Popular history of Erie county, Pennsylvania
A historian, from the nature of his work, cannot be original. He is compelled to quote, either in words or in fact. He may narrate in bis own words but as he is reproducing an oft told tale, must necessarily somewhere, encroach upon the language of earlier sketchers. Hence while we are under obligations, to scores of former writers, upon the subjects under discussion: and have referred to an hundred books, as well as numerous manuscripts and records, we are under no particular obligation to any individual, excepting as a matter of courtesy, and all who have in any manner aided in this work, alike have the sincere thanks of the author.
The first duty of an historian is to ascertain and record facts. To narrate a succession of events, in a correct and concise manner, as a plain unvarnished tale, has been the effort of the writer in the following pages. No attempt has been made at word painting nor to relate "interesting reminiscences." Extensive research has been made, both of original and printed documents, with the simple end in view to secure and record, reliable facts.
Individuals, have to do, with county state and national matters and in that sense are a part of history. Biographical notes, given with strict reference to fact, are important in establishing dates and occurrences, but when filled with gush and fulsome praise are not only unimportant but nauseating. Shorn of these however, brief biographical notes are valuable historical pointers and as such we have not only made mention of William Penn and all the governors of this State, but the principal actors in Erie County history. In City, Village and Township History will be found brief biographies of the leading families, whether such persons have subscribed for this work or not.
While this history is not as "bulky," as some of like import, the author believes that in reality it covers many more important features, regarding Erie County, than any of its predecessors: as a special effort has been made to condense as closely as compatible with an intelligent understanding of the facts and to discard everything of a traditional or insignificant nature.
To commemorate and record, the events of a century of development in this county, this work has been compiled, and although it appeared to be a hazardous undertaking from a financial standpoint, no labor has been spared in making a solid foundation by thorough research. The paper used is the finest quality of book the printing and illustrations are superb and at present writing we have every assurance that merit, industry, zeal and perseverance will bring their proper reward.
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So called historians, who delight in reminiscences and tradition, have given many pages of word painting regarding the extermination of the Eries, the populous tribe which formerly occupied this section of country; but as White men were than rarely among them, this early Indian tradition is unworthy of being called history. It is purely legendary and the various compilers agree in but one point, which is that the Eries, known among the Whites as the Neutral Nation, in a deadly feud with the Iroquois, were exterminated shortly after the year 1650. Subsequent to this the victors, known as the Six Nations — composed of the Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas.Oneidas. Mohawks and Tuscaroras — claimed possession of the territory contiguous to the lakes from Vermont, to the west end of Lake Erie. The French from their natural politeness, were generally more successful in retaining the Indians as friends and allies than the English Colonies and the latter were much retarded and harassed from time to time by Indian massacrees and depredations.