The Pine Creek Declaration of Independence, as it has come to be known, was signed on July 4, 1776 beneath an elm tree on the west bank of present-day Pine Creek in Clinton County.
The signers were a group of frontier settlers known as the Fair Play Men, and they signed their own declaration of independence from Great Britain at about the same time as the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was being approved by the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia.
Separated by more than 200 miles, and without any knowledge of what each other was doing, it is one of the more remarkable coincidences of the Revolutionary War that the Fair Play Men and the Continental Congress should declare independence at nearly the same time.
While no copy of the Pine Creek Declaration of Independence is known to exist, the story was considered valid enough that it is the subject of not one but two state historical markers in Clinton County.
The first marker is located along Route 220 North; a second marker is located at the site of the declaration signing, near Pine Creek (known to the area settlers as Tiadaghton Creek in 1776).
Considering that the Declaration of Independence drafted in Philadelphia wasn’t actually signed until August 2, 1776, it is possible that the Pine Creek Declaration of Independence was the first “signed” declaration of its kind!
Visiting the Site of the Pine Creek Declaration of Independence
The site of this often-overlooked event in Pennsylvania history is along a rural road just west of present-day Pine Creek, on the Clinton-Lycoming county line.
If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 41.179956, -77.278764 to locate the gravel lot pictured below, near the Tiadaghton Elm historical marker.
The Tiadaghton Elm itself perished in the 1970s, so only the historical marker, historical photos, and vintage postcards remain.
Aside from the historical significance of the site, it’s also a popular boat launch, being so close to the confluence of Pine Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Bridge aficionados will enjoy seeing the Jersey Shore Bridge, built in 1889 just a few yards from the Tiadaghton Elm.
The Jersey Shore Bridge carries River Road over Pine Creek, linking Clinton and Lycoming counties.
The bridge is 290 feet long, 16 feet wide, and was rehabilitated in 2011.
Also located near the site of the Pine Creek Declaration of Independence you’ll find a marker denoting the original location of the Pine Creek Presbyterian Church, organized in 1792, 16 years after the settlers in this region became some of the first in the American colonies to put their intentions to form a new nation in writing.
The more-famous Declaration of Independence was of course signed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Today Independence Hall is the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hyner View State Park in Clinton County offers visitors one of the finest scenic overlooks in all of Pennsylvania!
Kettle Creek State Park is another outstanding Clinton County state park, 17 miles to the west of Hyner View.
Logan Mills Covered Bridge is the last remaining historic covered bridge in Clinton County.
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