Problems in finding excise tax collectors for the whiskey tax


The Causes of that so called Whiskey Insurrection of 1794

By C. M. Ewing (1930)

The Inspector's "Bower Hill" residence was located upon a high hill, a short distance south of present Woodville, in Allegheny County. Unwisely for the dignity of his office, he made it an "office of inspection" with sign up. Another office was at the home of Robert Johnson on an adjacent tract of land. The only other office in the survey open for the June entries for 1793 was at the residence of Benjamin Wells, collector for Fayette County, located opposite Connellsville, on the Youghiogheny. All efforts to get places for offices in Washington County were unsuccessful. Captain Faulkner, of Wayne's army, recruiting at Washington, had given Neville permission to open an office in his house, but a lot of the boys from Pigeon Creek dropped in one evening and caused the Captain to change his mind. Later, John Lynn rented a portion of his house in Canonsburg for use as an office, but decided upon more agreeable tenants after receiving a veneering of tar festooned with the down of the goose. Thus, by taking advantage of the defects within the law, which they had promptly discovered, the malcontents were in almost complete control of the situation when the time of entry for 1794 arrived. The only offices then open were those of Neville at home and in Pittsburgh, and Johnson's in Allegheny County. Hamilton was in a frenzy; he had tried to catch a fox in a mouse trap.

J. Howard Iams - Burning of the home of Benjamin Wells, an excise collector

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