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Fort Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Pennsylvania | No Comments
Fort Muncy is located about half a mile above Hall’s station, immediately on the P. & E. R. R., and about four miles from Muncy, and was built by Col. Thomas Hartley in 1778, at the urgent solicitation of Samuel Wallis, Esq., who had erected a stone mansion here in 1769. It stood a few hundred yards in front of the famous Hall’s house of 1769. It was designed to be the most important stronghold next to Augusta, and was situated midway between that place and the farthest settlement up the river; it was a rising piece of ground at the foot of which was a fine spring of water, a large elm tree now hangs over the spring. A covered way led from the fort to this natural fountain as a protection to those who went there for water. When the extension of the Philadelphia and Reading railroad was built to Williamsport, the elevation on which the fort stood was cut through. The excavation is quite deep and passengers cannot fail to notice it on account of the view of the Hall residence on the left being suddenly shut off as the train dashes into the cut (in going up). Col. Hartley informs us that the bastions of the fort were built of fascines and clay and the curtains were protected by the stockades in which quarters for the garrison were placed.
One would understand from the many accounts that Fort Muncy had been destroyed twice. In the Pennsylvania Archives, “The convoy arrived safely at Sunbury, leaving the entire line of farms along the West branch to the ravages of the Indians. They destroyed Fort Muncy, but did not penetrate Sunbury.” Shortly after the big runaway Col. Brodhead was ordered up with his force of 100 or 150 men to rebuild Fort Muncy and guard the settlers while gathering their crops. After performing this service he left for Fort Pitt and Colonel Hartley, with a battalion succeeded him in 1778. Col. Ludwig Weltner, December 13th, 1779. I found Fort Muncy and Fort Jenkins, on the East branch, and with the magazine at Sunbury, to have been the only posts that were standing when he was ordered here from Wyoming.
“Col. Hunter, whom I consulted, was of the same opinion, the only difficulty was to fix on some place equally well adapted to cover the Frontier, as Fort Muncy was; Fort Muncy having been evacuated and destroyed.” So Fort Muncy appears to have been destroyed the second time, as Lieut. Moses Van Campen, of Capt. Robinson’s Rangers says, in the latter part of March, just at the opening of the campaign of 1782, the companies that had been stationed during the winter at Reading were ordered back by Congress to their respective stations; Lieut. Van Campen marched at the head of Capt. Robinson’s company to Northumberland, where he was joined by Mr. Thomas Chambers, who had been recently commissioned ensign of the same company. Here he halted for a few days to allow his men rest, after which he was directed to march to a place called Muncy, and there rebuild a fort, which had been destroyed by the Indians in the year ’79. Having reached his station, he threw up a small blockhouse in which he placed his stores and immediately commenced rebuilding the fort, being joined shortly after by Capt. Robinson in company with several gentlemen, among whom was a Mr. Culbertson, who was anxious to find an escort up the West Branch of the Susquehanna into the neighborhood of Bald Eagle creek. Here his brother had been killed by the Indians, and being informed that some of his party had been buried and had thus escaped the violence of the enemy, he was desirous of making search to obtain it. Arrangements were made for Van Campen to go with him at the head of a small party of men as a guard, Lieut. Van Campen was captured while on this expedition and taken to Canada, where he remained some time, so we get no further information from him in regard to this rebuilding of Fort Muncy for the third time. Fort Muncy, if properly garrisoned, was an important position for the defense of the valley below it; here was a good place from which to support scouting parties, west and north, and from which passes of the Muncy hills to the eastward could be covered by strong scouting parties, but the country lacked men, and means to support them at this critical time. Near the site of Fort Muncy is the Indian Mound described by Mr. Gernerd in his “Now and Then,” and near the Hall’s station is the grave of Capt. John Brady, with his faithful old soldier comrade, John Lebo, buried by his side. The spring still defines the location of the fort.
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