The Monument and Queen Esther’s Rock are sources of pride for Wyoming, and every middle school student at Wyoming Area is instructed in the Battle of Wyoming and the massacre that followed. It was a battle of the Revolutionary War, but grew out of previous wars between settlers who had moved down from Connecticut and original Pennamite settlers who were defending their claim to the same land. Add Iroquois, who probably had the most valid claim, and our Wyoming Valley was a mess.
The Connecticut settlers took the colonists’ side in the Revolutionary War and raised a militia stationed in a fort in what is now the Forty Fort Cemetery. The Pennamites and Iroquois sided with the Brits and had Fort Wintermoot in Exeter. The famous battle took place in July 1778, when 386 patriots left their fort and marched down Wyoming Avenue toward Exeter. They were ambushed by the Brits, Tories (colonists loyal to Britain), and Iroquois.
The battle, which was more like shooting fish in a barrel, lasted about 30 minutes and was followed by 12 hours of torture and, in some cases, scalping. It was one of the most horrific massacres in American history. The Iroquois took 227 scalps.
After that, Queen Esther, angered by her son’s recent death at the hands of a Yankee, lined more than a dozen colonists around a huge rock and personally bashed their heads in with her tomahawk. In the days following, settlers fled the valley in fear of capture and torture. Many died from exhaustion or were lost in a swamp known as “the shades of death” and were never heard from again. The whole event was reported in European newspapers and served as a propaganda tool for the patriots.
Gen. George Washington dispatched troops under Major Gen. John Sullivan to defeat the Iroquois on the Pennsylvania/New York frontier. Iroquois villages and food supplies were destroyed and many died of starvation over the winter. The Iroquois population never recovered from the loss.
Historical markers illustrating our past dot our roadways. When my kids were in eighth grade, an assignment was to visit the local markers and take notes — an activity I thoroughly enjoyed helping them with. The Luzerne County Historical Society is currently displaying artifacts from the Battle of Wyoming in its “The Battle of Wyoming at 240: Revolution on the Homefront” exhibit and museum curator Mark J. Riccetti Jr. will present a talk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.
My explanation was simplified, but if it piqued your interest, take advantage of visiting the historical society, located on Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre, to explore further. The exhibit includes paintings, prints, letters and artifacts related to the battle. It also includes the words of survivors from their accounts. The exhibit will be on display until early summer. Take your kids. Love of history, an understanding of what has defined us as a nation, and pride in America are vital to our existence. Pass it on.
West Wyoming Hose
Company ziti dinner
West Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 is having a ziti dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. The dinner includes ziti, homemade sauce and meatballs, salad, dessert and beverages. Adults are $8 and children under 12 are $5. Takeouts are available. Tickets may be purchased from any member or at the door. Proceeds benefit the hose company.
Greater Wyoming Area
Little League registration
For the 2019 season, Exeter Lions, West Pittston and Wyoming/West Wyoming Little Leagues have combined for all age groups to form the Greater Wyoming Area Little League. Online registration for baseball and softball is now open at www.wyomingwestwyomingll.com. Three in-person registration events also will be held at the Exeter Scout Home, behind the Exeter Borough Building, from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6; noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb 10. All first-time T-ball registrants will receive a free glove. Detailed registration information can be found on any of the league’s Facebook pages. For all questions, email GWALittleLeague@gmail.com.
WA scholarship applications
Wyoming Area Secondary Center seniors and parents are reminded the deadline for submitting scholarship applications is Wednesday, Feb. 6. No extensions will be given. Go to www.wyomingarea.org and follow the guidance link to scholarships. Further information will be coming in the next few weeks.
Wyoming U.M. Church news
Wyoming United Methodist Church is conducting a shepherd’s pie fundraiser. Cost is $6.50 each and they will be ready to be picked up at the church, 376 Wyoming Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1. Orders must be placed by Thursday, Jan. 24. Call 570-693-0905 or 570-693-2821.
The church will host a bus trip to the Hunterdon Hills Playhouse in Hampton, N.J., on Friday, May 17, to see “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Cost is $98 and includes bus, show, meal and gratuities. For reservations or information, call Audrey at 570-693-0905 or 693-2821.
Wyoming Free Library is starting a S.T.E.A.M. Club which will meet at 11 a.m. the last Saturday of every month beginning in February. The club is open to ages 6 and older. Space is limited and registration is required. Call the library for information.
A children’s produce market will be held at the library from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2. The market is open to all Luzerne County families with children. Registration is required and ends at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28. Applications are available at the library.
WAC Night at the Races
Wyoming Area Catholic School will hold its annual Night at the Races on Saturday, Feb. 2, in the school gym, 1690 Wyoming Ave., Exeter. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and races begin at 7. Admission is $5. Horses can be purchased for $10 in advance of the event. Frankie Warren of Magic 93 will be the honored guest and serve as master of ceremonies. Complimentary food, snacks and soft drinks will be provided, and there will be 50/50 raffles, theme basket raffles and trifecta tickets. Businesses and individuals who sponsor races for $100 will have their names in the program, highlighted on the big screen prior to the race, and announced by Frankie Warren prior to the sponsored race. Applications to sponsor a race and forms to purchase a horse are available at the school. Call 570-654-7982 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Wyoming announced temporary office hours for January. Offices will be open from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday. Residents are asked to use the secure payment box next to the entrance to pay for trash stickers, parking tickets and taxes.
The next recycling collection will be Wednesday, Jan. 23. Christmas trees left on tree lawns will be collected as street department workers see them.
The 2019 garbage fee is now due. The discount price of $190 is in effect until Feb. 6. Face value of $200 will be until May 15. After that the cost will be $250.
Scout food collection
Exeter Cub Scout Pack 310 and Boy Scout Troop 311 wish to thank all those Exeter residents who put out a donation for the annual Scouting for Food service project. The Cub Scout families and the Boy Scouts and their leaders distributed fliers and collected bags and boxes of food throughout the town. The Scouts were able to sort and deliver 2,238 non perishable food items to the Salvation Army in West Pittston. Scoutmaster Walter Janoski and Cubmaster Lorraine Backo organized the event.
Exeter refuse stickers
Exeter refuse stickers for 2019 are now available. Prices remain the same as last year. Stickers will be in rebate period until Feb. 28 at a cost of $150; $110 for seniors 65 and older. Proof of age is required. From March 1-31, the regular price of $180 will be charged; $130 for seniors. April 1, the stickers will go into penalty and the price for everyone will be $250.
Stickers can be purchased at the borough building from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or by mail by sending a self addressed, stamped envelope to Exeter Borough Refuse Department, 1101 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643. Please use a long business size envelope. For information, call Lynda at 570-654-3001, ext. 2.
Kaufer’s office hours
State Rep. Aaron Kaufer’s Exeter office, 1101 Wyoming Ave., is open from noon to 2 p.m. the third Friday of the month.
Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming every week. To include an item in her column, email email@example.com or call 570-301-2185 by Monday.