Jacob and Abraham Smith
The Moravians Arrive
The Moravian settlement at Bethlehem was started in 1741 and a year later Count Von Zinzendorf in December 1742, made his documented trek over the Blue Mountains (Moravian Historical Society Transaction Vol. VIII part 1, page 6). One planned stop on his trip was to officiate at the founding of another Moravian community at Nazareth. His main purpose was to travel into the wilderness and visit a few Indian encampments to learn more about the Indians and their ways. His route brought him over Smith Gap, to the existing Delaware Indian village of Meniolagomeka on the Aquashicola Creek and then continued northward through the future towns of Kunkletown and Gilberts. Zinzendorf is credited with being the first white man to visit Meniolagomeka or the future site of Kunkletown (Rev Perry Smith et al, 1976 The History of Kunkletown).
In the same year, 1742 the Governor ordered the Delaware Indians to vacant their prize hunting and fishing area in the Minisink Flats along the Delaware in present day Monroe Co, and relocate to Wyoming and Shamokin (Sunbury) along the Susquehanna River. This was intended to entice settlers north of the Blue Mountain and was one of the issues fueling the hatred between the white settlers and the Indians. The treaty of 1749 was to reaffirm the opening of Carbon, Monroe and six other Counties to settlers.
The tract destined for Abraham Smith was surveyed 27 October 1744 and contained 171 ¾ acres and is located on the Aquashicola Creek in what was then called Bucks County ( LRO Survey Book A Vol. 45 page 244). All sides are shown to be abutting “vacant land”. It is known to have contained the Indian village Meniolagomeka, but disappointedly, it is not mentioned in the survey as it is in other surveys I have reviewed in other counties. The Moravians did not develop a mission for this site until 1749.
In 1745 the three daughter of Benjahan Furley being Dorothy Furley who had married Thomas Forster, and Martha and Elizabeth Furley, granted unto Edward Shippen the 5,000 acres (Phila. Deed Book G Vol. 5 page 125). The Forsters resided in London and the two spinster sisters resided in Rotterdam. Certainly none of them had any intentions of coming to live in the wilderness. Shippen a merchant from Philadelphia, would have been aware that the 171¾ acre tract included the Indian village and may have gotten wind of the proposed Moravian missionary program for this site on the Aquashicola Creek.
It is interesting that even though the 5,000 acres had been subdivided into 15 separate tracts, it was conveyed to Edward Shippen, Merchant of the City of Philadelphia and then from Shippen on to Richard Peters, as 5,000 acres without mentioning the 15 separate tracts of file in the Land Office.
Within two years Shippen conveyed the 5,000 acres to Richard Peters, (Phila. Deed Book G Vol. 12 page 125) the proprietary secretary and head of the Land Office, in 1747. During this era, Shippen and Peters were two of the major land dealers in Pennsylvania and their names can found on many tracts. At the same time as this transaction was taking place, Shippen was conveying tracts in Cumberland County to Peters. Shippen and Peters should be considered as businessmen looking for profit with no intentions of settling on the property. Peters ownership coincides with Rev. Perry L. Smith’s account in “THE STORY OF KUNKLETOWN” of Peters exerting pressure in 1750 on the Moravians and Indians, to vacate his land.
Peters, from his position in the Land Office, would have been aware of the separate tracts and on 1 November 1750, he granted the 171 ¾ acre tract to John Stoner of Coventry Township, Chester County (Philadelphia. Deed book H Vol. 1 page 76).
John Stoner and Maudlin, his wife, by Indenture dated 9 February, 1753, granted the 171 ¾ acre tract to Daniel and David Longacre of Providence Township, County of Philadelphia. Daniel Longacre departed his life without severing the joint tenacy. The 171 ¾ acre tract descended to David Longacre, who with his wife Barbara by Indenture dated the 18th of July 1774, granted it to Abraham Smith of Chestnut Hill Township in the County of Northampton, yeoman.
In 1752 Jacob Smith, father of Abraham obtained a warrant for 193.9 acres located a short distance northeast of the Abraham Smith tract and along the Buckwha Creek which flows through Kunkletown. (LRO Survey Book C Vol, 213 page 211) After the death of William Penn and his sons taking over the control of the province in 1732, the land office procedures changed, permitting settlers to clear the land and build a home prior to initiating the procedure for ownership. Because of the isolated nature of the Aquashicola Valley, you would expect this to be the case. This would mean that Jacob and his family were living there in 1750 or earlier.
The Moravians vacated the Indian Mission Station at Meniolagomeka by May of 1754, with the transfer of the remaining 51 Indians to the village/mission at Gnadenhutten, at present day Lehighton. Having been started in 1749, the Mission at the Indian village on Memiolagomeka lasted only five years. Abraham was probably a frequent visitor, or at least an observer.
This document may be quoted for local and family research but not for commercial use.
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Saturday, 07-May-2005 20:34:05 MDT