Believed to be a portrait of Andrew Lycans, or Lykens (1701-1756), for whom Lykens Valley, Lykens Borough, and Lykens Township are named.
The following story is adapted/edited from pages 55-56 of The Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, published in 1896 by Runk:
Andrew Lycans, the Pioneer of the Wiconisco Valley
In 1723, Andrew Lycans (not Lycan) settled on the Swatara Creek, where he took up two hundred and fifty acres of land adjoining lands of Robert Young and Lazarus Stewart, and which was surveyed to him on 4 April 1737. About 1740 he seems to have sold out, and removed with a number of others to the west side of the Susquehanna River, where he settled and made some improvements on a tract of land between Shearman’s Creek and the Juniata River in then Cumberland County. This not being included in the last Indian purchase, the Shawanese Indians complained of the encroachment of these settlers and demanded their removal. To pacify the Indians, the Provincial authorities sent in 1748, the Sheriff of Lancaster County, with three magistrates, accompanied by Conrad Weiser, to warn the people to leave at once. But, notwithsanding all this, the settlers led by Lycans remained, determined not to be driven away by threats.
On 22 May 1740, after more decisive measures had been decided upon by the Provincial Government, a number of dignitaries who had been appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, held a conference at the house of George Croghan in Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, Subsequently, accompanied by the Undersheriff of that county, they went to the place where Lycans and others lived, and after taking the settlers into custody burned their cabins to the number of five or six.
The following is from the account of Andrew Work, Sheriff:
Dr. Province of Pennsylvania to Andrew Work, Sheriff of the County of Lancaster and Cumberland.
“To ten days attendance on the Secretary Magistrates of Cumberland, by his Hon’r, the Governor’s command to remove sundry persons settled in the northward of the Kichitania mountains:
“To paid the Messenger sent from Lancaster at my own expenses……. 3:7:0
“To the Under-Sheriff’s Attendance on the like service, eight days……..
“To his Expenses in taking down Andrew Lykans to Prison to Lancaster other Expenses on the Journey….. 2:10:0
“August, 17 1750.
AND. WORK, Sheriff
There were subsequently released by order of the governor of the Province, when Andrew Lycans removed with his family to the east side of the Susquehanna River, beyond the Kittatinny Mountains, and by permission of the authorities, settled on a tract of about two hundred acres, situated on the northerly side of the Whiconsecong [Wiconisco] Creek. Here he made considerable improvements….
Until the spring of 1756 these pioneers on the Wiconisco Creek were not disturbed in their homes, but following the defeat of Braddock, everywhere along the frontier, the Indians attempted to remove the settlers, by whatever means possible….
On the morning of 7 March 1756, Andrew Lycans and John Rewalt went out early to fodder their cattle, when two guns were fired at them. Neither being harmed, they ran into the house and prepared themselves for defense in case of an attack. The Indians then got under cover of a hog house near the dwelling house, when John Lycans, a son of Andrew Lycans, John Rewalt, and Ludwig Shott, a neighbor, crept out of the house in order to get a shot at them, but were fired upon by the Indians, and all wounded, Ludwig Shott in the abdomen. At this moment Andrew Lycans saw one of the Indians over the hog house, and also two white men running out of the same, and got a little distance therefrom. Upon this, Lycans and his party attempted to escape, but were pushed by the Indians to the number of sixteen or upwards. John Lykans and Rewalt being badly wounded and not able to do anything, with a Negro, who was with them, made off, leaving Andrew Lycans, Shott, and a boy engaged with the Indians. The Indians pursued them so closely that one of them coming up to the boy was going to strike his tomahawk into him, when Ludwig Shott turned and shot him dead, while Lycans killed two more and wounded several in addition. At last, being exhausted and wounded, they sat down on a log to rest themselves; but the Indians were somewhat cautious and stood some distance from them, and subsequently returned to look after their own wounded. Lycans and all his party managed to get over the mountains into Hanover Township, where they were properly cared for.
Here Andrew Lycans died, leaving a wife, Jane Lycans, and children:
Mary Lycans; and
It is not known when Lycans’ family, with the other settlers, returned to their homes in the Wiconisco Valley — but not until all danger was over; and, although on a subsequent occasion they were obliged to leave all and flee before the Indians, yet the one alluded to was the only instance where they so narrowly escaped with their lives. Besides the erection of the forts at Shamokin [Sunbury] and at Armstrong [Halifax] and at McKee’s at the foot of Berry’s Mountain, there was perchance ample protection from the Indians, which up to the year 1764 kept the frontier inhabitants in a terrible state of apprehension and fear.
John Lycans, son of Andrew, became an officer of the Provincial Service, commissioned on 12 July 1762. in June 1764, he was stationed at Manada Gap. It is probable he removed from the valley prior to the American Revolution.
His mother, Jane Lycans, in February 1765, had a patent issued to her for the land on which her husband had located. The original Lycans cabin stood at that place until about 1876. [Note: the property and cabin were located just south of the main square of the town of Loyalton, which at the end of the 19th century was the farm of Henry L. Lark].
Ludwig Shott died about 1790 and left a large family and some of his descendants remain in the Lykens Valley.
John Rewalt subsequently moved east to a more densely populated area of the state.
While the orthography has changed, Lycans to Lykens, the valley continues to be named for this early settler who had an unfortunate encounter with the Indians.
The origin of the portrait is not known but it has appeared in several publications over the years. It is said to have been drawn from a description.
Corrections and additional information should be added as comments to this post.