In tracing the early history of Path Valley the hostile Indian has thus far been treated in the character of a warrior, or rather as a skulking thief and murderer of defenseless families, or else as the diplomatist in council with the pale faces giving in his peculiar language the strongest assurance of friendship and good will, while intending to continue his course of murder, rapine and pillage. We have seen him sweep through our valleys, with his tomahawk reeking in the blood of his victims and carrying many into a captivity worse than death, but we have yet to learn of the treatment or fate of those who, having escaped immediate death at the hands of these fiends, were forced without regard to age, sex or condition, to travel hundreds of miles through the wilderness as prisoners to a cheerless abode, where many were burned to death amid horrible tortures, and others lived in constant terror of meeting a like fate.
[LEE SULTZMAN, IN HIS COMPACT HISTORIES, STATES THAT ABOUT 600 CAPTIVES WERE TAKEN ALONG THIS FRONTIER. OF THEM, 300 CHOSE TO REMAIN WITH THEIR DELAWARE CAPTIVES WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES. -LKC]
On July 29, 1756, John McCullough, aged 8 years, who resided at the mouth of Path Valley, near Fort Loudon, was playing close by his home with his little brother, ages 5 years, when six Delaware Indians rushed upon them and carried them to the thicket. The account as given by young McCullough is very lengthy, but nevertheless exceedingly interesting. Suffice it to say the boys were taken to Fort Duquesne where they were subjected to the most cruel tortures and the younger brother put to death. John McCullough was adopted by one of the chiefs and remained with the tribe until December, 1764, having been absent over eight years. He was among the lot captured by Col.. Bouquet and returned to his home. He vividly recounts the return to Fort Duquesne of the Indians who massacred school teacher Enoch Brown and his children in Antrim township.
Another resident of Path Valley, captured by the Indians, was James Walker, of Fannettsburg, who was on his way home from Fort Loudon. When near Richmond he was fired at by a party of Indians, his horse killed and he was captured. Taking the saddle from the horse it was placed on Mr. Walker's back, and he was obliged to carry it westward of the mountain. Arriving at Raystown, now Bedford, the Indians separated, leaving two of the companions to look after their prisoner. Mr. Walker was tied and the Indians laid down to sleep. He determined that now was his opportunity to escape. Having a knife secreted about his person, after a long and patient effort he succeeded in freeing one of his hands and procuring the knife, cut the cords that bound him. In attempting to rise to his feet one of the Indians was awakened, who sprang at Mr. Walker with his tomahawk. As he did so Mr. Walker plunged his knife into the throat of the Indian, who fell to the ground mortally wounded. The other Indian being awakened by the death knell of his companion supposed they were pursued by a party of whites and fled. Mr. Walker, knowing the importance of having as great a space as possible between himself and the scene of the encounter before daylight, made all possible speed in the direction of Path Valley. After many weary nights of travel he reached Fort Littleton and was given such attention as he required and then sent home.
The year 1764 terminated the hostile incursions of the Indians into Cumberland county. As the tide of emigration rolled westward a barrier was thus formed against their advances to points east of the Allegheny mountains.
The remains of an early habitant of Path Valley was unearthed in August, 1829. While General Samuel Dunn was widening his mill race near Carrick, now Metal, he came upon the bones of a mammoth, among which was a tusk seven feet long and fourteen inches in diameter at the root, about which a portion of the jaw-bone still clung. It has always been understood that this relic was on exhibition in the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Whether this is true or not cannot be ascertained. Mr. Witmer Stone, assistant curator of the academy, writes me, under date of April 20th, 1898, as follows: "Our records do not show that such a specimen as you record was received in 1829 or '30. We have several portions of mammoth tusks, some without date, and in the lax system which prevailed in those old times, such a specimen might have been received and not entered, but there is certainly no record of such an accession.
Fannett township, which originally embraced all of Path Valley as well as Amberson Valley, was created in 1761, but after the formation of Franklin county it was decreased in size, in 1795, by the creation of Metal township. Fannett was named for Fannet point in County Donegal, Ireland. The shape of the new township suggested it, being a long narrow point. Richard and John Coulter purchased a large body of land in the upper end of the township, in 1756, and Frances Amberson made improvements in Amerson Valley in 1763. These were among the early permanent settlers of the valley. Metal township was named on account of its large deposits of metal.
The men of Path Valley who participated in the scenes, shared the dangers and endured the hardships just recounted, were men of stout hearts and strong arms. Although resolute and daring they were not reckless and lawless. They were men of decided religious character. The records of the Presbytery of Donegal announce that at a meeting held at Middlespring, on April 23, 1766, a verbal supplication was made from Path Valley for supplies and a member to examine their youth and preside in electing and ordaining elders. Mr. Cooper, pastor of the church at Middlespring, was appointed to supply Path Valley at discretion, to spend a day or two catechizing the youth, and to preside at the election and ordination of elders, if the way be clear. From his report, made to Presbytery in October of that year, he having ordained the elders prior thereto, the date of the organization of the church, now located at Spring Run, was 1766, and not 1767, as recent historians have made it. The elders ordained were David Elder, John Holliday, Randal Alexander and Samuel Mairs. Owing to the rapid expansion of civilization it was nine years before a minister could be procured, but services were conducted by the elders and they were supplied by Presbytery as frequently as circumstances would permit.
The warrant for the ground was issued the year previous by John Penn, at Philadelphia, on June 21, 1765, and included four acres to be used as a "meeting house and burial ground." Entire unanimity did not exist as the proper location for the first house of worship, a portion favoring the site where Spring Run is, and others at or near a place now occupied by Fannettsburg. An appeal was made to Presbytery but no definite action was taken by that body. The records of Presbytery show that the reason for locating at the present site of Spring Run was owing to the fact that the large proportion of settlers were in the upper end of the valley. The matter went to Presbytery again in 1769, but the adherents of Spring Run had already commenced to erect their log structure. Presbytery, in order to appease all, granted two churches, one at each of the places desired, and the lower one was erected a mile below the present village of Fannettsburg, the ground being donated by Alexander Walker, and the church built in 1770. They always have been known as the Upper and Lower Path Valley churches.
[INFORMATION ABOVE MAY BE USEFUL IN SEARCHING CHURCH ROLES FOR GENEALOGY PURPOSES. –LKC]
Rev. Samuel Douglas was the first pastor and was called in 1774. In 1775 Presbytery held its first meeting in Path Valley at which time the ordination and installation of Mr. Dougal occurred.
Mr. Dougal's salary was fixed at $266.66 a year, payable in wheat, some of which he traded for land warrants with which to procure a home. It was afterwards increased to one hundred pounds and one hundred bushels of wheat "during the present circumstances of the times." Whether the circumstances changed during his pastorate we are not informed. He was a native of Ireland and continued to serve the two churches until 1790, when he died.
In this brief review we have traced the history of Path Valley from the earliest times, when clothed with dense forests, it was the congenial abode of wild game and the favorite haunt of the red men, through the period when civilization first set her stamp upon it and the pale face invaded the territory to hew the trees and till the soil, to make roads and plant villages. Today peace and prosperity dwell on all sides. Shut in by their mountains a strong and sturdy set of men dwell there; men who have kept their religious convictions and the straightforward characters handed down to them from their Scotch ancestors. These men now possess the soil as their rightful inheritance, but as you look up at the grim mountain or halt by the sparkling stream, thought turns to the aborigine.
"You say they all have passed away,
That noble race and brave,
That their light canoes have vanished
From off the crested wave,
But their memories liveth on your hills,
Their baptism on your shore;
Your everlasting streams and mountains speak
Their dialect of yore."
BIBLIOGRAPHY—Narrative and Critical History of America, vol. 4, p121; vol. 5, p 484; Scribner's History of the United States, vol. 3 p 93; Old times in the Colonies, Coffin, pp. 53, 71; History of New York, Roberts, vol 1, pp 23, 122, 132; Jesuits of the Northwest, Parkman, pp 46, 47; Annual Report Bureau Ethnology, 1865-86 pp 47, 79; Hazard's Register, vol. 4, p 389; Frontier Forts, vol. 1, pp 573, 582, 587; Colonial Records, vol 1, pp 431, 446, 447, 448, 449, 452, 453, 676; vol 15, pp 121, 322, 486, 519; vol. 7, pp 577, 307, 318; vol. 5, 7-26; vol 6 pp 673; Rupp's History, Sherman Bay, Judge Chambers, History of Juniata Valley, History of Juniata County, History of Franklin County, Minutes of Donegal Presbytery.