DEPOSITION OF WILLIAM SMITH, APRIL 3rd, 1765
Cumberland County, ss.
Governor John Penn to General Thomas Gage, June 28, 1765
William Smith Esq. one of the Justices of the Peace for the said County of Cumberland being sworn on the holy Evangilists of Almighty God deposeth and saith that on Tuesday the fifth day of March last past, a great number of pack horses laden with goods came up the road to the house of Tomas Cunningham who keeps a Tavern within about twenty or thirty rods of this Deponents Dwelling on their way to Fort Pitt. That this Deponent being informed that a considerable number of armed Men were assembled at said Cunningham’s in order to stop the said Goods this Deponent went to this Cunningham’s and talked with several of the said Company & particulairly such of them as he thought were the most prudent & and considerate among them I endeavoured to convince them that the stopping or molesting the said Drivers or the said Goods would be a very rash & illegal act and, subject the persons therein to penalties & punishment and check’d several young Men who fired off their Guns and scared the pack horses. That some of the said company told this Deponent that as peace and not yet been concluded with the Indians it appeared to them to be unreasonable that these Enemies should be furnished with Goods and Amunition to enable them to continue their War and again kill & murder his Majesty’s Subjects on the Frontier who had already suffered the most extreme misery & Distress. That they had already seen and heard Proclamations from the Government prohibiting all trade and commerence with the Indians till a truce should be concluded with them and that they had not heard nor did they believe such Proclamations had been withdrawn. That they had also heard & the goods then going to Fort Pitt were private property belonging to some Merchants in Philadelphia who were sending Them contrary to all Law and Justice into the Indian Country with an intent of Trading. That altho the Drivers or pack horse men shared a pass signed by George Croghan yet they did not, know it to be genuine, but that if they would go by Fort Loudon and get the pass signed there by the Commanding Officer they would not stop the Goods but suffer them to proceed unmolested. That this Deponent there upon devised to have sight of the pass and insists being Shown to him by Elias Davis one of the pack horsemen he carefully examined it, being well acquainted with the hand writing of George Croghans, having often seen him write, and saith that he doubted the authenticity and Genuiness of the pass as it did not appear to him to be any part of the hand writing of the said George Croghan, but he did not mention or communicate such his Suspicion or doubt to any person whatsoever. That a proposal having been made that a number of the Company should for their better Satisfaction to to Fort Loudon with Elias Davis to know whether the Commanding Officer there had any orders expecting the said goods and whether he would sign the said pass, he this Deponent did all in his power to forward & encourage the said proposal, hoping that by this means the Fears and Apprehensions of the People might be satisfied and quieted. That accordingly William Morrison, David Bowen and James Rankin after some consultation among the people were appointed on their part and set out in Company with the said Elias Davis for Fort Loudon, and the pack horses being as this Deponent hath been informed & believes eighty one in number with their drivers left the said Cunningham’s house & proceeded on their Journey. That the same Evening the said Morrison Bowen and Rankin returned, and informed this Deponent that they had seen Lieutt Grant who commanded at Fort Loudon, who told them that he had received Orders from Col. Bouquet to suffer some Goods to pass, but that on Davis his applying to him to sign the pass for the said Eightyone horse loads of Goods he had refused, because he had not seen the said Goods, and as he the said Davis had not brought them by that Fort, if he proceeded with them, he must do it at his own risk. The said Morrison, Bowen and Rankin further told this Deponent that what the said Commanding Officer had said, was sufficent to satisfy them that the said Goods were going out by authority, and they left this Deponent’s House and returned homewards. That some hours before the return of the said Morrison, Bowen & Rankin, many of the Company who had appeared in Arms at Cunninham’s house had also returned homewards and the rest of them had disappeared, and this Deponent does not know what became of them, but has heard that they proceeded with and attended the said pack horses further up the road into the great Cove. This Deponent further saith on the Night of the Sixth of March he heard that the said goods were destroyed near Sideling Hill, but that he doth not know, not can give information of anyone person who was concerned in the same. And further this Deponent saith not. ________
Taken & Sworn April 3rd: 1765 Wm Smith
The Papers of General Thomas Gage on microfilm at Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. Spelling and punctuation appear as they are in the document.
COPIES OF PASSES GIVEN BY WILLIAM AND JAMES SMITH, 1765
By William Smith Esq., one of His Majest’s Justices of the Peace of sad County.
Permit the Bearer, Thos. M’Cammis, to pass to Fort Bedford, with nine Kegs of Rum, Eight Kegs of Wine, One Keg of Spirits, One Keg of Molassas, Three Kegs of brown Sugar, Four Kegs, packed with Loaf Sugar and Coffee and Chocolate in all Twenty-six Kegs, and one bag of Shoes, provided always that this Permit shall not Extend to Carry any Warlike Stores, or any Article not herein mentioned.
Given under my Hand & Seal, 15th May, 1765
Signed: WM. SMITH.
As the Sidling Hill Voluteers have already Inspected these goods, and as they are all private property, it is Expected that none of these goods, and as they are all private property, it is Expected that none of these brave fellows will molest them upon the Road, as there is no Indian Supplies amongst them. Given under my Hand, May 15th, 1765
Signed: JAS. SMITH
PENNSYLVANIA ARCHIVES VOLUME IV pages 219-220