Who killed Jack Armstrong along the Juniata River?

SUNBURY, Pa.Sunbury Press has released John L. Moore’s Bows, Bullets, and Bears, the first of eight volumes in the Frontier Pennsylvania series.

bbab_fcAbout the Book:
Jack Armstrong died violently along the Juniata River in early 1744.

Armstrong was a rough-and-tumble frontier trader whose sharp business practices antagonized one Indian too many. He and two men who worked for him traveled into the woods in early 1744 and never came out again. Word soon crossed the frontier that all three had been murdered. Obscure, but richly detailed documents tell how and why Iroquois Indians living along the Susquehanna River at present-day Sunbury developed evidence that exposed the Native Americans involved in Armstrong’s murder.

John L. Moore’s nonfiction book contains true stories of Armstrong and other real people caught up in the struggles that took place all along the Pennsylvania frontier throughout the late 1600s and 1700s. The stories are set mainly in the valleys of the Delaware, Juniata, Lehigh, Ohio and Susquehanna rivers.

Other chapters tell how:

A colonial-era witch trial.

A colonial-era witch trial.

The Philadelphia jury in Margaret Mattson’s 1683 witchcraft trail delivered a split verdict. She was acquitted of bewitching her neighbors’ cows, but found guilty of being known as a witch. Presiding over the trial was William Penn, who let Margaret go home after her husband and son posted a bond for her “good behavior.”

Moravian missionaries who traveled along the Susquehanna River’s West and North Branches during a famine in 1748 found many Indians sick with smallpox and suffering from starvation. The people in one native town were boiling tree bark for food. In another village they were cooking grass.

Early in the French & Indian War, an influential Iroquois chief known as “The Belt of Wampum” urged Pennsylvania officials to build a fort on the Susquehanna River at the native town called Shamokin, present-day Sunbury. “Such Indians as continue true to you want a place to come to and to live in security,” The Belt said in early 1756.

Frances Slocum, a small girl kidnapped by Indians from her home along the Susquehanna River during the America Revolution, spent most of her adult life as a Miami Indian. In 1839, her brother Joseph and his daughters traveled from Pennsylvania to Indiana to visit her. They traveled by stage coach, canal boat and horse-drawn railroad during their 19-day journey west.

Anecdotes throughout the book describe how Native Americans and Europeans hunted bears, ate bear meat, and used bearskins for blankets and mattresses.

Excerpt:
February 1744
By the early 1740s, an Indian trader named Jack Armstrong, who operated out of Lancaster County, had developed a reputation for employing sharp and even antagonistic practices in his dealings with the Delaware Indians who lived, hunted, and trapped along the Susquehanna and the Juniata Rivers. Some of the trader’s white friends had even cautioned him about being overly harsh with his Indian customers and especially about angering them. If Armstrong wasn’t particularly likeable, he was nevertheless a successful trader and a well-known frontier personality. But as hard and tough as Armstrong was, events that occurred along the Juniata River during early 1744 proved that one of his customers, a Delaware Indian known as John Musemeelin, was tougher, harder, and more ferocious.

Armstrong’s story begins in early 1744 when the trader and two men who worked for him, James Smith and Woodworth Arnold, loaded their string of pack horses with trade goods—gun powder, gun flints, lead bullets, glass beads, scissors, woolen blankets, combs, little bells, and other items. For such goods, native trappers would eagerly swap the skins of deer, bears, beavers, elk, otters, foxes, raccoons, and wildcats.

Shikellamy

Shikellamy

The three men headed north and followed the trail along the Susquehanna, and then, well north of present-day Harrisburg, swung west and headed out the Juniata toward the Allegheny Mountains. That was in February. By late March and early April, as spring came on, a rumor swept across the frontier: Armstrong and his men had disappeared and weren’t ever coming out of the woods.

As it turned out, all three had been murdered. Since the killings took place in Indian Country—well beyond what was then the western boundary of Pennsylvania—an Indian chief conducted the first official inquiry in the case. Indeed, records of the Pennsylvania colony contain a detailed account of this chief’s investigation into the disappearance and murder of Jack Armstrong. The account itself was dictated by Chief Shikellamy, an Oneida who represented the Iroquois Confederacy at Shamokin and who led the investigation that exposed the killer. Located at the forks of the Susquehanna River, Shamokin was the largest Indian town in what is now Pennsylvania. Shikellamy subsequently had the man arrested and incarcerated. Conrad Weiser, a Pennsylvania German who was the colony’s Indian agent, recorded Shikellamy’s narrative.

About the Author:
johnJohn L. Moore, a veteran newspaperman, said he employed a journalist’s eye for detail and ear for quotes in order to write about long-dead people in a lively way. He said his books are based on 18th and 19th century letters, journals, memoirs and transcripts of official proceedings such as interrogations, depositions and treaties.

The author is also a professional storyteller who specializes in dramatic episodes from Pennsylvania’s colonial history. Dressed in 18th century clothing, he does storytelling in the persona of “Susquehanna Jack,” a frontier ruffian. Moore is available weekdays, weekends and evenings for audiences and organizations of all types and sizes.

Moore has participated in several archaeological excavations of Native American sites. These include the Village of Nain, Bethlehem; the City Island project in Harrisburg, conducted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission during the 1990s; and a Bloomsburg University dig in 1999 at a Native American site near Nescopeck. He also took part in a 1963 excavation conducted by the New Jersey State Museum along the Delaware River north of Worthington State Forest.

Moore’s 45-year career in journalism included stints as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; as a Harrisburg-based legislative correspondent for Ottaway News Service; as managing editor of The Sentinel at Lewistown; as editorial page editor and managing editor at The Daily Item in Sunbury; and as editor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in Bethlehem.

Bows, Bullets, and Bears
Authored by John L. Moore
List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
96 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065112
ISBN-10: 1620065118
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Bows-Bullets-and-Bears-9…

Cover artwork by Andrew Knez, Jr.  For more information about Andrew’s work, please see:http://www.andrewknezjr.com/

JoePa, Smokin' Joe and Titanic Victims and Survivors some of the highlights of Keystone Tombstones 3

kt3_fcMECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released the third volume of the Keystone Tombstone series by Joe Farrell and Joe Farley. The book relates interesting tales of famous people interred in Pennsylvania including the search to find their graves, most of which involved detours through local pubs and taverns.

The authors will be on hand for the Mechanicsburg Wine Walk at Sunbury Press’s bookstore at 50 W Main St. in Mechanicsburg on Saturday May 10th, 2014 from 2 to 6 PM. They will be signing copies of their books as the company also celebrates the release of volume three of this popular series.

Since the release of Volume One, Farrell and Farley have become mainstays on PCN, where segments based on their series have been aired.  The two have also appeared on numerous other television and radio stations and have been written about in dozens of newspapers.

About the book:
Joe Farrell and Joe Farley
 explore the cemeteries (and pubs) of Pennsylvania in search of interesting graves and stories about the interred.

Included in this volume:

  • Nick ADAMS “Johnny Yuma Was a Rebel”
  • Marian ANDERSON “A Voice Heard Once in a Hundred Years”
  • “Babes in the Woods”
  • John BARRYMORE “The Great Profile”
  • Robert CASEY “The Three Time Loss from Holy Cross”
  • Jimmy DORSEY “A Fabulous Dorsey”
  • FLIGHT 93 Crash Site “40 Heroes”
  • “Four Founders”
  • “Fox and Cox”
  • Joe William FRAZIER “Smokin’ Joe”
  • Dave GARROWAY “The Communicator”
  • Harry GREB “The Human Windmill”
  • John Frederick HARTRANFT “Old Johnny”
  • Robert (Bob) HESS “More than Just a Scientist”
  • “The Kelayres Massacre”
  • John MCDERMOTT “Golf’s Unknown Champion”
  • Mary Pinchot MEYER “The Mysterious Case of Mary Pinchot Meyer”
  • Joe PATERNO “JoePa”
  • Teddy PENDERGRASS “Life Is a Song Worth Singing”
  • Molly PITCHER “From Molly Pitcher to Black Hawk Down”
  • Art ROONEY “The Chief”
  • Lillian RUSSELL “The Great American Beauty”
  • Arlen SPECTER “The Single Bullet Theory Senator”
  • ”Titanic Victims and Survivors”
  • Willie THROWER “Football’s Jackie Robinson”
  • “Pirates’ Pride”
  • John UPDIKE “One of America’s Best”
  • Grover WASHINGTON, Jr. “The Smooth Jazzman”
  • Anthony WAYNE “Mad Anthony”
  • Unusual Tombstones


backcoverimageKeystone Tombstones Volume Three: Famous Graves Found in Pennsylvania

Authored by Joe Farrell, Authored by Joe Farley

List Price: $19.95
8″ x 10″ (20.32 x 25.4 cm)
Black & White on White paper
190 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063613
ISBN-10: 1620063611
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

For more information about the book, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Keystone-Tombstones-Volu…