So did anything get done regarding the claims of the Connecticut settlers with land purchased from the Susquehanna Company now in Pennsylvania under the Confirming Act of 1787. Unfortunately, nothing seems to be discussed in the histories books on this topic.
The Confirming Act was put into law in March of 1787 by Pennsylvania. There was limited time to accomplish the claims process.
Here is a description of what happened:
Timothy Pickering was appointed to be one of the Confirming Act commissioners while Peter Muhlenberg and Joseph Montgomery were to be the other two, but both Montgomery and Muhlenberg resigned in the face of opposition and needed to be replaced. These changes coupled with other delaying tactics meant that five months transpired after the passage of the Act before settlers could begin to submit their claims on August 21, 1787.
Once the commissioners began their work they “had more than” they could do – generally every day.” Due to the November deadline, the commissioners accepted and recorded all claims offered, but waiting to determine their validity hoping to entice as many applications as possible.
Before their work was over, however, the legislature suspended the Confirming Act on March 29, 1788 and later repealed it on April 1, 1790. The claims that had been collected were saved and later bound under the title Claimants Vol. 1….For the next decade the rights of the Susquehanna Company settlers were left undetermined.
Source: Historical Setting: The Claimants Vol. III – Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony” 1754 to 1810, Donna Bingham Munger.
So according to Donna Bingham Munger some progress was made and the work done by the Commissioners was saved and bound. Donna explains in her Third Book “Claimants” what those sources are in the source I have listed above.
We now turn to Paul Henry Goss, the man who did a lot of research on the Goss Family History back in the 1930 to the 1960’s. I have featured him on this blog in a PAGE at the top of this blog if you are interested in his work.
In his manuscript he has published “Proceedings of the Commissioners under the Confirming Law,” dated September 27, 1787 in the form of a letter.
Paul placed the information in his Goss Family Manuscript. Here is the link to my PAGE about this manuscript: https://sgossfamily.wordpress.com/paul-h-goss-and-the-goss-family-history/
From the date on this form of September 27, 1787 it appears that the Goss family and others made some progress toward getting their titles confirmed within six months of the Confirming laws passage. Just click on each photo and it will open in another window.
Here is a link to a PDF of the 5 pages above that I retyped so make it easier to read years ago. ProceedingsofComPHG
Unfortunately, Paul does not tell us where he obtained this information. I suspect it is at the Luzerne County Historical Society in Wilkes-Barre but when I visited I didn’t find anything referencing this back in 2008. Based on the information below I would not have found it. In any event, Donna Bingham Munger references Claimants Vol. I in the above quote from her “Claimants Volume.”
She gives the following sources:
- Susquehanna Company Papers 9: XXIV and No. 99
- Envelope 33, Wilcox MSS. Luzerne County Historical Society.
- Connecticut Claimants, Vol. 1 (Binding No. 71), Pennsylvania State Archives, LO micro: 25.32.
In summary, the troubles of the Wyoming Valley were not yet resolved. It would take a lot of efforts over the next decade of the 1790’s to resolved these issues of land claims. In past posts about Philip Goss IV, I have featured deeds that may be reflected in the above. I will do my best to figure this out and explain it in future posts and how it was resolved for each of the settlers mentioned in the Proceedings letter above and more.
Note: For further information about Donna Bingham Mungers Books see my past post: Connecticut’s Pennsylvania Colony – Untangling the Land Records of the Susquehannah Co., December 18, 2017.