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Reading Eagle Newspaper in Reading,Pa.2/8/12 

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Broadtop Bulletin (Saxton,Pa) Newspaper Article July 12,2011
On July 16, 1780, as the American Revolution was raging in the east, ten (possibly 12) members of the Bedford County Militia were massacred at a site in Liberty Township, near Saxton. The men were captured by a band of Seneca Indians and Tories(British Soldiers dressed as Indians)from upstate New York, led by two British officers. The leader of the Rangers, Capt. William Phillips from present-day Williamsburg and his son Elijah, a lad of 14, were both taken prisoner. Phillips was taken to Detroit; Elijah to Canada by way of Fort Niagara. Both were released after the war ended. The site of the massacre near Saxton, and the Phillips log cabin on Clover Creek, Blair County, will be the settings for paranormal investigations conducted by Ghost Hunters Inc., of Berks County, PA, this weekend. Members of the Ghost Hunters Inc. organization have been planning the hunt for spirits since last summer, with assistance from the Broad Top Bulletin staff. The paranormal investigation at the cabin, owned by the Biddle family, will take place after dark on July 15. A similar investigation at the Phillips Rangers Memorial near Saxton will take place after dark on July 16. The Ghost Hunters Incorporated team consists of 9 members. They are Allen”Wolfshadow”Phillips...Founder/Director, Mike Morris...Assistant Director/Paranormal Lecturer, Nancy Miller...Case Co-Ordinator, Scott Miller...Tech Manager/Investigator, Lisa Miller...Investigator/Empath, Alvin Black...Investigator, William”Bill”Herman...Investigator, Kerri Schultz....Investigator, Carol Macomber...Investigator-in training. Although the two paranormal investigations cited above are not open to the general public (only by invitation), a public ceremony will be held at the Rangers Memorial this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The brief ceremony will include playing of "Amazing Grace” and the reading of a short poem in honor of the brave, massacred men and the Native American warriors, according to Alvin Black. Black will read the poem, and Phillips, of Cherokee descent, will offer a prayer promoting peace between the Indian and White Man, as well as an offering of sage and tobacco to promote the "healing” of Mother Earth. The general public will be able to meet members of the Ghost Hunters Inc. team following this ceremony. Others who have worked on this project include Carol Macomber and Mike Morris. Col. John Piper of Yellow Creek, who found the bodies of the men following the massacre, wrote that "Captain Phillips, an experienced good woodsman, who had engaged a company of rangers for the space of two months for the defense of our frontiers, was surprised at his post on Sunday, the 16th of July .... When I received the intelligence, which was the day following, I marched with only 10 men directly to the place where we found the house (where they had taken refuge at night) burned to ashes, with sundry Indian tomahawks that had been lost in the action, but where we found no person killed at that place. But, upon taking the Indian tracks, within about half a mile we found 10 of Captain Phillips’ company with their hands tied and murdered in the most cruel manner.” The men were buried on the spot. At the time the monument was constructed, workmen were excavating an embankment at the site in preparation for the construction of a stone wall. On January 25, 1933 two of the workmen uncovered the skeletons of seven of the Rangers. The remains of the other Rangers may be buried somewhere else on this site, yet to be discovered. The reburial ceremony for the seven men was held May 25, 1933 -- an event that garnered nationwide attention. The ceremony itself, according to news reports, attracted a crowd of 5,000, including two congressmen. Below the monument platform today lie the bones of these seven men in a wooden coffin enclosed inside a seamless vault. The "official” list of names of the men killed in the massacre is Philip Skelly, Hugh Skelly, P. (Philip?) Sanders, T. (Thomas?) Sanders, Richard Shirley, M. Davis, Thomas Gaitrell, Daniel Kelly, G. Morris and A. Shelly. These names appear on the monument. However, the Pennsylvania Archives, Fifth Series lists Joseph Roberts as one of those killed. Historian D. I. Foster added another -- Fred Rouser. Al Black of Ghost Hunters Inc. has advertised in this newspaper for descendants of the Rangers to come forward and attend the ceremony. They have been asked to contact Black at 610-451-5501. According to research conducted by the Biddle family, the Biddle farm near Williamsburg, PA was settled in the early 1770s by an early pioneer, Basil Phillips and his son, William. Capt. William Phillips, leader of the Rangers who were massacred near Saxton on July 16, 1780, resided in this cabin after his return from captivity. Construction of the cabin is believed to date from the 1780s, probably when William returned home. His son Elijah, who was also taken captive the same date, also returned to the farm. They were the lone survivors of what is known as the Massacre of Phillips Rangers. Elijah died in 1795 and is buried on this farm. A memorial bronze marker has been erected on this grave. In 1796 William Phillips sold the farm to Jacob Snively. Phillips then moved to Kentucky, where he obtained title to a large tract of land. Phillips and his descendants eventually owned a large plantation, and also owned slaves. The Snivelys erected a grist mill and saw mill near the cabin, both operated by water power, in the early 1800s. Jacob’s son George built an addition to the original log cabin in 1839. Ghost Hunters Inc. team would like to thank the following for their assistance in this project. First of all, the group thanks Mrs. Carol Biddle and the members of the Biddle family of Williamsburg for allowing them access to the log cabin where Capt. Phillips lived before the massacre, and after he returned from captivity during the war. Without their assistance, all of this would not have been possible. Also, local historians and newspaper staffers Jon Baughman, Adam Watson and Ron Morgan, and the Broad Top Bulletin staff, Jim Sanders, Blair County Genealogical Society, Mary Brunner, native American historian, Faithkeepers School, Ed from Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Country Blossoms Flowers and Gifts, Saxton, and others too numerous to mention here. The Phillips log house on the Biddle farm is in need of restoration work, as well as routine maintenance, to preserve it for future generations. Ghost Hunters Inc. is soliciting financial contributions to support this work as well as volunteers who might be interested in donating their time and talents to assist with repairs or upkeep. Persons so interested are urged to contact Allen Wolfshadow Phillips, telephone 484-332-2239 or email him at, or the Editor of this paper. Ghost Hunters, Inc. is not associated with the TV program seen on SciFy channel. Sorry. This will not be on television. The Berks County group is headed by Allen Wolfshadow Phillips. One of the investigators, Alvin Black, grew up in Coalmont in the Broad Top area. Allen Wolfshadow Phillips lived in Pottstown, Montgomery County,Pa. "Wolfshadow” explains, "We are the original Ghost Hunters Incorporated, a non-profit ghost/ paranormal investigation team. We've been researching, investigating, tracking ghosts since 1974, from our humble beginnings in Pottstown, Pa.” Their website explains: We are trying to prove ghosts exist through scientific methods therefore eliminating ALL possible man-made causes for the'"hauntings". Our paranormal investigative team goes into an investigation with a very skeptical point of view & we review the evidence that we collect with the same skepticism. We use scientific equipment to conduct our investigations such as digital cameras, digital audio recorders, EMF meters, IR thermometers, K-II meters, motion detectors, IR wireless cameras, night vision equipment, Mini DVR's with Sony night vision etc. After all the evidence, research & scientific data has been reviewed, then we make our decision whether or not,the client experienced the paranormal. We will also strive to help our clients understand the reason behind what they experienced & why! Browse their websites at , or see their videos on at

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