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In a Land Not Sown The Life and Times of Jeremiah William Cory, Sr.

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In a Land Not Sown
The Live and Times
Jeremiah William Cory, Sr.
David A. Cory, M.D.

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Chapter 2

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when is is old he will not depart from it.
--Proverbs 22:4, King James Version

The early history of what is now western Pennsylvania is marked by decades of disputed land claims. Although the European concept of land ownership was unknown to the Indians, tribes battled over the right to occupy large areas of land and to use these areas as hunting grounds. While prehistoric mound builders left their mounds and artifacts in western Pennsylvania, the earliest occupants in recorded history were the Erie Indians. Between 1653 and 1656, they were defeated by the Iroquois in a bloody war. The Erie survivors either fled to the west or were adopted into the Iroquois tribe. The western region of Pennsylvania thus became an uninhabited hunting ground claimed by the Iroquois [1]. By the early eighteenth century, Delaware and Shawnee Indians, feeling the pressure of white settlement in the east, migrated west of the Allegheny Mountains. Some Iroquois Indians, otherwise known as Mingo, migrated down from New York and settled in the villages of the Shawnee and Delaware or in villages of their own [2]. Most of the Indian villages were along the Allegheny or Ohio Rivers, with the territory south of the Ohio serving mainly as a hunting ground.

During the first half of the eighteenth century, the area which is now western Pennsylvania was claimed not only by the Indians, but by the French and by the English colonies of Virginia and Pennsylvania [3]. The French claim was extinguished by the French and Indian War between 1754 and 1763. This left both Virginia and Pennsylvania with rather indefinite claims over the region. The land west of the Alleghenies and extending to the Mississippi River was considered an Indian Reservation. British settlement there was illegal, although this did not prevent some white encroachment on Indian land [4]. The outbreak of Pontiac's War in May of 1763, in which a confederation of Indians attacked British forts along the frontier, spurred Pennsylvania authorities to establish a definite boundary between Indian hunting grounds and white settlements. By royal proclamation on October 7, 1763, the Appalachian Divide was established as the boundary. Land purchases, grants, or settlement west of the mountains were prohibited, and settlers already there were to move back east [5]. However, this prohibition was poorly obeyed and difficult to enforce. Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for North America's Northern District, urged the British government to draw a more satisfactory boundary than the Proclamation Line of 1763 and to solve the problem of white intrusion on Indian land by purchasing the land from the Indians. In October and November of 1768, a council was held at Ft. Stanwix (now Rome), New York. At this council, the Iroquois sold a large portion of the Pennsylvania frontier and lands extending west to the mouth of the Tennessee River to the British. The British paid over ten thousand pounds in money and goods for the ceded lands and the family of William Penn agreed to pay ten thousand Spanish dollars for the lands acquired in their province [6,14]. Few of the Shawnee and Delaware attended the council at Ft. Stanwix and none of them signed the treaty or received any payment for land they felt they shared with the Iroquois [6]. Therefore, resentment among the Shawnee and Delaware ran high when, in 1769, the proprietors of Pennsylvania opened a land office to dispose of lands in the newly acquired territory. Virginia continued to claim western Pennsylvania and made land grants there as well. Shawnee raids on settlers west of the Monongahela River resulted in Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, undertaking a military expedition against the Indians in 1774, and in November of that year the Shawnee agreed to peace [8].

The first permanent white settlements in Westmoreland County were established shortly after the close of Pontiac's War and desirable tracts of land in the county were rapidly bought up when the land office was opened in 1769. The end of Dunmore's War in 1774 did not mean the end of conflict between the settlers and the Indians in western Pennsylvania. During the Revolution, the British supported Indians hostile to the settlers. In 1782, the first county seat of Westmoreland County, Hannastown, was burned by a band of Seneca Indians accompanied by Canadian rangers [9]. At the close of the Revolution, the Indians sold the remainder of unceded lands in Pennsylvania by treaties signed at Ft. Stanwix in 1784 and at Ft. McIntosh in 1785. Still, Indian raids continued until the victory of General "Mad Anthony" Wayne over the Indians at the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 [10].

In 1780, an agreement was reached between Virginia and Pennsylvania over the disputed boundaries on the frontier, with Virginia giving up its claims in what is now western Pennsylvania on the condition that its land grants to settlers in the region be recognized by Pennsylvania [7]. In 1784, the land office, closed during the Revolution, was reopened. Land already acquired from the Indians was sold for three pounds, ten shillings per hundred acres, or about ten cents an acre, while land about to be acquired from the Indians was priced at thirty pounds per hundred acres, or about eighty cents an acre [11].

Elnathan Cory and his wife Sarah Walker moved from New Jersey to Westmoreland County after the Revolution, but the details of their land purchase there are unknown. Although white settlement was increasing rapidly, Westmoreland County was still very much a part of the frontier at that time.

In her widow's pension application, dated April 20, 1842, Sarah Walker Cory states that four of their children were born in New Jersey [17]. These children were John, Ebenezer, Levi, and Margaret [13]. Elnathan Cory's military pension application, filed September 12, 1833, indicates the family left New Jersey and settled in Pennsylvania in 1783 [16]. Sarah's application states they lived in New Jersey eight or ten years before moving to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, which would place the move between 1785 and 1788 (depending on whether they were married in 1777 or 1778). It must be remembered that both pension applications were filed many years after the events occurred and that the applicants were elderly, so some inconsistency is not surprising. In Elnathan's application it is explicitly stated that he was "very old and infirm in both body and mind," and suffered from "imperfection of his memory." In any case, the trip over the Allegheny Mountains could not have been easy for the young family. There is no written record of the Cory's journey, but the following account of a similar pioneer family traveling from Philadelphia to western Pennsylvania in 1784 gives some idea what the trip may have been like:

We were provided with three horses, on one of which my mother rode carrying her infant, with all the table furniture and cooking utensils. On another were packed the stores of provisions, the plough irons, and other agricultural tools. The third horse was rigged out with a pack saddle, and two large creels, made of hickory withes in the fashion of a crate, one over each side, in which were stored the beds and bedding, and the wearing apparel of the family. In the centre of these creels there was an aperture prepared for myself and sister, and the top was well secured by lacing, to keep us in our places, so that only our heads appeared above. Each family was supplied with one or more cows.... Their milk furnished the morning and evening meal for the children, and the surplus was carried in canteens for use during the day [18].

This account represents the typical mode of transportation across the Allegheny Mountains in the 1780's. Those too poor to afford packhorses made the journey on foot, perhaps hauling their meager possessions in a pushcart. Wagon travel across the Alleghenies was rare before 1790, owing to the poor quality of roads and lack of vehicles.

Four more children, Elnathan, Jeremiah, Abijah, and David were born to Elnathan and Sarah after they settled in Westmoreland County. Jeremiah's birth date is said to be September 9, 1793. Births were not officially recorded in those days. However, the ages listed for Jeremiah on subsequent census records from 1820 through 1860 are consistent with a birth date in the latter part of 1793. We do not know the circumstances of the Cory family's existence in Westmoreland County, but Elnathan was no doubt involved in farming, and it may be here that he took up the trade of distiller [15]. Although later generations of Corys might be distressed that their ancestor produced alcoholic beverages, distilling was viewed differently in eighteenth century western Pennsylvania. It was much cheaper to transport whiskey back east than to carry grain by packhorse over the Allegheny Mountains, so making whiskey became an economic necessity for the farmers on the Pennsylvania frontier. Hard currency was difficult to come by on the frontier, and whiskey served as a medium of exchange. Elnathan must have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by the Whiskey Rebellion, which began when the new government of the United States imposed an excise tax on spirits in 1791. Farmers in western Pennsylvania vigorously, and sometimes violently, protested the tax until the rebellion was put down in 1794 [12]. Ironically, tensions were eased somewhat because selling supplies to the army sent to squelch the insurrection brought more currency into the region, making the frontier farmers more content and the tax more tolerable.

Elnathan's pension application states that the family lived in Westmoreland County for 14 years, and then moved northwest to Beaver County, Pennsylvania. At the time of his pension application on September 12, 1833, Elnathan stated that they had lived in Beaver County for thirty-four years. Working backward, this would put the move to Beaver County in 1799 and the move to Westmoreland County in 1785. Sarah stated that another three children were born in Beaver County. Only one of these three, Matilda, has been documented [13].

The family lived in a log cabin near Enon Valley when they first moved to Beaver County, later moving to a stone house [13]. The foundation of the old stone house was visible in the early years of the twentieth century, but since has been removed by strip mining. The family prospered in Beaver County, with tax lists of 1803 showing Elnathan as owner of 300 acres, seven cows, one horse, and two stills [13]. Apparently, Elnathan and Sarah and many of their descendants found contentment in Beaver County, living out their lives there; however, sons Jeremiah William and Abijah chose to move west.


Chapter 3

Take wives and have sons and daughters.
--Jeremiah 29:6, Revised Standard Version

On October 26, 1774, the Mingo Indian chief Tal-ga-yee-ta, commonly known by the English name Logan, met with frontiersmen Simon Girty, Simon Kenton, and John Gibson under a large elm tree on the Pickaway Plains in what is now south central Ohio. Logan refused to attend peace negotiations at the conclusion of Lord Dunmore's War, but agreed to dictate a message to be delivered at the peace conference. His words, translated by Girty and recorded by Gibson, follow:

I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry and I gave him not meat; if ever he came cold or naked and I gave him not clothing. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his tent, an advocate for peace. Nay, such was my love for the whites that those of my own country pointed at me as I passed and said, "Logan is the friend of the white man." I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relatives of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it. I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at the beams of peace; but do not harbor the thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one [3].

Logan's lament arose from his grief at the murder of his brother, his pregnant sister, and his father at the hands of a band of unscrupulous frontiersmen (which did not include Colonel Michael Cresap, as Logan believed) on April 30, 1774 [2]. In a larger sense, his speech reflects the painful clash of cultures which occurred on the frontier, with relations between the Indians and the whites ranging from friendship and peace to murder and retribution. The end of Dunmore's War temporarily resulted in peace, but conflict between the Indians and the white settlers never truly resolved. The Indians of the Ohio country sided with the British during the Revolution, hoping to stem the tide of settlers from Pennsylvania and Virginia. After the treaty of Paris ended the Revolution in 1783, the new government set about acquiring Indian lands northwest of the Ohio River alternately by treaty and warfare, beginning with the treaty of Ft. Stanwix in 1784 and culminating with the victory of General Wayne over the Indians at Fallen Timbers in 1794.

The new government of the United States moved to organize the wilderness north of the Ohio River with the Ordinance of 1784, the Land Ordinance of 1785, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 [8]. Although some illegal white squatters were already living north of the Ohio River, authorized surveys and settlement began in 1785. Statehood was granted to Ohio in 1803. Pickaway County was formed from parts of Ross, Franklin, and Fairfield Counties in 1810 [5], and included the land where Logan had given his impassioned speech in 1774. In the western part of the county, across the Scioto River from the Logan elm, white settlement had begun around 1800 [4]. Jeremiah William and Abijah Cory most likely came to the area after 1810. The Ohio tax duplicate of 1810 does not list the brothers, so if they were living in Ohio at that time, they were not land owners. The first records that place them in Pickaway County are their marriages. They married sisters. Abijah and Anna Martin were wed February 17, 1811, and Jeremiah and Dorothy (Dolly) Martin were married March 17, 1814 [11]. Dolly was born in Kentucky [1], but when she came to Ohio is not known. The 1820 census shows Abijah and Anna were living in Wayne Township, Pickaway County. In 1820, Jeremiah and Dolly were living in Deer Creek Township, and were the parents of four sons [13], John Calvin, Isaac Walker, Abijah Curtis, and Jeremiah Jr.

Lacking specific information about the Corys in Ohio, we can only infer what their lives might have been like. The trip from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania to Pickaway County, Ohio would not have been an easy one for Jeremiah and Abijah. They may have traveled down the Ohio River and then ascended the Scioto River to reach their new homes, or they may have gone down the Ohio or overland to Wheeling (now in West Virginia). At Wheeling, they could walk or ride to Pickaway County via Zane's Trace, which at the time was little more than a wide forest trail that connected Wheeling and Maysville, Kentucky, passed through the Pickaway Plains. Deer Creek Township, where Jeremiah settled, is a level plain composed of clay soil well suited to farming of corn and wheat [7], and Jeremiah was probably involved in raising these crops. Dolly was probably no different than other pioneer wives of the era, who labored constantly, processing flax and wool and making clothes of the resulting cloth, making soap and candles, and cooking [14]. These duties were, of course, in addition bearing and caring for the large number of children common to pioneer families.

Before leaving Ohio, Jeremiah and Dolly were to become parents of five more children, Lucretia Jane, Matilda, Cassie, Robert V., and James Burbridge. The latter child was named after a neighbor who was elected treasurer of Deer Creek Township in 1816 [15]. The tombstone of the Cory's tenth child, Malinda, indicates that she was born November 5, 1831 [12]. The only published date for the migration of the family from Ohio to Indiana is the fall of 1831 [1]. The United States Census of 1850 and the Iowa State Census of 1854 indicate that Malinda was born in Ohio. None of these sources is infallible. Tombstones may carry wrong dates, especially if they are erected years after death, and Malinda's granite stone appears much newer than stones of her contemporaries in the same cemetery. It is also of note that the date of death listed on her stone differs by a year from the date published in a county history. The "fall of 1831" date of migration from Ohio to Indiana is not very specific and is based on an interview with Malinda's brother Abijah Curtis Cory many years after the fact. Finally, the census taker only records what the citizens tell him, with no attempt at verification. In summary, then, I think it is safe to say that Malinda was born near the time of the migration of the Cory family from Ohio to Indiana, but exactly where the birth occurred is uncertain.

Jeremiah's brother Abijah served in the Ohio State Militia in the War of 1812 [6]. There is no record of military service for Jeremiah. Abijah survived the war, and lived to father a large family (six sons and four daughters), but died before the two Cory families migrated to Indiana [9].

Table 3-1 Children of Jeremiah Cory and Dolly Martin
1. NAME: John Calvin Cory    
M BORN: Before 1820 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: Unknown SPOUSE: Martha Crosson (?)
2. NAME: Abijah Curtis Cory    
M BORN: 19 Apr 1818 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: 22 Nov 1892 PLACE: Kosciusko Co.,IN
  BURIED: Syracuse, IN SPOUSE: 1st Sally Ann Mann
        2nd Matilda Wood
3. NAME: Isaac Walker Cory    
M BORN: 8 Nov 1819 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: 23 May 1875 PLACE: Unknown
  BURIED: Unknown SPOUSE: Mariah Phebus
4. NAME: Jeremiah Cory    
M BORN: After 20 Sep 1820 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: Unknown SPOUSE: Rebecca Alexander
5. NAME: Cassie Cory    
F BORN: Before 1825 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: Unknown SPOUSE: Peter Gordy
6. NAME: Robert V. Cory    
M BORN: About 1825 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: 23 Apr 1879 PLACE: Elkhart Co.,IN
  BURIED: Syracuse,IN SPOUSE: Elizabeth Gordy
7. NAME: Lucretia Jane Cory    
F BORN: 23 Apr 1826 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: 27 May 1888 PLACE: IA
  BURIED: Polk Co.,IA SPOUSE: Abraham Byers
8. NAME: Matilda Cory    
F BORN: 1828 or 1829 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: 1896 PLACE: Elkhart,Polk Co.,IA
  BURIED: Polk Co.,IA SPOUSE: Lemuel Veneman
9. NAME: James Burbridge Cory    
M BORN: 1829 or 1830 PLACE: Pickaway Co.,OH
  DIED: Unknown SPOUSE: Sarah A. Smith
10. NAME: Malinda Cory    
F BORN: 5 Nov 1831 PLACE: OH or IN
  DIED: 30 Mar 1863 PLACE: Story Co.,IA
  BURIED: Story Co.,IA SPOUSE: William K. Wood


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