|Death: ||May 16, 1780|
Private Capt Overmeyer's Pa Rev. War
Killed at Jacob Grotzing, AKA French Jacob's mill in Brush Valley Narrows (now Forest Hill, Pa.)
From Linn's Annals of Buffalo Valley: pg 185
Attack on French Jacob's Mill.
NORTHUMBERLAND TOWN, May 18, 1780.
I am unhappy enough to inform you the savage enemy have, on the
16th inst., made a stroke on the inhabitants of this much distressed
county, at Buffalo Valley. At French Jacob Grozong's mills four men
killed, viz: Jno. Forster, jr., _______ Eytzwiller, James Chambers, and
Samuel McLaughlen. The enemy got only one of the scalps. The
neighboring inhabitants, on hearing the firing, briskly turned out,
and pursued the enemy very brave, but was not able to overtake them.
The inhabitants have stood here, indeed, longer than could been
expected, were it not desperation. But, sir, unless some support can
be instantly afforded, the State
186 ANNALS OF BUFFALO VALLEY. [1780.
must shortly count one county less than formerly - which God forbid.
I refer you, D'r sir, to the bearer, Gen. Potter, for further
information, as he waits on horseback, whilst I write this imperfect,
distress'd acc't. Provisions none, cash none, nor can it be had in
this place. Gen. Potter's acc'ts from this place to the Hon'ble the
Assembly, which I doubt not you will see, will fully satisfy you of
the state of this place.
I am, D'r sir, your most obt. humble Serv't,
Gen. Jos. REED.
Sometime between 1776 and 1779, Jacob Groshong, familiarly known as
French Jacob, built a little log mill, the site of which is now
familiarly known as Solomon Heberling's, on what he supposed was his
own location. He was defeated in a suit at Sunbury, rode home the
same night, dismantled the mill, moved the wheels, &c., down to the
site of what is now Dater & Reish's mill. Here he re-built his mill
in 1782 and 1783, and added a saw-mill in 1785. In 1793 Enoch Thomas got
the property, and Groshong moved up to the end of the Nittany
mountain, in Centre county, and thence West. From Thomas, it passed
into the hands of Christopher Johnson, in 1797, and into the hands of
John Hofferd, in 1808, and finally into the Reish's.
The old mill building, where this fight occurred, Mr. Philip
Pontius told me he took down when he owned the property, and that he
carefully preserved the timbers that had the bullet marks in them, and
placed them in another building there, where they could still be seen.
This will explain the impression on the minds of some old people I
have talked with, who alleged the site of French Jacob's mill, where
the fight occurred, was at the old Hofferd or Reish mill; whereas, in
truth, it occurred at the little old mill, the site of which is on
Solomon Heberling's place.
Groshong's name, or rather his nick-name, is still preserved in
connection with the large spring a little above the tavern, on the
Brush Valley road. I find in 1787 he was assessed by his nickname,
"Jacob, French." He is the hero of all the wild tales of Indian
troubles in that part of the Valley. The place where he hid from the
Indians, beside this spring, is still pointed out.
1780.] ANNALS OF BUFFALO VALLEY. 187
The place became more noted in after years as the residence of
Captain John Bergstresser, who, as early as 1811, had an oil, fulling-
mill, saw-mill, and kept store upon the premises. Bergstresser came in
after Henry Snyder, who had some sort of mills there as early as 1802.
Christian Shively told my informant, John Beeber, that he heard the
signal firing at this time. He was threshing some grain at the time.
He had a hard, smooth place tramped on the ground, and was throwing
the wheat up in the air to allow the wind to blow the chaff away. He
immediately hid his wife and two children near the mouth of White
Spring run. He slipped silently about, rolled some logs into Penn's
creek, tied them with hickory withes into a raft, put his wife and
children on, and floated down to Beatty's, where New Berlin now
Philip Pontius told me his father also heard the signal. He Un-
hitched his horses, and made a circuit through the woods, gun in hand,
and came to the mill. He said William Fisher made a narrow escape.
He was running into the mill, when his foot slipped on a board, and he
fell into the door. The bullet intended for him struck the building
on a line where his head would have been had he not fallen.
One tradition of the neighborhood is that this was a patrol of five
men which passed every day between Titzell's, late Kelly's, mill and
French Jacob's, and they were attacked by the Indians in sight of the
mills. Another has it that the soldiers were out washing when they
were fired on.
John Forster was an uncle of the late Captain John Forster, of
Mifflinburg, and a brother of the old Major Thomas Forster. James
Chambers was the son of Robert Chambers.
George Etzweiler, junior, left a widow named Mary. George
Etzweiler, a son of the one killed, kept hotel at McKee's Half-Falls,
as late as 1812. William Fisher was the grandfather of James Crossgrove
and Sheriff John Crossgrove, and resided in Limestone, where James
Crossgrove lately resided. William Gill told me he heard old Mrs.
Overmeier say that the people who were killed, were brought over to
the place adjoining Philip Seebold's residence, above New Berlin, and
were buried in the old grave-yard on the bluff at the creek, where Dry
run comes in, nearly opposite where
John Forster (1726 - 1783)
Margaret Forster (1730 - 1792)
John Forster (____ - 1780)
Jane Forster Irvine (1740 - 1824)*
Thomas Forster (1746 - 1804)*
Robert Foster (1758 - 1834)*
Created by: Leanne Keefer Bechdel
Record added: Sep 17, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9472444
Capt. Overmyer's family salute you! Find A Grave Memorial# 11804015|
Added: Feb. 26, 2010