Lower Alloways Creek, NJ
from
HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF THE
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
BY: JOHN W. BARBER and HENRY HOWE
PUBLISHED BY S. TUTTLE (NEW YORK) 1844


LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK.

The extreme length of this township is about 13 m., witn an average width of 6 m. It is bounded N. by Upper Alloways Creek, E. by Stow Creek and Greenwich, Cumberland co., S. by the Delaware, and W. by Elsinborough. A great portion of the township is marsh. Pop. in 1830, 1,222; in 1840, 1,252.

Canton, 9 miles from Salem, contains 2 stores, a Baptist church, and about 30 dwellings. Hancock's Bridge, upon Alloways creek, 5 miles S. of Salem, has about 40 dwellings, and a Friends meetinghouse. This society first built a house of worship in 1685. The leading men of the association were Richard Hancock, John Denn, Jeremiah Powell, Nathaniel Chamney, &c. A Presbyterian church, now extinct, was founded at Logtown in 1750. The families were Moore, Sayre, Woodruff; Grier, Padget, Wood, &c.

The above is a view of an antiquated brick dwelling, standing in the village, a few rods from the bridge over the creek, and known as Baker's tavern. In 1778, when the British were in this county, a party of them surprised, at night, a small body of Americans in this house, who had been stationed there to guard the bridge. The account given by Major Simcoe, who commanded the enemy, is given on p. 424 of this volume. The following is from Johnson's History of Salem

Massacre at Hancock's Bridge-That night, the murdering party being selected, went, as directed, in boats, down Salem creek to the river-thence to Alloways creek-thence up the same to a suitable distance from Hancock's Bridge, where they were to land, and being favored by the darkness of the night, were to attack the picket in the house in which they were stationed as their head-quarters, and put every man to death they found there. In that house, the property of Judge Hancock, were he, Charles Fogg, a very aged man Joseph Thompson, and - Bacon, all Quakers; a few others beside the guard, composed of a full company of men, were those persons in that house on that illfated night, all wrapt in sleep, worn down with watching, nature exhausted, and many of them doomed to sleep the long sleep of death. The hellish mandate was issued at head-quarters--" Go-sparc no one-put all to death-give no quarters." These refugees, only to he associated with their brethern, the imps of the infernal regions, did their best, and glutted their worse then savage passions in the innocent blood of their unoffending neighbors. They killed and desperdtely mangled, with fiendish ferocity, such whom they saw writhing under the severity of their wounds, and thus destroyed more than two thirds of all who were within that house.

It was currently rcportcd, and that report believed to be true, that a negro man, who went by the name of Nicholson's Frank, and a man from Gloucester co., called Jonathan Ballanger, were the two persons who attended this murdering expedition as pilots.

Ballanger came to the house of John Steward, (a farmer, near Hancock's Bridge,) armed, that very same night, some time before day. Steward said, "that he soon discovered, from the looks and conversation of Ballanger, that some evil was about to be done.'' With some persuation he prevailed upon hom to go into the room and lie down. When he went in he turned the key in the door, nor did he open it until about daylight in the morning. When Ballanger came out of the room he stayed but a few minutes, and went away, carrying with him his musket. "A short time after he had left the house, the report of a gun was heard in the direction in which Ballanger had walked, and by the side of the fence along which he had gone but a few minutes before, was found Reuben Sayres, mortally wounded, being a distance of not more than one-fourth of a mile from Steward's house."

Ballanger was not seen by any person after he left Steward's, until several years afterward. The suspicion of the murder of Sayres could be fixed upon no one hut him. Immediately after the massacre of the picket and private citizens, the refugees returned to

Salem over the bridge, the drew of which they laid. Ballanger and the negro, no doubt, returned by water with the boatman. It could have been none of the refugees who were at Hancock's. The circumstantial evidence against Ballanger was most assuredly of the very strongest kind, amounting pretty near to positive. Public opinion was decidedly against him, for he was known to be a rank tory, and from the very hotbed of toryisrn- of those who secretly traded with the British while they occupied Philadelphia. It was but a short mile from Hancock's Bridge to where Sayres was found weltering in his blood; he had escaped thus far towards the woods or marshes, in his flight from the murdering refugees. Not a single individual of the enemy was seen anywhere near to the field where Sayres was found. The murderer was always believed to be none other than Jonathan Ballanger.

A few names of some of those desperate villains, the refugees, which I here mention, ought never to be forgotten. One fellow, who usually bore the name of Proud Harry, a plasterer by trade, an insolent, swaggering scoundrel, a braggadocio; another, by name Jo. Daniels; another, if possible, worse than Satan himself,-his name was John Hanks. This fellow was brought up from a boy in the family of Morris Beesley. The son of Morris, whose name was Walker, belonged to that company of militia. Hanks, with another villain, rushed upon young Beesley to kill him. He begged of Hanks, in the most pitiable manner, to protect him, and spare his life; he urged upon him their friendship and intimacy; their having grown up from boys together. All his entreaties were in vain; the murderer heard his pleas, and, then very sternly told him, that for their former intimacy alone he was determined to kill him, and then stabbed him and left him. The poor youth lived long enough to tell this tale of we to those people who came to take care of the dead and wounded.

Another instance I will mention, of a militia-man whose name was Darius Dailey, who, escaping from the house, was pursued by two of the refugees; whiLe running, he saw an English soldier; he made towards him as fast as he could, calling out to him at the same time to save him; crying out, "Oh, save me, save me, soldier-I am your countryman! Save me, save me-I am a Scotchman-I am your countryman!" The very name of countryman, even coming from the mouth of an enemy, and in the midst of slaughter, struck the tender fibres of the stern soldier's heart. He immediately put himself in an attitude of defence, and stopped the pursuing refugees, and told them that be should protect the man at all hazards-that he had surrendered himself to him, and that he was his priisioner. When his flurry had in some measure subsided, Dailey gave his name to the soldier-the soldier his name to Dailey. They were both almost struck speechless with astonishment; they now found that they had been bosom friends and schoolmates together, when boys, in Scotland. Dailey was conducted a prisoner, with a few others, to Salem, whose lives had been spared by the English soldiers.

The names of the officers of that unfortunate company of militia, who were so dreadfully cut to pieces on that dreadful night, were Carleton Sheppard, captain-Benjamin Curlis, 1st lieutenant-Andrew Lowder, 2d lieutenant-William Bresbey, ensign.

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