Last month two of my former fine students Mike Wolfer and Douglas Bilheimer mailed a past page of local history to this writer, a 1925 Dedication program listing two historical markers, one in Kreidersville at the site of the old Edelman Mill. Another one north of Hokendauqua Creek in Allen Township. This is a chapter in local history which has been forgotten.
The markers recall the Walking Purchase of 1737. The walk was the result of an old deed found by Thomas and John Penn. The Penns and the Native Americans agreed that a day and a half walk starting in Wrightstown in Bucks County was to determine boundaries set forth in the disputed deed. The Penns enlisted three men to complete the walk. The three selected were: Solomon Jennings, a farmer whose farm was near Bethlehem, James Yeates, from Newtown, Bucks County, and Edward Marshall, a hunter and trapper who hunted throughout the area. These men were the strongest and most rapid walkers in the countryside.
They were accompanied by officials on horseback and three Lenape braves to see that the walk would not be unfair. The braves soon realized the walkers’ furious pace was not what they agreed to! At the end of day one, the group camped near the Hokendauqua Creek near the village of Chief Lappawinzo.
The pace of the walk had been so intense that one of the walkers, Solomon Jennings, dropped out and returned home. At sunrise, the group started the second part of the walk. The second walker, James Yeates, exhausted, fell into the creek and died three days later.
Only Edward Marshall completed the walk ending at noon on the second day near Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) in Carbon County. The distance covered was an amazing 60 miles walking through the wilderness, adding 1200 square miles to the Penn’s property.
The Indians hated Marshall for the walk. They killed one of his sons, wife and wounded his daughter. As a result of the walk, the Quakers turned against the sons of the man who laid the foundation for our state of Pennsylvania.
We will return to 1925 and attend the dedication of the historic markers in two weeks.