web analytics
Jan
20

Fort Allen built by Ben Franklin and son

By
When:
January 21, 2020 @ 1:20 am – 2:20 am
2020-01-21T01:20:00-05:00
2020-01-21T02:20:00-05:00

.

There was a Massacre November 25, 1755 and then another horrifying attack January 1, 1756 in Gnadenhutten  and then another on January 3, 1756 an attack on Allemangel ( meaning desolation of land of all wants).

.

Out of the ashes of New Gnadenhutten in today’s Weissport PA (across from Lehighton PA – Old Gnadenhutten) arose Fort Allen.

.

Who shows up in this story?  Ben Franklin.

.

Ben Franklin picked to respond

.

Public interest in Franklin’s letters about electricity led the Society to gather together many of the letters to Collinson from Franklin over a two-year period and send them to the printer for publication. This first collection of letters was published in a ninety-page pamphlet in 1751.

.

Where is Ben?

Ben Franklin meets the Governor in Reading PA,  January 1, 1756.

.

Nominated to Royal Society

Close to the end of this same month,

January 29, 1756,

Ben Franklin was

nominated to the  Royal Society

for his scientific observations

and experiments.

.

Many of the letters found here between Ben Franklin and Peter Collinson were collected to form this publication on electricity.

.

Ben Franklin is famous on both sides of the Atlantic.

.

How old is Ben now?

He is in his prime at age 50 when he goes to the frontier crossing the Blue Mountains in PA.

.

Helped Braddock Last Year

Last year, 1755, at age 49, he got the job done of providing wagons and horses for General Braddock.  He accomplished this with some cynical humor.

.

He had advertised to the German farmers in PA  that St Clair, a lead Braddock officer,  who looked like a Hussar (with a temper to match)   that St Clair is going to visit them and do something to them if they don’t help provide wagons and horses.

.

.

So, back to the task at hand:

.

Engraving by James McArdell after Benjamin Wilson (1721-1788). Mezzotint engraving, [London, 1761]. Ben Franklin in 1761 is 55 years old. Christies had one of these rare mezzotints to sell.

The Governor and Ben Franklin plan to go to Carlisle to participate in another Indian Treaty.

.

But those plans changed.

.

The news of the

burning of Gnadenhutten

reached them on 

January 5, 1756.

.

January 8, 1756,

Ben Franklin is in Bethlehem.

.

2 Attacks

In that letter dated

 January 8, 1756,

Ben Franklin describes

the January 1, 1756

battle of Gnadenhutten

and

the January 3rd 1756

battle at  Allemangle.

.

.

Organizing Militia Response

Ben Franklin was picked as a Commissioner to go to Bethlehem and Easton to organize a response to this continuing threat.

.

Jan 12, 1756, another organization of militia is detailed here.

.

.

Carlisle Indian Conference:

Founders Online footnote 6. Morris and the commissioners finally held the oft-postponed treaty with the Indians at Carlisle, Jan. 13–17, 1756.

.

.

MASS EXODUS

Ben Franklin reports on a mass exodus

of Whites leaving the frontier

and finding shelter at Bethlehem Jan 14, 1756,

because of the January 1, 1756 attack and subsequent attacks

and because of a January 3, 1756,

Indians attacked settlers near Allemangel ( meaning desolation of land of all wants) a few miles from Gnadenhütten, near Swatara, and set the entire population of seventy people fleeing for their lives over Blue Mountain.

.

.

What the Leaders felt about the Exodus

Ben Franklin writes a sentiment repeated over and over by many.

.

Lt Gov Dinwiddie of VA said it. 

Gov Robert Hunter of PA said it.

So does Colonel Washington.

.

Ben Franklin writes, January 14, 1755:

.

I have threaten’d to disband or remove the Companies already posted for the Security of particular Townships, if the People would not stay on their Places, behave like Men, do something for themselves, and assist the Province Soldiers.

.

.

THE TRIP TO GNADENHUTTEN

Ben Franklin himself and his son and militia leave Bethlehem Jan 15, 1756 for Gnadenhutten.

.

His son?

Now there’s a story.

William Franklin, his illegitimate son, later becomes colonial NJ Governor. William stays loyal to the Crown. William languishes in prison for it too.

.

Dangerous Pass

Ben Franklin and company cross the Blue Mountains Jan 16, 1756:

…we marched cautiously thro’ the Gap of the Mountain, a very dangerous Pass, and got to Uplinger’s but twenty one Miles from Bethlehem, the Roads being bad, and the Waggons moving slowly

.

John Hayes Tavern

 Ben Franklin arrives Jan 16, 1756 at the tavern of John Hays, about ten miles northwest of Bethlehem on the road to Gnadenhütten.  See article on site of tavern of John Hays.

.

Arrives in Gnadenhutten

Ben Franklin arrives in Gnadenhutten Jan 18, 1756 Sunday.

.

Ben Franklin datelines this letter from Gnadenhutten Jan 20, 1756 and mentions how they haven’t built the fort yet.

.

Datelined Fort Allen

First letter by Ben Franklin datelined Fort Allen, Jan 24, 1756.

.

Sketch drawn of Fort Allen by Ben Franklin Jan 25, 1756 can be found here.

.

.

Fort Allen

This fort was built in response to this attack by the Indians on the Moravians and their Mahican and Delaware converts.

.

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin,  aged 53, by Benjamin Wilson, 1759 – from JFK Presidential Library and Museum.

.

Here is a 1916 report on Fort Allen.

.

The Well of this fort still survives.

 

Ben Franklin datelines this letter from Gnadenhutten Jan 20, 1756and mentions how they haven’t built the fort yet.

.

First letter by Ben Franklin datelined Fort Allen, Jan 24, 1756.

.

Fort Allen was supervised and inspected by Ben Franklin, aged 50, and his son, who later became NJ Governor and who remained loyalist to the Crown during the War for Independence.

.

.

TIMELINE OF BUILDING FORT ALLEN

Extract printed in The Pennsylvania Gazette, Jan 29, 1756, of a letter Ben Franklin wrote on 20 Jan 1756:

.

Sunday,  18 January 1756We have been here since Sunday Afternoon:4 That Day we had only Time to get up some Shelter from the Weather and the Enemy

.

Monday 19 January 1756 :all Day it rained, with so thick a Fog, that we could not see round us, so as either to chuse a Place for a Fort, or find Materials to build it. In the Night it cleared up, 

.

Tuesday 20 January 1756this Morning we determined, marked out the Ground, and at Ten o’Clock set the Men to work, and they have worked with such Spirit, that now, at Half past Three in the Afternoon, all the Logs for the Stockade are cut, to the Number of 450, being most of them more than a Foot in Diameter, and 15 Feet long.5 The Trench to set them in, being three Feet deep, and two wide, is dug; 14 Pair of Wheels are drawing them together; some are erected, and we hope to have the whole up, and to be quite inclosed To-morrow. The Fort will be about 125 Feet long, and 50 broad.

 

.

Extract printed in The Pennsylvania Gazette, Jan 29, 1756, of a letter Ben Franklin wrote on 26 Jan 1756:

.

Wednesday   [21 January 1756]   we were hinder’d almost all Day by Rain.

.

Thursday  [22 January 1756]  most of the Stockades were set up.

.

Friday  [23 January 1756]  all inclosed to the Gate, and Part of the Platform round the Inside made.

.

Saturday [24 January 1756]the Platform was finished, and two Swivels mounted.

.

Sunday [25 January 1756] had a Thanksgiving Sermon, hoisted the British Flag, fired three Vollies, and the Swivels, and named the Place Fort Allen.9

.

Source:

This one has the drawing of the fort:

25 January 1756

https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Date%3A1756-01-25&s=1111311111&r=3

.

Another repeating of the timeline:

26 January 1756

https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Date%3A1756-01-26&s=1111311111&r=4

.

.

Robert Feke, portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1748. . Ben Franklin is 42 years old here in 1748.

.

Ben Franklin still at Fort Allen.

.

He datelined this letter 28 January 1756 Fort Allen.

.

He datelined this letter 30 January 1756 Fort Allen.

.

He datelined this letter 31 January 1756 Fort Allen.

.

.

Lehighton Students Investigate:

Gnaden Huetten Moravian Massacre &

Ben Franklin’s Fort Allen   (posted Sunday, April 14, 2013):

.

Pictures of the site are here.

Lots of detail in this link.

.

https://culturedcarboncounty.blogspot.com/2013/04/lehighton-students-investigate-moravian.html

.

.

.

.

From Wiki forts:

.

Fort Allen (1) (1756-1761) – A French & Indian War Fort established in 1756 in Weissport, Carbon County, Pennsylvania. Named Fort Allen after then Provincial Chief Justice William Allen of Pennsylvania. Abandoned in 1761.

.

Fort Allen Plan 1756

History

Established in 1756 under the direct supervision of Benjamin Franklin in response to a number of hostile Indian attacks. Built as a 12 foot high stockade measuring 125 feet long by 50 feet wide with two half bastions on the opposing long side corners and two bastions in the middle of long sides. The two half bastions each mounted a swivel gun. The stockade enclosed officers quarters and two barracks buildings. Inside the fort was a 19 foot deep well, known as the Franklin Well.

.

Abandoned in 1761 as a regularly garrisoned post but used intermittently after that.

.

Current Status

.

The Franklin well still exists but no other remains. A Pennsylvania state marker is located 112 Franklin Street.

.

.

.

.

Fort as Trading Post

Anxious Hospitality: Indian “Loitering” at Fort Allen,  1756–1761

.

“But given the unexpected developments at Franklin’s Fort Allen, it is fitting that it was planned and built by an individual known more for his diplomatic legacy than his martial expertise.

.

Constructed as part of a chain of defensive outposts to protect Pennsylvania’s towns and cities from Indian threats, Fort Allen instead became a diplomatic way station, a moderately  successful trading post, and even a drunken watering hole.

.

In fact, the fort became many things, but it never really fulfilled its original purpose in Pennsylvania’s frontier defense plans.

.

.

.


After Fort Allen?

Ben Franklin’s work

as leader of the militia


.

Ben Franklin is aged 50 and he is organizing the building of forts and defense of the frontier.

.

Frontier?  A White French word.

.

But nevertheless we report this forging on, this unstoppable changing of the landscape.

.

Here’s the militia Ben Franklin is coordinating:

.

.

February 23, 1756

Troops at Forts in PA

Capt. Vanetten at Minisinks, a Lieut. and

30

Men

Capt. Craig at Fort Hamilton

41

Lieut. Wetterhold at Broadhead’s6

26

Ensign Sterling at Wind Gap Teet’s7 House

11

Capt. Orndt at Fort Norris

50

Capt. Wayne at Fort Allen

50

A Sergeant at Uplingers and

5

An Ensign of Wetterhold’s8 at Drucker’s Mill and

15

A Lieut, in Allen Township and

15

Capt. Foulk at the new Fort, not named,9

between Fort Allen and Fort Lebanon

}

63

Capt. Trexler (has posted himself contrary

to Orders within the Mountain)1

}

53

Capt. Martin (in the Settlement above Easton)

 30

389

Capt. Trump’s Company 50 } reduc’d
Aston’s 50
Parson’s, Guard at Easton 24

Col. Clapham2 will wait on your Honour immediately, and acquaint you with further Particulars of the State of the Forces in Northampton County.

.

To the Governor.

Addressed: To / The Governor

.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

.

5. This roll, erroneously dated 1758 in I Pa. Arch., III, 325, was probably prepared by BF at Governor Morris’ request for incorporation into a full report on military measures taken in Pennsylvania that he made to Secretary of State Henry Fox, Feb. 23, 1756. Public Record Office, C.O. 5:17, fo. 161. Fox probably gave the report to the Duke of Cumberland, captain general of the British army, then planning North American military campaigns for 1756 with Lord Loudoun. Such a report bearing this date exists among the Cumberland Papers. It includes the information about all the units listed here except the three which had been “reduc’d” (i.e., no longer in service). Pargellis, Military Affairs, pp. 166–7; Lord Loudoun, pp. 56–7. A copy of the report is in Penn Papers, Hist. Soc. Pa. For the officers, places, and troop dispositions mentioned below and not otherwise identified, see above, pp. 343–7, and the map on p. 309.

.

6. Jacob Wetterholt; the house of Daniel Broadhead, near Fort Hamilton and at the site of the present East Stroudsburg.

.

7. Or Dietz’s; a fortified point about four miles from the Wind Gap near where the roads from Easton and Nazareth merged on the way to the Delaware Valley above the Water Gap. Hunter, Forts, pp. 275–6.

.

8. Probably Ensign Henry Geiger of Capt. John Nicholas Wetterholt’s company. The sergeant at Uplinger’s and the lieutenant in Allen township, all in the same vicinity, were probably all detached from Wetterholt’s company.

.

9. Later called Fort Franklin.

.

1. Probably at John Everett’s, near the present Lynnport. Ibid., pp. 294–6.

.

2. William Clapham, BF’s successor as commander in Northampton Co., apparently in Philadelphia at this time.

.

Source

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-06-02-0172

.

.

.

The German Volunteers

March 6, 1756

.

The Assertion in the above Paper, that “but few of the People seem inclined to muster under the present Military Law.” seems however to be a Mistake; for we can with Truth inform our Readers, that on the same Day nine Companies of the Philadelphia Regiment of Foot under Col. Franklin consisting as ’tis said of near 1000 Men, when all together, appeared in Arms, being mustered under Officers commissioned in Pursuance of the Law.

.

And we had the Pleasure to observe,

that our German People

made a considerable Part of the Body that gave this Testimony of their Loyalty to their King, and Respect to the Laws of their Country. As the Law does not compel any Man to bear Arms, but every one is left to his Liberty, this voluntary Proof of their Zeal for the Publick Good is the more convincing.

.

Source

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-06-02-0179

 

.

.

.

A Thanks to Ben Franklin

March 8, 1756

.

From Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg

Copy: Archives of the Moravian Church, Bethlehem

Bethl. March. 8th. 56.

.

Honorable Sir,

.

What you have done hitherto for the Defence of our County hath not been in Vain, but hath stopp’d our cruel Enemy from going on like a Bush-Fire in his wicked Ways.

.

Source

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-06-02-0180

.

.

.

Ben Franklin in Virginia

March 21 to April 24, 1756

Frederictown,5 March 21. 1756 Sunday

.

Founders Online Footnote 6.

 When BF left Philadelphia, March 19, on this trip to Virginia on post-office business he was escorted to the ferry by the officers of his militia regiment, mounted, uniformed, and with drawn swords. This honor angered Governor Morris and Richard Peters. BF wrote of the affair to Collinson, Nov. 5, 1756; see also Par. Text edit., p. 376. He arrived in Williamsburg March 24 and remained in Virginia for at least a month before returning to Philadelphia.

.

Letter written by Ben Franklin March 21, 1756 when he arrived in Fredericktown VA.

.

Source

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-06-02-0182

.

.

.

 

.

.

.

.

.

.


NOTES


.

.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin

.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Wilson_(painter)

.

https://www.jfklibrary.org/asset-viewer/archives/JFKWHP/1961/Month%2007/Day%2006/JFKWHP-1961-07-06-E

.

https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/franklin-benjamin-b-franklin-of-philadelphia-lld-5436708-details.aspx

.

http://www.benjaminfranklinentertains.com/2018/01/tailgating-for-big-game-with-ben.html

.

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/colonial-america/colonial-north-america/a/the-enlightenment

.

https://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-benjamin-franklin/katia-kleyman

.

file:///C:/Users/jim-m/Downloads/25581-Article%20Text-25420-1-10-20121204.pdf

.

.

.

No Letters

No letters listed for Washington, Franklin from March 9 to March 17, 19-20,

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.
Ben Franklin was a man.
Yes a big man.
With an eye like an eagle and his wit sharp as a guarantee
Ben Franklin was a man.
Yes a big man.
He was brave, he was fearless and as tough at fifty years old was he.
From his beaver fur cap worn later in France to the heel of his rawhide shoe
The wisest’est smartest’est cleverest-est man the frontier ever knew
Ben Franklin was a man.
Yes a big man.
And he fought for America to make all Americans free.
What a Ben.
What a dooer.
What a dream come a truer was he.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Categories :
About Us History Explore & Learn Join & Support News & Events
Our Story War Timeline Visit Join Us! Calendar
Board of Directors Fort Loudoun Tour Donate Press
Contact Us Additional Forts Resources Volunteer Newsletters
  Baker-Hardy House Essay Contest Shop Archive