Secor / Secord / Seacord in the Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania

This is a gathering place for information about Secors/Secords/Seacords in the Wyoming Valley and surrounding areas.

“…there had come in strange families of interlopers from Minnisink, from West Chester, New York, from Kinderhook, and the Mohawk, neither connected with Pennsylvania nor Connecticut, between them and the old settlers there was neither sympathy in feeling nor community of interests.”

“It is supposed they deliberately settled along the Susquehanna to protect the route from New York to Niagara.” [source]

Seacord’s Island

Before 1771: According to Craft and his History of Bradford County, John Secord made his first home in Westmoreland, on the west side of the Susquehanna, nearly opposite the mouth of Tunkhannock Creek, in what is now Wyoming County.

Also: “John Secord is said by Miner to have first settled on the west side of the Susquehanna, above the narrows, nearly opposite Tunkhannock. It is evident from his son’s letters appended that he was a Pennsylvania claimant living on Monockonock Island previous to 1771. [Source]

1774: The Indian names of the several localities upon the upper Susquehanna:

Manamichcake – The gravelly island where John Seacord lives. – From the Diary of Jessie Lukens, 1774.

Clipped from The Wilkes-Barre Record, 17 Mar 1898, Thu, Page 5,

1777: In 1777, John Secord removed to Tioga Point, where he cleared 7 or 8 acres of land, and immediately at the Point, erected a small house and a barn, and in 1778 had a small stock of cattle. There he remained most of the time until after the battle of Wyoming, when he removed to New York State.

tioga-point-google-maps
Tioga Point, Athens, Pennsylvania. Image from Google Maps.

1785: In June 1785, John Secord was living in New York, at which time he sold to Matthias Hollenback his title and interest in and to the land at Tioga Point where he had formerly dwelt .

Subsequently to 1785, he is said to have emigrated to Canada.

kinderhook to niagara
New York State to Tunkhannock to Athens to Niagara. This is just to give a general overview. I don’t know the exact route the Secors would have taken. I also don’t know the exact place in NY they left from. Google Maps, accessed Feb 03, 2018.

1807 Dec 4th: Putnam [Township] then part of Luzerne County, PA (Now Tunkhannock):

Commissioner’s Office, Dec 4, 1807

The following claims have been exhibited to the State Commissioners, under the Act of the General Assembly, passed the 4th of April 1799, for offering compensation to the Pennsylvania claimants, in the 17 townships in the County of Luzerne, and the several supplements thereto, during their attendance, since the 22nd June last, for the purpose of receiving the claims of the Connecticut settlers– And are now published that all persons concerned may take notice thereof. If there are no objections filed within four weeks, the Commissioners will award Certificates to such of the said Claimants, as at that time the land shall be adjudged.

By order of the Commissioners,
Jesse Fell, Clerk.

John Rosencrans, Lot No. 37 (Called Seacord’s Island), containing 300 acres, more or less. – Clipped from The Gleaner, Wilkes Barre, PA, 04 Dec 1807, Fri, Page 3

 

 

JOHN ROSECRANTS Sub 929 Oath filed Claims lot N 37 lSecord’s Island supposed to contain 300 Acres Putnam List Drawn by John P Schott Deed 25 1793 Con 100 John P Schott and Naomy his wife to Belding Sweetland for a tract of Land called Seacords Island containing 300 Acres more or less Deed 11 March 1800 Con 500 Belding Sweetland to Claimant for a Tract of Land called Seacord’s Island and is N 37 containing 300 Acres more or less.
Pennsylvania Archives
edited by Samuel Hazard, John Blair Linn, William Henry Egle, George Edward Reed, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, Gertrude MacKinney, Charles Francis Hoban

There are still in existence some very interesting letters written to Matthias Hollenback in 1817- 18-25 [sic] by John Secord, Jr [presumably written from Niagara, Ontario]. John  gave considerable family history, mentioned the death of John Secord, Sr., in 1804, and Stephen in 1805.

At this date he had been encouraged to follow up his father’s Pennsylvania claim.

As to where the Secord’s location was, we here insert some affidavits incontestable:

June 29 1785 before Wm Maclay Esq one of the Justices of the court of Common Pleas for Northumberland county came Jacob Bowman of Tioga and James Whitney of Wyoming, labourers, and made affidavit that they respectively knew of John Secord’s dwelling at Tioga Point, nearly where Matthias Hollenback has a dwelling & improvements before the year 1780 & that the said Secord had a suitable house, barns, etc. Bowman says improved land to the value of seven or eight acres.

These records locate Secord’s pitch from river to river, on the land now occupied by Cornelius Hunsiker and MB Stiles, also part of Mrs. EH Perkins property (1907). Matthias Hollenback said that Secord dug the well still in use in Hunsiker grounds and planted the apple trees which have only recently gone to decay.

Another affidavit of the same date was as follows:

Philadelphia County.

Personally appeared before me Plunket Fleeson, one of the Justices of the aforesaid County, Rudolph Fox, of the county of Northumberland, being of full age who being duly sworn according to law Deposeth and saith That this Depont. was at Tioga in the year 1778 where he saw John Secord settled with his Family at the point of Tioga in a Cappen Build by the said Secord & that the said Secord had a considerable stock of Cattle and horses. This Depont. further saith that he and the said Secord and all the settlers in that settlement had positive warning from the Indians for them to remove up immediately into their Lines or Settlements, and in case of Neglect or Disobedience of this order, they might Depent upon a Totall Distruction. That the said Secord, with the rest of the settlers, was removed in consequence of these orders. And this Depont. further saith that he never new said Secord to take up arms for or against the Country, and further this Depont. saith not. Sworn 31st day of October 1785 before Plunket Fleeson, –Rudolph Fox”

“..after the ratification of peace, the Secords returned to the valley, intending to make a settlement on Franklin’s Flats at Wysox [which was formed in 1795 from Tioga]. Sebastian Strope, who had returned with his restored family, hearing of Secord’s intention, armed himself with a heavy ox whip and sought an interview as follows.

“John Secord do you think we are going to have you among us when you refused to let my wife have flour for her starving children?” following this up with a severe whipping, and threatened repetition if he attempted to stay. at the same time offering to treat Cyrus [John Secord’s son, some say this is John Secord., Jr.) as a friend and neighbor if he chose to remain. Secord accepted this notice to quit, though Cyrus remained and was well treated. [I don’t see any Secords on the Wysox censuses from around this time – Alison]

That John Secord had some definite claim to the clearing or settlement here is evinced by the following deed, which however, was not recorded:

Northumberland County, June 6 1785:

John Secord, of the state of New York, conveys to Matthias Hollenback, all his right title and interest in a certain tract of land called Tioga Point in the county of Northumberland and state of Penna, at the Junction of the Tioga and Susquehanna Rivers with the improvements, consideration one hundred pounds. No boundaries given. Conveyance witnessed by John Shepard, Daniel McDowel, and Jacob Bowman. Proven by Daniel McDowell before Wm Maclay, Esquir,e July 25 1785.

It seems safe to assume that the above deed is evidence of the very first sale of land on Tioga Point. While it is now impossible to understand this transaction, we may be assured it had an amicable settlement, as John Secord’s son writes to Matthias Hollenback, “I am happy to have it once more in my power of manifesting my friendship to you, which I shall ever cherish with the fondest recollections.”

Miner mentions Secords among the Tory families on the Susquehanna from the Mohawk, Kinderhook, Minisink, and West Chester, N.Y.  [Source]

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