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|Hist. Steuben by McMasters Table of Contents|
History of the Settlement of Steuben County, New York
by: Guy McMasters 
The Great Air Castle: the London Association--Captain Williamson--Northumberland The German Colony-- The Passage Of The Germans Through The Wilderness : terrors and tribulations: a Parisian scene.
While our foremost pioneers were reaping their first harvests in the valleys of the Canisteo and Chemung, great schemes were on foot in the Capital of the British Empire for the Invasion of the Genesee wildness. An officer of the royal army had conceived a splendid project for the foundation of a city in the midst of the forest, and, sustained by men of wealth in London, was about to penetrate its inmost thickets to raise up a Babylon amongst the habitations of the owl and the dragon.
The first purchases of the Indian territory between the Genesee River and Seneca Lake had sold an immense estate to Robert Morris, the merchant. Morris had offered his lands for sale in the principal cities of Europe. The representations of his agents gained much attention from men of capital, and three gentlemen of London, Sir William Pulteney, John Hornby and Patrick Colquhoun, purchased that noble estate which has since borne the name of the English Baronet. Their agent, Captain Charles Williamson, visited America, and excited by the reports transmitted by him, the associates indulged in brilliant dreams of the destiny of the wilderness which had fallen into their hands.
It was plain to see that the noblest forest of the Six Nations was soon to pass from the hands of those unfortunate tribes. This magnificent woodland, enclosed on three sides by Lakes Erie and Ontario, and the chain of rivers and slender lakes which divides our State into Central and Western New York, was already invaded by the forerunners of civilization. Trades had established themselves on the great trails. Explorers had marked cascades for the mill-wheel, and council groves for the axe. Tribe after tribe had first wavered and then fallen before the seductions of the merchant and the commissioner, and it was easy to see, That against the temptations of rifles and red rags and silver dollars, the expostulations of the native orators, who besought the clans to hold forever their ancient inheritance, would be powerless. Uneasy emigration was already pressing the borders of the whole western country, and, like water about to flood the land, was leaking through the barriers of the wilderness at every crevice. Wyoming rifles were already cracking among the hills of Canisteo. New England axes were already ringing in the woods of Onondaga and Genesee, and most fatal of all signs, a land-ogre from Massachusetts sat in his den at Canadarque, carving the princely domain of the Senecas into gores and townships, while the wild men could but stand aside, some in simple wonder, others with Roman indignation, to see the partition of their inheritance.
It is not difficult to see what will be the end of this, thought the British castle builders. In half a century the wild huntsman will be driven to the solitudes of the Ohio. This wonderful forest will have fallen, and men of Celtic blood and Saxon sinews will have possessed themselves of a land of surpassing richness. A city of mills will stand by the cataracts of Genesee. A city of warehouses at the foot of Lake Erie will receive at her docks the barges of traders for the illimitable western wilderness. Fields of fabulous fertility will bask in the sunlight where now the whooping pagan charges the bear in his ticket. Numberless villages by the rivers and secluded lakes will raise their steeples above the tree tops, while immeasurable farms will stretch from the shore of Ontario to the abutment of the Alleganies, and even thrust their meadows far within the southern ravines and hemlock gorges like tongues of the sea thrust far inland. It will be region of exceeding beauty and of unbounded wealth.
They further considered the avenues by which this western Canaan might communicate with the world without, and through which her products might pass to the sea-board. The maps revealed four natural avenues for commerce. One, in the north, led to Newfoundland fogs and the icebergs of Labrador. The second, opening in the hills of Cattaraugus, conducted to Mississippi marches and the Gulf of Mexico. The third offered itself in the north-east, where by tedious beating and portages, one might get into the Mohawk and float slowly down to New York Bay. But in the south-west, the Susquehanna thrust a branch almost to the centre of the Genesee country--a small but navigable river, the beginning of swift waters which might bear ponderous cargoes in five days to the head of Chesapeake Bay. Men of judgment and experience, the statesman and commercial prophets of the time, pointed to this river as the destined highway of the west. According to the best of human calculation, the products of the Genesee, instead of being entrusted to the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, or the perplexing channels of the Oswego and Mohawk, would inevitably seek this convenient valley, to be stowed in the rough river-crafts, which, gliding down the swift waters of the Conhocton and Chemung, might enter on the second day the Susquehanna, and riding safely over the foaming rapids, plow in a week, the tide water of the ocean. Furthermore, if in the course of centuries, civilized men penetrate those vast and wonderful wilds beyond the lakes, by what other road than this, is the surplus of Michigan and the north-west to reach the Atlantic? The belief was not without foundation. Looking at the maps, even at this day, and observing how the north-western branch of the Susquehanna penetrates western New York, it would seem that but for the disastrous interference of the Erie canal and the unfortunate invention of railroads, the Cohocton Valley might have been the highway of an immense commerce, and the roads leading to the port at the head of her navigable waters might have been trampled by tremendous caravans.
The imagination of the castle-builders was fired at this prospect. Such a flood, they argued, like the Abyssinian waters that swell the Nile, must enrich the valley through which it flows. In the midst of this valley must be a city--Alcairo of the West. Thither will all people flow. Caravans such as the deserts have never seen, will meet in its suburbs. Its market places will present all that picturesque variety of garb and manner which interest the traveler in an oriental sea-port. There will be seen the Canadian and his pony from the beaver dams of the upper province, the Esquimaux with his pack of furs from Labrador, the buffalo-hunter from the illimitable plains of Illinois, the warrior from Maumee, and the trapper from the Grant Sault, while merchants from the old Atlantic cities will throng the buzzing bazaars, and the European traveler will look with amazement on the great north- western caravan as it rolls like an annual inundation through the city gates. The river, now narrow, crooked and choked with flood-wood, will become, by an artful distribution of the mountain waters, a deep and safe current, and will bear to the Susquehanna arks and rafts in number like the galleys of Tyre of old. Warehouses and mills will stand in interminable files upon its banks. Steeples, monuments, pyramids, and man knows not what beside, will rise in it noble squares.
This was the vision that greeted the eyes of the British adventurers; and to found the promised metropolis their agent, a Scottish officer, crossed the Atlantic and went up into the wilderness clothed with plenary powers, and with unlimited authority over the Baronets Bank. Castles of ivory and towers of glass glimmered in his eyes far away among the pines. A more brilliant bubble never floated in the sunshine. A more stupendous air castle never shone before human eyes. Would the glorious bubble submit to be anchored to hills, or would it rise like a balloon and float away through the air? Could the grand wavering air castle be made stone, and was it possible to change the vapors, the fogs, the moonshine, the red clouds and rainbows, out which such atmosperical structures are made into brick and marble? If any man was fit to attempt such a chemical exploit, it was the one entrusted by the associates with its execution.
Charles Williamson, the first agent of the Pulteney Estate, was a native of Scotland. He entered the British army in youth, and during the Revolutionary war held the commission of Captain in the twenty-fifth regiment of foot. His regiment was ordered to America, but on the passage Captain Williamson was captured by a French privateer. He remained a prisoner at Boston till the close of the war. On his return to Europe, he made the acquaintance of the most distinguished public men of England, and was often consulted concerning American affairs. On the organization of the association of Sir William Pulteney and the others, he was appointed its agent, and entered zealously into the schemes for colonizing the Genesee Forest. Captain Williamson was a man of talent, hope, energy and versatility, generous and brave of spirit, swift and impetuous in action, of questionable discretion in business, a lover of sport and excitement, and well calculated by his temperament and genius to lead the proposed enterprise. His spirit was so tempered with imagination, that he went up to the wilderness, not with the dry and dogged resolution of one expecting a labor of a lifetime in subduing the savage soil, but in a kind of chivalrous dashing style, to head an onslaught amongst the pines, and to live a Baron of the Backwoods in his Conhocton Castle, ruling over forests and rivers, after the manner of the old Norman nobles in England.
Having landed in Baltimore in 1791, and taken the steps required by our naturalization laws, he received in his own name, from Robert Morris, a conveyance of the Pulteney estate, and begun immediately his preparations for the colonization of the estate. Of these preliminary movements, there is but little to be said. It appears that he corresponded extensively with men whom he sought to engaged in his enterprise, that he opened communication with many planters of Virginia and Maryland, proposing a transfer of themselves and their households from the worn-out plantations of the South, to the fresh woods of the Genesee; that he traveled much through the country and made active exertions by personal application and by advertisement to induce farmers and emigrants of the better sort from Great Britain to settle upon his Northern lands.
He established his centre of organization and correspondence at the village of Northumberland, situated on the Susquehanna, at the mouth of the West Branch of that river, then a place of much consequence, and one which at this day, though somewhat decayed, retains an ancient and old fashioned respectability of appearance not to be seen in the dashing young town of New York, west of the Mohawk. To this old town we owe at least civility. For a time, during the infancy of county, it was one great reliance against starvation and nakedness. It supplied us with flour when we had no grain, with pork when we had not meat, with clothes when we were unclad, with shoes when we were unshod. It sent us our mails, it fitted out caravans of emigrants, it received with hearty cheer our gentlemen when weary of riding over the desolate Lycoming road. Many impudent villages of the north, which now like high-headed youngsters keep their fast telegraphs, smoke anthracite coal, and drive their two-minute locomotives, as if they inherited estates from their ancestors, were, if the truth must be told, once shabby and famished settlements, and when faint and perishing were saved from actual starvation by this portly old Susquehanna farmer, who sent out his hired men with baskets of corn, and hung shoulders of pork, with order to see it to that not a squatter went hungry. By extraordinary good luck these lean squatters became suddenly rich, and now arrayed in very flashy style, with Gothic steeples and Moorish pavilions, and all such trumpery, driving their fine chariots, and smoking their sheet-iron funnels, they laugh most impertinently, and we may say ungratefully at the old Quaker who had compassion on them, when they lay starving in the underbrush. These things, let the lumberman remember, when from his raft he sees the white steeple of Northumberland relieved against the dark precipice beyond; the west branch meanwhile pouring its flood into the lordly Susquehanna, and renowned Skemokinn Dam, the Charybdis of pilots, roaring below.
In the winter after his arrival in America, Captain Williamson made a visit to the Genesee by way of Albany and the Mohawk. In the upper valley of the Mohawk he passed the last of the old settlements. From these old German farms the road was but a land opened in the woods, passable only on horseback, or in a sledge. A few cabins, surrounded by scanty clearings, were the only indications of civilization which met his eye, till he stood amongst a group of cabins at the foot of Seneca Lake. The famed Genesee estate was before him. Surely few city builders of ancient or modern times have gazed upon districts which offered less encouragement to them than did the wild Iroquois forest to the hopeful Scot. A little settlement had been commenced at Canandaigua. The Wadsworths were at Big Tree. The disciples of Jemima Wilkinson, the prophetess, had established their new Jerusalem on the outlet of Crooked Lake, and scattered through the vast woods, a few hundred pioneers were driving their axes to the hearts of the tall trees, and waging war with the wolves and panthers. Beyond the meadows of the Genesee Flats was a forest as yet unknown to the axe, which harbored tribes of savages wavering betwixt war and peace. British garrisons, surly from discomfiture, occupied the forts at Oswego and Niagara; colonies of Tories, including in their numbers of infamous renown, dwelt on the frontiers of Canada, on lands allotted to them by the crown, and there were not wanting those amongst the military and political agents of the provincial government who incited the jealous barbarians to the general slaughter of the backwoodsmen.
Wilderness upon wilderness was before him. Wilderness surrounded the white ice-bound lakes above Erie, and spread over plains and mountains to the fabulous prairies of which the Indians told tales too wonderful for belief. The British troops and a few French settlers near Detroit, with a few traders and agents amongst the Ohio tribes, were the only civilized occupants of the far west. In the southern districts of the estate there were small settlements on the Chemung and the Canisteo, accessible only from below by the rivers. There were settlements on the upper Susquehanna and at Tioga Point.
In the following summer Captain Williamson determined to open a high road from Northumberland to the Genesee. The only road leading to the north from the mouth of the West Branch followed the valley of the Susquehanna, which at this point, to one going above, begins a long and unnecessary ramble to the east. A direct road to the Genesee would cross a ridge of the Alleganies. An Indian trail, often trod during the Revolution by parties from the fastnesses of the Six Nations, ran over in mountains; but to open a road through the shattered wilderness, which would be passable for wagons, was deemed impossible. After a laborious exploration, however, by the agent and a party of Pennsylvanian Hunters, a road was located from Ross Farm (now Williamsport) to the mouth of Canasaraga Creek, on the Genesee, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles. This road was opened in the ensuing autumn by a party of Germany emigrants.
The fortunes of this German colony formed quite a perplexing episode in Captain Williamsons history. The time when Ben Patterson brought the Germans through is yet remembered by a few of our aged citizens. The simplicity, the sufferings and the terrors of these Teutonic (Germanic) pioneers were sources of much amusement to the rough backwoodsmen, and their passage through the wilderness and over the wild Laurel Mountains, was in early times an event so momentous, that although the matter has strictly but little reference to the history of this county, it may nevertheless be permitted to recount their frights and tribulations.
It seems that Mr. Colquhoun, who conducted the business affairs of the Association, became acquainted in London with a certain Dr. Berezy, a German of education and address, who engaged to collect a colony of his countrymen, and conduct them to the Genesee lands under the auspices of the associates. Captain Williamson seems not to have favored the scheme, but while living at Northumberland in 1792, the colony arrived, and it fell upon him to devise some plan of disposing of this very raw material to the best advantage. There were about two hundred of them, men, women and children. Though stout and healthy enough, they were an ignorant and inexperienced people, accustomed to dig with the spade in the little gardens of the Fatherland, and as unfit for forest work and the rough life of the frontiers as babes. Captain Williamson, with his high and hopeful spirits, did not lay the matter deeply at heart, but encouraged the honest folk, and filled their heads with fine tales, till they saw almost as many balloons hanging afar off over the wilderness as the enthusiastic Briton himself beheld.
It was determined to send them over the mountains to the Tioga, thence by the valleys of the river and of the Conhocton, to Williamsburgh, on the Genesee. It was necessary to give the emigrants in charge to some reliable and energetic guide, who would see to it that they did not fall into the rivers, or break their necks over the rocks, or be devoured of bears, or frightened out of their wits of owls and buzzards. Benjamin Patterson, the hunter, who was well acquainted with the German language, and in whose judgment and resolution Captain Williamson had entire confidence, was employed in this capacity. He was abundantly provided with money and means. Seven stout young Pennsylvanians, well skilled in the use of the axe and the rifle, was chosen by him as assistant woodsmen, and these and the Germans were to open the road, while the guide, in addition to his duties as commander of the column, undertook to supply the camp with game.
It was in the month of September when the emigrants appeared at the mouth of Lycoming Creek, ready for the march to the Northern Paradise. The figure of the Guide, girt for the wilderness, with his hunting shirt, belt, knife and tomahawk, appeared to the simple Germans rather an odd one for a shepherd who was to lead them over Delectable Mountains to meadows and pleasant brooks. It seemed rather like the figure of some hard-headed Mr. Great-Heart, arrayed with a view to such bruises as one must expect in a jaunt through the land of Giant Grim and other unamicable aborigines; and when the seven stalwart young frontiersmen stood forth, girt in like manner, for warfare or the wilderness, visions of cannibals and cougars, of bears and alligators, of the bellowing unicorn and the snorting hippopotamus, were vividly paraded before the eyes of the startled pilgrims.
A little way up the creek they commenced hewing the road. Here the Germans took their first lessons in wood-craft. They were not ready apprentices, and never carried the art to great perfection. We hear of them in after years sawing trees down. The heavy frontier axe, (nine-pounder often,) was to them a very grievous thing. They became weary and lame; the complaints grew longer and more doleful at each sunset. But in a few weeks they found themselves deep in the wilderness. The roaring of torrents, the murmur of huge trees, the echoes of the glens, the precipices, at the feet of which ran the creeks, the forests waving on the mountains, and crowding the ravines like armies, were sounds and sights unknown to the pleasant plains to Germany. When it was night, and the awful howling of the wolves all round scared the children, or when the crash of great trees, overturned by the high and whirling winds of autumn, woke the wives from dreams of home, or when the alarmed men, aroused in the midwatches by strange uproars, looked out into the darkness to see enormous black clouds sailing over head, and the obscure cliffs looming around, while goblins squeaked and whistled in the air, and kicked the tents over, then they all gave way to dismal lamentations. The equinoctial storms came on in due time, and it was sufficiently disheartening to see the dreary rains pour down hour after hour, while the gorges were filled with fog, and vapors steamed up from the swollen torrents, and the mountains disguised themselves in masks of mist, or seemed, like Laplanders, to muffle themselves in huge hairy clouds, and to pull fur-caps over their faces. No retreat could be hoped for. Behind them were the clamorous creeks which they had forded, and which, like anacondas, would have swallowed the whole colony but for the Guide, who was wiser than ten serpents, and outwitted them; behind them were bears, were owls exceeding cruel, were wild men and giants, which were only held in check by the hunters rifle. The Guide was merciless. The tall Pennsylvanians hewed the trees, and roared out all manner of boisterous jokes, as if it were as pleasant a thing to flounder through the wilderness as to sit smoking in the quiet orchards of the Rhine.
The arrived at the Laurel Ridge of the Alleganies, which the Lycoming from the head waters of the Tioga. Over this, a distance of fifteen miles, the road was to be opened--no great matter in itself, surely, but it could hardly have been a more serious thing to the emigrants had they been required to make a turnpike over Chimborazo. When, therefore, they toiled over these long hills, sometimes looking off into deep gulfs, sometimes descending into wild hollows, sometimes filing along the edges of precipices, their sufferings were indescribable. The Guide was in his element. He scoured the ravines, clambered over the rocks, and ever and anon the Germans, from the tops of the hills, heard the crack of his rifles in groves far below, where the elk was browsing, or where the painted catamount, with her whelps, lurked in the tree tops. Not for wild beasts alone did the hunters eye search. He could mark with pleasure valleys and mill streams, and ridges of timber: he could watch the labors of those invisible artists of autumn, which came down in the October nights and decorated the forests with their frosty bushes, so that the morning sun found the valleys arrayed in all the glory of Solomon, and the dark robe of laurels that covered the ranges, spotted with many colors, wherever a beech, or a maple, or an oak thrust its solitary head through the crowded evergreens: he could smile to see how the little people that came through the air from the North Pole were pinching the butternuts that hung over the creeks, and the walnuts which the squirrels spared, and how the brisk and impertinent agents of that huge monopoly, the Great Northern Ice Association, came down with their coopers and headed up the pools in the forest,, and nailed bright hoops around the rims of the mountain ponds. The Indian Summer, so brief and beautiful, set in--doubly beautiful there in the hills. But the poor emigrants were too disconsolate to observe how the thin haze blurred the rolling ranges, and the quiet mist rested upon the many-colored valleys, or to listen to the strange silence of mountains and forests, broken only by the splashing of creeks far down on the rocky floors of the ravines. Certain birds of omen became very obstreperous, and the clamors of these were perhaps the only phenomena of the season noticed by the pilgrims. Quails whistled, crows cawed, jays scolded, and those seedy buccaneers, the hawks, sailed over head, screaming in the most piratical manner--omens all of starvation and death. Starvation, however, was not to be dreaded immediately; for the hunter, roving like a hound from hill to hill, supplied the camp abundantly with games.
The men wept, and cursed Captain Williamson bitterly, saying that he had sent them there to die. They became mutinous. I could compare my situation, said the Guide, to nothing but that of Moses with the children of Israel. I would march them along a few miles, and then they would rise up and rebel. Mutiny effected as little with the inflexible commander as grief. He cheered up the downhearted and frightened the mutinous. They had fairly to be driven. Once, when some of the men were very clamorous, and even offered violence, Patterson stood with his back to a tree, and brandishing his tomahawk furiously, said If you resist me, I will KILL you--every one of you. There upon discipline was restored.
They worked along slowly enough. At favorable places for encampment they built block-houses, or Plocks, as the Germans called them, and opened the road for some distance in advance before moving the families further. These block-houses stood for many years landmarks in the wilderness. September and October passed, and it was far in November before they completed the passage of the mountains. The frosts were keen; the northwesters whirled around the hills, and blustered through the valleys alarmingly. Then a new disaster befell them. To sit of evenings around the fire smoking, and drinking of coffee, and talking of the Fatherland, had been a great comfort in the midst of their sorrows; but at length the supply of coffee was exhausted. The distress was wild at this calamity. Even the men went about wailing and exclaimed, Ach Kaffee! Kaffee! mein lieber Kaffee! (Oh! Coffee! Coffee! my dear Coffee!) However no loss of life followed the sudden failure of Coffee, and the column toiled onwards.
At the place now occupied by the village of Blossburgh, they made a camp, which, from their baker who there built an oven, they called Peters Camp. Paterson, while hunting in this neighborhood, found a few pieces of coal which he cut from the ground with his tomahawk. The Germans pronounced it to be of good quality. A half century from the day, the hill which the guide smote with his hatchet, was punched full of holes, miners were tearing out its jewels with pickaxes and gunpowder, and locomotives were carrying them northward by tons.
Pushing onward seven miles further they made the Canoe Camp, a few miles below the present village of Mansfield. When they reached this place, their supply of provisions was exhausted. The West Branch youths cleared two acres of ground; Patterson killed an abundant supply of game, and went down with some of his young men to Painted Post, thirty miles or more below. He ordered provisions to be boated up to this place from Tioga Point, and returned to the camp with several canoes. He found his poor people in utter despair. They lay in their tents bewailing their misfortunes, and said that the Englishman had sent them there to die. He had sent a ship to Hamburgh, he had enticed them from their homes, he had brought them over the ocean on purpose that he might send them out into the wilderness to starve. They refused to stir, and begged Patterson to let them died. But he was even yet merciless. He blustered about without ceremony, cut down the tent-pole with his tomahawk, roused the dying to life, and at length drove the whole colony to the river bank.
Worse and worse! When the Germans saw the slender canoes, they screamed with terror, and loudly refused to entrust themselves to such shells. The woodsmen, however, put the women, children and the sick, into the canoes almost by main force, and launched forth into the river, while the men followed by land. Patterson told them to keep to the Indian trail, but as this sometimes went back into the hills, and out of sight of the river, they dare not follow it for fear of being lost. So they scrambled along the shore as best they could, keeping their eyes fixed on the flotilla as if their lives depended on it. They tumbled over the banks; they tripped up over the roots; where the shores were rocky, they waded in the cold water below. But the canoes gliding merrily downward wheeled at last into the Chemung, and the men also, accomplishing their tedious travels along the shore, emerged from the wilderness, and beheld with joy the little cabins clustered around the Painted Post.
Here their troubles ended. Flour and coffee from Tioga Point, were waiting for the, and when Peter the Baker, turned out warm loaves from his oven, and der lieber Kaffee steamed from the kettles with grateful fragrance, men and women crowded around the guide, hailed him as their deliverer from wild beasts and perilous forests, and begged his pardon for their bad behavior.
It was now December. They had been three months in the wilderness, and were not in a condition to move onward to the Genesee. Patterson, with thirty of the most hardy men, kept on, however, and opened the road up the Conhocton to Dansville and the place of destination. The others remained through the winter of 1793 at Painted Post. They were the simplest creatures I ever saw, said an old lady; they had a cow with them, and they loved it as if it was a child. When flour was scarcest, they used to feed her with bread.
The whole colony was conducted to the Genesee in the spring. There was, at this time, a single settler in the valley of the Conhocton, about the settlements near Painted Post. The fate of the first potato crop of the Upper Conhocton is worthy of record. This settler had cultivated a little patch of potatoes in the previous summer, and of the fruits of his labor a few pecks yet remained, buried in a hole. The Germans snuffed the precious vegetables and determined to have them. Finding that they could be no more restrained from the plunder of the potato hole than Indians from massacre, Patterson told them to go on, and if the owner swore at them to say, thankee, thankee, as if receiving a present. This they did, and the settler lost his treasures to the last potato. The Guide paid him five times their value, and bade him go to Tioga Point for seed.
Once they came unexpectedly upon a single Indian, in the woods, boiling a mess of succotash in a little kettle; and so intent was he upon his cookery that he did not observe the approach of the emigrants. Ist das ein wilder mann? (is this a wild man?) said the Germans, (it was the first savage they had seen,) and crowded around him with eager curiosity. He did not once look up--perhaps for a display of Indian imperturbability; but Patterson said that the poor barbarian was so frightened at finding himself suddenly surrounded by a crowd of strangers, Jabbering Dutch, that he dared not lift his eyes.
After manifold tribulations, the Germans were at last deposited at the Genesee,, with the loss of one man, who was killed in the mountains by a falling tree. The subsequent fortunes of this ill-starred colony can be told in few words.
At Williamsburgh, they were abundantly provided for. Each family received a house and fifty acres of land, with a stock of provisions for present use, and household and farming utensils. Cattle and sheep were distributed amongst them, and nothing remained for them to do but to fall to work and cultivate their farms. Hardly a settlement in Western New York had such a munificent endowment as the German settlement on the Genesee. But it soon became apparent that the leader of the colony had failed to regard the instructions of Mr. Colquhoun. Instead of recruiting his numbers from the sturdy and industrious Saxon population, as directed, he had collected an indiscriminate rabble from the streets of Hamburgh, not a few of whom were vagabonds of the first water. They were lazy, shiftless, and of the most appalling stupidity. Breeding cattle was barbecued. Seeds, instead of being planted in their fields, vanished in their kettles; and when provisions were exhausted, Captain Williamson was called upon to dispatch a file of pack-horses to their relief. The emigrants were greatly disappointed in the land which received them, and complained with bitterness of the treachery that enticed them from the blessed gutters of Hamburgh, first to starve in frightful mountains, and then to toil in hungry forests.
At length they broke out into open and outrageous rebellion. Captain Williamson, who was on the ground, was assailed by Berezy and the rabble, and as he himself says, nothing could equal my situation but some of the Parisian scenes. For an hour and a half I was in this situation, (in a corner of a store, between two writing desks,) every instant expecting to be torn to pieces. However, with the assistance of a few friends he kept the mob at bay, till Berezy at length quelled the tumult. The colonists then drove away or killed all the cattle on the premises, and held a grand carousal. The mutiny lasted several days, till the Sheriff of Ontario mustered a posse of sufficient strength, and descended upon them by forced marches, and made prisoner the ringleader. Berezy, in the meantime, had gone to the East, where he made arrangements for the removal of his colonists to Canada. This transfer was at last effected, greatly to the relief of the London Association and their agent, to whom the colony had been, from the beginning, nothing but a source of expense and vexation.
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