250 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
cider-mill. He split pine logs and shaved them to make clapboards. He married, February, 1805, the youngest daughter of Isaac Hancock, of Rush, and his sons were, Orrin, Tracy, Isaac, and William. He died August, 1851. His widow is living in New Milford, after having spent sixty-one years in Auburn. She states that Mr. Kasson came in a year later than Mr. Goodsell, and that he boarded with the latter. She remembers hearing at the time that Mr. G., being out of meal, went to get his grain ground, and was gone two or three days, during which the family lived on squash and milk. [It is. possible Mrs. F. mistakes Mr. Kasson's second coming for the first he had left the town when she came to it.]
According to the recollection of Mr. Paul Overfield, of Braintrim, Solomon Kinney came, in 1800, to the farm now occupied by J. Benscoter, two and a half miles northwest of Auburn Center. He was the first in that vicinity. It is said that, after harvesting a fine crop of wheat, he lost the whole by fire communicated to it from a fallow which he was burning, and from that to his house. He saved a few effects, and with his wife left the country never to return. Eldad Bronson and son Amos came to the town about 1801, from Connecticut.
John Passmore, then a minor, came from Rhode Island, and took up land near the Corners, under a Connecticut title, but did not locate until five years later.
Cyril Peck, Ezekiel and Asa Lathrop were considered in the neighborhood, though located beyond the township lines.
Hiram Carter and Thomas Wheeler were the first settlers in South Auburn, the former on the place now owned by Rufus J. Carter, and the latter on the one now owned by E. 0. Dunlap. Both came in June, 1805, from Black Walnut, in Braintrim, near Joshua Keeney's.' The sons of Hiram Carter were Jonas, Theron, Samuel, and Daniel.
Chester Adams must have come to Mr. Kasson's place at Auburn Corners prior to 1805, as at that date Mr. K. was on the farm at Springville, which Mr. Adams sold him in exchange for that at the Corners.
His sons were Chester and Elijah.
The sons of Thomas Morley were, Ambrose, John, Thomas (representative 1843-44), and Eben. P.
Eli Billings settled about 1805, on the Tuscarora Creek, at what is called New Laceyville. He had a son Eli, who made
¹ To prevent confusion, it may be well to state there were three distinct families in old Braintrim whose names are so similar as to cause mistakes. Capt. Joshua Keeney and Capt. Joseph Kinny were outside of Susquehanna County; Deacon Daniel Kinney, father of Lyman Kinney, as above, and Solomon Kinney of another family.
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the first clearing where Elisha Cogswell now lives, and who died in 1815. Eli Billings, Sen., in 1839, sold to David Lacey. When he came to the place there was a man named Sesson on the farm, now owned by Rev. Bela Cogswell (over the line in Bradford County), and one George Gamble where Oliver Warner now lives; and these were the only families between him and Abiel Keeney's saw-mill on the Tuscarora, two miles above Skinner's Eddy. The site of this saw-mill, some time between 1790 and 1800, was occupied by a saw and grist-mill, built by Elihu Hall.
Nathaniel, second son of Eli Billings, made the first clearing and put up a log house on what is known as " the James farm."
Hosea, the third son, had two sons, Eli and Nathaniel. Joseph and Henry Billings were sons of Eli senior. Most of the family moved to the West, and none are now in Auburn.
William Cooley, who married a daughter of Joshua Keeney, came in a year or two after H. Carter and Wheeler, and settled near the present site of Carlin's mills, on the Little Meshoppen, where his widow still resides. Robert, Stephen, William, and Daniel Cooley were brothers.
In 1806, John Passmore returned, made a clearing, and built a cabin at Auburn. Corners. Feb. 1807, he married Elizabeth Overfield of Braintrim. He was commissioned the first justice of the peace in 1816, by Gov. Snyder, for Auburn, Rush, and Middletown. He had four sons, Norman, John, Nicholas, and Joseph, and seven daughters. He died March 12th, 1835, aged 53 years.
In 1807, John Riley came to the place still known as his, southwest of the Corners; and a road was laid out from the river to Cooley's. This road was afterwards extended farther north, as appears by the court record:—
Luzerne County, ss., November session, 1808. The petition of Joshua Keeny and others was read, praying for viewers to be appointed to view and lay out a road from or near William Cooley's, on Little Meshoppen, to intersect a road now laid out near Lathrop's mill, a distance of about eight miles ; wherefore the court appoint Henry Chapman, Eleazar Gaylord, Thomas Wheeler, Asa Lathrop, Myron Kasson, and Zophar Blakesly to view the ground proposed for said road.
Many were the privations endured among the early settlers ; but, to some, there was none greater than the absence of their former privileges of religious worship. About 1808, Eld. Davis Dimock came to this little community and baptized a few of its members. Meetings for prayer were held at Ezekiel Lathrop's, a mile south of the Lakes, in Dimock.
David Avery, oldest son of Ezekiel, and his sister, now Mrs. Jonathan Vaughn, used to come to the " Middle school-house " in Bridgewater (just below the south line of Montrose), a dis-
252 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
tance of twelve miles, to hear Eld. Dimock preach. She rode on horseback, and her brother walked beside her; they could not have come in a wagon if they had had one. When David went to Harris' mill, about nine miles from home, he frequently spent the night, in returning, at George Mowry's, above the Lakes; and, so scarce then was meal, Mrs. M. would take some from his sack to provide him a supper. He went West 25 years ago.
There was little grass ; cattle browsed on young brush, and hogs were " turned out to beech-nuts " In common with others in all this section, the first settlers of Auburn purchased their lands under the Connecticut title, and many paid their money, in good faith, to the agents of the Connecticut claims. After the final legal decision made in favor of the Pennsylvania title, some who had paid their money, and toiled hard to secure a home, gave up in despair and left the country.
Occasionally, additions were made to those who remained, and in 1813, the first assessment of the township (still called Braintrim) was made the commissioners of Susquehanna Co. The tax-payers were; Chester Adams, Ezekiel and David Avery, Eli Billings, Eldad Bronson, Amos Bronson, Hiram Carter, William and Stephen Cooley, Benajah Frink, Philip and George Haverly, Abraham Lott, Thomas Morley, John Oakley, John Passmore, Comfort Penney, John Riley, John Ross, and Thomas Wheeler.
In 1814, James Hines appears to have had the farm of John Ross, and Daniel Sterling that of Comfort Penny, who had removed.
Robert Dunlap, Simeon Green, Larry Dunmore, Jesse and Josiah Wakefield were among the new-comers, as also in 1815 were Elias and Amos Bennett, Lawrence Meacham, Palmer Guile, and James B. Turrel. The last named bought of Lloyd Goodsell.
In 1816, Philonus Beardsley bought a farm of John Pass-more, the same now occupied by J. B. Beardsley, his son. He brought his family from Litchfield Co., Conn., the following year. His oldest son, A. Beardsley, Esq., of Springville, remained in Auburn until 1829. Charles, the second son, afterwards resided in Montrose, and later, established an extensive carriage manufactory in New York city.
Mr. P. Beardsley resided in Auburn until his death, early in 1833.
In 1817, John Oakley's place was occupied by Charles Ashley. Julius Coggswell was in Auburn this year ; also Thomas W. James, Hiram Whipple, and Solomon Dimrnock.
Jabez Sumner and others, who may have come a year or two
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earlier. [In taking the tax list for a guide the compiler is not sure of the precise year of arrival.]
In 1818, Curtis Russel; in 1819, Edward Dawson, John and Waltrin Love.
The first town meeting on record was in 1819. Philonus Beardsley was then elected town clerk; Elias Bennett and George Harding, supervisors ; Curtis Russel and Hiram Whiple, constables; C. Adams, B. Frink, and E. Bennett, freeholders; John Passmore and John Riley, poor-masters.
In 1820, there were thirty voters in the township.
During the next five years, Francis Pepper (from Rush), David Taylor, Daniel Gregory, George and Simeon Evans, Samuel Tewksbury, and Milton Harris had arrived. The last named and S. Evans had saw-mills.
In 1826, and for five or six years following, Jonathan Kellogg, a cabinetmaker, Joseph Carlin (where he and his sons now live), Robert Manning, Thomas Risley, Caldwell McMicken, Richard Stone, William Sherwood, Elisha Coggswell, Jacob Low, Alden H. Seeley, and Oliver C. Roberts, besides the sons of several early settlers and many temporary residents, appear among the taxables. William Overfield made the first clearing on Shannon Hill in 1832. We extract from a newspaper the following :—
" Elisha Coggswell first settled on Tuscarora Creek, two and a half miles below New Laceyville, in 1815. was married in 1816, remained there until the spring of 1833, when he removed to Auburn, where he and his wife still reside.
" He caught in one season seven bears and five wolves. Another time, while on a hill near by, two cubs were discovered ; one was shot. With the first cry of pain, the dam sprang from some bushes to its side. Hastily smelling the wound and divining the cause, she rushed with headlong fury on the aggressor, who, meanwhile, was hastily reloading his gun, and wheti she had nearly reached him, a bullet stopped her. Mr. C. completed his eightieth year, April 18, 1872. He has been class-leader in the M. E. church nearly half a century, and still walks to church nearly a mile, almost always attending evening meetings."
In 1832, it was proposed to take out Auburn and Springville to form part of a new county.
Forty years ago chopping and clearing was the order of the day. The inhabitants were largely in debt for their lands, and it was no easy matter to do the clearing, put up their buildings, and support their families, and lift the debt to Cope and Drinker (the principal landholders in Auburn), while rye and corn sold at less than fifty cents, and wheat scarcely a dollar a bushel, and good two-year old cattle at $8 or $10 per head.
Thirty years ago the Spectator,' June 20th, stated, " In the southwest part of Auburn may b seen a beautiful sight, to wit, seventy acres of fine winter wheat in one field."
254 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
The Auburn people claim that theirs is the best producing township in the county, and instances are given which give some color to their claim.
John Tewksbury raised a stalk of buckwheat in 1869 which measured six feet and three-fourths of an inch in height; and of several specimen of oats raised by him, the heads were two feet and a half long. In South Auburn, Samuel Tewksbury has on his farm a heifer which when one year, one month, and eleven days old, weighed 650 pounds, and her calf, then two days old, weighed 42 pounds. The young farmers are not a whit behind the old in vigor, if we may judge by the fact that F. S—, of the same township, raked 1370 sheaves of rye in ten hours one August day of 1869.
When Eli Billings came to West Auburn, neighbors were remote, no roads, no church, no schools, no mills. Black's mill, now Lewis's, below Merryall's, on the Wyalusing, was the nearest. A few marked trees guided the traveler to it, and a few logs and bushes were cleared away so that a horse could carry a grist on his back.
Hosea Billings, another son of the pioneer, relates the following :—
" Well do I remember when a lad my father sent me to mill, and, as it was late when I got my grist and started for home, night overtook me on my way. When about one mile from home my horse stopped, and then I saw before me what looked like balls of fire—probably the eyes of a wolf. It would not give the path, so I had to turn out and go around through the woods. I lost my hat getting through the brush, and went home bareheaded." He adds : "If I could see you I would give you some idea how much the first settlers had to undergo."
Lawrence Meacham came from New Hampshire and settled in the southeastern part of Auburn in 1815. His daughter says
"The first night he stayed on his place was in January, and the snow was two or three feet deep. He slept on hemlock boughs beside a fire which kept himself and a colored man from freezing. In the morning they began chopping, but the timber was so frozen it broke their axes. They left, and father did not return till the next spring. In two or three years he moved his family to the little clearing remote from roads and neighbors, and into a log-cabin with a blanket for the door. Thick woods, howling wolves, deer, wildcats, and wild-turkeys were at that time in abundance. I have heard my mother say, was so lonesome I was glad to see even a hunter's dog come along.'
"My father had often to be out late at night, when on his journeys for provisions, and mother was alone in the cabin with only a little boy ; while from an hour before sunset until sunrise the next morning, the wolves kept up a constant howling up and down the creek, which passes within half a mile of the door, and many a time was this so distinct as to seem within the clearing. Twice father had his little flock of sheep killed by them."
The construction of a log-cabin has well been styled " one of the pioneer arts ;" and lest it should become also one of the lost ones, the following directions are given :—
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"Cut your logs to suit the length and width you wish to make your room. Notch them near the ends, that they may lie close when crossed, and that you may not have too large cracks to mud and chink up.' When you roll them up, put the largest logs on one side, with an extra one on top, that one side of the roof may be higher than the other; then if you have a few boards to cover it, with some slabs to lay- over the cracks, your roof will be com-plete—only when it rains too hard. The inside can be soon finished with little planing or working, except the chimney. If you have boards for the lower floor, hemlock bark will do for the upper one. One window-sash, containing half a dozen of the smaller-sized window-panes, will let in a peep of daylight and sunshine. Bore some holes in the logs inside, drive in some sticks, lay boards on, and you have both pantry and cupboard in one, two, or three shelves, as the case may be. If you've nothing better, a blanket may serve for a door."
But a still more primitive style of architecture must have prevailed prior to the erection of the first saw-mills in the county, when boards and window-sash were not to be had, and when chimneys were as wide as the cabin except at the roof.
Oiled paper for window-panes was very common. Not less primitive than the buildings were some of their furnishings. Bedsteads or tables needed each but one leg, a corner of the cabin giving support to two sides of either. A slab supported by four short, round sticks formed a bench which took the place of chairs. Small branches of hemlock or birch were made to serve as brooms long years after the first cabins were erected, and large clean chips answered for plates, but one large central dish oftener served for a whole family. If, as sometimes happened, one child was inclined to secure more than his share of its contents, his hands were soon tied to give others a due chance.
"A good sized log hollowed out and covered with a slab constituted the pioneer's beef-barrel, and venison was his beef."
Rougher than the cabins were the roads of early times, cut through dense forests, the large trees and saplings felled as near to the ground as possible, the former removed and the latter permitted to lie, and stumps and roots must be left to decay where they grew. Still, to the children of the pioneer, an ox-sled ride over such a road was not without its fascinations.
The first path or road in West Auburn, instead of following the creek, crossed the hills to the Benscoter place, and thence to Lyman Kinney's.
The timber was not so heavy on the hills as nearer the valleys, and the ground was dryer for unworked roads; and this may account for the choice of location of many of the early settlers.
Auburn is decidedly an agricultural township. A large quantity of grain is raised which mostly finds its way to the Lackawanna valley ; and considerable attention is paid to the raising of stock, and the dairy business. If not exactly "a laud
256 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
flowing with milk and honey," it yet can boast of an amount of the same equal to other townships of the county ; one farmer milked twenty-nine cows the last summer, and in the winter of 1870-71 bad 182 swarms of bees in his cellar.
The game which once abounded has disappeared, but as late as 1830, an old hunter was able to take up a note as per agreement in deer skins, one of which showed that the deer had been attacked by a wild-cat.
Machinery and horse:power are now introduced into much of farm work, as well as into other departments of business. Grain, formerly threshed by hand at the rate of fifteen bushels a day, is now rushed through the machine, in some instances, at the rate of a bushel a minute.
The summer of 1865 was a very productive season in Au-burn' grain-fields were measured by the hundred acres.
The present wealth of Auburn is largely due to men who, though they came to the township within the last thirty-five years, might well be termed pioneers, since they cleared the farms they occupy, and reared log cabins too remote from others for neighborly comfort. Some of the late settlers are from New Jersey ; but a larger number are of foreign birth. The names of Logan and Rooney are mentioned among the first Irish settlers here, in 1838. There are 500 taxables in Auburn, about 200 of whom are Irish. From being one of the poorest townships in the county, and one of the least in inhabitants, Auburn has become one of the richest and most populous.
But riches must be taxed, and in this particular the people have felt burdened, and have neglected to make provision for the public education commensurate with their wealth.
The Lehigh Valley R. R. recently extended up the Susquehanna River, passes near the southern border of the town, and cannot fail to produce a rapid advance in its industrial interest.
Near the western line of the township at New Laceyville a temporary interest in petroleum sprang up in 1865, which gave the place some prominence. [See Mineral Resources.] It will be recollected that this was the location of Eli Billings, sixty years previous. After the farm came into the hands of David Lacey it was divided; a portion being still owned by his son, E. J. Lacey. 60 acres passed into the possession of T. E. Brown, who in 1854 sold to J. C. Lacey, a son of Isaac; 13 acres passed to S. W. Eddy, who afterwards sold to the Rev. Asa Brooks; and it is now owned by A. F. and L. B. Lacey. Auburn has one chop and two grist-mills, four blacksmith shops, one chair factory and cabinet shop, six saw-mills, six stores, six churches and three hotels.
The Tuscarora Creek crosses a corner of Bradford Co. on its way into Wyoming Co., entering the Susquehanna River near
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Skinner's Eddy, about ten miles from its head, furnishing with its tributaries motive power for fifteen saw-mills, three gristmills, two shingle-mills, one planing-mill, one cabinet manufactory, one carding-machine, one tannery, one blacksmith shop, besides two or three lathe-machines. Four of the mills are in Susquehanna Co. One of these, at New Laceyville, manufactures 500,000 shingles annually. Other factories once in the vicinity are not now in operation. The place has (1872) two stores, a cabinet shop, a carpenter shop, and a blacksmith shop. Daniel Seeley's steam-saw-mill is near New Laceyville.
The Methodist church is a building 33 by 48 feet, with a spire 80 feet high. It has a fine lecture-room which serves also for a select school.
There are also a Methodist and a Baptist church at Auburn Four Corners, and another Methodist church on Jersey Hill, a mile from the Center.
The Roman Catholic chapel is about half way between the Center and the Corners.
The first postmaster was Treadway Kellogg, at Auburn Four Corners. Chester Adams succeeded him in 1839.
Town elections are held at the Center, formerly at the house of George Haverly, but, after 1860, at James Lott's, now W. N. Bennett's. There are now three licensed hotels in Auburn —two at the Center, and the other at the Corners. Near the latter, many years ago, there was a blacksmith shop, the eccentric owner of which advertised himself as a "son of Vulcan," who was " like to fail and blow out for want of stock."
The first temperance movement at Shannon Hill was attended with some opposition. Wm. Overfield gave notice to those whom he had invited to a barn-raising (in 1837), that he should have no liquor ; whereupon several professedly temperance men refused to assist him. One man, in particular, had declined, after hearing Mr. O. say he could not have liquor, " even if the timbers had to remain on the ground till they rotted." ''Very well," said Mr. O., "I should like your help very much, but I can't have liquor." Then Mr. —, with a strong expletive, declared he would come anyhow; and he did, bringing his two sons with him. Fifteen persons raised the barn—which was as large as any in Auburn at that time.
The war-record of Auburn compares favorably with other townships, as given in a later chapter. A heavy draft for soldiers was made in the fall of 1862, when a young man in the neighborhood of the "Four Corners" was summoned to the field of strife. His father, true to the impulses of paternal affection, determined to go instead of the son. The latter objected, friends remonstrated, believing the son could better be spared. But the father persisted, went to the examining sur-
- 17 -
258 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
geon, was pronounced sound, and made ready to start. While in Montrose, previous to the final departure of the company, it was found that the quota of Auburn was overdrawn, and, the name of the person for whom our hero was substituted being last on the list, he was excused, and was soon welcomed home.
One young man, eighteen years of age, served during the war, and is said to have received ten perforations by bullets; but returned home, and has since married.
Sisters worked the farm while brothers went to the war. In one instance, two girls, aged respectively sixteen and fourteen, with their little brother, aged twelve, dug eighty bushels of potatoes ; and, in company with their father, threshed two hundred bushels of buckwheat, and gathered three hundred acrd fifty bushels of apples.
At Shannon Hill, early in the war, all the young men enlisted but one; the patriotic girls decided that they stood in need of no home guard, and he, too, volunteered, became a brave soldier, received a wound, and eventually came home respected by all.
In 1868, about forty persons were living in the township over seventy years of age, ten of whom were over eighty years, and one, Thomas Devin, a native of Ireland, was ninety-six. [Since deceased, when ninety-eight, lacking one month.]
There is considerable rough, heavily timbered land in the township, but nearly all is seated.
ABOUT-the year 1788, Timothy Pickering, of Philadelphia, patented a large tract of land lying along the valley of Snake Creek, and west of a line since forming the east line of the township of Silver Lake, Tench Coxe also patented a tract, afterwards included in the southwest part of old Lawsville, and extending into Bridgewater; and, October, 1796, Henry Drinker, also of Philadelphia, patented a large tract east of that of Pickering, and running south into New Milford, and east to Great Bend. Drinker's tracts, containing 20,750 acres, were conveyed, in 1796, to Ephraim Kirby and Samuel A. Law, David Welch, Rufus Lines (five hundred acres in 1797),
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Jacob Tallman, Robert Bound (or Bowne), and others; and were then re-surveyed into lots of one hundred acres each.
In August of that year, Eph. Kirby and others (not then residents), presented a petition, praying the court, then in session at Wilkes-Barre, to set off a new township, six miles square; having Willingborough, now Great Bend, for its eastern boundary, and extending from the twenty-first to the twenty-seventh mile-stone on the State line. The petition was " under advisement" until January, 1797, and the ordering of the court in its favor was not "finally" confirmed until January, 1798. The township received the name of Lawsville, in honor of Samuel A. Law,¹ a landholder, to whose influence, doubtless, it was owing that most of those who settled in Lawsville prior to 1805, were from his native town, Cheshire, New Haven Co., Conn.
In 1802, a petition for annexing one and a half miles to the south of Lawsville was brought before the court, but it was not granted until three years later.
For thirty years, Lawsville remained undivided; when, in December, 1835, Franklin was erected from the southern portion in connection with a strip, about a mile wide, from the northern part of Bridgewater.
Though the township of Liberty, rather than Franklin, is the remnant of old Lawsville, the former had not a settler when Lawsville was erected ; and for many years the south part of the township maintained its precedence both in population and influence.
From the first town meeting, in 1805, for more than twenty years, the south part, now Franklin, contained more voters than the north part, now Liberty, and the town meetings were held in the former ; but about the year 1827 or '28, the north part proved its superiority in numbers by carrying the vote to change the place of town elections to its own neighborhood. The men of the south part chafed some at this, but they had no alternative but to submit, which they did peaceably for a number of years, though feeling jealous of a numerical power that might force them into other measures, equally against their wishes.
When the subject of accepting the provisions of the school law was agitated, they wished to suspend their decision for a time; while they of the north readily voted for it. This precipitated a separation.
Between the two parties the time-honored name of Lawsville was dropped from the list of Susquehanna townships.
Of Hon. S. A. Law, a daughter of Roswell Smith writes: "He was ever a welcome visitor at my father's house, when business called him to this region. He was gentlemanly, affable, and noticed children kindly."
260 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
From the manuscript of Mrs. N. Park we glean the following :—
Three-quarters of a century ago, the forest that covered the land of both townships was unbroken, except where the beavers had destroyed the timber to build a dam across a branch of Wylie Creek. One or two small lakes, fringed with pond-lilies, reflected from their still depths the varied aspects of the sky. These and the busy brooklets were breathing-places within the great mass of vegetable life. The principal timber consisted of hemlock, beech, sugar and soft maple, birch, ash; chestnut, pine, poplar, basswood, ironwood, elm, and cherry; these were found proportionally much as in the order here given. Interspersed through the forest, in many places, was an underwood of smaller growth, such as the blue beach, whistlewood or black maple, shad or June-berry, several varieties of alder and elder, witch-hazel, sassafras, spice or fever bush, sumach, thorns, willows by water-courses, and occasionally on high lands, box, and leather-wood. Among the many plants and roots now abounding in the forests of Franklin, and reputed to possess healing virtues, are spikenard, sarsaparilla, several kinds of cohosh, wild turnip, ginseng, Solomon's seal, valerian, prince's pine, gold thread, snake root, brook-liverwort, low centaury, golden rod, and balmony.
The surface of Franklin is made up of hills and gentler slopes with little table-land, and in the vicinity of its streams, small flats and narrow valleys. None of the hills are of sufficient height to claim the name of mountains, though from several summits fine views of the surrounding country can be obtained. Some are rough, and so thickly covered with rocks and stones as to render their cultivation difficult, if not impossible; but many are comparatively smooth and tillable. The soil is considered quite equal to that of other townships in this section.
Only two streams worthy of note have any considerable part of their course in Franklin : these are Snake and Wylie Creeks. Snake Creek and its tributaries furnish the western part of the township many good mill-seats with an abundance of waterpower. Its principal sources are Jones' Lake and Williams' Pond, one or two miles apart, in the northern part of Bridgewater. Both branches afford mill privileges before their junction. One fails to perceive in the course of Snake Creek anything to give rise to its distinctive name; on the contrary, it manifests fewer " serpentine " proclivities than creeks in general.
Wylie Creek is a smaller stream offering few facilities for business within the township limits. It is formed by the union of many rills from living springs in different sections of the township. Their confluence in the eastern section gives a waterpower sufficient for saw-mills; from that point the creek runs northeasterly to the eastern boundary of the township, when its course is due north for two or three miles. It enters Great Bend township near the middle of its western line, and again flowing northeast it reaches the Susquehanna River a short dis-
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 261
tance below the village, and near the former residence of Simeon Wylie, in honor of whom it was named.
On the arrival of the first settlers in the vicinity of these streams, they found them, and Franklin's lone lake, well stocked with a variety of fish, of which the trout was the most highly prized.
One of the largest tributaries of the Snake is Silver Creek, which is formed by the outlets of Silver and Cranberry Lakes in the adjoining township on the west. Another stream, variously named as Stony, Cold Brook, and Falls Creek, has its rise also in that township, and flows into Silver Creek near the Salt Spring, just above which it exhibits a cascade, leaping over ragged rocks in a darkly shadowed defile. [Around this and the Mineral Spring lingers the legend given on a preceding page. Modern enterprise has reared a woolen factory here.] The locality has been for many years a resort for parties of pleasure from near and even distant townships; and, formerly, they could have found no wilder spot than this, enhanced by the picturesque, in all our county. But the efforts to utilize the spring have shorn it of much that was attractive in its surroundings. Other qualities than the saline are perceptible in the water of this spring ; and both recent and early attempts have been made to turn to profit its supposed ingredients; but as yet only salt has been obtained, and this, though excellent in kind, has not proved remunerative in quantity.
The following advertisement appeared in the Montrose Centinel ' in the fall of 1818 :—
" The sportsmen of Susquehanna County are invited to attend a wolf-hunt on the waters of Snake Creek near the Salt Spring, on Friday, 27th of Nov. A large tract of wilderness will be surrounded and drove to the center in close order, until the party arrives at a certain circle marked out by lopping of bushes, when a halt will be made for further orders. Danger need not be apprehended, as the circle will be drawn around a hill."
From the diary of I. Richardson it appears that the hunt took place on the day appointed ; and this is probably the one referred to by a recent contribution to the Montrose 'Republican :'—
" Wolves were plenty and brought high bounties for scalps. In December, 1818, a great hunt was started, of five hundred men, including a circle of forty-seven miles. The hunters were divided into squads of tens and twenties and properly officered, and moved towards the center. Droves of deer were thus hedged in, but no wolves, and but one bear and one fox were captured."
As late as May 25th, 1830, Mr. Joseph Fish pursued a gang of wolves from the scene of their depredations in Lawsville, and captured seven whelps, the old one escaping at that time; but soon after he caught her in a trap, and since that time little trouble has been had from wolves in the township.
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[So uniform are the floral productions of the county, that those of Lenox may serve as a sample of the whole. Mrs. Park, without attempting a technical classification, mentions the birds and animals found here; and adds a tribute to Franklin pioneers.]
Only one or two eagles are known to have been seen here. The Virginia horned and the little screech owl ; hen, night, and sparrow-hawks ; ravens, blackbirds, crows, catbirds, kingbirds, bob o-links, pigeons, partridges, quails. meadow larks, bluebirds, song sparrows, robins, yellowbirds, chipping-birds, thrushes, Phcebe birds, snowbirds, humming-birds, wrens, swallows, cuckoos, blue-jays, the " whip-poor-will," and several varieties of woodpeckers are well known in the vicinity. A red bird about the size of a robin, with black wings, is sometimes seen, and also another variety of the red bird, which is smaller.
Wolves, bears, panthers, and wild cats were formidable foes to the early settlers. Foxes, skunks, minks, weasels, and muskrats, found or made them " holes" in Franklin, and all are not yet ousted. The animals subsisting on the bark of trees, on browse' seeds, plants, roots, nuts, and fruit, were deer, woodchucks, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, and moles. It is not now known that any beavers were seen by the first settlers; certainly not by their descendants. There was no lack of striped snakes and water-snakes. Rattlesnakes infested only the eastern part of the township ; many have been destroyed, but the race is not extinct. The milk-snake has occasionally been found in the dairy coiled in a pan of milk. Frogs in great numbers inhabit all the swamps and ponds. Toads abound. A species of turtle or land tortoise is sometimes found in Franklin, but so rarely as to be of but little interest. The bat is also seen, and innumerable species of insects.
Thus life was everywhere in this section before the coming of civilized man.
Savages are supposed not to have dwelt here, though there are evidences that they sometimes passed over the ground. It is certain they knew of the existence of salt springs in this vicinity.
The pioneers of this section were adventurous and enterprising men and women, whom we proudly remember as our ancestors. Neither rich nor poor, they belonged to a class which, with small capital, maintained a noble independence, by persevering industry and prudent economy. And, if they were not the descendants of parents of high literary culture and scientific attainments, neither were they the progeny of people debasingly ignorant, and uneducated ; but of persons possessing good common sense and natural abilities, who had in a great measure been denied those advantages which may be gained by long and constant attendance at good schools. Not that they were wholly ignorant of books ; tradition says most of them could read and write, knew something of arithmetic and geography, though some were never at school more than two weeks altogether.
A strong religious element, better incomparably than wealth, or worldly wisdom, pervaded the communities in which they were reared, and as a class they imbibed its principles and were intent upon its teachings. Faithfulness forbids the conveyance of the impression that they rose to manhood perfect, models of all that is " lovely and of good report ;" or that there were no instances of obliquity to cause deep humiliation and life-long regret. And yet it may be truthfully recorded that, with their early surroundings, habits were formed, principles established, and conservative influences diffused, which have not ceased, and which, it is hoped, will never cease, to bear fruits of righteousness; that much of our attachment to social order, virtue, and piety, and of our aversion to their opposites, is traceable to our Puritan ancestry in happy New England.
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The first settlers in old Lawsville came from Connecticut, crossing the Hudson to Catskill, thence to the head of the Delaware River near Harpersfield, New York ; thence to the valley of the Susquehanna at Wattles' Ferry, a point at the north end of Unadilla village; thence down the Susquehanna to Great Bend; the whole distance being nearly 250 miles, and much of it, west of the Hudson, a wilderness, through which their effects could be transported only by packs, or on an ox sled. From Great Bend they found their way to Franklin by marked trees and the compass, camping out on their arrival until nude cabins could be erected.
In the spring of 1797, James Clark made the first clearing in Lawsville, on the farm now owned and occupied by Billosty Smith.
In September of the same year, Rufus Lines and Titus Smith together left Cheshire, Connecticut, and by the route we have described reached Great Bend, where they learned that four other men from Connecticut had just passed through the place, and were engaged in cutting a road through the forest to Lawsville. Hastening forward, they joined the party—Messrs. Clark, Bronson, Clemons, and Buell ; and added their efforts to expedite the undertaking, arriving at their destination, September 27th, the day Titus Smith completed his eighteenth year. Mr. L. was married and had several children, and was impelled to seek a home in a new country, that he might acquire more land than he could in his native place.
At this time they were only exploring, and soon went back to Great Bend. A few days later, Mr. Smith returned to his chopping, opposite the place now the property of Mr. Read, which Mr. L. had selected, and where he spent the rest of his life. All returned to Connecticut for the succeeding winter. Mr. Buell began his clearing near Wylie Creek, quite in the eastern part of the town. He afterwards removed to New Milford, where he died.
In February, 1798, Titus Smith was again on the ground accompanied by an elder brother, Ephraim. They came in with a sled and oxen, bringing provisions and a few utensils. The
sled, covered with boughs, was made to serve them for a shelter for a long time, and additional supplies were procured from Chenango Point (Binghamton) and Ochquago, until they raised
Three other settlers had reached Great Bend in advance of them in February: David Barnum and his wife, and his brother Stephen, then unmarried. They emigrated from Vermont. Mr. Barnum purchased the lot which Titus Smith had begun to clear the preceding fall. Mr. Smith commenced anew on the
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farm which he continued to cultivate and reside upon until old age; a paralytic shock disabled him a few years before his death.
Ephraim Smith selected the lot which joined that of Rufus Lines on the south, and there spent the remainder of his days. It is now owned and occupied by Mr. Seamons.
In the fall of 1798 Mr. Clark moved in his family, and now Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Barnum were the only women in the settlement. The Smith brothers returned to Connecticut for the winter. In 1799 Ephraim brought his family.
The year 1800 more than doubled the number of families here, and brought Friend and David Tuttle, young unmarried men. The added households were those of Rufus Lines, Titus Smith, Nathan Buell, and Theophilus Merriman all from Connecticut. This date also marks the arrival of the first permanent settler in the north part of Lawsville. (See Liberty.)
During the next five years, 1800-1805, Roswell Smith, Josiah Churchell, Ralph Lines, Samuel Chalker, Edward Cox, Asa Cornwell, Enos Tuttle, and Daniel Chalker, with families ; and three Smith brothers, without families, were added to the settlement in the south part (Franklin). The Chalkers remained but a few years in the south part, and then removed to the north part (Liberty). Edward Cox removed early to Choconut.
Raymond Smith, one of the unmarried brothers, came in 1803, and began a clearing in the east part of the town, on the farm now occupied by Harry Smith. Lodging at the house of,his brother Titus, each morning found him crossing the hills nearly two miles through the woods to his work, carrying his dinner ; and each evening, returning with the pleasant consciousness of having made good progress in his difficult undertaking. As soon as he had made a sufficient clearing, he built a log-cabin, and, towards the last of the summer he boarded himself, having bought a cow and raised a patch of potatoes. He subsisted for six weeks entirely on potatoes and milk.
He afterwards sold his improvement here to his brother Roswell, and began anew on the farm adjoining on the north.
These two brothers married sisters (step-daughters of John Hawley) and side by side they spent the remainder of their lives. All lived to be over eighty, and their united ages were three hundred and thirty-four years. The wife of Raymond Smith, widely known as "Aunt Roxy," died in 1868, and was mourned, as a " mother in Israel," by the community. A year and a half later, February 14, 1870, Raymond, the last survivor of the pioneers of Franklin, died in his eighty-ninth year. "He was endowed with a fine constitution, a well-balanced mind, and cheerful disposition, which he maintained by temperate habits and pure morals. His large, well-proportioned
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frame was little bent, and his mind little impaired, by age." Of his four children, only one, Mrs. Garry Law, is living.
Before the close of the last century, mills had been erected in Great Bend where M'Kinney's mills now are, and there the Lawsville people could usually have their grinding and sawing done; but, in dry seasons, they were sometimes obliged to go to Windsor for their grinding, or later, to Lathrop's Lake in Dimock.
In 1802 or 1803 Mr. Bound, one of the landholders, erected a saw-mill, under the superintendence of Mr. Obed Doolittle, on Wylie Creek, in the eastern part of Lawsville; but it did not work well, and after a short trial was abandoned. Unprofitable to its owner, it was yet some help to the settlers in converting a few of their hemlock logs into slabs and boards, so much needed in the construction of their rude barns and houses.
About this time, or possibly a little prior to it, Captain David Summers, a man of business enterprise, with several sons to assist him, erected a grist-mill in that part of New Milford now known by his name; but the site was not well chosen, or other arrangements may have been faulty; and the benefits of this mill, also, were shared by the inhabitants, while proving unremunerative to the builder.
The first marriage in the settlement took place May 21, 1804 —the parties being Friend Tuttle, a native of Cheshire, Connecticut, and Eunice, daughter of Rufus and Tamar Lines. Mr. T died December 19, 1820, aged thirty-nine. Mrs T. was left with eight children. She died August 13, 1869, in her eighty-fifth year.
Anson Smith, one of the seven brothers who settled in Franklin, was at work in 1805, on the farm where Charles Lawson now lives, when, by the fall of a limb of a tree into which he was chopping, as is supposed, his skull was fractured. Miss Polly Lord (afterwards Mrs. Dr. Fraser) found him lying helpless by the road, procured assistance, and he was taken to the house of his brother Titus, near by. A skilful physician was indispensable, and his brother Raymond set out at once by a bridle-path and marked trees for Dr. Baker, at the Forks of the Wyalusing. On hearing the case, Dr. B. advised him to consult Dr. Hopkins, of Tioga Point. He then retraced his steps, went down the valley of the Susquehanna forty or fifty miles, and returned with Dr. Hopkins. It was then at least three days after the injury was received; the case was considered hopeless, and the Dr. would not repeat his visit unless sent for. The sufferer lived nine weeks, and his brother went three times for the doctor, each trip requiring three days. Anson was twenty-two years of age and unmarried. The Rev. Seth Williston, a missionary, visited him. The presence of a minister was then a
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rare event and highly prized. Upon the death of Mr. Smith, the ground for a cemetery was selected, and his burial was the first in the cemetery as well as in the township. The purchase was made from the adjoining farms of Rufus Lines and Ephraim Smith. In that sacred inclosure nearly all the first settlers of the place now rest.
Lyman, the youngest of the Smith brothers, was a minor when he came here. He was then under the guardianship of his eldest brother, Roswell. When he reached his majority he settled on a farm in Franklin, having married a daughter of Capt. Ichabod Buck, of Great Bend, and sister of his brother Ephraim's second wife. In 1820, Lyman became an active and useful member of the Congregational church, and, within a few years after it became Presbyterian, he was elected an elder. In 1849, he removed to Binghamton, New York, and united with a Presbyterian church there, his life corresponding with his Christian profession, until its close in his seventy-fifth year. With the exception of Anson, he was the only one of the seven who did not live to be over eighty years old.
The settlement did not increase rapidly. The new-comers to the south part from 1805 to 1810, were Josiah Davis, Aaron Van Voorst, Simon Park, Calvin and Luther Peck and their father; in 1810, Wright Green and James Watson, from Ireland, and Andrew Leighton, from Scotland. The last named brought in a small assortment of merchandise and established the first store in a log house near the old well on the present farm of P. T. Dearborn.
Simon Park moved his family into Lawsville in 1809. In his youth he had emigrated from Plainfield, Connecticut, to Kingston, in Wyoming Valley, where he settled on a tract of land owned by his father; from thence, in 1804, he went to Windsor, New York, moving his family and effects up the river on a fiat boat. Soon after becoming settled in L., he built a
saw-mill on Wylie Creek, thirty or forty rods below the place now occupied by Tingley's saw-mill. This he kept running several years, but, like the other mills mentioned, it served the people better than it did the owner, and was finally left to decay.
In 1811, Leman Churchell, Chauncey Turner, and James Vance (then from Harmony), settled in what is now Franklin.
The line between Franklin and Liberty was run a little lower than appears on the large county map, and included Mr. Vance in Liberty ; but the court granted a petition from himself and next neighbor which assigned them to Franklin.
Boards were then not so easily obtained as to allow Mr. V. gable ends to his cabin for a long while after he entered it.
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During the next four years-1811-1815—Charles Blowers, Julius Jones, Harrison Warner, and some others came in.
From 1815 to 1820, Calvin Wheaton, Allen Upson, Jacob Allard, Joel Morse, Ira Cole, Joseph H. Holley, John Blowers, James Owens, William Salmon, and the Websters came (1818). Joseph Webster, Sr., and his son John, a Baptist minister, located in Franklin, but others of the family in Liberty.
Some of the earliest settlers remained but a short time. David Barnum left prior to 1805, and became a popular hotel-keeper at Baltimore, Maryland.
Charles Miner, in his letter read at the Pioneer Festival held at Montrose, June 2, 1858, said :—
" Barnum, of Lawsville, had married a sister of Colonel Kirby (about that time one of the candidates for Governor of Connecticut), a very superior woman independent of her relationship. The Yankee girls of the best families readily accepted the invitations of clever, enterprising young men, though poor, to try their fortunes in subduing the wilderness."
The same authority states that " Barnum" was landlord in Lawsville in 1799.
Stephen Barnum's place was further west and on another road. He sold it to a Mr. Townsend and sons, who are its present owners. He resided in the township nearly to the close of his life, but died in New Milford, at the residence of his son, E. Barnum, in January, 1859, at the age of eighty-two and a half years. he was appointed justice of the peace in 1836, but soon resigned.
Though the principal occupation of the men of Franklin has always been that of agriculture, there have been a few devoted to other business. Rufus Lines was a blacksmith, Raymond Smith a shoemaker, Josiah Davis and S. Chalker stone-masons, and many chimneys built by them still remain.
The number of expert hunters was small, but hunting and fishing were quite often pursued as a pastime, or to secure supplies for the table.
The amusements were few and simple. It was customary in some families to promise them to the children as rewards for the faithful performance of required tasks; and thus the privilege of a fishing excursion was heightened by the consciousness of parental approbation, and enjoyed all the more for being paid for in advance. The season of berries was made subservient
to relieve the monotony of work for both boys and girls. The most luscious raspberries and blackberries grew wherever they were allowed on the newly cleared land, and in the absence of cultivated fruit they were of great value.
But sauntering in the wood, or gathering berries, had its drawbacks, for the jingle of the dreaded rattlesnake was often heard, causing a precipitate flight towards home ; but
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this was usually followed by a return to the scene of danger of some one who would give battle to the disturbing reptile, usually terminating in its destruction, and the conqueror coming in possession of its rattles.
Young women of different families visited each other rarely more than once a year ; and then only in the most pleasant season, as it often required a walk of several miles. They invariably took with them plain sewing or knitting which would not interrupt conversation on topics connected with their daily occupations, which were those most frequently discussed. The making up of plain clothes for themselves or the family; the knitting of socks, stockings, and mittens ; the bleaching of home-made linen, etc. etc., were to them objects of ambition only inferior to their spinning! Proof of skill and industry in this was seen hanging against the walls in bunches of yarn, linen, tow, or woolen, according to the season. Woolen and linen were the only sheeting used. Occasionally "a quilting" afforded the girls a fine opportunity for social enjoyment. And, in winter, it was customary for boys and girls to go together on evening visits to friends several miles distant, and for lodging, to distribute themselves among the different families of the neighborhood, who were always ready to accommodate them and make the party happy.
Trainings or military parades were great occasions for the boys. They furnished holidays for them twice in a, year—the first Monday in May, and another Monday in autumn. For a general training two days were sometimes necessary. When the parades were at Great Bend, none but the larger boys could go; but it was all the more desirable to them to go so far, and to so grand a place as Great Bend, where there were frame-houses and a store; the latter, and perhaps a few of the former, being also painted.
They were permitted to don their best suits and start early, with "change" in their pockets to buy gingerbread, and perhaps " a drink ;" if the latter was not thus provided for, it may safely be presumed their fathers " treated" them to one or more during the day, for moderate drinking was then thought a very innocent, if not a very necessary, indulgence.
Early in the present century, and before the settlers could raise enough grain for their support from one season to the next, they were sometimes threatened with a short allowance of the nedessaries of life. It is said that such was the scarcity of provisions in the spring of 1799, that the new settlers had to dig up and eat the potatoes they had planted. The few inhabitants of the surrounding towns could do little more than supply their own wants.
Great efforts were made to procure even very limited sup-
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plies. At one time Mrs. Merriman went twenty miles to get as many potatoes as she could bring on the back of the horse she rode; and this, over roads which we should call terrible—being full of knolls, stumps, roots, stones, and mud-holes, with the Susquehanna River to be crossed by fording!
The women of those days could dare and do as necessity demanded. Perhaps they had no sterner trial than to be without a suitable attendant at the birth of their children. Mrs. Mercy Tyler, of Harford (afterwards of Ararat), was indeed an angel of mercy to many an isolated mother but distance sometimes made her inaccessible. " Whether the call came by day or by night, Mrs. T. attired herself suitably to mount her horse astride ; and her guide needed not to 'slack his riding' for her sake."
It is said that in the "Lawsville settlement" the Sabbath was observed from the first. With Saturday night secular labor ceased, and quiet reigned throughout the forest-homes.
The influence of early training, example, and habit preserved the people from open desecration of a day which they had been taught to regard as sacred, though they were far removed from those religious privileges and associations which had attended their childhood and youth.
Most of them were from Cheshire, New Haven County, Connecticut, where no deep religious interest is known to have been felt until many years after the period under consideration. This may in a measure account for the fact that, notwithstanding these privileges, few of them had made an experimental acquaintance with religion at the time of their emigration ; but they erected and maintained a high standard of public morals. Mrs. Tamar Lines and Mrs. Sarah Merriman were the first, and for five years the only, professors of religion in the place. Their piety, though unobtrusive, was decided, and in after years they were referred to as almost faultless examples of Christian character. Mrs. M. died in 1835, aged sixty-six; Mrs. L. in 1843, aged eighty. But their memory has not perished, nor has their influence ceased to be felt. Of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, it may be said that some of them, we have good reason to believe, have "fallen asleep in Jesus;" some are useful citizens and active Christians of Franklin and other townships of this and a neighboring county ; and others of them, sustaining the same character, are scattered in several distant States. Captain Roswell Smith was the first male professor of religion who settled here. He remained at the old homestead in Connecticut a number of
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years after the others had left it—all but the youngest, to whom he was guardian. He came with his wife and five children,¹ near the end of winter, in 1805. Their library consisted of three Bibles, a copy of Watts's Psalms and Hymns,' a Methodist hymn-book, the Assembly's Shorter Catechism,' Jenks's Devotion,' and the Book of Common Prayer;' with one or two spelling-books.
[After a time, 'Miner's Gleaner' was taken by Capt. Smith, and a small circulating library was obtained for New Milford and Lawsville, John Hawley, librarian.]
Religious worship commenced soon after the first settlement of the town. As early as 1801 or 1802 missionaries came here from Connecticut and Massachusetts, and meetings were held at Mr. Theophilus Merriman's and other private houses, until the old South school-house was built, and then meetings were held there. About 1808-1809, meetings were held by Deacon Ward at Benjamin Doolittle's, in New Milford, and at Deacon Titus Smith's, in Lawsville (Franklin), every alternate Sabbath.
The organization of the New Milford and Lawsville " Union Congregational Church" took place at the house of John Hawley, in New Milford, the 28th day of September, 1813, the Rev. Ebenezer Kingsbury, missionary from Connecticut, and the Rev. Joseph Wood, pastor of the first church in Bridgewater, officiating.
The following persons composed the church when organized: Ichabod and Mary Ward, Roswell and Hannah Smith, Titus Smith, Sally (Mrs. Ephraim) Smith,² Friend Tuttle, Lucretia Truesdell, Hannah Doolittle, Sybil Dayton, Phebe and Merab Hawley. Circumstances deferred Mrs. Lines' and Mrs. Merriman's connection with this church until February, 1814.
Rev. Ebenezer Kingsbury was chosen standing moderator of the church, Ichabod Ward was chosen deacon, and Friend Tuttle, scribe. Of the first twelve members not one is now living, though nine of them lived to be over eighty years, and three over ninety years of age. Meetings for public worship were kept up by the church until 1814, when the Rev. Oliver Hill, missionary from Connecticut, was unanimously called to be their pastor. He accepted the call, and on the 15th of February, same year, the Luzerne association met at the house of Ephraim Smith to examine Mr. Hill as a candidate for the ministry. On the 16th his ordination took place in Mr. E. Smith's
¹ These had lost their own mother. Three weeks after their arrival in Laws-vine, a daughter was added to the family—the same to whom we are indebted for much of the information contained in this chapter. At the time of Captain Smith's death, he had five sons and six daughters, who were married and had families.
² Of her it was written, " She lived to the glory of God." She died in 1849.
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barn. Mr. Hill continued his ministrations in Lawsville and New Milford, dividing his time equally between the two places, until May 25, 1819. (He afterwards went to Michigan, and died there December, 1844, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.)
Mrs. Park, in a sketch of her father and mother, Captain Roswell Smith and his second wife, says of them :—
"They hailed with joy the coming of missionaries, entertained them at their house, sent notices through the settlement where they would preach, and always attended religious worship with as many of the family as circumstances would permit. When meetings were within two miles all could go. The older children could walk ; father rode on one horse with a child before him ; mother on another, with a babe in her lap. In addition, when necessary, they could take one of the older daughters upon a pillion behind them on the same horse. From the place now called Brookdale, in Liberty, to New Milford Valley there were persons who were habituated to public worship, and many log dwellings between these points were, at different times, crowded for that purpose. People sometimes went to Harford and to Great Bend to hear missionaries, and it was not uncommon when we had preaching to see people from those places in our congregation."
Mrs. Park's descriptions are doubled in value by their universal application. She adds :—
" There were two services on each Sabbath, with an intermission of an hour, or (in winter) of half an hour. During this time the people remained in and around the house where the meeting was held, separately eating a lunch brought from home, or engaging in such conversation as was thought to befit the occasion. All common secular talk was considered a desecration of the day, and children of religious families were strictly charged to be very circumspect in this particular.
" When no minister was present our public worship was conducted by Deacon Ward, of New Milford, who was a good singer and reader ; but Mr. John Foot usually led the singing, and sometimes he or Mr. B. Doolittle read the sermon."
The church has maintained public worship to the present time, the pulpit being supplied by different ministers; and from time to time large additions have been added to their membership.
Two churches, one in New Milford and the other in Liberty, have been organized with members who belonged originally to the " Union" church.
During Mr. Hill's ministry, the South school-house was the established place of worship. At that time there were no Sabbath-schools, but Mr. Hill took great pains in the religious instruction of the young, giving them lessons to commit, and meeting them at appointed times to hear their recitations, to explain to them the word of God, and to pray with them. He preached but one-half the time in Lawsville, one-fourth in New Milford, and the remaining fourth he was employed as a missionary to labor in more destitute places around. In his absence the three resident church members were pursuaded to conduct regular public worship. There had been a season of unusual
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religious interest in this region a number of years before a church was organized. At that time Titus Smith and Friend Tuttle were converted, and the number of family altars in Lawsville was then increased to three. Other individuals on joining the church, years afterwards, dated their first serious impressions from that period. In 1818 there was another revival of religion, and on the 9th of August fourteen members were added to the church. The school-house was too small for the occasion, and the meeting was held in Ephraim Smith's barn. In the summer of 1820 there was another revival, which extended, as the former did not, beyond the present limits of Franklin, to nearly if not quite all those families in the northern part of Lawsville, which were regular attendants on public worship.
Rev. Lyman Richardson, of Harford, about this time licensed to preach the gospel, labored in Lawsville with great faithfulness and success. Intent only on serving his Master, he left his pecuniary reward to be measured by the ability and generosity of the people. In the September following about thirty were added to the church, of various ages, from the gray-haired man to the little girl of ten years. Mr. R. left soon after to labor in Wysox. In 1821 Rev. Enoch Conger, employed by the Susquehanna County Domestic Missionary Society, visited the church at different times, and formed the first Sabbath-school in Lawsville. During the succeeding two years he was hired to preach there one-half the time, and for the better accommodation of all who attended on his ministry, he preached alternately at the three school-houses—north, south, and east; but the Sabbath-school was held every Sabbath at each of the school-houses. In the autumn of 1824 Mr. C. removed to Ohio. His youngest child at that time was Williston Kingsbury, afterwards Lieutenant Conger, of the company that arrested Wilkes Booth. Rev. Enoch C. died at the West in the spring of 1872.
The first church edifice in Franklin was erected on Cemetery Hill in 1824. Its cost was about $1400. In 1846 it was repaired and greatly improved at an expense of $400, and in 1866 the old building having been removed, a neat and commodious one took its place, costing something over $3000.
In 1836, the church changed its form of government to Presbyterian. Five elders were chosen, among whom were Roswell, and Dea. Titus Smith. Friend Tuttle, who once shared with them the principal care of the church, had died in 1822, leaving a whole community to mourn his loss. He was eminently a peacemaker.
The first parsonage built was erected in 1849. (Rev. Mr. Hill had bought a few acres of land, and built a frame dwelling house and barn prior to 1820 ; and as late as 1867, this first
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parsonage of Franklin might have been seen a few rods east of the Upsonville Exchange, but it has since been demolished.) This was destroyed by fire, May 22d, 1858; but on account of the terrible affliction that accompanied it, the loss was scarcely felt. It was late on Saturday night when the building was discovered to be on fire. The family were roused from sleep, and the pastor, Rev. Joseph Barlow, under the bewildering excitement of the moment, as is supposed, attempted to enter the room where the fire was raging. As he opened the door, the flames burst out upon him, suffocating him, and causing death before he could be reached. His body was nearly consumed.
Mr. Barlow was born near Manchester, England, in April, 1787. He was converted early in life, and entered the ministry in the Methodist connection before he attained his twenty-first year. He emigrated to this country in 1819, united with the Presbyterian church in 1835, and became connected with the Montrose Presbytery the same year.
A larger and more convenient parsonage was completed in 1860, on the site of the former, a few rods south of the church.
The Methodists have a neat church edifice at the Forks, erected at a cost of $4000. There is also a Baptist church in the same neighborhood.
A temperance society and a tract society were formed in Lawsville at an early day.
At present there is no licensed retailing of ardent spirits ; hence intoxication, pauperism, and crime are but little known in the community.
The first school-house—a log structure—was erected in 1806, on the farm Sylvester Smith formerly owned, and near where Stiles Jacobus lives. The first teacher was Esther Buck (afterwards Mrs. James Newman of Great Bend); the second was Polly Bates (Mrs. Sylvester Smith); the third, Penila Bates (Mrs. Seth Hall), both daughters of Thomas Bates of Great Bend. Anna Buck and Selina Badger were later teachers. It is not known that there was any winter school till about 1809, when Dr-, Gray, a transient settler, was employed to teach—he and his wife living in the school-house at the same time. James De Ilaert taught there the next winter. (He died at the house of Rufus Lines in 1813.) It is thought Leman Churchell taught during the winter of 1810-11 the last school in the building. Mr. C. was a Methodist exhorter, and held regular meetings in school-houses at an early day.
The old school-house was built in 1811 or '12. It stood nearly forty years. and was then accidentally burned. A better one was soon built near its site. The first building called the East school-house, was erected in 1818 ; but a better one has for many years stood in its place. In 1819, the North school-
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house was set a little north of Upsonville ; later at this place, and was afterwards removed to make room for the brick schoolhouse which is still standing. Lucy Upson (Mrs. S. W. Truesdell taught the first two seasons. Farther west, the Allard and Baker school-houses were in one neighborhood.
The first post-office in Lawsville was established in 1811, and Richard Barnum (brother of Stephen) was the first postmaster. The office was kept on the same ground nearly fifty years. It has since been removed to a store called " Upsonville Exchange," a short distance above, and is kept by J. L. Merriman. After the town of Franklin was erected, some confusion in mail matters was occasioned from the fact that there are other towns of that name in the State ; and consequently the name of Upson-ville was given to the post-office, in honor of Allen Upson, then P. M. The name attaches to the neighborhood. Frederick Lines was the first P. M. appointed in Franklin after the division of Lawsville; he resigned the office on becoming justice of the peace.
In Franklin, August 18, 1846, four generations mowed together: Charles Blowers, aged eighty-six ; John Blowers, sixty-three; Daniel C. Blowers, thirty-eight; and Albert Blowers,
fourteen. The first named was a native of Dutchess County, New York. He lived to see the fifth generation, and died at the age of ninety-one, in Franklin.
Franklin Forks, at the junction of Silver and Snake Creeks, besides its churches, has two stores, two saw-mills, a blacksmith shop, a school-house, and a post-office.
" Mungerville is situated in the Snake Creek Valley, three miles north of Montrose, on the direct road to Binghamton. It contains about 100 inhabitants, has a large tannery, saw-mill, store, school-house, and a number of good dwelling-houses. It has no post-office.
" J. H. & E. P. Munger, during the past year, have tanned 27,860 sides of sole leather, which is 1000 more than was ever tanned here before, in a year. They give constant employment to about twenty-five men, and consume about 3000 cords of bark annually, for which they pay cash, at a good price, making employment for many in the surrounding country. They have lately fitted up a store.
" L. Foot, having purchased the saw-mill formerly owned by A. Lathrop, has taken out the muley, and put in a circular saw, and now cuts from four to five thousand feet of lumber a day, with a full head of water."
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PRIOR to the erection of the township of Franklin, the most of its area, together with the whole of Liberty, was included in " Old Lawsville"—the third township set off by the court of Luzerne between 1790-1800, from the territory now included in Susquehanna County. But, though with Franklin the older settled portion of Lawsville had been taken away, the prestige of the old name was left to the remainder or north part ; and " the more's the pity," it should have been so undervalued as to be exchanged less than a year later (September, 1836) for that of Liberty. Its area is about four and a half mies by six.
Most of what has been already written respecting the surface and productions of Lawsville, applies equally well to the north as to the south part of the township. Corn is the best crop, but rye is good. Corn is solid; weighs over sixty pounds to the bushel.
The most profitable business for the farmer in this section is the same as that in so many other townships—the making of butter. Sheep are kept in considerable numbers.
Next in importance to Snake Creek is Ranney Creek, which rises near the Catholic church, in the township of Silver Lake, and running northeast, crosses nearly three-fourths of the width of Liberty, and empties into Snake Creek at Brookdale. Still another stream rises in the former township between " Der-went" and Cranberry Lakes, which joins the outlet of Mud Lake, and pursuing an easterly course empties into Snake Creek at Lawsville Center. Both these creeks afford fine mill privileges. Bailey Brook has a short course near the center of the township, while Wylie Creek forms its southeastern boundary for about a mile and a half.
Tripp Lake, a small sheet in the western part of Liberty, has an outlet also emptying into Snake Creek, near the " Pleasant Valley House" of B. Jones, Esq.
The early settlers appear to have been men of great physical endurance and firmness of mind; prudent, counting the cost, and ascertaining if the work to be accomplished was within the compass of their means; their plans once matured, they were pursued with unflinching determination. They were generally persons of very limited means, and were obliged to sustain
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themselves by their own energy and industry. Several were in their minority when they settled there.
The township had for its first resident the Hon. Timothy Pickering, of Revolutionary fame. It is known that late in the last century he found his way into the valley of the Snake Creek and built a cabin on land now in Liberty and owned by Garry Law, Esq. He made a clearing and remained a year or two. Either before or soon after this, he became a large landholder in this and other townships of the county. About the same time, Stephen Ranney, of Litchfield, Connecticut, made a small clearing on the farm now owned by Perry B. Butts. He spent one or two years here and then left; but Ranney Creek perpetuates his name [written Rhiney on the atlas].
A man named Bronson, also from Litchfield, Connecticut, made a clearing on what has been long known as the Ives farm. A Mr. Clemons (Philo?) made a small clearing near Calvin Markham's place, but soon left.
The first actual settler with a family, was Samuel Woodcock, another Litchfield County man his location was near where the saw-mill of Alanson Chalker now stands, about half a mile from the State line. This was in 1799 [one authority makes it 1800]. Mr. W. superintended the building of a saw-mill and grist-mill for Robert Bound, a large landowner in the township.
In 1800, Joseph and Ira Bishop, both young men without families came in. Joseph settled where Knight and Munson's tannery stands in Brookdale, and his farm contained about 100 acres. Ira settled on what was afterwards known as the Hance farm.
In 1805, Waples Hance moved in and purchased the above farm and lived there until his death in December, 1843, at the age of ninety years.
No further mention is made of any settlement of this part of Lawsville until 1811, when John Holmes, Edward Hazard, Peleg Butts, Jonathan and Jesse Ross, Caswell and Nathaniel Ives settled on the creek in the north part of the township. The Rosses were on the farm now owned by E. Lockwood and C. Markham.
Peleg Butts was previously in Silver Lake. He lived to be eighty years old, and died on the farm now occupied by his sons Abraham and Isaac, very near the State line in Liberty.
Samuel Truesdell and sons, in 1811, located southeast of Lawsville Center, on the farm lately occupied by one of them, S. W. Truesdell, Esq. The latter was a justice of the peace for the township twenty years; he died October, 1872, aged seventy-three. He furnished many items for these pages.
Within the next four years, Israel Richardson (1812), Asa
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Bennet, Joseph Hutchinson (1812), Jedediah Adams (from Great Bend), the family of Caswell Ives (Reuben then a boy), Dr. Stanford, Benajah Howard, Ebenezer Allen, David Bailey, and some others came in. Asa Bennet settled where I. Comstock recently lived. Ebenezer Allen settled on the place now occupied by Daniel Adams.
David Bailey came from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He died in Liberty about the year 1844. His widow (Mary) died in 1868, aged eighty. Their descendants number about one hundred. The historian of the Abington Baptist Association, Rev. E. L. Bailey, was their son. he was three years chaplain to the Senate at Harrisburg, and subsequently became pastor of the Baptist church in Carbondale, where he died in 1870.
Rev. H. C. Hazard, now sixty-five years of age, gave in 1870, the following items respecting his father, Edward Hazard :—
" Fifty-eight years ago last March, my father, with his family, moved from Otsego County, N. Y.. down the Susquehanna River to where Windsor Village now stands, and over the Oghquago Mountains to Great Bend, via Taylortown ; crossed the river in a scow, thence down the south side of the river to the mouth of Snake Creek. and up the creek two miles, where he located in an almost unbroken wilderness. The wolves were our nearest neighbors, especially at night. I saw one in the daytime within ten rods of the house, where a beef had been dressed the day before. My father used to kill as many as forty deer in a year ; the hides furnished clothing and the carcasses meat.
There was not a school-house from Binghamton to Montrose, and a meeting-house I had never seen. The first school-house was built where is now Brookdale, on Snake Creek, at my father's instigation ; and he, being a carpenter and joiner, built the house, and afterwards taught the first school. I went to Binghamton to the grist-mill with my father in a canoe, some fifty years ago, when it was a wilderness where half or two-thirds of the city now stands; however, we usually got our grinding done at Josiah Stewart's, where McKinney's mill now stands. Great Bend was our point of trade."
In 1813, George Banker came from the south part of Lawsville, where he located three years earlier.
In 1815, Daniel Marvin came to the place previously occupied by Joseph Hutchinson.
Jonathan Howard came from Dutchess County, N. Y., in 1817, and remained in Liberty until his death, in 1869, at the age of eighty-eight. He was a soldier in the war of 1812.
Archi Marsh came from Connecticut on foot, in the fall of 1817; he was accompanied by S. W. Truesdell, who was returning from a visit to his native place.
Stephen Dawley, a son in-law of Joseph Webster, Senior, accompanied the latter, when he came to Lawsville, in February, 1818; but Mr. D. located in the north part, now Liberty. They were sixteen days on the journey from Connecticut, with two yoke of oxen, the weather being very cold.
Though Joseph Webster and his son John were permanent
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residents of Franklin, his son Alexander and family located in Liberty, and James and Joseph, Jr., cane here afterwards.
Previous to 1820, Constantine Choate, Chauncey North, Aurelius Stevens, John Morse, and Peter Gunsalus were here. The last named had been in Franklin. David 0. Turrell came in 1820; Roger Kenyon, Senior, in 1822, and Garry Law in 1826.
In 1820, with the exception of the clearings of Jonathan Howard and Peleg Butts, the country west of Snake Creek to Silver Lake was an unbroken wilderness. There was no sale of land on the Pickering tract, in Liberty, until after 1820, except in the valley of Snake Creek. (The population of Lawsville, in 1820, was 466—females a majority of 8.)
Israel Richardson, a surveyor, originally from Windsor County, Vermont, came to Lawsville (Liberty), from Willing-borough (Great Bend). He had been a school-teacher at the latter place, where he had resided three or four years, and where he married Dicy Adams, a daughter of one of its first settlers. He kept a diary from which some extracts are taken, as illustrative of the necessities and customs of the times. He raised his log house, near Snake Creek, on the 23d of March, 1812, and soon after brought to it " a back-load of goods." On the 1st of April he occupied the house, " on the 13th put up the east gable end, laid some chamber-floor, and brought the table home on his back." On the 30th he " leveled the ground in the house." " Trainings" were important affairs in those troublous times; on the 20th of May, the second of the kind for that month, he " went to training out to Post's." (He does not speak of Montrose until eighteen months later.)
On the 1st of June, " went to mill to Chenango Point—Bevier's—absent three days." In November of the same year he was engaged in clearing out " the old Bronson road"—a road of no small consequence to the early settlers; over it the mail was carried to Silver Lake to Great Bend; thence to Laws-ville, and back to Montrose, once a week.
Late in November, " split sticks for chimney. Made a paper window in north side of the house."
The first season he raised only one acre of green oats, and one hundred and seventy bushels of potatoes. In December, he hired out at twelve dollars per month, the usual rate when board was given.
Early in 1813, while farm-work permitted, he, like most of the pioneers, "could turn his hand" to various occupations. "Made a pair of shoes in an evening." " Made swifts, warping-bars, and spool frame ;" for the wife of the pioneer could always spin, and generally weave.
" Made twenty-four bass-wood sap troughs in a day." A
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little later, he adds: "Bass-wood troughs did leak—put ash-wood in their place."
In the spring he was frequently engaged in surveying, in which he was quite often the companion of James De Haert, the brother of Balthasar, so long and favorably known in Susquehanna County. The brothers were long engaged in the effort to develop the resources of the Salt Spring on Silver Creek.
Balthasar De Haert came to Chenango Point, or vicinity, about 1801. Had received the title of judge in New Jersey. James De H. had also some knowledge of law. Judge De H. was considered by Dr. Fraser, for whom he wrote many years while Dr. F. held county offices, as one of the most honorable and upright of men.
Occasionally Mr. R. visited the fish ground, Susquehanna River, and in May, he mentions bringing home forty shad. He also found a " bee-tree," which was then a fortunate occurrence, both on account of its ready store for honey, and because, with proper care, the bees could be hived for future service.
In November of this year " gathered thorn-apples at Samuel Symmonds."
Early in December the entry runs, "I and wife finished the chimney." From various narrators we learn that it was no uncommon thing to pass months without any chimnev—a hole in the roof serving as vent for the smoke of a fire built within a circle of large stones placed against the wall, or in the center of the cabin.
It appears the culture of tobacco was attempted here as early as 1814, as Mr. R. mentions his tobacco plants in July ; under date of Oct. 16th, writes, " I stript tobacco."
The war then in progress between England and the United States made demands on the new settlements as well as the old, and, November 4th, Mr. R. was " notifyed to march a soldiering." A substitute was engaged for $50, but his own services were soon rendered, the famous Danville expedition starting and returning within the same month.
During the year 1815 reference is made to the meeting held at Jos. Bishop's and in other private houses by "Priest Hill," and by the Baptist missionary, Elder Peter P. Roots. " Logging-bees" occasioned not only opportunities for mutual service among neighbors in clearing up their farms, but were merry-makings besides. All heavy work was done by " bees." There was of course little market for wood, consequently to free the land of it, it was rolled up in heaps after being felled and chopped into convenient lengths, and then burned.
In January, 1816, Mr. R. "followed otters' tracks down as far
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as Simmons'." (Samuel Simmons settled where Charles Adams now resides.)
The terrible cold summer of 1816 finds a comment in, " The chestnut trees are full in the blow, the 10th day of August 1"
One Sabbath in 1817, "`All go to hear Priest Gilbert at the old Bennett house."
Every horse was then considered able to " carry double," and the " pillion" was the appendage of every saddle, when wheeled carriages were not to be thought of for family church-going.
In July he "laid out the road from Vance's to Southworth's," (then near Jones' Lake).
Not far from this time the streams were suddenly swollen by heavy rains, and the bridge over the Snake Creek (near Bailey Brook?) was carried off, a serious calamity to the then straitened resources of the township, and which was repaired only by help from the county.
Very little cash found its way to the pockets of a people so far from markets for their produce; once in a while "a paper dollar" is seen, but spoken of as a curiosity.
" S. B. Welton agrees to make 80 rods of good rail fence for a shilling a rod, of posts and rails, five feet high, hog tile." At this rate the workmen made about a dollar a day ; but it was common for a man to accept fifty cents for chopping or logging, "and found." Venison was from 2 to 3 cents per lb., pork 10 cents, and milk 1 cent per qt. A note is made of the purchase of a partridge "for 10 cents in money down," but 1211 cents were demanded for an orange.
March 20th, 1818, " Town meeting held at Esq. Lines'."
The months of July and August found Mr. R. chiefly engaged in surveying, and from his notes one must conclude no one was more familiar than he with the lands in Lawsville and on the " Wharton track," beyond, (?) and with all the roads in the vicinity.
"September 24th I go to the Bend and see the elephant." Later, "Carry some cloth to Summers' fulling-mill to be dressed for me a coat and pantaloons." (Broad cloth coats were riot often seen in farm-houses in 1818.)
Thanksgiving-day was observed the 19th of November. A great wolf hunt is mentioned about this time.
In June, 1819, the arrival of "Englishmen just from England" is noted--probably the founders of Britannia" in Silver Lake.
"Shot a deer just below the bridge:" "shot a fox ;" " shot a doe," and similar expressions occur occasionally in the memoranda.
The following item is truly worthy of preservation : " I let the post have $2.00 to pay the printer for a year's paper."
An exchange of home productions accommodated the people;
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thus a bushel of apples was sometimes procured by a quantity of sage, etc.
Late in that year he laid out "a road from the old river road near Cooper Corbett's to State line, near Peleg Butts."
The first of January, 1820, Mr. R. began teaching a school near Alfred Ross', and which he continued six weeks at $10 per month ! Sixty-three weeks' board for a man, and sixty-one for a woman, could then be obtained for $25 (without liquors, candles, or medicine).
Dr. Rufus Fish was an early settler of Great Bend, but subsequently (about 1819) lived in Liberty, on the "Ranney Clearing," before mentioned. He moved back to Great Bend, then again to Liberty, on the farm where Philo C. Luce lives; and from there to the Salt Spring in Franklin, where he died.
It is said the "Blue Laws" of Conn. were once in force in Liberty, and Sunday traveling, for ordinary purposes, was prohibited. A fine was laid upon the trangressor and allotted to the informer. One person who had made himself liable to the fine, promptly delivered himself up on Monday morning, and thus evaded paying the prosecutor's fee.
In spite of all the pains-taking by the first settlers in watching and guarding their sheep, on whose wool they so much depended for clothing, the wolves found ways to outwit them, sometimes destroying twenty of one flock in a single night, though they were yarded near the house. After a time the Legislature passed an act giving a bounty of ten dollars for the scalp of a full-sized wolf, and five dollars for a young one. This stimulated the trappers and hunters to renewed energy and perseverance. There were several brothers by the name of Brown living at Great Bend, who sometimes devoted several days to hunting in the vicinity of the Salt Spring, and with great success.
One who was familiar with the sight of wolves speaks of them as " coarse, gray-haired, ugly looking things," and adds :—
" I wish I could describe their howl ; but the best comparison I can give would be to take a dozen railroad whistles, braid them together, and then let one strand after another drop off, the last peal so frightfully piercing as to go through your very heart and soul ; you would feel as though your hair stood straight on end if it was ever so long.
" The bears would take young lambs, pigs, and sometimes large hogs ; and their embrace was fatal even to man. The flesh of the bear was considered good for food, something of the nature of pork, but more oily. 'l'he fat would never get hard like corn-fed pork, but was useful in many ways for cooking purposes, and also for light. For the latter purpose it was used by tying a penny in a white linen or cotton rag, and sinking it in a saucer of the oil, leaving the end a little above the surface to light. It would burn several hours and give a very good light. Pitch pine kuots, split into small pieces, were used as a substitute for lamps and candles.
" Deer were very plenty and mischievous. They were very fond of garden
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vegetables, beans in particular. Still they were a blessing rather than otherwise, for their meat was superior to that of any other wild animal ; and, at times, families have subsisted on venison alone for days together. Their skins when tanned were very valuable, and were used for gloves, mittens, moccasins, trowsers,' and whip lashes. From their horns knife and fork handles were manufactured."
My informant continues thus :—
" One day, more than forty years ago, an old doe and two fawns came into our clearing or house lot. There was no road past the house at that time. One of the fawns became separated from the others, and I ran after it, caught it, and held it fast. He was very easily tamed, and soon became the pet of all the children in the neighborhood. He would run, frolic, blow and snort like a young horse, but, like the rest of his species, he was a turncoat '—first red spotted with white, then red entirely, and lastly had a coat of blue for the winter.
"The red, black, and gray squirrels were another pest; they were almost as thick as the frogs in Egypt. They would go into a field of grain, perch themselves on the charred stumps left in the clearing, quite near together, watch the wind and waves, and dexterously catch the heads of rye or wheat with their paws. They must have taken every tenth bushel. Then, when the grain was harvested and put in the barn, the rats would come in for their share. By stratagem, the children secured thirty large rats in a barrel, at one time, and drowned them in hot water.
" But with all the drawbacks and discouragements of our position, we still went ahead, though many of us had little more than willing hearts and hands with which to battle. Work was the order of the day. It was work on, work ever; hope on, and hope ever; and the sound of the ax, and the crash of the falling trees might be heard on every side.
" Mother and daughter considered it no disparagement or hardship to spin and work up into cloth all the flax and wool we could get, and the buzzing of the spinning wheel and the rattle of the loom might be heard in almost every house. Our labors were crowned with success, in-doors and out ; and, after a few years, framed houses and barns took the place of log ones, and everything had the appearance of thrift, comfort, and convenience."
The post-office at Lawsville Center was established in 1830, and another at Brookdale about fourteen years ago. At the latter place there is a tannery, owned by Munson and Knight, consuming 3000 cords of bark annually. There is an establishment near there, styled the "Scotch -Works," which uses 4000 cords of wood annually, in the manufacture, principally, of an acid used in setting the colors of prints. The sales are in New York city. The object in locating the manufactory in this section was because wood is cheap ($3.00 per cord), as the best hard wood is required ; soft maple, hemlock, and chestnut would be of no value. As, in making the acid, the wood is only charred, not burned, the sale of the charred wood nearly pays the expenses of the establishment. Perhaps $15,000 is invested in the buildings.
There is one store at Brookdale—Beman's ; and another at Lawsville Center—late Roger Kenyon's.
At the latter place there is a grist-mill and saw-mill ; the first erected in the township, by Newton Hawley; and both now
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owned by Lewis A. Tompkins. It is the only grist-mill, while there are six saw-mills in the township.
There are (1869) twelve school districts in Liberty, and the people pay a school-tax of $2000, on a valuation of $88,000 (one-eighth of actual amount). Within a few years there has been a rapid rise in real estate.
There has been no licensed tavern for ten years, consequently the town is orderly.
Elder John Webster, and branches of his family, were the original Baptists of the township of Lawsville, and were of the Free-will order. The "strict" Baptists seceded (have about sixty members), and have erected one of the finest churches in the county, at a cost of $5500. Four contributors—Joseph and Watson Bailey, Stephen Dawley, and Roger Kenyon, Jr. —gave very nearly half that sum. It was dedicated in August, 1868. Garry Law, Reuben and Caswell Ives constitute the Presbyterian church committee (?).
The Union Sabbath-school at Lawsville Center has about seventy scholars and ten teachers.
A soldiers' aid society was sustained at the Center eighteen months during the war, or from its organization to the close of sanitary operations.
Among the very aged persons who closed their lives in Liberty—once its pioneers—may be mentioned Mrs. M. Nichols (forty-seven years the wife of Ashbel Upson, and the mother of ten of his children), who died October, 1860, in the ninety-third year of her age, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. S. W. Truesdell. Retaining her mental faculties through life, she was able to relate many thrilling incidents of the Revolution, and other events of her childhood. Mrs. Hannah Webster died in 1870 in her eighty-seventh year.
Mrs. Ruth Stanford, at the time of her death (1871), was the oldest person in the township, eighty-six years of age.
Isaac Comstock, who came in 1828, died in Liberty, August, 1872.
BRIDGEWATER AND MONTROSE.
AT January sessions, 1805, the court of Luzerne County was petitioned by Thomas Parke and others to erect a township from parts of Tunkhannock, Braintrim, Nicholson, and Rush, to be called Bridgewater. Its dimensions were described thus :—
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" Beginning at a point one mile above where Martin's Creek empties into the Tunkhannock, thence northerly to the forks of Martin's Creek, easterly from Bloomfield Milbourne's, thence north to intersect the south line of Lawsville, thence on that line to the southwest corner of Lawsville, thence northerly to the State line, thence west to the thirty-second mile-stone, thence south till it shall intersect a line to be drawn due west from place of beginning.
On hearing the petition, Judge Rush directed the commissioners to return a plot, which they did, November, 1806, and the court then confirmed it. The original dimensions of Bridgewater included a small portion of what is now Wyoming County. Springville, Dirnock, Lathrop, Brooklyn, Silver Lake, and portions of Forest Lake, Jessup, and Franklin have been taken from it.
It is more nearly the central township of the county than any other. Montrose, the county seat, is about four miles west of a central north and south line, and one mile north ofan east and west line. The site of the court-house was located in 1811.
The township is a water-shed for. three streams, the sources of which are in the vicinity of Montrose, and which in three different directions at length reach the Susquehanna River, viz., Snake Creek running north, the Meshoppen south, and the Wyalusing west and south. The Snake and Wyalusing Creeks, which rise within half a mile of each other, are probably one hundred miles apart at their mouths; but the Mes-hoppen, though running for many miles at nearly a right angle with the latter, falls into the Susquehanna hut a short distance below it.
Hopbottom Creek is the outlet of Heart Lake on the east line of Bridgewater; it runs southwardly into Martin's Creek, and eventually into the Tunkhannock.
Jones' Lake, within a mile of Montrose, is the principal source of Snake Creek ; Williams' Pond, in the northern part of the township, is another, but inferior source of it. Cold Brook, near the line of Silver Lake, is a tributary of Silver Creek, which is itself a tributary of Snake Creek.
A small pond near the south line of Bridgewater has an outlet emptying into the Meshoppen.
Elevated as the township is, it is not more hilly than many another ; there are not such deep valleys here as along the principal creeks farther from their source. The Milford and Owego turnpike, which was laid out diagonally across the township in 1809, sought the homes of settlers on the highest hills, plunging down one hill only to ascend another, and repeated the feat ad nauseam. As this was the great thoroughfare for years, it gave to Montrose and vicinity an unenviable reputation, which the recent plank road but half redeemed. Still, the
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most objectionable portion of the latter is outside of the township, in the vicinity of Martin's Creek.
In 1811-1813 the Bridgewater and Wilkes-Barre turnpike was laid out over the high hills southward. Each hill-top can easily serve as a mile-stone until Dimock Four Corners is reached. At one point on this road—the location of Reuben Wells, 100 feet higher than Searle's Corner—a wide prospect is obtained, including a portion of Wayne County, on the northeast; and Campbell's Ledge, at the head of Wyoming Valley, on the south.
But there is no elevation in Bridgewater that can be dignified by the name of mountain.
The soil is naturally good, capable of producing all the crops generally raised in this latitude; such as wheat, rye, oats, corn, potatoes of excellent quality and large quantity. Grass is one of the staple products ; the raising of stock and making of butter and cheese has been, of late years, very profitable for our farmers. The raising of sheep is not attended to as much as formerly.
When Susquehanna County was organized, Bridgewater contained five hundred taxables. About forty-five of these were set off with Silver Lake, sixty-six with Springville, and over eighty with Waterford; leaving about three-fifths of the list to Bridgewater.
The first settler within the present bounds of Bridgewater, was Stephen Wilson, a native of Vermont, who came from Burlington, Otsego County, New York, in March, 1799, and located about half a mile below the center of the present borough of Montrose. He was accompanied by his wife and children (David and Mason S.—the latter being then but nine months old), Samuel Wilson, his brother, and Samuel Coggs• well, brother of his wife. The party entered the log-cabin which Mr. W. had erected the previous fall, in one week, when he and others came to look for land.
Mr. Wilson's location became a landmark for the settlers who came in early in this century. His was the first house below the source of the Wyalusing, and the path leading from Hop-bottom and Nine Partners struck the stream at this point and followed it to its mouth, crossing it no less than eighteen times; in some places it was necessary for the rider to swim his horse.
His hospitality was extended to many a new-corner; whole families being sometimes entertained until their own cabins could be made habitable.
Until within a few years the debris of Mr. Wilson's house were to be seen on the upper corner of the Wyalusing Creek road, where it joins the Wilkes-Barre turnpike; but at present only an old apple tree, standing near, serves to mark the site.
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His orchard was the first in Bridgewater, and he raised his apple trees from seed.
The first birth in the township was that of his daughter Al-meda (in 1800), who became the first wife of John Bard, Jr.
The first public library of the township had its nucleus beneath the humble roof of his second log-cabin, which stood about fifty rods south of the first. A little later, it sheltered the most accomplished linguist that ever resided in the county. (See Authors.)
Stephen Wilson's name appears in a document among the Luzerne County records, which is labeled " Rindaw Assessment for 1801. Rush Seated Property;" thus affording additional proof that Rindaw, as a Pennsylvania district, was far more extensive than the "Yankee" township of that name, in, eluding the Forks of the Wyalusing. The document weighs ten ounces, and the postage on it from the Forks to Wilkes-Barre was forty cents.
Mr. Wilson was one of the early commissioners of Susquehanna County. In 1819 he sold his farm to Price, and removed to Wysox, and in 1823 to Alleghany County, New York, where he died April 15,1848, aged seventy-six. His son Stephen remains there. Of the rest of his family, David was of the firm of Wilson and Gregory, who kept a small store near the south line of Montrose in 1816. Samuel C. was editor of the `Susquehanna County Herald' in 1822. Robert is a lawyer in Chicago, and has presided over its criminal courts. Three daughters are still living. Mason S. Wilson is the only representative of the family in the county. He is also Bridgewater's oldest resident, never having been but temporarily absent, and the merchant of the longest standing.
Samuel Wilson, brother of Stephen, Sr., took up what has long been known as the Roberts farm; it joined the farm of J. W. Raynsford. He sold his improvement here and built a log cabin on the site of the Gregory tenant-house,. and from there removed to another location in Bridgewater, where he remained some years after his brother left. He died in Wyoming County, where the youngest of his six sons now resides. All have left Susquehanna County.
Samuel Coggswell built his house a little west of Stephen Wilson, and within the " Connecticut township" of Manor, the line being between them. The land (afterwards the Park farm) was the greater part of a gore which Mr. W. took out from the State Land Office and sold to Mr. C. at twenty-five cents per acre, while lands of the Clymer estate just across the turnpike were selling at $1.50 per acre.
Nehemiah Maine took up land under the Connecticut title in 1799, just east of the Reuben Wells homestead, but was not
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long after located in Dimock. Samuel Maine li ved a few years on the farm, since Joseph Butterfield's. David Doud lived on the Kingsley farm, but was probably soon after on the Wyalusing. His son-in-law, Miles Bunnel, lived near N. Maine. Mr. M. sold his right to B. Bostwick, who sold to R. Wells, Sr.
Before the close of 1799, Ozem Cook had settled beyond Messrs. Wilson and Coggswell, on the farm now owned and occupied by Moses S. Tyler. His location was in Manor.
In 1800, Captain Bartlet Hinds, an officer of the Revolution, originally from Boston, but then from South Hampton, Long Island, came into what is now Montrose, as an owner and agent of lands for ex-Governor Huntington, of Connecticut, under the title of that State.
He had in his company his step-son, Isaac Post, then sixteen years old ; Robert Day, Daniel and Eldad Brewster, who settled in Bridgewater; Daniel Foster, John Reynolds (second time), and Ichabod Halsey, who settled in Jessup ; and Frederick Loper, who did not remain.
They came by the way of Cherry Ridge, Nine Partners, and Hopbottom (now Brooklyn), at which points they found a few settlers. After leaving Hopbottom Creek, they were guided by marked trees and a slight path—no road. They arrived at Stephen Wilson's cabin at four o'clock P. M., on the 11th of May. Here Captain Hinds and son stopped for the night; the others went on three miles to the cabin of Messrs. Foster and Reynolds. They shoveled out the snow, provided hemlock boughs for bedding, and here most of them camped. Two or three went a few miles further to the cabin of Samuel Lewis, which stood a little below Dr. Cornwell's present. residence.
Captain Hinds decided to locate on the present site of Montrose, and he was assisted by Robert Day and Isaac Post in building a log cabin on the ground now occupied by the residence of the late David Post, Esq., where they camped for the season, and commenced clearing away the dense forest. Directly north there was not a settler between Captain Hinds and the State line, but there were at least three or four families in Lawsville, nearly northeast from him. Captain Joseph Chapman and Colonel Thomas Parke, Martin Myers, and the Spencers, in Dimock and Springville, were the only families between him and Tunkhannock.
In the fall of 1800, he returned to Long Island, but came back in 1801 with his family, consisting of his wife (formerly the widow Agnes Post), with her two sons, Isaac and David Post, a daughter, Susannah, and son, Conrad, children of his former wife, and Bartlet, the only living child of his last marriage.
B. Hinds' family celebrated the first Fourth of July here
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(1801) by cutting thirteen trees until they were just ready to fall, and so situated that a heavy stroke would precipitate one upon the other in one thundering crash, resembling the roar of cannon. Jason Torrey, now of Honesdale, then surveying in this wilderness, and knowing of no human being within miles of him, heard this astounding noise, and hurrying forward to ascertain the cause, found himself, with delighteesurprise, in the midst of society and patriotism.
The trees were felled on land of the Post brothers, Isaac and David, the purchase being made for them by Captain Binds from the avails of their father's estate, and is now covered by the borough of Montrose. Cold water toasts were drank on this occasion, one of which was "The United States! may their fertile soil yield olive for peace, laurel for victory, and hemp for treason "
Bartlet Hinds was born at Middleboro', Mass., April 4, 1855. He was baptized into the Middleboro' Baptist church, when about sixteen years old, by his father, Elder Ebenezer Hinds, then its pastor; and was the first Baptist church-member that came into the county.
He bad served as a soldier, as private and first lieutenant; and was breveted captain in the Revolutionary army. He was shot through the left lung at the taking of Burgoyne; was one of the "forlorn hope," claiming to have had command of the detachment at the storming of Stony Point, and first proclaimed " the fort is our own ;" served to the end of the war, after being wounded, in castle duty.
He had a diploma entitling him to membership in the Society of Cincinnati, formed by the officers of the army, at the close of the Revolution.
For at least a dozen years after Captain Hinds brought his family here the place was known as "The Hinds Settlement." He was the first justice of the peace.
The Rev. A. L. Post, grandson of Captain Hinds' wife, relates the following:—
In 1801, while on a road view between his log dwelling and Lawsville, near the place of Joseph Williams' subsequent settlement, he met, much to the surprise of both parties, his old friend and fellow-officer of the Revolution, Col. Timothy Pickering, afterwards one of the most prominent men in the Union, who was surveying lands which he had purchased under the Pennsylvania title. It was about noon, and so, after the " How do you do ?" Col. P. said, ~ Captain Hinds, will you take dinner with me ?"
The latter replied, " I don't care If I do, colonel, if you can treat me to a fresh steak !"
"That will I do," the colonel rephed, " if you will go with me to my cabin half a mile away ;" and he conducted him thither, and entertained him in true soldier style.
After recounting some of the scenes of the war in which they had taken part, the colonel explained to Captain H. the whole matter of jurisdiction and land title after the decree at Trenton ; told him of his own purchase, which he was then surveying, and satisfied him of the probability that the Pennsylvania title must hold good. He (Hinds) thereupon went to Philadelphia; subsequently fully satisfied himself that Col. Pickering was correct; found the owners of the land upon which he had settled ; made his purchase, and returned. He was the first person in this section who became convinced of the validity of the Pennsylvania title, and yielded to its claims.
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He was to " Manor,"¹ as to its civil polity, what Col. Hyde was to " Usher," the prominent man; and this fact accounts for the indignation that was visited upon the former after the step just mentioned. This was natural, and is not here referred to by way of reproach to any of the parties.
(Though reference has been made, elsewhere, to the mob, the following details given by Rev. A. L. Post will be of interest.)
It was probably late in 1802 that, under pretence of some kind, he was summoned before a justice in Rush. His brother, Abinoam Hinds, and Isaac Peckins (who settled here that year) went with him, expecting foul play. Whilst there a mob gathered and surrounded the house; but the three barricaded the door as best they could, and prepared for defence. The defences were forced away, and the mob entered, a number of them to be piled in an uncomfortable and bruised heap upon the floor. Isaac Peckins was a large, bony, and powerful man. Failing to break out one of the posts of an old-fashioned chair, he wielded the whole of it with great success against the intruders.
But, overpowered by numbers, the trio had to yield. A sort of sham trial resulted in the decision that Hinds should leave the country ; but he refused to submit to the decision.
His age, his experience, his native shrewdness, and energy of character, and his piety withal, fitted him for a pioneer, and a prominent actor in all that pertained to the civil and religious interests of a new country. He was greatly valued as a counselor and faithful adviser.
He was a tall man, and. in early life, athletic, although slender. He had black hair, and a dark hazel eye set deep beneath a long black eyebrow.
My childhood-remembrance of him in the church meetings for worship in the old school-house (Wilson's school-house, as it was called in early times, from its nearness to Stephen Wilson's residence) is as he stood up behind a chair, making thoughtful, measured remarks; or, sitting with right elbow in his left hand, the right hand pulling his long eyebrows, appearing as if he could look into the soul of any upon whom his eye might light.
He lived to see all his children, and his wife's children, hopefully converted and baptized into the church, and all comfortably settled in life, except one, who, in the triumphs of faith, went before him to the spirit land. His own death occurred October 11, 1822, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. Mrs. Hinds died May 7, 1834. Her first husband was Isaac Post, of South Hampton, L. I.
Conrad Hinds, son of Captain Bartlet, by his first wife, lived in Bridgewater nearly sixty years. In 1810 he was baptized by Elder Dimock, and his after-life proved the sincerity of his faith.
He was ordained deacon of the Bridgewater Baptist church in 1829. The Bible was his study, and religion his theme at home and abroad. Hence, when others flagged he seemed most awake. In other respects he was rather retiring, and, next to his religion, home, the farm, and the deep wildwoods had most attraction for him. He lived until October, 1860, when his death was the last of the first family that located within the present limits of Montrose.
Isaac Post was born in South Hampton, L. I., August 12, 1784. During the first years after the arrival of the first family of settler's in Montrose he was the mill-boy, and often went down to the mouth of the Wyalusing, on horse-back, after flour and provisions. He was also the cow-boy and hunter; was depended upon mostly for venison ; was acknowledged to be the best woodsman— surest to keep the points of the compass, and find his way home from the chase.
¹ The northeast corner of the Manor was somewhere between the lots now owned by J. D. Drinker and Walter Foster.
290 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
He chopped some acres of forest in the upper part of his place before any of the family discovered it, and when it was discovered Captain Hinds supposed some squatter had been trespassing upon his premises. Young Pos tad done this by hiding his ax, then taking his gun as if on a hunt, he wouh co to his chopping. As he often brought venison home at night, no one uspected his business.
He chopped down the first tree in Montrose; helped build the first log louse in 1800 ; built the first frame-house in 1806; the first store, and the first blacksmith-shop ; was the first postmaster, March, 1808. He also buil he first turnpike, 1811-14; ran the first stage; was the first treasurer of
In 1812 he passed through military grades from ensign to major, and in1811 was brigade inspector to July 1814, and, as such, had charge of thi Danville expedition. He built the academy in 1818; the Baptist meeting-house in 1829 ; was a member of the State legislature in 1828-29 ; and associate udge of Susquehanna County courts from October 17, 1837, to Feb. 1843.
He was baptized into the Bridgewater Baptist church in 1810.
In 1814 he was challenged by a recruiting officer, Lieut. Findley, to figh duel. He did not signify his acceptance, but Findley, on being told Ihe could shoot a rooster's head off with a pistol, backed down and asked pardon.
Isaac Post gave the county all of the public grounds and half of the lot: is marked on the first town plot.
There was not, during his life, a public improvement in which he did not lave a prominent part as originator or promoter.
He was a prominent Republican (as the democrats were originally called) aid, in 1817, was a delegate from this county to the convention at Harrisburg that nominated Wm. Findley for governor.
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When in the legislature he secured the passage of an act making Susquehanna County a separate election district, when he knew this would defeat his re-election.
He was a Mason, but finally refused to meet with the fraternity because they appointed drunkards to reclaim drunkards. He ultimately becam( opposed to all secret societies. When one of his sons asked his advice about joining the lodge, he rephed, "One fool in the family is enough."
One incident is here taken from his diary, as illustrating his. persistent courage in an emergency. Under date of January 2, 1815, he says:—
" Left Greene and reached the river (at Chenango Point) when the sun was two hours high. The boat being frozen in, the ferryman would not come over after me. I then took my clothes in my arms, got on my horse witl my knife handy to cut the harness if necessary, and bounded into the river—cutter and all. A number of persons stood expecting to see me go down but fortune favored me and I got over safe, and arrived home (twenty miles) about 12 o'clock at night."
Isaac Post married his step-sister, Susanna Hinds. She died November 15, 1846, aged sixty-four. Of their sons William L., Albert L., Isaac L. and George L., the eldest was the first male child born in Montrose, in 1807 he died while in the service of the government, at Washington, D. C., Feb 26, 1871. With the exception of a few months, Montrose was his life-long residence, as it is now the resting-place of his remains. Born in the first and then half-finished framed dwelling-house of the town (See Fig. 18), 11( lived to see all of the changes which have since taken place, and to take t prominent part in making it all that it is to-day.
Of the six daughters of Judge Post, but one survives He died March 23 1855.
David Post, brother of Isaac, was two years his junior. He came into what is now Montrose, in 1801, and spent the remainder of his life within twenty rods of the first cabin he here entered. The two brothers cleared most of the forest which covered the place. They acted together in busi ness matters, successfully and harmoniously; and were also together in all the improvements of the town and county.
D. Post was appointed a justice of the peace by the governor, and gave great satisfaction. He started the first furnace for casting iron in Montrose He was among the number baptized into the Bridgewater Baptist church by Elder Dimock, in 1810. He took a prominent part in all matters pertaining to the interests of the denomination in this section of country to near the period of his death.
He was kind, generous, and social. He was a republican of the early and later times; a strong friend and supporter of free missions, and of the anti-slavery movement. In the settlement of difficulties in the community and in the church, in arbitrations and councils, his services were often sought
He lived in three different houses, one of which was the first log-cabin in the place; the second, a small frame house, built by his step-father, just below our cemetery-hill, behind the row of poplars that still stand between the residence of I. N. Bullard and the first road leading to the cemetery.
To that house, now gone, he brought his bride—Minerva, daughter of Samuel Scott— in January, 1809, and there three of their eleven children were born. In 1814 he built the house so long known as his residence, at the fool of Main Street, the rear of which stands on the site of Capt. Bartlet Hinds log-cabin, which had been scarcely more of a landmark to the first settler of Bridgewater than Esq. Post's large, hospitable dwelling was to the first corners to the new county seat. It stands due north and south.
For thirty years or more the court judges made this their home during the sessions. Here several newly married people began housekeeping
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having the use of one or two rooms; bachelors and maidens and any homeless ones found it a kindly shelter.
Esq. Post and his wife passed more than fifty years of life together. He died February 24, 1860, in the seventy-fourth year of his age ; she died Feb. 24, 1871, aged nearly eighty-one years. They had eleven children, of whom only five survive.
Robert Day was a man of determined purpose and of undoubted integrity. He was a Baptist church member, whose Christian life and profession dated from the "Great Revival" of 1810. He aided in the erection of the first grist-mill of Bridgewater, on the Wyalusing Creek, two miles below Montrose. Between that point and the borough he cleared a farm and erected buildings, where he resided until within a few years, when he moved into town, where he died June 26, 1865. A Christian patriot, loyal to the last, he lived to rejoice over the end of slavery and the rebellion.
In 1804 he married Hannah, daughter of Jedediah Hewitt. She died in 1815, leaving two children. By his second marriage he had two daughters. The only one of his children now living is H. H. Day, Esq., of Susquehanna.
The farms of Daniel and Eldad Brewster were those since occupied by Thomas Johnson (ex-sheriff and justice of the peace and recently deceased) and Horace Brewster.
Daniel Brewster served two years in the war of 1812. He removed many years ago, and died recently on Frenchtown Mountain. aged ninety-two.
Eldad Brewster married in 1815 Hannah, third daughter of Deacon Moses Tyler. He died December, 1831, leaving his widow with nine children, the youngest but five months old. The sons are Horace, Daniel, and Warren.
In 1800 Amolo Balch made a small clearing one and/a half miles south of Stephen Wilson. In 1801 Joshua W. Raynsford, a native of Windham County, Connecticut, came to the clearing that had been begun by Amolo Balch. His log-house was by the spring near the present new road. It is said that Balch sold his improvement to Robert Day for a horse, and R. Day sold to J. W. Raynsford. Not one of them had any legal title to it, Balch having been indicted for intrusion early in 1801. J. W. Raynsford afterwards went on foot to Philadelphia to see the Pennsylvania landholder, and Obtained from him a valid title. The farm was a desirable one, almost the only bit of table-land between Montrose and the present south line of Bridgewater. To this place, on which he had erected a log-cabin, Mr. Raynsford brought his family in the spring of 1802. They made their first meal on water tresses. A small tributary of the Wyalusing has its rise on the farm.
In the spring of 1802, he bought for fifty cents a half bushel of potatoes, and planted them with a handspike, and reserved the rest as a precious addition to a scanty larder. In the fall of the same year, all of his boots but the legs were worn out, and he went on horseback, barefoot, twenty-seven miles to procure leather for another pair.
Until 1803, the cabin, like all others in the vicinity, bad only oiled paper for windows. Three days' absence from work (reckoned as worth fifty cents per day), while making the journey to and from Wilkes-Barre, where glass could be obtained, and where he procured twelve panes (7x9) for twelve shillings, made the coveted windows of four panes each, a costly outlay for those times. But his trip afforded his neighbors the opportunity of securing supplies of sugar, tea, etc.. which he brought in his saddle-bags, in that spirit of accommodation which belonged to the early settlers, while the precious glass was carried by hand the whole distance. The cabin reached, the glass was deposited upon the bed, whilst the neighbors came in to get their share of the groceries purchased. After the proper measure had been given to each, for which the "steel-yards" had been in requisition, Mrs. R. thoughtlessly tossed them on the bed, and instantly shivered every pane of the dear-bought glass !
Joseph Raynsford, father of J. W. R., joined him in this wilderness not
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long after, and erected a framed house, which is still standing, and is almost the only relic in the county of a style of houses built at that early period.
The door seen in the engraving opens into the room where the " first Con gregational church of Bridgewater" (now Presbyterian church of Montrose) was organized, in 1810. In the mean time, J. W. Raynsford built a house a few rods north, with a porch or piazza on two sides—and here he resided several years ; but only its crumbling foundation is now to be seen. He was appointed a justice of the peace about 1812 ; and had his office here until about 1817-18, when he moved into Montrose, having built the house now occupied by F. M. Williams. After a short time he built and removed to the house opposite the present residence of Jerre Lyons, to which was added a two-story office, since removed. Here his father died, July, 1832. His mother died in the old house previously.
A man of marked characteristics, the influence of Joshua W. Raynsford could not fail to be felt. He was active in the social, political, educational, and religious interests of the community. Upon his disconnection with the Presbyterian church, of which he was an early member, he became the chief instrument in the formation of the Episcopal church of Montrose. His habits of system and order were apparent in all his affairs. He kept a diary. from which, in his later years, he was accustomed to read for the pleasure of others many of the incidents of his pioneer life; it is unfortunate that it is not available for these pages, excepting a few items, which were taken down by his hearers. During his magistracy of thirty years, he hid 36,680 suits before him, which are registered in twenty-four folio volumes ; he took acknowledgments of one thousand deeds, and united one hundred and four couples in marriage,
He was twice married. His first wife, a daughter of Walter Lathrop. died, March, 1831, leaving six children; the three daughters are now deceased, and none of the sons reside within the county. The pall and bier were first used at Mrs. R's. funeral. Mr. R. died suddenly, November 12, 1852, aged seventy-three. His widow died about two years afterwards.
In the winter of 1803-4, J. W. Raynsford had taught the first school within the present limits of Bridgewater. in a log house, about a mile southwest of Montrose, and had then forty-two scholars. This surprising number in so new a settlement will be accounted for as we return to the list of in-comers.
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Elias West and family, from Connecticut, settled in 1801, on the farm that is now crossed by the north line of Dimock and the Wilkes-Barre turnpike.
David Harris and family, from Southampton, L. I., were. on the Wyalusing, at the place already mentioned as the site of the first grist-mill. It is probable he began the mill this year, as he was taxed for one, but it does not appear to have been completed under two or three years.
Jonathan Wheaton and family, from Otsego County, N. Y., settled about half a mile east of Capt. B. Hinds. He was then the settler nearest to the lake, which, in consequence, was long known as Wheaton's Pond ; but his cabin was on the site of a house, now reached by a road turning to the left from the foot of the hill, on the brow of which now stands the Methodist church. Like Capt. Hinds, Mr. Wheaton was a Baptist, and the two agreed with Daniel Foster, a Presbyterian (three miles away), to meet for religious worship every Sabbath this was sacredy observed by the trio, from 1802 to 1807, when their number was greatly increased. But we anticipate.
Jedediah Hewitt, from Norwich, Conn., with his wife, son, and five daughters, settled next below Robert Day, on the Wyalusing.
Thomas Crocker, a native of Bozrah, Conn., came to look for land, made a small clearing and rolled up the walls of a house on what is now the Conklin farm in Dimock, in 1800. He then returned for his family, and, in 1801, had brought them as far as Barnum's, in Lawsville, when he was persuaded to remain and work for Mr. B. a year. On learning that the road to Tunkhannock would not pass the place he had selected the previous year, he gave it up. In 1802, he brought his family to the farm adjoining that of Elias West on the north. Here he remained until 1812, when he removed to the farm where he died, in 1848, in his eighty-third year. Mrs. C. died in 1844, aged seventy-five. They had eight children. Their sons were Hyde, Lucius, John S., Austin, and Daniel W.
In 1802, Samuel and John Backus, from Norwich, Conn., settled just below J. Hewitt, and the families were, for the second time, neighbors. Two of the daughters of Mr. H. were wives of the former, and another became the wife of R. Day. John Backus died February, 1871, in his ninety-fourth year.
Abinoam Hinds, a brother of the first settler in Montrose, and Isaac Peckins, brother-in•law of the former, came from Middleboro', Mass., and settled a little west and southwest of B.
Hinds. A. Hinds bought of R. Day what has since been known as " Howell Hill." He died in Bradford County, February, 1849, aged eighty-four. His family is still represented here by his son, Major D. D. Hinds. Isaac 'Peckins died in May follow-
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ing, at the same age; his widow, in February, 1852. His house is now within the borough limits, near the western line. It is said that Esther Peckins taught the first school in Montrose, in a barn.
A newspaper writer, under the heading of A Drawn Battle, says :—
"Over thirty years ago, the venerable Isaac Peckins thus narrated to me an adventure which happened about two miles northwest of Montrose:—
"‘ One day I went out to cut an ox-yoke. in a little swale or swamp near the medder on your father's farm. The briers on the wet ground had grown up drefful thick, and taller than my head. Wal, I was chopping, when I heered a kind of growling and stirring among the bushes on ahead. I looked and see a little kind of sheep path that way. So I got down on my hands and knees—for I couldn't go straight—and crawled along under some ways. At last, I came to a round spot, about as large as this room. There wa'n't anything onto it, but the tall briers rose all around. Right on t'other end there was another hole which led out. Just as I popped up my head and stood straight, there stood a great black bear within three feet of me. He stood still, and looked right at me. I had left my ax behind, and had nothing to defend myself. I remembered an old hunter 't used to be around here, named Hale, who said there was no animal in this country that would touch a man if he looked at it straight in the eye. So I looked at him, and stepped towards him. He brussled up, and snarled, and stood still. I thought it was a ticklish place. I lifted up my voice and yelled and heowled as loud as I could. That seemed to set the creetur crazy. He heowled and tore the ground with his feet. I did n't know what would become of me. At last I took off my old hat, shook it, and ran at him. All at once he dropped his brussels, turned round. dropped his tail, and run out the other hole. I followed him, and was near enough when he went out to kick him behind. I had a good will to, but thought I was satisfied to get off as well, and I went back by my hole. Terrible great creetur "
The fourth of July, 1802, was celebrated by a flotilla of log-rafts on the lake—young people all afloat together, singing, huzzaing, and afterwards enjoying a lunch.
Jacob Roberts, from Vermont, in 1803, bought of Samuel Wilson the first farm south of Stephen Wilson, and which has been occupied until recently by his son, Zina Roberts.
About the same time, Walter Lathrop and family came into the south neighborhood thus, there were about a dozen families, besides those whose arrival preceded that of S. W. Raynsford, within the present limits of Bridgewater, when he taught; and, doubtless, families farther down the Wyalusing were represented in his school. It was not far from this time that the first death of an adult occurred—that of Mrs. Hyde, the mother of Mrs. Thomas Crocker.
Walter Lathrop's log-house stood on the spot now covered by an orchard, just below the house built within a few years by Silas Perkins. He afterwards built the small framed house, now gone, that stood just north of the latter, where he died in
296 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
1817, aged sixty-eight. Mrs. L. died in 1838, aged eighty-three. Their sons were Benjamin, Daniel, and Rodney who died at the West.
Benjamin Lathrop, late associate judge of the county, came with his father from Connecticut. He married a daughter of Asahel Avery, and located on that part of his father's farm which is now owned by Wm. Haughwort, where he resided many years before removing to Montrose, and where Mrs. L. died. They had five sons and one daughter, and by his second marriage he had one son, all residents of Montrose, except Benj. F., a physician, who died at the West. Judge Lathrop died July, 1864, aged seventy-seven.
Daniel Lathrop married a daughter of Jacob Perkins, and lived in the small house previously occupied by his father's family. Still later, he removed to the old Raynsford house, where he was gate-keeper on the turnpike; but, subsequently, he built the house now occupied by G. Decker, where he died July, 1842. He was twice married. Of his ten children, only two sons and one daughter (of Montrose) reside in the county.
Jacob Perkins removed from Dimock and lived opposite the last residence of Daniel Lathrop, where he, died in 1846, aged eighty-two. His widow died in Montrose in 1851, aged eighty-four.
In the spring of 1804, John Bard and Zebulon Deans came in, on foot, from Lebanon, Windham Co., Conn., and selected farms adjoining. They then returned to Connecticut, but brought in their families in the fall. Each had a span of horses, but they were two days in coming from Great Bend, as they were obliged to cut brush to clear the road before them. The arrived the 4th of October. The Bard family stopped at the house of Walter Lathrop; the Deans at that of Thomas Crocker. Both began immediately to roll up log-houses.
It was not until 1810 that J. Bard (commonly called captain) occupied the farm of Thomas Crocker; he first cleared the farm at present owned by Perrin Wells. He brought in six children John, now dead, was the eldest; Samuel, our respected townsman, was then eight years old ; the children at length numbered eleven, two of whom died when young men, within two weeks of each other. Captain Bard died in 1852, aged seventy-nine ; Mrs. Bard, "a great worker," lived to be ninety, and died in 1863.
Mr. Deans built his first house this side, or east of Mr. Bard, on the site of the red house for many years occupied by his son James, but which has since been burned; his framed house, with rived clapboards, was erected in 1814, on the Wilkes-Barre turnpike, a little below the late residence of J. F. Deans, south of the graveyard. Thut too is gone; it resembled the Raynsford house now standing, and like that, around it cluster asso-
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ciations dear to every early Presbyterian or Congregationalist of the township.
The family of Mr. Deans consisted, in 1804, of his wife (a sister of Thomas Crocker) and two sons, Orimel and James—the latter ten years old the day they reached Great Bend —and two daughters. Their first thanksgiving-dinner here !onsisted of potatoes roasted in ashes, with salt.
Zebulon Deans was a carpenter and joiner, and built the first Presbyterian church in Montrose. He joined this religious )ody at its first communion, was elected deacon in 1812, and became a ruling elder, which offices he held until his death in 1848, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. His wife died in 1851, in her eightieth year. They had four daughters and ,hree sons. The eldest and the youngest (John F.) have removed from the county ; James, also a Presbyterian elder, died in Montrose, September, 1865, aged seventy-one.
In November, 1804, Benajah McKenzie came from Lebanon, Windham County, Connecticut, and selected his farm—the game occupied by him until within a few years—in the extreme southwest corner of the present bounds of the township. Capain Bard and Mr. McK. went twenty miles to Merryall the first winter for grain, and had it ground there, at Black's mill. Ile site of this mill is a little above the present mill of Elisha And J. E. Lewis, two and one-half miles below Camptown, near the mouth of the Wyalusing. It was a common thing to go that distance to get grain ground, and indeed this place was the nearest for the purpose, to all in this vicinity, whenever Harris' or Griffis' mills were out of order or were too full of work.
Mr. McKenzie worked for Joab Picket in 1805, and was there while the Pennsylvania surveyors were trying to run their lines on lands which were claimed under the Connecticut title. Holders under the latter did not hesitate to take their guns and shoot to intimidate the surveyors, and for a time embarrassed their operations.
During the eclipse, June 6th, 1806, Mr. McK. was chopping in the woods where the graveyard now is, near the south neighborhood church ; it grew so dark he was compelled to stop work and he went up to the log school-house, which had been erected in 1805 on the same side of the road, near the top of the hill, just below the present residence of R. Wells. Isaac A. Chapman taught the first school there. Prior to this a log school-house had been built and used on the Stroud place. The next school-house was built near the graveyard, also on the west side of the road, on nearly the same site as the one that was left standing twenty years ago.
Mr. McKenzie was once returning from Brooklyn late at night, and, reaching the Meshoppen, he wearied himself in
298 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
searching for means to cross it. The weather and water were cold, and this, or the depth of the latter, prevented him from wading. At last he espied a tree growing on the opposite shore, which was so much inclined over the stream, that he caught a twig of one of the topmost branches, and proceeding hand-over-hand, he reached the other side.
He was married November, 1810, to Sabrina, daughter of Ezra Tuttle, of Springville. She died in 1851. Four of their sons reside at the west, one in Scranton, and one son and two daughters in Montrose; two daughters are dead, and one son, Charles, was killed while in the Union service.
Mr. McK. cleared one hundred and twenty-five acres of his own farm, and fifty-three of that of his father-in-law.
Late in life he sold his farm, and purchased a house and lot in Montrose. Just before his death, which occurred February 9th, 1872, in his eighty-eighth year, he was the oldest man in the borough, the member of longest standing in the Presbyterian church, and was held in honor by all.
Edward Fuller, whose wife was a sister of Elias West, came from Connecticut, with his family of five children in 1806, and located on the upper part of the farm of the latter. He understood making " wrought" nails, and this of itself was sufficient to make his advent a blessing to the community. He built a large frame house, two stories in front, with a porch, and a door opening on it from the second story; while the rear was only one story. It became a central point, being the place for holding elections; and, from the Christian character of Mrs. Fuller, the place where the early religious meetings were held. As yet, not a man of the south neighborhood was a professed Christian. Determined to impress upon her children her estimate of the Sabbath, she always dressed them in their best that day, even if that were no more than a clean apron to each one. They learned to be less boisterous than on week days ; so, praying mothers could meet and sing " the songs of Zion," and occasionally listen to a sermon read by Mr. Fuller or Mr. Raynsford.
Here the family resided until 1812, when Mr. Fuller having received his appointment as sheriff, removed to the county seat, and kept the hotel built by I. Post, for one year, before entering the one described on a later page.
He died in Montrose April, 1854, in his eighty-sixth year. Mrs. Fuller, the last survivor of the original ten members of the Presbyterian church, died in Scranton, December 14, 1861, also in her eighty-sixth year. Her funeral was the first service in the new Presbyterian church in Montrose. Her surviving descendants then numbered six sons (Charles, Edward, George,
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 299
Henry, Francis, and Isaac) and two daughters, thirty grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren.
Alba Cornwell, Jr., came in from Connecticut " the fall before the great snow," and lived with Stephen Wilson through the winter. In what is now Montrose there were then but two buildings. He was soon after joined by his father, and they settled north of Jones' Lake (or Wheaton's Pond, as then called), on the place since occupied for many years by Timothy Warner, and now the farm of Charles Lathrop. The father and son built the "Newburgh turnpike," from New Milford to Mount Pleasant.
Alba Cornwell, Sen., removed, after a few years, out of the township. Alba, Jr., went to the Wheaton farm, where be died in 1815. He made the first clearing on "the Mulford farm." His widow came to Montrose with her son, now Dr. N. P. Cornwell, of Jessup, and her two daughters, and lived in a log-house built for her opposite the present residence of
Mrs. Fanny Lathrop. She died April 12, 1852.
About 1806, Nathaniel Curtis, Sen., was the pioneer of East Bridgewater. Originally from Connecticut, he had located for a time in Herkimer County, N. Y., and came from there with his five sons, Nathaniel, Jr., Haryey, Warren, Daniel, and Ira, all of whom remained many years in the township. Harvey went West in 1837. Daniel came to Montrose before its incorporation as a borough, and built what was then considered a commodious hotel, and kept a popular house. It forms the nucleus of the Tarbell House. His wife was a daughter of Major Ross, of Rush. They moved to the West about 1841, where Mr. C. died in 1862. Nathaniel Curtis, Sen-, died a few years later ; Nathaniel, Jr., died May, 1850.
During the winter of 1806-7, Henry Congdon, Asa and Samuel Baldwin, from Salisbury, N. Y., arrived in the settlement, and located a mile or two north of Bartlet Hinds. They browsed their cattle where the court-house now stands. John and Benjamin Fancher located in March still further north. These families were permanent settlers. The heads of the first two were among the constituent members of the Baptist church of Bridgewater, now Montrose. Henry Congdon died here in 1841, aged eighty-two; B. Fancher in 1840, aged sixty-four ; S. Baldwin in 1870, aged eighty-five.
Nathan Brewster, a native of Massachusetts, and Simeon Tyler, a native of Vermont (who had married a sister of the former), came in together from Connecticut, February, 1807, with their families, ten persons in all, and all halted for five weeks at the house of Joseph Raynsford, whose only daughter was the wife of Nathan Brewster.