1755: Enter Benjamin Franklin

The reason I picked up the LaBar book, The Reminiscences of George La Bar, the Centenarian of Monroe County, PA., Who Is Still Living In His 107th Year! by A. B. Burrell, which was introduced in the previous post, was because it contained a few references to the Brodheads–as one might expect given their shared early-settler status. The LaBar family is fortunate to have such a wonderful record from that era in their history.

We do know from George’s book that Ben Franklin came in contact with the Minisink Valley Brodheads, and we have evidence of the courtship taking place between Daniel Brodhead (the future Brigadier General, son of Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart) and Elizabeth DePui (Samuel DePui’s daughter), who were married in 1756 when he was 20, and she was 17.

You may recall that it was in 1755 that the Indians’ rampage against the settlers began. That December (10th) they attacked the Brodhead house. Daniel Brodhead Sr. and his sons and daughter repelled the attack, but the Indians went elsewhere, attacking and destroying many settlers. Five hundred troops were sent to the area immediately, to protect the survivors.  Benjamin Franklin (in his late 40s at the time) was commissioned by the Governor to oversee the construction of fortresses in the region and direct all operations. He arrived in Bethlehem eight days after the rampage to begin his work.

I’m not sure when exactly the following took place, since it’s referred to only as being “early in the Indian Wars”, but at some other point, the Governor sent Franklin to go from fort to fort to pay the troops stationed there. Franklin was to report back his observations. At one point per the LaBar book, Franklin stops by Nicholas DePui’s and while there, “a young Brodhead, son of Daniel, was ‘sparking’ the old man’s daughter, and as he (Brodhead son) was a frontier man, he thought the Colony owed him services, as well as the more idle soldiers. Franklin denied the claim, saying it was unnecessary for a man to stand guard over a a woman who lived in a fort.” I assume “sparking” meant flirting.

Some more references to the Brodheads in 1755:

On June 24, 1756, LaBar relates how a Commissary-General recorded the following account:

LaBar’s book also mentions the 389 troops positioned in Northampton Co. in 1758. On page 16 we read that 26 troops under the command of Lieutenant Wetherhold were positioned at the Brodhead house. As an interesting aside, on page 17 we learn that on 6/21/1757, Samuel DePui’s ailing wife (who by then was Daniel Brodhead Jr.’s mother-in-law) was escorted by troops to a doctor in Bethlehem.

In 1757, Daniel Brodhead (would have been Daniel Jr. as Daniel Sr. died in 1755), signed the following declaring unfair dealing during the Great Walk. The William Marshall referred to is the son of walker Edward Marshall:

In 1763, the year George LaBar was born, the book notes the below (pp. 18-19). I’ll finish this post here, but, hopefully I’ve whetted your appetite to read the LaBar book in full. It is a source of great information–in spite of the fact that the author admits that George’s memory for dates was rather unreliable at 107. And to think he survived another five years–amazing!

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Categories: Brodhead, Franklin, Benjamin, LaBar, Stroudsburg | Leave a comment

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