NCC8 to Host Annual Indian Artifact Fair

Visitors to the 2016 NCC8 Artifact Fair

If you enjoy learning about prehistoric cultures in Lycoming County, the time to share your collected curiosities is at the Second Annual NCC8 Indian Artifact Fair.
Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will host the educational open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St.
Gary Fogelman, noted artifact expert, author and publisher of “Indian Artifact Magazine,” is the featured guest for the event. Fogelman said visitors will be not only be surprised to learn that many times, collected items are ancient, but they’ll have a great time.
“The artifact fair is fun because you never know what will walk through the door, he said. “Sometimes you get to see some rare things, and then get to educate people about what they have.”
Fogelman plans to bring some of the finest — and older — artifacts in his personal collection and will demonstrate flintknapping, as well.
A lifetime member of NCC8, Fogelman is the author and co-author of several books on projectile points, artifacts and local cultures. He also contributes to national publications and typology handbooks.
Fogelman will review artifacts brought by visitors and attempt to identify small collections and individual items.
Andrea Campbell, president of NCC8/SPA, spoke about the success of the 2016 Inaugural Artifact Fair and marveled that, “… natural curiosity and interest in local archaeology brought out a wonderful blend of people.” She added that, “The last fair was a wonderful time. Many people stayed for a number of hours, talking, socializing, and waiting to see what else walked through the door.”
In addition to Fogelman, Tom “Tank” Baird, vice president of NCC8 and an iHeartRadio contributor, will be on hand to help identify artifacts and speak about local prehistory.
An avocational archaeologist, Baird is a frequent guest on Ted Saul’s “Sunday Morning Magazine” talk show, speaking about Prehistoric Indians and significant local historic events.
“We’re hoping to provide a service to the community by having a day to identify primarily, but not limited to, local Indian artifact finds,” Baird said. “Whether found in fields or inherited in shoe boxes, we feel that these artifacts need to be discussed and labeled to be appreciated.”
With 12,000 years of Native American visitation and occupation there is a rich prehistory in Pennsylvania.  There is a genuine curiosity out there about those objects picked up in fields and by bodies of water. People want to know what they’ve found and even if it turns out to be just a stone.
“The first question many people ask is, ‘Is this an artifact?’ Sadly, some have odd-shaped rocks that may  look man made, but a trained eye may know the difference. There will be collections available to also make that comparison between a genuine artifact and an anomaly,” Baird said. 
NCC8 members will help teach visitors about what to look for in future trips afield to increase their chance of identifying actual artifacts and helping to designate more areas as prehistoric sites.
“This type of event can educate everyone. To hold an object that was created by a human being just like you and I perhaps thousands of years ago is still a thrill and a wonder,” Baird said. “Could the craftsman or artist ever dream that their creation would end up in our hands and in collections or in a museum far into the future.  These objects are all time travelers and need to be honored as such. Together they assure that the culture that created them will never be forgotten.”
Also on display will be artifacts from the NCC8 excavation in Loyalsock, The Glunk Site, designated 36LY0345. These items range in time from 3500 BC to 1200 AD. 
NCC8 is the Lycoming County chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., which promotes the study of the prehistoric and historic archaeological resources of Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
NCC8, a 501(C) educational nonprofit organization, relies upon donations. Without the community’s generosity, the group could not pay for the Insurance needed to host digs. NCC8 needs donations to purchase supplies, such as trowels, shovels, tarps, and artifact preservation bags. Please donate today and help preserve and protect Lycoming County's cultural heritage.

Learn more about the group and make a donation online at

NCC8 Member Acquires Prehistoric Native American Effigy

This prehistoric Native American effigy artifact (900-700 years before present) was found at the location of Lycoming County's first registered excavation, 36LY0001 (Brock Village) in 1957. 
Carved most likely from bone, the effigy was drilled and was once adorned with feathers, perhaps in the same fashion as the current feathers. The eyes were made of freshwater pearl. 
It has been acquired from a local collector by Tank and Anita Baird with private funds, and is the subject of Tank Baird's upcoming radio talk with iHeartMedia's Ted Saul on "Animism and the Artifact."
Stay tuned. More to come ...

Kids Dig 'Arch in the Park'

While in Florida at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program during Spring Break, Lycoming College underwater archaeology students, from left, Ben Conrad, Darrin Coleman and Richard Matel-Galatis record artifacts "in situ."

Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8, Lycoming College Unite to Offer One-of-a-Kind Archaeology Experience to Area Youth

MUNCY -- Arch in the Park is a hands-on heritage program designed by students for students. Organized by communication students at Lycoming College, Arch in the Park is an archaeological outreach offered by Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8 and Lycoming College's archaeology department, under the direction of Robin Van Auken of Hands on Heritage.

Together, the groups are hosting an interactive archaeology demonstration, including hands-on terrestrial and underwater archaeological activities, to promote learning from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, April 24, 2016 at Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail, 601 Pepper St.

According to Jenny Reilly, a senior at Lycoming College and the primary organizer of the event, "This is a fun and educational opportunity for people of all ages to learn about archaeology." Reilly has a passion for archaeology, and after graduation in May, will attend graduate school for museum studies. She has a keen interest in preservation and digital archaeology, spurred by the destruction of antiquities in the Middle East.

Arch in the Park is the kick-off event of a series of unique, educational activities planned by Lycoming College students at the Muncy Heritage Park. These events include a Birds and Bugs Hike, a Fishing Derby and the popular star-gazing event, Under the Night Sky.

Hands-on activities for Arch in the Park will be taught by Lycoming College underwater archaeology students, who will show attendees how to record artifacts with a grid, handle lines and tie knots, and demonstrate scuba gear and tools they use when researching nautical sites.

Assisting Lycoming College with a hands-on excavation are the members of the local archaeology chapter, Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. The group is active locally and excavate during the spring and summer at the Glunk Site in Montoursville. The group will display prehistoric Indian artifacts at the event.

About Muncy Historical Society 
Muncy Historical Society and Museum of History, a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization founded in 1936, focuses on preservation and conservation of the rich history and heritage of Muncy and surrounding communities—its people, businesses, education, arts, traditions and folklore—by sponsoring educational programs and activities, through research and publication of our history, and interpretation of the museum’s collection for the community, including schools, colleges, community groups and professional historians.

While in Florida at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program during Spring Break, Lycoming College underwater archaeology students, from left, Krissy Wetzel, Sam Chovanec and Christine Almassy learn about lines and ropes and practice tying knots under the direction of Brendan Burke, LAMP archaeologist and logistical coordinator.

NCC8 Slates Indian Artifact Fair at Taber Museum

Prehistoric Indian Artifacts found at Glunk Site.
Walking the freshly tilled farm fields is a Spring rite of passage for many history buffs, carefully meandering through the rows of mounded earth, searching for the elusive arrowhead.
There’s joy in discovery and often this leads to a lifelong passion for local history and admiration for Native American ingenuity and technology.
If you enjoy learning about prehistoric cultures in Lycoming County, now is the time to share your collected curiosities at the NCC8 Indian Artifact Fair.
Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will host the educational open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 12 at the Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St.
Gary Fogelman, noted artifact collector, author and publisher of “Indian Artifact Magazine,” is the featured guest for the event.
Fogelman said visitors will be surprised to learn that many times, collected items are ancient.
“People of the past often produced exhilarating works of art in flint and stone, and other mediums like bone and antler, which sometimes survives through time. Many people do not realize how old, usually in the thousands of years, these Indian artifacts are,” he said. 
“Often, the flint and stone tools are all that remain of past peoples and cultures, thus every bit and shred has a story and can possibly add to our knowledge of those past cultures and people,” he said.

On the Radio

NCC8 President Tank Baird conducted a series of radio interviews with Clear Channel, on the topic of local prehistory and history. Click the link to listen to Tank's discussion on WRAK.

The Susquehannocks

The Mound Builders

Thanksgiving in the New World

Madam Montour

Andrew Montour

NCC8 Needs Your Support

Northcentral Chapter 8, a 501(C)3,  is the Lycoming County chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., and we seek donations from your organization to continue our mission to promote, preserve and to protect Lycoming County's archaeological heritage.

We have a long and illustrious history in the region, and have contributed greatly to the understanding of the area's prehistory and history. In fact, NCC8 is responsible for Canfield Island being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in recognition of the amount of information it had yielded and because of its potential to yield even more information. The site is today part of Riverfront Park, a Loyalsock Township park that includes an archaeology-themed trail on the island.  Since 2003, local Native Americans have held an annual pow-wow on the island.

As a Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, NCC8 works to:
• Promote the study of the prehistoric and historic archaeological resources of Pennsylvania and neighboring states;
• Encourage scientific research and discourage exploration which is unscientific or irresponsible in intent or practice;
• Promote the conservation of archaeological sites, artifacts, and information;
• Encourage the establishment and maintenance of sources of archaeological information such as museums, societies, and educational programs;
• Promote the dissemination of archaeological knowledge by means of publications and forums;
• Foster the exchange of information between the professional and the avocational archaeologists.

The chapter’s first meeting was held Aug. 12, 1955, at the James V. Brown Library in Williamsport. Since that time, NCC8 members have introduced archeology to generations, instilling the love of heritage and history.

NCC8 an Official Non-Profit

Lycoming College for Kids at the Glunk Site.
Pat us on the back. Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology is officially a non-profit.
Let the donations roll in.
Seriously, reach into your pockets and pull out cash and checks (or a credit card -- we have a PayPal donation button on the site) and contribute to the most active archaeology chapter in the region.
Northcentral Chapter 8 has existed since the late 1950s, but we haven't been an official non-profit until now. With our 501 (C) status, we can apply for grants, accept donations and provide legal receipts for your generous support.
There are a lot of hidden costs that we incur as we strive to conserve and preserve the region's archaeological heritage, including an expensive insurance liability policy, without which we could not host our public archaeology dig.
We partner with Lycoming College and Lycoming College for Kids & Teens, as well as Muncy Historical Society and Lycoming County Historical Society, and that provides us with some equipment, but we need more.
Last year, hundreds of visitors came to the ongoing archaeology dig at the Glunk Site, as well as dozens of college students, each with an interest in local prehistory. NCC8 also gives presentations and hosts group tours and Scouts at the site.
Although labor is free (thank you, Volunteers!), the supplies for these activities wear out. We're in dire need of equipment and funds to excavate, interpret and preserve the artifacts that add to our cultural heritage.
Won't you help us today?
Become a member, even if you don't plan to dig. Your membership fee helps us teach others how to dig.
Give generously. Send a check, drop by and put cash in our hands, or use the PayPal donation button at right to support us.
We thank you for your generosity.

'Enormous' Native American Longhouse, Upcoming Archaeology Dig Topic of NCC8 Meeting

This circa-1964 photograph shows the excavators and guests at the Montoursville Boro site. Wooden stake markers are placed in many of the postmolds to outline the footprint of the Proto-Iroquoian longhouse. Photo courtesy of the Hutchinson Family.
 Local avocational archaeologists are gearing up for a new season in the field, returning to and exploring significant Indian village sites near the Loyalsock Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Northcentral Chapter No. 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will host its March meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 2 at the Taber Museum, 858 W. Fourth St. 

At the meeting, President Tank Baird will present a slideshow tracing the chapter’s recent work at the Glunk Site (36LY0345), a Woodlands-period Native American site, and explore the Montoursville Boro Site (36LY0034), an enormous Native American longhouse excavated in 1963-64 by local amateur archaeologists Bill Hutchinson, Bob Higgins and Clark Kahler.

The public is encouraged to attend and learn more about the society's endeavors, and there will be artifacts from the current archaeology dig on display.

Proto-Iroquoian Longhouse
A 15th-Century Iroquoian Village was reconstructed on its original site in Ontario, Canada. It is similar in size to the Montoursville Boro Site longhouse excavated in the 1960s.   Photo courtesy of Laslovarga, Wikimedia Commons.
Hutchinson’s crew spent several years excavating the longhouse, built by people of the Clemson Island culture. The structure was approximately 35-by-90-feet in size and placed at the nexus of the Loyalsock Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna. Estimated date of occupation is 1050-1100 A.D.

“The recent rediscovery of this Proto-Iroquoian building may support the case for a much larger population of Native Americans here in the West Branch Valley at that time period than previously thought,” Baird said.

Collaborating with Hutchinson's family and the Gen. John Burrows Historical Society in Montoursville, Baird compiled slides of the 1960s-era excavation along with historic and current maps. 

These will be presented at the meeting, along with photos from the current NCC8 dig at the Glunk Site.

Archaeologists believe that the Clemson Island people bought pottery making, use of the bow and arrow and mound building to the Susquehanna Valley. They also introduced the proto-longhouse, but structures as large as the Montoursville Boro site are rare in the region. According to Baird, the closest similar longhouse is in upstate New York.

In all, the excavators uncovered 457 post molds, which they used to estimate the size of the structure. If it were 35-feet by 90-feet, it is estimated it could have towered to a height of 25 feet, Baird said. Clemson Island-type artifacts were found in relation to the longhouse site, as well as the flexed and bundled burials.

The Glunk Site
The Glunk Site, named for landowner Paul Glunk, is located about 720 yards west of the longhouse, and is believed to be part of a larger, long-lasting occupation, which includes the famous Ault Site. Within a one-mile radius, there are several significant, registered Native American sites, including Otstonwakin, the Ault Site, Canfield Island, Bull Run and the Snyder Site, all researched and registered with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission by NCC8.

“We wish to convey to Paul (Glunk) the appreciation of the members of NCC8 for the past four years of support and land use at the site,” Baird said about the landowner’s generosity and continued support for the excavation. In addition to allowing guests visit and work at the site, Glunk provides assistance with land clearing and back filling.

Glunk, who operates a nursery along the West Branch of the Susquehanna, is restoring a portion of his land to its historic parklike setting, as designed and developed by lumber baron and sawmill owner Ezra Canfield. The Canfield family had a summer residence and Victorian garden  there in the late 1800s.

Canfield Island
Canfield Island, named for Ezra Canfield and the former site of his sprawling and successful sawmill, is the most renowned Native American site within the complex. It was first explored by archaeologists in 1958, led by the late-James Bressler and other members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. The newly formed NCC8 team conducted a series of excavations yielded artifacts that date to the Archaic Period (approximately 3,000 years Before Present).

In 1982, Canfield Island was listed on the National Register of Historic Places "in recognition of the amount of information it had yielded and because of its potential to yield even more information," according to Wikipedia reports. The site is today part of Riverfront Park, a Loyalsock Township park that includes an archaeology-themed Heritage Trail on the island.

NCC8 Public Archaeology
NCC8 is a Public Archaeology group, which means it encourages the public to attend meetings and join the members at their excavations where they offer simple lessons in archaeological research.
The chapter is currently working on a report of recent work at the Glunk Site, and a synthesis of information that unifies all of the sites.

More information about Northcentral Chapter 8, and an application to join and become a member of the archaeology team, is available on the web at

The Plum Tree Massacre and the Iroquois War on Colonial Expansion

Portrait of Joseph Brant,
painted while visiting England
at age 33 by George Romney.
By Tank Baird

The date was June 10, 1778.  In the East, the Revolutionary War raged and Colonial forces under Gen. George Washington were seeing key victories producing a turning point in the conflict. People living in present-day Lycoming County, also were part of that war. They were fighting for their lives against an enemy and ally of the British, whose very plan of attack included ambushes and lightning raids designed to ignite as much terror as possible. Also according to plan, these attacks were creating a second front to drain men and material from Washington's fight.
The land that would later include Williamsport had only one small settlement at Jaysburg (the modern Newberry section). But there was a problem with that location, and indeed any farms, forts and settlements west of Lycoming Creek, including those at the future towns of Jersey Shore and Lock Haven. They were on Iroquois land.


Northcentral Chapter 8 President Tank Baird participated in WVIA-TV's video special, "Out Town: Montoursville," speaking about several topics, including NCC8's local dig, the Glunk Site (36LY0345).
Watch the entire documentary embedded on this site, courtesy of WVIA-TV.
NCC8 is grateful for permission from WVIA. The entire video may be watched on demand on WVIA's website  or by clicking on the video below.

Crash Site Remains Worst Airline Disaster in Lycoming County History

Allegheny Airlines Flight 371
From the collection of the Lycoming County Historical Society
and Thomas T. Taber Museum

Courtesy of Shane C. Collins 

One man's quest to memorialize the victims of the worst airline disaster in Lycoming County history, the crash of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 on Bald Eagle Mountain, is coming to an end. 

The crash site has received designation from the Commonwealth as an official archaeological site. In addition, plans are under way for a monument to be installed onsite.  

Shane Collins, whose personal efforts to honor the victims of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 will discuss his journey at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 1, at the Lycoming County Historical Society, an event sponsored by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology.

Collin's presentation falls on the 55th anniversary of the accident, which occurred Dec. 1, 1959.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Board records of 1960, the pilot of the Martin 202, N174A, failed to "execute a timely abandoned approach" at the Williamsport Regional Airport, most likely because the compass was not working properly.

Jim Bressler’s Legacy

Area archaeologist dies at 99

By Robin Van Auken

Jim Bressler sets a stake at Datum
during the 2004 Snyder Site excavation.
Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology mourns the passing of its most-beloved member. James P. Bressler has died at the age of 99. 

Despite his advanced age, his death was unexpected. His family intended to celebrate his 100th birthday anniversary Aug. 13. He is survived by his wife, the former Barbara Slocum.

“He went peacefully,” his niece-in-law, Mae Allvord, said. “He had a cold, but nothing serious. We were planning his birthday party.”

The family will host a memorial service at 3 p.m. July 19 at the Faith Alliance Church, 2405 Bottle Run Road, Williamsport. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Northcentral Chapter 8.

Memorial donations may be sent to: Northcentral Chapter 8, c/o Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA  17701


Use this PayPal Link

NCC8 has established a membership memorial in Bressler's name. Fee memberships (a youth and an adult) will be granted each year to two, new members of the archaeology chapter.

Glunk Dig 2014

Lycoming College's archaeology field school returned to the Glunk Site in April to launch the 2014 dig. Working alongside NCC8 members, the students are excavating three units. On their first day at the site, two projectile points and a pitted hammer stone were recovered.
The site is next to Ault, a unique Woodlands Indian village excavated by NCC8 during the later half of the 20th century.

Interested persons and amateur (or professional) archaeologists are invited to join NCC8 at the Glunk Site during regular dig hours, generally 5-7:30 on Thursdays, and the occasional Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon. Please check the calendar at right to verify the dig is on, since inclement weather and conflicting schedules/holidays may interfere.

There are NO meetings scheduled at the Taber Museum until the dig concludes for winter (November 2014). All activities take place at the dig site.

Indian Interpreter to Portray Andrew Montour

Indian Interpreter William Hunt to Portray Andrew Montour, founder of Montoursville, PA
Indian Interpreter William Hunt to Portray Andrew Montour, founder of Montoursville, PA.
The past comes comes alive as Montoursville's namesake, Andrew Montour, returns to the area as portrayed by historian and re-enactor William Hunt.

Hosted by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and Lycoming County Historical Society, Hunt will offer two programs: one for Montoursville Area High School students only, at 10 a.m. March 28  at the Thomas Taber Museum, and one for the public, at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 29 at Montoursville High School. The event is free.

Montour was an important interpreter and negotiator in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia in the latter half of the 18th century. A frontier diplomat, warrior and hero of the French and Indian war, he was a member of the Iroquois Grand Council. His missions were vital to colonial America.

Montour 's role cannot be diminished because of his mixed Native American and European blood. The fact that he had a foot in both worlds made him one of the colonial period's most complex, but effective, characters. 

NCC8 Prez to Talk Prehistory

Tank Baird
Tom "Tank" Baird, right, president of Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology,
and Mary Ann Levine, professor of archaeology at Franklin & Marshall, at the Taber Museum.

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society has announced the first program of its 2014 Lecture Series, which combines its Coffee Hours on Thursday mornings with its Society Programs on Sunday afternoons. The theme of this year’s Lecture Series is an examination of American Indian/Native American culture.

On Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 10am, Tom ‘Tank’ Baird will be speaking on “The Very First Settlers of the West Branch Valley.” He will relate the importance of maize which was first cultivated in the 9th century by the Owasco culture of central New York. The subsequent colonization of the Susquehanna drainage for this farming was the first major occupation of Native Americans.

'Lost' History of Andrew Montour in Perry County

By Tank Baird

“They were driven from the lands on which they had settled and on April 18, 1752, Andrew Montour was commissioned by the governor to settle and reside upon these Indian lands, the Indians on July 2, 1750, having petitioned for such occupation, and arrangements having been made with them for such occupation at a place considered most central, to see that the lands were not settled upon and to warn off any who had presumed to settle there. He was also to report the names of any who did settle there that they might be prosecuted. He chose to settle on a stream which to this day bears his name, Montour's run flowing through Tyrone Township. “
History of Perry County
H.H. Hain 1922

Andrew Montour
(artist's rendering)
If you are a local historian and are surprised by this reference to Andrew Montour in Perry County (near Harrisburg) - you're not alone. The namesake of Montoursville, Pa., turns out to have spent a chapter of his life in Perry County, that even the folks at the Gen. John Burrows Historical Society in Montoursville did not know about. Upon sharing this information with Ray Harmon, vice president of the society, he commented, “ Little or nothing was known locally about Andrew Montour's role in settling Perry County.”

On my part, all of this was a chance discovery while doing research on his mother, Madame Montour.

Born Isabel Couc in New France (Canada) in 1667 to Pierre Couc, a Frenchman, and Marie MiteoamegoukouĂ©  of the Algonquin Nation, Madame Montour was exposed at an early age to Native American and European languages on what, at that time, was a very wild frontier. She had a gift for languages and became fluent in French, German, English, Iroquois and Algonquian and, as early as 1711, she was in demand as an interpreter and negotiator between Indians and settlers. She became invaluable to both the governors of New York and Pennsylvania.

NCC8 2013 Summer Dig Opens

Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, has opened its 2013 Summer Dig at the Glunk Site. See the Google Calendar in the sidebar at right for upcoming dates and times, and use the interactive Google Map (yes, in the sidebar) for directions to the site.

The Glunk Site has been officially registered with the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission, the Bureau for Historic Preservation and has been designated as 36LY0345.

So, what does that mean? Why bother registering the site? According to the PHMC, recording an archaeology site helps protect it:

NCC8 President Tank Baird examines
the profile of a wall in an excavation unit
at the Glunk Site in 2012.
"Archaeological sites are the only record of the prehistoric past and they are an essential part of understanding the historic past. They are a non-renewable resource and they are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Recording archaeological sites helps to protect them. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission encourages the recording of archaeological site information on Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) forms. Thousands of avocational and professional archaeologists have already shared site locations with the Commission resulting in tens of thousands of sites being recorded in the PASS files. Information for recording sites can be found at the PHMC Web site. Once the form has been submitted, a site number will be assigned. This number can be written on artifacts from this site so that there will always be a record of where they were found. The PASS number is based on a nationwide system called the Smithsonian or trinomial system. It is divided into three parts. The first part is Pennsylvania’s alphabetical position within all of the states. The second part is the county designation and the third part is the next number available in that county. For the PASS number 36DA0020, 36 is the alphabetical position of Pennsylvania, DA. is the designation for Dauphin County and 0020 is the twentieth site recorded in the county."

So, jon us at the Glunk Site this season and help us protect and preserve this area's cultural prehistory.

'Lost' Indian Village Discovery Topic of Archaeology Talk

Is this Otstonwakin, the long-lost
Woodlands Indian village? 
Diligent research and methodical investigation has solved a long-standing local mystery.
Mary Ann Levine, associate professor of anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College, is convinced she's discovered Otstonwakin, the long-lost Woodlands Indian village once inhabited by "Madame" Catherine Montour along the Loyalsock Creek.
Levine will discuss her research and conclusions at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Lycoming County Historical Society.
Her visit and presentation, sponsored by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, will usher in the local archaeology chapter's spring season. NCC8 President Tank Baird hopes the event not only will stir interest in contact-period history, because Madame Montour was a significant political figure during the French and Indian War, but will bring volunteers out for the upcoming 2013 archaeology project.

What's Just Below Your Feet?

Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology is a partner with "Just Below Your Feet," a documentary project with the main goal being to investigate the current status of Cultural Resource Management, which includes archaeology, preservation and conservation, in Pennsylvania.

Steph Bowen and Sara Griggs

It’s been two decades since the Pennsylvania legislature passed  Act 70, a 1995 amendment to the State History Code. Historic preservationists and archaeologists argue the law weakens the state’s ability to protect its cultural heritage. Numerous prehistoric and historic sites have been threatened, and many lost, to development in the law’s wake.

What is happening to these resources and why? Are they being lost at all? Or, is Act 70 a sound and valid law?

Two Lycoming College students want to know and have planned a documentary film to explore the question. Their project, “Just Below Your Feet", will investigate the status of cultural resource management, which includes archaeology, preservation and conservation, in Pennsylvania and their list of interviews and research subjects is impressive.

Fund raising is critical to the students' success. All donations may be made via cash, check or credit card donations to NCC8. Take a minute now and donate via the project's PayPal donation link by clicking the DONATE button below:

Donate via PayPal

Welcome to NCC8

Welcome to the official website of Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. During spring and summer, NCC8 hosts an archaeology dig for its members and the public.

Join us for the 2013 Archaeology Dig from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursdays during spring and summer 2012, at the Canfield Lane site. (See the map at right for directions.)

The Glunk Site: End of the Second Season Notes

Lycoming College archaeology student Steph Bowen uncovers
an interesting feature in her excavation unit during 2012 Dig.

By Tank Baird

Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, in cooperation with Lycoming College’s North American Archaeology Department and volunteers from various community service groups, have completed the second year of excavations at the Glunk Site in Loyalsock Township, Lycoming County.

Located on Bull Run near the Susquehanna River and approximately one kilometer west of Loyalsock Creek, this site is owned by Paul Glunk.  Although it is in close proximity to the Ault, Canfield Island, and Bull Run sites, excavated by NCC8 under the supervision of Jim Bressler, this particular parcel of land has never been excavated.  To say that this is a choice location for all things archaeological may be an understatement. The entire Bull Run estuary seems to be a hot bed of prehistoric and Contact Period Native American occupation.  

Mystery Artifact Found

By Tank Baird
President, North Central Chapter 8

Imagine going back 1,000 years ago to the banks of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. At that time, the area was inhabited only by Native Americans.

These people were the first land clearers in the region and farmed corn, beans and squash in open fields, some of which, kept cleared by subsequent cultures, lasted until the coming of the Europeans, a full 600 years from that point. It might be noted that knocking down huge trees (some of these trees were 10 feet in diameter) in virgin forest with stone axes was a daunting task but probably started with using bark as a building material and ended in girdling and burning the tree to bring it down.

Stroll the Heritage Trail

A stroll along the James P. Bressler Heritage Trail on Canfield Island is invigorating and educational. It's also tranquil, this quiet spot along the Susquehanna River's West Branch.

The trail is part of Loyalsock Township's Riverfront Park and is dedicated to James P. Bressler. A scholar and educator beloved in his community, Bressler carved a niche for himself in the region's prehistory and history books with his archaeological investigations.

Archaeologist James Bressler visits Riverfront Heritage Park named in his honor. Located on Canfield Island, the park contains a significant prehistoric Indian village in Loyalsock Township. Bressler and members of Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology excavated prehistoric sites in the area for many decades and Bressler is responsible for having the island listed with the National Register of Historic Places

"That is, in my estimation, one of the best-kept secrets in the county," Bressler said about the trail in a previous interview. "This is a unique attempt to integrate a number of different things. First of all, local history is really not being taught in our schools because there are too many competing things to teach. I understand that. But this is a unique way to combine a pleasant walk, a history lesson, and nature study. It's just a pleasure to walk around there."

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The Loyalsock Historic Complex

West Branch of the Susquehanna River, looking toward Canfield Island.

By James Bressler
Northcentral Chapter 8, SPA 

The following elements comprise a listing of sites and events that chronicle the human experience in the designated area over at least 7,000 years and contain much that is worthy of commemoration. From this list can be drawn those that collectively make this section of Lycoming County unique in character and historically important in our state and nation.

The Loyalsock Historic Complex
A Rationale for Commemoration

Defining and Understanding

From a hypothetical point in Loyalsock Creek where it merges with the West Branch of the Susquehanna River we scribe a two-mile arc beginning on the river bank to our west and thence the arc till we touch the river again to our east. The area enclosed, then, is here going to be referred to as the Loyalsock Historic Complex. It is indeed a special place, as we shall see, that deserves to be recognized as part of our historic heritage.
Often, when we think of historic places we immediately visualize such sites and events as Gettysburg where the thought of the horrors of a three-day battle of the Civil War have a profound effect on all the generations.
Or, perhaps, Valley Forge comes to mind where the depressed forces of the rebel Americans under Washington spent a grueling winter while General Howe and his British forces regaled in comfort in nearby Philadelphia.
Or it may be Bushy Run, where Colonel Bouquet in a clever military maneuver routed the attacking Indian forces and thus effectively ended Pontiac's rebellion.
There may be others important to you, but they all have one common element, they are singular events occurring at one time and important to the development of our nation and its people. Our complex is different, for we not only honor the singular events that in themselves merit our attention, as they relate to the founding and growth of a County and Nation; but also the unfolding story of man's coming to this land and the evidence he left behind. For man first set foot on the Complex some 12,000 years ago as compared to our appearance scarcely more than 250 years ago. It seems reasonable, then, that here we should include in our recognitions of heritage the people who occupied this land 98% of human time to our 2%.
From out of the east comes the sound of a plane as it nears the airport near the heart of our Complex. It rides an electronic beam emanating from the mountain beacon near Huntersville, only made visible by sophisticated and very complicated instruments, as the pilot obeys every command of that beam, when to correct to the exact flight path, and when to bring nose up for a perfect landing. All this in a pea-soup fog. Incredible!

The red man who lived on the site of this same airport was able to navigate the forests as confusing as the pea-soup fog, for hundreds of miles with an unerring arrival at his destination with no instruments at all. As though sensing some unseen pheromone path, as the ants do, he had a sense of survival, and a sense of time and space just as amazing as the work of modem science with all its complicated instrumentation. And we can now report that at the heart of our Historic Complex we can include insights into the life patterns of the Native Americans in the ancient past when this land was an unbroken forest.
So, you see, this is a many faceted effort, unlike any you have ever seen, for we believe there is a synergism at work here that makes the whole much greater that the sum of its parts. And there is this common bond: all our subjects are contained in the roughly two-mile arc our mythical rope scribed for us at the outset.
And before we move on to a more detailed description of our complex, let us be prepared to become emotionally involved at some point or other for this is our land - our heritage. From ancient times we can see the force that emotions played in the character of people and nations. Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only one (The Pharos of Alexandria) had any utilitarian value, the rest were all responses to dynamic emotionalism. Here and now, the most imposing buildings are often churches; our lodges and many organizations are all under girded by an emotional bias. Even the pet food aisles of our supermarkets are now departments unto themselves, and the most expensive stone most of us will ever buy is worn on the third finger in response to the greatest emotions of which man is capable; and we will likely be buried in a very fancy box we shall never see, bedecked with flowers we can neither see nor smell. We take time to establish these truths merely to suggest that without this emotional attachment, our sense of history has a hollow ring and serves US no purpose.
When we go to war, our government goes to great length to reaffirm our patriotism and love of Country. But without this sense of historical attachment to our roots we become as Edmund Burke so aptly put it when referring to the mobs of the French Revolution, "They become as flies of a summer, unable to link on generation with the next."
Recognition of our complex is part synthesis of prehistory and historical accounts aimed to educate as well as to recognize a truly remarkable piece of real estate as part of our common heritage. For this is the legacy of all generations.

The Scope of Presentation
In order that we might define the Loyalsock Historic Complex in a coherent manner, we will use a chronological order of two parts; the prehistoric and the historic. The prehistoric account embraces the archeological work of exploration that has been ongoing almost without interruption since 1976, culminating in the discovery of the second fortified Shenks Ferry Village, and preceded by the Canfield digs and the earlier Bull Run excavation of Otstonwakin.
The historic accounts are drawn largely from several early history books and those of our own John F. Meginness. We must rely upon the accuracy of accounts of these earlier times for they are the only ones available, but we have faith in the veracity of these efforts and to the completeness of research to which such men as Meginness and Lynn were willing to go to preserve for us as accurate a compilation as was possible. Likely the number of people killed on the Lycoming Frontier was much greater than these men were able to document, but one must bear in mind there were no war correspondents, no lines of electronic communications, only the memories of the survivors. Let us be thankful for even these.

Life in the Forest: The Canfield Experience
If the complex contained no other site, Canfield Island alone would be worth our recognition for its unique contribution to prehistory. For here is a veritable Native American "hotel" where the guests have left the tools and equipment specific to their culture over thousands of years and so have opened up windows into time that tell a remarkable story. Sometimes they also left themselves and from their burials we can observe the humanness of otherwise pure Stone Age savages living in a Stone Age milieu.
Before we describe the several cultural levels we encountered on Canfield, we need to establish how the record of at least 7,000 (and likely much older) years became so well preserved. Ever since the close of the last ice age the river that washes the shore of Canfield flooded periodically and in doing so left a covering of silt on the lower part of the peninsula that is now Canfield Island. This silt was deposited as a result of a lessened water velocity at that point. Thus whatever camp sites had been used by native bands foraging there, especially those seeking suitable fishing grounds, would be covered and the next group to utilize this same spot would have a clean slate whereon to camp and in time would leave their evidence behind as did preceding bands. The result is a layer-cake like build up we call stratification. Evidence containing cultural traits unique to specific groups is neatly separated and preserved awaiting the archeologist’s trowel. We know of no other site on our river where all the necessary factors of preservation and variety of evidence come so conveniently packaged. What follows is the result of thirteen seasons of hard physical labor and many hours of curation and laboratory study by North Central Chapter, Society for Pennsylvania Archeology and the Lycoming County Historical Society in whose custody the artifacts are given. We shall begin our descriptive sketches by their order of deposits, the oldest first. This first level may not be the oldest present. It was merely the deepest we could reach safely with the equipment we had.

The Early Ones
Our deepest level was radio carbon dated to around 5,000 B.C. representing a band of Early Middle Archaic foragers who left behind a huge fired area littered with butternut hulls and a few worked cobbles that likely served as anvils on which nuts were processed. Some of these 7,000 year old butternut hulls appeared as complete as the day they were left.
In the absence of diagnostic tools we can only guess that these folks belonged to a cultural entity known to archeologists as the Stanly people who were roaming this part of the Country at this time. Since we can never know what tribes called themselves in the absence of a written language, we give them arbitrary names according to location where they are first studied and recorded.

Another Unknown Level
What we called Level 10 was similar to Level 11 just described but which provided a carbon date closer to 4,500 B.C. These bands too came to Canfield to collect and eat butternuts as well as to fish. It would be appropriate at this point to explain the process of transhumance. The Eastern Woodland people exploited certain food resources when and where they became available. They likely had a base camp from which they moved from time to time to harvest seasonal resources. One of these activities was a visit to Canfield where fishing with nets and weirs was possible and where butternuts and hickory nuts ripened in due season. Other stations in the transhumant wandering might include fall or winter hunting camps, mussel gathering in the riffles of creeks or the river, or the bounty of the spring shad run, or the gathering of other desired food crops such as apios, grapes or berries. No food was grown. Life depended upon nature's harvest.

The Laurentian People
At around 54-60 inches below grade appeared what we have identified as Savanna River, a cultural group adapted largely to riverine and forest resources on the Atlantic coastal Plain. Our carbon date for this culture is close to 2,000 B.C. These archaic hunter-fisher-gatherer bands began to produce the larger and broader spear points so prominent in the next two higher levels. Unlike the Laurentian culture, their origin is believed to be from the South.

The Canfield Tradition
Level 6 as we called it was by far the most prominent and productive occupation of the Canfield sequence. Here levels 6 and 5, although often separated vertically represent two interrupted occupational episodes of the same people, and so are combined as level 6. Their camp sites are characterized by distinctive traits. One of these is the very large cobble hearths on which they roasted their meat and fish. Their large spearheads, often made of an imported stone (rhyolite), are both lobate stemmed and straight stemmed.
Another trait peculiar to the Canfield level is the burial custom. Osseous materials often show cremation and the remains were heavily sprinkled with red pigment (hematite and ochre) and accompanied by liberal quantities of "killed" grave offerings. Spearheads, pestles, and the like were snapped into several parts, presumably to release the spirit of the tool.

The Transitional Period
The Level 6 or Canfield level as we have named it was the forerunner of the next cultural entity, the so-called Transitional or Broadpoint era. This culture covered the West Branch Valley like none other before it and extended its influence sphere well into New York State. They began to use carved soapstone bowls laboriously carried from far away sources. Oddly, too, they preferred the use of Rhyolite for their spear points, a stone available no closer than South Mountain near Gettysburg. They also began to experiment with the manufacture of ceramic vessels, making this a technological watershed for the American Indian. With the introduction of ceramics the way was open for the new life patterns of the Woodland Era. This new technology is one of the few innovations ever achieved by the Native Americans and made possible a more stable and effective culinary regime.

The Early Woodland Phase
The Early Woodland Era on Canfield was present around 700 B.C. and equates with the well-known Adena (first mound builders) of Ohio. They made interior-exterior cord marked vessels for use in cooking and storage. One purpose of their stay on Canfield was to quarry local flint and to chip stone tools for transport to other places in their circuit. Of special note here is their development of a reverence for the dead. This cultic practice seems to have been handed down through the millennia and developed to a very high art not only at Canfield but elsewhere too as can be seen in the huge burial mounds of the Hopewell to the west.
The Meadowood, as they are known, made special mortuary blades of chert or rhyolite which they often "killed," as did the preceding cultures, before depositing with their dead.

Clemsons Island
Level 2, or Clemsons Island, was found at around 24 inches below grade, and represents the beginning of the last phase of aboriginal life here, the Late Woodland Period. These groups made the Central Susquehanna their homeland and were either allied to or a part of Owasco tribes of New York State. They were the first farmers, appearing here after 800 A.D and persisting until around 1,200 A.D.
Their villages were always found on the best river bottom land where the soil was productive. They made large and distinctive clay vessels, and probably introduced the use of the how and arrow.
They buried their dead in mounds, a carry over from Hopewell times.

The uppermost level found on lower Canfield plain was McFate-Quiggle, a tribe quite similar to Susquehannock and for a time identified as such. It should be mentioned here, that the cultural group known as Shenks Ferry, about which more is to follow, did not occupy this part of the island in a significant way, but did live on the upper end and on the adjacent plains across Bull Run.
McFate-Quiggle appears as Shenks Ferry disappears around 1,500 A.D. Whether there is a hostile relationship between the two is a question we are still trying to resolve, but the small settlement on Canfield contrasts with the larger stockaded towns they built at such places as McElhatten, Wilkes Barre and elsewhere. Their pottery is shell tempered and highly decorated with incised lines. Much remains to be learned about them.

The Shenks Ferry Stockades
Possibly as much, or more, impressive as the cultures of Canfield Island are the two stockaded villages of the Shenks Ferry people on the large Loyalsock-Bull Run plain. These two fortified villages are landmark discoveries, one of which, the Ault Site, is presently being investigated.
These represent the Northern Phase (Stewart) of a numerous population that occupied Central-Eastern Pennsylvania as far west as the Juniata River, and were closely related to their Lancaster County counterparts. We cannot trace their origins nor are we certain as to how they disappeared. They took over much of the West Branch around 1,200 A.D. which also signals the departure of Clem sons Island tribes. Their terminal date interfaces with the appearance of the McFate from the west. In a sense they are a floating culture but during their tenure here they left some remarkable archeological remains.
These are twin forts, one on Bull Run now underneath the interstate highway (I-180) and the other on the Ault property near the confluence of Bull Run and the River. An interesting observation about all Shenks Ferry sites is that they were always located where Clemsons Island Indians had camped before.
The monumental work of erecting a stockade wall around the entire village, complete with a deep moat that required the moving of huge volumes of earth, ranks these enterprises among the more amazing feats of primitive people who possessed only the crudest of stone tools for accomplishing their work.
The art of pottery making in the Eastern Woodlands reached its zenith here, with exquisitely decorated rims on pottery walls so thin (often 2mm or even less) that we simply cannot understand how they made them.

The use of smoking pipes originating in Early Woodland times with fireclay smoking tubes, had also been highly developed here, and some of their pipes are works of art. One of these forts (Bull Run) later became the village of Otstonwakin and the home of Madame Montour. That village no doubt stretched out along Bull Run to the site of the second fort on the Ault property. Periodically some remnants of the Madame Montour era are unearthed such as trade beads, musket balls and gunflints. For with the demise of the Shenks Ferry and McFate, we now enter the next division of our complex, the contact period, and the momentous events that were to follow and in which the Loyalsock Historic Complex is so deeply involved.
In summary, the chronological placement of cultural remains of 7,000 years of human development on Canfield Island, the discovery of two Shenks Ferry fortified villages scarcely a kilometer apart become significant episodes worthy of commemoration.

The Lycoming Frontier in the Contact Period
When Conrad Weiser made his long perilous journey from his Womelsdorf home to the Six Nations capital at Onondaga (Syracuse) in March, 1737 on official colonial business, he stopped at Otstonwakin, the home of Madame Montour. In so doing he became the first white man on record to pay a visit to an important station of our Loyalsock Historic Complex and ushered in a new era in Indian-European relations.
Madame Montour was a much esteemed leader among her red colleagues although she was not totally of their race.
The town of Otstonwakin was essentially a Delaware town although at any given time a number of tribal groups might be living there. The Delaware (Lenape) occupation of the Susquehanna Valley came about when in 1675 the Iroquois dispersed the indigenous Susquehannocks, creating a vacuum that was filled by allowing the Coastal Delawares to occupy the land as underlings. This subservient status was never fully accepted by the Delawares and eventually was a factor in alienating large numbers of them to the French during the French and Indian war.
Otstonwakin was strung out from the site of the upper Bull Run stockade of the Shenks Ferry to the vicinity of the lower stockade on the Ault site now being excavated.

Madame Montour is thought to have come to Otstonwakin about 1728, but by 1755 the village was entirely deserted, having suffered not only late frosts that destroyed their corn crop but also from a small pox epidemic that decimated much of the population.
Andrew Montour, Madame's eldest son, became famous as an interpreter for many Colonial diplomats to various Indian tribes since he was able to speak several Indian dialects as well as English. His service to the Colony of Pennsylvania was so highly esteemed that the Penns awarded him a large tract of land on which Montoursville now rests and which was known as Montour's Reserve, another entity of our complex worthy of commemoration. More about this later.
Otstonwakin, although isolated in a virgin wilderness with only the river and a number of foot trails as links to the outside world, nevertheless became an important point of contact to introduce the earliest Moravian Missionaries in their attempt to convert the "heathens" to Christianity. Since this work was an important aspect in early Indian relations and since all these missionaries visited Otstonwakin from which to launch their crusades, it is important that we include this work in the account of our Complex.

The Missionaries and Otstonwakin
What the Jesuits had attempted among the Hurons in Canada during the 1600's was now vigorously pursued by the Moravians in the Frontier country of Lycoming. This missionary work was aimed at converting as many Indians as possible to the Christian faith. But more importantly they required a base of operation, or towns where Indians were concentrated. Such a base, naturally, was Otstonwakin.
The era of the Moravian Missionaries, one must remember, was accomplished at a time when no roads save the few established Indian trails entered the area and no white settlements were yet to be found since this land had not yet been purchased by the Penns from the Six Nations who claimed it. Any adventure of this sort, then, was of a perilous nature, since living off the land was not a trait in which these clergymen were skilled.
We shall mention briefly the names of these persons and their activities while in our Historic Complex.

The Moravian activities began in 1742 and lasted until around 1748, but during these six years the following parties were active here:
Count Zizendorf, accompanied by his daughter Benigna, Anna Nitchman, Martin Mack and two Indian guides stayed at Otstonwakin.
Bishop Spangenberg visited Otstonwakin in 1745. He was accompanied by Conrad Weiser, David Zeisberger and several Indians.
David Brainerd visited Otstonwakin in 1746 and preached to a large body of Indians in the vicinity of the present Loyalsock Township Fire Hall.
David Zeisberger visited Otstonwakin in 1748 accompanied by J. Martin Mack but found the town deserted, many of the occupants having succumbed to small pox and being the victims of famine.
With the coming rift between the British and French over control of much of Pennsylvania, the native population composed largely of Delaware and Shawnee were caught up in the cross current, so that missionary work became more difficult, if not unprofitable. The lure of French trading posts on the Ohio and Allegheny rivers succeeded in drawing numbers of Indians to the French Cause.
By 1755 the conflict between the two great Colonial powers was joined and Otstonwakin became a memory. But the taxation to pay for the war imposed on the colonies by the British Crown, was to become a serious breach of faith between the two and the stage was set for the next great conflict, the American Revolution.
Before we leave the era of the French and Indian War behind us, there are several related actions that are nevertheless important historic events in our area. First is Montour's Reserve and second the Legend of the Cannon Hole.

Montour’s Reserve
In 1768, following the opening of the land office to process the lands deeded to the proprietary government in the treaty of Fort Stanwyx, a tract of 880 acres including the land where Montoursville and the airport are now located was given to Andrew Montour in appreciation for the valuable services he rendered during the war with the French and Indians. This tract became known as Montour's Reserve and took in the sites of both Otsuagy (east of the Loyalsock) and Otstonwakin. The south boundary was the river.

The Cannon Hole
According to accounts found in the Pennsylvania archives, the French designed not only to occupy the Forks of the Ohio (Fort Duquesne) but also the Forks of the Susquehanna at present Sunbury. With the construction of Fort Augusta in 1756 by the Proprietary Government, the French laid plans to take over this strategic point as well.
Accordingly, M. St, D’Ours organized a small expedition at the site of present Clearfield, consisting of rafts and boats carrying several small brass cannons and a modest contingent of men. The flotilla progressed down river, reaching the south banks of the river near the present Kremser's Landing. Encamping at that point; they sent scouts overland on the Sheshequin trail to reconnoiter the fort before launching an attack. Fort Augusta was, of course, much too strong a post to be subdued with the equipment on their rafts. Not being able to retreat upriver with the rafts and not wishing to let their munitions fall into the hands of the British, they reportedly dumped the Cannon into the deep water at that point and abandoned the expedition.
The news of their actions leaked out somehow and ever since this deep hole has been known as the Cannon Hole.
Following the French and Indian Was and Pontiac's rebellion, the stage is now set for a review of the stirring events that occurred in the area of our Complex during the struggle for independence.

The Loyalsock and the American Revolution
The shot fired at Concord heard round the world rippled scarcely an echo in the Loyalsock wilderness. After all it had been only seven years since this land had been purchased from the six nations at the treaty of Fort Stanwyx and only a few cleared areas broke the awesome silence thus far. Sam Wallis, by devious means had acquired most of the best river bottom land upriver from his Muncy Manor homestead (built in 1769). This greed for land was, of course, to be his undoing later on when he could not meet the debts on time.
Only the well-known Indian trails, the Susquehanna Path, Shamokin Path or Chinclacamoose Path, whatever you wish to call it (they are all the same) was the chief mode of foot travel from the East, while the Sheshequin trail, which crossed the river at the head of Canfield Island, was the chief artery north and south. The Susquehanna Trail was widened in this area enough to permit horse drawn wagons to use but to call them roads would be a euphemism.
The Loyalsock Creek to the north begins its long drawn out flood plain at the Allegheny front near the present sportsman's grounds. This glacial outwash laid down a deep, fertile plain that would attract the first settlers into the region. The present airport, as well as most of the land adjacent to the Loyalsock, is in our Historic Complex.
Now that we have described the setting, it is easier to understand the tumultuous events that are about to unfold.
While Washington's rag tag army and the British regulars were maneuvering their forces in the present states of New York, New Jersey and at times Pennsylvania, the situation became untenable for the people there. A general exodus occurred into the interior; and as was the case in the Loyalsock area, a goodly number of Dutch and others decided to take their chances on the Pennsylvania frontier where they would try to carve out a new life far from the contending armies. As fate would have it, they chose the Loyalsock area from its mouth upward toward Farragut to construct their rude huts and barns, and to clear enough land for subsistence farming. But if they expected peace and tranquility, how rude was the introduction to the realities of war. For, as one can see, from New York State Guy Johnson was highly influential in inciting his Seneca warriors to strike the colonial forces in the name of the Crown. To the south, through the West Branch Valley, as well as at Wyoming by way of the North Branch, the Colonial armies were vulnerable, for the interior counties such as Berks, Lancaster, and Chester were essential to Washington as a base of supply. To reach them, so the British reasoned, what better way than to strike the West Branch frontier (Loyalsock mostly) and the Wyoming gateway from the North Branch. Indian raiding parties required no supply trains or artillery and could do their missions quite well on nothing more than the existing trails. The stage is now set for the bloodiest tragedy our county (then Northumberland) was ever to see and one which shattered so abruptly the dreams for a peaceful life by our newly arrived refugees from New Jersey.
What ensued, and what can never fully be told because of poor or nonexistent communications of the times is in itself worthy of commemoration. Perhaps it would not be mislabeling the events by calling them the Battle of the Loyalsock, although the nature of the fighting was largely one of ambush, kill and run rather than pitched battles.

It is a startling event, when we consider it in the larger context of the Revolution to note that during the on-going raids on the Lycoming Frontier (specifically within our Loyalsock Complex) more lives were lost than in at least three Revolutionary War battles well known to students of history: The Battle of Cowpens, the Battle of Princeton and the Battle of Trenton. But who was there to herald these tragedies. Is it not reasonable for us to do this honor even at this late date, that our generation may know the cost in human lives, to secure the land on which we live now? For death is final, whether by a mini ball or grape shot at Antietam or Gettysburg, by a machine gun bullet at Normandy, a spear thrust at Thermopylae, a bullet from an Indian musket, or a skull-splitting tomahawk blow on an innocent victim on Loyalsock.
They all are part and parcel of the price someone paid in our behalf, whether willingly or otherwise. We shall chronicle a few of these tragedies, knowing many must go unremembered.

Ambush of the Captain Berry Party
A war party had slipped silently into the Loyalsock area by way of the Sinnemahoning path bent upon killing and looting whomever they could among the settlements there. Ironically, a friendly Indian had preceded this party to warn the whites at Fort Reed (now Lock Haven), however, a drunken so-called soldier shot him dead as payment for his good deed. Had the warning been heeded the fateful events of June 10, 1778 might have been avoided. But back to our story.
From Wallis's where many local families had fled for safety, an expedition under Captain Berry was hastily organized to try to recover some horses the Indians had stolen during the night. Horses are easily tracked and proved an effective way to lure any tracking party into ambush.
The twelve men in Captain Berry's Party followed the horse tracks to the Loyalsock and so on up past the narrows and to the present vicinity of the Snyder farm, meanwhile Colonel Hepburn from the Wallis strongpoint had sent our word by messenger for the party to return since they knew Indians were in the vicinity but Captain Berry chose to ignore the warning. Several members in the party, among whom were Robert Covenhoven and his brothers, aware of the danger of ambush, warned Captain Berry to return to Wallis's by way of the hills east of the Snyder farm but they, too, were ignored.
As they approached the Narrows (near the end of Four Mile Drive), the whole party suddenly was fired on from ambush and most were shot down. Four, including the brothers of Covenhoven and a Negro slave from Wallis's were taken as prisoner, the Negro later burnt at the stake. This horrible tragedy, however, was only a prelude of things to come later in the day. One should note here that in all the attacks herein described the mode of attack was typical Indian: ambush, surprise, kill, scalp and run before any relief party could come to the aid of the stricken. The British then paid a premium for every scalp brought back to Fort Niagara.

Death of John Thompson and Peter Shufelt
With the general alarm about Indians in the vicinity, the concentration of fleeing settlers at Wallis's (Halls Station) meant that fledgling farms with their livestock had to be left behind. So it was with the farm of young John and Juda Thompson, whose clearing took in an area near the present intersection of Four Mile Drive and Northway Road and near the Sheshequin trail on Miller's Run. John Thompson decided to return to his farm from Wallis' and retrieve whatever livestock he could and bring them to safety. He was accompanied by Peter Shufelt and William Wychoff. They were on horseback, following the trail of Captain Berry.
As they neared the rude farmstead, they decided to stop in the house to prepare a hasty meal before the return trip. The horses were first to snort the alarm, for the Indians were concealed in the barn and suddenly surrounded the house where the three men were eating. Upon seeing the approaching enemy they grabbed their guns and tried to escape into the woods but Peter Shufelt was shot down at once. Thompson stopped to fire at his pursuers and was himself shot down. Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old William Wychoff was severely wounded but was taken prisoner, and eventually recovered. We mentioned earlier that the war party had entered the valley by way of the Sinnemahoning path, but on their return trip they used the Sheshequin trail up Lycoming Creek, having done their mission of death and destruction well for their British instigators.
With the death of John Thompson, ensued one of the most touching episodes ever recorded here regarding the fate of his wife, Juda, and their four-year-old son next to be described.

The Epic Journey of Juda Thompson
As we mentioned earlier, the Thompsons were among the (1777) settlers from New Jersey who had chosen to take their chances in the Loyalsock wilderness frontier rather than life in the war zone of contending armies near the coast.

The death of her husband, John, left her a widow with a boy of four. Alone in a hostile, unforgiving wilderness world, Juda Thompson began an epic hegira unthinkable except to one in such dire distress.
Somehow she managed to find her way to Fort Augusta pulling a crude little cart in which she placed the little boy and a few items of clothing and the precious family Bible to sustain her. From thence, through storm, sunshine, dangers of the wilderness trail land savage adversaries, across streams and over mountains she pulled the little cart with its precious cargo 250 miles to her former home in New Jersey by way of Easton. It would be interesting to retrace her route but we believe she used the newly opened path from the Blue Mountains to Fort Augusta later known as the Kings Highway and in general present state Route 61. But in her day houses were few and far between.
No wonder her epic trek was likened to the return of Naomi from the land of Moab.
Interestingly, the little boy, John Thompson, Jr. grew up to be a prominent judge of Hunterdon County courts and raised a large family. Juda Thompson died in 1796, but the Bible, every leaf of it water stained and worn, the hasps brittle and crumbling, was passed on through descendants and finally found its way to the Pacific Coast, zealously guarded by a descendant of a remarkable woman and her unshakable will to survive.
But the fates of John Thompson and his two companions together with the tragic ambush of Captain Berry's party are but a few of the atrocities witnessed within the Historic Complex. Even earlier, almost as soon as the settlers arrived from New Jersey, the Indian raiding parties had begun to do their work of destruction. Among the victims were both the Brown and Benjamin families who had settled as neighbors on the Loyalsock plain.

The Brown and Benjamin Family Murders
Among the first wave of Jersey settlers to arrive at Loyalsock was Daniel Brown. His two daughters were married to two brothers named Benjamin, who were then neighbors to the Brown family, when the first alarm came that a raiding party was near, the Benjamin families rushed to the Brown house in preparations for defense.

The attack on the Brown house ensued and during the fight an Indian was killed which infuriated the savages more than ever. Somehow they managed to set the house on fire which caused the occupants to come to a swift decision on what to do. Should they come out and face certain death by tomahawk or be consumed by the flames.
One of the Benjamins decided to come forth and hope for mercy from the savages. As he opened the door, he was immediately killed by a tomahawk blow and scalped before his shrieking wife who was carrying and infant in her arms. All the others who emerged were captured and forced to march with their captors through the wilderness to Fort Niagara. Meanwhile the Brown family chose to die in the flames rather than endure the torture by the assailants. This was the opening blow of the Loyalsock Frontier murders and was to be repeated time and again until General Sullivan's famous expedition that devastated the homeland of the Seneca forever.
The last episode we wish to describe here occurred after the evacuation of the West Branch Valley in what was then known as the "Big Runaway". Memorable events of June 10, 1778 such as the Plum Thicket Massacre on what is now West Fourth Street, Williamsport is behind us. But the devastation caused by the raiders was so great, and the means of defense almost entirely lacking that Colonel Hunter ordered the evacuation of the valley. Only the ripening fields of grain remained of the otherwise fledgling farms, the buildings all being burnt by the savages. Groups of armed men returning from Fort Augusta to harvest grain if they could, sets the stage for ambushing of one of these harvesting parties, among whom was the son of Captain John Brady, the red headed James Brady.

The Death of James Brady
The farm on which the grain cradlers were at work is on or near the site of Madame Montour's Village on the large flat from Bull Run to Loyalsock Creek. The date was August 7, 1778.
Work commenced on Friday and was to be completed the next day. But the reapers placed their guns around a tree and proceeded to cradle the grain, unaware of what was about to happen. The weather was foggy and the reapers had placed a sentry who was not able to detect the attacking Indians until they were nearly on top of them.
The reapers retired as fast as they could but James Brady ran for his rifle and was immediately shot down as well as several of the militia men, four in all. The rest of the party was able to get to high ground near the present Met Fab plant and looked back to see the Indians retire as fast as they had come, bearing the fresh scalps of their victims.
James Brady, upon recovering consciousness made his way uphill to the house that stood there where the cook for the party, Jerome Van Ness did what he could for the scalped victim. Meanwhile word got to Fort Muncy and a relief party under Captain Walker was at once dispatched to see what could be done to take care of the wounded Brady and pursue the marauding party.
Brady was taken to the river edge in a delirious condition, placed in a canoe for the long, sad trip to Fort Augusta where his mother was waiting. But the stroke of the tomahawk, the scalping and other wounds were too much and after five days of delirium he died. But before he died his consciousness returned long enough that he was able to identify his attacker: Chief Bald Eagle or Woapalanne, the infamous scourge of the Frontier. He is also the Indian whose statue in the form of a Toth woodworking masterpiece stands near the entrance to Brandon Park.
If we can see fit to honor a rogue of his ilk, one so much an enemy of the settlers, does it not seem justice to do as much for a well known frontiersman who died doing his duty for his fellow men on the Loyalsock Plain. Chief Bald Eagle lived near Milesburg at what was known as the Bald Eagle's nest and was a constant threat on the frontier. Two separate expeditions neither successful, were sent out from Fort Augusta to capture him. Chief Bald Eagle met his end on the Allegheny where he himself stopped a bullet and justice came full circle.

A Closing Statement
The foregoing narratives are but a part of the historic drama that engulfed the entire West Branch Frontier during the Revolution, but they are drawn from events that happened within the Complex and so are germane to our purpose here. We have scarcely mentioned many of the famous personalities that were integral parts of the drama. We think of Robert Covenhoven, the scout and Indian fighter who provided so great a service to his fellow men during the dark hour on the Loyalsock. He, however, through skill, sagacity and luck survived the conflict and was not among the martyrs we honor here.
A synoptic listing of the narrative subjects has been prepared for those who wish to gain a quick overview of the scope of the Loyalsock Historic Complex without the details.

An Interesting Sidelight
We have already described the Cannon Hole and its role during the era of the French and Indian War. About two arrow flights north of the Cannon Hole, but south of the airport runways, during the closing phase of World War II was located a large concrete pad. On it was being tested the largest reciprocating aircraft engine Lycoming ever built. This experimental engine, as I recall, was either 36 or 48 cylinders and was so large that no aircraft was ever built that could use it. It is now a museum piece at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
Strange comparisons here: neither the St. D'Ours expedition to take Fort Augusta, nor this large engine ever got off the ground. They both died a borning.