Thursday, May 24, 2012

Exerpt from "History of Bucks County"

I have left quite a bit of the text in just to give an idea of what was going on leading up to the event highlighted.

    Washington put the Continental army in march from Valley Forge, after a
six months' residence upon its bleak hills, the 18th of June, to pursue
the enemy in his retreat toward New York. General Lee, with six brigades,
led the advance, via Doylestown to New Hope, where he crossed the night of
the 20th, and Washington encamped at Doylestown the same evening with the
main body. The weather was very stormy, and the army remained here until
the next afternoon, occupying three encampments: on the south side of S
tate street, west of Main, on the ridge east of the Presbyterian church,
and along the New Hope pike east of the borough mill. Washington pitched
his tent near the dwelling of Jonathan Fell, (10) now John G. Mann's
farmhouse, and General Lafayette quartered at the house of Thomas Jones,
New Britain, whose best bed was a little too short for the tall young
Frenchman. The army was accompanied by some warriors of the Seneca nation,
seeking the release of a captured chief, and attended by some friendly
Oneidas and Tuscaroras. The army resumed its march for the Delaware the
afternoon of the 21st, and crossed at New Hope the next day. While passing
Paxson's corner a soldier shot the button from the top of a young pine,
and the wound can still be seen [until the tree blew down a few years ago.*]

   (10)  While Washington quartered at Jonathan Fell's, he regulated the
         movements of the troops by the tall clock that stood in the hall or
         adjoining room. This clock has fortunately come down to the present
         generation, and keeps the same accurate time as 125 years ago. It is owned
         by William Jenks Fell, great-grandson of Jonathan; has always been in the
         family, and now stands in the hall of his residence at Faulkland,
         Delaware. The clock was presented by Dr. John Watson, son of Thomas
         Watson, the original settler, to his daughter Elizabeth on her marriage to
         John Fell, 8 mo. 1738, and, by her will, bequeathed to her son, Jonathan
         Fell, the owner when Washington was his guest, 1778.*

    From this time forward the stirring and active scenes of the war were
removed to distant parts of the country. General Lacey was still in
command in this county, keeping a watchful eye on the disaffected, now and
then making an important arrest. In the summer of 1780 Bucks county sent
her quota of militia to the camp at Trenton, in view of an attack upon New
York, and the following year, when Philadelphia was again threatened,
there was a concentration of troops at Newtown, under General James
Irvine. In September 1781 the French and American armies, in march to meet
Cornwallis in Virginia, passed through the lower end of the county. They
crossed the Delaware at Trenton and the neighboring ferried on the morning
of the 1st, and the same afternoon passed the Neshaminy at the rope ferry,
encamping at the Red Lion in Bensalem that evening, and the next day
marched through Philadelphia.
    The robbery of the county treasury at Newtown by the Doanes and their
confederates, in the fall of 1781, was one of the exciting events of the
day. John Hart, then treasurer, lived in the house that lately belonged to
Abraham Bond, in the lower part of the village. Early in the evening Moses
Doane rode through the town to see if the situation were favorable, and
about ten o'clock the house of the treasurer was surrounded, and Mr. Hart
made prisoner. While sentinels kept watch outside, and over the treasurer,
others of the gang ransacked the house. Then, obtaining the keys of the
treasurer's office, and one of them putting on Mr. Hart's hat, and
carrying his lighted lantern, as was the treasurer's wont, the robbers
went to th office, where they stole all the public money to be found. They
got, in all, £735. 17s. 19-1/2d. in specie, and £1,307 in paper. That
night they divided the spoils at the Wrightstown schoolhouse.
    The story of the Doanes is both romantic and tragic. They were the sons
of respectable Quaker parents, of Plumstead, and during the war, became
celebrated for their evil deeds. These five brothers were men of
remarkable physical development, tall strong, athletic, and all fine
horsemen. Before the war they were men of good reputation, and it is said
proposed to remain neutral. Living in a Scotch-Irish settlement, faithful
to a man to the cause of Independence, the young Doanes were not allowed
to take a middle course, and soon they espoused the cause of the crown,
which engendered a bitter feeling between them and their Whig neighbors.
They began their career by robbing and plundering in the neighborhood,
gradually extending their field of operations in this and neighboring
counties. They finally became outlaws with a price upon their heads. They
were the terror of the country, and occupied themselves in stealing
horses, plundering houses, etc., but we believe the crime of murder was
never imputed to them. They had many narrow escapes, and now and then some
one of them fell into the hands of the authorities, but generally managed
to escape. Joseph broke jail while awaiting trial at Newtown, and escaped
to New Jersey, and after teaching school awhile, fled to Canada. Near the
close of the war Abraham and Mahlon were apprehended in Chester county and
hanged at Philadelphia. Moses, the leader of the outlaw brothers, met a
more tragic end. In the latter part of the summer of 1783, the Doanes went
to the house of one Halsey, living in a cabin on Geddes run, Plumstead,
and asked for something to eat, and Halsey sent his son to a neighboring
mill to get flour. On the miller hesitating, the boy said the Doanes were
at his father's house and they would pay. The miller sent word to a vendue
in the neighborhood, that the Doanes were at Halsey's, when a party of 14
armed and mounted men, led by William and Samuel Hart and Major Kennedy,
started to capture them. The cabin was surrounded. The two Harts, Kennedy,
and a Grier were selected to enter it, and on approaching, saw through the
chinks of the logs the Doanes eating at a table, with their guns standing
near. William Hart opened the door, commanded them to surrender, when they
seized their arms and fired. One of their bullets knocked a splinter from
Grier's gun which struck Kennedy in the back, giving him a mortal wound.
Hart seized Moses Doane, threw him down and secured him, when Robert
Gibson rushed into the cabin and shot Doane in the breast, killing him
instantly. The other two brothers escaped. Colonel Hart carried the body
of the dead outlaw to his residence, and laid it on the kitchen floor
until morning, when he sent it to his unhappy father. Joseph Doane spent
the balance of his life in Canada, where he died at an advanced age. Sixty
years ago he returned to the county to claim a small inheritance, when he
met and became reconciled with the Shaws and other families who had felt
the wrath of himself and brothers during the troublous days of the Revolution.
    The marines on board Commodore Barney's ship, the Hyder Ali, were Bucks
country riflemen, and behaved in the most gallant manner in the desperate
action with the General Monk, April 26, 1782. The life of the Commodore,
written by his widow, says: "One of these brave fellows, who was much
better acquainted with the use of his rifle than with the rules of
subordination, called out to Captain Barry, with a coolness of tone and
familiarity of manner that evinced anything but intended disrespect,
"Captain, do you see that fellow with the white hat? and firing as he
spoke, Captain Barry saw the poor fellow 'with the white hat' make a
spring at least three feet from the deck, and fall to rise no more.
'Captain,' continued the marksman, 'that's the third fellow I've made
hop.' It was found that every man of the enemy who was killed by the small
arms was shot in the breast or head, so true and deadly was the aim of the
Bucks county riflemen."
    A number of persons in this county joined the British army and drew their
swords against their country. Among these were Edward Jones, of Hilltown,
who raised a company of cavalry in that township and New Britain; Evan
Thomas, of the same township, commanded a company in Simcoe's Rangers, was
in the attack on Lacey at the Crooked Billet, went with Arnold to Virginia
in 1780, and was among the prisoners at Yorktown. After the war he removed
his family to New Brunswick, where he died. Joseph Swift, who was known as
handsome but stuttering Joe Swift, son of John Swift, of Bensalem, who was
an officer of the British army before the war, re-entered the service as
captain of horse in the Pennsylvania Loyalists. He lost his estate, and
died in Philadelphia in 1826. Thomas Sandford, who commanded a company of
Bucks county dragoons, was a captain in the British Legion, and Walter
Willett, of Southampton, was also a lieutenant of cavalry in the same
corps. Enoch, a son of Cadwallader Morris, and Thomas Lewis, of New B
ritain, joined the British army in 1778, and settled in Nova Scotia. A
number of others entered the military service of the enemy, but they did
not reach distinction enough to be remembered in history. Joseph Galloway,
of this county, one of the most prominent men in the province, joined the
enemy, but never took up arms against his countrymen.
    Under the confiscation act of March 6, 1778, a number of persons in this
county lost their estates for remaining loyal to the British crown. Among
these may be mentioned:
    Gilbert Hicks and Joseph Paxson of Middletown
    John Ellwood and Andrew Allen of Bristol
    Samuel Biles and Walter Willett of Southampton
    Richard Swanwick, John Meredith and Owen Roberts of New Britain
    Evan Thomas, Jonathan Jones and Edward Jones of Hilltown
    Peter Perlie of Durham
    John Reid and John Overholtz [Overholz*] of Tinicum.
Some of these estates were valuable, that of John Reid containing 1,412
acres. A considerable amount of money was realized to the treasury from
these sales. A record in the surveyor-general's office, Harrisburg,
contains the names of 26 Bucks countians who were required to purge
themselves of treason to prevent confiscation, but probably only  few of
them were proceeded against. The commissioners for this county under, the
confiscation act, were George Wall, Jr., Richard Gibbs, John Crawford, and
Benjamin Siegel [Siegels*].

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