Archiver > PACAMBRI > 2002-07 > 1026666020

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Subject: [PaCambri] John Hart & Henry Platt
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 12:00:20 -0500

>From the book "The Wilderness Trail or The Ventures and Adventures of the Pennsylvania Traders on the Allegheny Path" by Charles A. Hanna originally published 1911.

I was looking for information on Henry Platt, Indian Trader to see if I could connect him as the father of John Platt (b. Littlestown, York/Adams Co. Pa. - moved to Cambria Co. 1801, buried St. Joseph's, Hart's Sleeping Place) or connect him as a partner of John Hart.
John & Henry's Excellent Adventures it ain't.

Henry Platt was mentioned:

Henry Platt, licensed in 1743, 1745, 1746. (P.A., Sec. Ser., ii., 531-532.) That's it.

That leaves us with John Hart's Excellent Adventure.

John Hart was mentioned:

"Peter Bezaillion was an early Indian Trader, a suspicious person generally, who traded with the Indians at Conestoga. He eventually settled in East Cain Twp., Chester Co. Peter Bezaillion died in 1742, at the age of 80."
His wife, Martha Combe, had a brother, Moses Combe, who was also successfully engaged in the Indian trade, in Donegal Twp., Lancaster Co., where he had a post on Conroy Creek before 1716.
John Hart was Shamokin Indian Trader. (Shamokin applied to the area immediately north and west of the Susquehanna Forks). "The Indians of this place are accounted the most drunken, mischievous, and ruffian-like fellows of any of these parts; and Satan seems to have his seat in this town in an eminent degree."
John Hart was killed in the Fall of 1729, while on a "fire hunt" about 100 mi. down the Ohio, below Kittanning. The Indians tried to disuade the 2 white men from joining because they did not understand that a fire hunt involved all hunters forming a ring to trap the prey. The 2 white men insisted and John Hart was shot & killed, and his partner was shot in the leg. "Hart's Rock, in the Ohio River, below the Big Beaver, preserved his name for many years.'
On April 30, 1730, "the chiefs of ye Delawares at Alleegaeening, on the main road" sent a letter to the Governor of Pa, explaining the circumstances of Hart's death. In the letter they suggested "for to prevent any further misfortunes for the future, we would request the the Governor would please regulate the Traders, and supress such numbers of them from coming into the woods: and especially from bringing such large quantities of rum."

Another John Hart was licensed in 1744. He was the nephew of Martha Combe, wife of Peter Bezaillion, and "possibly" the son of John Hart killed in 1729. If so, he was no novice to the Indian Trade.
"John Hart returned to Pa in the summer of 1755 from Canada, whither he had fled from Cumberland County to avoid arrest for killing a man."
No date of death is given for this John Hart. He was listed as a home owner in the village of Ft. Pitt April 14, 1761. On a "List of Traders, 1763" he was mentioned as "to Ft. Pitt; at Ft. Pitt."

Here is some info on Hart's Sleeping Place from the same book.

Following John Harris on one of his trips to the Ohio Country on the Frankstown Path, 1754 - all directly from the book:

"To the Next and Last Crossing at Juniata, 8 miles"

... about 5 miles west of Petersburg and above the the point at which the Trail crossed to the north of the river again, was known in John Harris's time as "Hart's Log". It took it's name from the fact that John Hart (either the John Hart who was killed near Hart's Rock on the Ohio in 1729, or the John Hart who was licensed as a Trader in 1744) on one of his trips westward had hewd out a large log, so as to make a feeding-trough, for the purpose of salting, and feeding his pack-horses. Joshua Elder made a deposition, May 27, 1795, to the effect that he had made a survey of the Hart's Log tract of land for John Gemmill, June 6, 1768, and that he "well remembers to see the log which was troughed or dug out at the time he made the survey, where, it was said, the old Indian Trader, John Hart, usually fed and salted his horses."
A warrant for 400 acres of land at this place was granted to James Sterrat, Feb 3, 1755, "including the bottom at the Sleeping-Place, called John Hart's Log." Hart's Log, of course, was at the disposition of all travelers along that Path who might wish to use it. It took its name, no doubt, from the Trader who set it up; but there is no ground for assuming, as the local historians have generally done, that Hart settled at this spot or established a trading-post there. Both the Harts traded at Allegheny. The name "Hart's Log", was afterwards applied to the valley in which the log trough lay, and is borne by it to this day, as well as by a small stream in Porter Twp. The story told by U.J. Jones in his "History of the Juniata Valley", about the visit of hostile Indians to Hart's cabin at Hart's Log, is all pure fiction, with no foundation in fact whatever.

"To John Hart's Sleeping-place, 12 miles"

This station was located in what is now Carroll Twp., about a thousand yards southeast of the southwest corner of the present township of Elder, in Cambria Co.; and not far from the site of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, which is some two or three miles from Carrolltown. It was named for John Hart, the Indian Trader, who had erected the watering-trough at the point known thereafter as "Hart's Log".

My small bit of research hoping to weave the romantic tale of John Platt, born in York Co., moving to Cambria Co. finally laying to rest at Hart's Sleeping Place, the exact location where his Indian Trader father, Henry Platt and his partner, John Hart traded has gone bust. Once again, a good story looses to the facts.


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