Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2005-10 > 1128998898
From: "John Polk" <>
Subject: RE: [Sc-Ir] Blunston Licenses
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 22:48:29 -0400
The Blunston Licenses are an important resource for finding those first
Scotch-Irish squatters who jumped the gun and populated the Cumberland
Valley before the Penns concluded their treaty with the Indians for the
area. There were 249 licenses issued altogether, dating from 1734 to 1736.
A word of caution - the exact location of many of the licensed properties
will never be known with certainty. There just isn't enough information in
them to pin the sites down for sure, and a lot of the reference points have
vanished or have very different names now than they did in 1737. One
particular license of interest to me, for example, was 400 acres issued to
a James Polk "on the middle branch of the Conegochege at a place called
Indian Cabins." That is the entire description. Needless to say the cabins
are no longer there.
The Rev. William Swaim, a Presbyterian minister from Newville and
Harrisburg, now deceased, also did a lot of work on locating the Blunston
properties and published some of it, and other historical papers, in a
series of paperback leaflets that are still available from his executor at
very reasonable cost. The most pertinent to the present discussion is "Over
the River -- Cumberland Valley Farm Tracts licensed by Samuel Blunston"
(1994). This does an analysis showing the pattern of development of the
first 100 tracts in distinct clusters. Be advised, Swaim had very strong
views about the history of the early development of the area, and gets,
shall we say, a bit polemical at times, but his work is useful and unique.
I didn't know a separate, similar project was done at Shippensburg. If they
have all the property locations worked out I would be very interested to
see the map.
Havre de Grace, MD
> [Original Message]
> From: Sally Brandon <>
> To: <>
> Date: 10/10/2005 12:27:38 PM
> Subject: [Sc-Ir] Blunston Licenses
> Hey folk,
> I generally lurk and learn, have done so for years. Thanks Linda, shout
out! And thanks, Rev. Andrews, for sorting out my posting problems so
> For those searching their Scotch-Irish in colonial Pennsylvania, I
thought I'd put it out there that I'm tracking down a source I'd not heard
> Over a hundred licenses were granted on the west side of the Susquehanna
in now-Cumberland County, PA while the Indians still had possession by
treaty. Via Sam Blunston, a wave of Scotch-Irish c. 1734 received licenses
for tracts that have become known as the Blunston Licenses.
> But you probably know that if you're a descendant of one of them. If you
have Heritage Quest access, the Donehoo book "A History of the Cumberland
Valley in Pennsylvania" lists them with some typos.
> Through researcher Dr. Henry Cathey (the Cartheys on the list are Catheys
and the Brennan on the list is known to be a Brandon) I got several grids
and the key from a 1977 Shippensburg State College Blunston Licenses map
project. The college can't find the original but the Cumberland County
Historical society has copies, which I intend to copy next week. (As of
1999, the notes say they were already faded and had to be copied, retraced
and copied again.)
> As far as I know, this is a unique resource. If I have it right,
properties were identified by size, color-coded, then paired with the
Donehoo book to form a key whereby you should be able to plug in your
ancestor if he's on the list.
> Anyone with Blunston license holders in their family interested in the
map, just let me know at this other mailbox below and I'll share what I
find next week.
> Sally Brandon
--- John Polk
--- Havre de Grace MD