Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: April 1938 Volume 1 Number 3, Page 21

Isaac Wayne, Esq., on timber at Valley Forge

Page 21

Easttown, Chester County

March 4th, 1814

Dear Sir,
It is a source of regret to me, that my letter to you, either of September or October last, should have miscarried; especially as the enclosures were completely corroborative of the opinions and facts which you have repeatedly state on the subject of the change of timber; and I regret the miscarriage of this letter the more, because I have not a copy of either the letter or the enclosure; and death has recently deprived me of a very valuable source of information, the late worthy John Bartholomew, Esq., whose statement was enclosed, setting forth in detail many facts and observations relative to the change of timber; more particularly of that, on, and within the vicinity of the old encampment, near the Valley Forge. From the best recollection I have of the said statement; it contained (inter alia) tho following facts.

That the timber prevalent about Valley Forge, previously to its being fallen for the use of the American Army, in the autumn of 1777, and winter and spring of 1778, consisted of white oak, black oak, Spanish oak, rarely interspersed with scrubby chestnut and hickory.

That the ground on which white oak was formerly the most conspicuous, now exhibits black oak, hickory and chestnut, in abundance, and in great perfection.

That where black oak had been most general, white oak, hickory and chestnut now plentifully exist.

That of the hickory and chestnut, there were at least 16 to 1 of what grew on the same ground in the year 1777; and that these two latter species of timber, were now flourishing, in the highest degree, in many places where no other timber formerly grew, than white oak, black oak, and Spanish oak.

That notwithstanding the old encampment, and the ground within its vicinity, yet present considerable quantities of timber, similar to that which was cut in the autumn of 1777, and the winter and spring of 1778; it has originated almost universally from the old stumps or roots.

Since I had the pleasure of last conversing with you on the subject of the change of timber, I have availed myself of opportunities of mentioning to several intelligent characters, the statements which I have received, with respect to the change of timber, on the ground of the old encampment, and its vicinity; and they have without exception, confirmed the general facts above stated. I have only to add, that from recent information, the farmers, in many parts of this county, are so decidedly convinced of the change of timber; that they reluctantly cut their full grown white oak, black oak, and hickory; knowing that these species will be succeeded by some other, of a quality inferior for fuel. Believe me to be, Sir,

With great respect,
your obedient servant,
Richard Peters, Esq.
(Signer) Isaac Wayne


Page last updated: 2012-03-30 at 14:24 EST
Copyright © 2006-2012 Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Permission is given to make copies for personal use only.
All other uses require written permission of the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society.