Erie County (PA) Genealogy
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
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.
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.
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 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
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
OLIVE I. BARKER, BESSIE BEATMAN, ANNA BELNAP,
FLORENCE BRINDLE, HAROLD BRINDLE, LOUISE BRINDLE
CYNTHIA BRISTOL, AMES BROWN
CLIFFORD CHENEY, EDNA CHENEY
ARNOLD DEVORE, FLORENCE DeWOLF
HOWARD EISAMAN, LYNN ELLIS
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
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 .
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