Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Prevalent Fear

From Our Savage Neighbors, by Peter Silver, published by W.W. Norton & Company, 2007, pp. 58-59:

    Rather surprisingly, the right of at least eventual burial was a basic assumption of the laws of war. As the great Spanish theorist Vitoria had observed, it had been considered a clear right under natural law, even for the corpses of executed criminals, since at least the time of the Israelites: and since "piety is a natural thing, even for the dead . . . [it] is unlawful to abuse their corpses." Unlike those people today who sign up happily for posthumous donations and dissections, early Americans were very far from indifferent about what happened to their bodies after death. When blended with Indians' supposed propensity for mutilating their dead or dying opponents, this dread of posthumous abuse (especially of decaying visibly, or becoming food for animals) accounted for an enormous part of the fear that provincial Americans felt when considering Indian attacks. Their evident fascination with the burning up after death of Indians victims in flaming barns or houses probably sprang, too, from the idea of the dead's being disposed of in horribly unconventional ways.
    Body-burying expeditions had a central place in newspaper reporting–a place that makes sense when we understand the special power the damaged or unburied dead had to shock and depress colonists. The parties of men who trudged off to find victims and "[Bury them] in a Christian Manner" became vessels for terror. In late October 1755, after William Parsons heard reports of an attack near Easton and went out "to assist in burying the Dead," he wrote two letters unburdening himself of the horror of the trip. His little party, doubling in numbers as it went, heard of another attack nearer by and decided "to go . . . to these dead Bodies" first, which they soon found "lying dead just in the Road" with "all the Skin of their Heads . . . scalpt off." As darkness fell, the members of the party worried that "their Bodies might be torn to pieces" before morning. So they borrowed a grubbing hoe and shovel from the nearest farm and dug the deepest grave they could in the stony ground, putting them both in one grave . . . as we found them with all their Cloaths on."

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Crawford Expedition

During the Revolutionary War, William Crawford (1732-1782) was commissioned colonel of the 7th Virginia and served with the distinction at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. In late 1777, he took command of the continental troops and militia in western Pennsylvania. After the War, Crawford retired from the military, but his reputation as an Indian fighter soon made him the commander of an ill-fated expedition against the Delaware Indians of Sandusky, Ohio in the spring of 1782. Unfamiliar with the terrain and unable to replenish his troops, Crawford’s army of experienced frontiersman was defeated. Angered by the massacre of neutral and unarmed Indians in the Muskingham Valley by Pennsylvania militia, Indian warriors stripped off Crawford’s clothes, tied his arms around a thick wooden post, and tortured him. Dr. John Knight, a military surgeon who traveled with the Sandusky expedition, witnessed the atrocity:
    "Seventy shots of powder were fired at his body. Indians then cut off his ears, prodded him with burning sticks, and tossed hot embers at him. Colonel Crawford continued in the extremities of pain for an hour and three quarters or two hours longer, as near as I can judge, when at last, being almost totally exhausted, he laid down on his belly; they then scalped him and repeatedly threw the scalp in my face, telling me, 'That was your great captain.' An old squaw got a board, took a parcel of coals and ashes and laid them on his back and head, after he had been scalped. Colonel Crawford then raised himself upon his feet and began to walk around the post; they next put a burning stick to him as usual, but he seemed more insensible of pain than before."
After learning of Crawford’s brutal fate on June 11, 1782, the Pennsylvania Packet reported that the state militia was “greatly enraged and determined to have ample satisfaction."

(Source: Beyond Philadelphia: The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland, by Gregory T. Knouff, John B. Frantz ed., William Pencak ed., Park, Pa: Penn State Press, 1998)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Battle of Jack's Creek

from Historical Collections of Georgia, by George White, published 1854, Pudney & Russell, pp.672-673:

    Jack's Creek, in Walton County, [Georgia] is noted for a battle with the Indians, the particulars of which are given in the following letter from General Elijah Clarke to Governor [George] Matthews:— 

      LONG CREEK, Sept. 24, 1787.

I had certain information that a man was killed on the 17th, near Greenesborough, by a party of six or seven Indians; and that on the 16th, Colonel Barber, with a small party, was waylaid by fifty or sixty Indians, and wounded, and three of his party killed, This determined me to raise what men I could, in the course of twenty-four hours, and march with them to protect the frontiers, in which space of time I collected 160 men, chiefly volunteers, and proceeded to the place where Colonel Barber had been attacked. There I found the bodies of the three men mentioned above, mangled in a shocking manner, and after I had buried them, proceeded on the trail of the murderers as far as the south fork of the Ocmulgee, where, finding that I had no chance of overtaking them, I left it and went up the said river, till I met with a fresh trail of Indians coming towards our frontier settlements. I immediately turned and followed the trail until the morning of the 21st, between eleven and twelve o'clock, when I came up with them. They had just crossed a branch called Jack's Creek, through a thick cane-brake, and were encamped and cooking upon an eminence. My force then consisted of 130 men, thirty having been sent back on account of their horses being tired and lost.

I drew up my men in three divisions; the right commanded by Colonel Freeman, the left by Major [John] Clarke, and the middle by myself. Colonel Freeman and Major Clarke were ordered to surround and charge the Indians, which they did with such dexterity and spirit that they immediately drove them from their encampment back into the cane-brake, where, finding it impossible for them to escape, they obstinately returned our fire until half past four o'clock, when they ceased, except now and then a shot. During the latter part of the action they seized every opportunity of escaping by small parties, leaving the rest to shift for themselves. About sunset I thought it most advisable to draw off, as the men had suffered for provisions for nearly two days, and for want of water during the action, but more particularly to take care of the wounded, which amounted to eleven, and six killed. From every circumstance, I am certain that there were not less than twenty-five Indians killed, and am induced, to suppose that had I remained that night, I should have found forty or fifty dead of their wounds by the morning. In short, they were totally defeated, with the loss of their provisions, clothing, and the following articles: a gun, thirty-two brass kettles, thirty- seven large packs, containing blankets, &c. Colonel Freeman and Major Clarke distinguished themselves, and from the spirit and activity with which the whole of my little party acted during the action, I do not believe that had we met them in the open woods, we should have been more than five minutes in giving them a total overthrow.

"The German Bleeds..," never the Quaker

political cartoon, circulated after the 1763 Conestoga massacre
(click image to enlarge)
"The German bleeds & bears ye Furs
Of Quaker Lords & Savage Airs

The Hibernian frets with new Disaster
And kicks to fling his broad brim'd Master

But help at hand Resolves to hold down
The Hibernian's head or tumble all down"

In 1760s backcountry Pennsylvania Scots-Irish and German settlers became increasingly convinced that Quaker leaders were encouraging and arming neighboring Indians to brutally attack their families in an effort to make them leave the colony altogether. In 1763 their resentment erupted into violence when the Scots-Irish "Paxton Boys" murdered six Indians at the Conestoga town near Lancaster, and afterward burned their cabins. Subsequent attacks followed in an attempt to wipe out their entire local tribe. The gang threatened to march eastward to Philadelphia killing all Indians in their path. In the image above, one of Pennsylvania's first political cartoons, an Indian and Quaker ride on the backs of German and Scots-Irish settlers as a house in the background is burning. A mother and child lie dead in the foreground. It is true that Quakers provided arms to some frontier Indians. More significantly, upon disembarking at the port of Philadelphia, German and Scots-Irish immigrants were maneuvered by the Quaker authorities into settling the western Pennsylvania frontier. Their presence there provided a strategic defense shield between the gentrified coast and hostile Indian nations, without having to compromise their personal Quaker pacifist principles. 

David James Dove, re: The Paxton Boys

From The Quaker Unmask'd, or, Plain Truth, by David James Dove, Philadelphia: Andrew Steuart, 1764:

    WHEN the Indian Incursions last Summer laid waste a considerable Part of our Frontier, by which near a thousand Families were drove from their Places, reduced to the utmost Poverty, and thrown upon the Public-Charity for the Support of their miserable Lives.—How did these meek, merciful, compassionate Quakers (who would seem to monopolize Christian Charity, and all the Tenderness of human Nature amongst themselves) behave on so melancholy an Occasion?–To their immortal Infamy be it known, that when every other religious Society in the City, even the Roman-Catholicks, whom they so much despise, (tho' saddled at the Time with the heavy Expence of building a Chapel) were sensibly affected with the Distresses of the poor unhappy Sufferers, and promoted very generous and liberal Contributions for their Relief and Support. These compassionate and merciful Christians [the Quakers], so easily affected with Pity for Indians, would not grant a single Farthing (as a Society) for the Relief of their Fellow Subjects. Tho' Justice requires we should exempt from this Odium a few worthy Individuals in the City, who contributed on the Occasion; as also a few others in the Town and Neighbourhood of Lancaster, who raised about Thirty Pounds for the same Purpose.

    WHEREAS when their Good Brethern the Indians (some of whom were well known by Officers now in the City, to have been in the Battle against Col. BOUQUET, and others at the Siege of Fort Pitt, during the Summer) seem'd to be in Danger of receiving their just Deserts from the Hands of a bereft and injured People, no Toils or Fatigues by Night or Day are thought too great, nor no Expence too much to protect those Bosom Friends. Nay, their very fundamental Principles of Non-Resistance, which would never before bend in Defence of King or Country, are cheerfully sacrificed on the interesting Occasion, as a Compliment to perfidious Savages.

    THE PAXTON PEOPLE'S coming down armed, in a seemingly hostile Manner, is also justly to be condemned,—But whilst we condemn particular Facts, let us not misrepresent the general Characters of these People.

    Let it be considered, that they had, long before, sent several Petitions to the Governor and Assembly, which, its suppos'd, have been conceal'd by some ill designing persons: And tho' his Honour never receiv'd these Remonstances, yet the distress'd People believ'd he had, and look'd upon themselves as utterly neglected, and their sufferings despis'd by the Government. . .

    WHAT these People intended by their coming down arm'd let themselves declare. I only observe, that the Manner of their Behavior when they came, did them Honour; as it shew'd them to be brave, loyal and discreet.

Benjamin Franklin, re: The Conestoga Massacre

From A Narrative of the Late Massacres, in Lancaster County, of a Number of Indians, Friends of this Province, By Persons Unknown. With some Observations on the same, by Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia, 1764:

    On Wednesday, the 14th of December, 1763, Fifty-seven Men, from some of our Frontier Townships, who had projected the Destruction of this little Common-wealth [Conestoga], came, all well-mounted, and armed with Firelocks, Hangers and Hatchets, having traveled through the Country in the Night, to Conestogoe Manor. There they surrounded the small Village of Indian Huts, and just at Break of Day broke into them all at once. Only three Men, two Women, and a young Boy, were found at home, the rest being out among the neighbouring White People, some to sell the Baskets, Brooms and Bowls they manufactured, and others on other Occasions. These poor defenceless Creatures were immediately fired upon, stabbed and hatcheted to Death! The good Shehaes [a Conestoga] among the rest, cut to Pieces in his Bed. All of them were scalped, and otherwise horribly mangled. Then their Huts were set on Fire, and most of them burnt down. When the Troop, pleased with their own Conduct and Bravery, but enraged that any of the poor Indians had escaped the Massacre, rode off, and in small Parties, by different Roads, went home.

    The universal Concern of the neighbouring White People on hearing of this Event, and the Lamentations of the younger Indians, when they returned and saw the Desolation, and the butchered half-burnt Bodies of their murdered Parents, and other Relations, cannot well be expressed.

    The Magistrates of Lancaster sent out to collect the remaining Indians, brought them into the Town for their better Security against any further Attempt, and it is said condoled with them on the Misfortune that had happened, took them by the Hand, comforted and promised them Protection. They were all put into the Workhouse, a strong Building, as the Place of greatest Safety. . .

    . . . those cruel Men again assembled themselves, and hearing that the remaining fourteen Indians were in the Work-House at Lancaster, they suddenly appeared in that Town, on the 27th of December. Fifty of them, armed as before, dismounting, went directly to the Work-House, and by Violence broke open the Door, and entered with the utmost Fury in their Countenances. When the poor Wretches saw they had no Protection nigh, nor could possibly escape, and being without the least Weapon for Defence, they divided into their little Families, the Children clinging to the Parents; they fell on their Knees, protested their Innocence, declared their Love to the English, and that, in their whole Lives, they had never done them Injury; and in this Posture they all received the Hatchet! Men, Women and little Children–were every one inhumanly murdered! – in cold Blood!

    The barbarous Men who committed the atrocious act, in Defiance of Government, of all Laws human and divine, and to the eternal Disgrace of their Country and Colour, then mounted their Horses, huzza'd in Triumph, as if they had gained a Victory, and rode off – unmolested!

    The Bodies of the Murdered were then brought out and exposed in the Street, till a Hole could be made in the Earth, to receive and cover them.

    But the Wickedness cannot be covered, the Guilt will lie on the whole Land, till Justice is done on the Murderers. THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT WILL CRY TO HEAVEN FOR VENGEANCE.

"The Quaker Unmask'd"

From The Quaker Unmask'd, or, Plain Truth, by David James Dove, Philadelphia: Andrew Steuart, 1764:

    "Friend . . . It is true, we [Quakers] profess to have an Aversion to War: but . . . we secretly rejoice when we hear of whole Settlements murdered and destroyed. . . . And tho' our Malice at present is openly pointed only at the Presbyterians; yet to be plain with thee, we are as much in our Hearts against all who differ from us in Opinion . . . . thee knows it would be impolitic to discover our Resentment to too many Sects at once . . . ."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

John Murray & Lord Dunmore's War

From "John M. Dunmore," Ohio History Central, 2005:

John Murray, Lord Dunmore was a royal governor of Virginia in the years before the American Revolution. He was born in Scotland in 1732. He came from a noble family and was descended from royalty. In 1761, at the young age of twenty-nine years, he was elected to the House of Commons in the English Parliament. He served for the remainder of the 1760s. In 1770, the Earl of Hillsborough selected him to be the royal governor of New York. Such an appointment was viewed as a great honor and would allow the recipient to garner wealth in England's New World colonies. Dunmore accepted the appointment and arrived in New York in October 1770.

In late 1771, Dunmore was promoted to governor of Virginia, England's largest and wealthiest colony in North America. He became an instant celebrity and well-respected leader of the colony. The Virginia elites, including George Washington, welcomed him and viewed him as a capable politician. The Virginians' view of Dunmore would change in 1773. In that year, the governor disbanded the Virginia legislature, the House of Burgesses, for supporting persons opposed to the Mother Country. He dissolved the legislature again in 1774. Opposition arose to the governor as he limited Virginians' ability to govern themselves.

Hoping to regain the support he once enjoyed, Dunmore sought to help the colonists against Native American threats in the Ohio Country. Beginning in 1774, Mingo Indians and Shawnee Indians rose up against white settlers—mainly from Virginia—who hoped to settle in the area. Dunmore also feared that Pennsylvania coveted land claimed by Virginia. To prevent Pennsylvania's expansion into modern-day West Virginia, southeastern Ohio, and Kentucky, Dunmore wished to place Virginia militiamen in these regions. He also hoped to open these lands to white settlement.

In August 1774, Pennsylvania and Virginia militias decided to end the Native American threat. Pennsylvania soldiers entered the Ohio Country and quickly destroyed seven Mingo villages, which the Indians had abandoned as the soldiers approached. At the same time, Lord Dunmore sent one thousand men to the Little Kanawha River in modern-day West Virginia to build a fort and attack the Shawnees. Cornstalk, a Shawnee leader, sent nearly one thousand warriors to drive Dunmore's army from the region. The forces met on October 10, 1774, at what became known as the Battle of Point Pleasant. After several hours of intense fighting, the English drove Cornstalk's followers north of the Ohio River. Dunmore, with a large force of his own, quickly followed the Shawnees across the river into the Ohio Country. Upon nearing the Shawnee villages on the Pickaway Plains near what is now Circleville, Ohio, Dunmore stopped. From his encampment named Camp Charlotte, Dunmore requested that the Shawnees come to him and discuss a peace treaty. The Shawnees agreed, but while negotiations were under way, Colonel Andrew Lewis and a detachment of Virginia militia that Dunmore had left behind at Point Pleasant crossed the Ohio River and destroyed several Shawnee villages. Fearing that Dunmore intended to destroy them, the Shawnees agreed to terms before more blood was shed. This military campaign came to be known as Lord Dunmore's War.

As a result of this war, some Shawnee Indians agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768) and promised to give up some of their lands east and south of the Ohio River. This was the first time that some of the natives who actually lived in the Ohio Country agreed to relinquish some of their land. In addition, these Shawnees also promised to return their white captives and to no longer attack English colonists traveling down the Ohio River.

Dunmore returned to Virginia a hero, but he quickly alienated the colonists once again by removing all of the gunpowder in the Williamsburg arsenal to a British warship. Dunmore feared that the colonists intended to use the gunpowder to overthrow royal authority in the New World. By July 1776, patriots had forced Dunmore to flee from Virginia. He spent the remainder of the American Revolution in England, where he again served in Parliament. From 1787 to 1796, he served as the royal governor of the Bahamas. He then retired to England and died in 1809.

The Moffetts & the Piqua

From Annals of Augusta County, by Joseph Addison Waddell, pub. 1902, C.R. Caldwell, pp. 177-178:

    Col. George Moffett, son of John and Mary Christian Moffett, was born in 1735.—His wife was a sister of Colonel Samuel McDowell. He lived on the Middle River farm, owned for many years past by the Dunlap family, called Mount Pleasant, and built the stone dwelling house still on the place. He was not only prominent during the Indian wars and the Revolution, but was so also in civil affairs, having been a justice of the peace, an elder in the Presbyterian church, and one of the first trustees of Washington College, Lexington. He is said to have been a man of commanding presence, and eminently religious. He died in 1811, aged seventy-six years, and was buried in Augusta church graveyard. His children were John, James McD., Samuel, William, Mrs. General McDowell, of Kentucky, Mrs. Col. Joseph McDowell, of North Carolina, Mrs. Kirk, of Kentucky, and Mrs. James Cochran, of Augusta connty. James McDowell Moffett was the father of the late Mrs. John McCue, and Mrs. Cochran was the mother of Messrs. John, George M., and James A. Cochran.

    Two of Col. Moffett's brothers removed to Kentucky in 1783, with their half-brother, James Trimble and many other Augusta people. Robert Moffett, one of the two, settled in Jessamine county. He had two sons, John and George, who were captured by Indians soon after their arrival in Kentucky. The ages of the boys were about six and eight years, respectively. They were taken to the Indian town of Piqua, on the Miami river, in Ohio, and John was adopted into the family of Tecumseh's mother. At Wayne's treaty, in 1794, these prisoners were given up, and their father was present with the Kentucky troops to receive back his long-lost sons. George, the younger of the two, was eager to return home; but John was reluctant to leave his Indian mother and friends. He went back, however, with his father, but was restless and unhappy and finally returned to Piqua. There he remained with the Indians till they sold their reservation and removed west of the Mississippi river.

    The late John A. Trimble, of Ohio, in a letter dated March 31, 1881, and addressed to Dr. George B. Moffett, of West Virginia, says that when he was a child, in 1807, he saw John Moffett, who was then on his return from a visit to Kentucky. He was in the vigor of manhood, dressed in Indian costume and traveling on foot. Mr. Trimble saw him again in 1828, at his home near Piqua. He had lived during his boyhood and youth with Tecumseh, the celebrated Indian chief, and seemed much attached to him. At the time of Mr. Trimble's visit, Moffett had recently married an elderly lady and settled down to civilized life. But in his early life he had an Indian wife. Mr. Trimble says:
      "I was descending the Mississippi in 1819, and landed at a point below Memphis called Mill's Landing. Mr. Mills, the pioneer settler there, had a trading post with the Mississippi Indians, who were encamped about the post. My brother, Cary Trimble, was with me. Mr. Mills, hearing we were from Kentucky, claimed relationship, his wife being a grand-daughter of Robert Moffett, of Woodford. We were invited to his house and my brother at once recognized Mrs. Mills as a relative whom he had known fifteen years before in Kentucky. She related a strange surprise she had a few evenings before from a very old Indian woman. She had noticed for several days the manners of this woman and her close scrutiny and eager gaze as she would meet her. At last she came up to her, exclaiming : 'Moffett! you are Moffett!' Somewhat startled, she called to Mr. Mills, who understood the Indian language, and he learned that the woman was the repudiated wife of John Moffett, a prisoner among the Indians at Piqua, ' long time ago. The woman said she knew Mrs. Mills from her likeness to her uncle when he was a boy. She said also that she had a son, Wicomichee, a young Indian chief, so called 'because his father left him.'"

Sunday, March 2, 2008

John Harris to Owen Biddle, 1776

Paxton, July 29th, 1776. 


I was informed by two men that came here last week from Sunbury for some Gun Powder stored with me for No. Thumberland Coty, that Two Seneca Indians came to the Great Island on the West Branch of Susquehannah ab't Two Weeks agoe, & that the next day after sd Indians arrived, the Indians in that neighbourhood moved off with their Familys, Effects, &c., & cut down some if not the whole of their Indian Corn; it appears as if they designed to Join the Canada Indians, or such of the Six Nations or other Indian Nations that may chuse to take an active part in the present warr ag't us; the English Officers that made their escape from Lebanon in Lancaster Coty, no doubt did perswade the Indians on their tour up this River, to take up the Hatchet ag't us, You may depend on it that the Indians cannot be kept Neuter, no Treaty or Presents can Prevent their being concern'd in the warr, therefore if a number of their warriors were engaged in our service, it might perhaps, (if not now too late) prevent them Destroying ourselves, our late success in Carolina may encourage the Southern Indians to join us in that quarter, If timely apply'd to, they would be of the greatest service for to assist us to cut off the Northern or Western Ind's, If a general Indian warr shoud Happen, (may God forbid) that an Indian Warr shoud take place, but we ought to use all the means in our power to prevent it ag't ourselves, & if there is now no preventing it, Let the Warr be pushed on with the Greatest Vigour into their own Country, (they Begining first) Surely their Territory of the best lands in America is a fine prize for our Warriors to fight for; the Frontier Co'tys in this Province is in a Deplorable Situation for want of Powder & lead shoud the Indians Break out soon, w'ch I assure you 
is expected, the present Q'tys of ammunition in sd Co'tys is verry Trifling, proper magazines at Posts of Amunition & provisions ought to be laid up in time for the Publick use (If Wanted) before escorts & a Treble Expence in conveying sd necessary articles to proper places might be expedient. I know the Indians well from my infancy, warr is their delight, & they will be concern'd on some side & 
Likely both for & ag't us; the Greatest Spirit Imaginable Reigns among us, I hope it may continue to the end of the Present unjust & cruel warr undertaken by Great Brittain against us, it's Quite Right now, for the Hon'ble the Continental Congress to Get all the Foreign aid Judg'd necessary to assist us, a good Fleet especially, superior with our assistance to that of our Enemy's, with Engineers, &c., from my love for my bleeding country, my acquaintance with yr self, knowing yr situation & Influence, is the Reason I make free to write you this long Incorrect Epistle; there is two places in this county I have found by Enquiry that it's Likely Good flints may be made. If you'll please to write me a Letter Informing me any news, you'll please to communicate [through] Lancaster post or first safe conveyance shall take it as a favor. I am Sir,
with the 
Greatest Respect, your most obed't, 

& most Humble Servant,


To Owen Biddle, Esquire, in Philadelphia

Harris' Ferry, Pennsylvania

From the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania website:

    John Harris (1673-1748), a native of Yorkshire, England, arrived in Philadelphia as one of the first emigrants to accompany William Penn. In approximately 1719, Harris moved with his wife Esther from Chester County to Lancaster County. They then eventually built a log cabin on the banks of the Susquehanna, near the present juncture of Paxton and Front streets.

    In about 1727, John Harris, Jr. was born. Harris, Jr. became the founder of Harrisburg and the leader in the movement to establish Dauphin County. Other settlers soon followed in the footsteps of John Harris, Sr., and on December 17, 1733, the proprietaries of Pennsylvania granted to him by patent, 300 acres of land, within which was included the present site of the Dauphin County Court House. He developed a large trade with the Indians in fur and skins and established numerous trading posts. He also began farming on a small scale and introduced the first plow to the vicinity. Harris, Sr. established the first ferry across the Susquehanna, which in time became so popular that that place was no longer called by its Indian name of Peixtan, but Harris' Ferry.

    John Harris, Sr. died in 1748, and was buried, at his request, beneath the shade of a mulberry tree in River Park below Harrisburg Hospital. He had once been tied to this tree by hostile Indians who were prepared to burn him, but fortuitously, his Indian friends rescued him in the nick of time. John Harris, Jr. operated the ferry established by his father, over which were taken many boatloads of supplies for the Continental army west of the Susquehanna River.