Sep 27, 2018 - Sale 2486

Sale 2486 - Lot 353

Price Realized: $ 1,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(PENNSYLVANIA.) Group of 3 letters relating to the conflicts in the Wyoming Valley known as the Pennamite-Yankee Wars. Autograph Letters Signed, 4to, moderate wear, 2 with address panels but no postal markings. With typed transcripts. Vp, 1769, 1773, and 1783

Additional Details

The Pennamite-Yankee Wars were a series of inter-colonial disputes over the Wyoming Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania (now the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area), claimed by both Pennsylvania and Connecticut--each with their own settlers and official land claims. These letters were all written to John Lukens of Philadelphia, who served as Pennsylvania's Surveyor General up until the Revolution, and was thus directly interested in these land claims. The first letter is from his son Jesse, who writes from Fort Augusta, 15 June 1769: "The Connecticut people daily gain ground at Wioming & talk of coming down as far as Fishing Creek, where they intend to lay out a town. Their next stride I suppose will then be to the West Branch & if so, adieu to surveying for a while. . . . There seems to be a spirit of opposition to all law or gospel prevalent in this part of the world."
On 11 June 1773, Jesse wrote again to his father, offering his account of "the Battle at Snotty Field" near Chillisquaque Creek. "We had an account that there was 2 or 300 of them set out from Wioming for the West Branch. . . . Abt 60 met & agreed to oppose them with force. . . . We met at Morrow's to the number of abt. 70 or 80 (our number was given out to be 105) armed men. . . . We then proceeded in the Indian file & in abt 3 miles came upon their track & followed it abt a mile . . . & ordered them to halt, to deliver up their arms & become subject to the laws of the province." The Yankees instead took up a defensive position. "We agreed to cross the run & face them . . . we got within abt 10 yards of them & were ordered to halt. In this situation we stood abt 10 minutes, when they agreed to deliver up their arms such as chose to stay. 63 turned about for Wioming. . . . As the wood up toward Fishing Creek is full of them, we cannot go there for some time."
The final letter from Alexander Patterson is dated Hamilton, PA, 8 March 1783: "I have been at Wyoming, have view'd your land and Mr. Tilghman's. You will have nothing to pay the Yankeys for improvements. The timber is chiefly all destroy'd, and neither building nor fences of any consequence." Provenance: sold by the Philadelphia Autograph Company to Henry E. Luhrs; sold at Heritage's Luhrs sale, 14 October 2010, to the consignor William Wheeler III.