1755/1756 Indian Raids in Monroe, Pike and Northampton Counties in PA

During the French-Indian war, the countryside was often attacked by Indians working in alliance with the French Canadian colonial government against the British-owned colonies.

These excerpts primarily from The Pennsylvania Gazette and The Maryland Gazette, but these stories are run in many of the major newspapers, including some in England.

While it mentions “Northampton County,” this is before Monroe and Pike County were created. The area they’re speaking about is the Minisink settlements along the Delaware River, north of the Water Gap:

  • Today’s Monroe County, Pennsylvania (Lower Smithfield, where the Dupuy’s live)
  • Today’s Pike County, Pennsylvania (Upper Smithfield/Delaware Township, where Brewer Decker lives).

For those who study family genealogy in these areas, these names will be helpful.

Here are the newspaper clippings; the text is summarized below the images.

From The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1 Jan 1756–

From The Maryland Gazette, 15 Jan 1756 —

Summary of the Events

  • 1 Dec 1755
    • In an express letter from Goshen, Orange, NY dated 28 Nov 1755, a notice that a dispatch arrived from Minisink, Orange, NY that the town had been attacked and one-half to two-thirds of the town is in ashes. Some were killed or taken captive. No names given. Published 18 Dec 1755 in The Maryland Gazette.

  • 18 Dec 1755
    • Testimony of Henry Cole in Sussex County, NJ, published 18 Dec 1755 (Thursday), The Pennsylvania Gazette (and also the Maryland Gazette).
    • Note: His testimony says he escaped to Easton, PA. He would have been in Lower Smithfield Township in today’s Monroe County, PA at the time.
    • Testimony given before Judge John Anderson, Esq, in Sussex County “in the Jerseys.” This could be Colonel Anderson who is later mentioned in news reports from Sussex County, NJ.
    • This attack appears to have been on 10 Dec and 11 Dec 1755.
    • Later newspaper articles fill in some of the names and adds to them.
    • On 11 Dec 1755 (Friday) at the house of Ephram Calver (Ephraim Culver), Henry Cole was employed in making a coffin for Matthew Roe, who was killed the day before by three Indians. (This is Ephraim Culver who lived in present-day Monroe County, PA.)
    • There was a discharge of 30 or 40 guns at Broadheads’ Fort (Brodhead’s Fort), and Henry went to John McMichael’s about a mile from Broadhead’s (sounds like people from all over the area went to Brodhead’s fort for safety, about 6 men and 40 women). This is probably Daniel Brodhead’s fort at East Stroudsburg, Monroe, PA.
    • Henry Cole saw a contingent of about 100 Indians, and he then went to the “Top of the Mountain” (presumably the Blue Mountain or the mountain on the Pennsylvania side of the river above today’s Shawnee On The Delaware). Seeing Calvert’s Mill (Culver’s Mill) and house on fire, along with John Drake’s house, he made his escape to Easton. (Note that he’s giving his testimony in Sussex County, NJ, not in Easton, so he must have made his way back to Sussex within a day or two.)
    • Killed, supposed killed, burnt and wounded: Includes Matthew Roe, so I’m not sure when this event took place – the day he was making the coffin for Roe, or the day before? Sounds like Matthew Roe was killed on the first day, then another raid happened the next day. Daniel Williams and family, about 8 in number killed. Benjamin Tidd, burned; Hans Bush, killed; Frederick Hoeth, killed; Matthew Roe, killed; Lambert Bush, killed; John Drake, William Kennedy, Nathan Parks, (Piercewell) Goulding, and William Roe, supposed to be killed; Abraham Miller and 2 others killed in the Gap of the Mountains (Delaware Water Gap area), James Garlanthouse wounded (Garlinghouse). (Note that later, in another report, someone reports seeing Mrs. Daniel Williams and three of her children in Teoga Point (Tioga Point, Bradford, PA) among the Indian captives.
    • Also mentions Dupuy’s as a “place of strength” 
      • “Fort Dupey” (Dupuy, Depuy, Depuis) – Nicholas Dupuy home and stockade. Four swivel guns. Lower Smithfield Township, PA, now the area around the town of “Shawnee on the Delaware” where there was a Dutch Church.
      • Samuel Dupuy is the son of Nicholas Dupuy
    • On Monday last (15 Dec 1755) Daniel Stahl and his son, and Henry France were brought to town, having been killed on Thursday last in Northampton County. Daniel Stahl has left a wife and six small children.

  • 20 Dec 1755
    • In a letter from the Union Iron Works in the Jerseys.
    • Probably the Union Ironworks near High Bridge, Hunterdon, NJ, which is one of the “safe” areas people fled to.
    • Letter stated persons killed and houses burnt in the “Upper Part of Northampton County,” which would be the area below Port Jervis, NY.
    • No names given.
    • Published in the Maryland Gazette, 15 Jan 1756

  • 25 Dec 1755
    • A letter from Easton, PA, another “safe” area where people fled
    • The country “above this town” (north of Easton) mostly evacuated for 50 miles, excepting only the neighborhood of the (Samuel and Nicholas) Dupuy’s, where five families stand their ground. They’re referring to the settlements along the entire Delaware River from Water Gap to Port Jervis.
    • The people have chiefly fled into the Jerseys. Two affidavits are given in Sussex County, NJ, and some reports come from Hunterdon County, NJ.
    • Mentions the killings and burning damage done “above Dupuy’s”
      • Dupuy (1756 article lists him as Samuel Dupuy/Dupuis, but would include his father Nicholas)
      • Since this list includes Brewer Decker, it’s today’s Delaware Township, Pike, PA, was previously the Northampton County “lower community” just below Port Jervis, NY.
      • Brewer Decker – some of his family killed. John Worley and family killed. All these killed: Peter Van Gordey (Van Gorden), Widow Contracht (Cortright, Kortrecht, Courtright) killed, Peter Van Aken, John Van Camp (Van Campen), Garrat Brink (“barracks” burnt – Brink’s Fort), Henry Conracht (Cortright, etc), Jacobus Van Gordey (Van Gorden), Stoffel Denmark (possibly Van Denmark), Roger Allison.
    • Note: Brewer Decker’s daughter, Magdelena and her husband, Lawrence/Lowrenz Decker, baptize children in Morristown, Morris, NJ from 1756 to 1761. Some of the other families may have moved there for safety.

  • 14 Jan 1756
    • Robert Gaston who lived at the head of Hunter’s Settlement on the Forks of Delaware killed (currently Northampton County, PA below the Water Gap, where the Delaware River and the Lehigh River meet, Easton PA area). Alexander Galbreth, wounded. There was a Scots-Irish settlement at Forks of Delaware.
    • Those killed “at the Minisinks” – the Minisink settlements along the Delaware River (this appears to be a slightly different list than the one that Brewer Decker is on (see above), and likely part of the same Dec 1755/Jan 1756 raids in the Lower Smithfield area): John Rush and family, Lambert Brink, Benjamin Tidd and family, Matthew Rue (Roe), Daniel Williams and his wife and 5 children (7 or 8 total), Piercewell Goulding, Mr Head and family, Cornelius Vanaken (Van Aken, Van Auken) and family, Guizebert Vancamp (Van Camp, Van Campen) and family; “several Palantines (German families), Hans Vanfleara (Van Fliet, Van Vliet, Van Fleet), Adam Snell. In all, 78 dead.
      • This phrase, “at the Minisinks” is used often in old records.
      • The History of New Jersey refers to the “settlements at the Minisinks” as the settlements all along the Delaware River on both sides, above the Blue Mountain (above Water Gap) to Port Jervis, first settled by Nicholas Depuis/Dupay from the south and other New York/New Jersey families from the north.
      • The Minisink Valley is a loosely defined geographic region of the Upper Delaware River valley in northwestern New Jersey (Sussex County), northeastern Pennsylvania (Pike and Monroe counties) and New York (Orange and Sullivan counties) including the land south of Port Jervis around where the Neversink River joins the Delaware River.
      • In a 1778 letter to George Washington, John Cleves Symmes writes from Newton, Sussex, NJ that he is 17 miles “from the Minisinks” and may be referring to the area around Montague, Sussex, NJ, or the Minisink area in general. He is not talking about the village of Minisink, Orange, NY.
      • Later George Washington writes about “the Minisink settlement upon Delaware” and “Coles Fort” (Port Jervis).
      • There is no Daniel Williams mentioned in the Dutch Church records or other records in the area, only John Williams in Walpack NJ area/Pike County PA area, and William Williams (who married Mary Richerson/Richardson) in the Smithfield records. He must be from the Lower Smithfield/East Stroudsburg area, not the Delaware Township, Pike area like John Williams.
  • 22 Jan 1756 (Thursday)
    • Elizabethtown (Elizabeth, Essex, NJ) – an express letter arrived from Captain Salnave at Colonel Van Camp’s (likely Col. Abraham Van Campen), on Tuesday last (20 Jan 1756) the Captain, having discovered a fire at Dupuy’s, crossed the Delaware River and found 50 Indians setting fire to the house and murdering the inhabitants. When Captain Salnave entered the house, he found 2 men killed and 3 wounded, along with 18-20 other persons, men, women and children. No names given for any of the residents of this house/fort.

  • 30 Jan 1756
    • A letter from Easton:
    • A party of Captain John Van Etten’s men fought Indians in Upper Smithfield.
    • Mr. Dupuy and family removed into the Jerseys for safety. (At this point, it sounds like all the inhabitants of the area have left, as previously only the Dupuy fort was standing and fighting.)

  • 17 Feb 1756
    • A letter from John Van Etten of Upper Smithfield, Northampton, PA
    • This seems to be the area of today’s Milford, Pike, PA where Thomas Quick had his mill.
    • Thomas Quick killed, over 70 years old – this is probably the same Thomas Quick “of Orange County, New York,” who purchase property from Solmon Davis (Davids) in 1722 on the Modder Kill. Interesting note that Solomon Davis, who is known to be living in the Minisink Settlements in the early part of 1700s is listed as “Solmon Davis of Machepakonk, in the County of Hunterdon, and the Province of New West Jersey.” So, at that time, the land was claimed by New Jersey, though the border dispute wouldn’t be resolved until 1773.
    • Solomon Decker fired at but not hurt – probably the Solomon Decker who married Lena Quick, Thomas’ daughter. They’re baptizing children at Machackemeck (Port Jervis), Orange, New York, in the 1750s.
    • Thomas Quick mill, house and barn burned: Cornelius Dewitt house burned; John Van Etten barn and barracks burned.

After these Indian raids, the colonial government set about creating a series of forts along the Delaware River for the protection of settlers. The Indian raids continue to occur sporadically in 1763 (the conclusion of the French and Indian War with the Treaty of Paris) and during the Revolutionary War in this region. But that’s another blog post to write!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s