At His Bedside

“Why, yes, you may accompany your Uncle Thomas and myself to select the
plate which we plan to present to the battleship of the line, ‘The
Admiral Penn,’ which the First Lord, His Grace, Duke of Bedford, has
graciously named in honor of your distinguished grandsire,” said Richard
Penn, pompously, answering a query addressed to him by his young son,

The youth, who was about eighteen years of age and small and slight,
seemed delighted, and waited impatiently with his father for Uncle
Thomas’ arrival. Soon a liveried footman announced the arrival of Thomas
Penn, and the brothers, after embracing, started from the imposing
mansion in New Street, Spring Gardens (near the Admiralty Arch),
accompanied by the younger scion and a retinue of secretaries, retainers
and footmen.

It so happened that the leading silversmith in the city, James Cox, was
of the Quaker faith, to which William Penn, the famous founder of
Pennsylvania, and father of Richard and Thomas, belonged, and was
particularly pleased to be the recipient of this costly and important
order. It was an occasion of such importance to him that his wife, sons
and daughter had come to his place of business to witness the
transaction and, perhaps, meet the aristocratic customers.

As they entered the establishment, the tradesman himself opened the
door, bowing low as the two portly gentlemen, with their plum-colored
coats, snuff boxes and walking sticks, entered arm in arm, followed by
the diminutive John, in a long, red coat, while the minions of various
degrees waited outside, clustered about the gilded chairs.

It must be understood that these sons of William Penn were not members
of the Society of Friends, but had assumed the faith of their
grandfather, the Admiral, and founder of the family fortunes, and young
John was nominally a member of the same faith.

The portly and self-important gentlemen were soon absorbed in studying
the various designs of silver services, while the restless and
half-interested gaze of young John wandered about the salesroom. It was
not long in falling on the slender, demure form of Maria Cox, the
silversmith’s only daughter. Clad in her Quaker garb and bonnet, she was
certainly a picture of loveliness, almost seventeen years old, with deep
blue eyes, dark brows and lashes, fair complexion, with features
exaggerately clearcut, made John Penn’s senses reel in a delirium of

Ordinarily he would have become impatient at the delay in selecting the
silver service, for the older gentlemen were slow of decision and he was
a spoiled child, but this time he was lost in admiration and he cared
not if they remained in the shop for the balance of the day. John Penn,
himself, for a small lad was not unprepossessing; his hair was golden,
his eyes expressive and blue, his complexion like a Dresden china
doll’s, his form erect and very slim, yet few girls had fancied him, for
he was selfish and not inclined to talk.

Seeing that he was not assisting his elders in selecting the silverware,
Mrs. Cox, the wife, and a woman of some tact and breeding, introduced
conversation with the young man, eventually drawing her daughter into
it, and it was a case of love quickly on both sides.

When, after four hours of selecting and changing and selecting again,
the Penns finally accepted a design and placed their order, John had
arranged that he was to dine with the Cox family and see the young
beauty frequently. All went well until the day appointed for the visit
to the home of the silversmith. John Penn presented himself before his
father attired in his best red velvet coat with gold facings, white
satin knee breeches, pumps with diamond buckles, his face much powdered,
and sporting a pearl inlaid sword. The elder Penn demanded to know the
cause of the youth’s magnificence, for ordinarily his Quaker blood
showed itself in a distaste for fancy apparel.

“To dine with Mr. and Mrs. James Cox and their charming daughter, whom I
much admire,” was the calm rejoinder.

“What, what,” fairly shouted the father, almost having an apoplectic
attack on the spot; “dining with common tradespeople! You must be in a
frenzy, son; we’ll have you in Bedlam.”

“I don’t see why you talk that way, father,” said John, retaining his
composure. “Are we so very different? It was only a few generations back
when the Penns were plain rural yeomen, and Madame van der Schoulen, or
Grandmother Penn, your own mother, was she not the daughter of a Dutch

“Don’t speak that way, lad; the servants may hear, and lose respect,”
said the father.

The lad had touched a sore subject, and he preferred to let him keep his
engagement rather than to have an expose on the subject of ancestry.

The dinner and visit were followed by others, but at home John’s romance
did not run smoothly, and he quickly realized that his father and Uncle
Thomas, whose heir he was to be, would never consent to his marriage
with the daughter of a silversmith. Consequently, a trip to Gretna Green
was executed, and John Penn, aged nineteen, and Maria Cox, seventeen,
were duly made man and wife.

When Richard Penn and his brother Thomas were apprised of what he had
done they locked him in his room, and after night got him to the
waterfront and on a ship bound for the French coast. He was carried to
Paris and there carefully watched, but meanwhile supplied with money,
all that he could spend. Temporarily he forgot all about Maria Cox,
plunging into the gaieties of the French Capital, gambling and betting
on horse races, the “sport of kings” having been only recently
introduced in France, until he was deeply in debt. He became very ill,
and was taken to Geneva to recuperate. There he was followed by
representatives of his creditors, who threatened to have him jailed for
debt–a familiar topic in family talk to him, for his grandfather,
William Penn, despite his ownership of Pennsylvania, had been arrested
for debt many times and was out on bail on a charge of non-payment of
loans made from his steward at the time of his death.

John wrote frantically to his father in London, who turned a deaf ear to
the prodigal; not so Uncle Thomas. He replied that he would save the boy
from jail and pay his debts, provided he would divorce his wife and go
to Pennsylvania for an indefinite period. John was ready to promise
anything; a representative of the Penn’s financial interests settled all
the claims in and out of Paris, and John Penn was free.

While waiting at Lille for a ship to take him from Rotterdam to
Philadelphia, the young man was advised to come to London for a day to
say good-bye to his relatives. The packet was expected in the Thames on
a certain day, but got into a terrific storm and was tossed about the
North Sea and the Channel for a week, and no one was at the dock to meet
the dilapidated youth on his arrival at Fleet Street.

As he passed up the streets in Cheapside, to his surprise he ran into
the fair figure of his bride, the deserted Maria Cox-Penn. He was again
very much in love, and she ready to forgive. They spent the balance of
the day together, enjoying a fish ordinary at a noted restaurant in
Bird-in-Hand Court. Over the meal it was arranged that Maria should
follow her husband to America; meanwhile, he would provide a home for
her over there under an assumed name, until he became of age, when he
would defy his family to again tear them asunder.

None of John Penn’s family had the slightest suspicion of anything out
of the usual when he presented himself in their midst, and he returned
quietly to Lille, where he remained until the ship was announced as
ready to take him to America. He arrived in New York during a terrible
tornado, in November, 1752. At Philadelphia he evinced little interest
in anything except to take a trip into the interior. As he had plenty of
money, he could accomplish most anything he wanted, and was not watched.
On his way to the Susquehanna country he traveled with an armed
bodyguard, as there were even then renegade Indians and road agents
abroad. A number of less distinguished travelers and their servants
were, for safety’s sake, allowed to accompany the party. Among them was
a man of fifty-five, named Peter Allen, to whom young John took a
violent fancy.

It was not unusual, for Peter Allen was what the Indians recognized as a
_gentleman_, although he was only a cadet, or what we would call
nowadays a “poor relation” of the proud Allen family, the head of which
was William Allen, Chief Justice of the Province, a man about Peter
Allen’s age, and for whom Northampton or Allensville, now Allentown, was

Peter Allen had built a stone house or trading post, which he called
“Tulliallan” after one of the ancestral homes of the Allen family in
Scotland, on the very outpost of civilization, twenty miles west of
Harris’ Ferry, where all manner of traders, hunters, missionaries,
explorers and sometimes Indians congregated, where balls were held with
Indian princesses as guests of honor, and the description of this place
fired John Penn’s fancy.

The idea had flashed through his mind that Maria could harbor there
unknown until he became of age, and some day, despite the silly family
opposition, she would become the Governor’s Lady. John Penn went to
Peter Allen’s, and not only found a refuge for his bride, but liked the
frontier life so well that it was as if he had been born in the
wilderness. Mountains and forests appealed to him, and his latent
democracy found full vent among the diversified types who peopled the

Peter Allen had three young daughters, Barbara, Nancy and Jessie, whom
he wished schooled, and John Penn arranged that Maria should teach them
and, perhaps, have a select school for other children of the better sort
along the Susquehanna. Peter Allen was secretly peeved at his family for
not recognizing him more, and lent himself to anything that, while not
dishonorable, would bend the proud spirit of the Proprietaries and their
favorites, one of whom was the aforementioned “Cousin Judge” William

John Penn returned to Philadelphia, from where he sent a special
messenger, a sort of valet, to London, who met and safely escorted Maria
to America. She landed at Province Island on the Delaware, remaining in
retirement there for a month, until John could slip away and escort her
personally to Peter Allen’s.

The girl was bright, well-educated and sensible, and found the new life
to her liking, and her young husband loving and considerate.

It was in the spring of 1754 when they reached the stone house at the
foot of the Fourth or Peter’s Mountain, and during the ensuing year she
taught the young Allen girls and three other well-bred children, and was
visited frequently by her husband. She assumed the name of Mary Warren,
her mother’s maiden name, which proved her undoing. All went well until
representatives of the Penns in London learned that Maria Cox-Penn was
missing, and they traced her on shipboard through the name “Mary
Warren,” eventually locating her as the young school-mistress at

The next part of this story is a hard one to write, as one hates to make
accusations against dead and gone worthies who helped to found our
beloved Pennsylvania; but, at any rate, without going into whys and
wherefores, “Mary Warren” mysteriously disappeared. Simultaneously went
Joshua, the friendly Indian who lived at the running spring on the top
of Peter’s Mountain, and Arvas, or “Silver Heels,” another Indian, whose
cabin was on the slopes of Third (now called Short) Mountain, near
Clark’s Creek.


It was in the early summer of 1755 when John Penn, accompanied only by
one retainer, John Monkton, a white-bearded veteran of Preston, rode out
of the gateway of the stockade of John Harris’ trading post, bound for
Peter Allen’s. His heart was glad and his spirits elated for, moody lad
that he was, he dearly loved his wife and her influence over him was

On the very top of the Second Mountain he drew rein, and in the clear
stillness of the Sunday morning listened to a cheewink poised on the
topmost twig of a chestnut sprout, and viewed the scenes below him. In
an ample clearing at the foot of Fourth Mountain he could see Peter
Allen’s spacious stone mansion, where his love was probably at that
minute instructing the little class in the beauties of revealed
religion. They would soon be united, and he was so wonderfully happy!

As the cool morning breeze swayed the twig on which the cheewink
perched, it sang again and again, “Ho-ho-hee, ho-ho-hee, ho-ho-hee!” in
a high key, and with such an ecstasy of joy and youth that all the world
seemed animated with its gladness, yet Penn’s thought as he rode on was,
“I wonder where that bird will be next year; what will it have to
undergo before it can feel the warmth and sunlight of another spring?”

He hurried his horse so that it stumbled many times going down the
mountain, and splashed the water all over old Monkton in his anxiety to
ford Clark’s Creek. He lathered his horse forcing him to trot up the
steep contrefort which leads to “Tulliallan,” though he weighed hardly
more than one hundred and twenty pounds. He drew rein before the door;
no one rushed out to greet him, even the dogs were still. He made his
escort dismount and pound the heavy brass knocker, fashioned in the form
of an Indian’s head. After some delay, Peter Allen himself appeared,
looking glum and deadly pale.

“What is wrong?” cried Penn who was naturally as intuitive as a woman,
noting his altered demeanor.

“Can I tell you, sir, in the presence of your bodyguard?”

“Out, out with it, Allen,” shouted Penn, “I must know _now_.”

“Mary Warren has been gone a fortnight, we know not whither. She had
taken the Berryhill children home after classes, and left them about
five o’clock in the evening. She did not return, and we have searched
everywhere. Strange to relate, George Smithgall, the young serving man
whom you left here to look after your apartments, and who accompanied
Mary from London is gone also; draw your own inferences.”

John Penn’s fair face was as red as his scarlet cloak. Despite Allen’s
urging he would not dismount, but turned his horse’s head toward the
river. He rode to Queenaskawakee, now called Clark’s Ferry, where there
was a famous fording, and, accompanied by his guard, he made the
crossing and posted for the Juniata country. Near Raystown Branch he
caught up with the company of riflemen and scouts organized by “Black
Jack,” the Wild Hunter of the Juniata, who was waiting for General
Braddock’s arrival to enlist in the proposed attack on Fort Duquesne at
Shannopin’s Town, now Pittsburg. Black Jack was no stranger to him,
having often met him at social gatherings at Peter Allen’s, and the
greeting between the two men was very friendly. John Penn occupied the
same cabin as the Wild Hunter, and he told him his story.

“It is not news to me,” said Captain Jack. “I heard it before, from
Smithgall. He went through here last week hunting for Mary.”

Despite this reassuring information, Penn refused to believe anything
but that the lovely Quakeress had proved false and eloped with the
German-American serving man. Word came in a few days that the vanguard
of General Braddock’s army had reached the Loyalhanna, and were encamped
there. Captain Jack, with John Penn riding at his side, and followed by
his motley crew with their long rifles–Germans, Swiss, Frenchmen,
Dutchmen, Indians, half breeds, Negroes and Spaniards–approached the
luxurious quarters of General Edward Braddock, late of the Coldstream
Guards. The portly General, his breast blazing with decorations, wearing
his red coat, was seated in a carved armchair in front of a log cabin
erected for his especial use by his pioneers, who preceded him on the
march. A Sergeant-Major conveyed the news of “The Wild Hunter’s”
presence to the General’s Aide, who in turn carried it to the august

“I cannot speak to such a fellow, let alone accept him as a brother
officer,” said Braddock, irritably. “Besides, his methods of fighting
are contrary to all discipline, and I want no Pennsylvania troops. Tell
him that if he insists I will make him top-sergeant, and place my own
officers over his company.”

Captain Jack was half angry, half amused, when the rebuff was handed to
him via the sergeant major.

“My father was a Spanish gentleman from the Minisink, and my mother a
woman of tolerably good Hessian blood. I see no reason for such rank

Quickly turning his horse’s head, the sturdy borderer ordered his troop
to proceed eastward.

“Don’t act too rashly, Captain,” entreated Penn. “General Braddock is
ignorant of this country and Indian methods of warfare. He may have
orders not to enlist native troops, yet without your aid I fear for the
success of his expedition. Please let me intercede with him; he will do
it when he hears that I am your friend.”

“To the devil with him and his kind, the swinish snob,” growled Captain
Jack, while his black eyes flashed a diabolical hatred; his Spanish
temper was uncontrollable. That night, when Captain Jack and John Penn
were seated at their camp fire at Laurel Run, a messenger, a Major, not
a Sergeant Major, from General Braddock was announced.

Saluting, the officer asked to be allowed to speak with John Penn,
Esquire. Penn received the officer without rising, and was cooly civil
throughout the interview, which consisted principally of reading a
letter from Braddock, expressing deep regret “that he had not known that
the son of his dear friend, Richard Penn, had been with –– Jack,” and
offering Penn the captaincy of _Black Jack’s_ company of scouts, “––
Jack to be First Lieutenant.”

Naturally, Captain Jack was more enraged than ever, but he said: “Take
it, John, I’ll withdraw and turn my men, who, you know, are the best
shots in the Province, over to you. They would go through hell for you.”

“Never fear,” replied Penn, and, turning to the Major, he said: “Tell
General Braddock, with my compliments, that I decline to accept a
commission which he has no authority to tender. As for my companion,
Captain Jack (laying emphasis on the Captain) the General had _his_
decision earlier in the day. Goodnight, Major.”

Thus terminated the “conference” which might have changed the face of
history. As the result of Braddock’s pride and folly, his defeat and
death are a part of history, known by every Pennsylvanian.

John Penn was wretchedly unhappy, even though Captain Jack tried to
console him, when he shrewdly inferred that “Mary” had been kidnapped by
emissaries of his relatives, and had not eloped with a vile serving man.
His heart was too lacerated to remain longer with the Wild Hunter, now
that no active service was to be experienced; so, accompanied by
Monkton, the veteran of Preston, he set out the next morning for the
West Branch of the Susquehanna to the unexplored countries.

At Waterford Narrows they passed the body of a trader recently killed
and scalped by Indians.

“May I draw one of his teeth, sir?” said the old soldier, “and you can
carry it in your pocket, for the old people say ‘The only thing that can
break the enchantment of love is the tooth of a dead man’.”

Penn shook his head and rode on. For a considerable time Penn and Old
Monkton visited with Dagonando (Rock Pine), a noted Indian Chief in
Brush Valley (Centre County), for the young man, like the founder of
Pennsylvania, possessed the same irresistible charm over the redmen.

Years afterwards, in Philadelphia, speaking to General Thomas Mifflin,
Dagonando stated that had it not been for his unhappy love affairs, John
Penn would have been the equal of his grandfather as Governor, and
prevented the Revolutionary War. But his spirit was crushed; even a mild
love affair with Dagonando’s daughter ended with shocking disaster.
Reaching Fort Augusta, Penn became very ill; a “nervous breakdown” his
ailment would be diagnosed today. During his illness he was robbed of
his diary. He reached Philadelphia in the fall, and almost immediately
set sail for England. He remained abroad until 1763, when he returned as
Governor of Pennsylvania. He arrived in Philadelphia on October 30, in
the midst of the terrific earthquake of that year, and on November 5,
George Roberts in a letter to Samuel Powell, in describing the new Chief
Magistrate, says:

“His Honor, Penn, is a little gentleman, though he may govern equal to
one seven feet high.”

Charles P. Keith has thus summed up Penn’s career from the time of his
first arrival in Pennsylvania: “He was one of the Commissioners to the
Congress at Albany in the summer of 1754, and made several journeys to
the neighboring colonies. Nevertheless, his trouble made him again
despondent; he began to shun company; he would have joined Braddock’s
army had any Pennsylvania troops formed part of it, and perhaps have
died on the field which that officer’s imprudence made so disastrous.
Some two months after the defeat he returned to England.”

On June 6, 1766, a brilliant marriage occurred in Philadelphia. John
Penn, Lieutenant Governor, aged thirty-seven years, married Anne, the
daughter of William Allen, Chief Justice; a strange fate had united the
relative of Peter Allen of “Tulliallan” to the husband of Maria Cox,
pronounced legally dead after an absence of eleven years in parts
unknown. Commenting on this alliance, Nevin Moyer, the gifted Historian,
remarks: “The marriage was an unpleasant one, on his (Penn’s) account,
for he was found very seldom at home.” It was during the wedding that a
fierce electrical storm occurred, unroofing houses and shattering many
old trees.

It was not long after this marriage when a feeling of restlessness
impelled him to start another of his many trips to the interior. This
time it was given out that he wished to visit Penn’s Valley, the
“empire” discovered in the central part of the province by Captains
Potter and Thompson, and named in his honor, and Penn’s Cave, the source
of the Karoondinha, a beautiful, navigable stream, rechristened “John
Penn’s Creek.” He managed to stop over night, as everyone of any
consequence did, at “Tulliallan,” and slept in the room with the Scotch
thistles carved on the woodwork, and saw Peter Allen for the first time
in twelve years.

A foul crime had recently been committed in the neighborhood. Indian
Joshua, who used to live at the running spring, had gone to Canada the
year of Braddock’s defeat (the year of Mary’s disappearance, Penn always
reckoned it) and had lately returned to his old abode. He had been shot,
as a trail of blood from his cabin down the mountain had been followed
clear to Clark’s Creek, where it was lost. In fact, pitiful wailing had
been heard one night all the way across the valley, but it was supposed
to be a traveling panther. Arvas, or Silver Heels, had also come back
for a time, but, after Joshua’s disappearance, had gone away.

“Maybe he killed his friend,” whispered Allen, looking down guiltily, as
he spoke what he knew to be untruthful words.

“It is all clear to me now, Allen,” said Penn. “I should have believed
Captain Jack, when in ’55 he told me that my late wife was carried off
to Canada by Indians; the kidnappers came back, and for fear that they
would levy hush money on those who had caused my Mary to be stolen,
murdered Joshua as a warning.”

Allen did not answer, but Penn said: “You have kept a public house so
long that you have forgotten to be a gentleman, and I do not expect you
to tell the truth.”

In 1840 seekers after nestlings of the vultures climbed to the top of
the King’s Stool, the dizzy pinnacle of the Third Mountain. There they
found the skeleton of an Indian. It was all that was left of Joshua, who
had climbed there in his agony and died far above the scenes which he
loved so dearly. The hunters put the bones in their hunting pouches and
climbed down the “needle,” and buried them decently at the foot of the

The King’s Stool is named for a similar high point near Lough Foyle,
Ireland, and there are also King’s Stools in Juniata and Perry Counties.
The North of Ireland pioneers were glad to recognize scenes similar to
the natural wonders of the Green Isle!

A great light had come to John Penn, but he accepted his fate
philosophically, just as he had the abuse heaped upon him for his
vacillating policy towards the Indians. He followed up his vigorous
attempt to punish the Paxtang perpetrators of the massacres of the
Conestoga Indians at Christmas time, 1763, by promulgating the infamous
scalp bounty of July, 1764, which bounty, to again quote Professor
Moyer, paid “$134 for an Indian’s scalp, and $150 for a live Indian, and
$50 for an Indian female or child’s scalp.”

There are not enough Indians to make hunting for bounties in
Pennsylvania a paying occupation today, so instead there is a bounty on
Wildcats and foxes, wiping out desirable wild life to satisfy the
politicians’ filthy greed.

John Penn returned to Philadelphia without visiting Penn’s Valley or
Penn’s Cave or John Penn’s Creek. He had seen them previously in 1755
when they bore their original Indian names, and his heart was still sad.
It was not long after returning that he again started on another
expedition up the Susquehanna, traveling by canoe, just as his
grandfather, William Penn, had done in his supposedly fabulous trip to
the sources of the West Branch at Cherry Tree, in 1700. A stop was made
at Fisher’s stone house, Fisher’s Ferry. A group of pioneers had heard
of his coming and gave the little Governor a rousing ovation. He felt
nearest to being happy when among the frontier people, who understood
him, and his trials had, like Byron, made him “the friend of mountains”;
he was still simple at heart. In the kitchen, seated by the inglenook,
he heard someone’s incessant coughing in an inner room. He asked the
landlord, old Peter Fisher, who was suffering so acutely.

“Why, sir,” replied Fisher, “it’s an Englishwoman dying.”

In those days people’s nationalities in Pennsylvania were more sharply
defined, and any English-speaking person was always called an
“Englishwoman” or an “Englishman,” as the case might be.

“Tell me about her,” said the Governor, with ill-concealed curiosity.

“It’s a strange story, it might give Your Worship offense,” faltered the
old innkeeper. “They tell it, sir, though it’s doubtless a lie, that
Your Excellency cared for this Englishwoman, and your enemies had her
kidnapped by two Indians and taken to Canada. The Indians were paid for
keeping her there until a few years ago, when their remittances suddenly
stopped and they came home; one, it is said, was murdered soon after.
Arvas, his companion, was accused of the crime, but he stopped here for
a night, a few weeks afterwards, and swore to me that he was guiltless.
The Englishwoman finally got away and walked all the way back from a
place called Muskoka, but she caught cold and consumption on the way,
and is on her death-bed now. I knew her in all her youth and beauty at
Peter Allen’s, where she was always the belle of the balls there; she
had been brought up a Quaker, but my, how she could dance. You would not
know her now.”

“I want to see her,” said the Governor, rising to his feet.

It was getting dark, so Fisher lit a rushlight, and led the way. He
opened the heavy door without rapping. His wife and daughter sat on
high-backed rush-bottomed chairs on either side of the big four-poster
bed, which had come from the Rhine country. On the bed lay a woman of
about forty years, frightfully emaciated by suffering, whose
exaggeratedly clear-cut features were accentuated in their marble look
by the pallor of oncoming dissolution. Her wavy, dark hair, parted in
the middle, made her face seem even whiter.

“Mary, Mary,” said the little Governor, as he ran to her side, seizing
the white hands which lay on the flowered coverlet.

“John, my darling John,” gasped the dying woman.

“Leave us alone together,” commanded the Governor.

The women looked at one another as they retired. The thoughts which
their glances carried indicated “well, after all the story’s true.”

They had been alone for about ten minutes when Penn ran out of the door
calling, “Come quick, someone, I fear she’s going.”

The household speedily assembled, but in another ten minutes “Mary
Warren,” alias Maria Cox-Penn had yielded up the ghost. She is buried on
the brushy African-looking hillside which faces the “dreamy
Susquehanna,” the Firestone Mountains and the sunset, near where
travelers across Broad Mountain pass every day. John Penn returned to
Philadelphia and took no more trips to the interior. He divided his time
between his town house, 44 Pine Street, and his country seat

During the Revolution he was on parole. He died childless. February 9,
1795, and is said to be buried under the floor, near the chancel, in the
historic Christ Church, Philadelphia, which bears the inscription that
he was “One of the Late Proprietors of Pennsylvania.” Most probably his
body was later taken to England. His wife, _nee_ Allen, survived him
until 1813.

The other night in the grand hall of the Historical Society of
Pennsylvania in the Quaker City, a notable reception was given in honor
of the grand historian-governor, William C. Sproul, fresh from his
marvelous restoration of the Colonial Court House at Chester. As he
stood there, the embodiment of mental and physical grace and strength,
the greatest Governor of a generation, receiving the long line of those
who came to pay their respects and well wishes, Albert Cook Myers, famed
historian of the Quakers, mentioned that the present Governor of the
Commonwealth was standing just beneath the portrait of John Penn, one of
the last of the Proprietaries. And what a contrast there was! Penn
looked so effete and almost feminine with his child-like blonde locks,
his pink cheeks, weak, half-closed mouth, his slender form in a red
coat, so different from the vigorous living Governor. Penn was also so
inferior to the other notable portraits which hung about him–the sturdy
Huguenot, General Henri Bouquet, the deliverer of Fort Duquesne in 1758
and 1763; the stalwart Scot, General Arthur St. Clair, of Miami fame,
who was left to languish on a paltry pension of $180 a year at his
rough, rocky farm on Laurel Ridge; the courageous-looking Irishman,
General Edward Hand; and, above all, the bold and dashing eagle face of
General “Mad Anthony” Wayne. Such company for the last of the Penns to
keep! Though lacking the manly outlines of his fellows on canvas, who
can say that his life had one whit less interest than theirs–probably
much more so, for his spirit had felt the thrill of an undying love,
which in the end surmounted all difficulties and left his heart master
of the field.

Though his record for statecraft can hardly be written from a favorable
light, and few of his sayings or deeds will live, he has joined an
immortal coterie led down the ages by Anthony and the beautiful Egyptian
queen, by Abelard and Heloise, Dante and Beatrice, Petrarch and Laura,
Alfieri and the Countess of Albany, and here in Pennsylvania by Hugh H.
Brackenridge and the pioneer girl, Sabina Wolfe, and Elisha Kent Kane,
and the spiritualist, Maria Fox. Love is a force that is all-compelling,
all-absorbing and never dies, and is the biggest thing in life, and the
story of John Penn and Maria Cox will be whispered about in the
backwoods cabins and wayside inns of the Pennsylvania Mountains long
after seemingly greater men and minds have passed to forgetfulness.

But for a few lines in the writings of Charles P. Keith, H. M. Jenkins,
Nevin W. Moyer and various Penn biographers, such as Albert Cook Myers,
the verbal memories of ’Squire W. H. Garman, James Till, Mrs. H. E.
Wilvert and other old-time residents of the vicinity of “Tulliallan,”
all would be lost, and the inspiration of a story of overwhelming
affection unrecorded in the annals of those who love true lovers.

When old Jacob Loy passed away at the age of eighty years, he left a pot
of gold to be divided equally among his eight children. It was a pot of
such goodly proportions that there was a nice round sum for all, and the
pity of it was after the long years of privation which had collected it,
that some of the heirs wasted it quickly on organs, fast horses, cheap
finery and stock speculations, for it was before the days of
player-pianos, victrolas and automobiles.

Yolande, his youngest daughter, was a really attractive girl, even had
she not a share in the pot of gold, and had many suitors. Though farm
raised and inured to hardships she was naturally refined, with wonderful
dark eyes and hair, and pallid face–the perfect type of Pennsylvania
Mountain loveliness.

Above all her admirers she liked best of all Adam Drumheller, a shrewd
young farmer of the neighborhood, and eventually married him. Three
children were born in quick succession, in the small tenant house on his
father’s farm in Chest Township, where the young couple had gone to live
immediately after their wedding.

Shortly after the birth of the last child old Jacob Drumheller died, and
the son and his family moved into the big stone farmhouse near the banks
of the sulphurous Clearfield Creek. It was not long after this
fortuitous move that the young wife began to show signs of the favorite
Pennsylvania mountain malady–consumption. Whether it was caused by a
deep-seated cold or came about from sleeping in rooms with windows
nailed shut, no one could tell, but the beautiful young woman became
paler and more wax-like, until she realized that a speedy end was
inevitable. Many times she found comfort in her misfortune by having her
husband promise that in the event of her death he would never remarry.

“Never, never,” he promised. “I could never find your equal again.”

He was sincere in some respects; it would be hard to find her
counterpart, and she had made a will leaving him everything she
possessed, and he imagined that the pot of gold transformed into a bank
balance or Government bonds would be found somewhere among her effects.

Before ill health had set in he had quizzed her many times, as openly as
he dared, on the whereabouts of her share of the pot.

“It is all safe,” she would say. “It will be forthcoming some time when
you need it more than you do today,” and he was satisfied.

As she grew paler and weaker Adam began to think more of Alvira Hamel,
another comely girl whom he had loved when he railroaded out of
Johnstown, at Kimmelton, and whom he planned to claim as his own should
Yolande pass away.


Perhaps his thoughts dimly reflected on the dying wife’s sub-conscious
mind, for she became more insistent every day that he promise never to

“Think of our dear little children,” she kept saying, “sentenced to have
a stepmother; I would come back and _haunt_ you if you perpetrate such a
cruelty to me and mine.”

Adam had little faith in a hereafter, and less in ghosts, so he readily
promised anything, vowing eternal celebacy cheerfully and profoundly.

When Yolande did finally fade away, she died reasonably happy, and at
least died bravely. She never shed a tear, for it is against the code of
the Pennsylvania Mountain people to do so–perhaps a survival of the
Indian blood possessed by so many of them.

Three days after the funeral Adam hied himself to Ebensburg to “settle
up the estate,” but also to look up Alvira Hamel, who was now living
there. She seemed glad to see him, and when he broached a possible union
she acted as if pleased at everything except to go on to that lonely
farm on the polluted Clearfield Creek.

By promising to sell out when he could and move to Barnesboro or
Spangler, a light came in her dark eyes, and though he did not visit the
lawyer in charge of his late wife’s affairs, his day in town was
successful in arranging for the new alliance with his sweetheart of
other days.

In due course of time it was discovered that the equivalent of Yolande’s
share of the pot of gold left by old Jacob Loy was not to be found. “She
may have kept it in coin and buried it in the orchard,” was some of the
very consoling advice that the lawyer gave.

At any rate it was not located by the time that Adam and Alvira were
married, but the bridegroom was well to do and could afford to wait.
After a short trip to Pittsburg and Wheeling the newly married couple
took up housekeeping in the big brick farmstead above the creek.

The first night that they were back from the honeymoon–it was just about
midnight and Alvira was sleeping peacefully–Adam thought that he heard
footsteps on the stairs. He could not be mistaken. Noiselessly the door
opened, and the form of Yolande glided into the room; she was in her
shroud, all white, and her face was whiter than the shroud, and her long
hair never looked blacker.

Along the whitewashed wall by the bedside was a long row of hooks on
which hung the dead woman’s wardrobe. It had never been disturbed;
Alvira was going to cut the things up and make new garments out of them
in the Spring. Adam watched the apparition while she moved over to the
clothing, counting them, and smoothed and caressed each skirt or waist,
as if she regretted having had to abandon them for the steady raiment of
the shroud.

Then she came over to the bed and sat on it close to Adam, eyeing him
intently and silently. Just then Alvira got awake, but apparently could
see nothing of the ghost, although the room was bright as day, bathed in
the full moon’s light.

Yolande seemed to remain for a space of about ten minutes, then passed
through the alcove into the room where the children were sleeping and
stood by their bedside. The next night she was back again, repeating the
same performance, the next night, and the next, and still the next, each
night remaining longer, until at last she stayed until daybreak. In the
morning as the hired men were coming up the boardwalk which led to the
kitchen door, they would meet Yolande, in her shroud coming from the
house, and passing out of the back gate. On one occasion Alvira was
pumping water on the porch, but made no move as she passed, being
evidently like so many persons, spiritually blind. The hired men had
known Yolande all their lives, and were surprised to see her spooking in
daylight, but refrained from saying anything to the new wife.

Every day for a week after that she appeared on the kitchen porch, or on
the boardwalk, in the yard, on the road, and was seen by her former
husband many times, and also her night prowling went on as of yore. The
hired men began to complain; it might make them sick if a ghost was
around too much; these spooks were supposed to exhale a poison much as
copperhead snakes do, and also draw their “life” away, and they
threatened to quit if she wasn’t “laid.” All of them had seen spooks
before, on occasion, but a daily visitation of the same ghost was more
than they cared about.

Had it not been for the excitable hired men, Adam, whose nerves were
like iron, could have stood Yolande’s ghost indefinitely. In fact, he
thought it rather nice of her to come back and see him and the children
“for old time’s sake.” But the farm hands must be conserved at any cost,
even to the extent of laying Yolande’s unquiet spirit.

The next night when she appeared, he made bold and spoke to her: “What
do you want, Yolande,” he said softly, so as not to wake the soundly
sleeping Alvira at his side. “Is there anything I can do for you, dear?”

Yolande came very close beside him, and bending down whispered in his
ear: “Adam,” said she, “how can you ask me why I am here? You surely
know. Did you not, time and time again, promise never to marry again, if
I died, for the sake of our darling children? Did you not make such a
promise, and see how quickly you broke it! Where I am now I can hold no
resentments, so I forgive you for all your transgressions, but I hope
that Alvira will be good to our children. I have one request to make:
After I left you, you were keen to find what I did with my share of
daddy’s pot of gold. I had it buried in the orchard at my old home,
under the Northern Spy, but after we moved here, one time when you went
deer hunting to Centre County, I dug it up and brought it over here and
buried it in the cellar of this house. It is here now. There are just
one hundred and fifty-three twenty dollar gold pieces; that was my
share. The children and the money were on my mind, not your broken
promise and rash marriage, which you will repent, and which I tell you
again I forgive you for. I want my children to have that money, every
one of the one hundred and fifty-three twenty dollar gold pieces. I
buried it a little to the east of the spring in the cellar, about two
feet under ground, in a tin cartridge box; Dig it up tomorrow morning,
and if you find the one hundred and fifty-three coins, and give every
one to the children, I will never come again and upset your hired men.
Why I have Myron Shook about half scared to death already, but if you
don’t find every single coin I’ll have to come back until you do, or if
you hold it back from the children, you will not be able to keep a
hireling on this place, or any other place to which you move. Many live
folks can’t see ghosts; your wife is one of these; she will never worry
until the hired men quit, then she’ll up and have you make sale and move
to town. Be square and give the children the money, and I’ll not trouble
you again.”

“Oh, Yolande,” answered Adam in gentle tones, “you are no trouble to me,
not in the least. I love to have you visit me at night, and look at the
children, but you are making the hired help terribly uneasy. That part
you must quit.”

“That’s enough of your drivel, Adam,” spoke Yolande, in a sterner tone
of voice. “Talk less like a fool, and more like a man. Dig up that money
in the morning, count it, and give it to the children and I’ll be glad
never to see you again.”

To be reproached by a ghost was too much for Adam, and he lapsed into
silence, while Yolande slipped out of the room, over to the bedside of
the sleeping children, where she lingered until daylight.

Adam was soon asleep, but was up bright and early the next morning,
starting to dress just as the ghost glided out of the door. By six
o’clock he had exhumed Yolande’s share of the pot of gold which was
buried exactly as her ghostly self had described.

It was a hard wrench to hand the money over to the children, or rather
to take it to Ebensburg and start savings accounts in their names. But
he did it without a murmur. The cashier, a horse fancier, gave him a
present of a new whip, of a special kind that he had made to order at
Pittsburg, so he came home happy and contented.

Night was upon him, and supper over, he retired early, dozing a bit
before the “witching hour.” As the old Berks County tall clock in the
entry struck twelve, he began to watch for Yolande’s accustomed
entrance. But not a shadow appeared. The clock struck the quarter, the
half, three quarters and one o’clock. No Yolande or anything like her
came; she was true to her promise, as true as he had been false. It was
an advantage to be a ghost in some ways. They were honorable creatures.

Adam did not know whether to feel pleased or not. His vanity had been
not a little appealed to by a dead wife visiting him nightly; now he was
sure that it wasn’t for love of him or jealousy, she had been coming
back, but to see that the children got the money that had been buried in
the cellar. And at last she had spoken rather unkindly, so the great
change called death had ended her love, and she wasn’t grieving over his
second marriage at all. However, he fell to consoling himself that she
had chided him for breaking his word and marrying again; she must have
cared for him or she would not have said those things. Then the thought
came to him that she wasn’t really peeved at anything concerning his
marriage to Alvira except that the children had gotten a stepmother. He
wondered if Alvira would continue to be kind to them. Just as he went to
sleep he had forgotten both Yolande and Alvira, chuckling over a pretty
High School girl he had seen on the street at the ’burg, and whom he had
winked at.