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    Attempting to prevent an armed march on the Wyoming Valley

    John Armstrong (1725-1795), American General in the Revolution, an important Autograph Letter Signed "John Armstrong" as "Chairman of the Committee", one page, 6.25" x 7.5", Carlisle, [Pennsylvania], November 5, 1775 to the Committee of Correspondence for Northumberland County. In the early days of the American Revolution, Armstrong attempts to quell a brewing local civil war. Overlapping colonial land grants to Pennsylvania and Connecticut in the 17th century set the stage for conflict in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania when a company of Connecticut colonists attempted to settle there in 1762. To the great chagrin of Pennsylvania, the settlers claimed the region as a part of Connecticut. Open warfare erupted in 1769 and continued sporadically until 1784. In this letter, Armstrong warns the Northumberland Committee about a planned march to destroy the Wyoming Valley settlement: "Hav[in]g rece[ive]'d information that a Cons[idera]ble. No. of inhabitants of y[ou]r Co[unty] are determined shortly to go up in hostile manner ag[ains]t. the people of Connec[ticu]t. settled at Wioming [sic] with intent to dispossess them on this alarming news we have tho[ugh]t. proper to write you our opinion; which is that such a step at this time, will be attended with very bad Consequences. Common humanity forbid at this inclem[en]t. season -- expose them to g[rea]t . suffering, both hunger & cold -- perhaps to the loss of life ---- tend to inflame the dispute -- & a disunion -- it will probably embark some of the other Colonies in the dispute -- and shew [sic] disrespect to advice of Congress -- this dispute render our Enemies more obstinate & make them rejoice -- Acting in the defensive will secure your Character in this & other Provinces -- For this reason offer their opinion & make it our express request that you will forbear hostilities at least for the present until time further delib[erate] & advise." Armstrong's remonstrance was not sufficient to prevent the Northumberland men from marching. On Christmas Day, 1775, Connecticut settlers repulsed their attackers at Rampart Rocks near Harvey's Creek, ending open conflict for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Although the Revolution quelled the Wyoming Valley war, it did not spare its residents from tragedy. On July 3, 1778, a party of Iroquois and Loyalists raided the valley, killing 300 inhabitants. In 1782 Connecticut and Pennsylvania reached an accord agreeing that Pennsylvania had jurisdiction over the area while protecting the property claims of the Connecticut settlers. Open conflict erupted once again in 1783 concluding with another victory by the Connecticut men in 1784. A final settlement was reached two years later, along much the same lines as the 1782 agreement. Some clean fold separations, light toning, else Very Good. Tremendously rare and important historic content. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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