Between 1762 and 1800, a steady stream of settlers from Connecticut and to a lesser extent Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York moved west, settled in northeastern Pennsylvania and disappeared from written records. Most of the settlers had bought shares from the Connecticut based Susquehanna Company, a self-proclaimed land company whose aim was to wrest control of the East Branch of the Susquehanna River from Pennsylvania. Each share entitled the subscriber to a proportional share of land in a Company township. Company clerks recorded sales of shares, conveyances of deeds, township grants and other miscellaneous documents in the Minute Book of meetings and ten volumes of Account Books.
Sequestered in a private Pennsylvania collection for years, then donated to the Connecticut Historical Society, the original Minute and Account Books languished in corners and over the years were used by only a few local historians. In the late 1920s when Julian Boyd was editor of the multi-volume Susquehanna Company Papers he had the Account Books Photostatted. Although he, and later editor Robert Taylor, collected and published eleven volumes of Susquehanna Company papers, neither editor incorporated any material from the Account Books and rarely cited them in footnotes.
Wanting to use the Account Books for a research project of my own and mystified as to their whereabouts, I enlisted the help of the Connecticut Historical Society, the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The late Ruth Blair of the Connecticut Historical Society graciously helped me locate eight of the ten Account Books and later she located the misplaced two volumes. William H. Siener kindly let me and Roland Baumann of the Pennsylvania State Archives search the attic storeroom at the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society where we found six Photostat volumes that had survived the Susquehanna River flood of 1936. In the attic we also found, much to our surprise, a nearly complete every name card file. Margaret Craft, librarian, let us borrow the cards which we duplicated to form an alphabetical surname index. But, since the page numbers referred to the Photostat copy pagination and not the original pagination, the index was of use only as a second opinion when surname spelling was in question. For a more detailed discussion of the Account Books see the author's earlier article, "Following Connecticut Ancestors to Pennsylvania: Susquehanna Company Settlers," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 139, April 1985, p. 112-25
After studying the Account Books, their value for historical and genealogical purposes became apparent. In a more personal way than the collected Susquehanna Company Papers, the Account Books brought to life the Susquehanna Company’s efforts at settlement in northeastern Pennsylvania. Thus, I decided to create a database of proprietors using fields common to all deeds, that is: grantor, grantor residence, grantee, grantee residence, description, amount, location, deed date, recording date, page, and notes. By moving from grantor to grantee, it is possible to trace a chain of title.
For preservation’s sake, the Pennsylvania State Archives copied the Photostat copies of the Account Books that we thought were missing. That enabled the Connecticut Historical Society to produce a complete microfilm version of the Account Books from which I have worked.
To access (1) the alphabetical database of proprietors: grantor/grantee; residence of both; description of purchase and location; cost; deed date, record date; account book page and (2) the chronological order of all Susquehanna Company meeting minutes you need to use this Volume I.
Use worldcat.org to find Volume I, The Proprietors, in a library near you.
Use heritagebooks.com or Amazon.com to buy Volume I. This is not advertising. In return for publication, I gave Heritage Books the royalty income, although I hold the copyright.
All Volumes (I, II, III) may be obtained in the same way.
To buy a searchable, archival quality, at cost, CD of Volumes I, II, III databases contact me. ()