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History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania
edited by John F. Meginness; 1892

CHAPTER IV.

SAMUEL WALLIS, THE LAND KING.

HIS VAST LANDED OPERATIONS AND RFMARICABLE HTSTORY - THE HOUSE HE BUILT IN 1769 STILL STANDING - HIS MINCY FARMS AND THEIR EXTENT - HOW HE WAS RUINED BY JAMES WILSON, A SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE - WALLIS DIES OF YELLOW FEVER AND HIS IMMENSE ESTATE IS SOLD BY THE SHERREFF-THE PLANTATION NOW KNOWN AS HALL'S FARMS - HIS WIDOW AND FAMILY, AND WHAT BECAME OF THEM.


THE most active, energetic, ambitious, persistent, and untiring land speculator who ever lived in Lycoming county was Samuel Wallis. His energy was marvelous, and his desire to acquire land became a mania, which followed him to the close of his life.

He came here as a surveyor in 1768, and noting the richness and beauty of the lands of Muncy valley, at once entered upon a wild career of land speculation. He was of Quaker origin, born in Harford county, Maryland, about 1730. Little is known of his parentage. He received a good education and inherited a large fortune. Early in life he showed that he possessed a talent for business, and was active and untiring in whatever he undertook. Among other branches of trade in which he engaged when quite a young man was that of a shipping merchant in Philadelphia. This was before the Revolution. He studied surveying with a view to following that profession, his keen business faculties pointing out to him that much work of this kind would be required in a new country. We first hear of him with the surveyors on the Juniata as far up as Frankstown early as 1768, then on the Indian path leading from that place to the Great Island in the West Branch. This was the year of the "New Purchase," and he hurried here to take advantage of whatever opportunities offered for speculation in land. Descending the river and noting the country, his business instinct told him that the magnificent valley of Muncy was the place to halt and begin operations.

"MUNCY FARMS."

Having taken up all the land that he could in his own name, his next course was to get others to secure land in their names and then transfer it to him by deed in consideration of "five shillings." By this means he acquired thousands of acres. His famous plantation known as "Muncy Farms," figures more in history than the balance of his vast landed possessions. Old records show that the original warrants for these tracts were in the name of John Jarvis, Jr., and they were first known as the "Jarvis tracts." The place selected for his seat was near what is now known as Hartley Hall, at the junction of the Williamsport and North Branch, and Philadelphia and Reading railroads, three miles west of the borough of Muncy and ten miles east of Williamsport. He acquired tract after tract until his plantation numbered 7,000 acres in one body. Here he commenced the erection of a stone house early in 1769, which is still standing. It is without doubt the oldest house in the country to-day and is a noted landmark. One or two houses were built two or three years earlier, but they long since disappeared. This one still remains and is the last link that connects the troublous times of early colonial days with the present period of thrift and prosperity. It was built on high ground on an arm of the river, which encloses a large island, near the mouth of Carpenter's run. The location was well chosen. A few hundred yards north of the house Fort Muncy was afterwards erected and became a rallying point for the settlers.

With the possession of such a splendid estate as the Muncy Farms, most men would have been content. But not so with Samuel Wallis. His ambition know no bounds. He was so deeply imbued with the speculative fever, that he constantly thirsted for the acquisition of more land and was ever on ' the alert to make purchases. Tract after tract was mortgaged to raise money to buy more.

There is among his papers an ancient draft showing the outlines of a tract of 5,900 acres, which took in the ground on which the borough of Jersey Shore is built, and the surrounding country. The draft shows the winding course of the river from the mouth of Larry's creek to Pine creek, and included Long Island. As it is a historic document of more than ordinary interest at this time, showing to whom the land was originally granted, the description of the survey, written upon the back, is copied as follows:

Surveyed the 17th & 18th Days of June in 1773, for Samuel Wallis, in Pursuance of Eighteen orders of survey Dated the 3d Day of April 1769 & granted to the following persons, viz: One order No. 1573 granted to Samuel Nicholas & one other order No. 1588 granted to Samuel Nicholas. One Order No. 1701 granted to Thomas Bonnal. One order No. 327 granted to Joseph Couperthwait. One order No. 464 granted to William Wilson. One order No. 592 granted to John Sprogle. One order No. 318 granted to Thos. Morgan. One order No. 118 granted to Richard Setteford. One order No. 1147 granted to John Cummings. One order No. 1373 grated to Samuel Taylor. One order No. 2231 granted to Joseph Knight. One order No. 107 granted to William Porter. One order No. 807 granted to Joseph Paul. One order No. 2127 granted to Henry Paul, Junr. One order No. 724 granted to Joseph Hill. One order No. 608 granted to Isaac Cathrall. One order No. 1546 granted to Benjamin Cathrall & one order No. 1558 granted to Peter Young.

Beginning at a marked Elm standing on the North side of the West Branch of Susque-hanna above and to the mouth of Larry's Creek & Turning thence N. 45 E. 400 p. thence N. 67 W. 310 p. thence S. 77 W. 765 p. thence S. 51 W. 700 p. to Pine Creek thence Down the said creek by the several courses thereof to the mouth thereof, thence down the northerly side of the West Branch of the River Susquehanna by the several courses thereof to the place of beginning at the mouth of Larry's Creek containing & laid out for five Thousand Nine Hundred acres with Allowance of six acres p cent for Roads and Highways.

The description of this large and early survey is signed: "John Lukens, Esq., Surveyor General, by order and direction of Jesse Lukens, per Samuel Harris."

The draft shows the river and Pine creek along the two sides of the survey; the large island in Pine creek, the almost obliterated island in the river at the mouth of Pine creek, and the Long Island opposite Jersey Shore, as well as the mouth of Aughanbaugh's run, a stream which is now but a more rivulet, "Nepenosis" creek, and Larry's creek.

The names of a few of the original holders will be recognized, because some of their descendants yet live in this county. But the majority are strangers. They took up the land for speculative purposes and soon disposed of it according to the custom of the times.

KILLED FOR A BEAR.

Another curious paper, in the form of an affidavit, recites the circumstances of a hunting accident which occurred on the 19th of September, 1769. John Dallam, of Baltimore county, Maryland, the affiant, states that on the previous evening Samuel Wallis, Joseph Jacob Wallis, John Farmer, William Beaver, and a negro man, met at the house of Samuel Wallis, when John Farmer and John Dallam agreed to go in search of bears on Muncy creek early in the morning of the 19th. Joseph Jacob Wallis and William Beaver also made preparations to go along. It was agreed which way each party would travel, so that they might not shoot each other before it was daylight. , Farmer and Dallam decided to go to Muncy creek, while Joseph Jacob Wallis said he would go up the run above the house, and Beaver said he would follow on another run close by. Dallam. then said to Beaver: "So you have aimed to have a chance at Selim," (meaning a buck they saw at the bead of the run the day before,) upon which Beaver answered "yes" and so they parted, leaving Beaver with the rest of the party. Farmer and Dallam. parted in the woods and were gone several hours. When Dallam returned about 10 o'clock, he was met at the door by Samuel Wallis, who appeared to be greatly agitated, and on being asked what the trouble was, he replied that William Beaver had been shot by Joseph Jacob Wallis in mistake for a bear! Dallam then went inside the house, where he saw the dead body of Beaver, which had been brought in from the woods. Wallis declared that, although it was an accident, he could not get over it as long as he lived.

Beaver's body was decently interred that afternoon. Who he was, or whence he came, is unknown. The affidavit was made and sworn to for the purpose of showing how the man came to his death, though it does not say that affiant witnessed the killing. His place of burial is supposed to have been in what is now Hall's cemetery, and very likely he was among the first, if not the first man, buried there.

Joseph Jacob Wallis was a half-brother of Samuel Wallis. He married a daughter of John Lukens, surveyor general, and they had a son who was named John Lukens Wallis. He was the first white male child born west of Muncy Hills in 1773. He grow to manhood and married Mary Cooke, a daughter of Col. Jacob Cooke, a distinguished patriot of the Revolution. John Lukens Wallis was one of the heirs of John Lukens, and was cut off in his will by the word "propitious." There were seven heirs and the estate, which was large, was to be divided among them at the most "propitious" time, but it never came in their lifetimes. John Lukens Wallis was a great lover of the chase and made "a happy hunting ground of this earth." He died, July 27, 1863, and lacked but four months and three days of being ninety years old. His remains lie in the cemetery at Hughesville.

One point settled by the affidavit is that the Wallis house was built in 1769, for Dallanz, says that on the 18th of September of that year they, (meaning the party,) were "at the house of Samuel Wallis," and made arrangements to go on the hunt.

Another is that colored men were here at that early day, for mention is made of a "negro man" being at the Wallis residence when the hunting party was organized.

This man probably was a slave, for Wallis had several on his great plantation. An old receipt found among his papers shows that on April 23, 1778, he purchased "Mary," a "negro, woman," from George Catto, for "one hundred and twenty pounds current money of Maryland." In the receipt Catto states that Mary left him and "went to Philadelphia with the British army in September."

WALLIS MARRIAGE.

When Samuel Wallis purchased the Muncy Farms and built his stone house, he was a single man, for on the 1st of March, 1770, he married Miss Lydia Hollingsworth, of Philadelphia, and brought her to his house on the Susquehanna. It was a wild region at that time for a bride. But she seems to have been a practical woman, possessed of good sense, and soon adapted herself to the new situation. Their home became a haven of rest for weary travelers; and there they continued to reside, with only occasional interruptions during the Indian troubles, almost to the close of the century, and dispensed a liberal and elegant hospitality for the rude times in which they lived. Mr. Wallis early became a leading man in the valley. On the 24th of January, 1776, he was appointed captain of the Sixth company of the Second battalion of the Northumberland County Associated Militia, James Potter, colonel, for the protection of the frontier. He. represented his county in the Assembly in 1776, which met at that time in Philadelphia. He also filled many minor offices.

His life was one of great activity. He was constantly expanding his land operations, and never seemed to despair of meeting his heavy obligations, notwithstanding many men would have sunk under the weight which pressed upon him. So vast was his business, and so great his speculations, that at one time he owned or controlled nearly every acre of ground lying along the river except a few small tracts-from Muncy creek to Pine creek, including the Susquehanna bottom, besides thousands of acres in other portions of the State. His name was known far and wide, and he was looked upon as the land king of the State.

In 1774 Samuel Wallis and Joseph Jacob Wallis, his half brother, entered into an agreement to engage jointly in farming and stock raising on the Muncy plantation. The article shows that the partnership was to last for eleven years, beginning on the 1st of January, 1774. All the "servants," stock, farming utensils, etc., which were on the farm were to be valued at their original cost, and an estimate of the value of the crops was also to be made. Joseph Jacob Wallis, "the party of the other part," was to pay one-half of the full amount of the valuation, "estimate and original costs of the servants, stock, etc." Each of the said parties were to have equal privilege and share of the dwelling house for their families, and all costs and expenses which might arise in the "purchase of servants," stock, and other incidental charges necessary for conducting the farm were to be equally borne by the respective parties. All the "servants" and other property purchased by Samuel Wallis previous to entering into the agreement, were to be the joint property of the parties, and all moneys arising from the sales of produce were to be equally divided. In consideration of Samuel Wallis giving to Joseph Jacob Wallis for the term of eleven years "one-half of the benefits and advantages of a well improved farm," the latter agreed to undertake the sole care and management of the "said farm and premises for their joint benefit, except at such times" as Samuel Wallis might choose to be there, when the said parties were to "manage in conjunction." It was also agreed that their accounts should be settled annually; but in the case of the death of Joseph Jacob Wallis, then the partnership was to be dissolved and everything connected with it equally divided between the heirs of the said parties.

The article was duly signed by the respective parties after binding themselves in the penal sum of l,000 each for its faithful observance. But a difficulty evidently arose after the execution of the agreement, for the signatures are partially torn off and the word "canceled" is written on the back. No reasons are given for its abrupt termination. The most important feature of this instrument, and the reason reference is made to it in this connection is that it establishes the fact beyond doubt that Mr. Wallis was the owner of the slaves, else why would he speak of the cost of servants, which were his "property," and make it obligatory for his partner to pay one-half of their value? This is the first evidence we have of slaves being brought to this valley at that early date. That they came a few years later in considerable numbers there is abundant evidence.

Farming at that time was not a very pleasant business. The country was largely a wilderness, and hostile Indians were constantly prowling about to murder the settlers and destroy their improvements. When the great flight took place in 1778, known in history as the "Big Runaway," Mr. Wallis, like all others, was forced to abandon his improvements to the mercy of the savages and seek a place of safety. His house was not destroyed, because it was built of stone and the walls were very thick and strong, as may be seen by examining it at the, present day. Very likely the roof was burned and the casings defaced, but they were easily replaced.

That Wallis quickly returned on the restoration of peace and renewed the work of making improvements, is shown by a draft for a mill found among his papers. The site selected was just below the canal aqueduct over Carpenter's run, a few hundred yards east of his house, and a portion of the excavation for the race is still visible. According to the draft, which is a quaint piece of drawing, it called for a building "20 x 24 feet, with glass windows, two doors 4 x 6 feet, and a chimney, clear, 5 x 6 feet 9 inches. Light holes and shutters, 2x2 feet. Water house, cog-pit, gate hole, mantle piece and shaft," all clearly specified and indicated by letter on the plan. For the machinery "120 cogs, 3 inches square and 13 inches long, together with 40 round cogs 3 inches in size and 16 inches long. The whole to be of good, tough hickory, well seasoned." The specifications further called for "12 oak boards one inch thick; 17 inch boards and 15 feet long for water-wheel buckets; 800 feet of well seasoned pine boards, 6 pieces of pine scantling 434 inches square, 16 feet long, well seasoned, if possible. "It was also specified" that the mill irons should be sent to the smiths to be repaired and altered according to directions to be given by Mr. Antes." From this statement it is inferred that the irons were second-handed, and that Colonel Antes, who had built a mill previous to this time at the mouth of Antes creek, was entrusted with the work of getting the new mill under way. The plans and specifications were signed by George W. Hunter. The mill was built in 1785, and although it was a small affair, it doubtless did good service in those early days.

That the stone dwelling house was not destroyed after its abandonment to the

enemy, is further proven by a contract still in existence, made with one Thomas Sisk, a plasterer of Philadelphia, on the 27th of June, 1787, to proceed to Muncy Farm and "plaster certain buildings." It is probable that the house was not plastered at the time it was erected, owing to the inability of the owner to secure the services of a plasterer, and the lack of facilities to do the work.

The contract was witnessed by Laurence Ross and Matthew Conroy, and there is nothing on record to show that it was not carried out according to the terms. One of the houses plastered at that time has long since disappeared, but the stone house still stands.

MICHAEL ROSS.

Who Laurence Ross was is not known, but it is possible that he was the father of Michael Ross, afterwards the founder of Williamsport. It is well known that Michael Ross (if not his father) was long in the employ of Samuel Wallis, and through him he got his start in life. This is only a theory but the circumstances are such as to make the conclusion appear reasonable.

February 8, 1773, the application of Joseph Schute for 300 acres was conveyed to Samuel Wallis, and on May 8, 1776, was by him conveyed to Michael Ross for five shillings and other valuable considerations; also the application of Samuel Richards for 300 acres of land above the mouth of Toby's creek, dated, April 3, 1769, was conveyed to Wallis, and on May 8, 1796, was by him conveyed to Michael Ross for five shillings and other valuable considerations. There is no positive evidence to establish it, but it is believed that the Toby's creek referred to is what is now known as Graflus run, which passes through the central part of Williamsport. The fact that Michael Ross afterwards located on this tract and founded the city, lends color to the supposition.

After an unusually busy life Samuel Wallis died at Philadelphia, October 14, 1798, aged sixty-seven years, eight months, of yellow fever contracted while on a visit to North Carolina to look after his great creditor, James Wilson. On his return he stopped at a lonely inn and was put in a bed where a man had died with the fever but a few days before!

His wife, who had shared in his triumphs and sorrows for twenty-eight years, was called upon to undergo more trials and tribulations. She survived him about fourteen years. Her death occurred, September 4, 1812, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Cassandra Smith, at Milton. She was aged sixty-eight years and five months.

Thus closed the mortal careers of two of the earliest and most prominent settlers within the limits of Lycoming county. They bore a conspicuous part in the days of trial and their names are inseparably linked with our early history. Samuel Wallis and Lydia Hollingsworth left the following issue:

1. Mary, born April 25,1771 in Philadelphia. She married Dr. William Kent Lathey, June 30, 1800. He was a native of Exeter, England, where he was born, January 29, 1772, and died at Northumberland, July 28, 1809.

2. John, born March 20, 1775. Never married. Died, September 14, 1810, at Northumberland.

3. Cassandra, born October 6, 1776, ' at Muncy Farm. Married Daniel Smith, Esq., an attorney, who lived at Milton.

4. Sarah, born August 19, 1778, at Elkton, Maryland, whither the mother and family had fled during the Indian troubles in the valley. She grew up to be beautiful woman, and married Gen. Hugh Brady, of the United States Army and died at Detroit, August 25,1833. She left five children, and her descendants still live in that city.

5. Hannah, born February 21, 1781, at Philadelphia. Married William Miller in 1816, Rev. John Bryson, of Warrior Run church, performing the ceremony. Died, February 28, 1859, at Muncy. They had three children who became of age,. viz.: Cassandra S., who married J. Roan Barr, of Muncy; Samuel W., now residing at Waverly, New York, and Susan H., who married Joseph Stauffer, of Muncy, and died in 1865.

6. Samuel Hollingsworth, born January 18, 1784, at Philadelphia. He studied medicine and became a practicing physician. Married Elizabeth Cowden, April 17, 1807. Dr. Wallis died at Dunnstown, Clinton county, April 19, 1832, and was buried in the Friends burying ground at Penn's Dale, Lycoming county. He left a son and a daughter, viz.: Mary, who married Phillip Shay, and Cowden Smith Wallis. Mrs. Shay left one son, W. Field Shay, Esq., now an attorney at Watsontown, Northumberland county. Cowden S. Wallis died at Muncy, April 24, 1862. He left the following children: Sarah C.; Mary M.; Elizabeth; Roberta; Samuel H. (died December 15, 1887,) and Howard R., the civil engineer. They all reside at Muncy. Dr. Samuel H. Wallis was the grandfather of these descendants, and Samuel Wallis, the pioneer, was their great-grandfather, but he left but two sons, John and Samuel Hollingsworth, to perpetuate his name. John never married. The last son did and left two sons, one of whom is deceased. The other, Howard R., survives and has one son, so that the name is likely to be continued.

Samuel Wallis left a very large estate, consisting almost entirely of lands, but as they were heavily encumbered, it proved a very difficult one to settle. John Wallis, his oldest son, Daniel Smith, his son-in-law, William Ellis, and John Adlum, were appointed administrators.

The administrators qualified and entered upon their difficult and intricate task. After satisfying themselves of the condition of the estate, they made a report to the orphans' court of Lycoming county, sitting at the April term, 1799, in these words:

"That according to the debts and credits, which they had been able to learn, and from the value of the personal estate as appraised by persons legally appointed and returned into the office of the clerk of the court, it appeared that the estate of Samuel Wallis was indebted in the sum of 33,798 13s 3d, and that the debts due the estate amounted to about the sum of 99,904 14s; that the amount of the personal property returned by the appraisers was 2,932 18s 10d." They said furthermore: "The amount of the debts which the estate owed far exceeded the amount of the value of personal property; that the debts owing the estate were, many of them, against persons supposed not to be able to pay them to their full amount; that none of the said debts could be recovered until suits were brought, and of course could not be collected for some time; that, on the other hand, the debts owing by the estate had many of them been put in suit during the life time of Samuel Wallis and judgments obtained thereon and executions issued particularly a judgment at the suit of Charles Bitters, on which about $20,000 remained due; and one at the suit of Ruth Piret, executrix of Palatiah Webster, on which about $18,000 remained due, On each of these suits executions had been issued and levies made on the mansion house and adjoining property, otherwise than by a sale or mortgage of part of the lands. They therefore prayed the court to make an order authorizing them to mortgage any lands for a sum not exceeding one-third of the value thereof, or sell the lands of deceased bought by him, at sheriff's sale in August, 1798, in Luzerne county, for which lands a sheriff's deed had been executed to the administrators in trust for the heirs, in order to pay off the executions."

On the 2d of May, 1799, the court granted the petition and directed the administrators to give four weeks' notice in the Gazette of Luzerne, county, and in a paper in Philadelphia, there being no paper published in Lycoming county.

In addition to his own large personal business, Wallis had served as agent for the Holland Land Company a long time, and in order to raise money to carry on their business he had mortgaged his plantation known as the Muncy Farms. The Holland Land Company was largely interested in western lands. It was composed of capitalists in the United Netherlands, who had advanced large sums to Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution, and at its close, either from choice or necessity, received payment in lands in western New York and Pennsylvania. In the History of Venango County we are informed that the first lands acquired in Pennsylvania consisted of a number of 1,000 acre tracts east of the Allegheny river in the purchase of 1784.

The same work informs us that one of the largest transactions in the history of Pennsylvania land titles was a purchase aggregating half a million acres, negotiated for this company in 1793 by its agents at New York, Herman Leroy and William Bayard, from James Wilson, of Philadelphia, a judge of the United States Supreme court. The land in question consisted of 912 tracts of 430 acres each lying on French creek and the Allegheny river (History of Venango County, page 76), which John Adlum had agreed to secure for Judge Wilson by a contract bearing date April 26, 1793. In Deed Book A, pp. 62-66 (Lycoming county), will be found an article of agreement entered into with certain parties to survey one and a half million acres lying on both sides of the Allegheny mountains. Adlum. was engaged for some time in making the survey, after which he acquired land near the Wallis plantation.

When the Holland Land Company commenced winding tip its business it was able to pay all its debts. But from some cause not clearly understood, Samuel Wallis allowed Judge Wilson to assume the debt owed him by the Land Company. And on settlement a mortgage was executed by James Wilson to Samuel Wallis for 22,000 acres of land, being an undivided part of 300,000 acres in Northumberland county, (now Lycoming,) which were a part of the million and a half acres already referred to.

This land was subject to a mortgage given by Judge Wilson to John Adlum, February 3, 1793, to secure $60,000. Some time elapsed before Wallis could get a final settlement with Wilson. An elaborate statement of the account is still among his papers. All the items are given in detail and fill six large folio pages. The statement shows that the first article of agreement between James Wilson. and Samuel Wallis was dated April 14, 1793, and the second April 1, 1795.

The account was audited by referees - Joseph Thomas, attorney for James, Wilson, and T. Duncan, Jr., for Samuel Wallis, who signed the same July 6, 1797. The report provides an allowance of twenty days for filing exceptions. The account as stated showed a debt of 116,077 17s 2d and a credit of 27,577 1s, leaving a balance in favor of Mr. Wallis of 88,500 16s 2d. This shows how vast his business was for that period. An affirmation on the back of the statement made before Isaac Howell, an alderman of Philadelphia, August 16,1797, sets forth that on July 1, 21, 1797, at Burlington, New Jersey, Samuel Wallis delivered a copy of the account to the "Hon. James Wilson," in the presence of William Johnson, who made the copy from the original, and up to that date he had not been served with any written objections. The notations by the auditors appear on the margin written in a neat and delicate hand. The statement bears this indorsement on the back: "On the 21st day of last July I received a copy of this account. James Wilson, 1st September, 1797." The signature of Mr. Wilson is clear and distinct.

The account recites the items of expense for securing titles, locations, surveys, court costs, traveling expenses, interest on money advanced, etc., for James Wilson and the Holland Land Company-, between the second fork of Sinnemahoning and Boston; on locations west of the Allegheny river and Conewango creek; on the Mahopeny and Bowman's creek, in "Westmoreland county;" on Sugar creek, Luzorne county; on Loyalsock creek; in Huntingdon county, besides several transactions with John Adlum at Fort Franklin.

At the final meeting between Wallis and Wilson, tradition informs us, the latter said that he did not have money enough to wipe out all his indebtedness, but he could pay one-half in cash, or furnish him (Wallis) with wild lands for the whole debt. No papers were signed, but they separated, evidently expecting to meet again soon and close up their business.

Here comes the most mysterious part of this strange business transaction. Judge Wilson, who was a member of the Supreme court of the United States by appointment of General Washington, started for North Carolina to hold court. But his mind seems to have been so greatly disturbed that he resolved to end his life. He was found dead in bed at Edenton, North Carolina, August 28, 1798, from an overdose of laudanum. This was less than a year after his meeting with Wallis for the purpose of making a final settlement.

Judge Wilson was a man of high legal attainments, conspicuous as a member of Congress, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His sudden death was the beginning of grave troubles for Mr. Wallis, which culminated in the sacrifice of a magnificent estate.

Had the acting administrators for Wallis-Smith and Ellis-shown more business tact, it is believed they might have saved a portion of the estate. Creditors commenced clamoring for their money and pushed their claims. Finally a writ was issued by the Supreme court of Pennsylvania, directed to Henry Vanderslice, sheriff of Northumberland county, and that officer seized "a part of that valuable body of land commonly called the Muncy Farm," and advertised it for sale, at Williamsport, on the 3d of May, 1802. The sale bill, a copy of which is still in existence, says that the tract contained about 3,900 acres, and extended for five miles along the river between Loyalsock and Muncy creek, and also comprised an island in the river called Spring island. The land was sold in tracts for the-convenience of purchasers, and the conditions were "one-half part of the purchase money to be paid to the sheriff at the time and place of sale; otherwise the promises to be immediately re-sold, etc., and the remaining part of the purchase money to be paid to the sheriff on the return day of the writ, to wit, the first Monday of September next, at the court house, in the city of Philadelphia."

The Muncy Farm tracts were numbered from one to eight, and those in Bald Eagle township from nine to fourteen. No. 8 was the tract on which the mansion house was situated, together with "barn, stables, and outhouses," and contained about 700 acres. The sale took place according to announcement and the bill of sale, which is still in existence, is given herewith:

Charles Bitters for the use of Mahlon Hutchinson verms Samuel Wallis, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Acct. of the sales of the real property of S. Wallis made by Henry Vanderslice at Williamsport on the 3rd and 4th days of May, 1802, in pursuance of his advertisement, dated at Sunbury, 17th of April, 1802.

Sales made on the 3d of May, 1802, viz:

No.9 containing 310 acres. Sold to Thos. Grant, Esq., for $882.67
10 321 $853.00
11 310 $631.00
12 338 $100.00
13 313 156p. $50.00
1 400 acres. $1,803.00
2 400 $1,661.00
3 400 $1,652.00
4 500 $2,012.00
5 500 $2,014.00
6 500 $1,702.00
7 500 $1,525.00
Sales made on 4th May:

NO. 13 containing 282 acres. Sold to Thos. Grant, Esq., for $301.00
" 8 " 700  "  "  " 4,502.00
     
Acres 5,766 156 p $19,188.67
Thomas Grant, who was a resident of Sunbury, and afterwards sheriff of Northumberland county, made the purchase for Henry Drinker, a prominent land speculator, and creditor.

That splendid domain of nearly 6,000 acres brought less than $4 per acre. Today the greater portion of it could not be bought for $200 per acre! What an appalling sacrifice! The proceeds of the sale fell far below the indebtedness of the estate and left the heirs penniless.

A letter written by John Wallis and Daniel Smith, the acting administrators, to Henry Drinker, under date of March 10, 1803, states that "the Muncy Farm contained in one connected body 7,561 acres, and the debt and interest due on the mortgage was 4,443 16s 8d." The farm extended to Loyalsock. Spring island contained about 500 acres. After deducting Grant's purchase at sheriff's sale, 2,300 acres remained unsold. The letter recites at great length the encumbered condition of the estate, and refers by name to the holders of various mortgages, liens, executions, etc., including claims of servants for pay. The letter continues: "The 2,300 acres, although much inferior to those purchased by Grant, are nevertheless valuable, and depressed as the price of land is, and speaking with our hands on our hearts, we solemnly declare that we believe the 3,960 acres purchased by Grant to be worth at a cash valuation $20 per acre. This estimate is low, and we believe that indifferent persons, good judges of lands, would make the price higher. But, further, it is to be remarked that the amount of Grant's purchase is $19,188.67.

That the appeal of the administrators failed to soften the hearts of the creditors, or excite sympathy on the part of Drinker, is evident, for nothing appears to have been done to stay the ruinous storm which was sweeping over the estate and everything available was finally swept away. There were those who harbored resentful feelings against Wallis and they seemed to take pleasure in seeing his wife and children driven from under the roof which had so long sheltered them.

From the tone of a letter written in January, 1805, by Henry Drinker to Robert Coleman, it appears that he was tired of his purchase and anxious to sell. He admitted that the title for the "valuable estate formerly possessed by Samuel Wallis "was now vested in him. He enclosed a map of the farm and a description of the several subdivisions." I may own I have been greatly disappointed in my expectations respecting this estate, having for many years entertained an opinion and heard it described as equal if not superior to any farm in this State," he writes, "and under this impression believed it would invite numerous purchasers, and command a speedy sale; especially as it was agreed to offer it at rates much lower than lands, neither equal in quality, nor so well situated, had been selling for." "It is true," be adds, "many applications have been made by persons who wished to be indulged with extended payments for a considerable part of the money," but in his situation, and under the pressure of heavy advances made by him "to remove and relieve "Mr. Coleman's "estate from every incumbrance, "distant payments could not be assented to. He then proposed to sell to Mr. Coleman on easy terms, but does not state them in the letter. "Several wealthy farmers," he adds, had been treating with him for a large part of the estate with the view of founding a colony or community, but had given up the project. He then closed his letter by soliciting an offer from Mr. Coleman.

Among the many old papers in the Wallis collection bearing on this subject, is one, now yellow with age, containing this endorsement: "Henry Drinker and wife to Robert Coleman." It is dated November 18, 1805, over eleven months after his January letter was written, and gives the "courses and distances" of "the several tracts of land in Muncy township," purchased by them "in consideration of 11,558 1s 4d." This is the only paper found in the collection which mentions the price paid for the farms, aside from the sheriff's bill of sale.

Another paper, signed by the administrators, contains a proposal to Robert Coleman to "sell a quantity of land at a place called the Long Reach, on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, at $4 per acre." The proposal states that Mr. Coleman "heard a description of the quality of the land when last at Lycoming." This sum they "deemed to be not more than one-third part of its real value," but they "would rather take it than run the risk of an approaching sacrifice. "They informed him, furthermore, that they would "have the lands sold on the earliest judgment and bought in, and conveyed to him by the purchaser. There are at least 1,200 acres free from dispute as to title - perhaps something more. It must also be understood that these lands are subject to the purchase money due to the Commonwealth. It may be necessary also to state that this sum must be paid in cash, and $4,800 must be at Williamsport on the 3d of May next." Signed and dated, April 27, 1802.

Some uncertainty existed for a long time as to where these lands were located on the "Long Reach." All doubt, however, was removed recently by the discovery of a beautifully executed draft among the Wallis papers which shows that they were located on the south side of the river, and embraced what is known as the "Upper Bottom," lying opposite the present village of Linden. The line commenced a short distance above the present borough of DuBoistown, and continued up the river for 967 perches, taking in all the rich alluvial lands now embraced in the highly cultivated farms of the Messrs. Gibson and others. There were five tracts surveyed for Samuel Wallis in the right of sundry persons, April 3, 1769, and a table is given on the draft as follows:

Jacob Heltzheimer, conveyed to Samuel Wallis by deed dated 5th October, 1769, acres 313
Mary Litton, 6th October, 1769,  "  310
William Lofflin, 12th March, 1770,  "  310
Jacob Steel, 9th August, 1769,  "  338
Ann Stamp, 20th August, 1772,  "  321

Lands belonging to Andrew Culbertson bounded the tracts of Ann Stamp and James Steel on the south, and William Hepburn on the west. These five tracts were sold on the 2d and 3d of May, 1802, in Williamsport, by Sheriff Vanderslice, and purchased by Thomas Grant.

The fact that these lands were offered at the low price of $4 per acre shows how the administrators were pressed, and how they struggled to raise money to pay off claimants and save a fraction at least of the estate from sacrifice. That Mr. Coleman missed a splendid bargain there is no doubt, for to-day these lands are among the choicest lying on the river and would readily sell for $200 an acre.

Two other beautifully executed drafts show that Wallis also acquired all the lands on the north side of the river from Lycoming creek to a point above "Level Corner," where the Pine Creek railroad cuts through the rocks on the estate of the late John Kino,. These lands were also designated as lying on the "Long Reach."

The line of the survey of the first tract commenced at a point on Lycoming creek, on the west side, and ran up near where bridge No. 1 of the Northern Central railroad crosses the stream, or as the survey designates it, "opposite the point of the first large hill." This took in the present residence of George W. Youngman, Esq. The line then turned and followed the route of the present public road "to a marked locust on the bank of the river a small distance below the mouth of Cuinashahaque run, thence down the river by the several courses to the place of beginning." The "survey was made on the 22d and 23d days of June, 1773, for Samuel Wallis, in pursuance of seven orders of survey dated the 3d day of April, 1769," and contained 2,328 acres. The name of the seven persons to whom the applications where granted appear on the draft, but they are not familiar names of today.

After much negotiating an agreement was finally reached between Drinker and Coleman, and the latter purchased the mansion house property and presented it to his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Charles Hall, Esq., of Sunbury. Other portions of the farm were purchased from time to time and added to the original, until the estate comprised about six thousand acres and it came to be known as "Hall's Farms. "After the death of Charles Hall, in 1821, his widow and her twelve children removed to the farm, which she improved and carried on. At her death the estate was divided among her children, and a portion of it is still hold by descendants.

Such in brief is the history of the career of Samuel Wallis and the princely, estate he founded. Had it not been for his mistake in refusing to accept one-half of the amount which Wilson owed him-and which he offered to pay him in cash-he might have been able to discharge the bulk of his obligations and saved enough of his estate to make his family comfortable. But when he died misfortunes seemed to multiply and everything was finally swept away by the stern mandate of the law. The heirs realized nothing and his widow died penniless!


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