History of that part of the Susquehanna and Juniata valleys,
embraced in the counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder,
in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania...
Edited by F. Ellis and A. N. Hungerford.
Published in Philadelphia by Everts, Peck & Richards, 1886
BEALE TOWNSHIP, Part II.
By A. L.
THE INNIS FAMILY AND THEIR CAPTIVITY. Francis Innis settled with
his family at an early period, where his great-grandson, Robert Innis, now
resides, on the main road from Doyle's Mills to McCoysville. The maiden-name of
his wife was Milliken. At the time of the taking of Bigham's Fort, June 11, 1756,
Innis, his wife and three children were carried away by the French and Indians. It
is a question whether they were taken at the fort or on their farm. The tradition in
the family has always been that they were taken in the fort; that only Innis and
another man were at the fort, the others having gone out to look after their farms;
and this corresponds to what Rev. Beatty says in his journal printed elsewhere.
(See also article on the fort under the head of Tuscarora township). The children
taken were Jane, afterwards married to James Thompson, Nathaniel and Mary.
They were taken to Kittanning, where Mrs. Innis had a splint run into her breast
during the running of the gauntlet, to which she was subjected. They were
divided among the Indians according to their customs and taken northward,
towards Niagara. The infant child, Mary, was put under the ice because it was
sickly. Mr. Innis was a Scotch-Irishman, raised to strict ideas of Sabbath
observance. He refused to work for the Indians on Sunday, and for the offense
was threatened with death at the stake. Just at this juncture a party of French
traders came among the Indians, and gave them some goods for their captive.
Mrs. Innis was with some Indians and in charge of some old and decrepit
persons. This was probably near the St. Lawrence. Being in want of provisions,
they saw a vessel coming, and they sent her in a battoe to beg bread for them,
because the French would much more likely give to a white person than to an
Indian. As luck would have it, she here found her husband on board, and he
besought the French to buy his wife, which they did, and they thus both got to
Montreal, where they remained near a year. Their son James was born there.
Here he worked and repaid the French for the price at which he and his wife had
been purchased. They were then allowed to return home. It has been published
that they did not return until after the peace in 1764, being held in captivity eight
years. This is a great mistake. According to the Colonial Records (vol. viii. 147)
Robert Taylor and Francis Innis and sister, were examined before the Council,
July 14, 1758, as to the conduct of one Lawrence Burk, who had married among
the Indians and remained with them during the whole war. They were, therefore,
back to Philadelphia at that date already, probably on their way home. The sister
is perhaps a mistake for
his wife,--it is certain that the woman, whether wife or sister, had also been in
captivity. Taylor was abducted at the same time with Innis. It is a tradition in the
family, and doubtless true, that on their return they found their land occupied by
some squatter, who refused to remove, and that Mrs. Innis walked to
Philadelphia, to the Land Office, to have him removed. The records show that
233 acres were warranted to Francis Innis, June 3, 1762, and this property has
been held in the family ever since. Their two older children, however, did not
return with them. It will be seen in Pennsylvania Archives, (vol. iv. 106), that early
in 1763 they sent the Governor, James Hamilton, this petition:
"That in June, 1756, your petitioner, his wife and three children were taken and
carried away from Tuscarora by Beaver King and his company; that your
petitioners' youngest child was put to death in December following. Your
petitioners were bartered away for French goods, etc., and your petitioners' son
and daughter are still prisoners left behind. They, therefore, humbly beg leave to
remind your Honor, and pray your wanted care in enquiring for your petitioners
children, and your distressed petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray.
"(Signed) FRANCIS AND MARGERY ENNIS."
In the fall of 1764, at the end of his expedition into Ohio, Colonel Bouquet
returned with a large number of captives which had been surrendered to him,
and among these the Innises recovered their two children, who had been held in
captivity for eight years. A man in Philadelphia had taken the boy to raise, and
refused to surrender him until his parents proved his identity by a private mark.
This mark was on his back, where two boils had been lanced, The father told the
man who held him that unless these marks were found upon him he would not
claim the boy. The girl, when told to go into a room among a number of
gentleman, at once recognized her father. She had not lost sight of her brother,
having seen him occasionally during their captivity. There must have been great
rejoicing when these children were restored to their home. Their son Nathaniel
moved to Kentucky, and died there. Francis, Jr., born after their return from
captivity, married a Gray, and moved to Cincinnati, and bought a farm before
there was any town there, and which is now all built over, and constitutes part of
the city. He took a boat-load of produce to New Orleans, which he there traded
for sugar, which he shipped to Baltimore, where he died soon after landing. He
left a tract of land in Black Log Valley, which the family have lately recovered
after a remarkable search among family records and land titles. His only child
died young in St. Louis. The living Innis families are descendants of James. It is
stated on his monument: "His parents being taken captive in the year 1756 by the
French and Indians at Bigham's Fort, Juniata County, he was born in Montreal."
He served two tours in the Revolutionary War. By the first wife, Ann Arbuckle, his
children were Francis, William, Samuel, James, John, Elizabeth, Nathaniel,
Alexander, Joseph, Ann. By the second wife, Isabella Oliver, he had Sarah,
Mary, Isabella, Robert, Jane, Ebenezer, Nancy, the last still living. The older sons
went to Brown County, Ohio, the rest by the first wife to Rush County, Ind.
Robert's children were Sarah Ann, Elizabeth and Mary respectively married to
John Milliken, McConnell Beale and John Adams. Ebenezer's children were
Jennie, Belle and Robert, respectively married to Matthew Rogers, Alfred
Patterson and Victoria Junk.
LOWER TUSCARORA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. --In 1766 Rev.
Charles Beatty traveled through the Tuscarora Valley and preached, August
20th, at a house three miles after crossing the Tuscarora Monntain by the
Traders' Path; after service he traveled three miles farther and lodged at William
Graham's, now near David Esh's in Spruce Hill. The next day he went two and a
half miles, where his companion, Rev. George Duffield, preached at "a place
people had begun to build a house for worship before the late war, but by
accident it had been burned." This was at Academia and at the site of the present
Lower Tuscarora Church. By some means the above statement has been made
to read in several written and printed sermons, that Rev. Duffield preached "at a
place where a house of worship had been commenced, but was discontinued on
account of the war." Our quotation is from the original. The church burned by
accident was, therefore, the first one. The second one was built soon after Mr.
Beatty's visit. It was built of round
logs, covered with clapboards, was without a floor, and had a large fire-place in
the end. It stood on the road to the present church--the road running over its very
foundation. The grounds where the church is situated were granted by order of
survey No. 134, to "John Lyon, William Graham, Robert Houston and Joseph
McCoy, in trust for the Presbyterian Society or Congregation in Milford township,
Tuscarora valley, under the care of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia,"
twenty acres adjoining William and John Beale on one side and a ridge on the
other. It was surveyed May 27, 1813, for the congregation, "say 25 acres, John
Patterson, Esq., to pay the fees." In 1823 it is called the "Milford township Glebe,"
twenty-four acres. The old round-log church gave place, about 1790, to one of
hewn logs, which stood between the present church and the public road. It had
no ceiling, no plastering and small windows. The floor and pews were made of
sawed boards. The pulpit was high, and stood at the west end. There was a door
at each side near the pulpit end, and an aisle ran across from door to door, from
which two long, narrow aisles ran back to the rear end of the building, three
blocks of pews, beside one at each side of the pulpit in the corners, making
thirty-six pews. A diagram of the "sitters" in 1803 has been preserved. There
were ninety-three families, and their stipends foot up œ122 11s. This house was
built under Rev. Hugh Magill. In 1816 the fourth edifice was erected under Rev.
John Coulter. It was built of stone, and at the time regarded as altogether too
grand and costly an undertaking; but time showed the pastor's progressive ideas
and shrewd forecast of the wants of the people, for it gave the congregation a
prominence and prestige among all the churches of the region. Stewart Laird was
the contractor, and did his work well, for it still stands on the point or forks of the
road, now remodeled and turned into a two-story school building, and so used
since the burning of Tuscarora Academy. Being seen of all, it needs no
description. The present church edifice is of brick, and was built under the
pastorate of Rev. Dr. G. W. Thompson, in 1849, and cost sixty-five hundred
From the time that this infant organization was visited by Revs. Beatty and
Duffield supplies were occasionally sent from the churches east of the mountains
in the older and more thickly populated regions. In 1771 an effort was made to
get Rev. Mr. Rhea, but it was not successful. The congregations in Tuscarora
and at Cedar Springs renewed their "supplications" for supplies and for a regular
pastor. A Rev. Samuel Kennedy, whom the Presbytery refused for some reason
to recognize as a minister, came and preached, and soon won adherents, which
bred division and a great deal of trouble in both congregations. Presbytery
attempted to restore order; sent its moderator to read a paper; it was snatched
from his hand, and, to avoid a riot, he deserted the field. At length, in 1776, came
Rev. Hugh Magill, first as a supply for ten months and afterwards, getting a call,
he was installed as the first pastor of Lower Tuscarora and Cedar Springs
Churches on the fourth Wednesday in November, 1779. After seventeen years
(1796) he resigned the Lower Tuscarora Church and continued at Cedar Spring
until his death, September 4, 1805. For six years the church was dependent on
supplies. Rev. John Coulter preached his first sermon January 1, 1800, and was
installed August 11, 1801. He continued to preach until his death, June 22, 1834,
that day being the first time in thirty-three years that he failed to meet his
appointment. He was the son of James Coulter, who lived in Lack from 1791 to
1823, by the tax-lists. Before his marriage he lived near Johnstown; after that, at
the Randolph farm, above McCoysville. His son James prepared for the ministry,
but died, never having preached but one sermon, Revs. Coulter and Hutcheson
were married to sisters named Waugh. His sons, David and John, moved West.
Isabella married George Noss; Eliza, Joseph S. Laird; Jane, Dr. Galbreath. Rev.
Coulter was an able and faithful pastor. Prior to his advent the Presbyterians in
the upper end of the valley worshipped at an old log church at McWilliams'
Grave-yard, in Lack township, and were served by a preacher from Path Vallev.
About the time of Mr. Coulter's coming they organized Middle Tuscarora at
McCulloch's Mills, and Upper Tuscarora took its place at Waterloo. Coulter
served the two former, while Rev. Alexander McIlwaine was installed pastor of
Upper Tuscarora and Little Aughwick at Shade Gap, November 5, 1799. He died
March 6, 1807. In November 1834, Rev. McKnight Williamson began to preach at
Lower Tuscarora, and was installed, the next year, pastor of this church alone,
and continued until April 14, 1845. He is now near eighty-five years of age. In
1842 there was a great revival in Tuscarora, under Rev. William Ramsey, a new-
school Presbyterian minister, who had come to visit his sister, Mrs. Judge Beale.
From the school-house it went to the Camp-Ground and then to the church. The
valley had never witnessed such an awakening before. Rev. Williamson assisted
the movement, and many were added to his church. The next pastor was Rev.
Benjamin H. Campbell, in 1846, who continued only a few months. In the spring
of 1847, Rev. G. W. Thompson took charge of Lower Tuscarora Church and
served it for seventeen years, until
his death, January 28, 1864, in the forty-fifth year of his age. Since then the
pastors have been as follows: Rev. Samuel Milliken, 1864 to 1870; Rev. L. B. W.
Shryock, 1870 to 1873; supply for one year, Rev. J. H. Steward and Rev.
Thomas Robison; Rev. J. H. Oliver, 1875 to 1884; Rev. C. S. Dewing, 1884,
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--There are six public schools in Beale township,
and the buildings are all frame,--Pomeroy's, John McLaughlin, Thomas McCoy,
John Casner and Miss Reynolds taught here at an early date. Academia, George
Meloy and James Steele taught here before 1812. Rock, Johnstown, McAllister's
and Pine Grove. Kepner's school-house, near John Jenkins', on the township
line, was not used after Beale township was organized. James
Butler, in 1817, taught in the old house near Pomeroy's school-house. The
number of children in Beale attending schools in 1884 was two hundred and
James Butler was an Englishman. He wrote the book called "American
Bravery Displayed." He compiled a school reader of choice extracts, mostly
patriotic, which is still in manuscript in the hands of his grandson at McCoysville.
The following is from the pen of Andrew Banks;
"The only author, either of prose or poetry, which this county has at any time
produced was James Butler, Esq., who used to indulge himself in framing a kind
of doggerel, mostly satirical, notwithstanding which, they possessed some
degree of merit. Some of his pieces were published, one in particular, on the
subject of St. Clair's Defeat, which, of course, was tragical. It possessed
considerable merit and was published, but not now in circulation, as far as
known. He also wrote and published a novel entitled 'Fortune's Football,' which
possessed some merit. For many years he kept a record of all the births and
deaths which fell under his notice until his death (at Mifflintown), about two years
ago (1842), at the age of eighty-seven years."
TUSCARORA ACADEMY.--Rev. John Coulter, about 1800, opened a
classical school in the house of Hugh Alexander. This was the first school of the
kind in the county, and was continued until 1805. About the year 1805 Rev. John
Hutcheson started a similar school in Mifflintown, which was continued until
about the time of the opening of Tuscarora Academy.
Rev. McKnight Williamson opened a school in 1835, in a house on the farm
now owned by Henderson Gilson. He taught the classics and other higher
branches. In 1837 he taught a class of about fifteen students in a house
belonging to Andrew Patterson. Merchant John Patterson gave two thousand
dollars and several acres of land for the use of the school. Many other residents
of the valley also gave liberally. The Legislature, in 1837, incorporated
"Tuscarora Academy," which was the first institution of the kind established in the
county. The school was opened in 1839 with Professor David Wilson as principal,
and continued until 1852, with the exception of about two and a half years, during
which time he was at the head of the Lewistown Academy. The academy for
many years had an uninterrupted tide of success. From 1852 it passed
successively under the control of Rev. Dr. G. W. Thompson, Rev. G. W.
Garthwaite, Dr. Isaac Blauvelt, Dr. J. H. Shoemaker, Dr. David D. Stone, W. A.
McDowell, Dr. D. D. Stone, Captain J. J. Patterson, and Dr. D. D. Stone, under
whom, in October, 1873, the building used as the boarding aud dormitory
departments was burned. The trustees purchased the building now used as the
boarding department, and the school has been continued ever since by Dr.
Stone, Dr. Cleveland, Captain J. J. Patterson, Harkins Brothers and Rev.
Vaughan, present incumbent. It has at present over thirty students.
Beale townsbip has sent out some of her own sons to enlighten others. Calvin
McDonald now edits the San Diego Herald in California. Rev. N. A. Okeson is an
Episcopal clergyman at Norfolk, Va.
INDIAN MOUND AND FORT.--At Bryner's bridge, two miles above
Academia, there are the remains of an ancient Indian mound of human bones,
and nearby there was once an Indian fort. The mound is on the creek bottom,
about one hundred yards from the north end of the bridge, on the upper side of
the road, and now consists only of an unplowed spot, thirty feet long and twenty
wide, grown up with wild plum bushes. Originally it was a huge sepulchre.
Octogenarians living near informed the writer that they conversed with the
original settlers concerning it, and were told that when they first saw it, it was as
high as a hunter's cabin (fifteen feet), and that its base covered an eighth of an
acre. Other old folks describe it as having been twelve feet high and one hundred
in diameter, with an oval base. Ninety years ago there stood upon it a large elm-
tree. Some eighty years ago this property was owned by George Casner, who,
with his sons, Frederick, Jacob and John, hauled out the greater portion of the
mound and scattered it over
the fields. An old lady says she saw the bottom all white with bleaching bones
after it had rained. Even after this spoliation the mound was six feet high; but
afterwards it was plowed over for a number of years until it became nearly level.
Students from the academy frequented it for teeth and other relics. Quite a
number of stone axes and flint arrow-heads, pipes and other relics were
exhumed, all of which have been lost sight of and carried away. It is believed by
intelligent old citizens that this mound was the result of some terrible battle
between two hostile tribes, who thus summarily disposed of their dead.
THE OLD FORT FIELD.--At the lower end of the bottom, Doyle's Mill
Run enters the creek. Its bank on the side next the mound, for some distance,
has a perpendicular cliff about twenty-five feet high. Between this cliff and the
high bank bordering the bottom, at the edge of the swamp, there is an elevated
flat of perhaps twenty acres, of triangular shape, extending on the west to a high
ridge, the end of which is opposite the mound. This elevated point between the
run and swamp is called the Old Fort Field. The point of the Fort Field is down
the creek, and about three hundred or four hundred yards below the mound. No
one knows how long the name Old Fort Field has been in use. There are three
things about this field that deserve notice, and, as in the case of the mound, it is
a pity that they were not described by a competent scholar before they were
"1. There was an earth-work thrown up, from the cliff on the run to the creek
bottom bank, enclosing about three acres of the elevated point, which, by nature
and art, was thus rendered perfectly inaccessible. Persons yet living saw this
earthen bank when it was three feet high. It was semicircular in form, with the
concave side next the point of the elevated land. It was composed entirely of
ground, and had clever saplings growing upon it. By frequent plowing and
cultivation it has now become almost entirely obliterated.
"2. Within this enclosure Mr. Milliken, some years ago, plowed up an old fire-
hearth or altar, composed of flat, smooth creek stones, on which rested a
quantity of charcoal and ashes, articles which are almost indestructible. Such
altars among the Ohio mound-builders are not regarded as mere fire-places, but
probably connected with the council-house or sacrificial devotions.
"3. One of the most interesting remains of this fort or ancient fortified village, is
a series of 'steps'' cut in the rock, near the point of the enclosure, leading down to
Doyle's Run. These steps were very distinct to the first settlers, and are, in fact,
yet well defined. Neighboring children used to go to 'play at the Indian stone
steps.' These steps could not have been formed by any process of nature, such
as the crumblings of alternate seams in the strata, for the rock is tilted on its edge
and admits of no lateral cleavage.
"We have here the earth-work, the hearth and the carved steps, and their
proximity to the mound certainly link their history together. Was this a military fort,
and are the bones the result of the battle fought there, or was it simply a fortified
village and the bones the natural accumulation of successive burials? We
venture an opinion of their origin and
Tbe tract including the Fort Field was taken up by Ralph Sterrett, and he no
doubt for a time lived here. As mentioned under the head of Bigham's Fort, it is
probable he had a kind of fort at this place. The question arises whether his
block-house may not have given origin to the traditionarv 'Old Fort Field.' Some
have so supposed. We very decidedly think not. Sterrett's residence must have
been further up the run, at the spring and near the Chamber-Milliken mansion.
He had nothing to do with the enclosure formed by the earth-work, and there was
no spring in it. He neither could have made it nor utilized it. It is very likely,
however, that he had his fort near by the Fort Field, and being a trader and
conversant with the country, even before it was purchased, it is very likely that he
selected this tract because of the old Indian-cleared corn-fields that were with
little labor ready to be again planted. His house, with its loop-holes for defense,
could not have given the name to the field."
A MASTODON.--In 1847 Drs. J. P. Sterrett and J. L. Kelly discovered
in the ancient surface alluvium of the Post-Tertiary period, along the bank of
Tuscarora Creek, near Academia, a tusk and a number of teeth of a mastodon
giganteus, a fossil member of the elephant family. The animal, when alive, must
have been twelve feet high and twenty-five feet long, allowing seven feet for the
tusks. The remains were found six feet below the surface. The tusk was nine feet
long, about two feet of which must have been in the socket. It was eight inches in
diameter at the socket end, and gradually tapered to a point. One of the teeth
had yet a portion of the jaw remaining. Though many have been found in miry
grounds elsewhere, this is the only "find" that we know of in this interior
mountain region of our State.
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© 2013 by Michael Milliken