Bloomsburg is nestled between gently rolling hills along the northern banks of the Susquehanna River and bounded on the north and west by Fishing Creek thus allowing Bloomsburg to be a transportation hub and have power to drive industry. The Native Americans used the Susquehanna River for trade and the settlers were served by the river, the Pennsylvania Canal and eight rail lines. Today, interstate route 80 links Bloomsburg to the interstate highway system and the Warriors Path route 11 merges with other ancient paths that are now scenic highways.
Looking south where Fishing Creek joins the Susquehanna River
The earliest known inhabitants of Columbia County were Native Americans named Susquehannocks who are part of the Lenape Lenape tribe who William Penn made treaties with to open his woods for settlement. They inhabited this area until the seventeenth century when they were forced out by a rival tribe from the north, the Iroquois, and later by the presence of European colonists.
During the late 1700s, Connecticut and Pennsylvania became involved in territorial disputes over a tract of land stretching the width of Pennsylvania just below the New York state border, a tract of land that included the area known today as Columbia County. Connecticut land companies and the proprietors of Pennsylvania simultaneously deeded land from this tract to encourage settlement in the region. This caused problems for settlers who purchased land that had already been claimed by settlers from the other state. Disputes over rightful land ownership erupted into major wars known as the Yankee-Pennamite Wars, which began in 1769 and were not resolved until 1795.
The first settler to this area was James McClure of Scot-Irish descent, who arrived from Lancaster County in 1772 and purchased land under Connecticut claims. McClure built a log cabin near the banks of the Susquehanna River known as ‘«£ Beauchamp‘«ō which meant ‘«£ beautiful field‘«ō that lies just east of our 2011 rally site. In 1781, a wooden stockade was constructed around the McClure homestead to protect settlers from Indian threats and attacks that deterred further development until the late 1790‘«ˇs.
Beauchamp by early accounts needed much work to become farmland, shown today as a soy bean field bordering a nice river road used as a bicycle route.
Fort McClure, began as a cabin, then a stockade and expanded with the times.