Proprietors, settlers and claimants from New England bought land located in Pennsylvania from the Connecticut-based Susquehanna Company and disappeared from legal records for as many as fifty years or more. The author, previously the Chief of the Division of Land Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives, has compiled a complete database of these proprietors, settlers and claimants in a three volume series. Over 5,000 families were involved.
Volume I: The Proprietors provides an overview and database of information about Company proprietors or shareholders as found in the Susquehanna Company Minute and Account Books. These manuscript volumes record deeds from the Company to share purchasers and conveyances along the chain of title. Each deed usually cites grantor and grantee residence, amount paid, size of the share transferred, location if actual real estate, execution and recording dates and special comments. As informative as the Account Books are, they do not give a complete picture of actual settlers along the Susquehanna River at any one time. To understand that scene, a researcher would need to consult a host of different lists in various archives and secondary publications.
Volume II: The Settlers makes the task of searching multiple sources manageable and the information understandable by merging thirty-two lists of settlers into one database. The sources begin with a deposition recalling the names of thirteen of the first Susquehanna Company settlers in June 1762 and end with 1,150 names on a November 1801 petition to the United States Congress asking for additional consideration and relief. In between, the lists range from the names of thirty-one of the “First Forty” present and arrested at Wyoming in March 1769, to a list of the proprietors of the first five townships in June 1770, and tax lists for 1776-1780. For each person named in a list the database cites date and place present. Many individuals appear on several of the lists.
Volume III: The Claimants presents proprietors and settlers who claimed and received Pennsylvania title to their tracts. This particular database draws upon Pennsylvania state land records and includes the names of those who drew lots in the certified townships as well as a chain of title to the claimant. Many drawers and claimants were original Susquehanna Company proprietors. Others were descendants of original proprietors and their chain of title usually includes familial relationships. Several claimants were land speculators who bought lots from settlers who could not afford to become claimants.
Donna Bingham Munger
2007, 8½x11, paper, alphabetical, 188 pp.