Marking Time highlights one of the more than 2,500 markers that have been installed throughout the state since 1914 as part of the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program, operated by PHMC's State Historic Preservation Office.

On July 18, 1749, Seneca representatives complained to the Provincial government that white settlers were violating a treaty by building houses on land belonging to the Six Nations. In response, Lieutenant Governor James Hamilton issued a proclamation. “I … do hereby, in His Majesty’s Name,” Hamilton ordered, “strictly charge, command, and enjoin all & every the Persons who have presum’d to settle in any part of the Province West­ward of the Blue Hills to remove them­selves, their Families & Effects, off those Lands.” The settlers ignored his com­mand. At a Provincial council meeting a month later, Canasatego, an Iroquois chief, also spoke out against land encroachment, claiming that settlers were continuing to build cabins on Nanticoke hunting grounds along the branches of the Juniata River.

By May 1750, government officials were assigned to forcibly remove the squatters, mostly of Scots-Irish descent. Among the officials and magistrates were Conrad Weiser, a Tulpehocken justice and interpreter; George Croghan, newly-appointed justice of the peace for Cumberland County; and Richard Peters, secre­tary of Provincial Council. They assembled at Croghan’s residence with representatives of the Six Nations to plan their mission.

On May 22, the party climbed the steep Tuscarora Mountain, surprising the settlers on the other side. They arrested three trespassers, and burned two cabins upon Weiser’s recommendation. The group then divided. A party under Peters and Weiser traveled twenty-five miles to the mouth of the Juniata River where another small settlement was illegally located. The second group, led by Croghan, returned to Sherman’s Creek, burning houses and placing trespassers under bond for their removal. Eviction was not easy. Some settlers strongly resisted. Andrew Lycon threatened to shoot Richard Peters and Con­rad Weiser but was disarmed and taken into custody by a sheriff. Government agents torched his dwelling.

The two parties met six days later to map out the rest of their journey and chose to raid areas: Path Valley, in present-day Fulton County, where the settlement of Burnt Cabins was named to commemorate the event; Tuscarora Gap; the Conollaways; and the Big Cove and the Little Cove. The last three places posed a political problem because Pennsylvania leaders had encouraged settlers to build there to prevent Maryland from claim­ing the area.

The mission ultimately failed. With more immigrants arriving in the colony and a short­age of land, settlers continued to build their houses on Native American territory. Their presence often pro­voked violence. Five years after the Provincial eviction of Big Cove squatters, settlers returned and were raided by Shawnees and Delawares in the “Great Cove Mas­sacre.” Despite its failure, the 1750 eviction of illegal settlers was a telling episode in Native Ameri­can relations in which the Provincial government made an effort to uphold the law and its word.

Today’s travelers on U.S. Route 522 will find a state historical marker commemorating Burnt Cabins, located two-tenths of a mile south of the Huntington­-Fulton County line. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) erected the mark­er on June 4, 1947.