The story begins in February of 1756 in the midst of the French and Indian War. Early one morning, a group of Lenape emerged from the forests that covered the Blue Mountains of Albany Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Allied with the French, they were intent on murdering colonial families living on the frontier. An account of the attack was documented in a letter from (Jean) Valentine Probst to Jacob Levan:
I cannot omit writing about the dreadful circumstances of our Township, Albany. The Indians came yesterday morning, about 8:00 o’clock, to Frederick Reichelderfer’s house. As he was feeding his horses, two Indians ran upon him, and followed him into the field 10 or 12 perches behind; but he escaped and ran toward Jacob Gerhart’s house, with a design to fetch arms. When he came nearer Gerhart’s, he heard a lamentable cry “Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus,” which made him run back towards his own house, but before he got quite home, he saw his house and stables in flames; and heard all the cattle bellowing, and thereupon he ran away again.
Two of his children were shot, one of them was found dead in his field, the other was found alive and brought to Hagenbuch’s house but died three hours after. All his grain and cattle were burnt up. At Jacob Gerhart’s they had killed one man, two women, and six children. Two children slipped under the bed; one of which was burned; the other escaped and ran a mile to get to people. We desire help, or we must leave our homes.