SCOBEE-L ArchivesArchiver > SCOBEE > 2006-05 > 1147252157
Subject: Sugarloaf Massacre, September 11, 1780
Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 05:09:17 EDT
A little background on the Sugarloaf Massacre involving a 'Scoby'
-- Terry "Champ" Holmes (Scobee)
During the height of the American Revolution in the summer of 1780, British
sympathizers, also known as Tories, concentrated from New York's Mohawk
Valley, began attacking patriot outposts located along the Susquehanna River Valley
in Northeast Pennsylvania. Because of the reports of Tory activity in the
region, Captain Daniel Klader and a platoon of 41 men from Northampton County,
Pennsylvania were sent to investigate. They traveled north from the Lehigh
Valley along a path known as "Warrior's Trail", which is present-day State
Route 93, since this route connects the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
(formerly known as Mauch Chunk) to the Susquehanna River in Berwick,
Heading north, Captain Klader's men made it as far north as present-day
Conyngham, Pennsylvania when they were ambushed by members of the Seneca tribe
and Tory militiamen. In all, 15 men were killed on September 11, 1780 in what
was to become the Sugarloaf Massacre.
The Moravians, a Christian denomination, had been using "Warrior's Trail"
since the early 1700s after the Moravian missionary Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf
first used it to reach the Wyoming Valley. Some historians believe that
Moravian missionaries were sent from their settlements near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
to the site of the Sugarloaf Massacre to bury the dead soldiers. Because of
the aesthetic natural beauty of the Conyngham Valley, some Moravians decided
to stay and built a settlement along the Nescopeck Creek, which is
present-day St. Johns, near the intersection of Interstates 80 and 81.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"THE SUGAR LOAF MASSACRE"
In part, from "Pennsylvania Frontier Soldiers in the Rev. War"
A number of historians now question exactly where the following battle and
took place. I know nothing of the terrain of this area, and I know nothing
about the location of the Wagner farm, as I have only passed through the
counties via their interstate, but if my "ESP", or whatever you call it, is still
in working order, I could probably pinpoint close to where our Samuel Bond,
Jr. is buried. See: "Stranger than Fiction Stories".
In the year 1780 the larger portion of Pennsylvania was open land, much
Protecting the frontier, the farms and villages was almost impossible. There
were many Tory sympathizers and spies in this area, even among the military
ranks, that acted secretly conveying information of every American movement
to the enemies of the struggling young country.
It seemed the savages and Tories always knew where SULLIVAN'S army would be
well as all other expeditions. They would simply lay in wait then swoop down
to kill and massacre their unsuspecting victims.
These precalculated attacks grew to the extent that COL. HUNTER, in command
Augusta (Sunbury, Pa.) decided to take action. CAPTAIN D. KLADER, of
Northampton County, with a detachment of CAPTAIN JOHN VAN ETTEN'S Co. was ordered to
Ft Augusta to assist. Included in this party was our ancestor CPL. SAMUEL
On Sept. 6, 1780, some 250/300 Tories & Indians made a vicious attach on
(Lewis Twp., Northumberland Co.) on the headwaters of the Chilisquake,
approximately 17 mi from Ft Augusta. The siege was gallantly repulsed by CAPT.
RICE'S Company of the German Continental Regiment. With relief arriving from
COL. HUNTER the same enemy was forced to retreat, scattering in different
directions, destroying everything in their way.
To one of these groups of enemy, numbering around 40, came word from the
that CAPT. KLADER'S small force was on it's way from Northampton. They
immediately proceeded to the site of the present town of Berwick, crossing the
river and following the path from the Susquehanna River to Northampton, a
distance of about 7 miles from Nescopeck. Here, in the Sugar Loaf Valley,
southwestern part of Luzerne Co, they lay in wait.
Meanwhile, CAPT. KLADER and his men, after toiling laboriously for days over
mountains and through the forest, reached the summit of Buck Mountain.
Proceeding down the mountain, through a ravine, over the farm of N. WAGNER and
across the creek below, they came to what had been a Scotch settlement, but now,
because of the border trouble, wholly deserted. To their great delight they
saw before them open and cleared fields, covered with a luxuriate growth of
grass and beautiful with wild flowers. Weary as they were with the fatigue and
hardship of their long march they seemed to have entered upon a veritable
It was noontide of September 11, 1870, knapsacks were immediately unslung,
entered upon the enjoyment of the hour. The very beauty of their
surroundings lulled to rest all thought of danger. Succumbed by a modern day "R & R"
period the men lay or sat on the ground, one man was just leaning against a tree
with his shoes off, cleaning them, others had gone for grapes, which grew
there in abundance, and one climbed a tree and was eating the grapes from the
Suddenly a volley of musketry was poured in upon them and with it rang out
war-whoop of the savages, who, in a moment, were in their midst, hewing down
their victims with the murderous tomahawk. Some escaped, a few were taken
prisoner but most of them were killed.
Under the direction of COL. HUNTER, the bodies were gathered later and
interred. This brave group of men lie buried on the farm of SAMUEL WAGNER,
about half a mile from Conyngham, but no trace of the graves can now be seen.
The oak tree, under whose branches CAPT. KLADER lay, and upon which were cut
the initials of his name - D.K. - was sacrilegiously cut down and even the
stump is now gone.
Killed at Nescopeck, in the Sugar Loaf Massacre were:
Capt. D. Klader; Corporal Samuel Bond Jr.;
Privates: John Weaver; Baltzer Snyder; John Kouts; George Peter Reinhart;
George Shilhamer; Paul Neely; Abraham Smith; Jacob Arndt; Philip George;
James McGraw & Jacob Row.
The tragic death of these Pennsylvania-German volunteers was not taken
lightly and soon
COL. HUNTER found it possible, without the threat of arms, to clear the
Torie settlements from the area.
The story of "The Sugar Loaf Massacre", along with other battles on the
frontier, are now just another part of history but stories such as these
will be relived many times over through the hearts of their descendants,
including ours, the descendants of Samuel Bond Jr.
Subsequent to the above stories:
Mr. Duane Howard, descendant of Samuel Bond, III, s/o Lewis Bond, visited
the area of
the above Massacre. The town has erected a stone memorial for these gallant
men. Our ancestor, Samuel Bond, Jr., is listed on the memorial. Duane was
kind enough to forward pictures he had taken.
Also we understand they have a founders day play which reenact the details
of the battle
and is held ever year. An elder citizen and historian of the area wrote the
play and many articles, covering the events of the war in their area, are
available to tourists.
The Bloodstained Field: A History of the Sugarloaf Massacre, September 11,
Rogan H. Moore. Softcover, 2000, New, Illus., Maps, Index, 112 pp.
In 1779, Sullivan’s Expedition against the Iroquois attempted, but failed,
to pacify the frontier. As Iroquois war parties and contingents of loyalist
troops ravaged the frontier, patriot militias were hastily assembled. Capt.
Daniel Klader was put in command of a detachment of Van Etten’s Company for a
dangerous mission that would take them into hostile country in search of Tory
spies and sympathizers. Roland Montour, son of the legendary Queen Esther,
caught Klader’s men off-guard by the Little Nescopeck—a bloody battle ensued.
Several maps and numerous illustrations augment the text.
M1488 ISBN: 0-7884-1488-7
Map of Scene of the Sugarloaf Massacre, 1780:
The Sugarloaf Massacre:
excerpts from History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical
Selections. H.C. Bradsby, ed. Chicago: S. B. Nelson & Co., Publishers, 1893: