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Wyoming Valley, Civil War in the

At the close of the Revolution settlers from Connecticut began to pour into the [459] Wyoming Valley, in Pennsylvania, under the auspices of the Susquehanna settlers (q. v.). Pennsylvania denied the claim of Connecticut to the valley, and asked Congress to appoint a commission to hear the claimants by representatives, and determine the questions in dispute. The commissioners, sitting at Trenton, decided against the claims of Connecticut. The settlers, who believed the decision covered only the question of jurisdiction, were content, but the authorities of Pennsylvania claimed a right to the soil, and would not confirm the land-titles of the inhabitants received from the Susquehanna Company. Not only so, but measures were taken to expel the Connecticut people from the valley. The most unjust and oppressive measures were employed by civil and military officers there.

These the people endured for a while; but when, in July, 1784, two young men were killed by soldiers in the employ of Pennsylvania, the people rose in retaliation, led by Col. John Franklin, of Connecticut. Col. John Armstrong was sent (August) with a considerable force to restore order in the valley. All these movements were directed by the Pennsylvania Assembly, contrary to the general sentiment of the people. The hearts of the people of Wyoming were strengthened by the sympathy of good men. The number of settlers increased, and, defying the soldiers under Armstrong, cultivated their lands, and for two years waited for justice. In 1786 they procured the formation of their district into a new county, which they named Luzerne. Col. Timothy Pickering was sent by the authorities of Pennsylvania to harmonize affairs in that county. He succeeded in part, but restless spirits opposed him, and he became a victim to cruel ill-treatment. Quiet was restored (1788), but disputes about land-titles in the Wyoming Valley continued for nearly fifteen years afterwards.

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