Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Wyoming Valley

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WYOMING VALLEY, a valley in Luzerne co., Pa., famous as the scene of a massacre following the battle of Tory and Indian invaders, on one side, and the American settlers on the other, July 3, 1778. The American force was weak, nearly all the fighting men being away in the Continental army, and more than half of it was killed. The survivors took refuge in Forty Fort, where most of the families of the valley had gathered. The Tories under Colonel Butler, offered unexpectedly easy terms of surrender, and the settlers went back to their homes, while the invaders were supposed to be leaving the valley. Against the commands of their white leaders the Indians remained, and, on the night of July 4, began massacring the inhabitants and burning the houses. All who could escape made their way into the Wilkesbarre Mountains and the swampy land beyond, where so many women and children died that it was afterward called “The Shades of Death.” When peace was established and the Indians came under control, the surviving settlers returned. They were confirmed in the possession of the valley about 1787.