Bisonalities, Again


A History of Our Home Town

Early Ramblers in the LeBoeuf Valley
By Lewis Dove, Teacher, Fort Le Boeuf School District (Retired)

France had the acknowledged legal claims that seemed to guarantee a continuing empire based on the wealth of North America. She had the intelligent military leaders who dedicated their lives to furthering the cause. She had a solitary religious power structure to assure unity. She had a policy of working with the Native Americans that for one hundred fifty years provided safety on the frontier. She controlled the two rivers - St. Lawrence and Mississippi - giving easy access to the interior lands. She had the money, the navy, and a destitute population needing land. How could they possibly lose to any rival?

Jamestown was founded just one year before Quebec. This colony, like all English colonies to follow, was given the right to migrate and settle, but they could expect no other help. They were required to provide for their own military. Their loyalty quickly shifted to their own leaders. Their religious forms were varied and they looked with suspicion and even animosity on other sects. They had an inherited disdain for minorities. The rivers would carry them only to the nearby mountains. The colonies were given no credit; the destitute of England were forced to find their own way across the ocean and forge or themselves when they arrived. Their success seemed bleak. The format of this little treatise will be to examine a few of the persons who came to the LeBoeuf valley and left a lasting legacy while considering the larger historic implication of their adventures and obstacles.

The Joncaire Family

For sixty-five years, the name most closely associated with the French influence in North America was Joncaire. Everyone knew the name; not everyone knew that there were actually three Joncaires - a father and his two sons.

As a young man of seventeen, a cadet in the French Colonial Military, Louis Thomas Joncaire came to New France in 1687. He was by all accounts a good soldier, taking orders and following them out. While on a mission to the Finger Lakes region, his outfit was overrun by the Senecas who began systematically to execute them by torture and extreme cruelty. He broke the cords holding his hands and punched his attacker in the nose, apparently breaking it. The action won him the warrior's respect; they adopted him into their tribe. From then on the Senecas trusted him to speak for them and he held the trading rights within the Iroquois Nation. The English responded by putting a price on his head. This single incident set the course of history on the frontier for half a century. The French were the friends of the Indians. Of course, other relationships helped. The French did not drive the Indians off the best lands in order to start farms. The traders lived with the tribes in the manner and customs of the Indians, and dishonestly in trade was punishable by law.

The elder Joncaire remained with his adopted tribe for two years, learning their language and living in their ways. When he finally returned to his base in Montreal he convinced his superiors that he could, as a trader, bring cooperation between the two sides. He was commissioned a Quartermaster, a position that gave him access to the goods in which he could lure the Indians to the side of the French. As was the custom, he was able to profit at a reasonable rate. Soon his trade franchise extended across what is now New York, down into Pennsylvania, and into Ohio. If he ever cut a corner, it was not at the expense of the Indian. His early practices, which were then followed by those coming after him, caused the Indian culture to be dependent on European trade. By 1753 the bow and arrow, the flint knives and scrapers, and fish bone needles were things of the past. The Indian, in the sense and meaning of the word, was done and doomed. His past culture could no longer support or sustain him.

By 1706 Joncaire was wealthy. In that year he married Madelaine le Guay in Montreal were he made his winter home. They produced ten children, half of whom died in infancy, as was common in those days. One, Francois, followed a religious life and became a Bishop back in France. But his oldest child, Philippe Tomas, and his seventh, Daniel, followed in their father's footsteps after getting a good education in France for the military.

Louis traveled through the Seneca territory and the lands they dominated all the way to Lake Michigan. He became convinced that the English would soon expand their holding if not stopped. He used his influence to accomplish two objectives. First, since the Niagara River was vital to control the lakes, he persuaded the Governor to build a fort - Fort Niagara - at the mouth of the river. This was done in 1726. He remained there to supervise the defenses and carry on his trade. Secondly, he convinced the Seneca to allow the Shawnees, as they called them, to settle along the Allegheny River in 1732, south of the River Atique. "Atique" was the French name for French Creek. These tribes had been driven out of eastern Pennsylvania and therefore had a great hatred for the English. They would later fight on the side of the French until they were nearly obliterated.

In 1739, Louis was too old to go on the first expedition down Lake Erie to Barcelona, up to Chautauqua and down the Conewango to Warren, and from there down to the Miami, so his sons went in his place. When they returned in the fall, they found that their father had died and was buried at his fort, Fort Niagara.

In 1749, Philippe again traveled the same route while Daniel stayed at Niagara. This time Philippe mapped the Allegheny and was able to point out that the upper river from Warren to Franklin could never be used as a travel route. The islands in the river, and there were dozens of them, were perfect for ambush. This information later helped settle the route from Presque Isle to Le Boeuf.

Philippe, or in his absence Daniel, was for years burdened with the delivery of the payroll for the French troops from Lake Champlain to the Ohio. To make sure there were no "accidents” along the way, he had on guard two French and two Indians.

In 1753, Philippe accompanied the troops building the forts at Presque Isle and LeBoeuf. When three good men were needed to man Frazier's house at Machault (Franklin), Daniel came down from Niagara to cover for his older brother so that he could return to his family in Montreal for the winter. It was Daniel who met George Washington and Christopher Gist when they came to Fort LeBoeuf. Both of these Englishmen knew the name Joncaire - everyone in North America knew - it was the most widely known French name in the New World. Gist referred to him simply as "the French interpreter to the Six Nations."

In 1759, the Joncaires left the provinces with their wives and children. They had great wealth but their dreams of power and glory were gone forever. They had explored, built forts, and fought many major battles, but were unable to stop the advance of the English. Their place in history would certainly be different had France won.

Exploration and Conquest

The French came to realize they had relied on old claims to the territory of the Ohio south of the Great Lakes for too long. They needed something dramatic to insure their claims were not overrun. Already in 1748 the King of England had granted a charter to the Ohio Land Company to sell land in the Ohio Valley, and they were now building forts at Winchester and Wills Creek to be warehouses for future expansion. Another expedition was called for in 1749 to duplicate the other ten years earlier. This time they would leave solid reminders, lead plates, claiming the land for France, and driving out or arresting all trespassers.

The leader, Celeron, was a well-traveled explorer. He had mapped the rivers of the north and had gone down the Mississippi, set up trading posts, and administered justice to those in need.

They started early in the spring. At Barcelona they climbed the twelve miles portaged to Chautauqua; the name means "sack tied in the middle," appropriately enough. They left their plates at the mouths of the streams as they traveled down the Ohio to the Great Miami (Cincinnati today) and up to the Maumee portage. They returned along the northern shore of Lake Erie. It seems impossible to believe today, but when the French invaded the Ohio in 1753, no Frenchman had ever seen "the most perfect harbor on the lakes" - Presque Isle - and of course had no knowledge of Lake Le Boeuf.

Celeron's officer corps included Marin, St. Pierre, Pean ((Pa-on) and Philippe Joncaire. The reaction this trip produced was not what they hoped for. The powerful men of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York, realizing that westward expansion represented their future wealth, while French occupancy was a very real danger, began mobilizing to meet the challenge.

To seal off the English from the Ohio, Governor Duquesne chose Paul Marin in 1753 to organize the expedition to build four forts. Taking advice from his chief engineer, Mercier, as well as the warnings of Philippe Joncaire that the upper Allegheny offered too many dangers, Martin became convinced to go onto Presque Isle and turn south from there. With his 1,500 men they built their first fort at Presque Isle and cut the road to Le Boeuf where they built the second fort. Here time ran, out as circumstances turned against them. The men sickened and died. As many as two hundred men perished at Le Boeuf, mostly from dysentery and cholera, but also from "lung diseases" - probably pneumonia, but quite possibly diphtheria, also. They were malnourished and exhausted and crowded into poor housing. By late summer, the only work being done was the care of the ill.

Paul Marin, the tough 63 year old veteran, died of dysentery at Fort Le Boeuf on the same day young George Washington began his long trip. His last wish was to be cremated within the walls of the fort. He was buried near the fort with no marker.

Some of the men deserted. Six who tried were captured, hauled to Montreal in chains and tried. All six were tied to a post in the square. The officer said that if they wished to flee to the savages, they would now see what happened to such soldiers. Four were tomahawked; the other two were sentenced to a Man-O-War for life.

Pean was second in command at Le Boeuf. A cousin of the engineer Mercier, he too was capable. Duquesne called him "prodigy of talents, resources, and zeal." The governor added that because of his ambition he should not be trusted. He was hardly thirty when he was sent to the frontier, leaving his wife, Angelique, in Quebec. She was a beauty! She was a flirt. The officers saw to it that she would remain at the banquet halls and add what she could to their long miserable nights. They obviously had read the account of David and Bathsheba.

When Pean realized that Marin was gravely ill, he notified the Governor. St. Pierre had arrived back in Montreal the week before from his post at Green Bay, so he was sent to Presque Isle. This officer had fought dozens of battles for his King in Europe; he lost an eye in one; the previous summer he traveled to the Rockies, mapping the way. He arrived at Presque Isle just in time to be summoned to Fort Le Boeuf to answer a powerful letter from the Virginia Governor, Dinwiddie. His answer was clear - France would not retreat from the Ohio Territory. This response was the first direct cause of the worst war ever fought in Europe to that time, the Seven Years War. In America, we called it the French and Indian War.

Pean moved from place to place. He helped in the fortifications of Duquesne, fought Braddock, and was involved in the battle of Niagara. In late 1758, he was ordered to pack up all official papers at Le Boeuf and Presque Isle and take them to Montreal or Detroit. His boat swamped on Lake Erie. While trying to save the documents, he dislocated his shoulder and was partially crippled for the rest of his life. The priceless papers, including Mercier's drawings, were lost. He returned to France with Angelique.


Francois Marc Antroine Le Mercier was born in France to an officer in the French Army. With no land holdings or wealth to inherit, he did as his father had done; he joined the local militia at the ripe old age of twelve. At thirteen, he as transferred to the regular army with the rank of Second Lieutenant, where he became involved in the War of the Polish Succession. Taking temporary leave from the army, he studied mathematics at Strasbourg. In 1740, he arrived in Canada as a Cadet assigned to the artillery. The next three years he spent rebuilding the defenses of Quebec. During that time Marin chose him to organize the defense of Louisbourg. It was called the "most impregnable fort in the world." (Poorly equipped Americans over-ran it in a matter of days giving rise to the later contempt they had for European military tactics.)

In 1753, Duquesne made his move to control the Ohio Valley. He put Paul Marin in command of the expedition, and Mercier had the dual job of engineer and transport of rations. In these capacities, Mercier insisted the forts be built at Presque Isle and Le Boeuf.

As engineer, Mercier laid out the Old French Road, as it was later called, and set up the saw mill at both forts to build his bateaux and pirogues (small canoe like boats.)

These boats, George Washington referred to as canoes. The next year, having witnessed the unpredictable nature of French Creek, he surveyed a road to Fort Machault (Franklin) that stayed away from the small creeks and streams; a road where troops could move quickly overland and drovers could move the animals to be slaughtered to feed the army. By the end of 1754, he had driven out the Virginians who were building a fort at "the forks of the Ohio" and had Fort Duquesne well under construction as well as completing Fort Machault.

In 1757, Mercier married the daughter of a minor officer in Quebec. He was now a very wealthy man. From what today would be called graft, he profited from kickbacks, sales to Indians, supplies to the troops, and providing hard-to-get items to the officers. He was, after all, in charge of the "transit of supplies." The French Government expected and even condoned this practice as it cut the cost from the treasury of the officers' corps.

In 1759, with the fall of France in Canada, he returned to Normandy where he died forty years later. The ship that carried him home was the "Machault." (Note: Machault was a businessman who may have been the richest man in the world - certainly in France. All military supplies - wagons, horses, ships, food, clothing, artillery, guns, gun power - you name it - went through the Machault Company. French officers knew that their success or failure depended on his timely cooperation. This civilian control of military operations helped cause the loss of their North American Empire.)

John Frazier

Little is known regarding the origin of this man. When Christopher Gist explored the Ohio Wilderness for the Ohio Land Company, he made his return trip on the Cuyahoga Trail to what is now Franklin, knowing that Frazier would be there. In all likelihood, Frazier worked for the land company, also. John was a gunsmith and fur trader who worked with the Indians. Those Indians, Delaware's, generally had hatred for the English, but they trusted Frazier. When the French arrived in 1753, two assistants were taken captive, sent as prisoners to Montreal, and later shipped to Philadelphia. John was off getting trade goods.

In November of 1753, Washington and Gist visited him at this location - the mouth of Turtle Creek, on the Monongahela. He described in detail the overland trail to his old store and the present French fort they expected to find. Washington and Gist, expecting to find a major French officer at this point, took their time looking over the "forks of the Ohio" and rounding up guides. This miscalculation was costly as it added to miserable weeks of travel to their journey.

The next year, Frazier correctly anticipated the coming conflict and moved his business over the mountains to Carlisle. He then became lost to history, a brief footnote.

George Washington, Esq.

To the Indians, dressed in furs and items of trade, well worn, mismatched, and filthy; and to the French who were dressed casually in military attire, the appearance of the aristocratic twenty-one year old from Virginia must have created some good-natured side talk. His uniform was tailored especially for this trip based on his concept of what an officer in the State Militia should wear. He had four servants to comfort him on his journey. These servants set up his tent, made up his sleeping cot, cooked the food, and then in the mornings they broke camp and packed the horses to continue on.

He was a presence. With dignity, he presented a letter from Governor Dinwiddie ordering the French out of the valley and back past the summit. He kept his men in order; he tolerated no nonsense; he left when he determined.

Today, we wonder if what he represented - money, lands, farms, manufacturing, organization, dignity, education, tailors, and above all, discipline - was lost on these men of the frontier. These qualities would conquer the continent and the future.

Christopher Gist

The elder Christopher Gist arrived in America at about the same time as George Washington's great-grandfather. Both had been caught up in the Charles I-Cromwell-Charles II problem. The elder Gist and his wife had one child, Richard, who as an adult was a commissioner for laying out the city of Baltimore.

Richard had a son, also named Christopher. The younger Christopher was trained by his father to be a surveyor. His contacts in North Carolina fixed him up with a job. On his own, he found a wife, Sara Howard. Soon he was farming, surveying, and land speculating along the Yadkin River, where, in 1750, his near neighbor was Daniel Bonne.

In 1750, he tried to negotiate a position with the Ohio Land Company, and though Lawrence Washington seemed to be his advocate, he was not successful.

By 1750, the company realized that they had missed out on a good man and lured him to survey, scout, carry on Indian trade, and colonize the western Virginia lands.

He was everything they could have wanted, and more. He surveyed and mapped areas of Kentucky and Ohio, discovering a coal field in Kentucky in 1751. Some of the land he claimed in his own name as the company contract allowed him to do. These claims later became the plantation home of his eldest son and the beginning of a dynasty in Kentucky. He discovered Big Bone Lick, twenty miles south of what is now Cincinnati, where five barrows of brine produced one bushel of salt. The development of this area ended the "salt trade" through Waterford seventy years later. All of this was a quarter of a century before his neighbor, Daniel Boone, led settlers into Kentucky using the maps and blazed trails of Gist's expeditions.

Indians came to trust Gist because of his fair trading practices and constant honesty; this was unusual in that they rarely trusted and Englishman.

When La Demoiselle, a Huron chief, would not go back on his word to Gist, the French ordered him to be executed by the Iroquois and Delaware, who then cooked and ate his body.

By 1752, Gist had built a home on the Monongahela on lands he owned near the property of George Washington. From here he was able to keep the Ohio Land Company informed regarding French movement on the Ohio. At that time, French insurgence came from the west - up the Ohio River. Upon hearing that Frazier's home on the Allegheny was confiscated, it was Gist who alarmed the Virginians to action. He provided Frazier with land and trade goods to start over on Little Turtle Creek.

When George Washington asked him to lead the way to the French, and both though it would be at Machault (Franklin), he never hesitated. Of course, the Virginian was now one of his bosses as he had inherited his brother's position in the land company.

Two years later, the first British troops ever on Virginia soil landed at Alexandria. As Braddock moved westward, Gist was his main guide. After the disastrous battle, Gist helped save what he could of the defeated army.

Later that same year, Governor Dinwiddie sent Gist south to the Carolinas to get help from the Cherokee Nations. He died of small pox on this mission.

Somehow, in his busy schedule, he was able to sire five children. Richard was killed at Kings Mountain, not too far from his home on the Yadkin River. Thomas lived on the Pennsylvania plantation. Anne moved to Kentucky to live with her brother Nathaniel. Of Nathaniel's children, one married Jeff Bledsoe who became a U.S. Senator from Kentucky. This son ran for Vice President. Another daughter of Nathaniel married into the family of Henry Clay. Still another daughter, Violet, married Francis P. Blain, a national politician and legal expert. They built the Blair House in Washington and turned it over to their son, Montgomery, when his Maryland home was burned by Jubal Early. (Montgomery had represented the defendant in the Dred Scott Caqse.) The Blair House, across the street from the White House, was for years the residency of the Vie President.

Christopher Gist, born and bred an Englishman, had become one of the early true Americans.

From Wilderness to Community

The LeBoeuf valley saw few "white men" from 1763 (Pontiac's burning of the forts) until after the new American nation was formed. It was forgotten, far-away place. This changed in the mid 1790's.

The pioneers of North Western Pennsylvania faced not only hardships, which were to be expected, but uncertainties that would cause less driven people to think twice about migration.

Only a trickle came to the area between 1795 and 1805 to claim farms, start businesses, build mills, and face the problems, both natural and man-made, that were to be their labor for a generation.

Before considering the later life of one Amos Judson, let's take a look at what he faced.

Just getting here! There as an Indian trail used by surveying crews from Curwinsville, near Clearfield on the Susquehana, and up to Brookville, over to Franklin, up French Creek, and finally to Waterford. It could be walked or traveled by horseback, but it was long, slow, and dangerous. Until Andrew Ellicott surveyed it and the State Legislature had it opened to wagon travel, it was not much used.

A more common road was the Forbes Road from Carlisle to Pittsburgh and then to Waterford over a road that generally followed the Indian trail George Washington had followed. A variation of this route was to row and push a boat up the Allegheny and French Creek from Pittsburgh. Heavy materials were generally transported via the water route.

Amos Judson, coming from Connecticut, took a northern route across New York and traveled by boat to Erie. He as a joiner and carpenter by trade, requiring the transport of heavy boxes of tools. Hard work, but he like Martin Strong, Seth Reed, Judah Colt, John Vincent, William Mikes, and others, had work awaiting them if they dared the trip. The magnets that drew these men were the Land Companies.

If the reader is shocked by the events of the 20th Century - Teapot Dome, Watergate, and Whitewater to name a few - then that patron of the daily news needs to go back in time two hundred years when this country was just getting started. The shady fellows of today could learn a few things. They are in fact, by comparison, pikers. They settled for small change, a few bucks. Their business ancestors dreamed big, and the wakenings of their dreams can be seen in the Waterford Area. Amos, too, was a dreamer, but he didn't care to reach beyond the "historic village" of Waterford. His place in this narrative is an offshoot of complicated politics and economics.

One of the men who helped bring a successful conclusion to the War for Independence was Robert Morris, "the financier of the Revolution." His work included getting money from seven banks in Holland. These men did not just give away their profits from the East Indies Trade. They expected a good return. With the conclusion of the war they began to put pressure on America, the Articles of Confederation was then our form of federal government, to pay up. But we were broke - we had a terrible debt. We had nothing in abundance but land, most of which was beyond the mountains. Morris brokered a deal, with a piece of the action going to himself. The lands in the west, not yet opened to the public or deeded to individuals at the time, would be processed by a company set up by the Dutch Bankers. It was called the Holland Land Company. The western third of New York state, and large pieces of Erie, Crawford, and warren Counties came under their control. After 1813 they were able to expand, going far into the Mid West, An administrator was sent to oversee their interests. His name was Paul Busti. ("Boos-ty") A New York town that was named in his honor is Busti ("Bus-ti"). A popular political figure from Pennsylvania, John Nicholson, was appointed to head and advise this group, along with the two brothers of Andrew Ellicott. Aaron Burr, a new York politician, also became an officer.

A brief background on John Nicholson might be helpful to explain what was to come, for in 1783 he was appointed Comptroller General, the head of a three member commission to supervise the financial accounts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 1782, he influenced the legislators to abolish the other two making him in effect the Treasurer of the State. The act, putting him in his office, gave him absolute power as there was no appeal to his decisions. (The legal framework was derived from the same document given to the Penns by the King.) In 1784, he as given power to issue pay and depreciation certificates to disbanded veterans of the Pennsylvania Line. In 1785, add the title Receiver General of State Taxes. Then in 1787, his further title included Escheater General where his position included the power to liquidate the estates of the Loyalists. These holdings were often extensive.

As John Nicholson assumed the authority to determine the pay due to veterans, the amount of lands their service bought, and by inference the areas opened to settlement, he organized a private company that he was a not-too-silent partner in - The Pennsylvania Population Company. His appointed executive officers included Aaron Burr, Robert Morris, Andrew Ellicott, Joseph Gallatin, and Paul Busti, who given 22 per cent interest in the profits realized. Is it any wonder that there were no serious disagreement between the two land companies? They were headed by the same people! Only the McNair and Watts companies challenged them, but they had neither the money nor the politicians in their pockets to win in litigation.

A quick footnote: John Nicholson was arrested and charged with extortion, misuse of office, and misappropriation of funds in 1796. He died in prison, insane, a few years later.

The Pennsylvania Population Company was disbanded in 1813. Robert Morris went bankrupt, and Aaron Burr's troubles here and elsewhere blackened his name for all time. Busti left the country. Gallatin avoided the scandal to become Secretary of the Treasurer under Jefferson, and the hard working, honest Ellicots are still revered today.

The Pennsylvania Population Company contracted Judah Colt in 1795 to proceed to the triangle lands that had been brought from New York. He was to pick a site for their land selling operation, build the necessary facilities, and see to it that the laws regulating the distribution land were followed. This included issuing land contacts, receiving the rents, granting deeds, building temporary homes for the settlers, surveying lands and road right-of-ways, and requesting troops when needed. He was further authorized to grant a lot in each village for a "general merchandise" store and to reimburse the "keeper" for reasonable debts should a settler leave the area without paying. He was further permitted to advertise for surveyors and carpenters - "We strongly suggest you engage Yankee tradesmen from New England as they have the energy and honesty we seek."

Soon they began to arrive. Since no house was yet ready, Martin Strong went to Pittsburgh his first winter. John Vincent had a shack in eastern Waterford Township, probably at Juva. While Amos Judson went directly to Colt's Station and began working for the company. He transferred to the Waterford area near Martin Strong's house after two years and then went to work, almost certainly at the urging of Judah Colt, in the store at Waterford on East First Street, A. Judson General Merchandise. The store was owned by two men, Holmes and Harriott. They turned the business over to Mr. Judson, returned to Pittsburgh, and became retailers for a number of stores "up river."

There was a peculiarity of the law - if the settler found that he could not pay for his land, he was forced to leave. But while the original cost was set by law, a few dollars per acre, his improvements in cleared land, buildings, crops, etc., could be sold at whatever the land company could get with no part going to the state. In this manner, the land companies realized much of their profits.

While there is no reason to believe that Amos Judson encouraged patrons to run up debts, he was protected if they did, by the land companies. Obviously, the debts occurred at the store were a factor in the settler not paying the land company and therefore losing his property. A variety of this system, developed in the coal mining areas, was much more mean- spirited. Judson owned twelve lots in the boro; he also owned sixteen out-lots. On each of the three lots on Water Street, Amos built a warehouse to shelter the products he imported or exported on the river system. Later, Peter P. Judson converted the warehouse on Lot 23 into a home for his family. Lot 43 was the place for his first mercantile store, His out-lots commanded the growth of Waterford to the south and east.

Amos made many trips to Philadelphia where he met with the leaders of the land companies. He, at times, collected rents and did other jobs, such as enlisting surveyors and showing land to potential buyers. In this way he avoided the quit-rent and was able to seal a deal (for himself, and others) without advance rent or payment.

Amos Judson was an early American entrepreneur in the best sense of the word and long before that word was in common usage. He was meticulous in his records tracing every yard of broad cloth, every paper of needles, each ball of yarn-everything from inventory to final sale and the price at each end. He sold hardware, boots, patent medicines, spices, tools, and all "general merchandise" as his sign read.

Through his ability to make profits and his "in" with the land companies, he was able to buy up valuable lands.

As secretary of the Academy project, Amos was privy to information that the Academy lands, which originally were to be leased for revenue to support the school, would be up or sale. He had the responsibility to advertise the sale and set the date. This action lasted one month; of course he had the cash while interested partners in other parts of the state had no adequate notice of the pending sale.

Much of this beautiful farmland had been cleared by previous retailers who could not afford the high purchase price. Amos bought land, built the attractive brick homes owned much later by the Niemeyer and Martens families, and backed Dr. William Judson's interests in the saw and grist mills near the Flatts Road. Dr. Judson inherited this land upon Amos's death.

In 1800 the war department closed the Blockhouse they had built in 1795. The commander, Lieutenant Charles Martin, became Waterford's first postmaster in 1801. The Garrrison lands were put up for sale and again, Amos had the backing and good sense to buy these lands on the east of High Street, and from First Street to First Alley. He soon had the south end of his home built. In 1820 the main structure was added. At that time the entrance door faced north.

He was by now a respected man who had not married; he invited his family from Connecticut to join him. Brothers, sisters, nephews, and nieces came and proved to be hard working, industrious people who added much to the growing community. They and their descendants married into the local families and became a part of the close-knit social life for a century, and in some cases even today. Some of the family unions with the Judsons were: Strong, Lattimore, Wood, Boyd, King, Anderson, Kirk, Trask, Mitchell, McKay, Himrod, Benson, Pollock, Whittlesey, Hunt, Dewey, and Vincent.

Amos as generous in his giving, especially to the Episcopalian Church. The Waterford Academy was largely his creation. When he died in 1860, his nephew, Dr. William Judson, took over his business, his money, and much of his land. (The title "doctor" was mostly honorary.) He studied for a time under a local Doctor, a Dr. Bradley, but gave up his studies and never practiced. Titles were big in those days. The private academy stayed in operation until 1900 when it was turned over to the town and township to become a public high school.

Waterford today is an attractive town with active churches, social life, and an up-to-date school system.


The French government refused to allow strong, independent provinces to develop and grow in North America. The policy they acted upon was to fortify areas at strategic places---Quebec, Montreal, Niagara, Presque Isle, Le Boeuf, Detroit, etc.---but little more than trading centers were allowed to coexist. Agriculture was permitted along the lines of the Dutch system; the farms were restricted to these areas long the rivers extruding back in narrow bands so that the military could easily control any revolutionary movements as well as giving each farm easy transport. Immigration was restricted-permanent settlement discouraged. Through their fear of independence in the New World, through the corruption and civilian influence in the military, they lost all advantages the brilliant officer corps and unified religious life offered. The English forced their colonies to be self-reliant. This laissez-faire attitude strengthened the Americans resolve to remain that way. Gist, Washington, and Frazier rose to the challenge that pointed to independence a few short years later.

The early settlers in the LeBoeuf valley set the example still used today---slow growth, strong families, price in self community. Amos and his ilk left us a good place to live, still unspoiled after two hundred years.

Lewis Dove is a retired Teacher from Fort Le Boeuf High School, Waterford, PA. He has published many stories about the Waterford area and its history. This story of the is published in the Bisonalities, Again Web site with Mr. Dove's permission and blessings. Thank you, Lou.

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