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The Fair Play Settlers of the West Branch Valley, 1769-1784 A Study of Frontier Ethnography   By: (1923-)

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The Fair Play Settlers of the West Branch Valley, 1769 1784: A Study of Frontier Ethnography

BY GEORGE D. WOLF

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania THE PENNSYLVANIA HISTORICAL AND MUSEUM COMMISSION

Harrisburg, 1969

THE PENNSYLVANIA HISTORICAL AND MUSEUM COMMISSION

JAMES B. STEVENSON, Chairman

CHARLES G. WEBB, Vice Chairman

HERMAN BLUM MRS. FERNE SMITH HETRICK

MARK S. GLEESON MRS. HENRY P. HOFFSTOT, JR.

RALPH HAZELTINE MAURICE A. MOOK

THOMAS ELLIOTT WYNNE

DAVID H. KURTZMAN, ex officio Superintendent of Public Instruction

MEMBERS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

MRS. SARAH ANDERSON, Representative

PAUL W. MAHADY, Senator ORVILLE E. SNARE, Representative

JOHN H. WARE, III, Senator

TRUSTEES EX OFFICIO

RAYMOND P. SHAFER, Governor of the Commonwealth

ROBERT P. CASEY, Auditor General

GRACE M. SLOAN, State Treasurer

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

SYLVESTER K. STEVENS, Executive Director

WILLIAM J. WEWER, Deputy Executive Director

DONALD H. KENT, Director Bureau of Archives and History

FRANK J. SCHMIDT, Director Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties

WILLIAM N. RICHARDS, Director Bureau of Museums

Preface

In an Age when man's horizons are constantly being widened to include hitherto little known or non existent countries, and even other planets and outer space, there is still much to be said for the oft neglected study of man in his more immediate environs. Intrigued with the historical tale of the "Fair Play settlers" of the West Branch Valley of the Susquehanna River and practically a life long resident of the West Branch Valley, this writer felt that their story was worth telling and that it might offer some insight into the development of democracy on the frontier. The result is an ethnography of the Fair Play settlers. This account, however, is not meant to typify the frontier experience; it is simply an illustration, and, the author hopes, a useful one.

No intensive research can be conducted without the help and encouragement of many fine and wonderful people. This author is deeply indebted to librarians, archivists and historians, local historians and genealogists, local and county historical societies, and collectors of manuscripts, diaries, and journals pertinent to the history of the West Branch Valley. A comprehensive listing of all who have assisted in this effort would be too extensive, but certain persons cannot be ignored. My grateful appreciation is here expressed to a few of these; but my gratitude is no less sincere to the many persons who are not here mentioned.

Librarians who have been most helpful in providing bibliographies, checking files, and obtaining volumes from other libraries include Miss Isabel Welch, of the Ross Library in Lock Haven; Mrs. Kathleen Chandler, formerly of the Lock Haven State College library; and Miss Barbara Ault, of the Library of Congress.

Archivists and historians who have been most generous in their aid are the late Dr. Paul A. W. Wallace, of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Mrs. Phyllis V. Parsons, of Collegeville; Dr. Alfred P. James, of the University of Pittsburgh; and Mrs. Solon J. Buck, of Washington, D. C.

Perhaps the most significant research support for this investigation was provided by a local historian and genealogist, Mrs. Helen Herritt Russell, of Jersey Shore.

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