A Disquisition Portraying The History Relative To The Enoch Brown Incident
Address presented by
Glen L. Cump, Secretary
Enoch Brown Park Association
This address was presented on August 1, 1992 at the Enoch Brown Park on the opening day of Old Home Week.
The park was the local landmark commemorated on the badges.
August 4, 1885 was indeed a red letter day for Mother Antrim. The long wish for rain came down in torrents the two previous days. It was feared the weather would be unfavorable for the festivity planned, but there never dawned a lovelier day. Nearly five thousand people assembled on this hallowed ground to show respect and share in the dedication ceremony and unveiling of the monument to honor the memory of School Master Enoch Brown and eleven scholars: Ruth Hale, Eben Taylor, George Dustan, Archie McCullough and six others whose names were not known at that time, who were maimed and massacred in this grove on July 26, 1764.
After a few preliminary remarks, the red, white, and blue mantel covering the monument fell to the ground as four little girls and nine boys pulled the cords.
The morning and afternoon program was rendered by the Reformed Church Choir, five local bands, and six speakers who were as follows: Peter Witmer, Esq., Superintendent of Public Schools, Washington County, Maryland; Rev. I. M. Woods - whose wife was a granddaughter of Elenore Cochran, one of the students who was absent from school that fateful day; Dr. William Engle, Pennsylvania State Historian; Rev. John R. Agnew, a grandson of Mary Ramsey, another student who was absent; Rev. Cyrus C. Cort who made the presentation speech; and George W. Ziegler.
Before discussing the massacre that occurred here in 1764, it would be well to review prior incidents that provoked the Indians to act as they did. Between the years of 1664 to 1764, several hundred thousand emigrants came to America. Many of those sturdy German and Irish pioneers settled here in the Cumberland Valley. A statement dated August 14, 1763 indicates 750 families had abandoned their homes in this county which, at that time, included the Juniata Valley.
The year of 1763 was the official end of the Seven Year War, the conflict that was known as the French and Indian War here in America. The war left deep scars in this country especially in the wooded areas here in Pennsylvania. The Treaty of Paris, by which France gave up her American Colonies, was signed on February 18, 1763; this news became known three months later to us in America. To our ancestors, it was not so much a formal end of an old war; but the undeclared beginning of a new war.
The Indians, in spite of their treaty with Penn, were becoming increasingly restless. After the defeat of Braddock in 1755, they began a series of outrages that did not fail to leave their mark upon the Antrim community.
Pontiac, the great chief of the Ottawas on the shores of Lake Michigan, became the champion of the spirit of hostility against the English. Having played a prominent role in the defeat of Braddock, he learned to despise and hate the English. He succeeded in marshalling all the Indian tribes between the Great Lakes and the Alleghenies. By 1762, prowling bands of Indians were killing and scalping pioneer settlers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
The white man and Indian story isn't one sided. The grim irony was intensified by the fact that, just a few weeks before the Enoch Brown incident, Governor John Penn formally announced the promise of bounties to be paid to the white man for Indian scalps.
Violence begets violence. As early as 1763, a white gang, the Paxton Boys, murdered six Indians; and then a few days later, killed fourteen members of a peace-loving Indian settlement that for more than seventy years had lived at Conestoga near Lancaster.
An Indian husband and wife, by the first names of Michael and Mary, managed to escape the massacre by the Paxton Boys. Governor Penn, grandson of William, was asked to guarantee that they be able to still safely live in the area. But having recently promised bounties for Indian scalps, he procrastinated. The letter, expressing his appreciation of the peaceful Indians and guaranteeing safety to the couple, dated August 17, 1764, was written eight months after the massacre of the Indians.
The Enoch Brown massacre is not the first incident of savage brutality in this area. On July 26, 1756, two brothers, James and John McCullough were captured from their homestead near here. Again, on August 8, 1756, the Walter family incident occurred at their home in the meadow along Muddy Run near the site of the former Rankin's Mill. The father, Casper, was killed; the house was destroyed by fire and five children were captured. The youngest was killed a few miles from the site; the oldest, Rebecca, was scalped.
The school used drinking water from the nearby spring.
The day before the Enoch Brown massacre, Susan King Cunningham was brutally murdered near her home in the Marks area. Her daughter was the second wife of John McCullough, previously mentioned.
The first published news of the Indian warfare perpetrated here on July 26, 1764 was featured in the Pennsylvania Gazette published by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in August of that year.
It was on the morning of July 26, 1764 when the foul murder of a teacher and his ten students occurred. Mr. Brown, a native of Virginia, was a man of liberal culture; he was noted and respected for his thoughtfulness, integrity, and Christian character.
Tradition says that on this morning the children were loath to go to school. Only eleven responded to the roll call, two girls and nine boys representing ten families. Archie McCullough, the youngest student, was the only survivor. After the Indians left, he crawled down hill to the spring where he was found. He lived to be quite old; but he was demented, a result of the scalping.
A passerby discovered the bodies a few hours after the murder. The children's bodies were removed to their respective homes; and a few days later their bodies, along with that of their teacher, were buried in one grave.
Due to the fact that the grave was not marked and that some of the families moved from the area, the incident was forgotten to a degree, some contending the story was a legend. There was, however, one who knew the facts and repeated the story to others which prompted an investigation.
Mrs. Betty Hopkins lived in a log cabin half a mile from the school house. Because her windows were boarded up, the Indians who stopped by that day were led to believe that there was no one home and passed on. General David Detrich learned to know Mrs. Hopkins when he was a little boy; and after an intimate acquaintance of twenty years, he buried Mrs. Hopkins who died at the age of 104 years. His father who lived one mile north of this site often heard her repeat the story about the "terrible tragedy".
Seventy-nine years after the massacre, a committee headed by A. B. Rankin and twenty other responsible citizens of the area conducted a dig in this wooded area hoping to prove that there was indeed a burial here. The first excavation revealed the remains of one adult and ten children interred in a common grave.
It is hard to believe, but another forty years passed before any further action was taken to mark or memorialize the grave. On April 4, 1883, Rev. Cyrus Cort, David Detrich, and Col. Benjamin Winger visited this site and came to the conclusion that this ground should be purchased and an enduring memorial erected. Shortly afterwards, at a meeting in Greencastle, the issue was presented. A committee was named to take steps to purchase the land on which the grave was located. For various reasons, nothing was done.
At the Franklin County Centennial Convention meeting in Chambersburg on April 22, 1884, Col. George Wiestling suggested the committee take the matter in hand. A committee consisting of Cyrus Cort, William Davidson, Col. Wiestling, Dr. A. H. Strickler, and Benjamin Chambers was named to devise plans for raising funds to erect a monument. At this same meeting the Enoch Brown Park and Monument Committee came into being. Those appointed were: Cyrus Cort, President; Robert J. Boyd, Secretary; Dr. A. H. Strickler, Treasurer; and Col. W. D. Dixon, Col. B. F. Winger, and George W. Ziegler, advisors.
Unfortunately, all did not go well between the Park Commission and the Centennial Committee. In response to the Park's invitation to the D Band of Chambersburg to play at the forthcoming dedication ceremony, Rev. Cort referred to the impudent reply he received from one who identified himself as Mr. LeGlass, Secretary of the band. The writer was neither; his name was Bert LeFlinder. A sharp exchange of words occurred at the time of Rev. Cort's letter to Secretary Boyd dated July 20, 1885. The Chambersburg Band was not one of the five bands previously mentioned.
Another controversial issue, one that lasted for three years, was the Railroad Rebate, all of which was supposed to be give to the Park Commission. After a two-year hassle to get the $135 still due, Rev. Cort wrote a letter to Benjamin Chambers, Chairman of the Centennial Committee, reminding him that his grandmother was one of those Enoch Brown students not in school on July 26, 1764. Through the effort of the Honorable Judge Stewart, the request was granted; and after more delay, $130 of the $135 due was transferred to the Park Commission.
The Franklin County Superintendent of Schools, Harry Disert, staged a rival attraction by scheduling an all day teachers' meeting which required all teachers to be in attendance the same day the dedicatory service was scheduled. His absence at the park, that day, was very conspicuous. His attitude towards the Park Commission's endeavor was indifferent, if not, hostile.
A record book, in possession of the Park Commission, lists the names of 5,257 babies, children, and adults who contributed to the fund to erect this memorial. Those people represented schools, Sunday schools, churches, and small groups located in Franklin county. Some school teachers did not submit the names of those whose donations were received; worse yet, some school teachers refused to cooperate in the fund raising.
In spite of all the discouragements, all went well; the bills were paid and a small balance remained in the treasury. Within a few years, the Enoch Brown Park Commission sponsored and contributed $250 each to erect the memorials at Forts McCord, Loudon, Steel, and McDowell. Their endeavor to erect monuments in the old Brown's Mill Cemetery to honor General James Potter and Major James Poe as well as at the Renfrew Farm, near Waynesboro, did not materialize because of the lack of interest and effort on the part of the people of those areas.
I previously mentioned that John McCullough, age 8, and brother, James, age 5, were captured by the Indians from their farm land near here eight years to the date before this incident. James was turned over to the French, thus no more information regarding. John was living as an adopted son among the Delawares at the time some of their tribes struck here.
John witnessed the return of the three young Indians with the scalps of those attacked here. They were called cowards for killing the children. This was recorded in John's diary which is in a private collection at this time.
Permit me to share with you some of the recorded information relative to those children who were absent from school in this wooded area on July 26, 1764 and their teacher.
Sarah "Sally" Brown, daughter of George who built the mill at Brown's Mill, was one of those absent from school. She stayed home to assist the family in pulling flax. She wed Benjamin Chambers, son of the founder of Chambersburg, Pa., who was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. Their grandson was the Chairman of the Franklin County Centennial Committee previously referred to.
The second of those four girls not in school was Elenore Cochran, a Waynesboro lass, who made her home with the George Brown family so that she could attend school along with Sally. She became the wife of Captain Joseph Junkins, a hero in the Revolution. Of that union there were fourteen children. Their son George was President of Washington College at Lexington, Virginia at the outbreak of the Civil War. When the Confederate flag was flown over the college, he returned to Pennsylvania leaving behind two sons, both ministers, who married into southern families and two daughters: Margaretta, who married Colonel Preston, was nationally known as a gifted poetess; and Elenore was the first wife of Stonewall Jackson.
Rev. Cort, in his address here in 1885 stated: "About thirty of the sons, sons-in-law, and other descendents of Elenore and Joseph Junkins were in the ministry and still a larger number were ruling elders in the Presbyterian Church."
Elenore Pawling, daughter of the operator of the Pawling Tavern, was providentially detained at home on the day of the massacre. She became the wife of Dr. Robert Johnston, the distinguished surgeon of the Revolutionary War.
The fourth girl was Mary Ramsey who did not attend school that day because she had a premonition that some evil was going to happen. She lived to be the ancestress of the Agnews, well known in the medical profession.
A niece of Mary Ramsey Agnew, Mary, married Archibald Irvin of Irvinton's Mill. One of their daughters, Jane, married a son of President William Henry Harrison. In 1841, then a widow, she was mistress of the White House during the brief administration of her father-in-law.
Another daughter, Elizabeth, married John Scott Harrison, also a son of the president. They were the parents of Benjamin Harrison who in 1889 became the twenty-third president of the United States.
James Poe was absent from school by virtue of the fact he played hookey. Mrs. Betty Hopkins observed James climb a tree to watch a local farmer mow hay. Returning home at the regular hour, he was asked where he had been. He replied he had been in school. For that little lie, his father gave him a licking.
When the Revolutionary War began, James Poe enlisted in John Allison's Battalion and served as a Lieutenant. He was later promoted to the rank of Captain. This illustrious son of a pioneer family was a man of importance, not only in the community in which he lived, but in the affairs of the county and state. He served on the first grand jury in Franklin County. He also served on the first Board of County Commissioners from 1784 to 1787 and later from 1790 to 1793. Captain Poe was a member of the House of Representatives for two terms as well as representing this area in the State Senate for two terms. Poe married Elizabeth, daughter of Captain James Potter. Potter, with a small detail of men, tried to overtake the Indians after their cowardly act became known.
Potter and Poe are the two men previously mentioned relative to a planned memorial at the Brown's Mill Cemetery.
As for the teacher, records reveal that he was married. Rev. Cort referred to his own acquaintance with a Captain C. F. Bonner who was a great-grandson of the massacred teacher.
Andrew N. Rankin, Esq., one of the three young men who accompanied their fathers to this place in 1843 to search for the grave, states that his grandmother's maiden name was Brown and that her father was a cousin to the murdered schoolmaster. She explained the reason why he was named Enoch. He was born in Ireland, where thirteen is considered unlucky. Being the thirteenth child in his father's family, his parents sought to ward off bad luck by naming the child Enoch, after the first man "who was translated without tasting death" - Genesis 5:24.
I would be remiss not to speak of the one man largely responsible for this park, Cyrus C. Cort. He was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania and graduated from the Theological Seminary of the German Reformed Church, Mercersburg, Pa. in 1862. In the spring of 1881, he came to Greencastle and pastored the Reformed church here and in State Line where he labored twelve years and added 340 new members to the two congregations. As Chairman of the Enoch Brown Park and Monument Association for nineteen years, his leadership is attested to by the results of that association's endeavors.
In closing, I would like to share some recent events relative to this park. In March, 1989, our Association President, Harold M. Zimmerman, submitted a letter to the Antrim Township Supervisors requesting additional assistance in the care and maintenance of this park. John Gondek, Township Manager, reported by mid-June, that he submitted an application to the State Funding Authority for financial aid.
After one and a half years of negotiations, the Township Authority took over control of this park.
I have referred to grandmothers several times. Our grandfathers, too, can be credited with sharing the Enoch Brown story with the youth of their time. On the occasion when several Park Board members and their attorney attended a hearing in the Court of Common Pleas to show why the transfer of this real estate should not be approved, Judge Walker, when reading the docket, remarked, "Enoch Brown - I well remember my grandfather telling me the story when I was small."
My interest in Enoch Brown was aroused when my grandfather gave me the original essay that his son, Irvin Rankin Cump, wrote. Uncle Irvin heard the story from his grandfather, William Rankin. It is reasonable to assume that the story was told in that family since the time A. B. Rankin headed the delegation who unearthed the grave.
Last year's endeavors of the township's crew resulted in a thorough clean up, the removal of the fence along the driveway, and the erection of this pavilion and the rest rooms.
During the past year, litter and vandalism has been on the decline. The Township Supervisors and workers are to be complimented.
Several years ago, in regards to controlling the park activities, Mr. William P. Conrad advised, "We will have to start with educating our children in their formative years to know the history of and show respect for places such as the Enoch Brown Park."
I am happy to report that our elementary schools are encouraging our youth to learn about historical places and incidents. In conjunction with our Antrim Township Bicentennial Celebration last year, 705 of our elementary students visited this park and were told the facts. The story is being told in the classrooms of our local school district as well as in other area school districts.
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