Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Land Records
Triangle Monument History

Contributed by Evelyn Baker


Evelyn Baker recently contributed a photo of the Erie Triangle Monument in Springfield Township. She follows up with this piece - the Triangle Monument Story. Anyone having questions or comments concerning this material, please send your inquiry directly to Evelyn Baker.

Sources of the monument story: Pa. State Archives; microfilm of the Erie Daily Times at the Bayfront Library; microfilm of the Conneaut News Herald at the Conneaut, Ohio Library. Special 'Thank You' to Chris Sedler for researching the Springfield Census.


TRIANGLE MONUMENT HISTORY

 

The first terminal monument was placed on the Lake Erie shore

in Springfield Township by surveyors of Pennsylvania’s western boundary. 

The stone was inscribed “ Pennsylvania 42° N.  1787 ”. 

It was washed out to sea during a series of violent storms.

A rise in lake level contributed to the loss of the small stone.

It has never been found.

 

 A second stone was placed with an inscription of “Ohio” on the west

side & “Pennsylvania” on the east side.

Townsfolk hold that the stone was taken & buried in the lighthouse pier

at Conneaut, Ohio.

 

A third obscure monument now sits on the lake bluff in Springfield

Township, partially hidden in a wooded area.  Obelisk in design, with a

quadrangular apex, it stands approximately 6’ high.  It was cut from

Quincy granite & shipped to Springfield by railroad from

Massachusetts quarries. 

A brief history is inscribed on four bronze plaques. It commemorates

a treaty signed by the Six Indian Nations, the Wyndot & Delaware Indians, 

and the United States Commissioners of Land.

 

It seems as though destiny decreed that 3 symbols

should be placed on the triangle territory.

 

Appropriation

In 1905, an act of the Legislature appropriated $500 for erection of the

third monument marking the terminus of the northern boundary of Pennsylvania.

FRANK P. JONES, Justice of Peace in Springfield Township received the

enthusiastic support of the Secretary of Internal Affairs, Assemblyman

SEYMOUR D. WARE, and Surveyor General ANDREW ELLICOTT.

 

 Location

In April 1907, CHARLES BOVEE of North Springfield &

RALPH BENEDICT of West Springfield were appointed to supervise

the placing of the new monument. The location was made a certainty

by digging beneath ground surface & finding the 259th mile stone,

which marked the distance from the Delaware River. 

The site chosen for placing the monument was the HENRY KIMMEL

& son, CHARLES  farm in Springfield Township, about 4½ miles

east of the Pennsylvania / Ohio stateline.

In 2005, the monument has no public access

& is surrounded by privately owned land.

 

Dedication

Dedication of the Triangle Monument became an event of national interest.

The date selected was the 94th anniversary of Admiral PERRY’s victory

on Lake Erie, September 10, 1907.

Major I. B. BROWN of Corry, Pa. addressed the crowd

on a cool wind swept day on the banks of Lake Erie.

 

Excerpts of BROWN’s speech

“Were it possible to turn back the restless hands of time, & open our eyes

on the scene of this forest primeval, on the 8th of October 1787,

there would be a strange spectacle. Coming from the east, a procession of white men - engineers, surveyors & their attendants with horses. 

There comes jaded horses & representatives of the oldest race on the

continent - the North American Indians.”

“With these were carried instruments for taking astronomical observations

for locating the 42° north latitude designated as the northern boundary of

Pennsylvania in the charter of King CHARLES 11 of England

to WILLIAM PENN, dated March 4, 1681.”

“While WASHINGTON never placed his feet on the soil surrounding

this monument, his name is signed to the deed conveying the triangle land

to Pennsylvania.

Intense interest is added to this place because of negotiations that were

made with Indians concerning land on both sides of this line.

At Fort Stanwix near Rome, New York, the Six Indian Nations made a

treaty with state & federal Commissioners.

In 1785 at Fort McIntosh, another treaty regarding this same territory

was made with the Wyndot & Delaware Indians.”

 

“I shall make reference to two men that were prominent in the

transactions concerning this locality.”

CORNPLANTER, the Seneca Chief:

“He was a most powerful Indian & influential for peace among all the

confederated tribes that had their hunting grounds along the chain of lakes.

In every treaty which his people were concerned, he was prominent in

council & strong in negotiations. Tradition places him beside the youthful

WASHINGTON in the fatal field of BRADDOCK’s defeat, where he

appears to have formed a friendship with WASHINGTON, which

lasted a lifetime. He was admitted to conferences with President

WASHINGTON. CORNPLANTER carried grievances to Gov. MIFFLIN

& was given a hearing by the supreme executive council at Philadelphia.

He made a speech that abounds in that particular kind of oratory

common to Indians. He made frequent appeals to the “Quaker Fathers”.

He  addressed WASHINGTON as “Father of the Thirteen Fires

referring to the 13 colonies. CORNPLANTER & the Senecas met

ANDREW ELLICOTT’s party of surveyors at the banks of the Allegheny.

For a time, the Senecas opposed their advance, but CORNPLANTER

withdrew their resistance & ELLICOTT’s party was allowed

to continue in safety, to this place.

CORNPLANTER lived to a wonderful old age, far beyond a century.

He was placed to rest on the shores of the Allegheny.

A monument was erected by the state to commemorate

his friendship in the struggle to develop the territories”.

 

General RICHARD BUTLER

He was born in Ireland & immigrated to the colonies with his brothers. All became officers in the Revolutionary War. He was in command of the Fifth Regiment of the Pennsylvania line at Yorktown. He located at Pittsburgh & represented the government in boundary line matters. He participated in the Triangle settlement with the Indian Nations. BUTLER & CORNPLANTER formed such a strong bond, that BUTLER pleaded with the governor

to give CORNPLANTER & his Senecas the lands that the tribe occupied in

Warren County along the Allegheny River.

General BUTLER was killed in battle with the Indians, known in history as

BRADDOCK’s 2nd defeat”.

  

Students of the Springfield Township schools were invited to participate in the dedication ceremonies.

This is a partial list of students believed to have been in attendance:

EDGAR ABBEY, HOMER ABBEY, JOHN ABBEY

ETHEL AUERBACH

OLIVE I. BARKER, BESSIE BEATMAN, ANNA BELNAP,

FLORENCE BRINDLE, HAROLD BRINDLE, LOUISE BRINDLE

CYNTHIA BRISTOL, AMES BROWN

CLIFFORD CHENEY,  EDNA CHENEY

ESTHER CROSS

ARNOLD DEVORE,  FLORENCE DeWOLF

HOWARD EISAMAN, LYNN ELLIS

HARLEY ELDRIDGE

FRED FORNEY

THELMA GLEASON, JAY M. GRIFFEY

NEIL J. HARRIS, MARGUERITE HALL

LILLIAN HAZEN, LEORA HOPIE

RUSSELL S. KIRKLAND

MORT MAAS, ROLLA A. MARCY, LEE G. MARSH

ROLLA MERRITT, ANDREW A. McKEE

FRANK LEROY PERRY, FRED E. PETERS

RAYMOND PORTER

RADA RANDALL, MERLE ROSITER

EARL W. SEELEY, HUGH M. SEELEY

HARRY SCHUMACHER, GERTRUDE MAY SHAFFER

EDGAR R. SHELDON, FLOY SHELDON

LEWIS E. SNOW, WALTER SUMNER

CHARLOTTE M. THAYER, ELMER R. THAYER

MILDRED THAYER, HERBERT TONY

GRANT WALKER, ROSE WEISS, ROSS WHEELER

NILES J. WELDON, CHESTER WELSH

ERNEST WHITNEY, SELAH WILSON WALBRIDGE

J. DIXON WARD

 

Four Bronze Inscriptions Plaques

The north side reads:

The lands north of this line and easterly to the western line of New York,

purchased from the Indians January 9, 1789 and February 3, 1791

and deeded to the State of Pennsylvania by GEORGE WASHINGTON,

President of the United States, and THOMAS JEFFERSON,

as Secretary of State, March 3, 1792.

On the eastern side:

Easterly 516 feet from the monument stood the last milestone,

the 259th from the Delaware River

On the southern side:

Lands in northwestern Pennsylvania included the charter to

WILLIAM PENN of March 4, 1681.

Purchased of Six Nations tribe October 23, 1784,

and from the Wyandot and Delaware Indians, January 21, 1785

On the western side:

Erected in 1907 by the State of Pennsylvania to mark the location of the

Old State Line established in 1786 and 1787

 

October 1969, BARNEY SHILLING, Editor of the Cosmopolite newspaper,

made a pilgrimage to what he referred to as the “lost monument’’.

Thirty years later in May 1999, EVELYN & SAM BAKER led another

entourage down a one lane grassy path, through pastures & cornfields

to the lake side monument. Those attending were:

SUE MOHR of  Lake City;

NANCY BOWERS & BARB TOY of Erie;

NANCY DICKEY & RUTH DeARMENT of Girard;

BOB BLICKENSDERFER & JEAN ALLDS of Conneaut, Ohio;

KATHY SZYMPRUCH, CHRISTINA SEDLER,

Dr. & WANDA ANDERSON, BILL MERRITT,

JANET REGELMANN, PAT POCHATKO,

& VIC FETTEROFF of Springfield Township. VIC was guardian

of the monument for 20 years, from the late 1970s to 1990s.

 Townsfolk hold that interest in the Triangle Monument peaks

about once every generation, then quiets down again.

 


This page was last updated on  Saturday, January 8, 2005 .

Return to Erie County Genealogy

Return to Erie County Land Records Index

Return to Springfield Township

© 2005 Erie County Pennsylvania Genealogy