Philip Goss IV and family settle in Plymouth Twp., one of the first settled areas of the Wyoming Valley…

The Susquehannah Company set up several townships in 1769 for the 200 settlers in the Wyoming Valley.  These townships were Plymouth, Hanover, Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and Pittston.

Philip Goss IV and his sons Nathaniel and Comfort appear in the list for the 200 settlers.  I have written about their involvement in a past post titled Philip Goss IV sets his eyes on the Wyoming Valley published Nov. 26, 2017.

Please be advised that each history book, of the area, has their own version of the number of settlers.  I am using Mr. Harvey’s History of Wilkes-Barre.

Wyoming Valley in the early years when the Susquehannah Company was operating

We know that William Walsworth, a proprietor in the Susquehannah Company, gave Philip Goss IV one right in the Company in April of 1770 for land in the Wyoming Valley.  On 11 June 1771, Philip Goss sold Lot #56 in Becket, in the Berkshires, to a Benjamin Chamberlin of Colchester. He also received a letter of dismissal from the Becket Church in this same year.  So Philip was closing up business in the Berkshires and also establishing himself by becoming involved with the business of the settlers and the Susquehannah Company by collecting taxes, helping to build roads and he and sons were trying to get a government established in the area.

Philip, Solomon and Nath sign petition for a county

In June of 1770 there was a list of 283 names of which Philip and Nathaniel Goss were included.

 Among the original early Wyoming documents now in the possession of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society is “A List of the Proprietors of the Five Townships, 17th June, 1770.” This list of 283 names, which was prepared at Wilkes-Barre on or about the date indicated, is presumed to comprise the names of all the proprietors of The Susquehanna Company then on the ground here. The following is a copy of the same, and it is now printed for the first time. (In the original the word “Comtee” is affixed to the names of those who composed the “Committee of Settlers,” mentioned on pg. 652.) (Vol. II, pgs. 658 and 659)

Goss, Philip
Gore, Silas
Goss, Nathaniel (no Seward or Scott)

According to Mr. Harvey there is another document in 1771 that is a list of the names of 65 adventurers and Philip Goss was included.

From an original unpublished document entitled “List of Settlers, 1771– from 15 July to August 19th,” partly in the handwriting of Maj. Ezekiel Peirce, and party in that of Captain Butler and now preserved (Wyom H&G) we learn the names of the Yankee adventurers and their associates who arrived here on July 8th. They numbered sixty-five, and were as follows: Goss, Philip. (Volume II, page 694)

Nathaniel Goss was at Fort Durkee, Wilkes-Barre, in May, 1770 (see page 649), and in the list of Susquehanna proprietors made up in June 1770 (see page 658), the names of Philip and Nathaniel appear. Philip Goss was a member of the party commanded by Capt. Zebulon Butler which came to Wilkes-Barre in July, 1771, to besiege the Pennamites in Fort Wyoming. Nathaniel Goss joined the party a few weeks later. (See pages 694 and 702.) Prior to March, 1772, Philip Goss had become a proprietor in the township of Plymouth, and was a member of the “Settlers Committee” for that township. In March or April, 1772, he was sent express to Connecticut on business for the settlers—as is shown by an original paper now in the possession of The Wyoming Historical and Geological Society.* From 1772 till 1776 Philip Goss, Sr., and his family resided in the township of Plymouth. (Page 999 Vol. II.)

Source: A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, from its first beginnings to the present time including chapters of newly discovered early Wyoming Valley history, together with many biographical sketches and much Genealogical Material, Begun by Oscar Jewell Harvey, A.M. and completed by Ernest Gray Smith.  These volumes are online at Internet Archive for viewing and downloading.

After 1772 things settled down in the Wyoming Valley and the Pennamites withdrew.  The land squabbles were not solved; however, and things would erupt again between the Connecticut Settlers and the Pennsylvanians over the land in the area. Because the conflict is so complicated, I suggest that you seek out articles about the Yankee-Pennamite wars online like at say, Wikipedia or in the history books I cite.

This fighting over the land meant that the settlers had to go back and forth from the Wyoming Valley when things got tough and difficult and then return to their former homes wherever that might be, such as Connecticut or even New York.

The Susquehannah Company voted at meetings on many occasions to demand the proprietors honor their shares and protect their lands.  The company was determined to settle the area and needed the settlers to be “on the ground,” actually be there farming their land.

In 1773, Col. Zebulon Butler made a list of those in the Plymouth District:

By an enrollment of the resident inhabitants of the valley, made in 1773, in the handwriting of Col. Zebulon Butler, the following persons are known to have been settlers in Plymouth: Noah Allen, Peter Ayres, Capt. Prince Alden, John Baker, Isaac Bennett, Daniel Brown, Naniad Coleman, Aaron Dean, Stephen Fuller, Joseph Gaylord, Nathaniel Goss, Comfort Goss, Timothy Hopkins, William Leonard, Jesse Leonard, Samuel Marvin, Nicholas Manville, Joseph Morse, James Nesbitt, Abel Pierce, Timothy Pierce, Jabez Roberts, Samuel Sweet, John Shaw, David Whittlesey and Nathaniel Watson.

Source: History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Selections, H.C. Bradsby, Editor, S.B. Nelson & Co. 1893, pg 634 to 641 and page 635. Available at Internet archive for viewing and downloading. Mr. Bradsby has a list of the first 200 or more settlers.  I will refer to his book in later posts.

Plymouth Township – This is one of the original five townships formed by the Susquehannah Company….”By an enrollment of the resident inhabitants of the valley, made in 1773, in the handwriting of Col. Zebulon Butler, the following persons are known to have been settlers in Plymouth: …Nathaniel Goss, Comfort Goss. 

Source: History of Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties, PA. with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of their Prominent Men and Pioneers, W.W. Munsell & Co., 1880, page 348.  This is at Internet Archive for viewing and downloading.

On the day before Christmas 24 December 1773, the settlers sent, one of many, Petitions to the General Assembly in Hartford in the Colony of Connecticut about their distressed circumstances and asked that a county be erected. This is called the (194) Petition of the Inhabitants of Kingston. It was signed by many of the settlers including Philip, Nathaniel and Solomon Goss. Source: Vol. V Susquehannah Papers, 1772-1774, Edited by Robert J. Taylor, pg. 215.

Finally in January of 1774 the Connecticut Assembly granted local government and created the Town of Westmoreland. It was attached to Litchfield Co., Connecticut and it encompassed all of the Delaware Co. lands.  The town boundary extended only 15 miles from Wilkesbarre.  It did not include the West Branch Twps. By 1775 the township was made into a probate district using the name Westmoreland. The militia of the township was formed into the 24th regiment of the Connecticut militia. In 1776 it was enacted that the town of Westmoreland, lying on the west side of the river Delaware in this State, should be a distinct county.,_Connecticut

If you do any research in the area, you will learn that the documents are under Westmoreland Twp./Co. and connected to Litchfield Co. in Connecticut.  A lot of information is at the Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut Historical Society.

*The Wyoming Historical and Geological Society is now the Luzerne County Historical Society in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Posted in Comfort Goss, Litchefield County, Nathaniel Goss, Philip Goss IV & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Plymouth, Solomon Goss and Olive (Scott) Goss (Son of Philip & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Westmoreland Twp and later County, Wyoming Valley | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Enter the Susquehannah Company….1753

Philip Goss IV and his wife Mary (Kendall) Goss had migrated from Brookfield to Simsbury (North Granby) in the late 1740’s, then to Granville and onto Becket living in Becket from about 1758 to 1768. From there they migrated to Plymouth Twp. as laid out by the Susquehannah Company.

Philip Goss IV learned about the Susquehannah Company and decided that the land along the Susquehannah River sounded good. He had been farming in mountainous country which was no easy task. Maybe he would find a better life there for his family. You cannot understand our family history in Pennsylvania without knowing something about this land company for it dominated the area from 1753 to 1803.

The land in Pennsylvania was called the Wyoming Valley and the Susquehannah River flows through this area.  Several of the Colonies claimed land in the area. The maps below may be of help is seeing the claims to land by the various original states or 13 colonies.

Lands Claims by the States

Pennsylvania when Connecticut and Pennsylvania claims it

Connecticut in the early 1700’s took advantage of these land claims and tried to make good on the sea-to-sea boundaries granted in the Charter of 1662.

Private individuals in Connecticut, organized the Susquehannah Company, and persuaded the government to support efforts to settle the northern third of the land constituting the colony of Pennsylvania. The Susquehannah Company was founded on 18 July 1753 in Windham, Connecticut and within 3 months – approximately 250 Citizens pledged $2 Spanish Milled Dollars for land at the Susquehannah Companies 1st Meeting.*

Suquehannah Company Papers Vol. III title page 1768 to 1769

The history of the Susquehannah Company is very carefully recorded in the eleven volumes compiled by Julian P. Boyd and Robert J. Taylor, titled The Susquehannah Company Papers (Wilkes-Barre and Ithaca, 1936-1971).**

  1. Vol. 1 1750-1755
  2. Vol. 2 1756-1767
  3. Vol. 3 1768-1769
  4. Vol. 4 1770-1772
  5. Vol. 5 1772-1774
  6. Vol. 6 1774-1775
  7. Vol. 7 1776-1784
  8. Vol. 8 1784-1786
  9. Vol. 9 1787-1788
  10. Vol. 10 1789-1800
  11. Vol. 11 1801-1808  The last two might be published together.

Here is a map from the Lackawanna County  PA website that might also give a little more information about the area along the Susquehannah River that was involved in the lands of the Susquehannah Company and Delaware Company in the Wyoming Valley.  Just click the picture and it will open in a larger window.

Wyoming Valley in the early years when the Susquehannah Company was operating

You can find the above map at this link:

** The Susquehannah Company book volumes can be found in the following locations and more. Remember there are 11 (eleven) volumes total.

  1. Hathi Trust online has volumes Vol. 1 through Vol. 8 at their website:
  2. The Family History Library has a complete set of the 11 volumes at their library  but you would have to view it at their library in Salt Lake City:
  3. The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Library has a complete set of all 11 volumes in their library in Washington D.C.
  4. The Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford has a set and they indicate that volumes 10 and 11 were combined.
  5. Any large library that has a genealogical collection may have copies. I found them at the University of Washington library, so include University Libraries as well. I suggest you use Worldcat to search for libraries that would have copies.

Here is a list of articles that could be of help in educating you about the Susquehannah Company and its history in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania. This is not all that is available for this subject is vast one.

The first two are articles in the New England Genealogical Register and they are available  at American Ancestors website with a subscription:

  1. New England  Moves West, Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony,” by Donna Bingham Munger, Holiday 2007 New England Ancestors, pg. 21 – 25.
  2. Following Connecticut Ancestors to Pennsylvania: Susquehanna Company Settlers, by Donna Bingham Munger, page 112, Vol. CXXXIX, April 1985, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register.
  3. Six Steps to Susquehanna Company Settlers, by Donna Bingham Munger, Vol. XXXVII, 1991, No.2, The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, pg. 125 to 134.
  4. The Susquehannah Company: Connecticut’s Experiment in Expansion, by Julian Parks Boyd, No. 34, pg. The Tercentenary Commission by Yale University, 1935. At Family History Library FHL#974.6 H2, not online but in their catalog. The Connecticut Historical Society also has a copy in their library in Hartford, CT.
  5. Connecticut’s Critical Period: The Response to the Susquehannah Affair, 1769-1774, Richard Thomas Warfle. Warfle condensed his dissertation for publication as Bicentennial pamphlet XXXII (1979), probably the most convenient, lively, and authoritative account.
  6. Connecticut’s Western Colony, The Susquehannah Affair,  by Richard T. Warfle, Hartford, Co. American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, 1979.

The story of the Wyoming Valley in Northeastern Pennsylvania is not an easy story and it is very complicated.  I will do my best to show you what happened and what life was like for Philip Goss IV and his family. In the last post, I identified several sections of the above books in which Philip Goss and his sons appeared. Using those references and this post should help you get a better understanding of the compilation of the Susquehannah Companies proceedings.

Note: You might see it spelled Susquehannah. Eventually the “h” at the end would be dropped and it would be written “Susquehanna.”

Posted in Philip Goss IV & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Susquehanna River, Wyoming Valley | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Philip Goss IV sets his eyes on the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania and settles in Plymouth Twp. – 1769 to 1773

Philip Goss IV was not content, he decided to migrate once. He joined many other settlers and moved to what was called the Wyoming Valley this is where the Susquehanna River flows.

The area in question is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania where Wilkes-Barre is situated.  So Philip Goss IV takes his family to this area which was under the Susquehanna Company. They had negotiated with the Indians and sold shares for the land to settlers.

By 1769 Philip’s sons were young men. Philip Goss Jr. was 23 years old, Nathaniel was 20 years old. Comfort was 18 years old. David was 17 years old and brother Solomon was just about 15 years old. Ebenezer was only 9 years old at the time.  So the last three were not old enough to own land yet.  Philip Goss IV and his sons would become involved with the events of the area and in trying to establish the settlement. It would not be an easy task.

The map below covers many of the townships that were created over the years after 1769, We are interested in the area along the Susquehanna River.

Wyoming Valley Townships in what is now Pennsylvania.

We start with the first 200 settlers that went to the Wyoming Valley in 1769.  There had been an attempt about 1763 to establish a settlement but that meant with disaster. It was not until 1769 that it became a lot safer for the settlers.  Mr. Harvey in his history of Wilkes Barre writes:

pg. 497 – “The following list of 195 names, copied from a list made up by the Clerk of the Committee of Settlers on the 2nd of June, 1769, shows who were actually on the ground in Wyoming, under the auspices of The Susquehanna Company, at that date. In addition to the men here named the twenty men of the “First Forty,” who had been conveyed as prisoners to Easton and released on bail (as described on page 478), are to be considered as having been settlers in May and June and fully entitled to participate in the allotment of lands in the “Forty” township; although, observing the terms of the recognizances into which they had severally entered at Easton, they had not returned to Wyoming.” The list starts with Allen, Noah to Frisbie, Zebulon on the first page 497 and on pg. 498 starts with Forsythe, James and ends with Yale, Ozias.  On pg. 498 first column lists – Comfort Goss, Nathaniel Goss and Philip Goss.  3rd Column is listed: William Wallsworth. 

On 17 April 1770, William Walsworth of Beekman’s Precinct, Dutchess Co., N.Y., conveyed to Philip Goss (Sr.) of Becket, Mass., and Francis Gillow of Goshen, Orange Co., N.Y., one right in the Susquehanna Purchase to which he was entitled as “one of the first forty settlers there.” Nathaniel Goss was at Fort Durkee, Wilkes-Barre, May 1770, and in the list of Susquehanna proprietors made up on June 1770 the names of Philip and Nathaniel appear, page 999.

Source: A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, from its first beginnings to the present time including chapters of newly-discovered early Wyoming Valley history, together with many biographical sketches and much Genealogical Material, Begun by Oscar Jewell Harvey, A.M. and completed by Ernest Gray Smith.  Vol. I, page 473 lists the first forty settlers. I do not find the name Goss listed. On page 497 the first 195 or 200th settlers to the valley are listed. Vol. II, page 999 the Footnote lists the shares to Philip Goss from Walsworth. These volumes are online at Internet Archive for viewing.

Here is the listing for the first forty settlers in Kingston Twp. Mr. Walsworth name appears in petitions and apparently he settled in Kingston Twp. as indicated by the information presented below.  He was a proprietor in the Susquehanna Company.

The first forty settlers of Kingston Township: Asahel Atherton, Ezra Belding, Thomas Bennet, Silas Bingham, Richard Brockway, Elijah Buck, William Buck, John Comstock, Ruben Davis, John Dean, Nathan Denison, Simon Draper, Thomas Dyer, Vine Elderkin, Elias Roberts, Benjamin Follett, Joseph Frink, Stephen Gardner, Samuel Gaylord, Joshua Hall, Stephen Harding, Peter Harris, Zerubabel Jearum, John Jenkins, Stephen Jenkins, Cyprian Lothrop, Benajah Pendleton, Timothy Pierce, Benjamin Shoemaker, Elijah Shoemaker, Oliver Smith, Timothy Smith, Henry Dow Tripp, Isaac Tripp, Rudolph Brink Vanorman, William Walsworth, Theophilus Westover, Allen Wrightman, Benjamin Yale, Job Yale. Source: The History of Kingston, PA The Very Beginning.

Not only was Philip Goss in the first 200 along with his sons Nathaniel and Comfort but they became involved in company business. Here are several events that took place as found in the Susquehannah Company Papers book series. Unfortunately, it is difficult to say which Philip Goss is being referenced, the father or the son in some of these quotations. Also when they right Mr. Goss it is not clear who they mean.

Volume III, 1768-1769:
pg. 170-172: [148] Petition of John Durkee & Others about the Yankee-Pennamite war and their grievances was written on August 29th, 1769 to the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut. This lists the subscribers who are on several pages are on page 171, 172, 173 …. Philip Goss, Nathaniel Goss appear on pg. 172 in the first column. Page 172 William Wallworth and William Walworth appear as well.

Volume IV: 1770-1772
pg. 76 – 83: Names of Connecticut People and Pennsylvanians in the Connecticut Fort at Wyoming are listed and the date given is May 25, 1770. On page 77 middle column is listed a Nathaniel Gaus which I suspect is really Goss.

Additional information is on pg. 79 cover the Memorandum Book of Zebulon Butler which starts about Feb. – May of 1770. Mr. Butler is giving an account of the events that have taken place over the past months such as the comings and goings of the settlers, houses that have been leveled, conversations with Indian Chiefs, Indian squabbles, fighting with the Pennamites. On page 83 there is a notation “May 21 Philip Goss Dr to 1/2lb Powder” with a list of other men and powder.  There is no real explanation of what this means but I suspect that Zebulon Butler is taking and inventory of what the settlers have on hand.

The Pennamite–Yankee Wars or Yankee–Pennamite Wars were a series of conflicts consisting of the First Pennamite War (1769-1770), the Second Pennamite War(1774), and the Third Pennamite War (1784), in which the Wyoming Valley along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River was disputed between settlers from Connecticut …These wars were involving the land disputes between the Connecticut Settlers (Yankees) and the Pennsylvanians (Pennamites).  It was not pretty and people were killed, their farms burned, if they stayed they were  harassed and had to flee back to their homes in Connecticut – Both sides claimed ownership of the area and took drastic measures to keep control.  It was not resolved for years. From Wikipedi.

pg. 216-217 – [169] Minutes of a Meeting of the Susquehanna Co. Mar 13, 1771 at Windham.  On page 217 there is a description of a Vote taken that James Hannah, Philip Goss, David Carver, Andrew Graham, John Bacon Junr, Tho* Fanning, Benjn Dorchester, Ebenezer Larnard & Jonth Buck of Nine partners, be added to the Comte for Collecting the last two dollars tax that was granted & pay the same to the Treasurer.

Vol. V: 1772-1774, Edited by Robert J. Taylor pg. 40 – [48] Minutes of a Meeting of Proprietors and Settlers in Wilkes-Barre – Oct. 2, 1772 – voted that Mr. Perkins, Mr Corry for Lackawanna, Mr. Goss for Plymouth, Mr Daniel Gore for Wilksbarre, Mr. William Stewart for Hannover to secure subscriptions and see what they Can Git signed by ye adjorned meeting for to make a Rode to Delleware. Voted again that Esq. Tryp, Mr. John Jenkins, Mr. Goss, Mr. Perkins, Mr Bates, Mr. Daniel Gore, Mr. William Stewart are appointed Commtee men to mark out ye road from Dilleware River to Pittstown.

This was a rather interesting comment made in the notes: voted that if any Propriator or setler Now on sd Land or shall be Received in as a setler that shall Refuse or Neglect to do his Duty in Gardin and scouting when worned shall be Punished according to ye Laws of the ye Colloney of Connecticut.  This suggests that the settlers were all responsible for defending the settlement. The settlers were not fooling around.

pg. 41 [50] A Petition of the Inhabitants of Wyoming to the Connecticut Legislature dated Oct 3rd, 1772 in Wilkes Barre. The settlers are asking that a government to be established in the area. We find in 2nd column the names of Philip Goss and Solomon Goss, pg. 43 1st column Nath Goss (see footnote) Daniel Scott 2nd column page 44.

pg. 81 [95] Petition of John Durkee and Others – Wilkes-Barre Apr 3, 1773 are again asking that a county be erected because the people are in great need. On pg. 83 – 2 column – Nathaniel Goss and later Solomon Goss are listed. On pg. 84 bottom of 1st column –  Nethannil Goss 4 up from bottom is listed.

pg. 215 [194] Petition of the Inhabitants of Kingston regarding their distressed circumstances, dated Dec. 24, 1773. Kingstown pg. 2171st column Philip Goss 1/2 down second column, Nathel Goss, Salmon Goss are at the top of the column.

The above excerpts were taken from the Susquehannah Company Papers, a series of books by Boyd. In order to understand how the area of the Wyoming Valley was settled, you need to understand the Susquehannah Company.  In the next post I will discuss this settlement company that was established in 1753 in Windham, CT.  I will also discuss the series of books written and how you can find copies. You can read more about the above 200 settlers in the Susquehannah Co. Papers, Vol. III, 1768-1769 pg. 170-172. Also Volume IV: 1770-1772 pg. 76-83. These books are still under copyright so you will have to find them in a library.

Posted in Comfort Goss, David Goss and Anna Slater, Nathaniel Goss, Philip Goss (Jr. or V) and Hannah Darby, Philip Goss IV & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Plymouth, Solomon Goss and Olive (Scott) Goss (Son of Philip & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Susquehanna River, Wilkes-Barre, Wyoming Valley | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment