This selection comes from George R. Powell, History of York County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co, 1907), 35-68.


Mission of Hamilton and Georges -- The Chester County Plot -- Colonel Thomas Cresap

The history of York County, by reason of the disputed proprietary claims, was inaugurated by disturbances which involved its first settlers in serious difficulties. They had settled themselves in one of those unfortunate sections of country known to all history as border land. The persons who came west of the Susquehanna in quest of new homes, as citizens of the province of Pennsylvania, soon found that there were other claimants of the soil upon which they had planted themselves, coming here under the authority of the government of the province of Maryland. The broils and riots which followed in the wake of those who had first cleared the forests and sowed their crops on this side of the river, filled the annals of that period with protests and remonstrances, criminations and recriminations, affidavits and counter affidavits, unparalleled in the archives of any other government. While it is our duty, as Pennsylvanians, to maintain the rights of the founder of this commonwealth, it is equally our duty to examine fairly the grounds upon which his rival proprietor on the south disputed these rights, and made claims of his own.

The people who are embroiled in differences of the character exhibited in the documents and traditions of that period are not, as a general rule, to blame, especially in an age when the sentiment of loyalty to rules made them regardless of the rights of others, in behalf of those who were ready and willing to protect them in their outrages. The blame must rest with those in authority, who could have no cause for encouraging unlawful claims, much less for the assertion of them by violent measures. In all frontier settlements there are fierce and reckless men who are eager to carry out, by any means, what they conceive to be the will of those in power, of whom they are the partisans. It is a remarkable feature in the details of those early disturbances, in which the interests of the rival proprietaries clashed, that the Governors of each province for the time being apparently believed and relied on the ex parte statements of their partisans on the one side or the other. It is not the Cresaps, and the Higginbothams, whom we are accustomed to consider as marauders and disturbers of the peace, or the Wrights or Blunstons, whom, on the other hand, we consider the conservators of the peace, but those to whom was committed the government of the respective colonies, and the welfare of his Majesty's subjects therein, who are properly to be made the subject of animadversion, if they failed to use all the means in their power to restrain the evils existing, or from a spirit of partisanship closed their eyes to the real causes of those evils. The details of these disturbances and the mutual grounds of contention between the proprietaries are too tedious to relate. But a narrative of such incidents as led the respective provincial governments into the bitter controversy, may not be without interest to our people, especially to those who dwell in the locality where the occurrences took place.

Governor Gordon's Letter

The first complaint as to intrusions on the west side of the Susquehanna, after the agreement of 1724, appears in a letter from Governor Gordon to Governor Calvert, on the 14th of September, 1731:

I am further creditably informed that some persons of Maryland, having obtained grants of land from your offices, have pretended to lay them out over the river Susquehanna, where our Commissioners would never allow any survey to be made, not only on account of our agreement with the Indians, but also of that made with Maryland. Yet some of your people have pretended to large tracts thereof, which some, 'tis affirmed, lie many miles further north than this city of Philadelphia, and have further had assurance even to offer them to sale to some of our inhabitants, without making, on their parts, any scruple of the situation. 'Tis now some months since I heard the rumor of this, but very lately I have had a much fuller confirmation of it.

To which complaint there was the following reply from the Governor of Maryland:

"As to what you mention of our people taking up lands high up the river Susquehanna, I shall endeavor to enquire into as soon as possible, till when I must beg leave to defer any further answer on that head." (I Archives 294)

It would appear from this that whatever settlers there were over the river at that period in the territory, now the county of York, were ostensibly there without the knowledge or consent of either government. The sequel will not bear this out. The complaint came first from the Indians to the government of Pennsylvania. A letter from Samuel Blunston, of the 3d of October, 1731, contains a message from Captain Civility to Governor Gordon, that "the Conestoga Indians had always lived in good friendship with the Christian inhabitants of Pennsylvania, and have behaved themselves agreeable to their treaties with them. That William Penn had promised them they should not be disturbed by any settlers on the west side of the Susquehanna, but now, contrary thereto, several Marylanders are settled by the river on that side, at Conejohela. And one Cresap particularly, is very abusive to them when they pass that way. And had beat and wounded one of their women, who went to get apples from their own trees. And took away her apples. And further said, that as they shall always take care their people do us no hurt, so they also expect we shall protect them." (I Archives 295)

Complaints Against Cresap

This incident, trivial as it may seem, introduces and exposes the character of the principal participant, on the side of Maryland, in our border troubles. In this same letter it is said, in a postscript, "that James Logan had said he should be glad if Cresap could be taken," and Samuel Blunston writes, "we have now just cause to apprehend him for a breach of the law in entertaining and protecting a bound servant, belonging to one of our people, and threatening to shoot any person who shall offer to take away said servant. If you think it will be of any service to the government to have him taken, he believed it may be done." According to an affidavit of Thomas Cresap, made by him on the 29th of January, 1732, he had lived on the west side of the Susquehanna river since the 10th of March, as tenant of Lord Baltimore, by virtue of his lordship's grant ad patent. He was the owner of a ferry opposite a point on the river called Blue Rock. The incident which occasioned his affidavit requires mention, because it first drew the governors of the rival provinces into angry controversy. He made oath that one day, about the last of October, he heard the report of three guns at the Blue Rock, the signal usually made by people who want to come over the river. That he and Samuel Chance, who was a laborer with him, went over the river, and the he saw two men and a negro whom he took into his boat. He then details an assault upon him, that after a struggle they threw him into the river, out of his depth, and went away with his boat and his servant, and that he was rescued from an island after night by an Indian. He complained to a magistrate in Pennsylvania, Mr. Cornish, against the men, and when he demanded a warrant the magistrate inquired where he lived. He said he was an inhabitant of Maryland, a tenant of Lord Baltimore, upon which the magistrate told him he knew no reason he had to expect any justice there since he was a liver in Maryland.

It appears, however, that the magistrate granted Cresap his warrant, and that the men were apprehended and bound over to court, and were indicted, convicted, and fined for the assault. This deposition was sent to the Governor of Maryland, and a full account of the matter was also sent to Lord Baltimore. Governor Ogle sent a copy of the deposition to Governor Gordon, and complained in his letter of the saying by Cornish, that he knew no reason why Cresap had to expect justice there, wince he was a liver in Maryland. And that Cresap was in great fear of other injuries from the behavior of the magistrate and other circumstances, and that some Indians said they were offered a good reward by John Cartlidge, of Conestoga, to drive Cresap and his family off his land and burn his house. The affidavit of Cresap also stated that a great number of horses and mares, which were claimed by James Patterson and others, inhabitants of Pennsylvania, had been very injurious and troublesome to him and his neighbors, in throwing down their fences and destroying their corn. This matter of the horses becomes important, because of another incident arising out of the killing of the horses, which led to the arrest and incarceration of persons on both sides, and my [sic] Lord Baltimore became a participant in the scenes that were enacted on this border land of ours. To the letter of Governor Ogle, Governor Gordon replied, among other things that "Cresap, believing himself aggrieved, applied to one our magistrates, telling him that he was an inhabitant of Maryland. In which application it must be owned that he had a large of assurance, for Justice Cornish lives more than Philadelphia, and Cresap's dwelling, by his own description of the Blue Rock, cannot be less than five miles northward. That justice had been administered in Pennsylvania, and that as to the fray, the government was in no way concerned in it, unless justice was denied, which was not the case. "For 'tis plain the who amounts to no more than a quarrel happened between Cresap and some others in Pennsylvania, which he thinks fit to call Maryland."

Maryland Intruders

It appears from this and throughout the whole controversy, that the Pennsylvanians continually resented the intrusions of the Marylanders into their territory, above a designated line, while on the other hand the Marylanders, with the connivance of their government, refused to recognize that line and collisions occurred necessarily incident to settlements under such conflicting claims. The lands about the Codorus and Conewago were attractive, as Governor Gordon wrote in the course of the correspondence, "and some Maryland gentlemen cast their eyes on those lands made valuable by the neighborhood of our inhabitants, and it suited their purposes to settle such persons there as would intimidate Pennsylvanians, and give some countenance to their claims." In the year 1729 Charles Carroll, as appears by a petition of his, about the time of the commencement of our border troubles, located a warrant of 10,000 acres on the vacant lands lying on Pipe Creek, and Codorus and Conewago Creeks, and lands contiguous, according to the accustomed method used within his lordship's province. This location was in possession of the surveyor of Baltimore County and was renewed from time to time.

Charles Carroll states in his petition that, apprehending some cultivation made during the former location, which the said warrant could not effect, he had obtained a special warrant to take up the same on express terms. About the 14th of June, 1732, he and John Ross went to view the lands, the better to inform themselves how to finish a survey of the same, and on the 21st of that month they came to the house of John Hendricks, on the Susquehanna River. The complaint of Carroll was that while they were at Hendrick's house several persons came there with a warrant from Justice Wright to arrest John Tradane, of the province of Maryland, resident at Monocacy, and which they were told was intended to try whether they would interfere, by objecting to the power of Pennsylvania. But they took no notice of the proceedings. Carroll complained that John Wright, Jr., a son of the Justice, had said "that in case the hominy gentry hindered their executing the warrant they themselves should be put in prison, and that the best of their hominy gentry in Maryland should not get them out, and that if the Governor were there they would serve him in the same manner: that they would teach them to come to take their lands, and that neither they nor their Marylanders should come there to make a hominy country of their lands." He complained also, he said, of other reflecting and abusive language to that purport. The complaint of Carroll also set out that one James Patterson, who came over, said all the lands thereabout belonged to the Penns. That James Logan advised the people of Pennsylvania to stand up manfully against the Marylanders, and that Patterson said, for his own part, he would fight to his knees in blood before he should lose his plantations on either side of the river. Carroll asked him if ever he had a patent under Penn for his plantation or the lands he claimed, or had a warrant for taking it up, to which Patterson answered that he had neither warrant nor patent, and Carroll then said that Logan's advice was dangerous. This memorial of Charles Carroll was presented for the purpose of praying protection from the Maryland government in executing his warrant, and settling the lands, as they, the petition said, would have to repel force by force.

James Patterson

James Patterson had been settled, according to Governor Gordon, on Springettsbury Manor [note: a large tract named after Springett Penn, west of the Susquehanna in present-day York County] for several years, but because it was a manor he had no patent.

Patterson had a plantation on this side of the river, but resided on the east side. He had, it appears, a number of horses necessary for carrying goods and skins in his trade with the Indians. Some of the family of John Lowe killed his horses, whereupon he came in the night with a warrant, and the sheriff's posse, to arrest two of Lowe's sons, Daniel and William Lowe. But they also seized John Lowe, the father, and he, being brought before Justices Blunston and Wright, and nothing appearing against him, was discharged. Affidavits made by John Lowe and Thomas Cresap were sent to Governor Ogle, representing the arrest to have been made with great violence. In Cresap's affidavit it is represented that Patterson had said he would let them know that they were prisoners of Pennsylvania. Cresap said that if Lord Baltimore would not protect them in their rights and land, they, the inhabitants of the west side of the river, must appeal to the King. To which Patterson answered "that they had no business with the King, or the King with them, for Penn was their King."

Such were the representations sent for the grave consideration of the proprietary and authorities of Maryland. John Lowe, in his affidavit, represented that the party came in the dead of night and arrested him in bed, and violently dragged him on the ground and over the river on the ice and kept him in custody the remaining part of the night. The consequent struggle arising from the resistance to the arrest was made the ground of complaint for riot in Maryland. The affair was communicated to Lord Baltimore, and a letter was received from him by Governor Gordon. As this letter came from a person of such dignity, and as it contains his own opinion of his rights, and his claim to obedience in this particular, it is given in full:

Annapolis, Dec. 15th, 1732

Sir -- By the enclosed precept, founded upon information given upon oath to a magistrate here, you will see that a most outrageous riot hath lately been committed in my province, by a great number of people calling themselves Pennsylvanians. It appears by the same information that some of your magistrates, instead of preventing or discouraging these violences, countenance and abet the authors of them; whether with or without the approbation of your government, you best know. For my own part, I think myself in honor and justice obliged, and I am determined, to protect such of his majesty's subjects who are my own tenants, in all their rights, and there, to the end the persons complained of may be punished, if upon a fair trial they shall be found guilty, I desire that they or such of them as can be found in your province, may be sent without loss of time into this, as the only and proper place, where the fact with which they are charged is cognizable, and where my officers will be ready to receive them, particularly the sheriffs and justices of my counties of Baltimore and Cecil. I also desire that such of your magistrates as shall appear to have encouraged the commission of these or any other violences in my province by the people of Pennsylvania, may be punished for their abuse of authority, and that you'll favor me with a categorical answer to these my just demands by this bearer.

Your Humble Servant,


        Addressed thus: To his Excellency Patrick Gordon, Esq., at Philadelphia (I Archives 393)

The letter enclosed a precept for the arrest of the persons concerned in the alleged riot. Lord Baltimore was then at Annapolis, and was of course acquainted with the location of the scene of this affair. In a subsequent letter, he speaks of it as having taken place in the province of Maryland.

The Report of Wright and Blunston

At a meeting of the Provincial Council held at Philadelphia on the 9th of January, 1733, the Governor acquainted the Board with the letter of Lord Baltimore, together with a report of the affair from Wright and Blunston. The statements of this report are material to the consideration of the question regarding the claims of the respective provinces, to allow settlements within the territory west of the river Susquehanna, and north of Philadelphia. The substance of it is as follows:

In the year 1729, when the county of Lancaster was formed, the southern boundary was, by the order, to be Octorara Creek and the province of Maryland, and including the inhabitants, to lie open to the westward. But as the line between the provinces was never run nor the exact boundaries known, no authority was claimed over those few families settled to the northward of Octorara, by or under pretence of Maryland rights. They remained undisturbed, though many inhabitants of Pennsylvania lived some miles to southward of them. At that time there were no English inhabitants on the west side of the Susquehanna River, in those parts, for, about two years, before, Edward Parnell and several other families who were settled on the west side of the river ear the same, at a place called by the Indians Conejohela, were at the request of the Conestoga Indians removed by the Governor -- the Indians insisting upon the same to be vacant for them. But about two years since, Thomas Cresap and some other people of loose morals and turbulent spirits came and disturbed the Indians who were peaceably settled on those lands from whence Parnell and the others had been removed -- burnt their cabins, and destroyed their goods and drove them away. The former settlers were good citizens of Pennsylvania, and before Cresap and his company none had settled by a Maryland claim, so far to the northward by nearly thirty miles. These men would fly to our laws for redress against their own party, and they who had fled from their creditors into this province when creditors would pursue them hither, would cray Maryland. They disturbed the peace of the government, carried people out of the province by violence, took away guns from friendly Indians, tied and made them prisoners without any offense given, and threatened all who should oppose them. They killed the horses of such of our people whose trade with the Indians made it necessary to keep them on that side of the river for carrying their goods and skins, and assaulted and threatened to look after them. That this usage obliged James Patterson to apply to them for a warrant to apprehend and bind to the peace the two young men who had been most active, Daniel and William Lowe, and they were dismissed on security for their good behavior and appearance at court. They then say, that if they had supposed the issuing of their warrants would have given the least offense to Lord Baltimore, or that he would have looked upon those persons as his subjects and under his protection, they would have represented the case to the Governor and waited his direction. (III Colonial Records 470)

With this report they sent affidavits which were read before the board. The affidavits showed that Patterson was informed that his horses were killed near Lowe's plantation and that his sons aid they would kill all the horses that came upon that land, and would tie and whip all he should send over thither. The constable, Charles Jones, to whom the precept was directed, having formerly met with resistance from these people and fearing new insults, for Thomas Cresap and his associates had threatened to shoot any officer who should come into those parts to do his duty, though he only took his staff himself, yet he thought it necessary to have a suitable strength, took in all nine men with him. Amongst them were only three guns, and these not loaded, serving only as an appearance of defense. They went quietly to the house of Lowe, the father, and the door being opened, apprehended Daniel and William, his two sons. They made no disturbance but what was occasioned by the resistance of the prisoners, and those who came to their relief. That Lowe's house, where his sons were taken, is several miles more northerly than Philadelphia (which appears by a well known line that had been run about forty years since on a due west course from the city to the Susquehanna, in order to a more certain discovery of the country) and that there are about 400 people living more southerly than Lowe's house who pay taxes in the county of Lancaster, and have always acknowledged themselves inhabitants of Pennsylvania.

The council having fully considered the said letters and affidavits and remarking on the style and manner of Lord Baltimore's letter, which they conceived to peremptory, were inclined to think that his lordship had left room for no other answer than barely to acquaint him that the supposed riot was committed within the reputed and known bounds of Pennsylvania; and consequently not cognizable by him. Lord Baltimore, in a letter of the 15th of February, 1733, says "that it is the first instance in his majesty's plantations, when rioters and people levying war against any of his subjects, have been denied to be delivered up to the government in which the offense was committed, on proper application, and such I make no doubt mine will appear to have been in due time." These facts appear upon the records of the Provincial Council, and are of no importance historically, except so far as they bear upon the conduct of the government in relation to them. The excited state of the parties immediately concerned in the quarrels is manifested by their violence of language. Consequently we find the depositions on either side laying stress on words. Several witnesses deposed that they heard Cresap say, that if the sheriff of Pennsylvania or any other officer from thence, came to take any person on the west side of the Susquehanna River he would shoot them, for they had pistols and guns and would use them in their own defense. And with regard to higher person in authority it was deposed that Cresap said he had been at Annapolis, and in council Lord Baltimore assured him that as he had received money for the land on which Cresap lived, he would defend him from the proprietor of Pennsylvania, although Lord Baltimore did believe that when the division line between the provinces was run, Cresap's lands would fall in Pennsylvania. But until that line was run, he would protect him, and thereupon gave him a commission of the peace, as a magistrate for the county of Baltimore, and with it gave him a strict charge to apprehend any person coming out of Pennsylvania, bearing arms, or committing the least offense whatsoever, and be sure to take no security of them but such as were freeholders in Maryland. (I Archives 356).

On another occasion Cresap said he had been at Annapolis since the arrival of Lord Baltimore, had been very kindly received by his lordship, and had got his commission to be a Justice of the Peace, and added that his lordship would never execute the agreement made between him and the proprietors of Pennsylvania, because they had cheated his lordship by imposing a false map of the country upon him, and that his lordship would rather choose to pay the £5,000 forfeiture, mentioned in the agreement, than comply with the terms of it. And that he, Cresap, had heard this at Annapolis from gentlemen of note there. (I Archives 375)

Governor Ogle's Letter

At a meeting of the Provincial Council, held at Philadelphia on the 14th of February, 1733, the Governor informed the board that he had received a letter from the Lieutenant-Governor of Maryland, enclosing one from Lord Baltimore, by which it appeared that his lordship, notwithstanding what had been written to him, continued to insist on the demands made in his former letter, of delivering up those persons concerned in the execution of the warrant issued against the sons of John Lowe. In this communication Governor Ogle says: "His lordship cannot but be surprised to fid your magistrates are justified in issuing warrants for the apprehension of persons in his lordship's province before the lines are run and bounds settled, which are stipulated by the articles to be done, and that probably such may fall within the government of Maryland, when the lines are run. If this is the case, his Lordship thinks it should not be so useful and necessary to name commissioners or to run the line intended by the articles, since every magistrate may, on the one hand, take upon them, thought no lines are run, to distinguish the bounds and each government protect them." (III Colonial Records 481)

The Council expressing their surprise that Lord Baltimore should, without taking the least notice of what the Governor had written to him, have thought fit to insist on the former demands in so peremptory a manner, came to the unanimous resolution that for the reasons contained in the said letter, his Lordship's demand is by no means to be complied with, and that the same should be signified to his Lordship in very plain terms. And they directed, among other things, the Governor to say, in his letter to Lord Baltimore, that the offense was cognizable in Pennsylvania, the place where it was done, and that his Lordship may be assured that this government shall have such a strict regard to do impartial justice between all its inhabitants, that John Lowe, if the case be as he represents it, on a proper application, may depend on being redressed in due course of law. That the demand of his Lordship was not a sufficient reason for delivering up a freeman of Pennsylvania to be tried in Maryland. That those persons were as independent of Maryland as were his of Pennsylvania, and though his principles and those of the greatest par of the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, allowed of no force, except that of the civil magistrates, yet, being protected by his Majesty's wisdom justice, we apprehend no danger from the different principles and superior strength of Maryland.

We have now come to a tragic incident, in these unfortunate disturbances, which had the effect of prolonging the unpleasant attitude of the rulers of the rival provinces toward each other, and after a continued voluminous and acrimonious correspondence, and after further disturbances, resulted in the arrest of Cresap and his being held for trial. According to a letter from Samuel Blunston to Thomas Penn, proprietary, on the 30th of January, 1734, on information that Cresap and several hands were to be at John Hendricks' to square logs for a house and build a float for the ferry, John Wright, with Sheriff Emerson and others, went over the river with intent to proceed against Cresap and his party for forcible entry. The workmen were arrested and committed to jail. An attempt was made to arrest Cresap at his house, and one of the sheriff's men was shot in the leg, from the effects of which wound he died. The unfortunate man who was shot was Knowles Daunt, and it appeared from the affidavits that he was killed by Cresap. Blunston wrote that they were extremely concerned at this rash and indiscreet procedure, not knowing what use might be made of it, for they heard that Cresap had set out for Maryland, and would doubtless give a relation far beyond the truth, and that it was possible the government of Maryland might write to our government about it. "Pray don't fail to let us hear from thee at our court, for we seem to be much at loss how to proceed against them we have taken, as well as what to say of the madness of the other." (I Archives 410)

A letter came from the government of Maryland, as was expected, and some extracts may not be uninteresting from the ensuing correspondence, bearing on the controversy. Governor Ogle, February 24, 1734: "It has always been my constant aim and view to prevent all disturbances as much as possible, having always hopes that the quiet and peaceable behaviour of our people, would, at least, induce those under your government to follow their example, and for this reason, notwithstanding the repeated violences committed against his Lordship's tenants on the borders, I have given them frequent orders not to offer the least injury to any person whatsoever, but when defending themselves against any unjust attack, which may be made upon them. What gives me the greatest concern is that these people were headed when they came over the river by two persons acting as magistrates under your commission, Mr. Wright and Mr. Smout. For now that things are come to that pass that magistrates, at the head of a parcel of desperate fellows, come out of one province and attack in the night time a magistrate in another, where blood is shed. Nobody can tell what dismal consequences may follow it, if not prevented in time. Therefore, I hope you will show that discountenance to your magistrates which may effectually discourage from committing the like offenses. I do assure you I have ordered Mr. Cresap, (by whose hand the death of the person is supposed to have happened) into the custody of the Sheriff of Baltimore County, that he may be forthcoming at the next assizes to be held for that county, on the first Tuesday of next April, in order for his trial, and I hope for the satisfaction of justice you will give official orders to compel any witnesses under your protection to be at the assizes for the discovery of truth. I am afraid we should but ill answer His Majesty's gracious approbation of us, if we neglect to take the most proper steps in laying before His Majesty the unsettled condition of our confines -- making application to our proprietors on this head, and pressing them to procure His Majesty's directions herein." (I Archives 414).

The Case of John Hendricks

Governor Gordon. March 8, 1734: "It is with a very deep concern that I observe complaints arising and multiplying, and that you seem to charge this province with a prevailing humor to rioting . . . . John Hendricks had for several years past, and I think for some years before any settlement was attempted in these parts by any parties from Maryland, been seated on the west side of the Susquehanna, about four or five miles higher up the river above those since made by Cresap and his associates, and had obtained a grant and survey for the land on which he now dwells, and where he has lived peaceably until Cresap took it into his head, with divers others, to enter upon the possession of Hendricks, and when they were desired to leave the place, and desist from their unlawful attempts, the owner of the lands was insulted and menaced by Cresap, and such as he thought fit from time to time to encourage in their proceedings. This occasioned complaint to our magistrates, who took care to have the best council and advice how to proceed. . . . Accordingly, the magistrates went over, and when they came to Hendricks' land, they found eight men at work, whom I am sorry you call his Lordship's tenants, felling and squaring his timber, and building a house within 100 yards of Hendricks' door. . . . I am really troubled to find you saying in your letter that I know that Cresap is one of your magistrates. I assure you, sir, that I did not. I know that he has generally been said to be. From our knowledge of him we have no reason to consider him other than an incendiary or public disturber of the peace of both governments, and the main cause and prompter of all late contentions that have happened between us, and indeed the first placing of him there has always appeared to us not easy to be accounted for. I cannot comprehend in what sense their (the magistrates) going out of one province into another is to be understood, for I never yet heard alleged that Susquehanna River was a boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Nothing can be more certain than that their boundary on the north of the one and south of the other, must be a due east and west line, ad therefore the opposite arts of the shore of that river must necessarily be both in the same prince.

"To my great trouble I am to observe that I received a melancholy letter from John Hendricks and Joshua Minshall, dated from the gaol at Annapolis, with copies signed by your Sheriff of their commitment by yourself and some members of your Council, dated the second day of last month, that is three days before the date of your letter, and in this commitment I fid the true allegations against them are for having disparaged his Lordship's title, that is, in other terms, as may well be supposed, that they asserted their right to their own settlement under Pennsylvania, about ten miles by our computation more northerly than Philadelphia, where neither his Lordship nor any for him then made, unless it be now done, any claim whatsoever. We have also heard of the manner of taking them, viz.: that the Sheriff of Baltimore County, with above twenty men, armed with guns, pistols, swords and cutlasses, traveled up thither to apprehend two men, who were quietly following their business on their plantations. 'Tis said also, that this is done by way of reprisal, and to intimidate, that is because our magistrates, in a most peaceable and legal manner, removed a forced and most unjust entry, you must make a prisoner of the man upon whom that force was committed, and over whom you can claim no manner of right.... There must be some certain known limits for the exercise of powers of government, without which his Majesty's subjects cannot possibly be secured in their persons or estates, such known limits as we always had till now within these two years, for the proprietors had by mutual agreement concluded an absolute determination of all disputes and differences on these heads, without any regard to which one Cresap has been authorized, or at least countenanced, with a pocket dial, as divers persons of credit have affirmed, to scatter and plant pieces of Maryland and his Lordship's tenants, as they are called, where he and they please, and the removal of these abuses, in a legal way, is called rioting. His Majesty's peaceable subjects are hurried off their rightful settlements into distant prisons to the danger of their health and lives, and now in the springtime, to the irreparable injury of their families, who depend for their bread on their labor and care. This further shows the absolute necessity of applying to his Majesty, without any delay. ... In the first place calling for a reparation of this last injury to Hendricks and Minshall, and that Cresap may be delivered to receive his trial in this province, in which he perpetrated the murder. I must earnestly beseech you that we may concert some certain, just and equitable measures for preserving peace between his Majesty's subjects in both governments." (I Archives 417)


Thomas Penn, proprietary, on the 14th of May, 1734, informed the Council that the business then to be considered by them related to some very unneighborly proceedings of the province of Maryland, in not only harassing some of the inhabitants of this province who live on the border, but likewise extending their claims much further than had heretofore been pretended to be Maryland, and carrying off several persons and imprisoning them. That some time since they carried off John Hendricks and Joshua Minshall from their settlements on Susquehanna, and still detain them in the jail at Annapolis. The proprietor said he intended to make use of the opportunity of Hamilton's going to Annapolis (Andrew Hamilton, Esq., who was to appear for the prisoners), to press the Lieutenant-Governor of Maryland to enter into such measures as should be most advisable for preventing such irregular proceedings for the future, and as he designed that his secretary, John Georges, should accompany Hamilton, he had drawn up instructions for them. Whereupon the Council desired that credentials be granted for the purpose mentioned. (III Colonial Records 542)

Hamilton and Georges made their visit to Maryland, and on their return made a full report to the proprietor. (III Colonial Records 547) Hamilton attended the Council, and made a narrative verbally of the proceedings had in the Provincial Court of Maryland against those who were carried off prisoners from this government, and the arguments he had advanced for obtaining their discharge. Hamilton and Georges reported that they arrived at Annapolis on the 20th of May about sunset. Soon after coming to their lodgings they went to speak with John Hendricks and Joshua Minshall in prison, but were not suffered to see them until the next morning, when, going again, they were after some time admitted to the speech of the prisoners, who gave an account of their uneasiness in a most unwholesome prison; as likewise the best account they could of the several charges alleged against them. They waited upon Gov. Ogle, and delivered him a letter form the Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania, and acquainted him that they were sent to concert proper measures for the peace and good neighborhood between the two governments, and to desire a discharge of four of our inhabitants who were imprisoned at Annapolis. To which he was pleased to answer that he was ready to cultivate any measures with the government of Pennsylvania which would answer that purpose; and at the same time took occasion to say that our inhabitants were imprisoned for much greater offenses than probably they were aware of. To which they answered that they had no other way of coming at the knowledge of the cause of their imprisonment, but by their several commitments, and by those, as they conceived, there seemed scarce a color for such proceedings as had been taken against them. They added, further, that supposing the offenses were really committed, and as great as his excellency was pleased to allege, yet the place where they were committed, as well as the place where the men were taken, was clearly beyond all the former claims of Maryland, and therefore it was their opinion the men were very hardly dealt by.

Gov. Ogle began to enumerate the many abuses the inhabitants of Maryland had suffered from those of Pennsylvania, and that since his accession to the government of Maryland, he had taken all possible care to be entirely on the defensive side, and was resolved to continue so, but at the same time he could not suffer Lord Baltimore's right to be so violently encroached upon, and his character so publicly affronted within his Lordship's own government. "For", added he, "we claim no bounds but what are given to his Lordship by the express words of his charter." However, he expressed his willingness to enter into any reasonable measures for preserving the peace; and to show his readiness, proposed their meeting him in council, the next day, about ten o'clock, at his own house, to which they readily agreed. And then he was pleased to invite them to din with him, which they did accordingly. They reduced to writing the heads of what they were to propose, and on the day appointed they met Gov. Ogle, and he said to them that he was to glad to find our government seemed at last agree to what he had long ago proposed in his letters to the Governor of Pennsylvania, to lay their unhappy misunderstandings before his Majesty, and in the meantime forebear making any encroachments upon one another, which he thought was the most likely way for preserving peace among the people; yet he fixed upon nothing certain by which the jurisdiction of the respective governments could be known. The Governor proposed that they ought to join without delay in representing to the King the unsettled state of the two provinces, and the necessity of his Majesty's interposition.

Hendricks and Minshall Arrested

They finding this method of treaty was not likely to produce ay certain conclusion, delivered to his Excellency a written representation, which set out the complaints on the part of Pennsylvania: That under the agreement of 1724 and that made in 1732, most careful provision was made for the ease and quiet of all his Majesty's subjects, whose estates or possessions should be affected by the same, and that the description of the southern boundaries of Pennsylvania might be very nearly discovered without new actual surveys, notwithstanding which two of his Majesty's subjects, to wit, John Hendricks and Joshua Minshall, inhabitants of Lancaster County, settled upon lands legally surveyed and patented to them under the proprietors of Pennsylvania, on the west side of the river Susquehanna, had been taken at their homes, which were at least eight miles to the northward of Philadelphia, and about twenty-three miles to the northward of the line agreed upon by the aforesaid articles to be the northern bounds of Maryland, which line runs near the mouth of Octorara Creek, to the northward of which Maryland has never exercised any jurisdiction, except over thirteen families, that is known to Pennsylvania, till within two or three years, about the time when an absolute boundary was agreed upon by the proprietors, though Pennsylvania has maintained its government as far southward as the mouth of the said creed for above these thirty years.

In the afternoon they endeavored to speak privately with Hendricks and Minshall and the two Rothwells, who were in prison. The jail was so noisome they could not go near it, but talking with them gentlemen of Maryland, they prevailed with the Sheriff to speak with them at his own house. They inquired particularly into the manner and cause of their commitment. They all gave the greatest assurances that they had never spoken any time of Lord Baltimore or his government that they could remember; that they never had any conversation with any one about Lord Baltimore or his government but upon their own plantations, and Hendricks and Minshall insisted that no person could swear any such thing against them, unless Cresap should be so wicked, who had threatened to ruin them. They applied themselves how they should get Hendricks and Minshall into court, who had been committed by the government and Council. They attempted to get a habeas corpus and consulted on the law Mr. Calder, who gave his opinion of the difficulties he apprehended they might meet with in the defense of the prisoners, which led them into thoughts of employing some other eminent gentleman of the law, who by his credit with the people and acquaintance with the practice of the court might be able to do the prisoners some service. But to their great disappointment they found them all engaged on the side of Lord Baltimore. At least there was none could be prevailed on against him. When their paper was presented, Gov. Ogle went on to enumerate all the differences that had happened upon the borders of the two governments since his coming to Maryland. He alluded to the affair of Patterson and Lowe, and the great abuses he said had been committed in manifest contempt of Lord Baltimore's government upon Cresap. All these he aggravated in such manner as if he had been speaking to men who had never heard of them before. They thought it necessary to show that they were no strangers to these facts, and were not to be imposed upon by such a representation, and answered him as had been represented by Gov. Gordon.

Gov. Ogle declared that Hendricks and Minshall were under prosecution in the Provincial Court, which was then sitting, and that he would not interpose but let the law take its course. So they parted that day, after which time Gov. Ogle troubled himself no more about the formality of a Council. The Governor delivered to them an answer in writing to their representations, in which he desired them immediately to join with him in an application to his most gracious Majesty. In considering this paper they were not satisfied that it was proper for them to agree to join in such representation, but rather that the proprietors themselves or their lieutenant-governor should do so, and they concluded upon a paper which they delivered Gov. Ogle at his own house on the 24th of May. The Governor received them without any form and with civility, as if nothing had passed the day before, and promised them an answer by the next morning. In this paper they said they were now ready to agree upon any bounds that should be judged reasonable for limiting the present jurisdiction of the two governments without prejudice to the rights of the proprietor thereof, and that proclamation should be issued to forbid all persons with the respective governments form making any new settlements near the borders under the severest penalties. And that they were ready further to agree to remove any new settlements that had been made upon such bounds as should be agreed upon, lest the same may disturb the quiet of their governments, until the boundaries be actually settled between the proprietors themselves or until his Majesty's pleasure be know therein., And as they were well assured that a representation to his Majesty would be most agreeable to their government, they did not in the least doubt that their proprietors, or their Lieutenant-Governor, would readily join with the Right Honorable, the Lord Proprietor of Maryland, or himself, in such as one as may best conduce to put an end to the misunderstandings which have arisen between the governments by reason of the present uncertainty of the respective boundaries. To this Gov. Ogle answered that he had believed that they were invested with a sufficient power to agree to ay reasonable proposals for accommodating the present disputes, and preventing any of a like kind for the future, and upon that hope had offered the particular methods mentioned in his letter of the 23d inst. as very reasonable and the most proper for those desirable ends. But since he perceived by their paper that they thought themselves not sufficiently authorized to join with him in his just and reasonable propositions, he hoped that on their return they would receive more ample powers for their agreement with him.

Hamilton and Georges then said, in their report, that they saw from their first waiting on Gov. Ogle, they had no reason to expect any success in the business they were sent to prosecute, and that they saw plainly by his last paper that Gov. Ogle was resolved to avoid doing everything that might prevent any further differences upon the boundaries, and observing the ill use that he made of their saying that their proprietors or lieutenant-governor would readily join in a representation to his Majesty, and that he had construed those words into their thinking themselves not sufficiently qualified to join with him in what he calls his just and reasonable propositions; in order to remove that objection, they drew up a paper and delivered the same to him on the 27th of May, which would have been delivered sooner but they were obliged to give their attendance at court when the case of the prisoners was under consideration. That paper said they were ready on the part of Pennsylvania, at the same time that they agree upon some reasonable boundaries for limiting the jurisdiction of the two governments, to join with his Excellency in a just representation to his Majesty of the uncertainty of the present boundaries between the two governments, occasioned by not executing the articles of agreement solemnly entered into and concluded between the Right Honorable, the Lord Proprietor of Maryland, and the Honorable the Proprietor of Pennsylvania, in May 1732, and to pray his Majesty that he would be graciously pleased to interpose and enjoin the execution of the said agreement according to the true intent and meaning thereof, in such manner as his Majesty should please to direct. After this they heard no more from Gov. Ogle, though they stayed till the 30th of the month.

In the meantime they made the most pressing instances to the Provincial Court to have our people discharged. But that could not be granted lest it should be understood as giving up his Lordship's right to the lands in question, as appears by the minutes of these men's case taken at the hearing. Though being denied any relief for the prisoners by the Provincial Court, and Gov. Ogle having taken no notice of what they said or proposed in their paper of the 27th, they thought a longer stay could be of no purpose and thereupon they resolved to represent Gov. Ogle a just reason our government had to complain of the unreasonable proceedings of Maryland, and the absolute necessity they were under to take proper measures for the protection of his Majesty's subjects under the government of Pennsylvania, and accordingly on the 30th of the month they drew up a memorial. But the Governor, Ogle, being said to be indisposed that day, they waited on him the next morning and delivered it to him, which he received, and, without reading it, desired his compliments might be made to Mr. Gordon and to those that he knew at Philadelphia, and weighed them a safe return. In this memorial they enumerated the refusal of the court to discharge the prisoners and that they had used all means in their power to be in some measure relieved from those injuries and violences done to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, and to procure the concurrence of the government of Maryland in measures to preserve the peace. It was therefore hoped that none who entertain any just notions of the rights of mankind will blame the government of Pennsylvania, if they take proper measures for protecting his Majesty's subjects under their jurisdiction, form the outrages frequently committed upon them by the people of Maryland, and by dutiful representation of their great patience under those public abuses imploring his Majesty's most gracious interposition, and for the meantime should the government of Pennsylvania, whose principles are well known to be against all force, and who next to his Majesty's protection have no means to defend themselves but the authority of the several magistrates, to be laid under a necessity for their own safety to avoid what may be deemed unneighborly or to give trouble or uneasiness to his Majesty's subjects, pretending themselves to be under the government of Maryland. "We do declare that it will be entirely to your Excellency's not joining with us in some reasonable and equitable measures for preserving the peace amongst his Majesty's subjects inhabiting near the boundaries of the two governments, and the unreasonable confinement and prosecution of our inhabitants who were without all question taken by your officers within our government of Pennsylvania, and for that reason had they really been guilty of any offense ought to have been discharged."

Gov. Ogle, May 30, 1734: "It is to be wished there had never been distinction made in your provinces between the power you have as Governor in other respects, and that in affairs relating to your land office. For the managers of that office not being restrained by the Governor, they themselves had liberty to make what encroachments they pleased, from which alone, I will venture to say, all the riots and disturbances have arisen amongst the borderers of the two provinces. I had the most sensible pleasure when I received your letter of the 14th of this month, wherein you require me to receive Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Georges, as duly authorized on behalf of your government to concert with us such measures as might effectually secure peace till such time as the division lines shall be run, and our boundaries indisputably fixed, the ultimate and only certain means of putting and end to all these most disagreeable contentions, or at least till such a time as his Majesty's pleasure is known therein, but to my great surprise I found these two gentlemen so far from agreeing to any settlement whatever for preserving peace upon the border till such time as the division lines be run and his Majesty's pleasure known therein, nothing would content them but the actual running of them directly contrary to the very purport of your letter, and to our duty as Governors, which obliges us to join heartily and sincerely in preserving peace in the meantime that the dispute as to our lines is laid before his Majesty, from whose known wisdom and justice we have all the reason the world to expect a just and equitable determination. As to that humble and dutiful application, I proposed to be made to His Majesty to bring all our disputes to a speedy hearing, their behavior was so extraordinary, that I shall not take it upon me to set it forth in any words of my own but refer you to their own papers for information." (Archives 434)

On the 17th of August, 1734, the House of Representatives made a representation to Gov. Gordon that they had been cruelly disappointed in reasonable hopes that all disputes about the bounds of the provinces of Pennsylvania and Maryland were at an end. They hoped that people who had settled and improved lands under the grants of the proprietor of Pennsylvania and within the constant reputed bounds of this province, and who have never owned any other authority but the government of Pennsylvania, ought to be protected in the possession of their freeholds until it shall appear by some legal decision or determination by some other authority, and as this province knows no other force but the lawful power of the civil magistrate, they requested that the Governor would be pleased to give directions to the Magistrates and other officers of the government that will exert themselves in the protection of the people of this province by a diligent execution of the laws against riots and tumults and for the preservation of the peace within their respective jurisdictions. This was accordingly done by the Governor. (I Archives 566)

During the year 1735 there were many outrages perpetrated under the lead of Cresap, who had been commissioned a Justice of the Peace for Baltimore County, and made a captain of the Maryland militia. On the 1st of July, 1735, he, with men, women and boys, advanced, and with drums beating, invaded the premises of John Wright, one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, and although Cresap declared his intention to be to fight Pennsylvanians who had come over the river, Wright as a Justice commanded them to keep the peace at their peril, and that he would proceed upon his lawful business unless prevented by force, and by his firmness deterred them form proceeding to hostilities. The deposition of John Wright to the foregoing facts was taken in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, on the 24th of September, 1735, Daniel Dulaney, Esq., Attorney-General of Maryland, being present. Dulaney asked whether Thomas Cresap and his people did not assist Wright in carrying off his grain, to which he answered that Cresap, with those who were armed, being gone out of the field, the persons to whom the wagons belonged offered readily to assist in carrying it to the side of the river, since they said they were disappointed in carrying it where it was first intended. (I Archives, 465 - 70) On the same occasion there was taken before the Supreme Court, a deposition to the following facts: That on the 23rd of September, a party of Marylanders had set upon Robert Buchanan, Sheriff of Lancaster County, and rescued some debtors under arrest, beat him and took him prisoner. This was brought before the council who expressed their resentment, and a demand was made on the Governor of Maryland to set him at liberty, a reward was offered and a warrant issued for the arrest of the rioters. (III Colonial Records 612-14)

Another aggression was an attempt to survey lands, by one Franklin, along the river side, on the 6th of May, 1736. He took a course up the river with an instrument, and there were men carrying a chain. Cresap accompanied them with twenty men armed. Robert Barber, a Quaker, who was at the house of John Wright, demanded by what authority the land was surveyed, and was answered by that of Lord Baltimore. Barber said that the land had long ago been surveyed and returned to the land office at Philadelphia. Cresap said he had orders from Gov. Ogle in person to raise the militia and guard the surveyor from Pennsylvanians. Franklin said, "My business is to follow the orders of the Governor of Maryland, to survey all the lands from the Susquehanna to the Codorus." (I Archives 489)

The affidavits of several Germans show the wrongs to which they were subjected by reason of these surveys. Baltzer Spangler, in the beginning of the year 1733, by virtue of a grant from the proprietaries of Pennsylvania, built a house on a tract of land lying on Codorus Creek about twelve miles westward from John Hendricks. He refused to have his land surveyed by Cresap, who pretended to have an order from the Governor of Maryland. But Cresap surveyed it to one John Keller, who came and settled thereon. Afterward the Governor of Maryland and the surveyor of Baltimore County told Spangler, in the hearing of many people, that Cresap had no authority to survey lands, yet he was deprived of his land and improvements. Frederick Ebert removed from the east side of the river, ad took up a tract of land near Codorus Creek, cleared and improved it and sowed a field of wheat with intent to build a house and settle thereon. In May, 1736, the surveyor Franklin, with Cresap and others, came and surveyed the land to one Ffelty Shultz, and threw down the fence and destroyed the corn, and deprived Ebert of his settlement. Michael Tanner, by virtue of a proprietary grant, dated September 17, 1734, settled on a tract of 200 acres of lands, six miles southwesterly from John Hendricks, and built and improved upon the same. Thomas Cresap, pretending to have an order from the Governor of Maryland, came into the neighborhood and surveyed upward of forty tracts of land for Germans living i those parts. Tanner refused to have his land surveyed by Cresap, who thereupon conveyed the land, with buildings and improvements, to Daniel Lowe, who, with his family, came and dwelt in the house, although about the month of September, 1735, the Governor of Maryland and the Surveyor-General told Tanner that Cresap had no authority to survey lands. (Archives, 522-5) Many Germans, however, were induced to accept of the Maryland warrants and surveys, but not finding things as agreeable as they anticipated under the new proprietary, they revolted and acknowledged allegiance to Pennsylvania.

The Revolt of the Germans

At a meeting of the Provincial Council held at Philadelphia, August 24, 1736, the President, James Logan, acquainted the Board that he had been informed by Samuel Blunston that the German people who, with others had gone over from this side of the Susquehanna River to the west of it, had been prevailed on by some agents from Maryland to acknowledge the authority of that province, and had through a consciousness of their mistake, voluntarily and unanimously signified to him and other magistrates of that county, their fixed resolution of returning to their obedience to this government, and acknowledging its just jurisdiction in those parts where they are settled, for that they were become truly sensible they of right belonged to Pennsylvania. Blunston related that immediately after the County Court at Lancaster, which was held the first week of the month, some of the most principal note amongst those Germans came over to him and told him that the whole body of the people, except Cresap, and his relations, who were but three or four men, were come to an unanimous resolution of acknowledging their obedience to this government, and returning to their true proprietors. He advised them to act openly and above board, and that if they were thus resolved, they should directly and in plain terms make it known to the government of Maryland with their reasons for their proceedings; that thereupon a letter was prepared for that purpose, which was signed by about sixty hands and dispatched to an officer in Baltimore County to be forwarded to the Governor of Maryland. At the desire of those Germans, the magistrates of Lancaster had two constables amongst them for the better preservation of the peace. The four men who adhered to Cresap seized Charles Jones, one of the constables, and were hurrying him away with an intention to carry him off, but, being warmly pursued, they fled and left him. It was given out that the Sheriff of Baltimore County was to be up with a men on Monday (the 23rd), and that the Sheriff of Lancaster had apprised him of some other motions on the west of the Susquehanna, and was taking horse to meet him to concert proper measures on the occasion. The Council were of the opinion that those people becoming sensible of their past mistake, in being induced to own the authority of Maryland over those parts which lie so very far, viz.: about twenty miles to the northward of the limits of this province, ought to be taken notice of, and on their making proper submissions should be again received. On September 7, 1736, a letter was laid before the Board from the Lieutenant-Governor of Maryland in regard to this revolt. (IV Colonial Records 58)

Gov. Ogle: "The trouble is occasioned by the inclosed, the original whereof came to my hands a few days ago, subscribed with the names of fifty or sixty persons, who some years since importuned me for the grant of lands under the authority and government of the lord proprietary of Maryland. They were so successful in their applications that I directed and empowered them to settle and improve the lands under the government of this province, and which they have from that time held and enjoyed subject to his Lordship's dominion and authority. But now they seem to think fit and resolve, by a most extraordinary kind of illegal combination or association, to disown their obedience to the government from whom they received their possessions, and to transfer it to the government of Pennsylvania. Whatever reasons I may have to be assured of this proceeding taking its rise and accomplishment from the encouragement and prevalency of some magistrates of your government, and others pretending to act under the countenance and authority thereof, yet I must own my unwillingness to believe those who have the honor of the administration of the government of Pennsylvania, would permit or support a behaviour so contrary to all good order and rule of the English Constitution, as must necessarily involve the subjects of his Majesty in struggles and contentions, inconsistent with that peace and happiness his Majesty so gloriously endeavors to maintain and preserve amongst others, as well as his subjects." (IV Colonial Records 60)

The paper transmitted with this letter is as follows: "Sir: The oppression and ill usage we have met with from the government of Maryland, or at least from such persons who have been impowered thereby and their proceedings connived at, has been a treat (as we are well informed) very different from that which the tenants of your government have generally met with, which, with many other cogent reasons, give us good cause to conclude the Governor and magistrates of that province do not themselves believe us to be settled within the real bounds of his Lordship's dominions, but we have been seduced and made use of, first by fair promises and afterward by threats and punishments, to answer purposes which are at present unjustifiable and will, if pursued, tend to our utter ruin. We, therefore, the subscribers, with many others, our neighbors, being become at last truly sensible of the wrong we have done the proprietors of Pennsylvania in settling on their lands without paying obedience to their government, do resolve to return to our duty, and live under the laws and government of Pennsylvania, in which province we believe ourselves seated. To this we unanimously resolve to adhere, till the contrary shall be determined by a legal decision of the disputed bounds, and our honest and just intentions we desire may be communicated to the Governor of Maryland, or whom else it may concern. Signed with our hands this eleventh day of August, Anno Domini, 1736."

The Invasion of the Three Hundred

There was read at the meeting of the Council on the 7th of September, the examination of Francis Kipps, of Maryland, master of a sloop then lying in Susquehanna River, taken September 4, 1736. That on Thursday last, the 2d instant, in the evening, being in Baltimore County, he saw Col. Hall, a gentleman of that county; at the head of a considerable umber of men on horseback armed with guns, marching toward the upper part of the said county, that passing to Col. Hall, he asked him familiarly if he was going to fight, to which Hall answered he was going on peaceable terms. That crossing Susquehanna, near the Northeast Iron Works, he came the same evening into Cecil County, where he understood by common report that the march of these men, under Col. Hall, was to give possession to one Cresap of a plantation of one Wright; that if the same could not be done peaceably they were to use force. That he heard the militia of Cecil County were summoned to meet together. On the 8th of September, the Governor laid before the Board a letter, written by the direction of Samuel Blunston, giving the following account:

That after the Sheriff of Lancaster, and some people with him, were gathered together on the report that an armed force from Maryland was coming up into those parts, had waited some time and were dispersed, the Sheriff of Baltimore County, with upward of 200 men, under the command of several military officers, arrived on Saturday night last, the 4th of this month, at Thomas Cresap's, and on Sunday, about noon, came in arms on horseback, with beat of drum and sound of trumpet, to the plantation of John Hendricks. The Sheriff of Baltimore, and several of those officers went that afternoon to the house of John Wright, Jr., now the site of Wrightsville, where about thirty inhabitants of Lancaster were assembled, and demanded the Germans, of whom some were then in that house. The Sheriff of Lancaster had sent a written message desiring to know the reason of their coming in that hostile manner to threaten the peace of the province, to which they had returned answer that they were not come to disturb the peace of the province of Pennsylvania but to suppress riots, and keep the peace of Baltimore County. Justice Guest, one of the number from Maryland, appointed 10 o'clock next day to speak with some of our people, but about 5 o'clock on Sunday evening, the multitude from Maryland left Hendricks with great precipitation, and returned to Cresap's. On Monday the Sheriff of Lancaster sent another message in writing, requiring them to peaceably depart, and offering, if any of them would meet the magistrates of the county with some other persons, who were on this occasion assembled with him, and endeavor amicably to settle the unhappy differences at present subsisting, that they should be received civilly. To this message the Sheriff of Lancaster had returned to him a threatening and insolent answer. Soon after this one John Wilkins, an inhabitant of Lancaster County, who had gone down toward Cresap's, was taken prisoner on pretense of having been in a former riot, and sent under a guard to Maryland. The magistrates of Lancaster sent a letter to reclaim, him, but they refused to receive the letter. It was reported that the Governor of Maryland was waiting in Baltimore County, and was expected up in those parts, on Susquehanna, with considerable more force. The Sheriff of Lancaster had got about 150 people together at John Wright's, Jr., where they had continued since Sunday evening. No hostilities had been yet committed, except in taking Wilkins; but the Marylanders had sent word to our people to take care of their buffs. The inhabitants, though unprovided with arms and ammunition, yet endeavored to defend themselves and such of his Majesty's peaceable subjects as fled from their houses to them for refuge. (IV Colonial Records 63)

Benjamin Chambers deposed that some time in the month of September, 1736, preparations were making by training and mustering the militia of Baltimore County, Md., in order for their marching into Lancaster County to dispossess of their settlements sundry families. Benjamin Chambers was the founder of Chambersburg, then being twenty-three years of age. These depositions were taken under the authority of the Provincial Council, and were transmitted to the agent of the province in London, in support to the petition to his Majesty. He was employed by the magistrates to go ito Baltimore to discover what was intended by the extraordinary motion of their troops. When he came to the borders of Maryland, he was informed that the place of their muster was near the plantation of Col. Nathaniel Rigby, at the upper part of Baltimore County, and repaired thither. He was taken into custody and kept during the time of the muster, and held twelve hours, in which he observed a general discontent among the common soldiers. Col. Rigby called for the muster roll, and upbraided the men with want of duty to the Governor's orders, and thereupon picked off a number of them out of his company, and commanded them, on the penalty of £50, to meet at the same place next Friday with arms and twenty charges of powder and balls each man, to march up Susquehanna River to a place called Conejohela, where East Prospect borough now stands. Col. Rigby said it was very strange that a Quaker government should offer to resist or oppose Lord Baltimore, for that his Lordship's province of Maryland extended six miles higher or more northward than the plantation of John Hendricks, which lies on the west side of the said river, where on the Sunday following he saw the several troops or companies which came up from Maryland, with drums beating and trumpets sounding, were mustering or exercising in the field of the same plantation, from whence, upon the appearance of some men in flats coming over the river from the other side, the troops returned to Thomas Cresap's. (I Archives 519)

Robert Baker, one of the people called Quakers, affirmed on the 11th of September, that on Sunday last several of the inhabitants of the province of Maryland, to the number of about 300, all armed in a hostile manner, under the command of several officers of the militia of Maryland, with beat of drum and sound of trumpet, marched up to the house of John Hendricks. (This house was a short distance west of the site of Wrightsville.) Some of the magistrates of the county of Lancaster, being at the house of John Wright, Jr., a small distance from the said Hendricks' house, demanded of Col. Edward Hall, who was said to be the commanding officer, the reason of his and the said company's coming up there in so hostile a manner. Cool. Hall told the magistrates that they had no orders to treat with any of the magistrates of Lancaster County; that it was by the Governor Maryland's order they came up there, and that thirteen companies of militia of Maryland were mustered, and that twenty men with officers were taken out of each company, and he refused to give any further account. That several of the inhabitants came to the magistrates very much terrified and complained that some of the aforesaid company of armed men had forcibly broken into their houses and threatened to burn them, and took from them several pieces of linen.

John Ross deposed that he was dispatched with a written message to the Sheriff of Baltimore County, who was said to have come up with the militia, to know the meaning of this extraordinary procedure of the people of Maryland, and setting forward, with James Patterson for his guide, he met, within a mile and a half of Wright's house, a body of men on horseback to the number of about 300, armed with guns, cutlasses, and some with pistols, marching with beat of drum and sound of trumpet. He saw several persons, who were called officers of this militia, or commanders, whose names he afterward learned were Edward Hall and Nathaniel Rigby, called Colonels, and Peca and Guest, called Captains. William Hammond, Sheriff of Baltimore County, was with them. He delivered his message to Col. Rigby, who appeared to be the principal person; Rigby told him they were marching forward to the house of John Wright. Thomas Cresap, who was with the militia, seized Patterson, telling the Sheriff of Baltimore that he was a £50 chap, and bid the sheriff look in the proclamation and he would find Patterson's name there. The militia, marching on with beat of drum and sound of trumpet in a war-like manner, came to the plantation of John Hendricks, and sent a message in writing to the Sheriff of Lancaster. Some of the militia officers came to Wright's house and desired to speak with some Germans, Michael Tanner and Peter Gardner. But these people, declaring their apprehensions that the Marylanders were come to carry them away, because they would not acknowledge the jurisdiction of Maryland in those parts where they were settled, the officers were told they could not see them. But the Germans sent a message to them in writing. Ross went to the house of Hendricks after the militia was come there, and saw several of them with their swords drawn at the door of the house.

Toward evening a considerable number of people, of Lancaster County, came over the river in three flats, whereupon the militia of Maryland beat their drum, and, as he believed, intended to stand to their arms, for they marched toward the river in a body, but after firing a blunderbuss, they thought fit to retreat to the house of Thomas Cresap. The Sheriff and Col. Rigby refused to meet the magistrates of Lancaster in conference. Ross saw several of the militia cutting bars of lead and making bullets, and, enquiring what use they intended for them, he was told they were to shoot Pennsylvanians. The militia of Maryland marched about noon to the houses of Joshua Minshall, Mark Evans, and Bernard Weymont. One of the militia found means to decoy one John Wilkins, an inhabitant of Lancaster County, who was seized and carried to Cresap's, from whence they sent him, bound, under a guard, to Maryland. It was pretended Wilkins was one of those for whom a reward was offered by proclamation. The people of Lancaster County, who were met at Wright's house, being grown numerous, and resolving to stand upon their defense, the militia of Maryland did not think fit to attack them, but separated into two bodies, one of which went with the sheriff to the houses of some Germans, where they took some linen and pewter on pretense of public dues owing to the government of Maryland. The other body went toward Maryland. (I Archives 525)

Daniel Southerland deposed that he was at the house of Thomas Cresap, when the 300 men who came up from Maryland were there. That the men who were called the soldiers blamed Cresap very much for the disturbances that had happened in those parts, and they did not think they were obliged to go fight with the people of Pennsylvania in Cresap's behalf. To which Cresap swore, and said that they were only afraid of their mothers' calf skins, and that it was Lord Baltimore's right he was maintaining, and he disregarded all of them, for he had the Governor Maryland's orders for what he did. Cresap called Col. Hall, who commanded the 300 militia from Maryland, a coward for not suffering him to fire with a blunderbuss upon the people of Pennsylvania, who were coming over the river in a flat toward the Marylanders, who were in arms. He affirmed that Lord Baltimore would soon be over in Maryland, and then he would drive all the Pennsylvanians to the devil, and the court in Philadelphia would be called in Lord Baltimore's name.

The invasion of the 300 of the Maryland militia is a remarkable incident of the border troubles. It was made after considerable preparation., William Hammond, the sheriff of Baltimore County, declared "that the people of Baltimore County are not come to disturb the peace of the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, but to assist and support me in preserving his Lordship's peace, and our fellow tenants, his Majesty's subjects, in their possessions." Yet, before leaving, they despoiled the houses of the Germans on pretense of public dues. They also threatened to burn them. Michael Tanner talked with them, and they promised, if the Germans would return, a remission of their taxes till they were grown better able to pay, and that they should be better used for the future. Tanner was to give an answer for his countrymen in two weeks, "but at the end thereof, it was threatened, if they did not comply, the Governor would come up with a greater number of armed men, turn them out of doors, and bring up others with them, such as would be true to him, whom he would put into their possessions." (IV Colonial Records 69)

In the course of the proceedings there was an answer of the Germans to the Governor of Maryland, in which, among other things, it is said: "that being greatly oppressed in their native country, principally on account of their religion, they resolved, as many others had done before, to fly from it. That, hearing much of the justice and mildness of the government of Pennsylvania, they embarked in Holland for Philadelphia, where, on their arrival, they swore allegiance to King George, and fidelity to the proprietors of Pennsylvania, and their government. That, repairing to the great body of their countrymen settled in the county of Lancaster, on the east side of the Susquehanna, hey found the lands there generally taken up and possessed, and therefore some of them, by licenses from the proprietors of Pennsylvania, went over that river, and settled there under their authority, and others, according to a common practice then obtaining, sat down with a resolution to comply as others should with the terms of the government when called on, but they had not been long there till some pretending authority from the government of Maryland, insisted on it, that the country was in that province, and partly threats of actual force, and partly by very large promises, they had been led to submit to the commands of that government. That first one Morris Roberts, pretending to be a deputy surveyor under Maryland, came and run out lands for them, after which Cresap told them those surveys were not valid, but that he had authority to lay them out; then one Franklin (who took pay of them, but it proved all a sham, for he understood nothing of the surveyor's art.) Yet, notwithstanding all these impositions, they had neither grant nor warrant, nor would any of those surveyors, real or pretended, give them one line of a certificate, plot or draught, nor had they anything whatever to claim by, and as any of those who came to survey were obliged or otherwise they, at their own will and pleasure, turned the possessors off and put others in their place. . . . Now, this being our case, that on the one hand we are persuaded in our consciences we are clearly within the Province of Pennsylvania, and therefore cannot but expect to lose our possessions and improvements, if we now pretend to hold them under the Lord Baltimore, and, on the other hand, from the military force lately sent against us from Maryland, we are threatened to be treated by that government like rebels and enemies to our Gracious Sovereign, King George, to whom we have sworn allegiance, if we do not, against those manifest convictions of our consciences disown the right of the proprietors of Pennsylvania to what we truly believe belongs to them, and resist the authority of that government, which, were we resolved to do, yet we should not be able. We offer it to the Governor's consideration whether the treating of a parcel of conscientious, industrious, and peaceable people, like rebels, for other reason than because we cannot own a jurisdiction within the limits of which we very well know we cannot, where we now are, possibly be seated, and because we are convinced of the mistakes we had been fully led into by the false assertions of persons of no credit." (I Archives 492)

Petition of the Germans

A petition, signed by forty-eight Germans, was transmitted to the President and Council at Philadelphia, asking that their errors in settling under the government of Maryland be imputed to want of better information, and praying to be received under the protection of our laws and government, whereupon the Board unanimously declared that those German people be received under the protection of this government, and encouraged in their fidelity to it by all proper and prudent measures. And on the 17th of September, 1736, they issued a proclamation setting forth the late invasion from Maryland, in violation of his Majesty's peace, and just rights of the proprietors and people of this province, to the great terror of the inhabitants, and directing the sheriffs of the respective counties of the province, and particularly of Lancaster, where these late commotions had happened, to hold themselves in readiness with the posse of their respective counties for the preservation of his Majesty's peace and the defense of the just rights and possessions of his subjects with the same. (I Archives 71)

The following paper was also presented:

Whereas, we, the subscribers, are informed it has been asserted that the late resolutions of the Dutch inhabitants on the west side of Susquehanna River, to put themselves under the protection of the government of Pennsylvania and submit to the laws thereof, was occasioned by the prevalency and influence of the magistrates of Lancaster County, Do voluntarily and solemnly declare that we were chosen and appointed by the aforesaid Dutch inhabitants on the west side of Susquehanna River, opposite to Hempfield, to apply in our own and their behalf to the magistrates of the said county, that we might be received as subjects of this government, as we believed in our consciences it was our duty; and we do further solemnly declare and affirm that this association and return was made of theirs and our own mere notion and free will, without any previous persuasion, threatening or compulsion from the magistrates of the said county, or any other person in their behalf, so far as we know; and that the letter signed by the inhabitants aforesaid to be communicated to the Governor of Maryland, was written at their own request and according to the instructions give.

Subscribed the 13th day of Sept., 1736.

Henry Hendricks,

Michael Tanner

In the letter from President Logan, of Pennsylvania, written by direction of the Council, September 18, 1736, to Governor Ogle, it is said: "And first we must observe you are pleased to say, these people importuned you for the grant of lands, under the authority and government of the Lord Proprietor of Maryland, but the success you mention they were favored with consisted, not, it seems, from your words, in any grant of lands, but in your directions only that they should settle and improve the lands under the government of that province, so that all they obtained by this was that they should acknowledge the jurisdiction of Maryland over lands on which we find divers of them had entered by authority of the Land Office of Pennsylvania, and as subject to its government, paid their levies to the county of Lancaster, wherein they had been seated, and to which it is impossible Lord Baltimore either can or every could justly pretend ay manner of right. The real merit, therefore, of this it seems, consists in putting them on transferring their obedience from their rightful landlord to another, to whom they stood in no relation. That we might be the better able to answer your letter we have waited not only till we could hear of the event of the military expedition of your forces of about 300 men in arms, sent up, 'tis said, against those people, and for some unjustifiable purposes, but also that we might with more certainty be informed from whence these settlers were, and how and when their settlements had been made. On the last of these we find that they are generally of those Palatines, who a very few years since transported themselves from Holland to Philadelphia, and made themselves subjects to his Majesty, King George II, under this government; and 'tis affirmed, they were so far from importuning you for any grant of lands that they were, by very indirect practices of some emissaries or agents, pretending authority from Maryland, seduced from their duty, and imposed on to believe they were situated within the limits of the Lord Baltimore's jurisdiction, but what applications such persons might make in their names we know not. . . . Your proceeding, in sending up such an armed force on this occasion and their invading the possession of others, where you never had the least pretense of claim, either in law or equity, must indeed prove astonishing to every man who hears of it, and has any just notion of the English laws, and the privileges of an English subject; but as we shall not here enter into any expostulation on that head (tho' we might properly ask where five or six men going without any manner of arms, or so much as a stick, in their hands, into Maryland, to try their challengers' prowess at boxing, was twice in a certain letter called levying war, what terms you would think fit to bestow on this march of such numbers so accoutered?) We think it incumbent on us to acquaint you, that as we are assured the government of Pennsylvania is vested with equal like powers with that of Maryland, though it has hitherto with great patience waited for the decision of the grand dispute in Britain, which it is manifest your Lord Proprietor endeavors to delay, yet now, on so flagrant an insult as this last step of yours, we can not but think ourselves obliged to put his Majesty's subjects under our care, on measures to prevent the like invasions for the future. For this province, especially those parts, are filled with people of more spirit than to brook such treatment, and if any mischief ensues on their opposition to your attacks, you cannot but well know who must be accountable for it. But further, while all these contentions are owing solely to your own projections to carry your Lord Proprietor's pretensions into lads that not only never had been in possession , but cannot possibly fall within Maryland, for which, for ending all disputes, he had in the most solemn manner renounced all claim to, and to set these pretensions first on foot at a time when the execution of the agreement was i agitation, and to continue them while the whole affair is under the cognizance of that high court, the Chancery of Great Britain, these we say, carry with them such accumulated aggravations and are so far from admitting the possibility of a justification by color or varnish of words whatever, that none but your enemies can be pleased with such conduct." (IV Colonial Records 78)


The difficulties concerning the boundary lines between Maryland and Pennsylvania began when the first settlements were made. They originated in Chester and Lancaster counties and the bordering counties of Maryland, as early as 1720. What was known as the "Chester County Plot" originated with adherents of the Governor of Maryland in Chester county. It was their purpose to drive the early settlers on Springettsbury Manor away from their habitations which they had built on the valuable lands of Kreutz creek and Conodochly valleys, then known as Grist valley and Conodochly valley.

At a meeting of the Provincial Council, held at Philadelphia, on the 23rd of November, 1736, "the president acquainted the board, that a discovery had lately been made of an association or engagement entered into by several persons living in or about New Garden, in the county of Chester, who, having received some encouragement from the Governor of Maryland and others in authority there, had undertaken to oust by force of arms those German families settled on the west side of the Susquehanna within this Province, against whom the late hostile preparations of Maryland were intended, and to possess themselves of their plantations, which they proposed to draw lots for, and, acknowledging to hold them in right of the proprietary of Maryland, they were to defend those possessions against this government. For this end arms and ammunition were provided and lodged at the house of one Rigby, in Baltimore County, and everything was in readiness for carrying their design into execution. On making this discovery, a warrant was issued, by one of the provincial judges, for apprehending several persons concerned in this unlawful association, particularly Henry Munday, who from the information given, appeared to be one of the principal persons in conducting it, and such care and diligence had been used in executing said warrant, that Munday was taken at his house that very day, when he expected a rendezvous of the party, and had sundry papers relating to the conspiracy lying before him, and several letters to persons in Maryland on this subject, just finished and ready to be forwarded, all of which were, with himself, secured." Edward Leet, another of the persons embarked with him in this design, was likewise apprehended, but Charles Higginbotham, a principal person in it, had escaped.

Among the papers found with Munday, was an application signed by thirty-one persons, stating that "being informed that there is some vacant land and plantations near Susquehanna River, that were settled by some German families, and that the said lands were by them located by warrants issuing from the land office in the Province of Maryland, as of the right and property of Lord Baltimore; and that since the German families have disclaimed the right and property of Lord Baltimore and hath taken umbrage under the heirs of Penn; that we are informed that the absolute fee and right to said land is within the limits and bounds of Lord Baltimore's patent or charter; that the Lord's chief agent hat and doth give encouragement for the resettling the said vacant plantations and land. We therefore, pray and request, that you will in our behalf and stead intercede with the Governor and agent to settle us in such vacant land or plantations, and we shall all be willing to pay such fee or rent charge as his Lordship usually demands, and we shall with out lives and fortunes defend the same, and be subject to the laws of his province, and defend his right, for which service, Sir, we shall be all your very much obliged."

There was a list of names of several persons ranged in three columns, with the following certificate signed by Governor Ogle, of Maryland: "Whereas application hath been made to me by Henry Munday, Edward Leet and Charles Higginbotham, and forty-nine persons by them mentioned, I have given instructions to Thomas White, deputy surveyor, to lay out, and in the names of the said persons, two hundred acres for each person."

There was a paper signed by Munday addressed to Messrs. Betties in these words: "November the 14th, 1736. If instructions can be sent to Captain Cresap to return some of the names of the vacant plantations reserving eleven of the best, which is the number of the third column, then every person that appears to draw hath his equal chance."

"Captain Cresap sent for the parties to come to draw the lots by next Saturday."

Henry Munday, when he was arrested, voluntarily offered to a member of the Council, to make a full declaration under his hand of all that he knew of the affair. His statement, was, that in September, 1736, Rev. Jacob Henderson and Squire Tasker, of Maryland, lodged at the house of William Miller, where he met with Thomas Thompson, brother-in-law of Henderson. Thompson applied to Henderson for advice in settling a plantation. Parson Henderson referred to Tasker, who wrote to someone in Maryland to show some plantations near the Susquehanna, and John Starr and william Downard joined with Thompson and received the land. John Starr went back to Annapolis and procured from the Governor of Maryland and order to settle himself, and the others concerned. That he was informed the plantations of the Germans on the Susquehanna had become vacant by their disowning the government of Maryland, John Starr had made a visit there and to the Governor of Maryland, and was shown by Cresap a very large tract of good land, which was enough to supply several families, and that the Governor would order 200 acres to be surveyed for each person at four shillings quit rent, and costs of survey and patent. That he would maintain them in possession and give them a lawful right, and assured them that the land was within the limits of Lord Batlimore's charter. Munday went to Annapolis to see Governor Ogle, where he met Edward Leet and Charles Higginbotham, and joined in procuring an order to the surveyor of Baltimore county to survey 200 acres for them and forty-nine other persons named. Munday said he never proposed to settle upon any tract of land settled by the Germans, but to seat some uncultivated land.

Leet's Testimony

The council was not satisfied with the statement of Henry Munday, and examined Edward Leet, who related that Munday came to him with a petition signed by several persons for land which Leet declined to sign; that a few days after Charles Higginbotham came to him and acquainting him that there were to be some lands laid out in Maryland, asked him to go with him to Annapolis, to which he agreed, wanting to take up some land for himself and others. They with others set out for Maryland. They went up the east side of the Susquehanna to the ferry, late John Emerson's, over against Thomas Cresap's house on the west, and crossing the river, went to his house. In the morning they took a view of the lands in the neighborhood of Cresap's, and five of them with one Lowe, went to view the lands where the German people were settled who were said to have revolted from Maryland. They came to Annapolis on Saturday, the 30th of October, and went to Governor Ogle with Cresap. The Governor said he intended to dispossess the Germans who were settled there, and for that end he was sending up arms, and would very soon give the necessary orders to the sheriff. He would give 200 acres to each and defend them therein. He gave the names of Samuel Blunston and John Wright, for the apprehension of whom the Governor offered a reward of one hundred pounds for one and fifty pounds for the other. Higginbotham said he knew one of them, and had no doubt he could apprehend him. Cresap received on board a sloop, a considerable quantity of fire-arms, powder and ball, which were to be carried to Baltimore county to be used in dispossessing the Germans, who had revolted from Maryland. Three drums and two trumpets were sent by land by certain German men who were with them. When Munday came, he appeared to be dissatisfied with Higginbotham for being there beforehand. The Governor said, in a month's time, he would cause possession to be given. Leet, apprehending difficulty, laid aside, he said, all thoughts about the matter.

Coats' Deposition

In this matter, John Coats deposed that Henry Munday invited him to go over the Susquehanna about seven miles to settle on 800 acres of land, taken up by Maryland, on which eight German families were settled, whom the Marylanders would dispossess if they did not sell their interest and be gone. And that Maryland would give arms to all such members of the Church of England as would settle the said land to defend themselves against the inhabitants of Pennsylvania. That the land would cost the survey only, and Munday was to have a gratuity. Jeremiah Starr deposed that Thomas Thompson told him that Jacob Henderson, Commissary of Maryland, had by letter recommended him to Thomas Cresap, to be shown land on the west of the Susquehanna, and Thomas Thompson, John Starr and William Downard went and were shown the land which was settled by German people, and Thompson chose for himself a certain piece whereon was a settlement and a corn-mill, and that John Starr told him that he went with Cresap to the Governor of Maryland, who granted him and his friends the land, and if they would be true subjects to Lord Baltimore, he would defend them, and patent the land at four shillings an acre, they paying only survey fees. Henry Munday proposed a way of gaining the lands, and it was resolved that the militia of the government should be ready about the end of the month to take and give the possession to Munday and his friends. William Miller deposed that Jacob Henderson and Benjamin Tasker were at his house and advised him where persons should settle on land west of the Susquehanna which was settled by the Germans, and invited persons in Chester county to come and live in Maryland.

On the 29th of November, 1736, a letter was addressed to the magistrates of Chester county, in behalf of the council:

"The seasonable discovery of the late wicked design, which from the encouragement of four unkind neighbors of Maryland was set on foot and upon the point of being carried into execution, for ousting by force of arms those German families settled on the west side of the Susquehanna within the unquestionable bounds of this province, and the apprehending of some of the persons who were principally concerned in promoting within your county the association for this purpose, having for the present, we hope, defeated the evil intentions of those who by such practices would have introduced the utmost confusion and disorder among his Majesty's subjects of this government, we have had it under consideration in what manner those disturbers of the public peace ought to be proceeded against."

Thereupon the magistrates of Chester county were directed by the Council to call before them as many of the associators as they could, and to take their examinations apart, and such as were disposed to live for the future in due obedience to this government, might, on submission, and on being bound on recognizance, be discharged without persecution.

The following document concerning the "Chester County Plot" was obtained from the court records at West Chester and contains the names of many of the German settlers west of the river in 1736:

County of Chester, ss:

The grand inquest for our Sovereign Lord the King, upon their oath and affirmation respectively do present that Henry Munday, late of the county of Chester, saddler, and Charles Higginbotham, late of the same county, laborer, contriving and with all their might purposing and intending the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King within the province of Pennsylvania, said Majesty's just and lawful authority which of right his said Majesty's liege subjects ought to bear and exercise as much as in them lay to impugn, due and legal, said administration of justice within the same province to hinder, and his said Majesty's faithful subjects with great feat and terror to have associated to themselves divers other persons of evil name, fame and conversation to the number of forty and upwards, the twenty-fifth day of October in the tenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King defender of the faith, etc., and divers other days and times as well before as after at the township of London-Grove in the county of Chester within the jurisdiction of this court in pursuance of their wicked and unjust intentions aforesaid and being united and confederated together between themselves wickedly and unlawfully did conspire and combine with armed force and with a multitude of people in hostile manner arrayed into the lands and tenements of the Honorable John Penn, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn true and absolute proprietaries and governors in chief of the province of Pennsylvania, county of Lancaster on west side of the Susquehanna within the province of Pennsylvania then in the quiet and peaceful possession of Christian Crawl, Henry Libert, Jacob Hutsecker, Methusalem Griffith, Michael Tanner, Henry Stands, Martin Shultz, Jacob Welshover, Paul Springler, Andreas Felixer, Ulrick Whistler, Nicholas Booker, Hans Steinman, Conrad Strickler, Caspar Springler, Michael Walt, Peter Kersher, Reynard Kummer, George Hans Pancker, Frederick Leader, Michael Miller, Martin Weigle, Hans Henry Place, Tobias Fry, Martin Fry, Peter Steinman, Henry Pann, Henry Smith, Jacob Landis, Henry Kendrick, Tobias Rudisill, Jacob Krebell, Michael Springle, Jacob Singler, Philip Ziegler, Caspar Crever, Derick Pleager, George Swope, Michael Krenel, Thomas May, Nicholas Brin, Kilian Smith, Martin Bower, George Lauman, Martin Brunt, Michael Allen, Christian Enfers, and Nicholas Cone, tenants occupying and holding the same lands and tenements under the honorable proprietaries of the province of Pennsylvania aforesaid, unlawfully and unjustly with force and arms, etc., to enter and them the said Christian Crawl, Henry Libert.............and Nicholas Cone from their quiet and peaceable possession aforesaid with an armed force in hostile manner to expel, eject and remove and the same Christian Craw, Henry Libert................and Nicholas Cone and against all persons whatsoever claiming or to claim the said lands and tenements by, from or under the said proprietaries of the province of Pennsylvania aforesaid, violently and with an armed force to keep, hold and maintain and the persons of them the said Christian Crawl, Henry Libert................and Nicholas Cone with force and arms, etc., to arrest and imprison in high violation and contempt of the laws in disinherison of the said honorable proprietaries to the great terror and disturbance of his Majesty's subjects, inhabitants of the said county of Lancaster to the evil and pernicious example of others in the like case delinquents and against the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King who is now in his crown and dignity, etc.

J. Growdon per Dno. Rege.

Endorsed "Billa Vera."
       "Henry Munday."
       Test. Edward Leet sworn.


Colonel Thomas Creasp, one of the bravest and most audacious of the Maryland settlers, figured prominently in the contentions about rights to lands in Springettsbury Manor and southward. He became the leader among the Maryland invaders until the temporary line was run between the provinces of Pennsylvania and Maryland in 1739.

Col. Cresap was born in Skiptown, Yorkshire, England, in 1702, and came to Maryland when fifteen years of age. In 1732 he gave his occupation as that of a carpenter. He settled at the mouth of the Susquehanna, where he was engaged in boat-building. In 1725 he married Hannah Johnson, of Maryland, whose father, Thomas Johnson, March 24, 1725, had surveyed to himself Mount Johnson Island, at Peach Bottom Ferry. Cresap soon after went to Virginia, but he was not long there before an attempt was made by a dozen or more persons to drive him away while he was engaged in hewing timber for his dwelling. He defended himself, and cleft one of his assailants with a broad-ax; he then returned to Maryland, and took out a patent for a ferry over the Susquehanna River at the head of tide-water, which must have been at or near the terminus of the voyage of Capt. John Smith, of Virginia, up the river in 1608. While located there his restless and roving spirit led him to visit the rich valleys thirty miles farther up the right bank of the river, now in Hellam and Lower Windsor Townships, and reported the state of affairs there to Lord Baltimore, who contemplated as early as 1721 to extend the northern boundary of his province on the west side of the Susquehanna to the northern limits of the fortieth degree of latitude. Gradually a few settlers from Maryland moved up to Conojohela (incorrectly Conodocholy) valley. They were aggressive to Pennsylvania settlers near them. It was not the policy of Baltimore or his followers to purchase lands from the Indians; they drove them away by force of arms, and hence we find that the Maryland settlers treated the Indians on the west side of the river with cruelty. They had no person capable of holding the ground they had taken against the Indians or the followers of Penn, who were on the alert to prevent Baltimore from getting a foothold upon this disputed land. Cresap came up to Conojohela Valley in March, 1730, and built a block-house upon the banks of the river three and one half miles below Wrightsville, near the site of Leber's Mill. In the same year he took out a Maryland patent for several hundred acres of land near the river for "Blue Rock Ferry" at same place. In 1731 Cresap was commissioned a justice of the peace for Baltimore County. In 1735 he took out a Maryland patent for a group of islands at the Blue Rock Ferry, called the "Isles of Promise." General Jacob Dritt afterwards became the owner of these islands, which were later sold to John B. Haldeman.

At this time he had at least two and perhaps three of his children with him, the eldest being about nine years old. Meantime, his wife and children resided with his cousin, Daniel Lowe, who drove one of the German settlers from his place in Grist Valley (Kreutz Creek), near the Codorus. Col. Cresap's education was limited, but he became a land surveyor, and was of great service to Lord Baltimore in extending the western boundary of Maryland from the source of the south branch of the Potomac due north, which added at least one third more territory to Maryland.

On the 25th of September, 1736, the justices of the Supreme Court issued their warrant to the sheriff of the county of Lancaster for the apprehension of Thomas Cresap, for the murder of Knowles Daunt, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Arrest of Cresap

At a meeting of the Council, held on the 27th of November, 1736, the president laid before the board a letter from Lancaster County, brought by messengers, who gave an account, that in pursuance of the warrant issued by the provincial judges for apprehending Thomas Cresap, he had been taken with four others, who abetted him in resisting the sheriff. One of them was committed to the jail of Lancaster county for a crime charged against him there, and Cresap and the three others were brought to Philadelphia. The letter stated that the magistrates, upon considering the danger wherewith those parties of that county lying on the west of the Susquehanna near Thomas Cresap's settlement, were threatened, if he should be joined by those who had lately entered into a combination for dispossessing the Germans settled there, and likewise having understood that he had applied to Colonel Rigby, a justice of Maryland, for more arms and ammunition, they judged it absolutely necessary to apprehend Cresap. Sheriff Samuel Smith of Lancaster, had called to his assistance twenty-four persons, and had gone over the river on Tuesday night, November 23rd, in order to have Cresap taken by surprise early the next morning. But Cresap with six men, secured himself in his house, and stood on his defense. He fired on the sheriff and his company. The sheriff set fire to his house, and Cresap, still refusing to surrender, at length rushed out, and after some firing, in which one of his men was killed, he was apprehended. The magistrates reported "that nothing but absolute necessity and the preservation of so many innocent families, whose ruin seemed to be determined upon, could have obliged the people to proceed to such extremities in taking this man; that his behavior has since showed that he will stop at nothing to gratify his resentments, and therefore, unless strict care is taken, it may justly be apprehended that he will attempt either firing the prison or any other desperate action, that he can find means to compass."

George Aston, of the county of Chester, in the province of Pennsylvania, saddler, aged about fifty years, being one of the people called Quakers, upon his solemn affirmation, according to law, did declare and affirm that, upon some conversation happening between Thomas Cresap, Robert Buchanan, and this affirmant on the road, in sight of the city of Philadelphia, that Cresap said, "Damn it, Aston, this is one of the prettiest towns in Maryland. I have been a troublesome fellow, but by this last job I have made a present of the two provinces to the King, and that if they found themselves in a better condition by the charge, they might thank Cresap for it," or words to that effect.

Philadelphia, December 3, 1736 taken before me, Clement Plumsted, Mayor.

On the presentations of the magistrates, the Council ordered that Cresap should be put in irons and closely confined in the most secure place, but supplied with what was necessary. It was left to the judges to proceed against him and the others taken with him, agreeably to law. On the 8th of December, 1736, a message was brought from the Assembly, and finding that the government of Maryland had not shown any real disposition on their part to enter into amicable measures for preventing further differences between the two governments, the House had come to a resolution, that an humble address should be prepared and transmitted to the King, praying his royal interposition for putting a stop to these disorders. The petition of the President and Council, and of the General Assembly of the province of Pennsylvania, together with sundry affidavits about the approaching of Cresap and the association for dispossessing the Germans on the Susquehanna, were transmitted to the King, after the meeting of the Council on the 11th of December, 1736.

Removal to Maryland

About 1739 Cresap again moved beyond the frontier and took up about 2000 acres of land in Maryland along Antietam Creek where he established a store and Indian trading post. He accumulated a large quantity of furs and peltries and shipped them to England, and the vessel was captured by the French and he lost everything. He moved farther west to within two miles of Cumberland, where he again embarked in the Indian trade until the French and Indian war, when he raised a company of Rangers. He had a number of skirmishes with the Indians and stood his ground, manfully assisted by his sons. He was elected a representative for a number of years from Washington County to the Maryland legislature. When the French and their savage allies attempted to wrest the entire territory west of the Allegheny Mountains from the English, he and his sons at their own expense raised two companies of volunteer soldiers. Col. Cresap became a very large land owner. He became totally blind a few years before his death. He died at his home in Allegheny County, Md., in 1790, aged eighty-eight.

His first wife Hannah Johnson, during "Cresap's war," in York County, frequently mounted a horse and rode with the mounted militia in battle array, with a sword by her side. And when Cresap's stronghold was surrounded by militia from Donegal, she knew how to handle a musket; she never manifested any fear, but superintended the construction of a house, and the building of some flats, in the absence of her husband at John Hendricks', where forcible possession had been taken of Hendricks' plantation by Cresap. And while there she saw a flat filled with armed men crossing the river. She mounted her horse and sounded a bugle, and rode rapidly to Cresap's block house, three miles and a half further down the river, and returned at the head of the militia.

Cresap's Descendants

Thomas and Hannah Cresap had five children -- three sons and two daughters -- as follows: Daniel, remained in Washington County, Maryland, became a very large land owner and a celebrated hunter as well as farmer. He was about fourteen years of age when the family left York County. By his first wife he had one son, Michael, who commanded a company in Dunmore's war in 1774, and was afterward colonel of militia. The late Capt. James Cresap of the United States Navy, was a lineal descendant of Daniel Cresap. General Ord, who was placed in command of Richmond after the capitulation in 1865, was a lineal descendant of Col. Thomas Cresap.

Thomas, second son of Col. Cresap, was killed by an Indian -- whom he killed at the same instant. He left a widow and one child.

Michael Cresap, the youngest son of Col. Cresap succeeded his father as an Indian trader in Western Maryland, near the present site of Cumberland. In 1774, he commanded a company of militia and marched against the Indians in West Virginia who were reported by Dr. Connolly, commandant at Fort Pitt, to be in hostile array against the whites. The report that these Indians were on the war path, seems to have been untrue, and during Cresap's absence from his troops, they attacked the Indian settlement near Wheeling and killed the family of the celebrated Indian chief, Logan, and others. In 1775, Michael Cresap raised a company of volunteer riflemen and marched through York to Boston. Soon after he entered the American army, he took sick, and died in New York.

Mission of Jennings and Dulaney

At a meeting of the Council held at Philadelphia on the 6th of December, 1736, Mr. Bordley, a gentleman of Maryland, attending without, with a message for the President and Council, was called on and acquainted the President that he was sent by Jennings and Dulaney, who were just come to town from Annapolis with their compliments to the President and Council, and to acquaint them, that, having received some commands from the Governor of Maryland, they desired to know when they might have an opportunity of waiting on the President and Council. (IV Colonial Records 115) Jennings and Dulaney, on the next day, attending, delivered an open letter from the Governor of Maryland. Their mission was occasioned by the burning of Cresap's house, and his arrest with other parties, on the 24th of November, as the letter of Governor Ogle alleged, in Baltimore County. Jennings was the secretary and Dulaney the commissary and Attorney-General of Maryland. The letter represented the transaction as cruel and barbarous, and requested the assistance of the government of Pennsylvania to bring the actors to punishment. A paper was drawn up by them and delivered to the Council to the same effect, and demanding that Cresap should be released. The answer to Jennings and Dulaney stated that the government of Pennsylvania never acknowledged the place of Cresap's settlement to be in Maryland, and recited the attempts to oust the German; that Cresap was arrested on the charge of murder, and that unless the government of Maryland thought fit to enter into some effectual specific measures with them, it be represented to his Majesty to interpose his royal authority. To this Jennings and Dulaney replied that the right and title of Cresap was founded on a grant from Lord Baltimore many years before the agreement; that the agreement was never carried into execution and the validity of it was under the consideration of the High Court of Chancery. They discussed the act of the Germans in disowning the jurisdiction of Lord Baltimore, and alleged that Cresap acted in self-defense, and that to two gentlemen sent from hence offers were made which were rejected.

In consideration of the paper of Jennings and Dulaney, which referred to former pacific overtures on the part of Maryland, the Council recurred to the transactions at Annapolis with Hamilton and Georges in May, 1734, by which it appeared that, though the Governor of Maryland often used the expression of pacific measures, what was proposed was dilatory and impracticable, and the proposal of this government of agreeing on some limits to which, for the preservation of peace, jurisdiction would extend with a salvo to the right of either proprietor, till the dispute between them should be fully ended, was evaded and declined. The answer to the deputies was based on this view, December 14, 1736: "If your Governor will agree upon some certain boundaries to limit the jurisdiction to the respective provinces, without prejudice to the right of either proprietor, until the whole dispute shall be ended, or upon any other reasonable measures by which his Majesty's subjects may enjoy peace and no longer be harassed in their persons and possessions, we shall cheerfully come into any methods that can be proposed, consistent with the laws and common justice." It was also said "that the Germans who yearly arrive here in great numbers, wholly ignorant of the English language and the constitution, were obliged, on account of our too near northern neighbors, the French, whose language many of them understood, not only to swear allegiance to our sovereign but, as a further tie upon them, promised fidelity to our proprietors and this government, a practice only used with them and no others."

There resulted a very voluminous correspondence, but there is in it merely a recapitulation of mutual claims and complaints. Jennings and Dulaney informed the President on the 16th of December, that they were just setting out on their return and delivered a paper to him, in which, in reference to the preceding claims, they say: "You are pleased to mention that this government obliged the Germans only to enter into an engagement of fidelity to your proprietors; we apprehend the allegiance they swear to our sovereign cannot need the force of an engagement to your proprietors to prevent their desertion to the French, and therefore we are at a loss to comprehend why the Germans are distinguished from all other nations by the remarkable distrust your government has of their fidelity."

Malicious Charges

The Maryland commissioners had also charged President Logan with having promised that Cresap's accomplices should be bailed, and then not performing it. The Council, in considering the last paper delivered to the President by Jennings and Dulaney, were some of them of the opinion that the unmannerly and malicious reflections in it should receive a proper answer, but the next day, December 21, they concluded that what ought to be said should be represented to the Governor of Maryland. In regard to the question of bail, it appeared that it had been referred to the judges, who held them not bailable. (IV Colonial Records 146)

The reply of the Council to the letter of Governor Ogle, crediting the mission of Jennings and Dulaney, after referring to the papers, proposed a joinder in effectual measures to preserve the peace until the royal pleasure could be known. In the meantime, on December 11, 1736, by the concurring action of the Assembly, a petition was drawn in the name of the President and Council and the General Assembly to the King.

On the 1st of March, 1737, there came a letter from the Governor of Maryland, dated 24th of December, 1736, requesting the Governor of Pennsylvania to state precisely what were the concessions they were willing to come into. This letter was not received for ten weeks after its date. The postmaster, on being examined said "that the letter had been received last night, and that three mails had come from Annapolis since Christmas." The Council were of the opinion that whatever reason the governor had for antedating his letter or keeping it back, as he declined making any proposals, it was proper on this call from Maryland to make proposals of peace. (IV Colonial Records 158) A letter was therefore written to Governor Ogle on the 5th of March, 1737, in which reference is made to the committing of hostilities since the date of his letter, and since continued by his new captain, Higginbotham, and his crew, reciting the injuries, and proposing that all those in arms should immediately retire as a preliminary. The fixing of certain limits was proposed for the purpose of jurisdiction, and no new settlements were to be suffered, save by the same families that were then in possession of the lands they held or claimed before, and no person whatever in or near those parts should on either side be molested on any cause or pretense arising from their disputes or the proprietary claims. On the 11th of March, 1737, Gov. Ogle wrote that "the point is, which of the two governments is in the wrong by refusing to come into reasonable measures, to prevent disorders on the border. The proposal to Hamilton and Georges was, that the application be made to the King to fix the boundaries and new settlements be prevent. You seem willing not to oppose; but that all those who first took up their lands under this province may be allowed to acknowledge this government, only those coming into your province to inhabit it, and going over Susquehanna to seek for settlements, were either forced or decoyed by Thomas Cresap, or others, to submit to this government, ought certainly to be left to those to which they first belonged. . . . I am persuaded you did not intend to include within that exception the Germans, who settled under this government on Susquehanna, and who, by a most extraordinary method, pretended to become Pennsylvanians." He proposed to meet Mr. Logan anywhere half way between Annapolis and Philadelphia.

Logan's Reply

In reply to this a letter was written to Governor Ogle, March 22, 1737, by James Logan under the advice of the Council, showing the impracticability of his proposal. Those inhabitants who at first entered on their possessions under Maryland, should, till the boundaries were settled, be allowed to acknowledge that government. And all such as entered on their possessions under this government, should, in the same manner, be allowed to acknowledge it. And all the inhabitants subject to the late dispute, should be exempt from taxes. Taxes to be assessed and account kept of them, and no further settlements be made in those parts. To this Gov. Ogle responded on the 29th of March, 1737: "You say you will now, in full terms, express your meaning, which is, that those inhabitants who at first entered on their possessions under the government of Maryland, should, till such time as the boundaries should be settled, or till we shall receive orders and directions from a superior authority for establishing peace, be allowed to acknowledge this government; and all such others as entered on their possessions under your government should in the same manner, be allowed to acknowledge it. In answer to which I can truly say, that I always thought this just and reasonable, that all my endeavors and proposals tended to come into this very agreement, which, if you have done, I am convinced it would effectually have prevented all the mischief that has happened since that ineffectual conference we had with Hamilton and Georges . . . But besides that, such an agreement as this for the public good can never be too plainly and clearly avoided; let us consider the persons you propose to be excepted, and the reason for so doing.

"The persons are those who have been the subject of the late contentions and disputes begun some time in August last, and the only reason that I can conceive for it must be that these same persons, not liking our forty per cent poll and other taxes, took it into their heads to renounce all obedience to this government in a formal manner by a paper under their hands. If they had not made this revolt, as they themselves call it, I presume their being excepted more than others would not have been mentioned; so that this being the only reason, the best way for you to judge of the goodness of it will be to turn the tables, and suppose the same case should happen to yourselves. Suppose a number of your inhabitants, touched with a tender regard for the Church of England and the support of its ministers, should all of a sudden renounce your government in the same formal manner that these people did ours for contrary reasons, pray what would your government do in such a case? Would you think such a renunciation of any validity, or would you proceed against them according to the laws of your own province? Whatever you would think reasonable for yourselves to do in that case, we only desire you to grant us the same indulgence. To do as one would be done by is a maxim so very just and reasonable that it is to be presumed that nobody can dispute it. And this is all we desire of you in the case before us."

Reference was made in the letter of President to the committing of hostilities by Higginbotham and his crew, pending the negotiations and correspondence between the provinces, but to these Gov. Ogle made no response. The letters of Samuel Blunston to the Provincial Council contain a full statement of these transactions, and, therefore, must be cited in order to obtain a full understanding of the trials of the German settlers here.

Outrages Committed

Charles Higginbotham, one of the ringleaders in the ejectment plot above related, having escaped, became more formidable than his predecessor, Cresap, in acts of violence. He was appointed by Gov. Ogle, a Justice of the Peace and a Captain of Militia. At the head of about twenty men he came up to the settlements of the Germans, and it appears by the letters of Samuel Blunston in December and January, 1737, "being daily strengthened by runaway servants and others of desperate circumstances, they threatened to attack some of the Dutch people seated there," and many outrages were committed and forcible arrests made, and they plainly intended to oust every person who refused to acknowledge the authority of Maryland. They broke open the German's doors with axes and carried persons off. On account of these outrages the wives and children of the Germans taken and several other families, went over the Susquehanna for refuge, and according to Blunston, all the settlements on the west side would be speedily deserted unless a sufficient force would be set on foot to protect them and to apprehend Higginbotham and his party. So grievous were the complaints of injury that he asked the advice of the Council on the 9th of January, 1737, whether it would be more eligible to order the removal of all those who were seated under Pennsylvania on the west side of the Susquehanna, than to use further endeavors for their defense, since it was apparent that blows, and bloodshed in all probability would ensue.

The Council, considering the distress and hardships to which the Germans were at that severe season exposed, were of opinion that it was not consistent either with the honor or safety of this province to remove those of its inhabitants who were seated within its unquestionable bounds, since such an act might be construed a cession of those parts of Maryland, who would not fail thereupon to take possession of them; and in all probability, from such an encouragement, would endeavor at further encroachments in pursuance to their late exorbitant claims. On the contrary, it became the government, in support of its authority and in the just defense of his Majesty's peaceable subjects in it, to raise and support a force sufficient to oppose those violators of the peace and of his people's rights, and to seize and secure them that they may be brought to justice, the conducting of which force ought to be in the sheriff of the county and officers. And on the 20th of January it was ordered that the sheriff of Lancaster be called upon "to raise a sufficient number of men of his county to be disposed in such places on the west side of the Susquehanna, under proper officers to be by him deputed, as may prevent further disorders, and that the sheriff with his officers and assistants exert their utmost endeavors for preserving the peace, protecting the inhabitants, and use all legal means in their power for apprehending Higginbotham and his associates, and all others who have been or hereafter shall be guilty of committing any acts of violence within the said country." It was repeatedly pressed in advices from Lancaster "that some gentlemen of credit and authority should be sent up into that county by whose encouragement and countenance a greater furtherance might be given to such measures as should be found necessary to be concerted for the preservation of his Majesty's peace and the protection of the inhabitants from those outrages to which they have of late been exposed." On the 25th of January, 1737, two members of the Council, Laurence and Assheton, were prevailed upon to take that trouble. It was recommended to them, "to use their best endeavors and give such orders as they should judge not conducive for carrying those measures into execution."

Report of Laurence and Assheton

Thomas Laurence and Ralph Assheton, on their return from Lancaster, on the 8th of February, reported that they met the Justices and Sheriff of that county, and that fifteen men had been gotten together to observe the motions of Higginbotham and his party, and to prevent their further attempts on the inhabitants. That he had gone toward Annapolis with his prisoners, and the others kept themselves shut up in their guard house or fortress. That their whole force consisted of about twenty-five men. The number of men to assist the Sheriff had been increased to twenty-eight, and Solomon Jennings was made deputy, and he and his men were so stationed as to be able to prevent any further violences. They said the country had conceived such a resentment that many had offered their services to march directly to their fortress and take them. (IV Colonial Records 153)

At a meeting of the Council on the 1st of March, 1737, a letter from Samuel Blunston set forth that Higginbotham's garrison was then about the number of thirty. That Higginbotham had offered to purchase some of the Dutch people's improvements, by order, as he gave out, of the Government of Maryland, and that he had also told some of them if they would stand neutral and not hold by either government, they should remain unmolested. That many having been obliged to leave their houses, it was not without the utmost difficulty their families had been able to subsist themselves that winter, and if on the approaching season, they should be prevented by a continuance of such violences from putting in a spring crop, they must either perish, remove, or submit to Maryland. That provisions were extremely scarce, and the keeping of the Sheriff's assistants together on the west side of the Susquehanna very expensive. They had few or no opportunities of falling in with Higginbotham's gang, who for the most part kept within their guard house, where the Sheriff would not consent that they should be attacked. By a letter a few days to Thomas Penn, it appeared Higginbotham's party broke into the house of Joshua Minshall in Kreutz Creek Valley early in the morning of the 12th of February, surprised him in bed, and carried him off prisoner. They were pursued by some of the Sheriff of Lancaster's people, who had no notice of this action till some hours after it happened, but the gang had got to their guard house before they could be overtaken, and there it was not thought proper to attack them. On the 17th of March, 1737, some of the people from the garrison went to the house of Martin Shultz, between Wrightsville and York, and took by force a cask of eight gallons of rum and two of his horses and conveyed them to their place. A letter written about this time by Blunston gives a graphic picture of the unfortunate state of affairs in this portion of the province. He says: "We had given repeated orders to the Dutch to keep together and stand on their defense." He then relates the incident of six men getting a grave ready for a child. Higginbotham and his company came upon them and seized and carried them through the woods and it was said that they were to be conveyed to Annapolis. The persons taken were Michael Tanner, Conrad Strickler and Joseph Evans. He says: "This unhappy incident has so terrified the rest that they have all left their homes and are come over the river so that there was none left on that side but women and children, except Joseph Minshall and John Wright, Jr., at the site of Wrightsville they keep garrison, expecting every day and night to be attacked. This is the present state of affairs over the river, to which, if we add that the ice is in continual danger of breaking, so as to render the river impassable for some weeks, make things look with but an indifferent prospect. Before this happened, if the sheriff had gone over he might have had thirty or forty Dutch to assist him, but now he has none but what he takes with him if he can go over."

Distress of the Germans

At a meeting of the Council on the 4th of April, 1737, the President acquainted the Board that several of the Germans who had suffered outrages from the Maryland gang from the west of Susquehanna had come hither to represent their great distress. Higginbotham and those under his command had continued to carry on their violences and would neither suffer the people themselves, their children, nor those hired to plow the grounds, to raise corn for the sustenance of their families. They took away the horses employed in this necessary work and said the Governor of Maryland ordered it. They carried off several young lads from plowing, and detained them in their garrison to give security to work no more or be sent to jail. Some of the people carried to Annapolis let out on bail were told if they did not work for others they forfeited their recognizance. Notice was given to the women that three days would be allowed them to carry their goods out of their houses, otherwise they would be turned out. The number of the rioters had increased, and infested the neighborhood in small detachments. Their insolence and cruelties were so great that the inhabitants were reduced to deplorable circumstances, it being evident that not withstanding the negotiations of peace now on foot, between the two provinces, Higginbotham and those with him were resolved to distress the poor people to such a degree as to oblige them to quit their places that others may enter upon them according to the promise and expectations given them by the Governor of Maryland. The number of those whom the sheriff of Lancaster had kept on the west side of the Susquehanna for a restraint on Higginbotham's gang had lessened and had not been of the service that was expected. The Council observed that as both governments were then treating on measures for establishing peace, and the Governor of Maryland continuing in his several late letters, to make ample professions of his sincere inclination to that end, it could scarcely be supposed without highly reflecting on that gentleman's honor and candor, that those late violences were carried on by his authority or with his knowledge. His letter was again read, and the essential parts of it, particularly that where he seems to insist that the Germans, without any proviso or stipulation for them, should be left to his government to be taxed or dealt with as they should think proper being largely spoken to, the President was desired to prepare a draft of an answer to Mr. Ogle. This answer of Mr. Logan recapitulated the correspondence on the subject, and made the proposal that a preliminary, namely, the appointment of persons to adjust the matter be at once put in execution, and that commissioners meet on the spot and determine by the strictest and most just inquiry, who of those inhabitants entered on their possessions under the one or under the other government. It is noted the fact that he had made no answer to the complaints about Higginbotham, and that since the receipt of his last letter accounts had been received of shocking barbarities committed upon that unhappy people.

Upon considering what was represented by Blunston, the Council were of the opinion that the people ought by all means to maintain possession of their houses and plantations; that a proper number of people should be lodged in the house late of John Hendricks to defend it against any attack and the sheriff by called upon to give all legal assistance. On the 8th of April, 1737, as to those Germans who had come there to pray advice in their present distress, the Council were of the opinion that as they came first into this province to settle, they were highly to blame in going over to the other side of the Susquehanna, and there, in contempt of this government, taking up land under Maryland and acknowledging themselves subjects or tenants under it; that some of them had not only enlisted under Cresap, but had assisted him on all occasions when called on, and particularly that the party who took Mr. Buchanan, the late sheriff of Lancaster, was mostly made of their people; that when they thought of returning to their obedience under this government, if Gov. Ogles's word is to be taken for it, who expressly charges them with it, ad as for encouraging them in it, their only inducement was their hopes of living more easily under us, in being freed from the forty per cent, poll and other Maryland taxes. That instead of defending themselves against the force which had been sent to apprehend them, they had thrown that charge wholly upon this government, who had been put to great expense on that account. That if the Marylanders should proceed to turn them off their plantations, as there is now no possibility of opposing but by open war and bloodshed, their families must be sure no otherwise to give way to it than as they are forced, and if that should prove the case, as it is hoped it will not, care will be taken to order other places for their settlement, on their paying a reasonable consideration for the same, and that we must wait for a suitable redress from the wisdom and justice of our Gracious Sovereign, whose orders for putting an end to all these disturbances have been long since humbly applied for, and may now in a short time be expected. (IV Colonial Records 195)

On the 15th of April, 1737, a letter from Gov. Ogle retaliated as to violences, by charges of cruelty to Cresap and others: "I shall put into immediate execution everything that lies in my power to prevent the renewing of your hostilities. I shall leave wholly to yourselves, such as first settled under your government, and shall not look upon such to be Marylanders at present, as settled and held under this government."

Throughout this curious and voluminous discussion, there was, on either side, a plain determination to maintain the German element of the contention as peculiarly subject to their own control. Pennsylvania was willing to have an investigation into the settlements of each individual, believing that the exceptions were as to an original settlement under any other title.

Maryland, on the other hand, would persist on claiming the whole body of the revolted Germans as their tenants and subject to taxation as such. Consequently the reply to the letter of Gov. Ogle of the 15th of April, proposed the appointment of a commissioner by each province to ascertain who of the settlers "first entered on their lands under the one, and under the other government," when the commotions began, before August, 1736.

Mission of Preston and Kinsey.

On the 29th of April, 1737, the Council considered it advisable to send to Annapolis two persons, who should, in a personal conference with the Governor, press him to an explicit and determined answer to the proposals that accompanied the concession made on the part of this province and accepted by him. Two members, Samuel Preston and John Kinsey, were appointed for the occasion. Another letter was prepared and sent to Gov. Ogle. It was proposed that the levying of taxes be deferred and that the forces on either side be withdrawn and that commissioners be appointed. The House of Representatives was called together and a message delivered to them from the President and Council, that notwithstanding all legal means in their power, and those at a very considerable expense, had been used to put a stop to the violences on the west side of the Susquehanna, yet there was a continued series of those abuses. The House hoped that it would be known, and that they should always be ready to do what is necessary for supporting the government, while the measures taken are consistent with the peaceable principles of the people they represented.

A letter of instructions was prepared for Samuel Preston and John Kinsey, the commissioners. According to the report made by Preston on their return, they were received civilly and died with the Governor, and had a personal conference with him. They were called before the Council and had reduced their offer to writing. After correspondence between them, articles were acceded to by both governments.

Objection was made to the appointment of commissioners. It was contended on the part of Pennsylvania, that this was necessary to determine who settled under each government, but on the part of Maryland that it might be determined by them and Preston and Kinsey, as by commissioners. The former also contended that it was necessary to examine those who were settled and others. In the personal conference touching the manner of determining who settled on the lands in dispute under each government, Gov. Ogle told them that he thought it would be easy to distinguish them by name in the articles. He said an answer to two or three plain questions would determine it, as to whose they took the land to be at the time of first entry. To whom they had paid their taxes? He further said that the Germans entered on the land on which they are under them, but were prevailed upon by threats and persuasions of some of the magistrates of Lancaster to renounce their government. He was answered, "that matter was very differently represented to us; that one of us had an opportunity since our coming there of inquiring of those Germans, who declared that on their first entry on the lands in question, they looked upon them as belonging to the proprietors of Pennsylvania, but that Cresap, pretending an authority from the government unless they would suffer their plantations to be surveyed by him as belonging to Maryland. That being strangers, who had the right to avoid being dispossessed, they permitted him to make surveys, expecting a confirmation of their possessions from the government of Maryland. And we understood that they, having been disappointed in this respect by the government of Maryland, and their having afterward been fully assured the lands belonged to our proprietors, occasioned their voluntary application to our magistrates for protection form our government, and that they were not induced thereto by any threats or persuasions whatsoever." Preston and Kinsey proposed that if there was difficulty as to the appointment of commissioners they might agree upon other articles. This Gov. Ogle declined, urging that it was necessary first to distinguish the persons who settled under each government. They were called no more to confer with the Maryland Council. They dined with Benjamin Tasker, one of the Council and Lord Baltimore's agent, and on their return to their lodging, found a paper for them, and being informed the Governor was gone out of town the Council separated, and they left Annapolis. (IV Colonial Records 210, 233)

As in the former treaties, so in this, the Governor of Maryland insisted that the failure of the negotiations was owing to the want of power of information in the commissioners, and that when his just offers would be communicated to the government of Pennsylvania, it would give proper powers and instructions for perfecting the same.

[End of Chapter. King George II, on August 8, 1737, enjoined both parties to cease all hostilities and settle no more persons in the disputed lands until there was a final judgment. That came on May 25, 1738, with a line fixed fifteen to sixteen miles south of Philadelphia]