At a Court of Quarter Sessions, held in Dauphin County in the month of August,
1787, an order was issued to the commissioners to take into consideration the
necessity and propriety of dividing Upper Paxtang Township, who reported a
dividing line, "commencing at the River Susquehanna, at the mouth of a run
emptying into said river, and running from Jacob Strickler's spring, and thence
along the different courses of the said run to the place where the said spring
extracts out of the earth, and from thence along the said ridge to the dividing
ridge; thence along the said ridge to the extremity thereof, the line of
The court directed the township to be divided, agreeably to this report, from
the said line to the upper boundary of Lower Paxtang, to be called Middle
Paxtang. As thus constituted the township included the section of the county
between the First and Peter's Mountains, embracing Fishing Creek, Stony Creek,
and Clark's Valleys. As may be surmised, the face of the country is much
broken, and save along the principal streams as they near the Susquehanna and
the valleys expand, the land is poor and unproductive. Nevertheless, there are
some fine farms on Clark's Creek and along the Susquehanna.
The history of the township is so intimately connected with that of the general
record of the county, and to which reference is made for a history of Fort
Hunter, at the mouth of Fishing Creek, and other details relating to the French
and Indian war. The following incident, however, is of such a local character
that we've given place thereto.
Ludwig Minsker, an emigrant from the Palintinate, located in Clark's Valley in
1750. He built his cabin on a run near the place where the house of John
Hocker, Jr., now stands. He was a man of great courage, and the Indians of the
neighborhood feared him, never molesting him or his family.
It was subsequent to Braddock's defeat that hostile Indians crossed over the
mountains and spread death and desolation on the frontiers. While out hunting
during the spring of 1756, Ludwig observed the trail of the marauding savages.
Knowing that if they discovered his cabin, his wife and child in his absence
would be killed, he hastened home and quickly devised means for their
protection. It was too late to go below the mountains, for he would be
overtaken. Having in his house a chest six feet long, he bored a sufficient
number of holes in it to admit air; then taking it upon his shoulder, waded up
the run some distance, placing it in a sequestered nook. Returning to his
cabin, he took his wife and child (the latter but six months old) in the same
way to the chest to conceal his trail, where the dense foliage covered their
hiding-place. It was ten days before the hostiles had left the valley, and
during all that time Mrs. Minsker and her child were safely secured in the huge
chest, her husband in the meantime keeping guard in the neighborhood of their
cabin, hunting and carrying provisions to the refugees.
One autumn, while Ludwig was carrying towards his cabin half of a good-sized
hog he had butchered, an Indian stealthily came up behind him, quickly severed
the lower part, exclaimed, "Hog meat very good meat, Indian like him," and
scampered off to the woods.
The child who was concealed with his mother in the chest became Ludwig the
second. He married a daughter of Thomas Cairn, and built his cabin at a spring
on the Third Mountain, on property now belonging to Harry Zeiders, who is a
descendant of the first Ludwig. It is only a few years since that the cabin was
Prior to the Revolution a friendly Indian had his cabin on the north side of
Peter's mountain, near the spring which supplies the water-trough on the pike.
Here he lived for years unmolested. One evening in the fall of the year Mrs.
Minsker, while standing in the door-way, heard a loud moan, resembling that of
someone in extreme agony. She told her husband, who replied that it was the cry
of a panther. Still listening, she found by the direction of the sound that the
person was going up the mountain, but Ludwig to quiet her said she must be
mistaken, it was only the cry of the panther. The ensuing summer the cows
remained out beyond the usual time, and the children werre sent in search of
them. Going up the mountain they came to what was then called still known as
the "King's Stool," when they found a skeleton lying under it. Informing their
father of the fact, Ludwig examined the remains, and found by the
hunting-shirt, which was intact, that it was the Indian referred to. It
appeared that some ill-disposed whites had gone to the cabin of the Indian and
wantonly shot him, but did not kill him. With his little strength remaining the
poor Indian crawled up and then down the side of the Fourth Mountain, across
Clark's Valley; thence up the Third Mountain to the "King's Stool," where he
died from exhaustion. The rock alluded to is a huge bowlder [sic] heaved
on the top of another, and as high as the tallest trees.