it; the court answered, and stated that there was no occasion, and thanked him.


Judge Bryson read a paper, stating the ill-treatment he received, and mentioned that no fear of danger prevented him from taking and keeping his seat; but that he understood an engagement had been entered into by his friends that he should not, and on that account only he was prevented. The court adjourned until two o'clock that day, and were proceeding to open it, with the sheriff, coroner, and constable in front, when they observed that Judge Beale was at the house of one Con. They halted, and requested the sheriff to wait on him and request him to walk with them; he returned, and said the judge would not walk or sit with Bryson, and addressed Judge Bryson with warmth, who replied to it in a becoming manner. The sheriff struck at him, and kicked also. Judge Armstrong seized the sheriff, and commanded the peace, and took the sheriff's rod from him; the coroner took his place, and the sheriff was brought up before the court. I moved he might be committed to jail, and his mittimus wrote and signed; and the court ordered




the coroner and jailer to take him, and he submitted. The court adjourned. After night the drum beat, and Holt collected about seventy men, who repeatedly huzzaed, crying out, "Liberty or death," and he ordered to rescue the sheriff, but the sheriff refused. At ten o'clock at night I was informed expresses were sent down the Narrows to collect men to rescue the sheriff, and Major Edmiston informed the sheriff was sorry for his conduct, and offered to beg the court's pardon, and to enter into recognizance. I communicated this to Judges Brown and Armstrong, and requested they would write to the jailer to permit him to come down; they did, and the sheriff came with Major Edmiston, begged pardon of every member of the court but Judge Bryson, who was not present, and entered into recognizance to appear at next sessions. The next day near 300 were assembled below the Narrows and I prevailed on some gentlemen to go down and disperse them; and, upon being assured that the sheriff was out of jail, they returned to their respective homes, and the court have finished all business: nothing further requiring the attendance of the grand jury, the court dismissed them and broke up. I must not omit to inform that Judge Beale had declared, during the riot, in court, that he would not sit on the bench with Judge Bryson, and that both him and said Stewart appeared to countenance the rioters, and are deeply concerned.


I must now close the narrative with saying, that owing to the spirit and firmness of Judge Armstrong and the whole of the bar, I was enabled to avert the dreadful blow aimed at Judge Bryson, and to keep order and subordination in court; and unless the most vigorous measures are exerted soon, it will be impossible ever to support the laws of the state in that county, or punish those who dare transgresses.


The excise law is execrated by the banditti, and from every information, I expect the collection of the revenue will be opposed.


I am happy to add, the dispute, which originated by a mistake between Huntingdon and Mifflin counties, is happily closed in the most amicable manner, without any prosecution in Mifflin.

I am, air, your most obedient,

JOHN CLARK, Dy. St. Attorney.

To THOMAS SMITH, Esq., President of the Court of Mifflin county.


McVEVTOWN, formerly called Waynesburg, is quite a flourishing village on the canal, 11 miles, by the turnpike, above Lewistown. Many new brick and frame houses have been erected within a year or two. It contains a Methodist and Presbyterian church, and a furnace, foundry, and forge near town. The place is incorporated as a borough, and has assumed to itself, in that capacity, the invaluable prerogative of issuing shinplasters. These notes have been extensively circulated, and have enjoyed a respectable credit during the hard times of 1841, 42. Population in 1840, 348.


HAMILTONVILLE, or NEWTON HAMILTON, formerly called Muhlenberg, is a small but smart village on the canal; 10 miles above McVeytown, and 21 from Lewistown. The river here makes a circuitous bend. Above the bend, the canal crosses on a splendid aqueduct to the right bank of the Juniata, and soon after (in ascending) is passed the gap through Jack's mountain.


BELLEVILLE, HORRELSTOWN, and REEDVILLE, are small but pleasant villages in Kishicokelas valley, containing some 20 houses each. Reedville has been noticed in connection with Logan's Spring. It contains a large flouring-mill, stores, taverns, &e. About a mile below Reedville, in the deep gorge in . Jack's mountain, is the edge-tool factory of Mr. Mann, whose axes have sounded their own praises, and cut their own way through all the forests of the west.


In the southwestern part of the Kishicokelas valley is a large settlement of German Mennonists, with long beards. Many of their customs are like those of the Friends, particularly in the observance of the command to "live peaceably with all men." They are excellent farmers, industrious, and exceedingly economical. Mr. Zug, one of their number, has written a history of the sect.


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Mifflin County PAGenWeb




Josie Baughman, Mifflin PAGenWeb County Coordinator


Copyright 2004-2008. Individual file contributors.  All rights reserved.

Contributor: Judy Banja


This page was last updated 02/13/2008