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State Marker, Fort Norris, Route 209

The state marker is right on the side of Rt 209,
south side of the road.

The stone marker is right next to the state sign
but a few feet further away from the road.

The markers are just east of the old Kresgeville High School
which is believed to be now an elemetary school.

Photographs courtesy of Mark Serfass.

 

Stone Marker, Fort Norris, Route 209

 

Fort Norris

 

Fort Norris Tracts

See Index for tract owners.  Black square in Tract No. 449 depicts where I believe Fort Norris to have been
based on the following information.  This tract was one of two possibly three tracts belonging to Philip Serfass. 

Index to Map (opens in a separate window as do all links on this page).
It helps to have all links opened at the same time and to adjust the browser windows
so at least two can be seen simultaneously--this page and the Index, and the others when needed.

Please continue on below photographs . . . .

 

 

Map obtained from the Moravian Archives
by Doug Holaday showing the Hoeth tracts
 

Map obtained from the Moravian Archives
by Doug Holaday showing the
Wechquetank Mission and the Hoeth tracts, among others, purchased for the Mission

At the time of the Hoeth massacre, Frederick Hoeth's daughter, Philippina, was married to Christian Boemper. They were not present at her father's farm when the massacre occurred, although they lived in the area.  Christian, however, was killed by the Indians the following month.  Philippina subsequently married John Hirst--Doug descends from their son, George.

11/2007

 

 

     

The Wechquetank Mission monument is on the north side of Mill Pond Road.  Very near the monument, across the street from the Mill Pond, is some stonework which is the remains of the mill built in the mid-19th century which was still functioning at the beginning of the 20th century.   This mill is presumably the same location for the earlier Frederick Hoeth mill, destroyed with the other buildings in his settlement, in the December 10, 1755, massacre.

Photos thanks to Doug Holaday, 11/2007

 

 

In an effort to determine who the boy in the mill was at the time of the Hoeth massacre on December 10, 1755, I've created a map showing the Serfass and Hoeth tracts, and the location, at this point on March 30, 2003, of Fort Norris.  See 1755 Deposition of George Caspar Heiss.

Note:  Information for the map background is from paper maps, the USGS mapping service web site, and the map for Fort Norris in Frontier Forts of which I have included a link, below, to the on-line map image as well as a link to the text in that book.  "Kresgeville = X" basically means, X marks the spot.  I know Kresgeville is larger.  This is where other maps show a dot or bullet for the town location.  It's the best I can do for town locations on this map background and through this mapping program. 

Information "known" about the location of Fort Norris (and there may be more):  

  • On pages 224 and 225 of Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania, it says that, in a letter from Benjamin Franklin to Governor Morris dated 25 January 1756, he said - "As soon as Hays returns I shall detach another party to erect another fort at Surfas', which I hope may be finished in the same time" [as Fort Franklin, in a week or ten days].  Penn. Arch., ii, p. 16.  [The fort was completed in early February of 1756 which was AFTER Philip Serfass had purchased both of his tracts of land.   Dale Berger]

 

  • We are told that this fort stood on "the high Road towards the Minisinks," that is on the road to what is now Stroudsburg.  Frontier Forts of PennsylvaniaVol. 1, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, 1916, Pages 224-236.

 

  • "The location of Fort Norris is distant from the nearest point of the present State road about 200 yards, from the house of Charles Frable about 230 yards, from the nearest point on the Big creek, formerly Hoeth's creek or Poco Poco creek about 400 yards, from Meitner's Store 3/4 of a mile, from house of Nathan Serfass 5/8 of a mile, and in an air line from Kresgeville 1 1/8 miles.  It is about 3 miles or more from Gilberts."  See the thick blue lines in the map above.   We believe the author over-estimated the distance from Gilbert. 

 

  • "Whilst the present State road is about 200 yards south of the fort, yet the original road, as it then existed and is shown by the dotted lines on the map, passed immediately by it."  Click here for on-line map from Frontier Forts thanks to the USGenWeb Archives Pennsylvania project.  By this map in Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania by Montgomery, it looks more like the Fort was in my tract 463, but by the description (1 1/8 miles from Kresgeville, etc.), it sounds like my tract 449. 

 

  • Extracts from the Journal of Samuel Preston, Surveyor, 1787 which appeared in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 22, published in Philadelphia by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

    Pages 350-353.  From Dale Berger:   The first entry by Preston, on page 350, is dated June 12, 1787.  On that day, Preston wrote that he "Traveled up Durham Road" and "thence through the Saucon settlement, and over the Salsbury Hills to Allentown".  On 14 June he went to Gnadenhuetten (Lehighton), then to the former site of Fort Allen (Weissport) and then to the "Barrens" (Chestnuthill Twp.) and Head's (Pohopoco) Creek, where he crossed the creek just below a saw mill.  When he arrived at "the place where Ft. Norris formerly stood," he noted "Here lives an old woman, the widow Serfass, who entertain'd me with an historical account of her family etc."  His journal entry of his meeting with widow Serfass goes on for most of page 352.

    Where is or was the Barrens?

  • From Dale Berger:  "Extracts from the Journal of Samuel Preston, Surveyor, 1787".  In his accounting of his travels of 14 June 1787, Preston, accompanied by Isaac Longstreth, rode to Gnadenhuetten on Mahony Creek and then over the Lehigh to Col. Weiss' near where Fort Allen formerly stood. Then he says "Here I parted with Isaac Longstreth, and started for George Hoods. I proceeded over the Barrens along up the N. W. side of Head's Creek about seven miles, where I crossed it just below a saw mill. They raft 6 and 7000 feet of boards at a time down from this mill. I then kept up the Barren Hill, on the S. E. side of the creek, and passed a few little houses. The land is exceedingly poor and I could obtain no provisions for myself or creature until I reached the place where Fort Norris formerly stood, where I got a cup of milk and bread and let my mare bate in the meadow. Here lives an old woman, the widow Serfass, . . . ."

Full on-line account of Fort Norris, thanks to the USGenWeb Archives Pennsylvania project, is at:

http://www.usgwarchives.net/pa/1pa/1picts/frontierforts/ff10.html

Note:  The "Present State Road" in the map is taken from Frontier Forts, as of 1916.  It may not be the present State Road. 

 

 

The goldenrod line depicts 2 miles which is said to be the distance that the boy in the mill and the miller ran to the Serfas home quoted in Egles--or 2.5 miles quoted in the Hoess deposition.  As Philip Serfas' home was tract No. 449 in 1755, the distance is pretty close.  It's possible that in their later years, and when Samuel Preston the Surveyor came around, the Serfas family lived on Tract No. 463. I believe the Hoeth home was near and to the south of the area of Mill Pond Road, but is within tract No. 394.

The boy could still be a Sylvas as that family lived about 4 miles away, from the same point, as the crow flies over Wire Hills, slightly southwest (see the red line).