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    Eyewitness account of the Battle of Snotty Field

    Pennamite-Yankee War: Three Letters dated 1769, 1773, and 1783. One letter reports the confrontation of two hundred opposing Pennsylvanians and Connecticut Yankees in this war over land claims. The letters are toned with smoothed folds. Minor paper loss occurs in two letters, though no loss of text.

    In the first letter, Jesse Lukens writes from Fort Augusta, Pennsylvania, on June 15, 1769, to his father, John Lukens, Pennsylvania's surveyor general and an acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin. Jesse, who worked as his father's deputy surveyor, writes, "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. . . . There seems to be a Spirit of opposition to all Law or Gospel prevalent in this part of the World. . . . People are improving on Ground which they know does not belong to them & off which it will be difficult to remove them."

    In the next letter (June 11, 1773) Jesse Lukens offers his father "a circumstantial acct. of our proceedings with the Yankeys" at the regrettably named Battle of Snotty Field. "On Sunday last we had an account that there was 2 or 300 of them set out from Wioming [Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania] for the West Branch at Jn Doughertys. Upon this News the different Constables had Warrts. to Summon the Inhabitants to . . . consult on what was best to be done." Lukens continues by reporting that he, along with "70 or 80" other local Pennsylvanians - "armed men" - set out to confront the invaders. Lukens' party "proceeded in the Indian File & in abt. 3 miles came upon their Track & followed it abt. a mile Saw their Rear just got over a Muddy run." Three representatives from Lukens' party "went to them & ordered them to Halt - to deliver up their Arms & become subjects to the Laws of the Province or that we should be obliged to compel them to it." The Yankees, who actually numbered about 110, asked for "3 Hours to consider of it & give their Answer, wch. was granted them." But instead of deliberating, they "Formed their men in a Line on the face of a Small rising ground" to fight Lukens' Pennsylvanians, who formed themselves into a line "equal length with theirs." Both sides maneuvered to "within abt. 10 yards" of each other and "stood abt. 10 minutes - when they agreed to deliver up their Arms." Two Yankees were taken as hostages and the volatile situation was defused. "Thus," Lukens concludes, "we remain in peace after being threatened for near 6 months - I think they never will be able to make head strong enough to come again."

    In the final letter, Alexander Patterson of Hamilton, Pennsylvania, informs John Lukens on March 8, 1783, "I have been at Wyoming have View'd your Land and Mr. Tillghmans 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, I have heard nothing what our Assembly has done." Throughout the Pennamite-Yankee War, Alexander Patterson was employed by the Penn family to expel the Connecticut Yankees.

    The Pennamite-Yankee War was an extended dispute over land claims between Connecticut and Pennsylvania settlers in the northeastern Pennsylvania area called the Wyoming Valley. Though the war lasted from 1769 through 1799, few people were actually killed. The controversy was settled after the close of the Revolutionary War when the new U.S. state of Pennsylvania worked through the various land title claims.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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