Haycock Historical Society - Upper Bucks County
Stories written during the 2020 Corona virus Pandemic Haycock Township
I live near Lake Towhee County Park and I frequently enjoy walking through it. I'm annoyed if I find litter. but I feel a bit self-conscious about picking up much of it when there are other park visitors around. During the period this spring when the park was closed, and there was a chain across the road, I snuck in and pulled out cans, bottles, candy wrappers and bait containers from shrubs and brambles all over the park. In the course of a few days, I collected five tall kitchen bags worth of trash. I have to say the park never looked more pristine, and I thoroughly enjoyed birding as I worked. As reported in other places around the world, with humans in lockdown, wildlife filled the void. During the stretch when the park was closed, without boats or kayaks on the water, and no people encroaching from the shoreline, large flocks of fishing birds accumulated and lingered. I observed all-time park record counts of 37 mergansers and 44 cormorants when no one was allowed in. They dissipated and the trash returned when the park reopened, but it was like a private nature paradise while it lasted.
Lake Towhee, Towhee Park, Bucks County, PA
DONALDSON'S RETURN TO READING
APPEARANCE AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC LAST NIGHT. - Nothing was heard of Donaldson until early yesterday afternoon, when telegram was received from him at South Bethlehem, stating that he was then on his way to Reading. After he disappeared in the clouds on Monday afternoon, his course was nearly due east, and at 20 minutes past 4 o'clock he descended near the village of Applebachville, in Bucks county, having traveled in an air line a distance of about thirty miles and accomplishing the trip in one hour and thirty-five minutes. At half-past 7 reached the village of Quakertown, a distance of some six miles from Applebachville, on the North Pennsylvania Railroad, where he was compelled to remain until yesterday morning when he took the train for Bethlehem, and reached this city a 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
Last evening, according to previous announcement, he appeared at the Mishler Academy of Music, and despite the extreme inclemency of the weather and the bad walking, he was greeted by a large and delighted audience of his fellow-citizens. He prefaced the entertainment by a few pleasant tricks and legerdemain, followed by several amusing feats in ventriloquism. He also performed upon the trapeze, and the evening's entertainment concluded with a series of beautiful dissolving views by Professor Beard, a young gentleman of the city, who showed much skill and taste. The views consisted of representations of the Chinese and other balloons, prominent among which was the aerial ship "America," which Donaldson proposes to construct and which he will endeavor to cross the Atlantic. There were also views of scenes in Europe and art sketches. These were explained by Prof. Donaldson in a pleasing and humorous manner. During the course of the evening he also read an interesting narrative of his aerial trip on Monday afternoon, and this notice of his return and entertainment cannot be better concluded than by giving in full.
I left Reading at 2:45 P.M. The thermometer stood 36 degrees. The lower current blew me in the southwest. The air got colder as I was ascended. I could not perform much on an account of my hands being numb. After doing the drop, I remained seated on the trapeze bar, feasting my eyes on the city and at all movements of the multitude below me. When I entered the clouds I climbed up to see the barometer for the purpose of ascertaining the height, which was 3,000 feet from the earth.
3 P.M. I was still sailing along in the clouds, 500 feet above the lower edge, (of the part which you see,) and the thicker portion appeared to be above me and at the height I was not yet half way through them. They felt quite warm. The thermometer was 40 degrees, which at the earth was 36 degrees. While sailing in the clouds I dressed myself.
3:20 P.M. 6,000 feet high. Still in the clouds. Thermometer 38 degrees. Could hear a dog bark and the steam whistle of some train, and also a train running over a bridge.
3:40 P.M. Could hear the cars sunning the " tschu,tschu," of the engine, the shrill whistle, and the running water of a stream and all this time in the body of the clouds. Could see nothing, but I contented myself with what I could hear and take notes of which I now read to you.
3:45 P.M. Just crawling abouve the first strata of clouds. About half a mile above me was the second strata. Once in a while caught a glimpse of the sun. The thermometer rose to 48 degrees. The lower clouds were 6,000 feet in thickness. The very highest point I reached was 11,000 feet, not quite tow miles.
3:50 P.M. It commenced to look dark, but could see the sun's rays penetrating the clouds in the distance, making the view a grand one, the like of which I had never seen before. It commenced raining fine and the air got colder. Looking up at the new work I could see the water freezing and forming in long icicles on the cords. The rain then turned into hail which made the balloon sound like a bass drum. Had this been the paper balloon I could not have stood it, and in all probability this would have been my last ascension. The thermometer at this time stood at 20 degrees. The balloon being loaded with ice and water caused it to descend rapidly at the rate of 300 feet per minute. I thought that I would empty one sand bag to ease up on the descent, but found the wet sand frozen solid. I found two others of the bags in the same predicament. The fourth one was emptied out, which checked the balloon's rapid descent. While I was descending through the clouds it felt very warn and by shaking the balloon it caused the icicles to drip from the netting.
4 P.M. The earth was in sight - this being the first I had seen of it since I left Reading. About one-half of the earth looked to be covered with snow. After leaving the clouds the air was very cold. By this time I had all the little instruments in my pocket for safety. Seeing that is was a clear country all around me I let her descend fast. When I first left the clouds my course was towards a small town west of me, but when about 1,000 feet from the earth my course changed to north-west. Not knowing where I was I concluded to land near the first town I came to, so I dropped my anchor, which soon reached the ground, relieving the balloon of 4 1/2 pounds which caused it to remain about seventy-five feet above the earth. I thought that the anchor would catch in a fence, but in place of holding me it pulled the rails apart, and went dancing over the frozen ground. In passing over a school house the anchor caught in the shingles, pulling some of them loose, and in less time than it takes to tell this the would school was out, bare-headed and frightened, including the old school master with his long beard and stick in hand. The anchor was still traveling over the fields at a rapid rate, leaving the school children yelling and hallooing in the distance. I then noticed three men running after me, I hallooed to the nearest man to run faster and catch hold of the anchor. After running a short distance he stopped, saying, "I can't do it." No wonder, for the anchor was traveling much faster than he was. The anchor would catch a little once in a while and would shake me in a lively manner. It would also give the balloon a jerk, and cause it to jump up in the air about ten feet. At last it caught in the edge of some ice. Seeing an old farmer near it I called to him to keep it buried, which he did by sitting on it. In less than ten minutes there were about thirty persons, including men, women and children, on hand who volunteered their services to help me empty the balloon.
4:20 P.M. Landed one mile from the town of Applebachville, five miles west (should be east) of Quakertown, Bucks county, making the trip in 1 hour and 35 minutes. When I was up in the air the town looked as though there was no one in it, and one of the boys said they were all asleep, for they go to bed at 4 o'clock. On my was to the town I met the old school master, who said that all his scholars were frightened as well as himself when they heard the timber crack in the roof, which shook the school house.
July 4, 1872 a year earlier Donaldson has an encounter with Lake Michigan
This account is from the Reading Times
DONALDSON, THE AERIAL GYMINAST, IN CHICAGO. -- The Inter --Ocean gives the following particulars of a daring ascension by Donaldson, the aerial gymnast, at Chicago, on the 4th inst:
At 11:30 a.m. the aeronaut was ready for his journey. The balloon had neither boat nor basket, but simply a trapeze bar suspended from the ring. The daring performer laid hold of his bar, and with a coolness and nerve that was more in keeping with a parlor performance than with the prospect of a journey through the air, he gave the word "let go," and up went the gas bag. Waving his right arm in an adieu to the crowd, he cried "good bye, boys." The balloon kept on ascending and the aeronaut began his performance on the trapeze. He laid himself flat across the bar, and extending his feet and hands remained for some time in this dangerous position. Then bending backward and his head down, he hung, held to the bar only by his feet, with his hands sending down greetings to the speechless crowd below that watched every movement of his daring man with a breathless interest. As long as the balloon was in sight of the square, the performer was seen executing the most difficult evolutions with as much ease as if he had been on a stationary bar and on terra firma. The balloon rose to a height of about one and three-quarter miles, taking a southwesterly direction, and was then seen to turn directly south. The man on the "flying trapeze" seemed as little concerned as ever, and appeared to those who saw him pass on his course toward the lake like a little boy's kite driven rapidly before the wind.
The eyes of the citizens were directed upwards to the speck in the sky, which after it had reached a certain altitude, changed its course, and then made toward the lake. Then the balloon was lost sight of. The daring traveler, it was afterward found, had descended about two miles out on the lake, nearly opposite Twenty second street, and after trying one race with a propeller and another with a locomotive, he was dragged ashore by his balloon near Kendall station, where a great excitement prevailed. A boat had been sent out to his rescue, but he eluded all pursuit and came safely to shore, with a few scratched, having been dragged over the piers by the remorseless balloon. He was tenderly cared for at the residence of Mr. Baker, near Hyde Park, and was rubbed dry, and clothed by the members of the family and neighbors. The athlete seemed to take the adventure very coolly, and refused all offers of ardent spirits. After indulging in a refreshing nap he conversed with the people who flocked about him, and gave the following account of his adventure:
I went up about half past 10 a.m. at the corner of Madison and Elizabeth Streets. I found that I was getting up into a higher strata of the air where the wind was blowing a different direction from the current where I was. The rigging of the balloon got tangled so I could not straighten it out. I soon rose to the height of about a mile and a half, and found myself going east very rapidly. I pulled the valve clear open and tied it to the ring. It was twenty minutes after I opened the valve before the balloon began to descend. If I had known the lake was so narrow as it is I would have gone right across it. I understand it is but sixty miles wide here, but the clouds below me interfered with my seeing that distance. I can see one hundred miles in clear weather. I could see the southern shore bending all toward the east. I could see by the smoke of the steamers passing under me that the lower current of air was blowing to shore, and I came down as rapidly as I could. I struck the water about two miles out, nearly opposite Twenty-second street, and was driven rapidly in shore by the wind. I had no boat or basket in the balloon, nothing but the trapeze rope in which I had been performing, and this I loosened and threw into the lake some time before I struck. The balloon held me about breast deep in the water, and I was compelled to cling tightly as it would have risen had I let go. A bag that I had containing a suit of citizens' clothes and $20 in money was lost in the lake. This is my twenty-third ascension. I have met with such results before. Last January, while making an ascension at Norfolk, Va., I came near being driven out to the Atlantic and was only saved by the balloon catching upon a peer at the very edge of the water. My name is Washington M. Donaldson.
DONALDSON'S LAST VOYAGE
July 23 1875, The Valley Sentinel (Carlisle, PA )
THE MISSING AERONAUT
The Chicago TRIBUNE gives the following graphic account: of Professor Donaldson's voyage, (July 4, 1875) so far as any particulars have transpired. It appears only too probable that the adventurous aeronaut has fallen a victim to his own characteristic disregard of danger. There is every reason to fear, says the TRIBUNE, that Prof. Washington Donaldson and his hapless companion, Mr. Grimwood, of the JOURNAL perished in the hurricane of Thursday night. Had the balloon been in its most proper trim that ruthless tempest would have sorely tried its staunchness. But if, and there is abundant reason to suspect, the machine was in no fit condition to brave even the lesser hazards of a trip across Lake Michigan, the hope that Donaldson and his guest reached solid ground in safety seem only too desperate.
The departure of the balloon was full of evil augury. A frail bag of cheap cotton, harnessed by wreaths of old cordage to a crazy wicker basket, there were no signs of care or precaution in the process of making ready.
Donaldson was evidently very nervous about the start. He whistled vacantly to himself, and took frequent observations of the wind and the promise of the sky.
The two reporters, who entered the car together held no conversation with him and while they were in the heat of an inaudible dialogue he swung himself, monkey style to a platform of wire netting just under the neck of the balloon in which unfragrant neighborhood he remained until the machine became a speck in the upper blue
Just before the balloon began the series of short bumps and jerks which was the prelude of its departure, Donaldson covered his eyes with his hand and gazed steadfastly over the treacherous lake. One of the wags sung out, "Donaldson, you'd better get out," The aeronaut was silent for a minute, then he muttered: - "I only wish I could!"
Grimwood, of the JOURNAL, was in the dingy wicker car peering through the network of ropes like a cage-bird. Donaldson's wire perch was fully three feet above him.
Yesterday morning, after a night of unusual hurricane, there was early and anxious inquiry at the Hippodrome for the adventurous pair. To the first as well as to the latest questioner, Mr. Barnum's agents could only reply with an expression of hopefulness. Donaldson had survived such momentous perils in the past had come out scatheless from so many hand-to hand encounters with death, that there was excuse enough for being confident.
But when, later in the day, a coasting schooner brought news of the balloon's dire peril at an early hour of the night, some time before it was called upon to stand the tremendous shock of the tempest, hope for the voyagers' safety gave place to a reluctant belief that they had both perished. The Little Guide, a small craft employed in the lumber and tan bark trade, entered this port about nine o'clock. Upon her arrival, her captain, a Swede named Anderssen and his mate, a compatriot named Rasmussen, both told how, at seven o'clock on Thursday evening, when off Grosse Point, some twelve miles North of Chicago, and while standing out thirty miles from the shore, they had seen the balloon dropping its car once in a while into the lake, only some mile and a half from their vessel.
Realizing the dangerous situation of the aeronauts, Captain Anderssen headed his schooler in their direction. But before he could overtake the machine, which was bounding at a rapid pace on the water, there was a sudden lightening of the car, and the globe shot upwards to a very great height, soon disappearing altogether from the view of the crew of the schooner. There is every reason to believe that the cause of the renewed buoyancy of the balloon was either the loss of most of the ballast or of one of the two luckless voyagers. Captain Anderssen and his mate were, so far as it can be positively settled at present, the very last observers of the balloon and its human freight.
( A few weeks later the body of the reporter was recovered, but neither Donaldson or remains of the balloon were ever found.)
Donaldson's ascension at Chicago that ended in Lake Michigan July 4, 1872
One of the original land owners in Haycock ( at the time not a township) was Silas McCarty. On November 2, 1737, Silas applied for a land warrant of 150 acres in Bucks County. Four years later July 21, 1741 he applied for another land warrant of 100 acres in Bucks County. This land was bordered on the west by the Logan tract, Bryan tract on the south and Jacob Strawn on the east. Later when the area became Haycock Township this tract of land fell within the borders of the township.
In 1722, Silas McCarty(1700-1750) married Sarah Carrell,(1700-1760) daughter of James and Sarah (Dungan) Carrell, of Warminster and granddaughter of Rev. Thomas Dugan the founder and pastor of the first Baptist Church in Bucks county started in 1684.
It is written in Davis's history that Silas probably came to Pennsylvania around 1722 as there was a large migration of Scott Irish to the new world at that time. No written record has been found of his crossing. The assumption is that he was a Presbyterian by faith. Philadelphia was a major port city at this time in 1700 with a population of 2500. By 1722 the population had increased to around 5,000.
Silas and Sarah had ten children and all appear to have survived to adulthood. The one child we are most interested in for this article is Benjamin. He married Margaret Walton in 1757, he not being a Quaker, she was disowned for marriage to him. Benjamin is said to have worked one of the farms on the Logan Track in Richland Township. This was a thousand acre area that butted up against the McCarty track on the west side. In the will of William Logan, February 2, 1787, the tracts farmed by Benjamin McCarty and Isaac Walton Jr. were given to his daughter Sarah wife of Thomas Fisher. At this time Thomas and Sarah convey 194 acres of this tract to Benjamin McCarty who remained on the farm until his death in 1794.
Benjamin (1731-1794) and Margaret Walton (1736-1794) had eleven children, 3 sons, 7 girls and then another son. The connection between Muncy PA and the vicinity of Haycock begins with these four sons, Silas, William, Isaac, and Benjamin. I first came across this connection while reading about Silas McCarty, Sr. in the book Early friends Families of Upper Bucks, by Clarence V. Roberts. My first thoughts were, why Muncy, this is the year 1786-87? Muncy is 133 miles from Quakertown and in 1787 traveling to the area would not be easy. The Muncy historical society has a publications called "Now and Then," published at Muncy, Pa. years 1888, 1889, 1891, 1892 in which is published an account of four young men from Richland of the Quaker extraction who went to the area which became Muncy. These were the four sons of Benjamin and Margaret (Walton). Also included in this group was David Lloyd, married to Margaret a sister of the four brothers, and two members of the Walton family.
Muncy was on the map at this time but not called Muncy. The area was on the "frontier " of English settlement. One of the earliest settlers was John Brady (1733- 1779) who was a captain in the Scotch-Irish and German forces west of the Alleghenies under colonel Henry Bouquet in his expeditions during the French and Indian War and had received a grant of land with the other officer's in payment for his services. In 1776, John Brady built a large house on this property and constructed a 12 foot high log stockade around the perimeter.
During the American Revolution, Brady was a captain in the 12th Pennsylvania Regiment and was wounded at the battle of Brandywine. His son, John, a boy of 15 years, stood in the ranks with a rifle and was also wounded. Sam, his eldest son, was in another division. During this time, most of the men in the region were involved in the Revolutionary War, leaving the area vulnerable to Indian attacks. When a cry for help went up from the sparsely settled frontier, General George Washington mustered out several officers to organize a defense of the area.
Captain John Brady was one of the officers mustered out and soon after the Battle of Brandywine, he came home in the fall of 1777. His stockade quickly became a place of refuge to the families within reach. On April 11, 1779, taking a wagon and a guard, he made a trip up the river to Wallis to procure supplies. On his return, he was killed by Indians. His body was retrieved, brought to the fort and soon after interred in the Muncy burying ground, some four miles from his home.
By the summer most of the people in the area had left. On July 8, 1779, Smith's Mill at the mouth of the White Deer Creek was burned, and on the 17th, Muncy Valley was destroyed. Starrett's Mills and all the principal houses in Muncy Township were also burned along with Forts Muncy, Brady, Freeland, and Sunbury.
Ten years later 1787-88 these seven young men decided to go to the Lycoming Valley. William and Benjamin bought and divided the 300 acres known as the John Brady Tract in the Manor of Muncy and after a few years began laying out the first lots that became the town of Muncy.
The area grew slowly and by 1827 had a population of 600. The first name chosen for the borough was Pennsborough, this was later changed to Muncy to perpetuate the name of the tribe that first dwelt there, a tribe of Lenape, named Monseys.
The four sons were Silas (1758-1813), Isaac (1760-1847, Benjamin (1763-1828), William (1766-1813) and daughter Margaret (1772-1848) married to David Lloyd.
Information taken from the book Early friends Families of Upper Bucks, by Roberts
and the Muncy PA website.
By Pat DeWald, Haycock Historical Society