The Yankee-Pennamite wars

Southerners call our national tragedy The War Between The States. Yankees call it our Civil War. Confederates believed a state had the right to withdraw from the federal union. That question was not answered by the Supreme Court until the Texas v. White decision of 1869. a 5 to — vote, the court ruled that a state "could not unilaterally decide to leave the federal union." So, it was a civil war. However, many Southern historians continue to refer to the four year bloodbath as the first War Between The States. The question of who is to blame is still being debated.

Two states, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, can challenge the idea that this was the first war between states. A little known historical footnote is that these colonies, later states, had fought three wars between 1769 and 1799. These are the almost unknown Yanhkee-Pennamite Wars. But it is easy to place the blame. It belongs to Charles II, King of Great Britain.

Charles had expensive habits, including a parade of costly mistresses. He was always in debt and used his position to settle them. In 1665, he gave the colony of Connecticut a charter for land in the fertile Wyoming Valley in northern Pennsylvania. Charlie didn't know much geography, either. The colony of New York lay between Connecticut and their new territory. The royal charter languished for about a century.

Meanwhile, the king ran up a huge debt with the Penn family. The Penns were Quakers. To find a place where his people could enjoy religious freedom, William Penn asked for a colonial charter. Charles gave him one in 1681 which established Pennsylvania. The Penn family cancelled Charles's debts. Unfortunately, the king gave the same Wyoming Valley to Pennsylvania he had already given to Connecticut.

When Connecticut settlers arrived in 1769 they found Pennsylvania squatters on "their" land. Fighting broke out with Pennsylvania sending troops and Connecticut sending its militia to protect the Yankee settlers. Fighting ended two years later but the issue was unresolved.

The conflict was dormant during the American Revolution. Both sides fought for our independence. It heated up again after peace was declared. Pennsylvania offered to give the Connecticut Yankees new land further west but the offer was rejected. Why should we move? Our charter was before yours and the British Crown had reconfirmed our claim in 1771, before independence. Why don't you move? Pennsylvania sent more troops who burned the city of Wilkes-Barre. This time, both Vermont and Connecticut sent their militia to protect their people.

The first war had been relatively bloodless with a dozen or so casualties. The second cost many more.

In 1782, a Pennsylvania court ruled the valley belonged to their state but the Yankees refused to accept the decision. A third conflict erupted but damages were minimal. The dispute festered until both sides agreed to negotiations.

The issue was finally settled in 1799. The Pennsylvania Legislature passed the Compromise Act. The land belonged to Pennsylvania. However, the Yankee had moved there in good faith. They had a legitimate claim. They could remain on their farms, or, if they had been dispossessed they would be compensated for their loss.

The Yankee-Pennamite Wars were over.

This recipe has nothing to do with any armed conflict. I discovered it when I had some left over pastry dough when baking a pie. Roll the surplus dough out, cut into a six inch circle. Spread peanut butter on one half, top with thin slices of banana. Fold over, crimp edges and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown. A wonderful treat for grandkids!

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