The Pennsylvania Rambler and other Sugarloaf Massacre stories.

Recently found this link from the Pennsylvania Rambler blog and thought it was interesting. He make no mention of the Tom Varenna article, which predates his, so you can’t be sure he hasn’t read Varenna. That said, as a meditation on how stories change, the blog article is worth a read.

I’ve been trying to track down where George Kocher Sr died. His traditional date of passing is 17 September 1980, and that jibes well with this quote, found in The Pennsylvania Archives, Ser. 1, Vol. 8, (1907) 564-565, and quoted in the Wikipedia article on the burial attempt.

On the first notice of this unfortuned event the officers of the militia have Exerted themselves to get Volunteers out of their Respective Divissions to go up & Burry the Dead, their Labour Proved not in Vain we collected about 150 men & officers Included from the Colonels Kern, Giger & my own Battalions who would undergo the fatique & Danger to go their & pay that Respect to their slautered Brethren, Due to men who fell in support of the freedom of their Country. On the 15th we took up our line of march (want of amunation prevented us from going Sooner) on the 17th we arrived at the place of action, where we found Ten of our Soldiers Dead, Scalped, Striped Naked, & in a most cruel & Barborous manner Tomehawked, their throads Cut, &c. &c. whom we Buried & Returned without even seeing any of these Black alies, & Bloody executors of British Tirany….

There is a skirmish on the 17th and I can only assume that George Kocher Sr died as part of the burial party for the Sugarloaf massacre.

The Wikipedia these days is having articles translated into Youtube videos. The Youtube video of the Sugarloaf Massacre is here.

Some notes on Magdalene Meyer, her children, and her husband.

Magdalene Meyer is, by my current understanding of the facts, the second child of Captain William Meyer (TN’s William Myers Sr). Looking at various Ancestry trees and using them as a primary source, you get a birth date and birth location of Nov 1, 1862 and Hilltown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. If these facts are correct, then Lt John Moyer of the Sugarloaf Massacre is likely born in Bucks as well.

She has a daughter Elizabeth around 1780, and her husband (married ~ 1777), George Jacob Kocher, is said to have died on 17 September, 1780, six days after the massacre. The way the name is given is important. George is not a first name but a spiritual name. His first name is actually Jacob. This same source gives a birthdate for Jacob Kocher of 15 July, 1756 in Hilltown, Bucks, PA. Interestingly, same source creates a chimera birth of Maria Magdelene (Polly) Kocher 01 Nov 1762, in Hilltown, Bucks, PA. Interesting that his wife and his sister are born on the same day and in the same township, and die in the same year. One is almost certainly incorrect.  At this point I wonder if data for the sister was transferred to the wife.

The death location for /Jacob/ Kocher is also different, depending on source. One gives Valley, Armstrong, PA and the other is the Nescopeck I’ve heard. It’s important to know that Indian/Tory attacks were happening all over the place in this time frame, so I don’t have the facts to eliminate either possibility at this time.

Magdelena has two children, Elizabeth and George. George goes on to marry John Myers’s only daughter. Elizabeth marries Barnabas Gable in 18 Dec 1795 in Greene County, which puts another stake in the ground of the Myers clan move into Tennessee. Elizabeth is sometimes said to be born in Lancaster County, which I find a little confusing. I would have thought Magdalene + Jacob would have remained in Northampton. If it is true that this family was in Lancaster County at this time, then Mr Kocher likely would have been a part of the Lancaster militia, and not part of the John Myers rescue effort mounted by John’s father.

Another disappearing county

When I go to this site on the Internet, and I set the display for counties in North Carolina in 1742, this is what I get:

nc_counties_in_1742

And what does that mean? IMO, it means we don’t know in which county John Myers, b 1742 d 1826 was really born. There is no Wilkes County in 1742. Now when he was married in Rowan County in the early 1770s, it existed, but after Wilkes appears, it then scoots around the map a considerable bit.

IMG_0012

I’ve also been digging around for a couple books. One is on the Sugarloaf Massacre, and the other is a history of Northampton County during the revolutionary war. The first is okay. Only a fraction of the book covers the massacre, and as Tom Varenna has pointed out, this telling is shot through with a fair amount of folklore.

I’ve just started reading the other book. The intro provides some excellent perspective on the character of the county in the 1770s, which helps in thinking about the Northampton PA Myers clan. I did send an email with $40 to Easton on June 11th, asking for information on William Myers. We’ll see what that nets.

The William Myers Sr will, and the fate of George Kocher Sr.

There are copies of William Myers’s will on the Internet in various places, and I thought I would publish what I have here, just to kill the notion that the William Myers Sr of Greene Co TN is not Captain William Myers of Northampton County PA, but a second person born in Somerset County (that magical place) in 1770. The death blow to those particular trees on Ancestry is that William mentions Magdelene Kocher (born approx 1862) and her daughter Elizabeth in his will.  Why would a man eight years younger care about a revolutionary war widow he’s not related to and is much older than he is?

william_myers_will

william_myers_will_02

George Kocher is the man who marries Magdelene, and he is supposed to have died in September 1780 along the Nescopeck. This has prompted a number of folks to conclude that George was killed in the Sugarloaf Massacre proper. And the answer to that is .. no.

George is not part of Captain Van Etten’s company to begin with, and he’s not on the plaque (seen in Tom Varenna’s article ) devoted to the massacre. That doesn’t eliminate him dying in the combat before the massacre, or in the attempt of Capt William Myers to recover his son (i.e. the aftermath), but he clearly did not die in the massacre itself.

 

John Myers, William Myers, and the Sugarloaf Massacre

One of the first documents that Rayedene Graves shared with me when we found out about the Artie Myers DNA link was this one, testimony by George Myers on behalf of his older brother John’s widow. I suspect Wayne Myers is the source of this, but can’t be sure.

Pennsylvania File #R7737, John Myers,Catharin Null(former widow)
The State of Mississippi, Leake County 1838, November Term Leake Probate
Court.
George Myers, this day appeared before me, Jackson Warner, Judge of the
Court of Probate of the County of Leake and State aforesaid. George Myers of
the County of Kemper and State aforesaid, who first being duly sworn,
desposeth and sayeth that he was born on the 10th day of August AD 1766 in
the County of Northampton and State of Pennsylvania, that he is a brother of
John Myers, the late husband of Cathrine Null, a claiment Widow, the Act of
Congress passed July 4th 1836 and an act expanctory of said Act passed March
the 3rd 1837. That he recolects that the said John Myers, late husband of
the claimant, enlisted as a volunteer in a Company raised by his father
William Myers, who commanded the Company as Captain. That said John Myers
being Lieutenant about the year AD one thousand seven hundred & eighty, to
fight against the Shawnee Indians and engaged with them in a battle at
Neskopeck Valley, then in Indian Territory within the limits of the State of
Pennsylvania about thirty miles from the residence of the said John Myers.
That the said John Myers was captured by the Indians and restrained a
prisoner, three days and nights, when he made his escape and fled to Wyoming
(this is Wyoming Valley in Pa.) from which he wrote his father William
Myers, who in the company of other individuals, went to Wyoming and braught
him home. And this appiant states he was there when he arrived and remembers
the circumstances destinctly. This appiant further states that in a short
time afterwards the said John Myers was again called off to fight against
the Shawnee Indians. In this tour, he recolects his being engaged in another
battle in which the whites gained a signal victory over their enemys, the
Indians. A short time after John Myers returned from this tour, he was
married to Catharine Gable, the present claimant. This appiant further
states the marriage took place at the residence of the father of Catharine
Gable in the County of Northampton and State of Pennsylvania in the month of
March, One Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty One. This appiant further states
that he was at the wedding or marriage and saw with his own eyes the said John
Myers & Catharine Gable, his wife, the present claimant, put to bed as man
and wife and he further states he was present also in the morning when they
arose from their nuptial couch. And this appiant further states that after
the marriage of the said John Myers and Catharine Gable the present claimant,
the said John Myers was again called off to fight the Tories on the Delaware
and other places, but does not know what battles he was engaged in. This
appiant further states that the said John Myers was engaged more or less all
the time from this period to the end of the war, when he was honorably
discharged. Upon reflection, this appiant recolects the fact of the said
John Myers in conjuction with his father going with a company to a place
called Lizard Creek in the County of Northampton in the State of
Pennsylvania, whare a considerable number of Tories had collected and
rueting them entirley, the Tories it is said made hasty strides to reach the
shores of the Novascotia, where they might remain secure from the
indignation of the free sons of liberty, and further this appiant sayeth
not, George Myers, sworn and subscribed to in open Court, before me this 6th
day of Nov.1838, Jackson Warner

Well, I started searching the Internet for the Northampton Militia, and rapidly ran into an author named Tom Verenna, who writes for the Journal of the American Revolution. And the incident described above, the colorful one about being captured by Indians, isn’t just a fish tale by a worshipful younger brother, but actually fact. It’s called the Sugarloaf Massacre, and Tom’s telling of the tale is here.

It’s cool to have a cousin, or potential father of Charles even, in a known historical event, one that places these folks into a historical context and gives us a location, Easton PA, to further explore who these two actually are/were.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Pennsylvania militias, as soldiers, mostly sucked. Far cry from my Dad, B-52 pilot and former commander First CEG, Barksdale AFB. They were poorly equipped, though, ill paid, untrained, and it seems true in military matters that you get what you pay for.